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A Favourite Space

December 23, 2014


Growing up I wasn't very sentimental, but now as an adult, I am getting more so. Porch.com contacted me asking me if I'd love to share a favourite thing or space! Porch is a home network that allows you to find the right professionals, get inspired, and manage your home….for free!

There are so many favourite things around the house, but one of my favourite spots in our house is our living room. It feels even more fabulous during Christmas, with the tree and all the decorations scattered about. I love the vaulted ceilings, the hardwood floors, my throw pillows, the artwork, my old piano and the light that filters into the space. There is nothing better than curling up on the sofa by the twinkling lights and feeling so at peace in a space.


My tree is covered with ornaments from Prague and ornaments from Ikea that are a nod to mine and my husband's heritage, along with handmade ornaments my children have made over the years.




Love my old piano. It is horribly out of tune and old, but it was the one my parent's purchased for my sister and I when I was eight. I practiced countless hours on that piano, and now my daughter plays.


The artwork is so meaningful. The Eiffel Tower photo was taken by my husband on one of his many trips to Paris, the artwork on the right is a print of a famous Czech artist (don't ask me who though!) and the middle piece was a copper etching my daughter did in grade 5!





I love, love this piece of art painted by my daughter of the Big Sur, inspired by our trip down the California coast. 


And if anyone who reads my blog regularly knows, I have a "thing" for throw pillows. I LOVE to sew throw pillows. A few of these have been around for a while along with some new additions.


And the coffee table was the coffee table that I grew up with. It was a teak coffee table that after a decades of use needed a fresh coat of stain. I chose to stain it with an opaque stain. Still love it after all those years.


Pop over to Porch where you can read my feature on their site!

XO Barbara

A Favourite Appetizer Recipe

December 22, 2014



With the Christmas entertaining season upon us, I thought I would share one of my go-to party favourites. I always like to keep it simple, I hate having to stress having people over. This year I am hosting my son's rowing team Christmas gathering, we are having a finger food/dessert potluck. I will be making a few of my trusted and loved savoury treats. My absolute favourite, that gets rave reviews is a goat cheese log I snipped out of an old Canadian House and Home magazine. It is so easy to put together, but tastes amazing!

You need:

Fresh thyme, usually a small bunch will suffice
Walnuts, pieces (the original recipe calls for pecans)
300 gram goat cheese log (I buy mine at Costco or Superstore)

Chop thyme leaves along with walnuts. Roll goat cheese in chopped nut-herb mixture. Pat into cheese to make it stick. Wrap up in plastic wrap and refridgerate until ready to use. Serve the herb nut goat cheese log at room temperature.


I serve this with a selection of favourite crackers, along with some fig jelly, salami and olives. 

Easy pease lemon squeezy.

XO Barbara


Ikea Hack using FAT Paint

December 19, 2014


I have blogged about how I am slowly repainting my black brown Ikea Markor furniture to do away with the matchy matchy look. I repainted two bookcases, along with a sideboard which you can pop over here and here to see. 

For the past year, I have been dying to re-paint the glass door fronted bookcase. After moving into our new place, it was evident to me that it needed to get done. I have been dying to use FAT Paint, an artisan chalk painted created and owned by one of my good friends, Victoria Lambert along with her brother, Brad. Together, they have taken this paint from being mixed in Victoria's kitchen in her tangerine Kitchen-Aide mixer to their newest location in New Westminster, where they manufacture, sell and ship their paint to over 70 retailers over North America.



I decided to use Warm White paint. 
Chalk paint is supposed to be easy to use, can be painted indoors (no smell!) and quick to dry.


 I decided to complicate things by painting in my garage during a rainstorm outside. Not a good idea. Chalk paint absorb moisture and won't dry very quick. After a few panicked messages to Victoria, I moved my project indoors.

Much better.....


The paint dries nice and quick. After some sanding, which you need to do to remove the "fur" as they call it and get a smooth finish, I gave it a layer of FAT wax and buffed. I am in LOVE with how it turned out! Originally I was going to just leave it solid without sanding the edges, but I decided to make my bookcase look more vintage. 


Here are my two bits of advice:

1. DO NOT paint in a damp garage!

2. DO NOT sand in the house, move the project back into the garage, unless you want to dust and wash your whole house!








I am very pleased with how it turned out. Slowly I am adding things to style it but am nowhere near finished with that. My eyes are open for a large basket on top or for the bottom shelf and more ginger jars!

Now I am on the hunt to paint something else with FAT paint!

XO Barbara



Christmas Around the House

December 17, 2014


With Christmas around the corner, I managed to finish decorating the house. Keeping it real simple this year, I just added bits of Christmas decor throughout the main floor. My go-to decor items are Christmas balls, I have 2.5 bins full! They are perfect for arranging in a bowl, to hang from a drapery rod or string together to make garland.


My Czech corn husk nativity.



Sent the hubs and son to get a tree, knowing they'd come back with a ginormous one! Love how we have the space for a beautiful tree! Had to  s  t  r  e  t  c  h   the ornaments all over the tree, spacing them so it looked covered.





The nutcrackers are chillin' with Beethoven (or is it Mozart?)







The quickest way to decorate - throw balls in a basket and you are done!


Simple, but I love it.

XO Barbara

Smelly Stuff

December 16, 2014


This isn't a pretty post, but instead about the nitty gritty inner workings of under my kitchen sink. If want to see pretty, then read no further...


Naturally one puts their garbage can under the kitchen sink, but who puts a heating vent under it as well? The two combined, make for one stinky kitchen. Another thing that makes me go..."hmmmm". Clearly, the thought was to keep ones toes warm while the dishes are being washed. That would be fine, but somehow the heat vents up the sides where there is an opening because of the angle of the cupboard. That makes for a "ripe" smelling garbage that can stink up the kitchen. I was wracking my brain how to solve this problem, when in my inbox I received an email from Glad wondering if I wanted to review their Glad Odour Guard bags with Febreeze. The timing couldn't be better. I received  green can compostable garbage bags along with some kitchen catcher garbage bags.





 See? Heating vent under the garbage. P.U.!



Why yes, those are dishes in the sink...keeping it real.

The green can compostable bags fits perfectly in the compost can where I collect all kitchen scraps. It keeps it nice and clean and no smell! The only drawback is I found out our municipality doesn't allow compostable bags in our Green Can. Not a problem, I just dump what is in the bag into the outdoor Green Can and dispose of the bag in my regular trash bin. It makes for a clean under the sink compost bin!


The Kitchen Catcher Odour Guard garbage bags from Glad are large enough to fit my under the sink garbage can perfectly. I found that my el cheapo garbage bags I was using previously weren't quite long enough, and would slide down inside, then I had more of a mess to clean. These bags are long enough and really do trap odours! So nice to come down in the morning and not be turned off by the smell. A quick grab and tie and into the trash they go! 

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.


This helps make for a smooth and calm morning so I can enjoy this...



And be glad :) 


XO Barbara

* This post was created in partnership with Glad Odour Guard garbage bags, the opinions are all mine.

Printable Christmas Card from Meeshworks

December 14, 2014



I HAVE to put in a plug for my really good and VERY talented friend Michelle Mollinga who does not do enough self-promotion. She is not only an amazing illustrator but fabulous photographer, which is evident on her Instagram feed. She makes my Instagram look blah. Her chair prints are simply amazing. I have one in my bedroom. She even taught me how to do hand rendering as a trade, I teach her how to use her sewing machine (which she needs to FIX!) and she teaches me rendering. I drew my beautiful house from when we lived in Virginia.

This year she has made two downloadable Christmas cards for only $5, you can download and print! I am getting the little tree. 

I love supporting artists, so instead of running to Walmart to get cheesy cards, consider buying from my dear friend Meesh!




XO Barbara

Things That Make You Go...Hmmmm...

November 9, 2014


We have been living in our new rental home for a few months already. Most boxes are unpacked, but I still have little bits to finish to make the house feel more "us". I have been busy with the family room as we spend most of our time in there. As much as I would love to toss everything out on the curb and start over, I am not. With a bit of rearranging, paint, fabric and some accessories I hope to create a fabulous space. More on that later.

When we first looked at the house it was under a cosmetic renovation, there were painters and carpenters in the house and I was enamoured with the space, the hardwood floors, and the kitchen. Upon moving in, I noticed little details that made me wonder, " What the ?#%*$?" 

There are niches in some of the walls, this one along a huge wide staircase is one that makes me think....why?  



When I first saw the fireplace, I loved the stone, but upon further inspection, I wondered, "What the....?"  The fireplace was covered in weird random concrete brick like pieces and odd pieces jutting out. What purpose do those jutting out pieces serve? They are random, some don't stick out far enough and others are slanted. Whoever revamped that fireplace should go to design hell. I am wracking my brain how I can cover up those jutting pieces.





Really? Let's just place a piece crooked and with stamped initials for all to see. 

And finally....the ever so lovely powder room. It was hard to get a good photo, but the WHOLE house inside and out was painted, new roof, new gutter, new topsoil, refinished hardwood, etc BUT somehow this wallpaper was deemed fabulous to keep?



I have been given permission to remove it. And by golly it will be gone! The landlords left me all the paint and I love the paint colour in the kitchen, so it will go into the bathroom. 

I am hoping to work on few updates in the next little while. With me working fulltime and Christmas/athletic activities beginning to fill the calendar, it is a challenge! Bear with me and my sporadic blogging. In the meantime, you can catch up with me via "real time" on Instagram!

XO Barbara






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