Top Ten DIY Projects of 2011

As the year comes to an end, I want to wish you all a wonderful and happy new year. 

May 2012 bring you health and happiness!

Since I love me a good DIY, I thought I'd share what kept me busy around here this year!

You will notice a theme:

#1: I love to sew pillows
#2: I love black and white stripes.

There you have it, DIY fun here at hodge:podge.

Looking forward to tackling my to-do list and finally finishing some long overdue projects in 2012 -may this be the year where I don't procrastinate!

Happy New Year!

XO Barbara

Thanks: Rambling Renovators

Hope you all had a great Christmas. We sure did! I just spent the last three days at the hockey rink, my son's hockey team was in a tournament and won bronze! My voice is hoarse from cheering and arms sore from shaking our noise makers!


A great big thanks to Jennifer from Rambling Renovators for having me yesterday as part of her Great Reads 2011 series. So honoured to be part of such an amazing group of fabulous bloggers!

Love Jennifer and her blog, had the privilege of meeting her this summer, she is such an encouraging friend and blogger :)

 Be sure to check out all her Great Reads blogs and our favourite posts!

XO Barbara

Merry Christmas!

I had great intentions to post over the holidays but we are having too much fun over here. We are enjoying family time so I will be back in 2012!

photo: me

I am extremely grateful for all the wonderful readers, followers and friends that have come by this blog! 

From the bottom of my heart, thank-you for your support and friendship!

Wishing all a wonderful Christmas season and many blessings in the New Year! 

XO Barbara

Once Upon a Gingerbread House

Last week the kids and I made our annual gingerbread houses. 
The girls and I had fun making our tidy pretty houses with neatly lined up candies.

 My son on the other hand decided to turn his gingerbread house into a military compound supplied with artillery on the roof, barricade of pretzels in the front and liquorice strings tossed aimlessly about on the roof to throw off any possible invaders.

Gotta love the creativity!

I used the best gingerbread dough ever, a recipe I got from Martha Stewart years ago.

Works perfectly every time!

In case you were wondering, the "glue" is basic Royal Icing. The fun part is watching the kids slowly sneak pieces of candy off of their gingerbread houses, even though the rule is no eating until Christmas Eve!

My shopping is almost finished and have a few more goodies to bake.
How are your Christmas preparations coming along?

XO Barbara

So Canadian eh? : Ashli Malinek

What a fun year it has been getting to know so many amazingly talented Canadians across this country. This series has given me so much pleasure to write! But this post will be the last one for this year, as I am going to take a break for the Christmas holidays!  Have no fear, my list of Canadians is still very long, there are more to come.

What a fabulous way to end the year to have an amazing local blogger come to visit today, whom I would say is the Martha Stewart of Vancouver! She can design a fabulous home on a dime, create mouthwatering menus and recipes, and makes homemaking fun! 

Please welcome.....

Ashli Malinek of Mini Manor formerly Mallairdville Manor!

She is...

Ashli, a local blogger, the queen of green, proudly lives on a "one income budget in a two income world". Her blog, a daily read for me, is always full of fabulous budgeting, frugal and housekeeping tips. 

Ashli and her husband have taken a basic builder home from "yawn" to "yowza!" on a tight budget. Hard to believe most of her furniture and accessories were found on Craigslist. 
She really makes penny pinching trendy. There is never a dull moment at Mini Manor!

Want to see her jaw dropping home?
Come on...

Her breathtaking kitchen.

Living space.

Cozy library.

Office space.

Dining room with their DIY barn door. Isn't it amazing?

Master bedroom.

Guest room.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, has design always been something you are drawn to?
I'm Ashli and I'm a 28 year old housewife, from Big Beautiful British Columbia. My background is about as eclectic as my design sense, I'm 1/4 Chinese, 1/4 Portuguese, 1/4 Irish and 1/4 Scottish.
As far as my love of design it's always been something I've been drawn too, while other kids were drawing puppies I was designing floor plans.

What made you decide to start blogging?

My love of everything home comes from my mom, so when she moved to Vancouver Island 2 years ago we weren't able to share our latest finds with each other. I would send her emails with pictures attached but My mom has a mortal fear about opening attachments in emails, in her words "They could be full of computer killing virus's". So instead I started a blog so she could just type in an address and see all the goings on around here. She was my first follower and still my biggest fan!

What have you enjoyed about blogging and what has surprised you along the way?

There are so many things I enjoy about blogging, mostly it's all the wonderful people I've met along the way, all the amazingly sweet and thoughtful comments. What has surprised me is how much I love blogging, I really started it as a way to keep my mom in the loop and it's turned into so much more!!

Where do you go for inspiration for your blog?

Like most of us I'm a Pintrest-a-holic. I also follow so many blogs I've lost count, there is such an amazing community of creative people out there in the blogging world. And design shows, Sarah's House, Divine Design, Design Inc. my PVR is full of all of 'em.

What are your hopes and dreams for your future?

My hope for the future is to have tiny little mini manor rugrats running around the place (aka Children).
My dream for the blog is that it keeps growing, and we keep finding new opportunities around every corner. One of the best parts about having a blog is opening your email every morning . . . you never know what might be in there!

You are known for living within your means, yet that hasn't cramped your style {your home is gorgeous} what are some easy things people can do to save a few pennies around their home?

First Thank you very much!! (I'm blushing) DIY is my biggest tip, I steal ideas from everywhere then do it myself, everything from table runners to doors, from art to pillows we make it ourselves. Second, CRAIGSLIST and Patience. I wait to find what I need on Craigslist, it requires a few minutes a day but I check it everyday looking for what I need, something always comes up. And last, good old fashioned Leg work, If I'm looking for something I go to every store looking for deals, I go to every site I can think of looking for a steal, nothing can replace research!

How would you describe your design style?

I would say it's contemporary traditional, slightly eclectic, simple and whimsical. But ask me in a month and it might be different! Heck, I've already changed this answer twice in 30 mins :)

Tell us one thing about you that would surprise us!
I've recently become a bit of a coupon-er . . . under my bathroom sink I have 25 bottles of mouth wash . . . eek!

If you were given the opportunity to meet anyone or do anything, what or who would it be and why?

I would say I'd like to meet Martha Stewart on a good day, I think she'd be very scary if she was having a bad day.
I'd also Love to meet Gwyneth Paltrow. I think we'd be buddies . . . in my head we already are :P
But I think most of all I'd like to be the third designer to Sarah Richardson and Tommy Smythe, It would be perfect . . . I'm not as funny as Tommy and I'm not as tall as Sarah, I'd fit right in ;)

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to play volleyball and tennis, skiing in the winter. I love window shopping at stores I can't afford, I grab a coffee and walk through beautiful stores like Restoration Hardware and Liberty, making mental notes of things to copy and make myself.

What are your views on the role Canadian design plays in the world design scene? Do you feel that Canadians have a unique sense of style and design, and if so, what is it that you think sets us apart?

I think that Canada is sometimes forgotten about when it comes to worldly design, I mean there Danish modern, and french provincial and American country, but no one ever says "oh that . . . that's Canadian _______", with a complete exception being the Hudson bay blankets :)
I do think that Canadians have their own sense of style and design, it think it's warm and cozy and less serious! I think Canadian style is fun and more whimsical.

Ashli, what an amazing sense of style and outlook you have! I think you'd be a fabulous addition to Sarah's team {a dream of mine as well!}
Can't wait to see what else you and your husband "cook" up next year!

XO Barbara

Thank-you Style at Home

A big thanks

 to Style at Home for inviting me to participate in Blogger' Christmas Decorating Tips!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Come back Sunday for another installment in my So Canadian, eh? series.
It will be my last one for this year. I have an amazing local blogger lined up for this Sunday!

And to kick off the new year
 I have a fabulous guest lined up for January, she is a mover and and a shaker in the design publication industry!

XO Barbara

Holiday Home Tour 2011

The halls are decked, stockings hung, tree decorated, gingerbread houses baked, and baubles hung!

Nothing says cozy like a home decorated for the holidays.

I kept it simple this year, did not buy anything,
just moved things around and clipped greenery from the yard.

Come on in, let me show you around.

{Ignore the carpet on the stairs - I loathe that carpet, but as a renter can't change it} Also hoping to convince my landlords to let me paint the railing!

 A wreath inspired by the fabulous Eddy Ross.

Nothing make me more happy than this ebony bowl. It came all the way from Tanzania in my sister's backpack to western Canada and then on a plane with my mom to my home when I lived in Virginia and now resides back in western Canada.

Velvet stockings I made when my girls were little {and I quickly had to make another when I found out I was expecting #3!). I wanted to replace them this year but my kids wouldn't let me!

I love Nutcrackers. It is my favourite ballet {have seen it so many times} and love collecting them!

Homespun Christmas tree with my Czech and Swedish ornaments mixed with a mish mash of favourites!

See the reindeer? My husband gave me a box with 5 beautiful ornaments on our first Christmas. They are some of my favourite.

Our annual gingerbread houses which we had fun creating. 

See the one in the back?  There is a story behind that one. Will share in a day or so! 

My Czech creche that my dad brought from the Czech Republic for me, I had one growing up and loved making up stories in my head inspired by the scene.

 Love the story it tells, all the villagers bringing gifts for the newborn King.

Heading upstairs, the kids got in on the action and grabbed a wreath to hang on their doors.

{I have a box of about 11 wreaths, our house was a Colonial style home in Virginia and you hung a wreath outside on every window during Christmas, so I have a lot of wreaths!!)

Lots of photos!!

I had fun practicing with our SLR and two different lenses! 

Thanks for coming over and visiting!

Hoping to share our gingerbread house making adventures in the next day or so! When you make gingerbread houses with a 13 year old boy, interesting things happen.

XO Barbara