{guest posting: chic modern vintage}

Today you can find me at..... 

where I am participating in Moonlite Monday!

Hop on over and say hello!

I am currently nursing the flu and hope to be back on my feet tomorrow with a peek at another project on the go and another great giveaway!

xo Barbara

{So Canadian, eh? : What's Up Whimsy}

Welcome back to another....

This week's talented Canadian has created not only a beautiful and unique design blog but seems to be involved in many projects that help promote Canadian blogs, designers, artists and businesses. She was attendee of the Canadian Design Blogger meet-up that we on the west coast were envious of, was privileged to attend the Toronto IDS 2011 as "media" and had a one-on-one chat with Theo Richardson, the brother of famous Sarah Richardson, is a contributor to Laura U Inc., an online magazine and seems to have her finger on the pulse of all the design happenings {lucky girl}.

One of my favourite features that she has on her blog is "A House is not a Home.... without Craigslist" where she takes an inspirational photo and re-creates it with a photo collage of items she has sourced from Craigslist.


Please give a grand
Bienvenue to....

Shannon from What's Up Whimsy

First of all, a big thanks to Barbara for inviting me to participate in this great series.  I love promoting Canadian talent and what better way to do that than through blogs, right?? So here it goes:

1.  What is your education background, is it in art or design?

Unfortunately, I do not have an art or design background.  I took art all throughout high school and loved it.  When it came to applying for universities, however, I decided to go more with the "status quo".  My parents told me to apply to OCAD (the Ontario College of Art and Design), in Toronto, but no, I decided to go to the University of Guelph for Sociology and then a post-grad program at George Brown College in Sport and Event Marketing.  What was I thinking?? Ha ha.  I even have a series on my blog called "Why Didn't I Go To Art School?" where I showcase art projects by my sister, who is currently going to OCAD.  It's never too late though! Maybe I'll go back to art school one day....

2. Why did you start a blog?

When I was on maternity leave, I had some extra time on my hands and started to get into the design blog world.  Instantly, I was hooked! It wasn't until a year later that I decided to start my own.  I just thought that it would be a great place for my friends and family to check up on some projects that I was working on and didn't really know where it would take me.

3. What is the goal of your blog? What are your hopes and dreams for your blog and where it may lead to?

The goal of my blog is just to be unique and come up with interesting posts for my readers.  I don't know about you other bloggers out there, but I would also love to blog full time one day.  I think that's a tough thing to do, but you never know!

4. What have you enjoyed about blogging, what has surprised you along the way?

The thing I love most about blogging is being part of a blogging community.  I have been lucky to meet many of my blogging friends in person and they are among the most supportive and sweet people I know!!  I have also loved being invited to design events around the city because of the blog.  I still think it's weird that I get invited to product launches and event sneak peeks as "media".  Blogging is starting to take over the world! Ha ha.

 Both photos were from the Canadian Design Bloggers Meetup last November.  That's me and Renee from Eat.Live.Shop
5. If you could meet anyone, who would it be and why?

Oh goodness, this is a hard one! Sarah Richardson was on my list of people to meet and I luckily got to meet her a few weeks ago at IDS11.

Sarah and Theo Richardson talking about their Sibling Revelry design partnership for IDS11

I would actually really love to meet Grace Bonney from DesignSponge.  Her blog got me hooked and it is still my absolute favourite blog to read.  I was lucky enough to get some blog consulting from her last year and it was incredibly helpful.  During that time, we exchanged emails, but I think it would be great to meet her in person and just hang out and pick her brain about blogs and starting your own business.

6. Is there anything, an accomplishment, project or event that you are most proud of?

I know that this is the typical answer, but I am most proud of my son.  He makes me so happy everyday.

7. Do you feel that Canadians have a unique sense of style, a unique way we approach the decorating of our homes?

I think that Canadians just decorate their homes in whatever style suits them best.  We don't have one strict way of decorating, but a myriad of different styles that just works.

8. I noticed you feature art/artists on your blog, what is your take on using art in our homes? I think sometimes people think buying art for their homes can be expensive, what is your opinion in how people can incorporate art into their homes without breaking the bank?

I love featuring artists on my blog, especially Canadian ones.  And I usually only feature affordable art because that is the type of art I am interested in.  There is no sense featuring pieces that would cost an arm and a leg because most people can't afford that.  I'm a big believer of buying art on Etsy and 20x200 and I love going to art shows, speaking to the artists and buying their art.  I think you can also find interesting and affordable art at antique markets. You can find art anywhere!

 My largest piece of art from local artist Lucky Jackson

 My embroidered landscape from an antique market

 The top of a Hudson's Bay Company cookie tin from Christmas is displayed in my kitchen

 Two of my pieces from Toronto artist, Blair Chivers - I love him!

 My plate wall in my dining room composed of mostly Crate and Barrel and Anthropologie plates

My framed tea towels from Anthropologie

9. Being a mom, how do you balance blogging, your family and your work? Any tips for us women out there?

I definitely find it hard to balance everything, but blogging has brought me so many opportunities and it's hard to turn down these opportunities because I never know where they are going to take me.  But I have really had to reorganize my priorities and blogging does come last in all cases.  Family obviously comes first.  Then work because it pays the bills.  And then blogging.  Believe me, it's tough not to pick up my computer when I get home from work and write a post, but I try not to touch the computer when my son is awake.  I only blog when he is sleeping.  I also don't post on the weekend.  After blogging all week, I need two days off!  As for tips for other women out there, just do whatever works best for you and do makes you happy :)

Thanks so much again, Barbara, for letting me share a little piece of me.  Great series!

Thanks Shannon for giving us a peek into your world. Can't wait to see what you have up your sleeve next!

xo Barbara

{ikea rast hack round-up}

I love a good Ikea Rast hack, taking this humble plain Jane {no offence to Jane} dresser to a one-of-a-kind piece.

It is so inexpensive, made from solid wood, has clean lines and a flat front that lends itself to being hacked and re-created into something beautiful.

Since I tackled one recently and my blogging friend Nancy from Marcus Design just revealed her creation, I felt it was fitting to share with you the many ways a Rast can be hacked!

Here is my hack using black paint, silver leaf and crystal knobs

And Nancy's amazing Rast hack made to look like a Dorothy Draper dresser:

Another fantastic Rast hack is from the lovely Lindsay at Aubrey and Linsday's blog

Another creative re-vamp by Allison at Welcome to My Home

One with a sleek, modern touch from Living the Live Wire

Using crisp white paint and simply gold knobs, Lakeitha makes over a Rast for her bedroom

And this one I found on design*sponge made by Eric from DMD

Has anyone else hacked a Rast? I would love to see it to add to the round-up!

XO Barbara

{something I just whipped up}

 A few weeks back I helped my sister finally finish her duvet cover for her super king duvet. We made it out of two king flat sheets and added a insert of fabric to make it wider. She bought some gorgeous crisp cotton from Restoration Hardware at a local fabric store for the insert panel. I then stitched white satin ribbon along the seam of the insert to add some visual interest.

 But I was in such a hurry I didn't take any photos. Sad...I know.....I'll have to photograph her room when it's all put together.

But, I did take pictures of this.......

As a surprise I stitched up this monogrammed pillow for her bed. It was easy to put the pillow together, making an envelope enclosure that I added buttonholes and buttons to jazz up the back.

These buttons are special as my mom let me rifle through my grandma's sewing box and let me take a few of her antique buttons. She passed away in September and I though it would be special to use them for the pillow for my sister.

The hardest and most challenging part was the monogram. 

I have seen monogrammed pillows all over blogland and wanted to try it myself.

 How hard can it be?

Well.....it took me about an hour fiddling on the computer, searching the internet for help, to create a reverse image of the initial. 

Frustrating to say the least.

 Everyone makes it seem so easy, except I had no "reverse image" option in Word for my Mac. 

I will let you in on my secret-took-me-forever-discovery.....

You enlarge your letter and then save it as a JPEG file, which can be flipped! Easy, peasy.

Then print out the reversed image on transfer paper.

*I used Avery brand Iron-on T-shirt transfer paper for ink jet printers, purchased at Staples.

Iron it onto the pillow, following the directions.
 Easy? No....

This is where my project went wrong.

Here are a few tips I learned the hard way:
 Don't sew your whole pillow together and then iron on the letters, as you might end up doing this:

Yes, I scorched the pillow by holding down the iron for too long! Argh!
The iron needs to keep moving over the back of the paper, don't let it sit there or the heat will scorch your fabric.

I had to rip stitch apart the whole pillow, cut out another rectangle, re-print another letter and start over.

Lucky for me I had extra fabric. After ironing on the letter AND THEN sewing together the pillow, it is now happily sitting on my sister's bed!

XO Barbara

{lusso bags winner!}

I have been a bit MIA this past few days as our family enjoyed three wonderful days skiing at a resort a few hours from our home. While I slowly made my way down the hill, my kids {and hubby} all screamed past me. Lets just say that after 3 full days of skiing, I am tired! When I say full day of skiing, I mean full. My husband and son are of the thought that you need to squeeze every bit out of your lift ticket, therefore we are at the bottom of the hill before the lifts start moving and squeeze our way onto the last lift up! At -17C, we were chilled to the bone but enjoyed the sun and views!

Out hotel was wonderful as well. We rented a 2 bedroom condo and enjoyed hanging out in our very spacious suite with another family that came up with us. They had a regular sized hotel room so they were happy to relax in a larger space. While the adults enjoyed wine and conversation the kids watch movies or played on their techno gadgets while munching on yummy snacks. It is amazing how skiing really works up an appetite!

I wish I had taken photos of hotel where we stayed as I kept commenting as we entered the lobby "I love the chandelier, love that chair", etc. Kept asking my husband, where is the camera? But we were focussed, we were here to ski not to take photos for a blog! 

But here are some photos I gleamed off the resort site!

Enough about my weekend, 

I have drawn a winner for the Ms. Bird bag from Lusso Bags!

It is :  #8

Jen said...

LOVE the pink bag! So cute!!

Jen, shoot me an email so I can get you in touch with Lusso Bags to get your prize!

Thanks to all who entered, tweeted and followed Lusso Bags. Lusso Bags has just started out and I wanted to help spread the word about what they are trying to do and achieve!

XO Barbara

{So Canadian, eh? : Kerrisdale Design}

This week I am featuring an aspiring designer whom I so admire

Not only is she super talented, she has had three of her spaces she designed and styled published in the summer issue of Condos and Lofts by Canadian House and Home, made the cover of Oct. 2010 Style and Home and had a spread in this month's issue of Style at Home,
but is amazingly sweet as well. 

I have had the opportunity to get to know her through our various local blogger lunches, our work in organizing the Lifestyle and Design Bloggers West network  and she has even taken Nancy from Marcus Design and I to the local fabric wholesalers, where  she managed to snag me two generous samples of chaing mai dragon by Schumacher  - sigh... friend for life Karla!

So let's all give a warm Canadian welcome to the gorgeous...

{these photos are only a small sampling of her amazing sense of style, taste and design talent. I had a hard time choosing my favourites!}

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, your education?

Well for starters, the dirty secret is that I’m not a formally trained designer! In fact I have a Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management. My husband Jeff and I always dreamed of opening a home décor/furniture store here in South Surrey, and so that was the educational path I chose to reach that goal. I love business and new business development, and it was the perfect choice for me! I started my degree in 2004 and by the time I graduated four years later, I had produced 2 babies and a retail boutique! It was a really busy but really exciting time.

2. You owned a furniture/home decor shop, Kerrisdale Design, what inspired you to do so? 

It was simple really….I love furniture and home decor , and I love business. There was {and is} a huge gap in the market where we live for great designer quality home products, and the thought of bringing something unique to people was exciting. My husband and I also adore vintage and antique furniture, so reviving the more classic pieces {think old Duncan Phyfe sideboards etc} and adding a fresh feel with paint and hardware was something we enjoyed and wanted to showcase in the store.

3. Now you run and are the principal of Kerrisdale Design Inc. design firm {and write a blog under the same name}. What made you decide to switch from retail to a more hands-on approach in beautifying peoples' homes?

Interior design was really a natural extension of the store….people would come in and love what they saw in the store and want us to bring that “Kerrisdale” feel to their homes. The catalyst for making the decision to close my store and switch focus was twofold. First, a nasty economy at the time meant no one in retail was doing great, and since we were at a point where we were having to consider larger retail space, we felt that the timing wasn’t right. Secondly, baby number two arrived sooner than we’d planned on {Carys will forever be my best surprise ever!} and with two little ones at home being tied to set retail hours was not an attractive prospect.

4. You are a self-taught designer, what tips would you have for someone wanting to take the leap into the world of interior design? What have you learned along the way? 

A lot of people look at interior design and only see the ‘pretty’ stuff…designing a room, shopping, etc. What is important to understand is that it’s a business like any other, you just happen to be selling a creative product/service!  Kimberley Seldon always says that interior design is 20% creative and 80% business and I completely agree. For anyone starting out in this field its important to have an understanding of it from a business perspective – project management, marketing, client management, finance, pricing etc. in order to be successful.  Talent and a great eye for design are a wonderful starting point, but properly equipping oneself with the business tools and understanding required are what will determine success {just my two cents!}

5. What are you most proud of {other than being a mom to very beautiful children}?

I’m proud of my design business in the sense that it’s a comeback of sorts. For me closing my store was a difficult decision. Really difficult. As I’ve mentioned on my blog before, my store was a dream of mine, so to make the choice to close it wasn’t easy. Though I know that many, many of the most successful people out there have been faced with challenges in their careers, I couldn’t help feel like I’d failed. It was something I’d worked towards for years and it was gone. Couple that with having two young kids at home, and I went through a period {like many new moms do} of questioning who I was, my abilities, and my direction. Though without a doubt being a mom was {and is!} my number one job and joy, I had a desire to do something else, something just for me, and something that put my skills, gifts, and ability to use.

And so I started my design business, when Ben {my son} was 2 and Carys {my daughter} was a few months old.  I was blessed with some amazing first clients {our dear friends} who let me design their place. They believed in my abilities and entrusted me with their money, and I worked my butt off to create for them a beautiful space that felt like home. This past fall House & Home featured their place in their Condo’s issue this past fall {read about it here}. Since their job almost two years ago I’ve had such an overwhelming response from people approaching me to work with them on their homes, and I am amazed when I look at how much work I have, and the wonderful projects that have come my way.

So without a doubt I’m most proud of this new business that has grown over the past two years, but really when I think about it, maybe PROUD isn’t quite the right word. Because though so much of my work has gone into its growth {many, many late nights, early mornings, and long days}, I know that its God who has given me this new start, and I’m truly thankful every day for the gift it is.

6.  Who and what inspires your designs, your blog and your art?

As far as design goes, I’m inspired by other designers of course {Victoria Hagen, Darryl Carter, Thomas O’Brien, Colleen McGill, Michael Angus to name some favs} who have a classic, timeless, and clean aesthetic and who enjoy mixing both new and old. I’m inspired by seeing design and style in other places….I’m a bigSan Francisco and Napa Valley fan, and {though I’ve never actually been} I am in love with the whole Hamptons vibe – preppy, beachy, simple. Although a great fabric can be a wonderful jumping off point, I’m not as big into prints {as say a Sarah Richardson}, and so I’m often more attracted to creating a certain mood with different textures, finishes, lines, etc. I adore design blogs and magazines, and they are a constant source of inspiration for me.

I write my blog about things that interest me, things that I’m excited about, as well as everyday occurrences. I have a love –hate relationship with my blog to be honest. I love writing, and I love the interaction with people it can bring. I like sharing projects with readers and getting their input. I hate not having enough time to spend on it, however! As you know Barbara, to fully develop a blog can be a full time job, and I already have one….fitting in time to write on top of that is hard! When I meet a new client though and they tell me how much they enjoy the blog and how they feel like they already know me just from reading it, hearing them say that certainly inspires me to write.

For art, its again something where I am trying to create a piece with a particular mood/feel and so when I paint I’m trying to pursue that through the use of colour and texture. I like painting for a particular client {ie. commissioned work} and knowing the space where the art will hang….I find that more inspiring and motivating.

7. Not only did you run a successful home decor shop, currently run a busy design business but you also paint where your art has graced the walls of rooms featured in Style and Home. What inspired you to start painting? 

I come from a family of artists and creative people….art and creating things seems to just be something we do J. I started painting when I was on maternity leave with Ben. I wanted a particular style of painting for our place, and decided I’d paint one myself. I did, and was pretty happy with the results…and kept getting complements on it by visitors. So {this is where my business brain kicked in} I decided I’d try selling it to see if I got any response. I started pretty simple, and posted an ad on Craigslist selling it for about $500. An hour later I had a ton of emails in my inbox with people wanting to buy it and asking about other pieces I had available. And so it began!

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

I would adore spending a few days shadowing one of my favorite designers like Victoria Hagen. Since I don’t have formal design training I’d love to see how someone like her {who studied at the Parsons School of Design} approaches a project, both from the design and business/project management perspective.

9. You are a very talented and busy woman, how do you balance family, your art and your work?

Ahhh Barbara….I’m come to the conclusion “balance” might be something always sought after, never fully achieved! This is an area I feel like I’m always trying to improve in. Here’s what I’m learning: Decide what things really matter, and don’t stress about the rest. There are only so many hours in a day and oh so many demands being made {all you other mothers out there know what I mean!}. It’s important to me to be a good wife, mother, friend,  while being a successful designer. I want to have the time to spend with my kids and play with them. I want to be the one to put them to bed every night, and I love cooking them dinner. I like having time to go out with my husband for dinner once in a while and to have moments to chat throughout the day.  I like having our friends for dinner regularly, and meeting Ben and Carys friends and their moms for playdates. What does this mean? It means that if I want to have time to do these important things, then some things will get less attention. And for me ‘balance’ means that there are just some things that have to give. My house may not be as clean as it should be, I don’t get as much sleep as I’d like, and the laundry pile may forever be a large one! And I’m learning to be ok with that. Balance also is asking for help from people {my husband, my family, my friends}, not feeling like I have to do everything…..delegating!

10. You have a very inspiring journey, what has surprised you along the way, something you never expected when you ventured into the world of design and blogging?

I never expected to gain such a wonderful support network. I started my design business solo….just me, working from home. Support at that stage amounted to my 2.5 year old agreeing that he thought the fabric I’d chosen was good. But as time has passed and I’ve made more connections with other bloggers and designers, I’ve realized what an amazing network exists. I have other designer/blogger friends whom I meet regularly for coffee and we chat about projects, challenges, and ask each other’s advice on different business matters. The Design and Lifestyle Bloggers WEST network that we’ve started is another example of this – like-minded people who encourage and assist each other in growing. Very cool, and just a whole area I never considered a couple of years ago.

11.  Do you think Canadians have a unique sense of style and way we approach the design and styling of our homes? {I am trying to explore this idea, can't quite put my finger on it and am hoping to get some insight from other Canadians}

That is a fabulous question, and I’ve been mulling it over since you posed it. I don’t know if I have a definitive answer or not, but here are some of my thoughts. I think we have a definite sense of style that stems from our Canadian “personality” if that makes sense. A little more spare and conservative than our American cousins, and yet slightly more contemporary and modern too. Some of the styles we see in the US {Hollywood Regency, for example} are much more exuberant and flashy. Brighter colours, more pattern, and bolder furniture are definitely being seen on US design blogs, whereas on the Canadian ones you may see references to similar styles, but done in a subtler way. The west coast in particular I think has its own style, unique even from other parts of Canada, and nature plays an important part in design here on the West coast.

But like most things, with technology the way it is and the development of the blogging community, this is changing….I can’t help but think that that gap between Canadian style and US {for example} is narrowing. Canadian design magazine writers/editors are reading US and international design blogs and can’t help but being influenced by what they are seeing…and its hitting the pages of magazines that the average {ie. non design blog reading} person is seeing. It will be interesting to see how design and style continue to evolve.

Thank-you Karla for taking time from your busy life to be a guest today. You are someone I thoroughly admire because you are doing what you love with such success!

XO Barbara