So Canadian, eh?: Bijou and Boheme

This week's

is one fabulous blogger who, in my opinion, has exploded onto the blogging/design scene like a rockstar!
She is such a stylin' lady and her daily posts are dripping of pretty.

I admire her tenacity, she is not afraid to "wow"!

I first fell in love with her living space,

It's the IT girl on the block, 
Christine from Bijou and Boheme 
{even the name rocks!}

Well hello there Hodge Podgeites! I'm so happy to be here today sharing a little bit about me.
Before you start reading, you might want to grab a coffee...getting to the bottom of my blah blah might take a while;)

Tell us a bit about yourself? What is your background? Your education? Did you study art or design?

My background is in Psychology and education. I studied both and was an elementary school teacher for 11 years. I taught grade 3 homeroom and was a subject art teacher. Although my background is not actually in art or design, I have always loved both. I audited art history classes in university and have memories of decorating my childhood house from about the age of 10. My co-workers used to tease me that my classroom was like a little gallery in itself. I suppose I should have clued into the fact that the decorating of the room itself and the display of all the kids' pretty things was perhaps my favourite part of the whole gig. Don't get me wrong, I loved the littles and all, but design itself has always had my career heart.

 What made you decide to start blogging?

My eldest daughter actually gave me the push I needed to start blogging. After selling every ounce of furniture we owned in the matter of a few weeks, I slowly began putting things back together. I'd spend hours on decor blogs trying to figure out what my point of view was and eventually ended up sending pictures of some fabric I had purchased to Katie of the blog Revival. She ran a feature on my living room and the thrill of the whole thing was just almost too much to bare. My daughter insisted that I share for myself what I had been putting together, so one sleepy Sunday afternoon I opened blogger and started playing around...voila my blog was born.

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

I think the better question is what haven't I enjoyed about blogging? It's fair to say that it has given me a piece of me back. Us moms all know that being at home with children, though the sweetest of privileges, can be very isolating. Blogging has given me my voice back and handed me a way to connect to such a huge community. And because we are all so similarly inclined, it has provided me an instant group of people I really consider my friends. Being able to share ideas with people who just get it, is really a total delight. Although blogging does admittedly take time away from my kids, I think it's making me a better mother because I feel like it's providing them with someone who is more excited about the world as a whole. I truly look forward to my blogging time each day and feel as though it's helping me to discover what I'm actually meant to be doing. What has surprised me most about the whole thing is how utterly rewarding it is. Blogging has honestly given me a whole new confidence in my creative voice. I've also been surprised at just how quickly it's created new opportunities for me. I would never have been able to guess a few short months ago that I would now be exchanging emails with the likes of Meredith Heron or attending the launch party for Dabble Magazine.  Blogging truly feels like a fresh start to a new phase in my life and I couldn't be more excited.

  What do you like to do in your free time {that is if you have any}?

Good call on the brackets on that one! I honestly don't have a great deal of free time these days but when I do I actually like to do nothing, as boring as that sounds. The simple act of watching my kids play in the backyard, with a glass of wine in hand is my greatest luxury. On the weekends, I love taking day trips with my family, sampling little back alley restaurants, shopping in quaint boutiques, and meandering around picturesque towns. My greatest solitude activity is painting. I'm really not any good at it but my house is filled with my DIY numbers and it's akin to prayer for me- relaxes my brain in a way nothing else can. I end each day with a hot bath and my favourite shelter mags. Reading these days is like total opulence, and there's not much I love more than a quiet hour with a fabulous read.

You have such impeccable taste and really take chances with decorating your home that have really paid of, where do you go for inspiration?

Well first off...thanks Barbara!! I know it sound cliche but I honestly look everywhere for inspiration. I often find decor ideas when looking at an outfit or piece of art. I try to appreciate and take in how pattern and colours play together more than looking for a specific formula etc. Having said that, I of course also pour through design magazines, blogs and online publications for ideas. I am always drawn to spaces that mix old and new, high and low, modern and ornate etc. Trying to create as space that feels collected and undecorated is always a goal of mine. I've honestly applied entire colour schemes to a space based on a book cover, so for me, inspiration can most certainly come from even the smallest of things.

  Where do you go for inspiration for your blog? 

Again, I look everywhere for inspiration but for my blog, I would say other blogs are the first place I go for ideas . Finding new pages that inspire me creatively, is such a joy. I am most drawn lately to blogs that explore fashion illustration/design, photography and decor. I think the mix of all things beautiful makes for a really dynamic page and I love seeing how other bloggers envision/produce their specific vision. I also spend a lot of time reading decor mags for new leads on fabric, wallpaper and art sources.

 As a relatively new blogger your blog’s popularity has really exploded, what tips would you have for someone starting out?

I'm not sure I'd say exploded but thanks for the thought! I think my biggest tip would be to spend as much time as you can visiting other people's blogs. Reaching out and forming bonds with people is the only way you can interest others in yours. I try to visit as much of my daily list as I can each day. I know how happy I feel when others leave comments on my blog so I try to do the same in return. Another tip I would have is to try and always be as positive and friendly as you can. Like in life, just being nice (though I don't love the word) goes a long way. I think blogging is just like networking in simply have to spend time meeting people and connecting. I also think that if you want to be good at blogging, you have to work hard, spend a lot of time, and hone your craft. I'm constantly trying to learn new ways to layout pictures, change fonts, improve content etc. and I'm embarrassed to admit how much time I spend on things like making sure the spacing is always correct between photos. I know it sounds silly but I really do think subconsciously, people notice when care is put into presentation. Another tip I would have is to reach out to shops/artisans etc. for sponsorship, giveaway opportunities. People have written me before asking for tips and I think they're surprised to know that I ask for the giveaways- they definitely don't always just fall in my lap. Sometimes you just have to put yourself out there and the worst that will happen is that the person will say no and in all honestly, it's never happened to me. In general, and this is about to get really sappy up in here, if you do onto other as they would do on to you, you will be successful. I try to respect other people, and take the inspiration I have gained from all of their collective genius, and then have my own voice...which leads me to my last tip. Have you own thoughts- replicating another persons style or content will never prove successful. Credit everything you can (and I know how hard it can be,) show your own creativity and say your thoughts. Being true to yourself is always appealing.
Phewf...sorry if that started to sound preachy- just my loooonger than intended 2 cents:)

What are your hopes and dreams for you and your blog and where it might lead?

This is a toughie because I'm honestly not 100% sure what I want from this. I can say with certainty that I would like it to lead me to some type of design career, and this is where it gets a little muddy. The evolution of my blog has shown me that I LOVE graphic design, I love fashion photography and I love art, more than I ever realized. Having said that, I also adore interior design. I think realistically, my dream job involves that latter, with maybe some burgeoning hobbies on the side and speaking of, I may have just stumbled upon a little jewelry design business so watch out for more on that:) For now, I'd love to have my blog continue to be a place where I can express my outlook on design as a whole. I'm crossing my fingers that it doesn't start boring people to tears anytime soon and that someone somewhere will read it one day and hire me for some gorgeously fabulous job write on the spot- hehe.

   Is there any one accomplishment that you are proud of?

Without a shadow of a doubt, my three kids. There will never be anything that makes me prouder than them and they truly, make me better in every possible way. Aside from that, I'm proud of following my heart and actually creating rooms/pages/designs that I think are pretty ok. Like everyone, I'm my own worst critic so I'm happy to just be embracing my own strengths, along with the weaknesses.

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

Hum...I'd love to meet one of my design icons and shadow them for like ever. I'd loose my shirt to work alongside Kelly Wearstler, for example. Oh and I'd like to buy a brownstone in NY, while working for said fabulous firm, and live happily ever after as well. You know, adult fairytale kind of thing;)

As a mother of three amazing children, how do you stay sane and balance life and blogging {and now a kitchen renovation}?

Wine!!! Just kidding- kind of. I think trying to 'balance' things is just setting yourself up for failure, as is trying to define sane;) I'm pretty sure I'm a little batty at this point but that just adds to the fun. All joking aside, I think I'm able to keep things mostly up in the air because I'm (sorry in advance boys) a woman and we all just do...multi-tasking is our collective middle name. I'm pretty sure I can clean a room, blog, change a diaper, put together a meal and talk on the phone all at the same time- hubster, god love him, not so much. On a simply practical note, I try to keep our daily routine relatively simple. The kids and I have a loose schedule and we try to not pack too much into one day. I think I'm teaching my kids to find the little things entertaining and am never going to be the parent that has like 50 zillion classes/activities going at once for the kids. I find moments in time to get different little things done and try not to stress about things way down the road- I'm a worrier by nature so this one is definitely a work in progress...this is where the glass of wine at 5'oclock comes in handy;) All in all, I'm pretty sure my littles think that my mini laptop is an appendage at this point but at the end of the day, I'm present and here for them, and available for other things as well.

 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 Canadian design kind of parallels our place in the rest of the world.  People don't always think of first or as the biggest or best but quietly, we have a way of winning you over.  I think Canadian's have a very sarcastic and dry whit that likely translates into design- we're alright with being a little quirky.  I also think our style is very reflective of the great cultural diversity we have here.  Being exposed to such a variety of peoples and traditions surely lends to an eclectic (another meh word but it serves its purpose here) design aesthetic.
Thank you so so much to Barbara for having me.
And thank you to all of you for taking the time out of your day to read what I have to say here, and over at Bijou & Boheme- truly means the world to me.



{photos via What Anna Loves, The Vamoose, Vogue, Quote Book 1/2, Hello Steph, The English Muse,
 Blonde Espisodes}

Christine, that was so wonderfully put. I am glad that we have become blogging "buddies". You are always so kind and supportive with the wonderful comments you leave on my blog! Thanks for participating, despite your busy guest blogging schedule, glad you could visit hodge:podge today and give us a peek into your mind and world!

XO Barbara


  1. Great interview!!! B&B rocks and so do you Barbara!!!

  2. What a fantastic interview. This just makes me love Christine even more!

  3. I don't know what I loved more, being introduced to Christine or the quotes in between the text. This was a wonderful post, I am heading over to her blog right now, she is so inspiring.

  4. What a lovely interview! I had the pleasure of meeting Christine briefly at the Tweetup before the IDS Gala in Toronto, but unfortunately didn't get much time to chat. It's great to read all about you!

  5. Fabulous interview! Christine is so wonderful and most definitely one of my favorite bloggers.

    So wonderful to be introduced to your lovely blog, Barbara :)

  6. I quite literally read every single word! This was fantastic ladies. I love Christine, she is the most loyal blog friend out there. And reading more about what makes her tick is fabulous. She is truly talented!! Wonderful job to both of you :)

    PS. Can't wait to visit with you next week Barbara ... you'll finally get Domino!! I'm so sorry for the wait.
    Nancy xo

  7. Another great interview Barbara and you're right, Christine is a rockstar. I've had the privilege of meeting Christine a few times and she is as genuinely sweet, humble, and stylish as she appears on her blog. I so appreciate the effort she puts into each of her posts and the time taken to leave meaningful comments on each of our blogs. She's going places, that one!

    Can't wait to see who you have next on the roster, Barbara!

  8. Wonderful interview with the always creative, outgoing, fun and funny Christine!! Love hearing more about her inspiration and goals.

  9. Barbara I adore Christine; what a great intervire!! I look forward to learning more about both of you!!

    Art by Karena

  10. Fabulous post/interview! Great questions and the answers make me feel like I really know Christine now!

  11. Great interview, Barbara! I love Christine's blog, it's so full of inspiration, and she is hugely talented, but it's her sweet and friendly disposition that draws me in the most. I wish her every success - x

  12. Thank you so much for having me Barbara- was such a treat to visit! And thank you to everyone for your sweet comments- so put a huuuge smile on my face. xo

  13. I loved reading this interview with Christine, her sweet, funny words and gorgeous posts are always so interesting and very inspiring. I'm happy to have discovered your blog now!

  14. What a great post! A really inspiring blogger - who I didn't even know was Canadian. Yay!

  15. Fabulous interview, Barbara! I really enjoy Christine's blog and it was so nice to read about her journey in design and blogging.

    Hope you have a lovely week!
    xo, Vanessa Elizabeth

  16. Adore Christine and her blog!! Great interview Barbara!! She is one of the truly nicest people I have met since blogging, so excited to see her blog grow :)

  17. Nice to learn all about Christine and to discover Hodge Podge.

  18. north american beauty


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