Goals, Aspirations and a Little Sap

Wow, it's 2012. 

Hope you had a fabulous New Years! 

Hard to believe, but time flies when you are having fun. 

But what I love about the new year is the freshness, excitement and wonder it brings. 

What lies ahead?

 The possibilities are endless. But I find with the new year comes reflection and hope for the future, a chance to start fresh.

I usually don't make any resolutions as I  end up disappointing myself, such as lose, 10lbs, stop drinking coffee {like that is ever going to happen}, blah, blah blah.....


What do I hope for, envision, dream about for 2012?

1. To make my home sing! To throw caution to the wind and take chances with design. To further use my home as my canvas and create a home I can be proud of. 

You may not know this, I procrastinate in finishing projects because then I have to take photos and show you the whole thing. For me that opens up the vulnerability and I am not sure I can take the criticism. My home is far from perfect. It isn't where I want it to be. It is NOT my dream home and we are renting. So not only does my home embarrass me, so does my furniture. We bought most of our furniture pre-blogging days {thought I had some sense of design, but sadly it lacked creativity} and only about 4 years ago when we were moving to the US. For most of our married life I lived with hand-me-down crap. We had no money to spare {lost $$$ on real estate} and when we finally had some spare change we bought everything almost at once and in sets.

I know - bad, bad design.
But what did I know then? I wasn't privy to all the fabulous inspiration that is found through blogs, Pinterest, etc.

 So I live with my espresso brown furniture, which Meredith Heron and Margot Austin  { the fabulous Canadian designer and design editor}, once had a twitter conversation about how they loathe espresso stained furniture, and I adore those two women, so my heart sank - as I have too much espresso stained furniture. Oh and the icing on the cake was reading "The Perfectly Imperfect Home" by Deborah Needleman  where she states "brown sucks the life out of a room." Ouch!


But alas, thank God it is all Ikea, so I am going to paint the espresso out!
Good bye espresso! Hello paint!
{my hubby just about had a coronary when he heard that  - what? paint wood??}

Which brings me to my second point...

2. To take chances.
In my home, with colour, pattern and art. In blogging. In my life.

3. To relax when it comes to blogging. 

I try not to worry about stats, followers, etc. You hear that banter all the time and quite frankly is stressful! I feel like I am back in high school and it is all about who is popular, who has blonder hair, less pimples, bigger boobs, etc. Not sure where I want my blog to go, I am avoiding monetizing because then I have to pay attention to all that crap and I am not sure I want to. 
Am I alone in this?

4. To be happy with what I have.

 I find blogging and design brings so much fulfillment but on the other hand brings this insatiable desire to always want more, the latest trend, the "it" light fixture, furniture item, accessory, that sometimes I find that so revolting. 
There...I said it. 
The whole desire for more material items can really start to make me feel icky.
 So I want to feel blessed and grateful for what I have. For those who have been following along on my ride, you know we rent the home we are in. There are days it is so liberating, no debt, no leaky roof to fix, not having to replace the hot water tank. But there are days when I see fabulous kitchen renos, amazing herringbone floors, that I want to cry. It pains me that I can't have the dream kitchen, bathroom and flooring! But I need to focus on creating beauty within those limits and to be grateful I have a roof over my head and a wonderful family to fill the rooms with.

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough"
~Oprah Winfrey


5. To slow down and listen, to really listen.

I find let things keep my busy but I don't take the time to just listen to my family and the world around me. 

6. To take a leap of faith. 

This blog has been one leap. Now I need to further that leaping and  not second guess myself, to over analyze and feel anxious but to let go and be free and go with the flow.

7. And finally a mini-resolution: to drink more water. 

Yup, simple and small but hard to do! Fingers crossed I can keep this one going all year.

8. Finally to be the best I can be!


That was a mouthful.
But I feel that if it is written down for you all to read, then I am held accountable.
Thanks for listening.

Lastly, thanks for all your loyalty, encouragement, friendship, and comments! You all helped make 2011 memorable!

Bring it on 2012, show me what you got.....

XO Barbara


  1. I just love your post Barbara, it really speaks to me. I hate the always wanting more feeling too, it can get a little crazy and it's easy to compare ourselves to others and feel bad about what we have. I hate my bathrooms, I hate my laundry room. I own this house but I cannot afford to do what I can think up in my head. My home is NOTHING like what it would be if I had money. BUT I want to be thankful and content with what I have as well. We are blessed to even live in this beautiful country! We have things others can't even fathom. I have to remind myself of that.
    Thanks for your great reflections.
    Nancy xo

  2. These are fantastic and achievable goals for the new year, Barbara!
    Working on ourselves is never easy, but always worthwhile.
    May you be blessed with peace in happiness in 2012.
    ~ Wendi ~ xo

  3. These are all very doable! You have amazing style and you will make all of these goals fun and entertaining to write about! I love reading your blog and I can't wait to see what projects you have in store! I too would like to drink more water! HA! It is the little things!


  4. Oh Barbara, I loved this post! I think you should decorate your home to please yourself and your family. If you don't like the brown, paint it. Or add accessories that complement it. I wouldn't worry too much about what the designers say. You have great style and can create the home you want.

    Also, lots of the latest trends that may be unattainable now, will most likely be out of style in 5 years.

    I've had many of the same thoughts as you regarding blogging, materialism, where I want my blog to go, etc. You are definitely not alone in that!!

    All the best to you in 2012! I'll be reading :)

  5. What a terrific, honest, thoughtful post! Thanks for this. Feeling your pain on the past (pre-blogging) design choices!

    If there's one thing I learned this last year, it's to learn from the past......working on that this year, for sure!

  6. Happy New Year, Barbara! Loved reading your post. I agree with so many things you wrote about. Looking forward to your posts and projects in 2012.

  7. Happy New Year. I like this post in that you deal with blogging the need for more and better. Because of the vignettes and peeks that bloggers do, it creates an out of context and narrow minded view of reality. I worry sometimes that blogging makes us phony and show offs. Not that I feel that about your blog, I don't, it's just an observation I have on blogging.


  8. Barbara, I love this post. I think it is so relateable. I am a pretty new blogger and even pretty new to reading other blogs and I've noticed over the last few months that I'm starting to develop "envy" over what other bloggers have or do. I find I am constantly reminding myself that the "grass is always greener on the other side..." and that I was perfectly happy with all that I had before I got into blogging. I've been to countries where people live in utter poverty and then here I am wishing I could afford a major bathroom reno! It makes me feel really self-centered and materialistic in those moments. So thank you for sharing your thoughts, for putting it out there and for the reminder that it's not the "stuff" that makes a happy home, but who you share it with. All the best in 2012!

  9. Thank you for this blog post - it's nice to know that others feel the same way! I love blogging and have really enjoyed finding people who are as obsessed with their homes as I am, but sometimes I feel like it puts too much pressure on me to make my house perfect overnight, which I so can't afford to do! I often wonder what my house would look like if I had the money to buy the furnishings and finishes I really want, but then I try to remind myself that I am so very lucky in so many ways and should be focusing on all that I do have instead of what I don't have. Oh, and the drinking more water is a good one. I need to do that too!

  10. What a beautiful post Barbara! Thank you so much for making yourself vulnerable and sharing real stuff!
    I find most of us bloggers share our best...I tend to look at everyone else and think "they have it together" or "their blog is so much better" or "their life is so much more glamourous" - when in reality, they're probably just as ordinary as I am. Here's to taking chances, taking care of yourself and enjoying what's really important in life. Cheers!

  11. great resolutions...totally agree with on being greatful for what you have...

  12. Such a great post, Barbara! I'm with you on so much of this. It's so true sometimes blogging can make you feel down that your home isn't blog worthy or the dream home you've always wanted. So many of my major furniture pieces are still hand me downs from my parents! I cringe sometimes when I look at all the beige micro suede in my living room, but we make it work and we can't just buy all new furniture so that I like how a photo looks on my blog, haha!

    I find that I am most drawn to the homes that look "real", lived in, attainable, and not perfect!

    Thanks for the reminder to appreciate what I have :) Happy new year!

  13. Barb this is why I love you. You keep it real and tell the truth. I love blogging but also think that the desire for more and better is stressful. On the other hand, if you are a diy'er then you can really feel better about attaining the "things" but having done them yourself and on a budget. Good luck with your resolutions.

  14. I wish you so much Joy in your home, contentment, and love for what you have. It's true, there are seasons that we go through the teenage years again. Wondering when it's our chance to make it to the BIG one? Our lives will happen when they will happen and not a minute sooner.

    I wish you blessings for 2012!

  15. Hee hee, I'd trade you your brown for my green! Happy 2012!

  16. Oh my gosh, I'm so happy you posted this. You echoed so many of my own fears and stresses. I, too, have limited funds and an impermanent home and I don't want to invest too much into a tiny home that will not recoup a fancy kitchen, etc. I have things I don't love because I can't afford to change them. I have things I want to change in the house but am afraid it won't sell then. Bah. Plus, blogging adds a new layer of stress: popularity. I DO feel high schoolish sometimes and constantly compare myself to other bloggers (and feel I don't stack up). Whew, I feel relieved. I wish more us could be as brave and honest as you. Thanks for this.

  17. Well, you must be incredibly selective with what you put on your blog because I've always found your decor mind blowing!

    I've decorated my entire home with NO budget. Everything I had went to the renos. But it's been a blessing. It's unleashed creativity for finding nothing and making it something, which in return has brought my blog projects to life.

    Have you thought to dive into the 'love your rental' theme at all? Do things you're allowed to and flaunt them! I think once you love what you've done, you'll feel alot differently about where you're at. I rented for years and loved every single corner, due to how I made it my own.

    I think the paint store and thrift shops need a visit from you! Slowly replace all that you don't love with things that you do when you find them. Ask me how I know. :)


  18. One more thing. This is the part that I don't like about traditional decorating rules. They're someone else's rules! You live in your house, not someone else so I vote to toss away current trends and apply all the things YOU love. Being original has it's perks. :)


  19. What a refreshing post! I know I get caught up in all that garbage about worrying about who's following me, yada, yada, yada. You are such an inspiration to me, and 2012 is a year where I have taken a leap of faith and not sure what it will bring. 2011 was such a good year for me because it introduced me to people like yourself. Now, go paint your Ikea furniture, you have that amazing talent of working with what you've got and not everybody can just pick up a can of paint and make something look as good as you do. That is why I've asked you to sew a blind for me. You rock at this sort of thing. I think you've always had taste, but now it's just refined. Love ya!

  20. Barbara, this is an excellent post. It feels raw and real... and one more r-word, right. You've got it right, my friend. And you are not alone. We, too rent. I left behind a home that my former husband and I built, a unionized position with 15 years seniority, the community I was born in to go where the work was for my husband... only to find myself in the middle of a divorce less than a year later after 16 years of marriage. And now, 6 years later I am happily remarried, but starting over all over again. It's tough to rent because of the limitations... I get caught up on that a lot... but as you said, the other side of the coin is liberating when you don't have to fix (aka pay for) a leaky roof, etc. I just trust that in time we will have our own home and a savings set aside for the leaky roof that sooner or later goes with it! Just keep doing what you do best! You are so incredibly talented... I laughed out loud at your husband's reaction to painting the wood! I'd trade you my floral camel back sofas for the wood! Paint isn't going to cut it with them! What a great list you've shared with us today. Thank you, and hugs back to you! Can't wait to see the photos of your afters! 'Cause I know there'll be lots!!! xo Sheila

  21. Well, you just made me pour a glass of water! I need more of that too. As for blogging, it can certainly be enjoyable and heaps of fun, but I want to make sure I, personally, live my life and not just a blog. Does that make sense to any others out there? Btw, I'll be in toronto for ids - you still going?

  22. A wonderful post Barbara. I was nodding my head through the whole thing. Feel the same way about it all. Looking forward to spending another year reading relaxed posts about your decorating journey.

  23. Great goals Barbara! I own quite a bit of expresso stained pieces and brown leather, and have painted cabinets, entertainment centers and mantles brown...it really works if YOU love it. Don't let anyone else choose YOUR design style...you have to live in the space. I totally get it if it isn't working for you however.

  24. I loved this post Barbara and believe me, I don't think there's a blogger out there who doesn't feel the same thing. I've finally got one floor to the place I want it after 6 years and now stare at the other two floors wondering where and how I'll ever be able to finish the rest...sigh...I think in the end we have to realise that no one has the perfect house or the perfect life...we need to enjoy the blessings that are our own. I'm working at that too...and the water drinking- my husband is convinced I'm critically dehydrated and is on me all the time- so hard getting in the habit.
    Cheers to a fabulous 2012 my dear- I can't wait to meet you in a few weeks! xoxo

  25. Barbara, You really hit home with this post for so many people, including me. It is comforting to know that a lot of us feel the same in so many ways about blogging, about ourselves, our spaces, our insecurities and vulnerabilities. And at the same time we all are striving to find satisfaction, contentment and acceptance in it all. If we didn't have things to strive for we would never move forward. Thanks for your insight. I'll give you a hand with that painting if you like! Seriously! :)

  26. Love it. SOmetimes I think people will think all my DIY's are just me being cheap. But who cares? I enjoy it (and have more money in the bank because of it). Thanks for the real deal barbara!

  27. Dear Barb....I never think of your home as a "rental" (not a bad word either)...good grief you have style to die for! Girl your home looks like a home in the way you have decorated (as for espresso so what ..yes paint it) ...and the family you share it with...wonderful healthy family!
    As for blogging, listen to whatever feels right in your heart and do what is healthy for you, ....pace yourself and I will be here watching your success...the way you plan it!
    And I will drink more water too!
    Best of the year to you Barb!..Colleen

  28. Thank you Barbara, I LOVE your post... and the comments are equally as real and touching. Just as others have said, you've touched on the insecurities that many of us have, unnecessarily! You're doing a great job inspiring us all Barb!

  29. Barbara! Thank you for such a great post! I so agree with all of the things you said. I love your honesty! I love your home and I think it's beautiful! You give your home a style and decor that is all your own, and you are very talented!! I have been blogging since 2005 and I started mostly as a family blog after having moved from Nova Scotia to Alberta. Only in the last year or two have I started sharing other things such as decorating and organizing. I try not to get caught up in all the followers stuff too and I definitely think the same as you about monetizing your blog...just more crap to take time out of my day. I often wonder how sustainable some of the blogging stuff is for people who are trying to make money. I mean...how many pantry makeovers and painted chevron rugs can one person do? I think looking for a project to share every single day must be exhausting. Even Sherry & John at Young House Love had to buy a new house within the last year because they had run out of projects at their old house and in order to keep earning a living, they needed fresh content & projects. Just sayin'.
    I learned a valuable lesson when we moved from Nova Scotia to Alberta in 2005. See, we had just built our dream house in Nova Scotia with a big, beautiful kitchen, wood floors throughout and gorgeous natural light. Next thing we knew, we were in Alberta buying a house in 4 days. Crazytown I tell ya! I hated the house in Alberta...just hated it! It wasn't my new house that I loved and I was miserable! After about a year, I realized my problem was me! A house is what you make it..and I decided to love our house and make it ours and to get on with it! Since then, I have been doing my best to fill this house with love and pretty things that make me happy! Whether I go to Goodwill, or use spray paint or the bargain bin at the local fabric store...I work toward making this a place to enjoy! It's never about the walls or whether it's rented or bought, it's about how you make it your own in your own way! Great post and Happy New Year! Angie xo

  30. Loved this post Barb! I completely agree that it is easy to get caught up in all the "it" trends or items that everyone is talking about. What makes it a home are the people who live there and everything else is an expression of who we are and what makes us feel good. If it takes a coat of paint on the espresso furniture then I would paint it!


  31. oh gosh...may I just say ditto on everything! your resolutions resound on every level with me...to really listen, to slow down and to be grateful always!

  32. Wow! That was SO well said! I know exactly what you mean... I've kind of had a love/hate relationship with my blog this year... one week I'm super happy about all that I've accomplished, the next week I'm stressed out about the 'ugly' rooms in my house and coveting everyone else's projects! Or I'll get caught in the ups & downs of stats and followers and 'un-followers'. I'm in the same boat as you with the old and hand-me-down furniture. I love my library but I cringe at my espresso wood chairs with the beige geometric print (part of a set, ugh.) I admire your style and your blog, and am always inspired by your projects! I'm going to add a few of your resolutions to my list this year.

  33. I had to laugh when you mentioned that you didn't get much done last year-I can think of a ton of your ideas that you completed, I feel like such a slacker compared to you!

    Happy new year!

  34. I so agree with many of your thoughts. There is so much I would love to do with my house but that B word gets in the way.Had a long twitter conversation with someone about this just the other day - about loving what we have. I really try hard not to follow what everyone is doing/loving and just do what makes me smile. Barb - you are so talented and I love everything you have done to your home. Cheers to a great 2012 - I'm clinking my water glass with yours!

  35. Wonderful list Barbara! I think I may write a few down and copy for myself because I feel that same about many of your points. I'm with you on blogging. I think being a blogger and reading other blogs sometimes can make you feel so bad about yourself. I hate that part! It's too easy to compare yourself and your home and life to other bloggers.

    Thanks for always being a great blog friend - I know 2012 is going to be a great one for you!

  36. I just glugged down two glasses of water. Thanks for the reminder Barbara :)

    I agree with so much of what you wrote. It's hard to listen to our own hearts and believe in our own tastes when we read so much of other people's opinions. But its when we "do our own thing" that we become happiest, right? That's what I wish for you in 2012 - happiness, contentment and excitement too. You have a beautiful home and the talent to transform into exactly what you want.

    Will I see you in a few weeks? I hope so. xo.

  37. I won't repeat what other have said so well, but did want to say that here's another who can identify -- so you are not alone times 37!! Thanks for your honesty. It's how I found you the first time. I appreciated it then, and I appreciate it now. :)

  38. You're not alone, Hon! I get overwhelmed by all of the consumption sometimes, and have to take a break. I didn't blog once over christmas, and it was a welcome break. It's good to take a step back once in a while. Glad to hear you are painting out your furniture :) Why not give it a second life? x


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