Another Rast Hack!

Hello lovies....

I came across another fabulous Rast hack that I had to share.

I LOVE this. 

I think I might need to buy another Rast dresser and try another hack!

XO Barbara

Giveaway : Beautiful Words Typography Art

As a lover of typography, I get really excited about fonts and words. I love how you can play with words to create fabulous art. 

Recently, the creator behind Beautiful Words introduced me to their art made simply from words, more specifically from recurring words that occur in great works of literature.

Here is a bit about what Beautiful Words Art is about:

"Beautiful Words, Beautiful Art is exactly what this is all about. Inspired by the most fascinating, timeless and beautiful pieces of literature and turning their words into beautiful art. The concept is simple, the most poignant words in a particular text make up the art, compressing the essence of a literary piece into mind blowing artwork. Enjoy the classics right there on your wall!"

I love their posters....

How about Alice in Wonderland for a nursery?

Or Red Riding Hood?

 Or for you Americans, The Declaration of Independence.

Beautiful Words has generously offered me two posters, one I am going to frame and put on my wall and one to GIVE AWAY to you!

I am giving away their Hamlet poster!

This giveaway is open to Canadian and US residents.

Want it? Need it?

You have three ways to enter, leave a comment for each entry.

1. Hop over to Beautiful Words, look around, tell me which one is your favourite.

3. Tweet about the giveaway-----"Beautiful Words typography poster giveaway @hodgepodgeblog--->"

Also, make sure you have an email connected to your profile or provide one in the comment.

This giveaway closes on Friday midnight {PST} August 4.

Good luck!

XO Barbara

So Canadian eh? : Heather from Interior Groupie

The best part about my visit to Toronto {you all must be getting tired of me saying that, or you must think I don't get out often...} was meeting finally all the Toronto area bloggers. So it is such a pleasure to get to know them even better with an interview!

Please welcome...

She is
Heather, author of Interior Groupie and co-founder of the Blogger Book Club has been renovating an 80 year old house in Toronto with her husband. I can only imagine the surprises they must come across when renovating an older home.  Her before and after pictures on her blog are a must-see. She has taken a sad, dilapidated old home into a stylish abode.

Also an avid reader, she started The Blogger Book Club, one that I am part of. It has been a fabulous way to connect with other bloggers on a non-design level!

Tell us a bit about yourself? Give us some insight into who you are, what are you
drawn to, where you always creative? Your education?

Hmm…let’s go way back for this one…I grew up in Ottawa, ON. I have always been interested in style, fashion, interiors.  One of my earlier full-fledged design efforts was when I pulled the old switcher-oo on my parents while they were on vacation.  I swapped my room for the guest room, painted both, and waited for them to come home to the “surprise”. Painting my room was my first foray into a decorating theme – shades of turquoise on the wall, with  a darker accent wall, white bedding, and a beachy feel.  That was the extent of my design abilities at the time (along with yearbooks, painted picture frames, and BackStreet boys CD’s. Obviously.).

In terms of education and real life, I studied Commerce (Marketing and HR) at Carleton University, and now work and live in Toronto. I have lived in Toronto for almost 6 years. I married “the Mr.” in 2009 on what was undoubtedly one of the best days of my life. We moved
into our house in January 2010, and I started Interior Groupie in January 2011!

What made you decide to start Interior Groupie blog? And has there been anything
that you have enjoyed about blogging? Not enjoyed?

I started Interior Groupie because I was spending so much time stalking other blogs, I figured why not? I started the blog about a year after we moved into our house. We had already made some progress in the house (painting over sponge paint and other various faux finishes was HIGH on the to-do list), but as we all know, renos are non- stop so I still have lots of good material to write about!
By far the best part of blogging is getting to know other bloggers through their blogs or events, and interacting with readers through comments. I have been fortunate enough to attend a few blogger meet-ups here in Toronto – you never know who you will run into! Crossing the street at the venue of my first blogger meet-up I met Jen from Rambling Renovators – this was huge as her blog was one of the first Canadian ones I followed.
What is your day job? Is it design related?

My day job has nothing to do with design (or cooking, which I also love)! I am an HR generalist for an engineering firm. Although the engineers design buildings, it’s not quite as sexy as the “design” that us bloggers think about.
What are your go-to sources for anything décor related?

Blogs! There are so many great people doing such creative things. Blogging is a fantastic way to get a glimpse of people’s creativity in your area, and around the world. Pinterest has definitely made getting “instant” inspiration much easier.
 What is your design style?

I describe my style as updated traditional.  Most often I won’t be the very first to try something, but I’ll get there eventually! I tend to know what I don’t like, but it often takes me a long time to make design decisions or to find the exact right piece I love. (I’ll admit it – I’m picky! I get these
ideas in my head and won’t settle for something that doesn’t live up to what I’ve imagined). I like quality items that transition well over time. I add fun or trendy hits to rooms with accessories (low-cost, so it’s easy to switch out).
Tell us something that would surprise us about you!

This question is so hard! I have thought and thought about it…which leads me only to think that things are obvious and NOT surprising! So instead I’ll toss something out that I mentioned once on my blog and people had a hard time with it: I eat my cereal dry. No milk, no juice, no water, NO SOGGY. This is not deep whatsoever, but most people think it’s weird.

You are renovating an 80 year old house, what are some reno tips you have learned
along the way? Any renovation marital relationship tips as well?

We are doing a lot of our renos ourselves. We get immense satisfaction out of finishing projects and looking around our house at what we have accomplished. Many of our projects are updates rather than full-fledged renos, so a lot of the “hard” work had already been done (removing
walls, etc.) when we moved in. I think the most important thing that I’ve learned is that my way is not always the best way (SHOCK, I know. It took me a while to discover that. Sometimes Often I still don’t believe it). But seriously…the Mr. and I often approach things in different ways, and sometimes I really need to relax and go along with the “other” way of doing things. I’m still learning…
J  At least the Mr. is patient with me (more than he is with other things like paint drying times!)

You also have started a Blogger Book Club, one that brings in bloggers from across
the far stretches of Canada {and internationally) - what made you decide to
start an online book club?

I have “Currently Reading” and “Recently Read” sections on the sidebar of my blog. I added them one day figuring no one would notice, but I would regularly get comments about the books I was reading! Carol from The Design Pages and I particularly started talking titles, and
decided to launch the Blogger Book Club together. It’s a fun way to get insight from people who wouldn’t be able to meet up locally to talk books.

What‘s next for Interior Groupie?

There’s always something on the go! We’re onto smaller projects now…the next big projects would be flooring or maybe (eek!) a bathroom reno.
If you could meet anyone or do anything your heart desires, who or what would it

Travel to my heart’s content. I would love love love to win the lottery and travel the world. Maybe buy some properties in some of my favourite places (Hawaii and Thailand?) and host my friends and family to exciting trips. I have been fortunate to travel quite a bit, but there are still so many places to go!
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 definitely think that Canadians have a unique sense of style and design! As a “new world” country (we say that for wine, so why not in terms of design?) we are able to pull inspiration from many different sources.  What makes our approach unique is that we are adept at mixing different styles, taking a bit of this and a bit of that, and making it into a new adaptation of existing ideas. That’s really what Canada’s about after all – accepting differences and
putting them together into something new.

I so agree with you Heather, about how we Canadians are so adept at taking bits from here and there to create our own design aesthetic that, I feel, makes it truly Canadian! I also can't wait to see what other renovation or project you will take on! Fingers crossed that lottery win happens {would love to have that happen to me as well}

XO Barbara

One Room Challenge: Week Five

Yikes, it is week five! Want to know what I have done these past 5 weeks? 
Click here to start at the beginning....


 Only one week left to get my butt in gear!

I managed to paint the bookcases this week. 

Here is a peek..

I am going about all of this backward, I should of painted the walls first, which was what I first intended. But when the possibility of us not living here come fall, I put that on hold

Well peeps, the lease gets signed tomorrow! So walls will be painted Friday. YES!

In the meantime, I have had some fun with gold leaf, unearthing family heirlooms to frame and a minor spray paint fiasco.

My mom's great aunt's needlework, love how the raw edges are showing.

My spray paint fiasco.... trying to paint it gold but wasn't the right paint. Will try brilliant paint...last resort, gold leaf.

And thrift store mirror that will get the midas touch!

AND my slipcovers for the dining room chairs is still set back...samples are on order from Tonic Living because all the local fabric stores have NOTHING. I shouldn't say nothing. One store, seemed to have doubled their prices in these past few months. Yes, doubled. I refuse to pay $40/meter for white linen. 

Highway robbery!

The only other possible stores are on the other side of the river, which means a bridge and highway under construction to cross.  If anyone knows Vancouver traffic, it can be a ^%$@#! 
Pardon my French. I hate fighting traffic. Maybe early next week? This week I am busy chauffeuring kids to day camps, jobs and lifeguard training.

I doubt my 6 dining chairs will be slipcovered by next Wednesday.
 BUT this is a challenge and not a contest. There is no prize so my goal was to makeover a room in 6 weeks but this is real life people. 

Things happen, plans change. 

I have enjoyed the challenge thus far....and the bonus I feel a kinship to all my fellow participants, we are all trying to makeover a space while dealing with daily life. 

 I also love the new friends and blogs that have become part of my daily read!

So peeps, the countdown is on
One more week. 7 days.

See you in week 6! Fingers crossed that I get most of my list accomplished!

Please go visit my partners in crime. Go see if they are further ahead than I am...

Lauren - The Cottage Mix
Lindsay - Everything LEB
Barbara - Hodge:Podge
Tiffany - Living Savvy
Jessie - Mix & Chic
Danylle - Nana Moon
Jennifer - The Pink Pagoda
Emily - Rue de Emily
Lindsay - Sadie + Stella

XO Barbara 

Summer & Life

I know I am not the best blogger during the school year, but I find it even harder in the summer. It isn't that I am busy vacationing somewhere exciting but instead am at home enjoying life with the family not doing a whole lot of anything.

Working on the One Room Challenge has given me some design focus, a kick in the pants but that has had it's trying to track down white cotton for dining room chair slipcovers for a great price in a city that lacks any decent fabric stores. Argh. I hate set backs....

But in light of the recent events in the US, those tasks seems so meaningless. And recently we here in Canada lost a bright and energetic blogger and entrepreneur in a tragic accident. 

Tara Jamieson, from Lauren Lane Decor, was a regular on Twitter and on our western Canadian Design & Lifestyle bloggers Facebook group, she was bubbly, bright, talented and her voice is now silent. 

Strange how you have never met someone, only have had interaction with them online, yet when their voice is quiet, they are missed? 

Weird that how these tragic events that seem to happen "over there" yet impact life and invade your thoughts "over here". With my daughter heading to university in the fall, my husband's recent job loss, the woes of renting and wishing we weren't, the turmoil of uncertainty, has really weighed heavy on my heart. Life sometimes has a funny way of going a different way than you planned. I guess the trick it to roll with it and look for the silver lining.....

Sorry about the non-design and DIY focus, just a lot occupying my thoughts recently.

Sending you all a virtual squeezy hug.

Just because.

XO Barbara

So Canadian Eh: Lisa from Wicked and Weird

You know when you meet someone and you know that if you only lived closer you could see yourself becoming fast friends? Well, that is how I feel about my fabulous guest this week - with a dynamic personality and creative soul, I could see us being great friends if only we didn't live so far away.

Please welcome....

She is....

I finally got to meet the fabulous Lisa when I visited Toronto for Blogpodium. She is an outgoing, energetic and always smiling individual. 

And she has one amazing eye for design and details. 
I am smitten with her home and jealous of her side-of-the-road finds!

Don't believe me?

Check out her home.
She seamlessly blends Ikea, with antiques, Craiglist and junk finds lying in the edge of the road to create a stylish pad.

Case in point, her son's room. Looks like it could grace the pages of a magazine.

Her living room.

Her bedroom.

 Her droolicious kitchen. 

Dying of envy over here!

Tell us a bit about yourself? Give us some insight into who you are, what are you drawn to, where you always creative? Your education?

I have been living in Toronto for the past 15 years, and yet still answer “New Brunswick” when people ask where I am from. I was always the ‘artsy’ kid, doing pottery, ballet, piano, and drama classes while others were at the skating rink. I have a degree in Music and a master of Museum Studies, and have been working for the past ten years in marketing orchestras, so the arts have always had a central role in my life. However, I recently left my job to be a stay-at-home mom, and am now pursuing courses and opportunities in graphic design. I can’t imagine a time when I won’t feel the need to MAKE something!

Why made you decide to start your blog? And has there been anything that you have enjoyed about blogging? Not enjoyed? And explain the name?

With all my schooling, I have become a bit of a research nut. I enjoy trolling the internet for ideas and inspiration and am always blown away by the level of talent and number of creative people out there! It gets me really excited, and I love sharing my enthusiasm and latest finds with my readers (which I still imagine to be my mom and 2 friends).

I have loved connecting to people who share my aesthetic and enthusiasm for creativity. It still amazes me that I have “readers”!! Occasionally I will get kind of wrapped up in the possibility of blogging full time, building readers, checking numbers and that sort of thing, and it gets me all stressed out. I don’t think I can ever be a structured blogger, I just post when inspiration hits and I have the time. But you never know…

The name is from a Buck 65 song that I had stuck in my head for weeks around the time I started the blog. It seemed fitting as I shared the things I thought were a bit out of the ordinary. Also, I am not sure if it is an East Coast thing, or a product of the 80’s, but for me ‘wicked’ is a synonym for ‘awesome’ or ‘really’ (as in, it is wicked cold today). And weird has always been a hallmark of mine, every since grade 5, when my friends and I started a “Weird is Wonderful” club (I think we hung out in trees and talked about boys… ;p.)

What is your day job?

For the last few years I have been doing marketing for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and loving it! However, last year we ran into some day-care drama and I decided that the universe was gently suggesting that I stay at home with my kids (2 and 4) for a bit. Since becoming a stay-at-home mom, I have felt creative sparks firing off in all directions, and I am currently pursuing a career shift into graphic design.

What are your go-to sources for anything décor related?

BLOGS! My Google Reader is out of control. You guys always have amazing projects and inspirational photos. I also love House & Home and Style at Home magazines and online galleries, as well as Living Etc. from the UK, and many of the European and Scandinavian blogs and sites that I can’t actually understand.

What is your design style?

Hmmm… Eclectic-Pared-Down-Traditional? The problem with appreciating creativity in general is that I am easily swayed by different styles and schools of thought. Generally I like things that are handmade, high quality, and traditional with a twist. I like mixing antiques with Ikea, and original art with DIYs, and travel treasures with thrift store finds, to create a cozy warm environment. Is that a design style?

Tell us something that would surprise us about you!

I worked at the Robben Island Museum in South Africa, where Mandela was imprisoned, on education and outreach programmes. It was intense. I also got my nose pierced when I was there, slept on a rock under a blanket of stars in the desert in Namibia, watched the sun set behind a herd of elephants in Botswana, and just about got swallowed by the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe.

You are a Craigslist and junk find diva – any secret tips you wish to share? What do you look for when scouring the ads or sales?

Thank you! I may have to put that on a business card… ☺ Usually I have better success when I go without any intentions or expectations. I just look through slowly and carefully and pick lots of things up to see if they are quality and well-made. I end up putting lots of things back after carrying them around the store – once the thrill of finding them wears off, I can see more clearly that it is chipped or dented, or really not so interesting. For estate sales, I look at the photos before hand to see if the items are my kind of thing. If I see quite a few things I would be interested in, I will head over, but again – no expectations!

You also enjoy great art; do you dabble in art as well? Or are you just an admirer of great works? Any favourites?

I love art and have endless admiration for artists. I do dabble, but would love to be able to spend more time at it. Mostly I admire. I have been lucky to have been given some great pieces by my family, who sparked my appreciation to begin with. I have a soft spot for East Coast artists, especially New Brunswick artists. There must be something in the water – there are so many talented artists out there!

What ‘s next for Wicked and Weird?

If I ever get my act together I will try to organize my posts a little better so people can count on certain content at certain times. And if I can create a schedule where I have consistent time to dedicate to blogging, I may start to approach some artists and companies with regards to advertising. But mostly, it will be more of the same “isn’t this cool?” kind of posts!

As a mom to an active family, how to balance life and blogging/social media?

During the day I really don’t have much time to spend on the computer, I really try to be present with the boys. That being said, there are times when they are engrossed in playing cars that I can dash off a quick post or two. Evenings are usually my computer time, when I read, surf, tweet, and post. It definitely takes up a lot of my free time!

If you could meet anyone or do anything your heart desires, who or what would it be?

Oh I wish I was a talented artist, I would love to spend days creating and painting. I also wish I had an incredible jazz voice and was an amazing dancer (like So-You-Think-You-Can-Dance amazing). I would love to meet Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Georgia O’Keefe, Mary Schäffer, Coco Chanel, Lucy Maud Montgomery, my mum’s mum, and my dad’s grandmother, among many, many others.

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 do think that Canadians have a unique design style – one that is simple, unfussy, and timeless. I think that Canadian design is the kind of design that reveals itself slowly: at first glance it is classic, but as you delve deeper you see the quality, craftsmanship, creativity, and subtle brilliance.

Gosh Lisa, you are not only talented but brilliant as well. I had NO idea you lived in South Africa. That is why I do this series, you really get to know every blogger/designer that much more! Thanks Lisa!

XO Barbara

One Room Challenge: Week Four

Another week has flown by!!!
You can follow my journey here.

I did manage to whip up a few more pillows to add to the mix.

Meet my

Madeline Weinrib Ikat CopyKat Pillow.

And I also made a juicy green pillow with the same black velvet trim as last week's pillow.

Another goal of mine was to calculate yardage for my dining room slipcovers.

 But I had a glitch. My hope was to use the white cotton fabric from Ikea, the price point was great, $6.99/M but when I popped in on Sunday, they aren't selling it anymore!!!

 So I am on the hunt for reasonably priced white cotton, since I am covering 6 chairs and need about 12 metres at 150 cm wide. I have seen many a tutorial using drop clothes but I am not sure the colour is what I am going for. I will pop into the hardware store so see if it will work. If not, off to the various fabric stores I go!

Wall update:
Good news: the landlords are not selling and will extend the lease for one more year. That gives us a year to figure out where our life and work is going to head....but until that lease is signed {they are taking their sweet time arranging a day} I am not slapping on paint! Fingers crossed that gets sorted out this week and I can paint the walls for week 5! I am dying to use the Classic Grey that is sitting in the garage that Benjamin Moore so generously provided.

Also I have collected a few plates, a few that were my Czech grandmothers and a few new ones. And my artwork from The Pink Pagoda {thanks Jennifer} arrived!

A little gallery wall of sorts will be hung above my red sideboard. Can't wait to put that together.

Also I am tracking down some gold spray paint and the drapery hardware and mirror will get a fresh look this week.

The bookcases are almost done and I'll show you them in all their glory next week!

Don't forget to visit all these other fabulous bloggers/designers who are busy working alongside me in the One Room Challenge, they would love the company!

Lauren - The Cottage Mix
Lindsay - Everything LEB
Barbara - Hodge:Podge
Tiffany - Living Savvy
Jessie - Mix & Chic
Danylle - Nana Moon
Jennifer - The Pink Pagoda
Bethany - Powell Brower Home
Emily - Rue de Emily
Lindsay - Sadie + Stella

XO Barbara

PS. I am sharing this pillow at Freckled Laundry too! 

Visiting Emily Clark: Send Me a Picture

 I am honoured to be part of Emily Clark's Send Me a Picture series again, this time with all the bloggers participating in the One Room Challenge.

Part One was yesterday and I am part of Part Two. After seeing Part One yesterday I realized I may have misunderstood the instructions! Yesterday's group sent photos of their homes/patios that were set up to show their summer style. 

Aak - I sent a photo that I felt described my summer "clothing" style. Oops, I think she meant "decor" style. 

Well, that's what I get for being so spacey!

On another note:
My European cousins are on a road trip and have left, 
so I am hoping to continue with my One Room Challenge to-do list! 


Enjoy our summer. 
Weed the garden. 
Drink lemonade.

Happy Weekend.

XO Barbara 

*BTW: My landlords have decided not to sell, so I think we are here for another year!

So Canadian Eh: This Dusty House

It is my pleasure to introduce you to a sweet blogger from back east, one I met at Blogpodium in May.
I swear she could be Rachel McAdams twin! But she assured me she wasn't.

Please welcome
Jeanette from This Dusty House

She is

 Married fresh out of university, Jeanette and her husband, embarked on another adventure together, renovating a tiny home giving it amazing splash for little cash.

Slowly they are doing major renovations such as a new kitchen, sprucing up the backyard and bathroom, while also furnishing their home with thrifted finds.

I am amazed at their talents!

What an ingenious way to use high end tile in small amounts to create impact and drama in the kitchen. And that stove! - love!

Their table, lovingly sanded and restored by Jeanette's husband.

A thrift store dresser and baby blanket project.

A cottage garden in the city.

And Jeanette's famous "Rice Guk"!

Tell us a bit about yourself? Give us some insight into who you are, what are you drawn to, where you always creative? Your education?

I grew up on a dairy farm in the middle of Southwestern Ontario, a fact that, I am sad to say, seems to define me less and less as I get older and more accustom to the Big City. Despite not really defining myself as a ‘country girl’ anymore since I’ve been off the farm and living in ‘civilization’ for a solid seven years, the country still has this bizarre hold on me. There’s a pull there that creeps its way into the things I’m drawn to, the things I want to do, and the future I envision for myself. I have always been creative, always encouraged to be creative. It’s a creativity that’s been developed by those wide open spaces, the fields and fields of corn taller than me, the hard work I didn’t want to do...

I have a BA in English Literature from the University of Waterloo. More creative development, I guess you could call it. I met my husband, Mark, there and we moved to Toronto after we graduated, following the jobs. We have a cat, Pekoe, and a cockapoo, Mocha, who round out our little family

Why made you decide to start This Dusty House blog? And has there been anything that you have enjoyed about blogging? Not enjoyed?

I am not one of those bloggers who started out in order to share with friends and family. Obviously, that’s among the results of having my blog, but, more importantly, I started my blog purely and simply because I love to write and I love to share. I have been blogging since December of 2003; I was 16 with a Livejournal account. Oh goodness, I shared way more than I ever should have there... my ability to overshare online has been engaged ever since. In 2009, just after I met my husband, I ‘grew up’ my blog with a move to Wordpress and a little more censoring of my thoughts, but I didn’t really understand the full power of blogging until I started This Dusty House and stumbled upon a whole community of writers, photographers, and designers interested in interaction.

This Dusty House, specifically, came to be because my husband and I bought a house. Suddenly, I had a specific topic, a niche, that interested me and interested others that I could write about it. I absolutely leapt at the opportunity. Most days, I love that writing process. The photos? Well, they’re important. But my favourite part of the day is the hour or so I spend weaving words together into sentences and paragraphs.

As I started to discover the world of blog monetization, I found something I didn’t enjoy: stats. Some days, they can be encouraging, other days, completely disheartening. Learning to focus on how big the numbers are as opposed to how small the numbers are has been a challenge that I’m ready and willing to own up to.

What is your day job? Is it design related?

My day job is not design related, but it is writing related! I am a technical and content writer in the medical software industry.

What is your design style?

I am drawn more towards the traditional than the modern, the ornate than the simple. I prefer colour over neutral and clutter over bare. Bits of country chic and cottage comfort sneak into my home and my collection of inspiration happily. And I consistently find myself drawn to all things old and vintage. For example, I found a beautiful dresser at a thrift store about a month ago. It’s in rough shape, the stain and varnish chipping away on the top and around the drawer hardware. One of the knobs is missing and has been replaced with a twisted bit of twine. It needs a makeover! But that old, well-loved(or well-neglected) condition seems so beautiful in itself that I haven’t even been able to bring myself to replace the hardware.

Tell us something that would surprise us about you!

Even though we have no plans to sell our house, the husband and I can’t resist an open house. We’ve spent whole Saturday and Sunday afternoons hitting up one after another, admiring well-executed staging, murmuring in shock over house prices, finding new ideas for our own house. Yup, we’re the nosy neighbours.

You are a newlywed renovating a house, what are some reno tips you have learned along the way? Any renovation relationship tips too?

Don’t let renovations drag on forever! Our reno involved gutting ¾ of our main floor, moving some plumbing around, adding in electrical, and building a new bathroom and kitchen from scratch. We got it done within 3 months, on our own, with significant help from some knowledgeable friends and family. I’ve heard of far too many nightmares of renos taking years and not moving quickly enough. In some ways, I admire people who can live, indefinitely, in the middle of a construction zone. Hire someone to help, if necessary, but just get it done!

As for renovating with your partner? Simply this: know thyself. Mark and I managed really well because we’re both very laid back people. We can take and give direction without issue. It also helps that his friends are ready and willing to help, which keeps us focused and motivated. We’re ok with the layers of dust that may exist over our lives for the weeks we’re working on a project. If this isn’t you, don’t push it! It won’t be pleasant. Hire your projects out, focus on working on smaller, less crucial projects together and don’t forget to give each other and yourselves a break!

You also author, This Dusty Kitchen, chronicling your adventures of the culinary sort, has there been any dish that stands out that was a total flop? An absolute hit? Do you have a signature go-to dish that you enjoy?

This Dusty Kitchen is pretty new, and some days, I feel like I’ve hardly launched it! On my old Wordpress blog, I posted a lot about food though, so returning to writing about food after a year in the home blogging niche is fun, even if it happens only sporadically.

There is definitely a dish that stands out as a flop. My husband’s favourite food is, hands down, Pad Thai. I was determined to make my own version of it. I tried twice. The first time, it was so spicy, we couldn’t eat it. We don’t throw food out much, but that batch hit the garbage pail and we went out for dinner instead. The second time, it ended up way too salty. Once again, the whole batch ended up in the garbage. I’ve never messed up a dish so badly.

Hands down, my favourite dish so far has been the pineapple and cilantro fish tacos I made back in May. I loved the pineapple salsa. Unfortunately, my husband wasn’t so fond of the cilantro, but since he ate two full wraps, I still consider it a hit.

I’m not sure if it’s really a ‘signature’ dish, but I taught myself how to poach an egg this year. I work from home nearly every Thursday and on the mornings I’m home, that poached egg is my go-to breakfast. I eat it with a single slice of toast, slathered in butter, a few basil leaves on top.

What are your plans for your “dusty house”?

Such an appropriate and timely question! Right now, we’re deep in the planning stage for our next big renovation. Last year, we spent the whole summer and much of the fall getting the house liveable, which meant a brand new kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. But, despite the improvements, our house is still tiny. For a long time, we simply went with the assumption that this was, truly our starter home, a house that will get us into the housing market, but that just won’t do for the long term.

And then, we realized we had another option. Our house is a bungalow. Who’s to say we can’t add some more square footage? Our options out aren’t great - we’re on one of those long skinny lots and our garage is placed is such a way to prevent building back. But up? Why not?

We’re still in the process of designing and acquiring permits, so I can’t even guess when this renovation is actually going to happen, but it’s in the works.

If you could meet anyone or do anything your heart desires, who or what would it be?

I’d like to spend about a month at a cottage, doing nothing but lying out on a dock, reading copious numbers of books, writing, sketching, sharing good food with good friends, a creative retreat, of sorts. I know this desire has been sparked by the four days I recently spent with friends camping in Bon Echo Provincial Park. I would like nothing more than to get back into that deep vacation mode.

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?

Hmm. This is a tough one, because here, I’ll come right out and admit something: I am not a designer. I don’t think about design so much as decor. I feel like I know so little about the industry. Back in January, Kerry from First Time Fancy suggested that I come to the Canadian Design Blogger Meetup and I was surprised! Me? I’m a house blogger with an interest in interiors, yes, but a designer?

I will certainly not claim the title, but I think I can still answer this question anyway. I read a lot of blogs, and many of them are written by designers. As I think about the things my blogging friends are doing, this is what I see: Canadian design seems to come out of a place of no fear, of disregarding societal expectations in order to achieve something beautiful and striking. I think specifically of Christine Dovey of Bijou and Boheme (she sold all her furniture in order to start from scratch! How much more fearless can you get?), Tanya from Dans Le Townhouse (the drama she creates in her home with a crisp pallet and high contrast is phenomenal), Holly, of Life in the Fun Lane (I know I’ve already said I prefer bold colour over white, but the amount of white she has adopted and made to look so beautiful could nearly make me change my mind)... there are so many more. Perhaps that’s a very elementary, outsider kind of observation, but it’s what I see.

Thanks Jeanette for giving us the pleasure to get to know you even more. I enjoyed meeting you in May and can't wait to watch the rest of your house plans unfold.

XO Barbara