So Canadian eh? : Heather from Grillfusion

I had the pleasure of meeting my latest guest at our recent Blend event! 


Heather Lacroix from Grillfusion.

She is....

My Chair for Charity

I managed to squeeze in a DIY this weekend! 

I am participating in a local charity auction that is raising funds for our local Christmas Bureau, called Chairs for Charity. 

 The goal was to create a chair that represents who you are, your blog and your aesthetic. While I couldn't find the "right" chair, I had one collecting dust in my home, another "vintage" Ikea chair.

I am all about black and chevrons, and lately really digging gold.  So with a bit of black spray paint, some Scotch 3M Painters tape and Rub'N'Buff, I re-vamped my little chair. I can see it in a teen's bedroom, non?

Since I work all day, my only chance to take photos are at night with my iPhone.

If you are in the area, please stop by The Passionate Home in Langley, on Thursday, October 25 to place a bid on a chair! All proceeds go to the Langley Christmas Bureau, which helps families in need during the holiday season.

 I know that Ashli from Mini Manor blog created one too!

XO Barbara

So Canadian eh? : Imprintalish

 Don't you love discovering and meeting fabulously talented Canadians?
 My latest visitor is just that - fabulously talented! I am thrilled to introduce you to....

 Lish from Imprintalish!

She is....

Lish, a creative soul who makes her home in a small town in Ontario, is the author behind the creative lifestyle blog, Imprintalish. Lish, a mom to two, always has a creative endeavour on the go. The creator behind one-of-a-kind accessories and jewelry that she sells in her Etsy shop with the same name. Her photography, her crafts and her tutorials are must reads! I would love to craft with her for an afternoon - the fun we could have!

Always cooking up something inspiring, you need to add her blog to your blog reading list!

Tell us a bit about yourself. What makes you tick? What are you most passionate about? Where you always creative? What did you study in school?

I grew up in a small town in Southwestern Ontario, where I lived with my parents {who still live in the same house I grew up in} and my two younger brothers. Back then, I yearned for a big city type of life, so I hightailed it to Toronto and studied Visual Merchandising Arts after high school. My love for city life was short lived, 5 years later, newly married and ready to settle down, we decided that we’d love to return to the bustling sound of birds chirping...not street cars. Guess I was a rural girl at heart!

I’ve always been pretty creative, when I was younger, drawing and painting were my medium of choice, and I’m pretty sure my mom got sick of seeing dirty paint brushes and pallets in the sink! As I got older, time to paint diminished and my love for fashion and decor grew...and more recently, photography and jewelry design has captured my heart. For some reason I hate to sit still, so if there is something to create, make or sew...I’m doing it!

Clearly you are incredibly talented, what is your favorite thing to create or dabble in?

Lately, I feel as though I’ve been pondering that very same question. I like all creative avenues...But I think that my ultimate favorite will always be painting. It really feeds my creative appetite, but unfortunately I rarely get to do it and I am running out of walls J

You have an esty shop, how long have you had your shop up and running? Any tips for aspiring crafty/artsy entrepreneurs?

I started selling online a few years ago with some Digital Photocards and Handmade Greeting cards. After awhile I added in some of my Photography prints and then just recently revamped everything and reopened my shop, Imprintalish Handmade, which carries Upcycled Accessories along with my photography prints.

It’s been a bit of trial and error as I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to be when ‘I grow up’...and I still think I am learning as I go. But, if I was to give any advice, it would be to just do it. Don’t wait for the ‘perfect time’...If you are passionate and believe in what you’re making, others will see your love through your products and everything else will fall into place. I still tell myself this over and over, because sometimes, it takes awhile before someone takes notice. No one ever said running your own business was easy, but I feel like it’s definitely the most rewarding choice for someone who is looking for a flexible and creative field.

How long have you been blogging? And what made you decide to blog?

I started my blog, Imprintalish, about 2.5 years ago. My best friend stirred up the thought and I haven’t looked back. Imprintalish was born with the intent to capture the little every day things. Over the years, I’ve sprinkled in DIY projects, fashion, inspiration and lots of yummy recipes, but it’s still filled with photography and its kind of became my own personal self discovery journal of sorts.

You are a SAHM {I think?} how do you manage to balance your blog, your etsy shop and your life?

I don’t. LOL. Sometimes I am a fabulous mom, and a terrible blogger. Then I may be a great shop owner and a terrible mom. Other days I can do it all and have time to create. I may or may not use TV a bit as a babysitter when I need to sit down and pound through some things on the computer. Overall though, I try and get emails taken care of first thing in the morning while my husband is still here. During the day I almost always give my time to the kiddos, when nap time comes I’ll try and do something productive like work on orders or new things for my shop. Once supper is over and the kids are tucked into bed, I’ll write up and schedule some blogs posts for the week. Honestly, my poor husband is usually the one who misses out on quality time, but thankfully he’s been pretty far...:)
How would you describe your design style?

I think that I am an eclectic mix of modern and quirky, with a bit of rustic thrown in there. My design style has really evolved in the last two years and I’m still discovering and tweaking home is definitely a work in progress!

Where/ what are your go-to design sources?

I love blogs; Poppytalk, More Design Please and Lovely Clusters are fabulous! Apartment Therapy is also another great one. For color or fabric inspiration, Tonic Living has a fantastic selection of materials. And Michaels Craft Stores; I could spend hours in there!
What gets your creative juices flowing?

anything and everything! Pinterest for sure, that’s a great spot to get inspired! Flipping through magazines or catalogues. Spending time outside or even discovering a new blog. I love people watching and wandering through unique little shops or antique markets too!

If you could meet anyone or do anything what would it be?

I would love to meet Nate Berkus!! I could gobble him up, lol! If I could do anything, I’d love to be able to spend time in New York City or Paris-soaking up its culture and museums and of course visit the ocean...I’ve never seen the ocean :( I really need to get out more...

Tell us something about yourself that we would be surprised to know!

I have a small tattoo on my lower back of my zodiac sign, Pisces. I’ve also had several body piercings, but my body has rejected them all, even my ears...I haven’t worn earrings since I was about 12!

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 don’t know if I am qualified to answer that question, haha! I do know that as a country we are so lucky to be very diverse and multicultural and that definitely sets us apart from other Countries. I feel Canadians are very proud to pull inspiration from our culture, our heritage and our surroundings, which makes us very unique!

Thanks for giving us a bit of a peek into your life and thoughts!

XO Barbara

Sharing 5 Fall Favourites at Living Savvy

Will fall coming on with a vengeance here in Vancouver {rain + wind}, nothing makes the cool rainy days better than surrounding yourself with all things cozy. 

So when Tiffany from Living Savvy asked me to be part of her 5 Fall Favourites series, it was a no-brainer! Tiffany, a fellow DIYer and upholsterer whiz is busy settling into her new home, she has let several bloggers loose on her blog!

Hint: think warm, knits and red.

I am back to a busy week of teaching second grade. My latest news is that 3 weeks ago, my teaching partner decided to take a sick leave, and I was offered the position to teach full time, at least until the end of November. I decided to take it on {much to the encouragement of my husband, who is currently jobless and is home to care for the house - his version of caring for the house is slightly different than mine though!} So bear with me as I try to get my head above water. I have been working on-call for 6 years so I had VERY little resources, the classroom was lacking in any resources, so I am spending my time organizing, creating things for the classroom and reading teaching blogs. If you want to feel inadequate as a teacher, you should read some teaching blogs! Wow - there are some amazing dedicated educators out there, whose lives are teaching! Bravo to them! 

Now if I could just get my head above water.....

Love you all. And thanks for not abandoning my humble blog while I get my life organized and adjust to working full time.

I haven't abandoned it altogether. I am participating in an upcoming local charity DIY challenge this week and next. Will share my before picture in a few days!


XO Barbara

So Canadian eh? : The Crabby Fox

It is such a pleasure meeting Canadians that live outside of Canada! Today's guest lives in the every-so-hip borough of Brooklyn, New York.

Please welcome...

She is.....

A Canadian living abroad in the ever so hip neighbourhood of Brooklyn, New York, Abigail or Crabigail as she is often called pens the blog, The Crabby Fox. Abigail, a whiz at finding the most amazing thrifty finds, is slowly transforming her apartment into a stylish abode, one that she shares with her "boys", her husband and cat. Ultra hip and edgy, she has a way of mixing  classic traditional pieces with cool mid-century finds. A fellow list-maker, I love following her "lists" she has on her blog. Not only is she into all things design, she is an avid reader who focusses on Canadian literature {high five!}

Hope you enjoy the photos of her place as much as I did! For more photos of her cool apartment, you can see the tour here.

Tell my readers a bit about yourself: What makes you tick? What you most passionate about? Your education background? Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Toronto, in Cabbagetown – a neighborhood in the heart of the city. My parents still live there.   

I’m a life-long lover of books – not just reading, but books themselves. A beautiful book is a piece of art in itself! I studied English at the University of Guelph, and moved to New York City as soon as I finished. I work in the marketing department of a book publisher, in one of the most recognized and iconic buildings in NYC – the Flatiron!

My husband Haaris and I live in Brooklyn, in a neighborhood called Sunset Park with our cat, Izzy.

You are a Canadian living in New York City {I am green with envy}, what brought you to the Big Apple?

It was a bit of an accident actually, or at least unintentional! When I was in university, I decided I’d like to get into book publishing. New York is the center of publishing, and I was able to score a summer internship at a big publisher here. After that summer they invited me to come back for another internship the following year. By then I had graduated from university, and by the end of the summer I had found myself a full time job, and I’ve been here ever since (9 years now)!

I had never imagined that I would end up in NYC – or even in the US. It just kind of happened!

How do you find living in NYC in comparison to living in Canada?

This is a hard one to answer, because I don’t feel like I ever really lived in Canada fully as an adult. I moved to NYC two weeks after I wrote my final exam, and never even attended my own convocation!

I will say this about living in NYC – it’s exhausting. You need to be able to fight for everything – for an apartment, for a seat on the subway, for a washing machine at the laundromat. You need to learn to be pushy when it’s appropriate, and confident, and sometimes you need to be impolite (how un-Canadian!). You need to be able to live in extremely close proximity to other people. I think I’ve adjusted to being a good New Yorker about most things, but I’m still wary of jay-walking, which is something people tell me is very Canadian of me.

What made you decide to start a blog? What have you enjoyed and not enjoyed about blogging?

In 2009 we got married in a small and very inexpensive wedding, because we decided we would rather spend all our money on an extravagant honeymoon the following year. We were on a very strict budget to save for the trip, so I started the blog as a way of remaining accountable for my spending (I was in the midst a full-on furniture shopping obsession).  I made some money-saving goals – bringing my lunch every day, using coupons, seeking out deals, and not shopping. Instead of buying stuff, I’d post it on the blog! We went on our amazing honeymoon (Paris, Venice, Tuscany and a touch of Rome), and when  we got back I continued the blog. These days it still keeps me accountable to goals that I set for myself – mostly reading, saving and learning.

I still get a thrill when I learn that anyone besides my mom is reading the blog. I think that will always be my favorite thing! And it’s just a hobby, so there’s nothing I dislike. If it ever got to a point where I felt an obligation to keep it up, well, then things would be different.

How would you describe your design style?

My tastes lean heavily towards the mid-century, but I try not to get pulled into one style. Sometimes I see a home that’s so perfectly styled that it has a coldness to it, and no reflection of the people who live there.  I hope that our apartment reflects us – unique, laid back, maybe a little quirky, and totally imperfect. However, my mom described the apartment as “an ode to the melting Canadian north”, while it has also been described as “grandma’s cottage”.  

Where did you find all those amazing pieces that furnish your Brooklyn apartment?

One of the things that I’m most proud of our apartment is that almost everything was a Craigslist or thrift store find. The two couches and the Ikea bookshelves being the only things we bought new.

When we first moved in we decided that we didn’t want the apartment to look like a department store showroom. We wanted unique pieces with character. I obsessively scoured Craigslist, eBay and the local thrift stores to find things that caught my eye, and then would have to move quick – beautiful (and inexpensive) furniture does not last long online! Even friends would ask me to look out for particular items they needed! I still obsessively check these places, so the apartment is constantly evolving.

What inspires you?

My parents’ house, circa 1965. Or at least, how I imagined it to be! At one time, they were pretty stylin’, with lots of Scandinavian furniture and décor that I now see all over the internet.  

I’m also inspired by the style of tv shows like Twin Peaks and Mad Men, but who isn’t? One has a rustic-retro charm, and the other having a sleek, urban-retro charm.

And then, of course, I’m inspired by the many blogs I read. They make me so jealous that we can’t paint or make any cosmetic changes to the apartment. It’s amazing what people are up to – hopefully one day I’ll also be able to flex some DIY muscle.

One thing that struck me while browsing your blog are the lists you keep? Would you consider yourself a list person? And how have you managed to accomplish some of your goals on your lists?

I am a list-person, it helps me to organize my thoughts, which tend to be all over the place. On my desk you’ll find a notebook of to-do lists, thought-processes, ideas and due-dates. Even when I write copy for work, I list out the points to hit. There are also lots of scribbles – it’s not enough to simply “check off” an item on a to-do list, it must be scribbled out!

Where do you see yourself in the future?

Who knows where the wind will take us! One of our goals is to buy a home – either an apartment in Brooklyn, or a house outside the city. We can’t decide! We also entertain the idea of moving away – Chicago (which I love), Seattle or San Francisco, maybe. Or back to Toronto, or to London, where my husband is from. But New York is such an addictive place to live, that I find it difficult to imagine going anywhere else. It feels like you’re at the center of the universe here, and that’s a thrill that doesn’t fade over the years.

Tell us something that would surprise us!

I think people are shocked to learn that I have tattoos. One person told me that I “seemed like a nice girl”. I’m a nice girl with a couple tattoos, and despite what my mom told me, I have never regretted them.

Being a Canadian living in the US, 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? 

What a lot of people outside Canada don’t realize is that Canadians are extremely proud. It’s hard to recognize because it’s a different kind of patriotism than you see in the US. So, I think what sets Canadian design apart is that it is so heavily influenced by the country – the landscape, natural resources, the wildlife, and it’s unique history that is so heavily tied into that geography.  I see it a lot in Canadian literature too. It’s a pride that is inspired by the country around them.

 I am so envious that you get to live in Brooklyn! How I love New York City and would love the opportunity to live there. And yes, I am surprised at the tattoos too! Hope you can one day get that house to flex that DIY muscle. Thanks again Abigail, happy decorating and reading!

XO Barbara

IDS West and Blend 2012

A week ago I managed to squeeze in a quick trip to the International Design Show West, held in Vancouver from Sept 27-30 at the Vancouver Convention Center. It was a quick trip as I was and still am up to my eyeballs in teaching stuff. The highlight was listening to Tommy Smythe, my Canadian design idol, and to see the Aya Kitchens {my sponsor of my trip to Blogpodium} booth designed by Kelly Deck Design.

First up, listening to Tommy Smythe speak was a dream come true! He is hilarious to listen to and full of fabulous design ideas. He shared "how to live large while living in a small space". Many of his tips you could easily use even in a large space! I was thrilled to finally meet him and hear him talk about all things design and inbetween.

{I apologize in advance to grainy iPhone photos}

I then quickly walked through the many booths at IDS West, but the Aya Kitchens booth caught my eye! The Kelly Deck Design team knocked my socks off with the most delicious kitchen imaginable. Full of marble, sleek countertops, putty coloured cabinets and touches of brass, this kitchen was out of the world. It makes my shabby circa '90's oak kitchen look so sad......

Then the highlight of the day was Blend 2012! An event that I, along with Nancy, Karla, Victoria and Danielle had been busy organizing over the summer. Sponsored by Ikea Canada, it was a fabulous night! Held at the St. Regis Hotel, we were wined and dined throughout the night. Socializing with the most amazing group of bloggers throughout the night was the icing on the cake. We have an amazing group of encouraging and supportive bloggers here in western Canada! 

And the surprise guests of honour were, Tommy Smythe, Suzanne Dimma and Mark Challen from Canadian House and Home! {Of course I knew they were coming but it was a treat nonetheless!}

 Mark Challen, Suzanne Dimma, Nancy, myself and Tommy!

 The fabulous Tommy Smythe, Nancy and I!

Fabulous door prizes. I won artwork from Nancy

 Swag from Ikea!

I am so looking forward to next year's event! And with my crazy teaching life, where I am up at 4 AM because my head is reeling, I so need a diversion.

XO Barbara