One Room Challenge: Week Four

Welcome! For those readers who are popping in now, the One Room Challenge is where 20 bloggers attempt to makeover a room in 6 weeks.  

I bet you all have come over to see if I accomplished anything.

The answer is: NO.

 It is report card time, which means marking and writing report card comments for 20 children. My i's needed to be dotted and t's crossed. To top it off, I came down with a cold for the 3rd time since January. Darn sniffly second graders. So my head was not in the One Room Challenge mind set. I'll have report handed in Friday and then I can breathe! 


This past week my Panyl samples arrived. They threw in a whole bunch of samples, some fabulous colours and woodgrain patterns, which are gorgeous. 

This week they should be launching new patterns: chevron, quatrefoil and stripes. They knew I was their girl since I adore stripes and chevrons.

 Maybe adore is an understatement, I am KNOWN for my love of stripes and chevron.

 Sad? Pathetic? Obsessed? Passionate?

You decide.
 I am excited to have been asked by Panyl to be one of the first to try out a pattern from their line. I want a bright graphic backdrop on the back of my bookcase. I am leaning towards the emerald green or slate, in stripes. If I chose to go with the black and white graphic rug from Ikea, stripes will go well. If I find a plain jute rug then I will go with  chevron. 

I also shopped the house, I found this in my garage to use in the games room as a tray.
It is a vintage Coke bottle tray that I bought a few years ago. 

I then moved a few lamps into storage.

And this weekend I am going to do this:

XO Barbara

So Canadian eh? : Monika Hibbs from The Doctor's Closet

It is always such a delight to stumble across a blog that you discover is penned and creatively put together by a Canadian! Last year, I added The Doctor's Closet to my daily reading repertoire. Full of fashion, design and lifestyle inspiration, you slowly get to know the creative soul behind the blog. 

Please welcome

Monika Hibbs from The Doctor's Closet

Photo: Melissa Skoda for Framework Magazine

She is 
Having met Monika at several media functions, she is as sweet and gorgeous in person as she is on her blog. As someone who has never had fashion high on her priority list, I am completely in awe of how Monika always looks so put together with such a sense of style! As a medical student who graduated with a medical degree, Monika is an example of a girl who listened to her heart and went in a different direction, starting a blog that focusses on all things pretty. What I admire is her vision and passion, that is so evident in her blog. And I am so in awe of her gorgeous jewelry line, BFREND. An ingenious design, Monika was the first to create the one-of-a-kind jewelry that is sought after and worn by many!

Not only is Monika beautiful, but her home is equally so. Recently she has moved into a new house but the photos of her previous home are stunning!

 Photo: Hong Photography for The Glitter Guide

  Photo: Hong Photography for The Glitter Guide

  Photo: Hong Photography for The Glitter Guide

  Photo: Hong Photography for The Glitter Guide

  Photo: Hong Photography for The Glitter Guide

 Photo: Hong Photography for The Glitter Guide

Photo:  Jasalyn Thorne  

 Photo:  Jasalyn Thorne 

 Photo:  Jasalyn Thorne 

Photo:  Jasalyn Thorne  

Photo:  Jasalyn Thorne 

Monika, tells us a bit about yourself? What is your education? Have you always been creative and interested in design and all things pretty?

I'm a very girly girl.. so I have ALWAYS loved pretty things, from what i'm wearing to decorating for parties to researching the latest trends. I didn't make it a career though, until after I graduated with a medical degree. School was extremely important to me and I loved learning about medicine, but after graduating I just couldn't stay away from all things fashion so I left the medical field! Big decision but definitely the right one for me! I'm loving life!

What made you decide to start a blog? How would you describe your blog? Explain the name.

 My husband encouraged me to start a blog. I was consumed by all things medicine, studying and working day and night. I needed an hour out of my day to focus on something different. Medicine, plus fun fashion & lifestyle led to The Doctor's Closet - my blog name.

What has surprised you the most about blogging?

I'm pleasantly surprised daily by the loyalty of my readers! It's inspiring for me to know that so many girls (younger, my age and even older) look to my blog for all sorts of advice and see it as a place to “escape from the real world” as one of my readers described it.

Do you blog full time? Earn an income from your blog? If so, any tips you care to share? 

I try to blog as much as time will allow! I believe the more consistent and high quality posts you do, the more your blog will grow! There will be weeks where I only post once a week due to my busy schedule, but I make sure those posts shine! You can absolutely earn an income from blogging, ex: sponsored blog posts, advertisements etc. . However this is not something I strive for. When opportunities come along I certainly consider them, but usually only if they are relevant to my blog quality.

What do you enjoy the most about blogging? Dislike?

Blogging should be a time where I can escape from reality and create my own little bubble of pretty things. Ha! I, of course try to be as real as possible in the middle of it all. There are, however, days where blogging feels like a job, and the last thing I want to do is put together a blog post. Either because I don't have time to commit to a post or simply don't have any creative ideas!

You have such a fabulous sense of style – what tips can you share about the must-haves wardrobe essentials? 

Aw, thank you! I have a very simple style which allows me to stick to staple items and not go running out every week buying the newest runway trend. My trick? Load on the accessories! Anything from a fabulous piece of jewelry to a chunky wool scarf! Earrings, boots, statement flats, nail polish and tinted lips are always a must!

You are also the creator behind, BFREND, a gorgeous jewelry line. What made you decide to foray into the world of jewelry design? What have you enjoyed about the process? 

It was totally un-expected! I made a few friendship bracelets to giveaway on my blog. From that one post my little BFREND idea become a fun business! My readers wanted a place to buy and that is when I decided to open an Etsy shop and it all took off from there! I love that I can be part of girls fashion style.

I have wondered if you make all the jewelry yourself?

Yes I do! During really busy times I have a few girls help me. But mostly, it's just me.

What do you love to do in your free time?

I love to read! Funning enough, growing up I realllly disliked reading. Now I find it as a time when I can kick up my feet and relax on the couch with a yummy cup of coffee or tea.

You are about to become a mother for the first time, are you planning on continuing on with your blog and business? 

Absolutely! I'm actually in the middle of starting a new company as well. Still TOPSECRET though. :)

I can't wait to find out your top secret news! I wish you all the best with the arrival of you new little addition to the Hibbs family.

XO Barbara

One Room Challenge: Week Three

Welcome to week three!!!!

New to ORC? 

I, along with 19 other bloggers are attempting to makeover a room in 6 weeks. If you want to see where I began, just click on the ORC button on my sidebar to follow the fun!

Did I accomplish much this week?
Well, sort of. 

I managed to sew a pouf for the room. I followed this tutorial. I am wishing I made it larger, but it will still work as a floor pillow for the kids, just not as big as I hoped. I stuffed it with leftover flannel bits and fiber fill. The leftover fabric gives it a nice weight! Cost me nothing as I had all that fabric hoarded in my closet. Did I mentioned I have a fabric hoarding disorder? 

I want to know your thoughts.
 Should I embroider the seams, like poufs usually have? Or just leave the seams plain?

I decided to share the gallery wall that I managed to hang for last week's posting.
I love how I could incorporate my children's artwork. My eldest informs me that the green/blue artwork in the white frame is hung the wrong way! Oops!
More vintage pexi-glass gas station numbers are hung too! They are part of a collection that is beginning to build in my home. My family rolls their eyes when I bring more home, again another weakness I have along with fabric hoarding. (I have a few still "hiding", shhhh...don't tell them.)


I managed to order a few colour samples from Panyl.

Panyl is sponsoring a project for my ORC, they are helping me re-vamp my Billy bookcases which really need a bit of pizazz.

Here are the colours I ordered. I think I am leaning towards the green or black. It all depends on what kind of area rug and colour of coffee table I end up with.

 Panyl is introducing new patterns: chevron, stripes, dots and quatrefoil. I can't wait to get the samples in my hands to decide which one and then hopefully I can decide on the pattern! I will keep you posted.

I have been rug shopping online. My original thought was to buy a jute rug, but I am worried about how hard it would be to clean it if something spills. I have read that it can be and that it sheds like crazy causing dirt and dust to collect underneath. Anyone had a jute rug? Thoughts?

Rugs USA had a 50% off sale this past weekend, but I chickened out. I am hesitant in buying a rug online. Also to avoid duty charges I would have to send it to my US mailbox, which if I needed to return the rug would be a pain to cross the border. I loathe border line-ups!

So I am hoping to trek to Ikea to check out their rug selection.

These are possible options:
 Just my luck, this Tarnby jute rug is no longer available. 
 I like this rug but detest the edges. If I buy it, then I might have to do something about that. 

This weekend is my report card writing weekend, so either I will get nothing done in the games room because I am focussed on writing report cards OR I procrastinate writing and end up working on the games room! 

Come back next week to see!

Don't forget to follow along with the other ORC ladies. We are all working hard. Be sure to say "hi"

Where I Have Been.....

Last week I was honoured to guest post at Satori Design for Living, sharing how I love to freshen things up around my house. Think: dingy old furniture + paint.

And before Christmas I was interviewed by a writer putting together a story that was posted in newspapers across the US. Here is a copy of the print sheet that went out. Yours truly's photo is the highlight, along with a few words of Christmas decor wisdom!

Hope you all have a great week!

XO Barbara

Giveaway Winners

I have drawn two winners, each winning a free pair of tickets to the BC Home and Garden Show!

I'll email you and send them your way! Have fun!

BUT if you want to still attend, BC Home and Garden Show is giving my readers a chance to purchase tickets at a $ 4.00 discount.

You can buy your tickets here.
Use the code: BLOG to get $4 off an adult admission.
There is no expiry date.


XO Barbara

DIY: "Fun" Piece of Art

 As part of the One Room Challenge, a challenge where 20 bloggers makeover a room in 6 weeks, I created a piece of art for the games room I am working on. You can follow my progress here.

 Early in the fall I took a trip to a local vintage home decor shop that opened in Abbotsford called Spruce Collective. I have a bit of an obsession with typography and anything font related, a bit of a font nerd. My family rolls their eyes every time another letter or number finds it's way into our home. 

 I also can't resist vintage gas station sign letters. I have a few kicking around the house, so when I stumbled across another treasure trove at Spruce Collective I couldn't resist buying a few. The letters F- U-N called my name. Having a bit of a frame collection (yes, I hoard frames along with fabric, I have a bit of a disease, called FFFH- fabric, frame and furniture hoardosis) at home, the project just fell into place.

Keep on reading....

One Room Challenge: Week Two

This past weekend I managed to take some "before" shots of the room to give you all a good idea of what I am working with. The photos aren't pretty but taken in the moment. A Friday night video game/movie watching session took place and the room looks "rumpled."

The kids use the room to play video games, watch movies and have sleepovers in. But it is also used as a lamp graveyard! 

 Two standing lamps, along with the silver leaf lamp and the gran-to-glam lamp! Too many lamps.
Not sure any of them are going to stay...

 Every room needs an ab ball, no?

This room faces north-east and tends to be cool. I really want to up the cozy factor. 

I am sticking with the current layout. We had fiddled with it two years ago when we put the furniture into the space and feel this is best arrangement. The space is awkward, rectangular with the elongated windows along the north wall, an arched window on the east wall, a closet on the south. We orginally were going to place the bookcases where the TV and cabinet are now but that would of put the TV between the windows and then the sofa would of visually cut the space. The space between the TV and sofa would of have been too close. Taking into consideration what the space is being used for, mostly for video gaming, space was needed between the sofa and TV so the Wii remotes wouldn't hit the screen. That TV cabinet houses various game consoles, far too many in my opinion!

When we first started on this space, I spent awhile searching for the perfect dresser or console to paint. I stumbled across this one at a local thrift shop. It had the right dimensions, the middle cabinet had a shelf that fit the Blue-Ray, DVD player and game consoles. 

AND the price was the best part - $25!

After MANY coats of Raspberry Red by Benjamin Moore, it was perfect. 

Well, almost. While I removed the hardware, the one handle on the drawer fell off......I am keeping my eyes open for the same vintage hardware. So far, no such luck.

BUT this week I managed to make a little DIY art with some vintage gas station letters I bought at Spruce Collective.

Here is a peek of the gallery wall that I hung! The layout has changed slightly from when it was on the floor.

Come back Friday to see how I made this "fun" piece of art!

If you want to see Week One, pop over here.

Don't forget to visit all the other One Room Challengers  - it is exciting to see all the other spaces unfold and see what other brilliant designs they come up with!

Giveaway: 2 Pairs of Tickets to the BC Home and Garden Show

Hello peeps!

I have 2 pairs of tickets to the BC Home and Garden show up for grabs!

***edited February 15 - Giveaway now closed **
If you are looking for some home and garden inspiration to kick off spring, then the BC Home and Garden Show is the place to be. With fabulous speakers and vendors lined up, it would be a great way to spend your weekend.

Just leave a comment on my blog if you want to enter. 
Remember this is for local folks, if you can make it to Vancouver then these tickets are for you.

I will draw a winner on the evening of  Friday, February 15.

Make sure you leave contact info in your comment.

Good luck!

So Canadian Eh? : Vanessa Sicotte

It is with great pleasure to introduce you to Vanessa Sicotte, host of an amazing decor show, Sauvez Les Meubles ("Save the Furniture"} seen in Quebec on Canal Vie and creative director/founder of Montreal based Damask et Dentelle, a web directory of all things interior design. 

 Vanessa is....
I first met Vanessa, last May when I attended Blogpodium in Toronto. We met the first evening, when several of us bloggers went out for a night on the town. Over the course of the weekend, it was hard not to like her! With her dynamic and enthusiastic personality, she is a incredibly fun gal to be around. When we first met, Vanessa had been asked to be part of a new show that was premiering on Quebec television, Sauvez Les Meubles, which means "Save the Furniture". That weekend she was shopping for several spaces that were about to be worked on. I even accompanied her to Aberfoyle Antique Market watching her pile things into the back of her van.

 The premise of the show is Vanessa and her crew come into people's homes, using the furniture that they have in their homes along with a tiny budget of $500, they transform a space. Now if only HGTV Canada could come up with something that ingenious! Sadly, Sauvez Les Meubles can't be seen on English television but if you want to learn not only a bit of French but follow Vanessa along, the show now has webisodes.

 Can I say "tres magnifique!"

Here are some photos of spaces she has transformed.

The before.....

And after.





Photos courtesy of Canal Vie

Photos courtesy of Vanessa Sicotte

      Tell us a bit about your background. Are you formally trained in design? Have you always dabbled in design?

I have self-taught myself most of what I know in terms of design as I am an industrial psychology major as well as a business (marketing) graduate. My studies then brought me to do a master in International Business none of which brought me any closer to my true passion that is design. It is only in 2010, after I opened Damask & Dentelle that I finally decided to do a decorator & stylist’s course.

     You created and run a website called “Damask and Dentelle," tell us a bit about the site.

Damask & Dentelle is the fruit of my own personal frustration with renovating my first home and not being able to find boutiques and stores beyond the obvious big boxes. I wanted furnishings and accessories that resembled me but knew little of their retail locations. I then started a blog (Damask & Dentelle) telling the stories of my discoveries. The blog gained popularity and soon after the complete directory of Quebec’s independent retailers, creators & artisans was born.

      You are French Canadian, do you feel that Quebecers have a different approach to design?

That is a question I never wondered about and it is a good one indeed. Quebecers have a French sensibility when it comes to their tastes in fashion, food and hence I guess design. Although, over the past few decades that gap has considerably narrowed between our tastes what the rest of Canada feels is great design. We have learned to embrace our common roots, at least I want to believe we have as a society.

     You are the host and creative force behind a design show “Sauves Les Meubles”, which sadly can only be seen on Quebec television. How did you land that job? Tell us a bit about the show!

What a chance encounter that was! I was fortunate enough to meet a tv executive in a Christmas dinner 3 years ago and after a full year of discussions on my potential to appear on television, Sauvez les Meubles was born. It is a fun and lively show about decorating a room in a couple’s home using only vintage and used furniture. What I love most about the concept is the help of my carpenter who makes all my crazy design ideas come true. We try, every week, to reinvent the uses of daily objects by giving them new uses or completely reinventing them. Most stimulating really!!

      What have you enjoyed about designing with TV cameras around? What has been challenging? Any favourite episodes?

Challenging you say? Yes that it has been! I had never had any TV experience and hence not only did I have to learn how to create and make new and creative decors every week (I am a blogger and a sideline decorator, I did not have experience decorating strangers homes), but I also had to learn how to properly host and handle myself for the camera. Being very spontaneous by nature, it has been somewhat of a challenge. J

      What is next for you?

My head is filled with projects and developments for Damask & Dentelle… if only I can have a few minutes to myself to think them through and make them happen.

      What are your go-to design sources?

In Montréal I have a few “chouchou” (favourite) boutiques such as: Buk & Nola for their quirky finds and their West coast meets Scandinavian easthetics, Ludovik Boutique whom sells a curated selection of most avant-garde and stylish furniture as well as a large selection of Jonathan Adler’s creationt, L’Affichiste as I am a true fan of vintage posters (I have 6 in my humble home only) and Arthur Quentin for elegant and classic tableware.

I also often travel to Toronto to visit its many vintage boutiques. Some of my favorites are: The Arthur (550 College St.) Love the Design (1362 Queen St. East) Chief Salvage Co (1493 Dundas St. West) Metropolis Living Factory Store (50 Edwin St.) Made & Canadian Salvaged Timber (440 Dufferin St.)  & I have to add Elte (80 Ronald Avenue) for it is a design lover’s heaven!

      What do you enjoy doing when you have free time!

Being a mom of 3 little munchkins (my eldest is 8 and my youngest is almost 3), much of our spare time is spent together either skiing or spending time at the family cottage. If I happen to have any time to myself I try to enjoy a good book or a quick run which either have always proved to be excellent for the maintenance of my sanity in hard and stressful times.

      You are a wife, mother, entrepreneur, blogger and television personality, how do you find balance in it all.

One day at the time. I also get overwhelmed if I take too much time to think of all the things that ought to be done, and so I don’t think much about them and just do them. Self discipline has been a skill I have worked hard at developing and I am slowly starting to reap its rewards.

      What are your views on the role of Canadian design on the world stage? Do you feel that Canadians have a unique sense of style, the way we design and decorate our homes? If so, what do you think sets us apart?

I am an extremely proud Canadian (not over-zealous but  one could be mistaken!) especially on the topic of design. I feel we not only have great talents that are gaining visibility internationally, but I also feel that our sense of style has matured and come into its own over the past few decades. My mom (who arrived from France in 1974) told me often the story of how she had to make her own wedding dress and hand pick her flowers in a field as there were no suitable options in stores at the time. It was the same for design (especially in Quebec), besides the traditional country pine furniture the offering was very meager. I now promote and represent over 1500 of those creators on my website… and that is in Quebec only! So imagine on the scale of a country as vast as ours!  

Thanks Vanessa! Now if only HGTV could snap you up so we can see something this creatively stimulating on English television! But I am thrilled that I can now watch your show via the webisodes. Maybe I can even brush up on my French at the same time!

XO Barbara