Outdoor Extravaganza: Paint Projects

With summer around the corner, and the weather improving it's a great time to spruce up any furniture or accessories that have seen better days with paint. Even your house can look like a million dollars with a fresh coat of paint.  Since we aren't sure where we will be living this fall, I am not sure what I should do with my patio furniture. I think they could use a fresh coat of paint and new cushions. But I don't want to invest in the time right now. I have a '"thing" for lanterns and a few of my lanterns have been exposed to the elements over the years looking rusty, dusty and a few insects have moved in. 

After dusting off the cobwebs, sanding down the old layer of paint and a fresh coat of Rustoleum's black spray paint in a flat finish, I took my dilapidated lantern from blah to wow! It also received the glam treatment with a bit of Rub'N'Buff!  A bit of gold always gives black a bit of zip!

What painting projects have you tackled? Show us your stuff below!

DIY: Gold Leaf Edge Lantern

My love for gold and silver leafing runs deep. Those of you who have followed along my blog know I have an affinity with giving things the Midas' touch. You can pop over here, here, here and here just to see a few.

Not only do I use the real stuff aka "gold leaf", I luuuuuuuv Rub'N'Buff. Many an object in my home has been given the Rub N' Buff treatment. If you haven't tried the stuff, I recommend it. You will want to Rub'N'Buff everything....before you know it your home might look like Liberace moved in.

I have had this lantern kicking around for a few years. 

Originally it was silver, I got it on an end-of-summer clearance a few years ago. I had spray painted it black but after being in the elements for at least 3 years it was looking a tad sad.  I decided to give it a cleaning, sand away the rust and a fresh coat of Rustoleum's black in a flat finish. But not wanting my lantern to look like a boring black lantern I decided to glam it up a bit with some Rub'N'Buff just along the top edge and the handle. 

I quite like how it turned out. 

Simple, yet elegant. 

I was hoping for some clear weather but we have had nothing but rain for this past week, so these shots were taken while dodging rain drops.

A few weeks ago we had such hot weather, but Mother Nature is playing a cruel joke....nothing by clouds, chillly temps and rain. Boo.

Come back tomorrow to share your outdoor paint projects. Maybe you did something grandiose like paint your house or fence? Or something small like me?

See you tomorrow!

XO Barbara

TGIF: Tickle My Fancy

Today I get the pleasure (note my sarcasm) of participating in my school's Sports Day. Picture this......over 300 children screaming on a field, where there they eat donuts, candy and hot dogs, not my idea of a calm Friday activity.

This week has also been quite a stressful one on the home front. My husband is currently interviewing for two different jobs. He has been offered a job at one company, and endured 2 incredibly challenging interviews for the second job. The first job offer would require us to move. Not to move to some bustling exciting locale, but to a small community nestled in the Rocky Mountains, near the Montana and Alberta borders. I have always lived in or near a major city....Vancouver, Edmonton and Washington DC. A move to a small town terrifies me. Next week I get to visit the said town, to help us make a decision. Fingers crossed he gets an offer from the second job  - I secretly want him to get that, because we wouldn't have to move! Life is the ^%$* sometimes.

So this week I say TGIF, screaming it from the rooftops!

Here is what got me excited this week:

Love, love, love this apartment designed by Orlando, Emily Henderson's assistant.

And Kristin from The Hunted Interior knocks it out of the park on this studio suite she re-designed for Room Service Atlanta, a women's shelter. The after is stunning, especially when you see the before!

Kristen from 6th Street Design School has an inspiring series focussing on children's rooms.

A good tip by Emily in how to buy "to the trade" fabrics.

My sweet blog designer, Brittany has been working on designing fonts, check out her newest font - I love it! I have to admit, I am a bit of a font nerd. I was one of those kids that doodled and created letters instead of listening to the teacher.

And a little shout-out to two talented friends, whose incredible talents never cease to amaze me. Once again they are published! I have had the privilege of watching them work their magic!

Any plans for the weekend?

 I am running a 10 km race with my daughter on Sunday. "You are a runner?" you might ask. Well, no.... I used to run quite a bit but since working almost full time, I just manage one or two runs a week, which involves a lot of huffing and puffing. So lets just say I bit off more than I could chew on this one!

XO Barbara

Outdoor Extravaganza Party: Outdoor Decor

So glad you stopped by and joined myself, Carmel from Our Fifth House. Tiffany from Living Savvy, Shauna from Satori Design for Living and Dawn from Inspired Living in our second week of the Outdoor Extravaganza Link Party. We can't wait to see what you have dreamed up and created! The link is below.

Like with holidays, I don't go overboard  decorating our outdoor space. But what I think really adds ambience and a bit of sparkle to an outdoor dining space it candle light. Yesterday I showed you my quick and easy, 5 minute decor tip, using Mason jars and tea lights to create an extra layer of light to my already present lantern collection.

What did you create, decorate, design? Link up below!

5 Minute Decorator: Mason Jar Lights

I have been wracking my brain, trying to come up with some fabulous DIY project for my backyard to wow you all with my outdoor decor panache.

I came up with nothing.

I was thinking of recovering my patio cushions but that required gads of time, something I lack right now. Six weeks of school left baby - then I can recover to my heart's content.

In the meantime, I am going to show you my stupendous outdoor decor trick. Nothing adds instant pizzazz to an outdoor setting than lanterns and candles.

(Keep reading for more goodness.....)


Thank goodness it is Friday! I just LOVE Fridays, don't you? This weekend is a long weekend in Canada, as we celebrate Victoria Day (the late Queen Victoria's birthday). It is also a kick-off to summer here, just like Memorial Day is in the US. I am looking forward to an extra day off and am hoping to work on the backyard patio, getting it lounge worthy!

This week I featured my garden tour with a few plant tips, as it is right now, all green with little blooms. This time of year, I find my garden just explodes, almost overnight!

In between gardening, cleaning the house, reading blogs, driving kids to and from track meets, this is what has tickled my fancy this week.

I am positive many of you have seen this amazing DIY but I am floored that this chandelier was a DIY!

An ingenious way to create an outdoor hanging sphere from ivy.

Craigslist tips for finding fabulous vintage furniture.

Love this fabulously chic and homey bedroom that is entered in the Small Cool Contest at Apartment Therapy. The room has a chevron ottoman, what is not to love?

Kelly created an amazing space to lounge in her unused loft space.

Love this porch makeover on Canadian House and Home online television.

I say this evening needs a glass of vino and a good movie. Maybe I can persuade the hubs to go to The Great Gatsby with me. I re-read the novel and am dying to see the movie! Anyone else?

XO Barbara

Gardening Tips: Outdoor Extravaganza Party

Glad you stopped by for the Outdoor Extravaganza Linky Party that is being hosted by myself, Tiffany, Carmel, Shauna and Dawna

This week's party is Plants and Flowers!

Link up below to join in the PART-AY, your link will show up on all of our blogs!

My garden is starting to grow like crazy! As a frugal gardener I love using the plants I have by dividing up the various perennials I have. It has been so much fun adding a few small purchases (from Walmart or Superstore) mixed with transplants from my mom and neighbours, and watching them grow and flourish in the garden beds. In case, you missed yesterday's post, where I shared a tour of my garden, here are my must-have perennials!

Here is how taking a small cutting of a hosta plant can eventually grow into a lush green plant with stunning floral blooms!

Hope you won't overlook the perennials in your garden, at your neighbours or at the nursery. They are like the energizer bunny, they just keep on ticking! 

Happy gardening.

Link up down below, your link will link up to all the other 4 blogs! 
Tiffany at Living Savvy
Carmel at Our Fifth House

Talk about a partay.

Now it’s your turn! Link up as many outdoor plants & flowers projects as you like- old and new. Your project will show up on all 5 blogs! Please include a backlink to this post, and be sure to take a look around and show some blog love. No items for sale please!

Flowers and Plants Projects.

Frugal Gardening

I like to think I have a pale green thumb, not a full on green thumb, but slight green. Digging in the dirt has always been something I enjoyed. But I really don't have a lot of know-how. I just garden and move plants without much plan. I love watching everything unfold, turn green and flourish.

 My mom is a gardener extraordinaire and I grew up watching and helping in the garden, not always happily, but those years really taught me alot. She was also known for not spending very much but yet her garden was spectacular. The key to her success and now mine, is to use perennials, share with neighbours, divide and fill in bare spots with cheap annuals.

Since we are renting, I have spent very little on our yard. The landlady, who lived in the house a few years before we moved in is a keen gardener, so the yard had some fabulous perennials when we moved in. When we moved in though, the garden was half dead, so many perennials didn't survive. She had a plethora of roses (which I loathe, but kept because she keeps count!) and a few great bulb plants! My mom gave me several perennials from plants she had divided. I have now divided many of those plants several times, spreading the, throughout the front and back flower beds.

I love perennials. They are so easy to care for and can give you such a variety of foliage, colour and height. If you know a bit about bloom times, you can plan your garden to have something blooming throughout the growing season. I love having a variety of foliage for visual interest. Any bare spots I fill in with a flat of petunias or impatiens from Costco. Real cheap and you get great bang for your buck.

So I have been busy dividing up plants and moving them to create a more lush garden this year. Even though we might be moving, it doesn't matter as the plants are free (in my garden) and I can always dig up my favourites, pot them and take them with me!

My garden is just starting to grow like mad. It is turning a lush green and a few plants are starting to bloom. Come late June, it will a gorgeous display of colour.

I'll give you a tour!

Keep reading....


Again, I had one of those weeks where I have half written posts but none published!! The weather was spectacular here.

Can I say it again? SPECTACULAR!

It was such warm summer weather, weather we don't normally get early in May. It reminded me of our life in Virginia, when May can be incredibly warm, as the humidity hasn't set in or the bugs come out.

Life is going at warp speed, school is keeping me busy as is my garden. Life is also still so up in the air. My husband is the midst of interviews for two different companies. Both which would require a move. One more immediate and the other job would let us wait for our second daughter to graduate high school next year.

So much uncertainty has me not interested in doing too many projects around the house. The walls need a fresh coat of paint, but I am not doing my landlord's any favours....they keep asking us if we want to buy the house every time there is a major repair. Really? Bad sales tactic...trying to sell the house when the pipes burst in the crawl space, not a good idea.

But this week were here in western Canada experienced a little retail excitement! Tarjay is now open!

Yesssssss! My daughter and I hit the store late last night. Half the shelves are empty from the shopping frenzy that took place earlier in the week. We Canadians are very shopping deprived.

More loveliness to start the weekend....

Keep reading....

So Canadian eh? Update

I have had many Canadians visit my blog over the past 2 years! It has been such a thrill and honour to feature the fabulous talent our vast country holds. Many bloggers and designers that I have featured have seen their careers and blogs take off (not because of my blog but because of their sheer talent)

I figured a little update on some previous guests would be just the ticket - aren't you dying to know if anyone has had their home published? Been elevated to stardom? Switched careers?

I am!

One blogger whose life and blog has simply blossomed is Shannon Acheson from AKA Design since my my original interview. Shannon and her husband, Dean sold their home and purchase another one last year. Slowly they are re-doing their current home using the same ingenuity and imagination that they used for their previous home, one that had been featured on many blogs and on the Steven and Chris show too!

Not only does Shannon author the ever-so-successful AKA Design blog but she has recently started Blogger Homes and Blogger Resources, two fabulous blogs that are first and foremost for bloggers! Even my living room has been featured on Blogger Homes!

Shannon shared a few photos with us to see the direction their new home is taking.
Clearly they are mixing their previous rustic aesthetic but with a new mix of modern too.

Their new master bedroom, love the moody inky dark walls.

Their former summer living room. 

A chalkboard wall in their new house. I love it!!! If we end up staying in this house, I think I will paint a chalkboard wall in my kitchen too!

Shannon, give us a quick update as to how life has changed since your feature here on hodge:podge well over a year ago?

First of all thanks for having us back again! We’re so happy to be here. This past year has been very full for us. We worked with a couple of brands we love for the first time – The Home Depot and Bouclair. We had some magazine features and were interviewed on a podcast for the first time. Our family also sold our little 70 year old bungalow and moved into a slightly larger 40 year old backsplit and we’re LOVING the extra space and all the projects this newer house brings. We’re currently renovating the kitchen on a budget which includes painting cabinets and installing a stainless steel countertop designed by my hubby, Dean.

Not only do you blog on (AKA) Design, but you have developed two other blogs, Blogger Homes and Blogger Resources. Tell us a bit about each website and why you decided to create both?

Both of the new sites have been percolating in my brain for well over a year.
I originally wanted to make Blogger Homes into a book, way back when I first scribbled down notes for the idea. But then (I think it was in the fall) the amazing Jennifer of Rambling Renovators announced her book Blogger Style and I put my idea on hold. This January it hit me that I could still do something with my desire to see blogger’s homes all in one place. So I created Blogger Homes with the same sort of idea as Beckie Farrant’s KnockOff Décor. Submissions are categorized by blog, by room and by style and are easily searchable. Now Blogger Homes exists to make it easy for blog readers to search for and be inspired by all of the beautiful blogger-created rooms and spaces online. It also exists to drive traffic to home and lifestyle bloggers whose homes are featured on the site.
Blogger Resources also started as some notes jotted down on a scrap of paper – go figure. I kept thinking that there are SO many fabulous resources out there for bloggers to learn and develop, but sometimes searching for them falls to the bottom of our never-ending to-do lists. Originally I was going to just add a page to AKA Design, but I wanted to think bigger and yet simpler. So Blogger Resources was born to help bloggers find all the brilliant people (much more brilliant than I!) and blogging resources they need to grow their blogs and reach their full blogging potential. Blogger Resources is categorized by type of resource (ebook, course, conference, etc.) and by topic (monetization, photography, marketing, etc.).
I really hope to help other bloggers to reach their goals with both of the new sites.

What are you looking for in Blogger Homes? Can anyone submit a space?

 Blogger Homes accepts submissions from anyone who has a blog and has created and decorated their own home’s rooms and spaces. It’s not really for professional designers or decorators because there are other sites for that. We have featured almost all rooms that have been submitted save for a few. The only real reason for us turning down submissions is poor photography or incomplete information on the online form. We would love to see even more bloggers submit spaces!

How has blogging changed your life? Are you earning an income? And do you have any “secrets” or tips you are willing to share as to how you got to where you are?

Blogging is a hobby and a business for me. I don’t have a design business or anything else than I’m trying to grow with my blogs – the BLOGS are the business. In Canada we are still behind the U.S. for income and working with brands. But as more bloggers focus on being entrepreneurs and learning the business parts of blogging, the faster we catch up. I have been earning a few hundred dollars a month for the last year or so. However I have recently changed some things and expect that amount to increase. I have so much further that I want to go that I hardly feel qualified to give advice on getting “there”. I have recently connected with a few bloggers on a level I haven’t before and from what I hear that “tribe” mentality is what really helps to grow a blog.

What is next for you and your blog? Where do you hope to go from here? 

I hope to grow all three blogs into large recognizable brands in North America. AKA Design will be where people will continue to find beautiful crafts, frugal decorating ideas and fun DIY projects that we’ve made for our own house - in the hopes that they will be inspired to create the look and feel they want for their homes. Blogger Homes will be where people will go to find their favorite bloggers new spaces and where bloggers link their house tours so they can get more eyes on their own blogs. Blogger Resources will be a hub for bloggers looking for ways to take their blogs to the next level – whatever that is for them. I want to inspire people – be it with design or inspiration or information. I just want to inspire people!