Christmas 2015

This year I kept the Christmas decor as simple as I could. With the busyness of the season, I felt I didn't want to feel overwhelmed by the stuff that goes along with it. After seeing Christmas home tours pop up in November, homes that are all too fluffy for my taste, my reaction was to simplify. Out came all the bins and up went only my favourite things. The rest went back to storage. After waiting for a sunny-ish day, hard to come by here on the rainy west coast, I managed to snap a few photos. Hoping to get a tripod for Christmas so I can take decent photos despite the lack of sunlight!

This week both my girls will be home from school, I am off for 2 weeks, the husband gets time off after Christmas and I hope we can just relax and enjoy each other's company!

Have a wonderful Christmas holiday!

Family Room Refresh

We have been in our current home for about 15 months and I am tired of having every room feel unfinished. Teaching full time sucks the creative energy out of my soul. But it has come to the point that I can't stand it any more. So even though we are still renting it doesn't mean we can't have a home that is decorated just for us. A home with our touch.

Our family room is a room we use the most, and every time I walk into the room, I am bothered that it doesn't feel finished. My goal for the space is to create a gallery wall behind the TV with some artwork by a good friend and my daughter, to cover up the random outlets that are of no use. Hoping to find a mirror to hang on the fireplace which has the most godawful stonework known to mankind. Wanting to give this room a more completed feel by adding layers with more fabric for pillows, an area rug, a new coffee table and a few ginger jar accessories.

This was the room when we moved in. (Bad, bad, bad photo)


Furniture has been since rearranged and drapes hung but it lacked oomph.

Here is my plan.

The fabric has arrived, just needing time to sew a few pillows and hang artwork. I bought frames at Ikea and had custom mats cut at the local art shop. Posterjack has offered one of their new loft frames, which is enroute as well! After years of admiring this rug, I think I will try to convince the hubs that we need it in our lives. It is my birthday this weekend, maybe that will make him cave.

XO Barbara

Ordering Christmas Cards - Already!

Hallowe'en is over and every year I swear I am going to get my Christmas cards ordered and sent out by early December. Every year I fail miserably. This year I am going to order my cards with their art and love their cards. Visiting the Minted site is akin to getting sucked into a black hole of gorgeousness, you get lost in the oodles and oodles of beautiful art and cards.

For our Christmas cards this year, I was thinking a photo card, but then I realized the last family photo we have where ALL my children are together was LAST year. I surveyed my family asking them how lame would it be to use last year's photo? 
LAME was the answer. 
Sigh... with my girls away for school, we wouldn't be together until Christmas. I didn't get my butt into gear this past summer, so scratch that idea.

Using the "no photo" search option on the Minted site, I stumbled across the most gorgeous card! Wow, wow, wow! 

Do you know what the icing on the cake is? I can customize the greeting AND a letter along with a photo collage inside the card!!! You can also save your design and revisit it before you send in the order.
Freaking awesome. 

Now I am waiting for each family member to send me a photo from their Instagram accounts that represents a highlight from their year and I can get this card ordered!

Thinking of a family photo for your annual holiday card? Here are some fabulous tips from Minted's blog Julep. Be sure to pop over to read the article. I agree with all their tips. We had a great photographer (last year), we dressed comfortably, had a fabulous location but my only mistake was not arranging a session again this summer! Hard to do when you kids are away at university. 

If you are wanting to get the jump on Christmas, I know, I know, its' only the first of November, be sure to check out Minted! They have 15% off holiday cards that ends tonight with the code JOY2015.

*Minted kindly provided a gift card towards the purchase of holiday cards*

Feeling Like Martha

I was feeling like Martha this past weekend, organizing and labelling my baking cupboard. This past year I have been ditching my Tupperware containers, after 24 years of use they were not holding up. I didn't like how they smelled and was concerned about their food safety. In came my canning jars to hold my various baking supplies, but after a few mix ups between baking powder and cream of tartar it was time to label those jars properly.

Brother Canada gave me their P Touch PTD600 Labeller to try and I found it quite fun and easy to use. I decided upon the clear 24 mm laminated tape so the label would be clear on jars. It was incredibly easy to use: pop open the cover, slip in the cassette, attach the power cord and turn on. I peeked at the guide a bit, but once I figured out which buttons were for what it was smooth sailing! 

To test a few labels, I used the sample tape they provided and printed up some labels for my classroom cupboards. I am tired of opening each cupboard until I find the right one! My son even got in on the action and printed up a label for his binder for school!

I really love how the labels turned out on my jars! No more masking tape labels written in Sharpie for me! I can't wait to label other things around the house. 

There are a variety of labels you can make, customizing them on the computer as this labeller can be connected to a PC or Mac. My next project will be to create return address mailing labels for Christmas cards! Next summer I'll make labels for garden markers. The ideas are endless!

*Brother Canada sponsored this post and provided me with a P Touch PTD600  labeller to review. All opinions are my own.

CIL Paints Ask An Expert + Giveaway

*Giveaway is Closed - Congratulations to Nicole from Visual Heart!**

Recently I was part of CIL Paints Meet The Experts evening as a virtual blogger. Living on the west coast, we bloggers tend to miss out on many media events that are held in Toronto. CIL Paints decided to embrace technology and invited several bloggers to join them via web conference! It was fun to participate!

 They filled us in one their colour trend forecast and looks, along with some new innovative products, such as Disney's metallic paint finishes to add sparkle to your home, and the CIL Real Life Paint for cabinets and doors.

 This was my favourite look created by the CIL Paint experts called Neo-Traditional. Love, love the red cabinet!

CIL Paints revealed their 2016 trends lineup along with their new service, Ask An Expert, an online service where the customers can ask CIL's paint experts their paint and painting questions. The turn around response time is 1-2 business days. What a ingenious idea!!! If you are stuck with paint questions, now you can turn to those who are part of the industry for help!

CIL's paint colour of the year is Chemise, a soft blush pink. I am seeing this colour pop up in fashion and home decor items. All I know is the Christine Dovey, a designer and blogger from Ontario uses this colour beautifully in many of her rooms!

photo: Christine Dovey

To celebrate their new Ask An Expert service, CIL Paints is offering my Canadian resident readers
2 gallons of CIL Paint (total value of approx. $80) that you could win!
Enter below!

*Contest is open to Canadian (excluding Quebec) residents only; prizes are limited to one prize per winner – i.e. while a person may enter multiple CIL paint online contests, he or she may collect a prize from only one of the contests entered.

CIL is a brand of PPG Architectural Coatings, a business of PPG Industries, the world’s leading coatings company.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check this out: EQ3

Recently EQ3 moved locations to a larger space on Granville Street in Vancouver. South Granville is my go-to location for all the fabulous decor shops! EQ3 invited me for a peek into their store. Kevin the manager of the store gave myself and Michelle a personal tour. Love the airy, bright and modern feel of the store. And love that they have Canadian made upholstery!

They are also a licensed Herman Miller dealer, so you can peruse their site and pick out your dream chair! Another bonus is they are also a Merimekko dealer, carrying select fabrics and accessories. I have my eye on a few pieces!

All photos are courtesy of EQ3

If you are ever in the area, make sure you pop in.


#LoveYourWood Contest - Potting Bench

** Disclaimer: No husband was used in the making of this project! **

If you have been following me on Instagram (and if you aren't, you should) you would have been given peeks to a project I have been working on ALL BY MYSELF sponsored by Varathane Canada. AND this project is entered into a contest where I can win $2500!!! 

Varathane provided me with a mystery box that contained stains, 5 items and a $75 Visa Gift card to purchase materials for my project. My project needed to use the stain provided along with 3 of the 5 items.

After going back and forth as to what to make AND because I have VERY limited woodworking capabilities, I decided I would make a potting bench for my back yard. 

Using pine 2x 4's that I had pre-cut at Home Depot, along with pine shelf boards my parent's were itching to get rid of, I created a potting bench that was built my me!

(OK, not the whole truth, my dad came over to cut the pine boards with our skill saw as hubs was out of town and I was afraid I would saw off my fingers)

Cool Metallic Finish in copper -can't really see the sparkle, but it's there. I have a sparkly potting bench.

Mystery items....

Here are the items I used in my project:

Varathane Ultimate Wood Stain in dark walnut
Varathane Poly Effects Metallic Finish in metallic copper finish

In addition I purchased:

2 knobs
deck screws
Varathane Diamond Finish Outdoor Clear Coat in Matte
Rustoleum Painter's Touch in Black Canyon in a flat finish
pine 2 x 4's
pine shelf boards
I am quite proud of myself as I truly built this almost 99% by myself. 

SOOOOOO....VOTE for me.

Visit Helping You Finish Facebook page and vote for my project. You can place one vote per day. Voting ends on August 31 11:59 PM (EST)
You can also win a Varathan prize pack just for voting!

The winner of the #LoveYourWood challenge wins $2500! 

YUP - $2500!!!
What would I do with $2500, well for starters I have 2 children attending university....enough said.
Or finally splurge on some area rugs.
Or a new family room sofa.
Or finish our master bedroom.
The list could go on.

May the best blogger win.