We’re baaaaaack! Had an absolutely stellar week in New York City – lots of visiting with family, eating, and strolling about. Totally unplugged from work, emails, the blog, etc. It’s great to do that every once in a while (but I’m paying the price this morning – yikes!). Check back in tomorrow for the full scoop and picture overload (need to upload those to the computer tonight..!!).
Archive for the ‘uncategorized’ Category
Alright, so time to get a little more personal on here. Last week I asked you guys if you had any questions about me, or this blog, to help celebrate Blogiversary week! Here goes…
In case you’re scratching your heads about the title of this post, “jam jars” is my nickname. Has been ever since I can remember. I’m not sure why… I think one of my siblings came up with the moniker because “gem” sounds like “jam”. Anyhoo, it stuck. Maybe this has something to do with my mason (ie. jam) jar obsession?!
Alright. Time for the questions.
“I am always curious as to what type of magazines you get your inspiration from? I stand in the magazine section wondering if there are other magazines I should be reading, as they are often a cheap source for collecting ideas.
PS you always have the cutest clothes, jewelry and style <3″
Magazines are SUCH a great source of inspiration – and I love actually flipping through something in print rather than looking at everything online. One of my fave things to do is go to Chapters, grab a starbucks, and browse around the magazines!! I have a few subscriptions – Style at Home, Canadian House & Home, and House Beautiful. Style at Home and Canadian House & Home are staples for me – I have been getting them for years and although some months are better than others, they always provide great inspiration, have affordable products and ideas, and I really like the general aesthetic. My third subscription changes year to year – last year it was Elle Decor (gorgeous photographs, but everything too out of my price range), the year before it was Better Homes & Garden (nice, but I couldn’t get into the gardening section), and now House Beautiful (I’d say I’m a lukewarm fan). My other faves that I read at the store or buy as a one-off are the HGTV magazine, Do It Yourself Magazine, and Flea Market Style magazine. Plus, there are tons of other crafty magazines at a big store like Chapters that I browse through for new clever ideas for DIY projects. Oh and you know what else? I love to browse through flyers that I get in the mail for decor shops – they usually have beautiful photos and you can get some great inspiration (like for a knock-off DIY project!).
And thanks for the ‘PS’ comment, Jessica! I’m definitely no fashionista, but I think a few more posts about how I choose my clothes and accessories is in order! I’d love to get tips from the rest of you, too :)
“Is blogging worth it or more work than a person ever imagined?”
For me this is a no brainer – blogging is TOTALLY worth it. However, I’m not going to pretend that it doesn’t take a lot of time, effort, and energy. I have been posting 3 times per week for the last two years, and those posts don’t just magically appear. Most are DIY tutorials or updates on room transformations, so every post requires actually doing the project, photographing it, uploading and editing the photos, writing the post, and then publishing it. You get into a bit of a rythm, but it does take time. Since I work a normal 9-5 job, all of this takes place in the evenings and weekends. Besides preparing posts, there is a lot of other work that comes along with being a blogger: Setting up your website and fixing code issues as they arise, promoting your posts (via facebook, twitter, etc), reaching out to other bloggers to form relationships, marketing yourself to brands, seeking advertising partnerships, etc. Some of those latter items totally get put on the back burner for me. If you’re looking to write a blog that stays pretty personal though – not looking for large readership and monetization – then lots of those things may not apply. So bottom line? Totally worth if for me (I get so much enjoyment out of blogging!), but it’s by no means a get-rich-quick scheme. I make a very small part-time income from this hobby — so if you’re looking to get into blogging for monetary purposes alone, it’s probably not the best idea.
I joined your blog in the fall so I know little about your background. What kind of jobs have you had? Anything in design that sparked this interest? Did you take school in this field? Just curious.
My background! Okay, here’s the quick recap: Grew up in Ottawa, went to Queen’s University for an undergraduate in health studies, traveled the world for a while, moved back to Ottawa for a few years and worked for two not-for profit health organizations (one focused on global health research, and the other on reproductive and sexual health), moved to England and did my Masters of Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and am now back in Ottawa working in project management for an organization that coordinates health services in this part of Ontario. So that’s the on-the-resume stuff. Although public health (and more specifically reproductive and maternal health) has been a passion for a long time and what I’d like to continue to pursue in my career, I have always had a creative side, too. There was evidence of this early on – as a kid I used to churn out rainbow drawing after rainbow drawing – and later, continued to take art classes on the side throughout my schooling and started really getting into interior decorating once I had my own apartment. If there were enough hours in the day, I would love to go back to school for interior design, but I would always want to do both – public health and design work. And when I say ‘design work’, I am using the term broadly – in this I include being a blogger, running my little etsy shop, running my new vintage rentals business, and taking on design clients from time to time. I plan to take a year of maternity leave once Baby Sprout arrives in late summer, and following that, will try to actively pursue both passions in part-time capacities. That would be the dream – a little of column A and a little of column B!
Have you ever used floorplanner.com? It’s my favourite free software for planning my rooms, my yard, my renos.
Yes, yes, yes! I luuuurve floor planner. So easy to use and is a great way to visualize a room (and free!). The other online tool I often use is olioboard. They are great for creating beautiful moodboards, which is something I like to do before starting any room makeover. It’s a nice way to gather all of the elements you’re thinking about for a room into one place and see what they look like together. For clients, this is particularly important so that they can visualize how everything is going to work together.
A huge thanks to those of you who sent in questions (Jackie, Jessica, Bonnie, and others!). It’s fun getting to hear what you folks are interested in, and to answer some of the more personal stuff that I never think to share. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate!
Have a very happy Easter weekend, you guys!! I’ll be back here next week and will share the results of our survey (fill it out here if you haven’t already), and the giveaway winner (enter here if you haven’t yet!). So much exciting stuff! Thanks for celebrating blogiversary week with me, guys! You guys are just the BEST and give me the motivation to keep getting my crafty/DIY on, and to keep writing about it! Hope your long weekend is full of family, fun, and chocolate :)
Well, it’s that time of year again…. Blogiversary (it was technically on March 14th, so I’m a little late on this – whoops)!! This time we have hit the big 3-year mark. It’s hard to believe that my first post was a whole three years ago. Amazing how time flies and how much this little space of mine on the internet has become such a big part of me. Writing that first one-paragraph post back in March 2010, I never would’ve guessed I would be still writing 3 years later, enjoying it so much, have created a little network of friends and readers (who I adore!!), and even ventured into the business of monetization on the blog. Thank you guys (thiiiiiiiiis much!) for dropping in here and making this whole thing a lot of fun for me.
I thought it would be nice to start the week off with a little survey. I would really love to hear from you guys about who you are, and what you enjoy (or don’t enjoy!) about the blog. I adore having you guys pop in here on the regular, and I want to make sure that the blog is working for you guys. So pretty pretty please, do me a solid and fill out this survey. It’s super short and will only take 5 minutes tops. Link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7LRLHVB
Thanks guys. You’re da bomb!
Coming up for the rest of blogiversary week? A sweet giveaway from this ultra cute etsy shop (jewellery!!), an easy-peasy Easter craft, and the results from this survey + answers to your questions about me (if you haven’t already, send in any questions you have about me or the blog – big or small – either by email or leave a comment here - thank youuuu!).
TGIF! Hope you guys have been having a good week. Mine has been busy – I was travelling for work and then got stuck thanks to a big snowstorm that hit Ottawa on Wednesday. I got home yesterday afternoon (just a day later than planned), but this girl is tired! It’s amazing how much things tire me out way more than they used to, pre-pregnancy! Anyway, I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend at home with the hubs. I see some winter walks, hot chocolate, and a few crafty projects in my future.
Cut out matching triangles to size. I needed at least 5 to spell out “c-a-r-d-s”. Then it’s super simple (well, the whole thing is super simple, frankly) – just hold punch in the top corners, string the string through, and write out whatever you want on the triangles. I used a black sharpie and free-handed “CARDS”.
Here is the final product! Cute, right? I just used a bit of scotch tape to tape the bunting on the back of the box.
The old toolbox is one part of the inventory for my Pieces of Love business, and I think it makes such a sweet box for cards or other stationary at a wedding/event.
I know I’m a little bunting obsessed… they are just too sweet. Have you guys done any paper ones? Have any other good ideas about collecting cards at a wedding? Or cute card signs? Do tell. And what are you guys up to this weekend? Anything fun?
Hey guys! Sorry for the silence on the blog front yesterday and today. I have been totally wiped! Last week I was actually in British Columbia spending some good quality girl-time. A handful of my most favourite women live out in the Vancouver area (mostly girlfriends from University), so I try to get out there from time to time to visit. I spent 10 days doing some serious girl-talk, going out to eat, walking and doing yoga, shopping, crafting, celebrating (birthdays, engagements, etc) and just enjoying the company. I love living in Ottawa, but I wish I could import all of these fabulous people out east. Thanks for such a sweet visit, ladies!!
And then as soon as I came home, it was right back into the swing of things. Remember my new business I shared the deets on last week? Well, it was my official launch at Ottawa’s ‘Wed by Hand‘ trade show. Wed by Hand is such an amazing, indie wedding show meant for the crafty, eco, DIY bride. There were so many amazing vendors, seriously yummy food samples (I think I ate about 12 cupcakes?!), and helpful DIY workshops. If I were planning a wedding again, this would be the trade show for me (PS. can I plan a yearly wedding? I have so many fun new ideas! Ha).
Here is my little trade show table. Oh, and that’s me pretending to help out my pal Courtney – we’re hamming it up for the cam.
It was so fun to pull out some of my favourite vintage finds and create a sweet little display table.
Oh and I got some great new business cards made! I’ll post more deets (design and where I got ‘em) another day.
I really just wanted to give folks an idea about how these cute pieces can add some sweetness and love to an event.
There were SO many other fabulous vendors at the show. You can check out the whole list here. Seriously yummy treats from places like Mosel and Auntie Loo’s, beautiful flowers from Sparrow, stationary from Tartine, gorgeous jewellery from urbanite jewelry, and so many others. One of the best parts of the day was just browsing around all of the other booths and chatting with everyone. Such a fabulous crowd!
(last photo from Ottawa Citizen)
So all in all, a great first event for my new business! I met some absolutely lovely people, and I am totally buzzing with ideas and energy.
What about you guys? Ever gone to a trade show that you loved? Planning a wedding or other event? Got any business tips? I’m all ears!
First up, I just wanted to say a big thank you to you guys for your support on my new business venture. You guys are just the bees knees and totally make me feel like it’s going to be a hit. So major thank you so much for that. For reals.
There is a giveaway for two ‘Wed by Hand‘ tickets going on… so if you’re in the Ottawa area and interested in coming to the show, head on over here on facebook and “like” the photo. The vendors and workshops happening at the show look amazing – I can’t wait to check everything out!
And in other news, some sweet person nominated TSD in Apartment Therapy’s “Best Home Projects and DIY Blog” category for this year’s Homie Awards. I have no grand illusions of coming in the top of this category – there are some seriously stellar blogs in the mix – but I would rather not come last. You know, don’t want to be picked last for softball and all that. So would you take a sec to vote? I would be seriously grateful. And be sure to give some love to your other fave blogs on the list! You can vote here (with an Apartment Therapy account).
Okay, thanks again! You guys rock my socks.
So I dropped the hint in my new years resolutions post that I was starting a new business. And, you guys know that I have had it on my 30-before-30 list to make a part-time income through my side businesses. I really enjoy working in public health (I even think about maybe going back and doing a PhD at some point), but I am the type of person who is happiest when I am engaging both sides of my brain – the more academic side and the creative side. My dream would be to work a 50/50 split between public health and the side businesses. So far, those “side businesses” include this blog (it makes a very modest amount of money through advertising on the sidebar and sponsored posts), my little etsy shop, which is really just a delight to run as it gives me an excuse to get artsy (though I don’t spend nearly enough time creating new pieces or doing marketing of any kind and hence not tons of income), and now my third little business. I’m spilling the beans.
Here is the story.
When we got married in 2011, it was a low-key, lovely (!), but budget-friendly affair. I really wasn’t interested in any of the mass produced wedding decor and kept it simple with white linens, white chairs, and our white tent. To add a personal and sweet touch, I did quite a few crafty projects (check them out on our wedding page here), and then just collected things from thrift shops, flea markets, and antique shops to use as decor. Old mason jars and milk glass vases for the flowers, wooden crates, vintage silver cake stands, etc. I collected as much as I could (we had a short engagement of just 4 months!), and loved every second.
After our wedding, I had a couple of people contact me to see if they could buy my stash of decor items off me. Initially the thrifty side of me thought what a great way to make back a bit of the money we had spent on the day, but something in me wanted to keep them. Then a seed was planted. If other folks were interested in buying my stuff of me, then I guess not everyone loves to do the collecting, curating, cleaning and storing like I do? And maybe people would be interested in renting this stuff out, since it would cut out the hassle, be more affordable, and mean that folks didn’t end up with 200 mason jars after a wedding and no idea what to do with them. When I searched around to see what other businesses were out there, I realized that there was a gap in the Ottawa market for the non-mass produced event decor.
Last July, the idea really came to fruition. On my Nicaragua trip, my two girlfriends and I brainstormed names, decor items, and all things business. They definitely gave me the encouragement, and I purchased a URL from our hotel room. Once I got back to Ottawa, I started collecting like crazy and building my website. I still have a long way to go to build up my inventory and have some other product ideas in mind (some crafty stuff that would be for sale rather than rent), but it is time to officially launch. Friends, meet my new business: Pieces of Love.
The website is up and running and has my growing collection of inventory. I have so many things on my list that I would still like to source and find, but I have made a start!
I’m completely nervous and excited to get this business off the ground! I am taking part in an amazing indie wedding trade show in Ottawa this Sunday – Wed By Hand. If you are in the Ottawa area and planning a wedding, you should definitely swing by. It promises to be a super fun event full of crafty folks! Make sure to stop by and say hello at my little booth!
For any more info about Pieces of Love, you can check out the website here. If you are in the Ottawa area and planning an event, let me treat you to a coffee and we can chat decor!
So that’s it. The new business! Wish me luck!! :)
I love chalkboard paint. They now make it in all kinds of colours (though I’m still a sucker for classic black or green), it’s so easy to paint on to anything, and can totally transform a wall, piece of furniture, frame, whatever! I thought I would do a little round up of some of my fave chalkboard-paint-on-stuff-other-than-walls projects.
Painting out a dresser is so much fun. Plus, then you can draw on it (amazing for a kid’s room!) or label the drawers. Perfect for organizational nerds like me.
Painting chalkboard paint onto a table like the next three photos might just be my favourite. How fun would it be to change up the drawings and settings for dinner? You could write out the menu, a couple of dinner questions to spice up the conversation, some drawings that relate to the theme of the meal… the possibilities are endless. And can you imagine how much fun this would be for kids? It would be like being out at a restaurant every night (you know those restaurants with the brown kraft paper and crayons on the tables? Love those).
The clean up might be a bit of a pain, so I would probably save this kind of project for the more informal dining areas in a house.
What do you guys think? Digging the chalkboard paint? Used it for any projects yourself? Got any other faves you want to share?
This isn’t a colour I have often used in either my decor or even my wardrobe, but this rich green deserves a second look. Now that I’m seeing it all over the blogosphere and in shelter mags, I am struck at how energizing and vibrant the colour can look in small doses. I don’t think I’ll be one to paint a whole wall or room in this colour, but a rich emerald dresser or painted chairs around a table are pretty darn striking. Set against a backdrop of bright neutrals and lots of texture, I could totally dig it. Plus, it goes pretty nicely with my always-favourite turquoise.
Check out Pantone’s site for more info on this green hue (and the rest of their colours and products).
What do you guys this of this colour? Ever used it in your pad? Are you planning to? Do you wear it often? Got a sparkling emerald that’s the envy of everyone around you? Or have any fun weekend plans? Do tell.
*All images via Pantone*
**Giveaway now closed. Congrats to Michelle (winner selected through random.org)!**
New year, new look, right guys? Well, you’re in luck. HomeSav, the Canadian flash sale site where I bought my white eames reproduction chairs from – you know, the ones I put around my harvest table that I’m totally obsessed with? – has kindly offered up a giveaway to my readers. And not a stingy one either. A cool 100 beans.
HomeSav features different sales every day. They have a great range of furniture, accessories, rugs, artwork, kitchen stuff, and so much more. And $100 could go a long way! Here are a few of my faves that are up on their site right now:
Pretty fab, right? Head on over to HomeSav to check everything out. So here are the giveaway deets.
The prize: $100 to Homesav to spend on whatever you like!
How to enter: Leave a comment on this post telling me something you’d love to buy in the new year to spruce up your pad. Is it a new piece of artwork? A new light fixture? A throw for your couch? A new set of sheets? What’s on your wish list?
Bonus entries: Do any of the following things, and leave me a separate comment for each indicating you have done so:
Who can enter: Giveaway is open to everyone!
Giveaway closes: Friday, January 11th at midnight EST.