Farmhouse and IKEA aren’t two styles that you would think work together.  With our new IKEA that recently opened in Halifax, everyone is pretty excited!  So I thought I’d take you on an IKEA tour of our home to show you ways to combine the clean lined look IKEA is known for with my farmhouse style.

It’s always exciting when a new store opens in your area, especially a store like IKEA which is very well-known across the globe.  I’ve been seeing, hearing and talking so much about it that I thought I need to do a post about it and how I work products from this popular home store into our home.

Now, some of these items are no longer available, but I did link to the ones that still are so you can easily shop these pieces if you want!

This shelf has a great back story, well, one I love anyway!  My friend was heading back east for a visit from Ontario and asked, like a true friend does, if there was anything I needed/wanted at IKEA since she was coming my way.  I knew I wanted it, I had my eye on it, she thought I was crazy but now when she sees it, she gets it.  It’s the perfect spot for my collection of vintage pottery and a few other little things.

Something else I aquired at IKEA and use weekly is my watering can!  I can’t even remember how long I’ve had it but it’s perfect for watering my almost 30 houseplants.  And when I’m not using it, I can use it as a vase, too.  What’s not to love about a galvinized watering can, right?

These little buckets are so cute and so handy.  I’ve stored all sorts of things in them, inside and out, from bath toys to bracelets to plants.  I think the ones they currently sell are red { I think I need some, because, well, red…} and silver!  They’d be good for decorating for Christmas, too!

I think everyone and their dog has a Bekvam stool. I know you’ve seen it.  I got mine unfinished and first painted it black and now it’s glossy red.  When the girls were little, they sat at it like a picnic table and watched TV, eating a snack or breakfast.  Now, they are much too big to fit so we use it as a step stool in our kitchen to get to the upper cabinets or as an extra seat at the table.  I love seeing how everyone finishes them so uniquely that I even started a Pinterest board dedicated solely to the Bekvam stool, which you can see HERE.

We were gifted this angel light many years ago and we have used it ever since as a night light.  It’s perfect for taking along for sleepovers, camping trips and overnight stays at hotels.   Somewhere along the way, Hannah claimed it as her own.  I’m not sure if it was meant for Christmas decorations or not, but it’s a great night light for us. { I love how the green arrow is pointing towards the light – I swear I didn’t plan it that way!! }

These Bekvam spice racks shelves make the perfect spot to store all my mason jars of Miss Mustard Seed Milk paint.  I’ve seen them used for so many different things but this works for me.  Easy to put together, fun to paint and perfect for storing all sort sof things.

This bird print was an IKEA housewarming gift and so then I got Ribba frame to put it in for the living room.  Already it’s hung in a few different spots in the living room, too….I guess I like to switch things up!  The stack of birds always makes me smile.

Back in the studio, I have these storage bins that hold my scissors, measuring tape and other little tools that I like to have near by when I’m working at my bench.  Pretty sure these were studio-warming gifts from Dave & Christine…

Everytime I thing I’m nearing the end of my list, I realize I have more….Like my curtain rods in the living room, Hannah’s duvet cover, the rug in front of the washer and dryer and the pillow I just bought…and that was before we even had IKEA here in the province!!  I can’t even imagine how much more I’ll be buying now that we have one!

Now, I have a wishlist of IKEA items, too.  Like I said, I like to switch things up and I have my sights set on the plate wall in my kitchen….and the perfect farmhouse shelf from IKEA….I can’t help it!! Isn’t it perfect?  My birthday is coming, after all…hint, hint, Mr. Byrne!  Plus, as you wander through IKEA, there is always something that you see that ends up coming home with you!  Lena has a little list started, too, which, of course, makes me happy that she is putting thought into her room and what she wants to surround herself with!  So, I think there might be a little refresh happening for her, too.

So, tell me, what IKEA products do you have that you love?

To be continued,


  • Rosemary - October 14, 2017 - 10:54 am

    So much fun to see the same IKEA items that I have in my home, used in different ways – I love the way IKEA things can be changed or painted or just used differently by everyone who owns them. A stool is never just a stool!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy LeB - October 14, 2017 - 1:10 pm

    I have that stool 😀. I usually make three separate trips into the store – the first is a wander around to see all of the goodies in store and in the display areas i.e. picking up all of the stuff that wasn’t on my list – second is to pick up the big stuff in the warehouse area i.e. the stuff I came for – third is for food I.e. enough said 😀ReplyCancel

    • - October 15, 2017 - 8:35 am

      It’s huge and overwhelming but still so fun!!! And no surprise that you have that stool 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Johanne - October 14, 2017 - 1:46 pm

    So here’s a challange…I KNOW you picked up a catalogue in store so what unsuspecting piece of IKEA furniture do you think would make a really cool sideboard?

    • - October 15, 2017 - 8:34 am

      I have so many questions!!! For where – what colour – to store what?? I’ll text you! 😉ReplyCancel

  • Reg - October 16, 2017 - 7:11 am

    I love this style! It’s so comforting 💕 I seriously need to check out the new IKEA.ReplyCancel

Some people get the seven-year itch, I think I get the three-year itch!  Three years in our ‘new’ house and I want to repaint things I’ve already painted.  The kitchen was on my radar this go-round…

Let’s look back to remember what it looked like when we moved it – because you can’t appreciate how far it’s come without seeing where it was!  Dark walls, loads of wood, glossy yellow ceilings, and dated wallpaper.

White cabinets and a grey island is where we landed back then and they were fine.  But I was craving something a little more!  When Canadian Tire approached me about their new paint line called Premier, I knew that the kitchen would be what got the make over!

Our kitchen is, like most maritime homes, the hub of it all.  I spend a lot of time in there while I’m home, getting meals made and lunches packed.  So, not only does it get a lot of use, I want it to be inviting and look good, too.  And honestly, it’s the lower cabinets that get all the spills, hard bumps – you know – the messy stuff.  Here’s a few pictures of where we were starting from for this makeover…much brighter even then when we first moved in, but, I still had another vision.

When Canadian Tire sent me my painting kit, they included a fan deck, which if you know me at all, is better than candy!  I love flipping through a fan deck, looking at the different tones and shades and dreaming about all the projects I would want to take on…give me all the colours!!  And, being a Canadian company, the names really struck me.  I could re-do a house purely by selecting the colours based on the names!  I think if they picks names that make you want to get out to explore your country more, they’ve done something right!

The colours I selected for this project were Paper Birch and Huckleberry.  I needed my colours to work with the griege colour on the walls and the tones in the flooring and I knew I wanted a rich, deep colour for the island.  I also knew I wanted to do something about the hardware, but right now it doens’t make sense to replace it until we REALLY do the kitchen over.  So for now, it was time to get painting.

Off came the doors and hardware and everything got scrubbed down and then the magic started.  There is something so satisfying about rolling on a thick, lovely layer of paint and transforming something.  I find that to be so fulfilling.  I admit that I’m a bit of a paint snob and tend to ensure that I use good quality paints for my projects.  I think that stems from using crappy paint as a kid, painting the all the white trim and fence posts around the farm with whatever the local feed and farm supply store sold.  I want paint that covers well in the first coat, I always do the second coat but if it takes more than two coats to cover, I’m not impressed and the Infinity line from Premier did not disappoint.  Here’s a quick during photo…including Hannah making breakfast!

I pulled all the red out of the china cabinet while the paint dried and pulled in more layers of brass and warm gold tones.  We even took a trip to Value Village to see what treasures I could find to add into the mix.  Check out the ‘Whenever’ bill holder!  It cracks me up and it’s perfect to hold the papers that need to be addressed and not filed away quite yet.

I also scored some cool wooden accents to add to the hooks by the stove.  I had all my aprons hanging there but they looked sloppy and I knew I wanted to freshen that area up, too.  I brought out my little pottery plant pot with my fake succulent { the only kind that I can keep alive } and hung up the wooden cutting board and little wooden pot along with a clean tea towel and I’m loving the look!

Now, I have a confession to make.  I took down the doors and pulled off the hardware and misplaced 4 of the screws for the handles.  I searched high and low for those screws.  I put everything else back together and had to not stress about the two handle-less doors.  I knew the screws would show up at some point….I put them somewhere safe after all, I’m sure you can relate!  So, here is my kitchen…short a handle or two…

I love how much richer the cupboards feel!  And spray painting the hardware was so easy and lightened it up so it isn’t as busy and so much richer!! I mean, come on – check out this gorgeous island!!!

And one final glimpse – the china cabinet and it’s current look!  I can easily add some fall colours to it when I’m ready but until then – I’m loving it!

I’m really pleased with how far the kitchen has come.  Now, I have a long list of other things I would love to change and will get around to doing but for now, this was the refresh that I was craving for the kitchen!  Do you find that when fall hits you are craving to make some changes around your house??

To be continued,


This post and makeover was sponsored by Canadian Tire but my take on their products is just that!


  • Alena Martin - September 29, 2017 - 8:01 am

    I think I am craving a big outside change…..wonder if I should do something about it 😛ReplyCancel

  • Heather Laura Clarke - September 29, 2017 - 12:41 pm

    It’s SO beautiful! I love that shade of blue!ReplyCancel

  • Myra - September 29, 2017 - 2:06 pm

    Beautiful work – I especially love the island! I’ve been dreaming about repainting my bathroom but it’s kind of an earthy brown colour and I’d like to go really light. I’ve been putting it off because I figure it’s a hassle but with great quality paint it would definitely be a lot easier. I didn’t know Canadian Tire had a new paint line so I’ll have to check it out! I would LOVE to have a fresh colour on my walls! Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂ReplyCancel

I’m so excited for this tour!  It’s a little unusual but so fun, at the same time!  I mean, how often do you get to tour an Airstream?

This is a tour of an Airstream, yes, but there’s a little more going on.  It’s about connecting with our community and reaching out to strangers.  It’s about going out of our comfort zones and making a new friend as we stood in that Airstream, talking about it, about our families and our lives.  I’m so thankful for the opportunities that having this blog has given me and the new friendships that have developed because of it.  Otherwise, would I have gotten to know Sarah? Who knows! But I’m glad I did!

You see, I didn’t know Sarah, even though she doesn’t live that far from me and our kids go to the same school.  I never met her until one day a couple of years ago when she was picking up her son from the after school program when I was filling in for the regular leader.  I introduced myself but she knew who I was, she follows Farm Fresh.  { That still, to this day, blows my mind, that people know me through this! } So, we would exchange small talk in the halls at school if our paths crossed.  We became FB friends and that’s when I got to see her creative side and that we had something in common – our love for vintage!

When she shared some pictures of her Airstream trailers on FB, I knew I had to ask to do a tour and she was game!  We finally found a time that worked well for both us and we met at her place on a rainy day…so no pictures of the outside!  We chatted while I photographed and then we moved to the rec room above the garage for a cup of coffee and talked for another hour or so.

This Airstream is a 1966 Overland model and they’ve re-done parts of it to make it fresh and safe!  There’s just something about that retro styling that speaks to me!  I love it!  I wish I had one in my yard to re-do, too…except for maybe all the polishing on the outside…

Anyway – here we go with the tour!!!

It’s so cozy and inviting!  I love the little details throughout the trailer.  It’s these little touches that add warmth and personality and make it feel more like home away from home.

This little lion piggy bank was found in a property they owned when they were doing some renos.  It even has old coins in it:

Airstreams are pretty neat and have such retro styling to them, you know when you see one coming!  I love that Sarah is working hard to preserve these amazing pieces of history and keep them alive and well so we can have a glimpse into them…right down to the Airstream towels!

A special thanks to Sarah for letting my come over on a rare day off and photograph this trailer.  It’s fun to offer house tours and make new friends while I’m at it!

To be continued,









I’ve heard of Barn Quilts, I’ve seen some in the past, but now I have a whole new understanding and appreciation of them.  This is a story of how an At Home! magazine DIY sparked a weekend road trip!

If you follow me on Instagram, then a while back you may have noticed that I was painting a barn quilt.  But there’s more to it then just deciding one day to paint a barn quilt.  Let me start at the beginning…

Rachael MacLean, who is a co-writer for the magazine, sent the editor and I a FB message, with a picture of a barn quilt and suggested that might be a good DIY for the fall issue.  Now, if you know me, I love a good DIY, especially one that is as country as a barn quilt.  I was all over the idea, as was Crystal, our editor.  She asked me to do a little research about the history of barn quilts and away I went.  I scrolled through Pinterest, trying to find a barn quilt pattern that really spoke to me.  I did some digging around into the history of Barn Quilts, too, which is really quite interesting.  I won’t get into that here, but I’ll be sure to share the link on the DIY column when it comes out for those who don’t get a copy { You should subscribe HERE, though! }

Now, as I mentioned, I had heard of barn quilts before and in fact part of the reason I had heard about them was because I had somehow came across a FB page of the Stewiacke Valley Barn Quilt Trail.  I had looked through the page and followed them so every now and again, something would pop up in my news feed.  Working on the barn quilt for the magazine put this local trail back on my radar.

I wanted to go on this trail and I asked Mom and Dad if they would be game to go as well.  And of course they were.  It was my girls who moaned and groaned at the thought of having to go on a long car ride and yet they hopped out at most every stop and a little bribery of treats helped their cheer.

When you download the Google Map document from their FB page, it gives you the civic address of each location, as well as a little photo of each quilt block, which is very helpful if you are the navigator and not paying attention! Not that we had to turn around at all and loop back to find ones said navigator missed….once or twice of maybe even three times?!?!

I’m not going to show you all the quilt blocks, I’ll just highlight a few of our favourite, you need to go find them all for yourself!  It was a gorgeous day, so when we pulled over or into a driveway, a few times there were people out and about in their yard and we would also chat with them and ask about the quilt block and talk about the weather or what have you.  And for me, that was part of the highlight.

This was our last quilt on the tour.  What made it extra special was a) it’s tulips, a true nod to the fact Mom and Dad are Dutch b) the gentleman was in the yard and we chatted with him, only to find out both he and his wife are of Dutch background, too.  This was the perfect way to wrap up our tour of the barn quilts!

We had a great afternoon out on tour.  If you are in Nova Scotia, I highly recommend you check this out!  I’d also love to hear if you know where there are more barn quilts or send me some pictures!  Like I said, I’m a little barn quilt crazy right now…

To be continued,






  • Johanne Hulshof - September 19, 2017 - 9:18 am

    I need a barn quilt! Let’s see…who do I know that might be pursueded to paint one for me……😊ReplyCancel

    • - September 19, 2017 - 11:11 am

      Well, I happen to know a girl who wants to paint ALL THE BARN QUILTS!! Let’s chat!ReplyCancel

      • Johanne - September 19, 2017 - 12:22 pm

        SOMEONE is insisting that it be food related!
        You should drop by and we can discus!ReplyCancel

        • - September 19, 2017 - 12:24 pm

          I think that’s perfect!!! ReplyCancel

  • Monica - September 19, 2017 - 9:43 am

    These are gorgeous! We recently moved to Hampton, N.B and I see many buildings here with these “quilts” on them.ReplyCancel

    • - September 19, 2017 - 11:12 am

      Pretty sure I know one of them…Evelyn’s B&B? ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - September 19, 2017 - 9:46 am

    Love this and hoping to see more posts like thisReplyCancel

    • - September 19, 2017 - 11:12 am

      Thanks, Jennifer! Stick around…I have a list!!! 😉ReplyCancel

Every once in a while, a really neat project shows up in my Instagram feed.  And when it does, I want to jump on board!  Enter Chris Bennett of Christine Bennett Design and her Lucky Me Lifestyle.

You know how you find someone on a social media platform and you like their style, their spunk and you think you could be friends in real life?  A while back I came across an Instagram feed that I really liked and so for a bit I would just like or occasionally make a comment.  And she ‘followed’ me back, and slowly we interacted more. Then, one day Chris posted a little painting she did and left somewhere for a stranger to find.

That post was probably what tipped the scales.  I commented and a little conversation ensued and then some emails went back and forth.  I knew that at some point in time, we would be getting a painting of our own to drop off somewhere for some one to find!  { We’ve since met a few times in real life and she’s even more vibrant and enjoyable in person than online 😉 }

Let me expand a bit more about exactly how this works.  It has a name, My Happy Place Project, and the basic idea is that a piece of art is dropped off at a happy place and left for a stranger to find and take with them to be enjoyed!  Chris’s pieces for this project are happy clouds and happy waves.  She has left them on the ferry to PEI, her son’s favourite park as a child, a well known pie place in the states and some has been shipped off to the other side of the world for her friend to plant.  She even worked with Argyle Fine Art and created a book with paintings and drawings from 150 people who submitted their ‘Happy Place’ and then stashed it somewhere for someone to find….which they did!

Here’s the thing….she may never know who found it, where it is now or anything about it after she walks away.  But!!  Some people have used the hashtag so she did hear back from a few of the strangers!!  The stories are heartwarming, like one person who had just moved to the area and was feeling pretty lonely but having found the painting, their day was brightened up!  And that’s why I wanted to be a part of it!

So, during the Homegrown Vintage Market, where Chris was a vendor { the vendor who I got my lovely Chicken Mug from!! } she pulled a beautiful chunk of wood out of a bag or box and handed my our Happy Place Project painting.  I was nearly in tears!  It was gorgeous.  But I knew it wasn’t mine to keep.

The girls knew we were getting something to drop but they didn’t know what.  So they were pretty excited to see what Chris made for us.  And then when I asked where they thought we should stash it, they knew exactly where they wanted to go.  The Balmoral Grist Mill.  And I knew it was the place.  See, the grist mill is somewhere we used to go as a family when I was young for Sunday picnics or just a drive.  We would skip rocks along the river with dad and explore the mill if it was open. It holds special memories and I love bringing my family there now.  It happens to be on the way home from Tatamagouche so if we go for a drive for coffee, we might swing in for a quick little visit.

Once I had recovered enough after the market, we piled in the car and headed to the grist mill.  The girls were so excited.  I could barely get them to stand still enough to take this picture.

I wanted to make sure it was sheltered a little, it was later in the day and the forecast wasn’t great.  So, we tucked it under the overhang of the building.  And then we walked away.  The girls wanted to go the next day to see if someone found it but I wanted to wait a little longer, I didn’t want to run into anyone with it, either!

A few days later, we checked and it was gone.  I hope whoever found it loves it and appreciates it.  I hope it brightened their day.  I’m glad other people enjoy our Happy Place, too.  And thank you, Chris, for letting my family be a part of the adventure the ‘My Happy Place Project’ is!  If you have Instagram, you can see the other projects HERE…how fun, eh?

And if you ever find yourself by the Balmoral Grist Mill, I highly recommend you stop and enjoy our Happy Place and make some memories of your own with your family!

To be continued,


  • Christine Bennett - September 13, 2017 - 8:12 am

    Yay! You’re the best.

    Thanks for playing the happy place project with me.

    It started a goofy, little artsy thing that David and I did ‘just this once’ for kicks on a foggy day, but it quickly turned into something that really seems to be quite meaningful to a lot of people. As a society, I think we’re all ready to start hearing about simple things, that are simply nice.

    There are now 19 happy places out there. To my knowledge, they’ve all been found. I’ve heard back from 3 finders: a family from the UK who was visiting Canada for the first time, and found it on the morning of their first day here (‘Canadians really are the nicest people!’); a person who had just moved to Montreal and was feeling lonely so she went out for a walk and found it, and two people found the Argyle Art Gallery edition and spend the morning reading and looking the 150+ pages together.

    Happy places have been left in PEI, NS, QUE, ONT, and NY, VT, NH, ME, along with: Singapore and Indonesia. (I’m sure my mom is taking it personally that I haven’t left one in my home province of NB, but I’m working on it.)

    Simple happiness. That’s fun, right?

    XO- Thanks for sharing with everyone the project. And thanks for being as cool in ‘real life’ as you are in your #insta-life 🙂ReplyCancel