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    The Great Etsy Deception and The Rise Of Faux Crafts

    Have you ever been to howetsyrapedamerica.com? If you haven’t maybe you should. It’s a compilation of posts targeting profitable and “fraudulent” Etsy sellers over the span of a year—businesses selling mass-produced goods often purchased from Asian wholesalers, under the moniker of handmade or custom made, at the expense and abuse of unsuspecting shoppers. We’re talking everything from home décor to knitted scarves.

    Unsuspecting customers are forking over their cash to Etsy sellers hawking fake crafts and mass produced goods.

    These Etsy sellers have become increasingly prolific over the past couple years, ever since Chad Dickerson took over as CEO in late 2013 and lifted a ban that previously required Etsy sellers to manufacture goods solely by themselves. In the span of just two years Etsy has been flooded with cheap knock-off products marketed under a banner of down-home-grass-roots-made-by-barefoot-mothers-in-their-kitchens goodness.

    Continue reading…

    Is Utilitarian Décor and Utilitarian Design Really Utilitarian?

    Today I want to talk a little about utilitarianism in terms of utilitarian design. I’ve become increasingly less happy with stuff, so I’ve simultaneously become increasingly more happy about the idea of creating a super-functional and pragmatic space. I’ve been going through my home and thinking carefully about whether or not the items in it serve a purpose. I have a long way left to go. Here’s a great example of a utilitarian space… I am aspiring.

    utilitarian n. and adj.*

    A. n.

    One who holds, advocates, or supports the doctrine of utilitarianism; one who considers utility the standard of whatever is good for man; also, a person devoted to mere utility or material interests. 

     B. adj.

    Of philosophy, principles, etc.: Consisting in or based upon utility; spec. that regards the greatest good or happiness of the greatest number as the chief consideration or rule of morality.

    Of or pertaining to utility; relating to mere material interests.

    In quasi-depreciative use: Having regard to mere utility rather than beauty, amenity, etc.

    According to designer Adrienne Chinn, “The key elements of utilitarian style are function, edginess and unpretentiousness.” Continue reading…

    What It’s Like Behind The Scenes Of Picture Perfect

    I’m mopping up a puddle in someone else’s garage and it’s just another day in the world of magazines. This is the real behind the scenes, not another pretty Instagram. The camera is flashing as the photographer is snapping test pictures, checking the exposure, the colour balance, and whatever else photographers look for. I’m scrounging around in the cupboard hoping to god there’s some cleaning supplies and dragging bags of road salt out of the shot, wondering vaguely what the point is. Long before this moment I’ve already become disillusioned.

    This is the real behind the scenes of a magazine, not another pretty Instagram picture. Mopping a garage... and for what?

    I was dispatched to this particular home with explicit instructions: feature this home and don’t skimp where the garage is concerned. We’re on a mission to make someone happy—namely an advertiser. Its glamorous and creative, isn’t it? They wanted the garage featured, but it was covered in dirt and puddles. You know, kind of like you expect a garage to be. Yet there I was, moping a garage and trying to make it look “pretty”. Continue reading…

    The Upcycling Origins Of Furniture Rehabbing And Fixer Upper Style

    Over the past decade the popularization of the upcycling movement has paved the way for our ever-broadening love of DIYing, vintage chic or shaby chicc, the modern farmhouse look, and the concept of the fixer upper and fixer upper style.

    The history of upcycling and its impact on the interior design styles such as fixer upper, vintage chic and modern farmhouse.

    Though we think of upcycling in a relatively contemporary context, the term was first coined in the early 90s and creative reuse centres (being places that collect and redistribute reusable materials) have been in place in the 1970s. Continue reading…

    Kitchen Table Makeover With Chalk Paint

    This past weekend was a happy weekend. I finally, finally, put away the ORANGE maple chairs that have been haunting my kitchen for the past couple years. Orangey stained wood seems to gravitate towards me. Bye bye baby. That’s right, I finished the drop cloth upholstery project I was working on and I am super pleased with how this kitchen table makeover turned out. The chairs ended up pairing well with the salvaged pine harvest table I rehabbed this past autumn. Now if only someone would get around to hanging up the driftwood art on that blue wall… ahem.

    Kitchen table makeover from orange pine disaster to farmhouse chic harvest table with annie sloan Coco and a pickling stain top.

    I am disappointed to tell you that the before photos of the table were accidentally deleted from my camera. I do still have a photo of one of the chairs to show you, but the table. Sigh. Let me help you. Close your eyes. Now imagine a bright orange pine table chewed up by a dog and built to fit short people. This table was about 4″ shorter than standard table height. It was weird. Even after I rehabbed the kitchen table I was still using these Canadian-made maple chairs circa 1960 that had been part of our previous dining set up until Sunday. See below for photos. Continue reading…