Category: Miscellaneous

How We Use Pinterest for Blogging

January 4, 2012

Can you believe it’s the middle of the week already? I thought I’d be a bit more organized by now but I’m still noticing a number of piles around our house…remnants of Christmas decor, gifts that haven’t found a home yet and far too much uneaten chocolate! I’ll be hiding the latter asap to make sure that I at least get a good start at my healthy goals for the year. I did make it to the gym yesterday and started documenting everything I ate into my Spark People account as well, which is like Weight Watchers only free! It’s really easy to use and you can track your fitness and weight loss goals there too.

Speaking of organizing and keeping track of things, Rachel and I are often asked where we find all of the images that we share with you each week. In the past, we both read a number of blogs daily but as our focus turned to writing our own posts, amidst the daily bustle of family life, our leftover time to read other inspiring blogs soon became pinched. We also started to find it difficult to keep track of where we’d found images, their correct links and sources. A tool that has become invaluable to us in our blogging adventures is the wonderful world of Pinterest. Beware, Pinterest is highly addictive but it is also hands down the best way to catalogue images and where they originated in an easy to use, visual system. No need to shred your favourite design magazines anymore! Pinterest is the perfect solution to collect inspiration for blogging, weddings, renovations and oh-so-much-more. Here are some tips to help you get started as well as a few of my own recent Pins

Curious Details

House Doctor via Decor8

Blissful Blog via Fine Ting Og Sjokaolade. Photo by Workstead.

First, you’ll need to request an invitation or be invited by a friend…we’d be happy to invite you if you leave us your email address in a comment below. Once you’ve been “accepted”, you can also invite your own friends via Facebook and Twitter…the more the merrier, right?! Here are more specific details on how to get started with Pinning 101. You’ll need to install the “Pin It” Button to your bookmark bar (see the directions here) so that you can start pinning from your favourite blogs, websites and online shops.

Birch + Bird on Pinterest

Within your own account, you can create Boards to sort your Pins into specific categories. If possible, try to be fairly specific with how you name your boards. Holly Becker of Decor8 has some very useful tips for categorizing boards and more over at Real Simple. There is no limit to the number of Pins per Board and, as far as I can tell, you’re allowed to create as many boards as you like.

Birch + Bird on Pinterest

Ok, so you’re all set up with your own Pinterest account…now what? I’ve had several people tell me that they’re clueless for where to start when it comes to browsing good blogs. My advice would be to start with the Blogroll of a blog that you do read (our blogroll is on the right hand side of our page) and odds are good that you’ll find at least a few more good reads. As you start discovering images that you simply must save, here are the steps to Pin them into your new account:

1: Find Inspiration. There it is…the kitchen, the wedding dress, the teapot of your dreams! Before you click on your shiny new “Pin It” button to save it onto your tidy new Board, make sure that you’ve clicked on the title of the blog post, and aren’t Pinning it from the main page of the blog.  This will will ensure that, in the future, whoever clicks on your Pin will be brought directly back to the original blog post where you found it and won’t have to scroll through days, weeks, months (you get the idea) of other posts to find the image and credits. At this point, it also helps to double check that the blog you’re on has correctly credited the image in the first place. (Scroll further for more about crediting etiquette…)

2: Select an Image to Pin. Once you’ve made sure that you’re Pinning from the actual blog post, click your handy dandy “Pin It” button (forget where it is? It should be at the top of your page, in your bookmark bar, right under your browser window. For technical difficulties, refer here) and a selection of images from the screen will be brought up for you to choose from. Click on the image of your choice…

3: Categorize + Describe Your Pin. Once you’ve selected your image, you’ll be asked to categorize and describe it before your Pin is officially created. Choose from one of the Boards that you’ve already categorized or create a new board. Leave a fairly detailed description of the image and, if you plan on sharing the images on your own blog, make a note of the photographer or additional credits. Click the red Pin It Button and, voila, you’ve created a Pin!

Something that we strongly encourage you to always do on your blog (whether using Pinterest or not) is to credit images correctly. Here are some more tips for correctly sourcing and crediting images with Pinterest:

  • Do not Pin from unreliable sources like, Tumblr, WeHeartIt or blogs that haven’t properly credited the image in the first place. Use Google Image Search (save the image to your desktop and then upload it with the camera icon) to find the original source and Pin the image from there.
  • When sharing an image found on Pinterest on your own blog, never credit “via Pinterest”. The Pinner should not get credit for the image. Always give credit to who the image actually belongs to. In addition, if you found the image via another blog, the correct credit should say “Original Source” via “Another Blog”.  (On a side note, another pet peeve of mine is when image credits are only numbered (example 1/2/3/4) and don’t say the blog’s name?it only takes a few more seconds to type the source’s name and is a simple common courtesy to fellow bloggers and photographers.) For more fabulous information on crediting blog photos, be sure to read this great post by Chelsea Fuss of Frolic.
  • If you notice a Pin isn’t correctly sourced and you know where it came from, leave the correct source link in a comment on the Pin.

Once you start to “Follow” other people on Pinterest, you can Repin their images as well. The more people you follow, the more inspiration for you to sift through. Rachel and I both try to Pin more images directly from blogs than we do Repin, to keep the selection fresh. If everyone continuously Repins each other, it gets a little tedious scrolling through repetitive images. On that note, try to avoid blatant self-promotion. Pinterest is a great way to generate traffic to your blog but it can also get a little bit dull when certain magazines and bloggers only Pin images from their own sites. Make a Board specifically for your own tutorials and images and try to phase them in amongst your other Pins rather than Pinning them all at once. You can find more information about Pinning etiquette, here.

The Wheatfield

Phewf, that was a lot of information, wasn’t it?! Hopefully I didn’t scare you off but only helped make your web journeys more enjoyable and less overwhelming from this point forward. If I wasn’t clear enough on any of the technical aspects, just pop by Pinterest for more details. And feel free to browse at whim through both Rachel and my own Pinterest boards…there are now links on our blog to them both. Happy Pinning!



Our Big City Weekend

October 3, 2011

What a fun last couple of weekends we’ve had, yet so very different! First, our country weekend at Fieldstone Vintage Market and now we’re home from our weekend away in Vancouver…we may need a little holiday from all of this fun and excitement! Our city getaway was all that we expected it to be and more…

*Funny side note about the photo above: While in line for the book signing, we asked the girls in front of us to take this picture and only much later in the night (at Blend 2011) did we realize that they were from The Cross…Meghan, with whom we’ve chatted with online plenty of times, and Joanna, who just happened to go to the same high school as me and knows my sister. Small world moment!

Rachel and I headed into the city (after her twins’ 6th birthday party!) on Saturday afternoon and checked into the very glamourous Loden Hotel. After a hello to our fellow blogger friends already gathering for Blend 2011 in the hotel, we raced off to Anthropologie and Grace Bonney‘s book signing for Design*Sponge At Home. What a perfect setting! Jan of Poppytalk‘s driftwood backdrop was so fantastic and we happy to see the lovely Janis Nicolay busily snapping photos of the whole event! We also bumped into Sarah and Ashley of Spread Love Events and two of our talented Fieldstone vendors,  Nicole and Noelle of Farm & Found and Hopscotch.


Grace was so sweet and friendly and we were so excited to finally meet her in person after years of reading Design*Sponge daily. I must admit I got a little nervous and star struck…even forgot to turn my camera on for this photo! Today is the perfect rainy day to cuddle up on the couch and dig into my new special edition of Design*Sponge At Home

After a quick browse through Anthropologie, we raced back to The Loden where the Blend 2011 party was in full swing! We made it there just in time to glimpse Suzanne Dimma of House & Home on her way out to other IDSWest festivities. The whole evening was generously sponsored by IKEA and we had a fabulous night of chatting with fellow bloggers, sipping wine and nibbling on delicious food.

Photo by Sari McNamee of The Lovely in Life

Thanks so much to our lovely Canadian Design & Lifestyle Bloggers West organizers, Barbara, Nancy, Karla and Victoria for working so hard to make Blend 2011 such a great success! Already looking forward to next year’s edition…

Photo by Sari McNamee of The Lovely in Life

Oh, and I must mention the fantastic goody bags that we all received full of great swag and Rachel and I each walked home with these gorgeous door prizes! I’ve got this sweet bird painting by the very talented Tracey Ayton propped on my mantel already and I’m sure Rachel’s working hard to find a new home for this amazing print by Nancy Marcus. She saw it immediately when we walked into the room and said “I need that picture!”…so happy that she was the lucky winner!

Art by Tracey Ayton and Nancy Marcus

After a leisurely sleep-in in our luxurious room, we went for lunch and then finally made our way over to IDSWest. We were so impressed by all of the displays and amazing vendors present. I’ve been to other home shows before and have always left feeling disappointed…not so with IDSWest! It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon and I came home so inspired. We met some great people, Hans and Allan of Wide Plank Hardwood, Robert of Smith & Millar, Nicky of Aya Kitchens & Baths, and the ladies over at Interior Matters Bespoke, to name a few…

AYA Kitchens And Baths

Interior Matters Bespoke

IKEA, the premier sponsor of our Blend 2011 evening, put together a stunning display as well. Rachel and I fell in love with the huge 10-seater harvest table in the middle of their kitchen, not to mention the other rustic touches like wooden cutting boards paired with modern chairs…

Our favourite trends seen at IDSWest were the mix of organic materials, like rustic wood, mixed with modern materials and clean lines. There are definitely some looks that I’ll be working hard to bring into my home over the next couple of months and it feels great to feel inspired and come home with fresh ideas for the projects ahead. Unfortunately, I also came home to a very sick little girl but she seems to already be on the mend and we’ll be spending the next couple of days at home until she’s better. Feeling a little guilty that my phone battery was dead all day while I was meandering through the design show but I’m very thankful that she was well taken care of by my wonderful parents in the meantime!

A Weekend of Wine

June 20, 2011

Happy Monday to you! Was your weekend full of sunshine? I sure hope so. Summer is taking her sweet time getting serious here on the West Coast and it’s hard to believe that we’re in the final countdown until school’s out. Finger’s crossed that the sunshine will be here to stay as soon as that final school bell rings!

I’m fresh from a weekend away with some fab friends. We headed off, away from children and in search of the sun, to Osoyoos on Thursday afternoon but not without a major glitch in our plans soon after we left town. I volunteered to drive but shortly after we entered Chilliwack’s vicinity, my ride started chugging along in a very bad way. It turned out to be my fuel pump, perfect timing right? Long story short, my dad (who happened to be working in Chilliwack at that very moment) pulled into our truck stop, gave Sarrah a lift back to her house to get her car, and had my poor car towed to the mechanic with his towing account…crisis averted! Yay for my super dad and double yay that we broke down so close to home! A couple of hours later, we were back on our merry way. We made a lovely stop in Okanagan Falls for a delicious home cooked feast (courtesy of some of Jody’s sweet clients) before arriving at our Walnut Beach Resort destination. And here’s the view from our patio…ahhhhh!

Here’s where our weekend got interesting. We were pretty surprised that no one working in our resort or at the restaurant where we had breakfast seemed to have any idea about the dozens of local wineries surrounding our resort. It is wine country, after all, and we passed scads of familiar wineries on our drive between Oliver and Osoyoos alone! We really wanted to visit at least a couple if the weather stayed cloudy so we made a trip over to the Tourism Osoyoos building….our best decision of the weekend! While there, Jody managed to “recruit” a super knowledgable fellow to guide us on our tour of local wines the following day…little did we know how lucky we were! We had one quick wine tasting at Nk’Mip Cellars (pronounced ink-a-meep) before heading poolside to enjoy a couple precious hours of warm sun. We returned to Nk’Mip just in time to watch a gorgeous sunset followed by an amazing dinner at Passa Tempo Restaurant. We all loved the concrete floors, rustic wood and hits of deep blue throughout the restaurant’s decor, not to mention the white branches attached to the wall…

Passa Tempo Restaurant

I’ll introduce my gorgeous friends….starting from the left is me then Aprille, Sarrah and Jody. And the fine fellow in the tux was our “tour guide” for the day on Saturday…we’ll just stick with calling him “Yedi” for now, since we don’t want him to lose his job over our adventures in wine! He was the perfect host and designated driver for the next seven hours, yes, seven…

First stop, Burrowing Owl Estate Winery. Fantastic view from the tower and you can do a self-guided tour from the base of the cellars to the lookout at the top. Tasting was by donation and the proceeds all go to protecting the burrowing owl in British Columbia…great wine and a good deed!

Just down the road, we popped in to visit the owner of Desert Hills Winery, Randy and we all had such a fun time there. I think we tasted 8 of his award winning wines! Don’t let the plain exterior fool you, this family owned vineyard really knows what it’s doing…

My favourite tasting of the day was at Church & State. “Yedi” had told us the day before about it’s modern cellar and tasting room and I instantly fell in love with it’s minimal concrete and wood architecture. Natasha and John, the owner’s son, were so knowledgable and passionate about their wines. They tasted fantastic and I brought a bottle of their Pinot Noir home for my dad, although now I’m really wishing I brought one home for myself too!

Church & State

Next stop was Black Hills Winery. Fun fact, Jason Priestly of 90210 fame is one of the many owners! Now, as you can imagine, we were feeling pretty happy by this point and still hadn’t had lunch yet. Poor Dan, our tour guide, was very patient with us, as were the other lovely couple lucky enough to take the tasting with us. This tasting/tour cost $20 a person but was well worth it, although we probably should have done it earlier in the day to ease up on the giggling!

Lunchtime! We took a much needed lunch break at Hester Creek‘s new restaurant, Terrafina, and it was soooo delicious! We shared 3 of their wood fired pizzas and a caprese salad along with lots of water. The restaurant and surrounding gardens were absolutely gorgeous.

Rehydrated and full of pizza dough, we were ready to continue but, unfortunately, my camera battery was not. Luckily, Jody took lots of pictures for me! We enjoyed a lovely tasting inside Hester Creek…they have a fantastic kitchen set-up for chef’s cooking classes…before heading off to three more wineries. Tinhorn Creek has the most spectacular view and their new restaurant is pretty breathtaking too. Our server wasn’t very friendly (at all!) but the sweet lady Carol who welcomed us made up for her snootiness. There’s an amazing amphitheatre below the restaurant that hosts twilight musical performances throughout the summer. Silver Sage was the next vineyard on our list. It had some really fruity wines that tasted exactly like granny smith apples and berries, although they were a bit too sweet for my taste. The tasting host was hilarious and they have a killer hot pepper infused wine, and I mean killer! Our final tour of the day was at La Stella. The tower and building were picturesque and I made sure that Jody took some pics of the blown-glass lights for me. They had some amazing coabalt blue ones illuminating the spiral tower stairs too. Oh, and did I mention that “Yedi” gave me a prize for enjoying the most tastings of the day? Mmm hmm, that’s right.

Our cloudy weekend weather turned out to be perfect for our day amongst the grapes and we are so thankful to “Yedi” for taking us around…we could never have found so many great wineries on our own! It sounds like a lot but don’t worry, the tastings are very small and we paced ourselves well, with lots of snacks on the road between vineyards. Visit the South Okanagan Wine Association to see some of these wineries and more that we missed. And do make sure that you have a designated driver like we did. There are literally hundreds of fantastic vineyards now up and running in the Okanagan and I’m already looking forward to my next visit! Time to recover first though…



Please note that we did not receive promotional compensation or perks of any kind from the hotel, wineries or restaurants mentioned in this post.