The shorter days of winter are here. We're waking up in the dark and getting fewer and fewer hours of daylight. It's the time of year where we're inclined to break out the crockpot and binge watch Netflix on repeat, wrapped in a blanket.
This year, to try to manage our winter blues, here at Green Moms Collective, we're going to try embrace the winter weather by looking towards the Danish concept of “hygge”. Hygge can loosely be translated to coziness, happiness, and well-being, not all adjectives some of us would use to describe the looooong stretch between November through March. To help us love being indoors more, I'm excited to welcome Paula Coop McCrory as our guest expert for the month.
Paula has an eye for design, as a visual artist and a Pinterest influencer, where she's grown a huge framed by the simple philosophy of pinning what she loves. This month, she's sharing her expertise to help us create a cozy home space for welcoming the winter season.
An Interview with Paula Coop McCrory
You’ve amassed over 4 million Pinterest followers, tell us how this has shaped the work you do.
My love of Pinterest unexpectedly reshaped my career path. When I was first introduced to the platform, I was teaching art to children at a private school with an educational background in the visual arts. I kept an 80hr work week between teaching and pinning for 2.5 years before I was confident I could leave teaching. The opportunities grew as did my following – allowing me to be fully independent while reconnecting with my love of visual art & design.
How can we use Pinterest to spot design trends? Any tips on developing an eye for design?
There are many ways you can use Pinterest to spot design trends. Because Pinterest is about sharing and repining, your home feed becomes a direct link into seeing what the people you’re following are trending towards while understanding your own design preferences. Paired with your interest, boards and the list of accounts you visit regularly, gauging trend while understanding and defining your own eye for design, naturally curates itself over time. This is one of the things I love most about Pinterest.
Most of us have had a Pinterest fail whether it’s in the kitchen or a DIY gone wrong. We want to know your biggest Pinterest fail!
Fails are a pivotal part of success, and I have had many. Mixed up ingredients, forgotten steps, missed parts – I have had to throw away dinners, remake DIY projects a multitude of times and accept that I have certain strengths and weaknesses that have come to light when trying to recreate certain pins.
As Canadians, we tend to hibernate a little bit during the upcoming winter season. What are some trends that we might consider to help us stay cozy?
I love that winter is all about getting cozy and keeping cozy, throughout the season. I am excited by arm knit blankets, learning to cook with the Instant Pot and bringing out my Manitobah Mukluks. I am obsessed with learning how to embroider. The work that artists are producing with thread is inspiring, and I can’t wait to create some pieces of my own.
Winter is also a great time to reassess what you would like to change or strengthen within your home. Getting my favourite photos framed from the summer season while introducing softer textures and new textiles through accent pillows and DIY artwork projects, is a cost-effective and enjoyable way to frame the love of your family and home.
You’ve recently sold your Toronto home and are about to embark on a big change! Tell us about what lead to your decision to move to the country?
I define our find as country living with city access. My husband and I have been talking about it for years, but with the belief, it wouldn’t be possible until our boys were much older. We were camping over the Labour Day long weekend and on a whim looked up properties. We instantly fell in love with the first listing that came up for a five bedroom detached home on an acre and a half. Not only did it offer each child their own bedroom but the ability to have office space and an art studio. Things aligned for us and we couldn’t say no. Raising bees, having a greenhouse and access to the lake and greenspace – is now something that I can tangibly do. It’s a dream come true.
One of my favourite aspects of moving is the chance to decorate the space. It’s a kind of blank slate. What are you most looking forward to when it comes to styling your new home?
I too love interior design. I am inspired by the vibrant colours of Caribbean flora paired with the calm of muted paint colours. I am excited by velvets, bohemian textiles, bold wallpaper design and teak furniture. Creating spaces that reflect all aspects of our family – is what I’m most excited by. Be it dinosaurs, Canadian wildlife or luxe fabrics – my hope is that our new home encompasses all that we love and take inspiration from, in a warm and eclectic way.
Speaking of styling, what will you most miss that was unique to your city home?
Due to the state of the front porch of the home when we moved into, we decided to renovate the entire front of the house. We worked with an architect and designer that not only modernized the look of the house but utilized the space. This included built-in seating and the creation of a closed off space under the front deck to tidily hide all city bins.
As an active Pinterest-user, do you create inspiration boards to help you plan renovations and room design? Will you show us one of your personal boards?
All the time. Pinterest has helped me clarify my own sense of style while collecting images that have become my main source of explanation to how I want to renovate. I have a secret board I have been adding images into for the last couple of years. I have included a screenshot to show you what I have collected so far. This board has become my go-to in helping me decide on the kitchen renovations we’re working on right now in our new home.
Life seems to move fast, especially during the school year with homework, extracurricular activities, and everyone’s personal schedule. It can often feel like we’re getting bogged down in a daily to-do list.
As a mom to three young boys and a former art teacher, do you have any insight on how we can bring more space for creativity into our family’s lives?
I try not to overbook us as a family. If I can schedule the boys extracurricular activities throughout the week, I like to try and keep the weekends for family. Something that I learned while teaching within the Montessori school system is to keep an art nook for the boys. A space that is all about exploration, getting our hands dirty and having fun. It allows self-expression and is therapeutic. As my boys have grown, they now search it out when they start to feel overwhelmed or want to get creative.
Tell us about a project you are really excited about, what’s next for you?
I am very excited about a collaboration that will be revealed November 22. It’s a dream opportunity that I wish I could say more about.