My Segment with Steven & Chris
How to decorate for cheap!

As many of you know, I’ve spent the past 15 years hosting television shows in Canada.  I’ve worked with Candice Olsen and Mike Holmes and a bunch of other people who are just as good, but who you’ve never heard of.


Hosting is what’s paid for my house, my car, all my clothes, landscaping materials, my food and everything else that needs to be paid for as a result of being born a human.

Blogging on the other hand has paid for exactly 3 trips to Dollarama and small bag of Crystallized Ginger at The Bulk Barn.   Blogging couldn’t even provide me with the fixings for a roast beef dinner.  What it does feed however, is my soul.    Look!  I’m getting all introspective and mushy.  At times crystallized ginger is not unlike magic mushrooms if you get a good batch.  Right on, man.

Every once in a while though I get a good television segment that does the same thing.  Makes me feel good about the world of television and the programming that can be done.  It’s so easy for something to go wrong in television.  The host could be great, but the camera operator is crappy.  If the cameraman is crappy and the host is forced to do something over and over and over again … the camerawork might finally end up looking good, but the host looks worn out and crappy.  If the camerawork and the host are GREAT, there’s still the business of the editor.  If the editor doesn’t have a great sense of timing the whole segment (or movie, or television show) is crappy.  You see the point here.

Television can go horribly wrong.  Really wrong.  Embarrassingly wrong.  Saved by the Bell: The New Class wrong.   I sometimes watch feature length movies and wonder how they ever get made.  Even bad ones.  The amount of people who have to be perfect at their jobs in order for a movie to be made is mind boggling.  And all it takes is one doofus to ruin everything.   Every try doing a good job after an entire crew has eaten suspect shrimp for lunch?  As the saying goes, You’re only as good as your weakest person or You’re only as strong as your weakest link … Or something like that.  I wasn’t really listening.

Today I’m going to share with you a segment that works.  There’s nothing mind blowing or revolutionary about it.  It’s just good.  It’s interesting and fun to watch and other than the fact that I really needed highlights in a bad way, my hair looks O.K.  It was shot and directed by Denise Jones for The Steven & Chris Show. It was produced by Kelly Wray.  Kelly is both talented and beautiful.  Music video beautiful.  I kindda hate Kelly in a totally non-hating kind of way.

Many of you weren’t able to see my segments on Steven & Chris when I did them because they only air in Canada and a few portions of The States.  I’ve managed to steal a segment from somewhere to put on my site.

I’m pretty sure they won’t sue me for showing you this, but in case they do … you don’t know nothin’.  Got it?

Update: Tragically on August 3rd, 2015 Chris Hyndman was found dead outside of the condo he shared with husband Steven. 

Cheap Design Solutions

Steven & Chris Show with Karen Bertelsen

Karen from the Art of Doing Stuff does a segment for The Steven & Chris Show.


This was the first of a 2 part segment for Steven & Chris.  In the second part I’m in studio with them, showing them how to make my personal fire pit.   I do not have that segment for you.  Perhaps now that The Amazing Race is over I’ll have time to improve my thieving skills and will be able to steal that segment for you as well.

This segment featured a lot of the things I’ve done around the house for cheap that I’ve already shared on the blog. In case you missed them and you want further instructions on how to do it all here are the individual posts on …

The Tree Stump Table

The Glowing Orbs (outdoor version)

Reupholstering a Chair with a Throw

DIY Tabletop Firepit

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some crystallized ginger to finish.  I’m losing my buzz.


  1. Kika says:

    I LOvE your hair. The other stuff was really cool too, but right now I am fixated on your hair.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Kika! It’s a bit of a mess right now. I’d just had it done for Steven & Chris. My friend Renee does it in Toronto. Platinum white bleach! ~ karen

  2. Jennifer says:

    I LOVE your humor and witty comments!! You are amazing on this video! Maybe you will get more TV appearance opportunities :D You are very entertaining and I would definitely tune into what you would have to say :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jennifer! Thanks. I’ve actually been a television host in Canada for 15 years. I’ve hosted lifestyle shows, entertainment shows and done commentary. I’ve only recently branched out into the world of blogging. :) It’s much more fun! ~ karen

  3. Taryn says:

    Karen, if those crappy cameramen ever tell you they’ll ‘fix it in post’ you smack him upside the head and tell them to shoot it again.
    Otherwise the editor will be using a picture of the cameraman’s head as a dart board as they attempt to ‘fix it in post’.

    • Karen says:

      Taryn – LOL. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a cameraman say “they’ll fix it in post”. The odd sound guy … but never a cameraman. ;) ~ karen

  4. Melissa M says:

    This is wonderful Karen! A great introduction to your blog, your sense of humor, and your fabulous house. I’m going to link this video on facebook.

  5. Elise says:

    I need help! Do you have to use three shower curtains like I do?! Ours is mounted at three points. WTF. How does your tub look so good like that? Do you have any claw-foot tub tips? I’m so jealous.

    • Karen says:

      Elise – I use 2 shower curtains. One for either side. Clear plastic. I love my clawfoot tub, but honestly, it always looks better in pictures for some reason. So don’t be too jealous! ~ karen

  6. Kat says:

    I love it! you are so funny and that sneaky cat was priceless.

  7. Britt says:

    Love it Karen!! You funny lady! :)

  8. Anemone says:

    Cat thought it was being invisible…hahahaha..

  9. amy walters, aDESIGNdock says:

    Lovely Karen ;) You’re so witty. Love it!

  10. Anne G says:

    At the risk of sounding ‘stalkerish’ I am completely, totally, head over heels, addicted to your blog. I am thoroughly entertained and schooled in each and every post.

    I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have laughed harder at the bathing segment and the portable fire pit while vacuuming and chopping. (still laughing)

    Any of you TV folks out there reading these comments…let’s get this VERY talented host back on television where she belongs! (Just make sure it airs in the states so I don’t miss a show!) :)

    • Karen says:

      Thanks for the support Anne! Feel free to spearhead the campaign. Look up Anna Gecan at HGTV in the States. She’s a good person to start with. Maybe I’ll do a post with the email addresses of all the network execs. to make it easier on all of you. LOL. Oh. That might not go over well though. Hmm. Best to do it yourselves. Look for programming directors, heads of original programming and sometimes the person in the cafeteria has a surprising amount of pull. ~ karen

  11. Kelly says:

    Loved having you on the show! So fun. But just a wee correction… Denise shot & directed, I produced it. Team effort :) Don’t forget about me KB. Haha. Xo

    • Karen says:

      You’re right! Crap. Crap, crap, crap. Bad host. I’ll go correct it now Kelly! I’m so sorry. ~ Karen!

  12. Wendy Derblich says:

    Karen, you are hilarious! When will you be on TV next – we miss you!!!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Wendy. I’ll be on TV again as soon as someone starts some sort of campaign. But like I said … I won’t do bad television so mention that in the campaign. (Hence the being unemployed for the past 9 months.) ;) ~ karen

  13. Rose says:

    Karen, you are so entertaining, and I love every idea you have. No joke, every single one. I agree with those other peeps…get your own show!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Rose. :) I’d like my own show based on the site too. But it’s not up to me. If it were … I’d have a show. Feel free to campaign to HGTV Canada or HGTV US. Maybe even W Network. :) ~ karen

  14. kalanicut says:

    I saw that stump table on Design*Sponge a week or so ago and have not been able to get it out of my head. Love it. Well, I love it all, but I can’t stop thinking about that table. Love the video. Your haircut is so great and fresh!

  15. Evalyn says:

    Did you paint the bathtub? How?

  16. Evalyn says:

    True story: after reading about the globe lights, I went to my local thrift store to get some, and they were ALL GONE. I frequent a number of thrift store in three different towns on a regualr basis, and so far, no globes. See what you did? Because of you, everywhere across the Pacific Northwest, homes and yards are aglow with globe lights. Except mine. Thanks.

    I want your bathtub.

    • Pam'a says:

      The good news is that you can get brand new ones at any hardware store, and they’re STILL cheap. :)

  17. CourtneyOutLoud says:

    I think you should get t-shirts that say

    I’M CHEAP.

    Sell them and then become rich. but then you will have to get shirts made later on that say I’M RICH BUT STILL CHEAP, which isn’t very frugal. funny but not frugal.

    • Karen says:

      Courtney! My boyfriend hates it when I refer to myself as cheap. He claims I’m good with money. Not cheap. Which is actually true. Cheap people give crappy presents and reuse their paper towels. I’m just good with money. But it’s more fun to say cheap. ~ karen

  18. Design Love says:

    So funny! Do you take your fire pit on any dates? Might get in the way! LOL

    Very cute segment. I didnt’ quite get it, but did you say you were Cheap?


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The Art of Doing Stuff