Christmas Porch Decorating.

The porch is decorated for Christmas!  Let the festivities and theft begin!



People assume a certain level of story book charm comes with living in a small town.  Shopkeepers who know your name, people referring to store owners as shopkeepers – that sort of thing.  A lot of what you assume about small towns is true.  News does travel fast, stores do shut down at 5 o’clock and there are way more churches than grocery stores.

But other things you might assume are probably not true. I for one have literally never seen a tumbleweed rolling down the street. A goat? Yes.  A tumbleweed, no.


There’s also the assumption we are living in a crime free Narnia where anyone born with the slightest predisposition to delinquency is shipped off to the big city before they can do any real damage. Also not true. We small town folk have thieving assholes too.

Especially around Christmastime where Christmas lights are broken, garland ripped down and nativity scenes tipped over.

This is what I call assholyness.


Last year I was subjected to it myself when my antique wood sleigh was stolen from my front porch. I loved that sleigh.  Chances are it was teenagers that took it as opposed to a band of marauding antique dealers. So this year there’s one less thing on my porch and one additional.  There’s no sleigh, but I’ve filled its spot with some buckets.

And two security cameras. 

One in a very conspicuous spot and one in a very inconspicuous spot.  Then there are 3 more around the perimeter, just to be safe.


I know. Not very small town is it?  If it helps ease your small town fantasy, as I was putting the cameras up earlier this year my neighbours and I all stood around staring at them with our hands on our hips discussing what this world has come to. We did this the day before we held our annual BYOC (bring your own chair)  block party.  We block the road off with trucks and hockey nets.  So there’s that.


There is however a lot more neighbourliness in this small town than there is assholyness.  When my dining room smelled disastrously like cat pee 2 days before hosting Thanksgiving dinner (the result of a renal failure cat and ripping up a wood floor) one of those shopkeepers showed up unannounced at my house with both a Lampe Berger to help get rid of the smell and a flat of hollyhocks she grew.


Whenever it snows my neighbour digs out my driveway for me.  Whenever my neighbours are out of a cup of sugar (or a Tablespoon of vinegar, yard bags, milk for morning tea or even extra dishes for Thanksgiving dinner) they come to me.


When someone’s child went missing in town a few of summers ago hundreds of people came out to look for him.  When he was found entire streets were filled for his vigil. His name was Finn and he was as cute as a button.  His mother is Vanessa. We went to high school together.

Yes, there’s theft, yes there’s vandalism, yes there’s tragedy in a small town. But when it happens we know who our neighbours are to warn them, help them and even hold them.  We let them know if our shed has been broken into, if the lady on the corner is sick and when butter is on sale at the grocery store.

So yes, something might get taken off of my porch and I might or might not catch them with my cameras. If something is stolen I’ll be angry and hurt and for a few minutes I’ll lose all hope in this world and its humans.

But then I’ll remember there’s more good than bad, more helpful than harmful and more hope than hate.  Not just in a small town.  Everywhere.


I leave you this year with those thoughts as I pack up shop until January.  It’s been a pleasure to bring you bits of my life and work all year long.

p.s. I had a whack of shots of me grinning like a fool at the camera, but this is the one I chose. In it I’m keeping an eye on a group of hooligans.  The one on the Big Wheel looked particularly suspicious.


  1. Jody says:

    Merry Christmas. Thank you for all your entertaining and inspiring posts this year. Looking forward to what is to come in 2019. All the best to your family as well; Betty, Fish Pedicure, Pink Tool Belt.

  2. Barb says:

    Your house looks great. I went by yesterday on my daily walk. Thank you so much for your wonderful blogs and the ideas that you share all year. I look forward to the my morning coffee and your posts. They go together perfectly. Have a happy and relaxing holiday and all the best in the new year.

  3. Christie says:

    As much as I hate to be repetitive, I hate more not to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed your blog. Someone introduced me to ‘you’ this spring and I’ve looked forward to reading every single one of your highly smile inducing (and, yep, informative ) posts. You’re definitely a kindred spirit …well, except for that ripping-up-the-floor thing, but I was rooting for you all the way ;) . Thanks for quitting that other silly ol’ job you had to bring cheer and ideas and how-tos to the rest of us. Merry Christmas!

  4. Nancy says:

    Thank you! Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year! Love, love, love you and reading your stories and inspiration for more creativity and projects. Take care and watch out for those porch pirates!

  5. Sandra D says:

    Have a nice time off – see ya next year! From Sandra in Calgary.

  6. Lynda Loy says:

    Merry Christmas Karen and a Wonderful New Year! Thank you for a fun and interesting year. I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog that day! Can’t begin to tell you how much fun I’ve had this past year with you. Here’s to 2019 being just as grand!

  7. Deb Wostmann says:

    And a very Merry Christmas to you! I’ll be looking forward to your wicked sense of humor to carry me through 2019.

  8. Eileen says:

    What everyone else said!
    Have a wonderful blog-break Christmas and New Year Karen!
    And happy holidays to all in this blog-community.

  9. Sabina says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Karen! Thanks for adding a little something extra to my days!

  10. Shellie says:

    Thanks Karen for a wonderful blog. Yours is the one I go to for a sure giggle or a laugh out loud guffaw. Many thanks for lightening the hearts of many.

  11. Renee says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Karen. Thank you for all of your posts. Over the years, some of your posts are a part of my daily life. Just last night I was wearing your recommended coat around a fire we made outside which I started with your recommendation for homemade fire starters. Enjoy your much deserved holiday !

  12. Debbie says:

    Merry Christmas from someone who has lived in both! The Southside of Chicago and a little town of about 6300 people today. Small town living is quaint but we’re rural so it comes with it’s own challenges.
    Thank you for a year of great reads and lots of ideas! Enjoy your time away from cyber world!

  13. Kris says:

    Merry Christmas Karen! And thank you you another year of inspiration and entertainment.

  14. Deb says:

    Thank you Karen for an amazing year filled with love laughter and all things good and bad. May your Christmas be filled with Peace & Love!

  15. Lori says:

    Love this post, Karen. It is hard sometimes to remember that there is more good than bad….but you are absolutely right. Perfect sentiment for this time of year. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful start to the New Year. Have fun dreaming up all your projects for the coming year!

  16. Shannon Cruz-Herr says:

    Your posts bring me endless smiles, giggles and “I am totally stealing that idea!” So I finally thought I should just leave you a dang message saying so. Happy Holidays and thank you for spreading your good cheer.

  17. Suzanne Reith says:

    Merry Christmas Karen, and thanks for brightening so many of my days this year.

  18. Maggie Van sickle says:

    May you have a blessed and Merry Christmas Karen. Enjoy your family. Your home both inside and out is beautiful as always.

  19. Suel Anglin says:

    Thank you Ma’am for sharing your remarkable take on living well. I’m looking forward to seeing your posts in the new year. Being in school full-time and working part-time I haven’t had a chance to enjoy all your blogs this year. But Joy! Now I have the time and the presence of mind to catch up!

    I wish you, your folks and all your fellow Canadians, peace, good health and prosperity for the new year.

    Suel from WNC

  20. Karen says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Ive loved stumbling onto your blog and now have 2 espalier apple trees thanks to you. Thanks for sharing what you are up to with the world.

  21. Thera says:

    Merry Christmas

  22. jaine kunst says:

    Merry Christmas, Karen and thank you for all the DIYs, beautiful photos, delicious receipes and funny posts.

  23. Kimberly says:

    Merry Christmas and thanks for sharing your home and thoughts with us!

  24. Kat says:

    Have a merry and a happy! Enjoyed another year of theartofdoingstuff and look forward to next years adventures!
    Thank you so much for sharing with us!!

  25. Krista says:

    Thank you for all of your entertaining blogs throughout the year. They are informative, funny and a joy to read. I do believe this was my favorite, however, because it helped to remind me that despite all the tragedy and ugliness this year has brought, there is still hope and good people in the world. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  26. Neil Ramlow says:

    Thank you Karen
    You took me into your clutch of followers as a stray from Minnesota. Living deep in the wilderness,,,, ok well the country many of your posts apply to my lifestyle and add a bit of bounce to getting things done. Now its time to dance.

  27. Jenny W says:

    Merry Christmas, from one “small town” Canadian girl to another!
    Enjoy the Holiday Season, and I’ll be here with bells on, when you return in 2019 :)

  28. judy says:

    Thanks Karen for all the laughs,amazing accomplishments! and thanks to all of the influences in your life that made you such a unique and interesting-actually fascinating human being.

    I know 2019 is going to be great for you and all your readers cause you and they are just the smartest nicest people.

  29. Cathleen says:

    Your porch is fab…love it! I love your humor, your style, talent and amazing energy…you make me laugh and you have taught me so much. Merry Christmas and have a lovely, restful break. See you next year.

  30. Cynthia H Adams says:

    Merry Christmas, Karen. Thank you for your posts.

  31. Marna says:

    Your porch looks great! I especially like the buckets, but sorry you had something stolen. I don’t even put some things out front for that reason. Sad to know that even small towns have to deal with all the same things as larger cities.

    Thanks for sharing all your tips and recipes and funny stories!

    Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy and great New Year!

  32. Kim says:

    This was just so lovely and poignant. I’m glad you love your town so much. I live in a city. But my neighbourhood has a very small town feel with all of us looking out for each other as you describe. And really, I love the whole city.

    It’s so nice to love where you live: house, neighbourhood, city, country. It’s such a good feeling to be part of a place and bring love and light to it. Thank you for sharing that light with all of us here.

    You are doing a great thing by just living your life with joy and sharing it with enthusiasm. So thank you and Merry Christmas!

  33. Lisa says:

    Merry Christmas from me, the wacky wildlife (including the pigeon beheading owl – who leaves the body as a gift), and my wonderful neighbours. Neighbours are special. Thanks for a great year – and here’s to a fabulous 2019 for you, your family and your furry, feathered lot.
    PS: Happy to send the owl after the wagon thieves. :-)

  34. Tine Lisberg says:

    Kære Karen – Tak for endnu et år, hvor vi har haft den glæde at følge alle dine projekter.
    Jeg ønsker dig en rigtig glædelig jul og godt nytår.

    Dear Karen – Thank you for another year, where we have had the pleasure to follow alle your projects.
    I wish you at merry, merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    (Picture is the top of my christmas tree this year)

  35. Angela Nett says:

    Merry Christmas Karen❤️ My world would have a whole lot less laughter and inspiration without you and your fantastic blog in it. Thank you😘

  36. Sachi says:

    Merry Christmas Karen! <3

  37. Elaine says:

    Merry Christmas, Karen, and thank you for the best, most “real”, most informative and most fun blog …. ever!! Wishing you, also, a happy and healthy 2019!

  38. Sandra Schneider says:

    Oh! I have loved following you (lurking? without comment) for a year or so. I’ve laughed and commiserated in silence. This is the first time I’ve cried.
    Your writing is so beautiful and your life is quietly inspiring. Living, gardening, decorating with intention. Thank you for merry year. You are appreciated.

  39. Juliana says:

    Thank you so much for your posts, I feel like I reference your writing daily!
    Today it was while I stole a branch of a balsam fir from home depot after a fruitless week of conifer misidentification.
    Yesterday it was to reference your new hardware/apothecary cabinet, and my coveting of said cabinet.
    Last week it was to share my orign story of how I came to grow luffa over the summer after I learned they were not from under the sea.
    Since I am usually referencing some future project, the conversations are either with my boyfriend and/or my farming partner/fake dad. The internet is Syfy to them, so instead of using that ugly scary buzzword, “blogger”, I refer to you as “the writer who autoposied her chicken”, but I always try to follow that with a full brand [theartofdoingstuff] so I can really drill it in their heads.
    I see so much Martha in you, but it is planely obvious that you lack that toxic greed and poisonious shallow power thirst necessary to over work yourself into oblivion.
    When I read you, it seems like you really enjoy making us laugh, because so much of your humor is cleverly complex. It would have taken me a week for some of those quips, and you will have put out 3 posts and a DIY by then.
    What is really inspiring is how you absolutely own every single detail and aspect of your world. (“No, only the 200 year old pine floors will do! Yes I can handle it, and hosting thanksgiving in 3 days!!”)
    …….I digress……what was I saying? Oh yea, totally not a fan, but thank you so much for writing. You are super generous to fully share your world, with the world.

    Thank you, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

    • kelly in weed says:

      i love that you refer to karen as “the writer who autopsied her chicken” at our house,
      I refer to her as “krazy karen in kanada” …as long as i start my crazy conversation with that my husband will actually listen.

      karen, thank you for your time and generosity in sharing your life it’s definitely time well spent. I don’t always have time to stay caught up, but then I ‘binge read” and all is well with the world again. happy christmas

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Juliana! Yes. That is me. The writer who autopsied her chicken, lol. Holy shit. Yup. That. Is. Me. And a big thank you for referring to me as a writer since technically that’s really what I am and have been for years prior to the invention of blogging. For instance, I wouldn’t call myself a photographer so much as someone who takes pictures. And I love Martha I can’t say anything against her – in fact I wish I had just 1% of her business acumen, but yeah, I’m not driven by money. I’m driven by curiosity. And one day maybe a chauffeur. ;) ~ karen!

  40. Louann Chalcraft says:

    I desperately want to see the picture of you keeping an eye on the hooligans. Is it just not loading for me?

  41. JDooley says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the lady that has a Roomba riding Cat!!! Rejoice for Christmas, then I have a knee to be fixed, and then the house projects to begin!!! Thanks for the inspirations!!

  42. Tracy says:

    Merry Christmas, Karen – your décor is lovely as always. Hope you enjoy your home and the holidays – see you in 2019!

  43. Ecoteri says:

    Weird, Karen – on Safari, there is just a big blank square for your last image. On Chrome, there isn’t even a hint of an image?
    Merry Christmas

    • Martina says:

      Whew…I thought it was just me…lol

    • MaryJo says:

      I thought it was just me, too. What the heck is up with Chrome? I had problems with at least one other website’s photos.
      It totally pisses me off that your sled was stolen, I really liked that sled and the thieves are crappy snotheads!
      Your house looks great, as always, Karen.
      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

      • Karen says:

        Im thinking the photo was stolen…

        • Stephanie says:

          I think so too – all show up for me, but the last – tiny black box. Sounded like a good pic too! Is that what you had in mind though – is it your tiny eyeball looking through your peephole watching your camera watch the street? Merry Christmas Karen and Happy New Year. All the best for the season to you!!

        • judy says:

          I wish I knew your address, I saw a sled on Amazon,described as antique reproduction? for $109.00. I would send it to you-I loved that sled on your porch-and the homeyness of your porch.
          It’s like those Norman Rockwell paintings that portray life as it ought to be. You just want to walk up and sit down and watch the world go by until of course the homeowner calls the police…..

    • Brenda says:

      Same here! I really wanted to see the suspicious one on the Big Wheel, too! :(

  44. M J says:

    Thank you ever so much for all of your posts, your wonderful unpolitically correct humor and your creative spirit‼️ I so look forward to your posts and I already have withdrawals but I truly hope you have a fabulous holiday & the very best to you in the New Year‼️🎊🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉
    P. S. I look forward to your 2019 joyful & full of wisdom blogs‼️ Thank God for YOU‼️

  45. Jenn Billesberger says:

    LOVE your description of your beautiful small town – ❤️❤️❤️

  46. Jani Wolfe says:

    Merry Christmas Karen!
    Where did 2018 go to so fast?
    It’s been a hoot and a pleasure reading your blogs! You sure make my day when I get one!
    Love the assholyness!!

  47. Ramona says:

    Wishing you the happiest of New Years! Thank you for making 2018 so enjoyable for me. Your garden tips made my garden better. Your Christmas Pledge made the season less stressful and a lot more fun for me and my family. Wishing you peace and love . xoxox

  48. Kipper says:

    That was lovely Karen! Have a wonderful blog vacation. Though we all know you will probably do some project and surprise us In January. Happy and healthy new year!

  49. Michelle says:

    Merry Christmas! Thanks for your love of life and your willingness to share so much of that life. Cheers to a wonderful New Year ahead.

  50. Ritz Martin says:

    Dear Karen,
    Thank you for all your hard labor to make my life more interesting. My best holiday and solstice wishes to you and your family. Catch you next year.

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