October 30, 2014

I'm always looking for new ideas for tabletop decor. There are so many talented bloggers out there who have wonderful ideas. 

I love the tray with the various vintage framed photos.

Ann Sutton is very talented at arranging vignettes. I love her home, and her style.

Here's a nostalgic nod to all things French and vintage. 

I like all the elements used on this coffee table. It has color, patina and texture.

Fresh flowers, old books, vintage keys and clock, and typography pillows makes for a fantastic look.

Greenery always looks great in a tabletop vignette. Same goes for books. 

Hope you got some ideas for your next tabletop display here. I know I did!

1. Source | 2. Source | 3. Source | 4. Source  | 5. Source 6. Source
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October 29, 2014

This is the first year I've had success with the moon flower vine. The blooms are huge and magnificent in the darkness. And many times they will last till close to noon the next day if the sky is overcast.

"Isn't that right, Charlie Ross?" I so rarely get a good photo of  his face. And usually I can only get it when he's right in front or me.

I bought one kale this year. And now it is huge. I so enjoy the many green layers of wavy leaves and purple veins.

Have you read The Husband's Secret? If you haven't, you should. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. And I am in total admiration of the writer, Liane Moriarty. I thought it was better than her Big Little Lies I recently read. 

Now I'm about to start reading The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. And I've also been reading The Sociopath Next Door. Chilling but good-to-know information there. 

Otherwise I'm trying to ready the house and patio garden for surgery a week from today. I like to have things done and I check them off my list. I go in to discuss my pre-op tomorrow afternoon. 

Not sure how mobile I'll be for awhile. So don't want things like dust on the ceiling fans or top of the fridge and all those other things we put off. 

Rusty the rooster will be outside overseeing things. I have to get out there and move everything away from the wall because they're coming to clean the gutters. I expect quite a mess!

I'm also finally getting up to working on the tiny bathroom. It has a mirror that starts at the wall where you go in and extends beyond the vanity and then the toilet. So yes, it's massive. And I'm trying to play it down. 

Will show you that when I'm done, if I can get some photos of this tiny space. 

Off to get my coffee now. Cool this morning. I have some painting I'd like to get done. So we'll see how the day goes.

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October 28, 2014

The Bloggers' Book Club read "The Storied Life Of A.J. Fikry" for October. At first I didn't think it was that appealing, but I got into the story fast. And loved the book. 

The story is about a man named A.J. Fikry. He is old school, a book seller on Alice Island, who lives above his store. He abhors the electronic way of reading. Like I said, old school. (Like me.)

His wife is dead, his life is pretty predictable, book sales are down, and a rare collection of Poe poems, which he cherished, has been stolen. 

Then life becomes totally unpredictable. He comes in from a run, and finds the front door is open. 

He hears a cry, and finds a young child plopped on the floor of one of the book aisles. There is a note to him. Saying the mother wants her child, Maya, to live there and be a reader. 

The mother writes that she has no one to help her, the baby's father is not in her life, and that the child is 25 months old. She wants her child to grow up in a place with books, and among people who care about such things. 

At first he is horrified. Who would have done such a thing? Leave a small child in an empty book store. And what does he know about children? 

But he takes the child upstairs, and calls the police. It seems he might have to care for the little girl until social services has time to drop by and fetch her. 

But A.J., despite all his reservations, becomes attached to little Maya. The child is quite precocious and she steals his heart, one bit at a time. After a time he is allowed to adopt her.

The other story here is that A.J. has found himself attracted to a book rep, who he managed to be quite uncivil with last she visited his place of business. He wants to rectify that. A.J. is not a smooth sell. He will have to win her over somehow. 

So this is a story about a man who does indeed have a heart, though it will have to come out of the freezer. A young child who becomes his by way of a simple letter asking him to take her. A book rep that A.J. has feelings for, and a few other interesting characters. 

I'm not going to tell you what happens, for it would ruin the book for you. Let's just say that I opened the book thinking I would probably not like "The Storied Life Of A.J. Fikry." I certainly would not have bought it on my own. 

But to my dismay and ultimate satisfaction, I am grateful to the member of this book club who did choose it. Because it broadened my horizons in terms of book choices. And the story moved me deeply.

Please visit the other members and she what they thought of this unique book: 
Carmel @ Our Fifth House
Cassie @ Primitive And Proper
Kirby @ Kirb Appeal
Katie @ On The Banks Of Squaw Creek

For November I get to choose a book. It is "The Good Girl" by Mary Kubica.

{Note: The opening graphic is from The Guardian}
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October 27, 2014

BJ at Sweet Nothings shows her love of the color red.

How about some of this meatloaf and mashed potatoes by Flower Patch Farmhouse?

The Heathered Nest completely reupholstered this settee. And it is exquisite!

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes made a lovely cake decorated with candy corn.

Isn't this decorative farmhouse scene lovely by Karen's Up On The Hill?

Renovar did such a great job on these furniture pieces.

Grandparents Plus made this chocolate crumb pie! Yum!

Robin at Happy At Home created a decorative wall to die for.

I just love this shade of green Northern Nesting painted this piece.

Don't you know every trick-or-treater in the neighborhood will be lured to this pretty front door by Thoughts Of Alice?

Calypso In the Country created a three-tiered fall display.

In Our Happy Place has a pretty bed to snuggle up in come winter.

This is a wonderful idea for a unique gift from Thoughts, Tips & Tales.

So what have you tweaked this week?

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If your landlord isn't flexible about letting you painting the walls, bring color in with throw pillows and rugs. A rug quickly unites a conversation area.

Take advantage of vertical space. As in the books on the wall. And this room is filled with natural light, always a bonus.

Add a whopper of a light fixture that will command attention and add texture. Fresh flowers always add panache. 

This kitchen makes great use of its space. I love the window with pots and pans hanging. What a unique idea!

This all black and white bathroom looks terrific with the floor tiles. If there's room, add a little table such as this round one, where you can add a plant, a small candle, etc. 

Renting doesn't mean you can't have a beautiful home. Quite the opposite. And as long as you improve on an area, the landlord may be willing to bend rules. 

Love it while you rent it, as I always say. Life is too short to be living in the future. Make your spaces reflect your personal tastes and you will be happy living there.

I'll be back later for Tweak It.

Photo Source: Apartment Therapy
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October 26, 2014

I often get the question of: "How do you make your spaces look cozy?"

1. In terms of lighting, you need three lighting sources, such as lamps, in each room. This is aside from the overhead lighting. Lamps cast a warm rosy glow about the room. I love them in kitchens too.

2. Layer. I layer quilts a lot. I not only layer them on couches and beds, I also put them up on walls. Quilts engender a feeling of being protected. I like the simple patchwork made from scraps best.

3. Books. You may not think that books lend a feeling of coziness. But your books are an expression of who you are. I just love to sit in someone's room and let my eyes glide over the kinds of books they have on their shelves.

4. Let in the natural light. It's your private window to nature. And it changes depending on the seasons. It casts light in your space and gives it a feeling of warmth.

5. Gallery walls lend a very cozy feeling. So many things in one place, arranged somewhat randomly. It tells an aspect of the personality of the person who lives there. And they are just fun to look at.

6. Collections. Put them on display, but don't overdo. If you have a collection of soup tureens or ironstone pitchers, too many will take away from the whole vignette. Pick your favorites and let them be the stars of the show. 

7. Throw pillows. They soften the corners of furniture and add to the cozy factor.

8. Rugs. I can't have rugs in my indoor spaces. Because somewhere along the line, my dogs decided they were puppy pads. But there's nothing prettier than a nice rug over hardwood floors or other solid flooring. 

9. Candles. Nothing changes the ambiance of a room more than candles. Light one for yourself each day. (Of course keep an eye on it and don't leave it burning if you leave the room!) You will enjoy the fragrance, and the small flame gives one a feeling of coziness. 

10. Your bedroom. Once again, layer. Quilts, throws, blankets. Pretty shams or pillows. It will invite you in each night. So make your bed up with lots of texture and layers. 

These are my tried and true tips for making a space cozy. Do you have any to add?

Sharing this post with Sundays At Home @ Thoughts From Alice & Amaze Me Monday @ Dwellings.

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October 25, 2014

What to do with perennials and flowers:

1. Water your perennials and flowering shrubs in the fall. 

2. Once the ground has frozen hard, cut perennials back to 3 inches and then mulch them.

3. If you want to add a new flower bed come spring, cover that area now with mulch or heavy plastic to discourage growth when the ground warms up in spring. 

4. Move pots of mums to a sheltered spot when their flowers are gone. Water well and cover well with a thick layer of straw to overwinter them.

Overwintering Geraniums:

1. Geraniums (or pelargoniums) are South African in origin, and there they have a three-month dormant period. They need to be kept well-watered before going into dormancy.

2. If you have a cool place in your house (around 50 degrees), you can overwinter them by keeping them in their pots and giving them very little water.  Come spring, bring them into a warm place and water them heavily. When they start to bud, repot them and prune heavily.

3. Geraniums do best in plastic or glazed pots with good drainage in the bottom. You can overwinter them as house plants without letting them go dormant, but they will be deprived of the rest they favor.

Putting Roses To Bed:

1. You can water roses regularly through fall. There is no need to fertilize starting six weeks before the first frost.

2. Remove any dead parts

3. Mulch after the first frost

4. Before temps drop well below freezing, carefully pull down the long canes of climbing and tea roses. Lay them flat on the ground, and cover them with pine branches or mulch.

Come spring, we will all be itching to get back into the garden.

I hope you've planted bulbs that will rise a above the detritus of winter and be one of the first signs of spring. 

I've got my tulips planted in containers on the patio underneath mums and various other plants that will be gone soon.

 (I planted my tulips down to a depth of 4-6 inches. Remember to  have the pointed tip of the bulb facing upward.)

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October 24, 2014

Last Monday before my evening shower, I was looking at my hair in the mirror. It's a rather dark bathroom; no window. And I don't like overhead light, so I have a lamp on the vanity I turn on instead. 

My short hair, which grows very quickly, was showing signs of needing a cut. Kay was coming to pick me up to go see the doctor the next morning. So I impulsively reached in the drawer for my scissors and started cutting a bit here and there, on top and at the sides. I have to take my glasses off to see how to do this, odd as that may sound.

My hair has gray in it, and I started cutting at the sides in front of my ears. I thought: Boy, it sure got gray over here fast. 

The next day, we go to the doctor, then out to eat. Kay sat across from me and of course saw my hair, and I still had no idea what I'd done. 

Yesterday in an email I mention something about my hair, and Kay emails back that she noticed the bald patches, but thought maybe it was a side affect of medication and decided not to say anything. But added: "Please don't cut your hair again." 

So then I knew it was bad.

Folks, I still could not see what I'd done clearly. I'd look in the mirror and look sideways and just couldn't see if what I was looking at was skin or gray hair that kind of blended into my skin. And I have new glasses, so no one bring that up. I guess I just don't see sideways very well.

I got in the car and drove down the street to Supercuts. Luckily Shelley was there, who has cut my hair before. I tell her my dilemma and say I thought I was cutting gray hair. I ask her to tell me the truth, because I still cannot completely see the damage I've done.

She tried to keep from laughing. "Well," she said: "There's just not a whole lot I can do. You've cut all the way down to the skin. But I'll try to blend it in." Since I get my hair cut very short, I figured that wouldn't be too hard. 

It was. I still look like I have the mange. 

Once home I promptly email Kay and ask her to please never let me walk out of here again and think she was being kind by not mentioning that I look like I have the mange, or something even more embarrassing. To please be totally honest with me. 

I mean I have feelings. But I'm one of those Honest Joes, or Jo Anns, if you will. I tell it straight. I would have told her if she had bald patches on either side of her head.

I realize people think they're being thoughtful. But if you're like me, you want your friends to let you KNOW if you have spinach in your teeth. That you want to KNOW if the end of your dress got caught up in your underwear in back after you went to the ladies room. That you want to KNOW why others will be staring at you but you don't know why. 

I know she was trying to be nice. She's always very nice. I met her when she volunteered, as one of my readers, to come help me move here. So she's a dear friend, and we happened to hit it off right away. We have the same feelings about many things; the same sense of humor. We both love to read the same kinds of books.

Oddly enough, in college she went into social work, but almost went into journalism. I took some social work classes, but ended up getting my degree in journalism. We realized the other day that we share the love of a favorite poem by Emily Dickinson.

But where she is thoughtfully silent about things like this, I border more on tactless. Things often fall out of my mouth before I've found a proper filter to put it through.

If the shoe had been on the other foot, I'd have said: "What on earth did you do to your hair?"

All you wonderful and caring friends out there, you may be sparing our feelings. But you're letting us go out in public where people will be staring at whatever has gone awry. And we'd really (or I would) just rather know than go out there blind to it. 

Kay is a very sweet and caring friend. Kay is taking me to my ankle surgery next month. I couldn't ask for a nicer or more thoughtful person to call friend. 

Now I'm writing this because to me it is amusing. It is one of those stories I will laugh about and tell to other friends occasionally when I recall it in the future. I would have been amused even if I'd been told about the bald patches.

But I'd rather know. Because I don't want others staring at me and not know why.

Do you have a similar story to share?

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October 23, 2014

Many of us don't have big homes. Many of us have scaled down after the raising of family. Some of us are down to one.

So it makes perfect sense to scale down your home and your possessions. Less housework. Less yard maintenance. Less to go wrong. Less to pay for. 

But how to make those small spaces look not so tiny?

Living Space

Consider a pull-out couch in case company comes. Use a coffee table that is open and doesn't take up visual space. Use pouffes for extra seating or as a foot stool. 

Bring in plants to "round" out corners. And let in the light!

Don't make the mistake of thinking you have to have small-scale furniture. You don't want it to look like a dollhouse.


In a small kitchen, look at white paint as your very best friend. It can open up a kitchen like nothing else can. It lights up the room. White is usually right, is my motto for big expanses and walls.

Dining Space Or Eating Area

Aside from keeping things light in shade, a banquette automatically helps to accommodate more seating. And you might also use the space inside for storage. The wicker chairs are light in texture. A winner all around.

Wicker is a good choice in small spaces because it doesn't have a heavy "look" to it. 


The blue just pops against the white. This room will surely wake you up!

The blue knobs set the vanity off perfectly. Blue has been sprinkled all around. On the walls, the trash can, the window treatment, etc. Your eye has the white to rest on, then POP, there is that bright blue to make you smile.

Don't let the thought of scaling down to a smaller home intimidate you. Purge the things you don't really use or have a deep fondness for. Move only what you truly love. 

Settle into your new digs with the confidence that, should you die, your loved ones won't be digging through all that clutter in the attic or basement. 

Selling things you don't need will beef up your bank account and make you feel more secure. 

You will have more time to get out and do what you love, because your small space doesn't take much effort to clean. You have more time to just enjoy life.


You will learn all sorts of new ways of making your life easier, and thus, more fulfilling.

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