It’s in the Details

A few weeks ago when I was putting together my monthly recap, I spent the afternoon out and about and didn’t get an updated picture I needed during daylight hours.

No worries—after all, it was the fireplace where the MR had touched up the paint to make my cluster of photos look even better. The heart of the home with three sets of lights, it would surely be well-lit. So I turned on all those switches and…

While the sconces flood the sides with light, the mantel and the place of pride above are left in shadows.

Granted, we’ve added some task lighting next to the seating area; and if it was still the sunken “conversation pit”, that area would be lit. But with all the care and effort people put in to decorating their mantel, wouldn’t it be nice if you could actually see it?

That’s why when me and the MR met with an interior designer this week about a possible master bathroom renovation, we talked lighting as well.

These little details can make or break the function of a room.

If you’re a guest at our home in the evening, you’re just going to have to trust me that the copper piece dances in the light and the sweet family pictures are pretty cute, too.

Any lighting dilemmas at your house? Don’t worry; I’ll keep you posted on any changes we make.

You can see the mantel in daylight here, and if you can’t remember the conversation pit or how the fireplace has changed check it out here.

In other news, it’s Baby Girl’s 21st Birthday. Love you Missy.


A Bargain Isn’t Always a Bargain

My mom worked retail for 30 years, and I managed to absorb some little nuggets. One of them was that January means inventory (weird work hours when your mom’s not home) and sales (because people want to have less merchandise to count).

So I wasn’t surprised to see lots of “white sales” during January. When me and the MR played hookey on MLKJ Day and headed to the mall, we checked out some furniture I’d been eyeing and then went to see about a bedspread. It was linen, it was on sale, it looked fine, and it was 30 percent off.

When I asked the MR for his opinion, he didn’t care. I told him it was OK, but I didn’t love it. He told me that was my answer and that he was surprised I even thinking about it. Hmm. That man has such wisdom sometimes.  If you feel ho-hum about it, why lay down a ton of cash?

I came home and decided to look online. For around $75, I bought a comforter and two shams for the bed on Joss & Main. It’s lightweight, yeah, a tightly-woven fabric, yeah, and has enough quilted pattern to hide dog fur and drool, yeah. Seems like a great deal.

I know I just bought a new patterned bedspread a year ago, but Cocoa’s paws have snagged it up horribly. And while she’s good about staying down when we’re home, there’s a definite dog-sleeping on the bed indentation when we arrive back from work or errands.

I’m rather excited about the matching shams. It might be too much gray, but for now I’m giving them a trial run.If it’s too bland, I can swap the shams for the ones I made ages ago. Perhaps they’d add some softness to the daybed in the sewing room. Lots of options, and no snagged fabric. I’m happy with my bargain.

Any shopping tips to share?

My People

You know how you send your children off to school, and they come home with all sorts of information and ideas you’ve never even heard of? I guess it means all that money we’re paying for education is actually doing something.

Sweet Miss graduated a couple years ago and started teaching at a new school last fall. She’s been using phrases like “Conscious Discipline” and “Reggio Emilia Approach”. Huh? Like I said before, it looks like she learned something in all that schooling.

One method she explained for dealing with a fussy child missing their mom or dad was to ask them who their person was. After that, you simple blow that person a kiss and say “I wish you well” and move on. I’m not sure how well that works, but I do agree it’s important to know who your people are.

My people are the ones on the mantel.

The MR and the girls are having a great time at a recent Dad’s Weekend, and then me and the MR are looking for King Kong on our trip to New York a few years ago. The photos are reminders of family and togetherness. I love how the green in the frame picks up on all the green in the stadium. It’s recycled from a motherboard (which the MR used to design), and we bought it back in Kansas when my nephew got married.

I’ve been searching for a frame for the picture of the two of us for ages. It’s an odd size, and it wouldn’t fit in a regular frame without having to crop out the top of the Empire State Building, and that’s kind of the whole point of the thing. A little wandering at Target last week, and a floating frame came to the rescue.

The picture with the penny is from Papa Larry. It arrived in the mail shortly after I finished the penny counters in the den area. And the slate and copper wire mirror I picked up on a family trip to eastern Washington.

I like knowing who my people are and surrounding us with memories.

Who are your people?


Playing to Your Strengths

There are times in your life when you have more time than money. That’s when you have to get creative in your decorating and also in your gift giving.

Being in college and studying abroad have impacted Baby Girl’s budget, but she surprised the family this year with lovely watercolors personalized for each of us.

For the MR, she painted a scene of palm trees and beaches, and for me, it was a rainbow viewed from the great room. Sweet Miss received a copy of one of her engagement photos, and the Fella got an inspiring outdoor scene that looked great for mountain biking.

While Sweet Miss and the Fella took theirs home with them, me and the MR’s painting have been sitting on the mantel for the last few weeks. The paintings are an odd size, so I’ve been certain I’d need to buy new frames and get them specially mounted.

Then I remembered the pair of framed school photos that used to grace the top of the piano years ago. They’d been displayed in the office area until we’d replaced them for senior photos on canvas a few years back. These old frames from Costco might just do the trick.

I found them in the storage room off the garage and was surprised at how faded Sweet Miss’ photo had become after a few years with all our sun in the great room. Maybe an area with less sun exposure would help our watercolors stay pristine.

We lose a little of the painting with the matting, but for now, I’m pleased with how these turned out and have hung them in the powder room out of direct sunlight. I especially like how my painting is reflected in the large mirror behind the door, so there are not one but two images echoing the angled roofline that defines our house.

Thank you Baby Girl for this sweet and thoughtful gift. And thanks also to your roommate for sending them in the mail when you were exhausted after finals and left them behind. We can proudly claim to have original art from an artist trained in Rome. Doesn’t that sound fancy?

How have you gotten creative when funds were tight? Any framing advise you can share? 



I spent much of last weekend packing up the Christmas decorations and putting the house back in order. After the over-the-top excess of the holidays with stockings, and trees, and nutcrackers, I’ve been slow to put back decorations on the mantel and shelves.

The fall season is over, and we’re not quite ready for fresh spring flowers. Do I give in to the cold and icy feel of winter or add some hearts and red in tribute to Valentine’s Day?

I noticed a friend from college still has her Christmas village decorating her living room just because she likes them. It’s OK not to rush into the next big thing.

Like a palate cleanse between courses, sometimes your eyes need a rest. Besides, this will give me a chance to touch up the paint on the fireplace and get Baby Girl’s sketches framed. It’ll all come together eventually.

Do you change up your decorating with the season or stick with tried and true?


Those Fall Touches

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to add a little of that fall flavor to our decor. Back in the day, Halloween pictures plastered the fridge, school art decorated the cabinets, and a few pumpkins would have been mouldering on the front porch.

We’re off the beaten path and the girls are on their own, so we don’t have that big push to decorate the house any more, but a little somethin’-somethin’ here and there makes me smile.

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Sweet Miss texted the other night, so I’ve packed up a few things for her, so she can decorate her classroom. I’m not ready to give up the little squishy ghost one of the girls made once upon a time. Those crafts always looked so cute in the magazines–before the age of Pinterest.

In other decorating news, I’ve been busy picking herbs and gathering sticks to make wreaths for the front doors. There’s no way on earth we can use all the sage we grow, so I thought it would make a great decoration. I thought about wires and bundles, but that would look so ugly from the backside. Remember we’re hanging them on windows.

Out in the yard with my scissors and basket, I picked lots of lavendar twigs and flowersto go with the other herbs. Unfortunately, I didn’t pick enough for two, and then it started raining, and then the foliage dried leaving some gaps. So I needed even more.

It’s all a learning process. Note to self: next time you want to hang wreaths pick double what you think you’ll need and make sure you have the 3M hooks before you get started. Nothing like getting part way through a project and having to put it on hold.

Looks like Cocoa gives it her stamp of approval.


The goofy dog doesn’t trust me out in the front on my own. She is good company.

How’s your fall decorating?


Big Plans

You know how you order something online, and you’re so excited, and then you get this email that it will arrive in November, and it’s only August? Well, that’s what happens at my house.

I bought a bed for the sewing room. Remember when we got new carpet in the bedrooms last winter? And in my sewing room, too? I had big plans on how cool, and chic, and classy my creative space was going to be. And then I put all my stuff back in, and it was chaos, and I lost my mojo.


And then I saw this bed, and it would totally step up the game in the sewing room. I mean after all, my grandma’s quilt is bright and cheery and reminds me of family, but it doesn’t really qualify as polished.

So I ordered the daybed from Joss & Main, and decided I could wait if that’s what I had to do. Then Me and Baby Girl came home to find giant boxes on the doorstep. Apparently, someone didn’t get the memo and my bed arrived in weeks rather than months.

I put it together with a little help from the MR, and boy howdy is it polished.


I mean just check out that nailhead trim–tres chic.


And then I put the quilt back on and the pale pink jersey sheets Sweet Miss had picked out once upon a time. And stepped back and said “Ugh”. Sophisticated just doesn’t work with my grandma’s quilts.

I went to four different stores without a bit of luck. All I wanted was a plain, gray bedspread that wasn’t overstuffed. When buying local failed, I went back to the internet, and for under $100, Joss & Main came through once more with a new bedspread and more sedate sheets.

Now you’re just going to have to be patient for the big reveal. I have paintings to hang, shelves to set up, pillows to fluff, clutter to corral–you know the drill.

Do you have a favorite local or online store?