The Handyman Can…

That silly old song from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been running through my head.

Who can take a sunrise
Sprinkle it with dew
Cover it with choc’late and a miracle or two
The Candy Man can…

I’ve changed the words a little:

Who can fix a broken faucet
Hang up all the shelves
Grab a few tools and make everything look swell
The Handyman can.

You see, the MR’s folks have been visiting, and we’ve been keeping Papa Larry busy. The MR has been hogging his services this year with dripping faucets, broken vacuum cleaners, and riding lawn mower maintenance. Doesn’t he know I have little jobs that need done, too?

So the other day, I was happy to see Papa with time on his hands, the MR at work, and me with a list of thing to keep him occupied. When I shuffle the trays on the worm bin,  I always hose out the base in the flower beds to remove the sludge and fertilize the plants. Well, the spicket I use is near the ground under some bushes, and the valve always falls off, so when I’m done, you’ll find me crawling on the ground looking for it. All it needs is a screw.  All it’s needed for the last five-and-a-half years is a screw, but somehow I’ve never gotten around to it. But the Handyman can.

And then I had some great honeycomb-shaped shelves that I oohed and aahed over for ages. And then they were on sale, and I bought them. And then they just sat around for a couple of years. Uggh, I don’t know why I’m so indecisive. They needed to be in a place where we wouldn’t bump into them. Did we really have anything decorative to showcase? Would they look good next to the art we bought or just weird? Would the screws and fasteners they came with really work? Sometimes I am filled with angst over nothing.

I remember when I told Baby Girl that I’d bought three different bedspreads and returned them all, because they just were’nt the right color of gray. She honestly told me that was ridiculous. At first I thought yeah, why don’t manufacturers make a better shade of gray? And then I realized she was talking about me. Hmm, sometimes you just have to go for it.

So I said Papa, we have these shelves, and the handyman took it from there.

Once they were up, I shopped my house and found bits and pieces to add here and there. A book art flower, some shell balls from Hawaii, vases from my mom. It all just seems to work.

With the change of seasons, I can swap out shells for more fall or wintery decor. And this will be a great place to display Christmas goodies.

With the MR busy spraying blackberries, mowing meadows, maintaining the driveway, and keeping the house in one piece, it’s nice to have the handyman visit.

Thanks Papa Larry!

We have a few other posts featuring Papa Larry for your reading pleasure: The Handyman Is Back and My Own Personal Handyman.






Super Size It

Sometimes you’re just kind of stuck with what you’ve got. It’s serviceable, it’s fine, it’ll do.

We had a traditional rug by the front door when we moved here. It was fairly new and would be just fine, if a bit bland, and small, and boring.

We’ve lived with it for a four years.

Old Rug

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a rug on Joss & Main that caught my eye. It was on sale and matched our color scheme. Who could say no to a little gray, a little orange, a little beige in a playful geometric print? Not me.

New Rug 2

Ok, so obviously the candle and the door stop are just there till the corners stop rolling up. Hopefully nobody breaks a toe before then. Eventually the rug will relax a little. But even now, it adds a punch of color to our neglected entry. This area has simply been a pass through zone. Not that I want to hang out in the entry, but it would be nice if it matched the vibe of the rest of the house.We want it to set the tone, and a little funky color is a great start.

What kind of message does your entry send?

Bit by Bit

Sometimes pulling things together takes awhile. Remember how I had this painting that I loved and I hung it up even though the wall was totally off balance and really needed something more? (If you have no idea what I’m talking about and think I’m just rambling on again, check out Now That’s Art.)

That lack of balance drives me a little crazy, and since my Etsy art purchases have gone so well, I decided to do a little more shopping. That’s when I found a tiny 6×6″ beauty. I know it’s still not big enough to balance out my other artwork, but I just really loved it.

It reminded me of Rome, and me and the MR’s 10th anniversary when we wandered the streets, admiring the beautiful, honey-colored buildings. We’re talking about going back someday. Until then I can look at my little gem and dream.

BbB Up close

I know, and now you’re squinting, and looking again, and saying really, Kim? Rome? But oh my friend, take a step back.

BbB in place

It’s a tiny city, a magical place, that just draws you in. I bought this piece from Terri Edwards on Etsy. Part of the joy of shopping online is being able to support artists from around the world.

I did find a few pieces that would balance out the other side, but the MR gently reminded me that we’d paid two college tuitions, property taxes, and traveled extensively last month. He suggested I wait. At least, he didn’t balk at my visiting the girls.

Wishing all the mothers, aunts, sisters, and women who’ve loved and supported children, Happy Mother’s Day.

BbB Me Girls Whales

I know these two make my heart sing.

What are you hanging on your walls? Any plans for Mother’s Day?



March Marches On

No matter how much you want time to stand still, it just keeps marching on. With spring just around the corner, and the girls headed home for spring break—sort of—March was a month of anticipation.

We celebrated birthdays, and Easter, and knitting in And by the by, Sweet Miss’ received a pair of socks from the Easter bunny that were fabulous, if I do say so myself. (And yes, she did make it back from Ireland with lots of stories safe and sound.)

MMO SM Socks

Hard to believe, but we bought original artwork in March for the entry alcove in Papa Willy was nonplussed, but I really like it.  I’d love to say we’ve balanced it out with other fabulous pieces, but this isn’t a movie it’s real life.

NTA Painting in Place

And the painting over our bed looks lovely—especially when I make our bed. I would definitely order from abroad again, but I’d be certain to factor in the extra cost of having a piece mounted. Check out for more details.

S Pic Closer

Moving outdoors, we looked at the lovely in the orchard. It’s just such a beautiful time of year.

BT Orchard Blooms

And the blossoms of the past with a whole lot of patience and the support of a paint stirrer resulted in We grew lemons in Washington state.  OK, so they’re were grown inside, and it took over a year, but we grew lemons in Washington state.

AR Lemons

That’s edible lemons that we ate with chicken and in a lovely lemon pie. It’s these little miracles that can change lives.

Speaking of miracles, I want to tell you that the seeds I planted the other day have sprouted, my garden is covered in the green of new growth. I want to tell you that, but I’d be lying.  It’s only been a couple of days; give me a break. I’m crossing my fingers and looking forward to a great season in the garden. Optimism is half the battle for

And now for the post.  I received a lot of interest from South America with this post, don’t ask me why, apparently they have a problem with ripped jeans, too.  I’m still meaning to check out the CD tutorial; maybe it’ll happen next week.

Hope your March was filled with time with family, celebration, the promise of spring, and the joy of living.




Now That’s Art

Last month when we were on vacation down in Sedona, we dropped into an art gallery after a morning of hiking and shopping.  The curator was a warm and friendly soul who welcomed us with a large glass of wine and chatted with us for hours.

We found a beautiful painting that would be lovely hung over the bed and were so close to buying it.  Perhaps it was the $5,000 price tag, or the over-sized dimensions, or simply that the MR is a practical man, but we left without making the puchase.  When we arrived home and had measured our space, it was clear the painting just wouldn’t work.

With all the windows and the light, we’ve noticed fading on pictures and pillows and have tried to keep our prints in protected arreas out of the sun.  That means we have a lot of blank walls and that the entry is a bit crowded with art.

Over the holidays, we hang up Santa pictures over the console leading from the entry, but for the rest of the year, it’s a blank wall.

NTA Blank Wall and Console

I’m just not a blank wall kind of person.  Even on sunny days, this is a fairly protected area out of direct sunlight.

NTA Blank Wall

And as you can see, it’s highly visible from the great room.  It’s the path I take to coffee and the kitchen every morning.  It needs a little help.  But does it need expensive art help or everyday prints from the big box store help?

That’s when I had a wonderful brainstorm.  Now getting my guy to head out of an evening and go to an art opening doesn’t seem likely, but pushing a button online is totally his thing.  Etsy has thousands of independent shops and artists with amazing items; maybe we’d find something we’d like.  Uhh, maybe we’d find tons of things that we like.

So a couple weeks ago, the MR came home from work and I had a bunch of original art that I’d selected as favorites for him to look over.  We scrolled through them and before you know it, they were on their way to our happy home.

Now, I want to caution you to watch out for details.  I failed to notice that one of the pieces we bought was coming from Hungary as a rolled canvas.  We’d looked at the extra cost for shipping and for stretching the artwork on other paintings but had totally failed to check out this one.

The painting arrived quickly, in great condition, but required stretching, and due to the size (3×6-foot), it was around $100 to have it stretched.  I did go to an art store, that would have to special order the stretcher bars, and would give me tips on how to mount it, but we’d already spent enough money that I didn’t want it to be some sort of learning project.  It’s going to look great over our bed, but these are costs that need to be factored in.

The other was coming from Nevada and was delivered to our front porch and on the wall in one short week.  I sent the girls a text to tell them that I’m rather in love with it.

NTA Painting in Place

I’m sure my photo doesn’t do it justice, but it’s beautiful, and simple, and vibrant, and passionate.

The MR came home and said it’s too low.  That’s when I suggest a tall, skinny painting for the other side of the sconce to balance it out—kind of like another pair I know.  I also have some hex shelves that would fill the space nicely, but they are rather deep and would take away from the calm ease of the space.

I think I run into trouble when I just rush out and buy something, so I’m going to take my time.  Yes, I may have to deal with a lack of balance for a bit, but that’s part of the journey.  Good things are worth waiting for.

You can check out similar paintings on Etsy at Original Modern Art or Sky Whitman Fine Art.  The artist, Bethany Sky whitman, sent a certificate of authenticity with our painting and a lovely letter thanking us for our support.

I’m all for encouraging beauty in a world that can be difficult at times.

How do you support beauty?










Solutions and an Umbrella Stand

I don’t know if they were just peeved after we left them for a long weekend, or maybe it was the slight shift in schedule between us and a young sitter, but the dogs could no longer make it through the night without what we’ll euphemistically call troubles.

I was tired of mopping, the MR was tired of the mess when he got up in the morning. We were in the midst of grumbling and kibbitzing, when he came up with a truly genius idea.  Instead of focussing on everything they were doing wrong, he came up with an idea about what we could do to solve the problem.

Just like with people, you have no control over others’ behavior, just your own.  So instead of yelling at the dogs, encouraging them to go out in the rain and cold and “do their business”, we’ve taken a leaf out of the apartment dwellers notebook and are taking the dogs for a walk.

We were lucky; the first few nights, the skies were clear, the stars were out, it was brisk and beautiful.  Then our regular winter weather returned, and the MR grabbed an umbrella.

Baby Girl called it creepy walking the dogs after dark, but it’s what we did when they were puppies, and now that Little Buddy is almost 13, I’d rather laugh at his antics than discipline him for messes. Me and the MR have been enjoying conversation and laughter on our late night walks.

The MR went online and Amazon delivered a few unbrella stands, so we’ve a new addition to entry, and a small LED flashlight is on its way.


Sometimes life’s a lot better when you focus on solutions instead of the problems.  It might also mean a little less mopping.




Veritable Workhorses

Years ago, the MR’s grandpa made end tables for the MR’s mom, and she was ecstatic. She’d always wanted end tables, and these were perfect.

They were simple wood boxes, with a little texture, sponged or spattered with paint to match her decor. Now Gramps did a great job, and I don’t want to take anything away from that, but I just wasn’t feeling her level of excitement.

Sometimes you smile, and nod, and pretend. Then we bought our own house, and the end tables I had in my apartment went away, and we had the MR’s giant wood stereo speakers for end tables. Suddenly, her enthusiasm made a lot more sense.

For many years, we didn’t have room for both speakers and end tables, and you guessed it, the speakers won. But about 10 years ago, the MR updated his stereo equipment, and I finally had room for a few end tables, and side tables, and coffee tables.

You know, a place to put a book or a magazine, a cup of tea or a glass of water. A place to stow the remote or your reading glasses. A way to organize all your stuff.

So along with the two coffee tables for the great room, we’ve been purchasing end tables, a console table, and a quasi-coffee table.

Most of our new upholstered furniture came from Room & Board, but the tables were from here, there and everywhere. So I thought I’d share some of our new end tables–the workhorses of a seating area.

We bought this lovely bone side table from West Elm.

Shell Table


It’s small in size, but adds a little shine with it’s very textural top.

Heading over to Crate & Barrel, we couldn’t decide between metal or wood, so we bought them both.

The Entu side table is multi-directional in a warm teak.

S Table

The small shelf is the perfect place to hide away the remote. On the store’s web site, they had it on its side with the small shelf turning into a magazine holder. Multi-functional–it’s a good thing.

I wasn’t going to buy the metal table, because we have one in copper that I like, but the MR thought it was great and said we should go for it.

So I picked up the Acadia accent table from the mall on Friday. Did you know package pick-up is next to the valet parking? Yep, me neither. Who uses valet at the mall?

Crinkly Metal

Just before Thanksgiving (on the way home from the train station picking up Sweet Miss running on fumes), I tried to pick up this pair of tables from Dania.

Round Dania

The Otra occasional tables looked like the medium and the large, but they turned out to be the medium and the small. It took four trips to Dania between ordering the wrong size, the loading dock closed on certain days, a major flaw in the table, and getting the final product.

I like how they are light-weight and easy to move adding flexibility to the space. If I’m expecting a lot of guests, it takes just a minute to rearrange.

Back in November, I showed you our lovely Hex tables we placed by the fireplace. We bought three and clustered them together to simulate a coffee table.

Hex Coffee Table

It might be cozier next to the hearth, if we switched them out for an ottoman. We could use them singly next to the chairs or around the room. I’m not crazy about the white marble and the putty leather chairs. One looks a little too white, while the other looks a little anemic.

After our designer’s help, we got brave and bought a few things on our own. One of them is this Alta Console Table from Joss & Main for the entry. (Note:  It’s no longer up on the web site, but items often rotate through.)

I remember someone coming by for a party and asking where to set her purse. This bottom shelf keeps everything off the floor and corralled. Of course, you have to be watchful of nosy dogs stealing tissues, gum, or maybe a little candy.

Entry Console

I liked the dark wood, the clean lines, and the Asian feel of the slightly bowed legs. While we really like the table, I’m not sure about the placement.

Maybe it should be closer to the front doors, and then we’d just get rid of the shoe bench. We could add a small chair to sit on if you want to take off your shoes. It might be getting too cluttered. I’m OK with trying things out in a spot for a while and letting ideas marinate.

I’d like to have some taller pieces on the top of the console, along with some art on the wall, so the sconce isn’t just sitting there staring at you. But then if I add breakable things to the table, what if someone comes around the corner, bumps it, and they all fall over and break? I know, I worry too much.

While you can get by without tables, it’s so much more comfortable if a guest has a place to set their drink or a snack. I want people to be at ease.

While these are all well and good, the big news for today is area rugs. The delivery is scheduled for this morning. I hope to have photos for you before the end of the week. Cross your fingers!

Where do you set your tea? Do doggy tails endanger your glassware?