Planning a Birthday Party

Last September I had a blast throwing a birthday party for a special 6 year old and four of her friends/cousin. We all had so much fun! cute girls at a 6 year old partytreasure hunt and campfire

September is almost here again and so it is time to plan another birthday! I got right on to Pinterest and began pinning ideas. The birthday girl and I discussed having a craft or art party so I have been on the look out for great ideas for talented 7 year olds. pinterest board for birthday party

She mentioned that she really liked the treasure hunt last year and that perhaps this time our treasure could be art supplies! What a great idea, huh?!

I also need to come up with food and treat ideas. I was watching Ina Garten the other day and she made a cake for some kids and then let them decorate it with candy. That’s a lot of sugar, though. Too much sugar and little girls usually end up in tears and get the grumps. Maybe a variety of fruit would work. Star fruit, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries. Yum! I can’t wait! Please share any ideas you might have for fun parties in the comments section.

Inanimate Housemates

Do you have objects in your life that are like family? I do. Let me introduce you. First there is a puppet boy. I first met him in an antique store when I was on the hunt for something else entirely. It was love at first sight. He frightened me every time I walked into the room for months! I forgave him, though, because he is so little puppet

Spot the dog lives on our dining room table with the salt and pepper.  He used to belong to Mr. Bill.Mr. Bill's dog, SpotWe seem to love dogs. Here are two more….the-dogcement-bulldog

Please met our littlest dog. Poor thing has had a tooth ache for decades. He is a dear member of the family.



The newest members of the household live in the kitchen. They are the cutest couple ever.gmac and kitty the wife


Am I weird? I mean, I know I am but wouldn’t you love to have these items join your family?


Alphabet Project

Each morning I wake up excited to begin the day. I leap out of bed, grab a cup of coffee, get my camera and capture a piece of the alphabet for my Instagram feed. Ha! Honestly it has been fun hunting down alphabetical images. See what you think. I’ll be posting a week’s worth every Friday until we reach Z.instagram alphabet project Ainstagram alphabet project Binstagram alphabet project Cinstagram alphabet project Dinstagram alphabet project EHere are a few images from each day’s letter images. My grandniece helped my hunt down some of them. instagram alphabet project Binstagram alphabet project Cinstagram alphabet project DMy kitty is innocent. The tree trunk in the garden is not. It also ripped my dress!


Creating a space for everyday life


I ran across a blog post the other day (and now I can’t find it!) that talked about how the author worked and worked at designing her home and yet she felt like she was never successful. That it just never worked for her family. The Ikea catalog (of all things) arrived in her mailbox and as she was looking through it she found this definition of home: Ikea's-definition-of-home


As I just spent the last while with my living room transformed into a wood shop I had to laugh. Perhaps in my 20’s I decorated without consideration for practicality. Now it is all about usefulness. I love that usefulness can always look good. When something works seamlessly it is a thing of beauty. Although, I have to say, my dining room table does not make a very good workbench.dining room table

Every summer we use our space very differently than we do in the colder months. Our life centers around the table instead of the wood stove when it is warm outside. We enjoy long breakfasts with the sun streaming down upon us. The table is my sewing room, my artist studio, dinner table, blogging spot. My husband spends a lot of time at it reading his iPad, working on projects, drinking coffee.

In the summer I always shove the couch over against the wall and move the table out so that I can add more seating and open the leaves. Come winter I will pull the couch around right in front of the wood stove where we spend every evening in front of the fire.summertime-couchIf I were to only design our home for aesthetics and not for usefulness it would look alot different. I’d start with a beautiful rug and I would throw away the white slipcover. As I don’t think a room really works if the furniture is all lining the wall I would only float it in the proper conversational circle. But we would never use the room if I designed it that way. Ikea is right. My home is for everyday life as it happens. Because when my home works for the way we live, life simply becomes better. And it works great!


Bedroom Renovation Reveal

I truly apologize for how long this has taken. I am old and slow. But I love, love, love what all that slow, hard work produced. You might remember that my motivation for renovating my bedroom was some water damage to the ceiling. I gazed at the ceiling for a long time trying to imagine what I might be capable of doing on my own with a very limited budget. I ain’t no sheetrock hanger. Plaster work is waayy beyond me. Wood paneling with a nautical flair? Sure thing!!! wood paneled ceiling with exposed brass screws

I did find it very difficult to do this ceiling justice in a photograph. It glows and is so pretty. wood paneled ceiling with exposed brass screws

I have never liked my bed in its last location. But I had to get a huge, upholstered headboard out of my system so it had to go against a wall, not a window. It has always belonged where it is now. Gold leafing is messy, by the way. But it is a pretty had to stand in the closet to get this shot.golden-headboard


I found a vintage medical cart to use as a bedside table. I was looking for a small bureau (and tried to steal one from my mom) but when I saw this I couldn’t resist! 
my DIY gold leaf headboardbedside tablebedside-table-detailcupboard-goodies

Next on the tour is the wall to our right. I have always loved a big stack-o-books. I have seen these floating stacks in lots of cool rooms but the price for the system to do it was beyond me. I used L brackets.

DIY stack of books


Beside the doorway is a little table and mirror. And more books. I want you to know that I have a huge bag full of books I am taking to Powell’s Bookstore to sell. I was brutal in my editing!little table next to the door

And now to the west side of the room. Here is the best feature during the summer: the fan in the window.

fan in the window


A look at the other side of the leaf headboardvintage-lampshade-hoarder

I love my little art ledges. As often as I like to change things around they will be so handy.

I am happy with my new room. I just spent the week with a bad cold and so was in it for long periods of time. It was a balm to my soul. Why don’t you just come over and see it for yourself!


Progress on my bedroom redesign

the water leak16. Number of wooden panels it takes to cover my ceiling.

4. Coats of stain used on wooden panels.

2. Clear coats to top off the finish on the panels.

5. Days to complete all the steps to make the panels glow.

2. Weeks my living room has looked like a wood shop.

3. Days the entire contents of my bedroom has been tucked into the corners of my living room.

0. Times I fell off the ladder installing the panels….so far.

7. Screws I dropped and had to climb down the ladder to



We’ll all be dead in 60 years

I love looking at old photos. I don’t even mind if I don’t know any of the people in them. Imagining their hopes and dreams, loves and sorrows, histories and relationships is fun. One thing that always strikes me, though, is that it seems life was over so quickly for the people in those photos. Does anyone even remember them? Will I be a stranger in a photo someday?vintage-photo-friends-on-golden-gate-bridge


I am old. Older than I’ve ever been. I guess that is always true. With my latest age has come a realization that life is short. I find myself thinking thoughts that many before me have also thought:

  • There is nothing new under the sun.
  • Why are we here?
  • What is the meaning of life?
  • Have I made a difference?
  • We’ll all be dead in 60 yearvintage photos.


I find myself camping on this last idea. Perhaps it is my way to gaining a calm life. If I am aware that life is short then worry and stress seem a waste of time. Finding the answer to how best spend my time seems easier, too. If I screw around all day, sleep in one morning, do whatever the hell I want I simply remember that it doesn’t matter because…..we’ll all be dead in 60 years.vintage-glamour-shot

Thankfully I also really enjoy hard work and being creative, hanging out with friends and family, being of use, doing the day-to-day mundane stuff. And with my new attitude I enjoy it all the more because the pressure is off, expectations are lowered, the outcome is not as important.

The handiest thing is when I think/worry about other people’s problems I have an easier time realizing that it will be okay if they screw it up as they won’t have long to suffer because…we’ll all be dead in 60 years.

The truth is probably this is just a way for me to get past growing old and wrinkled. I’ll soon just be a stranger in an old photo and no one will even remember that I have wrinkles! Wrapping one’s head around finite time is something everyone must surely do. It is my turn, I guess.vintage-photo-3-friends

A Librarian’s Bathroom

Is it a bathroom? Is it a library? It’s both! It is a librarian’s bathroom. Actually, two librarians. My husband’s niece and her husband just finished adding a master bath in their craftsman home in Portland.  It is quite spectacular. Almost everything in it is custom-made for the space. The flooring and fireplace mantel were both milled from the houses original framing that was removed for the remodel. Just look at this light-filled space!a librarian's bathroomThe room has two skylights, french doors and a stained glass window. It is the definition of a light filled room. The stained glass window lives over the tub.stained glass window

Are you ready for more? You are not going to believe what one gets to gaze upon while reclining in a bubble bath.electric fireplace across from the bathtub

With the flip of a switch a crackling fire appears for your bathtime enjoyment. A little surprise is hiding behind the art….artwork hides bathroom cabinet

I know. Amazing. I am not done. Let’s have a look at the bathroom sinks, shall we?library-bathroom-sink-cabinetry

Jim and Juliet’s contractor repurposed an antique asian cabinet into a sink base. He also adjusted the doors so they can be opened with a simple push. The mirror is so great.vintage mirror used over bathroom sinksschoolhouse electric lighting

The shower is roomy with a skylight to brighten your morning. It has a bench seat and a cubby for storage.

skylight over the shower

One more treat for you. French doors leading to a balcony that is large enough for table and chairs. balcony off the bathroombathroom balcony

They repurposed vintage windows along each side for more light. Here is one side:side-light-vintage-window-in-balcony

Some darling signage happening:          vintage-raven-shoe-sign

Juliet chose a built-in tub because her cats keep her company as she bathes. They couldn’t perch very easily on a free-standing tub. Loretta the cat very kindly demonstrated. kitty-takes-a-bath

bookshelves in the bathroom

So there you have it: a librarian’s bathroom. If you are interested here is the contractor’s website entry.

Lighting: Schoolhouse Electric

Tub & Sink: Kohler

Toilet: Carmona

Faucets: Pfister

Cabinet door: Plywerk

Cabinet door art: Ted Davee’s “Crow Film”

Fireplace: Valor

Cabinet: Cargo



Pretty vs Practical

As you know I think cute is important. I really, really do. All the time. I think I am also a very practical person. I like things to be useful. I don’t see why those two things can’t be easily combined.

I was over at my mom’s this weekend helping her re-pot some plants on her deck. By the end of the afternoon she had laughed at me more than once watching as I would tisk tisk over finding the plant description labels still stuck in the potted plants.She has watched me tisk tisk over finding labels still stuck to storage containers, price stickers stuck to decorative items, tags left on pillows, anything that could be pretty-in-a-minute that isn’t. How hard is it to spend a second to transform the ordinary into the cute? Take those ugly stickers off! plant pot with label still stuck in it

My mother insisted I leave the label in the plant. “It’s handy to be able to tell what kind of plant it is.”  My response wasn’t very nice. “It’s a perennial, Mom, it will just do what it’s gonna do.” I went home and realized I was no better. Look:plant pot with ugly sticker

I promise to work on that sticker. I also promise to lighten up. Maybe.



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