Making Firestarters

We heat our home with a wood stove. I love it. I have gotten pretty good at starting the fire. I cheat. I use fire starters out of a box. It makes it so much easier! I think I spent $100 on boxes of the stuff last year. One of my favorite blogs, The Art of Doing Stuff, did a tutorial on making fire starters. I had been saving egg cartons and gathering pinecones to do just that. I had not gotten around to buying the wax so I just used some extra large tea lights. This weekend I had fun making them.

The pinecones were a bit damp and so I left them by the fire for a few minutes.    drying the pinecones by the fire

I popped the wax out of the metal holder and separated the wick. If I was really clever I’d think of something to do with those metal cups…tea lights to make fire starters

Karen suggested using dryer lint. Brilliant. I had to make sure my lint didn’t have too much dog hair in it. We have a lot of dog hair around here.adding in the dryer lint for fire starters

I love using the pinecones. They smell terrific. I just topped off the lint with a pinecone in each egg cup.melting the wax for fire starters

Parchment paper on my counter to protected it from the wax. Once the wax was set I cut the cartons apart. I might cut them apart before filling them next time. assembling firestarters

Funny story:

When I moved into this house it was as a renter. The living room had wall to wall carpet. Blah. My landlord wouldn’t allow me to pull it up. One day I decided to entice my very cute landlord into my apartment by asking him to show me how to build a fire in a wood stove. He got the fire roaring and, so that we could enjoy it all the more, he left the doors open. Sure enough a burning log fell out, rolled over the marble tile and onto the carpet. We pulled the carpet up the very next day and got married just a few months later.home made fire starters

Where I blog at home Part 2+

Part 2 because I have already made changes. Cool changes. Plus I promised to show you a DIY for a beautiful origami light shade. I love light fixtures. I could change them every month! I googled for good directions and found this pdf. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make. I rehearsed with regular paper first allowing me to discover that the size isn’t crucial as long as you make sure it’s longer by quite a bit on one length. No square paper in other words.making an origami light shade

Doesn’t it look pretty? I also took down the big mirror and put up some new treasures. my office nookmy office nook

In big news, for me, let me show you what I can do now thanks to a new lens on my camera. I don’t know why this wasn’t the first lens I bought but I am thankful it is mine now! I can photograph the whole room at once! So great! I haven’t actually purchased it yet. It turns out one can rent a lens to decide if it’s right! Cool!kitchen nook turned office

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!


Rearranging my bedroom – an Adventure

I love my bedroom. It didn’t do very well in a contest I entered it in on the Apartment Therapy website but I don’t care. It is my haven. I love being in bed cuddling with my two cats and the little dog. Lately I have even let the big dog up for some cuddle time but only on the day the sheets are getting changed. I had fun making the huge headboard. So much fun I have decided to toss it. old-headboardI got a notion to move things around and the new spot for my bed is in front of a window so this headboard won’t work. It will need to be something open and low. I love an excuse to go shopping in vintage/antiques stores. I went to lots and lots. I found nothing. Did you know there are almost no headboards in vintage stores? I don’t know why I didn’t check craigslist to begin with but boy, there are a ton of headboards on there. Just look!craigslist headboardcraigslist headboarda craigslistheadboard

The black one didn’t really do it for me. The other two were fabulous but came with large sets of bedroom furniture and no one would part with just one piece. Then I found this one:my-headboard

My bed is a queen but I don’t mind a little overhang….I hope. The woman I bought it from was so sweet. One never knows who is going to answer the door when on a craigslist adventure. My husband always worries about me and I have to leave him the address and phone number of the places I go.

The headboard has been on my dining room table getting a little make over. I haven’t decided how far I’ll take it but here is a little peek of some gold leaf craziness…gold leaf on a headboardgold leafing

Stay tuned for more makeover magic. I still have to pick new window treatments, curtain rods and bedskirt. Please try to talk me out of painting the room if that comes up…. it probably will. I hate painting. I think I am going to repaint. ahhhh


DIY – Gift Wrap

I love giving gifts. I love shopping for them. I love wrapping them. I love watching them get opened. I love getting them. Isn’t it fun to wonder what is in that fabulously wrapped package? Here is a simple DIY for said fabulous wrap. It’s a large envelope made from clear contact paper and pretty paper. I like to use images from magazines or catalogs. Vintage wallpaper or wrapping paper work great, too!





choose-your-paperpeel-off-contact-paperstart-placing-paper-face-downprogresstrim-edgeshere-is-your-squarefold-in-3-cornerspick-your-tapeDIY gift wrapDIY gift envelopeDIY gift wrapkayla-gift

You can, of course, make these any size to serve your purpose. I just read through my directions and realized I forgot to say that the contact paper goes on the outside. You probably figured that out.




How to make a planter from a cute but useless 2 tiered wire basket

I have never been able to figure out what to do with this wire basket. It was just so big. Then one day I walked into my backyard and realized it would work great out there holding lots of little plants!  a collection of plants

I had a pocket full of birthday money so off to the plant store I went. My plan was to get succulents but found I couldn’t resist some herbs and some plain old cute plants. It’ll probably end up a disaster when some grow and grow and grow out of their new home.

ingredients for a planter diy

all the ingredients one needs for a cute planter

all the ingredients for a herb planter

don’t put the puppy in the planter

I lined the baskets with some burlap. Adding in some potting soil and then stuffing in all the plants was pretty easy.lining the basket with burlap and soil

lining the baskets with burlap

bottom tier all planted up. top next!

I think it looks great. succulents and herbs in a planterherb-succulent-planterfinished herb and succulent planter

Designing my next tattoo (!)

When I was in my early 30’s my best friend moved away. We decided that we would make a plan to ease our sorrow by doing something a little naughty. A little shocking. We were moms and moms in the 90’s were not getting tattoos. Each of us picked a small design and we went in search of a tattoo artist in my friend’s new town (Eugene, OR). There were not very many tattoo shops from which to choose. We finally found one that didn’t frighten us and an old hippie named Doug tattooed a shooting star on my wrist and a treble clef onto my friend’s neck. Thus began a small, very slow-growing, addiction. Thank goodness tattoos have gotten so popular.

My latest idea is to put my cat, Angel, on my arm. You can see her above on the blog header and here:my cat, Angel

She is a difficult girl to photograph as she is very dark. I played around on Photoshop and came up with this:cat-tattoo-step-one

Then last week I was in a shop and found this great idea. Look!

A cat portrait by Ryan Berkley

A cat portrait by Ryan Berkley


My mother made me many, many cute dresses when I was a little girl. Thankfully school photographers captured many of them. Angel is about to get to wear one. But which one??

my school pictures

Back onto Photoshop for some very rough drafts…

Now it is a matter of choosing which angle most captures my little kitty and which dress would have her looking her best. Please cross your fingers that my tattoo artist is willing! I have been told “no” plenty of times.


cat tattoo with collar

Here I am getting my last tattoo.  It hurt!

Here I am getting my last tattoo. It hurt!

My Kitchen Project

My husband is going to be gone today and so I am going to paint my kitchen (he hates the smell of paint).  I love the color that is there now but I recently painted my livingroom and the colors kind of clash.

I have a confession. I paint my walls  A LOT.  Which is funny because I hate painting. Someday I think it would be fun to do a slide show of all the colors my house has worn.

Here is my “before” shot:

project in my kitchen: the before shot

Try to guess the new color!

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