Wednesday, October 31, 2012

how I fixed my office curtains (and actually sewed something…)

It’s been awhile since I posted on my new office, mostly because I’m still working on it. But today I thought I’d give you an update because it’s getting close. Now it’s just the fun tweaking stuff, like adding a new lamp and some accessorizing that’s left.

Oh, and did I mention I completely changed my window treatments after all?


Do you remember this black and cream damask office valance?  Well, I really planned on keeping it in here.

But suddenly it was looking a bit stark in this white room, so I did a quick switch. I brought the lined cream curtains from my master bathroom into the office to see how I liked that look and I instantly knew. That was it. It’s such a softer, peaceful look in here now because I get the afternoon sunlight streaming through them…


…only there was one problem, they were too short.

And problem two? I can’t sew. In fact, It’s almost strange how difficult sewing is for me, considering that I’m pretty good at visualizing things. But oh well, in the spirit of staying on my budget, I went out and found the perfect fabric, and this is what I did.


If you’re one of those people who sews all the time, these photos will probably make you laugh. I have no idea if this is the way you add fabric on to curtains.

But I laid out my curtains and took my measurements. Basically I decided how wide I wanted my black strip at the bottom. 


I decided to go up on the cream curtains ten inches and started pinning.


I pinned the entire black fabric to the front of the curtain panel and down the edges.


I decided to skip hemming and allowed extra fabric on the bottom for them to puddle on the floor.


And drumroll please….ta da!!!! This is the view from over my desk. It’s hard to get photos because my desk unit is in the way, but I tried to take a few shots to show you the general look on this side of the room.

Do you like them better than the valance?




Here’s the same spot before I redecorated. And see my old chair?


I found this new chair at Cost Plus. It was the last floor model and I got it for $78.00. I couldn’t have found one on Craigslist and recovered it for much less. And I immediately knew it was the right chair when I saw it. Do you like it?

Well, I can’t wait to show you all my before and after photos, They’re coming next. And in the meantime, I want to thank you all for following along on this project. It’s so nice to share my little details with all of you, it actually makes it so much more …well, fun.

Blessings to all my readers, but especially those on the East Coast near the storm’s path. I can’t stop watching the news and shaking my head. And praying for you all.



I’m linking up here:


Monday, October 29, 2012

Fall flowers inside the home…


Today I put out some fresh flowers around the house and planted this container, and even though these blooms will look much prettier in a week or so, I thought I’d share them with you.

Don’t you just love the colors of autumn?


I like fiddling around with colors and textures of fresh flowers. These are inexpensive Mums and I added some baby pumpkins and a few succulents…


Right now I’m really smitten with the color orange.


I especially love it paired with white, so I added these pumpkins filled with marigolds, lilies and berries to my mantel. Nothing fancy, but I think there’s drama in monochromatic arrangements, don’t you?


This was the first year I didn’t go crazy with Halloween decorating inside my house and it was nice, it let me enjoy all the autumn decor .


I especially like mixing rustic and ornate finishes like these. I love my old clay pots on this silver tray.

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And the blue-green color of these succulents looks interesting next to the bold orange.

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I’m not sure why carnations get such a bad rap, not only are they a reliable and inexpensive filler flower, but they look great in mass. Here’s a handful inside a vase with orange berries.

Are you in the mood to brighten your kitchen up?


You can make a simple fall arrangement with a wire basket, a few gourds and pumpkins, add some dried hydrangeas or leaves, a few berries … and voila, you’re done!


Have you been planting any flowers lately?



I’m linking up at these fun places:


Friday, October 26, 2012

paying attention

I recently heard a Buddhist say these words:

Paying attention is the purest expression of love.


Which means, being fully aware. Seeing the other person with open eyes

and with a sense of astonishment and newness.

Lingering over the small moments that are easy to miss in our hurried lives.

Because when we practice this kind of seeing, the people in our lives feel valued and heard and suddenly we discover so many reasons to feel grateful.


via LargeBlimpCatStudio

Like this one.

Yesterday while I was leaving the grocery store parking lot, my cell phone rang and I saw Patrick’s name flash on the tiny screen. We only spoke for a few minutes but during our brief conversation his exuberance filled the quietness of my car.

He was telling me about the latest happenings in his world and at one point he actually said, “This (college) year is at least seven times more fun than last year, Mom.”

Seven times? Who quantifies their happiness like that? I shook my head and remembered how excited he’d been with his previous year and I wondered, “How does he do that, how does my kid go through life with so much blustering enthusiasm?”  I smiled and asked a few curious questions.

And afterwards I basked in the glow of his words.


But there was more.

Mr. Moss announced it to me while I was fixing dinner. I forgot to tell you, he said, Michael finds out today. About whether he qualifies for the faster boat.

Right now Michael’s Crew team dominates his life in the same way that your passion fills up your thoughts. Evidently, Michael had purposely kept it quiet but we both knew how hard he’d been working to qualify for the “A” boat that would be traveling to Newport Beach in a few weeks. The escalating work-outs, the tweaks in his diet. And most recently, his change in rowing positions from port to starboard in a final push to qualify.

His coach would be making the decision today.

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Minutes later when the front door opened, I heard a loud shout.

Stella was wagging her tail and jumping up and down and Michael came into the kitchen dressed in his rowing gear and wearing a sheepish grin that said it all. He’d done it. And at least on this day it had all worked out.

He was beaming.

And so was I.



On an ordinary day I had stopped and noticed that both of my kids were overflowing with good feelings…

and I was unbelievably thankful.

I hope you slow down and notice some of your little things today. Because you deserve to.




I’m linking up here:


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Be My Guest…

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Have you ever been invited to a Halloween dinner party?

I haven’t yet. But I’ve always longed to have one… only the dates have never worked out. So do you mind being a guest at my blog’s dinner party?  I’ve decided that my guest of honor is none other than Edgar Allan Poe, so I’ve decorated with him in mind.

And you have a place at the table, won’t you join us?

My inspiration for all this décor? A pair of salt and pepper shakers from the Dollar Tree. That’s right, I had this sudden idea while I was running with my dog, and it led to this entire post. I know, it’s a bit scary how my mind works but I immediately went and bought three pairs of salt and pepper shakers for a grand total of $3.00 and this is what I transformed them into:


Place cards for book lovers; ink and feather pens


Can you see the white feathers with the black tips? Such a perfect touch for the book lover’s table.


I used red stemware and red flowers in honor of the mysterious visitor to Edgar’s grave.

Did you hear about this? It’s a true fact. For over fifty years a mysterious person would leave three red roses and a bottle of cognac on Edgar’s grave each year. He would sneak in at night dressed in black and wearing a wide rimmed hat and no one ever discovered his identity. Sadly, he stopped appearing three years ago.


But back to the dinner table. At each place setting is a black Raven perched on a grey, weathered stick.


Perhaps he delivered your invitation to you. Hmm…click HERE to visit this English teacher’s blog. Bethany has wonderful Poe downloads available for your own invitations. Check it out.

Although Edgar Allan Poe began his academic life in a exclusive school in England funded by his foster father, his life was marked by illness, alcohol and severe poverty.


So although I placed the silverware and damask napkin inside a white glove and used white dinnerware with silver metal chargers…


…there is plain, affordable burlap underneath the black lace table covering. A reminder of his struggles.

It seems at one point in his writing career, Poe was so poor he couldn’t afford stamps to mail his manuscripts. And he died never knowing about his eventual fame. The more I found out about Poe’s life the fonder I felt. Such a tragic figure!


Therefore, at a Edgar Allan Poe dinner party, each guest should receive a copy of The Raven tucked into a black velvet pouch. Don’t you agree?


And when you glance overhead, there should be a nest for the Ravens too.


Here’s a shot in the bright light. Can you see how I did this? I simply attached a plain wreath beneath the chandelier. I added LOTS of dried moss and black ravens throughout (hard to see) and I draped cheesecloth over each chandelier arm.


Each chair is covered in black tulle.



I even pulled out my Edgar Allan Poe wreath. You can see the tutorial HERE. And if you look at the dining room wall, you may notice my Crow Art that I made last Halloween.


Click HERE to see how easy it was using Martha Stewart’s crows.


In the meantime, seems I have a itty bitty problem.…. I…ah, sort of forgot about dinner.

Oh well. Food is so over-rated when you have books and drinks nearby, don’t you think?


your hungry hostess,




Monday, October 22, 2012

a black and white Halloween entrance



Night-time photos

Last night I decided to pull out some Halloween decorations for the front door. Every year I do something different depending on my  mood. Mostly, I let my hands make the decisions when I go through my boxes. I grab things, pull them out, toss them together and it usually gets my creative juices flowing.



This year I’m continuing with my white fixation. I used some black garland, black tulle and white lights around the door. And my Halloween entrance turned into a magical black and white look.


I made a “Welcome” chalkboard out of a small silver tray and put it on my door instead of my usual wreath.


I sprayed my real pumpkins white and plopped them into two old urns with lime green moss.


Everything got a fresh coat of white paint, including my skeleton parts. I filled a big urn  with an old drop cloth, then covered it with some dirt and added my skeleton parts on top. It’s so much easier for me to lug around like that.


I brought my black, shiny tree outside and put it up on a wood barrel.


I hung a Halloween sign made with glitter and stars on it…and it looked so pretty at night.


But here’s a closer look in the daylight. Not quite as magical but you can see the details.





Here’s a photo this morning. It’s our first rain of the year and the sky is gray and overcast but you can still see my urns are old and chipped in the light. And if you were actually here, you could see the real cobwebs in the corner.

Oh well, it adds to the atmosphere, don’t you think?


But I like it better at night. Even with that glaring porch light.

If I get energetic, I might hang some witches hats overheard with fishing wire, along with lights. I think that would be a perfect touch.

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Although it’s still pretty simple compared to last year. Click HERE to see more outdoor tips in orange and black.

And some indoor Halloween decor HERE.

In the meantime which front door do you like the best, orange and black

or white and black?



I’m linking up here:



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