Wednesday, August 31, 2011

today I will become my prayer…


Hello friends, today I posted on my God and Coffee blog. To read this post please follow this link…

Monday, August 29, 2011

How to transform an ugly backyard corner-on a budget!


This is what my ugly corner looked like BEFORE I decided to do something about it.

Do you have a corner in your backyard that’s unfinished? A spot in your yard that’s an eyesore, only you don’t have a lot of time or money to focus on it?

Here’s what I did.

Problem 1: the fence is old and in need of a paint job.

Solution: cover it until further action.


I went to Home Depot and bought two packs of reed fencing on sale for $21.97 each. The dimensions are 6 feet tall x 16 feet long.


I also purchased five garden stakes for $3.97 each.

Then I had my two helpers cover the fence with a simple staple gun. How easy is that!

Next, Jim positioned the garden stakes into the dirt so they were firmly in the ground, and equal distances across the fence.


Using a screw gun, we held each post in position with two screws a piece of wire.


Here’s a closer look.


I used some wire I had in the garage, but you could pick out different gauge wires at any hardware store.

Problem 2: No fancy overhead and no lighting?

Solution: Put a nail halfway into the top of each post. then take your heavier gauge wire and connect it to each post, winding it around the nails like this:


Add a string of lights to the wire. I used garden wire.


This is what it looked like after the lights were attached.

Fortunately we had an electrical box near this corner but if you don’t, you could use extension cords to get lighting to your area.

I moved my garden furniture here, added some plants and candles around…

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And this is the AFTER photo taken from across the yard. What do you think?

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I hope this project inspires you to tackle that one spot in your backyard that you’ve been avoiding. Let me know how it goes.

Thanks for stopping by….



Saturday, August 27, 2011

French farmhouse style in Old Fair Oaks, California


One of my favorite shops to visit for pure inspiration is The Bungalow, a lavender- scented shop located in Old Fair Oaks Village, California. If you love vintage pieces in your garden or one-of-a-kind items for your home, you should check it out. You don’t need to be a shabby chic fan to appreciate the mossy patina on a lovely urn, or the intricate carving on a worn gilded mirror. I recently visited on a gorgeous, sunny August afternoon to see what I’d find.


How about this vintage crystal chandelier? I have images of reading Jane Austen underneath it; in a bed filled with fluffy pillows and crumbs from this yummy lemon cake.


Apothecary jars and silver urns are filled with goodies and placed everywhere.


Ralph Lauren interiors are filled with these vintage suitcases. You can also get fun ideas HERE.


There’s lots of creamy white wood mixed with French pieces.

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 Religious pictures, statues and crosses blend beautifully with old tarnished silver.


I can’t decide what I want more, the “romance” necklace or the mannequin.

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I’ve been looking for pillows with muted script on them. And I love old alarm clocks. They remind me that Time is a Gift.


I think these aged terracotta pots would be perfect for a dinner party in the garden. You can fill each one with moss, stick in a plant label with a nametag attached, and set them at individual place settings. Or, simply put votive candles in them and set them down the middle of the table with fresh flowers. You can see lovely table settings HERE, and see centerpieces for an outdoor party HERE.


And do you need an idea for a hostess gift? You can stop in and buy some star fish soap, tie it up in a simple piece of muslin with a white grosgrain ribbon. Or, create a special gift for a friend by wrapping up this lovely book, Anne Morrow’s Gift from the Sea, to go along with the soap. Place these in a small basket with a few sea shells and a scented candle. Voila!

I hope you find beauty in your own life today. Possibly in a place like this, or maybe not; maybe the beauty you’ll see today will be created by you….

Thanks for visiting!

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson



Friday, August 26, 2011

Sending prayers to the East Coast today


It’s a calm, sunny morning here in Northern California. But when I turn on the news, all I see are Hurricane warnings for the East Coast. “Irene” looks ominous from this side of the country, and today I’m sending my prayers and positive thoughts to all those who may be in harm’s way.

Today, we are all neighbors.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Decorating fun with vintage suitcases


luggage-1Photo: Google Images

There’s nothing that screams history and intrigue more than a vintage suitcase. Just think. Each piece of luggage has a story that we’ll never know; a dapper owner who once grabbed the handle and made a mad dash to catch a plane, maybe on his way to pop the question to the woman he loved. Or an owner, who ran excitedly through a train station with her suitcase swinging on her arm, filled with hope as she headed for the big city.

When I see a worn, leather trunk, I think about stiff white shirts, dinner jackets with the whiff of cigar smell, and a bundle of love letters that are wrapped in twine and hidden beneath a woman’s silk stockings.


And of course. Who can forget all those romantic farewells that each old suitcase has witnessed in their heyday? Oh, if only they could talk.

Now after all this, how can you NOT find a place in your design plan for a vintage suitcase?


You can stack them next to a bed for an eclectic look…


or paint them for a clean, country look..


or place them into a traditional setting.

RL_homePhoto: Ralph Lauren Home

Here, a mammoth-sized trunk is perfect in a relaxed setting. Don’t you just want to put-your-feet-on-it, lean back and read the newspaper?

imagesCAL902576a00e552ec1b3d883401348745735d970c-500withelocker_typepad1Photos: Google Images

You can stack them for dramatic effect and place them in a spot that’s typically ignored.

sarahklassen_com-luggagePhoto: 6th Street Design School

And smaller suitcases can be stacked and labeled for accessible storage. Here they are on top of a chest.

counter-table-storage-baskets-suitcases-gray-weathered-country-flea-market-style-decorating-white-vintage-ecelctic-home-decor-ideas-skc3b6naPhoto: Country Living

And here they’re placed inside rustic looking shelves, adding a pop of texture and personality to this white setting.

vintage-smogshoppe-wedding19-ruffledblog MaddyCakesMusePhoto: MaddyCakesMuse

A suitcase can be decorated and used at a baby shower, or party to collect cards and gifts..

01storage apartment therapyPhoto: Apartment Therapy

And used for organizing your crafts, office, or gift wrap items.


In this photo, a small suitcase is used to present snacks at an airplane-themed party. This party idea would also work at a bon voyage party. For more pictures from this airplane party you can check out the Armelle blog.


And finally, I saved the best for last.

What happens if your love story began on a simple plane ride? One couple used their personal story to inspire their beautiful wedding shown here, at the St. Regis Monarch Beach. As you can see, vintage suitcases were part of the centerpieces, and small travel items were on the table.



But these photos are only the beginning. For more amazing wedding ideas on how to personalize this important day, you have to check out the website of floral-botanical designer Krista Jon. I just stumbled on it and my mouth is still open. See more gorgeous photos HERE.

Now, tell me what you think. Which idea did you like?  You can email me at or leave your comments right here.

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Four Feng Shui Tips for your Entryway


Which Entryway do you like best?

Photo 1

2-harmony-entry-0808-xlg-43634577-70764657Photo: Google Image


Photo 2

Photo: Google Images


Photo 3

2-marshall-0309-xlg-67755947-44009557Photo: House Beautiful

Now, here’s the wonderful part. Despite their differences in style, color and texture, each of these entryways illustrates a feng shui tip that you can use. Fans of this Chinese design philosophy believe that you’ll invite  positive energy into your home by following some basic principles.

I’m no expert. But lately, I’ve had entryways on my mind. I think it’s because of my new blog; it’s got me thinking about first impressions, wondering what visitors see, and interested in how to make someone feel welcome.

And suddenly, I was curious to learn some feng shui tips that might be easy and fun to incorporate into my home’s entrance.

So here’s what I learned.

  • Do you know someone that exudes warmth and exuberance?
  • Do you know someone that lifts your mood and makes you laugh; a person who is full of life and optimism?
  • Now imagine if you could draw that same kind of positive energy into your home every day. Because according to Feng Shui design, your home’s entryway is your personal gateway through which good energy, called Chi, flows into your house and yes, into your life too.


According to feng shui design, Red doors attract good energy.











I love this look. Check out more red doors HERE.


101617299_ss google imagePhotos: Google Images, House Beautiful

A black door invites wealth into your home…

And there’s more. It turns out that incorporating these four tips will actually create a sense of coziness and functionality to your entryway.


 Feng Shui Tips for your Entryway

 1. Pay attention to lighting. According to feng shui design, darkness in small spaces can have a negative impact on your mood. Choose lighter colors in your entry. Overhead lighting is a must, and put a favorite lamp on a table near the door. When you go out for the evening leave it on, and you’ll be amazed at how welcoming this soft light can be when you return. I do this, and it’s really true.


2. Never have clutter at the front door! Offer a place to “hang your hat” and stay awhile.

Not everyone has a foyer, or large nook area near the front door. Some of us don’t have any walls that separate our entry from the rest of the house. But from a feng shui perspective, clutter by the front door can make the occupant feel blocked and restricted in their life, so we need to be creative in order to control the flow of good energy in this area, and offer places to put things. For instance, place a small table near the door, with a spot for keys and mail. A basket for shoes. A hook for purses and personal items. And in a perfect world, we would all have a lovely bench or chair nearby, so we could sit down while we removed our shoes.

Condo 252



Photo: Design Sponge, Google Images, BHG

3. Find a spot in your entry for Mirror or Artwork

Have you noticed how often mirrors are placed in the entryway? Not only do mirrors make tight places feel more open, they reflect light from the outside. But feng shui experts have a warning: beware of the mirror’s ability to reflect everything in it. It’s important to know what your mirror is reflecting, and to make sure it’s something lovely, in order to foster positive energy. Avoid reflecting hard edges. And one more feng shui tip: don’t place a mirror directly across your door, instead, the mirror should be on a side wall near the door.

Do you prefer artwork? Remember that when you enter your home, your senses respond immediately to the visual images, colors and textures you use. What is the first feeling that you notice when you enter your home? Have you ever entered a house that made you feel uncomfortable, afraid you might break something? First impressions can be powerful.

When choosing artwork, make sure the images have a calming, happy effect on you. This artwork is the first thing you’ll see when you get home at the end of your long day. So please, only use images that you love.




4. Green plant or fresh flowers.

And don’t forget to keep fresh flowers or a plant in your entry. In fact, using a larger plant can help define a space and create a barrier in an open floor plan. In the feng shui world, fresh flowers and greenery invite positive energy and nothing says, “you’re special” more than the gift of flowers. Placing them in the entryway is a nice way to remind yourself that you deserve beauty and goodness in your life each day.


0d972be392e3photo: d├ęcor pad

Now, scroll through these pictures and take notice of the different elements. Whatever your design style, these are easy tips to help you create the kind of entryway in your home that fits your personality.  Plus- if you can inject some positive energy into your life by getting rid of some clutter, adding something green and placing a lamp near your front door, I say, “Why not?”

What do you think? Does your entryway make you feel happy?














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