Friday, March 30, 2012

“You are an idiot of the 33rd degree”

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Do you ever wonder how a literary genius with a profound mastery of the English language might insult someone?

That’s right. No crude, simplistic curse words would suffice for a writer like Mark Twain.

DSC_0545photo source: Autobiography of Mark Twain. Vol.1

As the story goes, in November 1905 Mark Twain wrote this letter to a medicine salesman named, J. H. Todd, because Twain was outraged by the bogus medicine claims made by this salesman. At this point in his life Twain had experienced much family illness and death and he was in no mood for fakery. He was also sickly himself, but not too ill to compose this supreme illustration of a literary insult.

Recommended Reading: Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1.



Nov. 20. 1905
J. H. Todd
1212 Webster St.
San Francisco, Cal.
Dear Sir,
Your letter is an insoluble puzzle to me. The handwriting is good and exhibits considerable character, and there are even traces of intelligence in what you say, yet the letter and the accompanying advertisements profess to be the work of the same hand. The person who wrote the advertisements is without doubt the most ignorant person now alive on the planet; also without doubt he is an idiot, an idiot of the 33rd degree, and scion of an ancestral procession of idiots stretching back to the Missing Link. It puzzles me to make out how the same hand could have constructed your letter and your advertisements. Puzzles fret me, puzzles annoy me, puzzles exasperate me; and always, for a moment, they arouse in me an unkind state of mind toward the person who has puzzled me. A few moments from now my resentment will have faded and passed and I shall probably even be praying for you; but while there is yet time I hasten to wish that you may take a dose of your own poison by mistake, and enter swiftly into the damnation which you and all other patent medicine assassins have so remorselessly earned and do so richly deserve.
Adieu, adieu, adieu!
Mark Twain

Sigh, don’t you long for the days when people chose real words to express their outrage, instead of the ubiquitous and crass F-bombs of today?

Mark Twain, you were the best.


happy Weekend!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

do you have a special place where you meditate and pray?


via the inspirational girl

“You don't have a soul. You are a soul.

You have a body.”
C.S. Lewis


Where do you go when you want to be alone with your thoughts? 

lovely-bedroom-details79ideasvia 79 ideas

Do you have a tranquil spot in your home where you can retreat from the bustling pace of your life?

Today, when I had an iron-clad list of things in my mind I was determined to do there was a knock on my door and an unexpected visitor on my doorstep.

And at first it was hard. Inside I was distracted and still wanting to have my own way. 

Until I eventually let go.


elizabethchasevia elizabethchase

Later I was reminded

(how flawed I am)

that offering somebody my quality attention was much more important than

crossing things off my list.



Do you have a special spot where you go to reflect on your life?


According to author Nancy Brady Cunningham, when we collect things that have powerful, emotional value to us and store them in a certain place, we’re creating a kind of altar.

A ‘sacred’ place that can be a source of powerful, loving energy.

Simply sitting in front of these simple items can offer us a window into our deeper selves; a chance for spiritual prayer and reflection.



sharon osbourne home

Where do you keep mementos and photos, or old faded letters from a grandparent who is now deceased?


In this photo, Cami from Creating Yourself, created a ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ a collection of spiritual pictures that line her staircase wall.


This is a photo of my own home. It’s the view from the top of my staircase.

I’m also drawn to vintage statues of the Blessed Mother because they connect me to my Grandfather. She had extraordinary meaning for him..



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This old, mirrored tray is where I’ve placed a few of my statues of the Blessed Mother. One of the statues is even chipped and glued in spots, but I keep sentimental cards and photos under the tray inside a plastic bag.

Immediately after Sierra died, when I was still so heartbroken I collected pieces of her white fur that seemed to be lying everywhere and put them inside the bag. I was worried I’d forget the familiar scent of her warm fur and the feeling I had when I buried my face in it. It’s still there, underneath the tray.

Do you save things too?


I think a single, religious artifact can create a peaceful ambiance in a room.


via bellefrancaiseinteriors.blogspot

Nathaniel biking__house lamp vignettes 1-12 061gammylittlehousevia gammylittlehouse




What about you?


Do you have a place inside your home that feels peaceful?




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Monday, March 26, 2012

Entertaining with Style: learn five napkin folds by video


Hello everyone, the other day I stumbled on some quick, little videos that teach you how to fold napkins –-five different folds--and I immediately thought of all of you.

Are you planning a dinner party anytime soon? Maybe something special for Mother’s Day or Easter? If you’re using cloth napkins, this is the post for you.


The napkin in the photo above is called The Standing Fan. If you want to know how to fold this one, you have to click HERE.

Otherwise, click HERE to watch the videos and learn how to fold The Slide, The Mountain, The French Fold, The Pyramid, and The Crown.

Here are a few of my favorites:



The Pyramid Fold: This one brings back memories. When I was waiting tables in college, this was the napkin fold I always had to do at the end of my restaurant shift. Very easy to do, especially when you’re sipping on a cold beer. This standing pyramid can be mastered in just four simple steps.

iStock_000004165483XSmall_thumb[5]via googleimages

The Crown Fold: How about all these pretty crowns lined up at someone’s birthday dinner? What an easy way to add that extra ‘wow’ factor. Only, I need to watch the video for this one.


Also, did you know there’s an easy way to fold a napkin so that it looks like a rose? Here’s one of my favorites. I think this would be pretty at a Mother’s Day lunch or a even a small garden party, don’t you? The Stone Gable is a gorgeous blog with all kinds of recipes and ideas for setting your tables and you should definitely check it out. Click here for the Rosette Napkin Instructions.


And of course, with Easter on the horizon, don’t forget to check out this cute Bunny Napkin Fold and see some pretty ideas for your Easter table by clicking HERE.

Thanks for stopping by…and if you liked this post, Don’t forget to become a “follower”

of gwen moss blog!

Bye for now,


Friday, March 23, 2012

33 ways to stay creative…


VogueItaliaNov0707via dustjacketattic

Hello to all my dear, busy, multi-tasking, readers!

Thank you for all your emails and comments about “having it all,” I learned that I’m not alone in my struggle to find a balance in my life, and I was terribly impressed with all the wisdom out there in the blogger world.

Today is Friday, hooray!  Whatever your week has been like, you’ve landed smack in front of your weekend and I sure hope that you’ll set time aside to do something that you love. Something that feeds your intellectual curiosity; an activity  that sparks your brain cells into a frenzy, and causes you to lose track of the hours because you’re so completely absorbed in a exhilarating, creative space.



Even… if you only stop and sit in front of a cup of herbal tea and dream.

It counts.

Or if you find yourself thinking of a exciting idea, only it’s grey and fuzzy around the edges and it brings along all those nagging self doubts, at least you will make it more real by devoting time to it. You can nurture it with concrete details and the creation of a list.

Because you have to begin with a vision in mind. Otherwise there are no first baby steps toward a newer way of seeing yourself.

Do you want to read about one woman who transformed her life after age 50?  Click on the link to learn how she changed her way of thinking about growing old and created new experiences for herself. 


Because there are so many OTHERS that we love and nurture and care for and worry about and support and push forward toward growth…

188869778092694618_JRQ1dRSm_cvia googleimage

That it’s easy to forget about us. And our own creative engine that needs to be fed and oiled and consistently acknowledged for us to move toward the place we’re supposed to be….

tumblr_m02brt5yGo1r8bhn9o1_500sundayinbedvia sundayinbed.tumblr

Because anything is possible when we believe that…

…we are THAT woman in our dreams…

Have a happy, dreamy weekend friends!




Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ideas for your Easter table


How cute is this napkin fold? When I saw this napkin, I immediately wanted to share it with all of you.

If you’re like me, you haven’t begun to plan the details of your Easter day yet, but since it’s right around the corner, I thought I’d give you a few ideas for your table, just in case you’re this year’s Easter hostess.

First of all, here are the instructions for the bunny napkin.

These would be a hit at a “kid’s table” too, don’t you think?
I realize that cloth napkins aren’t as practical at big gatherings and they are a pain to wash, but I do think it’s important  to try to use cloth napkins on those special occasions, simply to get our children comfortable using them. In the old days, sitting down for family dinners was a wonderful opportunity to teach basic manners to our kids, but these days, sit-down dinners have become tougher to fit into our daily life. Which means it’s even more important to make our holiday tables special.

Easter Tablescapes Ideas


I love this centerpiece, but forming branches into a nest seems like a lot of work to me. I think I might use a rustic wreath instead, and put my flowers in a low sitting vase.


This is pretty but if you don’t have egg cups like these, you can go to Home Depot and buy some small clay pots from the Nursery, and spray paint them white for the same effect.


How easy is this? Wheat grass can be found at your local nursery. And placing the display on a bed of rocks is a nice touch.

TS2 bright bazaar

This tablescape was done by Bright Bazaar on a budget. I’ve seen these white milk bottles for sale at Target. The pale yellow and white tablecloth is actually a bed sheet that was dipped in yellow dye for a price of ten dollars.

TS5 bright bazaar

The napkins were dyed in hot pink to coordinate with the dual-colored roses. Then, eucalyptus branches were cut from the garden to add height and interest on this springtime table. Very creative and inexpensive.


Here is another Martha Stewart centerpiece, but it’s not hard-to-do. Baskets are everywhere right now and very inexpensive. Pick your favorite. Then, dilute green paint with water and brush it over the basket. The paint consistency should be watery. If the color is too faint on the basket, simply add more paint. Let it dry. Then fill a plastic liner with clover and place in the basket. If the basket is too deep, you can stuff it with crumpled newspaper before you add the fresh clover. Next, add a few dyed green eggs, a chocolate bunny and pretty green ribbon. You can do this.


Very Easter-looking and pretty, if you have the time to clean out the eggs. Me? I’d go shopping at the local craft store for other options. I wonder if paper Mache eggs would work?


This is a great idea from Centsational Girl.

In case you haven’t noticed, the small bird nests that are so popular on Spring tables are a tad expensive. Here’s a cheaper option. She took wicker balls from the local craft store and simple cut them in half with scissors.


Then she filled them with candy almonds and placed them at each place setting as a special party favor.


This is her finished table.

I’m so glad you stopped by. I hope you can use some of these ideas for your own Easter table.

Well, the sun is finally out after days of rainy weather here in northern California. Thank goodness. I hope you have a beautiful day wherever you are!




Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What is your gallery wall personality?


Hello friends. Do you have a gallery wall in your home yet?

Today I thought I’d share some creative looking walls that might inspire you to tackle some empty wall space in your own house. I know. Where do you begin? Well, how about deciding what you like, first. In the photo above, you can see an entryway with loads of personality. It’s a mismatched collection on the wall that creates an casual, fun atmosphere right when you enter. Is this your personality?

I can imagine a friendly, busy family living in this house…


The nice thing about creating a gallery wall, is that it can tell you a lot about yourself in the process. What is the atmosphere you'd like to create in your home? What kinds of artwork or family photos have you been collecting lately? Do you like all your frames to match for a more uniformed, formal look or do you like the random, casual placement in the photo below?

So you have a penchant for antique gold frames in your rooms or do you prefer metal or black framed prints?

The picture above is one of my favorite rooms for so many reasons. I like the classic look of the room, the mix of contemporary prints with traditional artwork and of course, I love the blue and white pottery. But it’s also a tad serious. What do you think?

tumblr_lx2rkuLCAO1qii5iio1_500theinspirationalgirlvia the inspirational girl

The truth is, I love seeing the colorful, quirky additions on someone’s gallery wall because it’s so interesting to see which items were chosen, and why. In fact, I consider gallery walls to be a window into a person’s personality.  And pure eye candy. Here’s a bedroom wall that makes me smile. Love the jolt of red don’t you? 

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photos: dustjacketattic pininterest; google

Do you notice that most gallery walls are done on light, creamy backgrounds? But before you decide to ‘play it safe,’ you might consider the following photos.

gallerywallfromlonnymag lonnymagazinevia lonnymagazine

How about this bohemian-looking bedroom? The deep turquoise color works because of the large window of light. But what about the wall? Do you like the collection of clocks and random, mismatched frames? I can imagine enjoying a cup of latte at a downtown bookstore with the person who lives here.


gallery-wall_domino1via: domino magazine

If you love bold stripes like I do, you’ll want to keep your frames in one color. I painted my own staircase wall in this same taupe colored stripe and I love it. But I still haven’t completed my gallery wall. Oh well, I’m still thinking about it…

horse-dog-framed-prints-wall-gallery-green-painted-walls-decor-plaid-chair-decorating-traditional-home-room-ideasvia googleimage

Here’s a few more cozy wall colors for a possible backdrop for your artwork. Very Ralph Lauren, don’t you think?

Collages40creativity exchangevia the creativity exchange

house_and_home_2via homeandhouse

How about this impressive gallery wall on an upstairs entryway? I like all the black and white but my first question is, “Wow, what kind of person meticulously measured and placed all these framed, matted photos on this wall?”  I need a friend like this!

tumblr_lqxnq1sZGy1r29a71o1_500inspirationalgirlvia theinspirationalgirl

In this industrial looking office, these sepia toned prints are a better fit, don’t you agree?

housebeautifulvia housebeautiful

I really like the idea of a gallery wall in the bedroom because anything goes. I have some of my old prints and a cherished oil painting hanging against a dark, chocolate brown wall in our master bedroom.

2276020596_0766c3815dsouthernlivingvia southernliving

In this photo from Southern Living, these family photos are hung with simple upholstery tacks, although I’m not sure how I feel about all those family members in the bathroom with me.

What do you think? If you do decide to put family photos in this steamy, humid environment, make sure you use copies of the photos, so the originals don’t get ruined.


Well, what’s your opinion? Is a gallery wall right for you? If you do decide to create your own, here are a two helpful tutorials to choose from.

1. Click on this Apartment Therapy tutorial to learn about these five steps to creating a gallery wall.


2. Or check out This Tutorial on Roost-Home that uses wax paper to make your placement job easier.


Well, friends, I hope this post gave you a better idea of your gallery wall personality.

And If you already have a wall in your home, tell me how it turned out. I love to hear about your projects.

In the meantime, I’m off to finish my invitations for my upcoming French Country event. I’ll share some photos soon.

have a wonderful day,


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