Friday, October 31, 2014

Day 31: how to throw a dinner party for picky ghosts



Quick question: What do you do when you see four heads on sale at your local fabric store?

Answer: You think, “Ah-ha! Here’s my Halloween blog post!

Of course. A dinner party for ghosts. What else?

Believe it or not, I’ve always wanted to try making ghosts using liquid fabric starch, cheese cloth and wig heads.

And now that my dining room is that perfect shade of Haunted House Gray, how could I resist entertaining ghosts in there?


So in honor of Halloween 2014 and…

the FINAL post in my 31 Days of October Inspiration Series, I’ve invited a few of my more luminous gal pals over for a light (see-through actually) dinner.


In case you’re wondering, setting a table for ghost gals is rather important.

Think monochromatic…as in shades of white.


And whatever you do, make sure you have chains somewhere on the table.

It makes them right feel at home.


(You can’t tell, but she’s actually smiling)


Also, ghosts prefer to have their napkins levitating…


in case you didn’t know.




And details like white candles, white pumpkins


and eyeball candies are always appreciated too..





Thank you so much for stopping by on Day 31 of October. And what a full month it’s been;  I’ve really learned a lot on this month-long experiment with blogging,

And for those of you who kept me company along the way, I cannot thank you enough.

I’m wishing you all an utterly enchanting Halloween!

with a ghostly hug,






Wednesday, October 29, 2014

a Halloween (birthday) bouquet--how to


Today is my neighbor Maria’s birthday so I picked out this odd shaped pumpkin, some bright red dahlias, white tulips, berries and smokebush leaves from Trader Joe’s and I made this pretty bouquet for her.

Do you want to see how I did it?



I used a plastic water bottle and cut it to fit inside the pumpkin.



I used the opening of the bottle to draw an outline on the pumpkin and then I started cutting…and scooping out the insides.

DSC_0655 (2)

Once I cleaned out the inside I discovered the bottle still didn’t fit. No worries, just keep trimming inside the rim.



You want the bottle to fit snug. Once it fits you can fill it with water and start placing your flowers.




The shades of dark purple in the smoke bush seemed like a nice Halloweeny compliment to the flowers.


Add the white tulips and more berries

And don’t worry if you can see the rim of the plastic bottle peeking out when you’re done. You simply stick some moss into the rim and let it drape over. 


I happened to have this bright green color but I could have made it a tad more spooky with the gray Spanish moss. 


If this was for a Halloween table I’d probably put a trail of tiny spiders on the pumpkin…


See how simple this bouquet was?

I sure hope you’re enjoying the 29th Day of October!







Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Day 28: The big announcement...drum roll please….



quote by Nelson Mandela


In the end there were emails from as far away as Holland and Great Britain that were sent to Bishop Soto in Sacramento, California.

Women who had read THIS POST and felt the same outrage that I did, decided to voice their opinions and do you know what?

We made a difference.

That’s right.

I received a gracious email from Jim, the director of this amazing program that’s been feeding the hungry for thirty years, and I’ve been informed that Father Martin has had a change of heart, and has given his permission to re-open the program beginning today.

That’s right, starting today no more hungry people in need of a hot meal will be turned away, it’s official. The crisis is over.


And Jim—the kind-hearted and wise Director who met with Father and coordinated the  compromises couldn’t have been more grateful for the feedback that arose from the blog post, calling us “90% responsible” for this happy ending.

This is the part that’s really something.


It’s the fact that such a stunning number of readers took action on behalf of people that live thousands of miles away from them; people they’ll never even meet, and in an age when we’re all running around juggling so much, they still took the time to:

offer prayers,

share my post on their own FB pages,

tweet my post,

offer me strategies for dealing with an obstinate priest

and sent outraged emails to the Bishop

heck, one of my readers (thank you Barbara) even called the Bishop’s office and had a very assertive conversation with his secretary when he was unavailable.

“I hope the Bishop acts quickly because Tuesday’s just 30 hours away and there’s people to be fed.” she’d told her.

And while I don’t know if there were other phone calls, I do know that the Bishop got a barrage of feedback. And that the priest himself mentioned in a conversation, a blog post out there that was “hurtful” to him (I’m sorry Father but sometimes the truth hurts).

And as the supportive feedback kept coming in, I felt a surge of Mama’s pride rush through my veins and the kind of smile on my face that says, “Yes! We’re being heard.”

Which is the first step toward change.

martin lutherkingjr

The other night my parents—who will be wearing their blue aprons and welcoming guests back to the gym tonight --asked me to thank everyone on their behalf.

My cute Dad, who was so excited by the blog comments my Mom was reading to him, told me,

“Boy Leslie, you’ve got some nice ladies who read your blog. Now don’t forget. I want you to be sure to thank everyone for your Mom and me. OK?”

Ok Dad.



But he didn’t have to remind me because I’ve felt this way for a long time.

I’m just so grateful –and humbled—for the kind of readers who come to my blog.

Readers like YOU.

Because it turns out there’s whole a lot of strong women out there who aren’t afraid to stand up to bullies and say what they think, especially when it comes to protecting the vulnerable and weaker ones among us.

And I’m so happy that enough of us decided to use our collective power to change a bad decision.



And of course…

it always helps to have the good Lord on your side.


Happy 28th of October!







Thursday, October 23, 2014

Day 23: how I made this easy Fall Tablescape…



 Hello friends.

You might recognize these flowers from my recent Gallery Wall Reveal.



I needed to come up with a quick Fall tablescape for that post and today I thought I’d show you what I did in case you’re looking for a few ideas.


I had already found these gold and red placemats on sale at Pier One so I figured that one of my blue and white Chinese jars could be used as a vase. When you’re under a time crunch, it forces you to look around and use what you have on hand.

Next I stopped by a wholesale flower shop but their selection was pretty low so I ended up buying these four bunches to use as the base for my arrangement.  Then I added filler flowers with a grocery store bouquet.

DSC_0306 copy

These were the selections I started with.

Do you notice how I chose different flower shapes and textures?  When arranging flowers try to mix spiky and round flower shapes with interesting foliage.

Whenever it’s available I like to use Amaranthus for its interesting shape and since I was laying Eucalyptus down the table alongside giant Magnolia leaves, I added this to the arrangement too.


Magnolia leaves off a nearby tree were flattened under books the night before…


and Cinderella pumpkins and baby white pumpkins that I borrowed from HERE were added down the middle of the table.


I already had these small gold votives.



And do you remember those thrift store finds for my bar cart?

Well here’s that quirky $1.99 candle holder.


I originally saw the idea of using a single piece of wheat as a place card HERE but my version is more casual (and quicker). I used these Kraft gift tags that are sold in packs and when the wheat wouldn’t fit inside the hole, I simply tied it to the tag. I used a gold pen for handwriting….and Voila!

Everything looks pretty on a white napkin don’t you think?







Placemats: Pier One $2.99 each

Gold glassware: World Market Cost Plus $2.99 each

Wine glasses: TJ Maxx; set of six for $12.99

one bouquet of wheat : grocery store $3.99


Before I go I want to thank you.

Thank you for all the supportive comments you gave me about keeping up my blogging challenge this month. I happily called it ‘failing’ because it actually felt refreshing to embrace that idea. But it’s funny how airing out some feelings makes us feel better.

So here’s the verdict. I’m doing what I can comfortably do.

How’s that sound?

I say we make that our new mantra!

hugs to you all,


I’m sharing this post at these parties:





Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Day 21: when choosing failure is the right thing to do…




It started off as a great idea.

31 days of blogging during the month of October, of churning out creative posts, improving my writing speed, and heck, maybe gaining a few more followers.

But I’m learning something about myself …or maybe I should say that I’m being reminded of what I already know about Me.

And it’s this.

I operate in Life by my gut reaction to things; I’d describe it as having an emotional thermometer that resides in my heart and lets me know when things don’t ‘feel right.’ And I don’t spend a lot of time second guessing these kinds of feelings. I honor them because I don’t think relying on our deepest emotions is ‘irrational’ or being ‘led by one’s emotions’ one bit.

I believe this is how we stay in touch with ourselves, how we determine what matters to us at our core.

So today, on Day 21 of October I thought I’d share some red, flashing feelings I’ve been experiencing lately in case you can relate.

When I put this discomfort into words here’s what I’m hearing. 

Blogging everyday means I have to make a choice. (Duh. But there’s a difference between ‘knowing’ something intellectually and knowing it on an emotional level)

Today I’m aware on a gut level that choosing longer, more extensive computer time means that something has to give, and it’s my relationships.

I’m seeing that I don’t have the spontaneous chance to phone a friend. Or visit a blogger that has so graciously left a comment for me. Or that I just want to check in with. In fact,  here’s a recent example when I chose to ‘fail’ at my 31 day blog commitment.

Let’s see. Having our first official beach bonfire or getting a post done?

(You can see what I chose)


Although, because I’m one of those annoyingly conscientious people I actually felt conflict over making this choice. And that’s my observation today.

It’s that I feel more ‘pressed’ for time. It’s observing that yes, I’ve got lots of material   -- photos and ideas—to be shared on my blog, but getting it published daily means sacrificing meaningful moments in my real life.

And this part doesn’t feel good.

I realize its a question we all face daily in our lives. Defining our priorities is always about saying yes to one thing and no to another. For me it’s blogging more, for you it’s something else.

When it comes to my 31 day blogging commitment (that I announced with so much enthusiasm)… the question is not whether there are benefits to me—I love expressing my creative side, feeling more productive, seeing my traffic go up, etc…

The question is whether I’m ok with the costs of these positive outcomes. 

I remember feeling this way when my boys were little. The choices were always there, get my nails done and go shopping for something new to wear to dinner, or slather black paint all over refrigerator boxes for our Halloween haunted maze. Somehow I could never manage it all and so I ended up choosing the memory making stuff. 

But not always without angst. “Why can’t I ever find time to get my nails done!” I’d complain on our way to a special occasion. But the truth is, I did have the time, I know that now. I just chose differently.

And now that I’m through that part of my life—when the kids were little—I realize that my priorities worked for me.

In the end, isn’t this what we all hope for?  When it matters, we make the  choices that are right for us.

Really. We’re all just doing the best we can. But I think that figuring out our priorities and living our lives accordingly means that of course we will ‘fail’ at some things. In fact, choosing to fail at certain endeavors may be the absolute right choice at the moment.

But at least when we fail, they will be the things that matter less in the end…

to our deeper selves.




Tell me, can you relate to this post?



p.s. I may or may not be back tomorrow.

Even though I can’t wait to show you how to create my Fall Tablescape,

I’m still trying to get my Halloween entry decorated, and Kirsten and John are coming to town which is so exciting!

So until next time… trust those gut reactions.








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