Category Archives: Decorating

Coastal Living Ultimate Beach House: First Place!

Hi All!

It’s been awhile!  Hope you’re enjoying the holiday season, and that you and your family are well.

Wanted to give you some fun news.

A couple of months ago, just for kicks, I participated in a contest called ‘My Coastal Living Ultimate Beach House.’  It involved making a Pinterest Board and pinning 12 of my favorite Coastal Living Magazine beach house images.   I picked one shot for each room of my ‘Dream Beach Cottage’ and gave a description.    I didn’t give the contest another thought until a few days ago, when I got an email from Coastal Living’s Associate Features Editor.  She said that out of nearly 3500 entries, I’d been selected as their FIRST PLACE winner!  I’m totally flabbergasted.   They’ll be announcing the winners this week, and will be promoting it through their magazine, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  I won prizes worth $1400 (cash and flatware and stemware).   I’m thrilled about the prizes of course, but even more excited just to have WON!!

So I had to share with you all.   When I was pinning for the contest I dreamed I had one lovely beach house  and was walking from room to room,  thinking about how the rooms made me feel.   Here are three photos from my ‘winning’ board (love saying that!):

Picturing myself reading a novel in this spot. More relaxed just thinking about it!

Picturing myself reading a novel in this spot. More relaxed just thinking about it!

Ah, to do nothing all day except lie in a hammock and listen to the waves . . .

Ah, to do nothing all day except lie in a hammock and listen to the waves . . .

A claw foot tub, double hung windows, and lots of white. And lavender in a pot of course!

A claw foot tub, double hung windows, and lots of white. And lavender in a pot of course!

If you’re curious to see the other nine photos, here’s the link to my Pinterest Board:  Coastal Living Ultimate Beach House

If you’re not already on Pinterest, take a moment to sign up!  It’s free and a great place to organize websites.  Pinterest means “Pin Your Interests” and I’ve got 44 boards and have pinned sites on everything from interior design to food to books to writing inspiration.  You can name your boards whatever you’d like.  I called four of mine ‘Inspiring Interiors’, ‘Paint It’, ‘Books!’, and ‘Write!’   You can follow one or all of my boards, and comment on my pins. . . go ahead, do it!  I’d love to see you there.

It’s also interesting to see what other Pinners are posting so you can stay up to date on the latest trends.   I love Coastal Living Magazine, and follow their board for just that reason.   Even the ads are interesting, many of which focus on the newest beach communities where Ron and I might retire some day.   My dream, as you may have guessed,  is to one day have a cottage on the beach– and Coastal Living lets me dream to my heart’s content.  I’m so thrilled and thankful to have won their first Pinterest Ultimate Beach House contest!


Filed under Beach, Contests, Decorating, Happiness, Interior Design, Photographs, Uncategorized

Shabby Bird Bath Gets Painted.

It was a pretty wet winter for Southern California standards, and boy, are we reaping the benefits this Spring! The roses are blooming in force.

They’re everywhere in the backyard.

And one of my favorite spots to sit, read a book, and enjoy the view is right here.

Only problem is, the bird bath is looking pretty shabby from all the rain.

So time to bring out the paint and give this Walmart special (on clearance for about $19) a makeover.

First, I paint the entire bird bath bowl in Caromal Colours Country Living Bayberry Textured Basecoat.

Then, I give it a coat of Country Living Paprika Textured Basecoat.

Then, I get out the rough grit sandpaper and sand in random areas all over the bowl to give it a rustic appearance.

Fill the bird bath with water.

And admire my hard (well not really) work.

P.S. Did you notice I changed the front porch header picture for this blog? Let me know if you like it!


Filed under Decorating, Refurbishing furniture, Uncategorized

Easy, Cool Wall Art

I apologize for not posting the past few days– been absorbed with tracking my family tree on Of course, soon I will post about this, along with tips I’ve learned to make tracking YOUR family tree a cinch. It’s really interesting to learn about your ancestors, and much easier in today’s day and age. I attempted this about 20 years ago, and didn’t get very far because it was so tedious. But everything is just a click away now. And a bonus is I’ve been able to Google many of my ancestors to get their stories.

I’ve also been busy planning our upcoming trip to New York. We leave this Sunday. Daughter Jenna is singing with her school choir at Carnegie Hall next Friday night! I plan to blog about our trip and the Carnegie Hall experience, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, today’s post is a short favorite from a former blog of mine, Refreshing Redesign.

Here’s an easy idea for wall art: Take scrapbook papers in any theme you like (I chose Heirloom Papers) and frame them with inexpensive discount store frames. I framed nine papers in identical frames from Walmart. The frames are all black with white mats and cost about $12 each– they may be inexpensive, but the simplicity of black and white is a classic choice that makes any paper look good, especially when you group the frames en masse. Above is a photo of the end result:

And here’s a pic of one of the individually framed scrapbook papers:

Here’s a photo of the wall art integrated with the living room:

Try it! It’s easy as pie to do . . .

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Filed under Decorating, Family, Grandparents, Uncategorized

Cinderella Desk. Beware. Sad ending.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about desks alot.   Hey, I’m not the only one!   A good friend posted the following riddle on his Facebook status yesterday:

“Have you any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?”

The answer to this riddle, apparently, is in the book Alice in Wonderland:

Alice sighed wearily. “I think you might do something better with the time,” she said, “than wasting it in asking riddles that have no answers.”

But I digress.  This post is not about Alice in Wonderland.   It is a Cinderella story.   About a desk. 

Desks.   You may be sitting at one.   I sure spend a lot of time at mine.   And I love to give them “Cinderella Makeovers.” 

I rescued this particular desk.  I found it at one of my favorite haunts.  You guessed it.  GOODWILL!

Here’s the before.   Can you believe this ugly specimen cost $49?

I guess even Goodwill has inflation! Here’s a before shot of the top. Eeegads!

What did I like about this desk anyway?   Well, it had good bones and the drawers slid out pretty well.   I peered inside a drawer and saw something engraved. “Drexel Heritage”.   Hey I’ve heard of that manufacturer! 

And in small print it said, “Touraine Collection.”


So I shelled out the $49 bucks and hauled it home.   Went online and learned the Touraine Collection was made in the 1960s.  Some Craigslist ads priced pieces at up to $450.


So what did I do to give it its Cinderella makeover? 

PAINTED IT of course! 

I thought it would look cool in an antique white color with an olive green trim.   Just give it a newer, but still vintagey,  look.     So  I used a line of decorative paints from Caromal Colours.   This is cool paint– the texture is like putty.  You just smoosh it on with a paint brush. It dries really fast and cleans up with water.  I LOVE easy paint clean-ups!   After it dried I took a damp rag and smeared on some Caromal Colours toner into the nooks and crannies.   Here’s what it looked like when I was done. 

Now I’m no perfectionist, and I’m no professional painter.   But for $49 and some paint it looks pretty good, huh?  Don’t you just LOVE a good Cinderella story?

But I have to tell you something.  Please don’t get mad at me.  

We don’t have this desk anymore.  


We got a new sofa, and had no room anywhere for this desk as it was too big.   So guess what I did? 


I gave it back to Goodwill.


Filed under Decorating, Refurbishing furniture

Anne of Green Gables on Happiness, Parenting, and Decorating.

I’m a big reader, and love all kinds of books. Recently I read Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project”, a book that drew me in with its tag line “Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun” (It’s a great book, and is a #1 New York Times Bestseller.) The book inspired me to hunt through our bookshelves to find children’s literature. You see, Gretchen loves children’s literature because the stories usually have good morals embedded within, and have happy endings. Good always prevails over evil. Adult literature is often more complicated moral-wise which is thought-provoking, but if you want to get happy, read a kids’ book. I agree!

So I decided to re-read an old favorite: Anne of Green Gables.

Anne of Green Gables is about an eleven year-old orphan girl who is taken in by the Cuthberts, even though they were really hoping for a boy to help on the farm. But this red-headed, freckled face skinny girl wins them over with her enthusiasm and imagination and general sweetness.

What I love about Anne is she seems to know the secrets of happiness– even at eleven, and even when the situation is bleak. The day after arriving at Green Gables, the Cuthberts want to send Anne back to the orphanage. In the buggy, Anne keeps her chin up:

“Do you know,” said Anne confidentially, “I’ve made up my mind to enjoy this drive. It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will. Of course, you must make it up firmly.”

Anne also says something that resonated with me as a Mom. Before Green Gables, Anne lived with many different families. She is asked if the women were good to her. Anne’s response? “Oh, they meant to be– I know they meant to be just as good and kind as possible. And when people mean to be good to you, you don’t mind very much when they’re not quite– always.”

This made me feel so much better about all the MILLIONS of mistakes I’ve made as a parent. Because when push comes to shove, I’ve always MEANT to be a good mom. 🙂

Finally, Anne knows a secret to happiness I’ve been telling my family for ages now– when your environment is lovely and happy, you just feel BETTER. I’m a firm believer that if you surround yourself with what you love, you will be in better spirits. Anne is a HUGE nature lover, and brings flowers into the house. She adorns the dinner table and her bedroom with jugfuls of apple blossoms. How can you NOT be happy when you’re surrounded by apple blossoms?

I’m only half-way through the book, but I’m so glad I picked it up again. Funny how a classic children’s story can have such insight into happiness, parenting, and the importance of surrounding yourself with beautiful things!


Filed under Books, Decorating, Happiness, Parenting, Reading