Decorating With Classic & Stylish Black and White

There is something about black and white that I just love. I always have and probably always will.

Maybe it’s the dramatic contrast that appeals to me, or maybe it’s the versatility I love, or maybe it just reminds me of my favorite on-screen couple, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard :).

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Black and white is forever. It’s timeless. It’s elegant. It’s sophisticated.

You can be sure if you choose this color scheme, it will never go out of style.

I had fun gathering these photos, and for some strange reason, I now have the urge to live in a penthouse apartment, overlooking Central Park.

Just like my love of black and white, I’ve always adored canopy beds. When your bed is this dramatic, you don’t need much else. Just let the bed take center stage.

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If you choose black and white, you’ll never have to worry about decorating for the seasons. Simple additions of pillows and accessories throughout the year can make all the difference. One thing I want to know…are these furnishings waterproof??!

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I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love these chairs! Ok, maybe they’re not the most practical choice for everyday dining, but I’ll eat on the floor if it means I can have these.

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For a twist on the traditional white trim, try black! And look at those curved chairs around the dining table. Gorgeous!

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Black rattan and striped drapes and pillows elevates this outdoor covered porch to one of elegance.

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The ultimate in simplicity, these fuzzy chair covers bring a sense of whimsy and warmth to this minimal, but elegant dining room.

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I love gingham, and done in black and white it brings a sense of elegance as well as ‘country’ chic to this french inspired dining room.

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A soft neutral bed cover helps balance the dramatic rug and mirror in this comfortable but sophisticated living room.

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The bold black and white wallpaper in the hallway and chandelier add a ton of drama and elegance!

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Painting the island white was a good move. All black cabinets may have made this lovely kitchen look too dark, but now this combo opens it up. I love the black and white vent hood!

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In this casual kitchen, fun patterns on the walls and accessories give it plenty of personality, and a few additions of red and yellow really help to liven up the space.

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There’s something about a powder room that I love. It’s almost as if they’re little jewelry boxes, just waiting for us to try something bold. I adore this graphic wall pattern and these beautiful sconces!

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Classic subway tile combined with striped accents give this bathroom a spa-like feel.

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Gold is a wonderfully glamorous addition for a black and white space. A few well-thought out accents are enough to add a whole new layer to the decor.

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Are you a fan of black and white? What’s YOUR favorite color scheme?

 

In other news..

 

If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw some of these photos, but for the rest of you, here’s a peek into our week…

We are in Venice at a lovely RV resort which offers tons of activities, one of which was an Abba concert. If I had known I’d end up on stage I would have definitely upped my wardrobe ;). 

Abba

There’s a rather unfortunate phenomenon occurring now, which is commonly referred to as ‘Red Tide’. It causes hundreds of fish to die and become washed up to shore. Bad for the fish…good for the birds.

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When most people are in beachy locations, the cuisine du jour tends to be seafood, but sometimes you just crave something different. We found a great Mexican place not too far that has a lovely outdoor setting…

Venice restaurant

and even lovelier Margaritas ;). 

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The weather still isn’t great (a bit rainy and chilly), but we’re making the most of it and we’re just grateful we’re not home shoveling snow!

 

Romantic Table Settings For Valentine’s Day

I know it sounds sappy, and it’s definitely not a popular sentiment, but Valentine’s Day has always been a special day to me. Fisherman and I usually have a nice dinner, eat way too much (chocolate!) and get each other mushy hallmark cards. I’m a sucker for the romance, and I definitely love an over the top table filled with pretty crystal, fine china and red roses.

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It doesn’t matter who you are sharing Valentine’s Day with or what your style may be, there is a table here you will love.

This first inspiration actually comes from a wedding reception table. Hang cute photos of you and your honey (or your friends/family) from a light fixture or in the case of this example, an adorable reclaimed ladder. X’s and O’s add a special, romantic touch. 

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I was blown away with this beautiful, asymmetrical arrangement of red roses. Stunningly dramatic!

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If your taste leans more toward something simple but elegant, this table fits the bill. 

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I adore polka dots, and this table displays just the right amount for my taste. 

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Simple heart motif napkins highlighted with a ‘pearl’ napkin rings, striped tablecloth and cute red lovebirds, give this table a fun, whimsical feeling.

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It wouldn’t be difficult or expensive to duplicate this adorable table. Sparkly red paper from a craft store cut into heart shaped place mats, houndstooth fabric for the tablecloth and some red velvet fabric for the backdrop of the luxurious centerpiece all come together to create a beautifully inspired table.

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A big glass vase filled with cranberries and red roses and large letters to spell out ‘LOVE’ are simple but oh so effective.

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Isn’t this the prettiest china pattern? I love the way the colors pop against the baby blue tablecloth, and I just want to sink my teeth into those macaroons :).

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This elegantly simple table would be perfect any time of year, and the addition of little journals as favors for your guests is a gesture anyone would appreciate. 

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Crystal cake plates and cloches gives this table a romantic, airy feel.

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Casual, yet elegant, this crafty, DIY table brings some whimsical, casual flair to this setting..

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Who said A Valentine’s Day table setting needs to be fancy? Not me. This adorable table setting keeps things simple with chargers featuring little hearts and a pretty checked napkin.

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While all of these tables have a Valentine’s theme to them, I got to thinking though…why not use some of these ideas all year round? They’re perfect for any romantic meal and they even work for a festive holiday table. 

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? 

 

In other news…

 

This time of year the weather seems to be a primary topic, and around here in Florida it’s no exception. This week there was almost non stop rain Wednesday and Thursday, causing some neighborhoods to resemble rivers. Normally the average rainfall for January is less than two inches, but we’ve gotten nearly thirteen inches of rain so far. Of course, that’s because we’re here. 😶 

In between dodging raindrops, we’ve managed to slip in some activities worth doing while in Naples. Last week we took a short drive to Marco Island and spent a few hours at Stan’s, a honky tonk place well known for its cast of characters, music and the best burgers around. It attracts more than its fair share of bikers and this was one of my favs.

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I guess it’s the cowgirl in me ;).

We plan on returning Sunday for their ‘mullet’ festival which promises to have lots of mullet fish and hairstyles. Maybe I’ll get one…

Monday we are leaving Naples and heading to Venice for a month. We’ve enjoyed our time here but we’re looking forward to moving on.


 

 

 

 

Adding Color When You Rent

January is a huge month for moving, and sometimes that move means you’re in a rental surrounded by white walls, white ceilings and beige carpet.

Been there, done that.

You may think you don’t have a lot of options for adding color, but I’m here to show you a few easy, creative, and inexpensive ways to jazz up your rental (or any space for that matter!).

 

USE DECORATIVE FOLDING SCREENS

 

Decorative screens are surprisingly easy to make (click on the ‘source’ for the how-to), and the best part is you choose what fabric you want, making it a perfect way to add color and a cohesive, pulled-together look.

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COVER LARGE OR SMALL CANVAS WITH FABRIC

 

This has got to be the easiest diy ever! Head on over to your local second hand store and buy an inexpensive piece of canvas artwork and cover it with your choice of fabric. Another alternative is to use a few different sizes of canvas and cover them each in different, coordinating fabric. Of course, you can always buy new canvases at an art store, but you’ll save some $$ buying old prints, and that’s always a good thing :).

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PAINT YOUR FURNITURE

 

Enough said.

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USE AREA RUGS

 

For me, area rugs are an important element in a room, maybe the most important one. They define a space, add color and create a cozy feel to any room. If your rental has plain ‘apartment beige’ carpeting, the rug works great to help camouflage it.

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ACCESSORIZE WITH COLOR

 

Accessories help a room come alive, and here’s where you can really bring your personality into the space. Pillows, art, flowers, collectibles, drapes, etc. all help to liven up a space and make it your own.

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HANG CURTAINS ON THE WALLS

 

You don’t necessarily need a window for a curtain. In the space below, the ‘illusion’ of a window behind the bed was created by using a wall of drapes. 

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So there you go my friends. Just because you can’t paint, doesn’t mean you can’t have a colorful, happy space that you’ll love, and the best part is, you can take these decorative elements with you when you move into your dream home!

 

In other news…

 

Here’s a picture I took while in Sanibel Island this week. I love the way the Egrets reflection is in the water. I was in a trolley taking a tour when I shot this and had to share!

Sanibel island

Sanibel is a laid back, sophisticated place perfect for those of you who like to collect shells. I’m not a fan since I prefer soft, sandy beaches and I don’t collect shells, but if you do it’s worth a visit. The recent storms have also brought more shells to the shores, and we saw some really beautiful and interesting ones.

Speaking of weather, we had another tornado earlier this week. Yours truly just stayed in bed, oblivious to the dangers just outside, but about 100 of our neighbors here at the resort high tailed it outta here and took shelter at a nearby hospital. 

I woke up the next morning under a trailer, with just my feet sticking out. Somewhere in the distance I heard chanting…ding dong the witch is dead.

It kinda hurt my feelings…

 

Vintage Kitchen Designs

I LOVE retro kitchens. There is just something really, really special about them.

But make no mistake…there’s a huge difference between “outdated” and “vintage”. Vintage is an element that calls to mind a positive memory, something that we loved and admired about the past.

Outdated…not so much.

If you feel the same and you’re looking for interesting designs for your kitchen, try mixing some timeless looks from the past and throwing in some modern, contemporary style from the present. Combining the two makes for some cool and fun kitchens!

I’ve combed the internet to find some inspiring vintage kitchens I think you’re going to love, so without further adieu…

Here’s a great example of mixing old and new styles to create one beautiful, functional design space. New cabinets? Check. New stove? Check. Vintage sign? Check. And notice the clock and light fixtures. Vintage inspired loveliness :).

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Mixing colors can be tricky, but when done well, such as in this kitchen, the results are quite interesting!

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The custom La Cornue stove is the focal point of this vintage kitchen. This kitchen just proves how every detail matters.  Check out the hanging pots, which bring in the same metallic and bronze colors and textures.

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What’s more retro than a pink fridge? The combination of the blue vintage stove and pink fridge bring a lot of character to this shabby chic kitchen. Have you seen the ‘new’ vintage appliances? Love them!

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Speaking of vintage appliances, this kitchen shows that you don’t need them to capture a retro feel. The red and white color scheme, subway tile, fabric and that retro chair are all you need for a nostalgic trip back to the 1950’s.

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Sometimes all you need are subtle details to give a kitchen retro appeal. This scalloped valance does the job nicely, and with a little help from some retro pastels, the effect is AHHHHH-DOR-A-BLE. cottage retro kitchen

Here’s another scalloped edge, but this time it spans the width of the kitchen from the ceiling. Speaking of ‘new’ vintage fridges, here’s a pink Smeg fridge that fits the bill. 

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While you don’t need vintage looking appliances to achieve a retro look, the opposite is true as well. Modern cabinetry benefits from vintage appliances to give this beach home a comfy, vintage feel.

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What a stove! This reminds me a little bit of the one we came across in this post. No one could argue that a stove like this would be the center of attention in any kitchen, and definitely give it a vintage feel.

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A Wedgewood stove in mint green is the perfect appliance for a kitchen looking to add a little vintage to its personality. (Overlook the snake under the stove. I’m sure it’s fake ;).)

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This kitchen is big on color, but it’s done so well!

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I’ve always loved eat-in kitchens, but sadly, they’re lacking in new designs. Brightly colorful ovens, even if in a modern style, instantly add some vintage flair as well.

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Do you like vintage kitchens? 

 

In other news…

 

I am writing this while at the clubhouse at the resort. Currently, there is no water throughout the resort as there seems to be an underground leak in one of the pipes. They had to shut off all the water while the leak can be detected. It also happened on Wednesday, which happened to be my birthday (it’s official. Social Security here I come). I was about to shower, so I grabbed a ‘wet one’ and made the best of it ;). 

We then went to breakfast at Mel’s Diner, then some shopping and a trip to the zoo. Fortunately when we returned to the resort the water was restored so I got decked out and we went on a sunset cruise to Marco Island and our friends joined us which was a complete but happy surprise. The boat captain gave me an adorable teddy bear that sang happy birthday, complete with moving head and mouth. So cute! 

Marco island sunset cruise

He now has a spot of honor on our bed :) 

The weather hasn’t been great. I think there have been maybe just a couple of ‘beach’ days, so we’ve been biking, shopping and checking out other resorts for maybe next year. (We like where we are, but not necessarily enough to return.)

Fisherman thinks I have baboon feet. What do YOU think :). 

Poolside

I’ll be back with some more organizing posts and some ideas for Valentine’s Day later this month. 

xxx

 

 

 

7 Insanely Easy But Effective Organizing Tips

Here’s a news flash for ya’…I love the feeling I have when everything is organized in my home.

Who doesn’t?

But like soooooo many things in life, organizing isn’t something we can do once and forget about it. It’s an ongoing process, but there are lots of small things you can do every day to help.

 

Do quick cleanups every day

 

If I had to wait until I had enough time to clean my entire house, I’d have a very, very dirty house. I much prefer to take a few minutes to perform small cleanups, such as wiping down the bathroom counter top after brushing my teeth. I keep cleaning supplies directly under the sink to make it easy.

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Keep the items you use the most where you can easily access them

 

This goes for every room in the house including the garage. By having what you need handy, you’ll save time looking for it. To keep clutter at bay, store items you rarely use such as seasonal decor in the garage, basement or attic.

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Put things away when you are done with them

 

This tip is tried and true, and there’s a reason for that. It works! It only takes a few extra seconds to put something away. My motto is…’leave a room as you found it’.

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When you think of something to do but you can’t get to it right away, write it down

 

I can’t tell you how many times I thought ‘I’ll remember’, but I oftentimes forget. You too? A few months ago I installed Evernote on my phone and iPad, and now I’d be lost without it.

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Finish up the task you are working on before you begin a new one

 

I admire people that can do several things at once, but many times those people end up with a lot of incomplete projects. I prefer to focus on one thing at a time and give it my full attention.

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Do it now

 

Something else we all do from time to time is say ‘I’ll do this later’, but never do. Stop and do it when it’s on your mind.

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Use labels generously

 

Label whatever you can. It not only helps in knowing what items are stored there, but it makes it a lot easier for everyone to find and put things away.

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Getting and staying organized is so much easier if you tend to it every day. For a look at how I organize our kitchen check out this post, and for a peek at our bathroom, check out this post.

What tips do you have that help you stay organized?

 

In other news…

 

I hope in a few days I can finally share the changes with the blog I’ve been alluding to, but EVERYTHING seems to take longer than expected and there’s always challenges. In the meantime, I’ll share some trip highlights (and lowlights). 

We just returned from an overnight trip to the Keys. If you’ve been following along for a year or more, you might recall last year we spent a week in Key Largo on a houseboat, but never made it down to Key West. We decided to do that Thursday and I have to say I love Key West! It’s a vibrant, eclectic town that is full of life, and I hope to return and spend more time there some day.

We arrived just before sunset and grabbed a table at a hotel in the square (where I had the most delish mojito!) and I took a few pics of the immediate area, including the sunset which I’ll share in a roundup post. To the left of this picture is where the sun sets, and it did not disappoint. Every night there’s music and dancing, adding to the festive, fun atmosphere. 

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We drove to the Keys with a rental car (long story), which had to be returned the next day (another long story). I’ve been up since 3 a.m. and am now back in BAM while fisherman is returning the car. 

Time for a nap…

 

P.S. The wi-fi at the resort is practically non-existent. The only way I can be on-line is by using up our data, so please understand I can’t visit and comment as much as I’d like. Someday I’ll make it down to the clubhouse (where it seems to be better) for a couple of hours and catch up. With any luck, our next place will be better, but rumor has it RV resorts are notoriously bad for wi-fi. :(

 

 

Simple Tips For Home Office Organization

Happy 2016 one and all! I hope you had a fabulous holiday season and are ready to great the new year with enthusiasm and joy. I know I am, as by the time you read this we will be settled into our RV resort in Naples, Florida :). 

Besides being my birthday month (hint, hint), January is one of the most popular months for the organization bug to hit, so I thought I’d start the year off on the right foot and begin with some ideas for organizing your home office.

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These days, many of us have a home office, whether it’s the place where we actually work, or just a space where we take care of bills, correspondence or, like me, blog :).

A home office can quickly get unorganized, so why not take some time this month to whip it into shape?

Here are a few tips I’ve found to help you do just that!

  • Make sure you have enough space to get the job done. Your office space doesn’t need to be huge, but it does need to be functional and meet your needs.
  • Office supplies, files and other materials don’t necessarily need to be in or even near your desk if they’re not accessed routinely, but you do need to have a designated area for them, whether that’s a closet, dresser or even sets of baskets.

In a small space, it makes sense to utilize the wall space for storage. In this example, cubbies were mounted to the wall and magazine holders were screwed into the bottom of the cubbies for a creative mail sorter. I can’t quite be sure, but it looks like this ‘desktop’ might be a slab door. In my home office, I purchased two inexpensive hollow core doors and placed them on three Ikea cabinets.

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  • If you use something on a regular basis, give it prime real estate in your office. It will make your day-to-day life so much easier and more efficient.
  • Set aside one day a week for filing so your paperwork doesn’t get out of hand.

Turn an existing dresser or other unit with deep drawers into a file cabinet with one simple addition: Install adjustable hanging file frames (available at office supply stores) in the drawers and develop a filing system with tabbed hanging folders.

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Make a brightly colored convenient bulletin board from carpet squares. Find the tutorial here.

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If you can’t spread your office out, then go up! Take advantage of vertical space with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

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There are so many beautifully patterned wallpaper and paper readily available. Why not brighten up some clipboards with your leftovers? Covered Clipboard Tutorial

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Cupcake tins make perfect organizers for all those pesky small items in a desk drawer.

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Elevate a boring cork board into a work of art. Cover a bulletin board with pretty fabric, frame it and hang from a wide ribbon. Framed Bulletin Board Tutorial

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This definitely qualifies as an ‘why didn’t I think of that’ idea!? Turn a dish drainer into a mini file cabinet! 

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  • A good office chair is a must! Try to find one with lumbar support, but in the meantime, use a pillow. 
  • Straighten out your desk after you are finished working. It will make you feel so much better the next time you sit down to work.

If you’re like me, you like unification with color. To create a pulled-together look, use binders, files and accessories in the same color.

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Unused cans make practical and stylish organizers for small items or mail. Paint Can Cubbie Tutorial

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Am I the only one who dislikes exposed cords and wires? My dream home would have outlets in the floors so lamps can be plugged in without showing, but until that day, I’ll organize power cords with inexpensive pipe insulation.

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Here’s another use for soup or paint cans. Decorate with fabric, paint or paper and use to store pencils, pens or even paint brushes.

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  • Remember…have a place for everything, and put everything back where it belongs when you’re finished using it.

Another way to ‘think vertically’ is to hang clipboards and magnetic boards over your desk.

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  • Have trays labeled with action steps, such as to-do, to-file, to-read, and make sure it’s placed in the proper tray so you’ll be sure to deal with it.

A toothbrush holder and soap dish can be repurposed to hold writing utensils or other small items.

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Want to see how I organized my sewing/craft space? It’s an old post and things have changed a bit, but I think you’ll still find some ideas useful. Click here to check it out.

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I’m a pretty organized person by nature. Some might even say I’m a little OCD, and I wouldn’t argue with them, but one thing that isn’t organized are my photos. So I’m putting this out there and asking you all to hold me accountable, ok? 2016 is the year I take care of that!

 

In other news…

 

I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve day. We’ve been on the road for ten days, and I’m happy to say BAM has held up, but for the first five days we had no hot water, so fisherman tied me to the top of our car nekkid and drove through a car wash. It was exhilarating. 

Fortunately the hot water wasn’t an issue with BAM, but was related to the winterization process that took place and a valve being closed that we were unaware of. We finally figured it out, much to the chagrin of car wash employees everywhere…or not ;). 

We spent a quiet Christmas on Tybee Island near Savannah, and a not so quiet New Year’s with 300 of our nearest and dearest just outside of Tampa. I’m excited to be in Naples for a full month so we can really hunker down and get a true feel for what it’s like to be living in an RV on a long term basis.

While we were at the resort on Tybee Island, one of the workers was a retired woman who was probably in her mid to late 60’s and has been traveling solo for twelve years in a 32′ motorhome. She volunteers at most places in exchange for free sites. 

Tybee Island

I love that adventurist spirit, but I am not sure I could pull that off. Could you? 

I’ll be back with a couple more organizing posts in the coming weeks, as well as some changes to Househoneys! Stay tuned!

 

 

 

It Was A Very Good Year…

Time is so fleeting, and perhaps the most significant gift blogging gives us is a frame of reference and a way to look back on our year, and even our life, and see it as it unfolded in ways that otherwise might have been forgotten. 

Yes, there were projects and crafts and recipes and everything else a lifestyle blogger like myself tends to post about. But that’s not what set 2015 apart from the rest. 

YOU did.

In January, many of you, my most thoughtful and caring readers, helped Beau. A sweet golden retriever that was unjustly kept in a shelter for many months and destined to be put to sleep for no reason other than he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But thousands of people, tens of thousands actually, rallied together and today he lives happily with his beloved owner. 

We were in Florida for January and February, and when we returned we wasted no time and purchased ‘BAM‘, our RV, and by the time this post is published, it will be where we’re hanging our hats while in Florida. 

fleetwood rv

In April, I paused long enough to write a long overdue ‘Life Lessons For My Daughter’ post. It’s still hard to believe she will be 30 in March. Yes, time is indeed fleeting and so very precious, and judging from the comments I received on that post, many of you agree.

In May, once again many of you helped  Brenda get through a rough patch. You gave generously to her GoFundMe account, and truly made a difference in her life.

No round-up post would be complete without at least one or two projects highlighted, would it? Twenty fifteen was our first full year at the cabin, and there was much to do, not the least of which was the yard. Although it’s far from finished, we made some progress (and I got killer biceps) when we completed our flagstone wall and our fire pit

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 In September, I took part in my very first ‘Fall Home Tour‘, an endeavor that forced me to step out of my comfort zone, not to mention do more (pssst…a LOT more) seasonal decorating than usual.

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We’re fortunate to live in a beautiful area, most notably in the Fall. We took a short drive in October to Vermont during peak foliage, and I captured it in all its glory in this post.

autumn in vermont

In November, I was honored to be Spotlighted on Kris’s blog. I received so many lovely comments, both from old and new friends. And speaking of old and new friends, I got to meet one of each in November on the same day! That’s me top left with Amy, and Cindy, a blogger I’ve followed for quite some time, is seated bottom right next to her good friend.

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There’s no denying it’s fun to post about projects, get feedback and suggestions, but it doesn’t hold a candle to getting to know each and every one of you. This past year has brought me closer to so many of you, and I hope you feel the same. Reading your thoughtful comments lights up my day, so here’s a HUGE thank you all of you who take the time out of your busy lives to stop by. 

 

In other news…

 

I’ve got some fun posts scheduled for January and February, mostly organizing, small space decorating and inspiration. I wrote them before leaving for Florida so I could enjoy our time there as much as possible, but I hope to be posting about our adventures as well. I will also be sharing some news soon that is long overdue, so stay tuned!

 

 

 

A Whimsical Collection of Gingerbread Houses

I’ve always had a thing for gingerbread houses. The design possibilities are endless, and it’s so much fun to gather the supplies and candy and let your imagination take over.

For several years I made gingerbread houses every year with our grandson which I showed you here and here, but children get older and the enthusiasm for these types of crafts often wanes.

But my love for them hasn’t. 

So when I learned there was a gingerbread house exhibition I grabbed a friend and off we went.

This beautiful cake greeted us upon entering the historic library building where the exhibition was taking place. Yes, I know it’s not a ‘house’, but I simply couldn’t leave it out of this post. Isn’t it lovely?

 

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There were well over 235 houses that were displayed. Anyone that wanted to take part in the event was welcome to do so…children of all ages, professional bakers and anyone in between.

The vast majority of the houses were traditional like this one…

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but there were many that defied tradition with fabulous results, such as this one…

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and this one…

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and this one…

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Many of the artists choose a specific theme. In this case, it was ‘Thanksgiving Dinner’, with all the trimmings, made from using marzipan.

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This Donut Shop, with adorable donuts painstakingly handmade, stole my heart. I remember using small shredded wheat for a roof one year too!

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I love the use of mini marshmallows for snow. I think I’ll have to steal that one.

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When we first walked into the building, there was a lovely Christmas tree just in front of the staircase that had a contemporary topper that I thought was really creative and dramatic. The silver plume is nothing more than ornamental grass that was spray painted. With the addition of a few other decorative elements and a sparkly bow, it all came together beautifully.

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Have you ever made a gingerbread house? I usually buy the house already made because let’s face it, the fun part is decorating it.  :)

 

In other news…

 

There’s no shortage of things to do this time of year, is there? This is us at an antique car show a couple of weeks ago in Stockbridge, which takes place every year. (Some of you saw a few pics on Instagram or Facebook.)

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We made those cookies I mentioned last week and they were super easy and good. If you like the idea of baking but hate the mess, these cookies are just the ticket. With these cookies, you can focus on the fun part of making cookies…cutting out the shapes and decorating them, so they’re perfect for kids to do too.

Mexican Tortilla Cut Outs
A 'No Fuss' Cookie
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup sugar
  2. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  3. Pinch of cayenne
  4. 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  5. Four 10" flour tortillas
  6. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  7. 1 tablespoon lime juice
  8. 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  9. 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  10. Colored sugars and sprinkles to decorate (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In a small bowl stir together the sugar, cinnamon, cayenne and cocoa powder. Brush the tortillas with butter, applying liberally on both sides. Using cookie cutters of your choice, cut out as many cookies from the tortillas as you can fit.
  3. Sprinkle the cut tortillas all over on both sides with the sugar mixture then arrange on cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until crisp. Allow to cool, the prepare the icing.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the lime juice, corn syrup and powdered sugar, adjusting with either more sugar or lime juice as necessary to reach the desired consistency. Drizzle glaze over cookies then sprinkle immediately with decorations, if using.
  5. Allow to set for a few hours. Store in an airtight container at room temp for up to 2 weeks.
HouseHoneys.com http://www.househoneys.com/
BAM is here, and we’re gettin’ ready to hit the road. I probably won’t have another post before Christmas, so let me leave you with this…

 

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Candy Cane Crafts

December is a month chock full of celebrations. It seems every weekend is an excuse to get together with friends and family, and it’s a perfect time to pull out all the stops and make everything a little extra special.

To me, candy canes are the quintessential holiday candy. They’re cute, great for making all kinds of crafts, and super inexpensive. Here are a few fun ideas you can use to kick things up a notch this year using candy canes.

(They’re all simple to do, but if you need the ‘how-to’s’ just click on the link below the photo.)

These little snowball treats are put together using Rice Krispies. Add some sprinkle to your whipped cream and you’ve got yourself an extra special cup of hot cocoa.

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These little reindeers are adorable, and all you need is some yarn, ‘eyes’ and the all-important craft tool, a glue gun.

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How about a candy cane wreath? You can place it on your door of course, but what about behind your dining chairs for a festive touch? For smaller wreaths, just buy smaller candy canes.

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These little sleds are so clever, and easy to put together too. Who wouldn’t love getting one of these filled with treats?

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You know how I feel about place cards, right? They add so much to a table, and can be super useful too. I think this one would be great to identify various dishes on a buffet table also.

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I made this vase a couple of years ago. If you’re on Pinterest at all, you’ve seen it. It couldn’t be easier to put together. For the ‘how-to’ go here. Tip: you could do this with large candles too.

candy cane crafts

 

In other news…

 

We’ve got the Grands this weekend, and we’ll be taking them to see a local Hansel & Gretal show Saturday and maybe we’ll make some cookies. I found an unbelievably easy recipe that uses flour tortillas so there’s no mixing of dough involved. If it comes out good I’ll try to share next week. This will be the last time we see them until April!

 

Making Multi-Loop Bows (and Wreaths)

Making pretty bows had never been my strong suit. No matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t get them right. The loops ended up looking floppy, were different sizes and just ‘eh’. I’m convinced that one has to either have an innate knack for making bows, or be in a position that requires making bows regularly, resulting in practice, practice, practice. 

Most of us don’t fall into either of those categories. So what to do? Ask a friend who’s good at it (inconvenient), buy a ready made one (too limiting and expensive), or just deal with ugly bows (ummmmm, no).

It doesn’t have to be that way. I spent some time looking on-line on how to make multi-loop bows, and although there’s lots of info, none of the instructions hit home. They were either too complicated to implement or not very clear. 

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Then I remembered Ann on Sutton Place has a tutorial on how to make bows that’s the best I’ve ever seen. The only problem is it’s for a simple, two looped bow, and I was searching for instructions on how to execute multi-loop bows. 

Then it hit me. Why not expand on Ann’s instructions and add a couple of loops?
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I cut three pieces of wired ribbon 24″ long and one piece 36″ long (same as Ann’s instructions).  After stapling the ends of the 24″ pieces together, I simply laid them on top of each other as pictured.

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The exact placement of the loops don’t need to be precise. Since you will be using a wire ribbon, you’ll have lots of opportunity to move things around at the end.

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I then gave them a squeeze and secured the center with gauzy ribbon. Now, Ann’s instructions call for one more piece of fabric 6″ long to be folded lengthwise and stapled and used as the center piece. I decided not to do that for this ribbon and it turned out fine. (You’ll have to play around with the loops for a couple of minutes or so to get the poofy results you’re after.)

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Notice the little ribbon ‘tail’ in the middle. That’s the ribbon I used to secure the middle and decided not to trim it. Totally optional.

As you can see, I like big bows on small packages ;).

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I followed Ann’s specific instructions exactly for a burlap ribbon though, and was equally pleased with the results. This wreath is one I made a couple of years ago. (I spent HOURS cutting out these individual burlap and paper leaves and gluing them to a wire wreath form). I put this linen ribbon on it but always felt it was a little bleh.

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I replaced it with a burlap ribbon that has a bit more oomph to it, and used two loops instead of three (only because that’s all the burlap ribbon I had). I really like the way it came out, and notice how it even covers the door knocker! Bonus!

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I did come across an interesting video on YouTube about making bows which you might be interested in looking at. It involves using the side of a box as a tool for holding the ribbon in place and insuring you’re getting even loops. I thought it was a pretty interesting. You can see it here.

So now let’s get to the ‘wreath’ part of this post. On Monday two friends and I volunteered at the local Berkshire Botanical Gardens to make some wreaths. 

This is the first wreath I made…

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This next one was put together by Penny, and is a good representation of her style. Notice the ribbon and feathers and how they coordinate? And take note of the vine wreath placed on top of the evergreen. It adds depth and interest, don’t you think? (In case you’re wondering, the white tag on the wreath is required and indicates who designed the wreath).

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This was my second wreath, and yes, I totally stole Penny’s idea.

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This beautiful wreath was put together by Cheryl. Love the ribbon detailing!

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And last but not least, Penny took a square wreath and manipulated it into a diamond shape. Simple, elegant and different.

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Between the three of us we made ten wreaths but I didn’t get all the pictures. As you can see, a pretty ribbon can make or break a project, so it’s well worth the time it takes to figure out a method that works for you. If you’d like to see how Penny does her ribbons, check out this post from a few years ago.

 

In other news…

 

The other day it was so windy, the ribbon on my burlap wreath literally blew away (I found it and did a better job of securing it), but generally it’s been warmer than normal. Not so warm that I’m not looking forward to hittin’ the road with BAM in a couple of weeks :). 

 

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