Monday, December 31, 2012

Your 2013 Chapter

It's New Year's Eve.  The end of another year.  We can tuck 2012 away as the latest chapter
in the history-of-our-life-book.

Tonight, at midnight, we turn the page to start the next chapter.

New chapters always begin half way down the page.

The top half of the page is blank. That blank spot is the transition area. The blank space gives us time to take pause and recount the important points of the last chapter.  The blank space is needed to whet our appetites in the anticipation of the next exciting chapter.

The transition space is followed by The Title in bold print.

What is The Title of your next chapter?

Enjoy today's transition.

Take time to reflect on 2012. 

Take time to create a title for your 2013 Chapter.

Happy New Year, y'all!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012 Wins the Popular Vote

Hope you enjoyed your Christmas.
Grandson Jack and Santa
Me and BFF Virginia enjoying a Party
Ours was the best Christmas ever.

Our families didn't exchange gifts this year.  Two year old Jack was the only person to make a haul.   We had no anxiety over shopping or wrapping.  Only the joy of watching a small child jubilant over his Christmas presents.

I've read that many of you kept your holiday decorations simple.  I went to the deep end of the pool: 7 illuminated trees, lots of lights and candles, many tabletop vignettes, and wreaths, garland, and greenery out the wazoo. Each and every room was dressed for the holidays.

We also had fun experimenting with new recipes.  I made my first apple pie for Christmas dinner and it was a triumph!

Last night after the greeting phone calls ceased, Christmas texts stopped binging, and our kids had departed.  I sat alone in the living room staring at the Christmas tree and realized I didn't want the day to end--it had been that good.

Before Christmas dinner, DIL Kristen gave me a big hug and said, "This is the best Christmas ever."

I treasure her words.

Monday, December 24, 2012

JOY, JOY, JOY and the Absent Minded Santa

2012 has been an outstanding holiday season!  Friends and family seem to be embracing and seeking joy and comfort in being together.  We've attended more Christmas gatherings than usual.  Friends old and new thoroughly enjoy our little party.  Maybe the tragedy of Sandy Hook has made us all more grateful for every relationship and every opportunity to be together.

I've have been an Absent Minded Santa this year.
  • I left a platter of chicken salad canapes in the refrigerator instead of serving them at our party.

  • I failed to send my elderly Aunt Julia in Arkansas a Christmas card and chatty update.

  • I made a goody basket of towels, etc. for my SIL to celebrate her new kitchen remodel (which is awesome, BTW)!  We had our Christmas visit this past weekend and I left it home. 

  • We adopted 4 needy kids for Christmas. I was about to deliver the toys when I realized I had not bought a guitar for the 3 year old.  God Bless my BFF, Virginia, who ran to Target, found the perfect one (after texting me many of selections) and bought it for me...  Rutt Row--I haven't reimbursed her yet.

  • I didn't buy heavy cream to make the Pioneer Woman's Potatoes Au Gratin for Christmas dinner. So, I will be hitting the madhouse mania of the Christmas Eve Grocery Store.
Pioneer Woman

Truly inconsequential inconveniences that are easy fixes.  I used to strive for perfection and make myself an anxiety-ridden mess.  Now, I realize it will all work out. 

May you and your families enjoy the magic of Christmas.
Laugh a lot, eat a lot, love a lot, hug a lot.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Visit from an Angel

My friend, Jim was pumping gas.  A child approached him, said "Merry Christmas" and handed him this cookie.
Chase Kowolski, age 7, was one of the victims of Sandy Creek.

Today, Jim was visited by an angel.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The End of the World As We Know It?

Hey Lovelies!

Don't forget the world is going to end tomorrow.

I should have planned better.

We hosted our annual Open House last night. In the words of Frankie Valli, "Oh what a night"*.
Yes indeedy, we had a White Christmas.  White Russians were the featured beverage.  Nuff said?

So, I am moving slowly today.

I don't think I am going to get this house cleaned up before the end of the world.

I don't think I am going to have finished Christmas shopping before the end of the world.

I don't think I am going to get the last of my Christmas Cards out before the end of the world.

I do think I am going to feast on fattening-calorie-laden-leftover-party food and take a nap.

Thank goodness, I had a memorable fun-filled night with my friends and family before the December 21 demise.

What are y'all doing today?  Anything special before the end of the world?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Little Christmas Fun

Aren't the Christmas posts great! I adore looking at all the pictures of beautifully decorated homes.  I kinda-sorta yearn for that custom look but can't pull it off.  I am too sentimental. I have to include my now-33-YO son's handmade ornaments from preschool and a few other wacky items full of memories old and new.
Laminated Holly Wreath with 3 YO portrait
Construction Paper Santa-Movable arms & legs!

Fabric Ornament with Personalized Stitching

The first Christmas Kristen was dating John she swooned over seeing his childhood masterpieces.  (Such a precious memory of her ogling the tree.)  Now, she tells their son Jack, "That was your daddy when he was a little boy."  So Sweet....

And, not so sweet....John's handmade ornament addition from our family Christmas game.  (Recognize the kitty from the kitty litter ad?  TMI?)
Laminated Kitty Ornament

Remember how I was stripped of my tiera (and feathered boa!) during Dirty Santa?  Neighbor Connie was on my doorstep last night with a marvelous replacement!  Thanks for my Tiera Santa Hat!

I found 2 white ceramic "Joy" pillar lights at Marshall's for $16.99.  Love!
Mz. Clause Loves Her Bling!
Make Shift Hat Stand

Friday, December 7, 2012

Oh Deer!

Are you a fan of traditional Christmas decor?

I love it all.  But unique Christmas items always seem to call to me.  I was shopping at a local store, Hillary's Interiors, when these deer happened to catch my eye.  I had to have them.  

Aren't they gorgeous?
I was telling a friend about my beautiful, "glossy yellow dear with green sparkle swirls and ornate gold antlers". She gave me the stink eye and said, "ooooo kk...?"  Ha!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

Maybe she'll like them when sees them...

Oh Deer! What do you think?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sherwin Williams 'New' 2013 Colors & Gag Gift

My job as a stager is to create environments that a potential buyer can relate to.  Relating to your buyer is Marketing 101. I was recently invited to attend a Color Mix 2013 seminar presented by out-of-town-high-rollers at Sherwin Williams.

Sherwin Williams is only holding these events in 7 states.  I was all a twitter about attending.  I was anxious to get the scoop on the latest colors! I couldn't wait to write a post about it.  That was last month.
Vintage Moxie          Honed Vitality        High Voltage            Midnight Mystery

I couldn't figure out why I was so uninspired by this event. There were lots of folks (many realtors) in attendance. You can spot a gentleman NC realtor from 500 feet. Their uniform is khaki pants and a button down shirt. The ladies realtors, in their sensible shoes, were en mass. Oh yes, the interior designers (most dressed like a Bravo Housewives) were there too.  I enjoyed chatting it up with them.

Anywho, last night I  started a fire, poured myself a glass of Merlot and pick up one of my many coffee table books. As I was thumbing through a book on artist Mary Cassatt, it hit me that one of her works "A Cup of Tea" had a similar color palatte to one that Sherwin Williams is lauding for 2013.

Here are the colors of  SW's 'Honed Vitality'.

I know I am old school.  I know I love art and it isn't every one's cup of tea. (Yowzer, a pun!)  I'm just saying, if SW had included at least a few images by renowned artists corresponding to their color palettes maybe I could better relate to their 2013 colors.

What's old is new, right?

Maybe SW's images of Steampunk and a Biknit Chaise are most relevant for marketing in 2013. 

Steampunk - SW's Midnight Mystery colors
By Patricia Urquioia-Honed Vitality
What do you think?  What piques your interest when it comes to experimenting with new colors?

Gag Gift Christmas Gala

I snagged a black sequined feather boa and rhinestone tiera at our neighborhood Christmas Party Monday night.  I soooo loved it!
Party Pose after Xmas Cheer
Wouldn't you know it, on last round a new girl in the 'hood stole it from me!  
I ended up with a Santa boot with a silver tensile tree sprouting from the top.

Ain't it the way....

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Gnarly Good Time

I must admit that one of the things I love about staging is that I have is little to no business during the holidays. (An ambitious entrepreneur, huh?)

Tonight we have our neighborhood Christmas Party.  We each bring a snack to share and our favorite beverage.  We do a annual food drive and end up with so much food it take several trips to the Food Bank.

We also do some sort of gift exchange.  This year it is a gag gift.  It is one of those progressive-trade-for-three rounds kinda thing (is that Dirty Santa?)

Here's my Gag Gift Contribution:

It is interesting to see how competitive our loving and generous group becomes. I bet lots of incriminating pictures show up on Facebook. 

Happy Monday!  

Friday, November 30, 2012

Do You Fake It at Christmas?

We have discussed if you use artificial flowers in your house.  Many of you faked it--only a few purists among you.

My Christmas decorating starts tomorrow.  Every year I use fake lighted garland on my front rails. I add live Magnolia leaves, Red Nandina Berries, Holly clusters and some fir tree clippings.  The fake stuff serves as a good based.  The live stuff kicks it up and when bows are added it looks tres magnifique!  (However, my garland in no way resembles this gorgeousness.)

Of course, the live swags look best!

Doesn't it the have to be changed out mid-season?  $$$ Who has the time before Christmas?

I live in NC.  Monday the temperature will be 69 degrees.  Can you say limp lettuce?

Do you use fresh garland?  How do you keep it from becoming wilted?

Happy Friday, y'all!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Christmas-Crush Needs a Clone

I have had a Christmas-Crush on this Pier 1 "Pre-lit Mirror Ornament' for over a week.  It was just on sale -20% so I snagged it. (Had to go across town because my neighborhood Pier 1 sold out.)

I was so excited! I stopped by Virginia's house so she could admire it.  (You know she had to plug that bad boy in for us to oooh and aww over.)  It got Virginia's vote!

Then it happened.

On my way home from Virginia's, Crazy Linda (who-so-yearns-to-be-a-DIY-er) started whispering to me:
"I have an old mirror!"
"I have a string of lights!"
"I have Command Strip hooks to hold the lights!"
"I can buy little ornaments to put on it!"

And that's as far as Crazy-Linda got.

So my gentlereaders, how would you approach this copy cat project--or would you! HA!~

Monday, November 26, 2012

A New Spin on Celebrating Christmas

I started a 'Christmas Game' with my family a couple of years ago. We have fun with it.  I thought I would share it with you.

Christmas 2012 Game  
This is a year when so many have so little.  In an effort to focus on fun, frivolity, helping, sharing, caring and giving, let's share our wealth of spirit and generosity.

1.  From today through Christmas, greet a stranger with a roaring, "Merry Christmas!"
2.  Send a Christmas Card with a personal note to a distant relative, old friend, or business associate that you don't typically connect with during the holidays.
3.  Take a cup of coffee or hot chocolate to a bell ringer, construction worker, traffic cop, parking lot attendant, or human billboard.
4.  Make someones day!  Leave a $5 bill or dispense five $1 bills on a sidewalk, park, parking lot, store aisle or playground for someone to discover.
5.  Contribute to an organization, individual, or family and share the reason and what it means to you.
6.  Be a not-so-secret-Santa!  Buy a $5 book of fast food coupons and enclose it in a Christmas Card.  Present the card to a grocery clerk, receptionist, vet tech, or bank teller, etc.
7.  For our family gift exchange, find a book, CD, DVD, picture, poem, quote you already own and cherish.  Wrap it with a note to explain the meaning behind it.
8.  Also for our family gift exchange, re-gift something foolish or of no use to you. Present it creatively in anything but store bought gift wrap.
9.  Make an ornament for our family tree. Be original and creative!
10. Bring a prop or costume to wear for our family Christmas Holiday photo.

You can do as many or as few as you like.  Part of the fun is sharing our experiences on Christmas Morning.  One year, our son and his wife made Christmas special for a young family when the mother had cancer.  I enjoyed handing a sealed Christmas card with $20 to a grocery store clerk.  #3 has yet to be fulfilled. We had warm weather last year and we all kept waiting for a cold day.

I could only find a couple of old Christmas pictures. I think someone else took pictures that I didn't get.
Silly Hats - Christmas -09
In the picture below, John was re-gifted a coffee set my husband received at his office Christmas party.  Can you tell he was thrilled!
Yippee! A Crappy Coffee Set
Our Christmas stuff hasn't been unpacked yet.  One year I made an ornament for our tree using vintage buttons.  It still swings from a lamp in my bedroom!
  We enjoy this fun game.  Maybe you can adapt it for your family and friends.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fall Fun

Hi Guys!
What a perfect Thanksgiving weekend!  I can't seem to get in the swing of a relevant post.  Think I must share pictures of playing in the leaves with my grandson, Jack.

A picture of me buried in the leaves. Izzie, trying to rescue me.

Jack up to his shoulders in leaves!

Jack's had enough.

Hope you all enjoyed a grand Thanksgiving weekend!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Leaves Are Free Fun

Hi Everybody,

I hope you are enjoying your Thanksgiving eve!

I just got back (again) from the grocery store.

Been polishing silver.

Ironing napkins for a friend to use tomorrow. 

Slicing, dicing and prepping for the big day...

Now, I am wrapped up in a sweatshirt and gloves to go outside. Our huge yard of hardwoods is carpeted in leaves. (The Oak leaves are as big as dinner platter!)  I'm blowing leaves in a huge pile for our two year old grandson to play in tomorrow.

No leaves at his Mom and Dad's house.  Won't this be a fun special Thanksgiving memory for us?
It doesn't get any better.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve.


Monday, November 19, 2012

What Goes Around

....comes back around, at least according to Justin Timberlake and House Beautiful.
In fashion, it is touted that if you wore it when it was first in style, then you are too old to wear it when it comes back into style. To that end, you won't find me in bell bottoms or low rise jeans (in my day, we called them 'hip huggers').
So I wonder if that same rule applies to decor?

Here's some of what the December issue of House Beautiful is bringing back in 2013.

Grass Cloth
In my first house,  I papered my entire hallway and family room in Grass Cloth. Oh yeah--it was teal blue grass cloth. LOL! I thought was soooo trendy!

Calming Colors
In the 80's I was the queen of the popular restful colors of the Southwest: Desert Tan, Grey Mist, Oasis Blue, Green Goddess, and Saffron Yellow.

OMG, did you say brass?  I have had an entire house of Baldwin Brass switch plates. Then there was my vast collection of brass animals, chandeliers, coasters and cricket boxes.  My family room end tables had gigantic brass table lamps so tall they could guide a plane in for a landing.  Bookshelves and mantles displayed brass candlesticks and picture frames out the waazooo.

Latest 2013 Trends
What do you think about the resurgence of these blasts from the past?  Can they only be pulled off in an uber contemporary room?

Hope you are enjoying your countdown to Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sentimental Journey

Norman Rockwell

I love Thanksgiving. 

It is a holiday that requires so little of you-

only feasting, family and friends,

and gratitude.

It is a day to reflect on that sacred American value of thankfulness for all the blessings we share in this Country.

Retailers, really?
The Guardian

Retailers are now open on "Grey Thursday" as well as "Black Friday".

I know two 'kids' that work retail. They are working 14 hour days Thursday and Friday.  Asking off for Thanksgiving is not an option.

I am thankful that I have many memories of celebrating Thanksgiving. (Oh yeah, we've had our "Griswald" moments. The colorful moments add to the charm.)

I makes me sad those folks that have to work on Thursday.

Thanksgiving at the Food Court just seems wrong!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Easy Guest Room Staging

I often show you major staging transformations.  Here are 3 Guest Rooms where only a few changes were made to kick 'em up a notch for selling.

This bedroom I exchanged the small lamp for a candlestick lamp, placed art between the windows, and added a large velvet pillow for texture and color.
Guest Room Before

Guest Room After

This bed was set in an old waterbed frame. It appear a bit deflated.  I changed the bedding and used a bolster pillow to prop up the bed pillows.  A picture of a Tuscan Landscape was displayed above the bed.
Guest Room Before

Guest Room After
Here is the third  lovely Guest Room. The end table under the windows was stored to help the room appear larger. The owner was concerned about the walls being damaged and requested that the picture hook above the bed not be removed.  I placed a small picture where the misplaced picture was and displayed a larger picture below it.  A large burgundy pillow with beautiful looped ribbon trim (that coordinated perfectly with the bed treatment, go figure) was added to mound of pillows. Again, a candlestick lamp was placed on the night table.

Guest Room Before
Guest Room  After

I wanted to illustrate how easy and inexpensive staging can be.  Fortunately, these sellers had nice furnishings with which to work.  I just added a wee bit of spice.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

I am so excited to discover that I have won a $50 gift certificate to Novica.  Kerry Steele of Design du Monde hosted a giveaway and I was the lucky winner.

Novica has the coolest handcrafted global treasures.  I poured over a zillon items.  The decision was tough--then I saw this scarf.

I fell in love with this Alpaca Snood.  Folks, it is SO me.  I love the color and the texture.  Don't you think it will look great looped over a top or under a jacket.  Thanks Kerry!

Check out Kerry's blog:

and Novica for some unique presents:

What do you think about my choice?


Monday, November 12, 2012

My $5 Weekend Makeovers

This little table is at the top of my upstairs landing.  As you can see, there are no electrical outlets.  It is kind of a black hole.

Isn't she pretty pretty?  A couple of years ago, I purchased her off of Craigslist.  The fret work and painted top make my heart sing.

This birdcage has been used in countless houses for staging.  It was purchased from a consignment shop.

A friend wanted to stop at Big Lots to pick up some Christmas Candles.  I bought one for $5. It is  battery operated and can be set on a timer.
I spray painted the candle bronze. I loaded it into my bird cage.  Then added vintage ceramic birds and 'nested' them in Spanish Moss. 

The finished product.
Oh, and I added a touch of ivy and a key with a small tassel.

Color me happy! A wee little light at the top of the stairs. Let there be light!


You know I love me some grocery store flowers.  I got 3 stems for $4.99.  Two stems of mums and one of daisies.

I used an old vase and floral foam. The only trick with floral foam is to totally saturate it before you add flowers. Next, "green the vase'. I always use yard clippings, in this case azaleas greenery.  Cut the long flower stems down.  I was left with 2 clusters and many individual stems. Put the clusters in the center.  Then fill in the remainder of the arrangement with the other flowers.

I wrapped it in burlap and a bow.  Bada-Bing-Bada-Boom--only $5 for a cute arrangement!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Staging Style for the Powder Room

A Power Room is an opportunity to have some fun with your decor.  It is the one wee space (even if you are selling) that you can let your freak flag fly.  I love to add a little zhush to a Powder Room. Forget the staging chat touting, 'keep everything neutral'.  I say, "No Way, Jose!"  A Powder Room isn't going to make or break the sale of a house.

Check out this before staging picture. Isn't it interesting that you can't tell anyone lives here?  That's right. It is in an occupied home.

Powder Room Before
Start Marti Gras early this year.  Break out those Peacock Feathers!

How about that space near the wall and towel bar?  Show it some love, too!

Powder Room Before

Place a petite lamp on a bathroom vanity for instant appeal. It is amazing that a little light can add so much ambiance.  The gold bowl of potpourri adds subtle fragrance. The bowl serves a higher purpose by hiding the lamp cord.  (I have a thing about lamp cords showing... I'll save that for another post.)
Powder Rooms scream for a little 'fancy'. Time to break out those "Company" towels.  Here, I used lush, fluffy towels with ribbon borders and fringe.  (I have a love affair with bouillon fringe.)
Must tell 'ya, I hate the old fashion mini-shag-rubber-backed rugs typically used in the bathroom. Faux Oriental rugs are inexpensive and available at all home goods stores.

What's in your Powder Room?  Anything fun?

Happy Friday, y'all!