My life is to make everything around me beautiful.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Laundry Room

What in the world can you do with a small laundry room that is a passage way from the garage to the hall?! I am trying to get it to look "unlaundry." I've put some of the laundry stuff into a pink-painted wicker basket and hung one picture over the washer. But I need to do some more decorating. I've had some old redwood from the house we moved from 2 years ago. It is truly vintage redwood. It came from the fascia board and is all "rugged/ragged" looking but I love those kind of things. Imperfection is a sign of humility. I had to paint it 7 times to get the paint to stick. And I am the one that tells friends to always prime before painting. Do I not listen to myself?!?! And I love the way I got the ink on the decoupage lettering to smear more and give it that vintage look. Some of the "vintageness" does show through the white paint also. Cute.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Hiding in plain sight?!

Most of you who know me know of my passion for storing in plain sight. If not, then read further down my blog and other pages also. Remember the little basket I put all my sealers, grout, Mod Podge, etc. in? Well, another thought came to me today: cover it with a beautiful scarf. I've had this scarf for about 5 years and was wondering what to do with it. Here it is.......covering up the cans of yuck!!

Ireland #2

Continuing with the Ireland vacation...........

We were doing a car tour of Ireland - not one of those tourist guide things, which I do not like. We like the freedom of driving on our own and just catching the "local flavor." We left San Francisco, went to New York and then to London and then to Shannon to start the trip. WE arrived in Shannon; our luggage went to Austria! One of those glitches, huh. Now usually when we traveled I had a backpack with the essentials: bathing suit, extra underwear, sandals and suntan oil. Not this time. I was in heels, skirt, sweater, pantihose (!) and raincoat. The next day at the hotel Jack said to me, "I've been in the same socks for 36 hours." I said to him, "Don't even talk to me until you've been in the same pantihose for 36 hours!!" He was silenced. Finally the suitcases arrived and all was well. We had tried to purchase underwear the day we got there and found out we had no luggage yet, but all the stores were closed on Sunday. That was actually kind of nice.

We went to several places in Ireland but were not allowed to go into Northern Ireland with a rental car. That was fine. Castles everywhere! Lovely people. In Blarney we gave the man at the castle a t-shirt with San Francisco on the front that we had special made to take as gifts for people we met. He was so appreciative that he invited us for drinks at the local pub after his work. I went into some of the shops in Blarney and gave some of the people working there t-shirts also. Later they came into the pub and gave me a beautiful Belleek vase. How kind of them. We noticed that the pubs were very quiet. None of them had loud music playing at all. Just very quiet. A couple of times we would see men come out of the pubs "falling down drunk" and then we'd see some teenagers come along and assist them home. Very gently. Not one of them seemed to take advantage of them. This happened a couple of times. Those Irish are hard drinkers!!

Waterford was a grand place. We watched them blowing the glass and for the life of me cannot figure out how they didn't blow out their lungs! It was astounding. If a glass wasn't just perfect, it got smashed immediately. Broken glass all over the place. I didn't need any glasses or stemware as I have oodles so I just purchased one glass as a momento. This was 20 years ago and that one glass cost me $27.00. I still have it. Waterford store is "candy for the eye"; it just sparkles everywhere.

But my favorite memory of that trip and my last entry is of one night spent on the sea near Waterford. We found the food of Ireland absolutely delicious - especially the potato soup. (One quirk we found in Dublin was that they eat pizza with a knife and fork. They probably thought we were heathens when we picked it up and ate with our fingers! And they have MacDonalds there that tastes just like it does here in the U.S., except the ketchup was a bit different.)

It was late for dinner - about 9:30 pm - raining heavily so we found a little tiny restaurant with a fireplace and on a cobblestone street. There was only one other table occupied. The maitre d' was the hostess/waiter/busperson and, we suspected, the cook also. Absolutely fabulous food. Very quiet and romantic. Then we went for a walk along the sea coast in the rain and watched the waves. Then we returned to the thatched cottage for the night. It was one of the most romantic nights of my life. Just out of a story book: lashing wind, crashing waves on the seashore, rain, fireplace, good food, cobblestone streets, old cottages and shops, my hubby, almost vacant restaurant, being catered to by the "staff" and loving the whole experience. Wonderful.

Then we flew home and 3 months later I grabbed my daughter and granddaughter and we were off to Puerto Vallarta for a week to soak up some sun!!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ireland - the land of "Green!"

Jack and I went to Ireland about 20 yrs ago in the month of February. We always wanted to go off-tourist season when we went on vacations so as to not be bothered by the crowds. I have to say Ireland is a delightful country. The people are warm and friendly and it is as green as everything you've ever heard or read about! And it rains - A LOT! That didn't bother us at all. We loved it. However, Ireland may not be the same! (She says laughingly!)

At one hotel (old castle) we stayed at, I blew their electrical system. Of course, I didn't say it was ME. Ya know those "universal" plugs they sell for travelers so that your shaver, curling iron or dryer will fit. They lied!! Mine got stuck in the electrical outlet and blew it. Hey, I was innocent, I tell ya! Well, when we got to the thatched cottage I didn't have an adapter to fit and they only allowed certain electrical things anyway. So I had to improvise.

I'm a girl that washes my hair everyday. Only get it done at the beauty shop for cut and perms. So I washed it every day in Ireland but what do you do when you can't plug in your hair dryer or curling iron? You turn the electric blanket on high (theses were allowed in thatched homes), jump under the blanket and use your fingers to "tossle" your hair until it is dried. It worked!! I usually have that tossled look anyway so no problem. I just went "natural" that day.

Blarney was an experience. Just a tiny little village actually. But let me tell you that castle is HIGH. I'm not a "height" person. I hugged that wall all the way up. It's kind of open so you are climbing up and watching the ground below slowing getting smaller and smaller. Jack wanted to kiss the Blarney Stone. You lie down on your back, a guy up there holds your legs and you scoot out on your bum. You are hanging upside down on the outside of the castle kissing the stone - probably 5 stories!! Jack, of course, didn't want to pay the guy $2 to have his picture taken while kissing the stone as we had just purchased a brand new high tech camera (not digital at that time) and thought I could take the picture. Well, when we got back to the next place on our itinerary we noticed that the film wasn't on the roller and completely lost that roll of film!

Dublin was lovely. Just as you would imagine a very old european town. There are a couple of things I noticed about it that stick in my mind: the windows are always being washed, even in the rain(!) and sparkled, almost all windows had gorgeous lace curtains on them, just about all men wore sport/suit coats - even the street cleaners and construction workers, just about everyone over the age of 10 smoked and candy was sold in any and every store we went into. I have since learned that Ireland has the biggest consumption of sugar per capita than any other country.

This is long enough for today. More tomorrow...........

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I am a very thoughtful person. In other words, I am genuinely concerned with other people's comfort when they are in my home.

I keep wool lap throws, purchased in Ireland years ago, scattered around in the winter in case they feel a chill. Every phone has a cup of pens and a note pad by it. (Actually, that is more for me to indulge my laziness! I hate looking all over for a pen and paper.) There are boxes of tissues in every single room in this house - even beside my chair. There is always something cold and refreshing to drink in case someone "just drops by" - which is becoming rarer and rarer in this society. :-( My sofa and chairs are purchased with my comfort and visitor's comfort in mind. I have footstools and ottomans at every single chair in the living room and family room. Plus my coffee tables are "put your feet up" kind of tables. That does not mean kids can walk on them; they should be taught respect for other people's things and also courtesy.

Lastly, and certainly not least (!), toilet paper is in abundance in my bathrooms. This is absolutely essential in my book. It stems from a situation several years ago at a relative's home. They had a huge condo and the powder room was right off of the entry, which was quite close to the living room. During a holiday dinner I had to use the facilities and guess what?! I was stuck in there and badly in need of toilet paper. I looked under every cabinet in there but there was none to be found. I was truly in a "pickle" and couldn't call for my hubby. If I recall correctly, I did the best I could with a tissue in my purse. Now, why I took my purse in with me I'll never know but I did. From that moment on I swore to myself that no one ever would be in that position in my home. I'm sure it wasn't intentional, but it was something that should have been considered when having a dinner party. I keep an extra roll on the back of the toilet. I have a little toilet paper holder in front of the toilet that holds 3 extra rolls plus the one being used and a 12 pack under the cabinet always - always.

Think about it!! :-)

Since we're talking about birthdays, I thought I'd post a bit of ephemera for you. I was born during the war and my father was on a ship in the Pacific Ocean. He didn't see me until I was 18 months old, but that is what happens when men go off to war to fight for their country, our freedoms and their loves ones. This was the telegram he received several days after I was born. With this, I salute all of those brave young men and women who are fighting for my freedoms at this time. This family salutes you!! You are always in our prayers and we wish you success wherever you are.

Today is my only granddaughter's birthday. She was our first grandchild and I can't tell you how much we adore her! She is 27 years old today and I want to honor her. I remember the day she was born as well as I remember her mom's birth day. She graduated from University of California Berkeley and now works for Microsoft in Redmond, Wa. The man who married her is extremely lucky. Of course, we call her "girl" or "Bratski #3" or sometimes we just refer to her as "A" or "g" when her mom and I are instant messaging!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ahhhh Hawaii

When I was about 4 1/2 yrs old we moved to Hawaii. I remember loving it there because we lived in quonset huts (kind of semi-circular houses) and my father built us a swimming pool out of canvas with grommets on top and rope lashed through them and tied to a wooden frame. My brother and I thought we were so cool because we were the only kids in the neighborhood with a pool. We lived very close to the ocean but the pool was the best!

When we were going over to Hawaii on the ship I got seasick. However, I wouldn't tell my mom because everyone who got seasick had to get a shot! I didn't like shots then and I still don't. So I suffered through and never let anyone know. Think about that: I was only 4 1/2 but I was smart enough to see people who got seasick come out of the doctor's cabin and talked about getting a shot and I knew I didn't want it.

But when we arrived in Pearl Harbor there was a mardi gras going on and my parents bought me a cute little outfit. I still have it to this day hanging in my office here "thumb tacked" to my wall. So this little outfit is 60 years old and still in great shape. Sadly, I'm NOT!! Think about that: bodies break down before mardi gras outfits. Hmmmm

Monday, March 26, 2007

As mundane as.............

Thumbtacks!!!!!! Yep, I told you, and will probably tell you more times, that I try to incorporate everything in my life into something beautiful - even thumbtacks. These are just a few of them. But I have dozens of roses thumbtacks. Nothing, or I should say rarely anything, is mundane in my home or life.

Mexico is my favorite vacation spot. The mexicans are a gracious and laid back people and I love going there. Well, I did until I retired. I hate flying - always have and always will. I refuse to get on a plane now. Besides I love where I am now. Maybe that comes with the territory of getting older. Above is a picture of me and Jack in Puerto and then one of just me on the beach at Mismaloya. We've been to Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta (my favorite) and Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.

In Ixtapa I was caught by a wave on the beach and almost drowned! I now have a very healthy respect for the ocean. I stay out of it!! But it is a wonderful place to lay around the pools. And food?!?!! They brought my husband a prime rib that would have served a FAMILY! No kidding. It was served on a platter; it was that big.

Mazatlan has the best shrimp in the world. It is more deserty, where Puerto Vallarta is more tropical and lush. If you are planning a trip try the Los Tules condominimums in Puerto Vallarta. We usuallly would go on Memorial Day weekend for 10 days and we rarely saw any tourists in our condo. Seven pools to choose from and it was rare that we would have any people at the huge pool with us. It is a paradise. Eat, sleep, sun, walk, shop and sun some more. Wow, what a life! And the food is wonderful. They sold eggs by the kilo though which was a bit strange to us. And then we had to carry them back to the condo in a little plastic bag. Just so different but sooooo relaxing to just do nothing!!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Wheelbarrows can be beautiful!!

A friend I know did this little wheelbarrow. Is it adorable or what?!?! I just love it, but she only sells it for "pick up" and I'm several states away. Sob sob sob..............

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Someone in a forum I belong to asked the question: Do you take your decorating to the max? Yes, of course, I do. Everything I bring into my home is for decorating (and comfort) or ends up "getting" decorated in some way. Note my little pin cushion above that I made. The only things I haven't decorated are my pots and pans and that's only because I haven't figured a way to keep the fabric or paper decals I might put on them to keep from catching fire and burning down the house! I even decaled my garbage cans! Silly question, huh?! I have decals on my doors also. One says "pantry", one says "bathroom" and the master bedroom has flower decals on it. Jack refused to let me put a decal on his office door, but I'm not through bugging him yet. Just take a guess who's gonna win!

Ooooohhh, my!!

Shoe shopping ain't what it used to be!! We looked all over the mall today for Jack some new black loafers. Not a pair to be found in his size. As we walked past the women's shoes I just kept walking. This was his day and I just couldn't buy for me. That happened one time when we went car shopping for him. I ended up with the new car! He related the story to someone at work and even before he got to the "punch line" the guy told Jack: "So your wife ended up with the new car, right?" So funny. He just said, "Yeah, she did." He loves me!!

But talk about getting your knickers in a twist?!?! After I showered I was trying to dress and put one leg in my undies and they got twisted and somehow I put my other leg in upside down and has a time trying to get in properly!! Gee, at my age you'd think I could put on my undies properly or is this the 2nd childhood they always told us about?!?!

I love gorgeous chairs

I love making folding chair covers for all my chairs to be gorgeous. Now, I've told you I'm into this the whole 9 yards, didn't I?! I don't do anything halfway. So this is a lovely inexpensive chair in my bedroom. Many others around house with chair covers. Anyway, that's about it for this morning. We're going shoe shopping for hubby and then he's taking me on a picnic. I wonder who'll come home with new shoes?!?! Hmmmmm..........

Friday, March 23, 2007

I love potholders!

One of the things in life we take for granted are potholders. I love them. My favorite is a cherry print one I made from scraps. I can make them better than the ones bought at WM or KMart or the dollar store. They're so thin and poorly made. I collect a few that people send me. A sweet lady named Nancy sent me 3 of the cutest I've ever seen. They are the crocheted ones above. One looks like a pair on women's undies! Too cute. But they are truly wonderful potholders and work extremely well. Maybe I'll hang them on the walls or something; my drawer is overflowing with them. I think they multiply during a full moon!! Shhhhhhh...........


The "Ultimate Kitschy" apron. Notice the owls on it. I won this in a contest recently, and NO, it wasn't the booby prize! The lady said, "It's just so YOU." Everyone should have a bit of whimsy in their home. It makes you smile and gives your friends something about you to talk about! (laughing) If that is the worst thing they can say about you, you are truly a "gem."

My lovely bowl

If there is a fire in my home, this is one of the first things I'd try to get out after my Mac computers. It was purchased many years ago and I just love it. It's from Italy and I protect it with my life. Okay, okay, maybe not my life! But is one of the things that give me pleasure seeing and using. And it is used almost everyday. It is the blue bowl mentioned on "My Favorite Things." What are some of your favorite things?

My precious find

Okay, so I'm addicted! Just taking another break from my daily duties.....that's what I call my housework. I thought I'd share this little treasure with you. It was left behind in a building we bought about 15 years ago. I loved it and brought it home to refurbish. It's in our bedroom as a night stand. Painted a soft coat of white, I made "new" knobs out of some vintage wooden ones by painting them and decoupaging them with roses. I put fabric in the front panels and on the top and then had a piece of glass cut to protect the top. I would not part with this for anything. It is sooooo adorable. Hubby had to make a faux front on the lower drawer because it was missing, but the top drawer is painted "Pepto Bismol Pink" inside and hold essentials.

My style is........

Taking a break from chores to read some other blogs.
Wow! Are there some gorgeous things out there or what?!?!

Friends have asked me what my decorating style is. I'd have to say that it's a bit of this:
Roses and Pink
Some Vintage
Nostalgia and Reminiscence
It's all of those and probably more. Definitely my own style. Their mouth's literally hang open when visiting and viewing my home for the first time.

I make a lot of things in my home and hope to share with you here. I'm very visual and love seeing pictures. I'm sure there are some of you out there who love it also. So today, I'm sharing my dining area with you. Almost 2 years ago we scaled down from 5,000 s.f., 4 car garage home on an acre to 1,800 s.f., 3 car garage and a postage stamp yard. Love it. So we don't have a formal dining room as we did in the other house; we have a dining area off the kitchen. That's what happens when you get older. We wanted less to take care of!! Enjoy


Oh, and I hope you ALL know that by clicking on the pictures gives you a larger view. You wouldn't want to miss that, would you?!?!

Country style?

The old kind of country isn't my favorite type of decorating, but the new style definitely is. Yellow and pink have always been a favorite color combination of mine. Maybe that's why I loved this country style room so much. Flowers, 2 kinds of checks, pink and yellow........yuuuummmm.......sweet, breezy curtains and BIRDHOUSES(!) It doesn't get much better, unless there was a dish of mocha fudge sitting on the table waiting for me! Hah.......

Nightime musings

Lying in bed last night and this morning, I kept thinking of things I wanted to post today. Is this becoming "compulsive" or what?! Yep, I've caught the "blogging fever."

I read on someone's blog a few days ago about her posting 3 times in one day. Gee, only 3 times?! I could probably post more than that. I'm loquacious even though I truly listen to and hear what people say.

The last few days have been a blur with trying to get this blog set up and running and with............well, let me tell a story here.........

Ya know, I love my hubby. I love all
men!! Truly. AND, there's not a "but" here, just an AND, yesterday he fussed around all day with his car battery: couldn't get it started, hooked up my car to try and charge it, didn't work, took it out and cleaned it up a bit, didn't work, tried to find his battery charger (still some things we can't find from our move 2 years ago) and couldn't find it, got it started with my car and me revving it up like I was a race car driver(!), then took it for a drive around the neighborhood to charge it and said it was fine. Now, all this time I'm telling him to just go buy a new battery. He kept telling me it'd be fine. So this morning I told him to try to start his car before he loaded his briefcase, computer, etc. into it. He says, "no, it'll be fine." I said, "humor me!" (By now you know where this is heading, right?!?!) Yep, went out to start it and it wouldn't start! He says, "I'm taking your car; mine won't start." Oh, really?!?! Question: Why didn't he just go to WM and buy a battery yesterday first thing and not have all this aggravation?!?! Is it really so like a man or what? I didn't say a word because I am not the "I told you so" type. And if you believe that you're smoking some wacky stuff!!!!! LOL

That was wednesday and thursday; last night we - NO, HE - went to the store and bought a new battery!! Wasted 2 days. Gotta love that man!! Yep, I sure DO!

Oh, yeah, we're a humorous, witty, funny family!! All of us.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

On decorating

Decorating is one of my passions - one of many! I'm a "passionate" person in that I have intense feelings about most things I do. Guess you wouldn't know anything about that, hmmmm? Know what I mean here? Loving furniture store catalogs as I do, this one had the epitome of my all time favorite living room. The catalog was lost for some time during our move a couple of years ago and I was devastated. But I finally found it. It has so many patterns in this room and I'm a "pattern" sort of woman. More pattern would be even better for me. I dream of rooms like this.

My sweet friend Holly

A wonderful sweet friend did this painting as a gift to me. I am so thrilled and grateful to know Holly and have her as a friend. Her writing style is exquisite and painting is incredible. I thought you'd like to see it.

PINK! flamingoes

I just have to show you this little pink flamingo lotion dispenser. It is the epitome of kitschy! I bought 4 and gave 2 away and put one in my bedroom and one in my guest bathroom. Everyone should have something (at least, one thing!) kitschy and something whimsical in their house. I have lots of whimsical in my home.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pretty shopping bags

Isn't this a pretty bag? I use these to hang on doors around my house to drop things into - like mail or notes. Then I go around the house collecting them to bring into my office/computer room. That way I don't lose anything. It's just a handy way to sort of "organize" things without having to run from one room to another several times a day.