Upping Your Home Decor Game – The Easy Way

Many of us struggle to find ideas that we want to incorporate into our homes. Some focus on the latest Pinterest ideas, others on what shows up in design magazines or shows. The rest look to friends and family for ideas.

What do you do when all those options come up empty?

I’ve gotten some of my best ideas watching shows on YouTube. Yeah, YouTube.

A few years ago I discovered the Australian version of Better Homes and Garden by watching their weekly show. It has all the usual features; food, home decor, DIY, gardening, and travel, along with some great local color. What caught my eye, however, were the fresh ideas for DIYers and folks looking to upgrade their homes without spending a lot of cash.

You can find the show’s YouTube presence by looking for “Great Home Ideas”. The full hour shows have been broken down into focused episodes and there are curated playlists.

“Alexandra Gater”, “Hermione Chantal” and “Mr. Carrington” each produce shows that focus on home decor and DIY projects for those who are either renting or purchasing their first homes. Money is tight, and folks are looking for affordable, easy to do options.

Hermione has been working on renovating her 1900 circa home for the past couple of years and the evolution of that project is quite interesting.

Alexandra has worked with “DIY Dani” Gater to produce some well thought out and reasonably easy DIY projects that can be done to upgrade any living space – no matter if you rent or own.

Mr. Carrington loves to thrift shop and upgrade things he’s found during his trips around London. I have to tell you that I’ve been inspired by many of his projects – and have fallen in love with his rooftop container garden.

One show that has totally surprised me in the ‘inspiration’ department is “Escape To The Country”. This U.K. based show’s focus is finding new homes from people who want to move to the country. What I’ve found interesting is the different design esthetic that can be found in many homes in the U.K., Scotland and Wales.

While here in the States we tend to use tiles of one color (predominately white), I’ve seen many homes that utilize many different colors when tile is used in kitchens or bathrooms. That simple alteration changes what is a basic tiled wall into a focal point and provides a bit of warmth.

I’ve long been a fan of “This Old House” and similar shows, but one thing that I’ve noticed over time is the tendency to stick with the latest trends. When those seem to be colorless and little or no texture or woodwork, this is pretty dull. Now if you like that sort of look, great. If you don’t it can be very frustrating.

This leads me to another YouTuber, “Farmhouse Vernacular”, where a young couple is sympathetically renovating a 1900 era Kentucky farmhouse. Watching them work on each room and talk about the how and why they are doing what they are doing gives the viewer a lot of information and perspective on the process. It also provides a bit of, shall we say ‘permission’, to not do the latest thing.

If you are looking at your space and wanting to make some changes, but not really sure how or where to start, I suggest you check these folks out and see what they have to offer in the way of ideas and inspiration.

Don’t be afraid to take your time, either. Sometimes time is the one thing you need to create a beautiful space.

Enjoy the journey!

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Mid Month Mellow

Or, it’s raining, the vet is expected and Bella and I are listening to “happy music”. With the door closed so she doesn’t find a new place to hide like she did when the vet was supposed to come last week, but the yard folks scared her. 🙂

Yeah, I’m on Mom Duty.

I finally (!) got my music collection re-organized and re-shelved. I spent some hours enjoying old favorites and then, much to my surprise reverted back to the tried and true.

This means we had a couple of days of some wonderful New Age music followed by a trip back to Disney Parks with the 50th Anniversary collection and now we have Herb Alpert back on the machine.

I know it isn’t to everyone’s taste but there is something so bright and cheerful in all of that.

I sat down and watched the first episode of “The Other One” on Acorn TV last night. This dramedy about two families who unknowingly shared the same father is interesting. Part funny, part sad, part…interesting.

I also took the time to watch the entire first episode of CBS All Access’ “Star Trek Lower Decks”. I’d seen the trailer and, frankly, was less than captivated. Thankfully the episode is much better, but still has issues. It is more complicated that what shows up on the surface.

Over on the book table, I’ve finally finished all three books in the Mycroft and Sherlock series written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse. I admit I started the first back when I was just diving into the original canon. The books are well written, have an enticing POV and provide some great mental food for thought for mystery lovers.

Over on the gaming front, “June’s Journey” continues to capture my attention. The artwork continues to amaze me – it is so beautiful – and the stories are just enough to keep my interest.

For my Pinterest followers, I apologize that I’ve not been updating those boards. Frankly, it got away from me. I’ll do better, but it may take a while. Please be patient!

Thanks for keeping up with me! Please don’t forget to click “Like” if you enjoy a post and comments are welcome!

Follow Up

The vet visit went well. Bella actually seems to like this vet but she puts on quite the hissy fit show. Partially because he is the vet that works at the shelter I adopted her from – and she remembered him – and partly because she had to go Outside. (Egads!) Definitely NOT her favorite place.

As for the weather, well it has stopped raining and the temperature is down about 15 degrees. Win/Win?

Home Decorating – Part 3

My overall experience, theory, POV.

I had the thought that is the basis for this article during a comment conversation with Farmhouse Vernacular.

A home, be it an apartment, loft, one room flat, house or mansion, is a space that, in many ways, defines the way you, the occupant, uses it.

In my living room, for example, the two windows are on opposite walls – the east and west walls. This means that in the morning the sun comes in full barrel and flows across the walls for a considerable period of time. That same sun shows up in the late afternoon/evening from the opposite wall and repeats the morning visit. Both visits, however, dictate where the TV is placed, where the chairs are placed. This dictates traffic flow patterns – how do you get to the library? Where do you put a side table? Can you fit a fireplace in the room?

I’ve lived in my home for 20 years. I’ve tried various window treatments that do, to some degree, corral the problem, but never really resolve it. I could board up the windows, but I’m rather fond of them. 🙂

All of this is in addition to determining room color(s), decorations and all the other odds and ends that combine to make a home comfortable and functional.

We all move into a space with an idea of how it will work. Many times, however, things are added to rooms that were never designed to include them, which alters the way the rooms work.

I’m thinking of the mid-century craftsman home that was cozy and comfortable until the 50 inch flat screen arrived. Where do you put it? How do you put it? What do you do about seating? How do you accommodate the sound system?

I’m thinking about the 10 ft square bedroom that barely accommodates the king sized bed and headboard. Translate: A bed with a room around it -vs- a room with a bed in it. And, no, there really was no room for storage pieces.

There is a lot to living in a space and paying attention to what it needs. I know that may sound silly, but if you think about it, it is the natural experience of living in that space. You may not even realize you are doing it.

I’ve been watching a lot of home decor and DIY providers lately and I admit I’m impressed not only with the skills provided, but the way their choices have expanded the esthetic I want in my home.

My “intention” with my home was/is to create an eclectic place that, in my mind at least, was reminiscent of the family lake cottage. That place where the furniture didn’t always match, where it was comfortable and relaxed and easy to live in, not fussy and constantly keep clean.

In my mind, it was the place where the cast offs were taken when they were no longer wanted in the ‘regular’ home.

Considering many of the pieces I brought with me when I moved did not come close to “matchy-matchy”, it was the natural starting point.

The only issue I encountered with this was the decor of the home itself. My home was carefully designed by the builder to work with a woodland/garden theme. This means that each color or wall covering, and even the doors, worked within the theme. They also were along the lines of jewel tones. Everything works together and there are enough neutrals to add bold colors where I want.

I actually like the design, even if my preference for warmer earth tones is sublimated by the cool jewel tones in the home. And the best part? I didn’t have to spend time and money (I did not have) to redecorate.

This was an enormous plus having lived for decades in apartments with plain white walls with brown carpet. Can we say ‘generic’?

While there are tons of decorating ideas all over the place, I find myself reverting to what makes me comfortable and happy; color and comfort.

I encourage you to take the time to figure out what makes you comfortable in the space you inhabit. Don’t be afraid to experiment. It is an essential part of making a house a home. And, possibly most importantly, don’t be afraid of listening to your home. You will find your house telling you what it needs to become the home you want to live in.

Oh, Wow! What a Reveal!

Like many people, I’ve been following Paige and Brandon as they worked on their wonderful farmhouse kitchen. Today was the reveal of the completed room.

I am so excited and happy to see this room! It is functional, usable, easy on the eye and fits within the intention of the home. It is clear that a lot of thought was put into the design of the space.

I’ve been in a multitude of farmhouse kitchens in my 6+ decades. This room is a reflection of all of those rooms.

I hope you take the time to not only check out the reveal, but to explore the other posts on the channel.


Home Decorating – Part 2?

I Love Swatches!

Paint Chips. Fabric Swatches. Samples of finishing materials. Wallpaper. You name it, I love it!

Being relatively old school, I am used to collecting ideas from magazines into a folder – if I didn’t keep the entire magazine. I also had a Special Place for paint chips, etc.

Now, however, I am not adverse to using idea boards like Pinterest or Shoptagr – or even building my own using Word – to collect ideas. Shoptagr has undergone some serious renovation and is a fantastic (and free) app to use for all kinds of projects where shopping is a necessary part.

These “Idea Books” provide a place, and a space, to see what I like, pinpoint what I prefer, discover colors and combinations that appeal, and basically get a visual of things I might want to incorporate into my home.

The beauty of this is that I don’t have to spend a lot of money on things I find I don’t care for or lose track of things I want to try.

At the most basic, this is a tool that you can use in any way you like in the way that works best for you.

One thing that is a bit of an ‘extra’ is that paint chips, wallpaper samples and fabric swatches can be used in craft projects. I recently came across a collection of cards using shapes that were either punched or die cut from paint chips. 😉

So, get out there and start collecting ideas, colors, possibilities, tips and tricks!

FOOTNOTE: I came across this article and had to share it with you: Before and After A Dated Kitchen… There are hundreds of thousands of homes just like this one where an update as simple as a can of paint can make huge impact. Personally, I love the color choices, the shift of the fan, the addition of the plants. Enjoy!

Getting Ship Shape

July has proven to be one of those months where all sorts of projects come along and disrupt the normal flow of things.

I’m not really sure when it all started, or exactly why. What I do know is that I’ve been planning a redo of my Library/Craft Room for quite a while now. That led to a serious Clean Out and Tidy. Which is still <cough> ongoing.

Part of that “tidying” has brought me to the point of inventorying my rather extensive library. I have a collection of paper books, audio books, not to mention movies and music in various formats. All in all, over time it has become a bit unwieldy. A point made very clear to me when I was cleaning one of the shelves and found myself saying, more than once, “I didn’t know I had this!”

You too?

Now, there was a time when I would sit down and develop my own database to collect said materials. To be dead honest, I just don’t have the interest. aka: Been there, Done that, What’ve you got for me?

I found a system that is pretty flexible, easy to use and, best of all, Free. 🙂 Libib.com has been a wonder and a joy and a bit of an adventure. I managed to catalog the majority of the majority of my collection(s) in roughly a day or two with some additional work needed to clarify, and update my personal catalog.

As that project is progressing, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the rest of the room. I have a good idea of what I want and how I need to get it done. We shall see just how ambitious I get. 🙂

I have been playing with my card stock again. Having a bit of fun and trying new things. This is what happens when you discover things you forgot you had. LOL!

Before you ask, at this point, I have no plans to sell cards. That will have to be contemplated another time. Right now, I’m playing for me.

All that being said, I have to give a shout out to Pootles Papercraft and Maymay Made It for their inspiration. They are among a select group of crafters who have given me ideas and made me want to return to the craft table.

The month of July is almost over and, for the first time in a very long time, I feel like I have accomplished something. I’m not done, but I feel like I’m well on the way.

One plus of rediscovering things is the joy of using them again.

If you feel stuck, need a bit of inspiration, or just want to see a bit of a change, I encourage you to pick a small thing and just take that first step. All journeys begin with one step, right?

Home Decorating – My Theory

Is it a place you want to spend a weekend or where you want to actually live?

I was blessed to have a mom who was a wiz at home design and decorating. Really. I learned more from her in a few short years, than I have in decades of watching the experts. For example:

  • Find a style that works for you.
  • Don’t be afraid to change your mind.
  • Don’t be afraid of color.
  • Use what you have.
  • Explore = play a bit.
  • Don’t fret what the neighbors might think.

Long before Pinterest was even a dream of a dream, people were designing rooms. Depending upon the location of the home, the era, the ideals of the time, those rooms would evolve based on a lot of factors.

Fear has also been a constant. Fear of making a mistake. Fear of change. Fear of the opinion of others. Fear of color.

I get it. I really do. Even with my background of the Fearless Decorator (Mom), I know that to be truly adventurous and daring when designing a room, let alone a home, one must be thoughtful, patient, and possibly most important of all, comfortable with choices.

I’ve lived in my home for 20 years and am only now starting to be … comfortable with design choices and options. My home was fully designed when I bought it. The color choices for walls and floors were already in place. I’m just lucky that my sofa actually works with the design. 🙂

I love to see pictures of homes. The variety of design is amazing and inspiring. I have found, however, that some of the homes I’ve seen that belong to famous or wealthy folks tend to look more like a magazine spread of a furniture showroom than a place where you feel comfortable enough to walk around barefoot and put a cup of coffee down while you read the paper.

I have been enjoying “Escape To The Country” from the U.K. One thing that caught my attention was the use of color when tiles are used in the kitchen. Rarely have I found a tiled area that was all one color, usually it is a collection of colors in a random pattern. I find it very interesting and adds interest to the room.

Personally, I prefer a place where I can relax and enjoy the space – even if I’m not 100% thrilled by the space itself. Pinterest ready? No thanks.

The last home my mom decorated was built in the 1920’s. It had 3 bedrooms, a living room, bathroom and a large kitchen/diner. All needed work. By the time she was finished, the home was totally transformed. There were actual closets in the bedrooms. My room had a study area. The kitchen had a new bar area that was a combination of extra counter, storage for linens and the all important <cough> appliance garage. My mom had acquired a lot of appliances and needed a place to store them, but have them at hand.

Decor was a combination of color and texture that flowed. My first thought is “autumn colors” but when I think further, the palette was a touch broader.

The kitchen had white counters and cabinets with a floral wallpaper that was comprised of yellow, orange and green. The inside of the cabinets and the shelving were painted a daffodil yellow that brought the room together and provided a pop of unexpected color.

The living room was a combination of brown and red chairs that were offset with a gold carpet (used throughout the home) and matching drapes with sheers.

Gold is a bit of a misnomer – it was more of a deep, rich color rather than anything bright. This worked to our advantage as the walls were painted a neutral color named “champagne” that was a bit of a pinky beige. Sounds awful, right? However, when you had the afternoon sun coming through the windows covered with those gold sheers, the room glowed. Actually glowed.

The guest room had a soft pink floral wallpaper that worked with the blonde bedroom suite. The windows had Austrian Puff sheers (Australian?) that softened the light and made the room more relaxed.

The master bedroom had a cedar bedroom suite, so the colors were chosen to work with the red tones of the wood. The room had a blue wallpaper with a matching drape and bedspread in a blue floral print.

My room had one wall with a blue tufted patterned wallpaper and the rest was a wood paneling patterned wallpaper.

The kitchen was carpeted with indoor/outdoor carpet – no mopping the floor – which also kept the room warmer and was easier on the feet. I don’t need to mention that most folks were a bit surprised at this oddity. 🙂

Every nook and cranny in the home was thought about. What do we need? Where is the most efficient placement?

All of this is well and good and I’m sure that most of you are wondering what the point is. Well, here you go:

The point is that the home took time and thought before anything was done. Colors and fabrics were chosen with care. There was not going to be a redo later on just because. To say the budget was tight would be an understatement. It squeaked.

Fast forward a few years. While in college, one of my mentors was a woman who had worked in the interior design business for a few years. One Saturday we headed off to a design center that catered to designers who catered to the occupants of Beverly Hills.

As we walked toward the car after many hours of exploration, my mentor looked at me and shook her head. “You are a designer’s dream and nightmare.” she said. “You like everything.”

Not quite.

I want furniture that is comfortable to sit in. High enough off the floor to be easy to get in and out of without needing assistance, deep enough to be easy on the back while my feet don’t dangle.

I want furniture that provides storage. My home is less than 1,000 square feet – I don’t have the luxury of extra rooms to stash things in. I need pieces that work.

I want a color palette that is restful and interesting. I spent too many years in apartments with beige or white walls and boring brown carpet.

I want surfaces that are easy to maintain. While I might like the idea of a stone counter top I don’t want the maintenance and, more importantly, I have a tendency to be a bit rough with things. Banging things on stone can occasionally cause chips, dents or other issues that I avoid by not using stone or faux stone. And it is less expensive.

So, where do you begin if this is your first time at bat? I suggest you start by collecting pictures of rooms you like – and make notes about why you like them.

Head off to your local hardware store and take a long look at paint samples. The chip strips, if you will. What do you gravitate towards? Take a look at those choices. Are they warm or cool colors? Warm colors have a yellow background while cool colors are more blue. You can pull, for example, two different reds and see the difference.

Yes, you can audition colors online, but the only way to really know if a color will work in a room is to have it on the wall. Don’t panic, you don’t need to paint the entire wall, just put up a sample in an area that gets the full exposure of light in the room.

What does it look like in the morning? How about at mid afternoon? What is it like after dark? Do you like it or do you avoid it? How does it look with the other colors in the room? This is especially important if you are not recovering or replacing large pieces like a sofa or chair.

And don’t think this bit is unimportant if your choice is, say, white. You might be shocked to discover how many variations of white there are.

As you work your way through all of this, you will start to get a sense of what you like, what you don’t and how it might become a part of your living space.

Matt Fox and Shari Hiller developed a great methodology for designing a room by looking for an inspiration piece and working from it. The designer had already done most of the work when the piece was created – the colors were matched and worked together. You can pull your colors from the piece, develop a plan to accessorize the room based on the theme of the piece.

One last suggestion; start a binder or organizer to keep your idea in. Put in sections that work for you (color, style, design). Add your chips, fabric samples, and magazine clippings. You can set up an idea board, too.

Take your time, have fun with the process and enjoy the results. You worked hard to get the home you enjoy living in!

Footnote: This may evolve into a multiple part series. There is a lot of material, after all. LOL! I do want to hear from you about your decorating adventures.


No, not golf. 🙂

The process of recharging creative batteries. Rediscovering things you’d forgotten, or learning that you can do things you never thought possible.

This time of year is usually HOT, humid and often rainy. Just the kind of weather one doesn’t want to be out in. At least I don’t.

I’m of that age where creaky, cranky joints usually get their way when it comes to Big Projects. For example, my Library/Craft Room/Office needs a clear out and a bit of reorganization. The room is not big, but it is, shall we say, occupied by a lot of stuff. Stuff that requires being moved to accommodate the reorganization.

Thanks to the Current State of the World, a major clear out utilizing a few people and a truck is not an option. That leaves me. Now, I can shift and shuffle and move things about with reasonable ease. Sort of. (Much to the chagrin of my chiropractor…) But thanks to the state of said joints and the weather, I’m not that inclined to do a lot of shuffling about at the moment.

So, I putter. I have a couple of projects that I’ve been pondering since last Winter and now seems to be the Right Time to dive in.

I’m also getting reacquainted with some relatively old technology. My radio, for example. Actually there is a radio and then there is an old stereo with radio and CD player that has lived in a corner of the Library pretty much ignored for a while. Now that I’m also reacquainting myself with my CD collection, it seems to be getting a bit more use. 🙂 The radios work well considering signals are fussy things, especially in my neck of the woods. <shrug>

I recently pulled out one of my sewing machines to play a bit. (I’m still a bit taken aback by the mere fact that I own more than one.) The machine in question has a collection of built in stitches that fascinate me. I’m contemplating what they will look like on a quilt.

It wasn’t that long ago that I dug out my drill, switched to a screwdriver head and repaired my rocking chair.

The freedom of being able to do things yourself. It is an interesting thing. There are lots of things I can do for and by myself that I’d forgotten about. Simple things like repairing the arm of a chair that just needed a part replaced. Installing curtain rods. Building a piece of Do it Yourself furniture.


What projects or ponderings will you be puttering about?

Almost Halfway Through

I looked up to discover that it is almost July 1st. July – the seventh month of the year. For a year that has been wrought with all sorts of issues, it doesn’t seem possible that it is almost half over.

Crafters know that June is usually when the Christmas Crafting begins. That time of year when sewing projects are begun, cards, boxes and treat bags are made. Lists are compiled.

Most folks look at that and cringe. There is time to do that later! Summer is here!

I hear them, believe me, I do. The problem is that some of those projects take time – lots of it.

Create and Craft devoted an entire two weeks to presenting holiday crafting kits and materials. I watched what I could, but really couldn’t get much enthusiasm going. The after shows are chock full of more beautiful ideas, but, again, not much grabs my attention.

Stampin Up’s new catalog went live earlier in the month and they, too, have some seriously beautiful papers and colors. I admit I’ve found a few more things that catch my eye there than anywhere else.

I’ve been semi-binge watching “Cold Case”, Jacques Pepin, Mary Berry and a few others. There is a sense of calm and comfort there. The quiet in the kitchen with some wonderful flavors is rewarding. I’m still working my way through “June’s Journey” – something that I find unexpectedly satisfying.

Otherwise, Bella and I are doing well. We are keeping busy puttering and pondering. We’d love to know what you are up to.

It’s That Time Again!

We’ve talked about it before. Reset time. That time you reset the bits and bobs in your life to clear out the old and make room for the new.

I try to clear out the cache in my Roku box along with removing channels I don’t watch to make room for those I do (or want to) at least once a month. Depending on what is (or is not) going on, this might be done more on an “as needed” basis.

Translate: when push comes to shove. 🙂

I do find there are always opportunities to clear space or discover new options.

Don’t forget to clear / clean the computer, too. And, when was the last time you reset your WI-fi? Personally, I find it odd that that particular task is necessary, but <shrug> that’s me.

In what is traditionally known as “rerun season” I have found the Roku Channel’s offerings of free movies and TV to be a refreshing change from what I’d been watching.

I’m pretty sure the other streaming services have similar opportunities – worth checking into if you need something new.

I’m also digging thru my YouTube feeds to find treasures. After months (!) of no Disney visits by my regulars, I happened upon a video filmed in (I think) January of a Disneyland walk through that was wonderfully restful. The park wasn’t packed, it was a beautiful day and the person with the camera did an exceptional job. Reminded me of years past when you could actually enjoy the park without feeling like a sardine in a can. 🙂

I’ve been listening to a bit of British Classic Comedy. Between the old game shows and some classic comedy shows, it has been a great alternative to the same old same old.

As you maneuver through your day, take a few minutes to do a bit of a clear out. You might find things you’ve forgotten about and you are sure to find new treasures to enjoy!