Ten things that made me happy in January

happy face snowman from antennaballstoredotcom

from antennaballstore.com

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I have said it many times before on this blog, January and August are my two least favorite months.  It was a tough month with some personal losses so I had to work hard to find things that made me happy this month.  I fell short of ten but the ones that made the list worked!

  1.  Everything about this photo makes the designer in me very happy.  Neutral colors, rustic wood, the houndstooth check fabric, pops of orange, the little petal footstool and those flowers that look like miniature snowballs!
  2. 2.  Snow, snow and more snow!  A trip to Flagstaff, AZ resulted in an unexpected snowstorm that created 4 foot high snow drifts everywhere.  This mountain girl was in heaven!

  3. Once again, the fact that I can’t figure out the numbering system on this site does NOT bother me makes me happy.  (told you I had to really dig for happiness this month..lol)
  4. This photo of my hometown.  I grew up in Pacific Grove California and my heart is still there.  And this very talented photographer also lives there and shares the most incredible photography of the area.  The purple carpet blooms in the springtime and I used to take this drive on the way home just to see it every day.
  5. purple carpet at pacific grove by gene barclift facebook you know youre from pg

    Photo by Gene Barclift


  6. Marking something off my bucket list—visiting the Grand Canyon.  I do not have the words to describe the sheer magnitude and beauty of this place and look forward to going back and spending some time just taking it all in.
  7. Marking an item off of my bucket list—visiting the Grand Canyon.  I do not have the words to describe the sheer magnitude and beauty of this place and I look forward to going back and having more time to take it all in.
  8. Weekday visits to “Old McDonalds” as my granddaughter calls it.  She and her baby brother have so much fun running around and making new friends and it is something I look forward to each time we have the opportunity.
  9. Hope your list was longer!  February is already looking “happier”.
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A bedspread by any other name is still a bedspread

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Duvet, comforter, quilt, bedspread….are they the same thing?

January is a big month for white sales…in other words..bedding.  And I often get asked what the difference between a duvet, comforter and bedspread is as well as questions about pillow sham shapes and sizes.  So before you go out and take advantage of the sales take a moment to review this list of bedding terminology to make sure you purchase the right item(s) for your particular needs.

Bedspread:  Think of your grandmother’s bedroom.  She probably has or had a bedspread at one time.  A bedspread will cover the entire bed, including the pillows, and falls all the way to the floor.  The spread covers your blanket and sheets and is removed at bedtime.  Easy to make the bed and eliminates the need for a bedskirt, they are difficult to find these days but are available at stores like Bed, bath & beyond or from online catalogs. They will give your room a little bit of a vintage vibe, especially if you can find one of the old chenille ones.  Buyer beware:  picking at the chenille is addictive!
This bedspread combines the look of a comforter, the stitching of quilt and the ease of a bedspread requiring no bedskirt. The best of all worlds!  Notice also the use of Euro shams, regular shams and decorative pillows.


Comforter:  A comforter is constructed of two pieces of fabric sewn together on all four sides.  It is filled with polyester or down (your choice) and covers just the sides and foot of your mattress.  Depending on your bed frame style, a bedskirt is often necessary to hide the legs of a metal frame.  In this photo you will see a comforter with matching standard shams on the bed.


Coverlet:  A coverlet is smaller than a comforter or a bedspread and is most often used as a lightweight covering in the warmer months.  It does not drape all the way to the floor. A coverlet will often feature decorative stitching which is what the term matelasse refers to.


Duvet:  Technically speaking, a duvet is the actual comforter used on a bed, often without a bedsheet.  It can be covered for protection with a duvet cover.  Duvets are often used in lieu of a top sheet and blanket…very European!   The two terms are often confused here in the US.  A duvet cover is constructed of two pieces of fabric sewn together on three sides, leaving the top area open in order to stuff it with a down comforter (duvet).  It closes with decorative buttons, ties, velcro or even a zipper.    They are difficult to stuff and the inside comforter can slide around, creating a messy and lumpy look.  Here is a helpful video on how to easily (?) stuff a duvet cover.

Quilt:  A quilt is a bed covering that joins together several pieces of fabric and stuffing with stitching.  They can be used as a decorative throw at the foot of the bed, layered over a comforter in the winter or as a lightweight bed covering in the spring and summer months.  Patchwork quilts are fun for a farmhouse or cottage look while solid colored quilts work well in a more contemporary design.


Pillow case:  A pillow case is just what it says, a case for your bed pillows.  They usually come with a set of sheets and match in fabric, thread count and color.

Sham:  Like a pillow case, a sham is used to cover a bed pillow.  The difference is that they are decorative and not meant to be slept on.  They are available in standard pillow sizes of standard, queen and king and often come with your comforter purchase in a matching or complimentary fabric.  They are easy to stuff and close on the back with buttons or ties.

Euro sham:  A euro sham is square in shape and used for decorative purposes on the bed. We will discuss how to make a bed in another post but euro shams are most often placed against the headboard or wall as a backdrop for your shams and decorative pillows.

What type of bedding do you prefer?

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Organize your ome with a credenza, buffet or sideboard

As the new year dawns one of the most common resolutions is to get ourselves and our homes organized.  Well, one of the most versatile pieces of furniture can help you do just that.

Often referred to as a credenza when used in an office, or a sideboard or buffet in the dining room, features include hidden storage behind doors as well as open shelving and drawers.  For those pieces specifically made for use as a sideboard or buffet the drawers might be felt-lined to protect delicate china and flatware.  Shelves may include inserts for wine bottle or wine glass storage.  An office credenza may offer charging units tucked inside drawers as well as solutions for cable control.

Whether you use it in the dining room, home office or family room, here are some attractive options that will definitely satisfy your storage and decorative needs:

Mid-century modern

This sleek, classically designed buffet offers plenty of storage for china, linens, flatware and other dining room necessities.

design mid century buffet from west elm

Mid century buffet from West Elm


The sleek and modern look of this credenza is warmed by the varying colors of wood veneer applied to the doors and drawers.  Appropriately named Colors Bois (colors of wood), it is available at Roche Bobois.

design credenza from roche bobois colors bobois

Colours Bois credenza from Roche Bobois


Simple in design but not in function, this sideboard from Painted Furniture Barn will add a homespun look to your dining room or home office and still provide all the storage space necessary for today’s modern home.  You can customize the piece with your choice of color and stain as well as door style.

design buffet from paintedfurnbarn

Plantation buffet from paintedfurniturebarn.com


The appearance of your home office or library will be enhanced by the beauty of this functional credenza that can store all of your office supplies, cords and cables or even hide the necessary “uglies” like a printer, cable box or other electronics.

design sideboard lombardy sideboard from ethan allen

Lombardy buffet from Ethan Allen

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Ten things that made me happy in December



Christmastime can be a month of contradictions for empty nesters.  On the one hand, it is nice to enjoy a relatively quiet month on the calendar, actually have a “decorated” Christmas tree (or none at all) and begin some new traditions for the two of you.  On the other hand, it is easy to long for the excitement of the little ones, the busy malls and my favorite, holiday and dance recitals.  With that being said, December offered me plenty of opportunities to be happy this year:

  1. Driving through the old neighborhood where we used to take the kids on Christmas Eve to look at lights and find that, 25 years later, many of the same decorations are still displayed.  Love the continuity!
  2. Following another long-held tradition, now with our granddaughter, and going to see “Traditions of Christmas.”
  3. Marking lots of items off the wedding to-do list.
  4. Having dinner in the middle of the week with a group of girlfriends.  Always a good idea and one we do not arrange often enough!
  5. Buying a new bed!!!  When we down-sized the house we also down-sized our bed from king to queen.  While the size was OK, the mattress was horrible so just 3 years later we decided enough was enough and bought a new mattress and returned to king size.  A good night’s sleep certainly makes me happy
  6. These two goofy faces excited the entire month for Santa to come.
  7. ella in santa hat dec 2015
  8.                                                                    and
  9. brendan with bow on head 2 christmas 2015
  10. 7.  Lots of snow in the mountains makes this skier very happy
  11. 8.  Sitting around after Chrismas dinner and playing cards with friends and family.  I constantly seek a simpler and calm life and, for me, this just embodies that idea.
  12. 9.  Arriving home safely on New Year’s Eve.  Every year I worry about both ourselves and our daughter and future son-in-law getting home after the annual NY Eve party at friends.  It just makes me happy when we are all tucked into our beds on this dangerous evening.
  13. 10.  The fact that I am not worrying about the funky numbering this computer is doing to me in this post makes me happy.

What made you happy in December?

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Merry Christmas

I could send the obligatory e-card or even be a bit unique these days and actually put something in the mail.  But I ran across this video and it pretty much says it all for me—Christmas is family, fun, music and togetherness with friends—-and maybe an ugly Christmas sweater or two—and my Christmas wish for all of my family, friends and clients is that you experience all of these during this holiday season.


Enjoy and Merry Christmas!!

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Christmas tree eye candy

It does not matter whether your Christmas tree looks like this

christmas tree from lisa leonard.jpg

Photo and tree by Lisa Leonard from LML Art Group

or this


the beauty is in the treasured memories that adorn the tree and/or the fun decorating times you have enjoyed over the years.  Real or fake, white lights or multi-colored, tradition is such an important part of these holidays and I encourage all of you to continue to celebrate old traditions and introduce new ones as your lives and circumstances change.  Now on to some Christmas tree eye candy, as promised:

While I usually prefer a more traditional red and green color combo, this gorgeous white and blue tree is certainly stunning.

This live tree is all decorated for the holidays.  You could transport me there right now and I would be happy forever!

christmas tree in snow from slim paley

courtesy of slim paley

And for those of you looking to start new traditions or simplify your decorating, here is a tutorial on how to string popcorn and cranberries.

And, lastly, this musical video is sure to put a smile on your face!  Just click here.

What does your Christmas tree look like?



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Ten things that made me happy in November 2015

  1.  The fact that my daughter was home for most of the month made me very happy.  She travels for work and has been gone quite a bit during the past couple of months and I miss her so much when I can’t see or talk to her on a daily basis.
  2. Rain and cooler temps in San Diego–FINALLY!  The temperatures dropped to the mid sixties and, for those of you who are from southern California, you know that is chilly to us.  Time to break out the sweaters and UGGs.
  3. Thanksgiving with old friends.  When we discovered that our daughter would be traveling to Denver to spend the holiday with her fiance’s family we were disappointed.  But an invitation from old friends to spend the day with them and their grown sons eased our pain. Good friends, good wine and good times made the fact that we were not with our daughter on a holiday  much easier.
  4. The Whole30 cleanse.  Not really a cleanse and not really a diet, this lifestyle change worked for me.  I have more energy, sleep better and just overall feel better–not to mention that I have lost about 17 pounds without really trying.  The goblin for me is all the hidden sugar in food.  And while the first week or so is difficult as you are overcoming your cravings for whatever you crave (diet soda) once those go away and you begin to notice changes in how you feel it motivates you to continue for the 3o days, and even beyond.
  5. Celebrating this man’s birthday.  My best friend for over 30 years, I am happiest when I am with him!rick and me on birthday 2015
  6. The discovery of a beautiful new site “Ravenous Butterflies” on facebook. Nothing but inspirational quotes and beautiful artwork.  Worth a daily look!
  7. This face always makes me happy!! Especially when she is so excited about her first day at her new pre-school.  Grandkids are certainly the be all and end all!ella first day of new school nov 2015
  8. I could watch this gorgeous and peaceful GIF all day long .  Does that make me weird?
  9. snow falling in village from art senses gif imageMarking items off my very long “to-do” list for THE wedding.  Save the dates are in the mail–can I get a Hallelujah?!
  10. A Charger win!!!!!
  11. jenna in charger beanie

What made you happy in November?

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