Monday, March 3, 2014


While schlepping a wheel barrow full of wood for a fire this weekend as the temperatures dipped well below HOLY SH*T IT'S COLD, I stopped dead in my tracks (well, I actually slipped on ice) when I saw our discarded Christmas tree in a compost pile and realized I've been writing this blog for a little over six years!  As our poor Christmas tree rests on one from last year, slightly decomposed, I thought about how it all started in Pasadena, California all those years ago.  We were in the middle of renovating our almost hundred-year-old California Bungalow and we'd run well over our budget, so sent the contractors, electricians, plumbers, roofers and architect home and decided to attack the project ourselves.  At first it was a project of necessity (we needed a roof and walls) but turned into an exciting journey of frustration, regret, exploration and enlightenment (isn't that really what life is all about anyway)?  After one rather testy afternoon of attempting to hang drywall in our new upstairs master bedroom, we decided to take a walk to cool tempers and recharge our batteries.  As we wandered the neighborhood admiring all of the completed projects in our area, I kept laughing at all of the discarded Christmas trees left waiting on the curb for the garbage man (it was early January), some with ornaments still grasping for life, others humiliated as dogs lifted their legs for a final goodbye and some suffocating in tight plastic bags.  Naturally I snapped several photos of what I observed and ran home, created this blog and started talking about everything from dining to designing.  My first week of blogs including information about how to compost your toast (or Christmas tree) to tiling a bathtub, making homemade ketchup and setting a beautiful table.  My former agent, after reading a month of my entries, asked, "what's the point? Moreover, who's going to read what you write or care about what you have to say?"  There is a reason, as you might imagine, I mentioned she is my "former agent."  My point, which fell on uncreative deaf ears, was to share ideas about creating a lovely life at home without spending a fortune to do it.  While many of the words design gurus share great ideas in books, magazines, websites and on television, some of them are too far fetched for regular Jane and Johns like me to attack.  I remember my first attempt at making a delicious dessert for Joe (and, yes, I blogged about it).  Lemon meringue pie, one of my favorite treats my Grandma Helen would make.  Some might say it was ambitious for me to attack something like meringue my first time up at bat, but dare I say, it was a home run!  Risk certainly equaled return.  Have all of my projects seen the same glowing results? Of course not, but I've had fun doing them and as long as my creative juices are flowing, I'm going to continue to try!
Believe it or not, it's easier than you think to make a bedroom pop.  Adding a bold color against crisp, plain bedding is one way and introducing a cool headboard is yet another.  Shutters, either purchased at the local hardware store and painted (you can even apply a faux finish to make them look antique) or at an antique store, can take a bland bed to new heights in seconds.  Play with the look (height, etc.) then nail them directly to the wall.  Don't like the look in a year? No problem because you've spent less than $50 and can create something else that suits your fancy!