design ideas, DIY, home, stuff I like, Tutorials, Uncategorized

Hanging Plates and Gallery Walls: Easiest. Job. Ever.

January 28, 2016

No, for reals. You can do it. And you’ll be surprised by just how easy and frustration-free it can be. That is, if you have the right tools to help you out. And this method isn’t just for plates, but photos, art, chalkboards…anything that floats your wall-decor boat. Most of the “tools” you’ll need are probably already lurking in your closet-a roll of kraft paper (or if you’re lazy like me, just some left over Christmas wrap), painter’s tape, a tape measure, pencil,hammer,  your client and friend taking photos of you, and this amazing little doo-hickey…

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Hear me now and listen to me later, this little gem will save you cursing and pulling out hair when hanging just about anything on your wall. I found mine at the WalMarts, but you can order one here if you can’t find one locally. I’ll tell you more about its magical powers later.

First, measure and cut to size a swath of paper to fit the space you’re working with. Your roll not wide enough? Just tape a few widths together to get what you need.


I taped mine down to the floor to keep everything in place while I figured out how I wanted to place my platters. Fun fact: the easiest way to find the center both vertically and horizontally is by folding the paper in half and leaving little creases a guides.

IMG_1935 Next, lay out your hangery to get your design perfected. Once you love it, trace around each item.

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Now peel that puppy up and pop it on the wall.


So far, this isn’t rocket surgery, right? In fact, you’ve probably used this method umpteen times in your own home, but here’s where the magic begins. Take your yellow hanger thingy and loop the plate hanger (or sawtooth hanger or whatever contraption you’re using to hang your goodies on the wall) and place it within your traced lines. Without moving the yellow hanger thingy unhook your plate (or whatever) leaving the yellow tool firmly in place. Did you get that? Don’t move it. Now, look for the little button marked “A” and puuuush it. P-Push it real good.

IMG_1954 There’s a little sharp thingy that will leave a slight indentation where your hanger needs to go. Brilliant!!! Because I love you I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It will be oh so tempting to hammer your nail into the mark you’ve just made, but if you’re using honest to goodness hangers, the mark is where you need to position the crook of the hook, not the nail. Look closely and you’ll see my little pencil mark just below the bottom of the hook.

IMG_1948_2 You’ll also see that my poor cuticles need some work. The point is, if you place the nail where the mark is, you’ll be about an inch off. Not that I’ve ever made that mistake before. *Cough* Now repeat…

IMG_1944_2 If you are repeating the same hanging pattern elsewhere in the room, I suggest hanging everything in the first grouping before moving on. Just in case you need to make any minor changes to your template. Now that you’ve hung everything in the first group, simply peel off your template and move it to the next area.

IMG_1945_2 Since everything is already mapped out for the hangers, all you need to do is mark your spots on the wall. My pencil wasn’t very sharp, so I had to use a little persuasion to get my marks transferred.

IMG_1946_2 Tap in your hangers, pop the plates on, and stand back to admire your work!

IMG_1950_2 Perfection! And all without wailing, gnashing of teeth, or hair loss. And if this magical tool made easy work of a grouping, think of the breeze hanging a single item in the right spot on the first try would be. Worth every penny. Oh, and the yellow tool thingy people? They have no idea who I am, I just dig their stuff.

A special thanks to my friend and client for chronicling this whole process (thanks, Mauri!!!) and for letting me use her home as our stage. Now go forth and conquer your walls with confidence, friends! You can do it!

home, organization, Uncategorized

More Crapshifting: The Bedroom

January 20, 2016



I mean.


Really? I can’t even.

IMG_1763 Like, really. I can’t even walk through my room without risking life and limb. The holidays and several trips to Houston have reduced the master to utter chaos. The rest of the house hasn’t fared much better, I’m afraid, but for now I’m choosing to focus here. I’m not sure about you, but when my room is in order, I am (for the most part) in order, too.

A monumental task? Certainly, but if you break it down and work efficiently, you can be back on the road to orderly bliss faster than you think. It just takes a little planning and strategery. Ready to get started?

When tackling a mess of this magnitude, there are three components to the task: prep, tidy, clean. Repeat after me…prep, tidy, clean. Why? Well, you have to get yourself, your head, and your supplies ready. Then you have to tidy the space, because actually cleaning a wreck is like brushing your teeth while eating puffy cheetos. Not ideal. Therefore, after you prep, tidy your room, then clean it till it sparkles.

1. Prep

Let’s start with prep. This is everything, people, really. Spending just a little time gathering everything you’ll need will really help make the process go more smoothly, therefore, more quickly and effectively. The goal here is to get it all in situ so you don’t spend your time running around the house fetching this and that, running the risk of distraction in other parts of the house. If you’re an ADD housekeeper like me, this is crucial. In fact, once you get started with the tidy part, do not leave the room. Hear me now and listen to me later: this will make your housekeeping life so much easier. Trust me.

The first thing you need to do is strip. That’s right. All the way down to the pillow protectors and mattress pad. Strip it all, heave it in the washing machine, set it on extra hot with your favorite detergent/softener (here’s mine), and push that button.While you’re at it, toss in your favorite jammies because total bedtime freshness. While it’s whirling away, you can work on gathering what you’ll need.

Knowing that you’re not going to leave the room once you actually start tidying and cleaning, prepare for just that. Need a little rest mid-tidy? No problem. Do it in your room. Need a snack to keep the hangries at bay? Of course you do. Eat it in your room. Need your jams to boogie away the dust bunnies? Have your tunes and your charged speaker in your room (this little gem is fantastic). You feelin’ me?  Your home is fraught with all manner of distraction, so keep it local and you’ll stay on track.

Not enough time to dive into the whole prep, tidy, clean task all at once? Consider doing the prep one day, then following up with the other two when you have plenty of time to do both well. In fact, separating the prep part can give you a bit of time to think of things you might need along the way. Because you aren’t leaving the room once you start working. Got it? Ok.


Here’s just a sampling of my prep pile. A hamper for dirty clothes, paper sacks for trash (notice I used the plural-it’s trashy up in here), cleaning products, rags, a dusting fluffy thingy, and my bluetooth speaker. Not pictured: my beloved dyson, snacks, beverages, and two additional baskets, one for donations, the other for things that will be relocated to another room. Gather everything in your room. You know why.

2. Tidy

Ok, friends, now that you have all your schtuff together, it’s time to dig in, starting with the bed. Yes, the bed. Now that all your bedclothes are clean, make that bed. Why? First, you’ll see a quick return on your efforts. Even when the rest of the room is still in utter chaos, you’ll have a large swath of tidiness right in the epicenter of the storm.

Now choose a spot and work your way around the room. I like to start in the right corner and work clockwise, but groove to your own beat, friends. The point here is to start in one spot and work your way around the room with your hamper, trash bag(s), and basket (for the things that belong in another room), sorting your junk into each as you tidy. Boogie all the way around the room. With a good soundtrack, you’ll be done in no time.

3. Clean

Now that everything is tidy, you can actually attack the dirt, dust, and general grime that was lurking under your junk. You know the phrase “clean top to bottom?” Well, it’s not just a good idea, it’s law. Like, law of gravity. Start at the top of your room (oh, mercy!)…


…and work your way down to the floors. Finally, light a candle in honor of your shiny, crap-free space, and put your feet up and enjoy!

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Ahhhhh. Happy weekend, friends!

family, memories

A Life Well-Lived

January 5, 2016

Upstate New York, an industrious family, one of three girls

Finding her way to Albany, training for her life’s work, a nurse by trade

On to New York City, safely delivering babies to young mothers’ waiting arms

Traversing the country with her young family, awaiting adventure in new, unfamiliar places

Caring for her children, goats, chickens, a calf named Twirly Target

Healing body and mind of those who bravely served, finishing her career at the VA hospital, Poplar Bluff

With her spade, she drew from Earth things to delight the palate and nourish the body

With her brush, she drew on blank pages to delight the eye and nourish the soul

Weeks ago, a final visit, communicating with the nod of the head

Filing nails, combing hair, a French lullaby

Bright eyes and a knowing smile that wordlessly speaks to me still

A good life. A long life. A life well-lived.


Cedar Cottage, family

New Year, New Mercies

January 1, 2016

Happy New Year, dear readers! I have to say, this year certainly went out with a bang (and a bit of a whimper) for me, but I woke this morning with a renewed sense of the myriad of gifts all around.

Let me back up a bit. Last night dear friends gathered at Perini Ranch to enjoy steaks, libations, and lots of laughter. A yearly tradition I look forward to for weeks.

IMG_3831 I mean, just look at all those warm, friendly smiles! There’s just one itty bitty thing missing. Me. Yes, I was (and am) at home waiting on a kidney stone. Delightful, no?

As I was home reading last night, I got a call from family letting me know that this sweet soul…

IMG_1016 …competed her journey here on Earth. Beatrice Myers, my grandmother, lived to be 101 years young. And during her life and career, she loved and cared for countless people. From raising a family, delivering babies, caring for veterans of all ages at the VA hospital in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and lavishing her grandchildren and great-grandchildren with fondness, she lived and loved well.

Whenever I have both good and bad news to share, I like to lead off with the bad. It’s like taking a dose of medicine, then following up with a spoon full of sugar, right?

So, here’s the sugar. Yeah, I missed celebrating. Yeah, kidney stones aren’t fun. But I have the dearest friends that love me well. There was no lack of sweet texts and loving words sent my way last night. My cup is full, friends. Full to sloshing over. I’ve said many times, I’ve hit the friend jackpot, and it’s something I don’t take for granted. Not for one moment.

More sugar? My grandmother had the New Year’s Eve celebration we all long for. No pain. No tears. Home. And one day we will all get to join her. The sweetest sugar there is. I am so very proud of the life she lived and rejoice in her homecoming.

This morning our little family of four gathered for breakfast and a little Rose Bowl Parade action.

IMG_1747 There were smiles all around. There was an abundance of good food on the table. There were large dollops of whipped cream in our steaming mugs. There was a cozy fire in the fireplace. We are well. We are blessed. Many times over. May I remember that all year long. Every day.

And may this year be filled with love, kindness, opportunities to show kindness to others, and deep gratitude for the gifts we enjoy every day. Here’s to you, dear readers, and to 2016!

design ideas, stuff I like, style

Stuff I Like: Staying Cozy

November 27, 2015

Y’all, it’s cold tonight. Like below freezing cold. And with 52 windows that are more than 85 years old, it gets a bit drafty here. For my friends out there who also suffer from Cranky Joint Syndrome (which is just my dorky term for Rheumatoid Arthritis-I may or may not have a sweet sister-in-law who thought CJS was the official moniker), staying warm is a priority. Is it a problem? Nah. There are lots of ways to stay warm, and I have learned how to stay warm like it’s my job, y’all.

Here are this year’s favorites for staying cozy.

I remember as a kid my mom saying, “I’m cold. You go put some socks on.” As a small person, I was totally confounded that my putting socks on would somehow make her warmer. As a mama, I get it. Plus, if your feet are warm, it’s far more likely that the rest of you will be warm, too. So go put your socks on! I like these gems from Smart Wool, and especially love the hiking version that has an extra cushy bottom. I know $25ish for a pair of socks may seem steep, but you can’t beat the power of wool. And better two pair of fantastic natural fiber goodness than a drawer full of whimpy synthetics. Plus, that’s just less laundry to do. Win-win.

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Speaking of feet, I’m in love with these cuties.

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Why? Well, you can’t beat Uggs for warmth and comfort. I like this particular style because they not only have a cute bow on the back, but they are short and easy to get on and off. Perfect for taking out the trash, dashing to the grocery store, or just kicking it around the house. And BONUS, they are on sale for $120 right now. Worth. Every. Penny.

Next, this yumminess

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I’ve shared my Barefoot Dreams robe before, and this is its errand-worthy little sister. It’s squishy, a little bit slinky, and a whoooole lotta cozy. You really have to feel it to believe it. Comfy enough to lounge around the house, but chic enough to pop into the grocery store in style. Order now, thank me later. And it comes in lots of colors.

Here’s something that’s a bit more upscale (I mean, cashmere, y’all) but at a fantastic price.

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This cashmere tunic (shown under the coat) feels like a dream. Full fanny coverage for the days you do believe leggings are pants and a little cowl neck to keep the draft away. Classic styling for closet longevity, luxury fabric you’ll love for years to come. You’ll probably want one in each color. PS I will not be wearing mine with naugahide pants. You’re welcome.

This next lovely isn’t just for hiding your ratty t-shirt as you drive the kids to school in the morning (though it can-or so a friend told me *ahem*).

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I’ve also discovered that this is a far more stylish version of the “slanket” of yore. Cuddled up on the couch with a good book? Wrap up in this and you’ll be set and have full use of your arms. Also perfect for travel. Are plaid panchos trendy? Yes, but at $38 that’s a lot of pizzaz for a little money, so you won’t feel bad if it doesn’t make the cut next winter.

Is your lower half feeling left out in the cold? Shimmy under this number and all will be right with the world.

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Yes. Pure faux fur goodness. I have the blanket size on my bed even as we “speak” and it is just the thing for fighting of winter’s chill. It’s soft. It’s weighty. It’s dreamy. And comes in several sizes and “species.” Yum.

I know, now your couch and/or favorite chair is feeling left out. Not to worry. Tuck this little number behind your back and you will never want to get up.

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Warm. Cozy. Real sheepskin. And only $29. I typically like a feather/down insert, but for this one I prefer IKEA’s $3 INNER synthetic version. It makes it extra squishy. Nice.

Now for something that I don’t actually own, but probably should.

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I mean, just looking at them gives me all the feels. Hello, Santa? I’ve been a really good girl. Promise.

What would you add to this list, friends?