Living Graciously, Artfully, Frugally.

Consciously taking notice of the gifts each day places in our path.

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.” R. W. Emerson

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Do You Play with Your Food?

What do you do to relax while in the midst of too many projects?

Do you take a little time to indulge in a restorative snack?

Do you look at the delicious snack and admire the colors and enticing scent?

Do you grab the camera and tripod just to get closer to the gorgeous detail?

Do you admire your snack from many angles and watch the way the light plays with the shadow?

Do you rush to upload your snack photos so you can play with a bit of editing while eating your snack?

Do you realize that you have once again gotten completely off track?

Do you refocus, stop fooling around with your food and get back to work?

I'm so glad.
I was afraid I was the only one.

Begin again! P.
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Monday, January 30, 2012

Plans at Frippery Farmhouse

The clock is ticking.
A few weeks until I go back to work for my yearly temp assignment.
15 weeks of 40 hours.
Not a lot of time for all the really big projects I would like to tackle.
To say nothing of the art, craft and vintage shows I would like to enter.
Why am I talking?
I need to get moving!!!
Much neglected master bedroom needs a LOT of help...
as in total facelift plus some reconstructive surgery.
A few cosmetics and treatment creams just ain't gonna get it for this space, hee hee.

How have I lived with this awful outdated funky green faux paint for so long?
I have agonized over a new color... like forever.
The walls are going to get a coat of Restoration Hardware's Slate.
I saw it in the local store and fell in love.
Seeing it in a space (albeit a fabulous space) helped tremendously.
I will be giving this room a head to toe make over.
Floor to ceiling plus furniture overhaul for very little money (aside from that gorgeous paint).
Our bedroom has been anything but a restful retreat for years.
The non budget isn't changing anytime soon and I am finished waiting. 
I am ready to begin.

Big news.
I have also been hired by a dear friend to style her beautiful daughter's wedding.
It will take place in this fantastic barn and the grounds surrounding it.
I can't wait to get my hands on this space.
You will have to wait until the end of August to see what we do here.

I have also been working on our upstairs bath. 
Remember the clearance sale cowboy hooks that went into the closet redo?
I don't waste a thing here.
The back wood piece will be transformed simply by adding new hooks.

These have been hanging around for who knows how long, waiting to find a home.
They will give everyone a place to put wet towels besides the floor.
Ahem. (hint to the family)

The guest room is on the list too. 
I am in the process of clearing as we speak.
Errr... as I speak...
I have been wanting to make it a dressing/guest room 
since we haven't used the room for guests in several years. 
Then I saw a post from DIY Showoff.
She is doing just that.
You can bet I will be watching for her progress on her lovely room. 
Check out her painted subfloors.
Speaking of lovely,
and subfloors, 
have you seen the subfloor redo at Lovely Etc.?
Oh My Goodness!!!!
Go see, right now!
OK enough blathering...
I will try to check in in my spare time, snort.

Just begin, P.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Entry Closet Makeover Progress

It may not seem like a biggie but this closet can make my life miserable.
So I emptied it.
Pulled out the pole holding up a thousand pounds of coats and the shelf that held things I didn't ever remember owning.
Are you with me on that one?

Just so you believe me...
A Thousand Pounds!
(Give or take)

All. Of. This.
was in that tiny itty closet.

I have been drooling over the closet makeovers using hooks instead of hangers. 
More sensible.
Easier access.
Hooks though...
I saw lot's of super cute ones...
Ummm...kinda expensive for a non existent budget like mine.
Plus who really looks at them once a coat is hung?

Along comes Hobby Lobby clearance.

A little bit country, not very rock n roll if you get my drift.
But the hooks...
looking pretty useful...
I had to do it, made in China or not.

Took the hooks off the back piece and sprayed them a nice medium gray 
from my paint stash in the garage.
Don't worry, I have plans for the back piece in another room.
Waste not want not.

I painted the closet interior a nice french gray left over from my hallway redo.
So far it is a million times better.
I will be adding hooks to the side walls that I have had around for a while.
Another clearance purchase that I have been looking to use somewhere.
They will be perfect for short jackets, purses, umbrellas...
I plan on attaching two inexpensive (cheap) towel racks to the inside door for our multitude of scarves.

Oh yes...
the door handle in lovely glaring brass is going to be sprayed...something else.
That is a project for another day.
For now let me enjoy the empty space.

It will be filled soon enough.

This project took me all of half a day working continuously.
A few more tweaks and we can call it complete.

So just begin! P.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Icy Winter Palette

Winter's icy palette encases a promise of spring.

Freeze, thaw, begin, P.
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Thursday, January 19, 2012


One of my favorite bowls was broken a day or two ago.
Beyond any reasonable repair.
I gathered the pieces.
Maybe this chipped object could be reshaped.
Made anew in a different configuration.
The pieces are still lovely, just a bit worse for wear.
The new creation might become even more than the old one ever could have been.
This break was a eureka moment for me.
A new direction that I hadn't completely formed in my head became quite clear.
I am beginning to take the steps toward change.
Broken may mean split, torn, rent or cracked.

A break could be an accidental misfortune. 
However a break is also a stroke of luck,
an advantage, chance or opportunity.
This little slip from the hand to the floor is just that.
I am going to take advantage of this break to try something different.
We are all broken in places, but those breaks can be forged into a 
new configuration of the person we were. 
A plan, a model, a framework for something better.
Take advantage of the breaks life puts in your path.

Begin, P.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Hi friends,

I would not normally post something like this but I think this is important.
I am not tech savvy enough to blackout but I want to share this info on SOPA.
Another freedom taken away because a few "bad guys" might be doing something illegal.
Consider this my blackout.

I understand copyright infringement but we already have laws against it.
Why should we all have to be punished for the acts of a few?
If you agree Go Here to take action.

Begin, P.
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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Clean Winter Decorating

We finally got our first snow.
Maybe more like a quick dust.
Last year we were measuring in feet by now.
This year not even an inch.

A girl can still pretend she is snowed in and get all cozy and domestic.
I cleaned and cleared the counters.
Only left the things we use on a daily basis.

A few of my not useful but loved pieces went up to the high shelves and tops of cabinets.
Now everything not necessary is out of the way.
Easy to maintain.
This will free up more time to play.

 Calm and clean.
Maybe now the rest of the family will be more than happy to tidy up...
Rid myself of many tschotskes cluttering other surfaces as well.

Ahhh simplicity reigns.

At least on the table tops.
A flick of the duster and done.
Ok winter, bring on more snow!

What feels better than a good de-clutter at the beginning of a new year?

Just begin, P.

P.S. If you are in Southwest Ohio, Ohio Valley Antiques is having a huge sale Today and Sunday.
The sellers will be wheeling and dealing.
I have marked down many items to prepare my space for a make over.
Booth 127.
Stop by and find a treasure!
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Friday, January 13, 2012

Lift Up a Blog Neighbor

Hello sweet friends,
This community is always ready to jump in and support one another in good and bad times.
There has been so much joy added to my life from being a part of this Blogland, idea ... neighborhood?
Yes I think neighborhood is what this is.
There is a neighbor who could use a visit, a kind comment, perhaps an uplifting message.

I met a delightful and artistic woman several years ago at Silver Bella.
We were able to reunite the following year and it was like we had been old friends.
Unfortunately, since last we met,  Sandi of Victorian Gypsy has had two of the worst years anyone can ever imagine.
In 2010 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and started a new much needed job during treatment.
In the fall she lost her youngest son unexpectedly and in the spring of last year she lost her husband to cancer a month after he was diagnosed.
She has been much on my mind.
She is a strong woman and is moving on as best she can for the sake of her other four children and her beloved grandchildren but how much can one lady take?
Yes she does have friends and family who are a major support system but we all know how lovely it is to have a blog and know someone out here is paying attention and has your back as well.
One of her wishes at the beginning of 2011 was to grow her blog to 200 followers.
With the trials life has thrown her way recently that just hasn't happened.
I am not asking you to follow
 (although she is a very talented crafter and shares her beautiful work on her blog),
just stop by here and give a kind word.
If you find a new blog to follow that will be the icing.
Oh and a prayer never hurts.

Begin again today, P.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First Home Project of 2012

Hello friends,
Here is a simple, cheap way to dress up a schmugly pendant lampshade.
Sorry Ikea.
We do not have a light above our family room table and I had tried several awkward fixes, such as a floor lamp whose cord was always a trip hazard,
cute lamps on the table, same problem.
Temporary solution, two Ikea hanging pendants with super inexpensive shades.
Light issue solved, but schmugly issue not so much.

Although I have been slipping back and forth into the realm of contemporary in my decorating these shades were just...yuck.
But they did give us much needed light.
An actual hardwired light would involve an electrician. 
That is definitely not in the budget.

A half pack of shims that was laying around the garage gave me an idea. 
Unfinished wood contemporary shades with a rustic edge to the look.
I purchased two large packs of shims from Lowes and cranked up the glue gun.

First try, fail...
do not begin stacking one on top of the other. 
This would have led to an wonky gap when I placed the last shim or the possibility of having to cut a shim lengthwise.
Zero in the style department.
Oh and this is a quick as well as cheap project.
No pesky measurements.

Instead, evenly space the first row around what ever shade you may be using.
I just kind of eyeballed to be sure the shims would go completely around the shade with equal gaps between each shim.
My shade happens to be smaller at the bottom than the top.
Stagger the second row with the center of the second row of shims on top of the seam of the first row, then repeat with the top.
I simply layered each row to have an equal reveal at the bottom and 
still end up even with the top of the shade.

I hope the photos help you get the idea. 
There will be gaps at the widest part of your shade.
I planned to use burlap strapping with the cool little lines as a cover for the gapped section. 
I went to my local JoAnn's and they didn't have it!
Being too impatient to shop around I took some plain burlap I had at home and cut a strip to fit around each lamp.
I doubled the width of the area that had gaps and folded it in half.

You can see what I am talking about better in this photo.
(The sun actually came out for a day. Go sunshine!)
OK so I folded the strip and hot glued it around the top shims to cover the gaps.
Here you can see the parts of the Ikea pendant that hold the shade to the light.

My plan was to have the fringe as a design element but in my frenzy to finish
 I was not exact in my placement.
It looks OK...but I am going to come back and add something...???...
to cover the unfinished burlap edge.
Ruffle, maybe, grosgrain ribbon in chocolate brown, probably.
I had also considered staining but I kind of like the blond wood look.
How about you?

A vast improvement don't you think?
These have so many possibilities.
Spray paint, stenciled words, different fabric trim.
I am loving shims right now. 
I have a whole package left!
Now where did I put that glue gun?

I will post some better photos if the sun ever reappears
and I decide what trim to use.
Until then I am quite happy with this treatment.
Package and a half of shims: $3.87 for a package of 42.
Ikea Skirma shade: $5.00 each (already had)
For me the final cost was less than $6 because I had the pendants and shades already.
If you needed two shades you will still come in at just around $15.00.
I can't find the pendants on Ikea's website anymore but they were under $9.00 each.
I think you could find something similar at Target or Wallyworld.
I plan to make cord covers some day soon to finish the look.

Pretty quick fix for a nagging decorating problem and a non existent budget.

Just remember to begin, P.

I will be linking to

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winter Mantel

Hello friends,
Couldn't do it.
Simply had to keep a tiny bit of Christmas.
My evergreen garland remains on the mantel as part of a winter vignette.

A winter camp out in the woods.

One of my little assemblages.
The words say "Cherish these moments..."
I had considered a string of marshmallows but thought that might be taking things too literally.

Plus my real life giant marshmallow might just decide to pull the whole thing down in her quest for random snacks that might be eaten when those pesky humans aren't looking.

Just keeping it real.
Other news...
We may get our first real snow of the year this week! 
Not that I hate the springlike temps but it is January, right?
Keeping my fingers crossed.

Don't forget to begin, P.
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