The Tale of the Black Dog Saloon

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 Photo credit: John McMurry, McMurry Studios.

 Once upon a time, there was a not-so-young couple who, for ten years, had planned to finish their basement. They talked, they pondered, they speculated, and they saved. Over the years, several messy projects happened, inherited stuff kept coming along, work or other things interfered. They wondered if it would ever get done!

Before 1

They wanted a bar and a family room where they could have people over. She wanted a guest room, where their guests would be cozy during the winter months, vs. staying in a winterized RV.

And, of course a bathroom. If you look close, you can see me waving. Helloooo! Oops, I meant her. I had a tense lapse.


And her laundry was in there now too, a much handier place than where it originally began…now located behind the barn doors.

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 Photo credit: John McMurry

Could they, would they, be able to come together with a vision for a space that worked for both of them?


She had a vision for it, as a warm, rustic space with a great deal of character and personality. She knew he would love it once it was done: they both loved rustic things, a casual style, and dog-friendly.

Because their life had pretty much gone to the dogs.

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 Photo credit: John McMurry

While overall progress went smoothly, a few speed-bumps popped up here and there, as happens between two strong-willed, stubborn people. Finally, she assured him: “You’ll love it when it’s done, I promise.”


And he did. And does. Although there were parts of the construction process he didn’t like, such as procuring the barnwood from the 3 now extinct barns on her family’s farm.


Can you say, “Raccoon poop?”

444Or constructing the concrete counter tops.

Construction seemed to take forever. Like watching a pot boil. But of course it’s one of life’s bittersweet ironies that the more you want something, the longer it takes. While progress was slow though, her vision never faltered. If anything, it only got better. Like fine wine.


“We need a name for it,” she said.

“Why?” he responded.

“To give it personality. To express US.” she answered.

That’s a great idea!” he said.


“Oh.” he said. His needs were simple. He just wanted to drink beer there. 😀

And then one day, she knew what the name had to be.

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They were advocates for those who couldn’t advocate for themselves. Because black dogs everywhere had a huge public relations problem.


Black dogs, particularly the large ones, are usually the last to get adopted. They linger in shelters and rescues everywhere, waiting, waiting, waiting. Is it because they are intimidating?  Mean to children and old people? We know they don’t photograph well, and their appearance is….well…simply generic.


You can read more about Black Dog Syndrome here.

This not-so-young couple had, of their own doing, assigned themselves the unofficial role of Champions for Black Dogs Everywhere.

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 Photo credit: John McMurry

So it seemed perfectly fitting that their new basement bar should be named the…

DSC_0149Before they knew it, the bar was complete. Their friends began to come over. One friend gave her the coolest birthday gift ever! Their very own logo.

In a moment of inspiration, they had shirts made.

2014-09-06 17.46.23Inspired, she began to put together creative auction baskets and fundraising events for a local rescue, to help all homeless animals, not just the black ones they loved so much.

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Her rescue roots run deep.

You see, every dog that she has ever had in her life, except for one, have been rescues. And every dog she has every had except for 2 have been black. Some came through the rescue, some through friends, some were simply roaming the road and she invited them to stay. And it was she who introduced and converted him to the plight of the Big Black Dog.


The Big Mags






Since they both love rustic stuff, junk, Big Black Dogs, and beer, it was a no-brainer.


To this day, it is well-attended by black dogs. 😀

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Photo credit: John McMurry

Friends have given them meaningful gifts, such as this painting of her parents’ old house done in reverse, behind glass…


Or the wonderful shadow box with ribbons from her great aunt and uncles’ years of raising hogs, showing them, and serving as judges at Fairs across the country.


Speaking of her great aunt:

DSC_0153 Each person who visits the Black Dog Saloon leaves their own mark…


Or fun memory.DSC_0056

And each dog who has gone over the Rainbow Bridge still has a place.


The Saloon is full of memories, gifts, sentimental things and attachments.

Yardsticks from businesses that no longer exist.


A grandfather clock which was handed down from Jimmy’s ancestors (his great-grandparents, I think).


 Beers and NASCAR-related gifts.


NASCAR memorabilia.


Most recently, a spring from a tractor seat that is 99% likely to have come from her dad’s old tractor.


There’s so much fun and quirkiness in the Black Dog Saloon it’s impossible to talk about it all. She jokes that they did exactly what she advises her clients not to do when they own a house. Because how can you put a price on it, and how would they ever leave it behind?


Most weekends find them hanging out in the Black Dog Saloon with black dogs and friends. Recently, after a hard afternoon working in the yard, he told her: “You owe me a drink!”

“I know this great little bar,” she said.


And that, my friends, is the tale of how the Black Dog Saloon came to be: a place that’s the most well known yet mysterious bar in Kirksville. 😀

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Photo credit: John McMurry

If you’ve been there, what’s your favorite thing about the Black Dog Saloon?

Cheers, friends!

A Southern-Style ReDo

DIning Room Inspiration

What I love most about helping people fall in love with their houses again is purely nothing less than instant gratification.  I love seeing change happen quickly.

Sometimes there are those projects who, for one reason or another, must age like fine wine. They happen over time, which makes them taste much sweeter.

It’s even more gratifying when you go on a wing, a prayer, a Pinterest page, and 3 pictures. Well, really two pictures.

Inspiration for the Living Room

I’ll explain.

The homeowners had moved from another state, sold most of their furniture, rented a house, then bought a new house that they really liked but didn’t feel like home. Except for two pictures, which she loved. And a Pinterest page with  ideas for their future dream home.

Tammy said, “My husband says I’m a brown and green girl, that all I ever pick out is brown and green. So I want to do something different than brown and green.”

“Oh, and I want two statement lighting pieces: one in the Dining Room, and one in the Master Bedroom.” She was very demanding. 😀

“I can work with this,” I said.

And so, one sunny afternoon, I brought my fan deck with all my paint colors and sat in their empty living room with those two pictures to get to know them a little better. (When you pick paint colors, it’s best too choose them in natural, bright daylight to see their full effect.)

Living Room Before

 This would be the empty living room.

The pictures and I hung out and stared at each other for a while. After a time, colors seemed to pop out. After all, when you have great art, you want the colors to POP. Otherwise, why would you have it anyway? But I digress.

Home should be a sanctuary; a place you come to at the end of the day where you can regenerate, recharge, refill your batteries, and prepare to be Your Best You the following day.

Here we had a busy executive and a stay-at-home dad with two small toddlers. What that said to me is the house needed to be warm and soothing yet also child friendly. Tammy wanted it to have a Southern flare, so they all felt at home. And it needed to be neutral and have appeal for resale, because they knew they wouldn’t be in Kirksville forever. And above all…it needed to be easy to clean.

Living Room

Since we knew they’d be moving and the likelihood of them finding a home JUST LIKE the one they were in were pretty much…well…zero…I tried to choose as many pieces as possible that would multitask. Meaning they could be universally used in other rooms in the house.

And did I mention it needed to be child friendly? With easy clean fabrics that would endure the many critical moments in a toddler’s life when they HAVE to leap with a single bound from that chair/step/insert whatever here or build that fort or race with the speed of light?

Believe it or not, they do make such things. 🙂

Living Room Statement Ceiling Mount

The only lighting in the living room room were meant to be floor lamps attached to plug ins. Soft lighting such as what comes from lamps is wonderful, and a very important part of the Cozy Factor in a home.

However, insufficient light is a common problem in larger rooms, so we added that beautiful crystal ceiling mounted light.  (It’s the kind of light that makes  you want to play with the crystals, so it’s probably a good thing I can’t reach it. I have simple needs.)

We centered the light between the fireplace and the bay window.  Can you visualize the street view with beautiful light fixtures in the living room and entry sparkling through the windows and door? Breathtaking!

Fireplace Focal Point

Fireplaces are typically focal points in a room, and with it’s location opposite the bay window, we arranged the furniture so guests can enjoy both. The ottoman can function as additional seating, and if Shane wants to have the guys over to watch a game, he can easily move the TV on top of the buffet and bring in extra chairs. Shazam!

We also added to the fireplace’s functionality as a Focal Point by accenting it with a fabulous mirror and mother-of-pearl lamps. The lamps can easily be moved over near the chairs or love seat for task lighting,  and the best part is these items will also go with Tammy and Shane when they move. Literally, these lamps could be used in any room!

When you have a room that is working in perfect harmony, it is like a piece of pie: until it’s whole – or complete – it feels like there’s a piece missing.

(Speaking of pie…if you’ve never had Southern cooking, you are missing OUT. I’m just saying.)

Dining Room Before

Here’s the dining room before.

And, here’s the after. When it all comes together, you have a WOW.

Dining Room

We swagged the light fixture to move it out of the center of the room and to allow for better traffic flow between the adjoining rooms. That fabulous buffet from Surroundings (yes, really!) provides lots of great storage but doesn’t overpower the room or interrupt traffic flow.

We chose this beautiful table from Pottery Barn paired with the durable and easy-clean slip covered chairs that are dressy enough to function as additional seating in the living room, and this room is ready to go.

High End Chandelier

Shoot, I’m not even Southern and I love this room. (But then I’m biased, of course.)

Those of you who are mathematically inclined (which would not be me) may have realized that I mentioned THREE pictures earlier in my post.

Well…the den was really basically finished before the third picture was purchased, which was the inspiration for the whole room. I had Shane add sconces on the back wall which match a wrought iron chandelier. We added a COOL trunk-style bar cabinet and desk from Pottery Barn.

"Wheatfield" by John McMurry

When Shane and I were talking about his vision for the den (his Man Room, as every man should have), and he mentioned an awesome picture he’d seen at our local Red Barn Arts and Crafts Fair.

I knew exactly which one he meant, because I drooled over the same one.

My friend John McMurry of McMurry Studios is a terrific photographer who specializes in landscape canvases. His Wheatfield print was perfect for a guy who’s a night owl with a rustic western style.

New Desk and Chairs

The key to having each of your rooms harmonize with each other is having paint colors from the same color family or that have some commonality and having one element in each room that ties them together.

Kitchen BeforeThe kitchen had been updated and, while very nice, was a little on the bland side for this homeowner. It lacked Wow Factor.

Beautiful Stone Kitchen Backsplash

New paint, a beautiful stone backsplash (which is not green as it looks in the picture) and a very neutral, textured laminate counter top gave it pizzazz.

Kitchen Cabinet Before

The glass front cabinetry offered lots of great display space, as you can see in the Before picture, above.

Background Panels with Fabric

Because this homeowner didn’t have a lot of colorful collectibles, we chose some colorful fabric which is wrapped around foam core (or a similar material) for an attractive background which really sets off the items she has. And…it’s easily interchangeable!

Shane also added counter top lighting, which really added to the space. (Fortunately, he’s an electrician by trade, which came in handy in this house!)

The large master bedroom offered a huge closet, negating the use of a dresser or chest of drawers. So we were able to focus on the Master as a real sanctuary. Pictured is the south wall of the bedroom before.

Master Bedroom Before

For those of you who can’t imagine a bedroom without a ceiling fan, you should know that the fan wasn’t positioned above the bed. That opened the door for the beautiful statement lighting piece, with matching sconces.  (The wall paint is a creamy white, and not yellow as it looks in this picture.)

Statement Chandelier and Sconces

A reading nook in which to relax or cuddle toddlers among favorite things is a perfect way to end, or begin, the day.  Of course busy parents need a place to relax in the evening, so Shane installed a TV on the center wall, which is actually the fireplace chimney. (They had it drywalled to cover the brick to make it child friendly.)

Elegant Master Bedroom

A soft, restful gray-blue color accent wall makes the headboard and bedding POP and helps unwind and soothe, which is a necessity for restful sleep.

Last, but not least, we updated the Guest Room.

Guest Room Before

It’s now a welcoming, spacious place for guests to stay. We were able to use several pieces Tammy and Shane already had, re-purposing them here and making the space cozy.

Bathroom 3


They planned to use the sun room as a playroom, so this space needed to be fun, child safe, and still coordinate with the rest of the house.


Sun Room Before


I think we succeeded. New drywall, paint, lighting, and easy-care carpet squares gave this room the new life and durability it needed. The light blue ceiling gave the space an airy feel.


Sunroom now Family Room


That’s the beauty of what I do: giving a space new life, helping you – and the room – live in harmony with each other again, where ever that is. 🙂

Cheers, my friends!

How To Organize Your Kitchen Spices

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I know: you’re probably reading this and thinking, “Why on earth would I want to?” 😀

But trust me when I say that once you figure out a system how to organize your kitchen spices, it will save you money and it will save you time.

And honestly, there are probably better systems out there than mine. My spice cabinet is kind of small, and I’m not inclined to move it (nor do I know where I’d move it to.)

But think about it. Have you ever ended up on more than one occasion with multiple obscure spices that you don’t use often?

Like cardamom.

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Or coriander.

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Or what about this one?

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I’m a big fan of Paleo cooking. One of the reasons I love Paleo meals is that they are very flavorful. In other words, they are recipes which require spices. Multiple spices.

When you have a household with two cooks who both like flavorful food and have a tendency toward impulse seasoning purchases, you end up with a cabinet that looks like this.

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And this.

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That’s the top shelf, with about 10 varieties of hot sauces.

See what I mean? Would you want to dig through this every time you needed something? I’m in spice hell! 😀

2015-06-30 15.17.09This picture is all the tall spices on the middle shelf. Seriously.

One item that has made finding them a whole lot easier is a lazy Susan. (Just who was Susan, anyway?) I’ve been using this guy for about 16 years. (These work great in your bathroom vanity too, by the way.)

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All the little ones sit nicely on the top shelf, and the bigger ones on the bottom.

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This certainly makes it a little easier to identify what’s there. But what about all these?

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Wait. I saw something out the window. What is that?!?!

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Yep. Squirrel! Sorry. The little stinker.

So the other day, after digging through that cabinet for the LAST time without any idea whether I had something or not, I snapped.

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My solution to this cesspool of spices was to take inventory. Sure, it took a few minutes to set up: I was waiting for something to come out of the oven, so I alphabetized them while I was waiting, and I jotted them down on paper.

Next, I typed them into a Word Document. The beauty of this is that you only have to do this ONCE. (Unless your hard drive crashes and you lose everything on your computer. In which case, you have bigger problems than this.)

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I sorted mine into 3 categories:  Spices, Seasoning Blends, and Hot Sauces.

The final list looks like this, and hangs just inside the door. Now do you feel my pain? 😀

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This handy dandy system has already saved me money: I was at the shop yesterday making my grocery list, and realized I’d forgotten to check and see if I had some whole cloves. Dang. It meant either a trip back home, or a guess. What would you do? Exactly: I would have guessed. And had a 50/50 chance of getting it right.

Wait! I have a list! So I went into my computer files, and Ta Da! I had ground cloves but no whole cloves.

My plan is to update this list every once in a while, after I get several scribbles on it. And if I run out of something, or it’s past the expiration date, immediately add it to your grocery list.

A little bit of time for a lot of rewards. That’s a winner in my book.

Add a little SPICE to your life, friends! 😀

Before & After: A Rindercella Story

Once upon a time, there was a handsome Prince who bought a cozy little house on a small acreage just outside of the nice small city he lived in. There were trees, and wildlife, a beautiful yard, in the country, and he could still get a pizza delivered.

House 2002

After he worked at painting and adding new carpet, he was pleased with his efforts and his charming 960-sq. ft. house, and all was well.

A year later, he met a Princess, who moved in shortly afterwards. Not long after that, her two dogs came to live with them. And over the next few years, as they began their happily-ever-after journey, two more dogs joined their family.

So they added a fence to their yard.

West side

The Prince and Princess, while cozy and content in their little cottage, began to feel cramped. Their rooms felt small; in fact, one year at Christmas there was only 3-feet of space between their Christmas tree and TV. This wouldn’t do!

And so, after much discussion, they decided an addition was the way to go. Could they stay married? Could they agree on anything? Would it ever be finished? This remained to be seen, and while they both might have been skeptical, neither spoke out loud, and they forged ahead.

That was how it came to be that 13 years ago today, June 26, 2002, the Prince and Princess broke ground for an addition.

SW corner

But first, one pesky big tree had to go.


With the tree gone, the digging began in earnest.

West side excavation

“Wow! Does that look different!”, they said.

West side dirt

“What’s going on here?,” Maggie and Cassadie asked. (Did you really think this fairy tale would be without dogs? Seriously?)

On a humorous note, in the background is a 24-ft. 5th wheel.  Yes. 24. Not 42.

Cassadie Maggie

Then, the walls began to go up.

First walls

And so, the handsome Prince and his crew began to set forms. It was really taking shape!

Concrete pour floor

And then the floor was poured.  The Princess thought they should have their picture taken for their Christmas card standing on that concrete floor, with the words “The Money Pit” spray painted beside them. In red.

The Prince wasn’t enchanted with that idea.

Jim n Maggie

Look how young the handsome Prince looks! And Maggie, with no gray hair.


After a lull, the framing began to go up. (Lull? Get it?) 😀

Framing traps

This was the Prince’s stepfather building the framing for the trapezoid windows. Just a guess, but the Princess is pretty sure that if the Prince’s mother saw him up there today he would be in big trouble!

without traps

Things have a way of looking really funny until they are completed. The Prince asked the Princess several times, “Are you sure that’s going to look right?”

west side of house

Slowly, it began to come together.

Installing windows

Windows came in, and were installed in the original part of the house. And, the trapezoid windows were installed in the addition.

New front door

Over the years, the Prince and Princess continued to work on their house. Through stops and starts, re-do’s and do-overs, mistakes and accidents, they’ve almost got it just the way they want it.

Many of you may know this place.

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Better known these days as Black Dog Lodge. 🙂 You’ve come a long way, Rindercella!


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Have a great weekend, friends!

How To Organize Your Pantry

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I admit it: I’m nesting.

I really enjoy the time of year when the pace slows up a little and I have extra time to get some things organized. Recently, I re-worked my pantry, one shelf at a time.

Yesterday, I started on my refrigerator, one shelf at a time. (How did I manage to have something in there that expired in 2011? Seriously?)

I remember several years ago I cleaned out my mother’s refrigerator. There were some oranges in there that we figured had been in there about 6 years! They weren’t rotted, scaringly amazingly enough. They just looked slightly withered and…tired. 😀

Between now and the first of the year, we’re all going to be doing more cooking, more shopping, more baking, and all those fun things that go along with the holidays.

Organizing your pantry, knowing what you have and where it’s located, and using up foods that are near there expiration date saves  you both time and money. (Those are two things I hate to waste!) And, you’ll have more room for everything you’ll be stocking up on and won’t be wasting your money on things you don’t need.

Let’s make it as quick and painless as possible, and something you can do in 15 minutes, more or less.

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I don’t recommend dragging everything out at once. OMG. That would send me straight to OVERWHELM, and quickly.

That’s why the “one shelf at a time” philosophy works so great! You can do it while you have something in the oven or on the stove (unless you have to be watching it, in which case I don’t recommend doing it that way.)

Are you stuck on eternal hold on the phone? Have 20  minutes before your casserole is done? PERFECT!

Pull everything off the shelf, and wipe it down.

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As you pull things out, check their expiration date. If something is expired, toss it. If it’s near their expiration date, keep it handy but don’t put it back on the shelf yet.

Those things we’re going to place in a special spot or near the front so you can be sure to use them up before they expire.

If you’re afraid you’ll forget to use it, write the expiration date with a Sharpie pen across the front. (I’ll leave it to your own judgment whether you want to use it past the expiration date. Personally, I think it all depends upon the item and its purpose.)

Then, place everything back in, grouping like items together. 

For instance, place all your soup together, canned tomatoes, paste, sauce or puree together; canned meats; canned beans; pastas, etc.

Won’t it be nice to know immediately whether or not you have Chicken Noodle Soup? Or Chili Beans?

Because I get a lift every time I open the door and my pantry looks nice, I try to position everything so it looks nice and I can easily see what the item is.

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I picked up some new canisters at Westlake’s last week. (Regular blog readers know of my fascination with Mason jars.)

I decant my coffee, and other items and place them in these jars. It looks so much nicer getting it out of these containers!

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These are my baking items, stored on the shelf above my stove (on top of my microwave, actually.) Don’t they look nice?

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Shelf by shelf…

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I repeat the process.

Smaller items that are easy to lose, like granola bars, etc. look great kept together in baskets.

If you have kids, you might want to place their snacks in small baskets that are easy for them to see and reach.

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Whenever you have a few minutes, work on a shelf, or part of a shelf at a time.

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If you have some things that aren’t expired but you’re wondering what on earth you are doing with them, simply re-home them.

Do you have a friend who’s a gourmet and will use them? Is it something the Food Bank could use? (Use your best judgment, but I kind of think capers or sun dried tomatoes probably aren’t a good choice for the Food Bank.) 😉

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Are there some things you need to restock? Start making your shopping list, and remember to leave space for them as you work. 

Let’s face it, there are certain things that you know you’ll probably be using over the next few weeks; start picking them up each time when you go to the store.

I placed items that need to be used sooner rather than later towards the front: front and center!  That way I’ll remember. Maybe you’ll want to designate a special spot, or shelf if you have room, for things that need to be used right away.

You can also label your shelves, if you move some things and want to avoid having members of your household “dig” for them. Ahem. 😉

This is a relatively simple task, but with a big payoff: not only will it make you feel good, but it will save you money and time as well as lower your stress level.

I’m all for that! 🙂

Have a wonderful day, friends.

5 Fast, Easy Halloween Decorations

2014-10-15 09.42.24If you’ve been on the run so much that your brain is drawing a blank and you have no inspiration whatsoever…then this post is for you. Enjoy. 🙂

I believe there are some things in life that require a certain skill set which, for whatever reason, I simply don’t possess. I don’t know if it requires natural talent or if it’s learned behavior or simply patience.

Take weed-eating, for instance. I’ve tried to on more than one occasion; it’s simply beyond the scope of my capability. Is it because it requires too many body and brain parts to operate together in order to do it successfully? Playing the piano is another: I took lessons and advanced to the point where I began to play with both hands, and my brain simply shut down. You want me to do WHAT now? It was as if  my head was full of bumblebees. 😀

Also in this same category is large, elaborate autumn displays. I tried to create one last year; I bought a hay bale, a scarecrow, some mums, pumpkins, and other ‘accessories’ and created a small vignette on my front deck. I was never really happy with it.

The scarecrow kept blowing around backwards – I never really liked him anyway! – the hay bale got wet and heavy, and ended up remaining on my front porch for months afterwards. It lived there through the snow, sleet and freezing rain of winter, and carrying on through spring rains, until it finally started sprouting weeds. My husband hauled it off in the backhoe when we were installing our new stone flower bed. :-/

Over time, I’ve learned to accept my limitations, play to my strengths, do what I can reasonably do (and love!), and move on and enjoy my life.

Less is really more!

Simplicity is always elegant, and always in style.

Better to have a few, well-placed items that add to the beauty and harmony of your home, rather than to have it overdone and risk people thinking it’s a haunted house. (Although that does have some appeal for me, but see the above paragraphs should you need clarification on this issue.) 😀

Those of you who have the ability/time/desire/motivation to do the large, elaborate and/or clever displays may not find these ideas interesting, and that’s okay. We have different goals. But for those of you who are already overloaded, may this be the ‘push’ you needed to do a little something. Or to tweak what you have.

Remember, it’s all a matter of perspective.

1. Fill an unusual bowl with small pumpkins or gourds for a cute centerpiece.

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Choose a decorative serving bowl or platter, and place an odd number (I have 5) of pumpkins/gourds/whatever in it. The bowl should look full yet not overcrowded. You can go with a theme of two colors, or a variety of autumn tones. Whatever your fancy, it brightens your table, reflects the season, and is easy to see over if you’re eating dinner at the table.

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Is this bowl cute? I bought it at Tractor Supply. Yes, really! Doesn’t everyone get their home furnishings from farm supply stores and the local Fair? 😉

I’d been on the hunt for something since after Christmas last year, when the platter I previously had there mysteriously disappeared after I stowed it away while a Christmas centerpiece was in its place.

What I suspect happened is that since I stowed it in a handy, but unsafe, place, it was accidentally broken. Learn from me, grasshopper.

2. Switch out your candles for fall colors.

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This is a simple fix. These candles are obviously ones I used last year, and looking at them standing alone on the holder doesn’t really look like much.But when you take into consideration that I’ve placed a couple of pumpkins alongside them as well as an autumn arrangement I’ve had out on display for several weeks now…

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It brings the whole picture together in perfect harmony. Do Be Do Be Do.

3. Add some color to your porch lights.

If you have large porch lights, you may have to settle for switching out the bulbs to some Halloween-y colors. I chose to take it a little further, however, and picked up these plastic pumpkin treat buckets to place over them.

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Aren’t they adorable? They look like such happy little guys! I had to slit the back of the pumpkin about two inches in order for it to slide over the bottom of the light. But the handle helps secure it at the top and it fits perfectly.

An Important Note: This works for me because my bulb is recessed way back up into the fixture itself and does not come into contact with or close to the plastic. Make sure yours doesn’t either, and be sure to monitor it closely in order to avoid risk of fire. 

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I took this picture in the early morning hours today. Although the camera doesn’t allow you to see the pumpkin faces, rest assured they are there and they look adorable! They give my porch an eery orange glow.

4. Switch out your outdoor summer pillows for a fall or Halloween version.

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Currently, my front deck looks exactly as it did this summer, except for some ‘tweaking’. In the last month, I moved my houseplants indoors, created a fall arrangement in what used to be my onion planter, swapped mums for petunias when they looked scraggly, and swapped out the pillows. And added a real pumpkin.

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Voila! I have a fall-ish front porch that’s ready for Halloween.

Over the next couple of weeks, my water feature will disappear, and so will some other items on there. If I remove them a little at a time, the porch still looks good, rather than to have everything disappear at once.

Except for where my girls have been on the hunt for the critter who has taken residence under our front deck. My beautiful new petunia flowerbed now looks like this:

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Ya win some, ya lose some. Good thing it’s the end of the season!

Sorry. Squirrel.

5. Add an unexpected element.

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Regular readers of my blog know I enjoy adding in unexpected things. And, if you read my blog regularly, you’ll also know I love dogs. Especially black ones!

Your unexpected element could be painted pumpkins, pumpkins wearing faces, a cluster of unusual pumpkins, or some unusual displays. Something unexpected that adds a touch of humor or catches a person’s eye is a great choice.

I just happened to find this adorable black dog at Home Depot, and thought it had my name all over it. HA He lights up at night, and is a fun change from a simple jack o’lantern. 🙂

Everything you have here, my friends, is the sum total of all my decorating this year. I may yet haul out another thing or two, I haven’t really decided. I have significantly more than this, I just choose not to use it. I haven’t had the time this year.

Just because you have it doesn’t mean you have to use it.

Think of your Halloween supplies as your inventory, from which to pick and choose. This allows your display to be fresh and different each year.

What I’ve done is tasteful, elegant, cheerful, and understated. It’s not a pain to clean around. And it makes our house feel festive without feeling cluttered. We think it looks great.

And that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 😀

Preparing Your Closet for Winter

I’ve always said that life is messy, and indeed it is! Apparently I am also camera challenged, as my 2-year old Sony camera that I love so much is in for repair. So for the near future, I am having to take all my pictures with my phone, which means they aren’t as clear and crisp as I’d like them to be.
2014-09-08 17.45.07I love fall. Without a doubt, it’s my favorite season, and a welcome sight after a long, hot summer.

Fall is a time for cozy-ing up, cooking, enjoying the last nice days of the season, the fall color…aaah!

It also means it’s time to get your closet ready for the coming winter months. It’s sort of a way to take inventory of what you have, what you need, and maybe even fall in love again with some old favorites. 🙂

I know you’re busy, peeps. Don’t stress yourself or get overwhelmed by dragging out everything at once. There’s not really any right or wrong way, and the closet police are not going to come after you if you make a mistake.

Just do it a little at a time – you can get a lot done in 15 minutes! To make it easy for you, I’ll break it down into steps; all you have to do is move through the steps one at a time. Like magic, it will be done!

So, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and let’s take an honest assessment of your closet.

1. Pull out the summer things you love but you know you won’t wear again until next spring. 

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Remove them from hangers and set them aside so they won’t be in your way, especially if you’re working on this project over several days.

This may include sleeveless or short sleeve tops that you wear alone and not under a blazer as a shell. Make sure they don’t need mending or have stains. You want to store only clean, ready to wear items.

I know you read a lot that “if you haven’t worn it in a year (or two years), then get rid of it.” I disagree. If you love it and feel fabulous in it, keep it. You’ll eventually wear it.

Take these Minnetonka shoes, for instance. I bought them 4 or 5 years ago in Ft. Myers Beach, FL. In those last several years, I think I wore them once or twice.

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Suddenly, this summer they became my ‘go-to’ shoes. I rest my case. 😀

2. Pull out everything you know you won’t wear again. 

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If it is too small, doesn’t fit right, you hate it but hate to admit you wasted the money, has bad memories associated with it, or is older than your oldest child (especially if they are in junior high) it needs to go. Pronto!

If you need to try it on, this is the time to do it. Liberate yourself from clothes that drag you down!

And if you ask a friend or family member’s advice, remember, you can only look as fabulous as they are honest. So don’t be mad at them for telling you the truth. Perhaps they did you a big favor.

Bag them up, and keep the bag nearby until you’ve sorted through your winter clothes.

3. Make a neatly folded pile for items that need mended, items that need dry-cleaned, and items that need washed (or throw them into the hamper.)

If you don’t like to sew or don’t have the time, make a plan to drop them off for mending in the next couple of weeks. My mending stays in a chair in my den, which is near my purse. That way I can remember it.

4. Are you planning for a vacation this winter? Now’s the time to pack for it!

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As I was sorting through everything, I placed the items I knew I would wear in Florida this winter in a tote to carry out to our RV. It’s much more enjoyable to pack that sucker when it’s 65 degrees than -3. I’m just saying…

Be thoughtful, take your favorites, and since you wore them so recently, you’ll remember which those are. Pack them now, and label your tote so you will remember where you packed them!

5. Assess what’s left in your closet.

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You may have a few multi-season items, dress clothes, etc. Try them on, make sure they fit, make sure you love them.

Sort your shoes, get rid of any that you don’t like or don’t fit or look tired. Move your summery sandals to a less accessible spot.

Do you need to rearrange the order?

I actually switched out my closet a few weeks ago, I just haven’t sorted my shoes yet.

In the spring, I talked about how I hang everything in my closet by color. My friend Samantha takes it a step further and hangs hers according to sleeve length. What a great idea! I have done that several times, I just forget to keep doing it when I hang my laundry up. 😀

I tell you this because I want to stress that the most important thing is to create a simple system that relieves your mental stress but works for you.

And, for the love of all that is holy, if you are using wire hangers, STOP IT. This is how all your knit clothes end up with ‘hanger nipples’. Invest in some decent hangers which support your clothes, even if you have to buy just a few at a time. You don’t have to spend a fortune on them, even the plastic tube hangers are a better choice and are inexpensive. For your dress clothes, the dress and suit hangers are great to help preserve their shape.

6. Bring out your winter-season clothes.

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The fun of this is that it’s almost like Christmas. 😀 I enjoy seeing my old favorites again. But then I’m easily entertained.

As you sort and hang or fold your winter things, make an honest assessment: is there anything you know you won’t wear? That now, given the absence of a few months, just doesn’t seem right? Now’s the time: get rid of it too.

Put them in the bag with your summer clothes, then place the bag in your car NOW to drop off the next time you’re running errands.

Do you have some things that you aren’t sure you want to wear, but yet aren’t sure you want to get rid of yet? Leave them in the tote that you fill with your spring clothes. The next time you swap, evaluate them. Maybe that will make parting with them easier.

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7. Sort your accessories.

Over the coming days/weeks, sort through your accessories. Coats. Purses. Socks. Jewelry.

If it makes you feel good or you think you’ll wear it, keep it. Otherwise, bless someone else with it.

The exception to this rule is sentimental items. I have several things I have saved that have belonged to relatives and friends who have passed away. I have kept these items, but I have them stored in a separate place that isn’t in my closet.

I keep a box in the basement where I place things I’m going to donate. When the box is full, I drop it off.

Your closet should contain only the clothes you love that you’re wearing for the current season. If it’s stuffed to the gills and you can’t find anything, odds are you’re keeping items in there that shouldn’t be there. Keep things you don’t use regularly or that don’t belong there somewhere else.

8. Make a list of things you need.

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Is there a few items you need to make your wardrobe ‘complete’?

Do you need new socks? Dress pants? Turtlenecks or tees? (Those look ‘tired’ easily, so they need to be replaced more often.)

The shelf above is where I keep my tee shirts folded. Sure, I would love to have one of those closet organizing systems, but for a variety of reasons, it’s just not practical here. Not to mention I find the thought of selecting and installing it exhausting. Who has the time?

These little shelves work perfectly. You can see I’ve labeled them to simplify finding them. And if I decide not to use them here, I can multi-purpose them somewhere else in my house.

How about pajamas? Are you wearing old pajamas or lounging clothes which are stained or have holes?

Truly, the little luxuries in life have to be new socks and new pajamas. 🙂

We’re moving into the time of year when we spend more time in those things. Choose something comfortable and cozy that you’ll love to wear: you’ll feel so much better! I know you may have some favorites, but if your favorites have holes and are stained, you aren’t doing yourself, or anyone you live with any favors.

If you shop with a list, you’ll be more focused, and are likely to be happier with your purchases. You’ll also SAVE MONEY! And who wouldn’t love to do that?

This year, what I needed most was cardigans which could dress up or down. Even though I wear jeans at the shop, I like to look nice in case I have an appointment or a meeting with a client. I needed something that I could wear with Uggs or dress pants.  Recently, I’ve picked up 3, and one of them is in the new trendy color of plum for fall. Super cute! And versatile! These cardigans are timeless, so I can wear them for a long time.

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So make your list, check it twice, and carry it with you in a safe place in your purse. Anytime you shop without a list, whether it’s groceries or clothes, you risk overspending or forgetting something.

Taking the time to organize your wardrobe and accessories will truly help you have less stress in your life. It makes you feel so good to open your closet door and see only the things you love inside. You work hard, you deserve to feel good!

Happy sorting, friends. And happy fall! 🙂

How To Make a Small Living Room Larger

I’m baaaaaack! And it’s great to be back, dear readers. I have some great stuff planned, I hope you’ll stay tuned for inspiration, motivation and a laugh here and there. In the meantime, hope you have a terrific week. Happy fall!

Living Room Before

Pam, one of my colleagues at the real estate office stopped me one day. “Can you help me with my living room? It’s small, and I know I have too much stuff in it. I need help!”

The picture above is Pam’s living room before we started. As you can see, the entertainment center which was probably perfect in her last house completely overwhelmed the room. Your eye simply didn’t know where to go, which can be exhausting.


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Pam and her husband Jim are avid movie-watchers, as you can tell by the shelves with the movies. And, since Jim lives there too, it’s important that both of them like the room and feel comfortable with the changes.

The great thing about the kind of decorating and staging that I do is that it’s a process. One step at a time, we began to edit the room and make tweaks here and there. While Pam really wanted new end tables, I encouraged her to hold off and take it one step at a time.

Sometimes you know when you need to make big changes and major modifications and start from the beginning, but I hate to see someone spend money if they don’t have to.

And if you’re planning to sell your house, this is exactly the kind of things you need to be doing in order to make your house appealing to the majority of buyers, which gives you a better opportunity to get your property sold quicker.

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This is Pam’s entryway. She has some collections which are very meaningful, such as the thimble collection on this wall. Her furniture arrangement really suited the room, and many of her pictures were hung beautifully and in the right place. Her paint color was also perfectly neutral. And, while it’s hidden behind the sofa, her mother’s Duncan Fife dining table sits nicely in her entry way. Honestly, it’s perfect right there.

Her living room needed some editing and ‘tweaking’. So we tweaked. And we shopped. And Pam worked hard de-cluttering.

When you’re in a small space, you have to be very choosey what you put in there. I suggested that Pam edit her things, displaying only her favorites, and also sort through their movies, storing only the ones they watched regularly in the living room. The others could be stored elsewhere in a less accessible location.

For instance, are you storing things in your living room that you rarely ever use? Your living room is valuable real estate!

My Law of Storage is this: if you have a small space, keep only items in that space you use regularly. This Law applies to bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, counter tops, whatever. The less you use it, the farther away it can be stored.

For instance, the items stored under my sink are things I use weekly or every couple of weeks. If I use it less often, I store it in the basement. If you utilize this strategy and prioritize your storage, it really helps you keep from cluttering up your space.

Are you with me on this? 

One exception to this rule is my KitchenAid mixer which was a gift from my dear friend Peggy. It was her late mother’s, and none of her family had a need for it. I feel honored and blessed to have this. And while I don’t use it very often, it is heavy. So it has a prominent place of honor in a kitchen cabinet. Sometimes carrying things back and forth just isn’t practical, and you have to make an exception.

But for the most part, the Law of Storage is a great way to help you prioritize what you need to keep nearby.

So, back to Pam’s living room.

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The first thing we did was remove literally the largest ‘offender’, the entertainment center, and replaced it with a very nice marble-topped media center purchased at the local furniture store where Jim works.

The shading of the wood is both lighter and dark, and this complements the Duncan Fife table on the opposite side of the room very well. Together, both of these pieces have similar ‘visual weight’, balancing both sides of the room perfectly.

Jim and Pam decided it was the perfect time to upgrade their TV, so their new flat screen looks perfect. It was decided the stereo needed to stay, so we placed it in the corner. Pam had selected her favorite items to display, so we installed the shelves to the left of the TV, and moved her thimble collection from the other side of the room on the other side.

Pam has a beautiful eucalyptus wreath on the wall hanging above the Duncan Fife table. It deserves to be the focal point of that wall, which is why we moved the thimble collection to the other side. Now they’ve become a proud collection worth noticing on their own, and not fighting with anything else for attention. 🙂

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Ah, those shelves. They became the bane of our existence. But through blood, sweat and tears (okay, no blood or tears) Pam and I forever shall remain bonded over those shelves. Let’s just say, “It was a learning experience.” 😀

We went with black shelves to match Pam’s black lamps; just a few touches of black as accents add visual ‘texture’ and depth to the room. (Be careful when using black..a little  is perfect, too much is….well, too much.)

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Nothing jazzes up a room that’s a sea of neutrals like a little bit of color. This room didn’t need a lot of in-your-face color. It just needed something subtle.

I think this rug was meant for this living room. It was the last one at Home Depot, it was on clearance, and it’s perfect. It’s just the perfect touch of muted color to ‘anchor’ the room in the center, and it harmonizes with the green eucalyptus wreath.

And, you’ll notice Pam has a new table!

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The oak tables no longer did the room justice, nor were they functional for the changing needs of the room. A smaller room commands furnishings that do double-duty, so we looked for pieces which could accommodate storage.

Off we went to Jim’s furniture store again. These tables coordinate perfectly with both the new media center and the Duncan Fife table. They didn’t come with the baskets, Pam and Jim picked those out separately. But they offer a perfect solution to storing their favorite movies which are easily accessible as well as other favorite collectibles.

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Another thing that made these tables perfect is that the end tables came in two different shapes: one was round, and the other is a smaller version of the leaf-shaped coffee table. This offered the opportunity to place the smaller of the three in a smaller area, such as between the two larger chairs in front of the window.

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Here’s another shot of the rug with the coffee table. The rug was just what the room needed.

Because I’m a half-wit, I forgot my camera for some of the pictures, and had to use my phone. Ooops. So if you notice a difference in the (lack of) skill, that’s why. Yeesh. At least I’m consistent!

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The room now is almost finished, and I’m hearing that both Pam and Jim love it. Their living room has now become a peaceful sanctuary for them, and one they simply love to be in. Pam tells me that, to her surprise, she’s enjoying the peaceful feel of the space so much that she’s on a mission to de-clutter the rest of her house.

You go, girl!

Pam has always wanted a fireplace, so that’s the last item on her list. So if you’re wondering why the blank wall to the right and why the wall hanging is so high…we’re waiting until her fireplace is installed before moving that piece, in order to put as few holes in the wall as possible.

Living Room After

Now, you notice the beauty of the room and the hardwood floors, and the room feels soothing and peaceful…exactly what a hardworking couple need when they come home at the end of the day.

And a bonus? It’s easier to clean! I’ve never heard anyone complain about that before.

I love instant gratification and making people happy! 🙂

As fall arrives and we spend more time indoors, evaluate your space. Do you need to do some editing to fall in love with your house again and to prepare it for more family time? Remember, it doesn’t have to be done overnight. It’s a process.

So take your time, and enjoy your family and the beautiful days of fall. 🙂

5 New Uses for Everyday Items

It’s no secret: I have a passion for re-purposing. There’s nothing so satisfying to me as giving something a new lease on life. Especially if it’s junk. (Junque?)

Almost as much as junk, I have a passion for re-purposing everyday things. The more uses you can give an item, the less it costs you, eh?

Or something like that.

Here are some new uses for everyday items that I use all the time.

While not everything in this post may work for you or your style, let this post get your creative juices flowing. What do you have simply lying around your house that you can find a new use for?

Here’s my favorites:

1. Saddle Blankets

2014-07-06 10.11.15This is a rug in my bedroom. It began it’s life as a saddle blanket (yes, for horses) at Tractor Supply. (Farm & Home has them, as I assume most farm supply stores who have supplies for horses would.)

If you have animals, you know that animals involve messes. Even the best house-broken pet is going to have an accident from one end or the other at some point. And I know from experience: even if you don’t have carpet, they choose the most expensive rug in the house. (Or is it just my dogs that have a taste for the finer things?) 😉

These are a great size for rugs. And guess what? They are only about $10!! And they wear like iron!

After sacrificing a few for the art of learning, I figured out the best way to launder them. DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE DRYER!

I wash them in cold or warm water on the gentle setting, adding about a 1/2 cup of kosher salt in addition to detergent, which will help keep the colors from bleeding. Then hang them to dry. Voila!

They are big enough to cover almost my whole bathroom floor.

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At my back door and at the top of the basement stairs.

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And I even use them as decorative items. (Although these actually came from Mexico.)

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I’ve used them in the past as floor mats, and they are currently used as cargo mats in the back of my car. I picked up gray, white and black ones for the car, and they look great! I even use them in our RV. You could use them as tablecloths for a picnic table, for wall hangings in your family room/man cave, or tons of other things.

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They are also great furniture covers if you have pets, or simply want to add some color and hide a stain on your sofa. 😉  Check ’em out!

2. Glass Jars

How many times do you a product – such as marinara sauce – that comes in a quart jar? Do you end up tossing the quart jar without thinking, or do you re-purpose it?

We often end up with these jars, which come with their own nice screw-off lids.
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By the way, I don’t recommend serving this apple pie at your next large family gathering. Or maybe you should… hmmmm….that could make things interesting!

Sorry. Squirrel.

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Currently, one is host to some basil that I should really make the decision to toss. But I can’t. So I’ll wait until it makes the decision for me. How cute would it be with flowers?

2014-07-06 10.18.06One is holding a homemade BBQ sauce from the @Lord_of_Q himself, Myron Mixon. It keeps for a year, which makes a jar the perfect vessel to hold it. You can purchase clear round Avery labels and print pretty little labels for whatever your container holds. I was lazy and just hand wrote mine.

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One is holding kosher salt for the laundry.

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The smaller ones make great containers for salad dressing, either home made, or store-bought and decanted.

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The jar in the above picture now actually holds a Myron Mixon rub that I made yesterday which also keeps for a year.

The decorative ones make wonderful juice glasses. That’s apple juice, by the way. Not a specimen. (Just in case you were wondering.)

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They are also great to hold beauty supplies in the bathroom. This is baking soda; I use it to whiten my teeth and as a facial scrub. 🙂

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This one is my current favorite cocktail beverage glass. I carry it everywhere. Seriously. I think maybe pizza sauce came in it. I can’t even remember. But it was free!


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You name it, they work great for it. They are great canisters for just about anything!  And best of all..some of them are free!

3. Bandannas

Okay, I can’t totally take credit for this one, although I’d love to.

I’m an avid fan of the Pioneer Woman, which is from whom I got this idea.

We are very casual entertainers. Thus, paper napkins seem too…casual if you’re having several people over. Cloth napkins seem too dressy.  Bandannas are perfect!

You can throw them right in the laundry, and don’t have to worry about starching them!

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They come in a variety of colors, and they cost $1.00 each at Wal-Mart. (Which happens to be the only store that carries them here in our town. Where you are may be different.)

You can match your dishes, or just mix and match colors.

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Over the last couple of years, I’ve collected a few colors to mix it up.

You can dress up your dog for company. 🙂

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“Mother, would you please put away that stupid camera? You’re embarrassing me.”

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, I did wash this bandanna after she wore it. Just in case you happen to ever eat dinner at my house. 😉

Wrap them around jars and use them to hold utensils at a picnic, or use them to hold pens and pencils on your desk. My mother kept her collection of buttons in a jar.

You can use them in your hair, or as a fashion accessory.

I didn’t take any pictures of that because I shot these pictures Sunday morning, and I was lazy and didn’t put on any makeup. So nothing to see here folks; let’s move along. 😉

I could go on and on about the versatility of these things!

4. Galvanized Buckets and Pails

I literally have these everywhere.

I have one in my kitchen to hold dog food. It’s mouse-proof, and matches everything!

If you don’t like the color, paint it! Stencil it! Decal it!

It holds an entire 30-pound bag of dog food, so I always know how much food I have left. It has a large handle which will hold the lid on if we’re traveling and makes it easy to carry.

This one cost me $18 at Tractor Supply.

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If I tire of using it for dog food, I can use it for fish food, bird seed, or anything else that needs contained.


There are two small holes on either side of the lid handle which will  allow some water to enter if it rains. So I don’t recommend keeping food in it outside.

But it’s perfect for containing grill accessories!

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I use a tub to hold blankets in the basement. If we’re having a party, I’ve been known to move this outside and fill it with ice and beer/water/soda.

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You could even bob for apples in it at Halloween! Or go pick them when the time comes.

The picture below is the wastebasket in Jimmy’s bathroom. I have a larger one in the bathroom at the shop.

Inside each of them is another of my favorite multi-purpose items: a Wal-Mart bag. Seriously, there’s a million things you can do with these! Besides small trash can liners, we use them for poopie bags when we travel.

Sorry. Squirrel.

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I’ve used galvanized pails as planters, decorative items, pendant lights, and magazine holders. Some of you may remember my Christmas tree from a prior post.

Galvanized pails and pine cones


This pendant in our basement began its life as a $4.00 paint bucket at Home Depot.




You can organize toys with them, items in the laundry room…the ideas for these just keep on coming! 🙂

5. Plastic Bags and Egg Cartons

I’ve mentioned before about how much I love egg cartons.

They make wonderful holders for jewelry such as earrings and rings.

They don’t get tangled up, and each one has it’s own separate little space.

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I also use them to hold nail polish. They would be great holding small items in your desk such as thumb tacks, rubber bands, etc. Anything small that needs to be contained. Sewing supplies, maybe? Small, hard-to-find items that you end up digging and digging for wastes a ton of time. And I’m not into that.

I want to free up as much of my time as possible for fun, meaningful things in life that bring me joy.

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Which is why I put all my necklaces in plastic bags.

How many times have you opened your jewelry box to get a necklace only to find it tangled? Or tangled with something else? So, you try for a few minutes until you realize that you are getting frustrated and short on time and now, thanks to this, crabby? Not a fun way to start the day.

I rest my case. 😉

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I prefer the clear plastic pint bags for jewelry, that way you can see it better.

If you have a matched set of earrings and a necklace that you always wear together, you might consider placing the earrings in a snack bag inside the bag with the necklace.

It’s also MUCH easier to travel. I just grab the bags and put them in my suitcase.

Speaking of travel…I have a neat bag with my initial on it for jewelry. It’s a really cute bag and I love it; it’s just not compartmentalized. So, I put all my earrings separately into snack bags, and place them inside the jewelry bag. Easy-peasy!

Happy re-purposing, my friends! 🙂

Every Room Needs “WOW Factor!”


Our bedroom has been undergoing a minor transition over the last few years.

About the time we got married, I had the most beautiful cream bedspread with a southwestern-style design in navy and gold.  It was gorgeous, and we loved it.

When we remodeled our bedroom, we positioned our bed in front of an accent wall painted a very dark, dark navy color called “Starry Night”. I probably have a picture of it somewhere, but that would require me to get up, go to the basement and do some digging. And I just ate lunch and am lazy. 😉

That was before all the dogs who found me just happened to be black.

So needless to say, the life span of that bedspread wasn’t as long as I would have liked, which necessitated a change. Because we liked the blue wall (we aren’t really ‘blue’ people, but it was a really pretty color), I looked for something that would go with the blue and the rustic feel of our house.

Enter the bedspread in the above picture. We enjoyed it, but then I began to get restless. Call it a career hazard.

“Starry Night” had run its course, and it was time for a change. So I painted the wall behind my bed “Garden Sage”. We loved the green wall, but the room lost it’s WOW Factor. Tired of the moose (meese?) bedspread, I wanted a plain one with no design. And so, the one in the picture above adjourned to our RV for the rest of its useful life.

Remember the term ‘focal point’? How you want  one object in the room to be the ‘focus’ of the room? That’s the item you want your eye to go to when you walk in.

Well, WOW Factor ramps it up just a bit. The Oxford Dictionary defines Wow Factor as “a quality or feature that is extremely impressive.”

It doesn’t have to be fabulously expensive. It just has to be fabulous!

Your Wow Factor can be anything.

Maybe it’s a really fabulous painting or photograph on canvas. It can be the colors or the size that give it its Wow.

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My friend John is a photographer who specializes in large canvas prints. If you visited Kirksville’s Red Barn Arts and Crafts Fair last fall, you may have seen his booth or met him and his charming wife Bonnie.

I ordered this canvas from him custom-sized just to fit my space. The crispness of the colors and the contrast take my breath away and make me feel like I’m standing in that field.

Our bedroom has its WOW back!

There are lots of things you can do to give your room WOW Factor.

A simple accent can do it. And paint is relatively cheap! This is a picture of my friend Beth’s living room from a previous post. Is that wall awesome or what? It’s Behr’s “Wine Tasting”.

The Living Room After

Or a fireplace. Here are a couple that I’m very familiar with. One was originally brick and has been recently refaced. (Ahem.)  😉

The Family Room After

And here is one made of cultured stone. Probably more cultured than the people who live here. 😉

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A large window with a spectacular view.

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Beautiful cabinetry or a piece of furniture accented with a paint color that makes it POP!

The Kitchen After

I  have it on good authority that a number of people thought my friend Beth also got all-new cabinetry, simply because they’d never noticed them before.

Perhaps it’s a really unusual mirror or some other wall decor.

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Did you see me waving in the mirror? 😀

There was no way I could contort myself out of the picture, so I decided to just flagrantly be in it.

WOW Factor makes your room look complete. And, the rest of your decor in that room become accents that harmonize with it.

It’s especially important if you’re thinking of selling your home. If there’s nothing in a room that stands out, buyers may view the room as being just sort of…blah. And thus, there isn’t really anything that stands out about the house.

You want buyers to remember your house and how they felt in it after they’ve looked at 12 different ones and they all start to run together. And to remember it in a good way.

The rooms should be decluttered,clean, balanced and neutral, and each room should have a WOW Factor. (Not all WOW Factors need to be over-the-top. Sometimes all you need is a really nice clock. Or a beautiful wall paint. Or maybe wainscoting.)

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This is our guest room just off the Black Dog Saloon (AKA our basement.) The wainscoting in here is rusty tin which came from an old barn where my parents’ house was on the farm. And amazingly enough, I found a rusty metal clock to go with it. WOW. I’m still not completely happy with this room, but that’s another post for another day.

And just in case you were wondering, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. That bed really is low. It’s an air mattress, as we don’t yet have a guest room bed. I told you my house wasn’t perfect! 😀

Staging is taking what you have and making it look nice in the space! 

If you have a room that feels like it’s missing something, try to take a look at it as objectively as possible. Or have a friend look at it for you. After all, it is really hard  to see things when it’s your own house.

Trust me, I know. When you walk by something often enough, it’s easy to simply not see it any more.

Maybe all your room needs some WOW! 🙂