recipe friday


… you will never want plain 'ole store bought pickles again!


1 large jar dill pickles 
(not kosher)
1 ¼ C white sugar
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 T vinegar
1 T horseradish


Remove pickles, slice, rinse, and squeeze dry
Put ingredients #2 through #5 in the pickle jar
Place pickles back in jar and seal tightly
Place in refrigerator
Every hour or so for the first 6 hours, shake jar and invert it

it's october 31st...

and you know what that means...

know your paint finishes

Here's what you need to know about four main paint finishes—flat, eggshell, semi-gloss, and gloss—and the best bets for where to use them in your home.

Remember: There are no set rules for how certain paint colors look in each finish; that decision is going to be totally up to you.

Flat Paint
Flat finish is also known as matte finish and has the least amount of shine. Because it doesn't reflect light, it's the best choice to hide any imperfections like bumps or small cracks on walls. It also goes on smoother over rough surfaces, so it's a good option for textured walls. Keep in mind, flat paint a little harder to keep clean, so it's not recommended for high traffic areas like the kitchen or bathroom.

A Quick Cheat Sheet
The Pros: Because it reflects little light, a flat finish is good for concealing imperfections and has a classic old-world feel.
The Cons: Arguably the most delicate of the bunch, flat-finish paint is difficult to clean and will show every scuff and fingerprint.
Where to use it: A low-traffic area, or on the ceiling.

Eggshell Paint
You can't really go wrong with eggshell finish on your walls. Sometimes called satin finish, eggshell has slightly more luster than a flat finish, but you won't be left with shiny walls. It also resists stains better than flat and can be wiped with a wet rag. Eggshell finishes are often used in bathrooms, kitchens, kids' rooms, and other high-traffic areas.

A Quick Cheat Sheet
The Pros: This has some of the low sheen qualities of a flat finish, but is a bit easier to care for.
The Cons: It’s still difficult to clean and marks easily.
Where to use: Almost any room, barring kid-heavy zones.

Semi-Gloss Paint
Semi-gloss is tougher than eggshell, so it will show less wear. It reflects even more light when dry, though, so if there are any imperfections on your walls before you paint, they'll stand out. Semi-gloss stands up the best to water and cleaning so it's a good choice for a kids' bedroom or bathroom. This finish is also often used for trim, doors, and furniture.

A Quick Cheat Sheet
The Pros: Reflects a significant amount of light and is easy to clean.
The Cons: Reveals every imperfection in your walls, every brushstroke, and the frequent “orange-peel finish” of a roller brush.
Where to use: It’s ideal for doors, trim, casework, bathrooms, and kitchens. Make sure walls get a good skim coat first.

Gloss Paint
Reserve gloss paint for window and door trim. It's also a great choice for furniture, because of its hard and shiny finish. Want a glam look? Try using glossy paint on the walls!

A Quick Cheat Sheet
The Pros: A spectacular finish in rooms that are flawlessly skim coated. Less expensive than real lacquer (sometimes I can’t tell the difference).
The Cons: Expensive to execute well. This looks best lightly sanded between coats, and often requires six or seven turns with the brush to achieve an ideal, lacquer-like finish. The prices of the darker paint colors can be shocking.
Where to use it: Rooms that beg for drama and need to be set apart with almost special-occasion distinction, such as dining rooms, entry halls, powder rooms, and libraries.

Oil-Based Paint vs. Latex-Based Paint
Alkyd (oil-based) and latex paint aren't finishes. Rather, these terms refer to what makes up the paint product: oil or water.

For most interior paint projects, latex—or water-based paint—is ideal. Latex dries quickly, cleans up easily with water, and doesn't have a strong odor.

Alkyd—or oil-based paint—dries slower and give off a strong smell. The plus to using alkyd paint is that it provides a smoother, almost hard enamel-like finish that resists scratching, fingerprints, and stains. This type of paint tends to stick to its surface better, so it's a good choice for rougher surfaces, furniture, and even floors.

When to Use Primer
For the best finish, always start with a coat of primer, which preps new and old surfaces for paint. Back in the day, DIYers needed to be careful about not mixing oil-based paints and latex primers (and vice versa). But many primers today allow you to cover whatever the existing finish is as long as you prep the surface first. Talk to your paint sales associate to make sure the primer you buy will work.

NOTE: If you're painting over a bold color, ask the folks at the paint store to tint the primer so it matches your new paint color. You'll get much better coverage.

A Special Thanks to Country Living for help in writing this post. 

quick tip: rubber gloves

Get Fido's fur off the couch faster: Don slightly dampened rubber gloves (who knew they did so much more than prevent dishpan hands?) and run them over upholstery to quickly collect pet hair.

champagne taste on a beer budget

I think we can all say (at one time or another) that our tastes, wants and desires have not quite matched our budget. And when it comes to our Home Decor... it is amazing just how quickly the spending can add up (trust me, I know from past experiences). 

But if you follow a few of these easy 'tricks of the trade'... you can create a beautiful, expensive looking Home Decor without breaking the bank. 

A few larger pieces (as opposed to a lot of little knickknacks) placed strategically in a decor can made a huge statement and add more value and importance to each individual item. 

A triptych (art that is divided into three sections, or three panels hinged together and can be folded shut or displayed open) will instantly increase any room’s wow factor. The trio of paneled art, which has been rising in popularity in recent years, can set you back a pretty penny. But you can make your own! Downloaded free art from the web, print it as an extra large image at a local printer, and cut the image into three parts to fit into inexpensive frames or apply to stretched canvas that can be purchased at your local craft store.

The bigger the area rug, the bigger the space will feel. It is really quite simple to create an illusion of space by just taping or sewing smaller rugs together and create a large floor covering. 

Rather than jamming shelves full of knickknacks that create a 'busy' cluttered look, opt for a minimalist look: Several books standing upright along with a couple tall vases will fill the space without overcrowding - the perfect solution. Add objects of various height and color to give a bookcase personality.

Every room needs a focal point so if you don't already have one; center your room using eye-catching wall art. Hit up your local art supply store for ready made art or a large blank canvas to make your own creations (see above). Also check out nearby art schools to find great hidden talent on a shoestring budget.

Get rid of the ho hum, boring bedroom with this simple trick: Paint one wall a dark color or cover it with grass cloth (which is making a huge comeback). The textured accent wall behind the bed adds warmth to the room and gives it a polished look. Redoing only one wall is perfect for a budget makeover, because you’ll save a ton of money (and time).

If you are lucky enough to have a home that bathes in windows with sunlight and has those 'beautifully natural bones', then let those elements shine through (nature has just supplied you with a gorgeous decor). Using neutral colors will help let a home’s best asset — nature — excel.

Unexpected touches always add to the 'designer' style of a home. For example: created a dramatic headboard with an unexpected item propped against the wall.

Don’t be afraid to install window treatments around a breathtaking view. Just be sure to avoid bright patterned colors that will distract your focus.  Frame the view with neutral curtains so the eye is drawn towards (and out) the windows.

One Last Tip: Decorate rooms with natural palettes, adding pops of color, texture and interest with accessories – a d├ęcor of uniform palette will lend to the impression that it has been strategically planned.  (I.E. high-end designer)

monday morning movie

Each week I post one of my YouTube Videos here and invite you to sit down, relax with your cup of coffee (and your movie popcorn) and enjoy a short (approximately 3 minute) Design ‘Movie”. If you want to know how this all got started, click here.

So, Let’s Go to the Movies!
May not be available on your Mobile

Organize your Closets Part Two

I will have a seat reserved for you every Monday!

sunday in bed

It’s Sunday and everyone deserves a day off.
Here’s wishing you a restful Sunday.

recipe friday

Pickled Eggs

This pickled egg recipe is one that my Mom made for years…  & I just LOVE them


12 eggs
1 can beets and juice
1 C vinegar
½ C sugar

Hard boil eggs very slowly 25 to 30 minutes
Boil beets, juice, vinegar, and sugar until dissolved
Place eggs with juice mixture in large glass container (so it won’t stain)
The longer the refrigeration time (about 5 days) – the stronger the pickling (and the better – I like it when the beet coloring goes all the way through the white – but not quite into the yolk)

a beautiful terrarium

lg terrarium

A terrarium is a type of miniature ecosystem of plants.

Terrariums are usually sealable glass containers that can be opened for maintenance and to access the plants inside. However, this is not essential, terrariums can also be made using other transparent materials and some are open to the atmosphere rather than being sealed. Terrariums are often kept as decorative or ornamental items in the same way as aquariums.


Closed terrariums create a unique environment for plant growth, the transparent walls allow for both heat and light to enter the terrarium. The sealed container combined with the heat entering the terrarium allows for the creation of a small scale water cycle. This happens because moisture from both the soil and plants evaporates in the elevated temperatures inside the terrarium. This water vapor then condenses on the walls of the container, and eventually falls back to the plants and soil below. This contributes to creating an ideal environment for growing plants due to the constant supply of water, thereby preventing the plants from becoming over dry. In addition to this, the light that passes through the transparent material of the terrarium allows for the plants within to photosynthesize, an important aspect of plant growth.


I just love the miniature environment that these containers create. I am not a ‘plant’ person… (Honestly, I don’t have a green thumb) but these self sufficient ecosystems seem like the answer to anyone’s desire to have a beautiful greenhouse within their home.


And with these easy steps, I think even I could ‘pretend’ to have a green thumb by creating a terrarium. Let’s get started:


1. Pick Your Plants
First, think-dry or wet? Desert succulents like aloe are good bets for first-time gardeners. So are low-maintenance maiden-hair ferns, which love more humid conditions. Stop by a west elm store for help matching the right plants to each container.


2. Make a Base
For succulents, start with sand. Pour an inch into the terrarium as a foundation. For a hint of color, add a contrasting shade of sand that picks up the accent tones in leaves. For plants (like ferns) that need more water, skip the sand and begin with an inch of river rocks for drainage, then add a thin layer of charcoal to keep the ground fresh.


3. Place Your Plants
For wet terrariums, re-pot ferns using west elm's Terrarium Soil Mix, made from natural coconut fiber (coir), which keeps in moisture and resists mold. With succulents, keep it simple and leave plants in their containers. Using a gardening glove to avoid prickly leaves, lower them into the glass, then twist pots to nestle them in the sand.


4. Add Stones
Next, use pumice stones to fill the spaces between each potted succulent for stability, using wooden tongs to adjust the pebbles and greens to the best angles.

Terrarium (1)

5. Make it Pretty
In dry terrariums, spoon in enough sand to hide the stones and pots, then use a paintbrush to remove any sand caught in the leaves. For wet soil terrariums, experiment with garnishes like lichen and moss, and use a wooden fork to gently move them around for the best composition.


6. Take Care
Keep succulents in bright sunlight. Every two weeks or so, use a paintbrush to move sand aside at the plant's base and slowly add moisture using a dropper. Closed wet terrariums barely need any care at all, but for ferns in open-top vessels, keep the environment humid but not wet, in bright but indirect light. Mist with water only when the soil looks dry, and prune with garden shears to keep plants healthy.


Want to create a beautiful topiary next? Click Here

ivy topiary grouping[8]

quick tip: a rubber band


rubber band ball

Ever wonder what to do with all those rubber bands that you have accumulated? Here are some double-duty solutions for you.

rubber band door

1. Coming in and out with your hands full? Loop a single rubber band around a door's inside and outside knobs, twisting it as you do so that the "X" presses the latch open. Once finished, hang the band on the inner knob for the next time.


2. To get a better grip on a stripped screw, trap one side of a wide rubber band (like the ones used on produce bundles) between the screwdriver and the screw head, and twist.

rubber band on hanger

3. Keep slippery tops and strappy dresses from sliding into a heap on your closet floor by looping wide rubber bands over the ends of their hangers.

rubber band

4. Stretch one over the top of a paint can and use it to wipe excess paint from the brush. With its edges kept clean, the can will be a breeze to seal back up.

monday morning movie

Each week I post one of my YouTube Videos here and invite you to sit down, relax with your cup of coffee (and your movie popcorn) and enjoy a short (approximately 3 minute) Design ‘Movie”. If you want to know how this all got started, click here.

So, Let’s Go to the Movies!
May not be available on your Mobile

Organize your Closets Part One

I will have a seat reserved for you every Monday!

sunday in bed

It’s Sunday and everyone deserves a day off.
Here’s wishing you a restful Sunday.