Monday, March 2, 2015

Our New DIY Bed Canopy, Thanks to Goodwill!

Blame it on Goodwill!

My hubs and I put up this new DIY  "Bed & Breakfast Inn-style" bed canopy last weekend.

And it's Goodwill's fault.

Seriously, it is.   :) 

And here's why ...

I found these Old World-ish gold drapery tie-backs at the La Jolla Goodwill a few months ago and ...

I stored them under our bed in a bin, not knowing what I'd use them for.

But knowing I would use them somewhere in our little abode, sooner or later, because well ....

They were just too pretty to pass up, and they "go" with our home's Old World-ish cozy elegance look.

And so, here's what happened one day, my friends ...

In the same bin under my bed, I keep scads of white flowy sheer rod-pocket white and ivory drapes in every size and length from about every single place we've lived in over the years.

Partly I keep them all, every time we move, because some never fit quite right on our newest home's windows so I keep adding to them and then I mix and match the next go-around of a household move.

And partly I keep them because I use them for other things like chair tie-backs or dining table covers etc., because just  like your fave little black go-to dress in your clothing closet ...

Sheer white drapes just simply go ...

With everything!

And if you don't use them on your windows, they make a great bed canopy too for not much $ outlay.

These gorgeous knobs were also part of the four-piece Old World-ish set of drapery hardware from Goodwill and I had my hubs hang them on the wall because I thought they were just too great of architectural interest to not display somehow, even if they're not being used for something functional. 

Aren't they nifty as a little architectural accent?

My hubs is very precise when it comes to measuring.

And he always uses a level tool.

Which sometimes drives me a  little crazy, because walls are often crooked, so the item being hung, although perfectly "leveled" with the level, (according to the Man of the House), looks annoyingly crooked, (according to the Lady of the House), who prefers that things be hung so they look straight to one's eye, vs. to the "exact numerical science" of the husband's level tool.  :) 

Well, that's what you get when two OCD-ish personalities -- one left-brained numbers guy + one right-brained creative word lady, marry young and nest together ... for nearly 35 years now.

In other words ...

You learn the fine art of marital negotiation.    :)

The other challenge with this particular project was that I'm simply not tall enough (5' 8") to hang these curtains at the top of our 10' walls.  But guess what?  My 6' 2" husband is tall enough, bless his tall-man heart.

So guess who did the hanging labor, and you know who ...

directed from the floor below.

There simply was no other DIY way, because when you're that close up physically to the hanging of the drapes, you can't see how it really looks from the floor.

So if you try this, it's really best to have two people in on the deal.

Tell your husband I said so.  :) 

All diligent attempts, (numerous!), at doing some kind of romantic-looking fantasy loopy thing on the rod like we did last year ...


Because of reasons I no longer remember, but it was something to do with that particular curtain length or such.

And so, after much trial and error, we, (i.e. he), simply wound the drape around the rod and tied it on the ends in a knot.

With me directing from the floor.

But of course you already knew that.  :)

Alas, when we were all done with this project, we both were happy with how it turned out and we actually like it even better than the other "canopies" and headboard-y things we've hung together before ...

Here.    And here.     And here.    And here.    And here!

I told you we're both a little OCD-ish.  :)

And yes, we're both also incurable romantics, each in our own unique way.

We're feeling even more like we're sleeping at our very own cozy Bed & Breakfast Inn now.

So we're thinking that all we need to do in the future is install a jacuzzi tub for two, like this one.

Or this one.  :)

And put out some strawberries, champagne, plush new monogrammed towels, and cozy spa robes.

Ah, be still, our Bed & Breakfast inn-obsessed heart.   :)

The little cream and brown floral pitcher on my nightstand?

Goodwill too.

Two of them in perfect condition, marked down to just $8 total.

LOVE La Jolla's Goodwill!

After we finished our bedroom project we were tired and hungry.

And so we dined, (in spirit anyway!), at this little charming table, with its incredible seaside view.

And yes, I bought this elegant picture, already nicely matted and in a lovely gold frame, at ...

Glorious, glorious, Goodwill.

Celebrating the art of simple, charming, elegant living!

Kathryn :) 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Brunch Escape with Van Gogh

Last post I wrote about the importance of having a "Secret Escape Plan."  By that I mean a special place not too far from where you live where you can retreat for solitude, beautiful surroundings, and rest.  

Personally, we never tell anyone when we are escaping, and we prefer it that way, but of course, that's up to you whether or not you want to tell others, depending on your particular penchant for privacy.

A reader commented to me that she lives in the cold Midwest and although they go someplace for a getaway, she wishes there was somewhere warm close by.

I hear you.  I really do.  Because my husband and I grew up in the frozen tundra of the Midwest Plains and lived there, (i.e. painfully endured it!), until we were 40 years old and then decided to move to sunny San Diego, CA, where we still live. 

Some ideas for that cold-weather challenge:

One thing we used to do when we lived in the cold Midwest was to check ourselves in to the type of hotel right near our home that had colorful indoor flora and fauna around their indoor pool for a "faux" tropical vacation. Two nights there in February with a good book and a dip in the pool sure helped us get through the long winter.  Just seeing living green plants and flowers instead of brown sticks and snow outside worked miracles!

We also used to go to cozy B&B inns within a 60 mile radius of where we lived.  I mapped them all out ahead of time and kept a list of possibilities.   Sitting by the fire with a hot cup of tea and scones there did the trick--that's how we started that little hobby of ours and we never stopped!  (Inns have become more lavish and much more expensive over the years as the inn industry in the U.S. has evolved.   However there are still good deals to be had depending on where you live, and if you can go on short notice, same day, or can stay on week nights. Also, some will honor the AAA discount.)  My favorite inn site is I Love Inns.

But if you can't do the hotel or B&B m.o. for whatever reason, you can head to your nearest floral shop or buy flowers online and place as many of them around your home in winter that you can afford.  Bright ones! Orchids are lovely and come in SO many colors.  I also used to fill the garden window that jutted out above my kitchen sink with colorful flowers.

Also, we used to take a bus tour to the Kansas City spring flower and home show which was ripe with colorful floral displays. That helped too. Maybe there's one near where you live?  Google it.   

We also decorated our home with floral sofas, wallpaper, and paintings from our favorite local artist to help us feel like we had blooming spring/summer around us all the time too, even when the snow was coming down.  Sitting on my tulip-patterned sofa with hot tea in hand, helped.

Just a few ideas to help you get through those tough cold winters a little easier.

Spring will come, my friends.

Something we did while on our recent "Secret Escape Plan" was dress up for Sunday brunch at a favorite elegant restaurant and wear our matching Van Gogh "Outdoor Cafe" scarf and tie which show the artist's romantic painting of dining al fresco.

Great fun!  Van Gogh must be smiling to know his paintings happily live on, don't you think?

We chose the most elegant brunch place surrounded by the prettiest grounds and flora and fauna that we could find.

Even some "faux flora!"  And this is something you could paint at home if you live in the cold, too.   Not hard to do or hire a local high school or college art student to paint it for you.

After brunch, my hubby found the best seat on the grounds, near the pool, don't you think?

You ARE crafting your own next "Secret Escape Plan" aren't you?

And putting fresh colorful flowers in your home?

Life is short, my friends, so I really hope you do!

Celebrating the art of simple, charming, elegant living!

Kathryn :) 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Secret Escape Plan

Do you have a "Secret Escape Plan?"

By that, I mean a favorite little place not too far from home that you just love and can escape to for R&R in private, and collect your thoughts, rest, and rejuvenate your spirit?

We did that for our Valentine's Day celebration this year.

And so, hello from sunny Southern California!

At our "Secret Escape" place, this is my favorite thing to do:  put my feet up!

That's not something I do at home very often because I'm a busy wife who's always tending to the intricate details of our life.

So I have to escape sometimes to sit down and ...


As busy as we all are these days, I know you ...

get that.

Watching the palm trees while on "Secret Escape" is my next favorite thing to do.

And the sunsets too.

Having a nice dinner right on site, without having to leave to go out to a restaurant, is always a treat.

And a yummy breakfast on the back patio in the morning starts the day off just right.

We packed our picnic basket and took it along for an in-room at the inn evening picnic.  Complete with white linen and lace tablecloths, our real-glass wine glasses, and china.

No paper plates for me, thank you very much.  :)

We stopped at the grocery store on our way to the inn and bought a few things for our own little champagne and appetizers dinner.

You have a picnic basket, and you do like champagne and appetizers, so you could do this for yourself too, right?

Right.  You can.

It just takes finding a place you like near you, and a picnic basket, and a little planning ahead.

My hubby poured the champagne and ...

I set the table, (which was really a trunk and bench in our room but I just pushed them together and I covered them up with the tablecloths we packed in the picnic basket), and then I arranged the appetizers which were just:

Cheese, green olives, apple and pear slices, sliced salami, and gluten-free crackers and chips.

Easy peasy.

And, some sparkling Pellegrino water was on our little makeshift table too.

We exchanged our small Valentine gifts and cards.

We kept that simple since our trip and the quality time spent alone together at a relaxing place was our real gift to each other.

We both prefer simple.

We like charming.

We try to add a touch of elegance too.

Our getaway place is far from perfect.

It's a little bit shabby.

A little bit "overdone Euro" decor.

A little bit tired.

A little bit understaffed.

A little bit overgrown with plants that need trimming and tending.

But even so, it's quite charming and very restful too.

In all its charming quirky-ness, we love it.

I know you can find a place near you that you love for your own "Secret Escape Plan."

I just know you can.

And I sincerely hope you will.

Celebrating the art of simple, charming, elegant living!

Kathryn  :) 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Wisdom Thoughts

"Do your little bit of good where you are."  

--Desmond Tutu

"The flower of kindness will grow.  Maybe not now, but it will someday."

--Robert Alan

"Flowers are the music of the garden." 

 --Edwin Curran

"Flowers are a proud assumption that a ray of beauty out-values all the utilities of the world."


"The ideal of beauty is simplicity and tranquility."


"The price of anything is the amount of life you pay for it."


"One always has time enough, if only one applies it well."


"One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude."

--Carl Sandburg

"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."


"Each step upward makes me feel stronger and fit for the next step."


What's your favorite thing to plant in your life's garden? 

Today, I strive to plant these quotes in my own "lifestyle garden."

Celebrating the art of simple, charming, elegant living!

Kathryn :) 

Photos:  Connecticut doorway I took while on a trip there in 2006.  The other photos I took over the years at random locations in San Diego, California and Orange County, California.