The Liebster Award



May 28, 2015

Greetings everyone!

I want to thank Emilia for nominating me for the Liebster Award.  Her blog, Bookbug’s World, is worth taking the time to read.  She incorporates lovely photographs of nature, original poems, and book reviews.

The idea behind this award is to introduce readers to new and interesting blogs.  It’s a “get-to-know-you” experience.  Here is what to do if you’re nominated:

1.  Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.

2.  Give readers 11 random facts about yourself.

3.  Answer 11 questions from the blog of the person who nominated you.

5.  Nominate 5-11 bloggers for this award.

6.  Come up with 11 questions for your nominees.

Here are 11 random facts about me:

1.   I collect mini teapots and tea sets.

2.   I was a Girl Scout.

3.   I love being near water, i.e. the ocean.

4.   I love the tea cup ride at Disneyland (or world).

5.   I do the newspaper crossword every night.

6.   I hate cleaning the bathroom.

7.   I hate roller-coasters.

8.   I love baseball.

9.   I hate basketball.

10. I have several favorite colors.

11. I want to see castles in Europe.

My answers to Emilia’s questions:

1.   mountains or sea…sea.  Love living near the coast.

2.   walk or bike…walk.  I would love to ride a bike if there were no cars/trucks around.

3.   sweet or salty…you have to have both to off-set the other.

4.   hot/humid or warm/breezy…prefer warm/breezy, but it’s usually hot/humid here.

5.   beer or wine…usually I prefer wine, but you have to have a beer with certain foods like barbeque.

6.   airplane or car…prefer car, unless it’s vacation

7.   city or farm…I grew up in the suburbs of Washington DC.  Love visiting cities but not to live there.

8.   ice cream or sherbet…ice cream–favorite is soft-serve chocolate

9.   mystery or romance…I assume that refers to books :)  Prefer mysteries to read and watch on TV, especially Father Brown, Phryne Fisher, Inspector Lewis…

10. sunbathing or hiking…I am a sun worshipper as long as I’m near the water.

11. hardcover or paperback…both.  As long as I have something to read.


My nominations are:

1.   Bunny and the bloke

2.   View from the porch

3.   Practically at home

4.   Hello handbag

5.   Loca for crafts

6.   Nickers and ink

7.   Christy paws

8.   Elen Grey

9.   Cat eyes – a cat woman’s photos

10.  Discovering home

11.  Parsimonious to perfection


My questions to those I nominated:

1.   Screened porch or deck?

2.   Library or bookstore?

3.   Movies or happy hour?

4.   Grass or sand?

5.   Pizza or tacos?

6.   Fiction or non-fiction?

7.   Sunrise or sunset?

8.   Classic rock or classical?

9.   Coffee, black or white?

10.  Neutral colors or bright colors?

11.  Flip flops or cowboy boots?

Thanks for getting to know some new blogs!





Patio Dining with Flair



(With Strawberry Shortcake Recipe)  

Memorial Day weekend is upon us already!   You may be having a few people over for a swim and picnic or just relaxing with the family having fun and food.  Whatever you’re doing, food will play a role for sure.  You will want some pretty dishes to show that at its best.

In the “old” days we used to have a picnic table in the back yard on top of the grass.  Now it’s usually a little bit fancier with patios, pools, decks, and plush outdoor furniture.

If you are transporting food, etc. to a beach or other location, you may be using paper plates.  At home I prefer to use melamine dishes outside.  They’re lightweight and can be put in the dishwasher (if stated on the back of the dish).  I love them because you can have a few sets and even interchange them, adding a more decorative design plate on top of a plain one, for instance.




 Simple Outdoor Table Settings


Who wouldn’t want a built-in gas grill area, as shown on the above deck?!  It’s simple, but the wooden arbor above the deck really gives it that Tuscan flair.

The dinnerware I chose to go with this table are bright (almost primary) colors to match the red chairs.

This set is from Pottery Barn:



These acrylic goblets are from Pier One:


I also really love these (also Pier One):


The next patio setting has a gorgeous dark wood table offset by dark green posts.


The purple and green dishes and napkins add a touch of color.  I found the dish set, below at World Market.  They have tons of cool things from furniture to food.


You may choose a simple burlap napkin and silverware with twisted organic handles for your place settings.



The last patio setting is a real south-of-the-border beauty.  I think the burlap bags on the chair backs are so earthy, and the giant pom-pom flowers add to the festive atmosphere.




These dishes would go perfectly.


or these….from Pier One.


For your outdoor eating pleasure, I’m including a recipe for Company Strawberry Shortcake.  It’s very easy, but very yummy.  It’s from the Cookies and Cups blog.






Bringing the Outdoors In



About this time of year, we enjoy spending more time outdoors whether it be to garden, take the kids to sports practice, enjoy a concert, or have a picnic.

Today I will show you a pretty color scheme that I believe does a great job of bringing the outdoors IN.



The living room below has light gray walls with white trim.  A dark wood floor contrasts nicely to the light walls.  A beige sofa, 2 light blue arm chairs with nail  head trim, a large pattern slipper chair in coral, and round tufted and skirted ottoman round out the furnishings in this room.  The arm chairs could even be in a very small pattern.

Love the botanical prints above the sofa to really bring nature indoors.


Whatever colors you choose, stick to the same color intensity.

Below, the gray on the walls is deeper with the blue chairs and coral pillows also a more intense tone.




You can’t see the other furniture in the above living room, but they could be in blue similar to the pillows using coral as an accent color.

Here’s a fun quiz to take that, surprisingly enough, did come up with colors that I’m partial to having in my own house.

What’s your Paint Color Personality? (from Southern Living magazine)

What I believe to be a better way of determining a color scheme is to look in your closet.  Whatever color clothing you are wearing should translate into your color scheme.

The above color scheme is like a bright, spring day showing you that even gray can be a great addition to an upbeat, inviting room.

Enjoy any great weather you may have!




10 Ways to Make your Home Cool & Cozy




As the weather becomes pleasant and the hours of daylight longer, life turns to spending more time outdoors.  I also believe in bringing more of the outdoors inside the home.  Here are some ways to make your home both cool and cozy for the coming season.


The easiest way to bring some life into your home is to include flowers.  Instead of a vase, look around the kitchen or china cabinets for something to use as a temporary vase…a glass pitcher, a beer stein, or even a teapot.  Silk flowers are so real looking now that they would be a pretty addition.  The sunny yellow walls and bright fabric colors brighten up this living room as shown on Coastal Living.



I’m sensing a theme here for the photos I’m choosing…the yellow walls!  Well, it is a very upbeat and cheery color.

Adding in a throw rug not only adds an element of coziness, but helps draw the furniture of the room together.



You may have a comfy, old chair that you just can’t part with, but is perfect for reading.  You can buy a simple slipcover online or have one made to your chair’s specifications.  It’s a great way to change from winter to spring without buying new furniture!

If your chair or sofa is just in need of a spot of brightening, buy a soft throw and drape it on the arm or back.  This blue, tufted chair and ombre throw are from one of my favorite stores:  Home Goods.



I love tablecloths, runners, and placemats.  A tablecloth is one of the decorative items I can buy to change the mood of the dining room or just brighten it up.  This dining room is also using my number one idea of a flower centerpiece on the table.

Solid ones are good if you want to put a colorful runner on top or placemats.  A pretty, striped table-cloth or flowered one is an immediate mood lightener.



Neutral fabric on your sofa and chairs is the perfect choice for most homes.  It’s more cost effective to change-out your pillows at the turn of the season.

The above living room is utilizing quite a few of my ideas:  flowers, area rug, a throw on the leather chair, and colorful pillows.

Kerryanne’s blog,, has some great tutorials on making your own cottage/french/shabby pillows and other adorable things.



Adding pretty decor to your door is a no-brainer.  It says “hello” and “welcome” before someone even enters your home.

An inviting grouping of flowers and greenery in a metal container has a chalk message board in front.  The purple flowers above that are also in a french-inspired metal basket.

If you’re crafty you can easily find one to make on Pinterest.  If you don’t care to make it yourself, you can find pretty ones, such as the hydrangeas, on Etsy.



When you can’t get to the beach to hear the gentle roar of the ocean and feel the sand between your toes, create your personal beach on a tray.

If you don’t have a tray you can use any low basket, a picture frame, or an antique silver perfume salver.  I’ve picked up a few silver trays from Goodwill quite inexpensively.

Large, clear hurricanes or candle holders come in handy.  You can change out the theme periodically.  Add shells, fake coral, or driftwood and sand.

Twist sisal rope around a tall, clear hurricane.

A wooden tray with rope handles contains a few books and fake coral.


All the DIY-ers can make some very pretty plant pots using mod podge (essentially is half Elmer’s glue and half water).  The ones above are so bright that all you would need in them is something green.

If you go to yard sales or antique stores you can easily find old pails, pots, or benches to make a nice plant display.  Paint them or leave them as they are.

Another cute display of terra cotta pots that are half painted and attached to a garden wall, will really brighten up a small patio area where there’s no room for large pots.

I love this idea of taking a huge terra cotta pot, paint it, then hot glue some sisal rope on the bottom (which is now the top).  The drip pan now becomes the tray!



Creating a special place for yourself is one that may be just a corner of a room or an area under a tree outside, but you will relax when you go there.

Indoors, mine would involve a comfy chair and a book or two.  The above chaise looks like a great spot to relax and even take a nap.  The pink chair would be welcome anywhere, but looks especially cozy next to the natural light and bookcase.

Outside, the couch is surrounded by nature’s greenery and latticework.  The sounds of nature always help create a contemplative spot.  The blue adirondack chairs would have to include a cushion or two, but it’s pretty in its simplicity.


The last idea for a cool and cozy home is to string little white lights around some trees or hang some candles (real or battery type) along your patio table and umbrella as above.

I hope you have a few ideas for cozy-fying your abode.  Relax and enjoy!





Cinco de Mayo



Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

We celebrate this day along with Mexico, but it’s mistakenly thought to be Mexican independence day.  It’s a celebration of the Mexicans over the French in 1862.  Either way, it’s a good reason for having Mexican food and drink!!

As a change of pace, I thought I’d include a recipe that I made tonight for dinner, along with nachos.  The recipe for Poblano Cream Cheese Empanadas is from Marcela Valladolid and includes a video.

Here is a non-professional photo of mine.




Instead of margaritas, we had palomas.  They are refreshing and soo delicious.


Some churros for dessert would have been wonderful.  That will be left for another day.




A to Z Reflections




I think some soft, soothing music should be playing in the background here.

This was my first A to Z Challenge.  I really enjoyed it, but it was really a challenge at times trying to find some ideas beginning with that day’s letter.  My goal was to post some thoughtful and creative ideas in the decor realm.

I found that many of the bloggers were actively “writing” stories, poems, or practicing for becoming authors.  With well over 1,000 blogs, that’s a heck of a lot of authors.

Even with a week on vacation, I met the challenge and hope I’ve made some friends/followers/fellow bloggers along the way!