Have to Admit It … Fall is Here

Okay, okay … I’m finally willing to say … it’s Fall.

The days are shorter and even the nights are changing, with temperatures dropping down after dark.  Weather has been wonderful though, allowing time to finish up outdoor “summer chores” that still sat undone.

After playing on polyvore this week, Fall finally kicked into gear for me.  It was prob’ly all that gorgeous orange!  Ya know how I love my oranges and browns.

So … today, we “Autumn-ed up” the place a little.

The orange vase was already in the table look, but with Summer’s tail end florals.

An easy switch here, simply using some of my spectacular seedums, a few colorful shrub branches and some rose hips from the garden.

Another quick change, was replacing the middle plate on this wall rack, from summer green to autumn burnt orange.

The hand painted plates, top and bottom, will work right up to Christmas, so they stay.

A bright lamp and one of my glass birds keeps company with more of the artisan pottery set, featured in the table arrangement … and on the coffee table.

Hubs’ favorite wildlife print has moved from over the fireplace, and now resides in the living room, along with an Edna Wolfe water color.

The blues, sands and browns in the painting, play nicely with the room’s orange, brown and aqua accents.

A large strand of silk Autumn leaves, was divided and included in several vignettes throughout the open living spaces, uniting the entire area with a continued look and theme.

Some of the leaves, a different scarf beneath and some earthy pieces now sit atop the piano.  The fun, scalloped table cloth is a mainstay, featured with most every arrangement there.

Remember when we switched rooms around a while back?

Artzzle DECISIONS Feature

Below is the newest look for the fireplace grouping, now in what was once the dining area.

The painting is one of mine … an acrylic, with subject and colors that keep the current look going.

TIP:  Remember Mixing = Maximum Interest.

My group here, has a few larger pieces at varied heights; woods and metallic are combined with glass and pottery items in finishes that – to me – complement each other.

More silk leaves were brought in, and a bit more of turquoise and orange are smuggled in, with the mini vases and fresh flowers (the only blooms left in the garden).

Mom’s copper cannisters were moved from countertop to cabinet top, for some sparkle up there.

Of course, I couldn’t exclude the hutch.  Ooh look at the “O” here!

Featured on a bottom half shelf is part of a cute pottery set I found at DISCOVERY THRIFT.  It was love at first site, but I only wanted the creamer and sugar bowl.  Wendy made me a terrific deal on the entire group; eight covered soup bowls, teapot, creamer and sugar … NEW in the box … $12.00.  Had to take it!

TIP:  Using only glass and china items in a hutch isn’t necessary, and may not be the best way to display.

When all is shiny and bright (especially with the mirror backing), everything just melds together and you don’t see the individual, unique pieces.  Mixing and separating a few groupings, keeps the eye interested and moving to see what’s next.

Some favorite books, a metal, pinecone paperweight and the beautiful walnut mallet Hubs made, occupy the other half of that bottom hutch shelf.  Oh and those cute, vintage bookends.

The front door WREATH was changed out a bit.  Some of the silk maple leaves were added … but the sparkly butterfly stayed.  I couldn’t part with it yet.

Recently, I purchased two indoor/outdoor rugs from BALLARD DESIGNS during one of their great sales.  One is for the entry area right by our front door and the other, a runner for our bathroom (I refuse to use those shaggy toilet rugs!)

As we have no actual foyer, I cover the builder’s vinyl with a nice rug (here, my Ballard Sale rug) and have a small scale chair nearby (ready for taking off those boots).  For Fall, I’ve used a mid-century side chair and used orange & white chalk on my message board

Before closing, a final update.  The two end-tables in the family room got identical little arrangements.  I always keep these small, to allow for frequent use in the seating group.

That was my day.  So, what awesome autumn decorating have you been up to?

Remember, stress less and start more.  And lately, I’m trying hard to stay positive, as it helps me be productive.  Maybe it’ll work for you too :)   Have a great weekend.

Later – Cheryl

Looking Cool in Cooler Weather

Looking Cool in Cooler Weather

You Would Never Have Known

The acronym “OMG” is not one I care for.  It’s overused, offensive to some, and just plain annoying to me.  At the very least, it does try signify an attitude; happiness, anger, surprise.  I want something that says “awe struck”.  Yes, WOW works, but like OMG, it’s redundant to the point of nausea.  ( I promise to try & stop with all the “wow”s ).

What can you say when a special descriptive is needed, like for me today.  Today  a home took my breath away.  I’ve highlighted there because, well, how do you abbreviate something like that?  Such a marvelous moment?  OMG?  WOW?  No, they just don’t describe that feeling, they don’t cut it.  Now –

you would never have known . . .

that this house . . .

is also this house . . .

without reading this entire article.  Take a look and see what I mean!

Navigation arrows at bottom right

Acknowledgements: Article: HOUZZ,  Author: Carol Crotta

Paraphrasing a reader’s comments, this couple had great style and $$$ to incorporate it.  A pleasant condition to be in.  You might agree with me in the thought that no matter our style, most of us rarely have the $$ to apply it.

Yes,  I know, I know,  their particular style wouldn’t work for everyone.  But surely, just the sheer beauty and workmanship here can be appreciated by all.  And, without having seen the title or captions . . .

you would never have known . . . this couple is IN THEIR 70’s! Newlyweds, too yet! I mean, WOW, OMG!

We’ll talk again soon.  Meantime, stress less – accomplish more.

Later – Cheryl

Dreamy Schemes

Dreamy Schemes

Dreamy Schemes by artzzle-com

Playing with Polyvore today.  These are three schemes I thought would work for our master bedroom project . . . still very much in limbo!

What are your thoughts?  The spread isn’t my exact one but color is close.

We’ll talk again soon!

Later – Cheryl

P.S.  I chose these items strictly as examples, because of their colors, textures and designs.  Prices are of extreme range on Polyvore so expensive pieces would naturally be replaced by similar items within your budget.  Think of this as an illustrated lesson, not a catalog :D

Decisions, Decisions … Wah Wah

Hi readers.  I have a dilemma but I don’t know if opinions will help or confuse things more. Keep or sell … what should I do?  Do you recall our “married” dining room pieces?  The chairs and table aren’t a matched set, they were purchased separately.

Artzzle DECISION FeatureWell, while I’ve always liked it, Hubs doesn’t care for  the whole “dining room” idea … said we – just us two – never use it.  It’s true, he and I never shared one meal … or game … or coffee chat at that little dining table.  Adamant about getting rid of it, he continued with other valid points.

  1. Why even have a dining “room” at all?
  2. How many times, in eleven years, have we ever used the leaf and had a “family dinner” there?  ANSWER:  Only twice.
  3. Do we use it when people come over? ANSWER:  Very rarely.
  4. In this home, as in our past two, where do/did we always end up eating? ANSWER:  At the kitchen counter or in the TV room.

You now understand Hubs’ view on the issue.
Artzzle DECISION Feature

So … we posted the set on Craigslist, both in the Twin Cities and the St. Cloud areas.  For you non-Minnesota residents, we live in between St. Paul/Minneapolis and St. Cloud, so I always post in both listings.  And wow … I had interest right away.  Great, except  they only wanted the chairs.  Their offer was right on mark, but they lived much farther away (Wisconsin) and wondered if we could meet half way.

Wah Wah.  I really dislike having to make all these decisions!  So, I broke it down again.

  1. Price is right.
  2. I DID purchase the table separately from the chairs, so know it has sold that way.
  3. I DID have a temporary, alternative use for the table.
  4. We didn’t want to load and travel to sell anything.

SOLUTION:  They came to us, loved the chairs and bought them.  Very nice people.  They even sent us a picture of their set with their “new” chairs.

Artzzle DECISIONS Feature

NEXT STEP:  I changed my craigslist ad, to feature only the table; gave the dimensions both W/WO  the leaf, and noted it’s advantages at either size; great for a foyer, a game table or small apartment.

MEANTIME:  I started rearranging and Hubs quickly retreated to his workshop.  Minus his aid, I couldn’t move any big stuff, so this was my first try.

Artzzle DECISION Feature

I brought out the set of side chairs from the guest bedroom – which happened to fit just right pulled in to the table.  This was nice, looked good (I thought).  After all, there are just two of us living here, right?

Artzzle DECISIONS Feature

Well, guess what, Hubs still didn’t care for it.  He told me to try to come up with a totally different use for the dining room space, and thinking that would keep me occupied for quite a while, he smiled smugly and went back to his workshop.  Foolish man seriously how many years have we been together??!!

Ten minutes later, I called him back and said to bring the dolly with him.  Hey, he told me to come up with something different!  I just followed instructions.

You may not recall it, but we have a fireplace.  Nice thing for me is that it’s electric, hence movable, hence the dolly . . . hence, this . . .

Artzzle DECISIONS Feature

and a bit further to this final look.  Don’t worry – – that corner of the counter at the bottom left, just looks that close because of the angle of the shot.  There’s actually almost five feet between the corner of the chair and the island.

Artzzle DECISIONS Feature

Now, you’re wondering what I did with the table.  You are wondering, right?

Artzzle DECISIONS Feature

I put it in the living room (the front room).

Artzzle DECISIONS Feature

I even pulled out some of our old board games to have close by . . . just in case :)

Artzzle DECISIONS Feature

Okay now everyone, what would you do with the table?  Keep or Sell?  FYI, I presently have two different parties that are supposedly interested in buying it.  I’m waiting to hear back from either or both.

MEANTIME:  C’mon friends, let me know – stay or go?  What do you think?

By the way, we’ve played those board games about as frequently as we’ve used the table for dining.

Remember, staying positive helps to stay productive, so don’t stress too much, just start something :)

Later – Cheryl


Kitchens, Cousins and Cabinets

July has meant kitchens, cousins, cabinets and me . . . completely pooped!  It was a VERY busy month for me and Hubs. Regular readers know that my cousins come up each July to visit, as they did this year too!  As usual, we had a blast :)







And you’ll also probably remember we’ve been attacking our kitchen cabinet project in steps, and still had the lowers to finish.

Artzzle Backsplash Feature

Remember how my timing is often a little off?  I didn’t get motivated about the cabinets till the week before our visitors’ scheduled stay.


Hubs did his part, trimming everything out, and on one of our cooler days, I tackled the painting and sealing.


You know our dishwasher died this past winter, and I may also have mentioned that its’ gaping absence has Hubs designing a wonderful pull-out drawer for pan storage – my back just loves that guy :) !  But it’s a “future” plan.  In the meantime, lazy me just left it naked and exposed to the world.   The ladies know we’re always in the middle of a project or two, and once they arrived, we had plenty to keep us busy, so nobody cared.


Showing off some of their thrift finds, before departing.

Showing off some of their thrift finds, before departing.

After they headed home, we took a couple of days off, appreciating the AC.  It gave us lots of time to talk . . . about what else . . . projects.

In afterthought, I regretted the big black hole left open for our company.  I remembered some of the clever “disguise” ideas my blogger buddy Kim has done with fabric.  I had remnants left from our recent family room drapes makeover (haven’t posted it for you yet).  Since that area is directly behind the kitchen, those would work.  So, supplies yes, but still a problem.  C’mon, you all know how I just love to sew . . . NOT!  Covering the opening meant using two pieces.  Oh boy!

Speaking of boys, all these boy-toys around here tend to come in handy. Hubs has all sorts, including an upholstery stapler, and an air one at that.  So it was brought to the kitchen.

Keep calm . . . it wasn’t ME operating anything electric.  C’mon, an air compressor and an automatic stapling gun . . . seriously??  No no!  You know me!   I pleaded and begged Hubs away from his shop, for this quick and easy project.  I put a comfy, big ol’ pillow in there for his back.  Then as I gathered material, he stapled two little curtains in place, from behind the cabinet front.  No sewing.  The bottom was already nicely hemmed and the raw edges were just folded in and stapled.  Voila’ – done.  It’ll work until the practical pan drawer is done, don’t ya think?


Remember my grumping about our broken rider mower last time?  Well . . . it’s still out of commission but sometimes good things rise from bad.  Hubs was out “push mowing” today with our noisy old hand mower, when a second roaring machine piped in.  I looked out to see our neighbor teen, Tyler, zipping along on their rider, finishing things off in no time.  He didn’t want pay and left without telling us.

So, Hubs and I leashed Gracie and went for a walk back to his house, delivering a card and a little monetary compensation.  And we got to know our newest neighbors even better.  Nice.  Great guy, that Tyler. I should’ve taken a picture.  Maybe our granddaughters would visit more often if they knew what a cute neighbor we have.  Hhmm.

So, kitchen is done, cousins are safely back home, and yard looks good, for now anyway. . But don’t worry, there’s so much more to report . . . next time because me, I’m pooped out!  Think there is a cat puppy nap in the near future.

Artzzle Feature: Gracie Mae

Hey, Gracie, ya started without me!

Meanwhile, I’m working at staying positive to stay productive.  See if it works for you!

Later – Cheryl

I Love Country Living … Most of the Time

Hi All.  I was working from an earlier draft for today’s article and somehow the first post registered as published on that date, so wouldn’t display on the home page under today’s date.  Sorry for the duplicate.  Have a great weekend.

Artzzle COUNTRY LIVING Feature


Everyone knows we love our little house and its’ rural setting.

Artzzle COUNTRY LIVING Feature

But you may not know that . . .

  1. Internet (REAL INTERNET . . . fast AND affordable) isn’t easy to come by out here.
  2. Septic systems can be costly.  Fixing them I mean.
  3. You GOTTA  HAVE a riding mower . . . and they’re expensive, to buy AND to repair.

About the internet; hhmm how to sum this up. Before: we had no land line, two cell phones and the internet was part of the cell contract. Net service was a set amount each month … unless your usage went over a certain figure and of course . . . it’s me here, little miss social butterfly, blogger, so I did . . . go over, way over! We consulted our fantastic computer tech, Jerome, for options. Gotta love that guy.

Artzzle COUNTRY LIVING Feature

Our (yet to be proven) solution was to go back to a landline with internet through that. We kept only one cell phone so the rate was to drop way back there, even with a load of talk minutes and unlimited text/pictures.The first bill for the LL and NET . . . was WAY OVER the quoted monthly amount.

  • installation (a guy was in the area anyway, and tweaked something in a box to hook us back up)
  • equipment shipping charges (a little box about 10″ square by 2″ deep) and finally a ton of miscellaneous fees and taxes.
  • extra charges for an online security package that was supposed to be included.

So, trying to be patient . . . you all know how patient I am NOT! I poured over all the misc crap, had the extra security removed (and credited back those charges)  … and we’re waiting for the first actual bill after all of that.

Artzzle COUNTRY LIVING Feature

As for the cell set-up, our first official bill after the switch . . . ready for this?  They never made any of the changes and still had us on the old plan.  He said all the new arrangements were written down BUT NEVER ACTIVATED.   So, supposedly all was corrected, and the next bill will reflect the changes AND we’ll be credited back all those extra charges.  PLEASE EVERYONE . . . let’s not hold our breath!

Artzzle COUNTRY LIVING Feature

On to the septic situation.Good news was (well sort of good) . . . the charges were under $200, this time. The tech we found was highly recommended. He patiently explained everything that was done. But he left us with an FYI, that the pumps on these systems usually have a 10 year life span. Evidently after that, it’s a “who knows how long” or “you might get lucky”  . . . yah, like that’ll ever happen.  Still, we seem to have been fortunate, because at the ripe (yes – pun intended) old age of 12 years, ours is still fixable.  BTW, cost estimate for a new pump (installation NOT included) $400 – $500 smackers.

Artzzle COUNTRY LIVING Feature

We have some very good neighbors.  Across the road, two brothers live in side-by-side farms.  Even when our mower works, we only mow about 25%  of our five acres.  At least two times a summer, the guys take turns mowing and baling the rest.  They get silage and we get a well kept acreage and less chances of fire, with the dry plantings gone.

Eleven years ago, when Hubs wanted to move out here, I made him a deal.  I would get trees and shrubs to plant AND a  new toy, a brand.new.riding.mower!  This summer, my toy bit the dust. Even lower priced new mowers are expensive … at least for us in retirement.  Next problem is, anyone we know who fixes motors lives too far away to make the trip worth our while.

Soooo . . . if some of my current exterior photos look a bit “shaggy” be forgiving.  Hubs and I are taking turns doing small sections – with our old push mower (and it’s not too healthy either).

And of course, living in the country means living with more bugs.  But look at this colorful fella.

Artzzle COUNTRY LIVING Feature 

I didn’t stay around long enough to see if he bites :)

Over and above all the downfalls . . . Hubs and I LOVE living in the country.  Each day offers new adventures and beautiful sunsets.

Artzzle COUNTRY LIVING Feature

We’ll be here as long as we can afford it.

Thanks for stopping by.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend.  Next week my “ladies” visit so I better get back to my house work.

Later – Cheryl

Just Lookin’ Around

. . . and here’s what I found!

HOUZZ is on my Tops List of “commercial” or “media” decor websites. APARTMENT THERAPY ties it for first place. Email updates and new articles arrive quite often and I always give them a big slot of time for viewing.

Not sure what search terms I used here, but was probably looking for background or displays for shelves.

Above reminded me of a paint card sample book. Fun, right?!

Here, note how they wisely used that alcove for great storage and display space, and then detailed it by continuing the pretty accent wall color just into that upper, open area.  Very nice.

We’re   I’m thinking about a new color for our three main accent walls, and was probably concentrating on colors when I found the room above.  I had a more bronze-ish green in mind, rather than the brighter acid color here . . . BUT . . . look at those beautiful steel doors and the mid-century furniture pieces.  Wow.

The search topic for this final pick was “window seats”.  While it isn’t exactly that — look closely, those are under-lighted shelves above that seat, not windows — it presents an interesting idea for a small, enclosed room, gives extra storage . . . AND was certainly an unexpected find.

No matter the search term or article title, you always find so much more than you asked for on HOUZZ and APARTMENT THERAPY.  That’s what makes it such fun and why I enjoy spending time there (Hubs says too much time).  But you never know what new inspiration will hit!  My HOUZZ BOARDS are here if you’d like to see them.  So if you’re having a rainy or killer-heat day like we’ve had here lately, settle in, grab the device of choice and go exploring.

Until next time, try to stress less so you can accomplish more.  It always helps me.

Later – Cheryl

We Didn’t Go to the Animal Fair

Hubs and I enjoy art crawls and craft fairs and now that he’s fully retired, we’re able to catch more of them.  So we jumped at the invitation from my son and his wife, when they wanted to take us to their local art fair, as part of my Mom’s Day and Birthday celebrations.  With a gift of my choice and dinner out, who could turn that down.

I was pretty excited during the drive down to their place.  It’s an hour and a half drive, and on the freeway, we passed an “older” couple on their Sunday Drive.  This triggered thoughts of my Grandma, and I remembered “Animal Fair” . . . one of the little songs she sang to me as a child.

Do you know it?  “I went to the animal fair . . . the birds and the beasts were there”.  For you who are closer to my age group, gotta tell ya, public opinion has changed the lyrics a couple of times over the years.  Here’s a current version from the internet.

The monkey no longer gets drunk . . .  he gets bumped by a skunk.

Hhmm.  Anyhoo . . . my day gave me my own lyrics to that melody.

I went to a country art fair
So much to see and buy there

Artzzle ART FAIR FeatureFrom shiny steel to an old metal feel,
Artzzle ART FAIR Feature

and beautiful pottery ware.

Artzzle ART FAIR Feature

The Chinese dinner was great.
I ate and ate . . . and ate.
And on the way home, I rested and zoned,
and dreamed of my beautiful date . . . the date, the date!

A perfect “memory” day!  And the LeAnne Chin’s did double duty . . .

lunch and take-home for dinner.  Yum.

Hey, remember the mulch and plants gift from my daughter on Mom’s Day?Artzzle Weather Feature

It’s really filled in.

Artzzle ART FAIR Feature

Meanwhile . . . the countdown to more fun is on!
My crazy cousins will be here in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!
Holy Hannah!

So we’re fixin’ and buildin’ and cleanin’ . . . lots and lots of cleanin’.
I’ll keep you posted on the progress.
Until then, stay positive and it’ll help you be productive.

Later – Cheryl