March Means Greens

     If you don’t already know  . . .  I’ll tell you now, March is my least favorite month.            I’d prefer to skip it entirely and go straight to . . .  April.

This year, I’m trying to kick myself in the rear, and steer clear of the doom & gloom.  March is associated with many things green, so let’s put some of them in a room.

People associate greens with landscapes, and that may be why they feel comfortable using those colors in their home.

A light wallpaper and darker accents are fun here.

A larger concentration is used below.  Notice they’ve chosen a monochromatic scheme.   This is where varied tints and shades of one color are used.  This can be done gradually for the hesitant decorator.  Choose one color you enjoy, and work it throughout your space, using light to medium tones, then darker as you become more confident.

The idea of any saturated decor colors is frightening for many of us, though.  Greens are not the first choice on my walls either.

Our home has a very open floor plan.  Entering the front door, you are immediately in the living room, from which you can also see through the dining room, into the family room, and down a hallway to the private areas.  This room (below) and down the hallway, are done in a light, neutral; a custom color I have used for years in other homes as well.

Neutrals’ accomplishments are many.  Here, it provides a clean look, a feeling of spaciousness and light, and is a wonderful backdrop for large art pieces.  Finally, it visually leads your eye down the hallway, and out to the adjoining rooms.  Your rooms should “play nice with each” 😀 , and continuing colors helps unite them, giving your spaces a comfortable flow.

Longtime readers and followers know that I’m NOT afraid of bolder colors and deep tones, but I have a definite plan with all colors as they play throughout my home.

If you are a neutral person, or just not ready for prime time, take baby steps and do a little experimenting, using accessories for your color and interests.

Greens are such fun to work with, and as noted, are the colors of nature which often puts people at ease.  The easiest green in decor is PLANTS.  Easy as 1-2-3 … colorful, affordable and moveable.  (And easy to replace if you have a brown thumb 😦  ).

Set a plant most anywhere and add a few favorite pieces with it.  Here, we’re using the MAGIC #3 Rule of Display; 3 different objects, 3 different textures, 3 different weights and heights.  Three items are always a great way to start any display, then it’s easy to go from there!

The above plant (variegated hoya) provides it’s own three, with light and dark, and white sprinkled leaves.  This plant can also produce cream colored leaves.

USE WHAT YOU HAVE.  I’ve had this versatile baker’s rack in three homes.  Here it helps me group big plants in one space, for light and easy watering.  But small plants work too.

These two are African Violets.  They need light but not bright sun.  More importantly, they need to be kept damp … NOT dripping but, damp.

And below is a simple (but super) philodendron.  It takes quite a bit of abuse.  Throw a little water on it, once or twice a week, give it a little light and room to grow.  Mine is supported with a little metal stand (thrift store find), but a simple wood stake or branch will work too.


Nature items i.e. wood pieces, stones and collected items, work especially well with greens – but just about any other color too.  Pick up several color cards at your favorite paint supply store.  Then shop your home for decor items, fabrics (even scarves from your closet).  Put all together and just live with them for awhile.  It’s a great way to start and then take it from there . . . when you’re ready.


I owed you all a long post, as it’s been quite a while since we connected.  I always enjoy your thoughts, questions and comments . . . BUT BE SURE to mark the box below the post, to receive follow-up comments.

Later – Cheryl


Last Minute Christmas Fast Fixes

There are ALWAYS A FEW OF US who need some décor perks FAST, especially during the extended holiday seasons.  So, keeping with my 1-2-3, EZ PZ philosophies about such things . . . here ya go!  Be sure to catch all the TIPS and the LIST of supplies.

1.  BANNER of Christmas Cards

EZ PZ Christmas Banner

Use the actual cards you’ve received, or like these, that I purchased for crafts, at “After Christmas Sales” last year.  FIRST, cut cards in half down the folds and trim rough edges.  NEXT, cut out the front sections from your colored envelopes, like my example, for hand lettered messages EZ PZ Christmas Banner

OR you can simply use the inside message section of your card (the back half).

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

NOW punch holes in the top corners of each piece. USE twine, yarn, ribbon or whatever you want, to string the cards and form your banner.  It is light weight and can be hung with thumb tacks or push pins, without damaging walls.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

TIPS:  Re: After Christmas sales:  1.  Look for designs that instantly catch your eye.  For banners and many other projects, you’ll want variety so choose cards that have several designs in the box.  These screamed my name right away.  The design is big, colorful and generic themed AND the images are glittered = sparkle and interest.  2.  Look for cards with COLORED ENVELOPES.  That’s just more colored paper for any crafts!
3. Faux Flowers:  Bushes of flowers rather than single stems, give you more bang for your buck.  Just snip off individual blooms to scatter through the house.
4. Wrapping paper:  I always buy the widest, longest rolls … not the short, skimpy ones.  I look for paper in colors that can be used ALL YEAR ROUND not just seasonally.  I buy as many coordinated patterns and colors as I can afford.  Paper doesn’t spoil, right!  5.  DON’T MISS your local thrift store sales, both before and after Christmas.  TON’S of deals there and you’re supporting your community, too!   6. Always start with my golden rule . . . house shop first, use what you already have before buying more! 

2. ORNAMENTS in Anything

Simply put a few colorful ornaments in any container you have;

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

a basket, a bowl, any glass jar or vase available.Christmas Fast Fix Decor

EZ PZ with things you already have.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

Below, the ornaments are in a beautiful, giant copper leaf piece, a gift from one of my daughters.  The little “Russian Doll” snowmen another daughter and I saw years ago while shopping at Sears.  They were on the check-out counter and I said how cute they were.  So the clerk said “Here, you can have these!”  A memory moment for sure.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

YES … you know it.  Even my bathroom gets decorated.

Christmas Fast Fix Decir

BLING belongs everywhere. . . you knew that, right!

Christmas Fast Fix Decor


Pointsettias are everywhere.  Buy one or two for important spots in your room.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

Pine branches are easy to come by and so are fake pine garlands.

Ease into Christmas "Feature"

A small grouping of pine, a faux flower and a Holiday item are an instant little vignette.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

See, you don’t need a lot.  Sometimes simplicity is elegant, effective … and FAST.  And putting that blue plant container in a Christmas colored basket would be great too!  The table runner is paper and ribbon.  See below


Ease into Christmas "Feature"

Put one of your houseplants in a bright basket.  Wrap some empty boxes in varied sizes and papers.  Only takes a few minutes.  OR you could wrap small items you’re giving as guest favors and throw them in a big basket.  NO TREE . . . take a bamboo basket or tub, and put all your gift-wrapped presents in them.  Lots of bang with what you have already.


This is one of the most easy and fun ideas.  No pictures but just use your imagination.  Make one  big bow for a centerpiece.  Make several small bows to scatter here, there and everywhere.  Make a quick tree garland or wall banner with thick ribbon and a few unbreakable ornaments.  Wrap jars with pretty ribbon and use as serving pieces … hold candy, silverware, extra napkins, etc.  HAVE FUN.


?? Candy ??  YES, that’s what it says.  Hey talk about multiple duties: decor, gifts, food AND inexpensive.  C’mon people, candy is perfect!Christmas Fast Fix Decor

Stores have tons of beautiful foil wrapped chocolates and candies for the holidays.  USE em!  OR Candy canes are cheap, pretty and edible.  Hang them on the tree, put em’ in a jar (with a ribbon tied round it).

The next shot includes Paper, Fabric, Pine Branches and Ornaments, used in pieces I already owned.  AND this arrangement carried me during Fall through New Years that year!

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

SUPPLIES used in these projects

Christmas cards & colored envelopes
Wrapping paper
Fabric remnants
Unbreakable Christmas Ornaments
Christmas decor pieces (you already have)
Already owned vases, jars, holders, etc.

FINALLY . . . I know, this has been a long one, yikes.  But here’s the EASIEST.

Christmas Fast Fix Decor

Christmas Fast Fix Decor










Take down some of your wall art pictures; wrap them with pretty paper and ribbon, then hang em’ back up. There you go … instant Christmas decor.


Hope these have been positive inspirations to help you eliminate those last minute stresses.  We’ll talk again soon.

Later – Cheryl

Thirty Two Days

July means the arrival of fun around here.  Two cousins from out-of-state, visit and stay for a few days.  There’s lots of laughing and talking, and eating – lots of eating!  But the best part is … shopping!  We’re all bargain hunters which means thrift stores, garage sales, Marshall’s, Homegoods, etc.  It’s always a blast.

Their visit also means that around this time in June, my panic attacks start.  We only see each other once a year, and I want the house to be all “ooh ahh” and special.  Hubs and I have been working on a few things to get ready.  We’ve both gone through our stashes of materials.

These four bright pots have been on my shelf for over a year. Artzzle THIRTY TWO DAYS post

At a Crafts Direct’s whopper sale, they went from $4.99 to $2.00 and finally another 75% off that.  Seriously … how could I pass up a deal like that. And look at all that color! Artzzle THIRTY TWO DAYS post

You know how I like to work with odd numbers, so a taller piece I already had, was added.  After explaining my idea to Hubs, he drew up a plan and with scrap wood from his workshop, he made this

. Artzzle thirty two days post

I chose a color from some left-over paint . . . Artzzle THIRTY TWO DAYS post

and did two coats, directly on the raw wood.

Since the pots have no drain plate, we bought plastic trays at WalMart ($0.35 ea) and some $3.33 plants.

Artzzle THIRTY TWO DAYS post

There were many varieties of plants and tray sizes to choose from.

Artzzle THIRTY TWO DAYS post

For Spring I went blue and green in the living room, so I chose the bluish green paint for the tray.  It works nicely with the bright pots, don’t you think?

Artzzle THIRTY TWO DAYS post

Below was the previous look

  • The purple plate and bowls were $3 @ garage sale.
  • The purple sphere was $2.50 @ local Discovery Thrift.
  • The bunnies were $1.00 at local ReUse Store.
  • The miscellaneous white pieces are from my collections.
  • Flowers were free from a garage sale.

Artzzle THIRTY TWO DAYS post

After the windows are washed, the living room will be guest ready.  Artzzle THIRTY TWO DAYS post

A different furniture arrangement and change out of accessories have given it a totally new look.

Great, right?

But what about thoset thirty two days? It’s all that’s left!

In thirty two days, I need things to be clean, comfortable, colorful and … different.  Those 3 C’s aren’t a problem, but that “different” is what drives the panic.  It’s not like this upcoming event is anything new.  Unfortunately, my unpreparedness isn’t new, either.  And I can’t blame it on the timing issues mentioned HERE.  I just keep thinking I have all this time and then suddenly … I don’t.

So I had better sign off for this time … and GET BUSY!

Hubs is already working on a shelf for my salt & pepper collection. My cousin always teases me about having oodles of shakers but never putting any out to use OR show.  Ha!  She’ll be surprised this time.

Meantime, I’ll try to take my own advice . . . to stress less and start more!

Later – Cheryl

Lots of WOW for $0 and 15 minutes

Got company coming this weekend?
Need to spruce up your place … quickly, cheaply, easily?
Round up some of your treasures and have a little fun.
It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

Start with 3 items of different heights and textures (add more later if you want).  You can go “theme-y” with similar pieces, or pure random just showing off things you love.

Purely random here . . . 1. Rusty star, 2. Silver ceramic figurine, 3. Jawbone, naturally bleached. OK, I KNOW . . . you don’t have (or may not want) an animal’s jawbone.  I’m just goin’ for the process here.  You’ll be using your own great stuff!
Artzzle Display Feature

The jaw isn’t for everyone, but have to say . . . it’s the most talked-about arrangement in our house; a real eye-catcher and a great conversation piece.

TIP: Group your pieces, let them touch.  You want them to connect.  Sometimes a straight line works . . . but not too often.

Got books? Show em off.  Below, several big books are placed under artwork and dressed up with three decorative pieces.  1-2-3 you’re done!

Artzzle Display Feature

It’s easy to jazz up a shelf.  All we did here was line up three nice, but different vases to give things a little shine.  (YES, a line works fine here.)  NOTE: Use varied heights and patterns, and don’t put too much space between the items.  Pull them closer together.

Everyone has dishes and I’ve never met anyone who hates candy or flowers.
Dress up a convenient spot with 1. Bowl, 2. Plate, 3. Mug.  Add some flowers & greens from your yard. Throw in some goodies and you’ve got a great look on a kitchen table or the end of a counter. Just make sure it’s easy access for your guests.

Artzzle Display Feature

Don’t have or want the matchy-matchy look? No garden flowers? Use what you’ve got and like. 1. Paint can, 2. Tin, 3. Odd plate.

Artzzle Display Feature Clip some evergreens or shrub branches. YES, evergreens work all year round (but maybe use something besides peppermints and red candies when it’s not Christmas 🙂 OR, pick up a cheap assorted flower bunch at the local box store – around $5 or less.

Artzzle Display Feature

Maybe you don’t have a yard at all.  Above, we just put root clippings from two houseplants into water.  EZ PZ.  (These stems will be planted after they root).

How about plants and books?  1. Houseplant, 2. Books, 3. Handmade wooden mallet.  You’ll have personal pieces of your own.

TIP:  Notice the little angle to the books.  EXPERIMENT, don’t always just line things up, or pull everything evenly to the front..

Artzzle Display Feature

You GUYS can use these tips too.  Just work what you have and follow the same 1-2-3’s.  Below are more masculine displays.  Again, really easy, just use things you already have.

Artzzle Display Feature

Natural wood pieces and beautiful rocks make great accents. On top, we used the paint can and house plant cuttings again, along with a little handmade fishing pole, a found rock and a VICTORY cycle gas cap.  (these all have meaning for a special fella of mine)

Artzzle Display Feature

TIP: The fishing plaque was simply positioned on the wall with putty (big box stores). It holds light weight things, can be as temporary or permanent as you want.  Doesn’t hurt the wall upon removal.

Artzzle Display Feature Artzzle Display Feature

Again, have fun and EXPERIMENT.   Here, three decorative boxes, more books, some natural elements and yes . . . even magazines.  This display was easy, and tells a story about the  person who lives here.

TIP:  Play!  Books can be upright but try leaning or stacking a few.   Magazines laying around?  Gather them up in a nice bunch and show em’ off.

Baskets are great in lots of places.  The one below stores (and displays) books and magazines.  NOTE:  Three pottery pieces on table top also hold books and treats.

Artzzle Display Feature

TIP:  For anyone . . . a quick dress-up for a couch: 1. Throw, 2. Toss Pillows.  Use a throw, small colorful blanket – toss it over the corner (or middle) of the couch, pull it together in the middle, then throw a couple toss pillows over the corner (or middle).

It’s also quick and easy, to pop flowers or a plant into a nice basket.

Artzzle Display Feature

Accent with favorite items.  Add a colorful placemat or scarf underneath and you’ve got a great table look.

Artzzle Display Feature

So just as the title promised . . .

  • $0 money spent using what you already have
  • Quick Spruce Up
  • Easy tips that anyone can do

Wishes to all for a safe, happy Memorial Day Weekend.

And remember, stress less . . . start more.

Later – Cheryl

Enough Already!

Hi All.

Enough with winter already.

Since November, it’s been snow . . .


and Snow . . .


We live in Minnesota, an hour northwest of the Twin Cities. We’ve had 37″ of snow so far and our average amount at this date is 21″ or so.

It’s still only February, so we know that means . . . “it ain’t done yet!”

It isn’t a monster below . . . it’s my Mister . . . after digging out.

Digging out his truck that was stuck for two days in a 4′ drift at the top of the driveway.
Digging out the propane tank so they can deliver the 175 gallons of gas at a $595.16 cost.
Digging out a space to start the snowblower and find the rest of the driveway.

They say you can’t avoid death, taxes . . . or the weather.

Well, we’re healthy.
We already filed taxes and will even get a bit of a refund.
The snowblower works fine, and winter does have to end . . . sometime . . . RIGHT?

So, we’re trying to brighten up our spaces a bit. I put a new runner and scarf on the table, brought out vases in those colors and put a few houseplants in them.

Do you think it helped a little? Even so, it’s not enough!

Problem is, now I don’t like all our brown and beige walls. That’s a pretty big problem too, because I just painted those walls last year around this time. Hey, I love new paint, I just don’t love putting it on the walls!

And I keep seeing all these other wonderful colors everywhere.

Leslie over at the SEASONED HOMEMAKER brighten up with some pretty new toss pillows. Leslie’s great at sewing though . . . me, not so much!

Look at this recent HOUZZ update. BECKY DIETRICH, HOUZZ Contributor is one of my favorite writers over there.

Centsational Girl, is into blues, grays and all kinds of fun today, TAILORED TOUCHES TO THE MASTER bedroom.

I’ll need to be satisfied with daydreaming for a bit, as we have to handle that propane bill first.

Are you fending off winter blahs? Let me know how, because YOU KNOW I love hearing from you! Meantime, stay warm, stay safe and . . . don’t stress, just start something!

Later – Cheryl

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Room Tour

It isn’t a very mobile Monday as my back remains out of whack, but I don’t like to miss a post. Recently I’ve gotten some requests to feature our place in a home tour, so thought this might be a good time to put some of those pictures out there. Today the light was decent for getting some living room shots so that’s what I’ll share this time.

This angle is looking into our living room from the kitchen.

Our house is a basic one level. In Minnesota it’s called a rambler, but is also sometimes referred to as a ranch style. The main living areas of the house flow into each other, in a very open floor plan. This includes a living room, dining room and kitchen, and on into a family room.

You’ve seen this shelf piece before. We purchased it several years ago at Crate and Barrel. Such a versatile unit, it can be on a flat wall, up against a corner wall or straddled across a corner as it is here. You can also pair it back to back with an identical shelf for a nice look. We’ve even used ours horizontally on the floor as well. The two glass owls in this display are from KOHL’s (a birthday gift). Except for the photography and plants here, everything else is from thrift stores or garage sales, and was purchased for next to nothing (including the Hull, Frankoma and noemi pottery pieces).

The blue metallic piece is simply a small table from an outdoor patio set. It holds our electronics and a little basket for movie storage. The open leg area makes a perfect spot for extra toss pillows too.

This is a small credenza piece, circa mid 1960’s. It was one in a set of three tables in my mom’s home; a brown, wood-look formica style popular at that time. I have redone this table three times. This treatment is my favorite as I used metallic copper paint to resurface the top and hardware, and added a light texture treatment to the paint in the body of the piece. Formica can be easily and economically redone. I love this credenza because its’unique shape and size can be used in so many places, and it was a special piece to my mom.

The art piece pictured here is something I painted several years ago. I just plotted out a geometric layout that I liked. It is painted on masonite, simply using latex wall paint. Then the blocks were outlined with a copper paint pen. Over time, as I change colors in my houses, these colors change as well. The piece is designed to hang either horizontally or vertically as featured here.

The orange lamp, petite coffee table and its’ accessories are all thrift store finds. $7.00 for the lamp (new with tags), $10.00 for the table and $.75 for the scarf (which is an original Vera Wang textile). The copper tray was under a dollar.

Our living room is wonderfully workable for several layouts. The couch out into the room as it is here, is one of our favorite arrangements. We also like our hutch across the angled walls as you see here.

The larger, square toss pillows are in indoor-outdoor fabric, and were purchased new at Wal-Mart for $4.64 each. I liked the design and durability, especially with our pets. The orange and patchwork corduroy pillows are part of a comforter set that I found at a garage sale recently. The material washed up quite nicely and is very durable. And by using some of the items in different rooms, it helps unite the spaces.

Finally pictured is Hubs’ favorite chair. Let it be known that a man is not easily separated from his electronics OR his favorite chair. I can hear someone saying “that looks like one of those vinyl sets you used to buy at big box stores”. Yes it does look like those, but it has a special story. In the late 1990’s I worked for Dayton’s, a wonderful upscale store in Minneapolis. At that time employees got fantastic discounts, and even more so twice a year during their “employee appreciation days”. Hubs fell in love with this chair, which was an exclusive design, in leather, imported from Italy. We had never seen anything like it. Even with my discounts, it was pretty spendy for us, but I wanted him to have the chair. Fortunately for some, but unfortunately for us, within a year’s time, there were vinyl knock-offs of this design in every big box store around, going for about $99. The only proof we have of its’ authenticity is that it is nearly 20 years old, and still looks and feels like new.

The three framed items were made with dollar store picture frames. I removed what was originally displayed, lined the back with black velvet, and then arranged several pieces of jewelry that had belonged to my mom, my aunt and my grandmother. The lamp is another thrift store purchase @ $5.00. TIPS: Always inspect wiring on these lamps; you don’t want dried out, or taped cords, or cracked cords or switches. Take a light bulb with you on your thrift trips, to test the lamp before you buy. REMEMBER, shades are easy to buy and or replace now days, so don’t pass up a great lamp base because of an ugly shade!

Thanks for stopping by today. Let your friends know we’re here. The more the merrier.

Later – Cheryl