Stairway Upgrade

Lately I have been so busy with family things I haven’t had a second to get my thoughts together to blog. Seems it was farther down the list of priorities this past week . I have a few projects that I plan to share but they are still a work in progress so I thought I would share a home improvement project we did before I started blogging.

Our stairs are the first thing you see when you open our front door and I had never liked the way the looked. The newel post looked cheap and the spindles were so-so. Since we have  warm wood trim in our home painting wasn’t an option for me and wouldn’t have changed the construction aspects and that is what I didn’t like. We hired the gentleman that did our trim work when the house was built, yes we tracked him down as we knew he could match stain and was a great craftsman. It didn’t cost all that much but the impact was well worth it.

Stairway before:

After the spindles were replace with iron and new newel posts:

I think the changes added character and richness to our home and I like the look of the stairway so much more now.

While we had our craftsman around we had him trim out our bathroom mirrors. Here is a picture of the Master bathroom before and after:

After adding the trim work

They seemed like simple changes with huge impact. It always amazes me what adding detail and milwork will do for a room. I eventually would love to add some wainscotting and other trim around our home. Here are some other ideas I hope to impelment someday.

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Maybe this is the weekend  you take time to attack that project you’ve been putting off. Wouldn’t it feel great to check it off your “to do” list?

Have a great weekend.



Woven Chairs

Since I had been gone for a week I had some errands to run and while I was out and about stopped by our local Marshall’s. You never know what you will find there. Somedays I find plenty of treasures for myself or clients and other days I leave empty handed. I had been watching their furniture section which mostly contained a few chairs and some garden pieces. I had my eye on these two chairs that were very similar to ones I had admired at Restoration Hardware for about $480 a piece with cushions. Still they were priced at $159 each,a deal compared to Restoration Hardware. However  they were still a stretch for any impulsive splurge since I wasn’t sure exactly where I would put them.  I kept them in mind knowing that one day they are there and often gone the next.

Here is the Restoration Hardware version:

Well it must have been meant to be, because they were still there today and marked down to $60 each. I scooped those babies up and brought them home to my little abode.

While we were in Newport Beach I saw the style in many a courtyard or around a dining table indoors. I think that inspired me to purchase them and incorporate them in my house for Spring and Summer.


There are a few places they would work in my house , but I put them in the breakfast nook for now. What do you think?

Have a great weekend!


Spring Mantel

While the calendar indicates tomorrow is the first day of Spring , I have been in Spring-mode for the past month. Unfortunately the weather here has not been reflecting the change of season as much as one would have hoped for by now. Still I try to tell myself anyday now it will be above 60 degrees and NOT snowing.

So I will keep Springifying the inside of my home while I wait for warmer days to work outside.

Layla over at is planning to host a link party for Spring mantel makeovers beginning tomorrow.

I had decorated mine a few weeks ago when I finished painting the chalkboards. It remains neutral in it’s color scheme but fits the rest of the room’s decor.

Since I have the mirror over the mantel I don’t feel the need to over accessorize, but love to change to reflect the seasons or a special event by adding a few things. Also having a mirror there means when I try to photograph my mantel, if I the shot isn’t from just the right angle you get to see my kitchen and whatever happens to be laying out on the counter..oops. That happened more times than I care to admit.

Here are some of the other options for the mantel I experimented with:

Either way it looks much better in reality than it photographs.

This weekend between rain showers I moved the flower cart to the greenhouse and redid the entry.. Again.  Yes it’s been said I have “Obsessive Compulsive Decorating”, OCD sort of. I worked in a couseling office recently and a pyschiatrist , whom is now a sweet friend, and I decided this must be my condition. I can live with that. I even had to fluff the waiting room pillows when I was there to redecorate her office.

Anyway…. here is the flower cart in the greenhouse:

And the entry.. for the moment:

More indoor Springyness:

Signs that Spring is tying to manifest itself around here:

Be sure to check out all the Spring mantel ideas over at tomorrow.

Happy last day of Winter! Whoo Hoo!


The Lettered Cottage

Guest Room ‘Spring-ified’

I am making my way through each room getting it Spring-ified and today I will share the guest bedroom update.

To begin with I found the bed frame at World Market on clearance a few years ago for about $150 and it is solid and very well made.

The end table also are World Market items. Lamps are from Target, but they may get replaced soon as I have my eye on some that would look better. Target has great lamps for the money and rival the same “Pottery Barn” look for less quite often. I am sure Pottery Barn hates that but that is a fact that suits me just fine when trying not to blow the budget and get the look for less. All that to say , I am a Pottery Barn fan and have many an item purchased from that beautiful store.

My winter look for the room is a Pottery Barn duvet and shams also purchased a few years ago. Love it for Fall and Winter but when Spring arrives I like to refresh it with Spring green.

Fall/ Winter:


I was ready for a change and I picked up the new quilt and sheets at Marshall’s . Got to love Marshall’s when you find a deal.

The bright little rug added for a pop of color was from Pier 1.

I love it when you have good bones for a room (ie: the furnishing and neutral walls) and can mix it up into something new in an afternoon. Speaks to my need to change things up every season.

Come on get Spring-ified!


Books in Home Decor

I love to use books in decorating. I use them to add height to an object, texture or color to a space and interest on a coffee table.

I am particularly fond of old books. Love the history in the way the pages turn yellow and their covers age.

Here are a few examples in my home:

Other examples:

Check out the bird cage.


In baskets:Sawyer Console Table

Avery Drop-Leaf Console Table

Metropolitan Long Console Table

Books aren’t just for reading they can be a great enhancement to your home decorating scheme.

Prop It Up — Stack three books on a side table to use as a raised display area. Set a lamp, sculpture, urn, or plant (in a waterproof cache pot) on top of the books. This is a great way to raise another accessory that may be too short as well as create some interest in a display.

Sometimes the books you use give a little peak into your own personal interest and travels. Sometime I buy books at the Goodwill just because I like the color of the cover and need to tuck a little pop of it in a certain area. They are inexpensive and useful. So get those books out of storage and find a place to stack them in your home to add a little history or color.

Happy Decorating!



Chalkboards are everywhere lately, Pinterest, home decor stores and at my house.

Finished making the ones I had started last Saturday and got them in the frames today. I think I am addicted to chalkboard-ifing everything.

I started with an old picture frame and a mirror frame that the mirror broke out of. That’s a long story, let’s just say it has something to do with an earth quake and my husband trying to get the mirror back into the frame, it didn’t turn out so well. So I saved the silver frame and now have a new use for it.

Here is what I used:

Spray primer

Spray chalkboard paint








Massonite cut to fit the frames I had. Home Depot and Lowe’s are happy to cut it for you if you know the size you need. They will even cut it whatever size so you can get it in your car and you can cut it more exact later.










Chalk of course. I used regular old crayola school chalk to season the board after it has been painted.

And a frame to finish it off.

Here are a few pictures of the process.

2 coats of primer . I had issues with this particular primer could have been operator error , but I would use a different one next time.






 2 coats of chalboard paint ( could do 3), apply in a well ventilated area, garage or outside.







After they are dry you must season the surface by going over the whole board with chalk and then wiping it off.

Place in the frames and you are done!





Now I want to make all kinds of things into chalkboards.

courage #inspiration #courage 

Since I was in the chalkboard mood I redid my mantel already. I think that’s enough for today 🙂


Today I am up early and heading to Seattle to go to Children’s Hospital with Brianna for Teagen’s echocardiogram. I hope to post about that tomorrow. Your prayers are greatly appreciated for our little Teagen.

This week we are still cleaning up after the ice storm of a few weeks ago. Branches and trees are down everywhere and it looks like tornado went through in some areas. With that said I kept thinking ‘What a waste to let some of these graceful branches end up in a burn pile or shredder”. So I got to thinking….

I love birch trees. I am drawn to their white bark and texture of the branches. I found some that had broken off in the storm and Larry hauled them to our deck for me so I could try and use them as interior accents. I admire the ones I have seen in Pottery Barn, Ethan Allan and other home interior stores and have always wanted to try and bring some of that indoors in my own home.

So I went to work trimming the branches of the small twigs and cutting them down so I could get them inside my house.

Before :



Still deciding but think I like them.

Ethan Allan

I think I will live with them for a few days before I make a final decision. They may end up in a different room or I may decide to find some more. That’s how I roll.

Make it a great day!


Lamps Shades and Tulips

After posting about my need to have my bed made daily and how my bedroom has transformed over time, I am already considering a minor change.

I have been loving the look of burlap lamps shades I have seen lately. They have a current but cottage-like feel and seem to really go well with a formal lamp base such as mercury glass or crystal. I like mixing the formal or traditional with casual relaxed style.

Pottery Barn has some great ones and I have been tempted to purchase.Burlap Tapered Drum Lamp Shade

However I have a tendency to love the look but think I can do it for less money.

Yesterday I stopped by World Market and in my wandering through the store noticed they had some burlap shades as well for less than half the price. Not quite as well made as Pottery Barn but since I was using them in my bedroom and I just wanted the ‘look’, I brought them home to try. Now I am trying to decide but I think I like them and they lighten up the look for Spring. Only thing I don’t like is that at night you can see the light bulb when the lamp is on. Since that only happens when we are reading in bed I think I can live with that. The plastic is still on the shade until I make my final decision but at $19 vs $49 I think I just might keep them. What do you think?

   Burlap Shade                                                                                    Brown Silk Shade

I love tulips and since Spring is few months away they aren’t blooming in my yard yet. However they are everywhere in the grocery stores and this makes me so happy. I think they brighten a room and add a pop of color. I love them in red, white, yellow, pink, I love them all! So my house has them tucked here and there and they just give me joy. For $6.99 that’s a cheap mood booster.

Have a blessed Wednesday!


My Bed Obsession Confession

I admit it, I have a ‘thing’ about how my bed is made. It may change throughout the seasons but a few critical requirements are still of importance to me.

#1 Crisp clean sheets. Must be changed weekly. Costco has some nice high thread count sateen sheets that wash up beautiful and are very luxurious at a great price.

#2 Feather bed on top of mattress for that sinking into the “nest” feeling. Must also be fluffed weekly.

#3 Duvet or Coverlet must be equally draped on both sides of the bed. When the down comforter is on any lumps in the feather bunching needs to be evened out. ( or at least not too lumpy)

#4There is an order to the pillows. However since I change that frequently it depends on the linens I am using at the moment.

#5 The  quilt at the base of the bed needs to be placed to hang equally on both sides.

I know this is self-imposed order, but it makes me happy. My husband knows this and can make the bed to my standards everytime. Well he has learned how I like it and on a Sunday morning when I am crunched for time getting ready for church the sweet man does his best to make it ‘just so’. We’ve been married for 34 years so he know me well.

Besides the way I make the bed on daily basis I also change the look of it with just a few minor adjustment.  The picture above is how it looks at the moment, however with a change of pillows and losing the feather comforter for the warmer months it takes on a fresh look often.

Sometimes I just change the pillows and the throw.

It has been a process through the years…..

These last pictures are taken years ago and I must admit I like it so much better now.

I thought I also had other pictures of what I do for the summer, but can’t seem to find them. I will share when I freshen it up for warmer weather.

So how do you make up your bed? Pottery Barn layers and  turned down duvet? Or old school bedspread up to the head board and pillows laying flat? Or do you bother to make it at all?

I have to make it every morning, it is like brushing my teeth to me. We all have our ‘things’, this just happen’s to be one of mine.

Have a great Monday ! And “GO MAKE YOUR BED!


Good-bye Snowmageddon!

Well that was an interesting week… Didn’t see that one coming!

If you live anywhere in Western Washington you are emerging from a winter blast some call ‘Snowmageddon’. Here in Olympia we had 17″-24″ depending on where you lived. The snow, while it started out all beautiful and fun, turned into an ice storm that downed trees and power lines everywhere. We lost electricity last Thursday morning and it just was restored yesterday afternoon. Our cable and Internet just repaired a few hours ago.

Thankfully we have a generator and a gas stove so we faired rather well. Kept warm, ate way too much, went snowshoeing and sledding,read, and took lots of pictures.

Ice Storm , while crazy with trees snapping and cracking all around you, still was beautiful encasing the fragile branches in glass-like ice.

Our landscaping took a beating and I lost one of my favorite trees.  I planted it when it was just a stick 7 years ago.

Before                                                                                                            After Ice Storm

Stayed warm and  read while the trees were falling all around me.

Night time was kind of romantic.


Then it started melting away …

So for now it’s throwing out food that has spoiled, restocking the fridge and doing laundry, cleaning up after all the destruction and  that, my friends, is going to take a while.

I hope to post soon with more of a Home Interior  theme, but for now in ‘ Keeping it Real’ this is where I’m at.

Thanks for reading.