Stress and my emotional duct tape

Can we talk?  (remember how Joan Rivers {RIP – I miss her sarcastic humor} always started a part of her comedy routine with that line?) I confess, I rarely share personal stuff here, especially personal stuff that isn’t happy news….this has been because I believe Garden, Home and Party, and blog friendships I’ve developed, is more about the fun stuff in life.  I am an optimist junkie.

Garden, Home and Party: Stress and emotional duct tape

But we all know life is a roller coaster of good and not so good events.  About the time you’re riding high, something happens and you’re knocked down, at least for a little while, then you head back up.  I believe this makes us grateful for the really good times.

Garden, Home and Party: Stress and emotional duct tape

A little over a year ago my husband was diagnosed with cancer.  I confess it was a blow since he hadn’t seemed ill.  We dealt with it and took the treatments the doctor recommended and after one step forward, two steps back, we finally got some really great news on Monday, (President’s Day, my new favorite holiday! ) :-) Mr. B. is cancer free.  We will still have follow up with the doctor,  but it was great news to us and our family.

Garden, Home and Party: Stress and emotional duct tape

Through it all, when things would get very stressful and I’d be overwhelmed with worry, I found that losing myself in beauty, garden or home, was my emotional duct tape.  It helped me put some perspective on the situation at hand, and feel revived.  I realize we all have our way(s) of dealing with stress, but it was interesting to me to discover this diversion truly helped me deal with it all.

Here are a few of the images that made me see that the sun, would indeed, come out tomorrow!

Garden, Home and Party: Stress and emotional duct tape

Garden, Home and Party: Stress and emotional duct tape

Garden, Home and Party: Stress and emotional duct tape

Garden, Home and Party: Stress and emotional duct tape

{via}

Garden, Home and Party: Stress and emotional duct tape

{Dan Marty – RIP}

Garden, Home and Party: Stress and emotional duct tape

Garden, Home and Party: Stress and emotional duct tape

{Jane Moore}

Garden, Home and Party: Stress and emotional duct tape

{via}

Garden, Home and Party: Stress and emotional duct tape

{Lisa Luby Ryan}

Garden, Home and Party: Stress and emotional duct tape

{Ralph Lauren}

Garden, Home and Party: Stress and emotional duct tape

Garden, Home and Party: Stress and emotional duct tape

Garden, Home and Party: Stress and emotional duct tape

Garden, Home and Party: Stress and emotional duct tape

Thanks for stopping by, you are all a constant source of joy.

♥ Karen

Mirrors and art in kitchens

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Good morning!  Happy Wednesday!

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, mirrors and art

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Today I would like to talk about one of my favorite rooms in any house…the kitchen. Have you noticed over the past 10 years, maybe longer, that kitchens have evolved to a higher level of beauty?  No longer is it just the functional room where we prepare food and bake the occasional batch of cookies or birthday cake.

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, mirrors and art

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Don’t get me wrong, we’re still performing those tasks, and the kitchen remains the hub of the family for most of us…but boy, has it been elevated to so much more.  It now warrants a specific decor.

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, mirrors and art

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I love this design transformation.  I like the idea of one more room in the house that can reflect personality and livability with style, all the while retaining it’s official duty as sustenance central, counselors office, coffee shop and all round work room.

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, mirrors and art

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So, its no surprise that I love the unexpected addition of mirrors and paintings that you find in so many kitchens that grace the internet as well as magazine pages.  Why not?! Although there are a few mirrors in locations that make me wonder how often the window cleaner comes out from beneath the sink to shine the glass!

This is one of my favorites, this kitchen appears to be smallish, but the mirror and light fixture gives it style and elegance.

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, mirror and art

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The juxtaposition of a nod to industrial style while hanging a vintage/antique portrait painting, lovely.

Garden, Home and Party:  kitchens, mirrors and art

{via-above/below}

I really like the looks of open shelving with a little painting, or two….so pretty and adds so much interest to the kitchen.

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, mirrors and art

This kitchen is a little busy for me, but I love the Hermes lamp and the art on the easel at the end of the room.

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, mirrors and art.

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Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, mirrors and art

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Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, mirrors and art

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Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, mirrors and art

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Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, mirrors and art

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Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, mirrors and art

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Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, mirrors and art

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Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, mirrors and art

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Isn’t this the greatest mirror for a kitchen? Notice the clock in the top of the mirror?  I also like the refurbished vintage stove.

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, mirrors and art

{via}

And last but not least, have you seen these mirrored subway tiles?  How great would these be in a kitchen, if you could keep them free of water spots. :-)

Garden, Home and Party: kitchens, mirrors and art

Do you have a mirror or painting in your kitchen?  What do you think of the idea?

Thanks for stopping by, it’s always nice to chat. ♥ Karen

Romance at home

St. Valentine’s Day, while a sweet notion in theory, is one of those holidays that seems a little overrated to me.  It may be that, like New Year’s Eve, there’s too much pressure to outdo the previous celebration.  I know this perspective will irritate some, but my take is we should treat the significant other(s) in our life (Mr. B, for me) with thoughtfulness, love, and the occasional unexpected treat, almost every day!

Garden, Home and Party: Romance at Home

{Can you guess what year we were married?  Check the flowers in my hair}

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy bringing out a few hearts during the first 2 weeks of February and buying those darling pink, white and red m&m’s every year!  Don’t get me started on other sweets that are symbolic of the holiday…I’m really trying to eat healthy food in 2015. :-)

Garden, Home and Party: Romance at Home

So, since my passion (aside from my passion for Mr. B) runs in the home decor arena most of the time, I thought I’d share rooms that exude a romantic vibe (at least to me).

Candlelight is romantic.  I love the glow and use it all the time, even when it’s just the two of us.

Garden, Home and Party: Romance at Home

{via}

Garden, Home and Party: Romance at Home

Garden, Home and Party:  Romance at Home{for the love of a house ~ Joan recently did a post on using candles}

Lighting certainly plays a part in the romantic feel of a home, mood lighting as it’s referred to, can evoke a sense of comfort and what’s romance without comfort?!

Garden, Home and Party: Romance at Home

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Garden, Home and Party: Romance at Home

{Furlow Gatewood ~ Veranda}

Garden, Home and Party: Romance at Home

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A fire in the fireplace is always romantic with the added bonus of keeping you toasty if you live in a part of the world that is experiencing winter right now!

Garden, Home and Party: Romance at Home

Garden, Home and Party: Romance at Home

{via}

A nice meal, whether it’s just the two of you or you’ve invited a few good friends to join the fun, can be romantic. We’ve been invited to a small (4 couples) dinner party on the big day and we’re really looking forward to it. {Thank you Barry and Carol}

Garden, Home and Party: Romance at home

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Garden, Home and Party: Romance at Home

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Garden, Home and Party: Romance at Home

 {via}

Garden, Home and Party: Romance at Home

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In conclusion, one of the most romantic, charming cottages I’ve ever found gracing the pages of a magazine, Randy Boyd’s Laguna Beach home

Garden, Home and Party: Romance at Home

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Will you be romancing the one you love at home this year?

Garden, Home and Party: Romance at Home

Living with what you love; age and decorating

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A funny thing happened to me not long ago…I woke up on my birthday last month and realized I’m getting older.  I know, it sounds ridiculous, everyone gets older. But this was different, this was the realization that I’m now at an age where I question things that I wouldn’t have given a second thought to a few years back.  I don’t feel old in any way physically, or even mentally, but I wonder about my style, is it reflecting my age? Has it begun to look like an old lady’s house, or a cat lady’s house?  {That’s really not possible since we have a pair of dogs}  :-)

Garden, Home and Party: age and decorating

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For example, I’ve always felt confident in my ability to decorate my home in a style that works for my tastes, and seems to be acceptable to our family.  And as if validation mattered, I receive compliments along the way from visitors who have stated that our home is pretty.  I don’t say that in any kind of boastful way, but rather to make the point that I never second guessed every little decision where decor was concerned.

Garden, Home and Party: age and decorating

I still love many of the same things I’ve always loved, English country style with a bit of French thrown in, more Ralph Lauren than Matthew Patrick Smyth, and because of the size of our home, it’s more rustic than elegant.  It’s evolved as we’ve aged and I’ve worked hard to keep the tchotchkes edited down.  I have always been open to change and like to rotate certain accessories/accents for the season.  All that said, I’ve begun to wonder…is my house beginning to look dated?  Does this happen to any of you?

Garden, Home and Party: living with what you love

I took heart from a recent Charlotte Moss quote I read in Veranda magazine:

“I’m a collector…You know when you lock eyes with a person?  I’ve been locking eyes with objects my entire life.”

I’ve always been more riveted by a beautiful tabletop than the table itself.  Maybe that’s why I worry about getting carried away with the very treasures I love.

Garden, Home and Party: living with what you love

Garden, Home and Party: living with what you love

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Garden, Home and Party: living with what you love

{GHP}

 Garden, Home and Party: living with what you love{Phoebe Howard via}

A great vignette, with the right accessories, can make me weak in the knees.  My files are filled with rooms that are especially beautiful due to great styling details.  Is this the very thing that has me worried?  Maybe.  I do embrace the minimalists approach which stresses living with what you love, and I do [live with what I love].

Garden, Home and Party: living with what you love

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That said, I think it doesn’t hurt to be mindful of one’s surroundings, not overly sentimental.  So, my dear friends, keep  me honest.  If I share a room that’s beginning to look one knick-knack short of a hoarders den, gently remind me of this post! :-)

Garden, Home and Party: living with what you love

{via}

Garden, Home and Party: living with what you love

{via}

Garden, Home and Party: living with what you love

Garden, Home and Party: living with what you love

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Garden, Home and Party: living with what you love

Do you ever have doubts about the direction you’re going where home/style is concerned?  Any remedies?   :-)

 

Fireplace mantles and the mantle clock

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Garden, Home and Party: Mantle Clocks

{A SILVER MANTLE CLOCK marked Fabergé with Imperial warrant,Moscow, 1896-1908}

This time of year I’m especially mindful of our mantle, in part because we spend more time indoors due to cooler weather and because most evenings we have a fire in the grate.  Our fireplace is wood burning and I enjoy it.  Mr. B. says I’ve mastered setting a good fire.  It’s the simple rule of 3 logs positioned just so, and some wadded up newspaper under the grate.  It seems to never fail.  

Please note, this is a “keepin’ it real” photo.  Mr. B tried to move out of the picture (note the legs on the right) and I failed to move the log carrier and newspaper before snapping the camera.

Garden, Home and Party: Mantle Clock

But I digress, the subject of this post is the mantle clock.  It seems to be less popular than in the day where most homes with fireplaces had a good clock, usually centered on the mantle.  My mantle clock was a gift from a group of friends and purchased in Prescott, Arizona.  My grandmother lived in Prescott during her retirement years and in town there are a few blocks of antique stores.  I love the clock, in part because it always reminds me of those visits with my grandma.

Here we were this past Christmas, dressed for the holiday, the mantle clock is always there.

Garden, Home and Party: mantle clock

In this stately, more formal room [below], you’d expect a slightly larger mantle clock.  I imagine the small clock is some kind of wonderful antique, and up close is beautifully detailed.

Garden, Home and Party: Mantle Clocks

This might be an example of a noteworthy, but small, clock to place in a position of prominence on the mantle. Don’t you love the detailing on this clock?

Garden, Home and Party: Mantle clocks

{Farcot Figural Cockerel Alarm Mantle Clock}

An outstanding room designed by the talented Albert Hadley.  I love this room.  I imagine the clock was chosen for its size so that the portrait would be the focus.

Garden, Home and Party: Mantle clock

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Mirrors are popular and often found where the mantle clock used to be.  I do love the clean lines of this display.

Garden, Home and Party: Mantle Clocks

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I have always loved the gentleman’s English library and the mantle clock seems fitting in this setting.

Garden, Home and Party: Mantle clocks

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Surprise!  This is actually a shelf, made to look like its a mantle over a fireplace.  It think it’s a great idea.

Garden, Home and Party: Mantle clocks

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Another lovely mantle with a pleasing mixture of items, including the clock arranged off-center.  Very pretty.

Garden, Home and Party: Mantle clock

This room and mantle is a little formal for my taste, but beautiful nonetheless.  Leave it to Marie Antoinette to have an opulent room such as this!

Garden, Home and Party: Mantle clocks

{Marie Antoinette Fontainbleau}

This is a favorite, not just because of the live greens, dressed for Christmas, but I love the clock and the old mirror it sits in front of.  The wall sconces are simple and the black framed clock stands out.

Garden, Home and Party: mantle clocks

{via}

Not to stray off topic again, but seriously, the reason you can barely see this mantle clock is because clearly, they are featuring this fabulous under mantle and side pillars.  I would love to have this piece…and probably the rest of the house that goes with it. :-)

Garden, Home and Party: Mantle clocks

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Garden, Home and Party: mantle clocks

Do you have a fireplace mantle in your home?  If so, do you have a clock adorning it?

I love hearing from  you, I hope you are having a great week so far. ♥ Karen

Wallpaper revival

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Garden, Home and Party: Wallpaper

There are some that would argue wall coverings never went out of favor with designers, and others that insist it’s been out for some time and is now making a grand re-entrance on the design scene.

Wherever you are on the topic, there are some stunning examples of wall paper available today.  Our home is currently paperless, but some of these beauties have me pondering a room that would benefit from a  new look.

One of the newer ideas (to me) are maps that are custom made into wallpaper. Wallpapered is a company out of England that creates panels custom fit to the wall you are wanting to paper.  They can do historic/antique, world or street maps.  I particularly love this example as it’s a historic map of London [my favorite city in the world].

Garden, Home and Party: Wallpaper

Garden, Home and Party: Wallpaper

Another innovative wallpaper idea that I found is the Phillip Jeffries Enchanted Woods paper.  This is not a very vivid image of the ‘Bestowed Birch’ pattern that made me stop and look, and I was unable find an image of a room papered in this, but I believe the texture is that of an actual tree.  I could see this as an effective addition of texture in a room.  To some it might be more of a lodge look, but I don’t think it has to be.

Garden, Home and Party:  Wallpaper

This bold black and white paper is really pretty.  (I’ve seen this in quite a few rooms online, but I couldn’t find the name of the manufacturer, if you know drop me a line).  I believe, in this image, they’ve installed it in the foyer and up the stairs.  With the white in the room it really livens up the area.  This paper could work in a contemporary setting as well as a more traditional one.

Garden, Home and Paper: Wallpaper

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Here it is in blue and white, don’t you love it on this landing?

Garden, Home and Party: Wallpaper

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Carol Glasser used this beautiful wallpaper in the foyer of her home in Montecito.  It’s such a pretty color, especially paired with the demi lune and accessories.  The mirror is stunning.

Garden, Home and Party: Wallpaper

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Bathrooms are my favorite place for wallpaper.  It can really make a statement no matter the size of the bathroom.

Garden, Home and Party: Wallpaper

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Same goes for bedrooms, don’t you love the matching custom linens with the wallpaper?  Such an inviting room.

Garden, Home and Party: Wallpaper

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Want a library, but there isn’t enough room for bookshelves?  Try this…

Garden, Home and Party: Wallpaper

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Joni, of Cote de Texas fame recently did a wonderful post on a lighting designer in Amsterdam, Holland.  His showroom is a show stopper with the unique lamps he designs and this beautiful red wallpaper.

Garden, Home and Party: Wallpaper

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 Read more about design trends for 2015 HERE.

So what are your thoughts on wallpaper.  Do you have rooms that are wallpapered that you love?  If you did without wallpaper for a time, are you ready to make the commitment again?

I always enjoy your comments. xo, Karen

Let’s get organized for 2015

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I confess, I’m pretty organized nearly year round.  I’m one of those people that really can’t relax unless there’s order in my surroundings.  I know this kind of obsession has been referred to using a wide array of adjectives, some less complimentary than others.  :-)

That said, even I find certain parts of my home can be found in various stages of disarray different times of the year.  That’s what new years are for, to clean up, clear out clutter, and get back on track.

Sometime last year I followed a link that has me thinking differently about what I keep and what I giveaway, donate, or dump.  I’m going to give you the name (and link) to this site, but you have to promise you won’t immediately dismiss it by the name alone. (there was a time I would have!)

The Minimalists is a site that is co-authored to by a pair of young men that for various reasons (you can read their story) found themselves pairing down.  Here are two of the passages that most influenced me and have made my clean/organize tasks much more effective…

What people don’t understand, however, is that minimalism is not about deprivation. Rather, minimalists—anyone who’s deliberately seeking a life with less stuff—find more value in the stuff they do own. They do this by jettisoning the superfluous, keeping only the possessions that serve a purpose or bring joy. Everything else goes by the wayside.

There is no Minimalist Rulebook. We’re all different. The things that add value to one man’s life may not add value to yours. So hold on to that hair straightener, those colorful socks, that collection of angel statuettes—but only if they are appropriate for your life. Only if they serve a purpose or bring you joy. – The Minimalists

I promise I’m not trying to convert anyone, I’m only sharing what has started making sense to me, in part because after 32 years in the same smallish home we’re bursting at the seams.  I have 7 boxes of collectible sports cards, two snowboards and a surfboard that belong to son #1 (now living in Austin, where there is no ocean and the nearest mountain is a lengthy drive).  Fortunately, son #2 lives a short 15 minutes away and he (sorry, Sarah) has taken his treasures to their house.  I’ve discovered that a lot of what I lovingly collected over the years is no longer needed/wanted.

The book, Organizing For Dummies has a cheat sheet of the tried and true methods for a good new year organization/clean out session.  Here are the basic five easy steps:

1.  Determine the goal for the room or closet.

Maybe it’s as simple as cleaning out a bookcase or adding a tray to an existing coffee table where items can be corralled.

Garden, Home and Party: organized

Or maybe its as simple as adding hooks to a shelf to handle the extra mugs in the cupboard (the ones you love, remember?).

Garden,  home and party: organized

2.  Identify the limitations of the room or closet.  Like this clever idea from Martha Stewart.  If you don’t have enough space for essentials, there are stores (Container Store, and others) that have efficient tools for making your space handle the extras.

Garden, Home and Party: organized

Garden, Home and Party: organized

Not to mention Martha’s clever ideas for keeping up with the ‘should do more than once a year’ tasks.

Garden, Home and Party: Organized

3.  Sort the items in the room or closet into the well known categories of STAY, MOVE, SHARE or GO.

Garden, Home and Party: organized

4.  Determine what items (storage systems, bins or boxes) will help you to keep the space organized.  I love the look of these PB baskets and could see them helping with the ever-present storage issue in our home.

Garden, Home and Party: orginized

{Pottery Barn – Daytrip Lidded Baskets}

5.  Reassemble the room or closet/drawer.

Garden, Home and Party: Organized

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Garden, Home and Party: Organized

Do you go through some kind of cleaning/organizing this time of year?  Do you have any tips for the process?  I’d love to hear from you. 

Happy Wednesday, have a productive rest of the week and a relaxing weekend.

{Garden, Home and Party} My report card for 2014

Hi Friends!  I’ve been very energized by the onset of the new year.  I believe that may be pretty much universal, right?  Are you still enjoying the surge of excitement that accompanies the onset of a brand new 365 days? Days you can do with what you will.

Garden, Home and Party: 2014 report card

I use WordPress to host my blog site, and  for those who have read my posts for some time, you may remember that my eldest son set the site up for me.  We’ve tweaked it a few times but basically, I’ve been very happy with the simple way it functions for me (read: User often technology challenged).  Wordpress sends out a report card of sorts each year, or at least they have for the past 3 years.  The report gives you the stats for your site with details such as 1) Posting Patterns. I post only once a week most weeks and I usually send out that post on Wednesday, so no news there. 2) Attractions.  This is where they tell you your top 5 posts.  It turns out my best day this year, as far as views go, was my 500th post.  {Thanks for dropping by that day!}. 3) How did they (visitors) find you?  Pinterest was the single most referring site.  A mixed blessing.  Does anyone besides me marvel at the number of hours that can evaporate when visiting that online wonder?

I hope to continue to practice both my writing and photography.  Who am I kidding, my photography is awful.  But what we practice has to improve, right?  Onward and upward in 2015.  I’m really looking forward to the year, and to time spent with you, my friends.

If you’re interested, here are the posts that received the most views in 2014:

Garden Home and Party: year end report card

{Cozy and other adjectives that describe home}

Garden Home and Party 2014 report card

{Adieu Pierre Deux}

Garden, Home and Party: 2014 report card

{Cottage Living ~ Moody Cottages}

Garden, Home and Party: 2014 report card

{Front Yards – alternatives to lawn}

and last but not least…

Garden, Home and Party: 2014 report card

{Rooms that enjoy a Neutral Palate}

I’ll be back next week with some tips on organizing and weeding out.  I’ve mentioned here, more than once, I’m really simplifying my house.  I want only what I use and love around me.  I no longer need to hold on to random items…more on my perspective next week.

Happy 2015

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Garden, Home and Party: Happy New Year 2015

Another year has flown by.  I’ve worked hard this year on living in the moment and it has been helpful, even if sometimes I forget to do just that.

I don’t do resolutions anymore but I like the idea of selecting a word that can provide you with a course towards something you’d like to strive for.  Goals seem somehow easier to stick with than a long list of homework for the soul.  Do you make resolutions?

Garden, Home and Party: Happy New Year 2015

Again, the opportunity has come to start off with our best. Make sure all the 365 pages of your book are worth the writing; as well publishing for. ― Kaushal Yadav

I wish you all a happy, healthy and joyous new year to come.  I feel a kindred spirit towards you and you all make this blog-biz a fun journey.

See you next year!

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