This new adventure will provide me an opportunity to journal the three hobbies that I enjoy most. Many of my friends and neighbors share these interests and, hopefully, you will find some value in my weekly postings. My “expertise” if you will, comes from life’s experiences. During my marriage of 34 years and counting, I have taken great pleasure in providing a comfortable “nest” for my family. That has always included entertaining, gardening and ongoing home and decor improvements. I realize that to some these interests are considered shallow, however, I know that they have brought me, as well as my family, great comfort.

Our home, although very cottage-sized, is comfortable and I’m told, inviting. I keep it mostly informal and that seems to work for us. An inspiring designer/writer, Alexandra Stoddard, provided me with determination to make our everyday life as pleasant as possible in her book, Living a Beautiful Life. I have attempted to remember her guidelines through the years. Even before Martha Stewart was well known, Ms. Stoddard gave tips for enjoying every day by completing daily rituals. This takes some planning and believe me, I’ve gotten off track during particularly hectic times. We all know that raising a family and keeping a home is hard work but sometimes the smallest touches will give you an unexpected lift—flowers, whether purchased or cut from the yard are an example of a simple touch that can lift the spirits.

That brings me to gardening. Gardening provided me a modest income for 12 years. A friend I met during PTA activities at my children’s elementary school shared my interest in working in the garden. We decided to start a business providing ‘cottage gardens’ for families that had no time for yardwork, but despeartely wanted a home garden that would delight them with the beauty of flowers. Through our initial distribution of flyers to our neighbors, over the span of a few years we grew our business, “Blooming Borders,” into a viable business that continues today. I still enoy working in my own yard, even though I have left the business, and I believe the work in my yard is one of the most theraputic pastimes I engage in. I live in Southern California and will provide on my website any and all tips for plant selection, non-poisonous ways to eliminate pests, and a time-table for planting. Please keep in mind that I am in Zone 22 and I have no experience with other zones, but I will try to help in any way I can with any and all gardening questions.

Entertaining has always been something that I have enjoyed. I am not a gourmet cook, however I do take pleasure in trying new recipes and find the process satisfying. We have entertained, and been entertained, in our home since we were first married. It has been a learning process from my early days of cleaning to excess (why I believed this was vital to successful entertaining, my husband and I will never know) to simply recognizing that most friends will enjoy whatever food you prepare. This is partly because they did not have to prepare it themselves! However, to sit with good friends and enjoy a glass of wine and a simple meal is truly one of life’s great pleasures. I will hopefully be able to impart some assistance with ‘simple entertaining’ that may go hand in hand with the enormous resources available to all of us via the web.

Finally, decorating has always been a passion. I enjoy the ongoing process of keeping my home tidy and up to date with traditional, comfortable furnishings and accessories. My husband recently took advantage of a career opportunity in a city 6 hours north of our home. He will keep an apartment that I, fortunately, get to decorate. I will journal this experience and provide my sources and misteps in what will be a long distance project.

I welcome your correspondence and look forward to keeping this site simple and straight forward for those of you who share interest in these hobbies.