30 Days of Gratitude…Day 4…..

Lately, I’ve been missing “home”, my little cottage abode in Sacramento.


I feel it calling me, with it’s comforting, soft colors, relaxed easy feel, and comfortable furniture.


Dining room

Home is where I have my collection of crystals, needlepoints, and wooden pieces waiting to be decoupaged.


Decoupage table using napkins


miniature fireplace using faux marbling and napkin decoupage


Mixed medium birdhouses

It’s like an old familiar friend calling me.


Old world tapestry over bed

I’m in my second year of living part-time in Hawaii, part-time in Sacramento.

Even though I’m not retired, nor am I employed by any company, I’ve had the opportunity to explore my options, make enough money to survive, and I only have my family to thank for that.


Galley Kitchen

While I’m in Hawaii my family keeps the home fires burning in Sacramento.

Wherever I am, I find ways to generate income by helping others, and selling things I’ve collected.


Radio cabinet found on road and decoupaged

Today the thought occurred to me that I would love to have a home in both places, continue to go back and forth.  Why not?  I’m already doing it.

View of living room from kitchen

I’ve not been able to make a decision, or choose between the two places, picking one over the other as my destination of choice.

And for now, I’m okay with that.

I feel so much gratitude for the family members who have allowed me to come and go.


Heart ornament on bookcase

I call in blessings to them for their generosity of Spirit, as I have been truly blessed.


Plumeria Offering

Thank you, Thank you Thank you! And So It Is!

Cottage Mavens, maybe you have family or friends that you would like to thank today.  You can offer a blessing to them on a mini-altar, give them a call, or send them a note.

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30 Days of Gratitude…Day 6….

How to create a loveable, livable Cottage


When creating a room to have a cottage look and feel, there are some basic elements that say “cottage”.

The home I’m staying in for the summer is a rental, that sits near the ocean.  It definitely has lots of designer touches, so I decided to shop- the- house, and give this room that everyone seems to love so much, a bit of personality.

It has the “bones” of a cottage, but not the layering to give it that homey feel.

Before picture

The walls are painted a soft gray. The white slip covered sofa is already in place, with the sisal rug, driftwood mirror, metal lamps, natural wood end tables, and a blue and white theme.

Even though this is a Beach Cottage, you can use these basic elements for your cottage no matter where you live.  Just use natural elements from your landscape and natural environment.

My daughter added the bookcase and the white desk and chair.  She calls this room the library.  The sofa, even though it’s slipcovered, makes out to a double bed to accommodate guests.

Since my sister and mom will be visiting, I wanted to take it up a notch to make them feel more comfortable, and give the room a more “inviting presence”.

Cottage Basics

1. a slipcovered sofa – preferably white, but can also be ticking fabric, or floral, even velvet will do.  Natural fabrics are a must.


2. Pillows with mixed prints and scale ( too many pillows in the same size can look over crowded). See before picture.  I love floral pillows in a cottage, too.


3. Details from Nature – blown glass, rocks, shells, metal sculptures, horns, antlers, plants.


4. Soft lighting – lamps, salt lamps, candles, and lots of flowers.


5. Bright colors ( since the room was already blue and white, I decided to introduce some pinks and turquoise). Don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit with some unexpected colors!


Something personal – one of my paintings from a trip a few years ago.

6. Interesting wall art ie. vintage prints, words, wall decals


7. Simple accessories


Something hand made

8. A laid back look and feel with a place to put your feet up.


9. Natural fragrance – herbs, moss, fresh flowers.


Vintage surfer print


10. A space that says you!


A way to express Gratitude to your self, or your guests, is to make your rooms as beautiful as you would like them to feel.

Each one of us is the King or Queen of our castles, and we can live in a special happy space, and feel gratitude every day.

You’re worth it!

A few words from Sonia Choquette “The Answer is Simple” oracle card deck:

“The Spirit is a sensitive light body and is influenced by the environment it finds itself in.  Dreary, dark, messy, cluttered, un-clean surroundings send the Spirit out the door and invite the goblins and trolls of negativity to move in and camp out in the corners.

It’s time to set this right:  Open the blinds, clear the decks, paint the walls, change the lightbulbs, and decorate the atmosphere where you live. Make your environment a proper home for your Spirit. Your Spirit must dwell in  a cheerful and festive place, filled with color and live plants, fresh flowers, clean windows, and bright light.

Your Spirit is a holy guest in your body and must be treated as royalty. You wouldn’t disrespect visitors with an unwelcoming environment or expect them to dwell in your mess, and you shouldn’t disrespect your Spirit by giving it less than the tranquil setting it deserves, either.  Take the time to create a festive and bright atmosphere for your Spirit.  Be happy to welcome it home. Give it the proper surroundings, and put out the best you have to receive it.


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Dear Diary…Day 20…27 Day Feng Shui Challenge

Today, I tackled paper clutter!  No one ever told me that coming across old paperwork from past employment, could bring up so many feelings.  Some good, some not so good.

Paper clutter is just as draining as anything else that no longer serves me.  Time to let go of those old memories that I no longer wish to carry around in my psyche and bring in the new!


I basically have an old fashioned shredder that I place over the trash can, and shred away.

The thought occurred to me that this could be a pretty boring post, so I thought I would share how I did a make-over on my letter holder from India.


I love these old carved pieces with inlay design.  The patterns are so intricate, and they are done by hand.  I just wanted to bring the beautiful floral pattern out to show it off more.

I had seen something similar in an import store nearby.

I brought it home, loaded a chip brush with some off-white chalk paint.  I was careful to scrape most of the paint off the brush, so that it was almost like a “dry brush” technique.

Then I just ran the brush across the surface, only touching the top of the design, so that you could see the contrast of the wood with the paint.  Once it was dry, it was ready to use.


I love the lacey pattern that it made. Who knew that it would pick up some of the pattern in the armoire that it sits next to?  You can see how I painted the armoire here, Room Re-set challenge part 4.  I know, my desk is pretty scratched up.  But it’s a utility desk, and that doesn’t bother me.  Also, once I oiled down my desktop with dark wax by Annie Sloan, it pretty much disappeared.


I let some natural light in to get a better shot, but it has been pretty gloomy lately, with the rain and all.

Today’s affirmation:  I am an irresistible magnet for checks, bills and currency – for everything that belongs to me by Diving Right.  Florence Scovill Shinn

Do what you can, with what you have, with where you are. Theodore Roosevelt

Cottage Necessities


How to Decoupage a Lamp with napkins



I made a comment the other day that “Every corner of my house warms my soul”.  One of my readers commented on it, and made me realize that I have some corners that DO NOT.

If you have a plain ceramic or wood lamp, and you would like to make it pretty, then read on…


I started by gathering some pretty napkins ( you could also use fabric) , a wood base lamp, (you could also use ceramic), and modpodge and a small chip brush.

I find the best napkins at Tuesday Morning.  They have tons!

I start by painting the base white or off-white.


Once I have selected my napkins, I tear back the extra layers, so I have only the top to work with.




Then I cut the images or shapes that I want to place on my lamp.  In this case, I am choosing to cover the entire lamp with the napkin tissue.  There are no mistakes, so however you choose to place your napkin is up to you.  It’s the creative process.


next I brush the modpodge all over the lamp base.  You can work in smaller areas if it feels more comfortable to do it that way.


As I lay the images across the lamp base, I tap it down with a brush filled with more modpodge.



Oops!  I can fix that!


The napkins, when wet, can be delicate, but no worries!  I’ll show you how to patch this.  This is a collage.


I just cut out a little flower to fill in here.


You can also cut out borders, or other images to lay across the lamp base.

I don’t mind a few wrinkles.  But if you do, you might prefer to use the same technique using craft paper.  Here are some examples.

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You can do a final coat of modpodge to seal it all in and finish it off.  Have fun!

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Cottage Necessites


Auntie Deelie’s Beach Cottage


Guest Cottage


Home Tour

When you walk through the gate to Auntie Deelie’s Cottage, you’re welcomed with the intoxicating pleasures of plumeria and trumpet vine blossoms whispering through all of your senses.


The experience causes one to slow down, linger a while, take it all in as Auntie quietly appears in the doorway.





Auntie is more a name of affection given to this bright and lovely young woman who was grown and raised on the island of Oahu by her dad.  A salty old sailor and waterman, he taught Deelie all about the water, deep sea fishing, and paddle-boarding.

She was raised a Tom-boy, but is very much a feminine spirit, who can often be found sitting in lotus posture or standing in tree pose.  She has been practicing meditation for 15 years, and says that it has changed her life in the most profound ways.


Pineapple, a sign of Welcome


Mom and I were invited over for lunch.  She put on a healthy spread, all prepared from scratch, with the most delicious Ginger Tonic of which I will share the recipe in this post.


Remember when I was searching for “Hawaiiana” in a previous post?

Well, here is where I found it.

Deelie possesses an eye for design, effortlessly blending colors, patterns, and a love for Hawaii throughout her home.


Living Room


We immediately felt relaxed and welcomed.


Subtle use of color, and unmistakable island feel without kitsch or compromise.


She was so gracious and agreed to let me snap a few photos to share on my blog.  She even let me peek in the bedrooms.

img_0610Her eye for mixing color, pattern, and style and attention to detail are evident.



A calm, relaxed feel to every room…

An airy, open floor plan…  Aloha kekahi I kekahi – Love one another…

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allowing the outdoors, in…

I hope you enjoyed this House Tour.  Below, you will find Auntie Deelie’s Yummy Ginger Tonic Recipe.  Mahalo!


Auntie Deelie’s Fresh Ginger Tonic

One large pot of filtered water

A few big chunks of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced in large pieces

Boil Ginger in pot full of water for 15 minutes

A Few scoops of Honey to taste

Let tonic cool down then

Squeeze one fresh lemon

Place in pitcher and refrigerate


The low-down on choosing white paint


Before I get started , I just wanted to show you the piece that inspired the pattern on my Armoire, in the Big Reveal…



The first time I visited the Beach Cottage, I fell in love with these ivory inlaid dressers.


I could only dream to own one of these.  And I still want to redo a small chest of drawers like this one day soon.


So, back to our topic.  The low-Down on choosing white paint.


There seems to be much controversy over choosing the “correct” white paint.

Well,I’ d like to simplify all of that, once and for all.

Whether you are painting walls, furniture, or your floor boards and ceiling, there is one white that seems to be a win-win.

Now, mind you, I didn’t always think this way.  But after numerous times looking through paint decks for a white that would coordinate with any of the other colors that I might be working with, I always ended up coming back to the same white.

As a new designer, back in the 90’s, I would disagree with contractors who insisted on this white.  I would stand and argue my point for hours. What?? One white can’t work for everything!

Finally, I had to say “UNCLE!” and I came around to their way of thinking , which ended up making so much sense in the long run.

Now, every brand of paint makes the color “Swiss Coffee”.  Swiss Coffee is a creamy, chameleon – like white that blends well with any color you put it next to.

It is the standard white chosen among building contractors and p ainters.

In fact, it has garnered such a reputation that shutter and blind companies use the same swiss coffee white on their brands, though sometimes the name can be changed.

So, if you have to paint something white, especially architectural trim, and you plan to add shutters or blinds – Go for the Swiss coffee.  It’s and easy, go – to – white with a no-fail attitude.

I guarantee you won’t be dissappointed.

This has become, my go-to no-fail-white for many years.

Have you spent nights without sleep trying to choose the right paint?

Thanks for visiting my blog.  I will be showing more of the Beach Cottage in future posts.  Sign up with your email and don’t miss a post.

Comments are appreciated.  What’s your take on choosing a white paint?  Has it left you in a muddle? Tell me about it!

In Ivy’s Cottage…..

…the smell of freshly brewed coffee permeates the air…
Ivy and Mr. K’s house is nestled in a quiet neighborhood with old growth trees.
Empty nesters, with 4 small grandchildren, who came by to visit regularly, they had out grown their old neighborhood, and enlisted the help of an established realtor friend whom they had known since highschool to help them find a new home that fulfilled their wish list.
Untouched since the 1970’s, this new home was over flowing with potential.  It offered a rustic appeal with old brick fireplace and high pitched ceilings, and a garage with a sizeable workshop.  With large windows looking out to the expansive view in the back yard which boasted fully matured citrus trees, including a Meyer Lemon tree and 2 orange trees, it had an indoor/outdoor feel for the Nature lovers.  When she saw the large eat in kitchen,and  spacious rooms, Ivy knew this was a place where she could make a new home for her and Mr. K.
So, when she called and asked me for some help, I was delighted.
She was making a fresh start, and had a blank slate to work with.  We would start in the living room.
Being a quilter, Ivy loves bright, vibrant color, especially sky blue which she had planned to paint all of the  rooms in.
It was a bold choice, and I knew we could pull it off with the right balance of color and a good mix of pattern and texture.
Since the room is long and narrow, we decided to paint one wall two shades darker to bring it closer, creating an optical illusion that makes the room seem less narrow.
Ivy did her homework and had her inspiration pictures ready for me.  As it turned out, she also favored neutrals, and woods, with some elements from Nature.
The room had to be family friendly to accomodate growing children and the family pet, Roxie, who is also like one of the family.
Roxie is a little shy.
We shopped for furniture, focusing on comfort, with floor plan in hand.
Ivy chose a lively upholstry fabric for the chairs and pillows, that helped decide on the color scheme, and grounded and complimented the new wall color.


Chair fabric with nail head trim.
Roxie’s bed in the background

Once all of this was in place, it was time for the two of us to do a little “power shopping” for some accent pieces and accessories to finish the space.


She already had some artwork that a dear friend had gifted her, and some modern shelves that she had been saving for the right spot.

Artwork on back wall.


A favorite painting.


Some accessories with a nod to Mr. K.

For nine years, working as an interior designer, I had a lot of practice ” power shopping” in our huge store, Aegean Designing Whims.  It was a full design center where I had everything at my finger tips to complete an entire home, from flooring to kitchen and bath remodeling furniture, art work, custom draperies, and accessories.
We even took in some antiques on consignment.
I could walk through the store, using my visual memory of the clients home and pick out everything that we needed for the finishing touches.
We even had a talented lady who would make floral arrangement, and I learned to make my own to suit the style of the room.
Now that I’ve relocated to Sacramento, I often take my client with me to local stores so that we can purchase things on-the-spot.
Ivy took me to a couple of hot spots that she knew of where we found lots of treasure.
I’m somewhat of an intuitive designer, and really try to get a ‘read’ on my clients taste.
So, when Ivy and I went looking for artwork, and came across this bird painting, we hesitated, as we had just started our search, and headed out the door.  As we approached the parking lot, we paused and looked at each other and agreed that we should get that painting NOW.

I think it’s her favorite thing in the room.  Positioned on the far wall, it welcomes visitors as if to say ” friends and family gather here”.

It takes time to put together a home.  Each room is like a block in a quilt.  And when all of the blocks come together , you have a place that comforts, nurtures, and supports you in your daily lives.
More and more people are becoming do-it-your-selfers, with all of the TV shows, blogs, Etc. showing you how.
A competent designer, who is open to working with your vision, can be the catalyst to help you get the job done.
So, if you feel stuck, ask for a consultation.  It could be just what you need to get the ball rolling.
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