Walking my Talk

This one is difficult for me.  But I am hoping it will help others.

When I was 40, the doctors removed a melanoma from my arm.  They basically told me I had 5 years to live.

Since then, I have read every Naturopathic book on how to heal yourself naturally.

The Gerson therapy, and Ann Wigmore, as well as Cherie Calbom are my go-to-resources for a healthy diet and lifestyle.

They recommend:                                                                                 organic fruits and vegetables

limiting EMF’s ( Electric Magnetic Frequencies) like cell phones, TV, computers from around your body.

Meditation and prayer for a stress free life

Eliminating toxic cleaning products like

Artificial fragrance

Hand sanitizers

Body Products with chemicals

Deodorants with Aluminum

Toothepaste with Flouride

Preservatives and Processed Foods

Alcohol and Caffeine

No meat _ especially factory farm products which would include dairy and eggs

They recomending adding:

Colon Therapy


Drinking pure water

Well, I’ve done fairly well with most of it, but I can’t say I’ve been perfect.  I am still alive!

At age 52, I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes and the doctor put me on metformin, until one day, I woke up on the floor, barely breathing.

I decided that I did not want prescription drugs in my life.  So I cranked up the discipline and started walking more, eliminated sugar.

I especially went to task clearing my pantry of preservatives, and never resorted to artificial sweeteners of any kind, or the low-fat Hype in advertising.

I was able to cure myself.  I’ve been drug free ever since.

Fast forward 10 years….

I think my metabolism stopped working somewhere along the way.

Or maybe just the stresses of life interfered.

The loss of loved-ones, trouble with the kids, financial woes, job loss, you name it, none of these helped me lose weight.

Somewhere along the road, I seemed to bury myself.

Nothing I tried seemed to help me lose weight and I don’t believe in diets, because you end up talking and thinking about food even more when on a diet.  At least, that’s what I observed watching my Mom and her sisters go on diet after diet for so many years and all they talked about was food!

I went to see a healer named “Braco”.  He gazes at the room full of people and transmits a powerful emanation of Source.  He doesn’t speak.  He only looks.

While I was there, I heard a voice in my head say ” You must excercise Sister”.

Okay, that was very logical and I was aware that I had not been exercising.  This was great advice.  We laughed about it later because it was so obvious!  That was about 7 years ago.

So, when I came to Hawaii, I decided to eliminate dairy from my diet after reading Marilu Henner’s “Total Health Makeover”.

She states that “cows become so contaminated that their milk can be near lethal brew”.

I immediately lost 5 lbs. and looked and felt less bloated.

Next, I decided to stop drinking coffee ~ Hey, I’m a Swede, and I love my coffee!!!  I was down to one cup per day, and could not get used to the Nepresso coffee or the french press.  It just didn’t tast good to me anymore.  So, I was able to stop without the usual headaches when detoxing from coffee.


I had arrived in Hawaii on February 15 and on February 24,25,and 26, I gazed with Braco, live streaming on the computer (for free) and you won’t believe what happened next.

While gazing with Braco, I was asking for help to figure out this weight issue that I’ve been dealing with.  I said I knew that I need to excercise more, but there has to be something else that can normalize my weight.  Please help.  And I gave it up to God.

I had just purchased a new swimsuit and it was the largest one in the store! Talk about a wakeup call!

On the second day, my daughter called and told me that she was not able to come home on Thursday as planned and would I mind filling in for her 2 hour, LomiLomi, Hot Rock Massage?  Say What?????

And that’s when the excitement began……

To Be Continued…..

Braco has another live gaze streaming on March 15,16,17.  He will be streaming from Croatia.  Check him out at Braco.me

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!

The Big Reveal: Room Reset Challenge and Bonus Tutorial at the end

I wanted to get the Big Reveal out before I go on my trip. ( More about that later).  If you remember, or have been following along,  I answered a challenge to Re-set a room.  I chose the Dining room.


It was a dark, dreary, and rarely used room.  It just kindof sat there, all alone, needing some attention.


It was an area that gathered alot of junk!


My goal was to lighten it, brighten it, and in general to breathe new life into the little corner ( which by-the-way, is also my relationship corner in Feng Shui).  This corner definitely needed a boost!


I started with the window treatment.  I wanted to maintain the privacy while letting as much light into the room as possible.


I also updated a couple of road-side-rescues along the way.  Painted 6 chairs, reupholstered, and painted the table a lighter color.


I also, painted this 100 year old armoire, after much deliberation, only to discover that it wanted more than just a coat of white paint!  And it wanted to keep it’s wrinkles, and continue to show it’s age. It had earned it, by gollies! ( I used Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint in Linen) Purchased locally at The Treasured Home.


It definitely lightened and brightened the room, and I would say, it gave it a “Decidedly French Look”!




Working with a budget of “Little-to-None”,  I splurged on the orchids so that I could do this arrangement that I had been wanting to do for the longest time.  I already had the beautiful vintage container, and most of the other supplies. The vintage table cloth is one that I had, and it adds just the right amount of color to the room, coordinating, but not matching, like the English do so well.



And I can easily set it aside on my little decoupaged table that I finally finished.  I used napkins to do the table, and I will show you more of these in another post.




Finished just in time for Valentine’s Day!  Will you be mine?



Stay with me for the Tutorial on how to make your own orchid arrangement in a vintage container.


First you’ll need to gather your supplies:  hot glue gun, serrated knife, wire cutter, scissors ( not shown), moss, vintage container, floral foam, 1-3 orchids ( depending on the size of your container) I used 3, and orchid leaves with root ( if you can’t find these, ask your floral designer, as sometimes they hide these, and they are crucial to your arrangement.


I found this one at the Salvation Army.  As you can see, it has aged beautifully, has lots of crazing, and stains.  Just the way I like it!


I used two of these.


I used three of these. I cut the stems a little shorter than usual for my purpose of having on a dining room table.  Typically, you would want to leave the stem a little longer.


Cut your foam to fit your container.  Save all the pieces because later you may need them to fill some holes.


I glued the foam for the bottom, then flipped it over. I wanted to avoid gluing directly onto the porcelain, as it is old and fragile, and could break.  Continue to build your foam gradually….



Fill in the holes with leftover scraps of foam….Glue them in place….


For the stems, measure your length, and cut accordingly…Insert them into the foam.  I made mine all facing the same way, as I only wanted a one-sided arrangement.


Place the leaves on the outside of the middle flower, and go deep into the foam.  The leaves should sit close to the surface of the foam.





Bend your leaves out to see how they will balance with the flowers….pull the roots up prior to adding the moss….


Hot glue all of the places where you inserted the stems to secure them in place, once you are happy with the placement.



Start adding moss while the glue is still wet, adding more glue and moss as you go….


I like a variety of mosses.  And the smell of the moss takes you away to the forest.  I love it!



Just in time for Spring!

Note:  If you want to use taller stems for your orchids, you will want to get some willow branches and secure the orchid stems to them for additional support and style.

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Thank you for visiting Cottage Necessities! See you next time.



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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I forgot I was cleaning!

Almost immediately after the wonder and beauty of Christmas is wearing off….

many homemakers start to think about de-cluttering….

As the New Year approaches, we start to think;  Out with the old, in with the new!

And what other time could be better than NOW?


It hasn’t always been this way for me ~ but this year, I just happen to have the time.  So, I decided to start in the kitchen….

Recalling the words of my 17 year old grandson, Miles….”Mom, why do you have so many wooden spoons?”  I decided to start there.


(Crock in the back, reduced to one. ) Taller appliance put next to wall.

Now, when I am helping a friend, or a client with decluttering, I try to get them to practice ……”Mindfullness”…..

In mindfullness, decluttering becomes a journey rather than a task.

When you declutter with mindfullness, it’s best to have no distractions.

It’s also a good idea to have a bag or a box for donations, as you will be letting go of what no longer serves you.

It would also be a good idea to have a place to set aside things that you cannot make a decision on right away.


As you look around to assess the room you have chosen – think about how well it serves you, and about what you can do to improve the function of the space.


(Maybe some extra storage at the end of the counter will help.)

For me;  I like to have certain appliances on the counter that I use every day.  I also like to have my cooking utensils near the stove, at-the-ready.

I did not need to have my wooden salad servers there, so I eliminated one set to the donation pile and put the other two in a drawer, freeing up and eliminating one of the extra crocks that was taking up counter space.

I also switched places with the coffee maker and electric tea kettle because the coffee maker was taller and looked better against the wall.


(Some colorful containers to hold the tea!)

Being mindful is to clear it off, wipe it down, and give some thought to each item.  This is important:  Give some thought to each item as you wipe it down.

I don’t want to bore you with all the details of how I cleaned my tiny kitchen, but I want you to know that in the process, I was able to “GET” that I really don’t need as much as I thought I did.

” A place for everything and everything in it’s place” is a good mantra to use while decluttering.

And if something doesn’t “have a place”, then maybe someone else could find a good use for it, and you won’t even miss it.

Who cares if you paid a gazillion dollars for it, or maybe it’s worth something…..If you let it go ~ I promise you….You won’t even miss it!

And don’t forget to bring something into the space that brings you joy.


Like some artisan dishsoap or new hand towels, or even a new appliance!

Tell me, what’s your biggest challenge?

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Cottage Necessities

Part One: I answered the Miss Mustard Seed Reset your room challenge, and here’s what I did…..


Here are the before pictures of the room.  It is a very small area, and very dark, only getting the morning and afternoon light.  Since I am in a condo,  Privacy in the window is of utmost importance.  I need to let as much light in as possible, while still maintaining my privacy. Originally, the lace curtains that you see in the photo, hung to the floor.  I did a mock up of a roman shade to see if I would like it.  The bookcase under the window would have to go.  The large bookcases, will remain in the dark walnut color original to the maker’s design.

What is the Miss Mustard Seed Reset your Room Challenge, you may be asking your self?   Well, for the longest time, I have been an admirer, stalker?, and follower of her wonderful blog, that is full of beautiful photography, and writing from the heart.  In fact, she is the one that I give credit to, though she doesn’t have a clue, for the reason, inspiration for me starting my own blog.  I think and breathe design, even though my budget is limited, I would spend my last dime on a table or chair, that I can repurpose, paint, or refinish.  So….

I took on the challenge to pick a room, it took about a minute to decide, my dining room was in need of a lighten, brighten, and quieten, to see what it needed.  The room was crowded, lacked any style, was way too dark, and was the one room that was the dumping place for anything that didn’t have a place, and it wasn’t being used for it’s intended purpose, an eating area.

The other part, was that I needed to do it without any additional money spent, or at least minimal.  So, I had to use what I already had in my stash.

The room above shows it after I have removed everything but the big pieces of furniture, which MMS calls a “room reset”  and Myquillin, the Nester, calls ” quieting the room”  Either one works for me, and I think it is a great way to start.  It is also, a great Feng Shui principle to empty the room, and get the “chi” moving .  Clutter causes the energy to stagnate, and when things get moved, the energy is set free and allowed to circulate.  It also feels great to see a room without all the stuff in it, so that you can get a better perspective from looking at it with fresh eyes.


My first priority was the window.  I found this remnant in my fabric stash, and loved the colors with the rest of the furnishings in my living room, as you can see in the second photo, where I have it next to a chair fabric.  The colors are teal, brown, and soft burnished red on a cream background.  This was just enough material to do the cafe curtain…..


First try, and they didn’t look right, so I folded one under to see if a shorter version would look better.  Also, the rod was sagging, so I inserted a couple of shish kebob skewers in the rod.  Cafe curtain rods come in a maximum 48″ long, which is just enough to cover my window. Any more, and the rod would have pulled apart. Also, since I was limited on the amount of fabric, I was not able to get an exact pattern match with the repeat being 29″.


The next thing I did, was take a sheer rod pocket panel that I already had, and sewed a new rod pocket along the long side of it.  I used four ribbons, cut about 36″ long to hoist it up into the balloon shade valance that you see in the second picture.  I also felt like the cafe panels were too darkening, so I cut the original lace panels down, and put them on a tension rod behind the cafe panels for a layered look.  There is basically nothing that I can do with the verticle blinds that are a permanent fixture in the condo, and give me the most privacy at night.  I love the way it turned out.  I already had the fabric for the panels, the sheer curtain panel, and the lace panels that I cut down.  When I was digging around, I found two packages of cafe curtain rings ( 30 total) and had the tension rod.  The only purchase so far, was the cafe rod, and I used a coupon for 50% off, so it cost me roughly $4.00.

Tune in next time to see what surprises showed up for me when I was right in the middle of painting the chairs!

Travelling on the Smoke ~ Sage Cottage

In Native American tradition, sage is often burned to purify the air and to send up prayers ” on the smoke”.

The soft tendrils of the smoke would swirl up into the ethers carrying the prayers to the Great Spirit. 026

When my friend Susie, who I’ve known since kindergarten, asked me to come to San Diego to help her “paint”, I had a feeling there would be other adventures in store……

Sue and her husband, Mike, Picked me up at the airport in their Kia “Soul”.

When she told me she would be picking me up in the “Soul”, I had no idea what she was talking about.  I was used to seeing her drive a white two ton double cab pickup with Navaho blankets on the seats and white sage drying in the window.

I was relieved to see that the “Soul” was a pretty green compact, SUV, and not some space ship to another world.

On the way to her house, we stopped at Rudford’s cafe.  On the outside of the building there is a picture of JFK that was taken as his motorcade drove by the restaurant just months before his assassination in the 60’s.

I had some fish tacos and enjoyed hearing about Mike’s adventures in Glacier Nat’l sharing a mountain with a Grizzly Bear, and serving Huckleberry flambe around the campfire with his hiking buddies.

I would be staying for a week and by now Sue knows me, that we would power down and get-er-done.

I had been to visit about 3 years earlier, my first visit to her place, when we had spent a couple of days working on her windows.  We shopped, sewed, and installed ( with the help of Mikie) for 3 rooms.

We installed woven wood blinds on 6 windows to add privacy and to filter the light, made two custom valances to go over her existing ready made drapery panels.


( Flat rod-pocket valance with ready made curtain panel, and woven wood blind for the first layer, to filter sunlight and frame the window. )


We sewed a custom band on some ready made linen panels that we widened by sewing two panels together for her 8 foot windows.

We were exhausted, but very pleased with the way everything turned out.

This trip, we had our work cut out for us, as she had been “inheriting” more funiture for the last 3 years and was busting-out-at-the-seams!

I’m sure alot of people have the same situation.  It goes something like this:  Father passes away and leaves a houseful of furniture, the “ex” decides to move and can’t take your precious antiques with him, Mother-in-law scales down from a 3 bedroom house to a more manageable condo, and you just couldn’t pass up those barley twist tables at the yard sale last week!  And so it goes ~

And you end up with a house full of inherited furniture that doesn’t quite fit your lifestyle, but alot of it has sentimental value and you just can’t part with it. These are the “Before” pics. 003




007That’s where I come in …

This was the home of comfort, not fussy, easy-going-friends-dropping-by for a beer, a cigar, and a lively conversation, kind of comfort.  But it also had to be a little ” Wild”.

Definition of Wild:  out of control; amazingly out of this world; an unrestrainable amount of coolness.

We had chosen the colors on the previous visit.

And we started a Pinterest Board prior to my visit.  I had Sue order the feather stencil from Sweden so it would arrive while I was there. ( you can find it on Pinterest. )

The theme would be “Native American” with Orange Marmalade and Sage Green paint on the walls.

When bright, vibrant colors are used on the walls, it is important to find balance by blending in enough neutrals so that the colors do not overwhelm, while not completely backing away or becoming timid.  Just immerse yourself in the feel or essence of the colors and face them head on.




When I lifted the sheet off the ” black leather sofa”, I was thrilled to find a vintage black leather settee in pristine condition.

For the accent color, I chose Grotto.  a bold, vibrant tealy-turquoise, that put the spark and the rhythm into the rooms.  That was our third layer.


  1. Color on walls – orange and sage
  2. Furniture- black, brown , green
  3. Accent color – Grotto, a turquoise chalk paint from Michael’s
  4. Fabrics – rugs, baskets, pillows, curtains
  5. Something living – terrarium, plants, dog, eggs, feathers.
  6. The Great Spirit was with us, every step of the way…
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  8. And so was Leigha!
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  10. Everything in the picture above, Sue already owned;  The baskets were found on a trip to Arizona, The sun print was done by Sue’s brother Sal, the candle sconces were her Grandmother’s ( we painted them black), the accent chair was from Mexico.  the candelabra was in the previous pictures, and the art photography, we had custom framed. A photographer friend took these of the Mesa, and they spoke to Sue’s soul.
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  12. The baskets were the inspiration for the color scheme of the room.
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  15. What we did here was to bring in one center table from another room, and add one lamp.  You will notice that we kept the ladder with the rugs from my previous visit.  We painted the trim, added the shutters and changed the moulding on the bottom of the window frame, keeping the scrolly one on top per Mike’s request as  it was original to the house. We also added a sisal area rug in a neutral tone.
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  17. The vintage lamp added to our color story, and the pottery ( made and painted by Sue), and more baskets to hold those remotes!
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  19. A sentimental story for this wall, along with an heirloom clock, and Dream catcher, to hold on to those dreams.
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  21. Another work of art by one of Sue’s friends from the Artists Village in Balboa Park.
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  23. A cedar trunk made by Sue’s brother Sal, received a paint job in our accent color, and a new upholstered top with a small area rug from Target with some great texture, and some Satin nickel nail head trim.
  24. And the Dining Room.  Remember the Feather stencil from Sweden?
  25. First a quick look at the Before Picture……
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  27. With the new paint color on the walls, the stencil of the feather creates the Wow Factor……And nods to Sue’s Native American heritage.
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  29. The stencil pattern picks up the lacey patterns in the back of the chairs, the die-cut vintage lampshade, and the crocheted lace table cloth.  Simple, yet Elegant.
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  31. A new area rug grounds the space. ( we put books on the back wall to iron out the curves in the rug. )

And Granny’s chest got a makeover….


Granny would be so proud!  Her dresser had been sitting quietly in the back of the room, not drawing any attention, and now it is a show stopper.

Update:  We completed these rooms mid-October.  Since then, the homeowners had not planned on having Thanksgiving dinner in their home, and changed their mind, celebrating with family and friends in their newly appointed rooms.  The energy shifted and Sue became inspired to re-do her studio at the Spanish Village Artist Center, and has been more creative than ever, making new designs in her silver jewelry. Spiritnsilver Handmade silver jewelry with an Organic and Soulful Vibe.

Susie was a real team player through the whole process.  At one point she told her friends ” Lorna has come to help re do my living rm n dining rm. sometimes I can’t keep up w her ideas. But I’m going w the flow. And Mike is very supportive”.

We had a great time.

Thanks for visiting.  I hope you come back to see more exciting room makeovers!

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