Taking the bitter with the sweet…

Today’s my last day in Hawaii.  I’m already missing this place that has nurtured my soul for the past 4 months.  I came here to help my daughter empty her storage unit, sell off some furniture, and remodel a photo studio, but in the long run, I’ve received much more than I could ever give.


Is it just another day in paradise?  Or is it something more? 


Each day, no matter where we are, we have the opportunity to connect…


to create…..


to color an otherwise white world….




with aspects of our soul….


to bring more beauty into every day, ordinary experiences….

IMG_3610by letting ourselves play, discover, and imagine….


to find beauty in the simple, the ordinary, the priceless things that appear in our lives.



Away from the distractions we will find ourselves looking back at ourselves, asking for



and love.



It’s important that we listen to these promptings…

Honor our soul’s calling…

Feel into the love that is there for us, just on the other side of the veil (our ego) and keep our connection with Source (God) alive.


Hawaiian Sunset


photo from Kikki K planner




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


Multiple Streams…


Re-inventing ones self at age 63 doesn’t especially happen over night, but to some may be necessary.

We are living in a critical time when Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age.  Many are being forced into retirement before they are ready.

The question is:  what do I do now?  What is my life purpose?  Have I already lived it, or is there something more for me to do?

What floats my boat?



Let me tell you…

It’s a new path of discovery, it’s a chance to do something you’ve always wanted to do. It’s a chance to re-invent yourself.  And make some extra money in the process.

In the last century we worked for large corporations and thrived.  The money was good and the stress levels were high.

Now, if we think about all of the skills we’ve garnered up to this point, the hobbies that have held our interest, a pattern will emerge.

We will start to see something taking shape.

For me, I love painting and refinishing old, classic furniture.

Buffet in back of photo


And I love decoupage….



Laura Vano 002



Happy Chair

I love stencilling….


But at this time in my life, I don’t have alot of room for that.

So, I’ve discovered doll furniture, smaller items that I can paint and decoupage and stencil.





There is so much information available nowadays, where we can learn something new. Youtube, Kahn Academy, the local library…

I once read a story about a woman who started a website selling tumble weeds.  She did it as a joke, but her business took off.

Then there’s the guy who started trading up on Craigslist.  He started with a Red Paper Clip ( which is also the name of his book) and ended up with a house!

It took me a long time to get my nerve up to open an Etsy store.

Now whenever I make a sale, I get so excited.  My photos aren’t the greatest and I need to work on that, but i’m selling stuff.  My top seller?  Walnut shells!  Who knew?

I’m seeing a trend of new entrepeneurs emerging.  Small business owners are picking up speed across the country.

People are creating little villages of people that include friends, family, and strangers across the globe.  And it’s all done by internet communication.  There is so much kindness and goodwill among people on the web.  A new global community, where it doesn’t matter the color of your skin or what you look like, how old or young you are.  There is so much support from others in the same boat, and there is enough room for everyone, each and every individual who wants to give.

It took a couple of years for me to start blogging.

Now I really feel like I’ve accomplished something when I post a new blog.  Even if no one reads it.

My pictures aren’t the best, but that’s something I have to work on.

It’s a process….

The point is ~~~ it doesn’t have to be perfect…..

Life is a process….

The time to get started is now….

What do you like to do that can bring in a stream of income?

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These Christmas Cottages are for the Birds!

IMG_9864Sometimes I am amazed at what a little Mod Podge, and cocktail napkins can do to transform something.

My best resource for the cocktail napkins has been Tuesday Morning.  The unfinished wood birdhouses can be found at Michael’s and Joann’s for about a dollar.

They’re like little paper mosaics.


and it gives me a chance to practice combining patterns and colors, a chance to play with out worrying, or stressing that it won’t look right.

I can tell a little story, and be whimsical!

I can mix mediums, like wrapping paper, old sheet music, crystals, buttons, sewing notions, feathers and moss.

If you want to try this, here are a couple of tips before you start.

Paint the entire birdhouse with white paint, to make the colors stand out better.

Here is one that I painted grey instead of white.  It came out darker, and even though I still love this one with it’s Bohemian vibe…..


I like the cottage look of the white undertones.  But again, you can do whatever you want.


There is a loop on top of most of them, so you can hang them on your Christmas tree.


And there are ones without a loop, that can be placed on a little shelf or a bookcase. And you can look at it all year long.


When you use the napkins, you can tear them in pieces, or use a whole sheet.  Just peel all of the inside layers away, so you only have the layer with the picture on it.

The main thing is to just have fun!

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