My Quest For The Perfect Gray-Green

G.O. is working on the upstairs bathroom,

so I’ve been busy thinking about paint colors, etc.

I was all set to get Glidden’s Prairie Sage (bottom right),

since it was described as a neutral alternative to gray.

paint green of sage

Trust me, we have enough gray walls downstairs.

 I am ready for a change but want to stay neutral-ish.

Besides, green is a thing now.

Anyway, off we drive to Home Depot for a gallon of Glidden Prairie Sage.

Long story short — neither of us liked it.

I thought it looked too bright + too mint.

surprised baby

The minute we got home, I headed to Pinterest,

where I began a furtive search for green-gray paint.

When I saw these being described as matches to

Restoration Hardware paint, my search was officially ovah!

paint green sage

I mean, people.

Everything from Restoration Hardware is exquisite, is it not?

Sadly, it’s almost 5 bells, so I shall have to wait until manana

to drive to our (brand new + local) Sherwin-Williams.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Meanwhile, earlier today I casually suggested we do this

to the bathrooms walls:

board and batten entryway

I mean, how cool!  Plus, isn’t it easy to install?  I hope?

board and batten bathtub

Oops.  I think that’s where I lost him.

cats fighting

Wish me luck with the paint, though.

  I’ll report back — so stay tuned.



Kitchen Windows + Door

Last Christmas we had wreaths like this in every window.


I wanted to hang them on the windows outside this year.

Like this:

wreaths of window

Or this:

wreath on wiindows

How charming is that?

G.O. wasn’t on board, sadly, so maybe next year.

Meanwhile, the wreaths do look good on windows inside the house,

don’t you think?


The cute, little trees were from IKEA a few years ago,

+ my favorite Guy Wolff pots were from Smith + Hawken.  RIP



Those sweet red checked curtains started their lives as a bed skirt

from when Martha Stewart still sold stuff at K-Mart.  RIP

Watch here to see a K-Mart commercial starring Martha Stewart.

F U N !

Awwwww!  That cute Dachsie card was sent to me by cousin, Gwen.

Those red light fixtures were from Ballard Designs.


We hung another wreath on our kitchen door:


How adorable!

But now I must ask for your opinions.

We painted all of our interior doors Black Magic by Pittsburgh Paints.

Here’s the door to the powder room:

Here’s our bedroom closet doors:

door of black with greg

We just assumed that the kitchen door

would receive its own coat of Black Magic paint someday.

But wait.

My friends were here for brunch a few days ago,

+ they both thought the door looked good, as is!

kristen wigg

I had never thought to do that!

Of course, I am now kind of obsessing about it.

See Exhibits A + B:

What do you think?

Black Magic?

door of black with greg

Or chippy white?


Time will tell, so stay tuned!

Santas Under Glass

One of the best things about all the red in our kitchen

is how festive it looks at Christmas time!


I love our red Bella coffee maker,

the buffalo check candle is from Marshalls,

+ I used to sell Hoosier glass jars like this in my old store.

Our kitchen window sill is quite deep,

so I have lots of fun displaying my collectibles on it.

Right now it’s filled with my Santas,

+ this year I opted to display them under glass cloches.

Only one is a genuine cloche, though,

while the others are various repurposed glass containers.

My cast iron Santa from the Sundance catalog

is under a glass globe from an old industrial light fixture.


This small hand-carved Santa

is from a fellow vendor at one of my mid-90’s markets.

His cloche is actually a small glass item

for which I paid $3 just the other day, at a local antique shop*.

We’re not sure what it was originally, but it’s the perfect small size!


* I found a box of 12 red Shiny Brite ornaments

at the same store + on the same day.


My blue + gray salt-glaze pottery Santa

is from Rowe Pottery Works in Cambridge, Wisconsin.

I used to carry their wares in my old store, too.


Look closely at his cloche —

it is actually a small glass measuring beaker that I found at Walmart.

I think it looks vintage + industrial, don’t you?


A similar set of beakers is available online from Walmart.

beakers from walmart

I call this Hallmark ornament the Paula Deen’s husband Santa.


Seriously.  Separated at birth, or what?

Do you recognize his cloche?

It is a preserves jar from the French company, Bonne Maman.

Notice that Santa’s standing on the darling red check jar lid!


We love the cherry preserves at our house.

preserves of cherry

And finally, we have the only real cloche of my collection.

I bought it years ago at the late, great Smith + Hawken store.

I’m guessing that Santa probably came from my old shop, too.


Doesn’t the tall, slender beaker look great, with the sun shining through it?

Meanwhile, that’s about it for my Santas collection.

In the olden days, I had dozens more of them,

but sold or gave away most when I entered my less-is-more phase.

Let’s take a quick look at some other (mostly red) things in our kitchen.

 We can discuss said red accents at a later date.

Stay tuned.


A Simple Christmas Porch

This afternoon I snapped just a few photos of our pretty new porch,

 decorated very simply for Christmas time.


We bought those black urns at Lowe’s this past summer,

+ of course, at the time,

I was already dreaming of how pretty they would look at Christmas.


They look like cast iron but are actually made from old tires,

which means they are lightweight + are supposed to be durable enough

to make it throughout the cold winter months.


Each window in our house has a single electric candle,

which is one of my favorite things to do.

I think it is so quaint, especially in a 2-story house like ours

(+ this one, below:)



We hung some artificial garland made of mixed greens,

including some blue spruce,

which coordinates divinely with our blue spruce topiary.


Yes, I know this Dachshund is tacky, but how could I resist so much cuteness?


She’s standing in front of my seats from the old Busch Stadium in St. Louis.


I bought that ginormous wreath at a garage sale one warm summer day.

It’s hard to tell in this photo, but those are big, retro red bulbs.


Yes, I use a lot of red in our house, which is especially festive at Christmas time.

Did I share a photo of our new mailbox?



Look!  Yet another Dachshund — a boot  scraper, actually,

which I placed next to some old, red boots I bought at a vintage store.


This may or may not be the final version of our Christmas porch,

but whatever — I am going to keep things simple, with red + greens.

Early Christmas at the Dutch Colonial

Hooray!  A couple of days ago, I put up our Christmas tree.


Delightful!  But wait.

Just for fun, let’s go down memory lane + look at our 2009 tree:

christmas tree in wash tub

That washtub stand looked super cute + kept our new kittens at bay.

Those clip-on candle strings were so charming!

candle strings

My aunt Elva had these beauties on her Christmas tree,

so I was inspired to use them, too.

You can buy your own here.

Now, then, let’s head back to this year’s tree:



We bought it online last year, but I can’t recall where I found it.  Oops.

Anyway, I liked it because it resembled those simple + spare trees

that are all the rage —

something like this 7′ artificial tree by Vickermans, on Amazon:

bedrock pine christmas tree

WOW.  I know! —  how fantastic

Our version is only 3′ tall,

so we placed it on top of a carom board table that G.O. made.

Here’s a close up view:


Oh, + as you can see,

I switched out our letter board message on the art ledge.

Those are some lyrics of one of my favorite (John Lennon) Christmas songs:


 Back to the tree.

I limited the ornaments to red balls, mustard gold stars,

+ silvery glass pinecones + nuts from Martha’s old K-Mart merch:


Oh, how I miss the days when Martha sold at K-Mart!


The scuttlebutt is that after she walked into a K-Mart store

+ saw the messy displays (imagine that!),

she ruined  my life by ending her collaboration with K-Mart.

S A D !

Moving on, these pretty stars are holdovers from my old retail store,

Heart-in-Hand, circa 1990-something.


Here ’tis, in 1991, when I bought that building:

heart in hand exterior

But I digress.

My plans are to add one more detail — some silvery metal icicles.

If you look closely, you can see them on our ’09 tree:

christmas tree in wash tub

Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, let’s discuss that fence around the base of our tree.





Like the star ornaments, the fence is from my Heart-in-Hand era.

I bought it from the Rowe Pottery Work retail store in Cambridge, WI:

rowe pottery bldg

I used to sell their commemorative pottery in my store.

Several times a year, I opted to drive a couple of pleasant hours

through Wisconsin to pick up my pottery orders (no huge shipping bill!)

rowe pottery city crock

But I digress!

Here’s one more look at our Christmas tree — a.k.a. Kay’s morale boost!


Yet more Christmas-related morale boosts occurred

out on our recently finished front porch!


I can’t wait to share more photos!

Stay tuned!

New Orleans Shop Envy

A few weeks ago on Facebook, I posted a heads up about this website:

shopkeeper logo

It’s like a dream come true for those of us who love independent retail shops!

Check it out + thank me later (you’re welcome.)

You’ll see that you can search for shops in different countries + cities + genres.

Today, let’s visit a stationery shop in New Orleans:

new orleans grove st press logo

The shopkeepers are cousins — Kate Wyman + Anna Boyer.

neworleans girls

And they have a shop dog — a labradoodle named Mildred Yvonne!

new orleans shop dog

 Nope.  It doesn’t get much cuter than this!

neworleansgirlswith dog

Ha ha ha!  Cute, yes, but this wins as the CUTEST!

Because everybody knows that dogs sitting upright + reading = comedy gold!


Anyway, their biz name, Grove Street Press, is quite literal,

as the women have a letterpress studio behind their shop:




new orleans car print


Pay close attention to the tartan plaid envelope lining of this card:

boots l l bean

Apparently the girls make them!

new orleans envelopes


Now, then — let’s take a quick trip through their retail space, starting outside.

Doesn’t that charming storefront make you want to see what’s inside?

new orleans shop exterior

new orleans front window

(Side note: Have I mentioned my late, great retail store, Heart-In-Hand?)

Here ’tis, at Christmas time, 1987

heart in hand exterior

I only mention it because I still have a bit of “retail fever” (<– I made that up),

which probably explains why I love perusing wonderful shops like this one.

My store had a couple of large, old sorters for merch displays, like here:

new orleans postal sorter

One of them — my postal sorter — is currently in the dining room of our Dutch colonial,

+ before that, was in our brick bungalow’s living room:

postal sorter

We are using my other large sorter in our Dutch colonial’s living room:


Oh, how fun it is, to go down memory lane!

Speaking of which, please note the U.S. flag that the women hung in their store:

new orleans flag

Turns out that I used to hang the huge funeral flag of my grandpa’s

(he was in France in WWI.)

Here we are, the flag + me, together at an outdoor market, last year:

booth wit flag

But back to Grove Street Press.

This FAN-tastic gallery wall has me yearning to have one of our own!

new orleans

Pass me the hammer + nails + stay tuned!




Plus Sign Tiles In A Nashville Loft

It’s time for an inspirational bathroom post.

I just discovered Apartment Therapy’s Homes Across America,

in which there are several home tours from select major cities, + whoa.

They are all super swoon-worthy!

apartment therapy homes across america

There’s so much buzz about Nashville these days, so let’s start there

with a Remarkably Remodeled Industrial Modern Loft.

Every single room is wonderful:

loft in nashvillle

Granny’s going need a nap soon, so let’s focus on one room only.

I’ve chosen this one, with most wonderful black + white tiles, ever!

From floor to ceiling, there are classic subway tiles with dark grout.

Subway tiles + dark grout = classic vintage style!

floor -- black ith white pluses

Check out the black vanity with its window sash drawer pulls!

But seriously.

That black + white plus sign floor!


Have you ever seen anything so cool?

Yes you have,

if you read my recent blog post

about a bungalow reno in an HGTV pilot show.

plus sign floor

Let’s look again.

Yes, there IS a black + white tile floor with plus signs!

plus sign floor bigger

Oh, what the heck.

We might as well continue our journey down plus sign memory lane,

so here are a couple more plus sign tiles in my go-to color:

red cross shower wall with box

red cross shower wall

Well, that was fun, but I digress.

Let’s head back to the Nashville loft bathroom that I loved so much!

Please.  Did you see this?

The mirror looks built in, because it’s been framed with accent tiles!

floor black with white plusses

I’m so not worthy!

The plus sign floor + white subway walls flow into a walk-in shower,

+ with extra credit for its built-in niche:

floor black with hite plusses

And in conclusion, it looks like there’s a water close across the room.

I wish we had a water closet.

floor black with white plussi water closet

Stay tuned for more Homes Across America home tours!

Our Yard’s Blue + White Theme

It’s starting to look like Fall in our yard,

as some of our + our neighbors’ trees are dropping their leaves

Speaking of  leaves, check out these, on one of our Oak Leaf hydrangeas:



 If only I’d taken this photo a couple days ago,

when those red leaves were so vivid + gorgeous!


They already pop nicely against our neighbor’s light wood fence,

so imagine how stunning they will be when all the leaves turn scarlet!

They’ll eventually grow to 8′ – 10′ tall + will provide lots of privacy.

I blogged about them last August when we were planting them.

hydrangeas with chairs

They were only about a foot tall.

hydrangea border new looking ssouth

They’re now almost 4′ tall.


This first season, we had only about 6 or 7 total blooms,

but fingers crossed they will look more like this next summer:

hydrangea oak leaf

While I was outside this morning,

I decided to snap a few more photos of my groovies.

There’s my very pretty blue gazing ball on an old hollow stump,

 a vintage Dachshund statue,

+ some velvety Pulmonaria (a.k.a. Lungwort) plants:


That bit of a fern belongs to our large Boston fern (below),

+ those cobalt blue glass stars are from my favorite garden center,

Blumen Gardens in Sycamore, IL.


Here’s a better look,

with some companion globe thistle plants, in our last house’s yard:

blue glass stars

So pretty!

And wouldn’t you know it — I got the globe thistle plants at Blumen Gardens, too!

Anyway, it’s easy to see that our yard has a bit of a blue + white theme.


Some pretty blue Endless Summer hydrangeas

are growing just across the yard from our Oak Leaves.

hydrangea endless summer

We even painted our garden shed blue.

That’s our bee garden that we planted this summer.

The pretty white Coneflowers are the stars right now,

+ yes, we attracted bees!


That bird bath on a stand is also from Blumen Gardens,

+ how much do I love that mosaic blue + white transferware plate!


Oops.  I should have tidied it up before taking a photo!

Finally — in closing — next spring

we’ll have all sorts of pretty blue + white spring flowers.

We planted lots of bulbs, about which you can read more, here.

That’s really going to be a much-needed morale boost

when everything’s gloomy + muddy in March

+ I’m so cold I can’t feel my toes.

Our Porch Ceiling Change Of Plans

Here is our front porch, in progress:


As you can see, G.O. is in the middle of stripping all the old paint

from our porch’s original bead board ceiling.


Our plans were to paint the ceiling a pretty pale blue.

Exhibits A – B + C:

exterior pale blue ceiling with wicker

exterior pale blue ceiling with black rockers

exteriior pale blue ceiling

Pale blue porch ceilings are a thing in the south.

I grew up in southern Illinois (which is very southern, BTW),

so I’ve been on board the blue ceiling train since I was a wee lass.

Anyway, just as we were discussing what pale blue paint to use,

this happened:


We were both surprised at how pretty the natural wood ceiling is!

And, speaking of something being a design thing,

natural wood exterior accents are wildly popular now.

Have you noticed?

I first saw this trend on HGTV’s FIXER UPPER.

bathroom of fixer upper shower

Okay, that mirror she’s touching is painted white,

but here are just a few natural wood accents from the show.

Exhibits D – E – F + G:

wood exterior columns

wood exterior fixer upper

wood exterior shutters

wood exterior window boxes


While we had our hearts set on a pale blue porch ceiling,

I think we’ve changed our minds.

That wood ceiling of ours is way too pretty in its natural state,

+ it wouldn’t be right to cover it with paint.

Exhibits H – I – J – K + L:



You can easily see the portion that’s not been fully stripped:



So.  This just illustrates why one must be flexible when working on anything,

or as I like to call it: heading to Plan B.

The natural wood is so warm + lovely, isn’t it?


G.O. is such a perfectionist;

this change in plans will no doubt have him going back

over the entire porch ceiling again, maybe multiple times.

That’s his thing, + really.

How many times can I say, “It doesn’t have to be perfect!”?

Looking Eastward From Our Couch

I recently blogged about a moody gray farmhouse,

+ broke down all the reasons why I loved this floor-to-ceiling vignette:

gray house table with books

Here’s why.

I am finally going to create my own floor-to-ceiling vignette,

looking eastward from our couch.

Here ’tis, in its during stage:


Toward the west we have art ledges:

art ledges alphabet

I made the pillow + the alphabet artwork. The mug is from Ralph Lauren.

But back to the opposite side of our couch:


My enamel top sawhorse table was formerly a sofa table.


Its red + white colors form the scheme of my arrangement.

did say floor-to-ceiling, so let’s see what’s on the floor.

First, a large red+ white target artwork anchors the space:


Large target artwork, glove mold, stack of books + basket


Look — October 29th is my birthday


Enter a caption


Measuring artwork that I made, using chippy white salvaged wood


That hardware means this board started out in a cabinet or window

Of course, this is all subject to change,

because it’s a project in progress.


But for now, that’s it for the floor portion of my floor-to-ceiling vignette.

My plans include having a gallery wall above the sawhorse table.

I can’t decide which of my dozens of artworks to include

which is why the in progress stage of my project is taking so long.

In the meantime, I did lean this old red level against the wall:




Please.  It had me at chippy red original paint.

This level will draw the eye upward

+ will eventually link the floor items to those higher up, on the wall.


I shall blog about both the art gallery + the table top vignette, soon.


Today I shall work on pillows for my etsy shop

+/or plant batch #2 of spring bulbs out front.

Here’s a post about our first batch of spring bulbs.

Here’s a recent pillow, with which I have a love/hate relationship:


It seemed to take forever to make, so I was almost hating it.

As often occurs, though, the following morning I super loved it.

Thanks for viewing; it means a lot!



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