Fireplace Tips

It’s cold out there and our fireplaces become key to winter comfort.  We  open the flue, turn on the gas and light a match.  That’s all there’s to it, right?  Maybe not.  Read on for useful info on how to get the most burn for your buck:


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Time to Design

It’s 01 10 10 – pretty cool in many ways on this frigid January day.

Are you resolving to keep your resolutions?  Good for you!  Why not begin by considering your immediate surroundings, your personal environment aesthetic.

eggs on heart tray

You are surrounded by what you’ve built in your life.  Your collections, purchases, heirlooms, and furnishings.  How does it feel when you walk into each room?  Would you like it to be different or improved?  Change can be exciting and scary at the same time.  Think about your personal environment today and the aesthetic therein.  Is it all you want it to be?

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Wrap Rap

“Recycled brown Kraft paper (which can be found in big rolls at your local craft, office supply or dollar store) is a great anytime gift wrap. Tie with twine and embellish with a pinecone and evergreen clippings from your backyard for gift wrap that’s easy on the environment and your wallet.”

This cool idea is from HGTV where you can find more great wrap ideas.  Enjoy!

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Wreath as a Centerpiece

Instead of hanging a wreath on your door, use it as the base of a centerpiece for your Christmas table. Use simple decorations to coordinate it with your home decor or tablesetting theme. 

Find a large tray or platter, or cut a piece of heavy plastic to place under the wreath. This will make it much easier to move the wreath centerpiece to change the tablecloth or rearrange the place settings. You’ll be protecting the finish on your table at the same time.

Materials for Christmas Wreath Centerpiece

  • fresh pine wreath
  • decorations
  • bow

Follow these simple steps to make your wreath centerpiece:

  • Place the wreath down on the table, tray, or platter.
  • Decorate the wreath by sticking ornaments, pinecones, or floral picks into the wreath.
  • Arrange ribbons or garlands around the wreath.
  • Place one or several colorful bows around the wreath for added color.

Special tips for fine-tuning:

  • Use decorations that have wires attached. They can easily be stuck into the greens of the wreath.
  • When arranging the decorations on the wreath, be careful not to scratch your wood table.
  • For a different look, place several large pillar candles into the center of the wreath.
  • Pile large pine cones neatly into the center of the wreath.
  • Form a pyramid of colorful Christmas balls in the center of the wreath.

You’ll see how simple it is to create this beautiful and traditional Christmas Wreath Centerpiece. (from

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yummmm for the holidays

I am on a homemade presents kick this year, part of an effort to be more personal and to save myself the stress of shopping.  In my recent newsletter I printed recipes for hot fudge and caramel sauces to give as gifts.  Here is another delectable food gift sure to please:


Click here for the recipe

I love and find great ideas on all things home: decorating, cooking, baking, etc.  Try it – you’ll have fun browsing.  Have a great day – it’s snowing in Chicago!!

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Kitchen on a Roll

A kitchen I visited recently was decorated nicely and had loads of open space between walls of cabinets.  The owner and I talked about a rolling worktable and in sourcing I found a great site to explore kitchen islands.    New technology is bringing these workhorses well into the 21st century with Rubika’s newest design by Lodovico:

rubika kitchen island

Quoting their site: “A sink is tucked beneath the prep surface, plate racks are hidden in a pull-out drawer, and a cooktop is concealed under the table top. Little spaces appear here and there in mysterious fashion, like some enchanted box a magician might use to cut up an assistant and rearrange her parts. If Rubika does work, surely cooks will need to change their paradigm of what constitutes a kitchen, but we should all pay attention to Rubika’s underlying idea that less is more.”

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Cool Quote

I read this morning the quote I’ve seen before but had forgotten:

Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.

What a cool way to start the day.  I wish you many breathtaking moments today.

If you want to give yourself many such moments, visit a national park.  Here are some photos I took at Yellowstone National Park:

hot springs at Yellowstone

from the top of Avalanche Peak

view from the top of Avalanche Peak


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