Top Ten Tips From My Favorite Magazines - January 2021


1.   Better Homes and Gardens released a special edition called Cozy Small Spaces. In it they recommended if you have to put a bed in front of a window, make sure that you have a see0through bed frame, especially if the room is small. I thought this was a great idea.

2.   Real Magazine reported that when Charles Gerba, PhD, a virology professor at the University of Arizona analyzed household surfaces he found cellphones had 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats. I can tell you having been a trainer at Apple, I have seen some of the filthiest iPhones and iPads that you can imagine. I discovered that there are now devices that will sterilize your phones with UV light. Here is one from Amazon.

3.   Last month I commented on an Advent Calendar using envelopes on a framed corkboard. Even though Christmas is past, I thought this Advent Calendar from Homes and Gardens magazine was clever. It's simply small brown bags hanging down the wall. 

4.   Also in this month's Homes and Gardens was this arrangement of colored Pampas Grass. I didn't know they came in so many colors. However to get deep rich colors you have to dye them. Here are instructions from Fox Hollow Style.


5.   Did you know that decorating your front door is called "door scaping?" I didn't and just found out in this month's issue of Living Etc. And it's a thing... not just for Christmas. Google it or check it out on Pinterest.

6.   I saw this table in the UK January issue of Good Housekeeping. I love little fairy lights. I have some scattered around my yard that go inside wine bottles. I love them on my Christmas tree and have just placed an order for a curtain of lights that I can put in my bedroom. I never really thought about using them as table decorations. I love that. What a fun alternative to candles. And because you can get battery operated fairy lights there is no cord that needs to plug in. You can find them here.

7.   I was looking for a new novel and found this one, also in Good Housekeeping UK. The Guardian describes it as "The Big Chill with a dash of Big Little Lies." It's about four older women who have a lifelong friendship. Three of the women meed for a life-changing weekend in the beach house of a late friend. 

8.   In this month's Canadian Readers Digest there is a post about a challenge from The Getty Museum. Last March they challenged people on Twitter to re-create famous works of art with 3 things from around their homes. It's hysterical.

9.   I am a numbers nerd and for years I have loved reading the Harper's Index. This month's index has some interesting numbers related to the pandemic... 

Portion of single Americans who have had sex since the coronavirus pandemic began: 3/10

Portion of those single Americans whose sexual partner was a roommate with whom they were not in a relationship: ¼

Estimated percentage of weddings planned for a date between March and August last year that were rescheduled: 52

Estimated value of loans taken out by U.S. couples for canceled 2020 weddings: $3,700,000,000

10.  From the winter issue of iPhone Life Magazine - did you know that you blink up to 60% less when looking at a computer? That is why your eyes might often feel dry after a longer time on the computer. Blinking lubricates your eyes. So take a break and blink.

Top Ten Tips From My Favorite Magazines - December

1.   Did you know this was the last issue of O magazine after 245 issues over 20 years? Oprah had some cool favorite things. This crossbody bag is perfect for walking with 3 compartments and is available in a bunch of different colors. $35.20.

2.   I saw these wrapping clothes in Living Etc. Such a good idea for recycling wrap. I even found some with Christmas designs.

3.   I also saw this idea for decorating a stairs rail for the holiday. They are wedding decorations from India but I have seen similar pieces in Mexico.

4.   I love doing jigsaw puzzles with family during the holidays. We talk about all kinds of things between "Does anybody have a straight edge with lots of blue?" I saw this thousand piece earth puzzle in the December issue of Real Simple.

5.   AARP magazine said that 2020 has been the "Year of the Bookcase." With all our video calls we are seeing a lot of bookshelf as backgrounds. They give some helpful hints like Think Thematically (arrange by size, color), have a few of your favorite books facing out, fill the bookcase ⅔ full of books and ⅓ meaningful objects.

6.   I saw the ad for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom in this month's Vanity Fair. I love the blues and this movie is starring Viola Davis. On Netflix December 18th.

7.   I saw this article about snowflake pins in December Chatelaine Magazine. My two best friends and I have been collecting them for many years from flea markets. Love wearing mine in a cluster of 3. I also cover my Santa hat with them on Christmas Day. 

Here are a few that I like on Amazon...

I like having a couple different sizes. Plus they make nice wearable decorations on top of a package.
Set of three $10.99

8.   Love this idea from Women's Day. What a great advent calendar made with little envelopes, washiest tape, clip art. Fill with notes, gift cards, candy, tiny toys. The envelopes are pinned to a cork board and framed. 

9.   I think my favorite Tip this month is from  Reader's Digest. I don't know why I never read RD. They have some great ideas. This month they mentioned putting a paper clip at the end of a roll of tape so you don't have to dig out the ends with your nail. So simple, yet so handy.

10.  Another great idea from Reader's Digest is to make cleaning your car's cup holder easier. Simply put a reusable silicone cupcake liner in there. It captures all the dirt and crumbs and you just pull it out and wash. Here is a set of 24 two inch liners for just $8.99.

Top Ten Tips From My Favorite Magazines - November


1.   I love this idea from Good Housekeeping - using mini pumpkins as candle holders for your Thanksgiving table. I especially like how they put hurricane lamp shades over the candles to dress them up a bit. You can find the hurricanes shades on Amazon. They have different sizes but I think the shorter ones would work best, so you can see everyone across the table. Click here to see on Amazon.

2.   Another great pumpkin idea from Good Housekeeping is buying 3 pumpkins in graduated sizes and putting plates between them to create a tiered food stand. I found some orange charger plates to put between the pumpkins. They are available in 10 other colors as well. Click here to see the charger plates.

3.  I saw these paper cheese leaves from Sur La Table in Martha Stewart's Living. Much safer to place food directly on a paper leaf than using real leaves. Click to purchase from Sur La Table on Amazon.

4.   I saw this idea in the current issue of Chatelaine. How cool would it be to make your own abstract candy melt bark. Click here for the instructions. Wilton makes candy melts in lots of colors. I am thinking  orange and chocolate abstract bark for Thanksgiving might be fun. Click here to buy candy melts.

5.   These face masks from KkCo were in this month's In Style Magazine. If you have to wear one for awhile, say for several hours while opening gifts, these look like they might be more comfortable. They come in a bunch of colors and designs. Click here to go to KcCo's website.

6.   I am forever looking for my reading glasses. I saw this pencil/glasses holder in HGTV magazine. They are at Lenny Mud. I had never been on the Lenny Mud site before and boy do they have some fun stuff for stocking stuffers and small gifts.

7.   I read in Zoomer Magazine that Alexander McCall Smith is releasing his latest book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. I can't believe it's been 22 years since we first met Precious Ramotswe. How to Raise an Elephant will be released on November 27th. I've read them all and can't wait for the latest.

8.   I saw these narrow bookshelves in Living Etc. You can get them from Bayus 7, but boy are they pricey. Not in my budget. Maybe I can check with a local wood crafter to see what they would cost to have them custom made.

9.   Here is an interesting idea from In Style Magazine. If you are trying to break the habit of browsing on your iPhone, get an old fashioned watch. Not a smart watch. The kind your mother wore. I have not worn one for years. Since smart phones first came out we tend to check the time by looking at our phones and then get sucked into browsing Instagram, checking text messages etc. Imagine just looking at the time and no other multi-tasking.

10.  Saw this new Sofia Coppola movie On The Rocks reviewed in HGTV Magazine. Think I am going to watch it tonight. It's an Apple Original Film so you can see it on Apple TV. Billy Murray is still one of my favorites.

The Story of a Painting - Klimt's Woman In Gold


Gustav Klimt continues to be one of my favorite painters. I just love his Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, also called The Woman in Gold or The Lady in Gold.

The portrait was painted between 1903 and 1907 and was commissioned by Adele's husband. A second painting of Adele was created by Klimt in 1912. Adele died in 1925 from meningitis. Klimt died in 1918 from the worldwide flu epidemic.

This was the last piece Klimt painted from his gold period, which he began in 1898, influenced by Art Nouveau and early Christian Byzantine mosaics. It measures 54 by 54 inches. It was painted in oil with gold and silver leaf on canvas. In the painting Adele wears a jeweled choker and her dress almost disappears into the detailed background

The painting was stolen by the Nazis in 1941 when Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer fled Vienna for Switzerland. The Woman in Gold was displayed for many years at the Galerie Belvedere.

The Austrian investigative reported Hubertus Czernin reported in 1998 that the Galerie Belvedere had several paintings stolen from the rightful Jewish owners in their collection and refused to return them. Ferdinand's niece, Maria Altmann hired a lawyer to try to regain five Klimt images. 

It took seven years and a hearing in front of the United States Supreme Court for Altmann to get the painting of her aunt returned to her. The Woman in Gold was sold in 2006 to Ronald Lauder for $135 million. Lauder displayed the painting in the Neue Galerie in New York which he co-founded. This is where it is still displayed.

The Lady in Gold book by Anne-Marie O'Connor is available on Amazon. Click here.

A movie called The Woman in Gold was released in 2015 and starred Helen Miren and Ryan Williams.

You can purchase The Woman in Gold Movie here.

Rocking Chairs, Gliders and Porch Swings


Rocking chairs, gliders and swings are not just for kids and old people. The moment can calm us no matter what our age. Here are some of my favorites.

Rocking Chairs

This Compass Rocker is more for the inside than the porch. Available in blush pink, oatmeal, black. $999 U.S. Click here to see on Amazon.

This traditional porch rocking chair is available at Wayfair $159. 

Oh I do love these retro metal rocking chairs. The set of two is also available at Wayfair. On sale right now for $189.99 for two chairs.


This glider with stool are available in a bunch of colors on Amazon. $159.89

This retro bench metal glider is available at Overstock $417.49

Too cold on the porch. Need a glider inside next to the fire? Here is one available in five colors from Target $329.99


Traditional porch swing available at Overstock $145.99

Indoor Swing Chair at Wayfair $104.99

Using Paper Napkins in Mixed Media Journaling


In this collage journal page, I cut out images of legs and words from Dance magazines. I downloaded a stock image of the bird, cut it out and placed in on the woman's foot. 

I wrote a favorite dance quote of mine in white gel pen...

"The job of feet is walking but their hobby is dancing."
Amit Kalantri

I was then going to paint in an abstract but instead decided to tear up a paper napkin and glue the pieces down with matte medium. I learned this technique from the Australian painter Tracy Verdugo. It is so fun to shop for paper napkins that you might use in a painting or journal page.

Paper napkins usually come in two or three ply layers. This napkin had two layers of white backing. I gently pulled the layers apart so I was left with a fairly this piece of napkin. I painted the matte medium on my page with a brush, placed the napkin piece and then painted an additional layer of matte medium over it.

iPhone Photography - Creating a Series


Anybody who follows me on social media has been seeing lots of photographs of gardenias. I tried for 30 years to grow gardenias and finally, after moving my plants out into the sun, I am getting blossoms.

This is the first series I have done in quite awhile. I have 46 photographs taken and edited on my iPhone and currently have about another 40 buds. It has gotten me thinking about photographing series. There are some fabulous photographers who have done them. Here are some of my favorites.

The Brown Sisters

Nicholas Nixon started annually photographing his wife Bebe with her three sisters in 1975. And he is still at it. I really love this series. Wish I had started one in the 1960s or 1970s. MOMA exhibited the series called Forty Years of the Brown Sisters. You can see it here...

The Kitchen Table

in 1990 Carrie Mae Weems did a series that continues to be one of my all time favorites. She photographed what happens at her kitchen table. You can see the series here...

Rene Magritte

Rene Magritte was known for his surrealist paintings, often using as his model a man with a bowler hat. Photographer Duane Michals visited Magritte in Brussels when he was 33 and Magritte was 65. He created a series using the painter's bowler hat called From a Visit to Magritte. You can see it here...

Riace - We Are Here

Riace is an Italian village that for the most part was abandoned by locals and adopted by migrants. Caroline Gavazzi created a series of three dimensional photographs of Riace's new residents. She printed each subject's fingerprint on plexiglass and placed it over their photographic portrait. You can see more here...

Warhol Polaroids
Warhol was known for his photographs of famous people. His one of a kind polaroids were taken from 1958 to 1987. You can see an exhibit of this series here...

Thomas Finkler

German photographer Thomas Finkler creates what he call minimal landscape photographs, his favorite subject being trees. You can see more of his work on his website here...

Coney Water

Photojournalist Massimo Vitali launched his beach series in the 1990s, a time of political turbulence in Italy. His goal was to photograph beach goers during the tense time in Italy. The Coney Water image alone sold for $37,500 in 2014. Massimo has a blog which you can read here...