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...

It's Back!!! One of My Favorite iPhone Photography Apps

Good News. My favorite iPhone Photography Collage app has updated. I had stopped sharing this app with my students because it had not been updated in so long.

This is a simple app to make collages. Doing a happy dance. It was always one of my favorites. So glad to see it's back.

Click here to get it from app store.

Ten Tattoos for Older Women

I have decided in celebration of the end of the pandemic (when it arrives and if I survive), I am going to get a tattoo. Here are a few that I think might be interesting...

I love bird tattoos and I think this little group flying over the shoulder would be great.

If you are a musician, this is another tattoo for the shoulder that I like.

This "free" tattoo with the bird is a serious contender, once the pandemic lockdown is over.

I actually saw this online as a print. I meditate every day and thought this might be a good tattoo to remind me to go meditate.

I don't think I would go wrong with a tree of life. 

I like the idea of a tattoo on the side of my hand. Maybe the word free with the flying bird? It sure feels perfect for surviving COVID 19.

I do like this delicate bracelet tattoo. I almost always wear silver bracelets. I wonder if it could be done in silver ink. Wouldn't that be cool?

I also thought about having my zodiac sign as a tattoo. I am an Aquarius so two waves would be perfect. Google your sign and the words "tattoos" and you will get lots and lots of suggestions. 

I like the idea of a finger tattoo. Maybe one with a flower or the word "create."

And then of course there is always the name of a loved one... a child, significant other, someone who has died.

Okay... if this doesn't hurt too much I just might have to get several. 

As we age we often think of the things we still want to do... what we want on our "bucket lists." I think one of the benefits of aging is knowing what you never want to do again.

Remove Those Old Apple E-Mail Pop-Up Addresses

Do you have outdated email addresses that keep popping up when sending an email using Apple mail? Here is how to quickly get rid of them...

1.  Open up your mail app
2.  Tap on Windows in the menu bar
3.  A drop down menu appears. Tap on Previous Recipients

4.  A new window appears. Scroll up and down until you find the email address you want to delete. You also can use the search box to find the address. Tap on the address.

5.  Tap on Remove From List.

Send a Snail Mail Greeting Card From An App

Recently I wanted to send a snail mail card to friends in the U.S. Not an easy thing to do when sheltering in place in Mexico.

I discovered the Felt iPhone app which made it so easy. I could either use their images or my own. They are located in Colorado, so not only was it mailed from the U.S. to my friends in California and Washington, but I was helping the U.S. post office. They actually put a stamp on the envelope and addressed it for me.

Plus who doesn't love to get a snail mail card these days? An online card is just not the same as going to your mailbox and getting a surprise. 

I had the choice to send a single panel, 2, 3 or 4 panel cards. They even have gifts that you can add. There is lots to see on their web site.

Let someone know you are thinking about them during these difficult times. Or send off a birthday or fathers' day card. Your friends and family will appreciate it. It's fun, easy and reasonably priced.

By the way, the photo of the dog is one I took in Ajijic. Scottie is a well known dog around town. He was just sitting there by himself with his sunglasses on. Life in Mexico has surprises around every corner.

P.S. Someone asked if I get money from them. Nope. App is free. I get no $ from Felt. I just really like the app.

Ten of the Most Beautiful Gardens In the World

It was hard to limit my list to ten. I easily could have made it 50. But here are 10 that are on my "must see" garden list.

1.  Keukenhoff Gardens, Lisse Netherlands - Virtual tours available 

4. Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew England - Has a virtual tour.

6. Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, New York - Virtual Tour Available.

7. Longwood Gardens Kennett Square, PA - Virtual Tours Available.

9. Chicago Botanic Gardens - Phone Apps Available

I have been to a few of these but would love to visit the ones I have not seen and go again to the ones I have. Let me just mention that I attended a classical music concert at night in the Versailles Gardens when I was 17 and a student studying French in Paris. It still is a memory I treasure. 

I also want to mention Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. For me, this is home. The park has many gardens including a botanical garden, Japanese garden and Conservatory of Flowers.