I don’t think I’d ever heard of a brooch bouquet until Sierra broached the subject with me (see how I did that).  But of course Pinterest came through for me and about 8 months prior to her wedding I began collecting brooches from antique shops, Shopgoodwill.com, Yerdle.com, etc. A bridesmaid also ordered a bag of knockoffs from China, which were a great help.

This is a very personal project…especially if you use vintage brooches with a story.  For me, it was something special I could provide for my “surrogate daughter” whom I’ve mentored for some 12 years.

Click each pic for captions…





A friend of mine had a desk that she fondly remembered as her father’s. She wanted to give it to her daughter as she earned her Master’s degree.

I agreed to work on it, thinking it would be awesome painted, with the top remaining stained. She was adamant about keeping the wood as it was, and it turned out she was right!

Look how beautiful that walnut was under all the layers of gunk!  I also polished the cool lions head knobs and found some other vintage knobs to replace the missing ones on the cabinets.

On to the next project….

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for my blog. Apparently in 2016 I really need to post more!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 20 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

It works on both sides.  That is, I expect good customer service in any establishment where I am letting go of my hard-earned dollars.  Don’t ignore me, try to find answers to my questions, don’t make me wait too long, etc.

But customers should also try to be a little nicer.  Why is it that when a worker dons a hat or apron for their job that people immediately treat them like second-class citizens?  Daughter Alison has worked retail for more than 10 years and has many stories of the rudeness of customers.  People come in with obviously used merchandise and try to get full refunds or new products in exchange, shoplift in shocking quantities and paw through merchandise that was carefully folded, etc.

Now that I’m working part-time at a coffee shop that specializes in custom drinks, it is amazing how people take that as an opportunity to be overly demanding. Again, the fact that I wear a hat and apron seems to bring me down a few levels beneath them in their eyes; maybe they’d be surprised to know of my “other” jobs as magazine publisher/writer/photographer, travel director and on-air talent and my college cum laude degree, etc.? A woman demanded a new drink today because the bubbles in her foam were too big….the next person made the drink the same way, but showed her as they spooned it into the cup so she felt it was better. *aargh. Another ordered 20 pumps of chocolate and 20 spoonfuls of chips in his drink and the way the system works, he wasn’t even charged extra…wow, working the system!

But don’t get me wrong! I enjoy people…talking to people, serving people, trying to bring that “rainbow to someone’s day”….but I often wish people were more aware of how they are affecting people around them. Is it harder to be nice?

Think about it next time you’re in a retail or food establishment, okay? And check this out… http://www.fatbraintoys.com/play/2013/5/15/five_lessons_in_customer_service_i_learned_from_my.cfm?gclid=CPWWleye8r4CFa1cMgodaVkAuw


Lauren was not a fan of her 1980s pink-toned cabinets, but wasn’t able to purchase all new ones either.  She started to paint, but quickly decided she was in over her head and called me in!

Here is the process;  clean, lightly sand, paint x 3 coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, distress with power sander, 2-3 coats of clear wax, buff.  Also, removed all hardware and spray-painted some of the old handles to match the new knobs. Then replaced all cabinets and hardware….and got myself a bottle of wine! *whew* long process and good arm muscles.

I had just finished sewing valances for someone, so needed a new project.  So, of course we went to Goodwill to scope out the furniture area. Found a cute little table with drawer for just $6.00!  Rickety, but solid wood, so the perfect candidate.

I also happened to have a FREE quart of paint from Ace, who was giving them out last weekend in any color of your choosing.  I chose green…like Granny Smith apple green! (unsolicited endorsement;  that new Clark & Kensington paint they carry is super thick and comes in great colors)

Forgetting to shoot a ‘before’ pic, I did get one early on…but I absolutely love how it turned out!  $6. table, free paint…and a $4. drawer knob 🙂  Chalk painted, distressed, waxed and buffed!



So many things going on, where do I start? That’s when I rely on bullet points!

  • Lost my job and had to fight to get back earned vacation time, etc. Not a good scene at all.
  • Started an awesome NEW JOB two weeks later! (thumbs nose at mean former boss)
  • Painting majority of interior of house a nice khaki color
  • Sewing tab-top valances for a client
  • Made 125 meatballs for one retirement party and another memorial party for a friend’s mom who passed.

Painting with 10 foot ceilings…

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