Putting the Pieces Together


A local furniture store had a warehouse clearance.  There were odds and ends and bits and pieces of every kind of furniture you can think of.  With a little imagination we were able to put together some useful stuff.


There were two student desk hutches available at $10 each.  This one originally was white with pastel accents and a particle board back.  We popped off the back and replaced it with sheet metal.  The addition of fun magnets made it a place to display photos, corral appointment reminders, and generally organize the week.

combo2We placed it atop an old work table that I picked up for free at the first school I taught in after getting married, and unified top and bottom with glossy black paint.

combo3Currently, it provides extra storage and a coffee station in my daughter’s kitchen, but has also served as a desk in the living room.
combo4The other sister has a shabby chic desk hutch which we left as we purchased it.  We clamped it atop an antique dining table which I finished to match the hutch.  It makes a really nice desk and is slated to head to grad school next fall.

We spent under $200 when all was said and done, and both girl ended up with a useful piece of furniture.

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Decorate with Travel Keepsakes



french artist

Just down the hill from Sacré Cœur in Paris is an area where artists work side by side as tourists gather to watch.  When my daughter was in the city studying, she would walk through the area regularly hoping to find just the painting to capture the memory of her semester abroad.  During her visits to the area she struck up a friendship with one of the artists and ended up purchasing three panels he had painted of the neighborhood.

french painter

After we visited the cathedral we walked down the hill so we could meet the artist.  He was delighted that she had returned with her parents.  We visited with him–well, she translated a back and forth conversation.  Before we left he spontaneously wrapped a similar painting and presented it to our girl as a gift.


His work now hangs on her apartment wall, a fabulous memory of a special time and place, and the artist who captured it.


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Thankful in Loss

double tulips

Today I attended a funeral for a friend.  The things I feel thankful for today are very close to the surface.

I am thankful for an end to suffering.  Thankful to have been part of this well-lived life.

I am thankful for her family, who rather than keeping her to themselves these past months, threw open their door and their hearts to let friends come in and surround her with love.

I am thankful for co-conspirators who traveled this road with me.  Baking, and plotting outrageous things that would provide a distraction to illness, and praying by my side.

So very thankful for memories, and for friends who are unafraid to let down their guard and be ridiculous, or vulnerable, or still with me.

And thankful for a friend who somehow simultaneously managed to build me up while showing me how important it is to be able to laugh at my own shortcomings.

I am thankful for the gift of loving and receiving love in return.



#794-803 of my One Thousand Gifts


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That’s Puzzling


Daughter #2 gave my husband a puzzle of the Eiffel Tower last Christmas to commemorate the time we spent in Paris together.  My son liked it so well after we got it assembled that we decided to use puzzle glue and seal it so he could hang it on his wall.

puzzle glue

A four ounce bottle of puzzle glue is about $3.00 at Hobby Lobby.  I don’t know how it differs from Elmers, but it dries clear and without brush strokes.  It seeped between some of the pieces, and is somehow able to bond the entire puzzle.  It took about half the bottle to give this 1,500 piece puzzle multiple coats on the front and back.

puzzle glue

Once thoroughly dry, the puzzle could be framed.  In my son’s case, he just wanted to use a black binder clip along the top edge of the puzzle at either end and hang it on brads in the wall.


Puzzles make a cost effective way of covering your walls.  First, they provide entertainment; later art.

Since my son is the world traveler of the family, I think it would be fun to find a puzzle depicting all the places he has stayed for any length of time and make a gallery wall to feature them.

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Using Craigslist


I love Craigslist…maybe too much.  It is fun to read a brief description, click to see the photo and discover whether the item is trash or treasure… a little like a game show. It would be easy for me to go overboard with Craigslist because the deals are just so darned good; but so far, we have confined our spending to a grand total of $575.  For that modest sum we have picked up a mid-century china cabinet; the dresser in these photos; an antique dining table with legs cut down to the height of a coffee table; an antique dining set; a matching pair of Pennsylvania House love-seats; and a 7 x9 foot Karastan rug.  Great stuff.

dresser dresser dresser

When I use Craigslist, I rely on common sense and a gut feeling.  I chat with the seller ahead of time.  You can tell a lot in a phone conversation.  I do not go alone to check out the item.  I normally mention to someone in an offhand way that I am off to see about a Craigslist item, give them the address I am headed to and suggest they dial 911 if I do not return.

It never hurts to dicker as long as you do so politely.  And cash talks.  $65 in your hot little hand, trumps a run to the ATM for $10 more and a possible lost sale in the process.  Most sellers will take the $65 with a smile on their face.

We have met very nice sellers in our experiences.  The lady who sold my daughter the love-seats had been talked into selling them by her decorator brother and was having second thoughts.  After visiting a while, she saw how delighted my daughter was with the love-seats, and happily handed over a roll of upholstery fabric that matched them.  The next thing we knew she was offering to take down her coordinating drapery and send it along as well.


Craigslist.  For us, it has been a great way to meet people and find nice items for setting up an apartment.


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