The Power of Little Wins

Sometimes, when I’m learning something new, or doing a rather difficult task, or failing at something I normally succeed at doing, or are having a difficult time navigating the world, I take a seat and say to myself, ‘You need a little win today.’ A little win is a self-administered pat on the back for a little job well done. It’s what we can do for our tired, confused, overworked and at times stupid brains to tell it that, ‘Yes, you CAN do something right’. It’s not a new thing. But I didn’t know that it WAS a thing until recently. I’ve used the technique for years and thought everyone understood little wins, but lately I’ve come to see that it’s a relatively unknown technique for getting unstuck. It’s also a recognized psychological technique. Who knew? As it turns out, these small wins hold the key to momentum.. In a READ MORE

The curse of the Collection

My ex-husband had quite a TShirt collection. Every festival, every concert, many towns we traveled through on our motorcycle road trips, bars, wine, BEER, you name it, he had a t-shirt for it.  At one point he had something like 73 TShirts. Some old enough to be classified only as rags- they’d gone way past the ‘vintage’ valuation. Some might have had actual value one day. Like his 50th Sturgis TShirt he traded to a Kings Crew member for a bottle of cheap white wine. But most were just run-of-the-mill, fast fading, peeling-letters TShirts.  It was a source of fairly frequent discussion in our house. Particularly because his method of finding the one to wear today meant emptying the drawers on the bed and fishing for the ‘one’. He had a real problem finishing anything, so it would fall to me, invariably, to put them back in the drawers.   It READ MORE

Where do I find drapery hardware

Where do I find drapery hardware?

Drapery Hardware Had quite a start the other day when I found out that Fabricland is not carrying drapery hardware or panels any longer.  They won’t be replenishing their stock. This is a corporate decision, so don’t go hollering at Denise. So, that leaves the DIY-er, and some pros like me, without our favorite lower and mid-priced drapery hardware supplier. I can supply hardware from my suppliers, but, full disclosure, it can be expensive to order from drapery supply companies. Of course ‘expensive’ is subjective, but most custom rods start at about three times the cost of off-the-shelf. There are tons of reasons for this price discrepancy, and there are times when the only viable solution IS a custom rod, but sometimes we just need a simple rod and rings. So now what? Here are your DIY options. 1. Home Depot2. Canadian Tire3. Rona4. Amazon (online)5. Home Hardware (online) 6. READ MORE

beige living room

What comes after black and white?

My pink and gray bedroom had to go. I’d had that color combo for too long and I needed a change. I wasn’t sure what direction to go, and as serendipity would have it, I was directed to the new color for the room via a gift of a forest green and burgundy bedspread. Right on-trend. ( Except that I don’t really like forest green and/or burgundy). I lived with that for a few years until I realized I’d be happier with a monochromatic bedroom and chose a beautiful beige cotton matlisse spread fabric, and loved that for a long time. Sound familiar? The green and burgundy bedspread was from the late ’80s and early ’90’s. I was a bit behind the times, so I was transitioning in 1993.  And guess what is back in color trends? Well, not the forest green and burgundy, thankfully, but the return to earth READ MORE


Quality If you attach the word ‘quality’ to something, what does that really mean?  It may be of limited quantity, it is probably more expensive than other similar items, and it is considered ‘better’ than the other items. It may be made of rare components, it may be made following a patented formula, and it probably isn’t easy to replicate exactly. All of which may well be true, but it gets murky when we try to define quality without being subjective. Even saying it is more expensive than other similar items carries an element of subjective decision-making. What is expensive to me may not be expensive to you. Knowing your personal definition of quality will help you save money when you are purchasing for your home. Or shopping for a new car, or getting a dress hemmed, or buying a backpack, or a sewing machine. The money saved will not necessarily be READ MORE

Blue ribbon for the best

What is ‘BEST’, anyway?

What is BEST anyway? If you have a question about almost anything, you can ask ‘Quora’. It’s an online platform for just that, asking questions. Someone will answer it. Probably. I’m one of the people who do the answering, my answers have been read 142,500 times. Which is pretty mindboggling…  One of the most frequent questions I see is ‘What is the best______ ( fill in the blanks)’. From sheets, to paint, to erasers, to hotel mattresses, to spoons, to places to stay in Katmandu, to — well you name, it. There is an unquenchable thirst for knowing what is the best.  I answer some of these. Not many because I get so tired of repeating myself.  But the other day someone in my circle asked me what the best something was and I had to stop. I explained it to her, and she went away. Not happy, particularly, but READ MORE

busy woman at A DESK

Instant Expert

Like most professions, mine has advances and “new” things come along every once in a while.  I try to keep up; I do fairly well, but I don’t think there have been ground-breaking discoveries in my profession in quite a while. When IKEA first came out, I was working in the design business in Calgary at a pretty high-end firm. IKEA flat-packs were almost laughed off the stage. A few years ago, one of the rooms in the biggest and best designer showcase in the U.S.  included a lot of IKEA. Instant expert = get rich quick? But with advances comes the ‘get rich quick’ schemes.  Not just in my field, either, — ‘Learn to be a six-figure life coach by spending a bunch of money here’. ‘Learn to be a gem identifier and make thousands of dollars a month, all for 6.99’. ‘Learn to be a __you-fill-in-the-blanks __ MASTER’ READ MORE

c to f convert

Heat, from under the heat dome, July 2021

How to beat the heat take 2. Well, who expected THAT little heat burst?  Every year I look forward to that ONE day where it gets to 40. I love it. And then the next day it goes down to ‘reasonable’. I can handle a lot of heat, but I saw so many people really struggling this time who obviously couldn’t handle it. I thought I’d add some to last column about heat and how to beat it. In particular, how to dress for it. ( I’d love to write a column about the dangers of living in air conditioning all summer, and how it really impedes our ability to stand even a little bit of heat… but that’s another day.) We all know how to dress for the cold. It’s time we all got smart about dressing in the heat. We’ve never had to before. Let’s take some education READ MORE

Hints for keeping cool, summer 2021

5 ways to feel cooler.  If I told you that the shirt you are wearing makes the temperature against your skin about 20 degrees higher than the already super-warm air around you, and was increasing your heart rate, and I could give you a shirt to wear that would decrease this temperature sensation, would you be interested? Or that a simple film would reduce the temperature in your room 20 degrees, would you be interested? .  1. Wear fabrics that are made of woven, not knit cloth. Sweaters are the most common knit and one of the reasons sweaters are so warm is because the knitting producing thick fabric of several layers. Thicker threads make a thicker sweater, fine threads make a thinner sweater. But it’s still a ‘sweater’. Your T-shirt is a sweater. Yes, it’s a thin one, but it’s still a sweater. This is the first, most effective READ MORE

stop being a student

Are you a student, or just avoiding doing the job?

For a while, early in my Decorating career, even though I’d taken and quite successfully passed a two-year course on decorating, I was convinced I had to take just one more course before I could call myself a full-service decorator. Invariably, during that course, I’d realize that another of my skills wasn’t top-notch, so I’d take a course in that. Or someone else’s method was slightly different, or newer, so I’d go after that… During which I’d realize that another of my skills……. You get the picture.  I was the best student. I bought the courses, the books, the online training seminars. I attended most of them, and I admit I actually finished few of them. Or if I did finish, I rarely used everything in the course. Ever.     I was being busy just so I could be busy. One day I stopped being a student and starting practicing my READ MORE