hobby mind map

You’re never too old for a hobby.

Did your mom ever say, “Well, if you’re bored, I’ll find something for you to do’? And the ‘something’ turned out to be folding laundry or looking after your brother, or the WORST one ever, weeding the garden? My mom did that, and I had to move quickly to get out from her laser-vision, but I found a solution early on. I had a ‘hobby’. If I was bored, or was just moping around, or was home sick for the day, I knew that my saving grace was to go dig out my hobby stuff. My hobby was sewing clothes for my Barbie dolls. I could spend hours designing them, finding fabric bits, going through the trial and error of making the creations. I could do it alone or with my best pal Darcea Robinson. If I was working on my hobby or reading, I was off-limits for the Mom-delegated READ MORE


Noise. Period

I have a neighbour with a wind chime. It’s so loud it wakes me up in the night. I mentioned it to a friend the other day, and she said, ‘Oh, you’ll get used to it’. I wondered about that, and I also wondered why I should have to get used to it. But that’s another issue.  In all the discussions I’ve read lately about wellness living, I don’t think I’ve read once about noise and the effect it has on wellness. So I started to do some digging.   First of all, let’s define noise. I think it’s rather like weeds. Weeds are plants growing where you don’t want them to grow. Noise, to me, is sound where it’s not wanted.  Snoring is noise. I think most of us agree on that. And loud trucks are noise. And thunderous bass in a car stereo driving by is noise to most READ MORE

floor plan

Floor plan — first step to a wellness-centered home.

 A floor plan will help you set up your space, so you are best served by it so that it supports you and your family. If you are fighting your home, if you are constantly in a state of upheaval, or clutter, or finding that you are ‘just tidying up a bit’ more than once a week, your home is not working FOR you. You are trying to fit your home, rather than have it fit YOU. This means that you may be using your home, or spaces within your home in ways that just don’t make sense in your lifestyle, in ways that don’t support you. Huh? Yup, supports YOU.  Supports You If your home is not your support system, if it doesn’t give you comfort, peace, and a place for healing, a place to regroup, and if it’s not a place of inspiration, you are not using your READ MORE

wellness living living room

What is Wellness Living.

What is Wellness Living? In over 25 years working with people in their homes, it’s become more and more evident to me that just dealing with the surface, the appearance, of a home alone does not give the occupants the comfort and peace they seek. With the increasing awareness of how our environments directly impact our lives, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how my profession can help clients get what they need from their homes, and the more I study and research, the more I’m convinced that the solution is a combination of at least five areas which must work in unity to create a harmonious, healthy home. What got me started thinking about this in earnest was a course I recently took about clutter. What it is, (it’s NOT what you may think), how to deal with it, and how it influences a wellness-centered home. It’s READ MORE

clutter or organized?

Clutter vs/or Organization, what’s the difference?

Lots of chatter lately in my circles about clutter. How it’s bad, how to fix it, what effect it has on our lives…. You’ve read the articles. Less chatter about organization. But most of the clutter chatter mentions organization. As if just organizing all the stuff would solve the problem. If that was true, all any clutter-sufferer would have to do is buy more boxes to put the stuff in. To separate it by color, or season of use, or task… But obviously that isn’t the case. Storage space for all the organizational boxes is not infinite. So, if you fill up every closet, and every cupboard, and every under-bed storage system with stuff, all neatly arranged, is it organized, or is it clutter? In the interests of bringing some clarity to this issue, lets start at the beginning and define clutter and organization. Clutter is any item in a READ MORE

rolled duvet

Duvets: silk, bamboo and wool.

I’ve written two columns on down duvets. (Duvets 101 and Down) which are still valid today with respect to how fill is measured, the advantages of down, pricing, cleaning… all that good stuff. But in the last few years, other fillers have become more available which are giving down a real run for the money in comparison to warmth and loft. So, it’s time for some new info. In case, like me, you found yourself looking at a wall of duvets and didn’t know what was up with  bamboo, silk or wool. I’m not going to go into synthetics. That’s an entirely different column. Maybe next month. A bit about the stitching of the duvets. Most duvets we have are stitched through from the top to the bottom, in both directions, across the duvet. You know this is where you first see that fill is clumping and lumping up in READ MORE

What makes a house a home

I binge watched the first four seasons of Schitts Creek over three days during the stay-home time this spring. It was one of my best binges ever.  I felt like a side-line cheer-leader as the characters transitioned from their self-absorbed singular lives to the close family they became. At the end of the first episode, we see them in their empty grand mansion, sitting together on a sofa,  in front of an ostentatiously large family portrait — one of the few possessions they were left with. And off they go to set up house in a motel which looks like it was the flag-ship for the ‘Tour Route 66’ in the 1950s. It’s deplorable, its shabby, it’d dark and oppressive. It’s loathsome. And here they are… a mother who doesn’t know her daughter’s middle name, a son who has enough phobias and foibles for his own series, an impossibly shallow READ MORE

woman loading moving truck

Got stuff?

How many is too many old magazines?  I stopped buying shelter magazines a few years ago. They had gotten fairly expensive, and the information was available online, for free, anyway. I was moving and had to deal with about 20 years of these magazines I felt I HAD to keep. Not sure exactly why, now in hindsight, but I had a tough time getting rid of them. Once I lugged all 6 oversized totes full of magazines out of the storage unit, I felt a HUGE sense of relief. ( Yes, I paid storage for old magazines I wasn’t using at all.) I felt an out of proportion sense of lightness. Why would I feel so light and free for just getting rid of old magazines?  It’s insidious  A young family member split with her partner. He left a whole lot of his stuff behind, which he said he’d come READ MORE

gray for off white trim

A refresher on choosing paint colors for your walls.

How to choose paint color. It seems that choosing a color to paint the walls is one of the most difficult choices for a lot of DIYers. In the 24-hour Interior Decorating short course I wrote and taught, we spend at least 6 hours learning about colors. This is the summary version of part of that. You may not like this, but the best advice I can give to anyone thinking of painting is to hire a professional color specialist for a one-hour consultation. The cost will be about the same as a gallon of good quality paint and it could save you a lot of money. Don’t tie her hands before she even gets there. HOWEVER. If you hire a color consultant and have already made your mind up between one or two colors, you are limiting the consultant’s ability to lead you to the right color. If you READ MORE

orange chair

The most important design guideline ever. Yes, ever.

Seems like a lot of stay-at-home people are plunging into DIY projects, rearranging rooms, painting furniture, making curtains, trying their hand at baking bread after being out of the kitchen for 20-plus years.. cutting the kids hair, cutting the husband’s beard, cutting their OWN hair, going live with the hairdresser to fix the natural hair color strip down the middle of the head, deciding to get in shape in 14 days come heck or high water… Mayhem is alive and living in our homes, Alstate-covered or not. I can’t comment on colouring hair, getting in shape (no nasty comments, please), or trimming beards, but I know a thing or two about design. And I’m seeing a lot of good intentioned re-designs are being dashed by unexpectedly off-kilter results. The most important design principal. I do believe. So, here is what I consider to be one of the most important design READ MORE