{win this!}

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! Plan something sweet for the sweet ones in your life and remember to enter my jewelry and chocolates giveaway here!


 Let’s do a sweet giveaway! The winner will be chosen on Valentine’s Day, and receive this pair of Loretta Fontaine Jewelry freshwater pearl earrings on handmade sterling silver wires.

…and a box of chocolate from Krause’s Handmade Candy! (This is our BEST local chocolate!)
To enter, be a follower of this blog and leave a comment below. For a second and third chance, post this giveaway on Facebook and Twitter, and leave a comment below, as well!
Winner will be chosen by randomnumber.com at 10:30pm EST February 14.

{Loretta Fontaine Jewelry sterling silver Theresa earrings with Crimson Rose}

February 1! Valentine’s Day is around the corner…

I’m getting an order of jewelry ready for one of my favorite galleries – Mary Lou Zeek Gallery in Oregon. What do you think of these earrings for Valentine’s Day? They are one of my favorites!


{best match}

Did you ever notice how the white aluminum cladding on windows (here’s my Pella Architect Series windows for my new windowseat) has a blue-green cast?

I decided not to fight it but embrace it – hence my new exterior paint color “Angel Touch”

I can’t stand the name, but the color of the whole exterior should look uniform – and I DO like the color! It’s white with a hint of aqua to it!

…photos of the finished exterior coming soon!


{my drawing}

Finally, I’m at the fun stage of picking some paints for the windowseat addition.

 Here’s what I’ve picked – Benjamin Moore “Yarmouth Blue HC-150” for the walls, “Atrium White” for the trim and “Wrought Iron 2124-10” for the windows. (I’ll use a 50% strength Atrium White for the ceiling… don’t want the ceilings to appear chalky… thanks Maria!)

…and in the living room a new ceiling fan “Elle” by Craftmade in polished nickel w/ 60″ walnut blades and seeded white cotton shades. Six fan speeds, and five lights in the uplight and three in the downlight. Isn’t she beautiful?


Looking back at 2011, here’s my favorite TOP TEN APPLESandRUBIES posts:
(click on the links to view the posts)


#1 January 2011:  APPLESandRUBIES Pure Style Home Inspired Lunch post. Creating a winter tablescape based the color palette of Lauren Liess‘s star turn article in Better Homes and Gardens. Thanks for the inspiration, Lauren! (and it gave me the kick in the butt to finally hang curtains in my dining room!)

 #2 April 2011: APPLESandRUBIES Wishes For Charlie post. How could I forget this beautiful and moving interview I did with fellow blogger Sarah Greenman of La Maison Boheme about her son’s upcoming surgery? This charming boy is doing so well now! See an update on Charlie here.

#3 January 2011: APPLESandRUBIES Dreams and Dragonflies post. One of my favorite pieces of jewelry,  based on Loretta Fontaine Jewelry‘s sterling silver Maria necklace. I enjoyed researching, sketching and painting the delicate dragonfly for this custom piece.

 #4 May 2011: APPLESandRUBIES A Letter To Vern Yip post. What a pleasure to get together and have a GREAT design consultation on my home from HGTV’s iconic interior designer Vern Yip.

Stacey, I’m still waiting for those photos of Vern and I… I know you took, like, a hundred photos!!!

#5 June 2011: APPLESandRUBIES “A Beautiful Windowseat” Post – This was the MOST POPULAR post of the year. (Seven months later it still gets dozens of hits a month… Unbelievable!!!)  A tale of how I envisoned my dream windowseat, and the random Google search that lead me to Lauren Liess’s blog Pure Style Home.

#6 June 2011: APPLESandRUBIES A Little Custom Can Make All The Difference post. One of my favorite things – customizing my jewelry to perfectly fit the client! This is the Loretta Fontaine Jewelry sterling silver “Theresa” necklace with the miniature original photograph “Reaching Boxwood.”

#7 August 2011: APPLESandRUBIES Labeling: My Dad and A Sharpie post. Dad, I love you and you crack me up, always!

 #8 September 2011: APPLESandRUBIES More Paper Model and Demo is Done! post If you’ve followed my blog this year you’ll see the slow progress of my windowseat construction as the year went on. Making this paper model was a blast. (You can see the latest windowseat update here.)


 #9 September 2011: APPLESandRUBIES Our Backyard Flooded From Irene post. Yes, this is our backyard creek. Looking more like a small pond. What a storm!


#10 APPLESandRUBIES Best and Brightest For Nate post. Yes, I picked the outfit on the left, and yes, I will post soon on the trip to NYC to see the show taped. And yes, I am so SAD The Nate Berkus Show was not picked up for next season!

What a fun trip down memory lane to make this list. I put my top ten list in chronological order, because, honestly, I could not rank my favorites within this bunch.

Happy 2012!

Jan 02

Welcome 2012!


There is nothing like a New Year and a fresh start to feel invigorated. What about you?

This past November I had a bicycle accident and lost a day’s worth of memory. I was found unconcious by the side of the road the day after Thanksgiving!

It was a time to rest up and heal (separated shoulder and concussion) and let others take care of me for a while. And then after a week I was thrown back in the world from that cozy caring cocoon and had to dig deep and remember all the schedules of daily life.

I remember that first week as being quite nice. Imagine resting in bed and requesting bowls of ice cream!

The second week – not so nice. My brain was still trying to get in gear and there were so many things to remember. I had an appointment with a neurologist and got lost trying to find the office. How could I miss the two street signs? I ended up getting stuck in traffic and getting there so late the appointment needed to be cancelled. Was is just bad luck? Or was my brain out of whack? We went to get a Christmas tree – normally a joyful time – but I just felt down.

During those times I tried to give myself some slack even though I felt bad. I needed time to recover and had to expect some ups and downs. I have a new appreciation for anyone with a head injury, big or small, temporary or permanent.

Today, I feel fantastic with just a bit of soreness in my shoulder. I feel so GRATEFUL and have a new happiness to tackle 2012 with joy, excitement and a big dose of patience and love.

I have big plans for 2012 – I’m writing them down this week and will share them later…

What are your 2012 plans?



 Big construction update – my windows for my future windowseat are in! What do you think? Still a construction zone here, but the wreathes cheer things up a bit. I am so happy with how the new windows look.

The addition and ceiling are getting ready for wiring and insulation. See the new wiring to the top of the photo? A gorgeous new Craftmade ceiling fan will be going in to replace the two old “eyeball” lights that were originally in the living room.

We’ve decided to do a big whole-house insulation project at the same time we insulate this little addition – that’s why you see all the old fiberglass insulation pulled out of our living room ceiling! Icynene Spray Foam is coming soon…

{how to light this little space?}

Here’s a shot looking up in the window seat space. It will have a vaulted ceiling. I’m still trying to decide what type of lighting to do up here. Any thoughts?

Happy Holidays!

{Evie, Son H and Rosie}

Merry Christmas!

Thanks you to everyone who sent well wishes after my bicycle accident the day after Thanksgiving.  I’m 99% recovered, just some soreness in my left shoulder.

I took a nice blogging break – it was too tough to blog and catch up on the holiday whirlwind and house construction. I was only trying to get things done that absolutely needed to get done. Let’s just say I’ll send out New Year’s Cards instead of Christmas Cards this year. Ha ha!

Enjoy this wonderful day with your family and friends and feel thankful. I know I will!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


I hope everyone had a wonderful, unforgettable Thanksgiving with family and friends.

My Thanksgiving was, um, partially forgettable!

The day after Thanksgiving I supposedly took my brother-in-laws bike for a spin and ended up knocked out on the side of the road with a concussion. This happened at 2:00 in the afternoon, I spend 5 hours in the hospital with memory wiped out for most of what happened that entire day. I don’t even remember riding the bike!

So thank goodness for the bike helmet, and for recovering over a nice holiday break hanging out with lots of cousins, nieces and nephews. I’m feeling much better and am nursing a separated shoulder, but expect to be in full swing, soon.

On my R&R list – finally sitting down to read through the pages of Brooke Gianetti and Steve Giannetti’s new fabulous book Patina Style.  Now that’s nice! Have you read it, what do you think?


p.s. Sadly, no fabulous out-of-body story, or enlightenment. (Just remembered vaguely eating a fruit cup in the hospital!) But nice to regroup and be really thankful for all those things we take for granted!