Lakehouse, Hoosiers, Wood and metal……….


My friend Michelle and I, have known each other about 20 years or so.  I guess it is true for most of us, that our closest friends are usually the people we worked with.  They are the ones that knew you when…….. We have remained friends through the years, even though we are not geographically close.  A few weeks ago……..I got in the car and drove 9 hours to be with her in Angola, Indiana.  That is where her lake house is.  Right on the water!


Michelle is married to Andy. They are a happy, loving couple.  They work hard……..and they play hard.  They are young, in my book.  Early 40’s.

Michelle’s mom is my age.  She and Michelle visited me for an overnight last winter, in Florida.  Love her, and love her daughter.  We spent that time together thrifting for fabulous finds. Michelle snagged a few.  All of these items, she somehow managed to fit into her suitcase, to take to her lake house in Indiana.

Look closely, as you will see that she had a vision for these items, that no one else wanted. She has an amazing eye for design!


Michelle loves all things metal and wood.

20160708_094711But I think someone should tell her, it’s a lake house!  When I stepped in for my first visit…..I thought I was in a designer’s showcase……….. a model home, if you will.


Everything was perfectly placed.  This was a little weekend getaway?  A place where they jet ski, and go tubing?  Drink beer, and party?  Where?????






Michelle loves muted grays, bronze, rustic wood, and metal.  Fish, and a mix of textures, and……well…… and luxurious.  Everything has a place…….at least that is what it seemed to me!  How does she do it?

I even snooped in the drawers and cabinets.  OMG!

Have you ever? Was I at a fancy resort somewhere?

Is Angola really a swanky place, that is 20160708_094726Indiana’s best kept secret?

I was beginning to think so.

Everywhere I looked, things were perfectly placed!

Do you fold towels like this?  These were guest towels!

Yup, I was definitely going to enjoy my weekend retreat!





………strategically placed wine crate just as you enter!


Is the duck a decoy?





20160708_092855Michelle got me hooked on these old wood and metal crates.  Some rules apply.  If you can get them under $20?  Not even close!!!



See the sculpture?  You also saw it in Michelle’s grip in a photo above.  She found it at Funky Thrifty in Englewood Florida for like $3.

Notice the crest below?  She scored that for under $10!20160708_092736








Michelle bought the table from an Estate sale that I hosted, in Highland Park, IL.

She knew exactly where she wanted it!20160708_092831


Love the way these two plates work with the beautiful wood table.



How about this dining room?

20160708_093027OK…………time for a boat ride with Andy!  20160709_124348

Just like old times.  So much fun!

I was amazed, at how gorgeous, this sleepy little lake town was!

You hear of Michigan, even Wisconsin for summer fun.

Those that know of Indiana? Well……they like to keep it to themselves!

This is just a sampling of what you can find in Angola.  Lots of money……but nothing showy at all.


There is a saying in Michelle’s kitchen, and I think it is all that needs to be said for this adorable, loving couple……….


A little goes a long way, with a lot of TLC!

A year ago this time, my sister Ginger told me that she just didn’t think retirement was in her future.  A couple of setbacks, some second thoughts……and walking away from your weekly paycheck can be scary.

Yet, just a few months later, she and Ed left their jobs behind, and threw caution to the wind!  Determined not to spend another winter in Illinois.

toes in the sand

“Find us a house,” they said.  We trust you!! Eesh!  You and Mark know what we like.

Just be sure it’s 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and a 2 car garage. Well, 2 out 3 wasn’t bad.

So, with my realtor (BFF), and my husband, (BFF) we set out to find the perfect home that Ginger and Ed could make their own. I did a lot of on line shopping, before I finally narrowed it down to 3 possibilities.

By the end of the first day, we found their diamond in the rough.  A little TLC would bring this home back to the showroom model it once was in 1962.

By the end of 2015, they were closing on their Fixer Upper!

Mark and I were now Chip and Joanna Gaines!  If only……….lol!  We watch them 24/7!


We got to work immediately.  While Ginger and Ed were hiring movers, and packing in Lombard, IL………Mark and I were ripping out carpets, and adding a little personality on a dime.

They finally arrived after 2 days in 2 separate vehicles, with their cat Wilson in tow.  Tired and anxious, they pulled up and Mark and I were waiting!!!!!

“Ginger and Ed?????………..Are you ready to see your fixer upper???”

Gingers house


So much fun, walking them through the house, and knowing that they were filled with excitement…………………and maybe just slightly horrifed, at the same time.

There were a few things that Ginger and Ed immediately jumped on.

First up?  Get those Terrazzo floors back to their original condition!  Done!!!

2016070695110654927 (1)

Window treatments, the master bedroom wall blow out, entire house re-paint! Pull wallpaper off in the bathrooms, etc. etc. etc.

Ginger loves deep, saturated colors. That’s a good thing, because as you can see…….the house was really boring.  In fact, most of it was just the original primer from 1962.


The house did not seem like anyone ever opened the windows, and it was like new……but from the past.

Ed, he headed outside.  He met all of his favorite bugs out there.  They absolutuely loved him.  Fire ants were his favorite! NOT!  When these guys bite you, you know it!Image result for florida fire ants

One thing that Ginger really wants, is a new 4

But $30,000 is not falling from the sky.  So, I offered to paint her cabinets for her. I had done mine in Wisconsin, and knew what to do……...and what not to do.  She was hesitant for awhile.  Needed to warm up to the idea.  Worried that it might not be doable.

A few months in, I showed up at her front door and declared it was time!

Ed seized the moment (he’s no dummy!) and started taking off all of the cabinet doors. We started at the bottom first.  Ginger had selected a paint color, I picked up the primer and we were good to go.


house 5


Time to make a mess!





Mark punched out the ugly back board over the stove, and later removed the random looking exhaust fan.







What a difference!  It really opened up the room.




Time to set up the workshop in the garage.  Ginger got to work sanding all of the cabinet doors as I set them up and began priming.  The key to a perfect paint job is…….patience and then primer.

Even with todays paints that are paint and primer in one?  I don’t believe them and will always do primer first, then the paint application.

 In between the primer and the paint……….you must wait 24 hours!



Then before putting back up, you have to wait another 24 hours.










Ta Daaaaa!!!! The finished product was smooth and glowing!  A nice blue gray, inspired from a gorgeous Highland Park condo.

kitchen 1

kitchen 2kitchenGinger’s and Ed’s bedroom………

Before     house 8

After        2016032695171002



Guest bedroom……… 7

After 20160505_154603_resized

Living room………

Before  house 3


20160717_160436Front veranda……….


house 9


As you can see, a little $$$$, a lot of hard work, and patience, (maybe a little wine), will get you the finished results you really want to see!

And……….they both lived Happily Ever After!


Hope you enjoyed Ginger and Eds fixer upper!  Till next time…………Joyce

Who needs Paris?


20160625_110741I love a good porch. Surrounded by windows, or open air.  Doesn’t matter to me what kind of porch it is, but it is a must have, if you can swing it.

It doesn’t need to be fancy.  Think of Paris in the springtime.  Shabby chic, but simple and elegant.

If you can fit a day bed……..even better.   I hit the jackpot on my recent visit to Winona, Minnesota.

I discovered a diamond in the rough……so to speak.

The story goes like this…………..

This past year while Mark and I were in Florida for the winter,……not one, but 2 grand nephews were born.  Matthew, and then Johnathan.  I met Matthew a few weeks back. What a little cutie pie!   A few days later, I left to work a job back in Florida.

My mind was on the newest nephew…….I wanted to meet him while he still was in diapers!

There he is!!! So adorable.  A smiley, happy baby!


When I returned from Florida, my first order of business was to lend an extra set of hands to my niece Becky, and her 4, yes count them…………4 kids!

Since the trip was 2 hours away, I decided to stay a few days, and get some nibbles from the other 3 rascals, Alex, Evelyn and Will.


Hey!!! ……why not have a pajama party on the couch, along with my blow up traveling twin size bed?   Alex was all over that idea. Evelyn followed, and of course Will came along for the ride!20160622_195332

We had a blast!  Some slept better than others.  Stories were told the next morning, of things that went thump in the night!

While lying in my bed that evening, I wondered what was behind the two window pane doors.  They were each covered with just a sheer.  I tried to snoop, but no luck opening. I am sure when I visited in the past, I must have seen that room……but I was clueless.


When my niece (the mom of 4) came down in the morning, I asked her what was in there.  She yanked on the door and to my surprise…….it was a gorgeous sun porch, filled with items that were placed in there for later use. Not sure what later meant, so………NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT to jump on this project!





20160623_091511I asked both Becky, and Mike (the dad of 4), if there was anything I could do for them while I was staying for the 2 nights.  I had a really hard time finding something that I could do for them.  Becky is an amazing mom and really runs a tight ship. The house is very organized and tidy.  Hard to imagine how she manages………but she surely does.  Don’t listen to her if she says otherwise.  She is her own worst critic!

Mike said that Becky would love to get the place cleared of items that needed to be donated.  So, why not start there?

We removed all of the items that needed to go. Mostly toys, and kids clothing.  There were some upstairs, some in the laundry, some by the front door already lined up, along with the items that were in the sun porch. We got rid of 3 chairs from the old IKEA set, but Becky opted to keep the table for the downstairs laundry. Great idea!

Mike decided it was time to donate the coffee table with the wicker baskets.  And with this gorgeous room of windows, a headboard won’t be necessary either.  Out they go!

Mike filled up his van and I filled my SUV. Off to Goodwill.

Then we pulled everything out of the porch, and cleaned the entire space.  While Mike mopped the floor, I cleaned the windows.

20160623_100537Clean as a whistle!………what does that mean anyway? *


The sheers were in the wash and when finished, they were hung wet to stay wrinkle, and static free.  That was easy.  We started just after 10am, and we were finished by noon.

The french bistro set, and the bed were in the room along with the velvet couch.  Also, the cool bedspread, Becky found at a thrift store for $5.  It was very Parisian.  In fact, after I found the two pillows in the downstairs basement area, I was thrilled as this room was like a small studio in Paris.  Complete with a small gas fireplace, a place to cozy up with a good book, or enjoy a morning cup of coffee (before the kids wake up?)20160623_154936


I found the lamp at Goodwill while dropping donations. They gave a 25% off coupon and I scored it for $3.99.  The shade is linen and not a speck of dirt on it!

Nothing like some candles, and a soft lit lamp, to give a room some character.

Becky had these amazing nesting tables that we used next to the couch.  Gorgeous!


As for the winter time?  Well……’s Minnesota…….not quite as far up there as Fargo, but damn close!  Time to shut the doors again…….sigh……until the first thaw, and the signs of springtime return once again to the sweet little town of Winona!

* Answer: What is the Origin of the Phrase “Clean as a Whistle?


“One possibility is that the old simile describes the whistling sound of a sword as it swishes through the air to decapitate someone, and an early 19th century quotation does suggest this connection: ‘A first rate shot.(his) head taken off as clean as a whistle.’ The expression is proverbial, at least since the 18th century, when Robert Burns used a variation on it. More likely the basic idea suggests the clear, pure sound a whistle makes, or the slippery smooth surface of a willow stick debarked to make a whistle. But there is also a chance that the phrase may have originally been ‘as clean as a whittle,’ referring to a piece of smooth wood after it is whittled.”
(From the “Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins” by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997.)


Outdoor oasis

For the past few years, I have dreamed of an outdoor shower.

Anyone who lives in Florida knows, the humidity can be obnoxious.

The upside? NO SNOW!  I pinned the photo below, and added it to Mark’s screensaver a few years ago.

Although this design would be cute and rustic for the cabin in Wisconsin,  Mark wanted to build a solid cedar shower to last for our lifetime in Florida.  He also improved on the design.  It allows air flow, while keeping you covered!

Something like this would be great to have at the property. Need to figure out a water platform/collection since there is no running water there.:

Most days, showering is in the picture, to start my day.

Getting dressed for me?

A pair of sneakers, shorts, a baseball cap and t-shirt.  I wear this same combo to my jobs, except on the first consultation.  Then, it’s a Crisp White Shirt, and a pair of black cropped pants.

cotton-stretch pullover tunic Wearever Smooth-Fit slim ankle pants

J.Jill is my new go to shop for dressing it up a bit.

$89.00 for the top, $79 for the pants, now 25% off.  Easy care, and not a wrinkled mess after a few hours.  Collar up, ballet flats, nice necklace……so easy.

Getting ready in the morning, before my outdoor shower?

Hot, steamy, humid…… makeup was melting off before I headed out the door.  The bathroom was impossible…..blow dry?  Don’t even try it!

I was a soaked mess, before I even got dressed!

Getting ready now……..after my outdoor shower?

Priceless.  Cool as a cucumber!

Here are some before, and after photos of our outdoor oasis we have created together these past few years.  From no landscaping, to no patio, to a lush back morning go to place for relaxing, coffee, visiting with guests, or lying out for a few rays…….Sunscreen always!

This is the first winter we came down in 2012. There was much to do outside, once the inside had been completed the years leading up to our retirement.











Mark and Tom, our next door neighbor, also our gardener!

The little palms in the yard were planted in February of 2013.

Below,  just 3 years later….We added a cement fountain.  The store was clearing them out, and bringing in resin.  We liked the real deal at 75% off and FREE delivery.

20151212_134738We added a stamped concrete patio, a patio set (thanks Mom!) some lounge chairs and a string of lights from Target (Nancy’s score!).










Notice on the right of the photo, where the plumbing stood alone without a cover.




But now……..where there once was just the pipes from my fathers hose back in the 80’s, there is a beautiful Shower, that I have used every day since it went up.  Weather need not permit, here in Florida.  Heavenly!













20160215_11503820160215_115012There will never be another reason to steam up my bathroom inside.  Thanks honey, you are the absolute best at making all of my dreams come true!

See you next time!20160223_160518

Just turn it over!

Life is a roller coaster. Like in the movie “Parenthood”, when Steve Martin was watching his kids at a school play, not following the program!  Sometimes it is scary, sometimes thrilling and exciting.  But it’s called a ride, for a reason.  Watch how things can go really bad if you let it…………to a great memory, if you welcome it.


I can’t believe it’s been more than 3 years since I retired.

Anyhoo………A lot has happened since. Talk about a roller coaster ride.

Fast forward to today…….

I have a nice little business of my own.

The Closet Consult LLC

My sister has moved down just a few miles away, and joined me in my business!



I am busier than ever.

I am not retired.

I go to yoga.

I go to the beach (well, sometimes I do)

I go fishing (well, once this year)

Life is good.


Last week, through my website, I was contacted by a mom, named Christy.  She has two active boys, and a husband who is a collector of all things related to games, comic books, and cards, and more.

Christy’s family is coping with building their lives back, after sadness struck a few years back, knocking the wind out of them. The family moved to Florida two years ago, and before they even had time to unpack, and set up, life began again.  Old stuff, new stuff……..just stuff!

During the same time as I received the email from Christy, I was finishing up a job in Venice Florida. I hired a local mover to take some mattresses, and a few small items to my client’s new condo.

Dan and Jenny, owners of Venice Moving Service arrived, and got right to work. I immediately liked them. Young couple, working together for the same common goal. Four kids, and a busy lifestyle.

Jenny saw my Business magnets on my car, and quickly said to me…….”I would love to do what you are doing!” I think I would be good at it.  (That was an understatement!)

I thought…..why not give her a try? So I called her and asked if she might like to jump in with me on my new client, and give them a hand. She was all over it!

So we arranged to meet at 9am at the client’s apartment, in Sarasota.

Here are some before and after photo’s of the job. This transformation took 5.5 hours.  The first 20 minutes we walked through and chatted about the layout.

We decided to start in the laundry room which was under-utilized and in need of some freshening.



We cleaned the top of the cabinets shown below, and then were able to store all of the water bottles, and paper products so that it was up out of sight until needed.

We cleared out the cabinet space, and maximized storage of camping food containers, batteries, light bulbs and to the right was all of the cleaning supplies, right above the washer.


20160315_093609Can you say water bottles?  



The Laundry room was loaded with empty bottles, tools in every cabinet, food in various areas. But it had plenty of possibilities. Jenni moved the water tank over to the kitchen door entry, makes sense right? This then opened up an area for a broom, and mop.

We set up a snack area for the kids to make lunches, or grab snacks after school.

Christy will soon add a nice little colorful rug, and get a used vacuum at the thrift. and they will be all set with cleaning accessories. A used shark or even a new one, priceless!

The money shot of the day was the entrance.  The idea was to create an entrance area for the boys to sit, and put away their shoes, jackets (not so much in the sunshine state) and backpacks.  We also saved Christy a few hooks for handbags.



As you can see, there were a lot of bags.  Stuff in each one and then under the bags were bins filled to the top with an assortment of Legos, art work and science projects.  Also an occasional sock was found in the most peculiar places.

The boys have a frog collection.  They feed them Crickets.  I don’t like crickets.  I do like frogs.

What can we use for a bench?  Where should we move the frogs?

Jenni wanted to move the gorgeous mirror there too!

At the top of the stairs around the corner of this cluster of bags, was a very tall shoe storage cabinet.  Over 6 feet tall for sure.  I thought, why is this cabinet here, and what can we do with it?  It is sooooo tall!!!!!

JUST TURN IT OVER JOYCE!!!‘…….turn it over on it’s side and let’s make a storage bench out of that!!   Who said that????? What???  Well why didn’t I think of that!

I must say, that idea was clever, and so Jenni!!!!  She is a true creative genius!




The frogs now have a home right by the door.  That is not a hint Glenn!  No worries.

Jenni took the mirror off the wall in like…..3 seconds, added an anchor to the hallway wall, and popped the mirror there.  It really opened up the entire area!

The bag, and scanner by the door,are on the way to the Thrift store.  Suncoast Humane society thrift!  Throughout the apartment……there is art everywhere! Their son Glenn, painted the mushrooms which we place over the frogs.  Priceless!

Christy has passed her creative gene on to the kids. She knits, makes and sells jewelry on Etsy, paints with passion, plays the piano, and guitar…..and I am sure that I missed something.  She is a peaceful, bohemian gal with an amazing style and grace.


Well, I could not let Jenni totally show me up! I had a few smooth moves myself ya’ know!?

BEFORE……..a cluttered storage area, with a variety pack of ?????????


AFTER………a lovely little storage area for the boys (including Pops!) for all the games, and more games, and a few more games.  Oh, and lots of comic books!

20160315_144230We even put a little piano bench in there, and to the left and right are hats and light jackets!

BEFORE…..there was a nice fold down coffee table hiding under these bins.  Also a big chest filled with books. I loved the woven shade and drapes with the swag lights, but the sun was shining outside. Let’s bring some of that in, for Christy and the boys!






We spent an hour or so just getting stuff off of the floor, and sorting by category. Christy spent the day on her area only, which was perfect, as she needed to put the oxygen mask on herself, before taking care of the others.

Jenni and I took care of Dad Mark, and the boys. Good thing Jenni came along.  I didn’t know what was what, when it came to the games, toys and costumes. Lot’s of turtles, Lego’s and eessshhh!

We moved things around a few times, but each time Christy was beyond thrilled and said that we inspired her.  This was music to our ears.  She had a smile on her face most of the day.

There was also time for reflection as she sorted photos, and beloved drawings from the boys.  Right by the lanai we were able to create an art workspace for Christy.   You can see we made good use of the coffee table below. The big metal case with books in the above photo is shown in the lower left of below photo.  We put a favorite quilt on it, to warm up the room. 20160315_144105

We brought a comfy chair over by the windows, next to the desk.  I can see all of them spending time together on projects, in this cozy space.20160315_144111

We took the piano bench, but I like the way the chairs match here.  I see leopard print, covered chair pads in their future!!!!

Stay tuned for Part II of ……….Just turn it over!

Many thanks to Christy and the ah-mazing Jenni, for a fun and productive day.

Under Cover!

A few years back I bought some Pottery Barn Wild Bird bedding, and decided to paint my guest room.

Mark and I ordered custom ottomans, and paid more than we should have.  We had a vision for them in the living room, but that vision just didn’t work out the way we thought it would.

So……… Why not add them to the guest room for suitcases, etc?

20141225_185824 (2)

Now, I really had a situation!  I pretended for a few years that they were absolutely perfect in the guest room. Mark was happy that we didn’t throw his pension check out the window that month, and all was right with the world.

But now……….well, SEW GINGER is living right here in Englewood!.  She is the master at covering anything with fabric, bringing some of the ugliest items to life.  Finally I could get them covered with something a bit less busy.  Off I went to shop for fabric.

A week later, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted.  So I decided, maybe it is the birds that are making me tired.  After all, I’ve had them for 8 years down here.  Hmmmmm!

So I headed out the next morning just to take a peek at some new bedding.  Not in the budget, but why not?  I had some Gift coupons from a local department store in my town (not Bloomie’s….gasp!).  I got two coverlets and two shams for $60.


Still, all you could see were these brown ottomans.  Dial up SEW GINGER NOW!

I set out to find a white quilt that would be cushy, and comfy, and look like something that belonged in a bedroom.  $38.99 ……….score!  An old sky blue linen tablecloth from a thrift store (Pottery Barn) was perfect for the trim work.  SEW GINGER always finishes with piping.

20160215_114703 (2)

AHHHHHH!  Now that’s what I was going for! Total cost of the project?  Just under $100. SEW GINGER and I trade services!

but……..oh no……….looks like it is time for new carpeting!!!!

Shoot, just got it 3 years ago……..damn Martha Stewart!  Need a sand-y beach-y color.

Hope you love my ottoman covers!  Ginger will make them for you!  Just go to and let her know what you are looking for.  She is the master!~

Next week………..Mark’s new outdoor shower transformation.  Priceless.

Sequins, Sparkle, and Shine!

Sequins! What an amazing discovery in fashion.  Countless closets are just waiting to break out that one, fabulous, just had to have it sequined top, dress, pants, or you name it item!

I happen to like the LGD (little gold dress) below here.  I find as I get older, gold has been a bit friendlier to my face.  Maybe softer, not as harsh and crisp as silver.  Have you tried it?

This dress would be my pick for the right girl!  Young and old, if the figure is there…to wear………so be it! sequin dress

I’m attending a New Years Eve party tonight, and can’t help wonder what to wear??

I have sequins, but I just don’t see wearing them here in SW Florida in the 80+ weather.

I know, I know……cry me a river.

I found one that could be cute, well, maybe just the jacket for me.

florida sequins

It’s a disco theme…..I’ve had the Bee Gee’s song “Night Fever” in my head all morning!

I have a few other choices shown below, but just can’t decide.  I think I would go with the first outfit on the left.   I love the black and white with keyhole opening!  But I would need a headband. That’s easy!


Here are some of Vogues fabulous sequined looks of all time, mixed in with a few of my budget friendly looks. Just a little inspiration for you tonight, if you feel like breaking out the sparkle and shine! sequin 4sequin 5








sequin 3


sequin chanel









The looks shown below, if you just want to throw on a pair of jeans, or your leather pants from 1977, are perfect and just under $20 each.  Both are great go to pieces for any time of the year.

Sequin handm

shoes modcloth

sequin paris



sequin 2







I love this idea, preppy meets glamour girl. She manages to pull it off easily and without effort.

I might have added a light rinse boyfriend jeans.  Otherwise good to go!


sequin 1









Here is a photo that could very well be my niece, Samantha…….She speaks Japanese, and loves all things gorgeous……but I had no idea she went to Japan.

Boshi o aishi Sam!      帽子を愛し

samanthaI have another little buddy that would look great in this Mermaid dress. (She actually thinks she is a mermaid.)




This is a recent picture of her…….mermaid 1Well, Happy New Year to all!

Here’s to 2016!  What are you wishing for?

What are your resolutions?

What are your dreams?


Whatever they are, wherever you are,……..for tonight,……..REMEMBER TO DANCE!

Hit play and enjoy!



Just don’t fall down for Pete’s sake!!!!

dont drink too much

A Whale of a Sale!

256x256_fit_one_bestfit - Copy (113)I recently returned from a two-week trip to Calais, Maine. It’s about 10 miles outside of Eastport, or 2 hours from Bangor.  My client, Kay, has a few properties that she recently sold, and a few properties that she is about to remodel. Out with the old, in with the new.  This summer she began the difficult process of sorting, organizing, and downsizing.

It is hard to make changes, move ahead and let go of our beloved items, each telling a special story.  A memory of summer days, kids playing in the sand,  and the feel of the ocean salt on your skin. Whale watching, and heading down to low tide, to search for that perfect shade of blue sea glass.    TIme for new memories, but the good news?…..all of the above is included.

256x256_fit_one_bestfit - Copy (32) - Copy


Quonset Hut

Where it all began!





My job in Calais, was to gather the yard sale items, and help get items pulled, and ready for an auction that was held a week after the yard sale.  The weather was ahhhhhh-mazing leading up to the sale.  Warm, sunny, with an occasional delicious, ocean breeze.

My partner in crime, most of the time I was in town,  was Troy.  Troy was the go to guy, working for my client for almost 20 years.

He is an easy-going guy, and get’s the job done. He has a way of putting everything in prospective, in the midst of chaos.  His T-shirt says it all…….ya gotta love it!256x256_fit_one_bestfit - Copy (107)







My outfit here was not attractive…..really Joyce?  You can see that I have clearly slipped, and strayed from my role as “the closet consult”…personal shopper on Michigan Ave. in Chicago! Gasp!!!!  What can I say????  I was in my element, and happy as a clam.

My hips must be gone……because for the life of me, I could not keep that apron tied around my waist! WHATEVER! 

Time to post the signs.

1024x768_bestfit - Copy (20) 1024x768_bestfit - Copy (37) 256x256_fit_one_bestfit - Copy (505)Kay and I dropped these flyers all over town!  We took some extra time one afternoon to get the important stuff done.  Administrative I guess. In any event, it really worked, as we were non-stop busy the entire day of the sale. It’s all in the details!

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The windows and doors featured above, sold to a guy that just bought a new home, for his family.  At $1 each, he was able to completely replace the old windows that came with the house. He was so thrilled!

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Lot’s of fun stuff including furniture items, patio chairs, kitchen gadgets, tools and so much more!

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Love the Rusty Bucket of treasures!




One young couple bought all of these old flashlights. They were just married and saving up for a house.


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Love all the Galvanized items and silver plate trays. It was a good thing that I flew to Maine.

If I had the SUV along, it could have been dangerous.  I loved everything, but I already have my own rusty buckets and watering cans!

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This old Typewriter sold in the first 20 minutes. It was pretty cool. $5 bucks!



We met people from all walks of life! Teachers, welders, jewelers, sailors, retired military, laborers, moms, dads,grandparents, cutest kids,………..and adorable dogs.

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256x256_fit_one_bestfit - Copy (92) - Copyoh gosh, what were their names again?

June Bug




…….all so cute but Red was my favorite. A little hound dog, and I am partial to puppies!

Who isn’t?













While I was in Maine, I even had my own little dog for a long weekend, while the owner went on a little trip.  I fell in love with this dog.  She was a gentle giant.  A lover and a very good girl!

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Here is Miss Mesa!

A ridge-back, pit bull mix.

I miss her so much!

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During my stay, I resided in two awesome houses.  Privately mine!

The “Little House” had a vintage, way back feel.  Cozy bed, with lots of soft blankets, and windows everywhere.  Waking up with the sunrise off of St. Croix river was an added benefit. Heavenly breezes all day long.

Below, is the living room showing the larger of the two guest homes.  It’s called “Salt Cod” and gorgeous!  I would have been happy to move in permanently, and not change a thing.   Perfection to a “T”.







OK…………Back to the SALE!

The kids had a good time too.  They got to pick out a Free book.  They would get so excited, and run to the table to find the perfect one to take home………………Or an old little league helmet……….well, he just wasn’t in to reading!

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The sweet boy in the middle found a special gift for his mom. Can you read it?  #1 Mom. Chipped and filled with dust, but he had to have it for her. ADORABLE!

It seemed like everyone left with a car full of treasures, or that diamond in the rough, they came in search of.

This woman below, on the right had so much fun that she was late for work!  Her name was Gerry. She was a volunteer and on her way to her job, but made time to pile up some real goodies.  I enjoyed chatting with the locals, but Gerry in particular, was someone I could see, adding to my circle of friends.  She was full of happiness and enthusiasm.  She had an amazing smile, and a great sense of humor.

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I actually ran in to her the next day in Eastport. My client treated me to an amazing, restful day at the Salmon Fest, followed by a spectacular afternoon of whale watching.

With her is Laura.  She is my client’s daughter, but on that day, and that week…..she jumped in with the workers and held her own.

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256x256_fit_one_bestfit - Copy (215)The night before the yard sale, Laura took time to make some cider, right outside my door. I spotted her earlier picking apples, ……..or was she shaking trees?

Clearly you can see that she is a happy, peace-loving soul!

Flower child…….reincarnated perhaps from the 60’s or 70’s?

Or maybe auditioning for the re-make of the Waltons?

What effortless style she has!

Indeed she is what you call, the real deal.




I love this peaceful photo of my client, Kay.  After a very hectic week of running,  It was nice to see her relaxed and taking some time, to just be dreamy.







We were both very quiet that day. Just taking in the salt air, the sunshine and the wonder of it all. I spotted the first Minke Whale, which was such a thrill that I squealed with joy!

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Kay may be wondering where she was when I snapped the photo below.  I know it is so hard to believe!  She may also now realize that I embellish a bit when I write my blog. 

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Captain Butch really got the job done!  Last year, his whale watch biz was at 100% success!


Another beautiful day in Maine.

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On this fine day….it was,

a SAIL for a WHALE!!!




What a great summer!  Heading back to Florida in a few weeks.  Will have more adventures then!  Thanks for reading my blog!

Reminder Binder finder!


20150816_124043This past weekend, I had my 12 year old grand-niece, Jannelise for a two night sleepover.  I wanted an activity that we could work on together.  My friend Nan came across this idea, that she found in a magazine.  A binder that corrals all of the items that you deal with on a daily basis.  The end result…..a useful item for a busy mom!

Her Mom, my niece Jessica, is 8 months pregnant and has a one year old son.  Busy girl and always on the go. She needs all the help she can get, especially from Jannelise.

When Jess dropped off Jannelise, I asked her to text me a list of items that might be useful to have a go to place for.  She responded quickly, and we got to work on her Binder for back to school, and household miscellaneous.

Like scrapbooking, there was some cutting and pasting.

In front, emergency info for Jess, Jannelise, the babysitter, and busy father Wes. A go to spot for important info. There are two zipper pouches for scissors, a stapler, clips, pens, a highlighter, a calculator, a glue stick, and a ruler.

20150816_124031In the left pocket, there is a big pouch for coupons and receipts.

Easy access for returning those items that were never used, even though “she just had to have it!”

Next up……….Calendars to keep track of important dates.  A master monthly calendar will track things like birthdays parties, sleepovers, doctor visits, school activities, sporting events, and daily items.


The week at a glance will show more detail, such as time of doctor’s appointment, etc. zooming in on the actual activity, allowing you to make notes, when needed.


Jessica is hoping that this will be useful for the family. Her husband is a busy guy, and often needs a go to place, to see what’s happening for the week.  A place for everything.


Jannelise has always loved Sponge Bob……….well who doesn’t?  So to make it fun, and obtainable…..we found a Chore Chart with just 5 daily chores, and a friend to urge her along.   She is responsible for adding the chores each week, and checking them off every day.   Let’s see how that goes!

Everyone needs a “TO DO” list.  You have to have a feeling of accomplishment when checking off those items.  A reward!


Jannelise mentioned that her mom plans out her meals for the week. We made it easy for her to do so here. A grocery list, and meal planner in one.  This sheet will help any family from overspending at the store, which is easy to do when you go without a list!



We selected colored plastic pocket dividers so that there would always be a master sheet kept aside to make copies.  At the bottom of every sheet, is the website where we found FREE printable worksheets.* Of course Pinterest added a bit of inspiration along the way.



Items such as a pouch for graded homework (only the good ones!) and all the papers that come home that need attention?……Pop em in the envelope until you are ready to look them over, then schedule them in the planner.








Extras can be placed in the back pocket.  I added a few stamped envelopes for last minute things that Jess may want to drop in the mail.

Hope you enjoyed our Reminder Binder!  We had a great time making it, but as my husband Mark will say………..Organizing is easy….maintenance is the hard part!256x256_fit_one_bestfit - Copy (57)



Good luck to Jess, Wes and Jannelise!





Get FREE Printables at / /   I got the name REMINDER BINDER and ideas from Denise Albright studio /


Boat Tote!

I’ve heard that the happiest day of your life, is the day you buy a boat, and then the day you sell the boat.  I am not sure I understand it.  We bought a boat. It was a happy day. I am enjoying the boat, but I have not experienced the euphoria, that comes along with it.
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I  have a BFF from North Carolina, that might disagree with me.  She and her husband just spent a week with us, here in Chetek Wi. We could not get Nancy off that boat!  Nancy loves to fish, and that is what Nancy did, pretty much the entire time she was here. No shopping, no sight seeing, no (gasp) brewery tours…..just fish.

Seeing Nancy catch her first double hook crappie, gave me more pleasure than stepping on my boat for the first time.

Nancy and her Crappie!


This was the very first day we went out.  Nancy’s enthusiasm always rubs off on me.  Before I knew it, I was adding red worms to my pole and pulling in Blue Gill, and Perch. The biggest perch got away.  All I saw was his chubby belly trying to go after my grub and worm.  I pulled too fast and poof, he was gone.

Or is that just my very first fish tale?


Anyone that knows me, has witnessed the length of my attention span. My BFF, Jacquie will say, “When Joyce is done, she’s DONE!”   Very short.  Yup, I got distracted and started catching up on my magazines.  Mark, Derrick, and Nancy fished.

I couldn’t help but notice, that the little 14 foot pontoon boat was getting a bit crowded, with fishing gear everywhere.  Grubs, Red worms, Minnows, tackle boxes, a cooler, tote bags and other items.  I tripped over fishing poles strewn about. There was no real organized place to put them. How can that be???

On one of our afternoon Beer tastingipA breaks, I headed to Mark’s shed to see what I could find that would work for the next few days to keep things in place.

Beer is what brings us together year after year.  Derrick, Nancy and I, are IPA experts. We are always in search of the perfect IPA and will stay true to it. But we have to keep at it, just in case we missed one.  So far, Half Acre’s Daisy Cutter is still number one for Derrick and me.




Recently, I pinned an idea from Pinterest, for wrapping paper and supplies.  I don’t do a lot of wrapping, but I loved the inventive device.  This idea popped in to my head. That’s what I can make!

There it was, sitting in the shed under the workbench, just waiting for a Re-Invent.

Let’s give it a try.



Now, what about my magazines, cell phone, fishing license and supplies?  I am sure I can make something, from something!

While I measured, pressed and sewed……Nancy sat by the breezy windows over the lake and knitted. She clearly was  inspired, by the colors of the pines, lake, and sky.

What a great afternoon!Nancy's knitting

20150720_092010The nylon rope found in the shed, made it a bit nautical. The fabric, was an old IKEA cotton/canvas curtain panel. The navy and hunter stripes, were iron on patches that I had in my sewing box for the past 14 years. The stool moved from the house, to the shed, and was forgotten for the past 8 years.

At the end of the day? Lift off the bags and store them in the smaller of the bags, to keep dry for the next outing.

















Wrapping station




Here is the Pin that I found from

Isn’t it adorable?   This one is on wheels, mine is held down with a bungee cord!  This one is painted a nice shiny white.   May-be down the road I will pretty mine up.





Even at sunset, Nancy was out there looking for the one that got away. Priceless!

Remember that the summer is still strong until mid October……sometimes even November.  So don’t pack it up early!  Get out and enjoy until the first snowfall.

Then?  Get the heck out town!