A sign of spring….

Well, it’s finally here, the day you’ve been waiting for. Today is “National Learn About Butterflies Day”.

Wait, what? You haven’t been waiting for it?  Too bad, here it is, in all it’s glory.  Or all it’s fluttery color anyway. (yes, that’s a word. I think)

Fun facts to share about butterflies (and when you do so please use #LearnAboutButterfliesDay)

~ Worldwide there are more than 24,000 species of butterflies

~ Wing spans range from 1/8  inch to 12 inches

~ Top flight speed is up to 12 MPH

~ Life spans are from a week to a 9-10 months

Butterflies rely on plants and flowers to survive, so today is a great day to start thinking spring and gardens and plantings.  See, any time I can write about spring makes me happy!  I’ll keep searching and counting the days……

Moving Day in Midcoast Maine

The big day is here, and no matter how ready you think you are, chances are, you aren’t!!  Have you thought about how to deal with exhaustion? Distractions?  Unforeseen obstacles? What about the fact that the WHOLE neighborhood is watching?

Here are 3 tips that might come in handy and might help save your sanity on moving day.


#1: Anticipate Distraction!

Some of the distractions will come from the new neighbors. You’re just trying to unload the moving truck but the neighbors won’t offer to carry anything, they just have questions!  ~ what did you pay for the house? are you making any changes? do you have children and want to join a playgroup?  Be ready, have your answers rehearsed.  The best answer may be “I’d love to chat but can we do this a bit later, maybe tomorrow when the truck is emptied?”

#2: Fight Exhaustion!

The physical and mental stress of moving out of the old home and into the new one, even if you have lots of help, will disrupt your routines. Fast-food and junk food may seem like an easy fix, but you really need more substance to be continually refreshed and recharged during the moving process. Stock up on healthy snacks, bottles of water and energy drinks.  And don’t try to do it all at once ~ there is plenty of time to unpack the boxes after the big furniture is in the next day after you’re refreshed and rested.

#3: Prepare!

If you prepare for the worst, you won’t be surprised by some common moving day problems…the couch won’t fit through the door (measure furniture and doorways prior to the big day)…the cable and internet can’t be hooked up for 2 weeks (call the cable company 2 weeks prior to the move and schedule a set up for the day after the move)…the moving truck can’t fit in the driveway (make sure there is a clear path for the movers especially if there is snow or ice on the ground).

Moving day can be fun…if you have the right help, take deep breathes and prepare…prepare….prepare!!



Pantone Colors of the Year….with nothing to do with hair products

So the news is out, and Pantone has chosen Rose Quartz and Serenity as the two colors of the year.  Basically that’s pink and baby blue…neither or them are favorites of mine, but that’s okay as I don’t have anything to paint this year.  But the biggest news is that even though I see the chosen Colors of the Year each and every year, this is the first time I’ve realized that it’s PantOne not PantEne, like the shampoo!!!!  How many times have I just seen what my eyes think I should be seeing, and read what my mind thinks it should be reading.  Wow…have I done this with other things?  Is this a reality check that I need to slow down?  I love to read, and I know that I read fast and tend to speed read if I think it’s not that important, but this may have gone to far…for years I thought that a hair product company had influence over our color choices for decorating!


To read more about the real company behind our decorating choices click here:   https://www.pantone.com/color-of-the-year-2016

To read more about the hair company, click here:  http://pantene.com/en-us


Is it time for you to remodel?!

So the new year has begun, and if you’re like most people, that gets you thinking about remodeling. Actually, if you’re like me, you never stop thinking about remodeling, but this is a great time of year to actually begin carrying out some of those plans!  Either way, let’s look at what “THEY” are saying are the trends this year…..

1. Bathrooms are big ~ “This year, the kitchen as we know it completely changed,” said Huffington Post. “Shelving opened up, cabinets went darker and metallic accents moved well beyond cabinet knobs. But come 2015, we can expect to see a major overhaul in a different room of the house — the bathroom

Everything from sinks and color schemes to tubs and tiles will see some sort of upgrade, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s style reports.”

2. Bath, Not Shower ~ Inside that bathroom, trends are moving away from showers and toward large soaker tubs. “Forget about glass-encased showers—these days it’s all about the soaking and free-standing tubs, so much so that we can actually expect a decline in standard tubs with shower-surrounds,” said the San Antonio Express-News.

3. Not So Fast With That Shower ~ For those that do want to keep their shower, bigger is better, said Houzz. “That’s certainly the current school of thought when it comes to the shower…with more walk-in showers with oversize panes of glass or solid walls that completely enclose the space, rather than bathrooms with tiny cubicles.

4. Color ~ As gray continues to invade every aspect of our home, replacing beige as the go-to color, darker hues are starting to make an impact. “Shades of charcoal are finding their way back into our kitchens with a mix of whites and black giving them a sophisticated and refined feel and look,” according to Imagineer Remodeling.

For bathrooms, gray is also a growing trend, according to Huffington Post. And all those white tiles on the wall? They may soon be replaced by sleek black.

5. The Sink ~ If you’re remodeling and your kitchen is more than a few years old, you’re probably due for a new sink. Those giant two-bowl sinks are on their way out, said Houzz. “Deep, single-bowl sinks are the current trend in kitchen sinks.” This style of sink can more easily accommodate large bowls, pots, and pans.

6. The Healthy Home ~ According to design-build remodeling firm Neil Kelly Company, remodeling for health reasons is the next frontier. “Remodelers have a critical role to play in helping people make changes—large and small—to improve their home environments,” they said. “Whether it’s non-offgassing finishes, no-formaldehyde cabinets, or better air filtration systems, homeowners realize a benefit to the family in creating a healthy living space. Take this notion one step… or flush… further and you’ll discover Kohler’s SanSouci Touchless Toilet. That’s right, to flush this water closet you just wave your hand over the toilet — no touching required.”

7. Heavy Metal ~ The metal accessory trend is apparently going nowhere, and it’s largely focused on one particular shade. “Shades and tones of copper are in the mix,” says Neil Kelly Design Company’s Heidi Hawk. “For 2015, it has moved from accessories to lighting, sinks, and even countertops.”

8. Accent Walls ~ Yes, they’re back! But don’t go searching for a sea sponge. Today’s accent walls are taking on a natural element in a different way. “Inside and out, homeowners are choosing textures and natural wood accents for walls,” said Willamette Living. “Reclaimed and vintage barnwood adds warmth. Chalkboard and faux finishes can be used in any room, from kitchen to office to bedroom.”

9. Floor It ~Hardwood continues to be the leading trend in floors. However, it’s engineered hardwood that is showing up as a strong trend for 2015, said HGTV.

For bathrooms, Houzz says to expect an uptick in feature floors. “Statement-making floor tiles proved popular in 2014, and this striking look doesn’t appear to be leaving in a hurry,” they said. “They are stunning and provide a great design opportunity when working with challenging bathrooms that have no clear walls for a feature wall.”

Well, that’s “THEIR” opinion anyway…..what’s yours?!


Which way does the Housing wind blow?

It sometimes seems like housing markets move whichever way the wind blows. When the weather’s cold, home sales tend to freeze. Prices fall and supplies of homes for sale increase. Buyers have been known to become more demanding.

It may be cold outside here in the Northeast, but that doesn’t mean your home won’t sell, you may just have to work a bit harder to make it happen.

There’s a lot about winter that’s fun. We have snow, sometimes lots of it, so why not turn it into an attraction. Do you have a fireplace or woodstove?  Make sure it’s lit and warm for showings.  Make your home smell inviting with hot cider spiced with cinnamon sticks simmering on the stove.

snowy house

Always Always keep your driveway and walkways snow and ice free. If it’s a dark day or evening ~ and at this time of year that’s pretty much a given by 4:00pm ~ put the exterior lights on as well as your interior lights…you want to make having a home in the winter warm and cozy, not cold and dark!

Snow also brings wet and mud. If you don’t have a dedicated “mud room” try creating a mud nook by the front or back door. Put out an attractive mat for shoes and boots as well as baskets for mittens and gloves and a few hooks for coats.  But don’t overload it, as always, keep clutter to a minimum!

These are the first impressions the buyer will have of your home….so make it count! And let the wind blow you into a sail! (get it? sale!)


Should you move or remodel…….

cost vs value

Not sure if it’s time to move? Wondering if you should just stay put and remodel? Think about these 3 questions:

1. Do you really need more space?

If you answered yes, do you need more space more than you need a college fund or a nest egg? It all comes down to priorities. Yes, space is important. If you have more children than bedrooms, more stuff than you can store, or are in an older home that would be impossible and/or price prohibitive to enlarge and/or update, that’s one thing. If it’s just a “Keeping up with the Joneses” thing, well, then there are a few other questions you’ll want to ask yourself, like whether or not the Joneses will make your house payment if you get yourself in trouble by biting off more house than you can chew.

2. Is staying in your existing neighborhood important?

Your kids may not appreciate the extra bedrooms or the pool out back if they have to move our of their schools and leave their friends behind. Make sure if you’re making a move for the good of your family that you are in touch with what your family really wants.

3. Should you stay put and renovate?

Whether to move or improve is always a difficult question, but by taking a few minutes and doing a few calculations you can make the right decision.

Generally, improving costs less than trading up depending on what kind of improvements you’re doing. General rule of thumb, figure on between $100-$200/square foot for new construction or a major remodel. Of course, this will depend on the scope of the project and labor costs in your area.

If you’re thinking about moving because of space for family, it might be a smart decision to add on. Not only will you get the space you need, with a design created to your specifications and style, but you may also increase the value of your home. For more information, check out the Remodeling magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report to get an idea of return on investment for different improvements.