Thursday, April 29, 2010

You Love The Swedish/Nordic-French Look, Right? Have We Got (ANOTHER) Magazine For You!

Do you SEE this BEAUTIFUL, GORGEOUS cover???
(By the way, this is the cover of the very latest issue just being released).

If you haven't yet become acquainted with VAKRE HJEM & INTERIØR
magazine, you are in for a Nordic-French TREAT!

I have followed and gotten this magazine for several months now
(I think my first issue was the Christmas issue, below)
I am IN LOVE with this magazine!
By way of "review", let's just first have a little visual tour of the last
couple of issues ....  I've devoured them all and let me show you just some of the 
Nordic-licious beauty there has been:

This was issue #1 for 2010 -- just the cover image alone is enough...

This was issue #2 for 2010 and has been the "current" issue until now (well, technically tomorrow is the formal release date of issue #3)...

The two covers shown below are from 2009 issues, 
but I included them just for fun -- and to show you how exceptional each & every issue is:

Some pages from various back issues....


AND... pages from the coming issue #3 
that WE will be stocking at The Beautiful Life!!!


We expect to have our copies of the magazine (AND HOPEFULLY SOME OF #1 and #2 
FROM 2010, TOO) very shortly ...

and a 
is already in place for you 

so you can be among the first to get your pretty little hands on this thing of beauty!

Questions I'm anticipating from you:

1.)  How does VAKRE HJEM & INTERIØR compare Jeanne d'Arc Living magazine?
Well, if you love Jeanne d'Arc Living, I can pretty much guarantee that you cannot go wrong with Vakre Hjem.   

The two magazines are about the same size (inch-for-inch) but the inner pages are not as 
almost cardstock-thick as Jeanne d'Arc Living, so you are getting almost twice as many 
pages per issue.  There is more content per issue, too, and the best way to
explain that is to compare Vakre Hjem to a typical magazine like Elle Decor 
or Country Living wherein there is maybe a bit more editorial content to
take in.  

There are ads in Vakre Hjem (as there are ads in any magazine)
and they are distributed throughout the mag like most others do whereas
Jeanne d'Arc Living places ALL their ad content at the back.

The feel of the cover is very thick and strong (almost like there is more than
just paper in the fiber content) and the inner pages are more like a traditional magazine
than those of the JDL mags.  

There is a slightly different "vibe" about Vakre Hjem -- it has a bit more of a 
"funky" if not youthful appeal -- perhaps only because of the difference in 
layout/presentation of the issues.

All in all, there does seem to be more of EVERYTHING in Vakre Hjem -- it keeps you
"interested" from page to page to page...

Give it a try once -- then you decide.  
I bet you'll be back for more.   ;)

2.)  How much will all this new Nordic-French beauty, inspiration, decor/craft project ideas, and absolutely stunning  eye-candy cost me?
The price per issue will be $21.50 -- less than even the "old" price of Jeanne d'Arc Living (before the 2010 price increase).  As always, SHIPPING IS FREE.
I think you are going to find this magazine to be a "bargain" and very
well worth it's price, comparatively.  

3.) Is the magazine in English?
The magazine is printed in Norway and is therefore in that language...
however, as we all found out with the original issues of Jeanne d'Arc Living before 
they were ever printed in English... when you have THAT much to look at that takes 
your breath away, the words and language really don't matter.

4.)  Will you still be carrying Jeanne d'Arc Living magazine?
Yes!  Yes!  

I suppose that there may be those who, after trying a copy of 
Vakre Hjem, want to stay only with Jeanne d'Arc Living -- will feel that
that magazine really "fits" them best.  

There will be those who may find that
Vakre Hjem is THE magazine for them - period.  

And there will
DEFINITELY be those who will want BOTH from now on.

So for this reason, we will continue to offer BOTH, as well as others as we find them and feel they're worthy of offering.

And Vakre Hjem is WAY worthy.    ;)

Let me know if you have questions other than what I thought to
cover here -- otherwise, may I encourage you to give this new
read a try?  

Would I steer you wrong??   ;)


Monday, April 26, 2010

Fun Little "6th Ever Photo" Game... Want To Play?

Sweet Mel from the
The Musing Magpie
tagged me to play in the blog game where
you go back in your blog post archives
and find the 6th photo you ever uploaded on your blog 
and show it, link back to the post it was part of
and then sort of speak to that photo in a new
way -- a way that perhaps it was not used in the 
original post...

My 6th picture is the colorful bird eggs in the pretty 
cast iron urn...

It originally appeared as part of


back in 
March of 2008, and I had been to visit the daughter of a friend
who was in Moffitt Cancer Center being treated for leukemia -- 
and it did not look very promising for her.

I was contrasting her life to the lives most of us live -- and how she would have
given anything to be back in what we might easily call the "drudgery of life"
(daily chores, chauffeuring kids around, etc.).

I'd included just some various pretty photos from around the house
in that particular post, and the 6th image was of the fragile eggs in the urn.

As I see that picture now, it is timely, I suppose, because it is Spring and new life has 
already begun to burst forth -- and the eggs make me think of that.

Perhaps I could also rekindle thoughts of that photo in saying that 
I'm hopeful for a renewed sense of life and "zest for living" 
as I forge my way on now through the balance of this wonderful year.

There is the promise of much that is new and fun and lovely --
much like the promise of new life inside those beautifully colored eggs.

Yet -- like those eggs, life is fragile.  

Beautiful.  But fragile, none the less.

So with that, I've shown you my
6th-ever-blog photo
and now I'll challenge a
handful of other bloggers to 
do the same:


You feel free to join in the fun and do a post like this on 
YOUR BLOG, too!!   

No invitation required!

Be back maybe tonight or tomorrow with some


FABULOUS magazine I'm going to carry!!!



Sunday, April 25, 2010

One Of My Favorite Movies About Following Your Dreams Is On Tonight!

I'm so excited about tonight!  

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium is on ABC Family channel at 8PM and I plan to cozy up on the couch and watch it.

When I started blogging two years ago, my 8th post on this blog was about that movie.  

Click HERE to read it.

I'd just watched it for the first time and was CAPTIVATED!

For me, it was a real dreamer's movie.

Perfect for me then, and I suspect it will be just what the doctor ordered as I watch it again tonight.

If your dream(s) are feeling a little "stalled out" or even grounded right now,

I beg of you,


It just might re-infuse you with that sense of wonderment and belief again that you


do it.

I cried -- but what's new?

I cry in almost all "kid's" movies.  

Sometimes those kinds of movies speak
loudest to me.

Hmmm... not sure what that says about my maturity level... 


So don't be put off by thinking "What can THAT movie say to ME?  Isn't that a kid's movie?"
Watch it with different eyes and let it's message speak to the "kid" in you that 
still really, really wants to believe you can still be that person you wanted to be
when you grew up.

If you don't have much going on tonight, you just might want to join me watching it.

Wouldn't it be so fun if we could all crowd in on my couch and all around on the floor,
one of us could go make a Dairy Queen run and bring back Blizzards for all of us....

I've got tons of candy and pop corn already, 
so you wanna?  

Okay -- it starts at 8PM eastern time tonight!
Grab your jammies and c'mon!

From one dreamer to another,


Saturday, April 24, 2010

And The Winner Of The Stash Of Books Is...

Congratulations to one sweet lady!!


Cathy, from Breathless Expectation, has won the
six decorating books that I'm giving away this time
(I say "this time" because there will be a lot
more to come in more giveaways!).

Research Randomizer Results
1 Set of 1 Unique Numbers Per Set
Range: From 1 to 59 -- Unsorted
Job Status: 
Set #1:

I am so, so happy to be sending Cathy
her books on Monday!

Cathy, enjoy them with your feet propped up and
a cup of tea or coffee in hand (or iced, as it gets warmer outside).

YAY Cathy!!

And, as I said, I already have many other fabulous coffee-table-style
decorating books set aside for "round 2" of the book giveaways,
so chances are if ya didn't win this one, you'll have loads more tries at it!   

Once again, congrats to Cathy!!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Seriously? TWO "Industrial-Chic" Metal Bar Stools For $99.00! --- what's not to love????
Check out these splendiferous barstools!!!!!!
They have that fresh, almost vintage, almost industrial, almost Swedish look that
so many of us are loving now -- what a wonderfully, relatively inexpensive
"facelift" for your kitchen!
They are $99.00 for the set and I think shipping is less than
$3.00 for regular ground shipping 
(WAY, WAY more if you want them expedited).

If you do an online search for coupon codes,
I'll bet you can turn up something to even waive the shipping cost!
These TWO metal bar stools (30" tall) are available through by clicking HERE!

Just thought you'd like to know about 
this "steal". 

You know,
one gal watching out for her
blog pals and all. 

Happy Wednesday!!



Are You Ready For Some Beach Time??


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Do You LOVE Decorating Books? Well, I'm Back & It's GIVEAWAY TIME!

Ohhhh, decorating books...
fabulous, big, shiny, wonderful decorating books.
They are my downfall.

Well those -- and SHOES.  ;)

I can't even count how many 
such books I have around the house -- mostly French-style and of that,
mostly the Provencal French style (country French).

Of late, though, the books I've been ordering have been of the
Swedish decorating ilk.

And I have stocked up quite nicely on them.   

SO, I wanted to play nice and share some of them with you.

Now...let me say this right up front...


I mean, come on, how bad could a pre-owned decorating book be?
The original owner obviously has good taste and style (wink-wink) and isn't
likely to trash her books by reading them with one hand while she
knocks back a peanut butter and jam sandwich in the other.

And if she did, she'd SURELY do so with a dainty napkin, right?
(wink-wink, again).

So, I only choose "pre-loved" books that are rated as being
in at least "good" condition but I do buy just about all of my books from AMAZON 
and  I buy them from the re-sellers.

And in all my years of doing this, I've never been disappointed -- and hey,
the more money I save that way, the more I have to spend at
(Where they don't sell anything pre-owned -- thank goodness).

So, having said all this, 
below is a listing of all the books I'm parting with this time around

There are SIX fabulous decorating books in this giveaway
and they will ALL GO TO ONE WINNER.

With the exception of just one, they are all good-sized
HARDBACK books and I think you will just LOVE THEM!

Talk about inspiration!

Your pretty little head will be SWIMMING WITH INSPIRATION 
if you are the winner of these books!

And if they inspire you to totally re-do your house,

And If you're anything like me, when you get a few new books
to look at, you just HAVE to carry them with you where ever you go so
you can look at them while you're waiting somewhere, etc...


I'll throw in one of our fabulous JUTE TOTEBAGS, too!
I'll close my eyes and choose one for you!  :)

You may find it fun to go on AMAZON in your spare time
and have a look at each of these books to see what's up for grabs.  
I think you'll be happy!

(Sweden Style is a paperback book)

I will draw the winner this coming Saturday, April 24th.

Bonne chance!

It is GREAT to be back in the saddle.

I was blown away by your comments - never in my life have I felt so
undergirded, so supported, so loved and cared genuinely.

We bloggers have each other's backs, ya know?

I love that.

I love YOU.

Have fun and be sure to leave a comment to enter!!
And if you don't have a blog profile (aka, if you comment
anonymously, PLEASE, PLEASE email me separately so I can have your email
address in case you win! )  


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Of Loss, And Life, And Blogging, And Living....

My pretty, pretty mama - Vivien...
1925 ~ 2010.
She had looks that reminded me of Maureen O'Hara,
the Irish actress in so many of the old John Wayne movies...
She was quite a beauty with her raven hair and 
ice-blue eyes and lovely skin...
(for some reason in this photo, both her hair & her eyes
appear brown-ish but trust me, they were
raven black and
a spectacular & unusual icy blue.
But... she could also 
repair a tractor engine, fix household appliances, repair a flat tire, 
was a fabulous seamstress 
& made many of the clothes we wore,
did professional cake decorating from our home, and at
age 50 earned her nursing degree - 
all while raising 8 children.
And that's not the half of it...

It's been quite a while in between posts... 
over two weeks, actually.

I'm so sorry I haven't been more "present" here.

Many of you may remember me mentioning a few times in the recent past, 
(like HERE)
that my mom
was ill and not expected to live much longer.

She was not expected to make it to Christmas, and yet her 
"strong like bull" character held her through for months past that...   :)

On Wednesday, March 31, at 11AM she left her tired, oh-so-weary earthly body 
and we were all around her as she did.

I'll never be the same after witnessing that.

I wanted to at least get back here to the blog to tell those of you who have asked about her
over the last few months about her passing.

I can't thank you enough -- each of you -- who has inquired about her either in an email,
or as part of a blog post comment or on Facebook.

It means so much -- "thank you" hardly seems enough,
but there it is:  THANK YOU.

Today we held my mother's funeral and for all the "holding it together" we've all
done up until now, it seems that now with the "formalities" over, 
the realities set in.  Suddenly it "hits you".

Many of you know the feeling -- 
you stay so busy in body and mind immediately following the 
death of a loved one, you hardly know what day of the week it is.
Seems all work is toward the goal of final arrangements, etc. and then 
that day comes 
and the services have all been held 

You go home.

And then your mind, which has been racing and racing with so many details and
phone calls, emails, tying up of loose ends...
now has
nothing to do

And you suddenly wish you had a million
details, loose ends, phone calls and emails to attend to.

Anything but the silent, slowed, stark reality that
you must move on with.

Its been said "Ignorance is bliss."

Perhaps in a similar way,
"Busy-ness is bliss."

Its the knowing that I can't just pick up the phone now and ask her a quick 
question about a recipe, or about the correct way to sew something...
There is a finality to it all now that is really setting in.

The photo below was taken just a few weeks ago on her
85th birthday.  After 62 years of marriage,
the romance...
My sweet dad -- how I wish I could take his pain for him...
He will be so lonely without his sweetheart.

My mother was so ill, weak,
and soooo tired...

But you know, no matter how "expected" -- it is still shocking to your heart when it does happen.

This is another in a long line of events that God uses for me personally in getting my attention re-focused. 

These are the events in life that I liken to an image of a horse inside the fencing of a training ring:

The lone horse is wandering around inside the ring -- head down, nibbling, grazing, looking around, standing, staring, nibbling some more.... just sort of aimlessly "enjoying life" out there in the ring. 

He's completely forgotten that he is in the training ring -- and his master is growing impatient with his wandering and loss of focus. CRACK! SNAP!!!!

The trainer's long, long whip cracks and breaks the beautiful, restful silence the horse was enjoying 

and with the searing pinch of the whip on his hide, the horse now is at full attention again -- 
reminded that he is not out in the pasture
 but in the training ring. 

It's work time - not grazing time (yet).

Oh how we can also wander off course.

We are lulled by the beauty around us, the green grass of this life, the desire to graze and desire for ease.

 We forget we are not in the pasture, and He needs to regain our full attention sometimes. 

Thus... the CRACK and the sting we feel in our hearts, 
to lovingly bring us back to attention reminding us why we're here.

He's placed us in such beauty sometimes, that it does make it so easy to wander off -- not even in "bad" things -- just to rest and graze a bit much. 

He needs to shore us up again for His work.   And our hearts hear it:

I heard the whip on Wednesday at 11AM by my mother's bedside. 

It was loud. And it stung.
 How it stung. 

But with each passing minute/hour, I am thankful for the whip's reminder 

to steel myself anew for the work at hand. 

Thankful for the reminder through mom's eternal, final passing that we are not residents here -- 
we think we are -- but no.


was the message I heard loud and clear.

So, as much as my flesh wishes at times not to have been witness to the events of this week, 

perhaps it will be those very images and memories that will serve as the
occasional "CRACK" and "SNAP" over and over in the future, 

when He sees that Ruthie is again shuffling her feet a bit, nibbling at the beautiful green grass a bit much, standing and just staring off into space a bit too long.... 

So no matter how painful they are, I count the memories of this week a blessing, 
for they may be the very thing used in the future to bring me back
on track and refocus my priorities back to where they should be.

I wish more than anything that I'd been living closer and had less on my plate, so I could have been more involved in the day-to-day help, like so many of my sisters/brothers were.

Even in this, my heart hears another "CRACK": 

"Heads up, Ruth. 
Do you think you might need to look at that schedule of yours and maybe do a little altering here and there?"


No one more than I wishes to be back to the writing "fluffy", carefree, 
"look at how I just rearranged my furniture today" kinds of posts.

And trust me, I'll be getting back to my fun blog posting in no time 
(my mom would want me to)  ;)

The honest truth is, when you've just lost someone as near to you as your mother, you're 
somehow just not quite as stoked about what the current home decor color trend is,
or what shade of gray best says "Swedish" for my dining room -- along with the accompanying
dozen photos of said room.

I love those reading those kinds of posts -- 
and I love writing them. 

I love being the one with the half-dozen paint testers ready to try out in a room 
and blog about it along the way.

I love telling about a trip I'm taking or a store I just found, 
But I'm not going on any trips anytime soon -- 

well, unless you count
trips to the grocery store and dry cleaners.

But you don't wanna hear about that, I'm sure.   :)

I'd give anything to be one of you who are jaunting off yet again to meet up with 
a group of gal-pals in some fabulous city for a weekend.

But again, I don't have any such "jaunts" planned and if you want me to be 
really crazy-honest with you... I get
sad reading about them.  

There are times I barely have time to remember
to shower, much less plan and go on trips.   

If I sound a wee bit jealous -- then I'm a good writer who communicates
aptly her inner feelings.  'Cause yes, Virginia -- I think at times I am a wee bit jealous.  ;)

Part of the blogging process is being "real" (at least for me it is) and right now,
for me, my life's events are not about crafting and gluing and painting and rearranging and
fanciful trips and girlie outings... oh how I wish it were.

And I know that technically this does not make for "good" blogging 
(as the books on blogging instruct us).

But if blogging is about getting to know someone on "real" level, then unless you're
made of plastic, you too will have a point in your life like this -- 

when there isn't as much "fluff" to write about as there is 
real-life-living to be done -- the kind that takes you away from blogging 
for a short while.

And hopefully brings you BACK to blogging with a new sense of
priorities and renewed appreciation for "the little things".

So yes, my heart is heavy right now.  No doubt.
It's only just been days since I watched my mother breathe her last.

But my heart is hopeful -- hopeful that in the next week, as I do get myself back
here to blogging regularly, 
that I will once again be one of the ones
writing to you about some fabulous new Etsy shop I found, 
this fun new way I've re-done a room in my house.

{Hey, we recently had some really nice brick stairs built in front of our house -- 
does that count?   ;)   }

There is plenty going on in my life -- really there is,
I just can't seem to find the time all the time to blog about every little bit of it to you.

Just a couple of days ago, I photographed about 20 new things for the 
new "Up For Grabs" department on the store website.

I was so proud of myself for getting that done!

(Mainly because photographing things for the site is not among my
favorite things to do and I tend to put it off like I put off 
getting paperwork done.)   :)

My plan was to then sit at the computer that night and get them all
uploaded up to the store site for sale, then let you know about 
all new goodies here...

Things can change kinda quickly in real life...

Sooooo, those new items will be getting up on the site early
next week, whereas I'd planned on them being up for you by now.

I also promised you a giveaway on my last blog post.

I hope you'll allow me to do that on my NEXT blog post.

I just waned to at least check-in with you. 

 Let you know what's been going on

and what happened over the last few days.

Can you tell I'm tired?

Do you ever get that way?

Crazy phenomena, huh?

Guess I am a mere mortal after all... 

All the coffee in the world isn't going to replace just some good old fashioned REST 
for me right now.   :)

See you back here in the coming week?

Thanks for listening.

This is real life, baby, it isn't always easy, but it can be a blast.... you in?

You are loved
(and missed),