Yesterday I posted this one on Snow Sparks, and had no visitors…at all!  So I’m trying it here, as I would love to see a comment or two.  LOL.


The hippie dolls on the top shelf (above) have been with me for many years.  In this photo, they were decorating a bedroom shelf in my previous residence.

When I moved into this studio apartment, I brought those dolls, as they were a part of my sentimental collection.  At first, they decorated the entry way table.  But then one day, someone bumped into the table and they fell!

After their fall, I moved them onto my dresser.

Sadly, they fell again when I had my phone on the dresser and grabbed it to turn off the alarm!  So today I moved them to a safer spot.  I hope.

On Sundays, the housekeeper comes to clean, and we enjoy chatting while she works.  She came up with the idea of where to place them.  I switched out the calculator that was on that filing cabinet, to open up space for the dolls.  See below.


I have one closet in this space.  When I first arrived, I created a little cubby with clothes and a cupboard.

Then I decided to move things around and turn the cubby into a proper closet.  I moved the little cupboard into my entry way.With these changes, I have more storage, all hidden behind the lovely curtain; and the Jelly Cupboard that once lived in the closet area is now in the entry way (see left).

The isolation of the lockdown has given me lots of time to play around with my interiors.  I enjoy it, and I’m glad for the opportunity to spend the time in a pleasant way.  I love to read, too, but sometimes I need action:  moving things around and changing things up.

I also enjoy fixing a tray of breakfast things, including the Cranberry Mimosa you see below:


How do you handle isolation?  What works for you?



upstairs bedroom-retreat

For the past few weeks, I have been purging like crazy, and my garage is full of see-through bins with the leftovers from my hoarding collecting.

My previous home, where I lived in the foothills for thirteen years, had much more space to display everything.  I had a guesthouse, too.  And while I told myself that there was enough room for everything, I knew that I had gone overboard.  But I loved it.  In the photo above, this upstairs bedroom was where I took refuge at nights and on the weekends.  I was still involved in my stressful social work career, and I needed to retreat.

I surrounded myself with everything I would need to feel comfortable and cozy.  I had a microwave, a mini-fridge, and a coffee pot.  And that wicker bed tray that I somehow lost along the way.  Where did it go?

In my efforts to downsize, I think I gave it away.

Here is another bedroom where I retreated…later on, and after I was the only one left in my house, with only the guesthouse inhabited with family members.  I didn’t need to hide quite so much.



Friant Ireland Room 2

I had a doll collection sprawling over every available shelf, in addition to the Boyd’s bears I started collecting in the Year 2000.  Back then, I started with one…a cute one I found in a little shop that would soon become my “second home.”  From there, the collection expanded.

And next to my old desktop computer, where I created my first five novels, I settled my little friends in around me, to serve as my muses.  (You can’t even see the computer in this photo!  It is to the left).


friant desk area - resized

Here is a close-up:



desk area resized - close up


Can we say “cluttered?”  BTW, the name of the store where I found most of my stuff was Country Clutter.  A couple of years later, it would morph into Apricot Lane.  It has now gone out of business, at least in the mall where I shop…and that is probably a good thing.

I started downsizing stuff, and accumulating a lot of these friends in my bins when I moved into my condo seven years ago.  With this much smaller space, I had to leave many things in garage storage in order to survive.

But my recent purging has led to a much less cluttered space, while still offering the feeling of my “friends” around me.




And below, notice how much tidier my desk space is now.  Well, better, but probably more STUFF than most people have…LOL.





Do you look back at your various homes and how you decorated them over the years?  Do you discover that you have made significant changes?  Or maybe you are comfortable with as little change as possible.

I love having the photos to help me remember my journey.





Earlier this morning, I was clearing out shelves in the little book nook in my office.  It was quite a task, but now I feel good about creating a tidier nook.  Check out the Book Grabbing Event Here.

After doing that, I snapped a few photos of collections here and there in my space, like the one above.

Shortly I will go pick up the mail and hope for some new books I’m awaiting.  What?  Yes, I know I cleared out my bookshelves a bit, but that doesn’t mean I don’t eagerly await new ones.

I am waiting for Falling Into Place, by Amy Zhang, for one:




Plus An Italian Wife, by Ann Hood:




After the mailbox, Sparky and I are headed to a lunch spot we enjoy, where I plan to keep reading an exciting mystery called The Wrong Girl, by Hank Phillippi Ryan.





Then, home again to watch some movies I have saved on my DVR.  Tomorrow, I’m off to meet my daughter and friends for her birthday brunch at Campagnia’s.  What do your weekend plans look like?







boudoir in late august

It has been a cozy week so far.  Because my car needs some work done, which I can’t do until next week, I’ve been nesting even more than usual.

And relying on rides from my son and daughter, alternately.  What fun.  To be a passenger.

My daughter, her partner, and her son have finally moved into their own place, after a couple of years when she shared a home with a friend.  She came to get boxes stored in my garage, and looked longingly into my cabinets for the one set of dishware of mine that she likes—most of my stuff is too busy for her!—and I told her she could have them.  My Coca Cola dishware.


Coca Cola


I did have to think about it for a minute or two…or half the day, before calling her back to say yes.  I have developed a fondness for them…but I have so many other dishes, since I’m an avid collector.  This morning, I had breakfast on these dishes:



They are colorful and cheer me up.  So it’s the end of an era.

I love looking at the coincidental pathways of life.  My daughter is the same age I was when I started over in an apartment that mimics the one she rented:  designed by the same builder, but on the opposite side of town.

Here’s my daughter at age four in the apartment that mimics her new one:


Heather and friend - 1981

My place had lots of wicker…hers will have none.  She is the Anti-Wicker Queen.  I am surprised that I have anything she wanted, but the Coca Cola dishes have the one thing we both enjoy:  vintage, with a simple design.

Note:  In the photo above, I still have that little table that sits behind the sofa.  I bought it in the 70s, when it was already 25 years old.  It is called an “ice cream table,” and has served as a game table, a plant table, and now it is featured like this in my current home, a place for a lamp and some books, in between my two sofas.



And because I’m feeling especially cozy today, I’m reading a cozy mystery.  The third book in the Embroidery Shop Mysteries, Cross-Stitch Before Dying, by Amanda Lee.  My first book I read in this series was The Quick and the Thread, in which I first met the characters who continue to show up in subsequent books.



Set in Tallulah Falls, Oregon, Marcy Singer’s embroidery shop is a gathering place for “stitchers,” and a place where murders get solved.  Cozily…


In this latest story, Marcy’s mother, a costume designer for Hollywood, becomes tangled up in a mystery that takes place when the movie people are shooting scenes in Tallulah Falls.

There is also a cute dog named Angus.

What cozy, or not so cozy activities are you enjoying today?  Come on by, but be sure to bring your coffee.








Good morning, and welcome to another Thursday Potpourri.  Today’s tidbits, obsessions, etc., begin with my update about my recent book purge.

Yesterday was the library collection drive, so I loaded my boxed books into the car, and off I went.


Boxed Books

Boxed Books


I also returned some library books that I’d read and reviewed recently, and almost borrowed more books, but changed my mind.  My stacks are toppling and I need to FOCUS!

I am happy that I have whittled my Vine review books down to one remaining book:  Blue Plate Special, by Kate Christensen.  Looking forward to this memoir.




“To taste fully is to live fully.” For Kate Christensen, food and eating have always been powerful connectors to self and world—“a subterranean conduit to sensuality, memory, desire.” Her appetites run deep; in her own words, she spent much of her life as “a hungry, lonely, wild animal looking for happiness and stability.” Now, having found them at last, in this passionate feast of a memoir she reflects upon her journey of innocence lost and wisdom gained, mistakes made and lessons learned, and hearts broken and mended.


Doesn’t that sound delicious?

I’ve also been enjoying movies lately, and watched a couple listed On Demand:  What Maisie Knew, with Julianne Moore,




and Lovelace, with Amanda Seyfried.




Today I’m reading a book on Sparky:  The Obituary Writer, by Ann Hood.  One of those stories that flips between the past and the present, and I’m caught up in each character’s story, even though I haven’t yet figured out if there’s a connection between them.  Between 1919 and the 1960s…what a world of difference!




A sophisticated and suspenseful novel about the poignant lives of two women living in different eras.

On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, an uncompromising young wife and mother obsessed with the glamour of Jackie O, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless marriage or follow the man she loves and whose baby she may be carrying. Decades earlier, in 1919, Vivien Lowe, an obituary writer, is searching for her lover who disappeared in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. By telling the stories of the dead, Vivien not only helps others cope with their grief but also begins to understand the devastation of her own terrible loss. The surprising connection between Claire and Vivien will change the life of one of them in unexpected and extraordinary ways. Part literary mystery and part love story, The Obituary Writer examines expectations of marriage and love, the roles of wives and mothers, and the emotions of grief, regret, and hope.


I’m looking forward to guessing what that surprising connection between them will be!

What’s on your plate today?



This morning, I’ve been enjoying the cool breeze from the open patio door…again.  And boiling eggs, recharging my Kindle, and rereading a few posts here that I enjoy, like A Mug Story.



A Mug Story

A Mug Story




And then there’s my Attitude Adjustment story.


When I start rereading old posts, boiling eggs, and recharging my Sparky…I suspect that there is more going on.  Restless energy.  Lots of things to do, but it’s too early to do most of them.  It’s barely six a.m. here, and I’ve been up for two hours.

It was boiling hot!  Sticky hot in my room, and I don’t like to sleep with the air conditioning on…I may have to rethink that.

I did have the opportunity to peruse the Amazon Vine newsletter that came in yesterday (and I’d forgotten to look for it then!).  I am quite happy that I did, though, as I found a sequel to a book I loved a few weeks ago:  Don’t Let Me Go, by Susan Lewis.


In this follow-up to the riveting international bestseller No Child of Mine, author Susan Lewis delivers an emotionally complex novel—perfect for readers of Jodi Picoult—of reinvention, reconnection, and the deepest love that can bind two people together.Charlotte Nicholls can hardly believe it, but it seems she’s landed in paradise. Living in a cottage in a shady cove on the beautiful Bay of Islands, surrounded by the splendor of New Zealand, Charlotte revels in her new life. She and her nearly four-year-old daughter, Chloe, have started over, with the help of Charlotte’s birth mother, Anna, who has recently reentered Charlotte’s life after a twenty-six-year absence. Little Chloe is thriving in her new home, and despite lingering effects from a terrible trauma Chloe has suffered, Charlotte is hopeful that love will pull her through. And though their relationship is tentative, Charlotte and Anna are slowly rebuilding their trust after nearly a lifetime apart.   But the horrors of the past—both recent and long buried—are never far from Charlotte’s mind. And then their idyll is suddenly shattered, as a series of events is set in motion that Charlotte can neither control nor comprehend. It will take all of Charlotte’s strength to keep her little family together, in the face of a world that will do everything it can to tear them apart.


Don’t you love the serendipity of life when you find something you were wanting…and it’s there for the taking?

I also found After Her, by Joyce Maynard, a book I had already preordered.  Now I can cancel that order, as the book is winging its way to me…free!


The New York Times bestselling author of Labor Day and The Good Daughters returns with a haunting novel of sisterhood, sacrifice, and suspense

I was always looking for excitement, until I found some . . .

Summer, 1979. A dry, hot Northern California school vacation stretches before Rachel and her younger sister, Patty—the daughters of a larger-than-life, irresistibly handsome (and chronically unfaithful) detective father and the mother whose heart he broke.


I already received two Vine books this week, which I’ll talk more about later…and now four more are headed my way, including the two I found today.  Can you say “found treasure”?

What serendipitous moments have you had this week?



Today has been lovely.  Not that hot yet, but just right.  Spring-like, and I approached the mailbox with a “spring” in my step, feeling quite sure that I would receive at least one goodie in the box.

Imagine my surprise to receive a bonanza of three books and one pair of pants that I’d ordered.

Two Vine books and one author review request:  Lovely!  And the ARCs all had their pretty covers on….that always makes me happy.

Coming Clean, by Kimberly Rae Miller, is a story about recognizing where you come from and understanding the relationships that define you. It is also a powerful story of recovery and redemption.  Yes, my first “hoarder” book of the year…I think.


Flora, by Gail Godwin, is a darkly beautiful novel about a child and a caretaker in isolation; it evokes shades of The Turn of the Screw and also harks back to Godwin’s memorable novel of growing up, The Finishing School. With its house on top of a mountain and a child who may be a bomb that will one day go off, Flora tells a story of love, regret, and the things we can’t undo.It will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.


I know I’ve written about ordering these two books from the Vine newsletter….but I couldn’t resist sharing their arrival.

This next book I haven’t mentioned anywhere yet, as I didn’t know that I’d be getting it for sure. 

Innocent Little Crimes, by C. S. Lakin.

Six naïve guests plus revenge served cold equals a recipe for disaster…

Lila Carmichael may be a rich and famous comedienne, but she’s hidden her greatest talent from her adoring fans–her ability to simmer, spice and serve a carefully constructed tour de force at a cozy reunion on her private island in the Pacific Northwest….

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00067]

The Pacific Northwest is one of my favorite novel settings.  Seattle is gorgeous, despite all the rain, or maybe because of it….plus the islands evoke such mysterious feelings.  The isolation alone hooked me, the first time I visited one of them.  And who doesn’t love that feeling of being all alone in the world, completely cocooned in a special little nest?

What are you enjoying on this last Thursday in May?



Welcome to another Monday Potpourri, with today’s event being Musing Mondays.  Click on over to Should Be Reading to find the other participants.

Bookish Topics:

Describe one of your reading habits. • Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s). • What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!  • Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it. • Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us! • Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!


I am very excited about several books that I’ve preordered over the past few months.  One that’s at the top of my must-read list is finally shipping its way to me!  Looking for Me, by Beth Hoffman, is that book.



Teddi Overman found her life’s passion for furniture in a broken-down chair left on the side of the road in rural Kentucky. She learns to turn other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques, and eventually finds a way to open her own shop in Charleston. There, Teddi builds a life for herself as unexpected and quirky as the customers who visit her shop.  Though Teddi is surrounded by remarkable friends and finds love in the most surprising way, nothing can alleviate the haunting uncertainty she’s felt in the years since her brother Josh’s mysterious disappearance. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi is drawn home to Kentucky.  It’s a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and to find herself at last.  But first she must decide what to let go of and what to keep.

Looking for Me brilliantly melds together themes of family, hope, loss, and a mature once-in-a-lifetime kind of love. The result is a tremendously moving story that is destined to make bestselling author Beth Hoffman a novelist to whom readers will return again and again as they have with Adriana Trigiani, Fannie Flagg, and Joshilyn Jackson.

I love all of these themes!  And the beautiful cover was like the final temptation for me.  Soon….


And next:  another favorite author, Joyce Maynard, is bringing out her next book, After Her, on August 20.  I have been reading Maynard’s fiction and her memoirs for years…and she never disappoints.



It’s the summer of 1979, and a dry, hot, northern California school vacation stretches ahead for Rachel and her younger sister Patty – the daughters of a larger-than-life, irresistibly handsome and chronically unfaithful detective father who loves to make women happy, and the mother whose heart he broke. Left to their own devices, the inseparable sisters spend their days studying record jackets, concocting elaborate fantasies about the life of the mysterious neighbor who moves in down the street, and playing dangerous games on the mountain that rises up behind their house. When young women start showing up dead on the mountain, the girls’ father is charged with finding the man responsible, known as The Sunset Strangler. Seeing her father’s life slowly unravel when he fails to stop the murders, Rachel embarks on her most dangerous game yet: setting herself up as bait to catch the killer, with consequences that will destroy her father’s career and alter the lives of everyone she loves. It is not until thirty years later that Rachel, who has never given up hope of vindicating her father, finally smokes out the killer, bringing her back to the territory of her childhood, and uncovering a long-buried family secret. As with her novel, Labor Day, Maynard’s newest work is part thriller, part love story, Loosely inspired by the Trailside Killer case that terrorized Marin County in the late seventies, her tale delves deep into the alternately thrilling and terrifying landscape of a young girl’s first explorations of adult sexuality and the loss of innocence, the bond between sisters – and into a daughter’s tender but damaged relationship with her father, and what it is to finally trust a man.

Again…I can’t wait!  So I preordered it, of course.


I have other favorites coming along this summer, but I’ll wait for another week to tell you about those.  What are you talking about today?  Come on by and share….


Sparky Rules!

Sparky Rules!



A week or so ago, I wrote about wishing for this book...and I was all prepared to preorder it.  Sophie Hannah is one of my favorite authors of dark mystery, and Kind of Cruel sounds like one I have to read.

Amber Hewerdine suffers from chronic insomnia. As a last resort, she visits a hypnotherapist, doubtful that anything will really change. Under hypnosis, Amber hears herself saying, “Kind, cruel, kind of cruel.” The words awaken a vague memory, but she dismisses the whole episode as nonsense. Two hours later, however, Amber is arrested for the brutal murder of a woman she’s never heard of, and the only way she can clear her name is by remembering exactly where she’s seen those words.


But just as I was poised to order it, I found it in the Amazon Vine newsletter.  Even better!

So I’m expecting it this week!  Along with another book that’s been calling to me:

The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty.


Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. ..



I’m very excited about both of these books…and I’ll be rushing to the mailbox today, hoping to find at least one of them!

What books are calling to you? 


A Cozy Book Room

A Cozy Book Room



Over the years, I have edited my various collections.  Mostly I’ve just rearranged them, or maybe added or removed a shelf, a chair, etc.

But yesterday I decided to take things a step further and remove a few items.  By removal, I mean storing them in bins in the garage.  As a first step toward actually letting go of some of them.  Ouch!  Did I just say that?

For now, I’m calling it EDITING.

In the photo above, you’ll notice the hat/handbag stand in the corner.  It has been in the living room for awhile.

Hats & Handbags in New Location

Hats & Handbags in New Location

And the various dolls have been rearranged.  But here’s what I did yesterday:

bedroom photos

I used to have dolls on the nightstand, taking up room.  Now you can see Sparky and another book, plus my coffee and water.  And my ubiquitous mug that holds pens, etc.  I left the Ireland vignette on the desk.

Here’s the BEFORE PHOTO below:

Ireland Vignette & Photos in my Ireland Room

Ireland Vignette & Photos in my Ireland Room


4-6 bedroom changes 3

These shelves at the foot of my bed once held dolls on every top.  Now you can see dolls on only one shelf.  Progress?  And in case you’re thinking the Red Hat Sculpture on the shelf at your left is a doll…think again.


Atop the bookshelf and the small chest of drawers were various items…clutter.  Between them, on the floor, there once was a Boyds’ wagon full of bears, with dolls sitting around it.  Now gone!


Finally….on this shelf, there once were about four red hat dolls (in addition to the remaining bears) that prevented me from even seeing the book titles!  And there was another red hat bear atop the books on the floor.

Only two hippie dolls now sit next to the lamp on the table at the right.

Okay…it’s not a BIG CHANGE, but enough to fill several bins in the garage.  What next?  Well, I didn’t take photos, but I also removed a few extra dolls from my office…and from the dining room.  I’ve been searching online for consignment shops in the area.  I haven’t actually called or gone yet…but I’m thinking.

What does all of this mean?  Am I acknowledging a HOARDER tendency?  Or just tired of dusting?

What do you think?  And I’m pretty sure my daughter won’t even think anything looks different…lol


Have a Cup of Joe and Read!

Have a Cup of Joe and Read!