Living A Simplified Life!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Honor Thy Father

This coming Sunday, June 21st, is Father's Day

Let us take time to honor all the father's in our lives and show them how much we appreciate and love them.

I have to say that there are several men that I wish to honor this Father's Day, my Dad, my Grandfathers and my Heavenly Father. I am sorry to say that I don't have any of three here on earth with me, they are all living with my Heavenly Father.

My Dad died in his 50's, when he was struck by lightening while out in a boat, trying to rush to shore and safety with my brother and niece on board. It was the first vacation he had taken in years and he had really looked forward to his time away from work with his family.

My parents divorced when I was but thirteen. I had very little contact with my Dad until I was about sixteen and only now and then at that time. I ended up living with my grandparents and Dad would come for occasional visits but he lived in a different city with his new family so our times together were few and far between. What I do remember about him was his very calm demeanor. I don't ever remember him raising his voice in anger. He had pale blue eyes that sparkled and a mischievous grin when he would be telling you funny stories and jokes. From Dad I learned to have a sense of humor, to roll with the ups and downs in the road of life and to be thankful for whatever time we have here on earth and to try to do well with the blessings that have been given to us.

My Grandpa B, his father, always gave you the impression that he was a very stern man, looking over the top of his glasses, his deep brown eyes would penetrate right through you and he always knew if you were telling him the truth or not. Of course the fact that he was a municipal court judge didn't help to soften that facade any either. But underneath, he really was a soft hearted teddy bear! He loved to debate and would take any side of an argument, just for the sake of arguing. He would test you, to see if you would truly stand up for your beliefs or if you would cave in under the pressure of his constant debating the issues with you. So from Grandpa B. I learned that you never judge a book by its cover, to always dig deeper to get to know the real person beneath the outer shell. To stand by your convictions and not be swayed just because someone else bullies you and taunts you, trying to get you to change your mind. To always be fair and look at every situation and person according to their merits.

My Grandpa D, my mom's dad, was also very soft spoken and gentle by nature. One of the things I will always remember about him is watching him shave. I had to have been just a little tot at the time, but it still sticks in my memory. He used a straight edged razor and would mix the lather up in an old mug with one of those special old fashioned brushes. He'd get his face all lathered and then he would take his shaving strap and sharpen his razor on it. Mother used to tell me that as a child she would get a "lickin" with that razor strap! Maybe that is why this memory has always stuck with me.

Grandpa D. was a pretty strong disciplinarian. I used to love to play with the double sliding pocket doors that closed off the living room from the front hallway. Grandpa would take about all he could handle of the open, slam, bang, open slam, bang before I would feel a hand on my shoulder. He'd turn me around, lead me over to his big old chair and place me on his lap and say "let’s talk about this shall we?" Just the tone of his voice let me know that what I had been doing didn't meet with his approval. But he never did spank me! We would have our little talk about the doors and then he would either kiss me on the forehead and send me on my way or he would suggest we go get one of Grandma's good home baked cookies. From Grandpa D. I learned that what I had been doing didn't meet with his approval but he still forgave me and loved me.

As I sit here, putting all these thoughts down for myself and others to read, I am struck by how all of the characteristics of these three men, the life lessons that they taught me growing up , even though I am sure they had no idea that they did, all of these things are qualities that our Heavenly Father has........ unconditional love!

To roll with the ups and downs in the road of life we have never been promised that there would not be times in our lives where we would have hard times, physically, financially, emotionally or spiritually. But we have always had God's promise that he would be there with us every step of the way. He will carry us along that road as long as we believe in Him.

To be thankful for whatever time we have here on earth. It is written that He knows every hair on our heads and the numbers of our days. We never know what day will be our last so always remember to pray and thank God for every day that you do have.

To do well with the blessings that have been given to us. Through prayer to God for ourselves and for others, He multiplies our blessings. He teaches us to have both empathy and compassion for those who come into our lives. He teaches us to give freely to others. He teaches us unconditional Love.

Never judge a book by its cover. Never look down on those who have less than you have or up to those who have more than you have, least you be judged also. Just remember to be happy with what you have and strive to always do your best.

Get to know the real person beneath the outer shell this goes along with never judging a book by its cover. Would we have been likely to have willingly followed Jesus if we had been born back in that time in history? This man who went from place to place, not always dressed in the best of fashion, either barefooted or with sandals, preaching to us about God? By reading the Bible and strengthening our beliefs we go beneath the outer shell and get to really know our Lord .

To stand by your convictions and not be swayed, this is not only true of standing behind our beliefs as Christians and in our faith, but it also means to stand by our convictions for our country as our forefathers did who fought for our freedoms. Our country is in deep need of prayer and our convictions to stand behind the things that we believe our country has been, is and we hope it will be in the future.
To always be fair and look at every situation and person according to their merits.
Always search for the truth about all that you see and all that you hear.

A strong disciplinarian. Our Heavenly Father is a strong disciplinarian. He chastised those in biblical times who fell by the wayside and did not do as they were commanded to do. Do you think He would do less today with us?

What I had been doing didn't meet with his approval. When I do not remember to give thanks, to go in prayer on a daily basis I know in my heart of hearts that I am not meeting with His approval. If I do not share my testimony of faith with others, even though I am still growing daily in my walk, then I know I am not meeting with His approval.

Tolerance and patience. He tolerates our mistakes, for He knows that we will make them, after all we were given the freedom of choice. There will be times when our choices are not good as well as times when our choices will be excellent. Aren't we glad that He has patience with us?

He still forgives me and loves me. How blessed are we that He always forgives us and will always love us. The ultimate definition of love!

He has a sense of humor. I don't know if you feel that way or not but I am sure He does have a sense of humor! I will pray to give me patience and so He gives me challenges to make me learn to be patient. I ask for understanding and he gives me situations where I have to do research and find answers. I can just picture Him watching over me and at times just getting that "twinkle in His eye" and a "mischievous grin" as He watches me work through some of the things that have been put in front of me as obstacles and challenges.

Thank you all, the fathers, for being a part of my life, I have learned and continue to learn so much every day because you.

Now it is your turn. Tell me about your father or the fathers in your life. Whether they are a dad, step dad, or even an uncle or a friend of the family who was the father figure in your life and how they influenced you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Expenses Replace Old Ones

New Expenses Replace Old Ones

With retirement, there are going to be some new expenses to replace some that you had before. If you have paid off your house, then you are going to be needing to set aside 1/12th of the amount needed to pay for the taxes and homeowners insurance each month to cover those bills when they become due. No longer do you have an escrow fund in your house note which covers those items. Now is the time to think about living very frugal and thrifty. Learn to cut costs now so you are ready when the time comes! There is a really easy way to pay your house note off early, if you will do it every single month. First get an amortization schedule from your mortgage company so you know exactly how much goes to the principal and to the interest on your payment. Every month, make your normal mortgage payment. Then make out a second check for the principal amount of the upcoming month's payment only. Make sure that you mark the check and send them a note to apply this payment to principal only. Do this each and every month until you have your note paid off. What you are doing is "paying it forward" when you are applying that little bit of extra each month to the principal amount of the note. Your interest is calculated on the amount of the outstanding principal of your note. So if the principal is being reduced, you will be paying less interest each month. Many people do not realize that the interest on your home mortgage is not calculated the same way that it is on your automobile loan. Also, don't make the mistake of thinking you can make several full payments each month and then be able to skip a month if need be because you are paid ahead. They don't figure it that way! So always always whatever amount you pay ahead be sure to mark it as "apply to principal only" and remember you can't skip a payment. By doing this, just the extra upcoming principal amount each month, you will shorten your note by roughly three years, if you began with the very first payment on your note.

Perhaps instead of paying your car insurance quarterly, you will now find you have to pay it monthly so be sure to make allowance for that also, along with the car renewal tags and your driver’s license renewal cost.

Since you are no longer employed, you will need to be setting aside money to cover any additional health insurance payments if you wish a supplemental policy besides your Medicare coverage. You may also want to have long term care insurance, burial insurance or life insurance so be sure to make allowances for those expenses also.

Get Good Financial Advice!

You may want to get with your financial advisor to restructure your retirement funds in such a way as to be able to withdraw a certain amount each month or switch funds into a money market account.

I plan to have a couple of guest bloggers on here who can help you with some ideas about how to handle your retirement money and lower your car insurance and homeowner’s insurance. I wish I had had someone to advise me before I retired.

If I had it to do over again! Boy would I do it differently!

Hindsight is so wonderful. We can look back and say, I wish I had done things differently! I would have definitely planned to have my house paid off. If I had, I actually could get by, even though it would be a tight struggle, on just my Social Security funds.
Now that means living on less than $800 (with the $98 out for Part B Medicare)

Cutting Back on Unnecessary Expenses

*Get rid of Extras on your Phone Service
Many people do not realize that once they retire, they can qualify or what is known as life support phone service. This is offered to Seniors on very low incomes for $1.00 a month. Contact your phone company to see if you qualify.
Otherwise get rid of all the fancy features on your phone, the call waiting, call forwarding, caller id and call waiting id. These all add up to expenses you really don’t need. I was able to drop my phone bill down to under $18 a month by doing that. It's just too bad that all the taxes that are added on actually comprise about half of our bill!

* Cable TV or Dish TV
Reduce your service down to the Basic service you don’t need all those extra channels. My guess is you have never even watched half of what you presently have available and are paying for.

Better yet, get a converter box and use it for your new digital service. Invest in a new UHF/VHF antenna to improve your reception if necessary. I am amazed at the beautiful picture I am now getting on my TV using the converter box!

* Fill up your car with gas two weeks before major holidays or after the holidays. Gas always goes up just before holidays and comes down afterwards. Play the gas game, fill up two weeks before to same some money. Try to fill up in the cool of the morning or in the evenings and not during the heat of the day, you will actually get more gas!

* Use coupons when you grocery shop, but use them for items that you normally purchase or items you wish to stock up on for holiday or special meals. Don’t just buy items because they are on sale or use coupons for items that you won’t ever use.

If you begin to live well within your reduced budget now, when the time comes, you will have already made the adjustment to living on less and you won't feel so deprived and like you have lowered your standard of living. You will be very thankful that you have taken the time to get back to the basics of life where you realize that "having things" aren't the measure of a person's true wealth!

Wills, Living Trusts and Medical Directives

I know, this isn't a subject that is easy to discuss, no one wants to talk about death and dying. But hey, we aren't going to leave this world alive. Two things are inevitable.... death and taxes. The only one you really have any control over is the tax part.

You need to make out a will, be it with the assistance of an attorney, one that you pick up at the stationery store and fill in the blanks or a handwritten one. You also need to keep it updated. Now some states do not accept handwritten wills, so be sure to check what the laws are in your state. I do not know if you can avoid your estate going into Probate or not if you have a will in place. That may also vary by state so be sure to check. You will want to stipulate whether you wish to be buried or cremated as well as who gets what from your estate.
Living Wills:
There are both revocable and non-revocable trusts.
I do not feel comfortable even trying to explain this to anyone other than to say that you do set this up and it is in effect while you are alive whereas a will only goes into effect upon your death.
I am going to attempt to get a guest blogger to come do a special post here to enlighten everyone, including me.

Medical Directives:
The Medical Directive records the medical treatments you wish to have or not have if you become unable to express your wishes. ... Only if you become mentally incompetent and unable to make medical decisions on your own. You may stipulate to what degree you wish to have life saving measures performed and at what point you only wish to have comfort only measures.
Some people may wish to put provisions in for donation of organs or their bodies donated to science upon their demise.

Your retirement years are supposed to be your "golden years" where you can relax and enjoy life and the fruits of your labors. When Social Security was first set up, all monies collected were to be placed in a special fund and used only for those who paid into it. Somewhere along the way, one of our President's decided that there was "too much surplus" in the Social Security/Medicare fund and transferred those funds to the General Fund of the government, where it still stays today. IF that money had not been moved to the General Fund, Social Security and Medicare would not be in the current state that it is in....... going broke. Also when that fund was established, the life expectancy of the person receiving those funds was not projected into being alive at 75, 85 or 100 years of age either. If I remember correctly, they thought if you retired at 65 you would only live and receive the benefits for about 4-5 years at the most. With our great advances in medicine and people living longer, the average age is now much higher and funds are being paid much longer.

At the present time, anyone born in1960 or later, the full retirement age is now 67 years of age. You can go to to look at the current regulations and percentage of money that you will receive under Social Security under full retirement age and early retirement age.

Ready to Retire? Reality Check List

So you think you are ready to retire

* have you paid off all your credit card balances?
* have you thrown the credit cards away?
* is your car totally paid for?
* are all your personal and business loans paid off?
* are your student loans paid off?
* is your house totally paid for?
If you are not able to answer yes to at least all but one of the above questions, then you are not ready to retire!

* what is the status of you 401K and your IRA accounts?

If you haven’t already sent for a printout of what your Social Security earnings are, please do so. You should start early in your working career to get this every couple of years to be sure you are being credited with all of your earnings. A word to the wise, I didn’t do that and had to have them locate approximately three years of my most current earnings in the last ten years that I worked.

I was in for a real shock, I had worked since I was sixteen and if it hadn’t been for my last couple years of work, where I earned over $20,000 a year, I would have been in worse shape than I am! This is another learning lesson for you ladies, get your college degree and earn as high an income as you can the last 10 years that you work before retirement! Only the last 10 years count towards your Social Security retirement, or at least that is how it was structured when I retired several years ago.

I am sorry to say that I didn’t plan ahead. I was like a boat without a sail and without a rudder. I tended to my family and when I divorced, concentrated on having enough money to meet the everyday needs of my children and keeping a roof over our head, food on the table and clothes on our backs. I didn’t put money away for MY retirement or even into an everyday savings account for that matter. There just wasn’t enough left at the end of the month to do that.

You will also need to decide if you are going to take early retirement, where you actually will get a reduced amount from your Social Security and be restricted on the amount of money that you can earn each year until you get to the actual age that you are eligible for your full Social Security payments.

Do the Lifestyle Experiment

Take the amount of money that you would have to live on from your Social Security only and attempt to live on that amount from your present income. Try to do this challenge for at least six months. Can you do it?

Do you have to dip into the other money that is left from your regular salary to meet your monthly obligations? If you do, then that is what will happen when you retire. You will have to also dip into your 401K and your IRA funds to make ends meet.

Perhaps you are trying to keep your 401K or your IRA retirement savings intact, to use for that trip or cruise that you have always wanted to take or to use to have a nice buffer for unexpected expenses.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Universal Home Design or Aging in Place Cottage

Mother In Law Guest Cottage House, Carriage House Plan
*courtesy of The House Plan Shop

I do have to admit that since I am getting up in age, I know that there will come a time when I am going to have to be looking at a little residence like this. I surely would love to live on my own where I could have my independence, rather than in a nursing home!

With 1 in 8 Americans now over age 65, with that ratio going to 1 in 5 by the year 2030, and with 1 in 5 people having disabilities presently, you can see how important Universal Design is so important in the housing industry. More and more builders are already capitalizing on this Universal Design market, knowing how so many people aging people want to "age in place."

I particularly liked this plan because it is very open and would work well for a loved one who might have to use a walker or a wheel chair. I would make sure the doorways to the bedroom and the bathroom area are a minimum of 34 inches wide, but preferably 36 inches wide. I would be sure to put in security grab bars in the bathroom and do a tub that opens up (those new walk in tubs) or else just a nice large shower where you could roll a wheel chair right in there and also have a bench where you could sit down. The toilet would be one of the taller models for ease of use.

The kitchen will be designed with the lower cabinets having rollout shelf units for ease in reaching items at the back of the cabinets and a lower cooking top (there are even ones now that you can raise and lower) with open space underneath so a wheel chair could be rolled up close to work.

I would love to see a living room decorated like this in this home. This picture is from

one of my favorite magazines, country living ! I love the casual shabby chic look, where you can just relax and don't feel like you have to be really formal.

and when it comes to my favorite colors, all I have to do is look at mother nature and right here is my color palette:
let me fill my home with nine patch quilts, romantic laces and frills!
Pillows for the sofas and chairs and on my bed. My home would be very feminine since I am alone and don't have to share it with anyone. Keep the colors light and airy, for that is what I love, pinks and spring greens, pale blues combined with billowy white shades like the colors of the clouds in the sky. Let there be shelves for my collection of angels and cherubs, the walls filled with pictures of my grandchildren and beautiful candles placed on top of the mantle along with some mirrors and beautiful artwork. Beautiful hardwood floors not only will enhance the casual feel of your home but will also be easy to navigate with a walker or a wheelchair and will be much easier to maintain than carpet.

I also get many ideas from several other magazines for cottage style, shabby chic and country decorating. In the long run remember that "less is more" because as we age we don't want to be cluttered down with unnecessary items that require lots of maintenance (dusting and cleaning).

This little carriage house would be perfect to add on to a relatives property, where you could have the companionship of family and still have your independence.

There is a 2 car garage attached to this home, which would provide plenty of room for not only your vehicle but could be used for storage of items that you just might not be ready to part with.

With 84% of people now wishing to stay in their homes as they age, you are most likely going to be joining the ranks of the "elderly" before you know it. What other special amenities would you like to see in this home if you were either disabled or planning on aging in place?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Farm house Decorating Using What You Have

Picture yourself going down a rural road out in farm country, in the Midwest, the hillside dotted with homes from times gone by, perhaps where your great grandparents once lived. Think of cows out in the field, laundry airing on the clothes line out back next to the garden where they grow all the vegetables that grace their table. As you turn into the drive, it is a dirt path, rather than paved and the chickens scurry across the drive as you approach.

On the front porch is a swing and a table where you can place a pitcher of lemonade, with a couple of rocking chairs and perhaps an old bench, where you can relax and enjoy the sunrises or the sunsets.

Like the homes of old, we will use old weathered antique furniture and accessories to give this house that long lived in look and feel .

Enter the front door of this home and you are brought into the foyer. The first thing you will notice that all the floors are old fashioned wide wood planking, some are darker shades of brown that the others, giving it that feeling of age old worn warmth. I have chosen an old low bench, weathered with age to sit under the windows. The walls are done in bead board with wainscoting and a soft mellow shade of tan above and I am going to use the same soft tan throughout the entire lower level of the house. . In the corner by the front door is a small old table, with a vase filled with fresh flowers and an old wicker basket where one can drop the mail or their keys.

In today’s present economy and the fact that we are lucky enough to be looking at a new home, I am going to do the decorating of our home using what we have on hand and finding new uses for our things inside our new home rather than going out and purchasing a bunch of new items.

In a farm house, everything is about casual, mismatched things from generations gone by, so don’t worry about dings and dents in your wooden tables , chairs and benches, that adds character to them and gives them that old worn loved look.

Lets start out in the living room. Lets pretend that our chairs are the big massive chairs that you can sink down into and the kind that the kids like to throw their legs over the arm of and sprawl sideways in. They are a brown tweedy fabric and the sofa is a 1950’s high back sofa with a brown, orange, yellow and black plaid material and you are thinking there is just no way I want to put this into my new house! So why not use the unifying trick of slipcovers for both the sofa and the chairs? Put the sofa in a chocolate brown duck fabric, or perhaps in a natural linen color. Pick some covers for the chairs that might have either floral or stripes with some of the brown or natural linen color in it but with the predominant colors of rose, pinks, greens or yellows in it? Use throw pillows on the sofa in those colors to carry your eye across the room to the sofa. Take a nice throw in one of the accent colors and drape it over the edge of the back and arm of the sofa for that homey feeling.

Use the colors you have chosen in an area rug and also in some accessories in your room, such as in candles, bowls, watering can with flowers in it, pictures and/or picture frames.

Your tables and end table don’t need to be matching in design, in fact it’s better if they don’t. Use an old steamer trunk (chipped paint or missing straps included) and place a large wooden serving tray on top to hold beverages and sandwich plates when you are entertaining in there. That will give you a nice flat surface if the top is slightly dented.

Pick some good substantial weight lamps, with either ceramic, wood, metal, or glass bases. You want them pretty large to carry off the weight of the furniture in the room

Bookcases or hutches, you can include knick-knacks, trinkets, candles of various sizes on interesting pedestals, unusual items scattered in the shelves along with your books. Don’t be afraid to lay some of the books flat rather than upright and stack other items on top for visual interest.

Art work can be beautiful country landscapes, florals, all set in plain wooden frames, or old wooden plaques with cute sayings on them, to black silhouette cutouts of your family set in wooden frames, or maybe shadowboxes with old family heirlooms inside.

In the family room, perhaps use the love seat (that goes with the sofa that is in the living room) in here, along with various styles of comfortable chairs and an old rocking chair. Go with slipcovers again, but in different colors that in the living room but ones that will compliment the colors in the living room. Make them more bold and casual than those in the living room. Perhaps the love seat done in a solid and the chairs in a bold big plaid!

Hit the flea markets or used furniture stores and grab some mismatched bar stools to put at the breakfast bar, if you presently don’t own any.

Tuck the television and all your electronic recording equipment (DVD/VCR) inside an old armoire and use mismatched tables and coffee table in here for a casual atmosphere. This is the room that your family will probably use the most to relax in so you might also like to add some large comfy floor pillows for the kids to lay on. Don’t forget some lamps to go on the end tables and maybe a floor lamp to go by the rocking chair.

Have fun with your kitchen and give it a real country theme by using things like Chickens, roosters or perhaps cows or maybe some old antique items on shelves like an old coffee grinder, a wire basket filled with fake eggs, old time canisters to store items in. Maybe a hanging pot rack where you could hang all your cast iron skillets. An old stone crock to hold items like your whisk, an old egg beater, spatulas, etc.

A farm style sink is nestled beneath the windows and the countertops are all done in granite with shades of brown and golden yellows. Some of your top cupboards, either leave the doors totally off and just have shelves for items or if dust is a factor where you live (as it is here in Oklahoma) you might want to make the doors with glass fronts instead. An old pie safe in the corner, not only for whimsy but to also store items in, would be a fun touch to have.

In the dining room think about using an unusual cabinet as the sideboard to store table linens and your good china and silverware. Perhaps there is an old chest of drawers from a bedroom that you could use here. The top can be decorated with candles, a bowl of artificial or fresh flowers and photographs. For fun, you might take an old wagon wheel and have it wired as a chandelier and use small shades on the lights.

As you climb the U shaped staircase, silhouette pictures of the family and ancestors on the wall give you a sense of time gone by.

For boys, many like patriotic themes for their bedrooms, done in red, white and blue and large stars of wood or tin on their walls. Perhaps add pictures depicting the history of the United States and even copies of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights in old style wooden frames. Younger boys might enjoy a cowboy themed bedroom where their room is done in shades of brown and beige, cowboy hats and lariats hung on the wall, perhaps pictures of the old west or maybe a portrait of the family all dressed up in old-fashioned western clothing and done in sepia and set in a wooden frame. It might be fun to do an accent wall of blue and white stripes (done by taping off sections with painter‘s tape and then painting in the stripes) for the patriotic room or a brown glazed wall in a cowboy room (where the wall looks like leather). White shutters adorn the windows rather than curtains. In the winter, an area rug picking up the accent colors used in the room, but in the summer, he prefers to have just the plain wood planked floor.

When it comes to a girl’s bedroom, think of homemade quilts and thick plump comforters .with lots and lots of decorative pillows tossed upon the bed in various sizes and in florals, plaids and stripes , of complementary colors and trimmed in eyelets and laces.

Girls usually like their rooms done in shades of pink, rose, lavender, or purple all of which can have lime green or light spring green used as a coordinating color. I have chosen a to do this room totally in white and use color as accents only. So her walls will be stark white above the white beadboard and wainscoting and the color will be used in all the accessories for the room.

Frilly, laces, very feminine where they feel like a princess is usually the desires of a little girl. Many younger girls like butterflies and mystical fairies , while older girls just like all types of floral prints. Little girls might enjoy having their name spelled out in large block wooden letters and attached to the wall, hung from pretty ribbons, whereas a teen daughter might just like to have her first initial, done if a fancy script, propped up on a bookcase or on her desk. Next to the bed will be her night stand, draped in the same floral print as the pillows on the bed. An old fashioned small milk glass lamp on top. The curtains will be soft white panels that puddle on the floor and are caught back with ribbon ties and large butterflies for a little girl and perhaps oversized flowers for the teen.

For the parents and the master bedroom, the d├ęcor should be all about being restful, peaceful a place where they can come an relax from the stresses of the day. Many men don’t like their bedroom to be too feminine so lots of florals and laces on comforters and pillows will give way to luxurious fabrics and corded edged pillows in colors that are not too feminine. You many need to consider something in a brocade type spread and corded edged decorative pillows done in burgundy and gold, or maybe you can get away with a oversized handmade quilt/comforter that will even cover the regular bed pillows and then use some solid colored pillows as accent pillows.

On bedside tables, be sure to place some lamps and you could use brass, white hobnail milk glass, or wooden based. Most decorators will say no TV in the bedroom but we all know that many people enjoy watching late night television from their bed with the remote in hand, or listening to music on the radio. Rather than having the one-eyed monster staring at you all the time, I would take an old armoire and place all electronic equipment inside. That way the doors can be shut and out of view when not in use.

Draperies could be done in the same brocade fabric as the bedspread, or if you are using an old fashioned quilt, pick up one of the predominant colors in the quilt.

You might want to try painting some of your wooden furniture white and then distressing it by rubbing off some of the paint so it has that old worn look, or you might want to do black instead of white. You can also redo brown woods giving it a gracefully aged look by applying shoe polish wax to the top and sides and then taking some of it off with an old rag.

As far as bathrooms go, I would have them also done with beadboard and wainscoting , perhaps either just plain white above or a soft mint green or palest of blue. Bath towels, thick and luxurious all white. If you wish, use some shades of green or blue towels when you have houseguests. The nice thing about white towels is they bleach out nicely as they age and not difficult to try and match as colored towels are when they wear out.

Be sure to plant an herb garden out back close to the back door so you can go out and grab a handful for cooking. Further out in the backyard you will want to plant a family vegetable garden and then perhaps have you some hens to get rid of the bugs and to furnish you with fresh eggs. Of course if you are in the city limits you will have to forego the chickens!

Remember that this property should be casual, with lots of wandering paths and curved casual flower beds filled with old fashioned types of flowers and wildflowers. Be sure to include benches or old wooden chairs in your garden where one can sit and relax. Often you will find water features that look like an old pump dripping water into an old oaken bucket or a pond with the sounds of flowing water. An arbor covered with grapevines or night blooming jasmine and even a tire swing roped to a low branch of a sturdy old tree.

The front yard should be as casual as the back and don’t forget the old fashioned rose bushes, lilac bushes and the peonies!

Are you ready to move now?

Resources for slipcovers: