Keeping Up With Mrs. Smith

When a perfectionist moves into a fixer-upper…

Going Back to the Closet

I’m of the opinion that all of us were abused in some form or fashion and at one time or another as children.

In my case, it was verbal and emotional.  Fortunately, as long as I stayed out of my step-father’s sight I avoided being called troll/worthless/fat pig/bitch.

And for me “out of sight” usually meant “in the closet.”

I spent a LOT of time in my closet in high school.  It’s where I ate dinner, did homework and, if there was nothing else to do, organized my lip balm collection.  (I was a strange teenager.)

Sometimes it would get too stuffy and lonesome in there so I’d break out and sit on my bed…only to have my light switch turned off on me or some other nonsense.

After all those years, you’d think I’d never want to sit in another closet again!

But I have always loved cozy little nooks and thanks to some cheery touches,…

Mrs. Smith Sucks at Keeping Score

Permission to be transparent today?

I was really good at tennis in high school.

Really, really good.

But I sucked at competition.

Really, really sucked.

I could happily slam a ball back and forth all day, but the minute someone would say “Hey, let’s keep score!” I’d turn into an emotional, anxious wreck.

Competition, it turns out, has never motivated me.  It kills the fun in the things I love to do and makes me want to give up.  

Competition anxiety is why I lost to a girl once with a twisted ankle and a sprained wrist who swatted at the ball like she was swatting a fly.  She beat me 6-2, 6-0.  In fact, I lost all but 2 games my entire high school career, and to be honest I’m not even sure how I managed to win those.

Still, I’ve always had a deep desire to accomplish something great.  Something Martha Stewart-great or,…

A Pig-Free Sewing Room

Remember how the sewing room was the place where all the freaky stuff happened in The Amityville Horror?  *Shudder*

This fact dawned on me after I decided to make our little yellow room a sewing room, and now I’m determined to make this such a bright and happy space that red-eyed pigs and flies don’t want any part of it.

sewing room view

Week 3 had been a continuation of decorating with stuff I’ve been stockpiling over the years:

  • Shutter doors: a $10 purchase at a second-hand store last summer
  • Chalkboards: cheap picture frames from Goodwill I dressed up last Christmas
  • Lamp: a piece from my great aunt’s house in California

chalkboard wall

Since I also have way too many pegboards, I decided to make an inspiration board.

Now I can admire favorite photos, knickknacks and the beloved hand-puppet my friend Shannon made me forever ago.

inspiration board

Something this room needed that I did NOT already have was a ceiling fan.

exposed wires

A $30 number…

The Only Tiramisu Recipe You’ll Ever Need

When an Italian from Cordignano gives your her recipe for tiramisu, why bother using any other tiramisu recipe?


Chiara is my dear Italian friend, and even though I miss her to bits ever since she and her husband moved to the U.K. last year, she’s given Mr. Smith and I the perfect excuse to travel to England this fall.

And as if a European vacay wasn’t awesome enough, my foodie pal was gracious enough to let me share her tiramisu recipe with you!

The lovely Chiara.

The lovely Chiara.



Is it just me or are lady fingers overrated?

Until recently, you couldn’t even find them in our grocery stores.  So Chiara decided to get creative by using these Mexican biscuits.

What would you rather have in your dessert: a cookie…or a finger?  ;)

Maria's cookies Cook’s Note: If Maria’s Cookies are not available in your area, you can also use Rich Tea biscuits or shortbread.


Mascarpone is a soft,…

Big Bargains and Ruffle Curtains

A set of sheets, random pillow shams, yards of grey twill, shutter doors, chalkboards, a pink floral vase…….the list of stuff I loved but had nowhere to put went on and on.

But even a strict minimalist such as myself wasn’t worried because I knew that I treasured these items enough to make use of them someday.

And week 2 of the June Room Challenge was my someday!

ruffles from side

Two of my goals for this week were to:

  1. Make curtains
  2. Take inventory of possible decor

Thanks to all of your great advice, I chose the Laura Ashley sheets for my curtain fabric. It was also suggested that I incorporate pink gingham for added pop.  I had just the fabric: two cute pillow shams I purchased 4 years ago at a yard sale!

After ripping out stitches and measuring my fabric pieces I got to work.

Ruffle Curtains

Ruffled curtains are super expensive which is crazy because they are fairly…

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The Chicken Chick
A Bright and Beautiful Life
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