Surely you’ve seen them – those perfectly decorated rooms revealed during the last minute and a half of nearly every HGTV program. Stripped of decades of accumulated ugliness, these rooms have been reconfigured into flowing open layouts, updated with modern lighting and fixtures, painted just the right shade of just the right color, furnished in custom-upholstered splendor, and finished off with an inspired collection of accessories.

It’s those accessories that stand between me and an otherwise perfectly decorated home (well, aside from some major renovations, furniture I don’t hate and a fresh paint job).  I suppose the easy solution is the traditional approach — you know, candles, vases, pottery, stacks of books, photos, pieces of art. On the other hand, you could go with a theme, like a beach theme with starfish, seashells and sand dollars. Or, perhaps you’re inspired by the whimsical, featuring things like brightly painted plaster replicas of deer head and moose antlers.

Ho hum. I am not inspired by any of that and let’s face it, by the time millions of HGTV viewers have latched on to the latest accessory trend and emulated it in their living rooms, it’s already passé.

At long last, however, I have stumbled upon something unique, something I am sure you do not have adorning your mantle or coffee table, something you have not seen displayed on the bookshelves of your neighbors. Thanks to the kind folks at Restoration Hardware, who, several times a year, send me a collection of catalogs bigger than a New York City phone book, even though the only things I’ve ever purchased from them were a set of bath towels and two light fixtures for my front porch, I have discovered an accessory guaranteed to make your home memorable. Behold, the Noses (Set of 7):

“Skillfully reproduced from turn-of-the-century German carnival molds, these theatrical noses are playful expressions of character and are mounted on wood-and-metal museum stands for conversation-starting display.”

Yes, and the full set of Noses can be yours for just $295.

I know what you’re thinking – “man, I’d love to have that set of creepy sort of phallic nose molds in my home, but the price is pretty steep.”

pig snout maskTrue, but you can still use them as inspiration. For instance, create your very own cheap set of noses by digging those old animal nose masks out of the box of Halloween costumes (come on, you know you have a pig snout and that bunny nose with the whiskers SOMEWHERE), hot gluing each mask to a popsicle stick and placing each popsicle stick upright in a blob of clay.

Not a crafter? Have your heart set on the real thing?  Well, consider how useful the Noses could be.  Not only are they a lovely home accessory, you can also place them in key locations around the house, as needed, as subtle reminders of odiferous issues that need to be addressed, e.g., “Johnny, those gym clothes are 6 noses strong – it’s time to do your laundry!” or “Honey, the litter box has hit 5 noses – would you please clean it out already?”

Finally, if you’ve been searching for the perfect gift for that cosmetic surgeon who botched your rhinoplasty, this is it and it’s worth every penny.


A little bit of colorful inspiration for those of you thinking of renovating anything...

A little bit of colorful inspiration for those of you thinking of renovating anything…

HGTV, I love you. You inspire me to dream big, watching people undertake heroic renovations of butt-ugly houses, search for perfect second homes in exotic locations, and transform sad tired yards into horticultural treasures.

HGTV, I hate you. You make me feel guilty that my spring yard isn’t bursting with glorious flowering perennials, ashamed of the circa-1985 fixtures that we have yet to replace, and lazy for choosing not to start smashing our cracked ceramic tile floors with a sledgehammer.

So, in a remarkably sedentary effort, I have channeled that envy and guilt into another venture, HG-WordPress, where I have just completed my first renovation – welcome to the new and improved Big Sheep Blog. That’s right, I’ve changed the look of the place: new theme; new colors; newly rearranged sidebar information and even some new information on the About page.

It cost me nothing but a little bit of time. I made zero trips to the local home improvement store. I did not sustain any DIY injuries. So, yeah, my home and yard still need some attention (okay, lots of attention), but doesn’t my blog look nice?

Better Living through Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

They are divine in their simplicity – yummy peanut butter gobs resting in lovely milk chocolate cups—yes, I’m talking Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (RPBCs).  Evidently, I have consumed more than my fair share because some sort of cosmic candy karma has rendered me unable to eat them anymore by cursing me with allergies to milk and peanuts.

Future home of the RPBC Petrification Project

Of course, RPBCs will live on in my heart and on my thighs, but that alone does not do them justice. No, I must find a way to incorporate them into my life, without risking an unpleasant outbreak of hives (or worse). Therefore, I have launched a research project to devise a way to preserve them in a petrified state so that they may live on. (As a bonus, I hear there are plenty of NASA engineers who will soon be unemployed and I’m excited to offer them uncompensated but much appreciated employment on the RPBC Petrification Project.)

I hear you. You’re asking, “So what the bleep are you planning to do with petrified RPBCs?”

I’m so glad you asked. I have grand plans for my petrified little RPBCs. As a DIY home decorating maven, I can think of dozens of uses for them. Here are a few projects I have in mind:

  • Replace all kitchen cabinet knobs with petrified RPBCs (P-RPBCs)
  • Create a kitchen backsplash using P-RPBCs instead of tile
  • String P-RPBCs with some Swarovski crystals and hang them delicately from the dining room chandelier
  • Hot glue P-RPBCs to the border of an otherwise plain mirror and hang prominently in the foyer

As you can see, the possibilities are endless. My ultimate goal, however, is my own HGTV show and perhaps a book, both entitled Better Living through Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but at the very least I should be able to score a guest appearance on The Nate Berkus Show, don’t you think?


On this historic day, otherwise known as Wednesday, 19 of your favorite humor bloggers are staging a WordPress coup.  We have banded together to address the important topic, Better Living Through Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Yes, you read that right.  Your eyes are fine.  Well, they may not be fine – I really don’t know.  But it does say “19 of your favorite humor bloggers” (or who SHOULD be your favorite bloggers).  We are all presenting the same topic, each from his or her particularly unique perspective.

Why this topic?  Why now?

Why not?

Click below to gobble up the entire, yummy bag of 19 posts. Bon Appetite!

The Big Sheep Blog

Childhood Relived

Go Guilty Pleasures

Fifty Four and A Half

Fix It Or Deal

Play 101


Lenore’s Thoughts Exactly

Life In The Boomer Lane

Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings

Refrigerator Magnate

Running From Hell With El

She’s A Maineiac

The Byronic Man

The Good Greatsby

The Monster In Your Closet

The Ramblings

Thoughts Appear’s Blog

Unlikely Explanations

Happiness is a New Lampshade

At about 25 years old, our house is showing her age. Her kitchen tiles are cracked, she’ll soon need a new roof, and to say the master bathroom is cramped and dated is a woeful understatement (though sadly, it’s not sufficiently dated for me to pass it off as retro). We also suffer from some significant furniture deficiencies, from the huge blank living room wall that is crying out for bookshelves, to the hand-me-down furniture in our bedroom that I have literally hated for more than two decades. Oh, and I desperately want to have the kitchen and living room painted, and I could certainly argue that they NEED to be painted, but if I mention it one more time I fear my husband will have some sort of seizure.

What my house will soon look like.

With child #1 in college and child #2 waiting in the wings, we are reluctant to part with any serious moolah unless it’s an absolute necessity, thus I live vicariously through HGTV, hoping against hope that Candice Olsen will show up and take on my house pro bono.

I try to satisfy my home improvement itch in small ways. Last week, I moved an end table from one side of the couch to the other, which required the table lamp and the floor lamp to switch places. The lamps, which are older than my son, the college freshman, still had their original lampshades. Long ago, they were lovely shades, off-white and pleated, but for some time now they have been little more than dust receptacles and one of them is sort of misshapen from the time my son tossed a throw pillow across the room and knocked the lamp over.

It was time. Armed with a Pottery Barn gift card I got for Christmas, I went online and went shade shopping. I ordered. I waited.

Today, UPS delivered my new lampshades. I carefully removed the old shades so as not to create a blinding dust cloud, and placed the new ones on the lamps. They are simple, they are fresh, they are dust-free. I am ecstatic. And for now, my husband remains seizure-free, though sooner or later I’m just going to break down and call the painter.

For Sale: Weird, Creepy, Smelly Home

Having survived multiple corporate relocations, I have looked at hundreds of houses and consider myself an expert house hunter. Common sense (or failing that, HGTV) should tell you that when you’re trying to sell your house, it should be clean, clutter free and in reasonably good repair. When prospective buyers are coming, by all means flush the toilets and refrain from cooking anything too pungent. 

Regrettably, some home sellers are devoid of common sense, do not watch HGTV, and are therefore oblivious to conditions which are making prospective buyers flee from their homes in terror. Here are some of the most memorable houses that fall into that category.

It’s a fact of life —  lots of houses have funky smells. The worst smelling house I’ve been in was home to a lifelong cigar smoker. It stunk so badly that my daughter waited outside in the freezing rain while the rest of us held our breath and did a quick walk-through. The second-worst smelling house was home to many cats, several of which were lounging on the stairway with no intention of moving as we tried to navigate our way upstairs. This home also had well-trafficked litter boxes in the kitchen, master bathroom, and several other locations. Ick. Honorable mention in the stink category goes to a vacant house that reeked of large wet dogs. 

If you have an unusual hobby, your house may fall into the creepy category. One example is a home that had a whole room devoted to the owner’s porcelain doll collection. Trust me, nobody is going to have a warm cozy feeling when they walk into a room to find hundreds of glass eyes staring at them. Even creepier, however, was the historic home that showcased the owner’s taxidermy hobby. It had a grand staircase with a large landing inhabited by no fewer than 20 dead stuffed creatures. Again, not so warm and inviting.

The weirdest award goes to a home that had an old phone booth in the foyer. Perhaps Clark Kent might be interested in that one, but I had to pass on it. A final word of caution: if you happen to be letting your grandson live in the house while it’s on the market, be sure to remind him not to leave his marijuana out on the table when prospective buyers are coming. It’s just not polite.