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  • Writer's pictureKathryn Bechen

Wine & Roses or Whine & Toilets?!

Updated: Jan 19


Steve Bechen


I have been offline for awhile as we have been busy doing super exciting things like fixing our Master Bedroom toilet that broke in the middle of the night, (the handle quit working), so that was interesting!


Stick with me here and we will get to the Valentine fun at the end of this post, but for now, I'm going to share of few of my little dollarwise home spruce-up hacks with you.


Steve Bechen bush trimming method

In addition to our toilet project, Steve also has recently taken great pains to creatively trim our bushes into little orb shapes. Cute, yes?!




How to use a toilet paper roll for cord control

Want to get your PhD in cord control? Just cover the insert of a clean toilet paper roll with removable wallpaper or contact paper and you have ...


How to use a toilet paper roll for cord control

The best small appliance cord control m.o. on the planet! Credit must go for this project to my Grandma who taught me this when I was about seven years old. I still prefer it as my go-to cord control method. The other way I do cord control is just wrap a rubber band around a cord that has been folded into an "S" shape if you will.


Steve Bechen using double sticky tape

For more house fun, I bought a new bamboo silverware tray as our old plastic one had seen better days and always moved around in the drawer. Not this one! Steve put double stick tape on the bottom and that thing isn't going anywhere.


Kathryn Bechen bamboo expandable silverware tray for drawer

The reason I love this tray is it expands on both sides so you can adjust to most any size drawer. Just be sure to measure your drawer length and width even so, and remember to measure the height of your drawer too so the tray isn't too tall.


Kathryn Bechen bamboo expandable silverware tray for drawer

See how the sides expand if you need them to fit that large of a drawer? If not, just push both sides, or one side, in again.


Kathryn Bechen simple lunch at home

In my continuing effort to simplify our meals and prep, but have a pretty table still, I bought these two really nice large white trays. They were noisy though as they are melamine, so Steve cut two pieces of this shelf liner and that worked great to curb the dish clanking noise.


BTW, I love these non-breakable champagne glasses. I filled ours with half apple juice and half seltzer for "faux" champagne. I also really like my new acrylic tumblers as the hammered finish doesn't show water spots as much from our Arizona very hard water. I have gone away now from as much glassware in the kitchen as possible after my senior hands dropped and shattered two glasses. Too dangerous and too much cleanup to use glass as the shards were everywhere.


Kathryn Bechen cover trays with shelf liner paper for noise control

Back to the trays: you can just lift the black flowered shelf paper right up and wipe everything off.


These new tablecloths are wonderful to just wipe down too. And I love the elastic on the edge as they don't catch on your clothes or slide off the table.


Kathryn Bechen how to decorate with floral fabrics for stain control

And here's why I use flower patterns to decorate so much ...


I tend to be a bit messy when it comes to things like White-Out, which would not wipe off of this tablecloth which was brand new, of course. But alas, now it just kind of blends in with the floral and white pattern so you really can't even notice it from far away. Had that been a solid color tablecloth, you'd have to cut it up for rags!


BTW, I call floral decorating and floral clothing "camouflage" decorating/wardrobing. In other words: Floral patterns hide stains so you can still get use out of the item rather than toss it.


Kathryn Bechen faux chimney project using brick wallpaper

Our next really quick home project was this chimney I think even Santa Claus would be proud of! All this project took was the leftover removable wallpaper from our "faux root cellar" project.


How did this come about? I was sitting at our dining table one day looking down our small galley kitchen that we are trying to make feel more like a cottage kitchen and all of a sudden I thought ...


"Hey, if we put brick wallpaper on the end of that tall cabinet it would look like a chimney!"


I have always loved exposed old brick in homes, but if you don't have any of that right at hand, add your own "faux" version! It adds charm, texture, and color.


Not sure what to do in your own home with brick wallpaper? Just go to Amazon to search for a brick style and color of wallpaper that you like and then take a look at some of the reviews as people show great pix of how they did projects in their own real-life homes so you can get inspired by their ideas. I especially love the kitchens that show brick wallpaper on prep island side walls. Instant charm!


Kathryn Bechen removable window film project

Steve also replaced our kitchen window privacy film. Lets the light in, but still private from the busy street outside our window and we can always pull the shade for darkening if we wish.


BTW, window film like this works great on glass doors as well as the skinny glass panel next to some front doors. Great for privacy from the Amazon delivery person when you're in your PJs!


Also, we replaced our faucet a year or so ago with one of these tall faucets and I can't tell you how much easier it is to wash something like a 9x13 inch cake pan or big pot. I feel like we have a new dreamy farmhouse style sink just by replacing our faucet!


Steve & Kathryn Bechen Valentine's Day lunch 2023

Okay, enough of the whine & toilets projects and now to the wine & roses part!


We took time this weekend to celebrate Valentine's Day. Our 45th one together since we met in the 1970s!


This year, I made heart-shaped sandwiches using these cookie cutters, cut up some paper hearts from my favorite floral postcards, made strawberry smoothies for pink color, bought chocolate vegan truffles, and Steve poured coffee he made into our new his and hers mugs, which we love. Similar mugs. I also bought this cute heart cutting board and now it hangs in our kitchen. To keep my wood cutting boards in good condition, I rub them once a week or so with coconut oil, (the kind that doesn't smell like coconut). I like this better than board oils made for this. Coconut oil is antibacterial and inexpensive too. This is my fave brand.


We kept it all super simple for Val Day this year! No flowers or cards from Hallmark; we preferred to spend our time, energy, and money on our little home upgrades, but we did write each other a love note on the back of my favorite floral postcards and we save those. Steve files his in a greeting card box I gave him as a gift and I file mine in my Quote Garden under the category tab "Steve." :) My husband is a man of few words, compared to me anyway, but when he says something profound I write it down as a "quote" by him and file it away. (You know how I love filing systems!)


Kathryn Bechen home office

My "Quote Garden" using postcards and file boxes and topical tabs that I label with my label maker. I have collected quotes my whole life and now I have four of those turquoise file boxes filled with them. (This photo is a couple years ago.) Much better than on the computer. Not to mention prettier; it's my Quote Garden after all!


Steve Bechen hanging His & Hers mugs

Steve placed white hooks for the mugs next to our coffee bar. He keeps a stash in our shed. Hooks are another big DIY thing I love to use in our home. They are especially good for small homes with limited space as they work great for hanging towels, kitchen pans, pot holders, cutting boards, you name it. They come in so many pretty sizes, shapes and colors now too. I love the ones that look vintage-y. Even plastic Command Hooks come in gold, silver, and black now. How "chic!"


Steve Bechen pink socks for Valentine's Day

Steve made me laugh when he came out for our Valentine lunch in a pink shirt and socks and said, "I wore them just for you for Valentine's Day, honey!"


Awww, so sweet.


Kathryn Bechen caftan review

I wore my new red floral caftan. Listen up my fellow senior ladies who like comfort, and you young ladies who need a bikini coverup: These will change your life! They are a lightweight no-wrinkle polyester that feels almost as good as silk. They wash up like a dream. I wear them now around the house and as I said above, with the floral patterns they hide stains -- move over spaghetti sauce! I plan to stock up when they go on sale as I think they will be great to roll up in a small suitcase as they are lightweight and therefore very easy to hand-wash in a hotel sink if need be, plus they air-dry fast on a hanger. No wrinkles. Zero. And all the gorgeous colors!


You're welcome; this is my Valentine's Day gift to you, dear readers. :)


After all our home projects and our Valentine lunch, we watched a cute movie set in the beautiful Tuscan countryside. Predictably charming, and great for a snuggle-up. When we bought our new flash-sale TV, it came with some free channels and we have really enjoyed some of these kinds of simple sappy movies as the scenery is beautiful, there's romance, and nothing ugly going on. How we measured for a new TV to fit the space.



Life isn't always about wine and roses on Valentine's Day or any day for that matter; some days life feels more like whine & broken toilets for everyone in this life. But we can all choose, one day at a time, to make our life the best it can be with what we have in the place that matters most to most of us: home. Is that always easy? No. But it's both wise and necessary, I think. Personally, I try to be grateful for all I have rather than whine about or long for what I don't have.


Please come back here to visit; I will soon be sharing my dollarwise decorating tips and some pix to help you make your bedroom a pretty cozy sanctuary. Spoiler alert. And yes, I realize not everyone has money to burn these days, and that some people think decorating is frivolous, but in uncertain times like these, I think it's even more important to make a pretty nest for yourself, and I will give you some very low cost, or even free, ways that you can do that!


"May there be peace within your walls." Psalm 122:7.


Kathryn :)


P.S. More of my dollarwise decorating and organizing tips are here.




"Celebrating the art of simple, charming, dollarwise living"

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