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Mary’s Favorite Granola Recipe

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This is the recipe from last week’s blog.  No need to go to other links!

The original recipe is taken from Nicole Hunn’s blog on Gluten Free on A Shoestring

Here it is with a few minor tweaks.  Enjoy!!!

Granola Recipe

1 1/2 cups raw almonds

1 1/2 cups raw pecan halves or pieces

1 1/2 cups raw cashew halves or pieces

1 egg white 

1/2 cup pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon (we love cinnamon, modify amount to suit your taste)

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1 cup small dried fruit (raisins, goji berries, dried cranberries, dried blueberries)


  • Preheat your oven to 300°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.  
  • To the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, add the almonds. Pulse briefly a few times. You want most of the almonds in small pieces, with some larger pieces and a bit of fine powder. Transfer the almond to a small bowl. Repeat with the pecans and then the cashews.
  • In a separate large bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the egg white, maple syrup, olive oil, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and salt to combine. Add the chopped nuts and pepitas to the bowl and mix well to coat thoroughly. Spread the mixture into an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir the granola and spread back into an even layer. Return the baking sheet to the oven and continue to baking, stirring every 10 minutes, for about 30 minutes more or until golden brown all over.
  • Remove the granola from the oven, and allow it to sit for 10 minutes undisturbed. Once it’s rested, add the dried fruit and optional cacao nibs, and mix by hand, breaking up the granola into manageable chunks. Serve right away with almond milk and fruit or store in an airtight glass container at room temperature.


  • Use a large baking sheet if possible, 15″ x 21″.  This size pan reduces baking time. I stir twice, every 15 minutes, and watch for the mixture to start to dry and lightly brown.  Continue to stir at 5 minutes intervals until toasted.  Be careful not to overcook and burn the nuts.
  • Always add the pepita seeds and dried fruit after removing from the oven otherwise the fruit turns into very hard nuggets.


Makes 5 – 16 oz containers.

For a gift packaging idea go to Another Great Gift Idea.

We can’t get enough of this stuff on cereal, ice cream and yogurt!  It is truly addictive!



Mary Sherwood Lifestyles


Working with you to create your lifestyle!






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Another Great Gift Idea!

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Last year this time we were preparing for our much-anticipated family holiday in Japan.  It was difficult to decide on an easy gift idea to give here and in Japan.  Here is last year’s gift idea blog, Easy Gift Idea in case you missed it.

This year our holiday travel takes on an entirely different focus. We are visiting our newest family member (and his parents) in Santa Monica-our cute, adorable grandson, Jackson.  Here is Jackson’s latest picture.


For this season’s easy gift idea, here is a recipe for a wonderful nut and fruit granola.This recipe was published by Nicole Hunn of “Gluten Free on a Shoestring”.  Every time I have shared this granola with family and friends the very next question is “Can I have the recipe?” I just sent a care package of granola to keep the new parents energized for “Jackson” duty.

Here is the link to Nicole’s blog that explains the recipe in detail.  Forget the Paleo or the gluten-free labels if you are not interested in these dietary aspects.  It is a delicious treat for anyone who is not nut sensitive.  The recipe was prepared per her instructions but I increased the cinnamon to 1.5 tsp. Don’t worry about beating the egg until frothy.  It does not change the outcome.  A slightly beaten egg works fine.  Also, the granola doesn’t clump (for me) but the flavor is so incredible it doesn’t matter.  One word of caution.  DO NOT place the craisins or dried fruit in the mix before baking.  They become very hard nuggets. Trust me, I learned from experience.  One more tip…the bigger the baking sheet the quicker it browns.  Here is my favorite simple baking sheet, 15″ x 21″, given to me by BFF, Patsy Cuthrell!  Thanks, Patsy!  Even if you don’t make this for gift giving and are not a huge granola fan, try it and you will be surprised. My favor way of eating it is with a sliced banana and almond milk.  Pick your pleasure.  Nichole’s post shows several ways to enjoy.

 If you decide to add granola to your gift giving list, a simple way to package it is in a standard mason jar tied with ribbon and an ornament.  This is how I plan to package mine using our handmade fused glass Christmas tree ornament from our Art Glass website.


Happy holiday prep!  Embrace your hygge – a Danish concept that means enjoying life’s simple pleasures (like granola) with family and friends in a warm and cozy atmosphere Read more about how to enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season by Kate Scarlata.

Peace to all this holiday season!



There is still time to purchase this fused glass 2017 Christmas ornament and other gifts at www.marysherwoodartglass.




Be Thankful-We are!

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With this Thanksgiving holiday, we are so thankful for our new grandson, Jackson Volkan Sherwood!  There is no greater gift from God.  I never really understood how very special it is to become a grandparent.  A grandchild is an extension of you through your child.  There is a deep connection from the very beginning. 

Meet Jackson:

Jackson Volkan Sherwood
November 12, 2017
8 pounds, 15 oz, 22″ long

Three Generations of Sherwood Men
Paul, Jake and Jackson

A future rockstar is born!

Cozy as a bug in a rug!

I would like to especially thank our son Jake and his wife Elif for bringing Jackson into our family.  To see them work together every step of the way to prepare and bring Jackson into the world has been amazing.  Their strength and commitment to each other was undeniable during the stress of a very long labor and birth.  They are going to be the best parents ever.  You make your mom and dad so proud! 

We hope everyone will take time to remember to be thankful for their blessings this Thanksgiving!

Have a wonderful holiday!

Love to all!

Mary and Paul


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I preface this blog with a grandbaby update-Huevos is still marinating!  Hopefully, we can officially call ourselves grandparents by the end of the week.   We will keep you updated!  Now on to today’s topic.

We have just finished up a major renovation in our Arizona home which included the kitchen, 3 baths, and whole house flooring replacement while living in the house.  All I can say we did it!!!

In prep for this big event here are five things to do to help you survive.

  1.  Plan for meal prep.  Once all your creature comforts of a working kitchen disappear it may seem a little scary.  Where will we eat for the next six to eight weeks?  Set up a temporary cooking location on a table or plywood top on saw horses.  A workable microwave, large toaster oven, coffee maker and outside grill save the day!  It is amazing how much you can do with these appliances!  When I had a hankering for fresh egg salad I even boiled eggs on our gas grill.  Click here to see is the Boiling Eggs video!Also, plan to plug-in the existing refrigerator wherever there is room.  By pre-determining these things, demolition day will not seem “quite” so scary.
  2. Plan for kitchen cleanup.  Since we were working on our bathrooms at the same time as our kitchen I needed mobile clean-up gear.  We used our utility sink in the garage briefly (until it was torn out), then we flexed between whatever bathroom sink was available.  Here is what I gathered for my mobile supply kit.  A drying mat was great for tight vanity sink situations.
  3. Plan for tableware and utensils.  We did not want to use all disposable plates and silverware.  Knowing that clean-up space would be a challenge I selected 2 sets of our favorite plastic picnic plates so I didn’t need to worry about breakage while using a tiny 14″ vanity sink for cleanup.  While emptying the kitchen cabinets designate enough dishes, utensils and paper napkins for your household.  Don’t forget a few wine glasses and beer steins.  You will be thankful you had these on some construction days!
  4. Plan for appropriate cookware.   Remember you will probably be using your microwave for a lot of things.  Collect a few assorted size, glass Pyrex containers that fit your microwave. These pieces can be used for storage, as well.  Beware don’t microwave the plastic lids of Pyrex storage containers!  Our cast iron griddle was our cooking vessel of choice when using our gas grill.  Paul became a master at cooking fried eggs, bacon and stuffed avocados.  All our meat and fish was prepared on the grill.  Roasted veggies were one of our favorites!
  5. Clean up constantly.  Keep up with the general dust and debris clean-up in the house while under construction.  We loved our e-cloths rags and mop for this (saved a lot of paper towels).  We did really good with cleaning in the early weeks but we were tired of it towards the end.  Keep focused.  Relax and think what a pleasure it will be to cook in your brand new kitchen.  Take a night here and there to enjoy a night out for a meal away from the dust and chaos of the construction.

We are now complete through our two-month journey and are loving the new digs!  It was worth all the aggravations and disruptions.  Go with the flow!!!   

Stay tuned for the big kitchen reveal.

Do you have tips to add about how you survived your kitchen remodel?  I would love to hear your comments!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles



Working with you to create your lifestyle!


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I’m Back with Exciting News!!!

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After a long hiatus from writing this blog, I am happy to say “I am back”.

Exciting things are happening in the Sherwood family.  In March we joined our son Jake and wife Elif in Mammouth for a look at real snow!  I had never seen that much snow.  They had over 400 inches this past season.

The very best part of that weekend was the surprise announcement in our birthday cards!  We are going to be grandparents!!!!


Very early on Baby Sherwood was nicknamed Huevos because it all began with an egg. It has been great watching the changes is Elif and Jake as they grow closer together to welcome this baby. They chose to be surprised by the baby’s sex at the birth.  Today, Halloween, was the due date.  Huevos decided he/she was not ready to face the real world just yet.  Elif says he is still marinating.  Haha!

Here are some fun things happening as we becoming a G-mom and G-dad:

  1. Receiving text messages and ultrasound pictures after doctor visits.  Is that really a baby in there???
  2. Shopping with Elif for the baby’s room at the Land of Nod.  Love that baby store! (Not so fun for G-dad)
  3. Jake designing the mural for the baby’s room with the fun finishing touches on video. Don’t miss this video Huevos’ Room 
  4. Working with Jake and Elif’s friends to surprise Elif with a baby shower.  
  5. Creating fused glass favors for the shower.
  6. Talking frequently about Huevos’ progress including a video today of a very energetic baby kicking Mom’s belly. 🙂  Here is how the future Mom and Dad spent their Halloween Due date!

This is what I aspire to be next Halloween!

Life is such a miracle.  We are seeing it in a whole different light through this baby experience.  Now I am beginning to see why all of you who are already grandparents say it is so wonderful. 🙂

Thanks for reading about our family.

Lot’s of great renovation posts to come in future blogs.  (Hint-you can see a sneak peek in the background of the birthday card photo!)

Great to re-connect!  You will be the first to know about baby Huevos’ arrival!



Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

Working with you to create your lifestyle!




Our Japan Adventure!

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Happy New Year!

We had a wonderful Japanese adventure!  Go here to follow our daily outings beginning December 24 on our Facebook page.  It was an event packed trip by plane, train, bus and ferry.

First off…How much luggage does it take to move six Sherwoods through Japan?sherwoods_japan_luggage

Here are some of my favorite highlights:

*Aaron and Kiori’s LED exhibit in Tokushima.Tokushima LED Art Festival-Japan_micro_aaronsherwood-kiorisherwoodkawai-japan

*Visiting and getting to know our Japanese family (Kiori’s family) in Takamatsu.japan_kiori_family_parents japan_family_kiawa_takashima_traditiona_meal

*Four days in Kyoto visiting museums, temples and crowds of shoppers New Year’s Day.Fushimi-Anari- Temple-japan 金閣寺_Golden Pavilion_Zen_ temple-kyoto_japan

*Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum.   A beautiful setting imparting a very poignant message of the importance of peace.hiroshima_peace-museum_japan

*The view of Mt Fuji from our Japanese Ryokan, We were serenaded by the owner, playing and singing John Denver’s Country Road!MtFuji_japan_

We saw so many wonderful places but on our last day was one of my favorites.  We visited the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum in Kawaguchi overlooking Mt Fuji.  Kubota Itchiku (1917-2003) was the artist who revived the lost art of Tsujigahana silk dyeing of kimonos.  japan_travel_Kubota_Itchiku_Art-MuseumThe main gallery is a complicated wooden structure using Hiba trees (cypress family) more than 1000 years old.  The architecture and the display of the intricately dyed and stitched kimonos were equally impressive.  By this time in our trip, after many museums, shrines and temples, Paul had had his fill. 🙂  Here at this site, I was lost in the beautiful textiles and the massive architectural structure.  I was so glad we made this stop on our very last day.Kubota_Itchiku_artist_Tsujigahana-silk-dyeing-Kimonas_Japan

I hope you have enjoyed an overview of our trip.  There is so much more I could share but this will give you a glimpse of our experience in a country of massive beauty, spiritual tributes and respect for all.

All the best!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles


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メリークリスマス Merry Christmas!

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Today I had so much fun putting together our gifts to take to my daughter-in-law’s family in Japan.  I couldn’t resist sharing.   Here they are!


In last week’s post, An Easy Gift Idea, I talked about the items to be included.  To make things a little more personal I used Google Docs to translate the notes I attached to each gift into Japanese.  With the Prickly Pear jelly is a translated article about the native SW plant and its use in recipes.  Google’s translations better make sense!   If not, I hope it will be a reason for a few good laughs.


Of course, I have to carry something for our kids.  Here are their small packages with Merry Christmas translated into Japanese, メリークリスマス!  


Celebrating a holiday in another country will be a new experience.  But wherever you are, keep the spirit of Christmas alive.  Goodwill to all!   Have a blessed and Merry Christmas!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

Mary Sherwood Art Glass





An “Easy” Gift Idea!

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Did you miss last week’s blog?  I got a little lax and didn’t post.  Sorry!  My holiday posts may be a little sparse because we have an opportunity to share this season with both of our sons and their wives in Japan.  Aaron and his wife Kiori are presenting Micro in Tokoshima.  Jake and Elif will join us in celebrating a new kind of Christmas exploring Kiori’s Japanese culture.  We will, for the first time, visit her family in Kagawa.  It should be an exciting adventure.

The Japanese are very generous and kind people.  I so admire their gentle ways.  Her parents have always been so gracious with little tokens of appreciation.  I have been pondering what I can bring to thank them for their hospitality.  There are three things I plan to take:  a set of small fused glass sushi plates adorned with a cherry blossom design (significance of the cherry blossom in Japan), a small jar of homemade Prickly Pear Jam and Toasted Quinoa, Chocolate Bark.

Here is the recipe for this super easy Chocolate Bark.  What a great gift idea!   Package the bark in a holiday wrap, attach an ornament (if you like) and share the recipe.  This will be a favorite homemade gift!  I started with the recipe published by a nutritionist Kate Scarlata, Chocolate Bark.  I have made it so many times and tried several variations.

I use 1/2 cup extra dark chocolate chips and 1/2 cup, chopped, 70-80% dark chocolate bar. The darker the better for me!  You can use all semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips as the recipe suggests.  Flavoring is the next item to tinker with.  The recipe calls for a dash of cayenne.  It really does compliment the dark chocolate.


Other possible flavors I have tried are citrus or mint.  Citrus can be added with a small amount of orange zest, Doterra Wild Orange Essential Oil or Pensey’s Orange Extract.   Suggestions for a mint flavor are peppermint chocolate chips and food safe essential oils or extracts.  Start with a small amount and flavor to taste.


On the left, the bark has pecans stirred into the chocolate mixture.  On the right, the almonds were sprinkled on the top once the mixture was spread in the pan before it cooled.  I like the appearance of the almonds on top but many of them fell off in the container once stored.  Experiment with different types of nuts.  Whatever you desire!


Here is the finished gift packaged Chocolate Bark with Toasted Quinoa adorned with a small fused glass Christmas ornament.chocolate_bark_ingredients_homemade

So we are off to Japan bearing gifts!  Looking forward to sharing our experiences when we return.

Merry Christmas to all!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

Mary Sherwood Art Glass


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To the Fair We Go!

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Busy, busy week…finishing up final details for our first adventure into the art show arena. Mary Sherwood Art Glass will be showing fused glass art in our community art fair this weekend.  We will have a colorful display including the 2016 Christmas collection, the large garden totems, many functional pieces and a few smaller jewelry pieces. Here is the latest piece just out of the kiln called “Patterns in Flight” (14″ x 14″ glass panel plus stand).  Paul thinks it is the best in the collection.


Wish us luck!

Until next week…


Working with you to create your lifestyle!


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Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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Happy Thanksgiving!  I photographed this platter at HF Coors, a local tableware manufacturer, so I could share this greeting with you! This place is amazing!  We took a brief factory tour and learned that they can produce up to 7500 unfinished mugs per day.  Each piece is handpainted.  Every piece of pottery is worked on by an average of 25 -40 people. It takes 2 days to completely finish a mug.  Here is a little peek of their factory.


HF Coors has been manufacturing tableware in America since 1925.  Here you can read the history about their company and its connection to Coors beer.  They have a retail store, sell online and have a factory sale the 1st Saturday of each month.  If you love colorful pottery built to last it is a great place to visit. from

Here is a blog from the HF Coors site about how to set a proper table (how timely for our Thanksgiving table).set_table_hfcoors_blog

My Thanksgiving table will not be this well appointed.  I never realized you could have that many different utensils!  I think the food taste just as good with far less choices of silverware!!!

Whether you are preparing the feast, ordering in or traveling to be with friends and family enjoy your weekend.

Be safe and be thankful for all we have.



Mary Sherwood Lifestyles


Newly added pieces to the glass art shop just in time for holiday giving!

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A 2nd Act-The Survivor’s Stories

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This blog has always been about design.  So, today I salute the women who have faced cancer head-on and re-designed their life with a 2nd Act.

Last Sunday eight incredible local women told their inspirational stories at the Tucson presentation of A 2nd Act-Survivorship Takes the Stage.    Many of the attendees came to support the women telling their stories on stage.  Some came because they had a personal experience with cancer. And others, like myself, came to be inspired by the courage, strength, and wisdom of these survivors.

The organization, A 2nd Act, was founded by Judy Pearson, a writer, researcher, and cancer survivor.  In doing research she found women survivors across the country were taking their lives back by doing amazing things in their “2nd Acts”. She created to give these women a platform to tell their stories.

Listening to their stories makes one realize cancer never ends.  With the first diagnosis, the treatment, the recovery and the moving on, it is something that never goes away.  The diagnosis is truly the beginning of the 2nd act of their lives. Everyone’s “Act Two” if different.  All the stories varied.  Some included working with Greyhound Rescue, writing a book A Woman Under Construction, cancer education with “Be the Match”, and  a Gypsy blogger to name just a few.

Here is a quote from the book A 2nd Act-Cancer Survivors Changing the Question:

“In the shadows of the Santa Catalina mountains, these women trudged through the darkest hours of cancer.  But the disease did not defeat them.  Rather it touched their lives in ways they never might have imagined, giving them a new appreciation for every sunrise, making them stronger and more dedicated in their 2nd Acts.”a2ndact_-book_judy_pearson

To purchase the book or make a donate to go to this link.

In whatever life challenge you may face, remember you can be strong and design your 2nd act.

Strength and peace to all!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

Mary Sherwood Art Glass

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Project details…so, so many!

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Recently at the High Point Furniture Market I selected a lot options for furnishings and accessories for a guest house project.  I started with the upholstery pieces and fabrics.  The rest of the accessories, rugs, and bedding followed suit.  Here is where we started.


A number of fabrics were selected and the then narrowed down to the samples above.


Here are the seating styles (not shown with the selected fabrics).



Many accents tables, lamps and accessories were selected to compliment the color scheme of the fabrics.  I think the items in the two photos above are keepers!  Can you see how the accent fabric in the first picture at the very top coordinates with the table and trays?


The guest bedroom is tied in with the first floor furnishings with grey and golden hues in the bedding and area rugs.  (Note: the MBR rug is not in the guest house.  A different palette was selected for that space.)


When complete the “HAPPY” sign will hang in this guest space to make you smile and be happy!

The wealth of products at the High Point market always amazes me.  Can you see how shopping this market can really make a project come together?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts about these project selections.

All the best!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles!

Working with you to create your lifestyle!



I’m Back!

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I took a two week hiatus from publishing this blog because I was so busy back in NC.  I hope you missed seeing our weekly Wednesday post.  (If you didn’t, don’t tell me 🙂 )

A week was spent at our Lake Gaston home doing maintenance after a very busy summer rental season.  We were truly amazed at how well the house weathered 20 different groups of vacationers with a total of over 150 quests.  Whew!  Thank you VRBO/Homeaway guests for taking such good care of Blue Heron Getaway!

Here are a few pictures of our lake!misc

Next, it was off to visit with my BFF Patsy outside of High Point.  We always seem to pick up right where we left off.  That is what you do with best friends!  Each High Point market she provides me a wonderful private room, meals and best of all her love and friendship.  Thank you, Patsy!!!

Here are a few groups of things that attracted my eye at the High Point Market .

LIGHTING:highpoint_market_102016_lighting_edisonbulb_large_led_oversized_pendantLarge Edison bulb (9″H) fixtures shown at Emdee International.  Contemporary and sleek pendants from Lite Source that can be grouped together or used separately.  Oversized pendants, 34″ H in gold or silver finishes.

highpoint_market_fall_2016_glass_art_kristinedaniel-artistNew and different art glass by Kristine Daniel Designs of Canada.

highpoint_market_fall_2016_globalviews_red_black_grey_goldGlobal Views has always been the leader in displaying an up and coming color scheme.  Here are several of their vignettes in red, black, gold and grey.  I love the contrast and visual impact!  What do you think?

highpoint_market_ottoman_shaped_curvedLittle ottomans that can be grouped together or pulled up for extra seating have always attracted my interest. The pearl color ottomans by Norwalk Furniture can be used alone or in combination of two or four to create different shapes.  The chair and ottoman with a great curved apron are new introductions by Company C with Norwalk Furniture.  The small red ottomans in a classic style are by CR Laine.

I took about 900 pictures in a short 2 1/2 days.  So these are just the tip of the iceberg.  Can you see using any of these new products in your home?  Which piece is your favorite?

Missed hearing from you lately.  Send your comments!

All the best!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

Mary Sherwood Art Glass  New glass pieces just added!


As promised, here is the second in the series of  “Be the Designer” challenges. Today you will need to select the tile grout color for the kitchen backsplash at the Chalk house. This may seem an easy task but here are a few things to consider when selecting a grout color.

  1. Color of the tile.  Sometimes tile has a mingle of color so it may be more than one color.
  2. Color of the cabinetry.  Because the cabinets and backsplash have a very intimate relation you need to include both is selecting a color.
  3. Color of the countertop.  Once again the backsplash and the countertop are very symbiotic.  They often meet face to face.  Consider them both.

Let’s re-cap from past posts.  Here is the countertop, cabinetry and the backsplash tile.backsplash_tile_cabinetfinish_countertop

We fell in love with the geometric design of this tile call Louvre Marfel by Elysium. Here is a close up of the backsplash tile so you can see the color and detail.  This picture was taken with the tile installed but not grouted.tile-grout-color-designer-challenge-lourvemarfil-elysium_kitchen_backsplash

You have three choices of tile grout colors:

  1. Jade
  2. Light smoke
  3. Linen


#3 Linen (top)—#2 Light Smoke (bottom)tile-grout-color-designer-challenge-lourvemarfil-elysium_kitchen_backsplash-001

#2 Light smoke (top)—#1 Jade (bottom)

Remember to consider all the above elements in your decision.

  • Will you be brave enough to select #1 Jade that brings out the beautiful color of the countertop?
  • Do you want to show off the pattern of the tile by selecting a slightly darker grout color for contrast, #2 Light Smoke?
  • Do you want the grout to virtually disappear by selecting #3 Linen?

Make your choice:  #1 Jade, #2 Light Smoke or #3 Linen and tell us why you would pick that color.  The owner has made her selection.  Let’s see if you agree!

For all of you who respond I will randomly select one name and send you a special gift for Mary Sherwood Art Glass.  Good luck!

Have fun with it!

All the best!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles


PS:  We recently ran a Facebook contest to get the Mary Sherwood Art Glass page shared with friends.  The winner of that contest is Aletha Hudson!  Congratulations!  Thank you Aletha for sharing our page.

Share the love and the new Christmas Art Glass collection with your friends and family.  Hint, hint it is not too early to add something to your wish list! 🙂


FINALLY…(drum roll please) the 2016 Limited Edition Christmas Collection by Mary Sherwood Art Glass!  I have been working on this for several months along with all the other new pieces.  There will only be a limited number produced of these-so stake your claim early!  Read down to the end to find out how you can enter to win a piece of this collection.

In other posts I mentioned how glass becomes molten with some expansion and contraction during the firing process.  Most kiln-formed glass pieces are fired at least twice.  Once to fuse and the second time to “slump” it into a shape.  In these multiple firings occasionally “misfires” occur.  Sooo…after hours of work designing, selecting the glass and assembling my first Christmas plate had a little accident coming out of the kiln.  It is sometimes hard to justify the reason for the cracking.  Adjusting some of the settings to kiln is usually the first step.  With five small trees laid on top of the white platter it was very time consuming to make. Here is the first “not so perfect” Christmas plate design. 🙁


Back to the design board to simplify the process and create a new serving piece.  Keeping the small tree concept I used clear glass embellished  with the tree design so it could be used in many different settings.  So here is the collection of three pieces for Christmas 2016.   It includes a 10″ dinner or serving plate, a small 5″ appetizer plate and, of course, a Christmas tree ornament.



Now for some fun ways to use the plates.  Because the background is clear glass any color from the Christmas tree can be used as a placemat.  Each one looks so different!  Red for a traditional style.  White for an elegant style.  Turquoise for a causal, fun look.  Take your pick!  In the white vignette, the Christmas tree ornament works great as the napkin ring.




This 5″ small plate can be used in so many different ways.  Here it is shown on top of a white bread plate.  Great for layering plates at the table.  Appetizers or tapas are perfect for this plate.


Love the small appetizer plate on top of the 12″ swirl charger.  So many ways to use this piece!


Here is the large 10″ square plate used with a 16″ white charger.  Envision your table set with an assortment of the tree collection!


Let’s not forget to turn the tree ornament into a napkin ring.  Love multifunctional pieces!


What do you think?  Which piece is your favorite?  How many do you want?  There is a limited supply!

Here is the good news!  You can win a piece of this collection by going to Mary Sherwood Art Glass Facebook page to enter.  Follow the rules, share with your friends and hope you are the lucky winner!

WOW-I am worn out just talking about all of this!  It is so exciting to share with you my excitement about these new pieces.

Enter to win and place your orders!

Love to all!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

Mary Sherwood Art Glass


Categories : Design
Comments (6)

We have been in our house in Tucson a year and we are thinking about some updating.  Our bathroom is “1995 vintage” builder grade and desperately needs some sprucing up.  I combed my photo files and many websites looking for my favorite cabinet storage ideas.  I realized I was drawn to ideas for under sink storage.  This is one space frequently left empty until “things” build up in an unorganized mess.  Here are my favorite ideas for tackling the deep dark under the sink hole in the kitchen and the bath.


Kitchen Under Sink Storage  as seen on DecorPad


 Kitchen Sink Storage Trays  A DIY by Family Handyman


Metal Vanity Pull Outs  as seen on Organized by O’Dell


Vanity Under Sink Wooden Pull-out Tray

A couple more ideas I want to add to my list of cabinet inserts is electrical access for small appliances and chargers.  Here are a few:


Vanity Electric Outlet Shelf by Kohler


Charging station drawer via The Kitchn


Vanity Drawer Outlet

Many of these ideas may not be new but it is important to remember there are options for improving the function of your kitchen and bath cabinetry.

Which is your most wanted addition to your kitchen or bath?  Let me know what I should add as a high priority to our next remodeling project.

Looking forward to your suggestions!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles


Check out the new items being added to Mary Sherwood Art Glass.  Order early for holiday delivery!






Categories : Design
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WOW!  We had a great weekend in Napa with good friends Andy and Lori.  There is so much to tell you.  Please excuse me if this gets a little long!

We were invited to stay at the Caldwell Vineyard Guest Cottage.  John and Joy Caldwell were such gracious hosts.  The highlight of the weekend was the Caldwell Vineyard Harvest Moon Party.  It was held in the wine cave at the winery for members of their “Smugglers” Wine Club and guests.  Caldwell wines were paired with a delicious multi-course meal prepared by Chef Gray Penir. Here is our menu:


Read more about the vineyard and their award winning wines here.  Caldwell Vineyard  (Love the opening picture of John and Joy!)  Don’t miss reading about their Rocket Science blend and the competition to design the back label of the bottle.  Here is the current label.


Although the Harvest Moon Party was wonderful I could not get enough of the recently renovated guest house. Joy worked hard to keep a turn of the century vintage feel in every room.  This is not my typical style but this cottage was so well done for the setting. Many antique collectibles with touches of modern comfort scattered through out.

My pictures do not capture all the interiors (because the space was well lived in during our stay).  Here are a few highlights.

The Kitchen…



The kitchen was recently updated with all contemporary fixtures with classic charm.  The Kohler apron front sink, new base cabinets with pull outs and dividers, and new Neolith “slate look” countertops are a cook’s delight in a small compact space.  Before choosing the Neolith Joy tested it for acid and wine resistance and it passed 100%.  The antique (original) hutch was used for the upper cabinets and provided great niches for essentials such as the cutlery in mason jars, the well-loved cutting boards, an exceptional collection of Paromi teas and all white tableware.



The kitchen was well equipped with Smeg appliances…so modern but still vintage.  (Sorry I don’t have a picture of them in the space.  (Photographing this kitchen was a challenge because Andy and I love to cook!)  For breakfast with the Caldwells, Andy prepared a delicious casserole made of fresh sausage (from The Fatted Calf Napa), potato and cheese.  I contributed a caprese salad made with fresh basil and heirloom tomatoes from The Oxbow Market.  The food was great but the conversation and stories with John and Joy were even better!

Here is a quick look at some other areas of the cottage:


The living space (please excuse the poor photography) was so comfy with the large down slipcovered cushions, sheep skin throws and the sisal & cow hide rugs.  Several large windows provided lots of natural light that made it hard to photograph this space with my iPhone.


An interesting table was created from salvaged pieces of vintage, adjustable lumber jacks and rough hewn lumber. The photograph above the table shows our view of the mountains by photographer Suzanne Becker Bronk.


Many of Suzanne’s pieces are hung throughout the cottage.  Above, is my favorite piece.  The grapes looks so real you want to pick them.


Above is an antique wheat thresher made of wood and flint stones that Joy found many years ago.  It fits perfect in the wall niche of the living room.


Shelving in the guest bedroom was well appointed with old pottery, bottles, candlesticks and other vintage items.


Vintage mirrors adorn two walls of the small bath adding extra reflective light and whimsical charm.


The dining area was furnished with a large wood plank table and mismatched chairs.  The clever industrial style light fixture with two pulley mechanisms and chrome tipped bulbs created a great conversation piece.  The amber bottles and baskets on the window sill added a splash of color.


As you all know I am a flower lover so I could not resist picking a bouquet from the cottage garden to add to the table.  Beautiful roses, hydrangeas, and lilies grow right outside the window.  Missing my NC garden. 🙁

I hope you enjoyed this tour of the Caldwell cottage.  Which space is your favorite?  Let me hear from you.

Until next week…


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

Working with you to create your lifestyle!

Don’t forget to check out our glass art site Mary Sherwood Art Glass

Categories : Design
Comments (3)

Last week I asked all our followers to don a designer hat and pick the best combination of rugs and and paints for the Chalk project.  From the many great responses I can see a “little” designer skills buried in all of you.  If you missed last week’s post check it out here.   Be the Designer

Here is the picture from last week.companyc_rugs_wool-paint-benjaminmoore-york-candiceolsen_wallcovering  There were no right or wrong selections. Many of you gave it a lot of thought and provided great reasons for your choices.  From the comments presented a random number was drawn and the winner of the art glass gift from

 Mary Sherwood Art Glass 



Congratulations, Cindy!

Here are Cindy’s choices and comments:

Rug A-love the flower (Gardener in me)
Rug D-love the plaid
Paint-Majestic Blue
Cindy’s says:  “Just used these colors in our condo in North Myrtle Beach and again at Lake Gaston. My favorite colors. Blue is calming, rich, never get tired of it. Rug C looks “childlike” from the sample, so it is my least favorite. I am more scared of color than Mary is, instead of a color that is bright and pops, I go for the calming, tranquil effect, good color next to water (maybe that says my life is chaotic, idk.)”

Loved your comments, Cindy!  Yes, you know me well.  I am never afraid of color!  Thanks for entering in on the fun of “Being a Designer”.  I will contact you about sending you this one of a kind fused glass Christmas ornament.christmas_ornament_2016_prize_colorful_fusedglass

Mary Sherwood Art Glass

NOW-what did the client pick?  Here are her choices:

Rug C, Company C Art and Soul, will be the accent rug for a small sitting area adjacent to the DR.

Rug D, Company C Tweedy Lake, will be the larger area rug under the dining table.

Benjamin Moore Corlsbud Canyon will be the accent wall Benjamin_moore_corlsbudcanyon_076_accentwall

The tile is being installed and the painting will start next week.  When all is done I will show you how all of this comes together.  Can hardly wait!

I am in the process of planning another designer challenge.  Hope you will join us again with your choices and comments!!!

Off to Napa Valley for the weekend.  I’m sure I’ll have some stories to tell next week.

Comments always welcome!!!  Let me hear from you!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles



Don’t you love the colors in these Company C rugs!  It is hard to decide which one to use.  A & C will be the accent rugs to coordinate with B & D.

We have tentatively selected two accent paint colors to coordinate with the rugs.  All walls will be Benjamin Moore White Dove except for one accent wall in the great room.  Here are the choices:benjaminmoore_majesticblue_2051-40_paint_accent_wall

Benjamin Moore Majestic Blue


Benjamin Moore Corlsbud Canyon

The long narrow roll on the right (in the photo) is wallcovering to be used in a nearby office.  This is a great new onyx pattern by Candice Olsen for York Wallcovering!  I included this so you can see one element to consider when you are choosing the rugs and the paint colors.


NOW-it is your turn to pick the rugs and paint.  Be the designer!

Select 1 rug on the left (A or C), one rug on the right (B or D) and 1 paint color from the above.  Let us know why you liked that combination.  Post your selections and comments below.  I will let you know if you and my client have the same good taste!

For all of you who respond I will randomly select one name and send you a special gift for Mary Sherwood Art Glass.  Good luck!

Have fun with it!

All the best!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles



Countertop Installation…So exciting!

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This is another “exciting” chapter in the Chalk Creek project.  By the time this project is finished I could probably write a book.

Today was countertop delivery day!!!!! 🙂  For a remodeling project with lots of variables it sometime seems like forever to get to installation day.  If I feel that way imagine how the client feels.  Seriously, this project started with the purchase of the house in April and should be completed by October.  Six months is not bad for the scope of the renovation.

A few week ago we talked about the space planning and expansion.  Here is the blog on How to Stretch a House.  This blog explains more about the background of the project.

For clarity here are the cabinet finish samples.  Lighting at the site was not very good. CABINET_FINISHES_SHROCK


Soooo…here are the new countertops!

Let’s start with the master bath.bath_cabinetry_chocolatebrown_napolina_limestone_rectangular_sink

As I said light was almost non-existing so here is the best I could do.  The base cabinets are a rich dark chocolate brown, Forest Floor.  The countertop is Napolina Limestone.bath_countertop_napolina_limestone_translucentHere is what sold us on this stone.  The “mosaic” type deposits (as shown in the lower left) are semi-transparent.  The countertop will be backlit with LED lights to show off the beautiful characteristics of this stone.  This will be amazing!  Look forward to seeing the finish lighting.

I think I mentioned the custom glass art knobs I created for this space.  They are ready to be installed. 🙂bath_cabinetry_chocolatebrown_artglass_knob_dicjoric_accent

Next up is the dining room buffet.diningroom_buffet_basecabinet_vetrazzo_palladium_grey

Only the base cabinets for the dining room have been installed.  The finished in Oasis, a subtle aqua teal.  There are hutch cabinets to go on top of the countertops that will complete this serving/storage piece.countertop_vetrazzo_palladium_grey_recucled_glass_concrete

The countertop is Vetrazzo Palladium Grey, re-cycled glass and concrete.  I love the various colors of glass in this slab especially the light aqua/teal that picks up the cabinet finish.

Now for the piece de resistancethe kitchen countertop.countertop_island_tempest_quartzite_movement_amber_teal_black

Here are the kitchen island cabinets finished in Maritime, a deep smokey blue.  The island is topped by Tempest Quartzite.  Quartzite is a naturally occurring metamorphic rock that is harder than granite and withstands heat very well.  Quartzite is not the same as a Quartz composite slab such as Cambria or Silestone.   Quartzite often has lots of “visual” movement (the waves of colors/patterns across the stone) and color variations.countertop_slab_tempest_quartzite_blue_grey_Black_teal

Here is a close up of this unique quartzite stone called Tempest.

The perimeter cabinets have a very subtle beige quartz top so as not to distract from the visual impact of the island.

What recurrent color do you see throughout the different cabinet/countertop finishes?

Tell me what you think.  What is your favorite?

Happy countertop dreaming!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

Check out our new Mary Sherwood Art Glass website.  New additions coming VERY soon!


Categories : Design
Comments (6)

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a Pallet Garden class at Green Things in Tucson.  The plants and the staff are amazing.  The class had its challenging moments.  Picking from all their beautiful plants was the hardest part.greenthings_garden_center_tropical_greenhouse 

So here is what you need:

  1. A pallet-salvaged or constructed.  For this class we used a 16″ x 16″ pallet that was very easy to manage.  Larger pallets will take a lot more materials and become pretty heavy.
  2. Plants-here is my collection 🙂succulents_supplies_greenthings_garden-center_tucson_azJPG
  3. Coco coir mat.  This is available by the roll and/or the foot.  You only need about a 2′ square piece for the small pallet.  The sheet goods will be shredded to fill the bottom of each level of the pallet.coirmatting_coir_shredded_pallet_garden_green-Things.2
  4. Green moss- the type that is often used in tops of pots (not sphagnum moss).  It comes in a plastic bag.  One medium bag was used for this pallet.  Soak it in a large bucket of water before use.  It is layered over the coir fiber and the plants are nestled into the moist moss.sheet_moss_potting_pallet_garden_2
  5. Here is Cathy, our very talented garden designer, demonstrating the packing of the pallet with the shredded coir.greenthings_ tucson_Cathy_instructor_2x2_pallet_coirmatting
  6. Here is Cathy and me working on my pallet.  I got off to a slow start but finally got the hang of it.  When you think you have enough coir matting packed in, add some more.  It is the supporting structure between the pallet levels.  Thanks Cathy for your help!Cathy_Mary_Greenthings_pallet_building_class

AND here is the final product…succulent_pallet_finished-greenthings-nurseryThat is the short and sweet of building a succulent pallet garden.  Hopefully these 3″small succulent babies will grow and fill in the spaces.  They need very little water and prefer a shady spot.  Grow babies, grow!

Here is a video posted on Facebook about the class.  It is long but you can get a feels for the technique of building a pallet garden.  Thanks to Catalina, a staff member at Green Things alias videographer, there is a nice recap of How to build a pallet garden.

I’m getting ready to hang my new pallet wall garden on my front porch.

Hope you give it a try.

Happy planting!


PS:  A new art glass collection is being introduced on the Mary Sherwood Art Glass page later this week.  The holiday collection is right behind it.  Take a look.  Comments more than welcome!

Mary Sherwood Lifestyles




How to “Stretch” A House!

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I am so excited to finally share a work in progress update for the Chalk house. We started planning the renovation in March and finally we are about to begin adding the interior finishes.  It always seems to take a long time to get from demolition to finished sheetrock.  For this house we are finally there!  By removing walls and adding some space we did indeed “stretch” this house from 1750 sf to 2100 sf on a small lot.

Here is the original floor plan when the house was constructed in the 90’s.  It had lots of chopped up, small spaces.


After many revisions below is the finished plan.  The expansion focused on the back wall of the house which fronts the golf course and has a beautiful view of the Catalina Mountains.   To enhance the view two 12′ wide atrium sliding doors were added on back. The gourmet kitchen was stretched by 10′. The additional space is amazing.  The master bedroom was bumped out to add more closet space and a laundry area (the laundry was formerly in the garage).


Removal of the interior walls created a wonderful open plan.  My oh my what a difference!

open_floor_plan_wallsremoved_twelve foot atrium doors

With the space wide open and sheetrock nearing completion its time to get this show on the road.  Paint, wallcovering, cabinetry, granite and lots more are on the way!  This is the exciting part.

A few months back we showed you a glimpse of the bath finishes for this house in our post, Spa-like Showers.  Also, I have to add some glass art here and there with pulls in the master bedroom/bath and embellished light fixtures in the guest bath.  I’ll share these shortly.

I have so much more to show you about this house, so stay tuned.

What do you think of the expanded open space so far?  If you are thinking of opening up you interior space we can show you how to make it happen.

Until next week…


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles


***Don’t forget to check out our brand new website Mary Sherwood Art Glass***  There is cool glass art to purchase, a peek at the coming soon holiday collection(it’s in the kiln) and an upcoming give-a-way for all who like our new Facebook Page. Hope to see you join us on our new sites.

BTW: We will continue to post the weekly Wednesday blogs and also circulate news about additions to the art glass web store.

Thanks so much for hanging in with me through the past year.  I miss seeing many of your smiling faces but hope we connect by working together in the future on art glass and/or interior design.








Mary’s Version of Santa’s Workshop

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This has been an exciting week with the launch our new website and online store, Mary Sherwood Art Glass.  Thanks for so many wonderful comments.  If you missed the announcement you can see it here.

In the launch announcement I promised a 2016 Holiday Art Glass collection.  So today I opened Mary’s version of “Santa’s Workshop” to work on the collection.  It always amazes me how many pieces of glass are combined into the creation of each ornament.  On average there are about 30-35 small pieces of glass on each 3.5″ tree ornament.  Many different shapes and sizes are used for each ornament.  Here is the glass assortment for today’s project.


Here are two prototypes of possible tree designs mocked up last week as possibilities.


Clear glass tree shape pieces are cut to use as the base.  Below, little blue star millefiori rounds were applied as the tree top stars.  Once decorated these overlapping trees shapes will be fused to white glass and slumped into a Christmas plate.

clear-glass tree_fused_glass_plate_production

This is the beginnings of the tree ornament collection.  The red glass noodles are laid as a “garland” foundation.  Glass beads and other details to be added.


Stay in touch for the unveiling of the 2016 Holiday Collection at Mary Sherwood Art Glass!  Look for a special give-a-way when the holiday collection goes live.



Mary Sherwood Lake Living




Win a Jar of Prickly Pear Jelly

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Let’s do something different this week!  Do you want to win a jar of prickly pear jelly?  Here is your chance.

Share this post with a friend and have them sign up to receive our weekly blog post and both of your names will be entered to win an 8 oz. jar of my (freshly prepared) jelly.  I will ship the jar to the lucky winner.  I must have an email address, so if you win I can reach you to get a shipping address.  Read on to hear the story of our prickly pear adventure.


We have a huge 10′ Prickly Pear tree. It was loaded with prickly pears called “tunas”.  There was plenty for us and the birds. The large paddles are call nopales.  There has been lots of research conducted about the medicinal use of prickly pear plants.  Click here to read more about the uses of the prickly pear.

This is the process that led to the final reward, the beautiful “pinkberry” color of prickly pear jelly!

We picked the fruit very carefully with tongs and leather gloves. Everything was okay until Paul took off his gloves and accidentally rubbed his head not knowing the “glochids”, small hairlike prickles, were on his hands. Sooo- about one hour later after I picked these nasty spines out, I had them in my hands. Later I was told to use masking tape and pull them out. This info came a little too late. 🙁 After reading all kinds of techniques for removing the juice we settled on rinsing them, placed them in freezer bags and freeze until ready to use. About two weeks later we removed the fruit from our “limited” freezer space and let thaw. The juice and pulp squeezed right out.  It took about 35-40 tunas to make six cups of juice.pricklypear-juice-lowsugar-recipeWear leather gloves even though the prickles were gone after the big freeze. Strain fruit in a fine mesh strainer (didn’t have cheesecloth) to remove the seedy pulp. The juice is such a pretty “pinkberry”color. (I just coined that color name :0) There is very little flavor in the juice, sort of a cross between watermelon and a peach.

We tried a low sugar canning recipe and it works great!  The jelly is wonderful, sweet but not too sweet.  The recipe still has sugar but 50% less than regular jelly  Here is the recipes we used from Root Simple.  The jelly was processed in our make-shift canning pot to seal the lids.  I love hearing the “pop” as the jelly cools and lids seal tight.pricklypear-jelly-processing-sealing

Our six 8 oz jars of jelly are shown with the pears or “tunas” of our tree.  Not all pears are peach/yellow.  There is a smaller variety next store that has ruby pink tunas.  I think we may try that variety next time.   Although, I am thinking we still can harvest enough for a second batch from our tree. if the birds haven’t beat us to it.

Even though this cactus is extremely prevalent in the Southwest, our North Carolina friends can also find prickly pears.  We had them growing at the end of our driveway at the lake. I was never brave enough to try them until now.

Lesson learned-be armed to fight the “pricklies” but it is well worth it!

Who wants to try my jelly?

Reply below, share this link with a friend, have them reply and you both have a chance to win an 8 oz jar of my “pinkberry” prickly pear jelly.   Good luck!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

If you have trouble replying below just send me an email at  Thanks for replying!


PS:  I saved two cups of juice to make the prickly pear cheesecake I mentioned last week.  We’ll see how that turns out!



I hate to turn this blog into a travel log but when I travel art and design are always front and center.  Paul and I just returned from a short five days to Santa Fe and Taos, NM.  What a mecca of wonderful natural and man made art!  There was so much to see and so little time. In Santa Fe there is a gallery district called Canyon Road. It is seven blocks of residential properties converted to art galleries.  I took Paul in and out of more galleries than he ever cared to see. 🙁  Because of my new found fused glass interest I was thrilled to find so many incredible “kiln-formed” glass pieces.  (Kiln-formed is another term for fused glass fired in a kiln). Here is a sampling.Kiln_formed_glass_thelookout_suzannewallacemears_eightfoottall_santafe_carolelaroachegalleryLoved this 8′ tall sculpture by Suzanne Wallace Mears called “The Lookout”. Could be scary but so impressive.  To see more of her work go to the Pippin Contemporary Gallery, Santa Fe NM.Kiln_formed_glass_steel_garden_sculpture_face_suzannewallacemears_santafe_carolelaroachegallery Kiln_formed_glass_steel_garden_sculpture_suzannewallacemears_santafe_carolelaroachegalleryHere is another garden sculpture by Mears.  I had to share the close up of the expressive face.  Kiln_formed_glass_redlamp_suzannewallacemears_santafe_carolelaroachegalleryOne more Mears’ piece called Red Lamp, a 16″D decorative disc.kiln_formed_glass_stainlesssteel_makeawish_craigmitchellsmith_garden_sculpture_santafe_An incredibly large kiln formed glass and stainless steel sculpture called “Make a Wish” by Craig Mitchell Smith at the Canyon Road Contemporary Gallery.  The dandelion seed spray is constructed of fused glass and steel.  Impressive!kiln_formed_glass_flower_birdofparadise_artistunknow_canyouroadcontemporary_santafeAnother work by Smith in this Bird of Paradise sculpture is called “Tropical Splendor”.kiln_formed_glass_artistunknown_americanartistgalleryhouse_santafe
This smaller piece was on display at the BnB where we stayed in Taos,  the American Artists Gallery House BnB.  It was a delightful place with lots of Taos character.  Our hosts, LeAn and Charles, where very gracious.  I would highly recommend this place if you like quaint travel accommodations.FullSizeRender 55Here is Paul relaxing in front of the BnB with his morning coffee.  They also had a peacock called George who just took up residence 17 years ago. Meet George-FullSizeRender 88

There is so much I would like to share about this trip such as the other accommodations, the food, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and the Pueblos.  Is there anyone interested in more?  Let me hear from you.  Tell me your favorite things to do in Santa Fe and Taos.  I’m sure this will not be our last trip.

Happy, happy!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

Working with you to create your lifestyle!




6 Kitchen Materials NOT to Use

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I recently came across an article on a blog site called  They often post great renovation tips.  Here is an article I want to share with you about Six Materials to Never Use in Your Kitchen.  I agree with most of the authors comments.

Here is my take on the 6 Materials NOT to use in your kitchen:

  1. Plastic Laminate Countertops.  Use only if that is all the budget will allow or in task oriented spaces such as laundry or craft rooms.  Here is a picture of a laminate top that was in place about ten years.  With careful use and quality material, laminate can function for some time.  Better choices for the kitchen are granite or quartz.laminate_countertop_textured_moderate_quality
  2. Inexpensive Sheet Vinyl Flooring.  Agree completely with the author. I searched our old files and found an example of budget sheet vinyl vs. LVT.  I rarely use LVT or sheet vinyl.  Wood plank porcelain tile is my product of choice.  It gives you the look of hardwood with the easy care of tile.Blog 07202016 Kitchen Don'ts
  3. Laminate Cabinet Fronts.  The thermofoil white laminate doors of the eighties did often start to peel and warp.  Today thermofoil products have improved and offer a contemporary feel. There are good quality choices for laminated cabinet doors. This a more recent kitchen that has sleek contemporary lines because of the flat laminated wood veneer cabinet doors.  kitchen_contemporary_wood_laminate_sleek_slab_door
  4.  High Gloss Lacquered Doors  I have never used a high gloss lacquer finish in a kitchen.  I know it is difficult to repair on furniture so enough said about NOT using it for a high traffic area like a kitchen.
  5. Flat Paint  Flat paint is definitely a no-no.  How many time have you tried to wipe finger prints off a wall with flat paint and ended up having more of a problem? There are so many new paints to choose from with great wearability.  If the area is around a work surface, satin or semi-gloss will wear and clean better.  Ask your painter for his best wearing paint suggestion.
  6. Trendy Backsplash  There is something to be said for not being too trendy but with limitations.  If you love a particle pattern or color of tile backsplash and plan to reside in your home for sometime, go for it.  It seems the “safe” white subway tile look has been way over done but it does transcend time better than too much pattern.  Use what you love as a backsplash trendy or not.  Here is one from circa 2002 that has trended out.

Remember most of these picture came from our archives and do not represent our current work.  They are used here to illustrate some of the 6 materials.

There are more kitchen remodeling tips at and our previous blogs.

Start planning how to re-model your kitchen with some of these tips.  We’re here to help!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

Working with you to create your lifestyle!



NOTE: Special thanks to for the basic idea of this blog.


How do beautiful salads and Paul’s new iphone relate? Here’s the answer.

Recently Paul became an iphone convert.   His droid was due to be replaced so he made the switch.  So far no regrets (thank goodness).  So, because both of our phone contacts had expired, I also got a new iphone 5e. Well, what does this have to do with gadgets for salads?  In setting up my new phone and purging over 10,000 pictures (ugh!) I came across this video we made at the MSLL store to promote two amazing products.  Although I no longer have the store and sell these products I thought it was worth sharing this video and these tips for peeling and slicing fruit and veggies.  I can’t live with out these two gadgets for making fruit salad, green salads, tarts and what ever requires thinly sliced fruit or tomatoes.  Makes prep so easy!

There are two items mentioned in the video.  The first item is fairly common and made by many different companies.  It looks like a regular vegetable peeler but with close examination you can see the serrated edge of the blade which enables it to gently peel soft fruit and veggies.  Here is the close ups of the soft fruit peeler and its serrated edge.  It can be purchased in many kitchen gadget departments or online.  Here is a link to the Amazon site for Oxo Soft Fruit Peeler I use.  Reasonably priced and functions very well.  soft_fruit_peeler_tomatoes_easy_summer_fresh_marysherwoodlifestyles

The next gadget is the Queen of soft fruit slicing, the Genu Tari Slicer.  Chef Yvonne Hoffman and I found this in the gourmet products at the Atlanta market.  I use mine all the time.  Cutting strawberries, peaches, grapes, hard boiled eggs, mozzarella cheese and more is so easy and fast!  If any of these soft foods have a tougher skin, like tomatoes and peaches, using the soft fruit peeler prior to slicing insures good results.  It is functional, easy to clean and produces amazing thin slices.  All of this makes it well worth the price just in time for peach and tomato season!


Sooo…here is the Video!  Don’t laugh too hard I am not a video star.  You can no longer stop by my store to get a demo but you are welcome to see these gadgets in action at my house anytime.

Hope this video with the tips will help you make beautiful summer salads and desserts.  I can almost taste the Caprese Salad shown above.  Show me what you can do with this gadgets.  Let me know if I can help answer any questions about how I use these products.



Mary Sherwood Lifestyles-Working with you to create your lifestyle!


NOTE:  I have not been endorsed or paid by the manufacturers of these two products.  I just love how they simplify my food prep!  Pictures of the products were collected from the manufacturers’ websites.




Exploring Santa Monica

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Paul and I just returned from five days in Santa Monica visiting Jake and Elif taking in all the beautiful weather and surroundings.

Our first outing is always a walk through the neighborhood to brush off the road weariness.  The streets are lined with a mix of old and new homes.  I always enjoy the small front gardens and plantings.  We stumbled across this amazing sidewalk garden. It is full of succulents, annuals and a comfortable spot to sit and reflect.  An unexpected thing like this is what makes me love California.  The plague on the tree is a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Peace cannot be achieved through violence.  It can only be attained through understanding.”  How fitting for today’s turbulent times.SANTAMONICA_SIDEWALK_GARDEN-ENCHANTING_SUCCULENTS

The next day, we walked to the beach at the Santa Monica Pier where there is a sign that says this is the original location of Muscle Beach.  Love the broad wide beach, great bike path and fun people watching.IMG_7522

On Saturday we boarded the new Expo Light Rail in Santa Monica to travel into downtown LA.  What a wonderful transportation addition.  An upbeat train station, colorful train cars and easy travel to LA was a real pleasure.Blog 06 29 2016 Santa Monica1

Our train travel took us to the California Science Center to see the Endeavor Space Shuttle exhibit.  It is a very interesting and informative display about the space shuttle’s history.  The Endeavor completed 25 missions from 1992 – 2011.  It was originally constructed outside of LA and was brought back to its permanent location through a parade through the streets of LA in 2012.   This is an exhibit well worth a visit.

Jake and Elif have been raving about this new ice cream parlor in an eclectic Venice shopping district called Abbot Kinney.  We strategically scheduled our visit to make sure we had plenty of room to enjoy this wonderful creamery.  The Salt end Straw far exceeded our expectations. Out of many different combinations I chose the Slumptown Coffee with Comparte Lovenuts ice cream.  OMG!  Click here to learn more about the Salt and Straw. salt_straw_icecream_stumptowncoffee_comparte_lovenuts-abbotkinney

What a great weekend!  We visited so many of our favorite spots and explored many new ones.  We cooked several dinners from Green Chef (organic Food Delivery), watched movies and walked many steps.  Perfect long weekend with bright blue skies and 75 degree temps!  Thanks Jake and Elif for a great time!

I think this may have to be my new ride for our next beach visit.  What do you think?LINUS_BICYCLE_DUTCHI_COOLRIDE_ROADSTER

As many us of travel through the summer feel free to comment and share some of your favorite journeys.

Wishing everyone sunny blue skies!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles










Summer Squash and Carrot Spiralizer Salad

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It is definitely summer and very hot in Tucson.  Temperatures have been hovering around 110 or more. Not too bad inside and in the shade.  Early mornings are still pleasant enough for breakfast on the patio. Consequently, I am thinking, “Who wants to heat up the kitchen?”

How about a new cold salad created with my “new found” Spiralizer? I stashed it after the move and just put it back into action.  Since, I have been on a Spiralizer binge.  We have had several rounds of “zoodles”, zucchini noddles, with a very tasty marinara sauce.  Here is the link to that recipe. Even my pasta loving friends asked for a repeat performance. Another recipe I found,  Spicy Thai Chicken and Sweet Potato Noodles, was another big hit.

I have used the Spiralizer in the past to prep summer squash and onions for sautéing but this time I wanted to use the squash in a cold salad.  Here is the recipe I came up with. Summer Squash and Carrot Spiralizer Salad.


Dinner was great!  Squash salad with grilled breast of chicken, healthy and oh so colorful.


I played around with plating this dish and tried this brightly colored fused glass plate I made. I most often like food served on white dishes but the color coordinated so well I thought I would give it a try.spiralizer_salad_cold_summer_squash_carrots_onion_grilled_chicken_breast-fusedglass_plateIMG_5858 2What do you think?  White or decorative glass plate?  Let me know!

Enjoy this salad and keep cool this summer!



Mary Sherwood Lifestyles



Categories : Design
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Lighting Story Board Telling a Mixed Tale

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I love this collection of lighting on order for a current project.  It was pulled together with some of my favorites from past projects and the addition of some great new fixtures.  The mix of finishes, glass textures and flowing lines tells an interesting story.  It certainly has a contemporary feel but many of the elements can be blended into various styles.  Below is a description of each fixture on this Lighting Story Board.


#1  Large contemporary chandelier with LED lighting by Corbett Lighting.  Finish is silver leaf with stainless accents.  It measures 48″ long and 15″ wide.  We are using this fixture over a live-edge dining table in a space with a vaulted ceiling.    The space is very open and can carry the visual weight of the fixture.  It could also be used over a large island if the scale and size is proportionate.

#2  Ceiling fixture by Crystorama is called “Broche” with a close resemblance to a woman’s brooch.   The numerous silver leaves on this fixture will add a sparkle to the ceiling of the small guest bedroom.

#3  Master Bedroom ceiling fan is from the Kichler Link collection. Sleek and stylish with the two blade construction and walnut/brushed nickel finishes.

#4  Kichler Braelyn wall sconce in Olde Bronze finish will be used with a rustic pedestal sink in the guest bathroom.  To coordinate with the aqua tile accent I plan to embellish these glass globes with linear strips of art glass.

#5  Mossa-a classic mini-pendant from Uttermost will be placed over the large kitchen island.  The globe of heavily seeded art glass blends into any setting.

#6  Four slender vanity fixtures from Kovacs with excellent LED illumination will flank three mirrors over the master Bath vanity.

Once again you and I will both have to wait to see the installation of these fixtures.  This lighting will be used with the Spa-like Bath tiles project I shared last week.  The projected is scheduled for completion later this summer-so stay tuned.

Did you like the links to the light fixtures?  I thought it might be helpful.

Enjoy the summer!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles





Spa-like Shower Tile

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I am so excited about these two spa-like shower plans!  If you have been following us, I previously mentioned finding an amazing tile source in Tucson call Fractured Earth.  Once I saw their extensive array of tile the concepts for these showers started to come together.

Here is the guest bath shower tile incorporating this beautiful glass, penny tile mosaic of iridescent blues, greens, gold and white.  To compliment this tile we are using the glass liner tile, color Aquatic, to frame the mosaic and the 1″ x 1″ tile for the shower floor.  Construction is just beginning so you will have to be patient to see the finish product.tile_plan_guest_bath_glass_penny_tile_irridescent_accent_deco_wall_waterandlight_boycebean-neoglass-white

The master bath plans all started with the Napolina limestone slab.  It is being used for the countertop and there be a large piece leftover.  The surplus slab piece will be used vertically on the shower wall and framed by a complimentary accent mosaic tile in stone chip/resin and glass.  The mosaic accent tile will add sparkle to the shower wall. The countertop will be illuminated underneath to create a stunning effect.  tile_plan_elevation_master_bath_slab_insert_napolina_limestone_liner_pelagus_white

I am really looking forward to sharing the progress of these two baths with you.  There are many more detail to follow.  What do think about the combos?

Join the conversation!

Until next time…


Working with you to create your lifestyle!

Mary Sherwood Lifestyles




Semi-Precious Stone of All Colors

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I recently visited an amazing stone company, Cactus Stone, in Scottsdale, AZ.  While I have visited many stone companies there has never been such a variety in one place. It is several football fields in size and the rows go on and on.  There are many common granite and quartz slabs but what caught my eye was the amazing range of color of the semi-precious stone slabs.

To produce semi-precious stone slabs the raw material goes through a long process.  Each semi-precious stone is individually cut and bound together with an epoxy resin to create not only stunning slabs, but true works of art.  These unique slabs are suitable for kitchen counters, bathrooms, decorative walls, and floors. Here are a few of the fabulous semi-precious stone slabs at Cactus Stone.







semiprecious_amazonite_pale seafoam_blue_stonecomposite




Now you can see why the selection at Cactus Stone would get a designer’s creative juices flowing.  Many of these illustrations of semi-precious slabs need very special placement to make them work.  Also, most of these stone can be back-lit for extra drama!  Here is a beautiful example from the Majestic Gemstone website.


I photographed so many different type of stone products at this place.  Quartzite is another product I’ll discuss in a future post.

Dream big about where you could potentially use semi-precious stone.  Which one is your favorite?


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

Working with you to create your lifestyle!



Cottage Style with Pops of Red

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Finally a small peek at the little cottage project we started last Fall!


The most dramatic change in this little house was the removal of the wall separating the living space and the kitchen.  This house is only 1000 sf.  We needed to give it as much open space as possible.

We did several posts about this project while in process.  Here is a link for a look at the original kitchen (before)!  Here is the after:


The kitchen renovation in such a small space turned out great!  Very functional and easy to clean with painted white cabinets, marble-like quartz countertops and porcelain wood-look tile throughout.  The red Viking range is really brighter than shown and sets this white kitchen apart from all the others.  (Sorry the photos in this post are not the best)


“Touches of red” accents are used throughout the space to give it the pop.


This red framed Monopoly board fit perfect on the dining nook wall.  It was created by the owner’s father who recently past away.  It was nice to incorporate this special, sentimental piece.

To see a few more back scene shots during construction go to the Cottage Re-do post.

The house is small but great for a couple or as a weekend get-a-way!  Comfy furnishings with deep sea blue and red accents complete the living space.



I think I could live here!  How about you?

We are so busy here with work and play!  Stay tuned for more to come!


Working with you to create your lifestyle!

Mary Sherwood Lifestyles, Inc.












An Anniversary and the New Chapter

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Today’s blog is not about design trends, gardening or travel.  It is about how wonderful it feels to celebrate the first year of our new personal journey.

On May 15, 2015 Charlotte Webb Smith purchased Mary Sherwood Lake Living.  That business was our heart and soul for 28 years.  It was difficult to let it go.  It was exciting at the same time to be given the opportunity to create a new chapter(s) in our lives.  Thank you Charlotte and all our loyal friends for such a wonderful experience at Lake Gaston. There is not another place I would have rather been.  Working and living at Lake Gaston was a gift!

In our new Tucson location there was a lot to write about in our first chapter.   Scroll back through the blogs on our web site to catch up with some interest reading of our new adventures and experiences.

Here is the beginning of Chapter 2.  Paul and I are becoming engaged with life outside of owning and operating a business.  He continues to explore the backroads of AZ and the surrounding areas on his motorcycle.  He is volunteering with the Aquaponics Project at the University of AZ’s Biosphere 2.   His computer skills has enabled him to help set up a new network system for our community computer club.biosphere2_aquaponics-gardening

I have found there is a life outside of MSLL.  For so many years my world revolved around that business.  Today I have a nice mix.  Number one, I am exercising more and enjoying every minute.  I am learning all about how to grow and nurture plants in the desert.  I have found a new artistic outlet creating fused glass art. I take on interior design projects that keep me professionally engaged and excited about design.  I enjoy blogging to keep connected with all my loyal followers and friends.  Reading your comments makes me feel the attachment with my NC family and our new found friends.design_kitchen_remodel_



I think a big part of the up-coming chapter is an opportunity Paul and I have to help mentor a young female physician open a new practice in the Tucson area.  Pooling our skills of healthcare, small business and design along with a few other very smart business friends we hope to guide and enable this young woman to be all she can be in her profession.  She is enthusiastic about being a primary care physician and seeking a better way to have more interaction with her patients.  We applaud her efforts.  Here is a recent article about Direct Primary Care Medicine to give you more information about this type of health care practice.

We hope to have her ready to launch her new practice in the next few months. Brainstorming about the location, the business management, the build-out of the office site and the marketing is exciting!  I will keep you updated as the plans progress.

So as you can see there is never a dull moment.  We are so grateful to each and everyone of you who helped us grow in our business and personal life.  Now hopefully we can do the same for this young professional woman.

New exotic granite finds or the medical office design or a whole house renovation are topics all rolling around in my head for next week’s blog.

Any preference of what you would like to hear about next?

In business and in life every day is a new adventure.  Don’t let it pass you by!

Love you all!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

Working with you to create your lifestyle!


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Certain rooms don’t seem complete without a mirror!  The powder room, the master bath, the foyer, and the dressing room are a few that simply aren’t finished without a mirror.

I searched back in the photo files and found so many rooms we finished with mirrors.  Here are some recent installs as well as some pulled from the archives. If some seem dated they are here to illustrate a certain use.


This dining room was a mix of old and new.  A beautiful mahogany sideboard (a family heirloom) was paired with crystal/silver buffet lamps and a gleaming silver tone mirror to add a contemporary flair.


In this small foyer the owner’s small chest fit well in the limited wall space by the staircase but needed to be accessorized.  To lightened up the space we added a mixed finish round mirror with similar finishes to those in the chest.  A turquoise bird on pedestal complimented the owner’s oriental lamp.


Every bathroom needs a mirror or two.  In this small master bath we packed in a lot of storage and used mirrors to enhance the cozy, comfortable feel.


This square, beveled framed mirror pairs well with the geometric shapes of the sink, faucet and tiles.  The mirror completed this sleek, clean and contemporary style.


In this master bedroom entry niche we added this mirror for interest and to reflect the long view of the living spaces.  Even though the metal ballerina sculpture, stone bowl and gold tone lamp are all different materials they all work well together.   Consider the impact of this mirror placement such as adding depth with the reflection of the adjacent spaces.


Old mirrors can be recused, restored and revitalized to continue to work in some unlikely spaces.  This old oak mirror, salvaged from a turn of the century house in upstate NY (a home Paul grew up in), was given new life with a painted red frame and nickel hat hooks.  It now acts as a hat and glove rack above this garden table.


This narrow master bath seemed to double in visual space with the use of plate-glass vanity mirrors and a mirrored glass vanity cabinet.  The LED lighting fixture, applied over the large mirror, dramatically increased the light.

Below are a few examples of mirrors in various sizes, shapes and finishes shown at the recent High Point Furniture Market.mirrors_Highpoint introductions_mixedfinishes_assorted shapes

Points to remember when using mirrors:

Mirrors are can be decorative and functional.  They can increase the available light in a space, add depth to a room and create a long view of adjacent areas.  Enjoy the use of mirrors that enable you to show your best and add some style to your space.

What is your favorite placement of a mirror?  Do you have a special one that added style as well as function?

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

Show your smiling face in your mirror!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles

Working with you to create your lifestyle!




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The Amazing Flowers of the Desert

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The flowers of the desert are amazing.  This is my first spring in the Tucson area and I am soaking in all the colors of Spring.  The PaloVerdes trees have been in full bloom for over a month with bright yellow flowers transitioning into lime green new growth.  The intense buzzing of the bees over the canopy of flowers is wonderful!   The color along the highways cannot be missed.  This tree is native to our area.flowers_desert_paloverde_tree_vibrant_yellow

The Saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea), pronounced sah-WAH-ro, is one of the defining plants of our Sonoran desert. They can grow to be 150-200 years old. During the flowers’ short life (24 hours), they provide food for bees, bats and doves, who in turn pollinate the flowers.  I captured these shots of this Saguaro on my morning walk before I knew the beautiful white flower would not be there tomorrow.

flowers_desert_closeup_saquaro_Carnegieagigantea_whiteflower_shortlived_bats_beesJPG flowers_desert_saquaro_Carnegieagigantea_whiteflower_shortlived_bats_beesJPG

The next stunning beauty is a Trumpet Cactus (Tricholobivia), a member of the Echinopsis genus.  Its flower is tender but bright. This is a very small specimen but packs a powerful punch of color.  Thanks Roger (our neighborhood expert cactus gardener) for growing this one!


A very abundant type of cactus is the Prickly Pear Cactus, (Genus Opuntia).  Many different varieties grow in this region.  It can also be found in NC where I was lucky to have a large plant at the end of our drive with bright yellow flowers.  The fruit from the Prickly Pear makes tasty jam and syrup.  Here are two types in bloom now in my area.

flowers_desert_pricklypear_orange_flower_fruit flowers_desert_pricklypear_yellow_flower_pinkfruit

The Fish Hook Barrel Cactus is one of my favorite types of barrel cactus.  Its name is derived from its curved spines.

flowers_desert_fishhook_barrel_ cactus_Ferocactuswislizenii_redflower

Below is the Chain Fruit Cholla (Opuntia Fulfida).  It is also known as the Jumping Cholla, because the 3- to 8-inch joints separate easily and appear, sometimes, to “jump” to attack passersby.  These is a gnarly, prickly plant with a pretty bloom but I only want to look at it in someone else’s landscape, not mine.  I’m having enough of a hard time not being “attacked” by other cacti. 🙂


I recently spotted the Easter Lily Cactus, (Echinopsis) in a local garden center.  It shoots up this delicate flower resembling a lily from its small, rotund shape.


There are many more flowers popping out everywhere, not all of them cacti.  It is good to see new life and color in the desert!

Let me hear about your favorite flower spottings!

All the best!


Working with you to create your lifestyles!

Mary Sherwood Lifestyles





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High Point “Style Spots”

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I am back after a very productive and enjoyable trip to North Carolina.  The final days of my trip were spent at the semi-annual High Point Furniture Market.  I have been going to this market since 1988 (too many times to count).  I am always amazed each season by the creative, new introductions.

Several years ago the market center starting selecting interior designer “style spotters” to pick their favorite market finds and trends.  I am not one of those “elite” but I pick my own recurrent trends I see as I travel by foot the unbelievable many miles of market.  (I rack up a lot of steps :).

There are so many things I want to share but will only include the following three categories for this post.

Licensed fabrics (category 1) by well known designers are products the designer and the furniture/fabric companies partner together to create a “designer line”.  It is really big right now!  Here are three market introductions.


This is a display as you enter the Suites of Market Square building.  I love the juxtaposed chairs on top of the Kravet lettering introducing their partnered fabric by well know fashion designer Kate Spade.  The fabrics on these chairs represent just few of her new Kravet fabrics.


The above picture shows a new fabric line for Duralee Fabrics and Fine Furnishings by designer John Robshaw.  After traveling and studying in the exotic countries of Indonesia he has created a real “Moroccan” feel to his new fabrics.  You may also find his name on many bedding and accessory lines.


This is a furniture group at C.R. Laine, a North Carolina upholstery manufacturer.  This season they once again partnered with interior designer Tobi Fairley to introduce new seating using Duralee fabrics.  This is an exciting collaboration for the designer, furniture and fabric companies.  Each bring their reputation and name to help market this new line.

Lighter wood finishes (category 2) where shown in several showrooms.


Stacked chest shown by Noir.


Staggered chest by CFD.


Live edge tables have been available for many markets but this is a lighter finish combined to incorporate the natural look with a light touch by Taracea.

Industrial hardware (category 3) was much more prominent this season. Many furniture lines incorporated barn door style hardware.high_point_barn_door_hardware_small_wine_chest_homeaccenys

Barn door adapted hardware on a small wine chest with a lighter finish.


Barn door hardware with a moroccan twist on a rustic sideboard.


Oversized industrial hardware on a server.


Love the placement of this heavy hardware side by side on drawers creating the appearance of a large piece of hardware.

No matter what your personal style I hope you enjoyed seeing a few of my market style spots!  More to come later!

It is good to be getting back to the blog posts and more of my daily routine.

BTW: Just had a visit by my friend, Brenda Blackburn Morrison from the Baltimore area.  She is an avid exerciser and just about killed me.  With walked, swam and did aerobics as well a some lounging in the sun!  Thanks, Brenda for a great visit!

Until next week…keep creating you lifestyle!


Mary Sherwood Life Styles





Sorry – I’ve missed a few weeks!

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Hi from Lake Gaston!

Blue Heron Getaway Painted in Waterlogue

I am here prepping our lake house for summer rental.  We are so excited to have so many weeks booked for our first season. 🙂

I have been so busy prepping for coming here and now checking off my list of things “to do” while here the blog has had to take a hiatus.  Have no fear I will be back up by 4/26 with a great peek into the showrooms of the Spring High Point Furniture Market.  Looking forward to seeing what’s new.

Here is a little market trivia:

High Point Market Facts

The World’s Home for Home Furnishings

The High Point Market is the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world, bringing more than 75,000 people to High Point every six months. Serious retail home furnishings buyers can be found in High Point twice a year because if you can’t find it in High Point…it probably doesn’t exist.

Current Demographics

  • 180 Buildings
  • 11.5 Million Square Feet of Showspace
  • 75,000 Attendees Each Market
  • More Than 2000 Exhibitors
  • 100+ Countries Represented
  • Tens of Thousands of New Product Introductions
  • Approximately 10% of Attendees Are International

I must “keep on keeping on” so I can finish the lake house stuff and head to market and stay at my favorite B & B,  Patsy’s Walburg Inn.  Can’t wait to share some catch up time with Patsy C!

BTW-if you know anyone interested in a lake vacation rental please share this link.

Blue Heron Getaway at Lake Gaston

Until I’m back on schedule…don’t forget me!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles




Ah, Birthdays!

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This week has been a whirlwind starting with the arrival of our son, Jake and his wife, Elif last Thursday to help celebrate both Paul and my birthdays.  We were so pleased to have them visit our new home in Tucson.  So much to do and so little time.  We packed a week’s worth of activities in four days.

Some of the highlights were Jake and Paul’s motorcycle riding through the endless canyons and winding roads. Elif and I did a little shopping, a little relaxing by the pool and a whole lot of cooking.  The favorite cooking endeavor was the making of the “Peed” (my family name) birthday cake by special request from Paul (not a Peed).  🙂  It was created by my mom for many a birthday.  It is quite simple but oh so yummy. Basically it is a two layer yellow cake. (I use Duncan Hines).  The filling in the center is sautéed bananas with butter, vanilla and a little powdered sugar.  The cake is frosted with a dark chocolate butter frosting much like the recipe on the cocoa box.  I add extra cocoa for a dark, very rich frosting.  The combination of the flavors are truly the “icing” on the cake. There was not a worry about having too much “Peed” cake.  When the kids pulled out Paul had one tiny slice left to savor until the next time to celebrate.  Elif, you have now been passed the torch for carrying on the “Peed” birthday cake tradition since you made the delicious banana filling!  (Sorry I forgot to take a picture…too busy licking our fingers of chocolate frosting!)

With all this the blog took a back seat.  But thanks to our good friends, Andy and Lori Weber, I now have a beautiful Happy Birthday plate for the next “Peed” cake.IMG_6102

Thank you for all the wonderful birthday greetings, cards and Facebook posts!  It has been a magnificent celebration of our life, our family and our friendships!

Love you all!



Categories : Cooking, Design
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I have a friend who loves to check out model homes.  Over the last year we have seen several.  When I reviewed my pictures I noticed all the bedrooms, master or guest, looked so much the same.  I will highlight a few of my likes and dislikes. There is definitely one common characteristic-TOO Neutral!


This has a nice accent touch with the blue!


“Greige”-can’t decide whether it wants to be grey or beige.  Have always liked the woven textured headboard.bedroom_bedding_white_blackaccents_walldetails_greige

I like the crisp contrast of the white headboard and duvet with the black pillow details.  The simple banding accent on the wall really frames the headboard nicely.


I have never been a fan of a “winged” headboard.  Wings belong on a chair (or not at all)!

bedroom_neutral_accentonduvet_fauzfur_tile wall

The faux fur throw is so dated and way too heavy looking in the space.


I like the persimmon accents on the duvet and pillows.  It adds some life to all the neutrals.


This is the only room that added more color to the bedding.  I like the use of the print accent fabric on the headboard.  Repeating that fabric would have enhanced the ensemble.  The draperies feel a little “airy” for the other bedding fabrics.


Neutral bedding again but nice embroidered detail.  I love the tete-tete bench at the end of the bed.


Finally, a bedroom with some color.  The vibrant red-orange accent wall and coordinating fabrics breathe some life into the space.

So what have you learned not to do:  Neutrals are nice and safe but oh so boring.  Karate chopped pillows are way over done.  Duvets, though practical, always look a little unkempt.  The bed scarf is trending out.  Any fur, faux or not, should be left in the zoo.

So here is what to do:  Add some color wherever you can, in pillows, trims, paint, and seating fabrics. Stop beating on your pillows (no one really lives with these chopped pillows).  Create high contrast like the white with black accents bedding.  Mix up texture for added interest.  Bedside tables do not always have to match.  Lamps for reading are a must by each side of a bed.  A comfortable bench at the end of the bed is always welcoming.

Maybe in the future as I explore other models with my friend I’ll have more exciting design options to show you.

Regardless of trends that come and go, make your bedroom your sanctuary where you come to end your day and rest well!

Until next time…


Working with you to create your lifestyle!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles





Art Glass Passion

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I am in love with all forms of art glass.  If there was anyway I could afford it I would collect Chihuly Glass.  Short of that I have gathered an assortment of small to large glass art for my own home.  Many of you may recall some of these pieces if you toured our Lake Gaston home.  Now that we have relocated to Tucson I have access to a small glass studio to try my hand at fused glass.  I started last November and am feeling more and more confident.  Here is my dabbling in this art form from the very first piece to my latest collection.fused-art-glass-4inch-trinket-plate-black-multi

My first 4″ trinket dish I made in the introductory glass.  I hope you will appreciate my evolving skills.


Early on as I was trying to brighten up a small 3/4 bath.  I decided to make glass  pulls and knobs to add some pizazz.  While browsing in Target I located the perfect hand towels to complete the look.


11″ clear, turquoise and blue lattice sushi plate.  I love the effect of lattice weave.  This plate helped me to improve my cutting skills.  I still have a lot more room to grown in cutting a straight line. 🙂


I love to use scrape pieces to pull together a design.  Nothing goes to waste.  Most of the glass in this 9″ plate is from scrape.  I tried a new technique with this plate.  The squiggly pieces are made by melting thin glass stringers into all kinds of funky shapes.


I have been admiring this bowl design in a fused glass book.  I finally got up the courage to cut 30 glass circles of assorted sizes and colors.  I adapted the design using my own take on the colors and shapes of all the pieces.  I absolutely love the finished 9″ bowl!


I have been longing to make bigger art glass pieces.  The kiln in our community glass studio can only accommodate up to a twelve inch piece.  I ventured out to a local stained and fused glass art shop and took a 4 hours garden totem class. Here is the finished piece.  It is 27″ h x 6″ w.  I am so thrilled with it.  I have the clear glass bases cut for a 30″ and 36″, so there is more to come.  fused-art-glass-closeup-garden-totem-27inches-multi-color-dichoricglass-abstract-design

Here is a close up of the totem.  It is so pretty I am not sure I can put it in the garden!  It includes over 100 glass pieces and some metallic dichroic glass accents.  I didn’t really think I had it in me to finish this piece the day of the class.  We started with a blank canvas of clear glass and had to come up with a concept.  There were five students in the class and every totem is entirely different.  As the other finished pieces are photographed I will share them.  Creative minds are a wonderful thing.


Here is a collage of a few art glass pieces I created to add to my collection.  I love being creative.  If you see something you like I will be happy to discuss commissioned pieces.  I can only display but so much of my own glass so help me out here!!!

I think you can see my passion for art glass!

I am thankful I have a local community workshop with wonderful cohorts that always spur me on.  I would not have the courage to keep trying new techniques and designs without them and their kind advise.  Thanks SCOV fused glass girls!



Mary Sherwood Lifestyles-working with you to create your lifestyle.






Wedding Cake Cheesecake in the Park

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Last week you heard about the time we spent with Aaron and Kiori in Scottsdale for their Canal Convergence exhibit.  In just a short five years of marriage they have developed a strong personal and business relationship with their company, Purring Tiger.  They collaborate on their interactive art installations in a remarkable way.  They are approaching their 5th anniversary so I thought I would share several of our most popular blog posts that revolved around their wedding cake.

Their wedding was very simple in Hernshead, a very peaceful location in NYC Central Park.centralparknyc_wedding_hernshead_.aaronsherwood_kiorisherwoodkiawahJPG

Their wedding reception was a picnic on the lawn.  For this very casual setting they requested that I make a wedding cheesecake (their favorite “mom’s” dessert).  Undaunted I set out to make this cake in NC and transport to NYC. Click here to read the story.cheesecake_wedding_centralpark_aaronsherwood_kiorisherwoodkiawah

It was a real challenge but I was up for it.  So, if you ever need to make a wedding cake cheesecake here are the details complete with the basic recipe.weedingcheesecake-cheesecake-recipe-strawberry-sauce

I have used this same recipe over and over again adapting it from mini cheesecakes to a four layer wedding cake.  The past few years I have modified the crust of the recipe to be gluten free.  If you would like more information about GF options please leave me a response.  Here is recent rendition of a mini-cheesecake with a GF chocolate cookie crust, raspberry sauce, and creme fraiche. Yum!mini-cheesecake-gluten-free-raspberrysauce-chocolatecookiecrust

If you make this cheesecake please let me know how it came out.  Don’t worry if it cracks or is not perfect.  Berries and toppings hide everything.  The pleasure is is n the taste.  Enjoy!

On another note (and topic for a future post) I had a great fused glass experience last week.  I made a 27″ tall glass totem piece.  It has not been fired yet but maybe by next week I can share.

My best to all,


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles


Working with you to create your lifestyle!





Art on the Canal

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Last weekend we headed for Scottsdale, AZ for the Canal Convergence sponsored by the Scottsdale Public Art and the Salt River Project.  Our son Aaron and his wife Kiori of Purring Tiger had an amazing light and sound show called Micro-Double Helix.  The interactive technology of this project is far beyond my comprehension but the human interaction and delight was easy to observe.


The exhibit was for all ages as illustrated by this baby fascinated by touching the Micro globe to produce sound and light.


Over 200 Micro globes were installed over the canal footbridge.  Visitors could stroll through the display and activate each Micro.  Watching the expression and interaction of the crowd was my favorite part!  Over 50,000 people visited the Canal Convergence.  Here is a drone video of Micro-Double Helix.


Well done, Aaron and Kiori!  Congratulations!


Kiori and Aaron visiting another Canal Convergence exhibit, Light Origami. This was an human size kaleidoscope that invites you to enter its 300 mirror paneled dome to experience the change of lights and images.

Our immersion into the arts since relocating to Arizona has been exciting.  To have our own son exhibit nearby was wonderful.

Until next time…thanks for following!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles


Categories : Design
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At long last I am ready to share our new home-The Sherwood Hacienda.  It has been a little over six months and bit by bit it has come together.  The layout of the great space was certainly a “divide and conquer” process.  Often when down sizing you are trying to squeeze in furniture.  We were lucky enough to have a very large open floor plan to work with.  🙂  How to efficiently divide the space became the challenge.  Here is the floor plan:Sherwood-space-plan-openspace-smallseatingareas

Here is the BEFORE of the great room:sherwood-hacienda-LR-before

I love how the great room came together.  As I have always said: start with a “given”.  My “givens” for this space were the Company C River Bend rug and the ivory club chairs.  We re-purposed a beautiful glass shelf (shipped in error from a previous project) to anchor the flat screen TV.  We added the sofa, a trio of benches and accessories.  Here is the great room AFTER:


The dining room was a total search and find mission.  I left my favorite dining table and chairs at the lake house so I had to replace all the dining room furniture.  I have talked about the table and the storage units in previous posts. Here are the links to the earlier stories:  Table and Hutch .  I absolutely love the new table!  It is a real departure in style for me but no regrets!  The display cases and chest really gave me lots of needed storage.sherwood_dining_table_handmade_spruce_tree_root_base-companyc-rug

Adjacent to the kitchen I created a little lounging area for an evening glass of wine or reading.  It is one of our favorite spots.  I love the large art by our son, Jake, that pulls it all together.  Also, the small table belonged to my grandmother and is very special to me.  Here is the blog about its transformation. sherwood-refresh-table-old-piece-grandmother-ceramic-handmade knobs-jakesherwood-art-seating group

The master bedroom revolved around an over scale mirror (ordered for another client) which was damaged in shipment.  The only wall large enough for this piece was in the MBR.  Read about the creation of the headboard in this earlier post-Headboard.   The color inspiration for the accent wall was discussed here-Paint. I am very pleased with the finished effect.  Since this photo I have added some art over the chests which really tied everything together so wellsherwood-mbr-custom-headboard_oversized_mirror_palu_chest-robertallen_fabric2

A little unexpected area I created with pieces that hadn’t found a home was this little garden table with mirror for my garden hats and gloves right inside the back door.sherwood-hacienda-garden-table-

My new office is doing double duty as my work space and additional guest sleeping.  The desk folds up and converts into a queen Murphy bed.  This is one of the brightest and best views in the house.  I’m a lucky girl to have such a great space to compose these blogs and work on projects.sherwood-office-murphy-bed-guest-bedroom

Recently our oldest son, Aaron, and his wife, Kiori, visited.  Aaron says:  “This house is such a departure from the lake house but you have added the right touches to still make it feel like our home.” 🙂

There are so many details I have left out and still more areas to address but this is it for now.  I hope you have enjoyed your tour and see my style coming through in our new Southwestern abode.

Looking forward to hearing your comments.  Tell me what is your favorite space.

Love to all!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles-working with you to create your lifestyle.





The Competition Heats Up at the Flame Off

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Last week during the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show I had the opportunity to attend The Flame Off – an “Iron Chef” like competition at the Sonoran Glass School.  Basically the competition involves local and visiting artists competing to produce their best lampworking glass creation in 1 1/2 hours.  A panel of judges select the winners.  Here is the promo video for the show which describes the competition in more detail.  Sonoran Glass School Flame Off

It was very interesting to watch the process and learn more about this type of glass art.  Wikipedia describes lampworking as a type of glasswork where a torch or lamp is primarily used to melt the glass. Once in a molten state, the glass is formed by blowing and shaping with tools and hand movements. It is also known as flameworking or torchworking, as the modern practice no longer uses oil-fueled lamps.  Types of art produced by lampworking include smaller glass art objects such as beads and figurines.

Originally glassblowing was done with small furnaces fired by wood, and the glass was worked on the end of an iron tube called a ‘blowpipe’. This method of using blowpipe and furnace is traditionally called glassblowing, while lampworking came later with the invention of various kinds of ‘lamps’ that could melt the glass. Glass blown work most often are larger scale pieces such as vases, bowls and glasses.

Here are some photos of the competition: Flameoff_SGS_Tucson_2016_competition-lampworking-glass


Here are a few of my favorite lampworking creations from the competition:


Many years ago when Patsy Cuthrell was a member of the MSLL team she had a favorite phrase: “You learn something new everyday at MSLL”.  I still feel everyday is a new learning opportunity such as this glass competition.  I never new the difference between lampworking and glassblowing.

So look around your house (for glass figurines) and in your jewelry box (for glass beads) for examples of lampworking.  I bet you will be amazed to find so many objects created using this method.  Let me know what you find.

Looking forward to our son, Aaron, and his wife, Kiori’s, Purring Tiger art exhibit in Scottsdale, AZ the last weekend of February. So excited to have them exhibit so close.  Here is the link to learn more about this art installation. Water, Art and Light

Enjoy your week.  I promise Spring is on the way!  Keep your comments coming.  Love reading them all!!!

Best regards,


Working with you to create your lifestyle!




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Gems, Beads and Rocks -Oh My!

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Once a year over 55,000 people descend on Tucson, AZ. for the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.  I have been to many trade shows but none that is so vast in size and depth in the very small category of gems and minerals.  Because it was my first time and I was doing very limited purchasing I found the show can be really overwhelming. The extent of my purchasing was a few of these handpainted Karuzi beads.  How could I past by all this color without taking some home!karuzi-beads-t copy

Even though the show was full of every imaginable bead and precious gem, for me the show stopper was the minerals, geodes and rocks.  I was truly amazed at the incredible variety and the array of colors and configurations.  I cannot name all of these pieces but I wanted to share with you these stunning works of nature.


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I am so glad I explored this show and will be able to delve into it more deeply next year now that I’ve gotten my “feet wet.”  I see incredible possibilities for utilizing rocks and geodes in interior and garden design.  I set out to look for beads, jewelry findings and tools but found rocks, the natural gems that God creates.  So beautiful!

Hope you enjoy these natural beauties!


Working with you to create your lifestyle!



The weather has certainly given most of us a touch (or worst) of cabin fever.  Even some of us in warmer areas have experienced a wetter and colder winter.  So every now and then we get a warm 75 degree day and feel Spring is around the corner.  Not so fast! We may have several months (sorry) before the last frost.

Here are three ways to give Spring a push!

Buy some daffodils or tulips.  Place them in a mason jar. This will add a bright spot to any room.  These flowers cost $6 at our local grocer.daffodils-mason-jar-instant-spring-reuse-jars-bottles


Grow something indoor.  Amaryllis bulbs are super simple to grow and produce large flowers about 4-6 weeks after planting-long before it is “really” Spring outdoors.  (Here is a little trick I use to get the Amaryllis greenery to start popping out of the bulb.  Place a tray or dish on a heating pad and set temperature to low. Set the planted bulb in a pot (not too deep-see photo), on top of the tray or dish that is on the heating pad. The warmth will trick them into thinking it must be Spring)!  These bulbs were planted the second week of January.  My Spring is on its way! 🙂 🙂 🙂



Add some color somewhere that hasn’t had any.  It could be new colorful, fused glass cabinet hardware for a vanity or a new Company C rug for the kitchen.  Whatever makes you smile.  The color will certainly add punch to brighten your day even with gray winter skies.



I already feel like Spring is closer just by sharing these tips with you!

Give it a push…make Spring come sooner in your home!

Regards to all!


Working with you to create your lifestyle!

Mary Sherwood Lifestyles


Categories : Design
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Tiny House Living on Wheels

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We recently had a visit from Paul’s sister, Mary Lindner, her husband Kyle, and their teenage daughter Kathryn.  They have spent the last five years (full time) traveling the country in their 34′ Airstream Classic trailer. They have been living in a “Tiny House” on wheels long before it became “hip”.  Kyle works remotely anywhere he has an internet connection.  Mary home schools Kathryn who plans to complete high school two years early.

34' Airstream Classic

34′ Airstream Classic

I was truly amazed at the strategic planning and creative design that goes into outfitting a tiny house.  The home is 256 sf and every square inch is utilized.  As many of us may be thinking of down-sizing or just re-organizing here are some interesting elements Kyle (the design master) included in their Airstream.

Dual monitors for Kyle's mobile office - workstation by day and dining table by night.

Dual monitors for Kyle’s mobile office – workstation by day and dining table by night

Dining table designed by Kyle for multipurpose use-desk and dining.

Dining table designed by Kyle for multipurpose use-desk and dining.

Looking into the kitchen with a covered cook top for more counter space. Kyle's table?desk is to the left.Looking into the kitchen toward the sleeping quarters in the rear. Kyle’s table/desk is to the left.

Compact but very functional kitchen! Covered cooktop provides extra counter space.

Covered cooktop adds extra countertop space.Blog 01 26 2016 Airstream1Clever space saving kitchen utensils. The top shows how all the pieces nest to conserve storage. The bottom shows all the pieces laid out. Never thought you could get so many pieces to fit so compactly!airstream-sofa-storage-convertible-southwest

Two tables are hidden beside each end of the

The two table open provide extra dining and school work space.

Sofa extra storage in the arms and below.

The sofa’s extra storage is in the arms and below.


Folding chairs that stow easily.Blog 01 26 2016 AirstreamSchool supply storage in the ottoman.

Kathryn's bunk on top of built-in dresser storage.

Kathryn’s bunk on top of built-in clothing storage.

Even a cubby for Raven, the poodle. She likes her cozy niche in the trailer.

Even a cubby for Raven, the poodle. She likes her cozy niche in the trailer.

There is still room for a tiny Christmas tree in this tiny house.

There is still room for a tiny Christmas tree in this tiny house.

This house was certainly not too tiny for seven to dine. The Sherwoods, Webers and Linders enjoying a great Italian dinner in the Airstream.

This house was certainly not too tiny for seven to dine. Here are the Sherwoods, Webers and Lindners enjoying a great Italian dinner in the Airstream.

Mary L. says some of the highlights of their journey have been seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time, the many state parks along the coast of Oregon, and the never-ending beautiful sunrises and sunsets of the Southwest.  

Thank you, Mary, Kyle and Kathryn for sharing your home.  You are making a once in a lifetime journey many of us will never experience. Everyday for you is a new adventure!

This home really makes you think that we could all probably do with less.

What is your favorite space saving feature?

Happy trails in tiny houses!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles                                   252-308-2694


In preparing this article I researched the history of the Airstream and found this interesting article.  Airstream History

Here are a couple of other articles if you would like to explore Tiny Houses and Radical Revamps of Airstreams.

Thanks for following our posts!





Art for the Community

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From our first visit to Oro Valley (our new town) I was amazed at the magnitude of public art displays.  It has been a true joy to see various artistic expressions in unexpected places i.e. the parking lots at Ace Hardware, Safeway and Home Depot and roadways throughout the area.  Here is a brief description of the program which has placed such a high value on community art:

“In 1997, the town established a 1% Public Art Program which requires that commercial developers set aside one percent of a projects total budget for the creation of public art. By passing the public art mandate, Oro Valley signaled an ongoing commitment to create beautiful surroundings that enhance the quality of life for all who live, work and play in the town.” (Quotation from Oro Valley website).

Each day I observe and discover more ways this program enriches our lives.  Here are examples of installations in our neighborhood.  My favorite is the “Tree of Knowledge” at the Oro Valley Library.OroValley_tree-of-knowledge-lifesize-library SculpturesLook closely between the tree roots in the book below the tree to find these words of wisdom:

The more you read, the more you know

The more you know, the more you grow

The smarter you grow, the stronger your voice

When speaking your mind or making your choice!

Reading the News Sculpture

“Reading the News” Sculpture

"Swinging Sis" sculpture

“Swinging Sis” sculpture

"Girl stopping traffic" sculpture.

“Girl stopping traffic” sculpture.


Highway privacy wall.

Sculptural family of Javelinas, boar- like native animals

Sculptural family of Javelinas, boar- like native animals

Fitness man sculpture at Sun City Oro Valley.

Fitness man sculpture at Sun City Oro Valley.

Performing artists sculpture at Sun City Oro Valley.

Performing artists sculpture at Sun City Oro Valley.

There are many more and I will share as I have an opportunity to photograph them.  What a wonderful community incentive program!  Thank you town of Oro Valley!

Do you have a favorite?  Let me hear from you!

All the best!


Working with you to create your lifestyle!


Mary Sherwood Lifestyles







Eye Candy for Your Home

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While visiting Santa Monica I took a walk to the downtown mall and promenade.  I asked Paul to join me and we ended up on a very long walk with shopping mixed in, much to his dismay. (Sorry, Paul) 🙂  I took a quick look in the Jonathan Adler showroom and couldn’t help but smile.  His mix of color and somewhat “quirky” pop-art accessories are dynamic.  I do not usually follow designers and their backgrounds but after my visit to his Santa Monica store I did a little research. Jonathan Adler has been making pottery since his teen years and has gone on to develop his own style of trendy accessories, furnishings and design.  I love his mission statement:  “We are a design company. Our philosophy:  Build a timelessly chic foundation, then accessorize with abandon.”  Here is a link to find out more about Jonathan Adler.

The Jonathan Adler storefront in downtown Santa Monica stands out in the crowd with the brass, navy and orange color scheme.

The Jonathan Adler storefront in downtown Santa Monica stands out in the crowd with the brass, navy and orange color scheme.

My favorite things:

Malachite wallpaper sets the stage for the white console and gold accents.

Malachite wallpaper sets the stage for the white console and gold accents.

White, gold and black are stunning in the table setting with 1948* Dinnerware

White, gold and black are stunning in the table setting with 1948* Dinnerware


Very chic sofa with clean lines and tufted seat and back. Always love the turquoise!

Very chic mid-century style sofa with clean lines and tufted seat and back. Always love the turquoise!


Love the c Jere' Raindrop Large Mirror

Love the C Jere’ Raindrop Large Mirror! I am always attracted to large round mirrors!


Bedding group with lots of mixed textures. My favorite accessories are the Mr & Mrs needlepoint pillows.

Bedding group with lots of mixed textures. My favorite accessories are the Mr & Mrs needlepoint pillows.


Neutral black and grey palette with a pop of purple in the giant Lucite Foot!

Neutral black and grey palette with a pop of purple in the giant Lucite Foot!

I hope this very limited peek into Jonathan Adler’s world has put a smile on your face, even if this is not your personal style.  There are are thirty store in many major cities where you can take a closer look.

Remember his philosophy:  “Accessorize with abandon!”

I totally agree-love your style and love your surroundings.  Whatever makes you smile!

Is there anything here in these pictures that make you smile?  Let me hear from you!



Working with you to create your lifestyle!