Fresh local flowers. Colorful new plants. A spice drawer redo. And a fun little lamp glow-up. Small things I did around the home this week that bring me joy.

Small Joys

I love a big home transformation as much as the next gal.

Recently I spent several days painting the walls and ceiling and creating a focal-point gallery wall in our primary bath.

You can read all about it in my post Meadow and Marsh | My Coastal Maine Bathroom Inspired by Nature.

I am so happy every time I walk into this space now!

It definitely brings me joy.

But we can’t always do only big projects.

Therefore it is important to create and appreciate the small joys in our homes too.

The way the light falls in the morning. A sweet pup curled up in a chair. The scent of a favorite candle.

Sometimes it is a quick easy-to-accomplish project that brings joy.

Last year I painted a checkerboard pattern on the floor in our kitchen. It was a big job. And I love the way it turned out.

As part of this project, I also added peel-and-stick wallpaper to the back of the cabinets. That pop of pattern and color when I open the door still makes me smile. It was an easy project, but it brings me joy.

This week I did a few a few simple things around the home that brightened this still-chilly mostly-gray first week of May.

Maybe you will feel inspired to do one of the projects I share here (my spice drawer redo is SO good).

Or maybe this post will spark an idea for something different or prompt you to finally check a small project off your to-do list.

At the very least, I hope it encourages you to appreciate the small joys to be found everywhere in our homes.

And maybe create new joy too.

Here are some of my small joys for this week!

Spice Drawer Joy


It is always surprising to me how quickly something can descend into complete chaos.

And often without you even really noticing until you step back and take a good look.

This was the situation with my spice drawer.

Well, I have known for a while that it was a complete disaster.

But when I designed the kitchen, I thought this large drawer next to the stove was such a good idea. There was plenty of room for all my spice containers to lie flat, with the labels showing.

To be honest, I got off to a bad start by not organizing my spices alphabetically. But I had other things to do when I was moving into the house and pulling everything together.

It was all downhill from there.

Turns out, there wasn’t enough room for all the containers to lie flat. So I created a second layer and stood some jars upright. And all the different-sized jars and colored labels made for an organizational and visual nightmare.

For the last several years, I have been living with the “before” spice drawer pictured above. I actually can’t believe I am sharing it… It is rather embarrassing!

It goes to show you, though, that home bloggers are just like everyone else.

Or, in this case, probably worse than most everyone else …

Sometimes it would take me several minutes to find the spice I was looking for. And I ended up with so many duplicates, since it was never really clear what I had in the drawer.


My daughter Zoë did it the right way. She organized her spice drawer when she moved into her place. But Zoë is naturally super organized like that.

I have to work at it a bit more.

This week, inspired by Zoë, I finally took matters into hand and ordered two sets of uniform spice jars from Amazon. (Linked below)

I couldn’t be happier with them, and I think the “after” picture speaks for itself!

I love the sleek design with bamboo lids. So much more calming than the jumble of colors I had before!

The jars also have a wide mouth for easy access. Don’t you hate it when your measuring spoon doesn’t fit in the jar?? And the lids pull off easily, but close tightly with a silicone gasket.

The sets came with pre-printed labels for both the tops and sides of the jars. They had a surprisingly large variety of spices. Everything But the Bagel? Yes! Dukkah?! Yes! Za’atar and Garam Masala? Yes, yes! Some spices I had never heard of. But just in case, there were also blank labels and a white pen for you to write custom labels.

My drawer is approximately 19″x19″ and I ordered a set of 32 and a set of 20. This was more than I needed and fit in the drawer with room to spare.

In fact, they are a little loose, so I have ordered some bamboo drawer dividers from Amazon to keep them from shifting.

This time I made the extra effort and organized the jars alphabetically.

This whole project took me about 1 1/2 hours.

In response to the photo I sent, Zoë said: “That drawer is going to bring you joy every time you open it.”

And Leah wrote: “Organization projects can really spark joy!”

They are both right!

Spice drawer shopping links:

Lamp Joy

Searching for a lamp

After completing my recent primary bath refresh, I decided it needed one last finishing touch.

An accent lamp in the corner on top of the dresser!

There is plenty of overhead lighting in the room, but I thought something softer and moodier would be nice. Especially at night when I light a scented candle in there.

This spot on the dresser is situated underneath a slanted ceiling, so it needed to be petit in size.

And, also, there are no outlets in this little room that houses the toilet and shower.

I saw this as the perfect opportunity to try out those rechargeable lightbulbs I have been seeing so much on Instagram.

Most importantly, I didn’t want to spend very much on this project.

After poking around in a few antiques shops and looking online, I finally settled on a very basic and inexpensive lamp from HomeGoods. (Our shopping options are extremely limited here…)

My apologies: I was so impatient to get started with the project, I didn’t get a before picture. The base was a textured black solid plastic-type material with a simple white drum shade.

It definitely needed a glow-up!

The glow-up

I used only what I had on hand.

For the base I spray-painted it with some white chalk paint as a sort of primer, and then added two coats of pale pink paint I had left over from the wicker footstool in the bedroom reading nook.

I covered the shade in a lovely William Morris fabric I had picked up at some point for an unknown project I never completed. Yay for uncompleted projects!

By this point I have covered a few lampshades, improving my skills a bit with each one. I contemplated getting fancy and sewing pleats, but ultimately decided a simple shade was best for this little lamp.

This time I did opt to hem the edges of the fabric on my sewing machine before using a hot glue gun to attach it to the shade. This resulted in a tighter fit and a cleaner look on all the edges.

I have linked the rechargeable bulbs I used below. These screw into the socket, but the bulb itself separates from the base for easy charging. The charge apparently lasts for up to 11 hours. They aren’t the brightest bulb, but they have three warmth settings and a timer. They are perfect for my needs here!

This lamp might not be my forever lamp, but right now it is definitely bringing me joy.

Chargeable light bulb shopping link:

Plant Joy

Unfortunately, recently some of the plants in the bedroom have not been looking great.

I wrote in my post Easy-Care Houseplants Add Life and Color to Your Home about knowing when to let go of a plant.

I try to take good care of my houseplants, but sometimes I fail, and other times they just aren’t happy for reasons I don’t know.

As I said in my post: “A plant is supposed to bring you joy and enhance your life. And a sick half-dead plant just isn’t doing that.”

So this week I said a sad goodbye to three plants.

And a joyful hello to three new ones!

On the gray day I visited my local plant store, I was, not surprisingly, attracted to the showy colorful plants.

I came home with a Mammy Croton, Double Dot Begonia, and Velma Cox Geranium.

All three have showy foliage — two in variegated shades of red, yellow, orange, and purple, and the other with happy white polka dots.

Time will tell how they do in front of my big bright window with a wide ocean view.

But for now they are definitely bringing me joy!

Flower Joy

Although we still don’t have much in bloom here, this is the time of year when home-grown flower stands start popping up on local roadsides.

These simple “retail establishments” are one of my favorite things about Maine. A cooler with eggs and a handmade wooden sign. Just-picked veggies laid out on table. A wagon full of colorful pumpkins.

They are always honor-system enterprises, usually with a jar or wooden box in which you deposit your payment.

The more technologically advanced stands take Venmo these days.

I am always drawn to them.

So, the other day, I pulled over, picked out two bouquets of flowers — peony-like tulips and daffodils in all shades of yellow — wrapped in brown paper, paid with my phone, and continued on my way.

With a smile on my face.

Fresh flowers really are one of the easiest kinds of simple joy!

This Week Into Next

A beautiful hike

Monday was sunny with the warmest temps we have had yet this year — in the upper 60’s!

It felt so good! I am definitely ready for more days like this.

I took advantage of the beautiful day and went for a local hike with a friend.

We picked up sandwiches from Bleeker and Greer in Rockport and then headed to nearby Beech Hill Preserve.

A short mile through woods and blueberry barrens brought us to the top of a hill with panoramic views of Penobscot Bay. The skies were clear, so we could see all the way from Mt. Desert to Monhegan. It was glorious!

We wandered down the other side of the hill and explored that side of things, then headed back up to the top for a picnic lunch, our faces turned to the sun, basking in its warmth.

It was certainly a day full of joy!

May Milestones

Early May always marks two milestones.

This year it is 8 years since we closed on my slice of heaven here, and 6 years that I have called it home.

What a journey it has been!

You can read all about the story of our home here — finding this property, renovating the guest cottage, moving here full-time, and building the house — in my two-part blog series:

Chasing a Dream: Our Coastal Maine House Story, Part 1

Chasing a Dream: Our Coastal Maine House Story, Part 2

These posts contain so many wonderful “before” and “during” photos. They are certainly a walk down memory lane!

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is just over one week away!

How do you like to honor the mother-figures in your life or treat yourself?

If you are looking for a special gift, check out my blog post from last year: Mother’s Day Gift Ideas With Coastal Maine Style. It contains gift ideas at all price points for self care, the home, good reads, and from Maine businesses.

These gifts are sure to bring joy to those who receive them!

In Zoe’s Kitchen

This week Zoë’s newsletter is a love letter to romaine.

She is sharing recipes for Tahini Caesar Salad and A Cure for the Blues Pasta.

That’s it, friends!

Wishing you a week ahead full of small joys!


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