A Decorator’s Notebook + Free Printable

Hi – my wonderful readers – I am writing this post from warm and sunny Florida, at the home of a very dear friend of mine who has been battling a second round of breast cancer the past few years. She peacefully passed away over the weekend and is now embarking on a new journey.  I am happy that I have the type of job that I can get up and go at a moment’s notice so that I can spend time with her family.  My posts this week will be on the light side.  I know you understand.

Palm Trees

Looking around her house – her personality shows up all over – what a happy home should reflect – the personality of the occupants should be the first thing you see as you enter a home – not a perfect piece of furniture or the latest color scheme but rather a reflection of the people who live in it.  My friend, Suellen succeeded in this most important aspect of making a house feel like home. I smile when I pass the piano that she painstakingly refinished so many years ago, to the photos of her on vacation with family and friends that grace the tabletops and bookshelves, along with a few decorative treatments in her favorite colors that I made for her.  Seeing these material things that had meaning to her has given me a sense of peace with her passing. She still is alive in every corner of the house. I see a life well lived.

One of the most poignant items for me was seeing her handwriting on a note to her daughter on the refrigerator.  It was a reminder to turn off the coffeemaker, signed – Mom XO  – all of a sudden this simple note takes on new meaning.  Not just a note anymore, but something to be cherished forever.

These little things are helping me face what life ahead will be without her.

I do have a decorating ideas to share with you today – my latest post is up over at My Colortopia.

Home Decorating Tips

It is about my how I created and use a notebook to organize all the decorating info, fabric swatches, paint chips, room sizes and specs about the physical aspect’s of my house. You can find it here –  Create a Decorator’s Notebook.

In the post, I describe how I use a room specification sheet for each room. I made it into a free printable that you can download.  Click here for the .pdf. – Decorator’s Notebook Spec Sheet


I will post again on Wednesday. Right now I am enjoying a peaceful day – sitting outside in the warm sunshine – it feels so nice – much better that the cold and dreary weather that I left behind in Pennsylvania. I am going to get spoiled by it – this no winter coat needed –shorts and flip-flops kind of weather.  I am going to have a bad case of Spring Fever when I get home.  Get prepared for lots of colorful projects and when I return.



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  1. ashley @ the handmade home says:

    So sorry for your friend. Praying for her family and yours ;} talk soon!

  2. I am sorry for the loss of your friend.

  3. Diane,
    I am sorry to hear that your visit to Florida is bitter sweet. Your loving description of Suellen’s home allowed all of us to glimpse a peek at her home still filled with love of family, friends and memories. I could feel the sun on my arm as my mind’s eye grazed the refrigerator door filled with notes and pictures of family, friends, pets and funny magnets. Thanks for sharing Suellen’s recipe. She will now be touching all of our lives. Thanks for being a blessing.

  4. I am so sorry for your loss, Diane. So sad to lose a friend who is so young.

  5. Katharine from Kat's Almost Purrfect World says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss and glad that you were able to spend time with her family and friends. It must be bittersweet enjoying her home and the weather she enjoyed without her there except in spirit. I’m happy, for the two of you, that you had a great friendship but so sad at all of your loss. ((((((((((hugs)))))))))

  6. Hi Diane, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. What a blessing that you could be with Suellen to wish her “Vaya con Dios” as she went on her way. Sending (((hugs))) to you!

  7. Diane,

    I am so SORRY for the lose of your sweet dear friend. I know what it is like to have female friends for that long as well. They helped me through the passing of my Dad this past Aug. I love that you see her still living in all corners of the house. Also THANK YOU for the notebook design. I have been wanting to do something like that. I SO LOVE your page, ideas, designs. Here is a virtual HUG. Enjoy the WARM SUN on your face for Suellen, she would want you to. XOXO

  8. I was sad for you to hear of the loss of your friend but happy for her that she is no longer in pain.
    My Mum (77) is in the fight against her breast cancer at the moment. She has a wonderful medical team and the best treatments available and is doing wonderfully well, I do hope we don’t have to see her suffer.
    Lots of love and hugs from Cape Town, South Africa. (shorts and flops weather here too!) xx

  9. I am sad to hear about your friend and your loss. I went through a similar . . . with my friend, this weekend . . .

  10. Anne Boykin says:

    So sorry that you have lost your good friend, Diane. Thanks for sharing with us.

  11. Diane,
    My condolences on the loss of your dear friend. What luck that your hubby and his best man picked such wonderful girls to marry. Your memories are your treasures.
    May God bless you and comfort you.

  12. Diane, I’m so sorry for your loss. I bet she’s smiling down at you and enjoys seeing you soaking up that warm sun!

  13. Marsha Milstock says:

    Dear Diane,
    I too am so sorry for your loss.
    Your words are so expressive, and kind hearted.
    It is no wonder that the two of you shared a friendship.
    May their family and yours be spared of further sorrow and loss.

  14. I am sorry for the loss of your friend, Diane.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you Peggy –
      I have known her for 30 years. It was hard seeing her have to go through a battle with Cancer, not once -but twice. The second round was just too brutal. As much as I will miss her – she is free of pain and suffering now. She was such a good person, I know she is in a better place.

  15. Aisha Johnson says:

    Hi Diane…so sorry to hear about your loss…however, I love how you said she’s “embarking on a new journey.” I pray these thoughts and your memories of being with her bring your and her family comfort.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you Aisha – She was such a kind and giving person. I know she is making heaven a little bit brighter.

  16. Hi Diane,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. My female friends are so important to me, as we get older we seem to support each other more.
    Thanks for the Decorator’ s Notebook download. My reno is just about finished and I get to start on the fun stuff, decorating next month. I dreamt that I told the movers not to deliver my pod , so I could start over:)
    Take care,

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Vicki –
      I met her on the day I got married. She was the best man’s girlfriend – soon to be his wife. My husband has no family and they became his family. We have shared so much over the years. I will miss her very much! How exciting you are almost to start the decorating stage of your renovation. It sure would be fun to start from scratch – everything shiny and new or done for the way you live now, not 10 years ago. I am sure once they deliver the pod you will get excited about all your stuff and finding new places to use all of it. Enjoy!