Ask Me…

Over the past two weeks, my day-to-day life at home hasn’t changed that much since I already work from my home, my business is online and I am an empty-nester.

No hours of home schooling to prepare or having to find activities for kids to keep them occupied. I have also been working in leggings and comfy clothes for as long as I have been blogging, so not even what I wear each day has changed as it has for others.

A sunny day on lake murray

Two things have changed personally for me though. The first is a positive change.

I can no longer workout 3 days a week at my local gym for my morning fitness classes. To keep my fitness level up, I searched online and found many excellent workouts that I have been doing with my laptop out on my deck overlooking the lake.

With the warmer weather, this has become a wonderful option to keep my daily schedule as normal as possible. So even though it is a change I had to make, it is actually very nice and one that I never would have taken the time to consider before.

boa plane taking off from lake murray
A neighbor’s float plane taking off from the lake.

The other change is not as positive for me though and it is pulling at my heartstrings.

My cute granddaughter

… my daughters and granddaughter live 6 hours away.

My daughter took this picture yesterday. I LOVE it. She is growing so fast. Her stance in the photo reminds me of a big league pitcher eyeing down a batter getting ready to throw a fastball… except in this case…. it would be fast Binky. :-)

sitting on deck overlooking lake murray view

When the world shut down, I expected my online life to go on as normal and it has, but it has changed in one way I didn’t expect.

What I didn’t expect was the increasing numbers of questions I have received via email and my Contact Page the past week. Not just a few, but quite a lot.

Readers are writing to me wanted to know where they can find a certain post they remember reading. I am being sent photos of rooms for ideas or what paint should be used on a piece of furniture they want to paint.

Drought resistant flowers

One reader even asked about a post I wrote 5 years ago. They tucked the post in their “some day file” to do and that someday has come now that they have newfound time on their hands. Other readers are simply asking how things are in South Carolina.

Receiving all these questions gave me an idea for this post. Most of us have time on our hands now and it appears that won’t change for at least another 30 days.

I can’t be helping on the frontlines as medical personnel are, but it makes me feel good that I can be helpful to others at this time when we are all at home trying to stay productive while stuck at home.

If you have been itching to ask me a question… any question, a decorating question about a room in your home, about a project I did and how you can do it in your home, where to find a certain post, what are the best products I use that can be ordered online, to basically anything you want to know about me, just ask and I will answer.

If you have a specific question about a piece of furniture you would like to make over or a room design question, please take a photo with your phone and send it to my email, [email protected]. This way I am better able to see exactly what it is you are asking about. It is the best way as you can’t send photos via my Contact Page or in the Comments section.

We are in this together, if I can help you with a project while you are at home, don’t hesitate to… Ask Me.

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  1. Diane, I am with you all the way regarding not being able to see your granddaughter. I have a 3 year old granddaughter, Luna, who I only get to see a few times per year so you are luckier than me. Besides being 9 hours away by car and a very difficult place to fly into and the fact that she goes to Switzerland every summer because that is where her dad’s family lives , I don’t see her much or enough. I have waited so many years for a granddaughter and must see her mostly on videos. Grandchildren are life’s blessings for sure.

  2. Love your blog! I have been reading your blog since before your lake house and have always adored it! We moved to a small lake house last summer and are doing a lot of construction and renovation which is a bit scary for me but exciting too. I feel for you being unable to see your grandchild for their birthday. I also had my first grandchild born during this quarantine and haven’t got to meet her yet which is tough. I am grateful for FaceTime that allows real time video and look forward to the day I get to meet her:) Take care and be safe. Meanwhile your blog will give me new ideas for lake life living and something to keep me busy during this weird time.

    1. Hi Nancy – I feel for you :-( not being able to meet your grandchild yet. That would be so hard. Hopefully soon you will be able to hold her in your arms and get weeks of missed holding and hugs and kisses in.

      Your lake house renovating sounds exciting. We have been living in ours for 4+ years now and the work pace has slowed down now that we have updated every room. Now I would like to win the lottery so we can add on to one side of the house to make the kitchen bigger.

      Thanks for reading my blog all these years. If you ever take photos of your renovations, I would love to see what you are doing.

  3. That picture of Zoe in that hat melts my heart. It must be torture for you, not being able to be there in person. Thank goodness for technology. Looks like you have the ideal place to exercise, too. Take care! ;)

  4. As always, a motivating and comforting post on your blog. Thanks, Diane, we are happy to have you in our lives.

  5. So nice to see our lake and your beautiful photos. You are a blessing and inspiration for all of us to keep looking forward. Packing up our house to make the big move. Crazy times.

  6. There is something I’m wondering about in your current house. We are building a house right now, and due to an error on the plans, our stairs, to be anything less than a gym-level stair-climber experience, have to extend beyond the door frame at the bottom and into the door way by about 5 inches. In one of your home tour videos, I noticed that your stairs are like that. Has that been any problem for you? Do you even notice it or feel crowded in the doorway at all?

    1. Hi Anna – You have a great eye. Yes the staircase in my house extends past the wall, but it doesn’t cause any problems. In fact I think it makes the area between the living room and the foyer look better – more interesting.

      On the side from the living room there is no banister and you see the bottom step and a small part of the second step. It does not cause any problems at all. The walking space between the end of the stairs and the wall is 3 feet so there is plenty of room to pass without feeling crowded.

  7. Zoe is adorable and I can only imagine how hard it is not to be there ?. Hopefully normal will return sooner rather than later for us all!!
    Love the idea of questions…..can t wait to read these new posts!!
    Stay healthy ?

  8. This is a great post. Enjoy all your posts, but especially enjoyed this one. Hope you get a lot of response. I was born and grew up in Charleston, but live in Illinois now. Wish I could go back to SC.

    1. Hi Carol – Charleston is such a fun town to visit and explore. I can understand why you would miss it. We enjoy living in the south where we have a very mild winter and no snow. It does get pretty hot in the summer though. I was in Charleston two summers ago in July. It was pretty brutal. No carriage rides as it was too hot for the horses.

  9. Hi Diane:
    What a lovely opening to your blog today. It’s so good to see bright sunshine and that gorgeous blue water! Here, in Wisconsin, we’ve had gloom for several days. Was disappointed to see more of the same this morning. The temps are in the mid 40’s but it feels colder because of the mean winds out of the w/nw, and the dampness coming up from the ground as it thaws. We even had rain the other day, and the most miserable fog. So if you can get outside and really enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, I envy you!
    Just want to say thank you for having such a great blog. Yours is the first one I read and I can’t wait to “see what Diane is up to today”! Thanks for the inspirations and “you can do this” attitude. You are a gem and I very much appreciate you.
    There are so many lessons coming out of this frightful condition in the world, I believe that they are good lessons that we can take forward into the future. I am retired and starting my own business so being at home, alone, is common for me. At the end of April I will be getting 10,000 honey bees and that will set up my very first hive. I’m so looking forward to that.
    From my office I can smell the delightful chicken soup that’s simmering on the stove and I just thought I’d share that olfactory delight with you to fill in at least a couple of those areas that are not so pleasant for you.
    God bless! Thanks again!!

    1. Hi Cate – I agree that we can take a few good lessons we are all learning from this time at home and take them forward. It sounds like you have a very upbeat can-do attitude and find the beauty in the ordinary. Love hearing this. Wish I could smell the soup. :-) Enjoy becoming a beekeeper.

  10. Hi Diane,
    What a wonderful idea and generous offer! You never fail to inspire us with your creativity and cost saving ideas. I know that we are in an unprecedented time right now, and we are bombarded with bad news, but it is so wonderful to see how people come together and share and take care of each other when things get tough. Thank you. Stay well. I always look forward to reading your posts. :)

  11. No question, Diane. I just want to thank you. Your blog is one of the highlights of my day. I’ve used so many of your ideas. Your “give it a try” attitude helped me get over the “what if I mess it up?” hump on numerous projects.

    Stay safe and well!

  12. This is so encouraging! As a nurse in a community hospital, I am a big giant cootie….I understand it but it’s still getting me down. I’m surprised at how much it has affected me. Thanks for all the work you out into your blog! Xoxo Paige

    1. Paige, a big THANK YOU for all that you are doing! I am a recently retired RN living in SC . My bad back prevents me from standing on my feet for long periods of time and I am now in that “high risk” category. But I still feel guilty that I am not out there helping. Prayers for you and all healthcare workers. Stay strong!

    2. Hi Paige – Thank you for all you are doing on the frontlines. I can totally understand how the situation must be getting you down, it is all surreal. My oldest daughter is a doctor and my youngest works for a hospice. I worry about them as a mom, but also for the medical community they work in as you do. You are the best… thank you for your skills and dedication to helping others. Thinking and praying for all. XOXO

  13. Yours is is such a generous offer – and it’s wonderful that you have drawn so many people to you – it’s like a special supportive club. You will make such a difference for so many people sheltering in place with plenty of time on their hands. I have many small projects to finish and it’s a gift of time to do all of the things I have been letting slide. I know that there are others with the same backlog of projects. You’re going to be busier than you imagine. BTW, I just learned that Etsy sellers have high end decorator fabrics in small amounts for reduced prices, even furniture hardware. So, there’s no need to go out of the house to get what we need! We can all stay home, stay happy and busy and learn from the ideas and projects that come out of it. Hope they let you share them with us as part of Diane’s Club.
    PS I love opening your blog to the gorgeous view of the lake from your yard – how fortunate you are to have found it.

    1. Hi Catpainter – Thank you for the nice note. It means a lot to me that I can help others, especially now. Great tip about shopping at Etsy for quality supplies and decorating items. They do have a wide variety of items from ribbon by the yard to knobs and more. I will include your tip in my next Style Scouting post. Stay well – stay safe.

  14. Healthy hugs from Fresno, CA. Your grand daughter Did is absolutely adorable. Just think how wonderful your family reunion will be once this nightmare is over. Keep hope and faith my dear….

    1. Hi Sally – So happy to hear you are doing OK in California. When families can reunite that are apart it is going to be the most wonderful occasion for all of us. Hope you and Steve are finding ways to make the most out of your time at home. Any news from Viking about your planned trip in the fall?

  15. I’ve been doing exercise videos online also and I’m thinking I like it better than the gym. We’ll see. Anyway, I do have a question. We may be getting new kitchen countertops sometime and I was wondering if it would look strange to make one section out of butcher block. It’s where the microwave and mixer are so it’s not near water. I thought it would be less expensive than getting the nicer counters on the entire kitchen and kind of change the look also. It’s a 9 ft section on the opposite side from food prep. Thanks much and take care.

    1. Hi PJ – Using different counter surfaces in a kitchen is a good thing. It adds interest and focus on the different work areas of the kitchen. It is actually a purposeful design detail to add. In most new kitchens being designed today, they all have both wood and stone or wood and laminate on the countertops. Maybe the island is wood and the other counters stone or laminate.

      In your case, having a butcher block area in the 9ft section would create a nice break in the length and give you a perfect work area. To balance the one section of butcher block, add a few other wood touches to the kitchen in the way of wood cutting boards leaning on the non butcher block section or wood spoons in a crock placed in other sections of the kitchen. Doing this will make the kitchen surfaces and colors look cohesive.

      1. Thank you so much for your input and the way you described it, I can envision how it will look.
        That Zoe is so cute and no wonder you miss her. Love her hat too.

  16. This is such a loving gesture. Readers should know though that workers at home improvement stores and their families are reminding shoppers, they are open for necessities only. They want to be safe too during the crisis and shoppers looking for diversion are putting them at risk. It is as irresponsible as spring breakers at the beach and at bars. The government is spending trillions so we can stay home and limit the deaths and spread.

    1. Hi Carol – You are right and I think home improvement stores may have to close or limit hours or put something in place to lessen contact and spread. I worry about the grocery store workers, too. I have been ordering the few things I need online, but even with this, delivery drivers are out and about and touching the packages. I have been wiping everything down with bleach that comes in the mail. It may seem extreme, but the whole situation is something none of us has ever had to deal with. Best to just stay home and use the time to use what we have to make, create and keep us occupied.

  17. Thank you for giving of your time and talents. We each have unique skills that can be of help to others! Bless you!

  18. Hi Diane,
    What lovely pictures of the lake you included in your post, but none compare to the one of your precious grand daughter. Thanks for posting and keeping your readers up to date on her special year. I use so many of your ideas and appreciate your blog. Take care and stay safe.

    1. Hi Nancy – The picture of my granddaughter is making my week. I have it set as the background on my phone so I can see it with a click. :-) Thanks for reading my blog. I hope after all this is over that I can keep inspiring readers to live and DIY in their own style. XO

  19. What a wonderfully surprising, thoughtful, and generous post… I am actually pretty used to your generosity in sharing ideas, expertise, and DIY project how-tos and have always appreciated your helpful posts, Diane. This latest offer to answer any questions readers have of you goes above and way beyond! Thank you for your example of team spirit as we fight this pandemic and it’s many impacts together. I am encouraged by so many acts of giving, kindness, and caring – I appreciate the one that you have provided through your blog. And I’m sure I’m gonna come up with a great question that I’ve always wanted you to answer !!! More soon. ❤️