Friends, Gifts and a Gift to Ourselves

We’re watching snow fall, waiting for the big wallop of a storm that is going to hit us later today and into tomorrow. All sorts of warnings, wind chills of 20 – 30 below zero expected, blizzard-like conditions overnight.

Oh boy.

I had a sleepless night. Why, I don’t know. Just one of those things that happens occasionally.


Thank you, Scout. You’ve managed to capture the exact way I feel this morning.

Our friends, Tina and Noble, stopped by yesterday afternoon. Tina made the lamb costume and party hats for Scout and is immensely talented in all sorts of ways and Noble is a colleague of mine, a wonderful actor who I’ve worked with at Hartford Stage twice now. We had such a lovely time with them.

Tina, who is the one of the most thoughtful and loving people I know, brought gifts.


A beautiful piece of vintage Pfaltzgraff pottery. I love this design and the color of the glaze.


And this beautiful aqua pitcher, filled with flowers. I’m thinking Tina knows my favorite colors.

I was completely surprised by these lovely gifts. Thank you, dear Tina.

Tina brought two more items that won’t be revealed until Sunday. You’ll have to wait.

In other news, and this item is a biggie for us, we bought a new bed! We have a list of things that need to be fixed and/or taken care of around here. It’s sort of a Wish/Must Be Done List, which we’ve written on the kitchen blackboard. One of those wishes has become a necessity and that’s a new bed. We’ve had our queen-sized bed for almost 18 years. It’s been uncomfortable for about 5 years now and we wake up with sore hips, sore backs, sore everything. Plus, it’s too gosh-darned small for the two of us. Don is almost 6′5″ – I am just under 5′9″ –  Don’s feet touch the very end of the mattress and I constantly complain about being pushed to the edge of my side of the bed.

We have a small bedroom. But, I think we can rearrange things to accommodate a California King-sized mattress. It will take some creative thinking, but we really need a bigger bed. King-sized won’t do it, because the length of the bed is the same as a queen. But a California King is four inches longer, so that’s the ticket for us. And it’s not as wide as a king, but it is 12 inches wider than a queen, that’s 6 for me and 6 for Don.

That means we have to buy a new bed frame and linens and a headboard, a necessity because of the slanted walls. We went back and forth on this purchase but, in the end, we realized that the quality of our sleep is important and that the investment will pay off over time. It will probably arrive towards the end of the month. Good luck to the guys who have to get it up the stairs. I’ll have to clear a lot of things out of the hallway studio before the delivery – as always in a small house, space is at a premium, including the space in which to maneuver a mattress.

Cannot wait.

Happy Thursday.


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  1. says

    I hope they can get that big bed into your bedroom. Check Garnet Hill for bedding. The quality is wonderful and lasts for years. My sheets are over 5 years old from there and look and feel the same as the day I purchased them. Love the name “Noble” what a terrific name to have, and your pottery gifts look just like you :)

    • Claudia says

      I just bought a king size coverlet from Garnet Hill, Dawn. It was on sale for one day only, yesterday. We’re going to have to move everything out of my ‘studio’ so that the delivery guys can maneuver the mattress, but it will be worth it!

  2. Janet says

    My husband says we are soon in the market for a mattress too. I think ours is 12 years old. Soon, very soon.
    I absolutely LOVE the aqua pitcher. So very beautiful!
    We are waiting for the big storm too although we have had snow all morning it is not the big storm just yet. I love to take a picture of the beauty the snow makes. Enjoy it! Stay safe!!

    • Claudia says

      Same here. We have snow, but apparently the big part of the storm is coming later in the day. Stay safe, Janet.

  3. Tina says

    Noble and I had the best time visiting with you, Don and Scout yesterday. Charming is the perfect word to describe your home and yourselves. I think anyone who would walk through your doors would feel instantly at home. Scout was the perfect hostess even though she “taste-tested” my biscotti. She wanted to make sure it was up to her discriminating standards. So glad you enjoyed the gifts. Small payback for the gifts you give all of us each day in your blog as you share your wisdom and special view of the world and your enchanted cottage. I had to return to work after 2 weeks off and it ain’t pretty. Lots of folks stayed home in anticipation of the storm. When Noble drove me to the train station this morning, it was starting to come down heavily but in Manhattan, nary a flake. I hope the predictions are just hype and we will not be buried in snow when I return from work tonight. Hope everyone out there is safe and warm tonight!

    • Claudia says

      That was so unlike Scout, at least our older version of Scout! We were shocked. That little minx!
      Stay safe, Tina – I’m so sorry you had to go back in to work today of all days! Only two days this week, which must help a wee bit.

  4. Sue says

    That is great news about the new mattress. We had our double mattress for 35 years. I finally took my husband shopping and wore him down. He was just glad to escape the stores. We bought a queen size and new frame. The delivery guys could not get the foundation frame up our old curving stairs and had to go back to the store and get two small foundation frames. The mattress curved so it made it up and around the stairs. Good luck with the installation.

    • Claudia says

      We had to get a split box spring for our queen, too, when we first moved out east. The stairway was enclosed and too narrow for a regular box spring. The California King automatically comes with a split box spring, so that will be a big help.

  5. Donnamae says

    You know…a comfy bed is always a good thing! Wasn’t trying to channel Martha or anything! I think you are going to love the king….so much more room. Beautiful pot and pitcher…especially with the flowers! Enjoy the snow! Too bad it has to be accompanied with the bitter cold….that’s what we’re having! 😉

    • Claudia says

      Bitter cold here, too, Donna. We have keep the taps dripping and watch for any freezing pipes!

  6. says

    Your friends are so generous to give you such lovely gifts, the colors are perfect to brighten up these snowstorm days.
    I remember you writing about your bed, how uncomfortable it was…and am glad to hear that you are getting a new one. Yes, it’s a great investment, hopefully no more sleepless nights. A California King sounds delightful…I’m over 6 feet tall, so I can sympathize with your husband.


  7. says

    A new mattress is on the not-so-distant horizon for us, too. I had never heard of a California king sized bed. Seems like a great option for tall people. And the benefits of a good night’s sleep on a supportive and comfy mattress seem to increase as we get older, I find.
    The colour of the vase Tina gave you is so very pretty.

  8. says

    I got a brand new mattress a couple of years ago and what a difference it makes in my sleep! So glad you are doing this. As we get older I think sleep is harder and being comfortable is so important. Love the planter and the pitcher, isn’t it wonderful when friends get your taste! Its rainy and going to be so cold later so I have errands I best run soon! Hugs, Linda

  9. Nancy in PA says

    Feng shui principles include something about putting a red cloth over split box springs. I’ll see if I can find it.

  10. Nancy in PA says

    Claudia, here is a summary, if you’re interested….

    A mattress size that is comfortable in length and width is important. And as nice as they are, King Size mattresses can present a challenge as they are usually sitting on top of two twin sized box springs, effectively creating two separate beds and energetically separating partners. Cure this by placing a solid red sheet between the mattress and the box-springs so that the two twin box springs effectively become one.
    I found this paragraph on fengshuilifemapping The heading on the page is “The Right Side of the Bed.”

    • Claudia says

      It won’t be red, but I’ll have a bedskirt over the split, which is what we’ve had on our current bed, which has a split box spring. It will have to do!

  11. LuvWheaties says

    I’ve had a Cal King for many years, and you will love it. I bought a new mattress set a few years ago, and it is the best gift I ever gave myself. Bed linens are pricier, but if you shop the sales, it is doable. I have found that I like the Rachel Ashwell Simply Shabby Chic 100 percent cotton sheets, and they are reasonably priced at Target. I sleep hot, and these stay cool, which helps me sleep comfortably. After sleeping on an old mattress set that was way past its prime, it is such a treat to have a comfy bed again!

  12. says

    Claudia- I am just getting back to blogging after a short Christmas break. Good for you for springing for a bed (no pun intended-okay-maybe a little pun intended) If you have a TJMaxx close by there are always real deals on California queen bedding. There are not many of them around so they are heavily discounted. If you have to buy on the open market that bedding can be pricey.

    Blessings to you and Don in the New Year. I love the gifts Tina gave you- they are perfect. She knows you well- xo Diana

  13. says

    Sorry that I am sending all the snow your way. It finally just now stopped here after 2 continuous days. Roads are still horrible from what I hear, so I’m staying in. Temps below zero for us tonight, too. I remember you talking about your old mattress before. So happy to hear that you are finally getting a new one – 18 years is definitely too long to wait for a new one, though I know you didn’t have a choice. The CA king may take up your entire bedroom, but with you and Don being so tall, I think you’ll love it. And you will sleep and feel so much better! Our mattress is only about 8 years old, but it’s already wearing out as far as there being “divots” where we both sleep. What I hate about most mattresses now is that they’re not flippable. You can only turn them. Love the flowers and vases your friends gave to you – so kind of them, and just the cheer one needs on these cold, gloomy days.

    • Claudia says

      Yes, this won’t be flippable because it’s a pillow top. But, that’s okay. I hardly ever remembered to flip our current mattress!

  14. says

    I bet that new mattress is going to make you both feel so much better when you get up in the mornings. It is amazing the difference it can make.

  15. Kim says

    Congrats on the new bed Claudia. LuvWheaties mentioned Rachel Ashwell sheets, and I have to agree that the ones I bought a few years ago do feel cooler, in fact a little chilly for me in the winter! In the summer I love them though, so if you run hot they could be a good choice. The vintage vibe is a definite plus. Stay cozy!

    • Claudia says

      I’m all for a little chilly in the winter! I run hot. Don won’t like it, but he’ll have to get used to it!

  16. Addie from California says

    Happy New Year!!!!!
    Oh, that picture of Scout is ssssoooo cute!!!!…(it’s how I feel too!!!)
    That is exciting about the new bed…but here’s something to consider. Older homes staircases didn’t plan for king wide box springs to make the curve up the stairs. There is no way to bend a box spring!!! When we got ours, we didn’t know that it couldn’t possibly fit the staircase “turn”. We had to send it back (after excitingly waiting for it) and pick out a model that came with the 2 split box springs units!!!! When our neighbors got their new bed, the stair case was sooo tight they couldn’t even fit the mattress & the box springs up the stairs!!!! They ended up getting a new roof (sooner then planned) and had the roofers drop it in from the top!!!! Luckily it was the summertime!!!!!!
    Good luck to you!!!! I know how when you are waiting for something to solve a problem and it makes more new problems can be!!!!

    • Claudia says

      Thanks Addie. We already know about split box springs as we had to get them for our current bed when we moved into our first rental out here. California Kings automatically come with a split box spring. Our staircase is fairly open, and the movers had no trouble getting our queen size mattress up there, so I don’t expect them to have any trouble with this one. It may take some creative maneuvering, but they’ll be able to do it. Plus, we’ll clear anything out that might be in the way.

  17. Nancy Blue Moon says

    A new springs and mattress sounds wonderful start the new year a little more comfy!! Enjoy!

  18. says

    Good luck with that big bed in your normal sized bedroom…Our king size bed makes our bedroom look like wall to wall bed. It really doesn’t matter to me…because we have never slept better than we do now. We have a memory foam thingy to put on top of the pillow top mattress…I feel like a queen in this bed. Now we have Malden Mills polar fleece sheets…be still my heart!
    Sweet dreams to you two…

    • Claudia says

      It won’t bother me, either. I’ve measured and measured again, and it will work. We have a pillow top and if that’s not comfy enough, we’ll add some memory foam.

  19. gayle says

    we just got a new foam memory mattress from costco. no more sore hips or backs. we died when the mattress came in a smallish box. we opened it up and within a short time it was a mattress! we love it.

  20. gayle says

    oh, and I found very good quality sheets at T J. . Maxx at a great price. they are wrinkle free and silky feeling!

  21. Janet in Rochester says

    Oooh – new furniture! Can wait to see what you choose, not to mention won’t it be nice to have better support and more space? You’ll be loving it. Permit me to make a recommendation… In my early teaching days I also worked in the bridal registry of a department store in Rochester, and we were very well-trained by the buyers in all the various departments. I learned SO much useful information there – information I still use everyday. One thing that has always held true is this. Always get the very best linens you can afford, even if that means limiting things to a minimum of 2 sets for a while. Cheaper never means quality when it comes to linens. And PS, if you like flannel, I can even give you a number. Always buy 6-ounce or better. Anything less will lint and pill BIG time. Hope this is helpful…

    • Claudia says

      Thanks so much, Janet! I don’t use flannel because I tend to run hot, but I will do my best to find good quality sheets, preferably cotton!

  22. says

    Hope you love your new mattress..I had to leave my King when I moved..I really miss it but no room..Mollie always sleeps in the middle of whatever sized mattress I have and Max takes a third of the top..I sleep around them..,,Snow and single digit temps…A mattress and down comforter sound perfect..

  23. says

    A quick comment: Here in Canada, California king-sized sheets are impossible to find and expensive to have sent…. I hope you have an easy time of it! Happy New Year!

  24. says

    So glad you got to visit with your friends and, what lovely gifts they brought for you. They do know you quite well. :-)

    The Husband and I also desperately need a new mattress. Ours is 14 years old. We have been researching our options. I can’t wait to hear your experience!

    Happy New Year!

  25. Tana says

    When one of my sons was just out of college he was delivering furniture. One day he was delivering a long couch to a houseboat in Seattle. Upstairs. Not just any stairs. A spiral staircase. Tell your movers that one when they get there. It could be worse.

    • Claudia says

      We’re warm, Elaine. We just finished shoveling, so we’re rather tired, but it’s all done!

  26. says

    What nice friends you have, Claudia. I hope your bed helps the quality of your sleep. I’m getting a new bed too, via slightly different means. I had lung surgery on Dec. 18th and was released from the hospital on Christmas Day (best Christmas ever!) and I’ve been trying to sleep in a cushy recliner until I got something to help me get in and out of my low, soft bed. But nothing came from my home health people. As a result, I pulled a muscle or something trying to get out of the recliner and up back in the hospital. I’m home again and safely ensconced in firm wingback chair waiting for the adjustable hospital bed that will be delivered today!

    • Claudia says

      Marianne, I’ve been wondering about you. I’m so glad you’re home! But I’ll be even happier for you when you have the hospital bed and when you’re able to get back on your feet again!

    • Claudia says

      Aw! Tell Hazel that Scout’s birthday is on Sunday. I’ll have some more pictures of her then!

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