Memories Uncorked & A DIY Cork Monogram

They tell you to keep blog posts short and use lots of pictures because people scroll and click through quickly and have short attention spans.  Usually I try to do that but this one's a little longer and if you want to jump ahead to the DIY portion of our program, I'm OK with that.  Or you could grab a cold drink and take a moment to read what I hope conveys a moment in a lifetime of moments.

Last weekend we took a trip to Sonoma for John’s college fraternity reunion.  He was looking forward to seeing these guys who were so much a part of his coming of age with a mixture of emotions and a little bit of “God, I hope I recognize them.”  It had been 35 years since seeing many of the 20-25 fraternity brothers that were slated to be there. 

1.    fra·ter·ni·ty

noun: fraternity; plural noun: fraternities

1.    1. a group of people sharing a common profession or interests.

2.    2. the state or feeling of friendship and mutual support within a group.

As we turned off the highway and headed down a winding gravel road to our destination, we marveled at the acres of vineyards and the beauty of the early evening.  It was a perfect setting to renew this brotherhood who met as boys and were now men with stories to tell.

We parked and walked to the open patio where several people gathered in small groups, a table and easel set up with pictures definitely showcasing 70’s style and hair and lots of it.  Greetings echoed and introductions were made.  Some were instantly recognizable and some took a little nudge to the memory after three decades but the handshakes and hugs were genuine and heartfelt.  Conversations swirled like the wine in our glasses;  introductions of significant others, kids and grandkids information exchanged,  and where are you living now?

When dinner was announced, we made our way down the tunnel to the wine cave,  set with beautiful tables, softly lit and surrounded by wine barrels. 

God…is this heaven? 

As dinner was being served, our hosts Fred and Nancy Cline of Cline Cellars welcomed everyone.  Fred then asked that all his fellow AGR’s stand up at each table to tell a little about their life in the present and a favorite memory from their frat house on the UC Davis campus.  Since the wine had been flowing for a couple of hours by now, this was both heartwarming as some shared that had it not been for the support of the fraternity and the men in this wine cave, they most certainly would not have finished college.  Some were hilarious as escapades were revealed, one in particular involved dropping pledges off in San Francisco wearing lingerie and cowboy boots to stand on a corner for the night, only to be picked up in the morning; of having to do dinner dishes for time (3 mins.) as pledges or face the consequences and walking away from rolling a van that may or may not have included alcohol consumption and did not include seatbelts. 

The years melted away as the stories flowed more freely.  It was a joy to observe.  The origin of this reunion was due to a  diagnosis for one of their own.  He is battling Stage IV Melanoma and wanted to see all of these guys that had been such a meaningful part of his life.  The positive, healing energy that was sent his way just added to this once in a lifetime evening.  These men walked in with their memories of that time in the 70's but left with a renewed connection and appreciation for the brotherhood their shared.

  I know it will not be another thirty years before they plan the next get together.

                                   A little older and well maybe

                                   A little older and well maybe

DIY Cork Monogram

Now you may know that we drink a little bit of wine around here...and where there's wine bottles, there are corks.  Well usually, unless they're screw caps and I'm not passing judgement, I just haven't figured out a DIY for them.  So I've seen lots of monogram projects on Pinterest that involve wrapping jute around a letter, which are really cute but I've got lots of corks and we are slowly turning our never used Living Room into a wine bar area so a cork monogram it is.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Corks
  • Hot Glue Gun and Glue
  • Chipboard or Wood Letter
  • A knife or box cutter

I started by cutting the corks in half.  I wanted them to stick out but not the full length of the cork.  You can create color interest by using the wine stained ends in with the normal cork color.

Then you just start gluing them to your letter. 

                                         This glue gun has seen many a project...

                                         This glue gun has seen many a project...

Many wineries have cool logos and sayings on the side of the cork.  These I laid on their side to showcase.

I also cut the corks in thirds and slivers as needed to fit edges and fill in holes.

   It'll be just between us if you happen to be drinking a glass of wine while doing this project

   It'll be just between us if you happen to be drinking a glass of wine while doing this project

Ta Da...depending on if you are going to hang it or have it sit on your wine bar, you can hot glue one of those zig zag picture hangers to the back. 

Thank you for letting me share this moment with you and let me know if you have any cork projects you've created.  I need to go check out Pinterest now for screw top projects.

IKEA + Target = Rescuing My Countertops

You know when you see something and you know it will be useful...somewhere, sometime, somehow?  That was my thought when I saw the Fintorp at IKEA on my last visit.  So I bought a couple.  Plus some of the cute little thingamabobs to go with it.  Also, did you know that some of the IKEA names are not even Swedish...sometimes they're Estonian or Klingon or just plain made up.  Doesn't make me love them any less, just um interesting.

So they sat around

For awhile in their boxes

Have a told you that I hate my white tile kitchen countertops?  Yep, I do.  In our previous home, we had Corian counters, which are solid surface and about as low maintenance as you can get.  Our new home came with white tile countertops, with grout and shows every little thing and they will be replaced eventually but we have other projects that are jumping up and down, saying "me first."

Oh, and a daughter who is heading to college in August.

So white tile it is.

But what if I could make the area above the countertops look better?  Distract me from my dislike.  Enter IKEA's Fintorp and a new wooden tray and utensil holder from Target to keep me away from a sledge hammer. 


                                         No dimming here...

                                         No dimming here...

I rescued the IKEA boxes from their dust gathering spot and got to work.  Plus I got to use my power tools.  These little metal bars offer a great secondary storage solution, get stuff off your counter and are cute too.  The Fintorp , I  love that word that probably isn't a real word,  comes in two or three different styles with all kinds of accessories to hang from the "S" hooks.  Case in point, the little wire basket above and below and the enamel white bucket with the fake plant that is very low maintenance.

                                Look at my fancy salt hanging out...

                                Look at my fancy salt hanging out...

You'll want to try and install these into a wall stud if possible so they won't go anywhere.

Here's the second one I installed,  that is next to the stove.  I used the new wooden tray from Target to corral the oil, vinegar and salt collection that seems to grow on a consistent basis.  Looks so much better...



and that is good news for the white countertops!

Thanks for stopping by,

Loving Today...Mexican Artisan Glassware

Found this beautiful glassware here via Wisteria, so in honor of Cinco de Mayo, thought I would share.  The colors are stunning and perfect for summer!



How beautiful would these look on a bar cart or an open shelf?  Great for lemon water, cocktails and wine of course.

How beautiful would these look on a bar cart or an open shelf?  Great for lemon water, cocktails and wine of course.

Good Mexican food tonight for our families version of this made up holiday...not that we need an excuse since it's a favorite.  How about you? Tacos and beer/margaritas tonight?

Ten Years of Following My Passion and Special Offer!

Its hard to believe that ten years ago this month I was finishing up my degree for Interior Design and embarking on this journey.  It has been hard work, late nights on job sites and at the computer but I wouldn't change it...because I love it.  I never thought when we returned to California that I would follow my passion for interior design.  Like a lot of life changing choices, it took a conversation with a good friend for me to see the possibility of pursuing that dream.  I love creating rooms that make people happy. 

I started out working three years for a flooring design company.  I learned so much about materials and how to use them for both commercial and residential projects.  I took that leap of faith and started Michele Beatty Interior Design and learned a lot about the business of design...sometimes the hard way but that's how you grow.

In 2011, I joined forces with my good friend Linda Porhat.  We had met in the Design Program and done a couple of projects together.  She brought her passion and creativity for Event Décor and we created Elements of Chic Interior Design and Event Décor.  We have done everything from party décor to high rise luxury condominium models! 

I love interior design because I never stop learning.  There are always new materials, new formulas and new trends.  Every project brings its own unique challenges and triumphs!

Linda decided to retire from Elements of Chic but has still helped me out with some holiday décor and will be there if I need her creative way of looking at things.  I have continued Elements of Chic but have returned to doing just the interior design portion.  That being said, I find it hard to resist decorating for special events too!

So now for the good part...the Special Offer part.  It's perfect that it's TBT because I am offering for a limited time...

60 minutes of Design Consultation

for $50.

That is the hourly rate I charged when I first started, that is at least half off.  So if you need help choosing a paint color, arranging furniture, hanging art, selecting flooring or countertops, maybe just help picking out pillows and accessories, now is your chance!  This will be for a limited time so don't wait to give your home a little love.

Call me or email me to set up your consultation!

(209)606-7518 or

Elementally yours,

Pinspiration Monday - Spring is Blooming

All the almond orchards in our area have been putting on a show these past two weeks and are making way for the peach and cherry trees.  I wish we could let the world know how beautiful it is here and share some positive love for the Central Valley, instead of all the negative...cue heavy sigh.

I found a bright spot today though.  I received my little Pier 1 catalog the other day and had to check out all the cute, new Spring and Easter items.  Some cute little eggs may have found their way into my hot little hands but...

Put them down Michele...walk away!

I knew I needed to check what I have in my stash at home because I am trying to be good since our move to our new house last Fall when I donated, and sold and downsized and told myself that I don't need all this Stuff!  But I digress...let me show you the cutest vignette they had set up in Pier 1 and that became my Pinspiration for today.  So let Spring be sprung!

                                                     It's beginning to look a lot like Spring

                                                     It's beginning to look a lot like Spring

Oh, and I'm pretty sure I'll be going back to Pier know, just to look.  (wink wink) 

Are you ready for Spring yet?  My guess is if you live on the East Coast, that's a big he$$ Yes!



Pinspiration Monday

So this is the week of all things hearts and cupids.  All the ads in yesterdays paper were pink.  I don't generally go crazy with decorating for Valentine's Day but I do like to do our mantel and I do enjoy a little chocolate and bubbly on this holiday,  that may or may not have been made up. It is however,  a great excuse to spread a little more love around and can't we all just get on board more of that in the world.  I love this Pinspiration from Hymns and Verses.  It's clean and simple and not too sweet...the red just pops against all the white. Oh and I'm a documented sucker for cake stands so this is a no brainer for todays pick.

                                      Love the tassel garland...

                                      Love the tassel garland...

All you need is love, love. Love is all you need!
— The Beatles

Do you do any V Day decorating...maybe just a wreath on the door?

Elementally Yours,

Valentines DIY - $3 Wooden Hearts From Target


You know that $ section of Target when you first walk in their calls to me every time I walk in.  You may have seen my Instagram pic last week in which I showed my Valentines haul from that very section.  They had the cutest tags, bags and these wood hearts that were only $3.  Score!  A bargain is not a bargain unless you use it though right?  So here is what I did with the wood hearts.

I absolutely love CeCe Caldwell Paints...they provide good coverage and have a lot of pigment so the color is lovely.  I purchase mine at Unique Boutique on Bangs Rd. in Modesto. 

So there you have easy afternoon project for just a little moola.  Hope you're inspired to get in the Valentine mood.  Got a couple more projects in the works so check back!

Elementally Yours,

Strung Out...New Way to Use String Lights

Just when you thought you had packed away your Christmas lights, here are some really cute ideas for hanging your lights in a new and creative way that I want to share via Apartment Therapy.  I love the strings using the Edison light bulbs, so this fun idea might just be making an appearance at the Beatty Bungalow!


                    Love this on the mirror but so would my dog and cat! This is a fun idea for kids and teen rooms...oh the possibilities. Elementally Yours, Michele  

                    Love this on the mirror but so would my dog and cat!

This is a fun idea for kids and teen rooms...oh the possibilities.

Elementally Yours,



Favorite Things Day 2 - Christmas Shopping with My Husband

🎶the shopping can't wait

            🎶baby it's cold outside

🎶let's go right a way

        🎶baby it's cold outside

It won't take that long

     🎶No parking to be had outside

This morning has been

🎶 This morning has been

🎶Was hoping to maybe sleep in

🎶So very Nice...

We did a good portion of our Christmas shopping this past Saturday morning. With the practice of thirty years of Christmas shopping, hats on, and Starbucks stop, we hit the mall.  Can I just tell you that there was no one out that early. It was awesome. We walked and talked, just the two of us, choosing things we carefully considered. The best part...we were home by noon and didn't have to deal with crazy Black Friday stuff and still got some good deals.  Now just need the elves to show up for the wrapping party. 



These Are A Few of My Favorite Things...Christmas Music

Only ten days left til I the only one who thinks that we just celebrated Valentine's Day?  This year has flown by and whether you're savoring memories from these last months or ready to kick 2014 to the curb, I always enjoy this time of year.  I love to get my Christmas on, from decorating to baking and hanging out with friends with some wine and cheese or bunco dice and crazy sweaters.  I was making a little list in my head and checking it twice (mostly because I kept forgetting what was on the list) and Christmas music came to mind right away.  Not because you can't escape from it but because it plays a part of our holiday story.

Decorating just does not happen without a little help from Karen and Richard Carpenter around here.  Our CD has been worn down and scratched but that's the beauty of iTunes.  Once we've listened to them having a merry little Christmas then anything else is fair game.  Our library is quite eclectic from Manhatten Transfer (yes, they are a vocal jazz group) to Mariah Carey, James Taylor, One Republic, Country Christmas, Celtic Christmas, and some classics from Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby.  It spans generations and genres and I love it!

Throw in iTunes and Pandora and the possibilities are endless.

It is also the way we honor Jesus' birth with our voices and there are so many beautiful sacred songs to sing.  Silent Night in a softly lit church on Christmas Eve gets me every time.

So how about you?  What are your favorites that go with your traditions? Or...what song would you rather not hear ever, ever again?  I personally don't care that grandma got run over by a reindeer, seriously!

Merrily singing,



Moon Over Cabernet

Did you see the moon Thursday night?  When I walked out into what is finally feeling a little like Fall, it was there waiting for me.  Big, golden and beautiful.  It followed me home, shining its light to guide me.  It was the perfect ending to a very lively winetasting theme we're pouring this weekend of Napa Cabernets Under $25.  Red wine always brings out a crowd and the lineup didn't disappoint. 

Cabernets are always a little intimidating because there is so much written and discussed about this "king of the grapes".  Luckily, Tom Bender, our Wine Steward created a tasting that  doesn't get too caught up in all that and focuses on discovering a cab that doesn't break the bank and finding a wine that we might really, really like.

This was the five wines we poured...

                                                             Thursday Night Wines...Napa Cabs Under $25

                                                             Thursday Night Wines...Napa Cabs Under $25

#1 Avalon 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon $15.99

With grapes from the Atlas Peak and Rutherford AVA's, this was a nice, soft and drinkable cab.

#2 Ca' Momi  2012 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon $15.99

This 100% Cab is one of my favorites.  It is smooth with cherry and spice flavors.  Not exactly Cab-like, which is probably why I like it!  We visited them in April and their wines are all really good.  They have a restaurant called Enoteca that serves authentic Italian food and the handmade pizza is heaven. 

#3 Educated Guess 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $17.99

This Cab is produced by Roots Run Deep Winery and pokes fun at the art vs. science process of winemaking.  Their label is a very cool graphic of the actual chemical process of making wine.  88% Cab, 8% Merlot, 2% Cab Franc and 2% Petit Verdot and aged 12 months in French and American oak.  This was probably the most polarizing wine on our tasting list...people either really liked it or not so much.

#4 Twenty Rows 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon $19.99

Twenty Rows is a family owned and operated winery in Napa.  This vintage consists of 90% Cab, 4% Petite Verdot, 4% Cab Franc and 2% Malbec.  It has a nice oak nose to it with cherry, cedar (I think of eucalyptus) and overall good flavor. 

#5 Hindsight Winery 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon $18.99

Hindsight is the result of three friends who were passionate about wine and winemaking that wanted to answer the questions of what makes Napa wines so good? And why are they so expensive?  Their goal was to produce affordable, great wine.  This wine smelled the most earthy and had hints of berry and spice.  It was probably the least favorite of the folks on Thursday night.

Overall, my winetasters loved the lineup and gave it high praise.  They lingered over their pours, with much discussion and laughter.  There is not a bad wine on the list above.  If you are looking for an approachable, affordable Cabernet to drink with dinner or on it's own, you could buy any of them.  If you are looking for a "softer" Cab, I would recommend the first two. 

I know one or two of the wines will be changed for today and tomorrow's tasting.  Prices are sale prices for the weekend at O'Briens.  Thank you Mark and Laura for your generous spirit and Happy Birthday Kim!



Introducing Elements of Chic New Website ...

I have been so excited to unveil my new's a little like giving birth.  What?  No, it's nothing like giving birth.  Yes, there was conception and maybe some growing pains as I decided what I wanted it to be, how I wanted it to look (you really don't get those options with a baby). Thank God there was no morning sickness or stretch marks, although I did have some sleepless nights thinking, planning, thinking some more.  So, it is in its infancy and I hope you like it as much as I do.

I couldn't have done it without the brilliant talents of Lucretia (Lu) Ranere of LR Designs  .  She is amazing at what she does...web design, social media guru, photographer and so much more.  I was able to tell her what was in my head and she brought it to life.  It is a work in progress, like any baby, and we will see how it grows and changes as time passes.


The main focus will still be my passion for Interior Design but my blog name has changed to Design, Wine and Other Musings because well, I like a lot of things and life is crazy and an adventure and this is my place to document this awesome, funny, frustrating ride that I am grateful every day to be on.  If you know me and you've seen my FB posts, you know that John and I have been tasting our way through wineries for almost thirty years.  Wow, did I just say that out loud?  That's a lot of fun in a barrel.  We've shared many a bottle with family and friends and for the past year now, I have been moonlighting at a local grocery store pouring wine and making friends.  This is not snobby's mostly social with an ever changing cast of characters.  It's a great way to learn more about wine without feeling like you're an idiot because you don't know a Chardonnay from a Viognier (how do you even pronounce that?) or a Cabernet from a Zinfandel. So if you are not into countertops, window treatments, DIY projects and paint colors but you're a wine drinker, then we have something to talk about.

We all have many facets to our lives from kids, to grandkids, fitness journeys and trips we've taken across town or across the world.  You may get a little of that here...oh and we just got an Australian Shepherd puppy named Sydney so you will definitely get to know her and our adventures!

So look around and I hope you will take away some great tips and observations, plus have a little fun along the way.  I would love to hear your design, wine and other musings as well!




Friday Faves...Rodeo Weekend & Rustic Glam

It's time to... um circle the wagons as this is our first experience with Rodeo Weekend in Oakdale since moving here.  It began with the Cowgirl Luncheon on Wednesday and the parade of motorhomes, horse trailers and pickups started to arrive.  I was told that it's best to just leave town, get outta Dodge so to speak but I think it will be a little interesting to see how this plays out.