Francis in Philly: Biking to see the Pope


Pope Francis arrived in Philadelphia this past weekend for the World Meeting of Families. For security reasons, a good portion of Center City was closed off to cars. A limited number of train stations were open with very reduced train schedules. So after getting some tickets to Sunday’s Papal Mass, my family decided to bike in!

We hit a few road blocks, hills and some rough terrain along the Wissahickon Trail.

Tree down along the trail.
Tree down along the trail.

But when it opened up, it was kind of surreal riding  empty streets heading into Philadelphia!



Traffic was blocked off by National Guard
Traffic was blocked off by National Guard





Lunch under one of the murals done by Philly Mural Arts Program.
Lunch under one of the murals done by Philly Mural Arts Program.


A friend, Eddie and his wife, Kristen, offered to store our bikes in the courtyard of their brownstone.
A friend, Eddie and his wife, Kristen, offered to store our bikes in the courtyard of their brownstone.


"Pope-up" instead of pop-up Beer garden.
“Pope-up” instead of pop-up Beer garden.


National Guardsman passing the time...
National Guardsman passing the time…






We left a lot of time to get through security.
We left a lot of time to get through security.


Enough extra time to fit in a nap!
Enough extra time to fit in a nap!


The Mass was beautiful and people were very reverent.
The Mass was beautiful and people were very reverent.


However, the lines for communion were another story.
Distribution of communion gets a bit crazy with close to a million people lining up.

It was quite a day, one we will always remember!

Whew! Made it to the car before it got too dark!
Whew! Made it to the car before it got too dark!


Decorating inspiration can come from anywhere –even a Papal visit!  After all, the root of the word inspiration is spirit and I call on the Holy Spirit daily, for my creative ideas. Pope Francis talked a lot of preserving our earth, God’s creation and about his concerns that we are a “throw-away society.” He said “We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it.” Repurposing old items for new functions is worth it, not only because we create something beautiful, but because it’s saving something that might have otherwise ended up in a landfill.

So here I thought I’d rouse your creativity with images of church-inspired decorating!


This old church pew offers extra seating in my dining room.

church-conversion_060815_07Beautiful stained glass windows and soaring beams in a modern kitchen.


Stained glass arched window in a serene bathroom.

122013_ALISONWESTLAKE_XMAS0812-550x739-copySimple arched window in a sweet white kitchen.

kitchen bicycle converted church home cococozy design filesLove these arched doorways!

secret bath tub double doors converted church home cococozy design files

93a5eb08acd208f083e5a5eeb9e1c95bChurch pew entry seating

IMG_6606WMWhite painted pew pulled up to the kitchen table

faa3cc0c804e60cae875cfdf6e13b2b0Extra seating or storage in the bedroom

handcrafted-antique-pine-farm-table-mPorch pew seating at a rustic table


A colorful pew with additional storage below.

That’s the end of my sermon. Go out and be inspired or be inspiring! Take care of each other and the earth!



Happy Labor Day!

This is my collection of summer decor that sits on top of my cabinets and boot bench in our entryway. It works for the beginning of the summer–4th of July, to the end of the summer–Labor Day. The pieces are a collection of trash picks ( the America sign),
IMG_4937thrift shop finds (the beach sign), salvaged (an Amish-made star from wood lathe), and original artwork. The hand made boat came from a student, we just hosted from Yap ( an island in Micronesia) who stayed with us until we moved her into her dorm at St Joseph University last month.IMG_4935 The small Cape May rowboat painting was one I did years ago while on our yearly vacation at the shore. The flag painting were ones that my daughter has done over the years. But the star fish painting is a new addition. While at Cape May this summer, she had an opportunity to take a painting class with the artist in residence, Carol King Hood, at the Willow Creek Winery. ( If you ever vacation in  Cape May, NJ, it’s a great place to stop for wine tasting, a tour or check out the many events that the winery has scheduled.)
imageYou see, you can add  a seasonal flavor to your home with items you have, your kids art and even stuff you pick up on the side of the road!  Now let your mind wander to turning leaves, pumpkins, hay rides. Get inspired by shop window displays or get lost in Pinterest. Then begin looking around your house, or outside, for items you may already have to create  your fall decor.  Happy hunting!IMG_4944

Enjoy your Labor Day off!


It’s Just been a Peachy August!

A few years ago we planted a small peach tree as part of our efforts to “live off the land” ( or at least do a little food shopping i n our own backyard). Well this summer the tree took off and began producing an abundance of peaches! I prayed that they would ripen to be juicy and sweet and not just food for the birds and squirrels.


I’m pleased to say that my prayers were answered…seven-fold!



We’ve been happily  picking peaches through most of August. Here’s my daughter, Maura, picking with a bag over her hand. When you grow organically there may be a bug or a spider here and there!


Here’s my husband hiding.


… picking …. and picking









I’ve made peach cobbler for a family barbeque, peach upside-down cake for dessert for an end of summer dinner with friends as well as peach smoothies for my daughter after her wisdom teeth were taken out. Each day we have cut up peaches over cereal and over vanilla yogurt. This week I think I’ll try a recipe that calls for grilled peaches! Friends and neighbors have also shared in our abundance.

The few little ones that were left on the tree have now been gobbled up by the squirrels. The remains of their feasts are all around our yard. Who knows, maybe another peach tree will pot up in our future!

Because my mind always drifts back to decorating, I started thinking about the color peach. When I was first married ( here I am dating myself), peach and seafoam green were the hot colors. Peach has come a long way since the late 80’s!

I love the soft peach back drop in this mostly monochromatic living room.


Peach can be very calming and sophisticated when matched with grey-blues.


A touch of peach, here in a dramatic mirror, goes a long way.


Talk about eye-catching… love this combination.


Peach floral is a nice way to bring some of mother nature inside.





Like peach season, summer is starting to wind down. My daughter starts school tomorrow and fall will be here before we know it. Thankfully, peach season and summer will return again next year!



It’s been peachy,




Welcome to My Folksy Home’s Blog!

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I love what I do! Sometimes I can’t believe I get paid to do what I love…thrift shopping, painting vintage furniture in fun colors, spending an afternoon at my sewing machine, looking for the perfect color for a client’s room… For the longest time I’ve been asked, “Fran, why don’t write a blog, detailing all the interesting ( and crazy) projects  that you’re always doing?” The problem is I’d rather being DOING the projects instead of writing about them. So setting up this website/blog and writing my story took time and work and ALOT of it!

Writing the stories about my journey and the process of remodeling my home forced me to think about that time, some of which was very difficult. What was tougher was the technical parts of setting up a blog and then choosing from so many cool templates…then so many font choices…. Any way I finally made it! It’s going to require some further tweaking, but as you can see I’m pulling out my hair. So it’s finally time to bite the bullet and just hit “publish.”

I need to go back to something more calming … like sanding a sideboard or rearranging furniture.