Q & A Time

By Kate Riley July 31, 2009

Hello friends.  I’ve received a few emails lately asking some very intriguing questions.  Some out of left field, but that’s OK. As much as I value my privacy, I thought I might give y’all an opportunity to get to know me better. 

I’m sure many of you could care less about who I am or what makes me tick.  If that’s you, check out one of my DIY links or click on over to some of my other blogger friends.  I’m cool with that. 

But if you’re curious, go ahead and ask away. 

How did Mr. CG and I meet?  What’s the best thing about living in the Wine Country?  What was my worst remodeling mistake?  How does a lawyer choose to go from glamorous pumps and pearls to the very unglamorous spitup and sweats?   How many elves live in my house and actually do my projects for me?

If I get less than 5 comments/questions, I think I’ll shut the blog down completely.  I’m kidding!  I love this blog.  It keeps me sane. 

So go ahead and ask me something.  Anything.  Within reason of course.


  1. Wow. I have no idea what to ask, but I like the question about your "leaving" the legal profession and working from home. So how did that come to be?

    Oh, and… How did you and Mr. CG meet? I love a good love story.

    So now that I've stolen two of your questions, please don't shut down your blog, because I love it.

  2. Hahahahaha… I like all the questions you mentioned and now I HAVE to know the answers to all of them! And I wanna add a question of my own :-) What is the best advice you've ever recieved?!?!


    Founder/Editor Mocca & Me blog
    (and a HUGE fan of this blog… so don't shut it down pleazzzz)

  3. Where do you think you get your inspiration from? You have wonderful, practical and beautiful ideas.. you are truly divinely inspired and incredibly generous with your remedies. ♥ your site!!!!

  4. Kate, alright – I have a load of questions too :)
    First of all, how do you balance everything? You seem like wonder woman, have you been blessed with tons of energy? Do you have a maid?

    I'm the one who inquired about the paint color for my girls room. I painted it and it's fab!!! Thanks for inspiring me and giving me a place to go(your site) when I'm down. :) I'd be so sad along with many others if you shut down your site:( Don't you make a lot of money from it? I'm debating whether to start my own site, have a great weekend! – Jamie

    I really would like an answer for my first paragraph, I'm in awe at how you do it all.

  5. Hi Kate,
    I'm fairly new to your blog but must say I enjoy it very much. I also love the fact that you "refuse to believe good quality must be expensive". I always shake my head at the prices I see in decorating magazines. I really didn't have a question to ask you but because I wouldn't want to see you stop blogging, here's my question:

    Why do you call your hubby Mr. CG? TFS! Sheila

  6. I think I'm comment number 6, and I reckon you'll get 60, so don't panic!!

    You clearly have a busy family life, a lot of potential places for house projects, and no shortage of ideas. Do you have any tips for staying focused, and how you get one project (or even room) completed? I find I do a little bit here and spend a little bit there, and nothing really feels finished.

    Do you refuse to start something new until the last thing's done? Or do you have several bits and pieces on the go at once?

  7. I'd like to know what your little boy room looks like.
    Your girl's room is so beautiful!
    Do you have any project for it?
    aslo, if it's not asking too much, I'd love to see your backyard, too.

  8. Have you enjoyed being a SAHM?
    I love it… most of the time! Your ideas inspire and motivate me to conquer decorating/DIY fears and get busy!!!

  9. Oh, I too would love to know what your little boys room looks like!

    My question is… If you could have anyone design a room for you, who would you choose? Why? What room would you have them do?

    I love your blog, you are so inspiring! Thank you for sharing .

  10. Question: Were you ever intimidated by power tools? and… What inspired you to begin trying to do projects yourself?


  11. What's your shoe size?

    Kidding. How did you acquire your skills for working with more than your basic hammer and screwdriver? I haven't seen all of your projects, so I'm not sure of the extent of your skill level, but I *think* you're one of the bloggers who uses more than spit and a prayer to put things together. Thanks!


  12. I am sitting here in a quiet house, children sleeping and the husband away with work, and I am indulging in a pint of Starbucks Hot chocolate Icecream (because, I tell myself, I worked out twice this week)… but I am left wondering – what is your "go-to" relaxing snack?

  13. love your blog, and your home is beautiful!
    no questions really, just wanted to say keep up the good work… oh here's one. What is your favorite t2t item?
    and I'm new here, so I don't know this…
    do you curb shop? I'm a huge fan of the curb!
    take care!

  14. ooh! fun! you know i love your site, so you must keep the ideas and beauty coming!

    i am also curious as to how you accomplish so much when you have 2 little ones in the house. i don't have any of my own yet, and i still don't get half done what you do! =)

    also, have you always been a "crafty," creative type person or did these things begin to interest you as you were an adult?

    xo, gayla

    p.s. again, i would like to thank you for introducing me to the wonder that is heirloom white!!!

  15. Do you sleep? Does your husband and you ever have decorating difference of opinions, or has he just given you free reign and let you go?

  16. I love your blog….I have a decorating question….Re-doing my entryway and I went bold and painted a mirror orange and made a pillow to match. The pillow is to go on an old church pew my mom gave me, but it's a rough hewn looking thing that blends right in with the wall color and floors. I have to paint/stain it. I was going to go with black, but then realized an orange mirror above a black bench might look like Halloween. So, my question is, what color do I paint/stain the bench?

    pics here: princessescapades.blogspot.com/2009/07/orange-is-new-pink.html

  17. Your blog is in my top faves ever list for sure! I want to know:

    1. What is your favorite color to wear?
    2. What's your favorite activity to do with your kids?
    3. What is your favorite thing to do on a date night with your husband?
    4. What was your major in college?
    5. When you are not running around all over the place taking care of your family, working, or decorating, what do you like to do to unwind?

  18. Oh my, my husband and I are starting the remodel on our kitchen/laundry area and I would LOVE to know what you thought were mistakes/what you might not spend your money on now?? We are on a budget, but also want to increase the value substantially since we bought at a great price, so what is "worth it" and what isnt?

  19. Ooooh, I'll play!
    Who is your fav HGTV designer?
    What are your top 3 favorite magazines/catalogs?
    What is the most messy area in your house right now (you better have one, or we're not blog friends anymore!:)
    What are your favorite cosmetic/beauty items?
    If you had 3 hours all to yourself tomorrow afternoon what would you do?

    That's alot, sorry :) Answer whatevah you want!

  20. Oh, I'll play…

    I want to know how you manage get all of your stuff done with your 3 years old???? I have a 3 years old boy as well and I would have to duct tape him to the wall in the garage so I can paint my furniture!!

    Love, love, love your blog!
    Kelly —

  21. I've asked before and I'll ask again – when do you sleep? LOL I think you told me that you sleep very little, so if that's the case, do you drink a lot of coffee? Do tell! :D

  22. I hope I'm not too late….


    How far apart did you space those frames (in the previous post?) You've inspired me and I'm going to re-create something like it so I really want your advice on the spacing of the frames. :)

  23. Simplemom wrote a post the other day in response to the question "how do you do it all", and she basically listed the things she doesn't do. So that's my question. Something has to give in this busy, crafty, DYO life you lead. So what don't you do to make room for all that ou do get done?

  24. I'm also a mom, an attorney, and addicted to repurposing and refinishing furniture and decorating (or at least decorating blogs and forums). Unfortunately, working full-time doesn't allow me much time for anything else.

    I've been curious as to what type of law you practice that allows you to work part-time. I tried being a "part-time" lawyer once for a civil litigation firm, and that didn't work out so well (I ended up working full-time for part-time $$!).

    Love your blog and inspirational projects!

  25. OK… panic struck when you said you would shut down your blog! I have been working on the banisters in my home since you posted your foyer project! AND I have been anxiously awaiting for my lavender that you harvested! Truth of the matter is You have kept me sane, since I gave up my job as a social worker for the State! I totally relate to it all… I went back to school in the earlier years of this decade to be a paralegal, spent lots of money on the program, graduated and never did anything with the darned degree in Legal studies outside of being an inestigator for adult abuse and neglect! Could not take the pressures of that job for more than 10 months… then all of the stuff happened with the economy and so now the Universe has put me into a time out trying to regroup and reconstruct myself! I am new to this blogging thing… but find you invaluable! Some have told me I need to go into the vocation of home staging and design…but I am scared to death it would end up being the same scenario as the paralegal… lots of money and then a saturated market… I can't afford that! How do you do it all and how did you find your way through your life transitions ??? (BTW… the State has called me back and I have to make a decison on this within seven days… How on earth does one make this decision? Need the money… but would have to give up my passion of your projects if I went back to work!)

  26. Ooopsie… (continuation of my post on Aug 1st…I am the anonymous one under construction trying to figure out what to do with my life in the next seven days.) I did not mention I would love a mentor? Can you juggle one more thing and be a mentor… on top of all that you already do?! Do you assist others in design? Please tell me more, tell me more!

  27. What is your favorite holiday? Which is the holiday you most like to decorate your home for? Oh, and do you have any pets? Love your blog! Thanks, Lisa

  28. I have been on hol for 2 weeks and one of the most exciting things i was looking forward to on my return was 2 weeks worth of Centsational Girl blog to catch up on! love this blog!

    My question is how do you get your painted wood to look so smooth? Mine always has horrible brush strokes even sanding between coats. Do you use an undercoat? Are spray paints really the answer??

  29. Hello CG! Where do you find cheap fabric that doesn't look cheap? It's a principle I base my decorating life on so I hope it is possible!! I've found that foam especially is just crazy expensive. Any alternatives?

  30. Hi, CG. I tend to do small projects, so I'm inspired by the way that you do big ones. What law school did you attend? How long were you in full-time practice? Have many of your female law school classmates stopped practicing law? Have a great weekend. : )

  31. This will one will perhaps come out of left field. But I want to know what it was like being a prosecutor? You mentioned this to me in your email in response to my email about bloggers participating in helping Enchanted Makeovers, which of course deals with domestic abuse. Do you think your having been part of the legal system dealing with those kinds of social issuet affected who you are and what you strive for in your blog today?

  32. I live in a very small space with my husband and two girls. I design wedding florals and wedding sites for brides on a budget. I am also a preschool teacher(this means I have lots of "stuff" that is necessary and staying in my small space! It is organized and neat, but sometimes so tedious). I would love to know your organization methods for your office and workspace.

  33. I'm another fellow attorney currently working full-time. I'd love the chance to work very part-time from home too but with most attorneys believing that part-time work = 40 hours/week (rather than 60), it seems almost impossible. Please tell more about how you made the switch. Thanks!

    P.S. Love your blog!

  34. Hi, Love the blog! Like the others, I wonder do you sleep…seriously, are you one of those people who only needs 4 hours of sleep a night? What are your children doing while you work on all these neat projects?

  35. I can't think of any questions, except can you come live near me to make my house as beautiful as yours?

  36. I want to know if you have any design schooling or experience?! You have the BEST most creative ideas!! So please don't tell me a normal old person can come up with the wonderful things you do. Also, I would love to hear about your worst project, or even something you started out loving and then as time went by and the more you looked at it….you didn't love it so much. That happens to me ALL the time, but it might just be me.

  37. I would like to know if you have any formal design training, or does it all just come to you? I find you very inspiring because you jump right in and are not afraid of the "big" projects. I would like to know who inspires you?

  38. I've been following your blog for about a month and seriously love it! It's inspired me to do some DIY projects of my own. You always seem to be re-doing a room, did you just move in or do you just have lots of empty rooms in your house? Or do you just re-design the rooms every once in a while?

    Thanks, can't wait to read all the answers to your questions!

  39. I just found your blog and I love your ideas!! What is your favorite project you've ever done? Your ultimate favy fav? How do you pick your paint colors?

    Kep up the fun ideas — I can't wait to use some of them in my own house!

  40. Okay, I know others have asked it, but what are your very favorite paint colors? And, would you paint cedar ceiling beams white or stain them darker?? And, nooooo don't shut down your blog. I neeeeed it for inspiration :)

  41. How do you have time to do all of your amazing projects when you have two little kids and a husband? I was wondering if you have a nanny or someone help you out with your children.

  42. Sorry these may be some repeats but here are mine:
    Who watches your kids while you do all your projects?
    What time do you go to bed? How many hours of sleep do you get at night?
    What are your favorite magazines/blogs?
    How did you learn to do the stuff you do? Do you have a design/building/architecture? background or is it trial and error?

    I love reading the blog. Keep up the great work!

  43. What book or person has influenced you the most?

    This is a bit personal – do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrover?

    What do you do for fun?

    Do like to travel and which was your most memorable trip?

    Like others have asked, how do you occupy your children when you are working on your projects?

    Love your blog

  44. No one asked about what type of camera you use to document all of your fabulous projects.
    Do tell.

  45. I don't think this question has been asked yet – how does your husband feel about all your projects? Does he like living in such a gorgeous environment? Does he brag about you to others and does he conduct tours whenever people come to visit?

  46. Just started my blog..Can you give me some advice on blogging and help me with how to get my blog out there? thanks!

  47. I have to know where you got the pillows/fabric/blanket in your famous playroom. Please, please share!

  48. Do you have any advice for laminate furniture (modular furniture)? I have a few bookcases laying around and would really like to transform them to match my current decor (I've moved a few times), but painting them is difficult because they are essentially plastic. I wondered if you had any great ideas for a transformation.

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