All posts by Guest Contributor

Guest contributors to this site. Maybe one article per writer, maybe 2, maybe more!

A Cozy Tale with Tea and “Bob the Bunny”

by the Cozy Couple

Stuffed animals are not the exclusive province of the very young. Even those of us who have been around a few decades can still have a penchant for these cuddly and collectible critters. Nevertheless, what do they in general and one named “Bob the Bunny” in particular have to do with tea? Read this tea tale to find out.

“Bob the Bunny” is a little snow white stuffed bunny that hubby and I bought awhile back. He keeps company with all the various little teddy bears and bunnies that seem to increase in number every time our backs are turned. There is even a little black velvety mouse who is seen whispering with “Bob” whenever the opportunity arises.

One day, unbeknownst to us, “Bob” decided to host his own tea party. We’re not quite sure where he got this idea nor, as a diminutive and rather delicate bit of cozy plush, how he was going to manage such tea party tasks as filling the full size kettle with water and pouring the boiling water into the teapot when it was ready.

Sometimes big hearts and big ideas can move even tiny critters to great deeds. It has worked with such characters as The Little Red Hen and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit. Now, it was “Bob’s” turn to ascend to the heights of monumental achievement.

We don’t think we’ll ever really know how “Bob” managed it, but we did find various tea tins stacked near the stove to form stair steps and some kind of weird pulley device erected over the teapot. What we do know, because hubby and I caught them in the act, is that “Bob” and Little Yellow Bunny and that velvety mouse and the teddy bears were sipping tea and hooting it up in the dining room. They also had some jazz music blaring on the stereo. And I noticed a little trail of tea leaves leading from the tea pantry to the kitchen counter.

There was also a bit of scone mix powder sprinkled on the counter and on the floor, a used baking sheet on the counter, and the tasty aroma of fresh scones filling the air (but not even a crumb of them left in sight). Our secret stash of clotted cream, something that is a bit hard to come by in our neck of the woods, was missing, and “Bob” and his pals were all licking their lips and paws suspiciously, as if to get the last possible delicious bit of scones and clotted cream they could.

In a way, this tale of a bunny and his tea time has inspired us. If a little stuffed critter can overcome the obstacles of a tea kettle that is two or three times larger than himself and an oven door that probably took him and all the rest of that plush menagerie to open and close, then surely hubby and I can handle the trials and tribulations of everyday life.

Here’s hoping you have been inspired as well and will think of “Bob the Bunny” and his Herculean efforts in putting on a tea party for his friends next time you’re faced with what may seem like an insurmountable task.

Cheers and stay cozy. Hug your little stuffed critter and have a great tea time!

© 2018 The Cozy Couple photos and text


How to Stay Cozy with Cocoa

We’re happy to be guest contributors on this fabulous site devoted primarily to tea (but also to some related things like cookies). The holiday season is always a time of year to spend more quality time with loved ones. And sharing some hot cocoa makes that quality time, well, just that much more quality!! And cozy, of course! So, we present our tips to help maximize the cozy factor, giving you the most from those precious moments.

Continue reading How to Stay Cozy with Cocoa

Cozy Fireplaces (and What to Do If You Don’t Have One)

Chillier temps are on their way. Get your fireplace ready for those cozy Winter times ahead.

History of Fireplaces

In brief: Fire was discovered, followed quickly by inventing a way to keep it from burning everything down. And then recognizing that fire was good for cooking foods and keeping us warm when the weather was chilly or at night (it also scared away fierce beasts).

The fire pit (like you would set up for your camp fire) was one solution. But it had to be outdoors or the smoke and fumes from the burning wood could be rather toxic.

Some clever folks learned how to use stones, mortar, and bricks inside a structure to contain the fire and wick away unpleasant smoke and fumes. Soon, fireplaces were showing up all over.

In the 1700s, Abraham Darby discovered that iron smelted the right way could be used to make stoves and other devices for that fire to generate heat into a room. Benjamin Franklin, statesman, inventor, and almanac writer, created a freestanding cast iron stove that prevented heat loss through the wall behind the fireplace (the stove would also heat the room long after the fire in it had gone out).

A Colonial America style kitchen fireplace with a hook to swing a tea kettle over the flames for heating water for tea.

Victorian era fireplaces were a real room feature, not just a source of warmth.

Today, fireplaces are a choice, not a necessity. The development of central heating systems over the years have made them outmoded. But you may still want that ambiance and a bit of extra warmth. In fact, a fireplace in your home can not only enhance your time living there but can bring a higher price when you want to sell. So, on with the exploration…

Basic Fireplace Types

Throughout the centuries, fireplaces had a surround (mantle and sides, often made of wood) and a place where the fire is burned (called the “fire box”). That continues today, but the fire area now varies and could be an insert to accommodate a different type of fue.

Warmth is a prime consideration here. It will be a key factor when selecting which type of fireplace to choose or whether you want to change what you already have to something more efficient. Appearance is another consideration, and it seems that the sky is truly the limit. And then there is cost – both the up front cost of the materials, insert, and labor as well as the ongoing costs of using the fireplace.

Fireplace inserts are put in the fire box to switch it from wood-burning to gas or pellets. The insert will be connected to the chimney and flue leading outside.



  • Fire box made of heat- and flame-resistant materials, often bricks but may be stone or tile.
  • Burns hard woods (hickory, ash, oak and hard maple); avoid soft woods (pine, spruce, etc.) which don’t burn as well or provide as much heat.
  • Season (dry) wood 6 to 12 months. Test by knocking 2 logs together – sound should be hollow, not a dull thud.
  • Stack a few split logs on the grate or andirons, add kindling (smaller pieces of wood) around and below them, check that damper is open, light kindling with a scrap of newspaper (a small piece should be enough).
  • Never light with gasoline, lighter fluid or a butane torch.
  • If you get smoke entering the room, crack a window near the fireplace to let air in.
  • Leave a few inches of ash in the fire box to reflect heat and provide a bed for coals.
  • If your damper is adjustable, gradually close it as the fire dies down to maintain a draft and limit cold air from coming down. But don’t close it completely until the fire is out.
  • If your fireplace is equipped with glass or metal doors, close them before you go to bed.
The Cozy Side:
  • Cozy features, including a real fire aroma, sound of burning wood crackling, and lovely sight of flames dancing
  • Get warmed twice, first by chopping wood, stacking it, and hauling some in the house for that lovely fire; second by the fire itself as you burn that wood
  • Firewood is readily available in many areas and fairly affordable
  • Not dependent on the electric or gas power coming into your home; if the power goes out, you can still heat your house (or at least one room of it)
  • Great for roasting marshmallows, toasting crumpets or bread, or even heating a kettle of water for tea or coffee – all will greatly enhance the cozy factors here
The Not-So-Cozy Side:
  • A heat output that is not very uniformly distributed around the room
  • Can’t be turned off when you go to bed; you have to wait for the fire to die down sufficiently
  • Wood needs a storage space and could attract “critters” (especially black widow spiders, as we found out)
  • You have to empty and haul ashes which will either have to be bagged up for the trash collectors or piled in a spot in your yard
  • Has to be built into your home either at the time of construction or into an existing home by an expert
  • Must have a chimney/flue for ventilation so home placement limited to certain areas, and brick chimneys have to be checked by a mason every 5 years or so and cleaned by a chimney sweep


Andirons to hold logs in position.

Grate to raises logs and allow air to circulate under them for better burning. (Alternative to the andirons but considered less efficient by some.)

Broom and shovel to sweep up ashes.  Poker to push and position logs. (Often sold as a set.)

Tongs: For lifting logs and coals.

Ash bucket: Holds ashes removed from grate area. (Some come with a matching shovel.)

Doors for safety when you are done enjoying the fire. Can be closed while fire is burning if sufficient air inflow.

Fender to prevent logs and coals from rolling onto hearth or even further onto your rugs/carpeting. Made of brass, cast iron, etc.

Fire screen to keeps sparks from flying into the room. Hundreds of styles to choose. Can be used instead of a fender.

Don’t forget that cozy rug to flop on in front of the fire on those Winter evenings when the wind is howling outside and snow is blanketing the land.

Gas flame insert


The Cozy Side:
  • Gas flames burn cleaner than wood but still give you some cozy ambiance with the sight of those flames dancing.
  • Start a cozy fire with flip of a switch; turn off when your cozy time is done
  • Can be installed just about anywhere in your home as long as you can vent it
  • Heat output is more uniform; flame height adjusts to suit your mood and/or warmth needs
  • Usually has a way to start the flame manually so you have heat even when the electricity is out
The Not-So-Cozy Side:
  • Not quite the cozy feel of a wood fireplace since there is no sound of wood crackling nor aroma of it burning, and the flame tends to be more uniform in height and shape
  • The gas supply can be interrupted along with electricity, depending on the cause, such as a big earthquake.


Electric heater insert


The Cozy Side:
  • No venting needed to outside
  • Ideal for apartments, condominiums, hotels, etc.
The Not-So-Cozy Side:
  • Low ambiance and aesthetics; not realistic looking
  • For heating a room, very poor choice since thermal output is low and cost to run is high
  • No heat if you have a power outage

Being Cozy at Your Fireplace

Which type of fireplace is coziest will depend on your personal taste, of course. If your home already has a fireplace in it, you can get busy right away “cozying it up,” as we say. And you will really need to do a lot of cozying in a newer home, such as one we owned a few years back.

Builders give you something that is usually pretty basic in appearance, such as these:

Both of these lacked any coziness. Just as yours probably does. Time to add some cozy elements!

Cozy Elements

Comfy seating and throws are a great place to start. Keep them near enough to the fireplace to get some of the warmth but not too close for anything to be scorched or to burst into flames. That would be very uncozy.

Enhance the warm glow of the fire’s flames with candles. Add in a pot of hot tea or cocoa or coffee, maybe even some hot spiced cider.

Throws, pillows, candles, comfy chairs, and a pot of hot tea add to your cozy fireplace moment.
A ski lodge type setting with plenty of seating for friends.
A wide-mouthed fireplace with cozy seating on either side.

Some great cozy treats to enjoy before that fire:

Hot tea with cinnamon sticks and orange slices. A cookie or two for a sweet touch.
A hot mug of coffee or tea with fresh baked pumpkin bread.
Hot cocoa in mugs dressed up in their own knitted cozies.

Fireplace Alternatives

Since fireplaces tend to be things that need venting to the outside and are therefore rather tricky to retrofit into an already built house, you might want to look at alternatives to achieve that warmth and ambience that won’t break the bank.


These are quite common. Some still need to be vented to the outside, depending on the fuel type. Many can be inserted into an existing fireplace. Or you can select a location in your home and vent up through the ceiling or out an exterior wall.

Corn or Pellet stoves


The Cozy Side:
  • Clean-burning
  • Extended burn times
  • Easy to store the corn/pellets, which are readily available and fairly economical
The Not-So-Cozy Side:
  • The stove itself tends to be more expensive than wood stoves or fireplaces
  • Usually requires electricity to operate
  • Can require more service and maintenance than other fireplaces

An even more flexible alternative:

Gel Fuel


The Cozy Side:
  • The concentrated gel fuel forms a bright and realistic flame
  • Most are portable and can be moved from place to place without too much effort.
The Not-So-Cozy Side:
  • Needs to be re-energized with more gel fuel at consistent intervals
  • Tends to work with a particular brand of gel fuel, which can make it difficult to keep filled
  • Must be solidly constructed to stand up to being moved.
  • Need to clean the flame and fuel residue out regularly

Other Choices

Wood stoves and corn/pellet burning stoves are great alternatives to fireplaces. But there are other choices, too.

Avoid the mess of ashes by putting an array of candles in the fireplace instead. It will take you a few minutes to light them all. Use matches with a long stick.
Find a good artist to paint a fireplace that you can frame and hang on your wall.
Pick a spot on the wall and paint this faux fireplace. (Click on image to go to site to see more info.)

Of course, you can always watch a video of a fireplace crackling and burning. No heat, but you get that wonderful sight and sound. We tend to like this one:

For more, just go to Youtube and search for “fireplace burning” and pick one of the many that come up.

Stay cozy!

© 2017-2021 The Cozy Couple photos and text

The Comfort of a Comfy Throw

Throws are great for creating a feeling of comfort and coziness. And they are versatile enough for any decorating style or occasion. Price and materials range from economical to rather high-end, including real fur.

(Source for header photo)

What Is a Throw

Basically, a throw is a medium sized-blanket typically about 3 by 5 feet (0.91 by 1.52 m). Some are bigger and some smaller, though. Some are also edged with fringe, but they don’t have to be. Colors and designs seem to have no limits except your imagination. Holiday designs are also fairly commonly available.

A rather pricey ($950) knit throw

Throws vs. Other Coverings

Distinguishing a throw from a blanket, afghan, comforter, duvet, or quilt is essential here. So, we did a bit of research and came up with the following criteria for each:


Generally speaking, a blanket is a large piece of cloth with finished edges. It is most commonly used as a bed covering. It provides warmth during slumber as well as eye appeal. Types of blankets include duvets, comforters, and quilts, and classified by their thickness and fill.


Smaller than the standard blanket, but large enough to cover you as well as your snuggle buddy. Used in living rooms, family rooms, over armchairs, couches, and in cribs. Some have fringe, trendy color schemes, or complementary patterns. Easy to refold, clean, or carry from place to place.



A throw that is hand-stitched, crocheted, or knitted. Often in geometric designs with purposeful holes in the patterns. First made in Afghanistan, a region known for  handcrafted, colorful textiles and carpets.


Composed of an outer layer and soft filling (down, polyester batting, wool) that is strategically stitched to ensure the filling stays evenly distributed.


A filled, soft flat bag (sometimes called a feather bed) protected with a removable cover. Unlike a comforter that is placed over sheets and other blankets, duvets are used alone. Filling is usually down, feathers, wool or a synthetic alternative. To clean, remove the cover and launder according to the material (usually cotton or polyester).


Padding enclosed between layers of fabric. Lines of stitching, generally in a decorative design, secure the layers of a quilt. Most likely to be handmade.


Basic Materials & Methods for Throws

Throws are available in a wide variety of fabrics. Picking the best material depends on why you want the throw. From using it as a blanket in the crib for your newborn to keeping out the chill on that camping trip, the material will make a difference.

Some materials used:

Cotton Soft and hypoallergenic, perfect for allergy sufferers, babies, or people with sensitive skin. Great for Summer because of its breathability, helps regulate your temperature and keep you cool on a hot night. Observe washing instructions carefully to avoid shrinkage (unless they are pre-shrunk) and colors fading.
Wool Provides plenty of warmth but will also adapt as the temperature changes. The breathability and moisture-wicking properties draw perspiration away and promote a comfortable, dry temperature. Naturally fire resistant and safer to use around heat sources than some synthetic fibers that can melt. Have to be dry cleaned.
Cashmere Silky soft cashmere goat fur woven into lovely fabric. Warm and very, very cozy!
Fleece Comparable softness and warmth to wool but made from synthetic materials. Wicks moisture away from your body, provides warmth on a cold night, more lightweight than wool. Can be washed and dried at home for convenient cleaning.
Rayon Chenille Popular, not quite as durable as a cotton throw through numerous washings, attractive and tends to be less expensive than 100% cotton throws.
Acrylic Often an alternative to wool or cashmere. Warm, lightweight, and hypoallergenic, can imitate the feeling of natural fibers but much easier to care for. Machine washable, and colors won’t fade after consistent washing. Resistant to moths after being in storage.
Polyester Affordable, made from long-lasting material. Stands up to washing and drying for years without losing its color or shape. Generally costs less than natural fabrics.

Some methods used:


Also a great example of using a throw to dress up a very simple bedspread.

Throws as Décor

Yes, they add warmth to your toes as you sit all snuggled reading that thrilling novel. But throws spend a lot of time just lying around. And sometimes they just want to be part of the scene. Often, they can do double duty: décor as well as comfort.

Some ways to use a throw for your décor:

Folding Fold lengthwise into thirds. Hang over a back corner on a sofa, a chair or the arm of seating furniture. Adjust as needed.

Fold throw in half lengthwise twice. Fold again horizontally, adjusting the front to hang 12-to-14 inches longer than the back. Place the throw on the back of a chair, allowing 5 or 6 inches of the folded top half to hang over the back while the longer, thinner bottom conforms to the crease of the chair seat.

For chaise lounges, try folding your throw lengthwise, then in half, and angle it on the corner of the edge of your seat cushion. Thin blankets work better for this.

Draping Over the back of a chair – leave about 12 to 15 inches over the chair back and let the rest cascade over the front.

As a permanent chair cover – Use a thin throw, fold lengthwise, drape over chair back and down front of chair, tuck in at back of seat cushion to help it stay in place.

As a casual chair cover – Pick up a square throw by a corner and hold up so it falls naturally, drape about 15 to 20 inches over the chair back, leaving a fair amount in front to hang over the front of the chair.

Floating drape on sofa – Fold throw lengthwise, drape it to the right side, the left side, or down the middle. Place a throw pillow in front of it to hide the crease.

Luxurious look – A lush (faux) fur throw looks better draped. Most are too thick to fold. Drape it over the corner of your sofa, and tuck in a bit here and there.

Hanging For throws with stunning patterns or impressive embroidery, mount them on the wall like wall tapestries. Make a simple sleeve on the backside of the throw by sewing a thin strip of fabric near the top. Slip a rod or wooden dowel through the sleeve to hang the throw like a tapestry.
Camouflage Use large, colorful or patterned throws as furniture covers to sofas, love seats, or chairs to hide stains, tears, or other imperfections.

Color Accent Roll three or four solid-colored throws and stack them in a basket near a sofa or love seat. They will add that desired touch of color as well as being handy when you need a touch of extra comfort.
Bed Dress-up Center a throw over a headboard for a new look. If the headboard is upholstered, keep the throw in place using Velcro. Add a scarf draped down the middle of the throw for a layered look.

Fold a throw lengthwise and drape across the end of the bed.

If you have a large throw, pull it three quarters up the bed to add warmth as well as visual appeal.

Drape a big fur throw over your bed for a bit of glamour. Add silky sheets, and feel totally divine as you slumber. Use a throw that is wider than your bed so it will drape over the sides or a smaller fur throw at the foot of the bed.


Chair Covers If you have an upholstered chair in your bedroom, dress it up with a soft throw draped over it. Then, take time to have a good sit-down in it as a break in your day, pulling that throw around you.

Use a throw as a protective barrier on cushions. If you have pets who like to sit on your furniture, this is a great way to keep the pet hair off the seats. Some enterprising companies even make special throws just for this purpose.


Sofa Sprucing Open a thin throw and drape it across the back of a tight-back sofa. This type of sofa does not have separate back pillows to sink into, so the throw will hold its form better.

Drape a big fun throw lengthwise or widthwise (play with it and see which way fits better) over your sofa, tuck it into the sofa crease so it stays in place, then add pillows to cover the crease.

Baby Blanket Cotton throws usually are the perfect size for cribs. And cotton tends to be non-allergic.

Outdoors Drape faux fur throws over the patio/deck furniture for a cozy feeling, and light up the candles. Helps extend the time you can spend out there before the chill in your bones sends you back inside.

A thick cotton throw is easily portable, provides warmth for night sporting events, and makes an excellent spread for picnics in damp grasses. You can use a thinner cotton throw on top of a waterproof sheet.

Holidays Swap out the everyday throws you’re using for ones with holiday designs. You’ll feel even cozier!

(Pattern to crochet this throw)

Where to Find Out More

Some Places to Shop

In our journey around the internet to find and bring to you this info on throws, we found quite a few places to shop.

Here are some:

Disclaimer: We get no remuneration for supplying these links.

© 2017-2021 The Cozy Couple photos and text

Cozy and Cute Pumpkins

Our neighbor’s wonderful décor for the “pumpkin season” inspired us to seek out other cozy and cute pumpkins. We put together a nice slideshow of a few we found online. Hope these inspire you!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hope you enjoyed the show and that you now have some great ideas for your own cute and cozy pumpkins!

© 2017-2021 The Cozy Couple photos and text

What’s a Cozy Kitchen Without Pyrex?

Pyrex kitchen wares have been around a long time. At present, they are part of the World Kitchen family of brands. In our opinion, their longevity is certainly due to the cozy feel they add to a kitchen. Maybe we just remember our parents using them. Maybe the feel of that tempered glass in our hands is so solid and comforting. In any event, we wanted you, dear cozy loving person, to take a look at some of their wares. Add that Pyrex touch to your kitchen and be cozy!

Mixing Bowls

Some chefs like stainless steel mixing bowls. For a busy commercial kitchen, they are great with all that hubbub of a busy staff cutting, mixing, frying, sautéing, etc. But in our cozy kitchen, our 3-piece set of glass mixing bowls are greatly preferred. Whether it’s mixing up a scone mix or whipping up eggs for an omelette, we feel so much more at home with them, with memories from our childhood coming to mind.

One of the members of our 3-bowl set of Pyrex.

Measuring Cups

We love glass measuring cups and prefer them over metal or plastic since they will not absorb flavors from the foods or liquids measured in them. Plastic is especially bad this way. And metal tends to affect the flavor of things slightly (but still noticeably). Pyrex measuring cups come in a variety of sizes, some even with their own lids.

Our 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup is great for measuring liquids but also reheating them in the microwave.


We find that Pyrex glass bakeware needs only a spritz of a non-stick spray (our parents used lard or butter) on it to keep foods from sticking. Saves on buying aluminum foil, too! Glass also tends to heat evenly, so foods get baked more thoroughly.

Glass pie dishes can bake your pie crust more evenly and thoroughly on the bottom.
A basic rectangular baking dish is essential in your cozy kitchen.

Various Containers

Whether you are baking up a fabulous batch of macaroni and cheese in a casserole dish or storing leftovers in the refrigerator to keep them fresher for that spur of the moment lunch the next day, Pyrex has a range of wares that are perfect for the job.

A rainbow of colors to cozy up your kitchen.
Before there was Tupperware and other plastic containers, our parents stored leftovers in these.
Vintage Pyrex ware designs. Keep an eye out for them at flea markets and second-hand shops!
Vintage design wares in warm and cozy colors!
Another design that will surely warm up your kitchen.

Explore the Pyrex official site today to see how you can cozy up your kitchen! So many designs and options from which to choose. You will also find the older Pyrex wares at flea markets, vintage shops, etc.

© 2017-2021 The Cozy Couple photos and text

How to Get Cozy with a Good Book

We have been perfecting the art of a cozy lifestyle for a couple of decades now. And we also are both avid book readers. So naturally we know how to combine the two and wanted to pass along our secrets.

Disclaimer: We get no remuneration for links provided in this article. They are for your convenience only.

Cozy Foods to Munch While Reading

You might think first of those salty snacks such as chips, Cheetos, Fritos, etc. But we think that fruit makes a much better thing to munch while reading. Pears are nice (slice into manageable chunks for easier access). Grapes are another. But you can choose any other fruit that you prefer. Veggies are an alternative. Those baby carrots and a celery stalk or two, for example. Raw cauliflower and broccoli florets with some ranch dressing for dipping is another choice. Let your imagination and your taste buds be your guide here.

Now and then, pizza is an option. This one has some of our favorite toppings on it. Delish!

If your sweet tooth is kicking up a fuss, go for a nice slice of pie. This seasonal pumpkin pie was baked by a neighbor, and every bite was a true delight.

A Hot Beverage to Sip with That Munchable

You have a wealth of options here. We like tea, coffee, cocoa, or some spiced hot cider. But sometimes you can try something a bit different. This Aspen cider spices blend adds in with hot tea to create a nice version of a spiced chai (tea).

Buy Aspen Cider Spices here

Their hot cocoa mixes can be used, too, to spark up that tea, or make a nice cup of cozy cocoa with them.

Buy Aspen Cocoa Mixes here

Cozy Attire

Warm, loose fitting, soft fabrics and colors – these are the key ingredients in cozy attire. Deck yourself out and go on to step 4!

A Cozy Setting

Good lighting, comfortable seating, and a room temperature that is just right will make your setting cozy. Add in some throws and pillows for the magic touch. You could fit in a few friends with this cozy setting. Book club time?

Be a bit more intimate with this extra wide comfy chair that could possibly hold you and your sweetie.

And now for the best part…

Some Good Books

The most important part of this cozy moment: the book! Your taste may vary, but if you care to take a chance, try some of these. They fit our criteria for a cozy read. They are entertaining, not boring, well-written, and overall a lot of fun!

Dorothy L. Sayers Mysteries

We found this book of Lord Peter Wimsey stories in the toss out bin at our local library and grabbed it. Fabulous reading for that cozy tea time. We had some nice Walker’s Scottish shortbread with our tea for this one. Lord Peter’s adventures are sheer delight and very cleverly written.

Fugitive from Asteron by Gen LaGreca

Who says sci-fi can’t be cozy? This is the third novel from Gen LaGreca, published by Winged Victory Press. Her first two were Noble Vision, a medical thriller, and A Dream of Daring, a romance drama set in the days before the outbreak of the Civil War. Now she blasts off into science fiction, but with the same core philosophy that was the framework of the first two: the glory of the individual. We hold that within each of us, but for some, that wondrous thing we call the self never gets a chance. In this book, though, it most definitely does.

Buy the book here

A Dream of Daring by Gen LaGreca

Yes, another book recommended from this author. Her works are so well researched, plotted, and written that we’re totally hooked!

The novel starts with a conflict — a man’s passion for life and for his dreams versus paying respects to the dead. From there the plot weaves a tale that should have been what Gone With The Wind was about. From the first paragraph to the last, it was like sitting down to a gourmet yet not overwhelming feast. While some of the plot elements (a love triangle and professional rivalries) are not new, they were built on a positive philosophy of life. A fast-paced historically accurate read for your cozy moment.

Buy the book here

The First Excellence by Donna Carrick

She certainly soaked in a lot of atmosphere from her time in China going through the strenuous adoption process. A story of adventure, mystery, danger, and a close-up look at what life is like in the land of inscrutability. An example of what good authors do: take a personal experience and use it to spin a tale that becomes a novel that’s hard to put down and, when you have to put it down because you can’t keep your eyes open, you keep thinking about it and wondering what is going to happen next.

Buy the book here

A Touch of Mortality by Ann Granger

The somewhat naïve Sally Caswell is married to scientist Liam Caswell. They move from London to Oxfordshire, with Sally hoping this would help her husband focus better on writing his work and finishing his research. But they end up next door to a cranky old man who raises some very mischievous goats. As if that’s not bad enough, the old man turns out to be a Peeping Tom, a package blows up in the Caswell kitchen, and the mayhem continues in earnest from there. Meredith Mitchell and her boyfriend Chief Inspector Markby do their best to unravel things in time to prevent more disasters. You will find yourself turning page after page and hardly noticing time passing by!

Buy the book here (also lists some of her other books)

Jane Austen’s novels

This volume was purchased in London, UK, and contains all of Jane Austen’s novels. Explore the lesser known Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park. Revisit the more popular Emma and Pride and Prejudice. Hours of reading of the coziest kind! The language use is exquisite.

Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn

The author’s skill at weaving a mystery makes this worthwhile reading. We did not guess the true villain before Raybourn had revealed it. There were some other surprises along the way and a few expected items (for the time period of this novel – 1889). Fourth in a series by Raybourn that features the impetuous and aristocratic Lady Julia Grey (see them all here). If you haven’t read the first three novels yet, read them before diving into this one so that events in this book won’t spoil things for you.

Buy the book here

Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon

An intriguing murder mystery with a vision of Venice so realistic that you can almost smell the water in the canals. The characters are portrayed with more depth than most novels of this genre (P.D. James being the exception). The language is rich and descriptive without a trace of elitism. The story’s hero is Commissario Guido Brunetti. Leon, the author, is an American who lived in Italy, accounting for how keenly she seems to be tuned to the Venetian lifestyle.

Buy the book here

The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Thad Carhart

Even if you don’t play an instrument (especially the piano) or have ever been in Paris, you will find this book charming. Be sure to have an extra mug of tea, coffee, cocoa, or hot cider, plus another plate of cookies or cheese and fruit and crackers on hand. Once you start reading, you won’t be able to put it down.

Buy the book here

And check out these:

The Charlie McClung Mysteries by Mary Anne Edwards…

Lazy Cat Press – they feature a number of cozy titles…

Don’t Forget a Nifty Bookmark

We all need to take a break away from that book, and many books are not ones that you can read in one sitting. So be sure to have a nifty bookmark handy. Our faves are these made of tiny beads by two lovely teenagers here in the area.

Get cozy with a good book. And feel free to let us know what books you recommend.

© 2017-2021 The Cozy Couple photos and text

Cozy Moments – The Scrabble Game

If you’ve ever played Scrabble, you know that part of your strategy is using words that are not well known or not at all known to your opponent. Then, when he/she questions it, you say “Are you challenging?” It’s up to him/her to decide whether to or not. If the word is found in the official Scrabble dictionary, the challenger loses a turn. So, your opponent will think twice before challenging.

Armed with some rather esoteric terms, we were both ready to do “Scrabble battle” –as long as we pulled the right letter tiles out of the bag, that is.

And so we played.

While our game progressed, the tea in the pot got low and the small amount remaining had cooled, the yummy treats were all eaten, and the minutes and hours ticked by.

We take time out from pondering our next stratagem (limited by the strange array of letters on our trays that seem to refuse to forms words, no matter how we rearrange them) to replenish the pot and the treats. Some First Flush Darjeeling tea is a good change from the strong black tea we had just finished off. Sharp cheddar cheese and a special preserves with some Walker’s Oatcakes was a good option for that game continuation treat. And some seedless red grapes. Yum! Soon, we’re settled with a freshly-filled teapot and a plate of treats to fuel us through the rest of the game.

The winning word was “oxidate.” We were both so elated at having such a fabulous word – and one that is of prime importance to processing tea leaves – end things up. We began a little victory dance around the room. Imagine what strange gyrations our silhouettes were making on the curtains draw against the dark of night. Our neighbors know us well enough by now, though, not to think we are having some kind of conniption fit or to dial 911 for an ambulance.

Our dance ended, and we settled back down to look at the game board. There was still some tea in the pot, so there was only one thing to do: the new game begins!

The winning word.

© 2017-2021 The Cozy Couple photos and text

The Cozy Colors of Autumn!

The greens of Summer are plentiful, from the leaves on trees and bushes to the grasses and other plants growing on the ground. They give way each year in many parts of our country to a much showier color display. Some of you even take the time to go on “leaf peeping” tours, starting in places like Vermont and Maine where the trees turn on that show sooner in the year and going across much of the country where the change starts a bit later. Hitting the peak color time can be tricky, but even if you’re a bit early or late, you’ll enjoy the show!

How to know where to go:

Bringing these colors into your home is easy to do and lends a really cozy feel to what is undeniably the coziest time of year. First, we wanted to show you that color palette in photos from nature and the seasonal harvest, and then, we show you some examples of working those colors into your décor and even your Autumn menu!

Autumn Colors in Nature

We compiled this slideshow from various images found online that seem to represent a full array of the colors and images typical of Autumn. From pale golds to rich dark browns, plus bright reds and oranges and, yes, some green.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bringing in Autumn Colors to Your Cozy Space

You’ve seen the colors from nature above. Now see how they can fit in your home for that Autumn cozy feel in this slideshow:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Whether you do it with foods, plants, or furnishings, your home will be even more cozy this Autumn when you add in those wonderful colors.

© 2017-2021 The Cozy Couple photos and text

Ways to Make Your Laundry Room Cozy

Laundry is a fact of life. Thank goodness modern machines have made the process a lot simpler and far less labor intensive than our grandparents endured.

Seen on Good Housekeeping’s site.

And for those of you who, like us, try to inject cozy into every part of your lives, the laundry room is definitely cozy-fiable!!

We present some of the coziest ideas we’ve found online, and how we cozied up our own laundry room.

A butcher block countertop above your front-loading machines gives you a way to hang a rod and short curtains to cover the machines when they are not in use. Plus, you’ll have a surface to use for folding, etc.

Wow! This room below is much larger than most laundry rooms. In fact, in some parts of the country the laundry is delegated to a back porch with the machines sitting exposed to the elements (not a good idea, especially with today’s machines that have sensitive electronic systems in them). But here the laundry joins forces with comfort for a very cozy environment. The calming blue paint and soft tans also help. Plenty of bright daylight is good, too. We could hang out in a laundry room like this all day long.

An oversized laundry room you will want to spend some time in!

This home builder thought ahead with a relatively spacious laundry room with lots of natural light.

Soft wall color. Ironing board at the ready.

Small or large, your laundry room or area can be very cozy. The right colors (shades that are soft and warm), good machines that work well, adequate storage for the various laundry supplies, and a way to accommodate related items such as ironing boards – these things are all essential.

On to a fab makeover and then our own cozy laundry room…

A Farmhouse Laundry Room Makeover

We own a 1930s bungalow and so find it fascinating to see posts by others about fixing up houses of similar styles and ages. We came across this update of an old farmhouse recently and were inspired by it and other things to put together this article.


The author states that this was probably taken the same week they moved in to the old farmhouse. She calls the acoustic tile ceiling “styrafoam”, but you get the idea anyway (what they are made of). Not very attractive. Ours is drywall with that textured stuff on it, but it’s in good shape, so we left well enough alone.


Never know what you’ll find in an old house when you start ripping things out. Ours, built in 1930, has surprised us a lot so far. Here, they found some wonderful beadboard, sadly painted a not-too-appealing dark color (teal, which is great in clothing but not so good on ceilings). The laundry room was most likely an open porch at one time. Beadboard was a common material for ceilings. Our front porch still has it.


The washer sits on one side of the doorway (to the kitchen?). Schlepping wet clothes to the dryer on the other side of the doorway is a bit uncozy. The owners don’t seem to mind, though, and that’s what really matters. Took some repairing and repainting, but they got that ceiling into pristine and very cozy looking condition! The pale blue on the ceiling keeps the room soft, not sterile looking. And that softness makes it cozy.

See the full story here in their old farmhouse before they moved into the comparatively (in our opinion) bland, characterless new house. (We’re enjoying the wonderful character of our 1930s bungalow.)

Our Bungalow Laundry Room Gets Cozy

Our stacked washer-dryer unit was purchased in 2001 or 2002. It was a real trooper, traveling with us across the country from house to house as we pursued our changing careers and being housed in a garage, a bathroom closet, a kitchen closet, and finally in the tiny laundry room of our 1930s bungalow where it served us for about three more years. But finally we knew the time had come for it to go to its final resting place and for us to dive into the world of more modern machines.

The stacking laundry unit in the bathroom closet of a former home.

Our current laundry room (a real room, not a closet or a space in the garage) is a bit small, so we sought ways to make it feel a bit bigger as well as being functional yet cozy. The makeover started as soon as we moved in with a couple of simple changes. We removed the sliding doors to built-in shelves under the window and replaced the towel ring by the sink with a towel bar – small changes that improved the feel of the room immensely. Once we got around to painting (after living with this old, drab color palette for about three years), we also improved some more things, such as putting those “plate shelves” to better use than storing sunscreen bottles and some tools.

Before After
Photo was taken by our realtor while standing in the doorway of the little half bath behind her.


Cloth baskets from Wal-Mart hide less picturesque items but keep them handy. Several “plate shelves” on the wall around the window display some small pictures done years ago in art school.

Our local Lowe’s Home Improvement store was the best choice in this area to find the right machines. We opted for smaller ones, even though the full size ones would fit, to help achieve a more roomy feel. We also don’t like front loading washers. Too much distrust of the seals on the door and an anathema toward having to mop up a few gallons of water when those seals fail. But even with those caveats, we found the perfect machines. We special ordered them and asked if Lowe’s could take away the old machine right away. They did, and that meant we had the room and time to do a full repainting of the walls and trim. Hooray! No more mint green walls and submarine grey trim (a key to choosing colors is value contrast, and both of those colors were almost the same value, making the small room seem even smaller and also drab). We opted for a light, warm tan called “Vanilla Sugar” for the walls and a nice bright white for the trim (we use those same colors in our pantry makeover shown here in #3).

As you can see in the photo below, the paint job on the walls did not go behind where the former owner’s washer and dryer had stood. There was also a burn mark on the floor by the dryer vent opening. Rather a mess all round, but that is part of the fun of an older house. But for awhile we lived with that mess since we had to have the stacking laundry unit hooked up.


Above: The machine hookups, and an incomplete job of wall painting by the former owner.



Above: May not look neat enough for House Beautiful, but works beautifully! This sturdy metal table  raised the dryer to a less back-busting height instead of it sitting on the floor. Taking damp clothes from washer to dryer is very easy. And our laundry basket stows on that plastic tub under the table.

Left: Having the softener, laundry detergent, etc., close at hand is always good. We’d had this handy organizer for years and had used it in a bathroom, but it works better here.

Make your laundry room cozy and take some drudgery out of one of the tasks of life that is essential.

Where to buy: the washer and the dryer from Lowe’s Home Improvement (links furnished without compensation to us and strictly for your information).

© 2017-2021 The Cozy Couple photos and text