My grandmother was raised in a time of hats and pearls and finger sandwiches and high heels with rhinestone buckles and skirts that twirled.

At the risk of stating the obvious—she was amazing.

She could plan a dinner party for 35 and float across the dance floor in my grandfather’s arms and wear a fur stoll like it was made for her and keep an entire room entertained with her laugh.

But the most incredible thing about her?

The thing that would have made you love her even more?


Underneath all that glitz and glamor and sparkle….

….beat the heart of an artist.

I wanted to be just like her when I grew up.

She was a source of inspiration to me.

I wanted to entertain and create and rescue furniture and paint rooms on step ladders and splatter paint floors and wear bandanas with rolled up jeans and walk along the ocean and find the treasure in the ordinary and look at the world through the eyes of an artist.

And live life with abandon.

And live life to the fullest.

And make every moment count.

I spent this weekend covering books.

I know it’s a little random.  You probably had a much more exciting weekend than me.  But there’s something about taking a book that isn’t really cute.  That has a perfect shape and size and message and a bright orange cover.

And making it look a little mysterious.

(total aside:  Just in case you were worried I might forget what each book is—these books are waiting for labels like these.)

After I finished filling a couple of bookcases I was all about myself.

I stood back and look at my stacks of cute books and my bookcases and my heart smiled.

The books were so cute.

The books were incredible.

The books were amazing.

And so I did the only thing a person can do when you discover a little amazing and you have to share.

I called my mother.

And my mother?

She shared a little amazing right back.

This cookbook.

Doesn’t it look like I covered it?

Doesn’t it look like the books stacked on my kitchen counter?

It’s not.


Years and years and years ago, my fancy grandmother took brick contact paper and scotch tape and taped up her cookbook.

Can you even?

I couldn’t believe it.

And as I stood there in my kitchen surrounded by stacks of covered books holding a cookbook in my hand that my grandmother had covered in almost the same way years before, I felt so close to her.  If I closed my eyes I could hear her laugh and see her dancing around the kitchen in Keds and cut off jeans.

And then?  These random thoughts swirled around inside my brain.

1. I need to recreate that contact paper pattern on my wall.

2. This cookbook is so all business on the front, party on the inside.

3. I’m not sure if there’s a new idea on the planet.

4. My grandmother wasn’t just amazing—she was years ahead of her time.

5. She made every book cover (and every moment) count.

And maybe.  Just maybe.

I was was lucky enough to be a little like her. 🙂

PS  In hilarious news.  This was the scale she created for her recipes.

I wouldn’t want to be a one star.  Ouch.  🙂



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  1. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    The scale made me laugh! Too cute. Your grandma sounds amazing and I think you are just like her - funny, creative and living with abandon! Hugs, Cecilia

  2. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    The genes win out! She was as amazing as you are! I have a similar code for my cookbooks and recipes. Will have to try the covering of the cookbooks.

  3. Image for Becky Stahlman Becky Stahlman

    Inspiring post, as always! Where do I find those tags...not sure how to do an online search as everything I try on Hobby Lobby's site comes up empty.

  4. Image for Linda Clear Linda Clear

    This reminded me so much of my Mother in law! She too was an artist in her own right. I remember so well when she couldn’t afford new wallpaper. She took a paint brush and spent hours changing the color of each tiny flower! She designed and sewed her own clothes and did everything with an amazing artist touch. I miss her.

  5. Image for Michelle Michelle

    Oh what a sweet story about your grandmother! And I tell you, I loved being a mom. Being a mom was fantastic. Even with the challenges that come with that, it was absolutely fantastic. I know you know that. But being a grandmother? Oh my gosh, its even more fantastic, if you can imagine. I'll bet you dollars to donuts that your grandmother cherished you and your relationship with her just as much as you do. And I'll also bet she'd give you five stars, without hesitation, for your creativity and decorating endeavors! Side note: my oldest grandson just announced his engagement...I see great grands in my future! Woohoo!!!

  6. Image for Linda Linda

    So different from my grandmothers with buns and long aprons covering their dresses, but the love 💕is the same!

  7. Image for Ann C Ann C

    I loved this post! While reading it I was wondering what my granddaughters would or will say about me. I love the paper you used. Did I miss where you got it? I appreciated the rating system. My mom would write add more of —— or use less of ——- or Never Again! Haha! We used to wrap our school books but love the idea of making a bookcase pretty. Thanks, once again.

  8. Image for Mary from Life at Bella Terra Mary from Life at Bella Terra

    Love the story! You have such a way with words!! Where did you get the paper? Is it contact paper or wrapping paper? I love the faux wood pattern. Funny.....I am cleaning out our pantry and going through all my old cookbooks and enjoying the trip down memory lane.... Great post~~as always, thanks for sharing.

  9. Image for Pamela Smith Pamela Smith

    Such wonderful memories and a great keepsake! My grandmother is my hero too! She was the most selfless and caring woman I have ever known. Even at the end of her life, she was figuring out a way to witness to the caregivers around her. Amazing! Just like you!

  10. Image for Nan, Odessa, DE Nan, Odessa, DE

    Oh, Karianne, it is wonderful to have had the experiences with your grandmother but the memories. To the viewer who mentioned grans and greats, make a memory every time you think of them - send them mail, take photos, tell them about your childhood, do an age appropriate activity, give them a call, not their parents. I tell my friends embarking on grand parenting, don't buy items! Make memories! Even Alzheimer patients have their early memories. Proves to me the saying, TIME TAKES CARE OF EVERY THING BUT THE MEMORIES. PS Is this the grandmother that had the chandelier?

  11. Image for Kris Kris

    You are your grandmother! :) Can I admit that I love the kitschy fish in a net next to the recipe ratings??? I have inherited my mom's cookbook she had as a newlywed and I love it that the bread and cookie sections are spattered with spills but the vegetable section looks almost new. Hmm, wonder what section she preferred cooking from??? You connect with your grandmother with your creativity .... I connect with my mom through love of baking .... it's all about those connections, isn't it?

  12. Image for laura nuss laura nuss

    I did the same thing this weekend. Except I think I need heavier craft paper. Love it. I received the red and white check BH&G cookbook when we got married. I found a 2017 edition at B&N (on clearance) and thinking they need to be paired side by side without the paper! xo laura

  13. Image for Sharon Sharon

    This isn't about cookbooks but genetics. I have an old wardrobe painted white in the bedroom. On the door is this beautiful quilt. Where did I get my love of quilts? Well, from my grandmother, of course. She bore 17 children with 13 living to adulthood. I do not know how she had time to make quilts, but I guess she did out of necessity. Her work was so beautiful and I am blessed to have her quilts. Blessings!!

  14. Image for jillian jillian

    Love this! that one middle paper is pretty, love your gramma book. Last summer I wanted to do an ivory and green display on top of our mantel..which is 12 feet long so there is a lot to put up...wanting an aged book look ,I went out to the bin of things going to thrift and got several piles of paperbacks, tore off the whole covers and wrapped them in some brown twine. They looked really nice as risers and fill ins. I have always liked the look of covered books and have also seen holiday displays with books in holiday paper, very cute.

  15. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    Love this post, KariAnne! Point #3 is SO true! :-) And, obviously, we all know where you get your drive, inspiration, and love from! (I saved some beautiful 'birch' wrapping paper at Christmas time that I received... Guess what I'm going to do with it?! (Ergo point #3)) Hugs and hearts!

  16. Image for NormJean NormJean

    I think you got your wish! I loved this post, and I know i would have loved your grandmother. Has anyone told you lately how blessed you are?

  17. Image for Carrie Carrie

    Could you consider sharing one recipe from each of Grandma's scale?? HA HA HA....too funny. Aren't memories simply the best???

  18. Image for Rebecca Platt Rebecca Platt

    Hey, Karie, I'm a grandmother and my grandchildren think their grandma is "beyond the pale". Mostly, because I spray painted an unupholstered chair.! Oh, well. Anyway, would you please let your readers know (I really mean, me) the colors of your hutch. I'm thinking of repainting mine and like yours very much. Thanks. Rebecca

  19. Image for Rebecca Rebecca

    The Karianne apple did not fall far from the grandmother tree. I can see you doing all the things you described about her...Keds, cut off or rolled up jeans, dancing in the kitchen, EVERYTHING! I love your connections!

  20. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Love the post! I cried a little when you said you called your mom. Cherish the fact that you your mom. My mother was my best friend. I shared everything with her! I still pick up the phone to share some thing or ask a question. Then I remember... She has been in Heaven for 8 years!

  21. Image for Judith Yingling Judith Yingling

    I'm new to your page.....You mention your grandmother a lot and wondered if you posted a picture of your grandmother in her house?

  22. Image for Marie Marie

    Love, love, love your new kitchen and dining rooms! Only question, how do you keep everything so clean with a white theme? It's my only hesitation to starting a project in our house!

  23. Image for Peg Peg

    While reading your description of your dear grandmother, I thought "That's KariAnne!!" You're a chip off the old block, or a page from her book!! xoxo

  24. Image for Susan b Susan b

    I’m sure our grandmothers would have been great friends as she was way ahead of her time too! She used her artistic side to paint all her canning jars.... Her cook books are all written in....whether she would make it again, what she added or deleted, what occasion she served for! Love the memories.....

  25. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    I love it. I love that you are like her. I love both versions of those covered books. (I remember having book covers on my school books). And I love that scale!!! Precious post. Thank you for sharing.

  26. Image for Janet Janet

    Love your stories and writing! What a tribute to a special grandmother. Just an aside...why would she keep a 1 or 2 star recipe 😂 Cherish that book...I know you will as will your children and future generations!

  27. Image for Debbie Debbie

    That is just about the most precious post ! I think finding recipes or in this case, the cookbook is like having the person right there with you ! A true treasure reminds me of my Moms little recipe book complete with exclamation marks

  28. Image for Deb Pelton Deb Pelton

    How wonderful is all of that. My Grammie too, was amazing! She was a poultry farmer's wife, a nurse, extraordinary cook-no measurements, all feel and look-chain smoking women all of 5 ft nothing whom my Grampie, all 6 ft 4 in of him, was secretly afraid of. She was a force to be reckoned with and live to 92. Grammie are the best.

  29. Image for Sue Sue

    Love your Grandmother's recipe rating scale and I hope I am leaving wonderful memories for my 10 grandchildren too.

  30. Image for Laura Harrie Laura Harrie

    I so enjoy reading you blog. Your grandma meant so much to you, it is a blessing reading about your love for her. Thank you Karianne for sharing this.

  31. Image for Betsy Betsy

    Love this story! I didn't know my grandmother but my mom covered her 1950 Betty Crocker Cookbook with red fabric and I wouldn't trade if for anything!

  32. Image for Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns

    That's so sweet! I don't think you can argue with DNA, it's in your blood! I take after my grandmother in that area as well, she was very crafty and creative. I love her rating system...could work for Ex's too, Well, mostly the one X. haha.

  33. Image for Sandi Magle Sandi Magle

    I laughed a lot during this post. My mom was an avid cookbook(100's)/recipe collector(1000's)----When she made something fabulous---my dad would sardonically congratulate her, and then follow up with "There's one we will never see again!" She would immediately move on to the next 'fabulous' recipe---never to be repeated again. Too, funny. Fun post. But, I do repeat some of those that your mom would have marked four stars! Thankfully she did write on each one --success or failure.

  34. Image for Sarah Sarah

    Your grandmother was an absolute classic just like you!! Before I went all electronic I used to rate recipes exactly the same way but with ticks instead of crosses - I think I need to somehow add this to my electronic files .....

  35. Image for PJ PJ

    I love your grandmother's recipe scale. I am in the habit of putting a giant X through any recipes that were failures. I hope to be the inspiration for my grandbabies that your grandmother is to you!

  36. Image for Kathy Kathy

    I love, love, love this story. I have found out that I am a lot like my grandmother too. It is interesting what is in the gene pool. LOL! I hope you will share more grandmother stories and photos. (I also like to read everyone's comments Sometimes they make my cry even more than what you have said.)

  37. Image for Charley Charley

    OMG! Adorable story! I am going to copy the rating scale because it's exactly how I feel about some recipes I try. You definetly got your GMother's genes! Lucky girl!

  38. Image for Margaret Abromaitis Margaret Abromaitis

    I'm inspired. With an ancient cookbook, from the very beginning of my marriage, that is now out of print but still a treasure trove of deliciousness (!) I;m looking around for pretty paper and am going to get busy. Now. finally, it will get the respect it has long deserved.

  39. Image for Therese Therese

    Wow. Great story, as usual. You write from your heart, and you are never "selling" something; you share great stories, feelings and images. I am missing my mum - she was 10 days away from 92 when she died last year February 9th. This story helped me today. It is a tough time, a year out. Thank you , anon.


    Thanks, KariAnne, for sharing your precious Grandmother with us! You have so many memories of her! I'm sure you will have her cookbook out in a special place in your kitchen for all your guests to see. What a treasure you have! I love how you covered your books! Have a wonderful weekend with your family! Blessings!

  41. Image for Pamela Griner Pamela Griner

    I love this post. When I was younger, and before Alzheimer's stole my mom's memory...if she was irritated at me about my crafy messes she would say "You're just like mother," and then we would crack up. My Mother Hope...she was a fabulous seamstress (can we say custom window treatments), repurposed before it was a trend, took cake decorating class in her 70's, and everyone still talks about her incredible biscuits. I miss her so. But everytime I make my own curtains, bake a wedding cake, rehab an old rocker, or have my art in a gallery show...I know she is least in my heart.

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