Beans & Rice for the Soul

teaching, learning and living around the world

Around the house

I like creating cozy homes. And moving around has forced me to give up the crap and keep only the truly good stuff. IMG_2853 I love our new place in Watertown.  It’s filled with our treasures and each weekend I love… just being here! Surrounded by memories and artful inspiration.  Here’s a peek at some of my favorite pieces and their origins.


1) Metal picture – Anga’s mom’s house in GISENYI, RWANDA 2) Candle holder – Murano Island, VENICE, ITALY 3) Sugar bowl – handmade by the Streshley family in KINSHASA, DRC 4) Coffee beans – grown and roasted on Anga’s dad’s plantation in NORTH KIVU, DRC


1) UVA/WASHINGTON D.C. sights 2) Postcard from KAMPALA, UGANDA 3) Rowhouses from BROOKLYN, NY 4) (Center) by a Syrian artist, purchased in ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA


From a market in AMMAN, JORDAN. (I was there visiting a fellow Abracadabra Preschool alum/sister of my college rugby teammate!)


ALASKA! Where Peesta and I adventured around and I fell in love with the art and illustrations of Barbara Levalee. Peesta got this for me. I just love the personalized message. “Here’s to discovering new dances wherever your travels take you!” The dancing ladies remind me of all the times raising a ruckus with my rugby pals in college.


Basket from RWANDA


These two paintings are so, so special. Painted by my mom in ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA. 1) Anga’s Aunt’s house in KABUYE, DRC 2) NYIRAGONGO VOLCANO, DRC


From my Aunt Lizzy’s house in CLEVELAND, OHIO. I love the colors, but I especially love the wild woman playing the violin- just like my Aunt Lizzy.




1) Blanket made by my mom in ALEXANDRIA, VA 2) Conical basket – RWANDA 3) Coaster – ISTANBUL, TURKEY


1) Fish plate & alabaster candle holder – CAIRO, EGYPT 2) Wooden carved candle holder – GERMANY 3) Kuba Cloth – KINSHASA, DRC 4) Wooden Cabinet – BRUSSELS, BELGIUM


A gift to Anga from Vic. Made in DRC?


Wood block print — by Wayland House Art, purchased at an Artists Market in DEL RAY




Purchased in EPERNAY, FRANCE. Imbibed upon our engagement. Box now holds precious Christmas ornaments.


My favorite ornament! Fabrics from DRC, handmade by my mom in ALEXANDRIA.


Teke Mask. GOMA, DRC.


Coffee table – from Mala India in Waterloo, Belgium.


Tablecloth – KINSHASA, DRC


1) Beer coasters – BELGIUM 2) Bowl – ZANZIBAR


15 comments on “Around the house

  1. Sally (mom)
    March 4, 2015

    I love your apartment and how it’s filled with a collection of art from all over the place. This is yet another way you have influenced/inspired me. I used to have a house filled with stuff I inhertied from an aunt, two grandmothers and my parents. Very simply put, it was their stuff, some of which I didn’t even particularly like. While I had special memories around some of it, a lot of it was being used because I did not have time to spend shopping for other stuff. Once I saw your first apartment I started changing mine. Over time it has improved a LOT. I got rid of a lot of things and everytime I travel now I try to bring home something to add to my own collection. I am finding that it gives me great enjoyment to look at those things every day.

    Thank you also for showing off my paintings, the christmas ornament I made and the blanket. It’s always special to have someone else besides me enjoy the things I put hours into creating! Also, I have the same christmas ornament for my tree, it reminds me of all the “stitched by sally” sewing I did to support your work in goma.

    • Sara Rich
      March 4, 2015

      Yes! It’s enjoyable to have so many triggers for good memories of people and experiences.

  2. Lonnie Rich (Dad)
    March 4, 2015

    Easy to see why you like going home. What a wonderful collection of your life.

    I hadn’t thought about that Lizzy print in a long time. She was so talented, so diverse — remember her nature table? She was also so smart, but didn’t have a “lick of sense!” I wish that Meg and Mattie could have known her.

    • Sara Rich
      March 4, 2015

      hahaha Those are the exact same two things (nature table + smart without sense) I highlight about her when people ask about that print. That nature table was awesome! Actually, Anga’s grandmom in Brussels has a very similar one.

      I’ll always remember that awesome week Alex, Anne and Steven and I had with her. What fun.

  3. Harlene Clayton
    March 4, 2015

    Sara: All of your art pieces are beautiful and I know so special. Your mom is so talented. You are fortunate to have had such great experiences through your travels
    and making a difference in people’s lives along the way.
    Best wishes in your new home.
    I’ve enjoyed reading your blogs!
    Harlene Clayton

    • Sara Rich
      March 4, 2015

      Thanks so much Harlene! I do feel so fortunate. Sometimes I do wonder how all this good stuff keeps happening to me, why I get to have such a great life. A colleague of mine today was telling me about a study on high expectations. The study is another story, but it makes me think that perhaps my mindset plays the biggest role in my great life. A card I always keep near my desk at work closes with- Have faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

  4. alexrich82
    March 4, 2015

    I have a table that was made in china. Got it at Target! JK

    • Sally (mom)
      March 4, 2015


    • Sara Rich
      March 4, 2015

      This made me laugh so hard. Touché.

  5. Peesta
    March 4, 2015

    Poooodoooo!!! You have definitely inspired my decorations through travel. Now that I’m in a 600 square foot house I’ve really had to think about what I keep – everything has a place and a story and a purpose. I have my Lavalee “Tom’s Tub” print in my bathroom, beautiful (scratchy) pillows from Turkey in my living room, alabaster tea lights from Egypt in my bedroom and all kinds of other crafts I’ve created or collected. And I just put my “Stitched by Sally” luggage tags on my new suitcases! Time for a trip! Really looking forward to visiting your place out there – and I really hope you and Anga are able to make it WEST to SEATTLE soon!!!

    • Sara Rich
      March 4, 2015

      Yesss!! I love that we have so many shared treasures from our grand adventures together! To infinity and beyond!

  6. bevwalls
    March 4, 2015

    Lovely collection of art and memories. I love Sally’s creations! I didn’t know she painted, too.

  7. wendy
    March 5, 2015

    Sara, You’ll be so glad you’re keeping track of the origin of things you love. Tracy and I have resorted to just making it up when people ask where certain masks, pillows, blankets, and ornaments came from because we didn’t take the care you have in curating your collection. It’s a good thing to do because you think you’ll remember and then, just draw a blank even though the item means a lot to you. Your mom’s art is different (we love her pillow and luggage tags!)

    • Sara Rich
      March 5, 2015

      Wendy! So great to hear from you! At times I’ve thought of making a spreadsheet to keep track but instead for the framed paintings I just keep a little envelope stuck to the back that has the info in it.

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