Archive for the ‘Decorating/Home Environment’ Category

Holiday Decorating-have some fun!

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Once you have found the “perfect” tree for your home, then the real fun begins, decorating! I switch between white lights and multi-colored lights.  It’s either all white or multi-colored for me!  If it’s multi year, then everything is multi including the window candles each having a different colored light. Then in white light years,  I usually go for a more traditional look with deep red or burgundy bows.  The tree also has the same theme.  So I have white crystal garland, jewel toned garland and garland that looks like rock candy.  We used to string popcorn and cranberries until the dog ate all the garland and almost knocked over the tree!  Our ornaments are a collection of over 25 years with quirky glass, paper and wood. The girls kindergarten homemade ones have the prominent spot in the front.  Shelby was always planning a craft day around the holidays, I think we kept Michaels in business. Whether you make your own or shop for decorations at Target, take care when packing your ornaments and lights so you can use them year after year.  Save the ornament boxes, tissue paper and wrap the lights and secure with twisty ties so they don’t tangle.  Set time aside to decorate with your friends or family and make it a party, have some fun with your decorating!

Is That Color Right For You?

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

So many of you will be heading back to college or moving out on your own.  How will you be decorating your new homes away from home?  A fresh coat of paint can transform a room. Of course, if you are in a college dorm, you probably will not be allowed to paint the walls. Even then, choosing the right colors for sheets and bedding can set a mood.  So, what colors will best define you?  I drew up this list from one of my favorite guide books, ‘Home Sanctuary’, by Nicole Marcelis.  Have some fun with it.

  • White – innocence, purity and cleanliness, as long as you keep it clean.  It can also be cold, hospital like, and too crisp. It is projecting and masculine, often over-stimulating.
  • Black – powerful, impressive, mysterious, and can indicate that you have something to hide. feminine.
  • Brown – earthy, grounding, stabilizing, save it for your wood furniture and floors.
  • Purple – spiritual, sensitive, it supports creative energy, reflection and truth seeking.  It can also be associated with the abuse of power.
  • Violet – peaceful, soothing and tranquil, spiritual, it is thought to encourage sleep balance emotion and control hunger.  Sounds like a bedroom color to me.
  • Blue – peaceful, restful, it lowers the heart rate and blood pressure.  It infers loyalty, but can make you seem withdrawn and introverted if it is too cold.
  • Indigo or Midnight blue – may increase daydreaming and facilitate psychic powers, it is used to restore balance and stability.
  • Green – right in the middle of the color spectrum. freshness, re-birth, potential, harmony, peace, balance or, it can indicate indecisiveness.  It also conveys jealousy when misused. It has been successfully used to treat stress related conditions such as headaches and ulcers. Interesting.
  • Yellow – ENERGY,  joyful, happy and clear, it symbolizes intellect and has been used to sharpen memory, but it can also symbolize cowardice.
  • Orange – considered creative, social and optimistic, it conveys confidence, but can promote hyperactivity and be overpowering if you don’t get it right.  It is also thought to stimulate the immune system and ease depression.
  • Red – I used it a lot when I was young.  It’s the color of passion, and thought to be outgoing and assertive.  It’s an active color, good for procrastinators It can also convey warmth and intimacy.  Be careful though, to much of the wrong shade can make you irritable and angry.
  • Visit our Independent Living Section for more tips on moving away, and check some of our earlier blogs for more decorating ideas.

    16 Spring Cleaning Tips

    Monday, March 19th, 2012

    That’s right it’s spring cleaning time!  While the thought of an organized clean house appeals to me, I admit it doesn’t come natural to me.  In other words I hate housecleaning!  So, I have compiled a list of tips to help myself get started.

    1.   Make a plan.  Schedule time you can devote to just cleaning.  Room by room is a good strategy.              Sticking to specific tasks is another…. like scrubbing, vacuuming, closets, rug cleaning, etc.

    2.   Delegate.  Often overlooked and the best tip of them all.  If you have room mates, or family                      members try making a list and having them choose the chores they want to do.  Can pick from a            that.  Most will do a better job if they  feel like they are not being bossed around.  Give a                            deadline and a simple reward like a favorite dinner for the household when the chores are done.

    3.   Gather or buy new cleaning solutions you will need.  Think aroma therapy. The stores are full of          delightful smelling products and many of them are not harmful to the environment.

    4.   Get yourself a pair of fun rubber clothes, and  don some comfy sweats,  to put you in the mood.  If          you are male, stick with yellow gloves.

    5.    Set it to music.  Set up Pandora to dance music or play your favorite playlist on your ipod.  Play it           loud.  Listen on some Frends headphones.

    6.    Turn off  your phone.  The ultimate sabotager when you need to get something done.

    7.   Groom your dog first.  No fun vacuuming and cleaning for a shedding stinky dog!

    8.    Open the windows.  Air out the house.  It’s spring!

    9.   Put winter clothes away.  Have a bag to donate to the  thrift shop. If you have some items you can          sell to a consignment shop set them aside.  Remember consignment shops need seasonal items            so you may need to store these items to submit in the fall.

    10.  Don’t forget the outside.  Wait for a warm day and hose down or power wash the deck or patio.

    11.  Plan on editing or rotating chatckas.  It will revitalize the room.

    12.  This is a great time for a new duvet, or pillow for the couch, a new set of drinking glasses that               actually match, etc.  Simple things like this are good for inspiration.

    13.  This is the time to rearrange furniture since you will be cleaning under things.

    14.  Re read Michele’s blogs on Feng Shui and Spring Cleaning-modified Feng Shui-unclutter that               closet!

    15.  Check out our household tips on whatwouldmomsay or ask the moms a question about specific             tasks in the search box on the top of this page.

    16.  When you are reasonably done reward yourself.  A mani pedi is the obvious choice.  Do not                     choose this if you are male.  Most important get outside and enjoy the spring.

    Floral Art, Floral Business … Bouquets to Art continued…

    Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
    MY neighbor had a flower shop in Santa Cruz… Downtown on Pacific Avenue. Then the Bonny Doon Flowers moved into the new New Leaf Market. She has since sold that and continues to do her floral design business from her home in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
    The Bouquets to Art is on tonight, and through the weekend. Your local museum may do something similar. My sister told me her Boston art museum also had this type of special event. Look for it on their calendar. Another crazy way for people to be creative.
    Are you a lover of flowers and you just think you enjoy doing it for your parties and for friends and family? Well, maybe you could actually make a business from this hobby or passion of yours.  I have done the floral arrangements for friends and family, for weddings and school functions, probably saving friends thousands of dollars on their events. Perhaps you can do it on the side and collect some clients for weekend parties and then larger events like weddings and when you have a strong enough client list, you can take it all the way and have your passion support you.
    Your life, your passion…. Believe in yourself and you can do it.

    Budget Blues;Renew, Reuse, Recycle and Other Ways to Decorate

    Saturday, February 11th, 2012

    OK, We’ve talked about furnishing your home with other people’s junk.  You know, the one man’s junk is another man’s treasure approach, but there are so many other, inexpensive ways to creatively decorate your home.

    My daughter took a pretty worthless picture from a fabulous frame and  replaced it with a mirror.  Then, instead of heading to home depot to get a cabinet for her bathroom sink, We hit the second hand stores and found an old dresser with lots of counter and drawer space.  We bought a sink and cut a hole in the top of the dresser to fit it.  Our plumber was amused, but added fixtures and connected the pipes. I love the results.

    Another approach to decorating is to do it yourself.  I found a website I  like that helps you build the furniture you can’t afford.They sell plans for furniture similar to what you would find in catalogues like Pottery Barn and you can build the pieces yourself at a fraction of the price www.knock-offwood.com. Love the stuff.

    I took a different approach to the same idea.  I found a piece in the Sundance Catalogue made from Chicken Coops.   I brought the picture to a woodworking class at my son’s school and asked them to build it for me.  I purchased the necessary supplies and made a donation to the school. (I’d really prefer to give them my money anyway) , I now own the piece, signed by the artists, my son and his classmates.  It’s exactly what I wanted.

    Renew, Reuse, Recycle; Home Decorating-Part One

    Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

    Doing this website, thinking about furnishing a new apartment, recycling, saving money, has led me to recognize that I am an authority on recycling.    I am the queen of recycling when it comes to furniture. There is a reason for this.  I hate to shop.  There are some things that I will shop for, and enjoy it.  Art work, I love galleries; books, I will spend hours in a book store; antiques, love them, but can’t afford most of the real ones; and junk.

    From my father's office, re-upolstered in a Purple velvet Ralph Lauren remnant

    I don’t shop for furniture.   I’m not a garage sale shopper or even a classified ads shopper, I don’t do Craig’s List or e-bay. although I think these might be good ways to find great buys. No, I prefer to wait until people offer me things, or decide to throw them away, or give them to me. As a result, most of my home furnishings have a history.

    This table I bought from a friend who didn't sell it at her house sale

    I love my things, not so much that I can’t live with out them, but enough that I take them with me when I move. So many of them come with a story.

    This came from a friends mom, she was moving to a smaller apartment. It was one of those big dark 50's style tables. I had it stripped and sanded and refinished it myself

    They belonged to people I’ve loved, or were given to me by people who loved me. Some of them, I had to work at,  some were gifts, some were finds, some I grew up with.  They’re just things, but they are things the way I like them. I didn’t pay a lot for any of them, and yet, they’re worth more to me than anything Ethan Allen or Pottery Barn could sell me.

    Yes Virgina, there really is a “sofa doctor”-Moving Day Brooklyn 2011

    Thursday, January 5th, 2012

    Well, her name wasn’t Virgina but Hayley.  And the “sofa doctor” was the name that came out of the movers mouths as they were about to have a heart attack bringing her couch up a narrow flight of steps.

    Talk about squeezing an elephant into a volkswagen!  It was going to happen.  So the “doctor” to the rescue at 800pm.  They dismantled the couch, brought it into the apartment and reassembled it on the spot.

    The normal cost for this service in NYC is around $300 but since ours was after hours (24 hour emergency number) it was a bit more. It was cheaper than the cost of buying new.  The Sofa Doctors also build furniture, storage and repair upholstered sofas.  FYI, we also had to saw the legs of the TV cabinet to make it fit up the stairs! Before moving, measure all your things to make sure they fit (including stairs) and it not, look for alternatives like modular pieces.  But if you love your couch, you might want to get an estimate from the “doctor” before the big day.

    home at lat

    More Christmas Flora Ideas

    Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

    ORCHIDS!

    Cymbidiums can be strong and tall and create atmosphere.

    Slipper orchids can fit into any little space to add color and presence.

    Then a white cyclamen for added elegance on a table, night stand or in a grouping.

    I just love orchids. They are really exquisite flowers and will be around for a long time. Maybe even until Valentines Day!

    Finding The Perfect Tree

    Sunday, December 18th, 2011

    Everyone has their own idea of the perfect tree and how to go about finding it.  I have friends who truly do “hunt” down their tree.  Every year they go out on their property and search for  the right tree.  Then, they climb into a nearby tree and shoot the top off,  I kid you not, this is their family tradition.  They carry home the shot-off top and it becomes their Christmas tree.  My friend, Melanie brings home a tree from her grandparent’s property.  Her grandparent’s don’t have a tree farm, but a wooded property, so the tree is often irregular in shape and a bit bare in spots.  Nonetheless,  lit up and decorated with the children’s ornaments, it is as beautiful as any tree could be.  Mel calls it her “Charlie Brown”.  Then, there’s  quirky Aunt Anne, Her perfect tree was white, decorated with red balls, and every year she made a trip to the attic to find her tree.Me?  My children hide when I say we are going tree hunting.  I like a big tree, perfectly shaped.  It must have strong branches spaced well enough apart to display some of the larger, heavier ornaments, and I’m not happy unless we have examined every tree on every lot or farm within a 50 mile radius.  I come by this naturally.  My parents, who really weren’t picky people, were known to return trees if they weren’t perfect once they were up.

    So, How do you find the tree that’s right for you?  How much space do you have?, do you want real or artificial?,  off the lot or cut down yourself? . If you do decide to go with a real tree, there are a few things you should know.  Don’t buy a tree that is wrapped without looking at it.  Have an employee stand the tree upright and free the branches, see how they fall, and remember, they will continue to drop once it’s up. Walk around the tree and look for holes, if it’s going against a wall, you can have a “bad side”, and there is a special kind of appeal in a “Charlie Brown” tree.  Keep your finances in mind.

    Check the tree for freshness, give it a good shake, loosely grab the end of a branch and shake it, If needles fall off, it’s not fresh enough,  Take a needle and pinch it, if it’s dry or brittle, don’t buy the tree, look for one with needles that spring back into shape.  Certain trees hold their needles longer, I like a Frasier Fir, but again it’s a matter of taste, my mom loved Douglass Fir or Scotch Pine.

    Brian and Amy, not relevant, but I like this picture

    When you’ve found the right tree, bring it home, be sure you have a stand big enough and strong enough to hold the tree you’ve chosen, even after it’s decorated.  I learned that the hard way.  Before setting up the tree, cut a piece a couple of inches thick from the trunk, and stand the tree in water right away.  The cut will allow the tree to soak in the water. Don’t forget to water regularly.  You can add sugar or one of the commercial products that extend the life of the tree to the water. Happy Hunting!

    Holiday Decorating with Flowering Plants

    Thursday, December 15th, 2011

    Stumped as to how to decorate for the holidays? Want a way that’s super easy and beautiful? Different holiday flowering plants in wicker baskets, wooden trays and clay pots make a colorful display.

    Christmas Cactus, Cyclamens and Poinsettias come in a variety of colors so there is something for everyone.I’m not a fan of red Poinsettias but this variegated cream and red looks great with the tradional colors of Christmas.Add a splash of color to your table with these festive plants and make it super simple for your holiday decorating.