Sunday, April 10, 2016

Home Decor With You-Nique Style

Your Home is Your Castle

At day's end you hoist the drawbridge and bolt the door, shutting out the flaming arrows and dragons of corporate battlefields yet to be conquered. Whether colossal or compact, it is your personal refuge and retreat, each room an individual fortress of protection, refreshment and nurture.

There Comes a Time...

Castle home decor need not be set in stone. From moat to mezzanine, pantry to privy, every living space in the manor deserves a little decorative Tender Loving Care. Each detail is worthy of attention to ensure the comfort and contentment of m' Lord and Lady.

... and Here Ends the Medieval Metaphor

Though modern homes may incorporate a deliberate theme of Victorian or Antique, any home can fade into 'comfortable slipper' mode with an aura of Vintage Garage Sale. The occasional rare find in weekend back alley bonanzas is often lost amidst the tired but still-serviceable furnishings left over from days of yore.

New Year - New Look

New Years can be any day of your choice: a birthday, anniversary, promotion, or just... because! But where to start?

A Critical Eye will help you see each room as though for the first time. What is its role in your life? Make note of what you like about the room - and what you don't. Write a list of how you use it, how much of your day is spent in it, and what could make it more inviting. Perhaps renovations (windows, lighting etc.)? Or just a few cosmetic paint and wallpaper treatments? Let your imagination explore every nook and cranny for possibilities without (for the moment) any limiting thoughts of cost.

Repeat this process with each room's furnishings, fixtures and decorative touches. Filtering out any sentimental attachments will quickly identify things which have passed their 'best-by' dates. Of remaining items, which ones do you still enjoy? This sorting process prepares the way for 'out with the old - in with the new'.

Magazines offer a wide array of possibilities, with creative modern designs and configurations - along with costs. Again, be objective about what you see; glossy images do not always transplant successfully!

Showhomes offer touch and texture to design, each furniture grouping especially chosen to highlight the design of the home itself. The relationship between size and space is an important consideration when choosing home decor. When every square inch counts, creative storage spaces in home decor are essential along with multi-functional pieces. Spacious rooms invite Big and Bold in furnishings and accents. Regardless of size, comfort need not be sacrificed for practicality.

You now have the basis for a plan, including a budget and time frame. Will you take a deep breath and do everything in one grand sweep? Or one room at a time? Which is the top priority? What will you keep? What will you replace? How much of the work can you do yourself? Where can you cut down on cost? Find the right combination of functionality and style - with a delightful touch of elegance - to reflect your special taste and personality.

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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Thinking of New Home Decor? Use Quartz Tiles

Thinking of renovating your home with something trendy and at the same time long-lasting? Among the many materials used for home decors, quartz tiles are leading in terms of stylishness and toughness. This crystalline mineral is formed by nature in the core of the earth's surface when quartzite stone is extremely pressured and heated. Using Mohs scale of hardness, the measure of quartz floor tiles is 7 and higher compared to granite stone. Of course, as we know, the hardness of a diamond rank first with a score of 10. Quartz is widely used by designers and building suppliers because of its very dense surface. Polishing or sealant is no longer needed when quartz tiles are used as flooring or countertops.

Quartz is the best material to use for stone kitchen countertops. Thanks to its non-porous, stain and heat resistant quality, and high durability, it doesn't absorb moisture and water, thus, preventing any fungus formation as well as germ and bacterial growth. Given that quartz tiles are highly durable unlike marble and mosaic, you don't have to worry too much about its maintenance as these can be easily cleaned. Needless to say, you still have to take good care of your quartz tiles. Clean up stains and spills at once before they dry out. Remember to only use gentle detergent when you clean the tiles.

Set your creative self free when deciding to design your kitchen and quartz bathroom vanities. It's a matter of having a keen eye and good taste when matching different patterns and colors. You'll be impressed by your innovative design ideas. You can select from an array of colors: charcoal, deep-blue, majestic black, royal white, gray, red and pink. Check out local depot and online stores so you will know what is available and get yourself a good deal for your money. Before you make any purchase, make sure that you have measured the areas where you plan to lay the tiles. This way, you will have an estimate of how many tiles you will need. Talk to a professional to help you with this. When buying for quartz tiles, be certain that you choose first-class quality, color grouting that is the same with the color of the tile you are buying, and adhesive for a shine that is dazzling!

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Sewing Through The Years

I started the day with a sewing project.

For me, this is not done lightly. My expertise with the needle leaves much to be desired so I usually bring clothes that need repairs to a professional seamstress. But this was an emergency. Tonight we are going to an event that requires dressier clothes, the kind I only wear once or twice a year.

My project is a black sleeveless top that I had bought on sale a year ago. But when I tried it on at home, I realized it was almost a size too big on me. I couldn't return it so it had hung in my closet all this time, waiting for me to decide whether to donate it to Goodwill or bring it to a seamstress for repair (which would cost more than the top had cost). So I decided to give it my "quick" treatment.

I still remember my first sewing project. I was in my first year of high school and all the girls had to take cooking for half the school year and sewing for the second half. The boys took wood working which I would have preferred; however, this was 1955 and the women's liberation movement was still 15 years away. I breezed through cooking; something I had done a lot of at home but the sewing class literally tied me up in knots!

The first project for the class was an apron. We chose our material, then learned how to cut out a pattern, thread a needle and make small, neat strokes through the fabric as we sewed it together. I struggled with each step, watching as my classmates completed their aprons and moved on to a skirt. I can't remember if I ever finished the apron but I did learn to hate sewing and promised myself that I would avoid it at all costs.

However, I was enticed back when I inherited my grandmother's treadle sewing machine. We didn't have Barbie dolls in those days and I wanted to dress a favorite doll in grown-up clothes. I searched for bits of material around the house and designed some kind of outfit for the doll. After some experimenting, I learned to use the old machine. I loved the feel of the treadle, peddling it back and forth with my feet while my hands maneuvered cloth through the needle. The clothes I made had a short life span but I learned that sewing could be fun if I could choose the project.

My mother had taken sewing lessons at one point but the table sewing machine she had bought was soon tucked away in its case and stored in the back of the closet. The sewing projects stopped with the class and my mother was reticent to get rid of such an expensive purchase. When I got married, she saw the perfect home for the sewing machine and sent it to me. I ignored it until early in my first pregnancy when I thought I could save money by making a few maternity clothes.

I bought a pattern, material and thread and went to work. My project was a two piece outfit; a skirt and long top. I tried to follow the pattern, cutting a hole in the front of skirt to accommodate the baby's growth. I think I wore it once or twice but by the time I was five or six months pregnant, I discovered that the hole in the skirt came down too far and the jacket was too short, exposing my pregnant belly to the world. Those were the last clothes I ever made.

But I did get into other projects. Years later, with three growing children, I felt the need for an art project. I decided to make quilts for my daughters' beds. Out came the same old sewing machine, still in pristine condition after years of abandonment. I bought four colorful sheets, cut them in squares and sewed the squares together; then backed them with a soft, fuzzy material and filled the interior with stuffing. Then I repeated the process for our second daughter. For a month, our dining room table was covered with fabric, thread, and stuffing - all presided over by the old table sewing machine. Because the kids took so much time during the day, I stayed up late into the night, obsessively working on the projects. When both quilts were done and spread out on the girls' beds, the sewing machine went back in its case and retired to its home in the storage closet.

Since that time, I have sewed hems and pant cuffs (simple ones that only have to be turned over), a few buttons, the occasional ripped shirt or pants, and immediate projects like the one today. I hadn't done much sewing for some time until my granddaughter asked me to teach her how to sew. When we visited a few months ago, I brought a book on learning to sew for children and a small sewing basket filled with all the necessities. She and I spent most of one day working on a small stuffed dog (or cat or bear; I was never certain). She tackled the project with determination and did most of the work herself. However, she had energy to burn when we finished and I was exhausted, ready to go to bed! But it was great fun and exactly what I always thought being a grandma was all about.

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Christmas Interior Decorating - A 3 Simple Step Guide on How to Find Your Inner Creative Inspiration

So Santa Claus will be visiting soon and you have not finished (or started) decorating your home for your guests or for your enjoyment. Or perhaps you look around your home and feel as if there is something missing in your decoration.
-Don't panic!
-Don't hide in the closet!
-Don't try to wrap yourself in a box to avoid decorating!
-Don't grab the scissors and stare at the tangled Christmas lights!
-Don't put an extra something in the eggnog to try to calm your nerves!
-Don't eye the ornaments and imagine your family as targets!
Follow these 3 simple steps, practiced by elves at the North Pole in charge of interior decorating, in order to find your creative inspiration for decorating the interior of your home.

1st step

Remember your goal. The goal is to decorate so you LOVE walking into your home and inviting people to visit. Not just admiring the outside Christmas lights, but the heart of the home (the inside!!) ... so you can FEEL that Christmas is near ... so people can talk about how wonderful your home looks (hey, there is nothing wrong with having fans admire your creative unique interior decorations). You make your home special every time you decorate because no matter how many ideas an interior decorator may give you; it is ultimately your personality (as an individual or a family) that chooses the ultimate Christmas decorating design. No home can ever be decorated the same because we all have different personalities, styles, and tastes that inspire our creative heart to reach our desired goal.

2nd step

Narrow down a mood. The second step to finding your inner Christmas decorating inspiration is to narrow down a mood that you want to feel in the room. What emotion do you want to portray in the room? Do you prefer informal or formal. March of the Wooden Soldiers with Laurel & Hardy movie or White Christmas with Bing Crosby & Rosemary Clooney movie. Making your own gingerbread house or buying one already made.
Now remember, there is nothing wrong with combining two moods and styles as long as there is harmony. How do you go about doing that? Simple: pick your primary mood preference then throw "decor sprinkles" of your secondary preference. You prevent two moods from clashing when the secondary preference is introduced into the room in small amounts - which I call "decor sprinkles". For example, say you want to decorate your home to reflect an elegant white Christmas look (the main mood preference is relaxed elegance) but you don't want it to look too fancy (the second preference is a decor sprinkle of fun!).

You can:
Decorate your home with wreaths sprayed with snow and have white elegant fabric bows, with silver bells. Place white felt fabric on all tables to resemble snow. Decorate your tree with clear Christmas lights, different shades of white & silver round ornaments, fresh cut white roses, beautiful soft doll angels with white feathered wings; and place under your tree presents wrapped in silver with white ribbons and bows. These are all primary mood preferences of elegance.

Then, add your décor sprinkles of fun! Add to your Christmas tree adorable snowmen figurine ornaments with red scarves and red roses that pick up the color of the red scarf on the snowmen; add mistletoe and red berry branches to the center of doorways; and insert small red & white stripped candy canes within your snow covered wreaths. The red color is your little SPLASH of fun! Be careful not to overwhelm the sprinkle of your secondary preference - the holiday magic word is "subtle". These are all secondary mood preferences of fun.
Remember, narrowing down what mood you and your family prefer for the current Christmas will inspire you and your family to start visualizing designs in your imagination that bring comfort and joy.

3rd STEP

Organize a decorating plan. Knowing the first two steps gives you a guide (a design blueprint!). So now you know your goal (1st step), and you know the direction of the mood you wish to use for your interior decoration (2nd step). The next step is to organize a decorating plan (3rd step).

Look within yourself ... or much easier (less meditation!) ... look within the boxes that contain last year's Christmas decorations in order to organize your decorating plan. If you have a limited amount of decorations, then go window-shopping to sort through store decorations.
Take out all the decorations you have and sort out what you like and what you do not like. As soon as you start to sort, you will receive inspirational decorating thoughts that will guide you to pick this year's Christmas decoration design plan that will impress even Santa Claus.

Search and sort by:
Mood. Sort the decorations by moods (which are fancy, elegant, relaxing, whimsical, funky, playful, etc).

Theme. Organize by theme (nutcrackers, snowmen, a Christmas village, indoor animations, reindeers, etc.)

Color. Separate each ornament or decoration with the color that stands out the most. This goes for Christmas lights as well - separate the multicolor Christmas lights from the single color Christmas lights.

Taking the time to search and sort through your Christmas decorations will:
o keep you from wanting to use every single décor you own and inspire you to save them for other Christmases to come.

o help you pick out what matches or doesn't for your (a) comfort (1st step - goal) and (b) preference (2nd step - mood).

o help you plan a design that harmonizes with your personality and furniture. Just because you have a red bow does not mean you have to use it. A red bow attached to a red lampshade will not stand out; whereas a white bow would be a noticeable contrast.

o make planning future Christmas decorating easy since you already went through the process of sorting and stored decorations by mood/theme/color.

o save you money since now you purchase with a plan in mind that match your goal and the mood that you want to portray in your current Christmas theme, instead of just grabbing any (or all) adorable Christmas decorations.

Perhaps you do not like an ornament that was given to you by a relative, but you feel obligated to have it as part of your Christmas interior décor. REMEMBER, it is your home ... your comfort ... your creative Christmas décor. Do not let past gifts bully you into feeling that you "have to" display the item(s). Choose decorations that "YOU" want to represent in your home.

Extra Tip: if you have a guest that gave you a unique décor and he/she is planning to stay over for the holiday, then surprise them by decorating the guest room with the unique gift. They will wholeheartedly appreciate the thought you gave into displaying the gift, and feel happier during the happy holidays.

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