Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dressing a Room vs Dressing Me

My husband and I are invited to a "black tie optional" event being held in January.  If it were a "black tie" event, I'd know exactly what to wear.  The "optional" is what is throwing me off.  If a client asks me to create a formal living space for them, I know what formal pieces of furniture will work and I'll use a symmetrical arrangement.  For a casual living space I would place the furniture more randomly and I'd use soft, comfy fabrics.  Whatever they want, whatever style, level of comfort I'm sure I could satisfy their needs.

I'm also very confident in choosing clothing and how I dress....usually.  It's not often that I attend a formal event.  And styles and customs change from time to time and from one region to another.  So, I'm finding myself in a quandary.  I googled "black tie optional" and then went looking for a dress.  Imagine how happy I was to find something on my first outing.  I bought a nice evening bag and am looking for shoes.  Also, I went through my jewelry box and found the perfect jewels. 

I should have stopped there.  One last "google" to make sure everything was ready.  It seems like every site says basically the same thing, then each one adds a few extra comments to confuse the issue!  Now, I'm having second thoughts on my choice, time is running out, and since many women are now shopping for New Year's Eve dresses, I think my choices will be very slim. 

Probably all will go well, although at the moment, I'm a little stressed.

Monday, December 20, 2010


It's five days till Christmas.  I'm ready except for a few minor things.  I always do this.  Each family member gives me a wish list at Thanksgiving time. I choose what I want to give them, do the shopping (hopefully, early) and then proceed to wrap.  Each person usually has the same number of gifts to open and approximately the same dollar amount is spent on each person.

Somehow, I always fall short with someone.  Then I find it necessary to go out and buy another gift.  Fortunately, this time it should be easy to purchase what I want.  Also, I'll make sure I'm at the store in the morning when the doors open.

My decorating is done and some of the baking is done.  Christmas Eve is always at my house.  We have dinner, open presents and go to church.  I have to admit that last year I was so tired and everyone was in such a rush that we never made it to church.  Most of the time my family comes for Christmas dinner.  This year my son & his fiance are having an open house on Christmas Day so I get to relax on that day.  On Sunday we're invited to a cousin's house for lunch.  I'm really looking forward to this weekend!

Here's a glimpse at Christmas in my house......

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

An Artificial Christmas?

When decorating my home for Christmas most of the greens inside are artifical and the outside greens are real.  I do this because I know the greens outside will stay fresh because of the cold and those inside won't wilt because of heat and lack of water. 

For years I frolicked (I like that word, it sounds Christmasy) through fields of trees looking for the perfect one to decorate.  It was fun when my children were young and we made it a family affair.  After they grew up it wasn't as much fun going by myself (my husband went once and that was enough for him).  Then one year I awoke to tiny little spiders all over the walls and ceiling.  Apparently, one had built a nest in the tree and the warmth of the house produced all the little ones!  That was the last year for a live tree.

I've been wondering what decorations will look like years in the future.  When I was growing up I didn't know anyone who had an artifical tree.  Well, I take that back, once my mother bought a silver tinselly looking tree.  (She read a lot of women's home magazines with so called cutting edge ideas.)  Another time she went out in the woods and picked up a large branch that had fallen off a tree, took it home and spray painted it gold, then proceeded to put lights and balls on it.  She placed it in front of the picture window where everyone passing by could easily see it.   As a teenage, I was mortified!  My brother and sister and I protested so much that she has never attempted any unusual decorating since.

In the 19th centuy:
          All the Christas trees were many are artificial     
          Candles were placed on we use electric lights
          Live holly decorated the modern times holly is red plastic with a foam core
          Pine cones were gathered from the woods.....resin pine cones sprayed with cinnamon scent are sold in bags.
          Waxed candles burned we can use battery operated faux candles.

Fifty years from now will all of the decorations we use be artifical?  Will anyone even remember when live/real decorations were used?  With the advancement of technology and modern manufacturing the "natural" factor is being taken out of so many things in our lives.  I hope we don't get too far from nature and remember that we are human and humans thrive and are happiest when connecting on a personal level and surrounded by nature.

                                                                        AND A
                                           MERRY CHRISTMAS FILLED WITH LOVE

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving Thanks

In a couple of days we'll be gathering around the dining table with family and friends to feast on turkey and all the trimmings.  Let's remember to share our bounty with those less fortunate and to thank the Lord for all of our blessings.

I'm especially thankful for my family and our good health.  I'm thankful that my parents are still enjoying life in their 80's.  I'm thankful that my children and grandchildren live close by and I get to see them frequently.  This year my son-in-law's family will be joining us for dinner.   My table is already set and I'll be cooking all day on Wednesday so that I can enjoy everyone on Thanksgiving Day.

I hope your Thanksgiving Day is full of joy and gratitude. 


Thursday, November 11, 2010

I love duvet covers. They act as bedspread, quilt and blanket all in one. A duvet is the quilt that is inserted into the cover. It's usually white and covered with an inexpensive cotton or cotton blend fabric. A lightweight duvet can be used in warm months and a denser one in the winter. The duvet cover can be coordinated with the rest of your bedroom, and because the insert can be changed with the seasons there is no need for multiple coverlets. Thus, saving money and doesn't that sound like a good idea!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rugs With Fringe

I like fringe on rugs. I don't like messy fringe on rugs. There is no way that the fringe can stay neat when it is in an area where it gets constant use. Even vacuuming messes it up.

I've found a way to have neat fringe. I read this in an article years ago and have been "combing" my rugs ever since. It takes me only a few seconds to comb the fringe with a wide toothed comb. It's fast, easy and the fringe always looks nice and neat.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fall Centerpiece

Making a colorful fall centerpiece is easy and inexpensive when you use fresh fruit, colorful gourds (bumpy ones for texture) and winterberry twigs (or whatever else you find in your yard). Using organic materials is also better for the environment than artificial. When you're done with the centerpiece eat the fruit and throw the gourds & twigs into the garden to decay back to the earth.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bathroom Remodel to maximize a small space

Over the summer I was working on a master bathroom remodel. After about six weeks, a couple of damaged pipes and gushing water, a torn out living room wall, and hammering pipes the job was finally completed.
The existing bathroom was from the 1970's complete with carpet and fiberglass shower. There was one sink in the bath area and one in the adjacent dressing room. The dressing room also housed two closets hidden behind bifold doors.
This bathroom is only 9' x 7 1/2'. There is another bathroom backing up to it and the toilets share the same waste pipe. Also, a heating vent is located under the window next to the toilet. These elements made it impossible to expand the space and unpractical to move the toilet. A larger shower with a seat was a must have for this bathroom.
Keeping these things in mind and with the realization that we didn't have much space to work with made this project a challenge, but in the end, the bathroom has all of the elements needed for a very functional bathroom plus a few extras.

The objective was to upgrade the bathroom and dressing/closet area, make it more functional, use materials that would look nice for years to come, and to make the space feel larger.
The walls that housed the old shower stall and the linen closet were removed to open up all of the existing floor space. All surfaces are the same or close to the same color. A frameless shower enclosure was installed to keep with the open feeling and the floor tiles were set diagonally to draw the eye outward and further visually expand the space. It's the details that were used to add interest and to make this bathroom not just functional, but, also add a little luxury.
The dressing room/closet area was gutted and a closet system by Closets by Design was installed. A mini chandelier adds a little elegance to the space.

Dressing area

Small multi colored tiles on the shower floor add interest

Shower seat, wall cubbies and grab bar

Two shower stationary and one hand held on a slide bar

"Her" vanity has two recessed medicine cabinets. The inside of the cabinets are mirrored so that when they are open they create a three way view.

A large piece of artwork will be placed on this wall to act as a focal point and add some color to this small space

You'll notice this vanity is on an outside wall. Not a common practice because of the vulnerability of the pipes to the weather. The pipes were wrapped with pipe insulation and then packed with regular insulation for protection.

12 x 12 floor tiles placed diagonally to move eyes outward and visually expand the space

Heating cable under the floor will provide a toasty feel in cold months

Thermostat for heating cable

Bun feet add another detail to the vanity

Single lever faucet with European styling

Cubbies help keep fluid lines on the wall

Pull out shelf for convenience

Drop down false panel with added trays to maximize storage options

Other details include dimmers on the vanity lights, a light over the shower, and a unit installed in the center of the ceiling that houses an exhaust fan, a heater with fan, a light and and a night light. Also, listello (a decorative border tile) was installed around the entire perimeter so there would be a continuous line around the room to further enhance the idea of open space. And small decorative medallions were placed randomly through out the wall tile just as an added touch.

Monday, October 4, 2010

What is Your Decorating Style?

Most people decorating their homes for the first time buy pieces they like rather than having a particular style. Lines between styles have blurred over the last decade or two as interiors have become more relaxed. Some would call it eclectic. I like to refer to this way of decorating as transitional.

Transitional to me means traditional furnishings with an updated or more modern look. I also see it as mixing and matching pieces of furnishings rather than buying everything to match exactly.