Showing posts with label Brite-Ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brite-Ideas. Show all posts

Sunday, August 18, 2019

How to Display Artwork Without Hanging it on the Wall

A Review of 5 Ways to Display Artwork Without Hanging it on the Wall


When levels, hooks, hammers, and nails frustrate you, or you're not keen on marking up the walls, below are designer approved alternative methods to feature art:

1. An Art Easel

Art easels provide mobility. Place your favorite piece of art on an easel and move from room to room when you need a change. Easels come in numerous styles. Finding one to match your decor should be a cinch.

2. Frame TV

Frame TV transforms into art. Samsung's Frame TV turns into a beautiful piece of art when you're not watching it. This particular Frame TV should be wall-mounted. However, if you're planning to wall mount your TV anyway, an art tv provides two-for-one use. Display spectacular artwork from a list of established or up-and-coming artists. Oh, and one more thing, put a Frame TV on an easel for a display of rotating or static art.

3. Lean Art Against the Wall

There are two ways to consider doing this:

Leaning a larger piece on the floor

The trick to this is placing the art in a room without it appearing as a shortcut or after-thought. A very large piece of art should be positioned so that it's part of the design of the room. Avoid placing it away from the focus of the space. The decor and furniture in the room should tie into the piece.

Leaning and layering pieces on a cabinet, bench, fireplace or other furniture surfaces

Layering is exactly what it sounds like. You layer a variety of photos so they're slightly touching each other. As an example, on a cabinet,  layer multiple family photos in a collection of matching or non-matching frames against the wall.

4. Place Art in a Decorative or Non-Operational Fireplace

An unused fireplace insert area is ideal to display art. Choose at least one or more pieces to cover the entire back wall, then layer a few smaller pieces in front. The art completes the fireplace by giving it a distinctive purpose.

5. Use a Bookcase or Large Cabinet

If you have a large bookcase or cabinet, lean your art inside one or more of the shelves. It's especially lovely to use larger art pieces on a few shelves. Don't stop at one or two pieces, add several in varying sizes.

If You Decide to Hang Photos on the Wall, what are the Best Hooks?

If ultimately you decide to hang your photos, I HIGHLY recommend these hooks. They're the only ones I use. It's one of those 'As you see on TV' products and they're fantastic. They only leave a pinhole in the wall and you don't need tools (hammers etc) to hang your pictures. I can hang photos on my own now, no need to ask for help.





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Sunday, August 11, 2019

5 Creative Ways to Store or Display Books

Unique Ways to Store or Display Books


We can certainly accumulate a lot of books throughout life. Some end up in a bedroom end table, others buried in closets, and the rest make it to their home-base, a bookcase.

This review lists obscure or odd ways to store or display books in the home. When a bookcase is out of the question, try one of these options.

1. Decorative Storage Trunks

Not all storage trunks are old, dusty and stuffed in an attic or basement. Modern decorative trunks can be featured in main rooms as a functional accessory. This set of 3 accent trunks can be placed in a living room, office or bedroom with your favorite books stored inside. It's a clutter-free way to bring books into a room. They're stored away and the trunks are a piece of furniture that adds to the overall look of the room.

2. Cotton Canvas Storage Bins

This playfully printed cotton canvas bag is normally used in a child's room to store toys. The bag is light and safe, has carrying straps and is easy for kids to lift or move. Instead of using them for toys, put books inside. Complete the look of a room, by designing a reading area that features three or four of these lovely canvas storage bins surrounded by a plush comfy rug. Create an actual reading circle by placing the storage bags in the middle of a large round rug. Gather on the rug for story time.

3. Rolling Storage Cart

There is an endless number of rolling cart designs. However, this cart works for a sunroom or porch. Imagine being cozied up on your porch swing as you reach over to get one of your favorite books. Get a number of carts and position them along on a wall as a long unit filled with books. 

4. Storage Ottoman

Place books inside an ottoman. Ottomans can be positioned anywhere in a room; against a wall, in front of or beside a sofa. You'll find that Ottomans come in multiple sizes, with some being quite large. With an Ottoman, you'll get extra seating or a place to put your feet all while storing books.

5. Book Slings

Book slings are a popular choice for a child's room or reading area. However, this particular one can work in a den, office or family room. Unlike several of the above options, the books in a sling are on open display. You'll often see Slings in professional waiting rooms as a way to hold magazines or books for waiting clients.

To see elaborate ways to display books, you can check out how the other side lives here.





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Sunday, August 4, 2019

Getting Ready to Sell Your Home - 7 Simple and Necessary Improvements that Don't Require Renovations

Getting Ready to Sell Your Home Without Renovating

If you're getting ready to sell your home but can't afford any major renovations, lets review a list of updates you can do that won't cost a fortune.

1. Declutter

When getting ready to sell, the first step is to declutter your entire home. Include the basement, sheds, and garage as well. Go through all cupboards and closets and get rid of or store items you don't/won't need during the selling process. Remove unnecessary knick-knacks. Keep coffee and end tables sparingly decorated with lamps, candles and plants.

About the garage: Empty out the clutter so prospective buyers can easily determine whether their car(s) will fit inside. 

2. Paint Rooms

Painting can be time consuming, but it's an affordable first step to give your home a face lift before selling. Keeping the color scheme neutral will attract a broader range of potential buyers. Think in terms of grey, tan, beige, or white. Keep the baseboards and doors a nice crisp white. Avoid multi-colored baseboards! White baseboards provide a lovely border against the wall, rug/floor. Add pops of color with accessories only. Colorful pillows and throw blankets can bring interest to a space.

3. Create a Feature Wall(s)

A feature wall is an affordable and faster way to give your home something extra.  As an example, in the master bedroom, consider a focal wall behind the bed. Ideas for feature walls include faux brick, real brick, vinyl designs, wainscoting, and murals. Anything 'peel and stick' is the easiest.

4. Remove Personal Photos

Some sellers resist doing this. The general thought by those who aren't keen on removing their personal photos is that they feel displaying photos promote the family aspect of their home. However, that's not the way to think about this. 

When potential buyers walk into a home, they're not thinking about your family, they're thinking about how their own family will fit with the property. 

From the moment a buyer steps onto a prospective property they're analyzing the 'feel' for their own family. Emotion guides that process and a multiple combination of the smallest things move buyers closer to a decision. Looking at photos of your family is a distraction to the natural flow of this thought process. Why add a distraction? Let the buyers achieve an emotional connection to your home without disruption.

Your photos represents 'your' house, no photos allow the buyer to imagine their family in this new home. 

5. Clean, Clean and Clean

Let's go through a quick cleaning list:
  •  Declutter kitchen counters, shine kitchen sinks, wipe the cupboards and clean appliances
  •  Clean the grout on all tiles (floors, backsplash, bathtubs)
  •  Scrub bathrooms spotless!
  •  Steam clean all carpets and wash floors
  •  Vacuum your entire home
  •  Wash all the bedding, fluff pillows, and make a pretty bed (it's the focal point!)
  •  Steam clean couches and chairs
  •  Touch up any wall scuff marks with paint where applicable
  •  Ensure all light bulbs work
  •  Wash all the windows and screens
  •  Double check that all closets and cupboards are organized. Buyers will open them!
  •  Rid your house of unsavory pet and cooking odors - Try essential oils
  •  Give your pet area and/or litterbox a thorough disinfecting - Think good smells
  •  Trim overgrown trees, weed the garden and present a lovely entry way by ensuring there's a clear path to the front door.
6. Do You Have Pets?

If you have pets, and are able to, have your fur babies stay with friends or family during the selling process. If you can't arrange that, ensure your pets are secured or removed from the house before a buyer views your home. 

7.  Staging Your Home

Not everyone can afford a professional stager. However, you may reconsider staging when you read about the return on that investment! On average having your home professionally staged costs between .5 to 1 percent of a homes value. But get this: According to the National Association of Realtors for every $100 invested in staging, the potential return is $400! 

If you can't afford a professional stager, complete these fundamentals:
  •  Minimize furniture in smaller rooms
  •  Position furniture so that people can walk through a room naturally without having to walk around pieces to get to doorways
  •  Use simple window coverings, leave them open for viewings
  •  Bring energy to a room by adding plants where applicable
  •  Display baskets of fresh fruit and/or herbs in the kitchen
  •  Turn on lamps and lights before viewings
  •  Ensure the laundry is completed and your mudroom or front closet is organized
  •  Clear the entry way of coats, shoes and boots
  •  Put a lovely seasonal wreath on the front door






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Sunday, July 28, 2019

Simple DIY Hack to Help Organize Your Kitchen Drawers

DIY Hack for Organizing Kitchen Drawers
Yesterday was the day I tackled the massive kitchen drawer disaster.

It was Instagram's fault. An amazing organized drawer systems stole my attention and that was all it took. However, the Instagram post featured a stunning brand new kitchen with professional pre-installed drawer sorters.

So that got me thinking …. How can I DIY this with things I already own?

DIY organizational hacks are one of my fave things to do. For me, sorting and organizing is relaxing. Yah, I know, to some of you, that's crazy talk. It's the end result that drives me. I'll work my tail off to get to that finished look!

A Flower Vase to Hold the Important Cooking Utensils

First I had to lessen the amount of utensils in the drawers. So I put all the most useful cooking items in a vase, and placed it beside the stove. Very handy indeed. If you hate counter clutter, put it inside a cupboard or pantry.

Use a Flower Vase to Hold Cooking Utensils

Line the Drawers with a Piece of Carpet

No, not shag or thick carpeting. We used a piece of industrial hard twist with shallow grooves. They're actually extra rugs we have on hand. The most important part of this DIY hack is to ensure the carpet has a rubber non-slip backing.

Just measure the drawer and cut the carpet to fit. With a non-slip backing, even if it's not a tight fit, it won't slide around.

Carpet with Rubber Backing Keeps Utensils in Place

We open and close the above drawer multiple times a day and not one utensil slips or slides. Each item has a spot and stays put. When we need an item, it's clearly visible. No more digging!

The Carpet Prevents Slipping and Sliding

We already had an inexpensive silverware divider in the top drawer, however it kept sliding around. The constant opening and closing of the drawer would cause the items placed in front to get caught or slide completely under the sorter.

Take a look at the silverware drawer now. With the rug as a base, the plastic sorter doesn't slide and the few items we keep in the front no longer move.

With the Carpet as the Base
the Sorter and Loose Items Stay in Place

The same thing applies for the third drawer. The plastic sorter no longer slides and the items along the side and edges stay in place.

The nice thing about using a piece of carpet (with rubber backing), is that even if your plastic sorters don't exactly fit, they won't move around on the carpet. So you can put utensils in front, behind or on the sides, and they too will stay in place.

Line the Kitchen Drawer with Carpet

Since renovating our kitchen is on the agenda, I've been avoiding tackling any projects, because, well, I want the reno more! But this DIY hack was fun. Glad we did it. 

If you're planning a kitchen reno, check out these professionally design pantries! There's nothing DIY here, they're all 10s!






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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Three Over the Top Home Decor Additions that Few People Can or Will Do

Will Over the Top Additions Add Value to Your Home?

Let's review how the other side lives. Or rather how those who aren't afraid to take their home above and beyond what's considered standard decorating protocol.

I have to admire people with a free decorating spirit. It takes a lot of faith, trust, pixie dust, and yep, cold hard cash to add the extreme décor ideas featured below.

1. How about A Slide Inside the Home? Huh?

Yes, that's right, it's an actual professionally designed slide. They tend to be added beside staircases. Certainly a practical solution when your knees hurt, or for the kids. Those ankle biters will leap out of bed in the morning just to slide down for breakfast. If you're curious what these look like, check out several spectacular designs here.

2.  You Have the Slide, Now Add the Swings? What?

The choices for adding a swing range from actual swings to swing benches. Swing benches can be open on both sides, or completely closed. And yep, they're not just for porches and patios. The uniqueness comes from adding them to the kitchen, bedroom or living room. They're quite spectacular and you can bet, popular with guests. Curl up with a book and swing inside your home. If you'd like to check out how professional designers tied swings into a décor theme, you can find more information here.

3. Homes with a Secret Passageway, Really?

Really. When the budget isn't an issue, you're only limited by your imagination or better yet, your decorator's imagination. Secret passageways can be staircases that lift and open to a secret room, crawl space cubbies that connect rooms together, or rooms hidden behind walls and bookcases. If you'd like more information on this over-the-top home décor idea, you can read more here.

Does Any of this Add Value to Your Home?

Of course, yes, adding anyone of the above outstanding unique items to your home will add value. But let's examine the word "value".

Value can meaning selling for more, selling quickly or just plain selling. The market dictates which category your sale will fall into.

The value of a home ranges from area to area. A house in the country is generally less expensive on a per square foot basis than a home in the city. City to city prices range substantially as well.

To determine whether it's worth adding an expensive perk to your home (slides, swings, secret rooms), you have to first know the upper limit price range for your area.

If your home is already close to or at that upper price range, making expensive additions may not generate a return. However, if you're making this addition and plan on staying in your home for many years (5, 10 or more), you have a good chance at recouping that investment.

On the bright side, if your home isn't at the higher price range for your neighborhood, making additions like this can help you reach that plateau and/or help you sell your home faster.

Always bear in mind that recessions come in cycles, and selling your home during a recession isn't easy. With anyone of these perks, you'll have an edge, but that doesn't mean during a downturn you'll recoup your decorating investment.

Not to worry if you're selling in an up-market; if your home is staged and filled with perks, you could do well on that selling price! If your home is situated among large estates where each home is unique, making any of the above outlined additions will generally add value.

If you're a real estate stats junkie (like I am), have a ton of fun reading value assessments and projections for the USA here and Canada here at GlobalPropertyGuide.

Although you're reading general stats, you should never apply these generalizations to your area. Even in a declining economy some areas can continue to do well. General stats merely help you secure a global picture. Combine that global information with your local area to help you assess saleability, timing and price.

Here's something I like to do to help assess the long term hold of a piece of property: Look up the population projections for your city or area. What is the ten/twenty year growth analysis by your local state/provincial municipal governments? You can find this information online. If the numbers are through the roof, then there's a high probability your property will increase substantially over time.

So, if your wallet permits any of these wild and funky additions and your home's price is destined to go onwards and upwards for years to come, go for it!

Other unique perks for your home here









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Sunday, July 14, 2019

5 Steps to Help You Pre-Plan Your Dorm for Maximum Organization and Comfort

5 Steps to help you maximize space in your dorm
If you're planning to live in a Dorm, you already know that managing space is critical to creating a comfortable, livable room.

Step 1 - A Checklist of Needed Items

Before deciding upon how you'll furnish your dorm room, you'll need a college checklist of things to bring. If you don't have a list, there's a convenient ready-to-use list at BigFuture. Their list breaks down suggested items you'll need by category.

Here's a Summary of the Categories on the BigFuture Checklist:
  •  Items for the Room's Décor and Storage Considerations
  •  Linens and Laundry Supplies
  •  Your Office and Desk Supplies
  •  Electronics
  •  Items You'll be Sharing with a Roommate
  •  Toiletries and Clothing 
  •  Household and Kitchen Items
Be sure to head over and check out their ready-to-use checklist, it's very detailed. You'll find the site a helpful resource for your college planning.

Step 2 - Acquire a Layout of Your Dorm Room

Take a dorm room photo or acquire a floor plan layout from your college or university. Get or take the measurements of the room itself. Be sure to mark or know where the main door, closet doors and windows are located in the space. Mark them on your photo or floor plan.

Step 3 - Do You Have a Roommate?

You'll know the answer to this fairly quickly. As basic as it sounds, it's critical to maximizing space in your dorm. Determine which items you'll both share and where the dividing line in the room will be. Is the window centrally located and accessible to both or will one of you have the side with a window? How about the closet or hopefully closets?

Step 4 - What Furniture Comes with the Dorm? Can It be Replaced With Your Own?

Is there a bed and a desk in the space? Do you like them? If not, can the school's items be removed and replaced with your own? Does the Dorm come with a mini-fridge and or microwave? If not, can you bring your own?

Step 5 - Where Can You Maximize Storage Space?

Traditionally in dorms, you create storage under the bed or by going vertical. If you want to see how some of the pro's have done it, check out these designs. You'll see ideas for mini-fridge and microwave storage, raised beds to create storage space and hutches above the bed and over a desk.

What Size and Style of Storage Bins or Containers Will Work Best?

Bringing a bunch of storage containers without knowing where they'll go and if they'll fit is unwise. Double check what will work for your dorm's design. The way to do this is by measuring your space, your furnishings, and knowing ahead of time the bed you'll be using.

Here are options for different types of storage items:
  •  Over-the-door storage hanging units
  •  Under the bed storage containers (what size, how big - check under the bed height)
  •  Benches that double as storage
  •  Hanging wall storage items
  •  Cabinets with storage
  •  A hutch over the desk for storage
  •  Shelving units for the wall
  •  A bed headboard with storage
View a collection of the above items plus many other storage product ideas here.







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Sunday, July 7, 2019

A Quick Review of Unique Ways to Add Value to Your Home

Unique Ways to Add Value to Your Home

If you're a fan of extreme home décor, you'll want to take a look at the professional designs featured below. There's a link to each in points 1, 2 and 3.

You can hire a decorator or use these designs to inspire your DIY side. Visit each of the three featured professional designs to view the architecture, color combinations and accessories.

1. Professionally Designed Baby Rooms with a Nautical Theme

If you love the crisp, fresh and airy feel of nautical décor, you'll appreciate these four creative designs. One features a boat shaped crib, while the others utilize the walls and floors for the greatest impact. The fourth baby room has a partial seafoam colored wall and soft rustic wood floors. It's my favorite. The space is open, airy and cheerful. The few pops of color use carefully positioned accessories. Check out the baby room designs here.

2. Design an Indoor Playhouse Using the Area Under a Staircase

Whether the staircase is on the main or lower level, that unused area can serve a purpose. Some of the playhouse designs featured at the link below are over-the-top, but they make an excellent addition to the higher use and value of the home itself. If you're lucky enough to know a handy person, use these ideas to inspire your own unique under-the-stairs design. If a playroom isn't practical, design the area for storage, a closet, or a pet house.  Check out the staircase playhouse designs here.

3. Add a Dog Washing/Cleaning Station to Your Home

This particular design will require a renovation. If you're planning to make structural changes to your home consider a dog washing or cleaning station. Some of the designs are extremely elaborate while others are as easy as removing the laundry sink and replacing it with a walk-in or walk-up mini shower. A dog washing station, which also serves other purposes, will add value to your home and best of all is a perk most houses don't have. You'll separate yourself from the crowd with this particular addition. Take a look at several pet washing stations here.

Features in a Home that Buyers Prefer

Home Buyer Must Haves
The above suggestions qualify as perks. Adding any one of them can help to generate a quicker and/or higher price.

Most sellers understand a home must be prepped for sale with neutral color tones. However, neutral doesn't mean lacking in texture and distinctive elements. To secure the undivided attention of a potential buyer, don't hesitate to add textured walls, wainscoting, unique storage ideas, feature walls, or, money permitting, some of the above perks.

If you're renovating before selling, Extraspace.com lists 15 features buyers prefer.

You're more than likely familiar with most of their suggestions; hardwood floors, open concepts, modern kitchens and finished basements.

However, they mention a few less standard ideas such as a full bathroom on the main level and flexible rooms (rooms left to the discretion of the buyer). A full bathroom on the main level is a tremendous idea especially in combination with a main floor guest room. With an aging population and multi-family living, a home with this feature can appeal to several demographics.

Your home is your sanctuary until you decide to sell. You can always change the colors, but it's difficult to change the layout. When renovating, think ahead and renovate wisely.








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Sunday, April 28, 2019

How a Room's Color Can Affect Your Mood

Funk by Color
Did you know the colors you choose to decorate a space with will dictate the room's overall mood?

In a recent article we talked about the basic rules for choosing color when you decorate a space. That article also discusses 'Mood' as one of the pertinent considerations.

So let's review the Mood that each of the main colors evoke:

Red - Excitement

Red carries several meanings and all of them fall under the umbrella of excitement. Red represents rage just as much as it screams 'I love you'. In other words, if you need a room filled with emotion, red should be your go-to color. Splashes of red can make a room calming. However, if you plan to feature a whole wall of red and other red accessories, ensure the room is meant for social gatherings. You might even encourage intense discussions and debate in a red powered room.

Blue - Tranquility

Blue is the color of calmness and tranquility. However, if the room is entirely two colors such as blue and white, the space will feel cold more than calm. Three to four colors in a space along with your main choice color will achieve the intended affect of that main color (especially with blue). When you're seeking a peaceful, relaxing mood, combine light and dark blues together and soften the space with at least two other accessory colors.

Yellow - Uplifting

When you want a space to reflect a cheerful, happy, hopeful energy, choose yellow as the main color. We associate yellow with spring and summer so it's not a stretch to connect those seasons with an uplifting mood. Get ready for a little shock … did you know that yellow is also the color of intelligence? Yep, apparently intelligence has a color. Yellow is the color of the mind and it represents acquired knowledge. When you want to encourage learning, believe it or not, decorate with yellow.

Green - Renewal

The color of green represents two polar opposites. We typically think of nature, renewal, freshness and the environment when we decorate with green. However, green is also the color of money and can represent greed, jealousy and ambition. In home décor it's safe to say that a green themed room is normally chosen to create a fresh and harmonious environment. I mean, who decorates for greed, lol.

Orange - Enthusiasm

Orange is the color of creativity, social activity, determination and believe it or not, healthy eating. It's also an action color. Think of orange as the verb of colors. Most of us know the most popular 'buy button' online is orange. Makes sense right? After-all, orange is the verb of color. Orange is also ideal for a space where fun, interest, adventure and excitement are the primary mood goals. Go ahead, paint a wall in your kitchen orange! Orange is the social color that promotes healthy eating and conversation, making it ideal for the kitchen. Use various shades, or a softer shade if bright orange is too much. On a personal note, orange and yellow are my favorite colors :)

Purple - Wisdom

Purple is the color of royalty, luxury, power and spirituality. That's a fairly broad range, however indirectly each of these traits are connected to one another. If you're looking for a room that evokes grandeur with a bit of mystery, a purple themed room is the way to go. On a personal note, my young girl bedroom décor was purple, white, and pink. Without knowing, I must of been a mysteriously royal person who craved wisdom. :)

Did you read last weeks article on the color choices for spring and summer? You'll also get a quick tutorial on how to combine colors.

Have fun with color!


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Sunday, April 21, 2019

Decorating Color Schemes for Spring and Summer 2019

Funk by Color
If you haven't had a chance to read about Pantone's color of the year for 2019, you can learn a little about it here.

Pantone not only designates a color choice for the year, it also establishes color groupings for the seasons during that year.

For 2019, Pantone has created suggested palettes that reflect uplifting energy:

1. Embracing Nature - Freshness with Blues, Greens and Zesty Limes
2. Joyful - Radiant with Pink, Purple, Blueberry and White
3. Color Play - Fruity and Bright Mango, Mystical Violet and Watery Pastels
4. Innocence - Light, Life and Hopefulness with Soft Pink, Blueberry and Soft Blues

You can take a peek at Pantone's color schemes for each of the above four moods here.

Innocence by Pantone

Here's a simple example of how to incorporate the colors of 'Innocence' into a decorating theme. You can feature any of the colors in pieces you find yourself drawn to. If a blueberry couch isn't your thing, then choose a soft pale blue or blush pink sofa then introduce blueberry via the rugs, drapes or accessories.


Embracing Nature by Pantone

Below are pieces you can include into a decor theme that focus on the freshness of nature. The color scheme outlined for this theme focuses on blues, greens and limes. Of course you don't have to stop there. Pops of wheat and soft ice can be used to further lighten the overall look.


Color Reflects You

Most of us tend toward neutral décor. More often we choose neutral because we're unsure how to mix and match colors. It takes a little extra knowledge to learn about color and how to mix them together. Below is a brief explanation of the color wheel to help you with your next decorating project.

Understanding the Basics of the Color Wheel



  1.  Complementary Colors: Two colors opposite each other on the wheel
  2.  Split Complementary Colors: Uses three colors. One color matched to two colors adjacent to it's complementary color (example, blue with yellow-orange and red-orange)
  3.  Analogous Colors: Three colors next to each other on the wheel
  4.  Triadic Colors: Three colors equally apart on the wheel
  5.  Tetradic Colors: Four colors in two sets of complementary colors (pink, green & blue, yellow)
Have fun with color this spring, even if you only add it with flowers!



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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Life is Short, Make it Sweet

The Heart of Country Music - More Songs
With all that's going on in this world, it's important to focus on the simple things that make life beautiful.

As the song says, 'life is short, make it sweet'. The lyrics of this tune by Old Dominion remind us to spend time with those we love. Sunsets, fun and sharing time with each other, it doesn't get any simpler than that.

(Lyrics)
"I never gotta wonder where my honey be
I ain't savin' all my sugar for a Saturday Night
Seven days a week I got an appetite
The sunsets like a tangerine
Let's find a road we've never seen
Don't waste another mile or a minute not kissin' me
Life is short, make it sweet"

Make it Sweet is a Cheerful Song 

When you need a musical boost, blast this one on repeat. With life's twists and turns, it's not easy being 'seen'. Lolz. The good news is, when you take control of your thoughts and your environment, being seen is something you can control from within. I know, it all sounds cliché but I speak from experience and I've personally done the work.

For over four years now I've made a conscious effort and practiced that other old cliché, 'control your thoughts control your life'. Sure I'll slip up from time to time and unwittingly let someone rent space in my head, but not very often.

As soon as I feel my mental strength begin to diminish, I work to take back that control. It requires a conscious effort, until it becomes subconscious. The key is practice. It's no different than exercising the body: Takes time, takes repetition.

A quick tool I use to pull my mind away from unproductive tangents is word repetition.

Choose your word. Mine is 'Hope'. When the brain decides it wants to run my life, I take back my control by repeating my word over and over inside my head as many times as it takes until that noggin' of mine has forgotten the tangent it was on.

You'll slip up many times and in the middle of it forget you were using word repetition. No biggie. Just pull yourself back on track and start again. After years of doing this, bad thoughts and energy just begin to avoid you - they'll realize you're like Fort Knox, no getting in.



Music is One Road to Inner Peace

Make it Sweet by Old Dominion is the ideal, bring it back to the basics song. As soon as my husband and I heard it, we both smiled and agreed that the message was calming. The lightness of the tune helped to unweight the heaviness of the day.

Another Relaxation Option - The Zen Channel - Stingray Ambiance

If you have this channel, be sure to use it as a way to control the energy you allow in your home.

We mostly read our news now and our TV sets on the main level have Stingray Ambience on all day. They feature gorgeous scenes from all over the world with light music in the background. In fact we rarely watch regular TV now. We only tune into shows that interest us from time to time. We're not blocking out the world, we keep up-to-date online. We're just actively controlling our home's environment. Makes a big difference. It heals the soul.

Between aromatherapy, the Zen Channel and Make it Sweet, we're creating our own peace.

Here's to your happiness :)




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Sunday, March 10, 2019

Two Durable Plants that Have Survived for Over Twenty Years

After reading this article on Houzz about a plant that's hard to kill, I realized, heck that's the plant I have! It all makes sense now.

The photos on this page feature the two plants we've had in our family room for over twenty years.

I haven't been the best plant caretaker. Nobody in the house has.

These plants have even withstood a move from our previous home to this one. Yep, they're durable and as the article on Houzz says, hard to kill.

The Houzz article only references the Pothos plant. That's the leafy green plant positioned to the left in the photos. The plant on the TV stand is our spider plant. We've owned it for so long that I had to confirm it was indeed a spider plant.

Plants for the Forgetful and Neglectful

The Spider Plant and the Pothos Plant have both survived my flawed gardening thumb. But they're still my babies. Over the years I've learned to adopt a kinder loving nature towards them. I no longer ignore or forget them. They've taught me to be a better gardener.

As we get older I believe we become drawn to things that grow. Maybe it's when the kids are all grown-up that we itch to help another living thing grow again. I have to say that's kinda what happened to me.
These plants were patient, they knew I would eventually come around.
What I Did Right

These are the few basic things I did do correctly without knowledge or effort:
The flowers in the Pothos Plant aren't Real
The Spider Plant is Beside the TV

  1. I tried several locations in the home until I found the spot that gave them the right amount of light. They're by a window that gets the morning sun.
  2.  My mom once told me to never over water your plants. So I only water them about once a week. They almost dry out completely before their next watering. I have no idea if that's what these plants need, that's just how I roll.
  3.  Do plants like being close to each other? I dunno. But if they could talk I think they'd say they're family. So yah, for that crazy reason, they're positioned fairly close to each other.
  4.  Once in a while I clean up dead dry leaves.
  5.  I ask them how they're doing from time to time. Hubby cracks up.
What I Did Wrong

These are the few things I've done wrong.
  1.  I used to forget to water them for weeks. My poor baby plants. I no longer do that!
  2.  I never fertilize them. Yah I know, I should.
  3.  I've never transplanted them. 
  4.  I should probably freshen up their soil, so yah, I've never done that.
  5.  I used to keep them in a place where they didn't get enough light. However, that was just a guess on my part. They seem happy by the morning sun window.
A Few Things I Love About These Plants
  1.  The Pathos and the Spider plant clean the air
  2.  The Spider Plant is said to be an EMF (electric magnetic field) cleaner. I have it positioned near the tv for that reason as well.
So don't hesitate to become the mother or father of either the Spider or Pothos plants. In my book, they're durable and easy.

If you're looking for a little more guidance on plants and gardening, a fellow reviewer Olivia suggests the Old Farmer's Almanac, there's even a farmer's almanac calendar. Pretty cool.




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Sunday, March 3, 2019

An Essential Oil Diffuser Lives Up to All the Hype - Don't Hesitate to Get One

An Essential Oil Diffuser Lives Up to all the Hype
I've been waiting to review this Christmas gift. It's March now and since the holidays I've used it daily.

I'm ready to blurt out an all caps YES to this product.

Here on ReviewThis the essential oil queen is Lou16, so today's review of the HoMedics Diffuser is strictly from the non-expert, user only, perspective.

AND I LOVE IT.

Lou16 has written quite a bit about essential oils and I've paid attention.

Thanks to my kind Step Daughter's Christmas gift, I've not only tried it, but feel the need to use it every day! The operative words here are 'feel the need', because it's the first thing I do when I enter the family room now.

What I Love About It

The general consensus of essential oils is that they help with stress. In fact, you can read further detail about the benefits in Lou16's article, 'How Aromatherapy Can Enhance Your Life'.

I'm sure I'm using too much oil. I believe the box says to put 5 or 10 drops into the water. Honestly, I forget what it says. The aromas are so relaxing that I put as many drops as needed to fill the room with the gorgeous relaxing chosen scent.

Essential Oils DO NOT Smell Like Chemicals or Sprays

This was the main reason I avoided buying a diffuser - thinking the scent would be similar to an air freshener.

Was I wrong.

The essential oil drops go in a water compartment inside the diffuser. There's absolutely nothing chemical smelling about it. The aroma is magnificent.

My Favorite Essential Oils
My HoMedics Diffuser Beside the TV


Peppermint, Lemon, Orange and Eucalyptus. More than likely I won't try anything with a flowery aroma .. that's not up my alley.

AND yikes, I've used five bottles since Christmas. Yah I'm over doing it. Whatever, can't help it, love it.

The Most Aromatic Essential Oil Winner

Is …. drumroll ...Peppermint.

I use quite a few drops, maybe 15 or more. When people come into our house I usually hear "wow, what smells so amazing". Yep, it's the peppermint oil in the diffuser.

Get this, I hate peppermint, to eat it that is.

Apparently I was a colicky baby and mom used to put peppermint on my soother to calm me. Well thanks to that little solution, I grew up hating the taste of peppermint. Spearmint and wintergreen are fine, love to eat those, but still can't stand peppermint.

The subconscious mind is truly powerful, because strangely enough, the one thing peppermint I now love is it's aroma from essential oil. I don't even like peppermint tea (although I drink it from time to time), or to smell peppermint candies. However, in essential oil, I find it soothing, calming and I swear it makes my head feel clearer.

Guess what, I'm out of peppermint essential oil and am currently using 'orange'. It's really nice too, but for me, peppermint is king. I love lemon everything, and had anticipated loving lemon the best, but nope, it's my second fave.

What Kind of Diffuser Do I Have

The brand given to me was HoMedics. It's easy to use. The rotating colored lights gives the room a lovely ambience as well. The picture above shows it positioned next to our TV. That way, I not only smell it, I see the lovely lights when watching the tube.

Featured below are a few HoMedics Diffusers & Essential Oils

Scroll to see them all. The first diffuser featured is closest to the one I own.




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Sunday, February 24, 2019

Suggested Pieces for a Farmhouse Decor Theme

Décor Pieces for a Farmhouse Theme
Here are some suggestions for the Kitchen
If you're a fan of rustic or farmhouse home décor, you'll be happy to know it's not too difficult to pull that style together. Let's review several ideas.

Like all things rustic, think in terms of a variety of textures and you'll be on the right track. A mixture of wood, cloth, plants, whimsy, ceramic, and terracotta are a few examples of texture variety.

Below are several ideas, divided into four sections, to consider for your rustic themed room:

1. Wall Planks - Shiplap

If you're not into doing an entire wall with wood, use a wall graphic with a faux shiplap or plank look to it. If putting up a wall mural is still more work than you planned for, put up canvas art featuring a faux wood plank background. Check out some of the products featured here.

2. You NEED a Cow Ottoman. Period.

Another way to get funky with your rustic décor is to add humorous pieces. This cow ottoman is sure to cause a smirk or a belly laugh. You can put it anywhere. Add it to a living room, an office a cow themed baby's room or even the master bedroom, where there should always be a bit of humor!


3. Terracotta Pots and Wire Baskets

Sounds too simple. These two décor items fit nicely into a farmhouse theme. Use wire baskets for storage and decoration and use terracotta pots for the same. Feature them on the counter, on the wall, as a centerpiece or, if large enough, as a stand alone item. You can view a broad selection of terracotta pots and wire baskets here.

4. Whimsical Rooster Area Rugs

Rooster rugs are popular! Yep. They're not only made for rustic farmhouse décor themes, they also hold a special meaning. Did you know that including roosters in your décor is suppose to bring you good luck? Roosters symbolize courage and a readiness to face the day. Maybe that's why they make such a racket every morning. You can find a selection of rooster rugs here.

Remember, you don't have to do a complete redo, you can add accessories to create a theme.

Have fun!


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Sunday, February 17, 2019

A Country Song About Homelessness - A Moving Reflection in Words

A moving empathic country song about homeless
Somebody's Daughter by Tenille Townes - A Song Review

I love the rasp and uplifting ache in Tenille Townes voice as she sings this song. The story and lyrics paint a clear picture of a person whose life wasn't easy. It reminds us that, except for our circumstances, we're all the same.

This country song is about homelessness. It's about those moments we pass by someone at an intersection holding up a cardboard sign asking for money, for help.
"Oh I don't know the reasons why I'm the one whose driving by and she's the one on the corner of 18th street...bet she was somebody's best friend, back when she was somebody's sister counting change at the lemonade stand"
This mid tempo song will touch your soul.


I remember first hearing it on the radio in my kitchen, and because I wasn't listening very closely to the lyrics, the song passed me by without a notice. For me, ninety-nine percent of the time, it's the story first the music second.

The next time I heard the song I happened to be driving. It's then I took the time to listen to the story behind the words.

The Inspiration Behind Tenille Townes Writing This Song

The tune was inspired during a drive Tenille Townes took with her mom while in Nashville, Tennessee. They saw a homeless person standing with a sign and began wondering out loud about this person's life story. Personally I've wondered the same myself. I suspect that's the reason this song touched me so deeply.
The song reminds us that "she was somebody's best friend, somebody's first kiss, somebody's daughter".
What do We Do When We See Someone Standing With a Cardboard Sign Asking for Help?

Many times I've handed out a bit of money. People have said to me, "oh that's a con, they're lazy, they're not deserving". Well I'm sorry, but the onus is not on me to prove their truth. The recipient has to deal with the truth of the situation. I'm not prepared to conclude that every single soul who does this isn't being honest. I believe most are truly suffering. I would rather be kind than be judgemental about that situation, but that's me. I just give, you never know who you've helped.

Who is Tenille Townes

Tenille Townes is a rising Canadian Country Music Artist from Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada. In 2011 she was nominated at 17 years old for Canadian Country Music Female Artist of the Year. Her career is off and running. In 2018 she opened for Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town on The Bandwagon Tour. 

Her Grand Ole Opry Debut

She's also recently enjoyed the honor of performing at the Grand Ole Opry. That was a big deal for her family and friends! Watch and listen to Tenille Townes in her own words describe her amazing experience. She's a class act.



Big Hearts for Big Kids - Her Cause
In over nine years, she's raised $1.5+ million dollars for Sunrise House, a shelter for homeless youth in Alberta Canada. A cause she generously dedicates her time and name to.

Here's a brief video on her 2018 Fundraiser, Big Hearts for Big Kids:



Homelessness - The Stats and Where to Learn More 

It's roughly estimated that between 150,000 and 300,000 people in Canada are homeless at some given time. In 2017 approximately 5 million people in Canada lived in poverty. Canadians can learn more about homelessness and what can be done here at The Homeless Hub.

According to the Voa.org, in the United States in 2017 approximately 553,000 Americans were homeless on a given night, 40 million struggled with hunger and 40.6 million officially lived in poverty. The US population is approximately 325 million. To learn more about poverty in the USA and how you can help, visit the Voa.org/homeless-people.

"I believe those who suffer the most teach us the most" - by me
The Heart of Country Music








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Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Basic Rules for Choosing Colors to Decorate Your Space

How to Choose Colors for Your Space: 1. Mood, 2. Temperature, 3. Harmonies
Looking at a room and making choices can be overwhelming. No need to fret, just keep these three basics in mind as you tackle your project: Mood, Temperature, Harmonies

1. Mood

In a previous home decor article we discussed how choosing the mood for your room was the first essential step to starting a decorating project.

Once you've established the mood, be it light and airy or warm and cozy, you need to then determine the color scheme for your space.

2. Temperature

Warm Color Choices for Home Décor

Red, yellow and orange, and variations of them, are considered warm colors.

If your goal is to create a space that feels like being wrapped in a blanket, safeness and security, then dominate your space with warm colors.

Where we live also determines our approach to decorating. Standard logic applies: Colder climates lean towards warmer decorating themes and warmer climates attract cooler décor themes. However, don't be guided by that, do what you like.

Cool Color Choices for Home Décor

Blue, greens and light purples fall into the cool color category. Cool colors remind us of water and the sky. Depending upon how you mix and match colors they can also reflect the feeling of ice and snow.

Think about nautical themes where multiple shades of blue are used, and you'll get a good idea of what cool energy is suppose to feel like.

3. Harmonies - Use the 60-30-10 Rule

Decorate using the 60-30-10 rule. It's an easy to understand basic rule outlining percentage of color use.

60 Percent: The main color occupies 60 percent of the space. Use this color for larger areas such as furniture, walls and flooring.

30 Percent: The secondary color choice would consume 30 percent of the décor in the space. Logically you would use the next obvious items to feature this color. Items to consider in this shade would be drapes, smaller furniture pieces, bedding and even an accent wall.

10 Percent: The third color choice would be used for smaller accessories such as throw blankets, pillows, lamps and wall art.

How to Put it All Together - Choosing the Actual Colors

1. You've selected the mood. Check.
2. You've decided upon the temperature. Check.
3. Now you need your 60-30-10 color scheme

BUT...

You're not sure how to choose the actual colors for the 60-30-10 rule.

Last week we discussed Pantone's color of the year for 2019. In that article three color schemes were outlined, however there are several more to consider.

Here's a brief summary of color harmonies:

1. Triadic Color Scheme - Three colors evenly spaced on the color wheel
2. Square Color Scheme - Four colors evenly spaced on the color wheel
3. Complementary Colors - Colors directly opposite each other on the color wheel
4. Analogous Color Scheme - Colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel
5. Monochromatic Color Scheme - Involves all the shades in one particular color
6. Achromatic Color Scheme - Unsaturated or near neutral colors such black, browns, greys or any hue or lightness

Here's a sample of a color wheel so you can see quadrants and opposites at a glance. 




A Personal Choice Video from Wayfair that Explains 60-30-10 and Color Schemes

If you learn best by watching videos, this one is easy to understand. Before tackling your next decorating project, start by watching this:


Here's to your decorating freedom, have fun :)


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Sunday, February 3, 2019

What is Pantone's Color of the Year for 2019?

What is Pantone's Color of the Year for 2019?
A Review of How Pantone Nails it Again with Their Choice for 2019's Color of the Year

Each year Pantone chooses the color based on what hue best represents what's needed most in society.

The 2019 color choice was based on friendly, joyous, and cheerful human connection. With the overwhelming influence of digital technology consuming our lives, 2019's color represents a step back into human, earthly connection.

The 2019 Color of the Year is Living Coral 16-1546

Living Coral as explained by Pantone represents nature and connection.
"Living Coral emits the desired, familiar, and energizing aspects of color found in nature. In its glorious, yet unfortunately more elusive, display beneath the sea, this vivifying and effervescent color mesmerizes the eye and mind. Lying at the center of our naturally vivid and chromatic ecosystem, PANTONE Living Coral is evocative of how coral reefs provide shelter to a diverse kaleidoscope of color" - by Pantone.com
Why Does Pantone's Color of the Year Matter?

If you don't care, it doesn't matter. However color surrounds us from cradle to grave and most of what we do involves color.

BUT remember, color represents feelings. Our feelings often dictate our life. Those wiser than us know how to harness it.

Every color evokes emotion. Color means something, says something and is used by companies to sell you stuff. So even if you don't care, color is affecting you, sometimes subliminally.

Color of the Year Drives Trends from Fashion to Home Décor

You're not going to choose the design for a room based on the color of the year are you? Actually if you love the 2019 color of the year and want to recreate it's energy for a space, then yes you will.

This particular shade of coral encompasses several percentages of multiple colors:
  • 98.82% red
  • 46.27% green
  • 41.47% blue
How to Choose Colors to Match Living Coral in Your Room's Design

Without getting overly technical, using the diagram below, I've outlined a few fundamentals about color.

Choosing Colors for a Room Design Featuring Living Coral
You aren't tied to these specific shades, but to help you make choices, the above colors are the ones chosen for the harmonies below.

TRIAD Color Harmony for Your Room:
When you're using a triadic color scheme you choose three colors evenly spaced around the color wheel. Notice on the above photo that two colors are labelled 'Triad'. Both of those colors, plus the 'Living Coral' are evenly spaced on the color wheel. If you're comfortable with these shades, the color choices are done for you. Go ahead and pick accessories such as rugs, drapes and wall color based on these three colors.

SQUARE Color Harmony for Your Room:
A square color scheme are four colors equally spaced around the color wheel. Again, to make it easier for you, match 'Living Color' with the three boxes above labelled 'Square'.

COMPLEMENTARY Color Harmony for Your Room:
Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel. When you want to have a particular item or items stand out in the space, use a complementary color. However, keep them to a minimum to avoid your room being too stark.

INVERTED Colors:
The inverted color featured above is the 'inversion' or inside out version of 'Living Color'. Use it for accessories or other items you want to stand out or pop in the space. One example could be pillows and throw blankets.

The above is just a brief outline of color combinations for 'Living Coral'. There are many other hues and combinations that work.

Here are a Couple of Bedroom Accessories to Inspire You:




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