Posts Tagged ‘home decor’

Freshen Your Thanksgiving Decorations

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Harvest Time WoolyIt’s hard to believe another Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Whether you are hosting or helping, you know great food deserves a beautiful table. But how do you keep your table décor from being the same old tired fall display? Here are some ideas for freshening your celebration.

Bring on the leaves! Try color linen napkins with a leaf embossed on them. You can put a simple green vineyard leaf on a white plate for a wisp of spring. Take silk leaves from the local craft store and write your guests names on them with white marker for place cards. You can add leaves to a hurricane candle to bring in the outdoors.

Bring on some color! Jewel tones and saturated color heighten the appearance of the Thanksgiving table and celebrate the season’s bright foliage against the late-autumn sky. Take advantage of the enhanced color of inexpensive faux foliage and rich textile remnants. Present faux berries and leaves (combined with real leaves, if you like) in a free-form display of pitchers and teapots, sugar bowls and goblets. The burnished finish will unify the look of the table, and the display lets you enjoy objects you love but don’t always have the opportunity to use. Soften the effect with simple white candles. If you are using a jewel colored runner, try pewter or silver pieces for your salt and pepper or vases.

Autumn WreathFloral centerpieces are a great vessel for expression! Accessorize a large table by placing a long, narrow centerpiece in the center. Add a few smaller accent pieces or candles on each side of the arrangement for an added effect. Ask your florist to create a centerpiece in a treasured family vase or bowl, or in seasonal pieces such as a cornucopia or a utility vase surrounded by dry corncobs. To create drama, place a topiary at one end of the table leading to a cluster of small potted plants, or smaller topiaries with a tray of votive candles and flower petals. Garnish your serving trays with flowers and greens. When you create an arrangement, start with thick-stemmed flowers, and then fill in using blooms with more delicate stems. To ensure guests can converse freely, flowers should sit no taller than 14 inches.

Not a flower or leaf fan? How about photographs? Before the holiday, invite your guests to send you copies of family photos that you can then spray-mount to card stock. To age contemporary color digital photos, print them in sepia. Use the photos to decorate the table or use as place cards. Try creative placement of the photos, such as nestled in a tray of nuts. Create a table centerpiece with photos of bonfires and leaf piles. Attach a favorite family or fall photo to the front of a real or artificial mini pumpkin, and then place on the table. You can further decorate the pumpkin with Thanksgiving themed die cuts or some glitter.

No matter what your style, you can keep your Thanksgiving table looking personal and beautiful. Or, take the ideas above and offer to decorate someone else’s table this year!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Squirrel CenterpiecesQuilted Leaf Placemats

The Cool Blues – Décor for every style

Monday, July 12th, 2010

What does blue say to you? Does it invoke feelings of the beach or ocean? Or maybe it brings back a memory of a quaint country cottage? Believe it or not, blue is a great color to use in home décor. Used correctly, you can bring your home into cozy warmth or clean coolness with the right shade of blue. Or, use blue furniture and accessories against neutral walls for the same effect.

Famously calming and peaceful, blue can have very different effects on a room depending on its temperature.

Warm blues, like denim, ocean blue, or slate blue, contain hints of red. Color experts say they advance, or come toward you, so they help make a room feel cozier. Decorators often like warm blues in social spaces, like the living room, the kitchen, or the dining room.

Shades known as cool blues―like cobalt, turquoise, and ice blue―have yellow in them and tend to recede, or back away, which can help a small space look bigger. Color experts explain that cool blues encourage calmness (which is nice for a bedroom) and focus (say, in a home office). Sometimes cool blues can go a little further and be cold. But in a bathroom, where you want a crisp, clean vibe, that can be a good thing.

If you go for a blue bath, add a lot of black and white towels and accessories for a more contemporary look. If you’re more the traditional type, choose a matching print accent in your shower curtain or towels.

Another blue option is to look skyward for inspiration. Think about stars or the sun when choosing complimentary accessories for your blue base. Choose the blue you see in the sky to bring the outdoors in. There are so many decorative accessories available that your only problem will be deciding on which way to go. The sky is literally the limit!

Speaking of the sky, how about clouds? Little touches of birds or butterfly accessories are whimsical and a sure crowd pleaser. Hang some birdhouses on the wall for a three dimensional look and you can wake up to nature everyday. Another option would be to go the heavenly route. There are many angel figurines and pictures that show the little cherubs dancing on the fluffy white puffs. Anyone could use a little peaceful inspiration to start out the day right!

Ask “What’s your favorite color?” and about 60 percent of us will say blue. One reason for this is all the associations we have with it: To be blue is to be loyal and steady, top-notch, peaceful, powerful, cool—even to have a romantic hint of melancholy. Some people shy away from using blue in their homes, or confine it to certain types of rooms. The thought among decorators is that blue is restful, good for quiet contemplation, but that it must be used carefully—too much can be “too cold.” In reality, its multitude of shades and different associations make blue particularly versatile. So go ahead – be blue!

Solid Insulating CurtainsBluebird Pillow

Quilting – Not just for Squares

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Rebecca QuiltQuilting – the ultimate in crafting self-expression. Quilting as a hobby and trade has been practiced for over five thousand years. Quilts are functional, providing warmth, protection, decoration, and have historically been used by great world leaders in many different countries.

A carved ivory image of an Egyptian pharaoh about 3400 B.C. shows a quilt nearby. Archaeologists also found a quilt being used as a carpet in Mongolia between 100 B.C. and 200 A.D. Quilts were brought to medieval Europe from the Middle East. Medieval knights wore quilts for comfort under their suits of armor and also on top to protect them from the elements like rain and snow.

Quilting has always been popular as a way to keep people warm and protected from the elements, but it flourished in popularity when it came to North America. Early on, new fabric was hard to come by and time scarce. Fabric was saved as much as possible from worn clothing. Thus the patchwork quilt was born. Many of these patterns have been passed through generations, created by the ingenuity of our ancestors and traded within communities.

Cottage Garden Quilt Toss PillowQuilts were mentioned in inventory logs starting in the late seventeenth century. American quilts that survived came from the early eighteenth century and are easy to date. People would often start by quilting newspapers before putting fabric together. When the quilts wore out, the date of the newspapers would be revealed. Quilts were also used as political statements in place of flags and banners during the American Civil War, the World Wars, and when women were campaigning to vote.

When slaves were brought from Africa, they kept their artistic traditions alive through quilt making. Every scrap of material left over from chores, dressmaking, and worn-out garments was saved for the making of quilts. African quilts were distinguishable because of their bright, warm colors and asymmetrical designs. Since African quilts were very distinct, they were used to signal which houses were “safe houses” when slaves were escaping to freedom.

For many years quilting has helped people to deal with crisis, tragedy, and grief. During the Civil War, women made quilts in memory of male friends and family members lost to the war. The memorial quilts often included scraps from the lost person’s clothing. Quilts were also made for soldiers on active duty, as well as to raise funds to support the war. In this way, women found a way to participate in the cause, and help out male friends and family who were out on the battlefield. Blue Star Service Banners (sometimes called “Blue Star Flags”) have long been a part of America’s wartime history. Families with men and women serving in the military have been hanging these quilts in their windows since the beginning of World War I.

Star Throw QuiltIn the 1920’s, the art of making quilts was embraced by a new generation and the
quilting revival of the 1920’s and 1930’s was underway. Periodicals employed designers to run quilt pattern columns and create new patterns. These quilt designers added a new 20th Century sophistication to the repertoire of patterns available to the quilter. It was also during this period that a cottage industry was born: women began selling quilt patterns and kits from their own home-based businesses. The number of patterns available multiplied with the abundance of periodicals, newspapers, and cottage industries selling quilt patterns.

Even today, people create quilts for purposes of comfort, as well as to express opinions on various causes. In 1987, quilters joined together to create a giant AIDS memorial quilt. During the Gulf War against Iraq in 1991, quilts were created both supporting and opposing the war. Quite recently, quilting became an outlet to express fear and compassion regarding the attacks of September 11, 2001.

So whether you are a Pharaoh or knight, soldier or activist, a quilt can not only provide you with warmth and protection. Quilting can bring people together to celebrate old traditions and create new tributes. Happy quilting!

Country Flag QuiltColonial Quilt