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    Simple upscale decorating tips

     

    Decorating has changed dramatically in recent years. Many years ago people put great amounts of money in art and accent pieces. That’s still an option – art and collectibles can be great ways to express yourself. If you find a piece of art that you truly love, go for it! Art is a great way to have moving pieces that speak directly to your soul. Top art can also be a great investment. On the other hand, today many top designers and artists work for mass department stores and offer their collections for a small fraction of the cost of their work. Top artists and designers do this because their profit is greater when selling to many people rather than just a few. Everyone benefits from this system. We can all enjoy trendy, top art for a fraction of the cost and designers or artists are better compensated for their work. This system also allows us to update homes as often as we wish. Updating a home has never been easier. Simply go down to a store, choose a collection you like and bring it home. The collections are often set up in the store, so that dishes, glassware, tablecloths, napkins, and accent pieces are displayed in a professionally designed grouping. World-renowned designers put the collections together and freely give us the advantage of their talent, training and expertise. All types of stores employ top professionals to design collections, so that price isn’t necessarily a determiner of quality. That’s the good news. The bad news is that too many choices may lead to confusion and a sense of feeling overwhelmed. Each collection is beautiful and easily available. The cost per item is low, but choosing pieces can be a confusing and sometimes expensive dilemma. How do you determine what to do? The first thing to do is determine what you have and what you need. There is a saying ‘Less is more’. This is especially true in home decorating. It’s far better to have a few pieces that you love than to have too many things that you don’t particularly like, no matter how good a buy they were. Accents come in any budget, so first make sure that you have good, comfortable furniture. This need not be expensive furniture. A well-used but comfortable piece of furniture will often look great with slipcovers, pillows or a throw. Secondary colors make a big difference in a home. What’s the main color in the room? If your couch is red, for instance, a white accent throughout the room will look dramatically different than, say, a purple accent. Six months later, change the accent pieces to black and the room will again look strikingly different, all the time using the same furniture. Red, or any bright color, can sometimes cause a challenge when trying to find the right accents. Neutral colors in furniture will give you more options for accent color changes, and allow you more flexibility. Many people wonder what colors go together – the answer is that if you like it, it works. It’s your home. If you’re unsure of your choices, one option is to go to a paint store and get the sample cards. They’re put together by professionals and show which colors work together. Simply match the colors on the card and you’re unlikely to go wrong. Another easy way of ensuring tasteful color coordination is to simply purchase an entire collection. If you want to update the bathroom it’s easy to get all the accent pieces and fabrics at one time. Unless you’re sure of what you’re doing, this is a very simple way to get a beautiful, professional look. Make sure you purchase all the pieces that you’ll need because often the collections are changed every few months and pieces won’t be available. Decorating can be a real challenge. These are some easy tips to have a designer look at a fraction of the cost. You’ll end up with a home you’ll love!

         
    Six tips when buying a custom hand made four poster bed

     

    You and your partner have decided to buy a new bed, and while searching to the internet you have taken a liking to four poster beds. When you take a closer look for quality four poster beds, there are only a few companies making them, and very few supplying custom, hand made beds. I offer a few tips to help you find a craftsman suitable for helping to make your dreams come true. 1. You want to buy a good brand, with a good reputation in their market, look for testimonials from other customers ranging over several years, supporting product quality and service. A company that trades internationally is usually a good sign. Getting things wrong overseas would be costly to fix, so they will insist on high quality control and customer satisfaction. Ask if your four poster bed comes with a guarantee or warranty. If there is a problem in the future, it is good to know that it will be sorted out. 2. You want comfort. Good quality mattresses are the key to good sleep. Try them out in a shop to make certain that you find the most suitable for you. It is you that will be sleeping on it. Two different mattresses can be zipped together, so you do not have to compromise with your partner, as long as you decide which side of the bed you want. 3. If you are having furniture custom made, then you need someone to answer your questions that knows the product. The ultimate person to talk to is the craftsman making the bed for you. Talk to them on the phone, visit the workshop, or showroom, ask all the questions that concern you, ask for advice, and get what you want. This often means that the company that you are dealing with may not be large; it is a good sign when the person who picks up the phone is the same one that is making your bed. 4. Ask about different styles of bed that are available. You should have a choice of posts, panels (headboards and footboards), woods (hardwoods, such as oak, ash, etc. from local sustainable sources), colours and types of finish and of course mattress size. Look at pictures of the standard range, and other customers’ beds and if there is nothing that suits you, ask whether something can be made that you do like. Some companies are quite happy to make to customer specification, and most beds break down into sensible sized components, for easy access into difficult to get at bedrooms. 5. Do not look for a cheap bed, quality counts. A custom made four poster bed will last for several generations, so please remember that you get what you pay for. Having said that, however, there is no reason why you should not expect good value for money. High street shops and high profile businesses can be unnecessarily expensive, due to their overheads, so just keep looking for good quality materials and craftsmanship. 6. When it comes to delivery of your four poster bed, it is worth paying a small charge for delivery and assembly, with both customer and craftsman happy with the final result. If you are in a different country to the manufacturer, ask for assembly instructions (pictures are often the easiest), and any specialist tools and skills necessary for installation. If your bed is being shipped overseas, please allow for insurance, it is only about two percent of the total value. These tips should be a good starting point for you to find a furniture maker with a good reputation, who puts customer satisfaction paramount and treats you as an individual. Remember that you spend almost third of your life in bed, so find one that makes you feel good, for generations.

         
    Sizzling summer success outdoor home staging tips for the hottest season

     

    Too hot for you to get out there and do some summer gardening? Well, if you're selling your home you'd best be prepared to get out there and liven up your landscaping. In summer's hot and competitive market, buyers are expecting yards to be parading their "best in bloom" colors, and showing off all their assets. So, slap on that sunscreen and get in gear to optimize your homes final sale price. Here are some quick and easy tips, to get you revved up for potential buyers: Stage Your Garden and Yard It's very important to create some usable, practical entertaining spaces out of your existing yard and garden. This need not be too elaborate of an addition. It can be as simple as setting up a table and a set of comfortable chairs in the corner of your back yard. Stage the table with a nice linen or cotton table cloth: something airy and summery. Set up some colorful potted plants or flowers around the table to add some appealing color. Another idea might be to buy, or build a bench that takes advantage of a particular view or a nice spot amongst your garden. Water features are enticing elements and if you can "spring" for a well-placed fountain on your deck or in your garden, you'd be wise to do so. The sound of water generally evokes a calming emotion and can serve to drain out any unwanted neighborhood sounds. Be sure to keep your lawn and foliage amply watered. You'll want all green things to look as green as possible. Also, the wetness will bring down the air temperature for a cooling effect. Flower Power Plant bright colored red and yellow flowers to catch a buyer's attention. Use them as punctuation to accent around other more mono-chrome or green areas of your yard. Likewise, if you live in a very warm climate white flowers can be nice and add a refreshing cooling effect. Green is Gold Adding lush green foliage is a great way to spruce up empty space that is currently unused. An easy way to add beautiful green, tropical flair to your landscaping is to add hanging ferns Prep the Deck A deck is a great outdoor feature and should be highlighted. Again, with the trend for outdoor "rooms" you should make sure your deck is as appealing and comfortable as the inside of your home. Watch for cracks on structural timbers. Check the deck's surface and remove any old nail heads or screws that are sticking out - replace them with galvanized decking screws. Once your deck is structurally sound - give it a power wash or re-stain it if it's thirsty! Next, you can create some staged space out there - maybe a canvas gazebo to provide some shade, and some potted tree and colored flowers for visual flair and appeal. Be creative and have fun. Leave No Stone Un-turned A general rule of thumb, is to make sure all of your outdoor space has been attended to in some way. Oftentimes an area can come to life and be much improved with a simple organizing or clean-up job.

         
    Slate tile flooring dos and don ts

     

    Slate tile flooring is available in a wide variety of colors. You can choose from green, pink, blue and yellow shades. You may also go for natural surface textures of slate tile flooring and these textures come in different variety. The flooring is slip-resistant and hence makes a premium choice for most people across the globe. Slate tile flooring is ideal for residential and commercial interiors and exteriors. It is easy to install and available with decorative color variation and slip-resistance quality. Here are some do’s and don’ts you need to keep in mind with slate tile flooring. Do’s: a) You should be sure of the fact that area in which you desire to install your slate tile flooring is apt for the climate, foot traffic and other important factors. A sales representative will be able to help you in this matter. b) It is very important to consider the substrate over which you wish to install the slate tiles. The tile should suit your requirements. You should always ask your sales representative about the suitability of your substrate with respect to the slate tile product you wish to purchase. c) You must expect color variations when it comes to slate tile flooring and utilize them to your advantage. d) It is necessary to keep yourself informed with the warranty details. Try to read all the instructions or information related to the slate tile flooring purchase. e) Before making a purchase, test the color patterns, thickness variation and overall spacing of the slate you choose via laying out the slate in a dry run. f) You require using a special type of mortar for slate tile. The mortar should be compatible to your interior and exterior installation. Try taking expert advice from sales representative about some brands and varieties of mortar available on the market. You should never forget to read the instructions available on the products you plan to purchase. g) Slate tile flooring sealant is very important. You can choose from several varieties available such a high-gloss sealant that provides the tile a lustrous look, low sheen that is reflective and no sheen that provides slate a natural look. h) You should look forward to consult an experienced flooring professional in case, you don’t have any experience in laying slate tile all by yourself. This will also help you stay miles away from mistakes that may make your wallet lighter. Don’ts: a) Never ever forget to allow for breakage and waste while placing your order. Remember that accidents can happen anytime. b) You should not fail to supervise your substrate for dirt or loose materials. A clear, clean and level substrate is very important for a perfect slate tile flooring installation. c) Don’t install slate tile flooring on a wet surface. The moisture trapped on the surface may make installation difficult for you. d) Don’t apply a sealer to a slate tile floor that has been oiled or waxed and not cured. The marks can prove to be very difficult to remove later. e) Grouting soon is not a good idea. Always allow the mortar to properly set.

         
    Slate tile stone

     

    Introduction: Slate tile stone flooring is flexible in nature and can be used almost anywhere. People have been using it extensively in kitchen, front hallway, bathroom and outdoor uses such as pool surrounds and patio. One of the most brilliant features of this stone is that it has got naturally slip-resistant surfaces. The tile is also widely known for its durability and decorative nature. Origins: The slate stone can be seen in large deposits in coastal regions. Some ancient oceans have gathered silt and many other mineral elements in these areas. The silt left behind is exposed to pressure and heat to give it a shape of rugged and durable stone. This stone is widely known as slate. There are several minerals found in slate including quartz, mica and chlorite. These minerals make slate stress resistant. This slate is found in several colors and the credit goes to the mixture of several materials in random order. Slate tile flooring: Preparation: Slate tile has been widely used for flooring worldwide for both residential and commercial interiors and exteriors. The tile has an amazing slip-resistance feature. When it comes to practicality and beauty, slate tile is considered to be the optimum choice. With slate, you can never slip. The preparation of this tile consists of various stages. Gauge and calibration are two main processes involved in the preparation of slate tile. Gauge is a process that lets the edges of the slate tile to turn into square shape via precision cutting. This is a very simple process and it allows the slate tile to turn into an interlocking material. This means that the tile can be easily interlocked with other tiles. Calibration is a process that makes the back of the slate tile even with the help of machine-homing. This process is very important as it make sure that the slate tile will always lay feat during and after the installation. The process of calibration makes the tile easy to install and provides it an even walking surface. Slate tile surface: Natural face or split-face slate tile is one of the most population choices when it comes to slate tile flooring. The split is a region where the slate has been removed from the slate bed. Hence, you can be sure of the fact that this variety of slate tile maintains the natural and uneven texture. The texture makes this type of slate tile one of the most distinctive tile. If you want slip resistant flooring for your house, this is a great option. This slate tile type possesses a tactile dimension that adds up a rich color to it. Thickness: When it comes to slate tile, you can always expect a thickness variation from tile to tile. You need to consult your local flooring professionals to get an approximate idea of slate tile thickness. The thickness of slate tile can vary in a range of 3/8”-7/16”. Slate tile flooring is one of the best options if you want something that provides you look and slip resistance factor.

         
    Sofa slipcovers the quick and easy makeover

     

    A simple yet effective way to improve the appearance of your home is to fit some new sofa slipcovers over your tired looking sofas. As well as sofa covers, all kinds of furniture covers for seats of all sizes and styles can be bought for an affordable price. Stretch slipcovers are designed to be really easy to fit, so you can transform the look and feel of your whole room within minutes. Fitting some ready made slipcovers can instantly disguise worn looking upholstery on your sofas and chairs, giving them a fresh new lease of life. Slipcovers for sofas come in a huge array of colors and patterns, so you should be able to find something to compliment the existing decor and theme of your room. Choices range from country checks to floral designs, to contemporary prints or stripes. There's also a wide selection of hard wearing but attractive fabrics, in anything from denim to chenille, faux leather or suede. Many modern sofa and chair covers are fully machine washable, so it's not difficult to keep then clean. This is particularly good if you have pets or small children that might get dirt on your good quality furniture. For a fully coordinated look, you may want to consider covering all the seats in your room. In addition to wing chair and couch slipcovers, there are loads of recliner, loveseat and ottoman covers available. One advantage of slipcovers over re-upholstery is that they can be removed and replaced any time you fancy a new look. For instance, you could alter the appearance of your home according to the change of seasons. Just by altering the look of your seats it's possible to influence the mood of your entire room. If you're looking for an affordable and quick way to revamp your home, slipcovers could be the answer.

         
    Some small kitchen design tips

     

    If you have a small kitchen to design then the problem of designing a great kitchen boils down to just what you can fit and where. There are many different cabinet designs and surface patterns that can help you provide your small kitchen design with a sense of space. To create the small but efficient kitchen design, you need to work on three major areas of small kitchen design: storage, lighting, and appliances. Small kitchens may seem to be a very difficult design challenge, but they can also be functional, beautiful and efficient. Even with a small budget and building restrictions, you can find that there are many options open to you to transform your kitchen into something more ideal for your needs. To create a more spacious look for your small kitchen design the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recommends designing more unique storage solutions, mixing natural and ambient lighting, taking advantage of more space saving appliances, and adding personalized touches. A small kitchen design requires creativity in coming up with storage solutions. Some ideas to try include: · Putting an island in the center of the kitchen that can provide freestanding storage that is also convenient from any spot in the kitchen. · Using a galley kitchen design in which the cabinets and appliances line up on either side of a corridor can work out very well for a small kitchen space. · Today's appliance manufacturers have come up with more compact space-saving appliances make small kitchen design easier, such as refrigerators that are 24 inches deep instead of 30 inches deep, as well as appliances that can be hung underneath cabinets like microwaves. · Other small kitchen design tricks to create an eating area in the kitchen include using a drop table or a small sized round table with two small chairs that can be tucked into a corner. Or a built-in counter along the wall with chairs to provide an eating nook. · Another interesting challenge in small kitchen design is creating an illusion of space with under cabinet lighting or under the counter. With the proper type of lighting the kitchen can be made to appear larger and more pleasing. · The use of light colored cabinets with glass doors. · Installing deeper counters that can accommodate more appliances and increase work space. · Flooring tiles can be placed on a diagonal, and in a galley style kitchen hardwood flooring can be run the length of the kitchen. · For storage you can hang up pots and pans. This is a perfect way to free up cabinet space, and they add a certain charm and character to your small kitchen design. The insides of cabinet doors can be used to hang up everything from utensils, oven mitts, and other miscellaneous items. Pantry storage with units that go all the way to the ceiling with the upper cabinets to provide more space for seldom used items while making the lower cabinets more accessible with rollout shelves, lazy susans, and tilt-out bins. · Install a large kitchen sink, since larger sinks are considered to be more practical than small sinks when it comes to cleaning pots and pans. Remember most kitchens are small. When you look in kitchen design magazines you naturally notice that the kitchens featured are large and so you might think your small kitchen in inadequate. But good small kitchen design means being able to create space and incorporating ample storage facilities and being able to fit in all the necessary appliances.

         
    Space bags creates more closet space

     

    When it comes to storage there never seems to be enough space, cardboard boxes and plastic bins take up to much space. There is a solution; space bags create more closet space by letting you store things someplace else. They are air tight and water proof, so your items stay protected, which means you could store them under the bed, in the basement, or in the garage knowing there safe. Just pack the items in the space bags; seal the patterned water type zipper then take any type vacuum with a hose and vacuum out the air. Your items will stay compress and protected and later when you need it, every thing comes right back to life as fresh and clean as the day you put it in. There see-though and storage system has never been easier. And unlike plastic bags space bags is made of nylon that's guaranteed to lock out dirt, bugs, and moisture, plus you can use them over and over again. For things like moving, dorm room and seasonal items, there is a space bag for every need in your house, for your bulky bedding to smaller items that can be stored in drawers; these bags are smart solution for cramp closets.

         
    Speaker cables how to properly store and conceal home theater wiring

     

    For most people with a home theater system installed in their house, the cables are one of the biggest logistical challenges. The cords and cables for all the various components inevitably become a tangled, jumbled mess, making it nearly impossible to change the configuration of your system or any of the components. Most families don’t put in the time to organize and hide their cables to improve the aesthetics and safety of the home theater room. With just a few simple changes, your home theater cabling mess can be easily cleaned up and put under control. All of the components in the home theater system have a power cord that must find its way to a wall socket, surge protector or power strip. To keep the power cords neat and tidy, use a label machine to identify the cord before you plug your home theater components in. This will help when you need to know which plug to pull to move your speaker system or to replace your DVD player. To clean up the knots and clutter caused by the constant wrapping and unwrapping of cables around each other, start by unplugging everything, including the cables that connect each component to the others, and separate them out. Figure out exactly where you want each component to go, and then set them up again and neatly run the cables without twisting them around each other. You may need to write down reminders for where everything goes if you are not accustomed to setting up the theater. Use twist ties or zip ties to the cables every foot or so when there is more than one cable running in the same direction to keep them from becoming tangled and out of control. This same organization can be applied to the power cords that lead to the same power outlet. If your home theater is set-up such that some of the cabling must come out from behind an entertainment cabinet or floor speakers, it is recommended that some sort of cable hide be used to ensure that these cables do not become snagged by people walking by or grabbed by small children or pets. To keep power cords out of view and safe from tampering, use a cable hide designed to run along the wall and keep your cables protected and covered. These cable hides can be great for anywhere that your cables hang out in the open. If you are building your home theater from scratch, you can ask the installer to build the cabling into the wall or molding of the room in much the same fashion. You will not have to worry about tripping hazards or about your new puppy chewing through your power cables if the cords are neatly hidden and out of the way. Your home theater speakers provide another potential problem, since you might want speakers around the room with speaker cables becoming a huge problem. To keep this problem down, the best option, though complicated, is to run the wiring for the speakers through the walls. This prevents them from dangling or getting in the way, and if you have the necessary tools and skills, you can run your speakers just about anywhere in the room. Cleaning up home theater cabling does not have to be a chore. With some simple changes and proper storage, you can have a clean looking, safe home theater room for your family. ~ Ben Anton, 2007

         
    Tackling the toughest painting tasks with innovative painting tapes

     

    Achieving painting perfection is easy for even the shakiest hand when the project involves a flat piece of drywall that can be simply trimmed and taped. Arched doorways, spindles, intricate windows or baseboards call for more than the traditional straight-edged masking tapes. While taping off walls and trim makes any job easier, masking these areas can be the most challenging part of the job. To curb the fear and ease the stress, special painting tapes are available to mask every complicated and hard-to-reach surface. These tools simplify the prepping and painting process and garner the results of a professional painter. Paint Circles Around Problems Painting projects involving bowed architecture and rounded edges are difficult when using traditional, rigid painting tapes intended only for straight lines. Protecting these areas has now become easier with the exceptional pliability of Curved Masking Tape. Maneuverable around any rounded design, including arched doorways, half-moon windows and even doorknobs, this unique painting tape eases painting preparation and improves the final results. Curved Masking Tape can even add to an artist's creativity, as it can be easily positioned to create rounded designs, like circles and clouds, on otherwise plain, nontextured walls. Back Troubles Into A Corner Masking off window corners is one of the most tedious parts of any paint job. From French doors to glass cabinets, painting around windows is an undesirable task. The use of masking tape on corners helps to simplify this process by increasing precision. Appropriately called Quick Corners, each pre-shaped corner forms a 90-degree angle that fits into every window corner and masks off the perfect shape. By simply connecting the corners with strips of window-safe painter's tape, the glass is protected, exposing only the trim sill in need of painting. Once the job is complete, simply remove the tape and corners by pulling and lifting the nonstick tab. Avoid The Floor, Get The Baseboards Using drop cloths to protect the floor when painting baseboards is a no-brainer. However, old sheets or tarps are cumbersome and often shift during use. Pretaped Drop Cloths feature a pretaped edge that helps the cloths stay in place while fully exposing the baseboard for painting. Statically treated to cling to the carpet or hardwood surfaces, the drop cloth is ideal for catching splattering paint and containing dust when sanding. Drop cloths with a professional-grade masking tape also make painting and protecting chair rails and other decorative elements much easier, both during use and clean-up, as they remove cleanly from drywall, wood and glass. By using products designed to simplify the preparation process, homeowners can take on the toughest painting tasks and finish with professional results they can proudly say they did themselves.

         
    Take time to gather decorating ideas

     

    One of the things that drives me the craziest about people who are decorating their new homes is seeing them rush into many decisions and then regret them soon after. As an interior designer, that is the worst thing I see. It might be surprising that one of the biggest things I have to tell people is to relax, slow down and enjoy the process of gathering decorating ideas before they commit to anything. I think part of why people are in a rush to decorate their new homes is because our culture is all about rushing and getting things done quickly. So few people like to enjoy the process and really make intentional decisions about their home. I think that having a home is one of life's best gifts, and therefore I love seeing people take that gift seriously and make the most of the opportunities they have. When you realize what a privilege it is to have a space to call your own then I think you will value the decorating process even more. I think only as you see the value of the home will you value taking time to gather decorating ideas. By gathering decorating ideas keep in mind that I am not suggesting that you take six months or a year to gather an endless amount of ideas that you will never use. I do, however, mean that you should take a few weeks and really look at your options before making any big commitments. One of the all-time best places to look for decorating ideas is in magazines that are focused on home decorating. Order a subscription to a couple of good ones or borrow some magazines from a friend. Just get yourself into them and start looking at what is popular right now and what catches your eye. You will quickly learn that the things that catch your eye have a pattern to them and you'll be off and running to creating your personal style in no time. While it is wise to ask for opinions and suggestions from decorators, friends and family, ultimately you have to choose what kind of decorating ideas to incorporate into your own home. So be cautious about letting others influence you too much. Don't be afraid to try something unique or to go out on a limb with a decorating idea. The best place to experiment is within your own home.

         
    Take your kitchen to the country

     

    Tired of the ultra-modern black and white and chrome of your kitchen? Have you gone beyond the desire for sleek minimalism and long for the comfort of a warm and cozy country kitchen? Many of us spend a lot of time in our kitchens, so comfort is right up there with convenience. Here are some ways to create that feeling of warmth in your kitchen. Let’s start from the bottom up. You may want to cover the existing linoleum with one of the many laminate hardwood floorings that are available at building supply superstores. Snap-and-glue or lock-together flooring pieces are fairly inexpensive, don’t require a sub floor underneath for installation, and are extremely durable — a good move if you have children or pets. Wood comes in many different shades, so pick one that will work well with your choice of cupboards and countertop. So let’s think about cupboards. Bring home some earth-colored paint swatches and see what strikes your comfort zone. Try an antique olive green, light mocha or honey. Before painting, wash your cupboards clean of grease and grime, then lightly scuff them with sandpaper and wipe down again to remove loose dust. Mix your chosen paint color half and half with glaze. Apply with a 1-4" paintbrush, then take a rag made from an old cotton t-shirt and lightly rub the painted area with the rag to give an antiqued texture to the cupboards. Paint the trim in a solid color without the glaze to add contrast. When choosing doorknobs, try copper or wrought iron to create an aged look. Now for the countertop. Buying countertops can be expensive, especially if you require a custom size or have your heart set on granite. One inexpensive way to resurface the countertop is with ceramic tile, which comes in a variety of colors and sizes. 12 x12 is a good size for countertops, or try smaller Mexican tiles with bright colored designs for the backsplash. After you lay the tiles, grout the seams. Charcoal grout seems to compliment most tile and always looks clean. Finish with two-inch wood trim in a color like red oak for added warmth. Finally, choose a warm color to paint the kitchen walls. Shades of brown — such as desert sand, rice cake, or light coffee — add warmth to the room and don’t compete with the color of the cupboards. If the room is large enough, one wall could be painted with a darker or brighter color. With all the basics in place, add decorative finishing touches, such as aged copper pots and pans hanging from a rack above the stove to wicker baskets or antique cooking utensils picked up at garage sales. A pottery or glass water pitcher filled with fresh flowers is a lovely addition. If you have an eat-in kitchen, a wooden hutch or antique baker’s rack is the perfect setting for your aunt’s tea cozy and your collection of cookbooks. Now fill your country kitchen with the aroma of cinnamon buns made from Grandma’s recipe... and enjoy.

         
    Tapestry start to finish

     

    The American Heritage dictionary defines a tapestry as “a heavy cloth woven with rich, often varicolored designs or scenes, usually hung on walls for decoration and sometimes used to cover furniture”. Another statement, from a craft book, is that a Tapestry is Art in a Plain Weave. Occasionally, nowadays, one hears people refer to a needlepoint wall hanging as a tapestry, but this is not correct – needlepoint is stitched on canvas. A tapestry is woven on a loom. Weaving actually has its roots in ancient basketry, which requires stiff fibers. The invention of a loom allowed the use of flexible fibers, which holds the lengthwise warp strands taut while the crosswise weft strands are woven in. In a tomb in Egypt, a pottery dish, dated 4400 BC, was found. On this dish was a picture of a loom that appeared to be based on pegs in the ground that held the rods to which the warp threads were harnessed. A loom, not too unlike today’s tapestry loom, appeared in Egypt during the Eighteenth Dynasty, 1567 to 1320 BC. The Navajo Indians still use a similar loom. Looms changed little until the eighteenth century, when different inventions, mostly by Englishmen, gradually introduced mechanization. During the Industrial Revolution, hand weaving almost became a lost art, but in some parts of the world it remained an artisan craft. With the revival of interest in hand crafts, people sought out weavers in Scandinavia, the mountains of Tennessee and rural districts of the British Isles to learn the ancient art. Hand weaving is nowadays pursued more for pleasure than profit. Through the ages, weaving principles have remained the same, from those early pegs in the ground to the mechanized looms of today. The three elements are making the shed, picking and beating. The warp is the basis of the cloth and the weft is woven in to form the weave and the design of the piece. Alternately, the warp threads are raised to pass the shuttle with the weft threads through. The gap created is called the shed. A row of weft is known as the pick. Beating is making sure that the pick is even and pushed down against the previous pick. The warp takes a lot of stress, so it should be of a strong fiber. When planning the dimensions, at least ten per cent extra should be allowed on the width to allow for the pulling in on the selvedges, which are formed by the turn of the weft around the outside warp ends. Warp threads must be carefully prepared and correctly placed on the loom. Tapestry weaving requires special techniques. The weaver fills in color areas one at a time, leaving slits in the fabric, which are then stitched afterwards. If the tapestry is to be hung vertically, the slits are sometimes left open. The pattern or the picture for the tapestry is done by an artist on card – this is sometimes called the cartoon. The weaver uses this as the “blueprint”. Nowadays, in mechanized tapestry production, the artist creates a painting the size of the final tapestry. Then a technical design is made showing each stitch of the weft and card is punched by electronic equipment to fit the jacquard loom. The very beautiful tapestries in old cathedrals, places and art museums were painstakingly woven by hand. Some were commissioned by royalty, some were made by the artists and some by lowly paid workers. Decorative tapestry was portable – noblemen could transport it to different residences and churches could bring it out to hang for special occasions. Modern tapestries can be used on cushions or as wall hangings. However it was designed to be used, a piece of tapestry can become come a family heirloom.

         
    The 7 schools of feng shui

     

    Everyone has heard of Feng Shui, but what exactly is it? Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese belief that involves the study of both the natural and the created environments. To achieve a balance between the 2 affects the energy of a room. 7 Schools Of Feng Shui There are many different versions of Feng Shui, each influenced by culture, geography, and religion. There are 7 predominant types or schools of Feng Shui: 1. The Compass School uses the 8 trigrams of the I-Ching. They are known collectively as Pa Kua, which is based on the 8 main directions of a compass. Each direction is associated with a specific chi. For example, southern is vibrant energy. 2. The Form School, based on the landscape's shape, uses 4 symbolic animals to identify the landscape. Easy to use, the Form School (along with the Compass School) increases chi both in and out of the home. 3. The Black Hat Sect uses a fixed entry point to determine the area. Although similar to the Compass School philosophy, it has differences. The Black Hat Sect also consists of psychology, Buddhism and basic design principles. 4. 8 Mansion School, also known as the 8 House Feng Shui, is based on the individual number of the person living in the home. That number is used to bring harmony and balance to the home. People who use this system have both lucky and unlucky numbers, with the west numbers being 2, 6, 7, and 8 and the east numbers being 1, 3, 4, and 9. 5. The 9 Star Key School uses stars to help identify lucky and unlucky days. This school of thought uses complicated math formulas to pinpoint when a person will get married and the astrological sign of the future marriage partners. It will also tell the practitioner how to live based on his house. 6. The most common form of Feng Shui, based on astrology and numerology, is the Flying Star Philosophy. Difficult to understand and learn, it is also based on mathematical principals and is used to determine a person's fate. 7. Four Pillars, the final school of thought, is not very common. Based on astrology tied to the person's date of birth right down to the minutes, this form of Feng Shui is also used to determine a person's fate. 5 Elements Of Feng Shui After determining which school of thought is best for an individual, it is important to understand the 5 elements of Feng Shui. They are: Earth, Fire, Water, Metal, and Wood. Balance and harmony can be created in a home through the use of these elements. If used incorrectly, however, the energy can be lessened or even destroyed. Each of the 5 elements is also associated with a direction: Earth -- Southwest Fire -- South Water -- North Metal -- West Wood -- East Beauty And Balance In a Feng Shui home, all rooms should achieve a balance of these elements, although some items may weigh heavier than others. A chair might score 3 times more than a throw pillow, for example, because of the size difference. Properly applied, Feng Shui brings both beauty and balance to the home or office.

         
    The big surprise with a sectional sofa

     

    Have you ever had a sectional sofa in your home? If not you are in for a big surprise. The sectional sofa that you can decorate your family living area with is one that is going to complete your style. You can find a sectional sofa that uses plants, animals, that is a solid color that will be made of stripes and even a sectional sofa that will be customized to match your drapes. The sectional sofa is one that will be connected, connecting many seating areas in the home into one long area. The sectional sofa is one that can complete the home, giving all the family a place to sit, and that will be comfortable at the same time. Sectional sofas are now available for purchase online, and you can have them shipped directly to your home without delay. No need to go shopping and waste your gas, you can look at, review the photos, and find the materials that are going to meet your every expectation online. The sectional sofa of your dreams can be found online. What you need to do is measure the wall where you are going to be putting the sectional sofa. The measurements will be how long of a space you have. The space should match the size of the sectional you are purchasing. What you need to be careful of is that you have wall that is just eight foot long, and the sofa is ten foot long. Measure and re-measure so you are sure that the couch is going to fit along the wall where you want it to fit. The sectional sofa is one that can be connected to a centerpiece that will then connect to another portion of the couch. You can purchase a sectional couch that will be six foot, eight foot, ten foot and even up to sixteen foot long if you would like. Sectional sofas are designed to save space, and to create a huge feeling in that living space that you are decorating. Avoid using additional couches, loveseats or additional recliners with the sectional sofa that you purchase so you are maximizing your space in that living area. The living area that you want to decorate is going to be complete with the use of an end table or a corner table of the same type of material. You can often times purchase the corner table or the coffee table at the same time if you would like.

         
     
         
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