Saturday, January 28, 2012

Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner...

We all have them somewhere in our homes, that awkward corner that you just can’t figure out what to do with.  It won’t fit a chair and a bookshelf is just too bulky, yet you just can’t leave it empty.  I’ve always had an easy answer for these confusing spaces and it was a “plant”.  A plant can fill any area and give it beauty, not too mention the serenity that greenery will add to your home.  Some of us, (I mention no names) have a difficult time keeping any greenery alive, whether it’s in the garden or indoors.  In fact I have killed plastic plants if you can believe it?  I mean…”I know someone who did that”!!!  For folks like my “friend” (not me of course), you have to be a little more creative.  Oversized vases filled with branches and twigs have become a popular alternative to expensive, hard to maintain plant life.  You can buy all kinds of colorful and unique branches at any local décor store as well as some stunning vases that will create a focal point in an otherwise dead space.   Another solution is to turn that boring corner into a gallery of art or photos.  Make it a “brag wall” that you can truly brag about.  Buy a bunch of cheap frames or even second hand frames and paint them, distress them and make them work with your décor.  You can buy all matching frames, if you are more of a uniform type of person.  Pick some of your favorite art pieces, postcards or photographs and arrange them on the wall.  You can try for a symmetrical arrangement or more of a random whimsical placement… whatever is pleasing to “your” eye, will bring you comfort when you look at it.  

Depending on the size of your awkward corner, you can combine a few different techniques to fill the space.  Whatever you choose….don’t ignore that lonely corner.  It will not go away and will nag you everyday until you give it some love.  You’ll be amazed at the reward…”Baby” might even like being put in that corner!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gently Used...

It’s funny how we can walk into a home, see the furniture and décor and instantly know where it came from.  It’s the same set your friend has, or the one you saw on the cover of the weekend flyers.  You need to ask yourself; do you really want to show up to the party wearing the same dress as someone else.   Be unique and think outside the box.  In fact, think outside the big box stores and try something new…or old!!!
Refinishing furniture can be easy and so incredibly rewarding.  Think about it, you get to choose a unique piece that you fall in love with and then customize it.  You can paint or stain it any color you like, change the hardware, and add some unique features.
Habitat for humanity, Goodwill and Value Village are great places to go and find unique pieces of furniture that need a little personal touch and someone to love them.   For even more excitement, try a local auction or estate sale.  You can find some amazing pieces at even more amazing prices.
We had a lovely old dresser sitting in our basement for years, but it never worked in our décor, so I dug it out and gave it a coat of antique white paint.  Then I sanded the edges to give it a little distressed look, changed the hardware and added some baskets.  It now sits proudly in my bedroom and it cost me $7.  

I hope my in-laws don’t ever ask for it back!!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Big Clean Up....

Tis’ the end of the Christmas Season.  I hope everyone survived the holiday chaos.  More importantly, I hope your homes survived.
Now what?  The tree and decorations are coming down and suddenly you have accumulated a heap more “things.”  How long will you let them linger on the fireplace mantle and kitchen counter before you find them a home?  Or what if you don’t have room and they never have a home of their own?  Don’t let the joy of Christmas and all that it brings bury you knee deep in “stuff.”
First things first...if you don’t like the smell of that bar of soap you got, don’t put it in the back of the vanity only to find it again next year.  Re-gift or donate....somebody will love the smell of that soap.  Or, take it to work and put it in the bathroom there.  The point is, don’t keep stuff that you know you will never use.  One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, so share.
Next, if you got a lovely set of new tea towels for’s OK to throw away the old ones with holes and frayed corners.  In fact, rather than throw them away, put them in the laundry room or garage and use them as cleaning rags.  It isn’t necessary to have 28 tea towels jammed in a drawer that you can’t close.
These are the little things... now what about all those toys????  We all know kids play with things for a week (if we’re lucky) and then move on to the next toy.  Encourage them to donate some of their old toys to the “Inn of the Good Shepherd” or a local Woman’s Shelter.  There are so many kids out there that would be thrilled to have half the toys we find wedged under beds and in corners of the furnace room.  What are we holding onto them for?  As for the toys that remain...get some stackable bins from the dollar store and start organizing.  Some toys can get tucked away and others can be stored neatly in organized and labelled bins that are easily accessible.  Ikea has fabulous shelves that are great for storing toys and books and still looking stylish.  Rotate the toys every now and then until the kids grow out of them.
How about a new years resolution?  Reduce, Re-use, and your part to help others and your environment.  Don’t let your home become an episode of “Hoarders”.  

Happy New Year, now CLEAN UP!!!!