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Archive for the ‘home decorating’ Category

October 17th, 2013 at 5:00 am

DIY Autumn Decor

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In my opinion, fall has the best seasonal decor. There’s just so much you can do with the colors, holidays and seasonal pieces (pumpkins/gourds, leaves, etc.). While the stores take advantage of this great opportunity, there are so many options for DIY home decor that is fun to make and just as (or more) beautiful than anything store-bought. Here are some great projects to spice up your home with autumn accents.

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August 16th, 2013 at 10:05 am

Moving your Child from a Crib to a Bed

It’s a big step.

Deciding it is time for your child to sleep in a bed instead of a crib, especially if night time goes well in the crib. Sometimes there is another baby coming for the crib, other times it is that your child climbs out making a move necessary. Here are some tips to help make the transition a little smoother!

Help your Child Prepare

Make the move an event. Have your child help pick out big kid bedding to use in the room or even redecorate to a different theme. A big part of preparing them is to get them excited to sleep in their room in a big kid bed. Also, if you are picking out a new bed, have them test drive it in the store.

Preparation also means making sure the room is extra safe. Check for outlet covers, attach bookshelves to the walls, and if necessary put a baby gate on the doorway.You may also want to make sure a nightlight is in the room. Your little one can leave their bed at any time now so you have to make sure the room is prepared for that.

Think about placement of the bed. Your child is used to how the room looks where the crib is placed. Try to place the bed in the same place so shadows and other things look the same at night. Rooms can be a scary place at night for children. Also, think about completely removing the crib. If a child sees a crib replaced with a bed it is easier to understand than when their beloved crib may still be staring them in the face!

Don’t feel pressure

There isn’t a magic age when your child should leave the crib. My oldest left the crib at 2 1/2 when my youngest was born. He never left his bed at all! My youngest stayed in his crib till he was 3 1/2 and needed to be transitioned because he was climbing out of it. He had the hardest time staying in the big boy bed. Every child is different and you need to take that into account.

Once you’ve tackled this you have one more notch on your parenthood belt!

(FYI, you can purchase the adorable Garanimals Wild Flower 4-piece toddler bedding set here.

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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June 26th, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Princess Party on a Budget

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Most little girls dream of being a Princess. Nothing is more glamorous than beautiful ball gowns, jeweled tiaras and everything else that comes with being “royalty.” Disney is famous for it’s variety of princess films and products…there’s a princess for every personality!

While it seems like all the trimmings can add up to a lot, a princess party can be done on a budget! Follow these tips and tricks for an unforgettable fairy tale she’ll remember forever.

Decorations

We used two backdrops, one of the Disney princesses and one of Cinderella’s castle. We also took pink and purple tissue paper and made pomanders that we hung from the ceiling…here’s a great tutorial for making them. Crepe paper streamers, flowers and additional ceiling decorations put on the finishing touches!

Food

We went simple and ordered pizza, but there are tons of foods you can make yourself for the kids…chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, hot dogs and finger sandwiches are all quick and easy. For dessert, we used tiered cupcake stand and filled it with pink and purple frosted cupcakes with crown decorations.

Games/Activities

We had all the little girls come dressed up as their favorite princess, and the first thing we did was give princess makeovers with face paint! Other games we played were freeze dance and pin the lips on the frog prince.

Extras

When it comes to the princess party, it’s all about the extras! The kids’ favorite part was the candy buffet, where we gave out empty goodie bags they could fill! Each child received their own personalized teacup drink container and pink chair to take home! Tiara rings were used as napkin holders and acted as favors as well. They also went home with a goody bag full of stickers and novelty items. We kept everything within the pink and purple color scheme so that it all came together. We even had a friend dress up as Belle and take pictures and play games with the kids!

When in doubt, use your imagination!

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June 6th, 2013 at 5:00 am

DIY Flower Arrangements

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I’ve always admired the gorgeous bouquets my local florist puts together. Flowers are great as gifts for pretty much any occasion and they brighten up a room with pops of color and fragrance. Recently, I decided it was time for me to try my hand at floral arranging. Here’s what I learned:

1)    Start by planning a theme.

A lot of things needs to be considered…color, size, types of flowers, type of vase or base, where it’s going/who you’re giving it to, etc. I like bright, colorful bouquets myself.

2)    Purchase materials.

You’ll need a base, flowers, filler (berries, leafy plants, babies breath, etc.), and possibly floral foam or plastic water dish. Other materials you might need, you probably have around the house: scissors or floral shears and scotch tape.

3)    Form the base.

Your base can really be anything…use your imagination. You can use a regular vase or get creative with a wide curved bowl, a basket, or even a chalice for a smaller arrangement. If you decide to use a wide base, make a grid with the scotch tape so you are able to use it as a guide. If you use the floral foam, cut it to fit your base and then soak it in water before you add your florals.

4)    Work from the outside in.

Choose leafy greens and place them along the outside of the base, draping over the lip slightly. Work your way inside, alternating different sizes…I like to work in floral “rings.” I also prefer to leave the berry/delicate filler to the end and disperse it throughout wherever it looks good. Sometimes very delicate filler needs to be placed in bunches, and can be kept together by wrapping thin wire around a few sprigs. Keep in mind that most arrangements need dimension, so clip your stems at different lengths that look best…it creates “levels” and allows all the different flowers to show through at all angles.

If you’re looking for a really simple tutorial to wet your feet with, Weddingchicks.com offers this great step-by-step guide for making the gorgeous arrangement shown above. Martha Stewart also offers her expertise with these flower arranging tips.

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May 29th, 2013 at 3:45 pm

DIY Outdoor Décor

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It’s common knowledge that we’re outside more when the weather is warmer. ‘Tis the season to decorate your yard! Garden, siding and patio décor add nice touches to your yard and can be admired not only by your family and guests, but by passers-by (so don’t ignore the front of your home!). Just the other day while getting the mail, a neighbor stopped me to let me know how beautiful my front yard looked. All it took was some nice gardening, a welcoming door hanger, some hanging plants and potted plants with cute garden stakes. Simple, yet so effective. Here are some outdoor décor ideas you can make yourself!

  • Stepping Stones  - Add beach glass, shells, marbles, or other small items you’ve collected over the years, or add your kids’ handprints!
  • Fire Pit  - You don’t need a contractor to put in a fire pit, it’s simpler than you think and will save you money to DIY!
  • House Number Wreath - A lovely way to showcase your house number and decorate your front door at the same time.

 

 

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May 1st, 2013 at 2:10 pm

May Day

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While looking for blog topics for this month, I came across “May Day.” I don’t know about any of you, but I had never heard of this holiday before. I read up on it and thought I’d share some information about this under-celebrated day of fun!

May Day is held on May 1st and is essentially a day to celebrate the spring season. In early times, people would hold May Day celebrations that involved dancing around the maypole, the crowning of a “Queen of the May,” and the giving of May baskets. Tradition states that May baskets are filled with flowers or treats, and are left on someone’s doorstep anonymously. The giver leaves the basket, rings the bell and runs away. If the receiver catches the giver, they get a kiss.

May Day baskets usually have a “nature” theme to them…filling them with fresh flowers, seed packets, flower bulbs, etc. is a nice way to encourage the new growth of spring. For kids, candy is a good choice, and you can even make the candy into flowers or bugs (check out the sample ideas below). Add a pretty, personalized tag to complete the basket.

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March 26th, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Get Your Home Improvement Idea Fix on Houzz

Are you a home improver? Looking for ideas for updates, decorating or renovation? Books, magazines, and HGTV are great sources but I’ve found a website that is fabulous for inspiration. Houzz.com is an encyclopedic website that has literally hundreds of thousands of images of rooms, landscapes, products and design ideas.

The site is simple to navigate. From the home page you can browse by type of room, read up on discussions, find local builders or check out Ideabooks. These are photo portfolios based on categories such as Home Tech, Architecture and DIY. And as you browse the photos, you can create your own books with all your wishlist items.

There’s also a weekly newsletter with articles on the many aspects of home improvement. These have really helpful advice for whatever project you might be embarking on.

We recently began the process of designing a kitchen remodel and Houzz has been a great source for ideas. Everything from types of storage to backsplashes, lighting and cabinet colors and styles. Whenever I saw something I liked, I just added it to my kitchen Ideabook.

An even more helpful feature was the ability to share my Ideabook with my kitchen designer so he could see what things I like and get a better idea of how I envision the end result. The contractor also uses Houzz to post their own Ideabooks and projects so I can see the results of their work.

This is my idea of a great way to collaborate.

There’s definitely a danger here. With so many great examples, it’s really easy to go beyond your budget, so be prepared to compromise and/or get ready to do some of the work yourself.

Have fun with this!

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

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February 27th, 2013 at 5:00 am

Baby Nursery Organzation

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If you’re not a first-time mom, you already know that baby’s room can get VERY messy and disorganized with all the diapers, clothes, toys, books, accessories, etc. To keep it neat and controlled, it’s a good idea to have a plan for your nursery organization. Keep in mind that storage pieces are your friend, and the smaller the room, the more you’ll need them! Here are some tips to help you achieve the most organized nursery ever!

Utilize the closet to the best of your ability

If the closet is a decent size, keep the doors open or remove them completely and use the space for things that would normally crowd the floor. In some cases you might be able to fit a dresser or changing table in it, and use the rest of the space for hanging storage or shelving. Most baby clothes don’t need to be hung up, but you can use hanging sweater bags that create shelves for a variety of items, including spare blankets. It’s better to have a dresser with a changing tray on top as opposed to an actual changing table because it will give you more storage options.

Keep things you will use frequently in arm’s reach

There are things you’ll be using every day – multiple times a day – such as diapers, wipes, baby powder, undershirts, burp cloths, etc. Keep these items close to the changing table so you don’t ever need leave the baby unattended or risk them falling off. Keep the toiletries in a small box or bin that stays on the changing table or on a side table next to it. The trash can or diaper genie and the hamper are two other things to keep near. Diaper stackers are useful and do double the work, acting as both storage and décor (check out our diaper stackers like this Alphabet Animals-themed one)!

Small things need small storage

Everything “baby” is itty bitty, and they can get lost in the mix easily. Use drawer dividers for small clothing like socks, caps, etc. and over-the-door shoe organizers for things like shoes, pacifiers, and toys.

Store clothes in order of relevance and size.

Socks and undershirts are going to be the things you change and use the most, followed by comfortable sleeping gowns and footed sleepers. Two piece sets and more formal clothing will most likely be used the least. Arrange these in your drawers with the socks and undershirts in the top drawer, and so on in descending order of use. You don’t want to have to bend to the lowest drawer 20 times a day! Also, arranging clothing by size will keep you more organized. You’ll know that the “this section” is for newborn, “this section” is for 0-3 months, “this section” is for 3-6 months, etc.

Store outgrown clothes outside of the nursery.

When your baby outgrows clothes (it happens fast and often!) store the clothes in a closet, attic, or basement to keep the nursery un-cluttered enough to add new items to grow into. If you don’t plan to have any more children, consider donating them or offering them to a friend. If you have a special item such as the baby’s first pair of shoes or the take-home outfit, make it into a shadowbox to hang on the wall as a nice, sentimental piece of wall art.

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February 25th, 2013 at 5:00 am

Spring Cleaning is right around the Corner

The end of February is nearing so Spring is right around the corner… hopefully!

I like to start my Spring Cleaning in March, because I know once the snow starts to melt and the days get warmer I like to spend more time outside.

First, I collect supplies for the job. Here is a basic list:

  • Microfiber cloths
  • Dusting spray or furniture polish
  • Trash bags
  • Baking soda
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Kitchen cleaner
  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Sponges and scrubbers
  • Vinegar
  • Paper towels
  • Gloves
  • Glass cleaner
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Mop or other floor cleaner
  • Containers marked ‘Donate’ and ‘Sell’

Feel free to use your favorite store bought or homemade cleaner; whichever will help you get the job done is the best!

Once you have this done, it’s time to make your list of what needs to be done and where it needs to be done. I consult my favorite cleaning/organizing experts on the web for lists. My favorites include: Organized HomeLil Blue Boo, and She Knows. I print these out and pick out the items that apply to my house, then I customize them. For this I go around room by room and write things that need to be done. Here are some examples of special tasks that need to be done in my house this spring:

Boys Room

  • Paint Walls and Ceiling
  • Change all hangers from little to big
  • Sort through books

Office

Basement

  • Price items to sell at consignment sale
  • Sort through old toys
  • Organize and rearrange books

These are only a few of the items I want to tackle this spring. It is going to be a busy time, but the end result is a huge payout. While spring cleaning I also want to do some major decluttering! I’ve hit that time of life when I really need to simplify. There is a great series on A Bowl Full of Lemons that goes through things to think about when organizing and decluttering each room. I see a lot of trips to Goodwill in my future!

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

 

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January 16th, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Baby Nursery Room Decorating

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One of the best parts of preparing for a bundle of joy is decorating the nursery! There are so many themes and décor options to choose from nowadays. Whether you like bright, bold colors or soft, pale pastels… animals, nautical touches or simple designs… there’s a theme or idea out there! Personalize it even more by adding DIY decorations. Here are some ideas to start you off:

Matching Sets

If you’re very coordinated and like a perfectly matched look, go for a packaged set or buy separates from the same line. Typically, bedding sets are bundled together and include crib sheets, comforter and bumper. You can often buy matching items such as a window valence, mobile, wall stickers, etc. to complete the look. Check out our Hearts at Home collection.

Color Schemes and Themes

Popular colors for baby nurseries are often soft pastels or neutral colors, but bold and bright colors work well too. Visit your local home improvement store and mix and match paint color swatches to see what looks best together, or ask a store associate to help you pick. Choosing, and sticking to, a theme is a nice way to achieve a uniform look. Here are a few themes to consider: Jungle, Princess, Cars and Trucks, Butterflies, Stars and Skies, Animal Print, and Floral.

DIY Décor

Make your baby’s nursery as unique as possible by incorporating personalized touches you create yourself!

Alphabet Wall:

I love these alphabet wall hangings for a look that your kids can enjoy through their older years. You can buy a bunch of letters in different fonts and sizes from your local craft store, and paint them any way you want!

Tutu Table Skirt

Make any table fit for a princess with this tutu skirt that only requires some tulle and ribbon. Your little girl will love this for years to come.

Family Handprint Canvas

You can create these adorable handprint canvases a number of ways. Use pre-made canvases from your local craft store and paint them any colors you choose. Have everyone in your family participate or make one every 6 months or so for a collection of your child’s growing handprints.

There are so many ways to decorate… how did YOU create the perfect nursery for your baby?

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