You Know Your Home Decor is Frumpy and Stale when……..

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by: The Home Stylist newsletter

As a decorator, I have gone into many different homes and met homeowners with questionable taste. One thing I am shocked about is people living in a time warp. I recently had a client who hired me because they had an ah- ha moment seeing their living room style on a circa 1980’s sit-com rerun. Yes, their living room had not been restyled in 25 years. Sometimes people just decorate like their mother did because that is all they have ever known. Let’s not be frumpy and stale.
So how can you tell if you are living in a time warp and need to freshen up your home’s look? Here are just a few of the telltale signs:

1. Look up. What do you see? If you see a popcorn ceiling or glitter mixed with ceiling paint, you have an outdated look.

2. Now, look down. Do you see dark carpeting? over 10 years old? Do you see wall to wall plush carpeting? The trend is most definitely hardwood floors with gorgeous area rugs.

3. Look to the side. Do you see any fake wood paneling whatsoever? The darker and shinier it is, the worse it is. No paneling!

4. What do you see on the wall? Please don’t tell me that you see white paint. The trend is color, color, and color. Don’t be bland! A rich complex color can bring your room up to the new millennium.

5. If you removed a picture from the wall, will there be a telltale sign that it hung in that exact spot too long? Paint fades over the years, ya know. Be sure to change the accessories around every few years. I bet that picture is hung way too high also. Is it hung more than 6 inches from the top of the sofa? See told ya.

English: my couch
English: my couch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

6. Do you have over 5 photographs of children who are now grown? Subtract points if the frames are all different types and sizes.

7. How about the furniture? Is it lumpy and bumpy (formally known as cascade back style)? It reminds me of rolls of fat. Yuck! The updated look it smooth sleek lines with classic styling. Toss it to the curb with its buddy, the extra large lazy-people recliner.

8. Speaking of the couch, please don’t let me see a knitted afghan folded over the back of the sofa. I love things made by Grandma too but it doesn’t need to be the focal point. It is no longer fashionable to place a folded blanket of any kind over the back of the couch.

9. How about the accent pillows? The old style of placing matching pillows at each end of the couch is dated too – just because they came with the couch doesn’t mean you have to use them. Spice it up with pillows of contrasting colors, unique motifs, and hip textures.

10. Let’s check out the kitchen. This is an easy room to tell if is out of date. On the floor, do you have bold geometric vinyl? Are your appliances harvest gold or avocado? Do your cupboards lack character? Do they have their original knobs and pulls? Are the counters a color like 70’s Brady Bunch orange or even 80’s country blue? It really pays to redo a kitchen but if you can’t right now, update the knobs, get a rug, and gallons of paint.

And the bonus question:

11. On your bathroom counter, is there a grouping of lotions and potions? The big pump bottle of everyday moisturizer? On your bedroom dresser, you don’t have your collection of perfume bottles of scents you haven’t worn in several years, do you? Don’t you remember your mother doing this? Let’s not decorate how mom did.

Now you know if your decor is frumpy and stale. You also know a few ways to make it fresh.

Next, how about those pleated slacks?

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10 Slam-Dunk Crafts For Little Kids — And Bigger Kids Too!

by: Kid Crafts Magazine

Crafting with young children really isn’t about creating something in particular. Most young children don’t have the foresight to see what a project is going to be.
For young children it’s more important that they have the opportunity to play and experiment with art. Kids need to use as many of their senses as possible to get the most out of crafting. This allow them to try new sensory experiences, as well as learn causal relationships.

These are my 10 favorite crafts for little kids based on all that AND the ‘fun factor.’

1. Finger painting: Finger painting is a wonderful activity for kids. It lets them ‘feel’ the craft as well as be creative. You don’t have to have finger paints to do this activity with kids. You can finger paint with homemade paint, watercolors or even mud. You can also experiment with adding other things to the paint such as sand or glitter.

2. Yarn Painting: Dip pieces of string or yarn into paint and then drag it across the paper to paint with it. It’s a good experience to paint with something other than a brush and you can just throw the yarn away when finished.

3. Q-Tip Painting: Use Q-tips to create a painting. There are lots of ways to use a Q-tip – scrub, dot, or use it like a brush. It’s a good coordination exercise because Q-tips are small around, but it also provides a lot of interest for the child.

4. Glue Art: Draw squiggle lines on a piece of paper or let the child use their finger to make random glue spots or patterns on a piece of paper. Experiment with adding different objects to the glue. Sand, glitter, cotton, yarn, feathers, and tissue paper all work well.

5. Salt Dough Sculpture: Make a batch of salt dough and turn the kids loose with it. You don’t have to worry about them eating it (it’s safe and tastes terrible) and clean up is easier than play dough. If you want to keep their creations, let them dry overnight and then paint them the next day.

6. Toe Painting: If it’s a warm summer day, put on the swimsuits, put some finger paint into pie tins, lay out large sheets of poster paper, and let them ‘paint’ all afternoon. They will have a ball and all you have to do is hose them off when they are done (that’s my kids’ favorite part actually!)

7. Found Object Art: This project is always a sure thing because kids love to ‘discover’ things. Let your child gather up leaves, sticks, flowers, etc. and then glue them onto a piece of paper. When they are done, let them tell you about their collection.

8. Peanut Pictures: Every kid loves to play with packing peanuts — but it makes such a mess. Let them create pictures with them instead. Kids can draw on them, glue them to a sheet of paper, or glue the peanuts to each other to make a sculpture. The kids will love it!

9. Sticker Play: Turn your child loose with a bunch of stickers, markers, and a sheet of paper and let them create. It’s good for little ones to work on their coordination, and it’s fun!

10. Stamping: Kids love to use any kind of stamps. My favorites are the self-inking stamps or the double-sided markers with the stamps on one end. This may sound like pure play, but is also teaches young children cause and effect.

About The Author:

——————– Chris Yates makes it Easy to craft with Little Kids and Create a little Magic Time with Hundreds of project ideas. Visit Now! ——————–

Birthday Flowers

by: Karen Marinelli

Birthdays are one thing you can count on. We all have them and I’m willing to bet, all of your family members and friends have them too. Sometimes birthdays seem to roll around quickly. You can’t believe it’s been a whole year since you found the perfect gift for your cousin Susie, and now it’s time to deliver again.
Whether the birthday boy or girl is a friend, lover or just an acquaintance, flowers can be ordered and designed to say just the right thing. Flowers have so much going for them, it’s a wonder you haven’t thought of this before!

Think of the blossoms as building blocks. Each has color, texture and form. They each have a personality and many have a tradition. The rose is elegant and says love. The carnation is sturdy and says you can count on me. The orchid is exotic and dares you to dream.

Next, think of your florist as an architect. She uses the building blocks to design a birthday greeting. An architect won’t design a home for you until she has spent time with you and discovered your personality and your needs. A good florist should be asking a couple of questions to help her design the floral piece that says just what you want to say.

No, we’re not talking about a million dollar home, were just talking about a birthday bouquet. Still, you should try to convey the message you are trying to send when you order your flowers from the florist. Your florist can translate your words into flowers. Using words like Romantic, Festive, Bright, Soft, Extravagant, Elegant, Simple, Fun, Young, Classic, Natural, Earthy or Modern will help your florist understand the personality she is fitting.

You can send flowers with little or no thought, and they’ll probably be just fine. The enclosure card will say “Happy Birthday”, and the message will get through. Or, you can invest just a few minutes into the process and choose flowers in a design that expresses the personality and message that fits the situation. It’ll be worth the investment, I promise.

About the AuthorKaren Marinelli is a Floral Industry Professional with nineteen years of experience in the academic, retail and wholesale sectors of the industry. She believes the common goal should be to sell more flowers to more people, more often. For information on How to Open a Flower Shop, visit

To order flowers online, visit

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Vintage Stoves & Classic Designs to Warm Your Heart

by: Kim Filler

Have you ever been to the antique market, or watching the “Antiques Roadshow”, and seen those wonderful woodstoves for days passed? They are absolutely amazing, especially if you can find one in good shape. A friend of mine recently installed a “4 O’clock” stove dating back to the early 1900’s, and it looks marvelous! It got me thinking about woodstoves, in general, and I started to research many of the vintage stoves. I have listed the most popular models below. Get yourself a cup of tea, put your feet up, and read on!
Victorian Stoves – These stoves date back to the late 1800’s. They are generally made from cast iron, and adorned with nickel. This early kitchen stove will meet all of your cooking needs.

Country Stoves – These stoves generally date to around the early 1900’s. It is very similar to the Victorian stove, but more effort has been out into the nickel highlights and the clean, crisp casting.

Retro Stoves – These particular stoves are simply updated versions of the above. In the 1930’s, when these stoves were immensely popular, the kitchen seemed to be the central point in one’s home. These stoves were integral to the “modern” kitchen.

Cylinder Stoves – These stoves are likely the most easily recognizable of the antique stoves. They were renowned for their extraordinary ability to heat a home, while taking up very little floor space.

Potbelly Stoves – Early American photographs abound with images of the potbelly stove. These stoves were found in railway stations, saloons, brothels, and many other historic settings on the western frontier.

Parlour Stoves – Back in the Victorian era, these beautiful stoves were a focal point in traditional parlour rooms. At the height of their popularity, artisans adorned them with various designs such as cherubs, mythological figures, and floral designs.

Franklin Fireplaces – This stove is pure Americana. It was designed by Benjamin Franklin, and early American inventor, craftsman, and President. All wood stoves used for heating owe their heritage to Benjamin Franklin, and his efficient design.

These are but a few of the stove types I came across in my research. These stoves are all wonderful examples of design and function. If you happen to see any of these stoves while shopping for antiques, do let me know. Or buy one for yourself! You won’t regret it!

Kim Filler loves shopping for antiques in obscure, out-of-the-way markets. She is currently obsessing about the Franklin Fireplace. When she is free from her daily pursuits, she writes for – a website of interest to those who enjoy fireplaces and woodstoves featuring information on  wood burning stoves, old antique wood stoves, fireplace mantel information and more.

4 Fun And Easy To Make Homemade Christmas Decorations

by: Rosie Fletcher

Homemade Christmas decorations are some of the most unique. They are also a lot of fun because you can enjoy them with your family. Below are 4 fun and easy to make homemade Christmas decorations:

Popcorn Stringing

If you like strung popcorn, it’s really simple to make. Start with a big bowl of popcorn (unbuttered, of course) and string it piece by piece using a standard sewing needle and thread. Make sure there’s plenty of popcorn because, if you’re stringing it for garland, you’re going to need a lot.

Cranberry Stringing

Much like the popcorn stringing method, many people used to string cranberries using a standard needle and thread. Again, make sure there’s plenty to go around if you’re going to use it as garland. Most importantly, and I know it’s tempting, don’t eat all the decorations. Save some for the Christmas tree.

Paper Chains

One of the greatest memories of decorating for Christmas, as a child, has to be the traditional paper chains. Using green and red construction paper, cut horizontal strips of each color. Fold them into a circle and seal with tape. Scotch tape is recommended and, if you use this when your child is young, the smell will always remind them of Christmas. It will likely become “Christmas tape” to them. Once you have a complete circle, take another strip in an alternating color and run it through the first circle. Next, fold it around and seal with tape. Complete this step until you have a big strand of paper garland in red and green. You and your child will enjoy doing this together and it will create wonderful memories for you both.

Lighted Wreath

If you love the look of a lighted wreath, but don’t quite have a budget for one of the more expensive ones, consider another option. You can purchase a plain green wreath very inexpensively. A small strand of lights can cost anywhere from $1.00 to $3.00. But, put them together and you have the look of a professionally lighted Christmas wreath. For this project, you could use either clear or multi-colored Christmas lights. Simply take the plain green wreath and wrap the lights around in a design similar to the stripes on a candy cane. Once you’ve gone all the way around, tuck the last light into the green of the wreath. Make sure that you place it near an electric outlet because there won’t be a lot of extra cord. Now that you’re ready, plug it in and see your very own design. A red bow is a nice touch, but not necessary. As people drive by, they will see a beautifully lit wreath in your window and they will have no idea that you saved a few bucks by wrapping the lights yourself.

About the author:
For more great Christmas craft related resources check out http://crafts.christmashub.comand

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