Friday, November 12, 2010

Tantalizing Tablescapes

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of showcasing my work as a decorator and stager for the Hearth & Home Kitchen Tour. The tour has become a very successful annual fundraiser for my children's school. The home I staged, belongs to a friend, it was already quite beautiful but, just needed a few tweaks. I selected artwork, staged the foyer, living room, the library/sitting room, the family room, and the kitchen dining area, as well as the formal dining room. Making the selections and ensuring everything was near perfect was so much fun. Here are a few pictures of the tablescapes I created for the dining room and kitchen table.

You don't have to wait for a special occasion to be good to yourself. Today is as good a time as any. Treat yourself and/or your family. Use your good dishes, pull out those pretty glasses, get out the silverware, and dress up your table -- even if it's just a little. You deserve it, and it feels good!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Book Review: Words That Matter

I found this book today on my monthly look and see trip to Anthropologie. I was actually planning to not just look today! I didn't find what I was after but, I found this book. Even though, I haven't read through all of it yet, I thought I'd share it with you anyway. If you're a fan of the Oprah Magazine you're sure to love it. It was published just this year to celebrate the magazine's tenth anniversary. The title is Words That Matter, Everyday truths to guide and inspire. It's a 159-page collection of 600 hundred inspiring ideas and quotations selected from the Oprah Magazine. I wanted to buy a copy for all my friends after just reading the forward by Oprah, herself, and a few quotes in the first chapter titled, "Dreaming Big, Becoming Brave." Run out and get yourself a copy, if you're in need of a little inspiration. I hope you like it as much as I think you will.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Simply A Few of My Favorite Things

Today, while I was glancing through the November issue of NJ Monthly I felt inspired to share with you a few of my favorite things. Some I already own but, most our my newest discoveries that I plan to add to my collection. But even if they never get added, I'll just continue to enjoy the pleasure of their virtual company.

I have a thing for color. It's mostly because my dear husband insists that we keep the walls neutral to appeal to the next buyer of our home. (That's another story that we can talk about some other time!) As a result, I'm very big on finding other ways to add color to a rather uninspiring palette. For me, pillows really do the trick. Feast your eyes of this unusual delight. It's made from 100% upcycled necktie fabric hand-stitched into the intriguing miniature dome you see here by Dream Weaver.

I'm also the girl who loves her bags. I've been searching for a tote but it had to be something fun. At last, I found it at Boden's I've been carrying around the Winter Boden catalog for weeks now. I glance through it all the time! What can I say, it makes me happy. They have lots a great bags but this is the one I have to have! My only dilemma is deciding which color to go with. Which one do you like?

Just imagine this light source in your kitchen or breakfast nook. These are just spectacular when all three are used together. With Anthropolgie, there could never be a dull moment in your home again. Alice In Wonderland certainly missed out on this one! What do you think? Would you ever use these in your home?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Passion for Pink

Just thought I'd tempt you with a little eye candy today. News of these beautiful rugs landed in my e-mailbox a few days ago from Company C. They're both a perfect example of one of the many ways to add color to your space without painting. What's even more special about these rugs is that they were specially-designed for breast cancer awareness. Twenty percent of the sales will be donated to Komen for a Cure for awareness, research and education. Another thing you may want to know is every Friday in October, Company C is giving away one of each design to a random Facebook friend. So, get out there and befriend them if you haven't already.

I love pink, but if pink isn't your thing, there's a host of other spectacular colors to choose from. Happy shopping! I'm off to do a little shopping myself for a home I'm decorating for the upcoming Hearth & Home Tour fundraiser for my daughter's school. I'll tell you more about that later.

If you need help with adding color to your space, visit my website today..

Monday, October 4, 2010

Spice up Your Space with Color

Fall has certainly arrived here on the east coast. It's rainy and chilly, (I hate the cold and really want to turn on the heat) with grey, cloudy skies. I find the skies of fall and winter to be so dreary in the east, but it's a great day to begin a series on color -- and a great excuse for a Chai tea latte.

I love Chai tea! Yesterday I had the pleasure of going to a Dove Chocolate party. I sampled until I couldn't any more -- than ordered four different flavors of Chai tea all with chocolate -- yum! But, getting back to color.

Adding color with paint to a space is easy, inexpensive and an effective way to transform the look and feel of any room. However, paint isn't the only way to add color for those who don't want to paint or can't. We'll talk about several ways to do that over the next few weeks. Today, I thought we'd talk a little about the psychology of color.

Color effects our emotions. Using the rights colors can stimulate and motivate us, add feelings of calm and relaxation and create cheerfulness. You can set the right mood for your space by choosing a color that evokes the emotions you desire.

Red is often used in restaurants because it is an appetite stimulant. It raises our metabolism and increases our appetites -- so food tastes better. Red is a great color for dining rooms. Red can also make you irritable so use it sparingly and be careful of it's use in bedrooms.

Yellow has been proven to stimulate the brain, which can make you more alert and decisive. With the right amount and the right hue, yellow enhances concentration. This color is bright and optimistic, but a lot of bright yellow speeds up the metabolism and could make people lose their temper.

Blue lowers the pulse rate, body temperature, and metabolism. It causes the body to produce calming chemicals, so you'll see it most often used in bedrooms. Deep blue stimulates the pituitary gland, which then regulates our sleep patterns. People are more productive in blue rooms.

Orange is a combination of yellow and red -- which are both stimulating colors. Orange is considered an energetic color -- its strengthens the immune system and is considered an accessible color -- at a lower-price.

Purple is thought to be majestic and often associated with the royalty. It is a combination red and blue -- which each evoke opposite physical reactions. Purples have been used in the care of mental or nervous disorders because they have been shown to help balance the mind and transform obsessions and fears. Purple has also be shown to suppress hunger and balance the body's metabolism.

Green symbolizes nature and the natural world. It is the easiest color on the eye and said to be good for your heart. People that have a green work environment experience fewer stomach aches. Green is often used in decorating for its calming effect. It helps to balance and soothe our emotions. Green also relaxes our muscles and helps us to breathe deeper and slower. Beware of using too much green -- added feelings of comfort, relaxation and calmness could cause feelings of laziness.

Pink, a lighter shade of red, also helps muscles to relax. Pink induces feelings of calm, protection, warmth, and nurturing. Research has shown that pink's calming effect only occurs during the initial exposure to the color.

Grey enhances creativity, which makes it a good color choice for home offices and studios. It evokes feelings of trust, so it is often used in executive offices and waiting rooms. Grey feels neutral making it a perfect combination with an infinite number of colors. Grey with yellow or grey with blue are two of my favorite combinations.

Brown evokes the feelings of security, credibility and reassurance. It tends to be soothing and comfortable. Brown encourages conversation, so it is great for entertaining rooms. Shades and tints of brown are often uses as neutrals. Combined with unexpected colors like pale blue, fuchsia, or chartreuse -- browns can be exciting, whimsical or sophisticated.

Now, I know what I'm going to wear today for lunch with my friends. It feels like a brown and pale blue kind of day.

See you next time for more on Color.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Exquisite Spring Tablescapes

"We took great pride in preparing and serving meals for company, and while we didn't have the best china, you'd be surprised what you can do with fresh flowers and pressed linens."

~ Sara and Elizabeth Delany, "Having Our Say"

Easter is just five weeks away! Are you planning to host this year? If you are, let me help you with your table decorations. Creating beautiful tablescapes is one of my specialities. I love the creative process and the excitement of creating beauty from a table's blank canvas. Meet me here for the next few weeks, and I'll tell you how to create your most beautiful table yet. Let's get started.

Step One: Finding Inspiration and Selecting a Theme

There are many different ways to set a table. To achieve the look and feel you want -- from simple elegance to something whimsical -- start by looking for inspiration to help you decide on a theme. There are many places you can go for inspiration. My search usually starts with a shopping trip -- even if I'm only sightseeing. Here are a few places you can visit to get your ideas flowing:

Visit a Flower Show. For those of you that are in the area, the Philadelphia Flower Show is always spectacular and sure to provide lots of inspiration for your theme. But, you'll have to hurry; the show ends this weekend. I hope to get there myself on Saturday.

Visit your local florist or explore online floral sites. Calyx Flowers is one of my favorites. They have a gorgeous selection. Each time I've ordered from them, the arrangements have arrived in the most beautiful packaging. It's a real delight just to open the box. Presentation is everything! Early spring flowers like Daffodils, Tulips and Panies should be readily available this time of year. You should also be able to find them in your local market.

Treat yourself to your favorite fine restaurant and notice how they decorated the tables.

Take a trip to the theater. Alice In Wonderland starts this Friday, March 5. From what I've been able to see in the commercials, the scenery looks incredible. I can't wait to see the movie, but I may have to go alone. My eight and ten-year-old says it's looks too scary.

In addition, here's a few ideas for stores you can visit for inspiration: Anthropologie, Crate & Barrel, Home Goods, Williams & Sonoma, and the Pottery Barn. Your local consignment shop and thrift store are great resources too!

While you're out shopping around for a little inspiration, keep in mind a few possible themes to help you in your search:

Spring Flowers
Spring Pastel Colors
Bunnies and/or Chicks
Jelly Beans
Easter Eggs
Easter Bonnets

Monday, March 1, 2010

My Stylistic Mondays

Welcome to another wonderful Monday! I use to dread Sunday evenings and Mondays when I was working in the corporate world because I knew I had another long week ahead of me doing work I just didn't enjoy. Now, I can face another Monday with renewed confidence and ease as I continue on my new journey -- as a new blogger and design student -- one precious moment at time. However, I'm still not an early raiser! That's another story.

In celebration of God's grace for new day, I decided to dedicate Mondays as my "creative styling" day. I'm new at this so be a bit gentle, but I welcome all thoughts and suggestions. I know I have a ways to go but I'm enjoying the journey.

So for today, I folded a few pretty fabrics and stacked them like books along with a few of my favorite design books. You might find any of these fabrics in a home designed in French Country or an English Garden style. I found the fabrics at a Domain Home store a few years ago when the store was going out of business. The person in charge of liquidating the store was kind enough to let me have tons of their fabric samples for free. I quickly scooped them up not knowing what I would do them, if anything. I just loved looking at them and imagining how beautiful they'd look in my home. Even though I found these a few years ago, this style of fabric remains timeless and elegant. Would you agree? I have a lot more fabrics to share with you over the coming weeks.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Spring is in the Air

We Walk By Faith and Not, By Sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 Spring really is on the way!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Jersey Life

Have you discovered New Jersey Life magazine yet? I am in love with it. So much so that I have become a bit of a stalker at Barnes & Noble anxiously awaiting the next issue. New Jersey Life is a regional lifestyle magazine for the savvy tri-state reader with a national appeal. So even if you don't live in New Jersey, it's a great information resource. Its pages are filled with regular features including: Fashion and Home Design (my favorite); Food and Drink; People and Pets; Real Estate and Money; Current Happenings, and Health and Beauty. My favorite issues are the September and October releases. September is design and style month. While October features the A-List award winners in 24 categories from the best NJ Home Design Shops to the best Farmers Markets. The top picks are selected by the magazine's readers. In each of these great issues you'll find colorful features and unusual finds from jewelry to doorknockers. Sadly for me, New Jersey Life is only published seven times a year. I guess that's a good thing because they kept readers wanting more. Waiting on the shelf right now is the Health & Beauty issue, so hurry. I already have mine.