A Recipe For Beauty: Make Spring Bouquets Last Longer with this Easy, DIY Mix

A Recipe For Beauty

Floral food can a make big difference when it comes to preserving the beauty of your favorite blooms. But a posy plucked from your garden instead of being purchased from the florist or your local grocery store doesn’t come with one of those tiny, bloom- bolstering feed packets. You can, however, make your own flower preservative quickly and easily using a recipe provided by the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

Just mix together the following ingredients:

1 quart lukewarm water (warmer water helps stems drink faster)

1 teaspoon bleach  (bleach fights bacteria)

2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice (acidic citrus adjusts the pH)

1 teaspoon sugar (carbs feed plants)

If you’re working with spring bulb flowers like tulips, use cold water instead of lukewarm as bulbs do best with colder H20 temperatures. After you’ve created your floral food mixture, pour a generous amount of the liquid into the vessel of your choice:  a multifaceted vase, an antique watering can, a teapot, a vintage milk jug, even a favorite cookie jar.

For longer stems, look to an umbrella stand, a trumpet vase, or a tall piece of hand thrown pottery for a dramatic presentation. If you prefer shorter, petite bouquets you don’t have to settle for the typical, nondescript glass vase. Display your blooms in unique style by placing them in a mint julep cup, a square cube vase, a compote bowl, or a collection of dessert cups or teacups (matching or not!).

There you have it:  a recipe for bouquet beauty that’s certain to make others green with envy.

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The Upside of Knowing Upholstery Terms


There it sits in your basement:  the heirloom chair from grandma that you remember sitting on as a child, and maybe even spilling a glass of milk or two while you ate your cookies. You’d hate to part with it but the fabric is so not you. What to do? You decide to preserve granny’s grand chair by reupholstering it. But before you start considering linens and linings and welting (oh my!) it’s a good idea to brush up on some upholstery lingo so that you can make an informed decision.

Colorway:  The range of color combinations available in a specific fabric.

Deck:  A flat platform underneath an upholstered chair’s seat cushion, usually covered in plain fabric, that’s firm and resilient enough so that you don’t feel the underlying springs.

Gimp:  Resembling a braided ribbon, gimp is a tightly woven trim often used to conceal tacks holding together an exposed wood frame and fabric.

Railroading:  Refers to cutting fabric on the cross grain, often to avoid creating seams in large upholstered pieces. Fabrics such as velvet that have directional pile shouldn’t be railroaded.

Repeat:  One complete cycle of a pattern in fabric or wallpaper. Something to consider:  Choosing a fabric with a large repeat may require substantially more yardage to completely upholster a piece.

Salvage:  Tightly woven edges that prevent a fabric from fraying on the roll.

Tight-back:  Having no semi-attached or loose back cushions, which can create a smooth, tailored look.
This style of upholstery can be less comfortable for sitting back and lounging comfortably, and is more difficult to clean than a piece with loose cushions.

Welting:  A cord covered in fabric that’s sewn into an upholstery seam, welting helps to define the edges and silhouette of a piece while also strengthening the seams.

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Gallery Walls Galore

Where is it written that a gallery wall must be picture perfect? You can easily create a personalized, unique gallery wall with any of the following:  artworks in random sizes, alignments, and frames; an  eclectic collection of photographs, historical documents, or paper ephemera; or an arrangement of wall decorations such as mirrors, sculptural objects, or pressed flowers.

Open space on a wall? For the most imaginative design, keep your options open as well.

Minimalist For Maximum Impact

If you’re a fan of the less-is-more school of design then keep your gallery display to a minimum. Present only a limited number of pictures and opt for thinner, simple wooden frames that impart an understated,  effortless beauty.

Wall Of Mirrors:  A Reflection Of Your Unique Taste

A gallery wall doesn’t have to include artworks or photos:  Hang a grouping of dramatic mirrors for a focal point that captures light and catches the eye. You can mix up not only the shapes and sizes but also the frame colors. Or if you prefer a soothing yet dramatic monochromatic look, paint the frames all the same hue. Another option:  Display one large mirror surrounded by your favorite photos, old and new.

Snap Up Cool Items; Add Photos

Old signs. Pen and ink illustrations. Vintage advertising. Travel souvenirs. All add a vibrant, lively component to a gallery wall that doesn’t need to present only pictures in order to be visually interesting. By displaying unexpected elements on your wall you bring distinctive style to a blank space in need of enlivening.

Same Fames

When you hang photographs , illustrations, or artworks all with the same frame and in the same size you create an elegant accent wall that appears organized while still maintaining originality. Space the displayed elements evenly on the wall and the gallery look is all the more cohesive and compelling.

Heading In The Right Direction For Style:  Maps

There’s something about maps that’s timeless and intriguing:  They suggest a wondrous journey, time spent with loved ones, an escape from the everyday and the mundane. In addition to being budget friendly (maps are often given away for free at hotels, destinations, and information centers), they also serve to remind you of meaningful places. Hang several in a grouping or surround one large map with smaller renderings.

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Fit to be Tied When it Comes to Folding a Fitted Sheet?

Fitted sheets. Oh, they’re lovely to lounge in but they’re undeniably frustrating to fold. First, a bit about what a fitted sheet is and what it does. A fitted sheet is designed to cover the entire mattress and features elastic bands in the corners that hold the sheet snugly place, allowing for mattress protection and a smooth sleeping surface. When purchasing a fitted sheet keep in mind the mattress dimensions, including length, width, and thickness. A fitted sheet that’s not the right size won’t fit neatly round the mattress corners and most likely will not stay in place.

When it’s time to fold and store a newly laundered fitted sheet you can avoid crinkled chaos with these few easy steps.

Step 1

Drape the sheet over your hands and with the top two corners inside out and the elastic edge facing you, hold the fitted sheet with one hand in each of the top corners.

Step 2

Fold  the sheet in half, tuck in the corners, then fold the sheet in half vertically, flipping the right corner over the left to create a pocket. Turn the sheet 180 degrees and create a second pocket up top. (Note that if your sheet has gathered sides you can tuck them into each other.)

Step 3

Fold the sheet in half again and adjust your hold so that two corners are over your left hand and the other two are over your right, with the folded seam at the bottom; the tucked and gathered edge should be facing you. Once again, fold the sheet in half so that all four fitted corners meet and flip the right set of corners over the left set.

Step 4

With the gathered edges facing up lay the sheet on the bed and fold the longer part of the curved edge in toward the center a few inches to create a straight edge. The sheet should now be in the shape of a rectangle that can be easily folded in half lengthwise and then folded into thirds.

There you have it:  a fitted sheet that fits neatly on a shelf, in a basket, or in a linen chest. All without a lot of unnecessary folderol.

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Go by the Numbers When You Buy: Essential Home Décor Measurements


Photo credit via Avenue Lifestyle Blog

When it comes to home decorating, the number of choices can be mind numbing:  How much? How little? How high? How wide? But if you get these important measurements right, you’ll end up with a home interior that adds beauty, comfort, and style to your life. Tenfold.

Light Fixtures

No more banging your head on a too-low light (or banging your head against the wall trying to figure out the correct height!). Add the length and width of the room in feet; the resulting number is, in inches, what  the diameter of the light fixture should be. For example, a 20 x 20 room requires a light fixture that’s 40 inches wide.

Curtain Height

When it comes to hanging curtains easily, things are looking up:  Mount curtains as high as possible if you want to give the room more height; allow curtains to break 1 1/2 inches on the floor.

Kitchen Island

Opt for a kitchen island that’s about 38 inches high (slightly taller than your countertops). This allows for an area that accommodates both comfortable seating and easy food prep.

Light Switches

For easy access, install light switches 1 1/2  to 2 inches to the side of door trim and 36 inches above the floor.

Paint Coverage

Don’t paint yourself into a corner and come up short when you’re changing wall color:  One gallon of paint usually covers about 400 square feet of wall.

Dining Room Table

Food for thought:  If you prefer a rectangular dining table choose one that’s approximately 36 inches wide, which is ideal for conversation. If you opt for a round table, a diameter of 48 inches seats six while 60 inches will comfortably accommodate eight standard dining chairs.

Picture Hanging

Neck strain from gazing at artworks hung too high on the wall? You can nail the right picture position with this easy rule: Hang artworks at 57 inches on the center. This means that the center of your artwork measures 57 inches up from the floor.

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Garden Inspired Gatherings

Laughter, joy, and good times are in full bloom when you’re hosting a get-together that’s enlivened with garden beauty. Whimsical, charming, and always refreshing, a garden-inspired motif lends a certain joie de vivre to any occasion, whether you’re dining outdoors on a terrace or indoors in a light-filled great room.

To begin with, as guests arrive invite them to sit back and relax on a sofa and chairs adorned with garden-inspired pillows. Flower prints? Of course. But add in a few unexpected designs such as embroidered berries, birds among branches, robin’s eggs, or bunnies. Sprinkle in a pillow or two boasting the word ‘relax’ and you’ve set the tone for a time to unwind.

Choose a tablecloth, runner, or placemats that suggest the outdoors in pattern or color. Floral motifs are always a good choice but if that’s too traditional for you opt instead for an elegant branch design or a pattern that suggests garden gate latticework. If you prefer a solid color, can’t-miss choices for suggesting the bold beauty of the outdoors include garden green, sun yellow, or sky blue. If your motif features a particular type of flower, match the tablecloth, runner, or placemats to the bloom’s hue for a striking monochromatic effect.

Should you hold your garden gathering outdoors, take into account the temperature. Early spring can mean there’s still a slight chill in the air, especially during the morning or late afternoon hours. Layer light, natural fiber throws in pastel tones on chairs or sofas so that guests can wrap themselves in comfy warmth while they enjoy the fresh air.

Wicker elements always impart airiness to a garden party, and the choices are endless:  Take your pick of chairs, stools, lanterns, side tables, baskets, serving carts, chargers, and more. For even more outdoors appeal, add in a natural sisal or jute area rug; they’re as durable as they are beautiful.

When your gathering starts to wind down and guests begin to take their leave, present them with a small decorative container in which you’ve planted the seed or bulb of a perennial flowering plant. They can grow the plant indoors then transplant it outside when it’s large enough, leaving them with a pretty pot they can reuse next season. It’s just one more way you can make fond memories of your garden gathering grow.

Shop our Summer Outdoor Living and Entertaining collection now!

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No More Dull Days: 5 Natural Methods for Polishing Silver and Copper

An heirloom serving tray. Silverware that’s been handed down through the generations. Vintage jewelry. Copper pots that have a long tradition of being part of Sunday brunch. No matter what you’re looking to clean, shine, polish, and perfect, there are natural methods for bringing back the beauty of silver and copper. For a glimmer of hope when it comes to returning a piece to its original luster, read on.

See Silver Sparkle

Hot Water, Aluminum Foil, Baking Soda, and Salt  This polishing method is a recipe for success. Choose a pot that’s large enough to accommodate the silver piece you’re planning to restore, line it with aluminum foil and then fill it with hot water. Immerse your silver piece in the water, add a tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of salt, and bring the water to a boil. All of these elements react together, and as the water boils, the tarnish will leave the silver and attach to the aluminum foil. Your reaction:  sheer joy.

Baking Soda  A box of baking soda is probably sitting in your pantry or one of your cupboards so it’s right on hand. Pour an ample amount of this natural cleaner all over your silver piece until it’s totally covered. (If you don’t have baking soda, Borax will do the trick as well!) Let sit for about 30 minutes then dampen a cloth or scrubbing sponge with hot water. Buff away the baking soda and voila — shine restored.

Copper Clearly Cleaned

Ketchup  A time-tested method that — dare we say — really cuts the mustard. Using a cloth, apply ketchup straight from the bottle onto the copper item and rub until the original sheen comes shining through. If you’re out of ketchup, grab the tomato paste instead.

Flour, Salt, and Vinegar   Particularly stubborn tarnishes are no match for this concoction. Form a grainy paste from equal parts salt, flour, and vinegar. Rub the paste over the copper item using an abrasive scrubber and you’ll see the surface go from lackluster to lustrous.

Lemon and Salt   This method will cut down your copper cleaning time. Slice a lemon in half, dip one half into coarse salt and rub it over the copper surface. As you go along, squeeze out any lemon juice on the copper piece and apply more salt as needed to finish cleaning the entire object.

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Color Your World: Hues that Impact Your Mood


Photo Credit via Traditional Home, Interior Design by Rachel Laxer Interiors, and Photography by Peter Rymwld

If you’re in the mood to paint, consider this:  The paint color you choose can impact both your mind and your mood. Research shows that certain hues can have an effect on everything from thinking to dreaming. Picking the ideal color for your walls doesn’t require a stroke of brilliance — just a dash of knowledge.

     Ideal for:  Dining Rooms & Bedrooms

Red suggests passion, adventure, and optimism — all positives. But when overdone this vibrant color can convey danger and aggression. Case in point:  A survey revealed that drivers of red cars felt aggressive when behind the wheel of their red vehicles.

     Ideal for:  Living Rooms & Dining Rooms

There’s a certain get-up-and-go quality about the color orange that conveys sociability, warmth, and reassurance. On the other hand, some see this color as harsh and a distinct nod to prison uniforms and Halloween (eek!).

     Ideal for:  Bedrooms

When used in a bedroom, green can have a calming effect owing to its tie-in to nature and harmonious balance. In addition to its dreamy beauty there’s another reason to choose green for your boudoir:  it’s believed that it can help prevent nightmares.

     Ideal for:  Bedrooms & Offices

Serenity, protection, and intelligence are all positives suggested by blue hues. Too much of this color, however, can convey coldness so it’s best to balance blues with some warm undertones.

     Ideal for:   Bathrooms & Bedrooms

Considered a color with soothing spiritual properties (making it a favorite among mediums!), lilac gently suggests the divide between heaven and earth. Lilac is also considered mysterious and suggestive of creativity.

     Ideal for:  Kitchens & Bathrooms

Say hello to yellow if you’re looking to convey happiness, energy, and enthusiasm. While this brilliant hue is usually a joy to be around, there can be too much of a good thing:  An overabundance of yellow might not be so mellow; avoid using in a bedroom that you’re hoping will be a quiet, spa-like retreat.

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Power to the Powder Room


Photo via domino.com, Interior design by Young Huh and Kohler, and photography by Nick Johnson

The petite powder room. It may be small but it’s often one of the most frequently used rooms in the home owing to its convenient placement near a living room or kitchen. In contrast to a full bath or anen suite, a powder room usually consists of only a sink and toilet, and is often the bathroom of choice for visiting guests. But being little doesn’t mean this room can’t be big on style and charm. Here are a few pointers for making the powder room a focal point in your home.

Punch up the small space of a powder room with a few oversized elements such as a large wallpaper print or a sizable mirror. Going bigger with just a couple of items can make the room feel larger than it is and less box-like.

Choose a monochromatic color palette to create not only a soothing vibe but also the perception of more expansive and unbroken space. When choosing paint, opt for a gloss finish as it will reflect natural light from a window or the soft glow of a pendant light, adding to the room’s overall illumination. Another bonus:  gloss paint is easy to clean.

Don’t let the type of powder room fixtures you select sink your space-saving design:  A pedestal sink doesn’t take up much room but it’s big on style. Timeless and charming, this type of sink is the perfect fit for a room with limited square footage.

Consider a wall mounted faucet. You’ll be able to place your vanity and sink closer to the wall, freeing up more space for the toilet and decorative furnishings.

Draw attention away from an awkward powder room configuration with eye-catching elements such as an antique ceiling mounted light fixture, a whimsical mural painted on the ceiling, a vanity crafted from an heirloom table with a handsome patina, or a wallpaper that’s fresh and bold instead of customary and old.

As you can see, with a little imagination a powder room can have powerful beauty.

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Shedding Some Light on How to Choose a Lampshade

Sometimes they look too short. Too tall. Too bulky. Too small. And sometimes they just, for no reason at all, just look plain awkward. Choosing the perfect lampshade can be tricky, but not if you know what to look. Here’s some information you might find enlightening.

Style And Shape
When it comes to style and shape, there’s a pretty simple rule of thumb:  Round lamp bases look best with round shades, square or angular bases with square shades. For the most cohesive look, choose a shade shape that reflects both the shape of the lamp base and of the table on which it will sit. Something else to keep in mind:  You can put just about any style of shade on a candlestick lamp and it will look good.

How Wide?
Here’s where your measuring tape will come in handy:  The widest part of the shade should be at least a half inch wider on each side than the widest point of the lamp base. To ensure you make the right choice, measure the lamp base before you head out to the store and bring a measuring tape with you so that you can size up shades while you’re shopping.

Finding The Right Size Doesn’t Have To Be A Tall Order
To find the right shade height for your lamp, remember this:  Select a shade that’s two-thirds the height of the base if you don’t want a lamp that looks top or bottom heavy. Also, check to make sure that when the shade is in place you can’t see any of the hardware below, such as the harp.

Pleating May (Or May Not) Complete The Look
Pleated lampshades are generally considered to be more traditional; they’re often a good fit for decors that boast antiques or furnishings with a lot of detail, heavy fabrics, and patterns. If you’re looking to introduce a pleated shade into a more contemporary room, go for a box pleat. This type of shade has cleaner lines and a more geometric form that looks fresher and more up-to-date than the classic pleated style.

Changing the look of a lamp? With just a little know-how, you’ll have it made in the shade.

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