Decorating for a New Year's Eve Party – Part Two

There are plenty of banners available at party stores that you could hang near the entry way of your home or even outside the front door. You can make a banner too, if you are the artistic type. A metallic banner can match a more sophisticated theme. If you are having a party where there will be lots of kids, consider having them make the banner as well as the noise makers. All they will need to make a fun banner is a large piece of construction paper, stencils, and markers.

Centerpieces on the tables are a nice touch that can really make your decorating stand out. There is no need to buy one already put together, because there are plenty of ways you can put together a cheap centerpiece yourself that will look great. Floating candles shaped like flower blossoms in glass bowls can look great, just add some glass rocks to the bottom of the bowl in a color that matches your theme. You could also just use a simple bouquet of flowers as a centerpiece in colors that match your theme. Or, place several pillar candles on a pretty plate and fill the gaps in the plate with small clear Christmas ornaments with the hooks removed. The idea is that the clear ornaments will look like bubbles. You can vary this idea by using champagne bottles in place of the candles, or you can mix the two up.


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Decorating for a New Year's Eve Party – Part One

Hosting a New Year's Eve party often includes decorating for the night. Decorating doesn't have to be a huge deal, there are several ways you can decorate easily and quickly without having to spend too much money.

First you should pick a theme to go with. Many New Year's Eve parties are adults only, in which case you may want to choose a different theme than if the party is going to be a neighborhood party including children. Fun hats and noisemakers are pretty much a must for either type of party, since kids and adults both get a kick out of these items.
However, especially if you are going to have a lot of kids at your party, you might not want to hand out the noise makers until a few minutes before midnight unless you don't mind all of the racket kids will make with them. Another option if there are going to be lots of children at your party is to recruit them to make the noisemakers as a craft. Have them fill coffee cans with uncooked rice or change. Then they can cover the coffee cans with construction paper with designs drawn on. Hats you should hand out right away. Masks can add a sophisticated air to your party.

Balloons are a cheap way to add some color to your decorating. You can always find balloons in colors that will match your theme. Silver balloons will look classier, colorful balloons will look good for a neighborhood party.

Check back tomorrow for part two of this blog.

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Last Minute Christmas Decorations – Part Two

Greeting cards are something that you already have on hand that can easily be used for decorating. You can even use cards from past holiday seasons if you don’t have enough for decorating from this season. Display them on your mantle among sprigs of greenery. Use a hole punch in the corner of each card and string them along a wall.

Gifts that are already wrapped make great decorations. Spend a little extra time wrapping your gifts nicely, and you can use them for decorating also. Make sure to use bows and ribbon if you want to go the extra mile. Place some gifts under the tree as usual, but display others around the house in different places too.


Stack a couple of gifts on an end table, or place a few along your mantle. Place a stack of gifts near your entry way or place a few above your kitchen cabinets.

If you like the idea of decorating with gifts, but don’t have enough around, you can always wrap a few empty boxes. If you want to diversify the theme a little more, you can wrap ribbon around your throw pillows and place a bow in the center to make your pillows look like gifts.

Place a few candy canes in a simple clear glass cup or a small vase. Tie small red ribbons around the necks of the candy canes and display them on your mantle or end table.

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Last Minute Christmas Decorations – Part One

There isn’t very much time to finish decorating for Christmas. If you are hosting a Christmas get together at your house, you may want to do some speedy and cheap decorating. Never fear, there are several things you could do very quickly.

For Christmas dinner if you don’t have any Christmas plates or settings, you can use plain white plates. Use a red or white tablecloth, or use red or white place mats. Then, place one round glass ornament on each plate. This looks classier if you use just one color for all of the ornaments, and it looks more fun and happy if you use several colors. You can even use a variety of ornament types for a more sentimental look. If you want to get more elaborate, you can use small ornaments along with the large ornaments and even add seasonal greenery or colored tinsel.
Next, place a glass or silver pedestal cake stand in the center of the table and fill it with ornaments that match the ornaments you have on the plates.

If you want a more fancy centerpiece for your kitchen table, try placing cream or white colored pillar candles and tapered candles in a ceramic or metal bowl. Fill the spaces between them in the bottom half of the bowl with newspaper. On top of the newspaper place shiny ornaments in the bowl until it is overflowing with them. Silver ornaments and beads look really nice. Then, right when your guests sit down to dinner you can light the candles. Just make sure to blow them out when you’re done, since this display of candles might not be totally steady.
Check back soon for part two of this blog.

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Decorate for the Holidays Inexpensively - Part Two

Tea light candles are extremely cheap. You can find them at dollar stores easily most of the time. Use tea light candles in clean glass jars. The jars can even be recycled jars that your food items came in, such as applesauce jars or mayonnaise jars. Tie a red, silver, green, or sparkly ribbon around the neck of the jar. Group a few of these candles together on end tables or a mantle for an easy, pretty decoration.

Try looking at thrift stores or discount stores for teddy bears or other holiday animals. Put them through the wash, and most of them will look brand new. When they're dry, tie colorful ribbons around their necks. Next, collect various sizes of boxes from shoebox size down. Wrap them in colorful wrapping paper and tie pretty bows around them. Display these present boxes with the teddy bears for an adorable decorating scheme. Try gluing a box under a bear's arm, or have a bear sitting on a present.

Hang a few ornaments or a few strands of tinsel from a chandelier. You can add a few pieces of greenery too, tied on with ribbon.

Use acrylic paint and some seasonally shaped sponges that you can find in a craft store to decorate your windows. Colors like white, red, green, gold, or silver look very festive. This can be a fun project that kids might like to participate in too.

Christmas tree ornaments can be used in places other than just your tree. Try picking out several ornaments that are the same color and putting them in a small decorative bowl on your mantle or on an end table.

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Decorate for the Holidays Inexpensively - Part One

Many people do not have a lot in their budget for holiday decorating this year. But, you would be surprised how many nice decorations you can create very inexpensively. You may not end up needing to buy any full priced decorations.

Before you buy any decorations or any materials for the following ideas, or spend any time making any of these decorations, take the time to plan out your decorating theme. This can save you time and money that you might spend experimenting, so it makes sense to plan. Some people like to decorate with a more classy looking theme, consisting of a lot of white, clear, silver and shimmery decorations. Some people may find this boring and opt to decorate using more vibrant colors in a toy land theme for example. Some people like to go with a more subtle cabin or ski lodge decoration scheme that will look warm and cozy.

Use what you can for free from your back yard. Trim small branches from pine trees and gather pine cones and holly. These can all be used to make a centerpiece, or to decorate a mantle. Pine cones can be spray painted with gold, silver, or sparkley paint.
Pine tree branches can be used as an accent to almost any decoration, and they smell nice too, so be liberal when you are gathering them. If you have bird houses in your back yard that are going to waste during the cold months, bring them inside. Wash them off, and tie ribbons around them. Add a couple small pine branches, and you have a beautiful hanging decoration.

Check back soon for part two of this blog.

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Quickly Ready your Home for Guests

Getting your home ready for guests can turn into a big ordeal. Here are a few bare essentials you can take care of quickly that will make your home look plenty ready for guests during the holidays.

First, go outside and look at what your guests will see as they walk to your front door. If there are any ice patches to spread salt on or snow to be shoveled take care of that first. Maybe the front house light is burned out and in need of replacement. Set a couple of planters out front with Christmas plants in them such as poinsettias. Big red bows around your porch railing can look very festive and are quick and easy to tie.

Now, open the front door and check out the view. Often we have our favorite jackets, snow hats, and mittens hung over railings or on the counter tops. Gather these things up and put them away for now. You can easily get them all out again as soon as your company is gone.

Clear out a few coats from the coat closet so guests can hang their coats in it. Make room on the floor of your coat closet for guests to keep their shoes. This is especially handy if you have a dog who eats guests' shoes like I do.

Make sure there are plenty of chairs available for guests to sit in. Make sure your couches don't have excessive pillows decorating them that don't leave enough room for sitting.

Don't sweat the details on cleaning. Just wipe down visible surfaces and inside sinks. Make sure there is toilet paper, and clean the toilet if it looks dirty. Fluff the guest pillows and vacuum and sweep if you can see the floors are dirty.

Light candles and a fire if you have a fireplace as a final touch.
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Clothes Pin Ornaments

Old fashioned wooden clothes pins can make quite cute Santa ornaments. Make sure to get the kind pictured below, the kind with the hinges might work, but not quite as well. You’ll need red and white felt, red pipe cleaners, red, black, yellow, and peach paint, acrylic is probably the cheapest and easiest, and glue.

The clothes pins have what looks like legs already, and small torsos, so without even getting started you can imagine how the Santa will look. First glue a one to two inch piece of clothes hanger on each side of the clothes pin. If you have a drill, you can simply drill through the clothes pin and string one longer piece of pipe cleaner through for his arms.

Next, paint everything but the top part, which will be the head, red. After the paint has dried use black paint to paint the bottom sections of his legs black, like boots. Use the black paint to draw a line where his coat would be covering his pants. Draw a black belt around his waist, and draw on two small dots for his eyes. Use the yellow paint to draw a square buckle on his belt. Use the peach to make his cheeks look rosy.

Cut a small rectangle of red felt and roll it into a cone to be used as the Santa hat, then glue it in place. Glue on a bit of white felt for his beard, and use a little more white felt for trim on santa’s hat.

Using a bit of red thread and a needle, sew a loop onto the Santa hat. This will be your ornament hanger.

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Make your own picture frame ornament

There are many types of Christmas tree ornaments that you can make fairly easily and you won’t have to spend a lot of money on materials. These can be fun if you are the crafty type, and they are especially fun for kids to make. Some are as simple as baking cookies and hanging them from ribbons, but others need a bit more explanation.

Use a juice can lid to make a pretty picture frame ornament. Cut a round picture out to use in your ornament. You can choose a picture of a family member or a picture of something that makes you feel the holiday cheer, like an angel, santa, or reindeer. Glue the picture to the top of the lid. Now, you’ll need a piece of decorative cording to glue around the edge of your picture. Glue a piece of ribbon that is six to ten inches long or so to the back of the can. Glue the ribbon so it has a few inches on each side of the place where you glued it. Tie the ends together in a bow, this is how you’ll hang the ornament. Next, glue a piece of lace around the edge of the lid on the back. Your ornament should be ready to hang as soon as the glue dries.

You can be a little creative with these instructions if you prefer, instead of using cording around the picture, maybe you’d rather use a thin ribbon. Or, Use a wide sheer ribbon around the ornament instead of lace. Have fun!

Check back soon for directions on how to make a poinsettia ornament.

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Make your own poinsettia ornament

A lovely poinsettia ornament is easy to make, and what captures the holiday spirit better than a poinsettia?

You’ll need to cut a circle out of cardboard to start with. Your circle can be as big as you want the ornament to be, usually 3-4 inches across. Use the mouth of a large cup to trace around the cardboard for your cutout. Now, you’ll need a small amount of red, green and white felt. Cut two pieces of green felt out that are slightly bigger than your piece of cardboard. You’ll want to make sure that about a fourth of an inch of green felt is overhanging the cardboard cutout on all sides. Glue one circle of green felt to each side of the cardboard. Now, using a needle and some thick red thread or thin red string, sew the sides of the felt together using stitches that are about an eighth of an inch apart. When you’re done, use the thick red thread to sew a large loop of thread through for your ornament hanger, tie it together. Next, you will need to cut out diamond shapes from the red felt. Each diamond shape should be a little less wide than half of your ornament so far. Arrange the diamonds like petals of the poinsettia, gluing each one on. You’ll want them layered to look more real. The top layer looks best if it is just four diamonds. Where the diamonds come together, glue three small circles of white felt, each only about 3/8 of an inch in diameter.

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Christmas Decoration Crafts - Part Four

Put the mixture you created (see previous blog) into a paper bag along with the orange and roll the orange around inside until it is totally coated in the spices. Leave the orange in the bag in a cool dry place for about a month. Each day roll the orange in the spices again.

The orange may finish curing in as few as three weeks if you live in a very dry climate, and if you live somewhere more humid it may take up to six months. You’ll know your pomander is done when you tap it and hear a hollow sound and the orange feels light in weight. When the pomander reaches this point you’ll want to shake off any extra spices before displaying it in your home.

I find that because you need to remember to roll the orange in the mixture at least every few days for a month or more, it makes sense to make more than one of these at a time, especially since they last for years. You could even make a whole batch and give them away as holiday gifts.

Pomanders look good displayed in pairs in a decorative bowl or on a decorative plate on a bed of cloves or potpourri. If you feel like getting creative, insert the cloves into your pomander in a pattern or add ribbon to your finished product.

If your pomander starts to lose its scent you can simply mix up a batch of spice mixture and re roll the orange in the mixture.

Check back soon for the next part of this blog.

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Christmas Decoration Crafts - Part Three

Pomanders have long been used to scent homes pleasantly. Carry on this tradition by creating a few of your own. Another plus is that they can be hung with ribbon or a few can be displayed in a bowl for a pleasant holiday decorations. Another great thing about pomanders is that when made correctly, they can last for years. Pomanders are usually made using a citrus fruit, most commonly oranges, although sometimes lemons or apples. I think oranges look the best and stand up to the test of time the best.

You’ll need to poke holes in the orange where you will be pushing the cloves into the rind. A toothpick or knitting needle can be used to do this. You may want to use a thimble to do this to protect your pushing finger. You can also cover your fingers with masking tape to protect them. How far apart you space the cloves is up to you, but don’t space them further than ¼ inch apart. The closer together you place the cloves the more scented the final product will be. But, you do want to leave a little space between each clove because as your orange shrinks the cloves will be pulled closer together. Next, fill each hole with a clove. When you’ve got the whole orange studded with cloves, you’re ready to roll your pomander in a special mixture to preserve it and make it more scented.

This mixture you’ll roll your pomander in consists of several drops of sandlewood and one tablespoon of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves. Sandlewood is a natural preservative, so make sure not to leave it out of your mixture.

Check back soon for the next part of this blog.

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Christmas Decoration Crafts - Part Two

Wreaths are commonly used for Christmas decorations. They are usually quick to make, and there is a large variety of types to choose from, many more than I’ll list here.


I think the cutest one is a wreath made with dog bones. You can hang it over your dog’s bed inside and when the season is over, you can give most of it to your dog to eat. Start with a Styrofoam or cardboard shape. Secure a piece of ribbon to it, and then wind it around the circle on a slight diagonal, like stripes on a candy cane. Make sure the ribbon totally covers the cardboard or Styrofoam. Next, you’ll tie the dog bones onto the wreath using more ribbon. Get creative with the types of dog bones you use if you want a more colorful end product. Rubber dog bones come in bright colors, it looks cute to use red and green rubber dog bones. If you want to add more to this wreath tie evergreen sprigs around it also.

This next wreath is very elegant and pretty, it looks almost like light snow gathered into a wreath. You’ll need to form a wire clothes hanger into a circle using some wire cutters and needle nose pliers. Next, you’ll need to tie plastic sandwich bags around the wire using a simple knot. Tie them around until you’ve filled the circle. Add a shimmery bow around the finished wreath.

Check back soon for the next part of this blog.

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Christmas Decoration Crafts - Part One

Now that Thanksgiving has passed it is time to take down your fall decorations and start putting up your Christmas decorations. I’m going to focus on decorations that you can make yourself for a cheap price.

One of the easiest and cheapest decorations is painting bricks to use as bookends or to display on tables throughout the home. This is a fun decoration for kids to do too. All you need are a few bricks, paint, and paintbrushes. Look online for inspiration and ideas of what to paint. Paint a snowman, Santa Clause, or a reindeer on the front of your brick.


Wrap your design around the sides of the brick too if they will be seen where you choose to display them. If you are not very good at painting, you could just paint alternating red and white stripes on a brick, or green with red polka dots, any pattern really. If you want to get more detailed, use some felt or other material to glue onto the brick as clothing for whatever character you painted. It is a good idea to glue felt on the bottom of the bricks so they don’t scratch up the furniture you choose to place them on. These cute bricks can be displayed anywhere by themselves, or in groups. They make wonderful door stops, table decorations, or mantle decorations.

Check back soon for the next part of this blog.

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Easy Home Projects - Part Three

Painting your front door makes a big difference in the first impression your home gives. Paint your door a color that you love like orange or red. Replace your house numbers with new modern house numbers. While you’re at it, repaint your mailbox post. You could also repaint your porch railing to make over the entry way to your home.

Even if you don’t have a room in your entry way, you can create an entry way easily. All you need to do is place a bench near the front door with coat hooks above it. Put baskets underneath that pull out for quick storage of shoes and other items such as library books. Having a bench in the entry way is very convenient as well as looking good, most people find them to be quite useful.

If you want to give a room a comfortable country style make over try putting wainscoting around the room topped with chair rail. Paint it a color that is a couple of shades darker or lighter than the wall color or go bold and paint it a contrasting color.

Laminate flooring that looks like hardwood is a breeze to install. You could do a small room in one weekend quite easily. There are also stick down bathroom floor tiles that look like tile floor. If your bathroom floor is linoleum and outdated, this could really help the look.

Check back soon for the next portion of this blog.

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Easy Home Projects - Part Two

Paint or wallpaper one wall in your bedroom a brighter color than the others. This accent wall will make your bedroom look more interesting. Wallpapers are available in practically any texture and color you can imagine, so have fun shopping around.

If you have an old dresser you’re using somewhere in your house that isn’t very attractive consider giving it a makeover. Sand it down and paint it a bright color or stain. Add polyurethane so the color will last. Add new drawer pulls that are up to date. You may even want to makeover other pieces of furniture in the same room to match.

If you dining room chairs have fabric seats you will probably need to reupholster them at some point, because the seat fabric always seems to get dingy far before the table starts to look dingy too. Choose a stylish fabric and cut it an extra two inches wide all the way around the shape of the seat. Wrap the fabric around the seat and staple it in place.

Home offices always seem to be places where clutter loves to live. Take the time to organize all of the clutter. Investing in a few matching boxes and files will help a lot. Label everything and pay attention the layout so it will be easy to put things where they belong before clutter gets the better of the room again.

Check back soon for the next portion of this blog.

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Easy Home Projects - Part One

Large home projects are daunting tasks, and often they don’t get done. But, there are plenty of small home projects that you can easily get done in a weekend, some even in a couple of hours, that can make your home look cuter. Another good thing about these small projects is that they are mostly fairly inexpensive and can be done on a budget.

Rearrange your living room furniture. Simply rearranging a room is free of course, and it can make the room feel fresh and new. Try planning out how you want to arrange the room on paper to save the time and effort of trial and error when moving things around. Think about getting rid of any extra tables or junk you don’t need, or bring in a table or accent piece from another room if you actually don’t have enough in your living room. Make sure you put the coffee table close enough to the couch to easily set drinks on it.

Adding a small shelf at eye level to a wall that doesn’t have enough pizzazz can really give a room more personality. You can use the shelf to display small framed pictures and art, candles, or some other item. You can layer them a little bit for a more interesting look, or space them a few inches apart for a modern sleek look.

Check back soon for the next portion of this blog.

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Merge Style and Function - Part Two

If you want to display your kids’ artwork, but you don’t like how it looks cluttered on the refrigerator, try a more stylish alternative. You can hang a linen covered bulletin board covered with a cute pattern or just a solid color that matches the room it is in. Hand the artwork on this with small pins. You can also hang colored string across the ceiling in rows and attach clips to it to display art work all along the ceiling.

Apply the same rules to picking out a kitchen table as discussed above for coffee table selection. Also, kitchen tables that are round can be a big plus if you have a family because it will help encourage conversation. Also, the less corners the better when you have kids in the house.

There are even paint types available today that can help you reach your design goals. Use high quality latex paint and your walls will wipe clean easily. Use magnetic primer under your paint and you can display art directly on the walls. Try a chalkboard paint in a kid’s room or a play room if they like drawing with chalk.

Carpet is probably not the best choice if you have a family. A spill can turn into a stressful cleanup that ends up staining. Hardwood flooring or even a laminate that looks like hardwood, can stand up to messes and look great at the same time.

Get a big cupboard for your living room or playroom and fill it with labeled baskets. These baskets can be used to store toys and can be easily organized. If you get cute wicker baskets you could even store them on shelving and the room would still look nice. Benches are good in playrooms or kids’ rooms too, because you can put baskets underneath for extra storage.
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Merge Style and Function - Part One

There are several things you can do to help your home look stylish when you have kids with products that will stand the test of abuse. Some of these tips can help organize and reduce clutter but they also look good.

Have a bench in your entryway. This will be where all shoes get removed. You can place a couple of baskets underneath the bench in which shoes can be stored. You can get a cute rug to go under the bench that will gather the dirt and help contain it.

Keep a basket at the landing of your stairs. Use it to hold things that you know you’ll need to take upstairs or downstairs. This way you can keep surfaces in your home clutter free without having to run up and down the stairs to put away each item individually.

Take care when you pick out your coffee table. Coffee tables tend to get dinged up quickly, so you should make sure you choose a table that is durable. If you are going to go with wood, choose a hard wood like oak and choose a table that has been polyurethaned. Steer clear of glass coffee tables, not only could they be broken during roughhousing, but they show finger prints much more easily than wood does.

Leather is a good choice for upholstery because you can wipe it clean. Leather tends to look better as it gets older too, which you can’t say about other upholstery materials. Leather is quite durable and should be able to hold up well if you have kids and pets.

Check back soon for the next portion of this blog.

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Decorate with Ornaments

Christmas tree ornaments can be used creatively in a variety of ways for decorating, and the best part is the low cost.

Buy two medium or large clear ornaments and remove the metal part on top that attaches to a hook. Fill the ornaments at least half way with spices to use in hot chocolate or egg nog. One could be filled with ground nutmeg, and the other could be filled with ground cinnamon for example. Other options would be vanilla or chocolate powder, whatever you’d like really. Now, cover the openings with squares of cheesecloth. Secure the cheesecloth around the opening with silver or gold string.

Large clear ornaments can also be used to fill with bright candy, peppercorns, popcorn kernels or any other bright colored small food item. Tie bits of ribbon to the loops meant to use hooks in for hanging.

Use small sized festively colored ornaments for decorating the fridge. Tie two together using red ribbon, and hang them over a metal fridge clip that is clipped to a holiday photo or card.

Small ornaments also look cute used as decorations on cupcakes, one small ornament per cupcake.

You can make a cute centerpiece for a table using ornaments stuck on wooden skewers displayed in a vase. Use pieces of your Christmas tree in between ornaments.

Small ornaments can be tied in pairs around napkins with cute ribbon to create unique place settings for parties. Write the guests name who is to sit in each place on small pieces of paper and slip the pieces into clear ornaments, one for each pair in a setting.

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Inexpensive Do It Yourself Decorating Idea

Since most of us are trying to save money right now, I thought I would post a few do it yourself home decorating projects. These are all inexpensive projects that you can save money doing yourself. Do it yourself projects can end up being a lot of fun too, and the results will be creations you made, so you’ll feel more sentimental about them than if you had simply purchased the work from a store.

Artwork to adorn your walls with can be quite expensive. Not only are even prints expensive to buy, but they’re even more expensive to frame. Fortunately, there are some creative do it yourself alternatives.

Framing a piece of fabric can look nice. Just use a matting board for a border in a contrasting color. You can make this into a series if you prefer, framing matching fabrics or maybe fabrics that match in texture but differ in color.

Framing dried plants and flowers can look very pretty. Use a colorful mat board to hot glue them to. Another option is to make a colored photocopy of an arrangement of leaves and flowers and frame that.

Take a trip to the thrift store or to a used book store. Find books with pictures you like inside and use them to frame. You can get more creative and make a collage of several if you like. Try adding some text too and spraying over it in a clear coat before framing.

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All About Candles – Part Five

Certain candle scents are often used in particular rooms. For example for kitchen use people favor vanilla based smells which would include plain vanilla, but also scents such as cookie dough or birthday cake, two of my personal favorites. Other baking scented scents are popular in the kitchen too, such as cinnamon, mocha, gingerbread, hazelnut, brown sugar, apple pie, pumpkin, and coffee. People tend to use floral or fruity scented candles in bathrooms such as lilac, lavender, rose, jasmine, gardenia, or citrus and apple cents.

Smells are thought to have a powerful influence over our moods. Aromatherapy is the use of scent for psychological and physical health. You may want to try to burn candles that will have a certain affect on you. The smell of clove is said to make people feel courageous. Orange is a smell that encourages optimism. Eucalyptus is said to encourage mental focus. Happiness and harmony are supposed to be encouraged by lemon, orange, rose, sandalwood, ylang ylang, honeysuckle, coconut, jasmine, vanilla, patchouli, and lavender. If you’re often tired try burning jasmine, lemon, patchouli, peppermint, sandalwood, pine, or clove candles.

Candles can be a great way to accessorize, but they aren’t for everyone. People with small kids or pets might consider whether the candles will get knocked over and become a fire risk. Candles shouldn’t ever be left burning when you aren’t at home, and candles also shouldn’t be burned near anything that could catch fire.

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All About Candles – Part Four

Tea light candles are quite small. These are cylinder shaped and are only about one inch tall and one and a half inches in diameter. These candles usually come already poured into a metal holder. There are many ornamental type lamps that use this type of candle.
This type of candle is also used in candle diffusers, which are used to infuse oil scents into the air. They have a space for a tealight above which is a small bowl that scented oil is poured into.

The types of candles you choose and the way you display them will affect the style that they give your home. If you group candles together you’ll create a more dramatic feeling. Two taper candles in candlesticks on the dinner table will provide a classic romantic style. Colored votive candles in glass containers lined up on your mantle will offer a cozy feeling. You can achieve an Asian style by grouping a few pillar candles of varying heights and neutral colors together on a pillar plate and filling the plate around the candles with black or neutral colored stones.

There are a few things you can do to ensure that your candles last as long as possible. You should store candles in a cool, dark and dry place. Candles stored in bright light will fade over time. Thin candles should be stored laying flat, otherwise they may warp. Running hot water over a candle is an easy way to remove candle drippings from their sides.

This blog is to be continued. Check back soon for the next section!

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All About Candles – Part Three

Pillar candles are usually about three inches in diameter and are often perfect cylinders, but they can also be square, hexagonal or another odd shape as well and still be called pillar candles. These candles stand on their own just fine, but you wouldn’t want to burn them without a candle holder because was will drip down the sides of these candles as they burn and onto whatever they are sitting on. It is popular to put three pillar candles of different sizes together on a decorative holder shaped like a plate or shallow bowl. Then you can fill the bowl with rocks or other decorative materials. This can make a nice centerpiece for a kitchen table or a coffee table if you have extra space on your coffee table.

There are a lot of candles that come in a jar or other type of container, often glass but sometimes ceramic, metal, or some other type of material. These candles usually come with lids, which can be nice if you store your candles so they don’t get covered in dust. These are my favorite types of candles for actually burning, this is because the container keeps the wax contained so it eliminates mess. These types of candles are probably the most popular type of candle and they come in pretty much every color, shape and size that you can think of.
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All About Candles – Part Two

Taper candles are tall thin candles, usually six to eighteen inches tall. These candles are meant to be held in a candle holder. Taper candle holders can be found in a great variety of colors and styles. You can get double or triple candle holders that fasten to the wall, or you can get stands to hold these candles. You can also get simple single candle holders for them that are very elegant.
Taper candles can be a great way to decorate, because you can choose some really cool candle holders for them. However, actually burning them may prove to be messy depending on the type of candle holder you select. If you have a holder that hangs on the wall over carpet and the candle wax drips it could ruin your carpet. Also if the candle holder does not hold the candle completely securely a small bump could cause the candle to fall and cause a fire hazard. I find that these candles are great for decorating, but not the best type for actually burning.

Votive candles are small cylinder shaped candles, typically about and a half inches in diameter and two or two and a half inches tall. These are made to be burned in a cup. These are the size candles that are often used in religious ceremonies. These are nice because they are quite cheap and the cups to burn them in can be reused.

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All About Candles – Part One

Now that Halloween is over you may be thinking about how you’re going to decorate your home where your Halloween decorations were. Candles are an easy and inexpensive way to decorate. Candles are great for the colder season because they lend a nice glow and warmth to a room, as well as an appealing scent. Candles also add style and charm to a home. Candles are also extremely easy to get in a large variety of colors and shapes to match any décor. There are many types of candles available, and I thought I’d go over the types and what to look for and avoid in candles.

Gel candles can be very unique and pretty. They are made out of a soft gelled mineral oil substance. Decorative wax items can be put into these candles before they harden, which leaves a lot of room for creative design. For example, wax strawberries might fill the glass container before the clear candle substance is poured in, resulting in a candle that looks like strawberry preserves. I think these candles can look really cool, and they are especially nice if you really want to be obvious about seasonal decorating, since they come in many seasonal designs, for example, hearts for valentines day.

Specialty candles are those that are actually sculpted to look like a three dimensional object. These are normally not burned, but used purely for decoration.

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Decorate Beautifully AND Have Pets – Part Four

Hard durable flooring is ideal for pet owners. Sealed stone, hardwood, or vinyl flooring will hold up well. If you do choose to have carpeting, get the cut pile variety. Loop pile carpet can be snagged and unraveled by a rowdy pet. An alternative to carpeting is buying several stylish area rugs. These can be cleaned easily, unlike carpet, where the carpet padding can never be fully cleaned if an animal has an accident on the carpet. Just don’t buy rugs that are too expensive, if you do you’ll be stressed out about them getting dirty. Carpet tiles of the sort often used in commercial spaces are another way to go if you want to have carpet. This way, if one square gets dirty, you can pull it up and replace it.

Brushing your pets often can really lessen the amount of hair that ends up in your home. I bought a brush called the furminator that works great on my dogs, I get a lot more hair off of them than I do with a regular brush.

Giving your dog plenty of treats is another way to help keep your furniture looking nice. If they have appealing things to chew on, they’re less likely to chew on your stuff. I go to thrift stores and stock up on small stuffed toys for my dog a couple times a year, much cheaper than buying very similar stuffed toys at a pet store.

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Decorate Beautifully AND Have Pets – Part Three

If you’re a big sucker like me, and you like your animals to live in the lap of luxury, consider getting a fashionable piece of furniture just for your pet. If you can get your pet to use it instead of the human furniture, you’ll have a lot less couch cleaning to do. Leather bean bag chairs are a good option that I’ve seen dogs fall in love with. This same idea goes for cats too, if you buy a piece of cat furniture with a little cubby in it or a platform up high where they can lounge they won’t sleep on your furniture as much. I made my cat a little hideaway under an end table and he sleeps there faithfully every day. If you do allow your pets on your furniture, it will probably be worth it to you to buy a small hand held vacuum. You can store it in a convenient place, such as under an end table next to the couch and even keep it plugged in. This way, it’s easy to get out and vacuum your couches often. Another option is to buy slipcovers for your couches that you can wash frequently. Slipcovers are actually in fashion right now, and they come in quite a variety of styles and fabric types.

These days there are plenty of pet accessories to choose from that will match your home. There are stainless steel food and water dishes or ceramic dishes to choose from.

Check back soon for part four of this blog.

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Decorate Beautifully AND Have Pets – Part Two

Pick your color scheme carefully if you have pets or anticipate having them soon. Stay away from white carpeting, curtains, or furniture, they won’t be white for long if you own pets. Black fabric and upholstery shows light animal fur really well, and it can be hard to keep it all cleaned off, so try not to use very much black in your decorating. Bold or bright colors also show fur easily. The best colors for us animal lovers are soft neutrals, any color within the range from light tan to chocolate brown will stay looking nice with pets fairly well.

Don’t use flat finish paint if you have pets. When they rub against the walls (or run into the walls as my dogs sometimes do) it will be harder to clean flat finish painted walls. It is best to avoid white walls if you can. This will force you to think about your style a little bit more, and your home will probably end up looking better if you paint them colors other than white.

Your tables and end tables will need to be sturdy. Where you have animals you’ll have play and they’ll inevitably run into your furniture. Also, keeping a lot of knick knacks on your tables probably won’t work well if you are going to own pets, clutter free is best, that way there is less to be knocked over.

Ideally, you’ll have a pantry in the kitchen where you can store your pet’s food. This way, you can keep it hidden instead of having to either display it or go out into your garage each time you feed your pets.

Check back soon for part three of this blog.

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Decorate Beautifully AND Have Pets – Part One

I’m an animal lover and live with two dogs and two cats, but that doesn’t mean my house has to look worse for the wear. Sticking to a few rules when decorating your home can allow you to have a home that looks good and pets simultaneously. In fact, a home that is decorated to be durable and stylish may reduce your stress levels when guests or kids are over, you won’t have to worry about messes as much.

Stay away from decorating in fabric types that attract hair. If a fabric has any tendency to have static, it will attract animal hair like crazy. Velvet is another fabric to steer clear of, you will have a hard time keeping velvet hair free. Certain fabric types like microfiber are easy to keep fur off of. Ideally, you would choose fabrics that are close to the color of your pet’s hair to minimize visible fur on the fabric. There is a new fabric type called crypton, designed to resist stains and smells. It comes in many colors and styles and you can check it out at www.cryptonfabric.com. Leather is a good fabric choice for pet owners too. It is easy to clean and very durable. Pleather will work well too. Ultrasuede feels like real suede and is very good for pet owners too.

Check back soon for part two of this blog.

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Pumpkin Carving – Part Four

There are special pumpkin carving kits available at many stores. These kits are a lot easier to use for carving than knives that you happen to have around the kitchen, and a decent kit can usually be found for a good price. Kits usually include tiny serrated blades in several different sizes that make cutting intricate patterns easy. If you intend to really get into carving the details, having a drill on hand can make your task easier.

Candles look the most authentic inside carved pumpkins that are displayed, but the heat from the candles often causes pumpkins to shrivel and age prematurely. To prevent this, consider buying some lights meant to go inside of pumpkins. You can get lights that have tiny batteries in them so you don’t have to worry about finding an outlet. You can also get lights that flicker to look like a candle flame. These don’t usually cost more than a dollar per light, and they’re easier than candles too since you can leave them on instead of having to remember to light and blow out the candle each night.

There are a few unique things you can do with your pumpkin if you want it to stand out. You can put wax paper inside the pumpkin covering the design, this will create an opaque look when the pumpkin is lit. Tin foil inside the pumpkin across from the pattern makes the light emitted from the pumpkin look brighter.

Check back soon for part four of this blog.

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Pumpkin Carving – Part Three

Drilling holes where you will need to start each cut will make carving easier. This way, the hard work is done, and you have a nice starting point for each cut. Make sure you make the most of your carving tools by sawing with them, this is how they are meant to be used. Pumpkin carving is time consuming; expect to spend awhile on this project if you want it to look good when you are done. Pay close attention to your pattern as you cut, you don’t want to end up losing track of the final goal and accidentally sawing off a vital connector area.

When the hard work of carving the pumpkin is done, you might want to spend a few minutes working to make it last as long as possible. Place the pumpkin in a tub full of cold water, let the pumpkin fill with water and sink. Let it soak for at least a couple of hours. Add a little bleach to the tub of water to help prevent molding. This process sounds strange, but it works to firm up the pumpkin. When you remove the pumpkin from the water, let it dry off and then rub Vaseline along any cut edges. This traps the water in the pumpkin, which is what you want, because when water escapes this is what causes pumpkins to shrivel.

Check back soon for part four of this blog.

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Pumpkin Carving – Part Two

Projection kits have gotten popular for pumpkins lately. To project the pattern from the pumpkin onto a wall you’ll want to carve a small pattern into the pumpkin. You also need to carve it backwards if there is any text involved, so it will project the correct direction when you are done.

Pumpkin carving can be as intricate of a process as you would like it to be depending on how complicated the pattern you select is. Many people carve a basic pattern, which will yield black where no pumpkin is carved away, and bright yellow where the carving has been done and the candle shows through. There are two other shades that can be achieved with careful carving though. The first is light orange, which will show through if you carve away all of the skin off of the front of the pumpkin and some of the meat, the more you carve, the lighter the orange will look. Dark orange will show through if you remove the pumpkin meat from the inside, leaving the skin alone on the front side.

Once you pick out a pattern that you like, you will need to transfer it to the pumpkin. First, tape or pin the pattern to the pumpkin. You can push a thumb tack through the paper along the patterns lines, you’ll need a lot of holes to see the pattern clearly. This is a lot of work, but it will be worth it when you are done and you don’t have to guess where to carve any of your lines.

Check back soon for part three of this blog.

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Pumpkin Carving – Part One

If you haven’t carved a pumpkin yet for Halloween never fear, you still have plenty of time. Even if you don’t have kids, carving a pumpkin can be a lot of fun. There is an endless supply of pattern ideas available for free on the Internet, or get creative and create your own pumpkin design.

Choosing the perfect pumpkin is very important. There are lots of shapes available, you might want a tall oval shaped pumpkin if you envision carving the long faced Frankenstein, or you might want a short wide pumpkin if you want to carve a bat with wings outstretched. There is no perfect shape for all patterns, but you can find perfect shapes if you pick out your pattern first. A pumpkin with a sturdy stem is a sign of a health pumpkin and it will also make lifting the lid off of the carved pumpkin to insert candles a lot easier.

It may seem easy to prep the pumpkin for carving, but there are a few key things to do correctly during this process. Most importantly, when carving off the lid, make sure you carve at an angle in a cone shape. If you carve straight down your lid will just fall into your pumpkin, so this is crucial. The rest of the preparation is pretty simple, just remove the seeds and pulp and you’re ready to go.

Check back soon for part two of this blog.

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Decorate Your Home for a Halloween Party - Part Two

Fake spider webs are extremely cheap. You can use cotton batting if you prefer, artfully draped around your house. Make sure to buy a few fake spiders and bugs to add to your display.

Cut out a shape like a bat or a skull in black construction paper. Tape it onto a flashlight and shine the light towards a noticeable wall. This will cast a shadow in the shape of your cutout that will be a unique decoration.

Scary sound effects are easy to provide, as they are available on CD at many stores. If you place them in an entry way you might be able to surprise your guests.

Switch out some of your regular light bulbs with orange, yellow, or black bulbs for a dimmer spookier look.

A coffin can be built out of a wood frame and used for a variety of purposes. You could put a dummy inside with an arm hanging out. You could put cold drinks in coolers inside. Use your imagination here.

Scarecrows are a common fall decoration for your yard that will look good for a Halloween party.
Grave stones are definitely creepy inscribed with RIP. You can buy them, or you can cut out grey tombstones from construction paper and tape them to a wall so it looks like a silhouette of a grave yard.

Dry ice can be purchased fairly inexpensively and added to punch for a foggy atmosphere. Fog machines will do the same thing, but they’re a little more expensive.

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Decorate Your Home for a Halloween Party – Part One

If you are having a Halloween party this year make sure to decorate your home to get the guests into the spirit. There are plenty of decoration ideas, choose one or all of them for your party. Most of the materials required for these ideas can be acquired from a discount or party store.

Having a few jack o’ lanterns displayed on your front porch or around the house are vital. Carving pumpkins can be a lot of fun for you and especially for kids. There are hundreds of printable stencils available on the internet for free. If you aren’t into carving you can always paint a design on your pumpkin instead.

Candles displayed inside of the jack o’ lanterns will give the faces or designs the appropriate eerie Halloween glow. You can get dark candles and scary looking candle holders to display randomly around your house too.

Crepe paper can add a little fun to your home in Halloween colors. It is cheap and easy to decorate with. Use it as a border around the table where you are planning to have your Halloween treats displayed.

Fake blood is a creepy touch that can be easily added. You can even make your own fake blood using corn syrup, food coloring, and a touch of milk to make the blood look darker and thicker. It can be very messy of course and will stain, so use with caution. Fake blood might best be used outdoors where you won’t have to worry about it getting on your carpet and furniture.

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Dress your Home for Fall – Part Four

Decorating your front stairs for fall can look nice. Just make sure to leave enough walking space. Use potted mums or evergreen plants surrounded by pumpkins and gourds. Rusty pots make good planters for this display, but terra cotta pots will work too. If you carve pumpkins, use your carved pumpkins here, this display will look awesome lit up with your jack o’ lantern.

If you have a bench in your front yard, don’t forget to dress it up like you did your porch.

Inside the home it is important to decorate for fall too. If you have a fireplace, take advantage of it by placing pumpkins, carved is best, one or two on each side of the fireplace. Fireplace mantles also look great decorated for wall with candles, leaves, and mini pumpkins.

There are fake pumpkins that you can buy at a craft store that will last for years. They can even be carved just like a real pumpkin.

Most of the decorating ideas in this and the past three blogs before it can be mixed and matched. Have fun with these projects and let your creative side come out. Be careful not to go overboard with your fall decorating. It can look silly to decorate every available surface in your home, and it will be quite time consuming to do so also. Make sure that wherever you stand in your home you can only see one of two fall decorations at a time.
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Dress your Home for Fall – Part Three

Get a plate in a warm color such as red, yellow, or orange. Gold looks great for this accessory if you can find it. Hot glue artificial leaves around the edge of the plate. Make sure they overlap each other. This can be used as a candle display, as placing two or three pillar candles on it will look lovely. You can do this with a smaller plate too, and just use it to display one pillar candle.

The front door of your home is a popular place to put your Fall decorations. I’m going to do a separate blog about wreaths, but there are several cute alternatives if you aren’t into wreaths.

You can find old picture that is framed at the thrift store or at a yard sale for very cheap. Hot acorns, pinecones, and artificial berries and leaves randomly all over the picture and frame, completely covering them. Finish it off by hot gluing a big bow on your decoration, this looks nice in one corner, but would look good right in the center too. Make sure the ribbon is in a fall color.

An old rake that you won’t use again can be transformed into another door decoration. Hot glue artificial leaves, feathers, and fall grasses to the rake like a bouquet and tie it off with a big ribbon.

Old crates can be found for very cheap or even free and they look great as an outside fall decoration. Place a few of them on your porch, stacking them if you want. Then, sprinkle various sizes of pumpkins and gourds inside and on top of them for a quick porch decoration.
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Dress your Home for Fall – Part Two

Adding a fall wreath to your front door will really make the outside of your home look ready for the season. There so many different types of wreaths than can be made fairly easily that I will write a separate blog to go over them.

Window boxes are great to use in the summertime, but are you taking advantage of them for fall decorating? It is easy to do, and it will get the exterior of your home looking very festive. You can be creative and use your window boxes for winter and Christmas decorating too. First, get a little bit of chicken wire and cut it to fit your window box like a lid. Staple it into place on top of the window box in a few places. The dirt that is already in the window boxes will hold your decorations in place. Get some small wooden skewers or small sticks to hold up your decorations. Gather tall fall grasses and cat tails to group together around the sticks and stick them into the dirt through the chicken wire. Once most of the window box is full, add colorful fall elements to it. If you would like to use the dirt for planting live plants, you can plant mums to decorate around or live evergreen plants. These plants will survive the winter well. Place small pumpkins and gourds around the grasses. Use your wooden skewers to hold the pumpkins and gourds in place. Pre-drill a hole where your skewer will go. After thanksgiving just remove the pumpkins and gourds and replace them with pine cones and a few lights.
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Dress your Home for Fall – Part One

Fall flower arrangements can dress your home up for Thanksgiving. Take advantage of nature. Try putting colorful corn into a glass container, filling it with water, and fill it with sunflowers, mums, and thistle. Add red berry sprigs if you can. If you have a field near your house, you can gather cattails and other dried grass. You can put all of them into a large vase without water. Hand tied bouquets look great too, they can be tied to posts outside your home or to stair railings. Make the most of pumpkins during the fall season. There are lots of centerpieces that use pumpkins, see my previous post on thanksgiving centerpieces to get some ideas.

Adding autumn accessories around the home will make it look festive for your Thanksgiving. These accessories can be made into decorations without having to spend very much money at all, and to save even more money, you can choose artificial plant elements so you can reuse these decorations year after year.

Buy or sew a table runner in a fall color. Good colors to use for fall are burgundy, dark green, orange, or yellow ochre. Maybe you will even want to make or buy a few, and alternate them. Next, buy some artificial fall leaves from a craft store. Artificial leaves are usually available in silk or velvet, velvet looks more interesting to me, because it has more variances and texture, but choose the one you prefer. Now, hot glue the leaves to the table runner in a random pattern. Try using more leaves on the ends of the runner and near the edges, leaving just a few scattered throughout the remainder of the material. Don’t be afraid to layer the leaves a little bit for a richer fuller look in some places.
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Easy to Make Fall Centerpieces – Part Two

One of my favorite centerpieces is one that ends up looking like a little pumpkin patch in the center of your table. This one could be used for a Halloween party just as easily as for Thanksgiving. Place a large pumpkin in the center of our table. Set medium and small pumpkins around it randomly. You probably will only need a couple of medium pumpkins and a few small ones, but depending on the size of your table, you may want more or less. Fill in the spaces with fall leaves. Add a few candles in between pumpkins if you want to. You can also add other thanksgiving garden items to the display if you choose, such as squash or apples.

To make a centerpiece that looks like a mini forest use small potted mini evergreen trees. You can get them as small as six inches high. Buy a few in varying sizes. Hot glue moss onto the pots for a really cute look, or if you don’t want to go to the trouble, just place the trees in matching decorative containers if you can find some that will suit. Cover the table in between the trees with fall leaves, mini pumpkins, and candles of any size.

You can place a large pumpkin on a pedestal cake plate for a quick centerpiece. Add berries, ivy strands, moss, or fall leaves to the plate around the base of the pumpkin.

If you want to buy mum plants, ivy, or ferns you can use them for fall season decorating that will be fresh for the whole season. All you need is a large basket or other container to place the mum pots inside. Arrange a couple of ferns or ivy plant pots between the mums inside the basket. Use moss to cover the plastic rims of the pots, or drape some fall colored material between the plants.

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Easy to Make Fall Centerpieces – Part One

If you are hosting a Thanksgiving meal at your house this year, here are some ideas to impress them with your table decorating.

A centerpiece on the table will be sure to draw attention from your guests and get you compliments. There are many options you could go with, and some of them are very fast to prepare if you are in a hurry.

A shallow glass tray filled with red cranberries topped with white tea candles can be a pretty centerpiece and it will take you less than five minutes to prepare. Since this decoration is on a tray, you can try displaying it around your home to see where it will look best.

Candlesticks and leaves can be arranged together to be a pretty centerpiece. First, arrange the candlesticks, or pillar candles, down the center of the table. This will look best if it is done on top of a narrow runner placed on the table first, in a color that will enhance the thanksgiving feeling, such as forest green, burgundy, or yellow ochre. Next, arrange fall leaves around the base of each candle. You can also add pinecones or twigs to the display if you would like. If you would rather have a portable decoration, lay fabric on a serving tray and use it for your decorating instead. This would look nice displayed on a coffee table or end table.
A green potted plant with trailing branches can be a great starting point for a centerpiece decoration. Ivy works well for this centerpiece, but other similarly shaped plants can work too. You now need a container in which to place the ivy pot. My favorite for this centerpiece is to use a hollowed out pumpkin, but a basket would work too. Fill any gap between the edge of the pot and the edge of the container with fall leaves, and scatter a few down the table on each side of the container.
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Make your Home Cozy for Winter – Part Four

If you have a fireplace winter is the season when you really want to use it to your advantage. Make sure your fireplace is the focal point during these cold months. Put those big floor pillows and blanket near the fireplace. Stack a few books or candles on one side of the seating area. Make sure the mantle is decorated for the season with warm accents.

Wintertime is a great time for curling up with a book and a warm mug of hot chocolate. Make sure your family room has a wonderful place to read. If there is a comfortable chair in the family room make sure there is a small table next to it and an ottoman in front of it. Drape a throw over the back of the chair and place a cozy accent pillow in the chair. Optionally, add a warm little dog or cat as seen below. If you don’t have a chair do this with, use your love seat or whatever you have available.

Put warm colored candles in groups in your bathrooms. You can place the candles on a small decorative tray so it is easy to move around.

If you have potpourri around the house make sure you replace it with warm spicy scented potpourri.

If you like baking, make sure you have glass covered cake plates and keep them stocked with cakes, cupcakes, bread, muffins and cookies throughout the winter.

Get a decorative tray and keep it displayed in the kitchen always stocked with mugs, spoons, tea bags, and hot chocolate mix.

These ideas can help you change your attitude about winter and get excited about it. You may also enjoy winter more and spring will come before you know it.

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Make your Home Cozy for Winter – Part Three

House plants can make the home seem cozy and help you not to miss your yard as much. Flowers in warm colored vases displayed weekly can really liven a room up. Or buy some hanging plants to put in a room.

Candles are easy to store away during the summer and give the house a nice glow and scent during the winter. An added bonus is the fact that candles are cheap. Vanilla scented candles or candles that smell like baking can make a room feel warm. I’m not a big winter person, but I do look forward to breaking out the candles when the season comes. My favorite candle scents are birthday cake and pumpkin spice.

You can put slip covers over the seat pillows of a chair or couch for winter. Make sure you get slipcovers in a warm cozy color, such as dark brown, orange, or red. Also, look for slip covers in comfortable textures, like microfiber for example.

If you have kids yourself or have children visiting your home often, think about getting a few big floor pillows that match the accent pillows on your couch, in warm colors of course. Fold a blanket or throw and put it near the pillows, this will be enough for a kid to have a great place for reading or drawing.

Glass surfaces make a room look colder. If there are a lot of glass surfaces in your home think about decorating them with fabric place mats, or wicker baskets containing seasonal decorations. Framed pictures and candles would also help make a glass table look warmer.

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Make your Home Cozy for Winter – Part Two

A more permanent change you can make to warm up your home is to repaint. Unless you have a lot of time on your hands you probably don’t want to have to paint seasonally, so this is really only an option if you think you might like a warm color scheme for at least a couple of years. Warm earthy tones can really make a room feel warmer. Orange is my personal favorite warm color, I love it because there are lots of shades to choose from so you can make a room look modern and bright, or elegant and subdued with orange. If you have a south facing room that never sees the sun or a basement room with tiny windows, try painting an accent wall in a bright or warm hue. This can really warm the room up.

If you aren’t planning to repaint the walls, try buying accent pieces in warm colors to decorate your home. Couch pillows are easy accent pieces to use. Also try buying vases or photo frames to go with your winter décor. Throw blankets are another easy accent piece you can get in a warm color. Buy thicker throws for winter, and lighter (both and color and in weight) throws for summer.

Tiled floors or wooden floors can seem a little cold during the winter. It is easy to buy a few thick warm colored rugs to use on these floors while it is cold. Rugs are easy to store away during the summer. Look for rugs with red, orange, or brown color schemes to really warm up the room.

Check back Monday for part three of this blog.

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Make your Home Cozy for Winter – Part One

With winter on the horizon now is a good time to think about making your home cozy for the cold season. Most people spend a lot more time cooped up in the house during the winter, so it is worthwhile to make the house inviting and comfortable. Many of these changes can be done by investing in winter items for the home that can be swapped with summer items each year. This way you only have to spend the extra money once, and you’re set for many years to come.

Windows look great covered with sheer curtains during the summer, but in the winter it looks best to exchange these for thicker curtains. Full length curtains that touch the floor help stop drafts from entering your home. Velvet and corduroy are both wonderful fabrics to use for curtains in the winter season. But, any thicker fabric will do, or you can try layering fabrics to achieve a more feminine look.

Bedding for winter is probably the most important detail. Make sure you own a soft fluffy comforter. Ideally, buy a down comforter and a duvet to cover it. Duvets are great because you can use them without the comforter inside during the summer, or with a much thinner comforter at least. Also, duvets usually come with pillow shams so your bedding will all match. Extra pillows on the bed can make your bed seem cozier for winter too.

Check back tomorrow for part two of this blog.

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Decorative Halloween Crafts – Part Two

Decorating a pumpkin with buttons can look cute, and you can save the buttons to use the next year. Choose buttons of assorted size that are in fall colors, you probably even have enough buttons around the house for this if you do any sewing. You can either hot glue the buttons onto the pumpkin, or you can thread wire through the button holes and spear the wire into the pumpkin. You can go for a random look, or you can arrange the buttons into a face.

There are lots of types of wrapped candy that comes in Halloween style wrappers. Buy an assortment of this type of candy, and simply staple the ends of the wrappers together to make a long garland for decorating. These can look very cute wound around stair railings, displayed on tables, or displayed on mantles.

Spray painting pumpkins with metallic paint can look fun and different. If you want to make these pumpkins even more dazzling, try sprinkling glitter or confetti onto the pumpkins when the paint is still wet. After the paint is totally dry, use a black marker to draw on faces. Display as a table centerpiece with orange candy next to it in clear jars.
Replacing the lights on your porch with orange bulbs can give your porch a festive feel, especially if you display lots of lit pumpkins on the porch too.

I hope these ideas help with your Halloween decorating this year!

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Decorative Halloween Crafts – Part One

It is already time to start decorating for Halloween! Here are some fun crafts you can make for a very low cost to decorate your house.

Buy three small pumpkins of increasing size. Clip the stems off of the two larger pumpkins. Find a decorative vase with a mouth wide enough to set the largest pumpkin in. Next, stack the two smaller pumpkins on top, with the smallest pumpkin on top. You can also place fall leaves between the pumpkins.

A large bowl of small pumpkins with fresh leaves and berries added into the mix can look very nice as a centerpiece. If you fill the bowl halfway with water before putting the items in, you can keep pieces of leaves and vines alive for awhile in the water. If you want to go more simple, don’t add water and use pressed fall leaves instead of fresh leaves.
It can look very cute to cut a hole in the top of a medium sized pumpkin, remove the pulp, and fill it with water to use as a vase. Use your pumpkin vase to display fall colored flowers.
Chocolate oranges can serve as a treat and as a decoration. Just cut pieces of black electrical tape into triangles or other shapes to make pumpkin eyes, noses, and mouths. Then, roll electrical tape into a thick piece to use as a stem to put on top of the chocolate orange. Display them until Halloween is over, then enjoy them as treats!

Bottled lemon-line and orange soda can be turned into Halloween decorations in just a few minutes. You can simply use a black marker to draw pumpkin faces on them, or other scary faces.

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Indoor Plants for Decorating - Part Two

If you want a plant that can survive for up to a year without watering try the Ponytail Palm. This amazing plant won't tolerate being watered unless the soil has completely dried out first. This plant does require lots of light, and even does well in direct light. This palm has a thick trunk with lots of long ribbon like leaves growing out of it, it looks a little bit like, just as the name suggests, a ponytail.

Amaryllis is especially pretty in yellow, called golden goddess. The flowers are a soft yellow color and trumpet shaped. The flowers are huge, they can be up to seven inches wide on 20 inch stems. This flower is grown from a bulb. This plant likes bright indirect light and should be watered infrequently, only when soil dries out. It grows to a height of 20 inches. It should be planted in early to late winter.

Aspidistra are very low maintenance. In fact, they have the nick name the “cast iron plant” because they are so tough. This plant has tall wide leaves that taper off at the ends. This plant will tolerate wet soil, drought, extremely dim light, and temperatures as cold as 28 degrees.
Boston Ferns do well in a humid bathroom. They have lots of frilly light green leaves that hang down below the pot, and for this reason they look wonderful hanging. They need indirect light to do really well, although they will survive in dim locations too.

Pothos vine is another very popular houseplant. It likes bright but indirect light. It will tolerate direct light, but the leaves won’t look at pretty. These plants are every easy to maintain. It is best to keep the soil moist. This plant does well as a hanging plant, because the vine will grow quite long and look nice.

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Indoor Plants for Decorating

Plants can really bring life into a room. They look great and can be very easy to maintain. The trick is knowing which ones are easy to maintain so you don't have to put much time into them.

Cacti can be wonderful for decorating. They require almost no attention and they look quite interesting. They can be purchased in pots with several types for a varied look. Cacti do like bright light and won't do well in a dark area. They do well and look great in windowsills. They should not be watered very often.

Chamaedorea Palms are elegant and exotic looking. They can grow up to six feet tall and really add a tropical look to your home. They do like bright indirect light and won't do well if they don't get it. They don't need a lot of water; they should be watered only when the soil gets very dry. These plants look perfect as accent pieces in corners.

Chinese evergreens are a plant that likes low light. They can even survive with just a reading light. The leaves are a beautiful silver gray mixed with dark green. The soil needs to dry out totally between waterings. This plant likes warm areas and won't do well if the temperature is below 45 degrees.
Braided Ficus Trees are very popular for indoor use. The leaves are dark green and the stems twine together in a pretty way. They are several feet tall, so they can really be a nice decorating piece. These trees do well with low light or bright indirect light. The soil should be kept moist.

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