Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ho-Ho-Ho How Many Days Till Christmas?

Isn’t this one of the most asked questions this time of year? And don’t you just hate it when someone brings it to your attention? I have often wondered why that is. Christmas is my all time favorite time of the year, so why would I get upset when someone tells me how many days it is till Christmas? I think most of us feel that way because we never feel we are quite ready for Christmas each year. This year, I would love for it to be different, so lets think for a minute about some ideas for decorating our homes that we can start doing right after Thanksgiving!!!

Speaking of Thanksgiving, what do Christmas and Thanksgiving have in common more than any other time of the year? Hmmm…..What about a huge Dinner Table? Both of these Holidays scream “BIG, Festive Dinner Table”. So let’s first take a look at how we can change up our Table for the Holidays. One thing I have noticed about my dinner table, is there is never enough room for all that food. And usually I have to remove the beautiful centerpiece to make room for more food. Heres a little trick for a Center Piece that can stay on the table when the food comes. Take two bowls, one a little smaller than the other. Place the larger bowl upside down on the table with the smaller one right side up. Put a little garland around the larger bowl and maybe even a few of your favorite Christmas Balls. Now until that wonderful dinner, keep the smaller bowl on top filled with Christmas Potpouri, Christmas Balls, Pinecones - your favorite Christmas Treasure. Now when dinner comes, just remove the smaller bowl and replace it with a bowl full of Mashed Potatoes or place your Turkey platter on top. Not only does it look great but it does not take away room from the table. It also gives your table more dimension. Be sure and use a beautiful table cloth, Maybe this is the year to buy some of those inexpensive “charger” plates to go under your dinner plate. It makes the table look so special. Wouldn’t it be fun to take some of the glass or plastic (if you have little ones) Christmas balls and use them as Place Cards. Just attach the name at the top with a little hot glue or right in the circular ornament holder. You can lay them on the plate on top of the beautiful decorative napkin. Something that would add some family fun to this Celebration Table would be instead of putting everyones name as their place card - how about getting a hold of a baby picture of everyone who will be present. You don’t have to tell them what it is for, then when it is time to take their place at the dinner table - they just look for their “special” seat. The others will enjoy looking at everyones picture and will begin talking about special times gone by. If it is just your family joining you for dinner, then finding photos Christmas Days from the past - would be a fun twist and get everyone remembering your special times together. If you are like my family often the kids sit at a different table. Have fun with those table decorations as well. I recently saw this fun idea. But an inexpensive table cloth and put some red and green permanent markers on their table. Ask each child to sign their name or write something on the table cloth. Then next year when you bring it out - they will have fun talking about what they wrote last year.

Now, here is an idea for some of those wonderful Lanterns that are so popular today. They come in all sizes and shapes. I have several sitting in different places around my home. Decorate them up and add a special touch to them this Holiday Season with Bows and garland. Think about something a little different you can put inside. Be sure and use them for Candles(gotta have that special glow at Christmas), but how fun it is to fill them with Christmas Balls, or your favorite Christmas figurine.

I also think that the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the perfect time to take a little stroll outside your home or through the park or woods. There you will find all kinds of wonderful things that you can incorporate in your Holiday decorations. Pinecones, dried flowers, bittersweet, magnolia leaves, holly. Take along a big basket and look for these treasures. If you have little ones in your family, be sure to take them along with you. You will be creating some wonderful memories. They will love being outside and looking for these things. Now when you get back home, you can use some gold or silver spray paint on some of the things you have found. Use them as you decorate your table, mantle, tree or a wreath on your door.

Speaking of a tree - and if you are like me - you have more than one tree decorated at Chirstmas time. You probably also will be having more than one time that you will be inviting guests into your home for an evening meal, a cookie swap, or maybe just a lunch with the other ladies. What if you ask each guest during the Holidays to bring along one of their personal tree decorations that they will share with you. Tell them you will be sure and get it back to them after the Holidays are over. Now have a smaller tree on a table or entry way and as your guests arrive place their favorite ornament on the tree. By the time Christmas arrives you have a beautifully decorated tree and lots of wonderful conversation about the ornaments and whose they are. Now remember - you will be giving them back to the person who brought them after the Holidays are over. What a great way it would be to also attach a small hand written thank you note for allowing you to borrow it for a few weeks.

Christmas is always such a great time to be sharing memories and starting traditions with your family. It is never too late to start a new tradition!!!

Ho-Ho-Ho Hope you have a wonderful Ho-liday with your family this Christmas season. Always Remember That Jesus is the Reason for the Season!!!

Pat Dempsey, Sr. Executive Director
AtHome America
Decorate your home for the Holiays Free this year by hosting a book or in home show.
Contact me for the details.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Decorate With FALLing Leaves this Fall.

With the temps reaching the 100’s for most of us this summer it is a great time to be thinking ahead to the Fall when temps turn a bit cooler and nature sends us the most wonderful Greeting Card we could ever imagine.

I love using the seasons and what comes with them from Mother Nature as inspiration for decorating my home. Each season brings things that I really Love and so it is hard to pick a favorite season. But, I do believe that Fall is on the top of my list for Favorites!!! As a child growing up in Florida, we didn’t get alot of seasonal change. Even as an adult, one of my most fond memories is raking up leaves and watching my kids jump in them. The delight and excitement of “jumping in the leaves” is so exhilerating. Secretly, as an adult - I even jumped in those leaves!!! So let’s think about how we can use those leaves and that feeling of excitement that comes from jumping in them as inspiration for decorating our homes this fall.

Leaves can be such a great addition to our decorating as we go into the fall. Using leaves in the Welcoming wreaths that grace our front doors, to adding leaves to our favorite table top displays, the ideas that come from leaves just keep coming. You can even add that touch of fall leaves to your walls and windows with the great new vinyl clings that are available. Or if you are a craft lover - then you make them from your Cricut machine.

As you think about decorating your home for this season, keep in mind the beautiful, warm hues that you see during this season. From the golden maples to shimmering sun on the lake surrounded by leaves that are turning, there are so many colors that will make your home feel so cozy and delightful this season. Painting a wall can be so easy, as an accent. Just one wall in a room painted a warm hue of green or gold, can make a huge difference in how your room feels. It is so easy to paint that same wall again when Spring arrives. Don’t be afraid of paint. I use to think of painting a wall as being such a permanent thing. But, I have learned that painting can be such an easy change to make and one that will totally change the look for that room. So go for it! Add a little Fall color to your room, through the walls.

Now, if you are still afraid of painting a wall, then think of other ways to add that color. Drapes, throws, pillows and even rugs can bring that change in color to your room. I like to think of this basic color change as the canvas for what you will do next. And what is next? This is the fun part of decorating. It is bringing in the pumpkins, gourds, wreaths, scare crows and all the fun things that come with this season. Decorate that mantle, the dinning room table top, the front door, or even switch out a print on our walls that has more of the colors of fall. You will soon see your home take on all the ambiance of a beautiful fall day.

Something else that I think screams Fall when it comes to decorating our homes is not just something that appeals to the eye but something that will appeal to your other senses as well. And what might that be? Fragrance! Light some of those wonderful smelling candles that fill the house will cider and spice, apple pie or even Pumpkin. Now if you are really brave, you might enjoy turning on the oven and actually baking your favorite muffins, pies, or cookies to give your home that wonderful Fall feel. I think I will stick to candles and fragrance oils. If you are like me - I tend to gain more weight in the fall, as all these wonderful delights make me want to bake and then I have to taste test what I bake. So good luck with that one….

I recently saw a cute idea I wanted to share with you. It was taking a wrought iron bowl rack that usually stands on the floor to hold your favorite bowls and turning it into a great front porch fall welcome. Instead of placing bowls in the rack - fill it with your favorite pumpkins. Another great way of using this is to fill it with those great corn stalks. Sometimes finding a place for stalks can be challanging. Check out the two photos that show this piece in those two ways. If you are wondering where you can get one, check out my website where you can purchase one or ask in your favorite Country Store that advertises in the Country Register.

So take a leap and Jump in those Fall Leaves as you decorate your home this fall.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


It is hard to believe that those summer months are upon us already and that it is time to Take it outside!!!

One of my favorite times of the year. We can move some of our activities to the outdoor areas of our home. I would love for you to think about the outdoors as an extension of your home. How can you create that special atmosphere in your backyard, on your deck or front porch? Something that screams your personality.

First let’s think about some seating. This could be as simple as pulling out last years lawn furniture. Maybe it doesn’t quite look as good as you remembered it when you put it in the storage shed. That’s ok, because we are going to change it up a bit. We could start with some paint, if it is something that can be painted. But if not, let’s add some colorful cushions to give it some pop. It looks better already, doesn’t it? Find just the right spot for this furniture and now let’s bring in a small table. Add a cute placemate to make it look like a doily and then let’s find something that we can cut those beautiful flowers growing around the yard and make a vase out of it. In the summer a galvanized bucket looks great with flower blooms in it. A watering can or even something as simple as a ball jar makes a great vase for those beautiful blooms.

Things are beginning to look better already. What about some lighting. On those wonderful summer evenings it would be great to have the soft glow of candle light. Lanterns are great for this purpose. Find as many as you can that might be hanging around. Group them together on the deck or even hang them in a tree or from the ceiling of the front porch. Something that I have enjoyed doing for years is to take a very large glass jar - like one that pickles come in. Now I am talking large. I put some sand in the bottom of the jar and place a pillar candle down inside that is nestled in the sand. Tie a colorful ribbon around the mouth of jar and you have a wonderful lantern to add to your collection. Make a couple of these and place them on the steps leading up to your front door. What a welcoming light they will be as friends and neighbors come to visit.

Now let’s think about one more thing we can add to our outdoor room. Something for the wall. You might be thinking, but wait - what wall? Well, it could be the wall on your front porch or deck or maybe just the outside of your house near your grouping of chairs. What would be fun to hang on the wall here? Well, do you have an old shutter? You could paint it a fun color and hang it there. Maybe even think about what you could hang on the tree trunk, if you seating is further away from you home. Something else that is fun is an old gate or part of a fence. Put on your thinking cap and maybe even head for some yard sales or antique shops with your new “Outdoor Room” in mind. No telling what you might find there.

If you are decorating your porch or deck, then you might also want to add a great outdoor rug to the scene you are creating. Have fun while decorating your outdoor space. You can use your imagination and since there are no rules for outdoor decorating, you can get a little crazy and enjoy.

Hope this gives you some ideas and inspiration to “Take it Outside” this summer.

Monday, April 25, 2011

What is Your Decorating Personality

You often hear that you should match your home’s design to your personality and interests, but few color swatches come with names like “Reads Paranormal Romance Novels,” “Hikes on Weekends” or “Geek.”

I recently came across this quiz while researching ideas for my next article for the Country Register. I thought this was fun and wanted to share it with you all. I know that using color in our homes can be challenging and kind of scarey sometimes.
To help you figure out what color palettes will best suit your personality, try the following personality quiz.

What Is Your Design Personality?

You’re making big plans for the weekend. What are they?
A) Participating in a charity walk
B) Antique shopping
C) Inviting friends over for dinner
D) Touring a haunted house

You’re making your favorite dish. What is it?
A) An all-organic risotto cooked with ingredients from the local farmer’s market
B) A Moroccan tangine cooked in an authentic ceramic pot
C) Macaroni and cheese, with chocolate chip cookies for dessert
D) A decadent chocolate mousse

What’s hanging on your wall?
A) A batik tapestry made by an Indonesian women’s collective
B) Framed vintage travel posters
C) Family photographs
D) An Edvard Munch print or, alternatively, an Edward Cullen poster

Mostly A’s: Idealist. Those out to save the world will feel at home with Earth-inspired colors, such as cocoa, cinnamon, stone and taupe. In addition to choosing a natural color palette, look for products that conform to your ideals.

Mostly B’s: Eclectic. You love authentic and vintage finds and enjoy layering colors and patterns. Try shades like rose, olive, turquoise and seafoam.

Mostly C’s: Homebody. You’re all about warmth and comfort, and you like to keep things cozy and intimate. Vary between neutral colors and warm shades.

Mostly D’s: Mysterious Stranger. You appreciate romance and intrigue. Evoke an Old World sense of fantasy with deep, rich shades of navy, purple, red and teal. Exotic hardwood floors with deep, rich hues add to the veiled allure.

Pat Dempsey, Sr. Executive Director
This article is copyright free. You are free to use it on a blog, website, in a newspaper, or newsletter.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Spring is Coming, Spring is Coming

Spring is Coming! Spring is Coming!
Does that sound like I am trying to convince myself that Spring IS coming? With the winter we have just had, I think you might be right. The Seasons do come and go and Spring is one we will all be ready for this year!
What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you mention this season? If you are a woman and reading this, it is probably "Spring Cleaning". Yes, after a long hard winter, we can't wait to get to that task, which often seems so daunting. Winter has passed and now it is time to be energized and refreshed as Spring arrives. Actually shinning up the windows and mirrors and letting the sun shine in is often the best thing we can do in relation to the decorating process for Spring.
As Spring arrives just about everyone is so-o-o-o ready for that sunshine, flowers, and those wonderful soft colors that herald Spring. So keep that in mind as you think of ways you can change up your home for the Spring.
Here are a few things that may inspire you to get ready for Spring.
1. Flower, think Spring with Flowers, Flowers everywhere. From pillows, prints, curtains, lamp shades, throws, & rugs – you can add a pop of Spring to any room in your house.
2. Try bringing in some color by painting an accent wall. It will lighten up and brighten up your space.
3. Bring the outdoors in. How about a piece of white lattice work hung on a wall as the focal point. Maybe even add a potted houseplant below to really draw the outdoor look inside.
4. Curtains, why not take them down for the season. Maybe use a swag or topper for a different look. By removing the curtains a lot of light will come in and make your room brighter.
5. Use a stencil or vinyl cling around a doorway or window for a different look. These can be easily changed or painted over with the seasons. You might even want to add one to a mirror.
6. Don't forget about your entryway or porch. This will be the first area that both you and your guests will see as the come for a visit. So get rid of those snow shovels and ice melt. Replace them with potted plants, how about a small step stool for a planter stand at the front door? You could paint it a fun whimsical color.
7. Hang or display a decorative flag.
Do I have your creative juices running? Great, you will find many more wonderful ideas at your favorite shop in the Country Register. Walk through their store and use one of their great creative display ideas. Most can be translated into your own home décor.
As the dreary, snow days of winter leave us, decorating for Spring is a great way to welcome in new season.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A New Year, A New Decorating Resolution...

Isn’t the New Year an exciting time for you? I know it is for me. I always feel like my slate is being whipped clean and that I have a new beginning. Not just in the impact of my calendar but also in many other areas of my life.

A New Beginning at Home
One area, my home, is also impacted by that new beginning. I can’t wait to get the tree and Holiday decorations taken down and put away, so that I can start getting things back in order around the house. It seems like this time each year; I also can’t wait to do something new and different when it comes to decorating my home. Things look so lost without all those Christmas decorations.
This year my attention has been turned to things that will be very useful, as well as decorative. My favorite item here is baskets. Using baskets in the closet to organize the closet shelves and make them appear like part of my overall decorating scheme is high on my list. How about the laundry room shelves with baskets as well? I have even taken to using the actual basket as a shelf on the wall. It can be a great source for decorating. Don’t forget that you can also spray paint most baskets to fit the décor of your room. Baskets are great in your home office as well. Line your shelves with them, use them on your desk or counter and hang them on the wall. You will be amazed at how fun and useful they will be and what a great time – the New year to be making sure that you are organized and efficient as you go forward into your “New Beginning”.
Recently I came across a wonderful idea that uses containers as a decoration as well as an organizational idea. I went to Home Depot and purchased some tin cans that are the sizes of paint cans. Now use these cans in the bathroom attached to the wall with towels and bath accessories in them. What a cute look it gave the wall and everything stays well organized within the cans. Another great place for these is in a child’s room to organize things above their dresser or desk area. Crayons, hair accessories, Legos – you name it and just about anything fits into those neat little cans. You can use a lot or just a few. If you were really creative, you could even paint them to go along with your decor for that room. When you attach them to the wall, you will nail/screw them to the wall with the bottom of can against the wall. This leaves the opening facing outward for you to fill.
Don't Wait
So, what are you waiting for? Get those creative juices flowing. As you think about ways you can decorate your home for the New Year make sure and think of some that incorporate functionality with the decorative!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ready to Ring in The New Year

Are You Ready to Ring in the New Year?

Maybe you are like me, once Jan. 1st hits, I want all my Christmas Decorations to be gone and put away. I can’t wait to get the New Year Started on the right foot. One of the areas of my life that I want to get started with in a new way is always my home. I just HAVE to do something a little different every year. Now, I am not talking about my entire house, but at least one area of my home needs a facelift in order to make me feel like I am truly off and running on the right foot.

This year I started with some window treatments in my home. I know that may sound like a strange place to start, but let me tell you it can make a huge difference in how your home feels, just by changing out the window treatments. Here are a few of the fun things I did that you will find very affordable and easy. First of all, you must know that Mike and just moved into a new home. Would you believe that every window in the house had the same curtains hanging in them? I just found that strange and couldn’t wait to make changes. Now the budget was a little tight, but here is how I handled it.

First I had some great chair cushions for my ladder back chairs at the Island in my kitchen, so I found the same fabric at the fabric store and made a quick little topper for the kitchen window. The cushions were red Toile, so it was easy to find. I was so excited. Then I went to the family room windows which are open to the kitchen. I used the same toile and just sewed a piece to bottom of each plain off while panel and also made a curtain tie back. Now I was cooking!!!!

On to the dinning room. The off while panel looked so blah….so I was going to tie in the family room and kitchen color of red. Hmmm. I found some great solid red napkins while I was out shopping. My wheels were turning and when I got home I laid them across the top of the blah panels at an angle. Now that was pretty cool. I totally different look.

Then I went on to the Living Room. Now, I wanted this area to look a little formal. So what would I be able to accomplish here? Well, I stuck with the off white color of the panels. This time I added a very pretty Table runner that I found that was the same color of off white. Actually I found two table runners. One had some quilted area at each end and the other came to a point at each end with a tassel hanging at the points.
I cut both runner in half. I added the quilted one to the top of panels going the long way with straight pins, I then took the other with the tassel and hung it in the middle with the tassel in the middle. Voila!!!! I had a fun and more formal look.

Now you can tell from this that none of these things cost me a ton of money. I was able to totally change the look of my rooms for just a few dollars in each room. WOW!!!

So while you are out and about at your favorite Country Register shop, take a moment to look at table runners and napkins in a new and different way. Also, take a moment to browse the pages of AtHome America’s website for some other fun ways to change up your home for the New Year. Hears to an AWESOME 2011.

Pat Dempsey, Executive Director
AtHome America

It's Christmas- Lighten Up

It’s Christmas – Lighten Up

I don’t know about you but Christmas is the one time of the year that I feel it is really important to add special lighting effects all around my home. From the outside to the inside there is nothing that seems quite as festive as lighting.

Isn’t it amazing what they have done with decorative lights for the holidays? Wow, I remember growing up, that one of the most exciting things, was the night my dad got those Christmas lights up outside. Now they were just regular old colored bulbs and we all thought they were wonderful. Well, today you can find lighting for outside that looks like icicles, stars, almost any shape you can think of. You can create a virtual winter wonderland in your yard and some people try to do just that. I am all for the simple, understated lights, outside. Stringing some around the front of the door with some fresh pine garland, while maybe even adding a touch of lights to the wreath hanging on the door. One of my favorite looks is to use a spotlight and light up the front door. Nothing looks more inviting than a beautiful front door and entryway.

Let’s take a minute and look at that front door. I think this time of the year lends itself to something a little different for the front door. Not just the wreath, but how about those old antique skis you have out in the barn, or that great wood sled you kept from when you were a child, or maybe even those old ice skates? What a great conversation piece any of these would be to decorate with a little pine, holly, possibly those lights and a beautiful red bow!!! There is something about Christmas that takes us back in time and the front door is the perfect place to do that.

Something that I absolutely love doing at Christmas is putting out candles all throughout the house. The ambiance of candles and the aroma of the wonderful smells really make it seem like Christmas. So don’t be afraid to add those candles to the mantle, the coffee table, the kitchen hutch the dinning room table, the vanity in the bathroom and just about any other place you can find. One thing I enjoy doing is using the same fragrance of candle throughout the house so that it really makes a fragrance statement. A special little note here. We now have battery operated candles for those who have difficulty with fire…you know we don’t want to burn anyone’s house down at Christmas. They are wonderful and come in different fragrances and sizes. Check out my AtHome America website for them. We call them “Forever Glow” candles.

Another thing I enjoy is putting up strings of lights inside my home as well as outside my home. Something new and fun for the holidays are lighted twigs that you can decorate with. The light is at the end of the twig. While you are the AtHome America website check for these as well. You can use these in floral arrangements, in the greenery on the mantle or in a vase all by themselves. But they are a fun way to “Lighten Up” your home this Christmas.

Can’t you just close your eyes and imagine what your home is going to look like this Christmas with the scent of those candles burning and all the fun lights both inside and out. Have a wonderful Christmas and remember “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”.

Pat Dempsey, Executive Director