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 d├ęcor 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