Easter Decorating 101

Iconic Symbols and Meanings

No matter your religious tradition, there are several reasons and historical origination for some of the Easter traditions we know today. Knowing the popular symbols and their history can assist you in decorating with the elements you feel most drawn to. Here are some of the most common elements of Easter celebrations that can enhance your planning.

Animals

Chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chicks, where did these things come from? The oldest Easter traditions might come from Pagan traditions and these two animals are no exception. They played key roles in the folklore of Eostre, the Pagan goddess of Spring and fertility. The folklore goes that she came upon a bird that was dying from the chill of winter, so she turned the bird into a bunny to keep it warm with fur. The bunny continued to lay eggs like a bird though, like some of the jelly bean laying rabbits you’ve seen knit before. Bunnies and chicks are reminiscent of this story. Christianity also has roots deep in Easter. Lambs are a commonly eaten meal around the Easter holiday because this is the meal Jesus would have had at the last supper.

Eggs

It’s also said in this very story that the bird turned bunny pointed to the eggs and they became decorative to give to Eostre as a way of saying thanks. The egg also can be found in Christianity after Mary Magdalene brought a plain white egg to an emperor and told him that she’d seen Jesus resurrected. The emperor told her that the egg she was holding would more likely turn red before their eyes than Jesus being resurrected, and the egg turned red right before their eyes! Eating eggs on Easter Sunday after Christianity’s 40 day lent has ended has also been a joy and was called “Egg Sunday” in Europe throughout history. To celebrate Lent’s end and the resurrection of Jesus, eggs were presented in baskets with colored straw like a bird’s nest.

Colors

Because Easter is a very serious and holy tradition held by Christians that deals with life and death, the pastel colors, soft baby animals, and fun and games coordinated for the children of the holiday lighten the mood.

Added Flare

After choosing which elements mean the most to you, you can begin decorating with those! Table cloths of pastel or bright colors and center pieces and displays made of your favorite story characters or animals make lovely places for your guests to rest between activities. If you feel drawn to educational and interactive flare, a petting zoo makes a great addition to an Easter celebration. A performance of an Easter related story is also a great idea.

Potential Dangers

Be sure to look up safety measures to take if you plan on putting together an Easter egg hunt as one of the lighthearted activities for the children. The contents of the eggs and where they are put is very important for the safety of the children. Remember that there is no replacement for proper adult supervision. Salmonella is a contaminant that can be found carried in live animals, real eggs served on Easter, or in your Easter dinner so be sure to follow proper instruction for cooking, refrigerating, and keeping your hands as clean as possible throughout the day. The petting zoo is a good opportunity for kids to learn proper hand washing technique and hand-sanitizer often makes a great addition to a basket or Easter egg.

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Best Upcycled Home Decor

This list is a collection of upcycling projects involving some of the most common or most accessible upcycling items available. If you’re a regular DIYer or just someone who wants to add an element of interest to your home, here are some well-liked ideas.

Ladders

Old ladders, especially when painted or stained, can transform into a few different pieces. One favorite is as a blanket holder in a cozy living room. Another is shelving created by connecting two ladders with matching pieces of wood.

Kitchen Islands from Dressers and Desks

Kitchen islands can be made of many re-purposed pieces of furniture such as a desk or dresser. Shabby chic is a popular finish, but you can stain it to match your cupboards as well. Applying some fixtures to it such as a towel rod on one end, hooks on its back side, and a new top in any material you see fit for your kitchen make the island optimally functional.

Bed Coverlet from Cast Off Tablecloth

Cloth tablecloths have unique patterns you might not find in the usual department store bedding sections. The thin material can offer a nice, thin option for summer time. You can also just use the tablecloth as end-of-bed cover where your shoe would lie if you were to wear them, just like a hotel.

Electrical/Plumbing Pipe Curtain Rods

Old electrical or plumbing pipe can make an unusually modern upgrade to a space. It can fit a variety of decorative styles including contemporary, cottage, and rustic. Aside from curtain rods, you can make an entirely divided space where there wasn’t already in a small space, offer a space privacy, or hide existing eye soar storage.

Bath Shelf

A wooden plank of any kind can be made into a bath shelf used to house a floral arrangement in a vase, reading materials, beverages, bubble bath or other bath accessories. This is one cute way to spruce up a bathroom, especially to add a pop of color to an otherwise plain colored or white bathroom. Having a focal point of a bathroom is one popular design trend. This could highlight a great bathtub if you have one.

Barn Doors

What would this listicle be without barn doors?! Barn doors make especially good options for places with minimal space because they free-up the space that would otherwise be the doorway. They provide a very aesthetically pleasing option for a strong barrier of privacy between the master bedroom and the rest of the house.

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Consider These Trends In Your Outdoor Living Space Design

Put the land around your home to good use by designing an ideal outdoor living space just for you and your family. Know your end goal when starting your design process. The typical dining set and barbecue may not be the relaxing ultra comfort outdoor living you want. Cooking and eating outside may just seem like a lot of work and mess to you. Consider if some of these trends fit your end goal.

The Wet Bar

Nothing new here but as mentioned above, if you think an outdoor kitchen just means a lot of work and mess, consider a wet bar. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres on the patio are easy and a lot less messy. The word hors d’oeuvre means outside the work, which illustrates this idea perfectly. We have seen beautiful, shiny, and inviting outdoor kitchens in magazines and home shows. Just picture that same space after a dinner party.

A wet bar should include a sink, a refrigerator, and, of course, a bar. Include extra electrical receptors for blenders, ice makers, lighting, and your sound system.

Portable Ice Machine

No more lugging bags of ice. No more running out of ice. Portable ice machines can produce new ice every 10 minutes. No need for plumbing. Just fill the reservoir. Portable means you can move it to your other fabulous living spaces to use.

Cocktail Railing

If you need to incorporate railing into your outdoor living space how about cocktail railing? Just top your railing with material wide enough to be able to set down your drinks or plates. A valuable function for your outdoor parties.

Outdoor TV

Outdoor tvs are made to be outdoors. Models should be weather resistant and withstand extreme temperatures. It must be able to keep moisture and dust out of the interior. They also need to be brighter than indoor tv’s to ensure a vivid picture in outdoor lighting. Consult your outdoor tv dealer for specifics and considerations for installation.

Gas Tiki Torches

Include this feature in your lighting design. Tiki torches create a romantic island feeling. The height and flame adjustment ability keep the heat away from you, unlike a fire pit. A way to have a fire feature on a hot night.

Outdoor Pizza Oven

You sure want your pizza oven outside because these ovens can reach 700 degrees. Gas fueled pizza ovens can be portable. Wood fueled pizza ovens can be a nice fixture in your outdoor kitchen. Imagine having piping hot pizza baked to perfection in as little as five minutes. And you don’t heat up the kitchen.

The outdoor space you design with the right features for you can make you not want to come back indoors.

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How To Responsibly Dispose or Recycle Remodel Discards

Remodeling your home is a messy project. If you are a conscious person aware of the growing landfill problem, then you probably want to find the best ways to recycle or reuse your discards. This article will help you discover new ways to organize your discards that you probably haven’t thought of and re-instruct you on how to use the services that do come easily to mind.

Hire a Disposal Company

Hing a company to dispose of the renovation waste for you can take a load off, especially if you’re already attempting a lot of the renovation yourself, but it can also be expensive. There are several options to consider when considering going professional. You can use your current garbage company if you phone them and ask what their bulk pick up policies and fees are. They will likely want to know what you are discarding so be sure to have this information available. If you call a company that specializes in renovation waste removal be sure to get 3-4 quotes before selecting a service. These companies are probably the steepest of them all. A popular option is to rent a dumpster which will cost you the longer you keep it, or a collapsible trash bin that can be found at hardware stores and waste management companies and serves the same purpose. Keep reading for other ways to get rid of the discards coming from your project.

Dispose of Trash Yourself

The local “dump” is likely open to the public to bring waste, but you’ll need to call ahead of time and ask how to go about bringing your things. They might have different places to discard different materials, so you might have to organize your discarded materials before heading over with your truck fulls. This service is likely free for you, so if you don’t mind the added step, it makes a good option for smaller renovations.

Donate Usables

Things like cabinets, windows, countertops, appliances fixtures, carpet, and anything you are discarding that’s still in good condition can be someone else’s treasure. Here are a few options for donating these items:

The Re-Store

The Re-Store is a home improvement store and donation drop off center that benefits the non-profit, Habitat for Humanity. When you’re dropping off your discards, you might even find something you want to purchase for your own renovation! Before Re-Store too many renovation materials went to landfills when they could have been re-purposed for new projects. This is one of the best ways to recycle your good condition renovation discards.

Craigslist

Craigslist is a good place to post your renovation discards quickly. Sometimes it’s as easy as putting all the items at your curb as your project continues, putting a FREE sign on them, and then posting an ad to Craigslist listing the cross streets, and they are gone by morning. If you want money for any of the items, you’ll need to post your phone number and a more detailed description of the item.

Carpet America Recovery Effort

More information on recycling your gently used carpet with CARE can be found on carpetrecovery.org. They are the leading experts in recycling and reusing consumer carpet. They may charge you a fee to take your carpet, but the fee is likely minimal, you’re given a tax receipt for your donation, and this is a great option for those who are only replacing carpet and have no additional waste to organize removal for.

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Home Stage Quickly With What You Already Have

Curb Appeal

The way the home looks from the exterior is going to be the first point of contact with the viewer, so you want to make a good impression here. Mow and water your lawn, organize your trash, recycling, and anything kept outside, and clean the exterior with the hose if it needs it. Pull weeds if at all possible, especially weeds growing in between sidewalk cracks. Be sure to make your home numbers visible so that potential buyers or guests can find it easily. It’s likely the inside of the garage could be seen by visitors and should be organized as best you can. If you have any exterior paint you’ve used on the house, use it to make minor touch ups.

Pack Away Personal Items

When home staging, you want to have a clean slate to begin with and you want to view the home not from your point of view anymore, but a potential buyer. Professional homestagers not only want all your personal items packed away from view, but the cupboards and closets emptied too. Buyers will be looking at these details. Leave out only your best decor options and furniture; more on that later.

Clean and Deodorize

As long as a home is clean, a potential buyer will overlook the lack of updates because they perceive that the home was well cared for otherwise. Deep cleaning, just as you would moving out of a rental, is a must. Remove all dust, marks on the doors and walls, and window smudges. Clean the kitchens and bathrooms as thoroughly as possible including the inside of appliances. Infusing too much scent is frowned upon, but a burning candle during an open house is acceptable. Baking soda and vinegar can help you deodorize appliances, furniture, carpet and other odor vulnerable items and spaces. For serious mold infested spaces, use diluted bleach and water to clean the area. Musty basements would benefit from a dehumidifier to eliminate odor causing moisture.

Make Repairs With The Materials You Have

Unfinished projects scare potential buyers, so complete any that you’ve purchased supplies for before any showings.

Edit Furniture

Staging your furniture is meant to assist a buyer in perceiving the space before them but largely use their imagination to see themselves living there. Fill the space, but not entirely, just enough to realize the size of the room. Be sure to portray realistic walkways and an arrangement that encourages socializing and liveliness. It’s important to improve the perception of current “dead spaces”, awkward spaces, or spaces that don’t already have a clear purpose. Every space in the home should be staged to convey its purpose. Reading corners or additional storage are two ways to assign jobs to spaces that don’t already have a clear purpose.

Accessory Tips

Forget your own style if you can. Home staging is about showing off the features of a room. Arrange furniture to draw the eye to the focal point of the room, a fireplace, or the view out the sliding glass doors. Arranging paintings on the wall in an ordinary way is as good as not hanging it at all. Professional homestagers encourage a little wackiness in the way you’d usually decorate to get the viewer’s attention. Decorative displays, especially those on tables, should be grouped in odd numbers, usually three. It’s okay for the home or shelves to look a little empty. It leaves the guest wanting more and encourages their own creativity.

Adequate Lighting

Gather all your lamps and sources of light and really work on distributing enough light to each room. Some professionals recommend at least 100 watts per 50 square feet. Even among homeowners, a survey has unveiled that lighting had a lot to do with why they didn’t like certain spaces of their home. A variety of lighting choices (lamps, nightlights, ceiling fans, and natural light) are great to have, but no room should have more or less light than another.

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Bathroom Remodeling Trends To Consider In 2017

Antiquing and Restoration

This trend is the most work, so if you’re not a D.I.Y.er, let’s get this out of the way quickly! This design style requires a lot of thought, some shopping around, and a little elbow grease. You can pick an era to design from, or find an antique gem you want to restore and design around. This is by far the most time consuming trend, and perhaps one you can’t finish at once. It may be interesting and fun to add to over time though. It’s nothing short of interesting!

Pastels

Pastels make popular bedroom colors, especially blue, because they invoke the emotion of relaxation. If your bathroom is a place of relaxation or serenity, this choice might be fore you. This may also be a choice for finished basement bathrooms or bathrooms with poor lighting or few windows because it gives the illusion of light and doesn’t contribute further to the problem. Consider frosted lighting to further soften the space. Two colors make the best palette with pastels, the pastel white white accessories. The most popular pastels for bathrooms are Light Green or Melon and Sky Blue. Honey Pot yellow is a close third.

Subway Tile

Subway tile is a popular finish in kitchens, but it is also a versatile and resell valuable choice for bathrooms as well. Whether you are shooting for country home or geometric mod, subway tiles are a forgiving choice. They also go well with the previous trend, pastels. It should be noted that subway tile can come in other colors, but white is the most popular. Grey is a close contender.

I think it’s important when discussing permanent tiling and design elements to take how much space you have into consideration. If you are working with quite a small amount of space you can select tiles and patters that are larger so you don’t have as many grout lines or busy-ness. Glossy and reflective tile, wall paper, paint, fixtures, and decorations can also improve the space’s ability to appear larger.

Chic Hotel

Matching hand towels, fancy soap, tissue and lotion vessels and seating are good places to begin when bringing the hotel home. Dimmable lighting and a small table accessible from a jet bathtub makes this bathroom an experience you’d usually experience away from home. Spa bathroom themes have always been popular, utilizing green bamboo plants, big black stone sculptures, and terry cotton bath robes and slippers are nice and all, but these suggestions take spa to the next level.

Bath Tub or Light Fixture as Central Focus

If this is the trend you want to achieve this year, you should shop for and buy this first so you know how to spend the rest of your budget on the remainder of your project. Stand alone bathtubs, vintage or contemporary feeling, make a great focus near the center of the room more away from the wall than traditionally placed. If the bath tub is not of importance or even an element included in your design, perhaps the light fixtures can be unique and eye catching. Chandeliers have been popular for ages and if the right design is chosen can be timeless.

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Maintenance Tasks to Prepare Your Home for Winter 

prepare-home-for-winter-2When the warm season has ended and you’ve already enjoyed your outdoor escapades, it’s now time to stay at home and arrange your home for the impending nippy climate. Winter could turn very hard-hitting so you have to check that the house will be a true refuge when the first snow appears. Protect your abode with these guidelines and live through snug and worry-free moments in this time of the year.

Prepare an entrance shoe storage.

Since there is a lot of snow winter, a place to drop your shoes will be necessary so as to keep your floor clean and water free. You should consider investing in boot trays, cubes or hooks.

Check your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers

Be sure to check if your smoke detector system is still functional. Switch to another battery in preparation for the cold weather. If the fire extinguisher is above 10 years old, change it immediately.

Mount storm windows and doors

Recent models for storm doors and windows appear with a multi-sheet glass that holds an insulating air in between. If these are set up, the warmth that you need will be kept inside your house for as long as you want.

Perform an HVAC evaluation

HVAC signifies “Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning”. An HVAC inspection is performed through examining ducts, heating supply, and ventilation in the home. This assessment will ensure that your residence has fitting air flow structure that can endure the wintry weather. The chimney must also be looked over for blockades that can begin to flames and inadequate air supply.

Shield the water heater and tubes

Water heaters expend more power than any other piece of equipment at home and it becomes worse in the winter time when the climate gets really bitter. The water heater acts harder to maintain the warmth of the water and your electricity costs can increase just for the utilization of this appliance. Shielding a thermal insulating blanket for the water heater would protect it from the freezing temperature in the air. This is also true for the water channels; they will ice up in the winter and could come apart if not appropriately insulated.

Insulate your garage and attic

The scarcely visited areas in the house such as the attic and garage require adequate insulation, especially on the floor parts. To hold the icy air outdoors and the hot air inside, the floors in these areas should be insulated as well.

Inspect the waterways and roof

Don’t forget to look for broken pipes and roofs; take out all fragments so that snow can go without restraint. Close any cracks in the roof and substitute parts that are irreparable. If you cannot do the climbing, you could always request a contractor to do the task.

Fend off pests.

Spiders and bugs are more likely to enter your home during winter due to the cold weather outside. Consider spraying your home with a critter repellant product.

Protect outdoor furniture.

Patio furniture and outdoor heaters should be protected from the elements of winter. If it is not possible to bring them inside, they should be covered. Also, don’t forget to clean the children’s sand table and the grill.

Empty plant pots.

Leave pots filled with clay outside during winter may crack due to a drop in temperatures. They should be taken inside to prevent this but if live in a warmer climate, you can just empty the pots and leave them outside.