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Archive for January 2013

Sam SnowmanIf it’s COLD enough to keep a snowman comfortable in your home, consider a:

Cellular Window Shade

For your room’s window!

Cellular Window Shades are perfect for retaining your home’s heat: Today I was talking to a man who had just taken delivery of his recent shade order. He was so enthusiastic! And tonight will be the FIRST time a room (kept at 60-degrees this winter) will have SHADES in the windows at all.

“You will find it makes a WORLD of difference,” I told him, “regarding your comfort as well as the energy savings” — and that’s no mere boast. I sit directly below a “leaky” double-paned window. Today, especially, the only thing that kept me warm was the cellular window shade: I didn’t lift it up till 2 pm! (Winter sun = must “bask” in it)

Click on the snowman to visit our website – Introduce yourself, your home, and your family & pets to the same cold-weather protection my guy was so pleased to be experiencing this afternoon. Our shades are Made in America — unlike this Arctic Blast, which dropped down from Canada….

One thing makes people react and think, “I should get some cellular shades” — EXTREME temperature! HOT or COLD.

I have two internet friends – one just moved to England (from frigid Montreal); the other is in Australia. Sitting in Vermont, where the temps today hit 11-degrees Fahrenheit, with a 3 mile per hour wind (brrrr….), it is hair-raising to read about feet of snow in southern England (which rarely sees snow nowadays) and, half a world away, to hear of childhood homes endangered by bushfires and yet another summer of intense heat.

English Delights – a blog about “England, Crafts & Food” – has a number of posts about the record snowfall, including this evocative photo of Big Ben:

snowy big ben

At least here, in the “North East”, we’ve snow plows and salt-making equipment galore (our problems come in the spring…). I remember once going to a bookstore in New Hampshire. Gosh! The plows had been hard at it, for a maze comprised of 5-foot walls of solid white snow shuttled my car from town to the bookshop’s door. To this day, I’ve never seen SO MUCH SNOW packed to the sides of the road.

As for poor Australia, I cannot fathom what a bushfire must be like. AsianCorrespondent, on the other hand, has written a piece about the extreme weather conditions.


I can say, however, that my small corner of Vermont once had a catastrophic fire (a furniture factory; a total loss) in the midst of a cold winter’s day & night. The city felt deserted. Traffic was nil.

As the old commercial said, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature” – and fires, floods, or feet of snow can be so crippling. With such devastation, it is heart-rending to read of more shootings, never mind all the continuing unrest in the warring areas of the world.

When will the “madness” end??

Wouldn’t you like to jazz up your interior decorations with something you already have around the house? Laura Gaskill of HOUZZ has come up with a list of fifteen NO-COST ways to “Invigorate Your Space”. Let’s look at them together.

Laura comments, “Sometimes all it takes is a bit of inspiration to see your space with fresh eyes.”

framed prints

1. Frame illustrations from a book or magazine. (The “no-cost” assumes you’ve some black frames lying around…, as well as all those glossy magazines.)

I love these simple floral prints. They remind me of Regency-era Artwork, when women drew and painted botanical specimens.

2. Repurpose fabric remnants as art. Similar to #1, use fabric – as a wall hanging, or as a framed print.

As Laura suggests, you can even use an embroidery hoop and display it that way; but why not add some embroidery touches, in that case?

3. Use vases to display jewelry. The accompanying photo shows a necklace looped a couple of times around the neck of a simple ceramic vase. Another, next to it, has a myriad of gold bracelets tossed down its long thin neck.

My passion is pins, more than necklaces (and certainly more than bracelets: hard to type with a clanking bracelet!). I hung a padded board and stick my brooches all over the surface. Makes it easy to choose which to wear, and keeps them in fine condition.

4. Use “throws” in a fresh way. The text talks about those little blankets that sometimes live at the foot of your bed, as well as throw pillows – which they’ve even piled up under a small table.

My suggestion here might seem old-fashioned, but years ago I haunted an antique lace, doily, and tablecloth booth. Beautiful needlework, and they look great over the back of an overstuffed chair.

5. Swap out accent furniture from room to room.

I did this! Had a small painted table in a back room, that made a perfect bedside table; add lamp and a few books … voila!

6. Revamp old jars as fun storage. Q-tips? pencils? Here’s where they go!

They can be Mason jars, squat jars once filled with nuts, cylindrical peanut butter jars. Be creative with the sizes and shapes. HOUZZ’s photo shows hot PINK covers on all the jars, which unifies the collection.

7. Color code your book shelves. The photo of a white room with blue accents features a wall of books – red bindings huddled together in one area; blue bindings in another; yellow bindings elsewhere; and creams are up there too.

As a book collector, I am loath to DO anything to a book that ‘injures’ it; I keep dust jackets on, for instance. Oh! how that would have helped a 1930s volume from being so sun-faded that the fabric hinges cracked. I do like their bonus, however: “It will give you an excuse to peruse all of your favorite old books!”

8. Turn a crate on its side to hold books.

Rustic… Reused… neatly stacked even. Who could argue with this decor suggestion. Add to that: CDs, DVDs – anything that cries out for a little storage spot to call home. Line the box, if you’d like an addition use for those remnants of fabric!

9. Hang artwork on your shelves.

Personally, I’d prefer the artwork within the shelf‘s little cubby, but the photo show a light at the top of the built-in bookcase, and a little framed picture a few shelves down. As they say, “A small painting allows you to still access the books around it.”

10. Style your open shelving. Glass-fronted or even “commando” (no doors) kitchen cabinets? Take the time to organize and style what you must always view

A non-brainer: Hide the clutter!

11. Put the silver on display. Do you have grandma’s “good silverware”? Show it off, especially if it’s never in use.

The HOUZZ photo has a MARVELOUS Dundee Marmalade stoneware jar – or you could use one of those Mason Jars from #6, above.

12. Reuse glass jars for flowers.

I.e., plant some posies around the rooms you frequent most. You’ll welcome the vibrant colors.

13. Paper a wall in old maps.

This one’s so neat, that I just have to include their photo:

map your bath

Nautical Charts are FABULOUS for a bath, don’t you think? Must confess, I wish it was one giant map, no jogs in the shoreline at all. (Picky, picky…) HOUZZ suggests papering with maps of places you have been – why not toss in a discrete photo too. A nice Top Down Bottom Up cellular window shade – in Vienna Wood (brown=blend in) or Largo (blue=pop!) would complete this picture, giving much needed privacy.

14. Fill an unused frame with fabric-wrapped cork.

This same idea could be fabric on a frame (see my “pin board,” #3 above) or even a foam-core board. Decorate with photos, notes, or maybe postcards from those places that you’ve got maps for!

15. Remove a door and create a hideaway office.

The HOUZZ photo is so cute – a drawn-to-one-side white “linen” curtain, a green-painted wooden (swivel!) office chair, storage bins on a shelf, even three “time zone” clocks. Who can tell me what time it is in LONDON when it’s 11 am in NEW YORK?

Although I typically HATE those websites that make readers click-click-click to go through a series of photographs with a short write-up, I found a number of useful “don’t dos” from Andie Huber’s web article “Never make these home decor mistakes again“.

go green

I invite you to browse the series of photos (“Go Green!”, shown above, is 10th of 11 pictures), but summarize the highlights here:

TEN Common Home Improvement Mistakes to Never Make Again

  1. Purchase sample-size pots of paint: light varies (day-to-day; room-to-room), so test “swatches” painted on various walls will save you from purchasing GALLONS of paint that you ultimately don’t want to use.
  2. Carpets, once installed, might look too small (or large!) for the room. Curtains, once hung, seem inches too short: measuring with a retracting metal tape measure will save you from errors, exchanges, or “must live with it” situations.
  3. Get comfortable with numbers if you’ve a garden or landscaping job in the planning. Their example: a garden path, 5-feet wide by 60-feet long (assuming a depth of two-inches), if packaged as .5 cubic feet per bag, would require 100 bags of (1 or 2-inch) rocks. Yow!
  4. Double check with the company whether something that turns out to have been ordered in an incorrect size, unloved color, or “It just doesn’t work for me,” is in fact returnable before you even make the purchase. Read the Policies when ordering online. CellularWindowShades, for instance, spells out everything you need to know about your custom-made-product‘s purchase. Don’t just click on the accept terms without reading the terms… Saves everyone a lot of grief.
  5. This one rather relates to No. 2 (measuring) and also No. 3 (doing the math): Take note of “quirky corners”, narrow passages, and especially the width of door openings. Don’t order a couch or fridge that can’t fit through the front door!
  6. Love throw pillows – but maybe don’t really need another one: Swear this purchase will be your last!
  7. Let your home’s decor speak about YOUR personality, rather than presenting it as straight out of the latest Ikea catalogue. Allow your “dream home” to represent your own vision.
  8. Cut the Clutter: Get rid of what is no longer used — whether clothes, toys, magazines. Think about donating what is still “good” — shelters, senior housing complexes, schools, library book sales, men & women in the armed services (be creative, depending on your item and its condition) might be greatful to accept items your household no longer can use. Look forward to point No. 9: Your first thought should not always be the trash can!
  9. Go Green! Recycle bottles (Vermont has had a bottle-ban for decades!), cans, paper, plastics. Don’t have curb-side pick-up?? — Bring recyclable materials to the dump. There’s only ONE environment, and we all share it.
  10. Recognize when a project is beyond your skill-level: Call the Pros, when you need to do so. For your own safety, as well as wallet.

measuring tapeA metal tape measure could be your BEST friend
==> see Nos. 2, 3, 4, and 5. provides a free and easy guide for measuring – don’t be sitting on a shade you can’t use!

Your Source for Insulating Cellular Shades

CWS offers custom-made cellular shades in both double and single cell light-filtering or blackout fabrics.

CLICK to Visit Our Online Store!

CellularWindowShades are

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