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Archive for the ‘How To’ Category

Perusing HOUZZ, this article’s very title compelled me to read it:

not my books!

The story begins with a conversation:

Years ago I was chatting with an acquaintance, and she referred to a weekly meeting she attended without naming it. I asked her what it was.

“Overreaders Anonymous,” she said.

I froze. I had no idea there was such a 12-step group, but if anyone was an overreader, I knew I was. And then my auditory memory caught up with my fervid imagination, and I realized she had actually said, “Overeaters,” and I resumed breathing.

Like author Alison Hodgson, reading is my drug of choice. I must say, in my defense, that much has been amassed over the years that interests me still: favorite authors, authoritative texts on history, fascinating biographies. For the most part, my books ARE books that I cherish and dip into, and yes, sometimes, re-read.

But what of those “lesser” books, gifts or really-wrong purchases. Why are those still in my house?!

Alison Hodgson uses a two-fold system to winnow out the duds:

Do I love it?

Will I read it again?

If your answer, over and over again, is “yes” – take a look at Houzz and get some ideas for shelves, like these:

library books

Alison has also included a “housekeeping” section to her article, as well as a link to Lisa Frederick’s article on “accessorizing with paperbacks”. (One of her thoughts: Group by color!)

If more shelves, carousels, and book nooks are not in the cards, and “downsizing” your library is a must, don’t forget to read Alison’s “4 Obstacles to Decluttering — and How to Beat Then.”

Great New “How To” Video

added to our CellularWindowShade’s YouTube channel
(remember to subscribe!)

cordloop video

This video augments our written instructions, mailed with every “Valet Kit” (2 cords per kit) order; it does not replace it. So now two great sources for Do-It-Yourselfers.

The instructions are specific to the Symphony Shade brand of window blinds, though you should be able to extrapolate the general concept, if you have some other type of cord loop shade. Give the video a look! It’s an easy in-home fix to a broken window shade.

yard-saleAt a typical YARD or GARAGE Sale, you’d expect to see what’s presented in the illustration above: clothes on a coat rack; old stereo or TV popped somewhere they fit; books and blankets in boxes. HOUZZ recently ran an informative article called “14 Ways to Make More Money at a Yard Sale — and Have Fun Too.”

Are Yard Sales fun? The one sale I held was to raise some funds from my mother’s past shopping sprees. She had gone through a love of all things SWEATER. Was it a success? yeah, we sold some clothes – but although the prices were cheap, many wanted bargain basement sale. I think I sold more to the neighbor and her sisters than anyone driving by. Were we on a busy street? – with items displayed so as to entice the casual passerby? you bet: BUT the busy street also meant people just drove on by.

Would I do it again? probably not. But then my shopping sprees are for books and we all know the one thing that sells worse at a Yard Sale than clothing: BOOKS! (see the 50-cent bargain box in the picture above!)

So it was with great interest that I read through the HOUZZ article. And you must read the comments; they are HALF THE FUN! I found myself agreeing with so many who said, After selling all day, who has energy for a party (see hints #1 & #14).

  • Hint #1 — Make it a Party, with Profits: invite the neighbors for a Block Sale.
  • Hint #2 — Embellish Your Goods: upgrade furniture with paint, or change out the knobs on Aunt Dolly’s old dresser. (Houzz writer Laura Gaskill admits that this tip may not be for everyone.)
  • Hint #3 — Think about creative ways to display your wares-for-sale: give the old cardboard boxes a miss and get folding tables, wicker baskets, or wine crates.
  • Hint #4 — Have a Sales Concept: Avid gardener: offer cuttings or plants along with Uncle Steve’s collection of pipes. Or, Maybe the kids would like to sell refreshments.
  • Hint #5 — Advertise Your Sale! (BTW, there are free and/or low cost ways to ‘advertise’.)
  • Hint #6 — Make your Garage or Lawn Festive for the Sale: Why not dig out that bunting or those lanterns or maybe just some balloons.
  • Hint #7 — Make Pricing Simple: My sweaters were all priced the same, no matter summer or winter clothes, used or never worn.
  • Hint #8 — Never forget, You will be ASKED for CHANGE and a BAG.
  • Hint #9 — Display Clothes well: – tumbled will not help you past the “jumble sale” mentality.
  • Hint #10 — Give the SMALL items their due space: Jewelry can get picked-up as well as picked-over, hanging earrings on a board or around a tea cup might keep them in their place.
  • Hint #11 — Let There Be Light: are you selling a lamp or electrical appliance; give the buyer the opportunity to try it out for him/herself. An extension cord could prove handy (but be safe: do this yourself).
  • Hint #12 — Create Vignettes: Have tableware AND flatware? — display them together — someone might want to keep them together. After all, The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon.
  • Hint #13 — End on a High Note: once all the goods and shoppers have vanished: Pick up and go home.
  • Hint #14 — Get Help! If not a Block Sale, then get others to pitch in — especially if you’ve items left over and face having to bring in what you’ve brought out.

As mentioned, the comments are useful too. I especially like the one that mentions Carolyne Roehm: she gave profits to Charity. Another comment brought up the website Freecycle.org.

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.

CellularWindowShades.com provides a free and easy guide for measuring – don’t be sitting on a shade you can’t use!

Over the past few months, I’ve been “pinning” to the CellularWindowShades.com Pinterest Boards – rooms, dilemmas, to-die-for purchases, oh-so-calming garden shots and much more. I must have indicated a liking for food — once I’ve logged in, all these CUPCAKE items pop into view:

peacock cupcake

They’re cute, but I don’t bake a lot… though our head of Production does, par excellence! Small quibbles! The boards CWS has are mainly house-related, dream decor; some gardens; some travel; and just a hint of *FUN*.

So for today’s post, I thought I’d whet the appetite of those who haven’t visited our Pinterest boards.

A recent addition is this lovely living room – the stone fireplace surround is very special, but look at the balance of the room as a whole. The ceiling interest is so different from the plain, flat walls that typically are found in a room that has such ceiling height. And all that natural light.

pinterest_living room(see a larger image: just click!)

You will ALWAYS see something book-related, because I live, eat, and breath books:

circular library(see a larger image: just click!)

We also have posted some of our “graphic” images dealing with heat transference, and thermographic evidence showing how cellular shades can save you money while increasing your comfort:

thermophotos(see a larger image: just click!)

We’ve pinned some “How To’s,” as well as some “Just for Fun” images:

chippy

We invite you to “set a spell” and “y’all come back, now”. Fresh pins and posts!

bed in snow

This “fluffy” bedroom looks oh-so-cozy. . . With ONE exception: those gaping windows looking out to the snowy landscape. Brrr. . . This couple will NEED that down-filled duvet!

Cellular window shades are made expressly for blocking the cold that seeps through windows. Instead of turning an uncomfortable room into a grab for the thermostat or the thickest hand-knitted wool sweater, a set of cellular shades, pulled down over those cold windows will stop drafts, increase comfort, and save mega $$$ over the years. And HOUZZ agrees, placing cellular shades on their list of the top 9 Ways to Insulate Your Windows and Doors:

  • Weatherstripping and caulking: plug those air leaks!
  • Heavier curtains: swap out those summer sheers.
  • Doorway curtains: glass doors are just begging to be behind a velvet curtain at night.
  • Cellular shades: those “honeycombs” trap pockets of air – thereby adding to the insulating abilities of these shades. Houzz writer Laura Gaskill comments that they insulate “like a puffy down quilt“. How so very true. Models available for windows, arches, skylights, doors, and even sliders.

doubleLF

  • Layered window treatments: dress up your windows: shades and curtains.
  • Use draft-dodgers and door snakes.
  • Insulating Energy film for windows.
  • Install storm windows and storm doors.
  • Exterior “barn doors”: moving external “shutters” for glass doors and sidelights.

Easy “green” in more ways than one:
Easy for the environment and easy on your pocketbook.

louis


CellularWindowShades.com

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!

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