Garlic Grater And Oil Dipping Dish

Garlic Grater- this is a small flared dish with high sides, spout, and a rough, textured bottom. Take whole garlic cloves and rub them on the bottom of the dish to grate, adding some olive oil and herbs for dipping.

Garlic Grater And Oil Dipping Dish. Pottery is one of the most prolific crafts in Asheville, NC, and the western part of the state in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The artistic community, abundance of raw material, and craft tradition draws artists to the area. Birdfoot Ridge Studio from just north of town produces a wide range of pottery, from hand painted tableware to a Zen collection. Here are some of the more unique designs we have seen in the Asheville area:

Brie Baker- this shallow round piece with small handles fits a 5-6″ wheel of brie and bakes right in the pot. He suggests adding some Jack Daniels, brown sugar, and sliced almonds before baking in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Serve right in the pot, perhaps accompanied with another little nip of the Jack.

Garlic Grater- this is a small flared dish with high sides, spout, and a rough, textured bottom. Take whole garlic cloves and rub them on the bottom of the dish to grate, adding some olive oil and herbs for dipping. Either dip right out of the pot or pour into another dish. Why not save that other dish for something else?

Pillow Pot- here is a pillow shaped pot with three holes on the top for putting a flower in. It holds water if necessary and adds a nice touch to your table setting.. Comes in a variety of colors, some with hand painted images.

Bread Baker- Good thick stoneware is perfect for baking. It conducts and holds heat very well, which is why clay ovens bake the best pizza’s. This bread baker creates a nice crust on top and a softer bottom. With this clay bread baker you can rise, bake, and serve your bread in the same pot.

Egg Scrambler- A small dish you rub with oil, crack your eggs in, and scramble them with seasonings and whatever creative additions you like. Microwave for 30-45 seconds and away you go. Great for a bachelor. Who knew you could microwave eggs?

Ikebana vases

Birdfoot Ridge Studio also produces a Zen collection which includes a variety of Ikebana style vases, bamboo sconces, and water features.

The ikebana is a Japanese style of flower arranging that focuses on clean lines and simple forms instead of the traditional bunching up of flowers that we see in a normal western arrangements. In the ikebana style, the structure holding the plant has as much emphasis as the flowers, so choose your vase with care.

It’s a refreshing minimalist take on flower arrangement and its enjoyable to let your imagination flow with each placement. With less to work with, arranging an ikebana takes focus and keeps you in the present moment, as a form of meditation. Almost anything can be used for an Ikebana arrangement: Experiment with sticks, grasses, and leaves in addition to flowers.

The Ikebana vases from Birdfood Ridge have a minimalist, dark glaze and designs inspired by nature. They range from simple arrangers to bigger pieces that can be used as an oil lamp or to hold water for flowers.

Lee Davis from Birdfoot Ridge Studio has been producing crafts in Asheville for over 30 years, and has taught two generations of potters. His work can be seen at the Southern Highland Craft Fair, which happens twice a year in the spring and fall, or at local galleries in downtown Asheville, NC. He also participates in the Weaverville, NC studio tour, where he opens up his studio to the public.

Crafts in Asheville from Van Dyke Jewelry and Fine Craft.

You can see some of the latest work from Birdfoot Ridge Studio on our Squidoo Lens:

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Floor Finishes Plan

Floor Finishes Plan. If you are going to have a hardwood floor in your home you’re going to want something that is going to be long lasting and look great for as long as possible.

Floor Finishes Plan. If you are going to have a hardwood floor in your home you’re going to want something that is going to be long lasting and look great for as long as possible. There is nothing quite like a real hardwood floor for getting that ultimate warmth and appeal that so many people want in their homes today. But the whole process needs to be planned carefully – and that includes the finish you opt for.

What finishes do I have to choose from?

Well there are two basic finishes you should know about to begin with. The first one is called a surface finish. This is basically exactly what it sounds like – it effectively sits on the surface of the floor and provides protection against everything and everyone that knocks it; falls on it or walks over it.

The second type of hardwood floor finish you’ll come across is called a penetrating finish. Once again this is pretty self explanatory; the idea is to apply a finish that actually penetrates into the wood instead of sitting right on top of it.

Is one better than the other?

It all depends on what you want. But knowing the essential difference in the way the two treatments perform is good if you want to make an educated decision on the type of floor finish you want to go for.

The clue lies in the name of the treatment. A surface finish will sit right on top of the wood. It will act as a barrier between your feet as you walk over the floor and the floor itself. It may only be a thin barrier but it will protect the wood and keep it looking divine for a long time to come.

In contrast, if you go for a penetrating wood finish the treatment will penetrate into the wood instead of sitting on it. In this case you will be walking on the floor itself and not on the floor finish. Over time you can therefore expect the floor to start wearing down, because the treatment has become a part of it instead of acting as a barrier.

Which should I choose?

It could depend on the finish and the look you want to achieve. The penetrating treatments are arguably more natural than the surface ones. But then if you spill a glass of, say, red wine on your surface treated floor, you’ll be able to mop it up. If you do the same on a floor that has been treated with a penetrating treatment, the floor will likely mop it up instead!

On the other hand you can sand down and refinish areas of a penetrated wood finish if need be. It all depends on what you want to do and sometimes it could depend on the way you use your home. If you have kids for example you might enjoy the additional protection offered by surface treatments for your hardwood floor. Consider all the options before you decide.

Tadas Wood Flooring Inc. is dedicated to high quality restoration work with all of the wood floor refinishing Naperville projects it takes on. We have successfully completed hundreds of wood floor restoration projects and have many happy customers to vouch for our top quality work.

Visit us online at our Naperville hardwood floor refinishing website to view our photos and read a report we have prepared for you called “How To Choose a Hardwood Floor Finish.” It goes into much more detail about choosing from among the different types of finishes available.

We’d be pleased to answer any hardwood floor refinishing questions you may have in the Naperville and surrounding Chicago area.

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Egyptian Decorating Ideas

Egyptian Decorating Ideas. Ancient Egypt is a mysterious world, which seems very alien to our modern sensibilities. Divided from us by several millennia, it involved

Egyptian Decorating Ideas. Ancient Egypt is a mysterious world, which seems very alien to our modern sensibilities. Divided from us by several millennia, it involved a completely different way of life than the one we are used to living today. However, the people who lived in, and created that world, were very similar to the people walking the earth today, their thoughts, and feelings, and emotions were all just as important to them, they just spoke a different language, and expressed themselves in different ways.

This mystery can be quite enchanting, and is part of the reason why so many are interested in incorporating ancient Egyptian decorative items into their homes.

When trying to create an ancient Egyptian atmosphere, the first place you should start is with color. Egypt is dominated by its dessert location, and so sand colored tones should dominate your space. Soft yellows, mixed with gold and sunset tones, can blend together to create a sense of the endless dessert sands. Accent this with a variety of powerful red hues to add interest to the scheme.

Netting, palm tree décor, and the use of fountains can serve to create a decorative oasis in your sandy colored palace. The use of rich colors, and lavish accessories is another way to create a sense of luxury, which will contrast the harsh unyielding dessert colors.

The way to really complete the Egyptian decorative scheme is to sue reproduction and antique objects from ancient Egyptian culture. The most common objects will be statues of mummies, or various other items involved with the mummification process, although you can also find a variety of obelisks and pyramids which will work just as well.

If you would like to read more about ancient Egyptian decorating and décor, you can visit PebbleZ, the webs fastest growing resource for home décor and decorating information, as well as unique and unusual decorative accessories.

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Antique Floor Safe On Wheels

Antique Floor Safe On Wheels. If you have never had the opportunity to shop for a safe and now have a reason to you will be surprised on the various styles and designs that are available for you to select from and their uses.

Antique Floor Safe On Wheels. If you have never had the opportunity to shop for a safe and now have a reason to you will be surprised on the various styles and designs that are available for you to select from and their uses. They are not ugly by long shot and if you need a large one that can handle rifles and pistols and also some ammunition and some important papers then you could get one that has a spinning wheel which is always a conversation piece if they are in your garage and others happen to see it. They are too big and heavy to pick up and carry so one you put it in place then make it part of the decor in the “man cave” and put shelves around it. Depending on he often you use it you may even put a small work bench in it.

There are several things that you can use a safe for it does not necessarily need to be used for guns. You could use it to store your jewelry, small antique items from your family and important papers like wills or birth certificates and passports. Insurance policies and titles for either your cars or home would be something to store in a safe. There are several styles of safes too, you could select a wall safe that would easily fit inside your closet installed in the wall, and they have safes that you can install in your floor. There are all sizes available so when you are ready to look for one be open minded about what is available and keep in mind the things you want to use it for and where it will go in your home.

At many of the stores whether they are local or on-line there are customer service representatives that will be happy to help you locate what you need or make suggestions on the best option for your current needs. Safes are not something that you purchase every year so you may want to consider it an investment and spent a little extra for a good one. On-line companies have shipping available and your safe would arrive quickly so protect yourself and your family and consider a safe for the home.

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6×10 Bathroom Design

6×10 Bathroom Design. The bathroom has come along way in the past one hundred years. Once just a basic tub set in front of the living room fire and filled with buckets of water, the bathing experience is now a luxury in almost every western home. Back then, a “bathroom” was something only the wealthy and privileged could afford to have in their house. It was this trend which lead to the mass production of bathroom products.

6×10 Bathroom Design. The bathroom has come along way in the past one hundred years. Once just a basic tub set in front of the living room fire and filled with buckets of water, the bathing experience is now a luxury in almost every western home. Back then, a “bathroom” was something only the wealthy and privileged could afford to have in their house. It was this trend which lead to the mass production of bathroom products.

The Edwardian and Victorian styles of the time are still a popular choice today. They look exquisite in a villa or cottage bathroom, and never loose their appeal in terms of design.

Today, thanks to advanced plumbing and modern technology, the bathroom may well have evolved as far as it can. With luxury steam rooms and hydrotherapy baths, it’s difficult to imagine how bathrooms could get any more sophisticated. That said, the bathroom, like any room in the house, is ever changing in terms of design trends.

Here we look at the five most popular styles of bathroom designs. Traditional, Country, Shabby chic, Contemporary and Fantasy.


The Traditional bathroom can mean either traditional in terms of Edwardian or Victorian style, or in respect to a standard white bathroom with basic sanitary ware and bath. Here, we’ll be looking at the style of bathroom design where it all started. The Edwardian bathroom.

Over the past decade, with the popularity of TV shows like Changing Rooms, the trend for old-fashioned bathrooms has seen a real upsurge. A rare gem of an old slipper bath or rusty traditional faucet may be found at a scrap yard or in a skip, but thankfully manufacturers are keeping up with demand with skillfully crafted traditional bathroom products.

Certain rooms only work in certain houses, so if you’re living in a modern high rise apartment the traditional bathroom isn’t going to work for you. If you have an old cottage or villa retreat this style of bathroom is one you should definitely consider.

Almost always, the bath is the centre piece attraction of the traditional bathroom. A free-standing roll-top or slipper bath sits proudly on a dark polished floor, and only if going for a traditional continental style bathroom will an inset or sunken tub hold appeal. Either a wall-mounted faucet or a free-standing one looks classy. Deep ridges and curved angles are what makes the traditional sanitary ware what it is – bold and masculine.

When decorating a traditional bathroom both soft tones and bold colours can work well. Strong tones of browns, maroons and greens give a nice warmth to the room, but be sure the bathroom is well lit, maybe with a lavish chandelier. With the right colours, antique gold can look better than chrome. Go for curtains, never blinds. If going for a vanity unit rather than a traditional basin and pedestal, choose an oak or cherry finish; or the white Cynk vanity unit is a good look with traditional baths and toilets.

One of the most appealing things about the traditional bathroom is clutter gives it more of a lived-in effect, thus enhancing the traditional look. Don’t be afraid to put plenty of pictures on the walls – black and white family portraits in gold frames are a good look. A chest of drawers or corner table with scented candles, aromatherapy oils or flowers will really bring the room to life. As a finishing touch an old style set of weighing scales, a large framed mirror or bulky traditional radiator will give the room that cozy old-fashioned feel.


The country style bathroom is perhaps the easiest type of design to create, and like the traditional bathroom only really works well within the right house. The classic country look is best associated with floral wallpaper, high beams, basin frills and a bath canopy. Following the traditional design, cast iron baths and deep ridged sanitary ware are what gives the country bathroom its nostalgic look.

Check, floral or plaid curtains are preferred over roller blinds, and shutters, though rare in England, offer a great form of privacy as well as adding to the country effect. Wood plays a big part in this look, and almost all furniture works well in this setting, especially beech, maple, ash and oak vanity units and cabinets.

Either tiles or wooden floors can be used. Tiles should be a rustic colour, and can be used to create elaborate mosaics. Wooden floors should be varnished to match the furniture. Decorating may see a stenciled motif used as a border, and the technique of rubbing paint on the walls with a sponge gives the room that worn natural look.

Toilets with high level cisterns and pull chains are very rare these days, but a must have for the country bathroom, as are traditional taps for the bath and basin. Just about any kind of free-standing bath will suit the country bathroom. If wishing to have a shower a tiled walk-in shower is the advisable option with a curtain to conceal the area.

For the final touch add wicker baskets filled with pot pouri, wire basket shelves and stylish wall lamps.

Shabby Chic

“Shabby chic”, a relatively new phrase used to describe room designs, is an obscure blend of neglect and style. It is one of the most difficult bathroom designs to create, and it takes a bold decision to go for this bathroom style. It almost certainly achieves its full potential in a continental house, either a French chateau or old Spanish villa.

The absolute opposite of a fitted bathroom, the shabby chic look is a mismatch of styles and products. You can even do the unexpected, like put a put a refrigerator in the corner. Nothing is expected to match and pipework and plumbing are on show rather than concealed. This style is best suited to those who have inherited a bathroom and want to update it a little rather than fork out on a brand new bathroom suite.

The key to decoration is neutral tones with a few dark colors. For the walls choose a matte or flat wall paint. Pale golds and yellows work particularly well as does floral or check patterned wallpaper.

As with the country and traditional bathrooms, cast iron baths are a must. Either a roll-top or slipper bath will do, and although you don’t want holes or rust, the more dilapidated it looks the better. Even consider running sandpaper over the paint work and claw feet. It’s always worth looking out for old fittings at antique shops and car boot sales.

Counter top basins are highly recommended in this setting, and the look out for extremely unusual decorated designs. Place it on a washstand or run-down vanity unit. Add unique ornaments and antique framed mirrors.


Modern bathrooms are all about what you do with the space you have. Within many bathrooms there is little room to work with, so making the most of the space is essential. This is why fitted bathroom suites are now so popular. Having bathroom furniture made to measure is one of the most practical design solutions when remodeling the bathroom.

How many of us have had a bathroom with a cluttered airing cupboard? With the modern bathroom there’s no need to cram your toiletries, towels and cleaning fluids around the boiler. With fitted vanity units, storage units and cabinets you’ll have all the space you need.

When examining modern bathroom design, wall-hung furniture has to get a mention. White gloss will never go out of fashion, but more recently furniture finishes such as wenge, beech and maple have made a real emergence in popularity.

As well as the furniture, wall-hung sanitary ware is a great space-saving solution while giving the bathroom a contemporary feel. Also, concealed cistern units are a more eye-pleasing look than the standard close-coupled toilet.

Showerbaths are a great practical way of optimizing the space, so that you have the comfort of both bathing and showering. Walk-in showers are also very popular in the modern bathroom, and if buying a shower enclosure for the modern bathroom choose one with a chrome structure over white.

Chrome and stainless steel are the ultimate choice in the modern bathroom, and taps and bath mixers are available in a number of contemporary designs, rather than the traditional style faucets. Also, choose chrome towel rails over standard white radiators, as well as matching chrome accessories..

Don’t be afraid to decorate with bold colours when tiling or painting, getting the contrast right with the chrome and the gloss. If using curtains be subtle with the designs and colours, but preferably go for stylish roller blinds.


Daring to be anything more than conventional, the fantasy bathroom design lets you be truly innovative with your fantasies and tastes. With the emphasis on futuristic, this style of bathroom is the antithesis of the traditionalist.

The fantasy design is ideally exclusive to only larger bathrooms, as with all futuristic interior design large open spaces are what brings the room together. Steam cabins and whirlpool baths are the ideal choice for showering and bathing. Or combine the two will a well designed bath screen and a glass shower panel. Because of their minimal effect, Walk-in showers also work well with modern tiling, chrome shower fixtures and classy shower lighting.

For the sanitary ware go with wall-hung or standard close-coupled toilet and basin with pedestal with acute angles and a contemporary design. Abstract towel rails and wenge wall-hung furniture fit well in the fantasy bathroom, giving it that calm almost surreal look.

The ultimate luxury in a fantasy bathroom would have to be a waterproof TV. You could even think of doubling the bathroom up as gym, complete with exercise bike and rowing machine.

Ornaments should be unobtrusive, so choose things like small piles of pebbles and modern wall prints over candles and nick-nacks.

Written on behalf of Bathroom vanities 4U []

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3d Painted Bathroom Floors

3d Painted Bathroom Floors. If you are interested in freshening up an old bathroom floor, painting the bathroom tile may be all you need to get the job done right. Just about any type of ceramic tile can be painted, so this makes for a fairly easy project under any budget.

3d Painted Bathroom Floors. If you are interested in freshening up an old bathroom floor, painting the bathroom tile may be all you need to get the job done right. Just about any type of ceramic tile can be painted, so this makes for a fairly easy project under any budget. Painting ceramic tile is straightforward and simple and avoids the need of having to deal with the messy project of retiling. Still, homeowners are often hesitant to paint tile because for fear that it may chip or not hold up well. While it’s true that there are some added difficulties when painting bathroom tile, this project is one that can transform your bathroom when done correctly.

First off, it’s important to know that not all areas are ideal for painting. If your floors are subject to getting wet all the time, paint may not be the best option. Since the bathroom is one of those rooms that can’t help getting wet, consider what bathroom in the home you’re choosing to do this in. Kids’ bathrooms are hard to maintain, while a master bathroom can utilize bath mats and towels to keep the flooring dry. Powder or guest bathrooms should be fairly easy to maintain, as they are not used on a regular basis. Why is it important to assess how wet the tile will get? Areas that are continuously exposed are subject to having the paint peel off. Instead, a professional can come out and paint these areas.

When you have decided which tile you will be painting, your first job is to get rid of the shiny, high gloss surface that paint simply won’t stick to. Start by cleaning the tile with a commercial cleaner that has a mild abrasive. This will get the tiles sparkling clean, while eliminating some of the shine. Also take care of any broken tiles or grouting issues at this time, as you don’t want to paint over problem areas. Next, use a hand or orbital sander and finish getting off the rest of the shine so that the floors are completely sanded. Then clean off the debris and you have a carefully sanded floor that is ready to be painted.

Start your painting job by using a high adhesion primer that is of excellent quality. Then paint over using a latex or oil-based paint. While oil is messier and takes longer to dry, many professionals are happier with the soft texture and durability left behind by oil-based paints, in place of rubbery latex ones. Finally, add an oil-based semi-gloss or high-gloss alkyd for your top coat and be sure to paint several layers instead of one thick one.

You can learn about bathroom tile design ideas [], and get more information and resources about bathroom tiles at Bathroom Tile Ideas []

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Frozen Bedroom Accessories

Frozen Bedroom Accessories. How many times have you stood at the supermarket checkout counter and gazed at the allure of the magazines staring back at you? They tempt with their promises of fast easy tips to help us make a more beautiful home, cook the perfect meal, organize our lives…you get the point!

Frozen Bedroom Accessories. How many times have you stood at the supermarket checkout counter and gazed at the allure of the magazines staring back at you? They tempt with their promises of fast easy tips to help us make a more beautiful home, cook the perfect meal, organize our lives…you get the point!

Why am I giving these tips for decorating success away for free? The internet is a fabulous thing indeed; founded on the spirit of shared information. I could never find time to visit personally all of the people I’d like to so in keeping with the original intent of the web, I’ve decided to share my experience and training with everyone who reads these pages. You see, I’m on a mission to help as many people as possible create happy, warm and inviting home environments through beautiful decorating. I visit so many homes where folks are just plain afraid to let their inner desires open up. Or, often my clients are so overwhelmed by the number of options that they experience “analysis paralysis”…they wind up doing nothing (but wishing they had).

I’ve experienced the fun of decorating; it doesn’t have to be stressful or difficult. I also know that if I can give you a set of tools that assures success, that you may want to travel further into the world of decorating. It’s my hope that when you do, you’ll call me up and ask me to come along for the ride! OK, enough of the blather, let’s get to the matter at hand:

…*wait, I know I said let’s get down to it but one more thing…beauty is important to all of us, but if the room doesn’t serve the needs of the people who use it, then all the beauty of the universe is for naught…

1) Function First- Keep in mind the type of activity which takes place in the room. A bedroom shouldn’t be treated in the same way as a foyer…certain treatments are appropriate for certain spaces. There are generally two types of spaces in a home, relaxation spaces and task oriented spaces. Places where things happen such as kitchens and bathrooms demand brighter lighting and more dynamic design. They are up-beat spaces. Bedrooms, family rooms and libraries are quiet spaces with focused lighting; they should induce a restful feeling. Offering a home environment which is dynamic (that is; has a range of experiences within) is rich and fulfilling. Treating many rooms in the same way results in a big bowl of oatmeal…maybe it’s good for you but no one wants to have it every day.

2) Make it Personal – I don’t mean that you should post every family photograph or display every trophy you’ve won; instead I’m saying that the room should reflect your personal style and tastes. Don’t be afraid to mix styles or worry if a piece of art goes with your wall color. If you like it, use it…even if it’s a velvet painting of Elvis, if it reflects your style and you can incorporate it into the rest of the room, go for it.! Don’t worry about being “busy”. Busy happens when there are too many focal points in a room. This is usually the result of imbalance and the incorrect use of scale, i.e. lots of little things scattered about the room.

One of my friends collects mirrors and he has a whole wall of them in his house. A client of mine loves ceramics and has some very interesting table lamps which are family hand-me-downs along with some objets she has collected along the way.

Don’t know what your style is? Here’s a simple way to get a handle on it…Get a folder and place into it any picture from a magazine that you are attracted to. Don’t look for things which you think go together, instead just keep this folder as a sort of fantasy wish list. Collect lots and lots of pictures. Then one rainy day, go through the folder and look for themes which seem to emerge. After looking at all your pictures, I think that it will be clear which 
types of things and/or styles you seem to be attracted to.

3) Layer Your Textures – For years, we’ve listed to the fashion experts tell us to layer our fragrances…that it’s the way to get them to last longer. Well your rooms are like that too, if you introduce many layers of texture, you will want to linger in the space longer and more frequently. Humans are tactilely oriented beings, we derive most of our comfort in a space through the use of surfaces which are nice to handle.

Do this experiment; the next time you’re in a furniture showroom watch the people who walk through the store. Every single person will at some point run their hands over many objects in the displays. It’s just what we do!

The trend today is for simpler paired down interiors. Especially important for rooms decorated in this way is to have many types of fabrics, rugs, carpeting, wood, stone, tile, pillows, leather, pebbles under candles, etc. These things don’t have to be colorful, just interesting and varied in scale.

4) Layer your Lighting- Too many spaces today have a bank of recessed lighting which functions as the main or only lighting in a space. Better than the builder’s ceiling fixture in most cases, recessed lighting can perform well but it cannot be expected to take care of all of the lighting needs in a room. In a space there should be ambient lighting (overall even lighting), task lighting (concentrated light for direct functioning) and accent lighting (concentrated beams directed at focal points and/or hidden plighting creating cast shadows and drama) For instance, the ever popular family room which often serves many purposes…there’s the TV and gaming, reading and/or hobbies, and family activities. Each one of these requires a different kind of lighting. Lighting is a decorator’s tool just as valid as paint or fabric. Because light is not a tangible object, most folks don’t give it a thought as a decorative means of expression. However it is very real and exerts a profound effect on a space

5) Want a True Decorator Look? Don’t Match…Coordinate Instead!-

Here’s where I can see the beads of sweat appearing on your upper lip…”matching is so easy” you say, and many fabric and wallpaper houses make it so. But it usually results in a room which lacks interest. This is how you can easily coordinate with color/texture but not be a slave to matching. Choose your basic color theme, red, blue, etc. Then choose variations on that color, the more the merrier. Two colors of blue which don’t quite match look a bit odd, add a third and they are better, add a fourth and fifth and now they become an ensemble. In fact, using color in this analogous way is fun and stress free…just make sure that the colors have the same “feel”. For instance, if you choose very muted blues, it may be difficult to place a pure sky blue in there. Conversely, if you are using all seashore and sky blues, then a dark navy will look out of place. Your eye won’t lie to you and you’ll know right away when it isn’t right. Most of all, have fun with this.

6) Paint your ceiling – a decorator’s secret which until recently has been one of the mainstays of the trade is to paint your ceiling a shade other than ceiling white. What’s wrong with ceiling white? Ceiling white is pure titanium oxide, that’s the mineral which makes white paint white and gives it its opacity. It is however a very cold white, leaning towards being blue in nature. Since ceilings are designed to reflect light back into your space, why would you want a cold blue light casting a tone on everything? It’s amazing how far from ceiling white you can stray and still have the ceiling appear as if it is indeed white. It all has to do with the relationships of colors in your room, the way light enters a space and your mind’s desire to expect a white ceiling. One of my clients has a raspberry red dining room and a dusty blue ceiling…it works! A soft bone white will generally create a lovely warm feeling in a room which everyone will notice but no one will know why. It will become a favored room in the house which people love to be in because it makes them feel good. Decorators know how to make you feel good in spaces, it’s our job!

7) Restraint or “Less is More” – We’ve all heard that less is more and usually this is true. My mother gave me some of the best advice ever when I was small, she said, “don’t’ tell everyone everything you know”. Applied to decorating this is also valid. Everyone who looks at any sort of art, (and your interiors are a work of art) needs to feel as if they have had some dialogue with the object or space. In order to have a dialogue there has to be a give and a take. If the room is dictating to us (telling us what to think because everything matches to a tee) then there’s no chance for that dialogue to develop. Good artists know that they have to leave a work just a bit unfinished or understated so that the viewer can experience their own reality with it. Important to remember too is that we are creating spaces which people live in, not museum rooms. A museum is static and reflects a frozen moment in time. Living spaces need to be dynamic and adaptable for those various individuals which live in them.

Gosh knows I could go on and on about my passion for decorating but I’ll stop here for the time being. Instead of focusing on the elements of decorating such as furniture, paint or accessories, this set of tips used as a template will give you a strong foundation ensuring success without stress.

Beverly Ferguson is an ASID Alled Member interior designer with a practice in Metro West Boston, SE New England and The Cape and Islands. She is a full-service designer specializing in window fashions. Beverly is a color expert with over 30 years of practical experience. Beverly shares her knowledge of design with the community at large through writing and teaching…she is a faculty member at The Rhode Island School of Design. Visit Beverly’s website at

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File Cabinet Smoker

File Cabinet Smoker. If you live in a very cold, northern area of the country, using your Bradley BTIS1 Food Smoker has its benefits and challenges. We’ll be talking about them in this article.

File Cabinet Smoker. If you live in a very cold, northern area of the country, using your Bradley BTIS1 Food Smoker has its benefits and challenges. We’ll be talking about them in this article.

Some of you reading this article live in the frigid mid-west states or the northeast part of our country and want to enjoy the great taste of smoked meats and fish in the wintertime, too. Will the near zero and sub-zero temperatures affect the smoking process of your Bradley BTIS1 Food Smoker?

As long as you keep your smoker cabinet out of the blasting wind, your smoker will work just fine outdoors in the winter. Many users have used thermal blankets of various kinds to keep the internal temperature of the smoker more constant. Bradley has a blanket already designed for your smoker, and others have used material such as wraps for water heaters and have found them to work just fine as well.

Cold cooking in the winter, of course, is easier, too, as the outside temperature will keep the cabinet cool, but you just have to make sure that the internal temperature is not too cool. Again, if your cabinet is kept out of the wind, you have more ability to control the internal temperature.

Bradley has understood how people want to enjoy their smoked foods all year long and they have designed their smoker to adapt to all extremes in the weather elements since the smoker is an outdoor smoker. So, take the steps mentioned in this article. Again, keep the smoker out of the direct blasts of wind in the winter, use a wrap around the cabinet if your temperatures drop severely low in the winter, and enjoy both cold and warm smoking and cooking all year round.

More and more people are getting to be great “surfers” of the web and are very comfortable with ordering products online. The products get delivered right to your door in, many times, a day or two, which is great when you are anxious to get your hands on your new smoker.

But the researching part of it may be a time-consuming chore for you. If so, let us do that part for you and let you know where you can find the best deals for your Bradley BTIS1 Food Smoker, too.

An alternative to you taking the time to do the research is to click here at Bradley Smokers On Sale. You will find the most reliable shopping with the best prices for your Bradley BTIS1 Food Smoker.

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Costco Laminate Flooring Sale

Costco Laminate Flooring Sale. Did you ever say to yourself when you’re about to make a large purchase: “Wow…I only wish I had knowledge of what I am buying like these people who are trying to sell me this stuff.” After reading this report, you will have that knowledge when it comes to hardwood or laminate flooring.

Costco Laminate Flooring Sale. Did you ever say to yourself when you’re about to make a large purchase: “Wow…I only wish I had knowledge of what I am buying like these people who are trying to sell me this stuff.” After reading this report, you will have that knowledge when it comes to hardwood or laminate flooring. I am going to explain to you how to correctly purchase hardwood and/or laminate flooring. I have been in different businesses for over 30 years, and I have been in the flooring business for over 15 years. I find many people approach their flooring purchases incorrectly, therefore costing them lots of money; and at times, customers will buy inferior products from inferior merchants. This report will list 10 Topics that you need to read and understand. After doing so, you will be prepared to make that perfect hard surface flooring purchase and have the peace of mind that you approached your purchase just like an expert.

1. Use the internet for research. Whether hardwood or laminate flooring, I like to browse the internet for styles that appeal to me. I also use the flooring forum or other forums to ask others what products they seem to be having success or difficulties with. You can also go to to see if there are many major complaints with the products you are considering. Check out the reviews of the box stores on while you’re at it. I do not recommend purchasing flooring products via the internet. One reason for this is that many of the manufacturers will not warrant products from internet purchases. Also, should you have a problem with your floor, it will be difficult to get any type of representation to solve your issue. Another major issue is damage caused from third-party shippers. There’s nothing worse than making a purchase, only to find damage and have to remedy it through the internet store. Finally, it normally does not save you money to purchase through the internet. When you factor shipping into the cost, many times a better buy can be made from a local independent retailer that has great buying power. I will explain later in the report the right things to mention when buying at a local retail store to bring your cost down.

2. Take samples home. I strongly recommend visiting a good local retail store to ask their opinions on products. Those that are of interest to you and seem to be in your budget need to be signed out and taken home to be viewed in both natural and artificial light and in the surroundings where the product will be installed. Independent stores will show the products under the actual true manufacturer label making it much easier to comparison shop. Buying groups such as Carpet One, Flooring America, Abbey, Floors to Go, and the big box stores have most of their products privately labeled, making it nearly impossible to comparison shop. This is done for obvious reasons.

3. Ask for a bottom line price. The best thing you can do is mention that you will not be making a decision that day and that you are checking prices. Mention that you are not the type of person to bounce back and forth and that you would like their bottom line price right from the start. The worst thing that you can do as a consumer is state that you will only buy from that store. That will cost you money as it assures the store you are not shopping, and flooring is a competitive business.

4. Cash and carry vs. installed purchase. This is always a tough one because a flooring product is only as good as the installation. I have seen a lot of want to-be independent installers out there that can ruin a laminate or hardwood job. Most carpet installers are not carpenters, but many do pretend to be. It is rare to find an installer that can do it all. As a matter of fact, I have yet to find one. Many are top notch at some types of flooring, but not others. So when you hire a friend of a friend, or someone working under their own shingle, are you guaranteed the type of installation you expect? Also, when using a moonlighting installer, you should be paying no more than 50-60% of the prevailing rate of the independent retailer installation rate. I have seen moonlighting installers charge half again as much for an installation than the customer could have gotten from a flooring store. When you have the flooring store install the product, there will be no finger-pointing should there ever be an issue. There are so many different complications that can happen after an installation, and if you are dealing with a rock solid independent retail store, you have protection. In my opinion, there needs to be significant savings for you when you cash and carry a product. If you have the ability to install on your own, then there is normally a substantial savings realized and I say go for it. If not, let the experts do it.

5. How to determine if the store knows its stuff. Just how do you know if a store knows what it’s doing? There are a few things that you need to look for. First of all, if you are looking for the independent retailer to install the product for you, they must come to the job site and measure for you. Diagrams just don’t cut it and a good store knows that a 3-D viewing of the job is the only way to finalize a price. Notice how much attention the store pays to transitions between rooms in your home. Are they going to undercut door casings? It is a must. Are they going to pull baseboards or use rounds? Baseboard pulling makes the floor look like the house was built on top of the floor and that is what you want. Depending on the type of baseboard you have, rounds are sometimes necessary, but it should always be discussed. Notice the amount of perimeter detail the measuring technician is noting. If it is just a diagram drawn with no discussion, that’s not good enough. Look for another store. You’ll immediately notice the difference between stores just by watching the approach taken by the measurer. An expert will be in total control and will ask you all the right questions and discuss the project with you. Is the store going to document who is doing what and who isn’t? There will also be certain job preparation issues that will need to be discussed, such as moving appliances, toilets, furnishings, tearing out of existing flooring, etc. These items need to be decided and should be listed and signed by both parties so that there is no confusion. Moonlight installers tend to put all the little detailed preparation directly on the consumer or they charge you extra for it. Alternately, many times the prep will be included in the retailer installation package.

6. What to look for in a laminate floor. I believe this can be answered pretty simply. Make sure the product has the styling that you like and falls in your budget. All laminates today perform extremely well regardless of price. Retail stores do carry many laminate products and I believe each one will perform as well as any. High- or low-priced, they will perform about the same. The technology today is superior to the laminates of even 5 years ago. Most of the old chip board core laminates from 10 years ago or longer look like the day they were installed. Gone are the old glue-together products, and now with the drop and lock technologies, joint separation is pretty much nonexistent. The biggest difference I see in pricing of products is that manufacturers extend the warranties and make more realistic looks in the higher-priced products. Performance will be very similar between all the products. The number one enemy of a laminate floor is water. If the laminate is going to get wet, pick another floor. I also get concerned with some of these high shine laminate floors. My company has seen some issues in that they will (not surprisingly) show abrasions to the finish much quicker than a lower luster finish. If it were my home, I would only use a high shine product in an area that gets minimal wear. I have seen some pretty flimsy laminates at big box stores and buying clubs. These laminates are not really any less expensive and are really flimsy when holding them. I believe they are products made especially for these stores, and really are no less costly. One trick of these stores is to put a low amount of square footage in each box, which makes the cost appear less. Always do your math and compare apples to apples.

7. What to look for in hardwood flooring. The popular product today is hardwood flooring. It is making a gigantic comeback and everyone wants to jump on the hardwood band wagon. In our region, it seems everyone wants solid hardwood flooring. Let’s talk about solid wood. Solid wood is great as long as you have a fairly constant humidity level in your home and the wood is going to be installed above grade. If your home has large fluctuations in humidity levels, then you may want to consider an engineered hardwood floor. An engineered hardwood is a hardwood floor that has plies or turned layers of material in-between a top and bottom layer of the species that you are selecting. This gives the product more stability to changing climate conditions. This type of floor is normally required for on or below grade applications. Engineered flooring is generally a little more price-friendly as the tree specie requirement is less to make the product. A concern with an engineered floor is what the inner core plies are made of. Be sure to ask and make sure a hardwood or hard material is used to create the inner ply as a soft material can make the top layer easier to dent. Solid floor hardness can be determined by researching or asking the Janka rating. Janka ratings are a scale used to determine the hardness by comparison of wood species. I believe that all finishes of hardwood today are good as long as it is a quality brand of flooring that can be found at your independent retailer. There are some new products on the market today that give 50-year finish warranties for what it is worth. I have always had concerns with lifetime warranties or other huge warranties, although I suppose it is something you can hang your hat on should there ever be a problem. Pre-finished vs. unfinished hardwood is always a debate and you will get differing opinions. Personally, I prefer pre-finished. You get more layers of finish and furniture-like quality without the mess. No sanding, better warranties, and a quicker finished product just make up my mind. Yet, we have top-quality intelligent builders who prefer unfinished. So who am I to argue? This product simply has two schools of thought.

8. Laminate vs. Hardwood. Tough decision, but it’s ultimately up to you. First, let me say that I always tell potential buyers that it doesn’t matter what your neighbor thinks or what your bridge partner thinks — it is what you want. Do not let anyone influence your decision based on their likes or dislikes. There are 100 different flavors of ice cream for a reason. I am shocked by how many people actually fall in love with a color or style. Then they say, “Let me keep it a couple of extra days so I can show my kids.” They then return the sample and either buy nothing or completely change the product from the one they initially chose. It is you who will be looking at the product every day and it should be you who makes the ultimate choice of what you want to see. Now we move to the discussion of laminate vs. hardwood flooring. I always say to people that hardwood will actually increase the value of your home. Laminate flooring normally does not. With that said, let’s discuss what makes sense. If I install hardwood and laminate into an average active American household with 3 children, there’s a fair chance that in 5 years my hardwood may look worn, but the laminate should basically still look good. Now which home really held its value? Yet, I can refinish the hardwood and immediately replace the value. But remember, that refinish will cost money. So we are kind of going around in circles. Laminate flooring is much more difficult to scratch, will not fade from sunlight, and is more water resistant than hardwood. Water is not a friend to laminate flooring by any means, but water can ruin hardwood flooring also. Laminate flooring is a snap to repair; and when you repair the board, you will never know it was repaired as it does not change appearance over time. Hardwood is more of a tedious repair and you may notice the repair was made until it blends in with wear. Pet urine can hurt both products. Your pet’s claws will be much more disturbing to the hardwood finish. It takes a lot to scratch laminate flooring, but it can be scratched and it is not bulletproof. No matter what the finish on a hardwood floor has, abrasions will be noticed. The scratches normally do not get to the wood, but will disturb the finish coat layer. I have hardwood flooring and my big boxer dog does occasionally put a mark into the wear finish. Another option of hardwood is a distressed or rustic look. Hand scraped or rustic products will not show these abrasions and actually add to the character. If you have a major scratch in the finish, you simply rub some Old English into the scratch and it will basically vanish. The results will not be the same with a smooth or more formal finish. Laminate flooring will take a lot of abuse, but it is an image of a hardwood and tries its best to imitate a hardwood or tile floor. It will not sound, look, or smell like a real hardwood. Hardwood is genuine and can be harvested from different parts of the world. Exotic woods are now controlled by what is called the Lacey Act. Manufacturers today must comply with the act assuring that hardwood foresting is done with a prioritized concern for the environment. This has eliminated illegal foresting in other parts of the world which has translated into higher exotic wood prices. Hardwoods come from real trees giving the product unmatched beauty and elegance. Laminate flooring on average is less expensive than hardwood flooring. A good solid local retail flooring store should be able to show you the differences between laminate and hardwood flooring which should allow a much better decision on what is best for you and your family. But remember, it is ultimately up to you.

9. Understanding the manufacturer warranties. Many people wonder what the manufacturers’ warranties really mean. From someone who is in the flooring business and takes this topic very seriously, my answer is pretty simple: “Not Much”. After the first 3 months, I would say the warranty becomes about as good as what your independent retail store will do for you. Normally, if there is a malfunction with a product, it will happen in the first 30 days. Many times, when there is a problem, it is due to installation. This is why it’s important, in my opinion, to have the independent retailer arrange for the installation and have that store on the hook. There are occasional issues of manufacturing after the first 30 days, but it is rare. I can count on about one finger how many manufacturer claims we have had after 30 days on laminate and hardwood, and we operate 4 flooring stores. So all of these 30-, 50-, even 25-year finish or wear-through warranties just don’t mean a lot in my mind. These manufacturers know that the finish may wear through, but it will be abuse that causes it. Does this mean that I do not ask what the warranty is? No, I still would want a product with a minimum 15-year warranty. Fifteen years would be my dividing line. There are some hardwoods with real low purchase prices that only carry a 1- or 5-year finish warranty. I would run from those, but at the 15-year or greater warranty mark, I would not think twice. One other point is that buying groups and box stores increase the warranties on their own. What I mean by this is that they contract the manufacturer to raise the warranty for them. I do not like the fact that a product with a normal 5-year warranty gets increased to 25 years simply because a box store is selling it. This does not make the product better and is no extra protection for you. Remember what I said about abuse. A true 15-year warranty will take a lot more abuse than a 30-year inflated box store warranty. This is why I would prefer to purchase through a strong independent retail store. Your independent retail store can give you good opinions on what is a good product and what is not. The warranty displayed is what the manufacturer truly specified for the product.

10.Costs and buying methods of these products. Flooring is one of the largest purchases a family makes, second only to their automobiles. With this said, it can be very affordable. Just like anything else, there are great valued products. These do not have to be entry level products. They can be excellent products with excellent warranties. A strong independent retail flooring store can give you great advice on these types of products. If you walk in to an independent retail store and ask for a great value product in either a laminate or hardwood, the experienced salesperson will be able to show you many. Remember that a strong local independent retailer does not normally sell toilets, rose bushes, or light bulbs — just flooring. I think that’s important. You may need to explain to the salesperson that by “value”, you don’t necessarily mean the cheapest, but you mean a good product that really does demonstrate value. Most independent retailers know which of their products has an unusually high value for the cost. One thing to remember is that the installation, the underlayment for your laminate or hardwood, the floor prep and anything else that needs done will be a constant. You may want to ask for the price that will be a constant for your purchase. At that point you will know that any additional dollar that you spend will go directly into the flooring product you choose. In other words on a 500 sq ft purchase, an extra 30 cents a square foot may give you the four sided bevel that you are looking for. So for an extra $150, you will have the beveled product in your living room, dining room, and hallway. If a job of $4600 is a little more than you hoped, but you are going to purchase it anyway, don’t you think for the increase to $4750, which can get you exactly what you want, is a smart extra $150? Your constant cost will not change, so the little extra money you’re spending will give you the look you’ll enjoy for the rest of your life. There are many ways to pay for your flooring: cash, check, credit card, in-house financing plans, or companion financing plans. Most stores, offer 12 months same as cash for their customers and do not factor any of the cost of offering that particular program into the cost of the product. What I mean by that is when you see 36 months interest-free or even up to 5 years interest-free financing, it may be interest-free, but it isn’t free at all. The retailer pays a percentage to the finance factoring company for that length of free interest for their customer. These fees are expensive and that cost is factored into the product that you are purchasing. Twelve months interest-free is an affordable fee normally for the retailer and it will not usually affect the price of the product. Credit cards and interest-free financing do cost the retailer money. A buyer that plans on writing a check should tell the retailer this when asking for the best deal. When management of a store knows this, they understand they will experience no fees with this payment style and that should translate into a little better deal for you. Cash vs. check should have no bearing on your price. In the economic climate of today, flooring is actually less expensive than 4 or 5 years ago. This is a fact, even though there have been many flooring price increases from the manufacturer. In order to stay extremely competitive, the smart independent retail flooring centers have curbed and cut costs so that they can actually offer flooring to the consumer for a lower price than in years past. It could be a smart time right now to make that purchase.

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Armchair Sewing Caddy Pattern

Armchair Sewing Caddy Pattern. It’s amazing how much time the average American spends searching for lost remote controls. With televisions and electronics of today, no remote means that the big expensive screen is little more than a wall decoration. Having a handy and convenient place to keep all those remote controls will lower stress levels, and end the frantic searches under cushions and furniture for a lost remote control.

Remote Control Couch Caddy

Armchair Sewing Caddy Pattern. It’s amazing how much time the average American spends searching for lost remote controls. With televisions and electronics of today, no remote means that the big expensive screen is little more than a wall decoration. Having a handy and convenient place to keep all those remote controls will lower stress levels, and end the frantic searches under cushions and furniture for a lost remote control. It’s also a good place to store extra batteries too.

There are lots of instructions available for remote control caddies online. Some are as simple as sewing a pot holder to one end of a matching place mat. Others as involved as choose a fabric to coordinate with the décor of the room, and using elastic to keep everything in place and easy to reach.

Grain Pain Relief Pillow – Cold Neck Wrap

Next to a full belly, the next best way to please a man is by easing the pain of sore muscles. A homemade heating bag filled with heat-able grains that molds to fit around his neck is certain to be an appreciated and much used gift. Fill a long narrow cotton bag with flax seed and lavender or rice. He can stick the reheat-able bag in the microwave oven for a minute and a half and then enjoy the warm comfort.

If your guy suffers from the heat, try a water activated neck cooler. Sew a bandana together and fill with inexpensive AquaGems, Watersorb or another type of water absorbing polymer crystal. This cooling neck scarf will keep him refreshed when working outside or exercising.

P.J. Bottoms

Many men enjoy changing into a comfy pair of p.j. bottoms after a long day at work. Whether they prefer a warm pair made from soft flannel, or a light and cool cotton set, p.j. bottoms are always a popular and appreciated gift. Masculine fabric prints include national and college sports teams, earth toned solids and the ever popular plaid pattern. These are so easy to sew, you might consider making yourself a matching pair. Why should he have all the comfort?

Velcro After Shower Towel

Since all guys shower and they all need to dry off afterwards, an After Shower Velcro Towel is a gift with universal appeal. Attach Velcro is a fluffy towel that is wide enough to fit above his hips and long enough to reach his knees to make a slip proof after shower cover-up and leaves his hands free for other grooming tasks. Just be sure the scratchy side of the Velcro is facing away from the skin so it won’t cause irritation.

If you’re searching for a one-of-a-kind Christmas Gift, Anniversary Present or Birthday surprise that really shows you care, there’s nothing like a hand sewn gift.

Deanne Blackhurst is a writer for Discover Sewing, a fabric and sewing machine store with four Georgia locations and online. We carry a complete line of all the most popular sewing machines on the market today. Come by and visit us at as see what our Daily Deal is today.

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