October, 2010

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Floral Arranging 101

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

I just got back today from my IRN Boston conference and it exceeded my expectations.  It was so much fun, as well as educational.  It is amazing how many classes can be fit into a three day period! 

Some of my Irn friends!

Some of my Irn friends!

Some of my favorite seminars that I enjoyed and learned the most from were: ‘ The Good, the Bad and the Ugly about Flooring’,  Social Networking and Benjamin Moore “, and  “Color Pulse 2012″.    One class I found so interesting was by Janet Lennox Moyer, a world renowned lighting expert, ‘Light Sculpts Space.’  She explained how lighting should also be carried to the outside of your home so beautiful views outdoors can be seen in both daylight and at night.  She also described how to light outdoor ‘vingettes’ using a tall tree as the vertical object, shrubs as the background wall and a sculpture as the focal point where the lighting should be the brightest.

Janet Moyer Design

Janet Moyer Design

We even spent a morning at the Boston Design Center.  The fabric stores were my favorite.  Can’t wait to bring a client to find fabric for their next project. There were such great prices and great selections at Duralee and Robert Allen.


Ok, I know you are waiting for my flower arranging article.  I saved the best for last.  My very favorite class I enjoyed was  titled “Floral Design”.  I was excited even before the class because I think flowers are so important in a home and I couldn’t wait to learn more about arranging during the class. I shared my knowledge of flower arranging here, which you can see was not much at the time.  I am going to list a few facts about cut flowers she taught us that you may not know (like me).

When getting flowers ready to put in a vase, first strip the lower foliage off the stem then use a knife to cut stem at a 45 degree angle and put in hot scalding water (as hot as your hands can stand under facet) and a flower preservative in a vase.  You should dump your water out every few days, cut and again put in vase with scalding hot water and preservative.

When you cut a flower stem, be sure to cut at an angle with a knife, not scissors.  Scissors actually pinch the end and prevents the flowers from drinking.

If you are shopping at a flower market, there is a better selection at the beginning of the week.

If you buyyour flowers at a supermarket and they are wrapped in plastic, try to remove plastic as soon as possible to prevent mold.

Did you know tulips grow 2″ after they are cut?  It is best to keep tulips together as tight as possible and not put them in water until ready to use.  Tulips come from Holland and are dormant until put into water.  And another thing about tulips and other cut flowers- keep them away from apples!  The gas from the apples causes the flowers to wilt and die.

The best place to buy cut flowers is at the flower farmer’s market for selection and price.  I checked for RI- there are none.  Other places to buy fresh would be the supermarket (buds not yet open are best to purchase) or your local flower store.  I searched and searched online for a place where you could buy individual flowers.  The only way to purchase online is in bulk. I do not think we will need 44 hydrangea stems at $95.00 for our little arrangement.

Your vase height should be 1 and 1/2 times the height of your flowers.

When making fruit arrangements, do not use apples because they will spoil the other fruit quickly.

Did you know you can not use daffodils with other flowers? Daffodils have poison in their stems which will kill the other flowers.

Oasis is the most used and trusted product to making flower arrangements.  Oasis comes in many shapes and sizes and easy to cut to your specifications.  Always soak your Oasis in hot water and flower preservative for at least one hour before using. Use a large bucket and let the Oasis sink itself to draw in water- do not push down or middle will not be able to draw in water. 

When using lilac or other wood stems, smash cut end with a hammer before immersing in water.

If your hydrangeas are wilting, stick the heads in water and shake a little to revive them.

Below is an arrangement the teacher made while we watched.  She made it look so easy!  But we know it is not.

2010 Conference-15

Beautiful!  She did make it look easy enough that I might give it a try.  The teacher is actually a friend of mine from the IRN, Valerie Spelman.  Stay tuned and I will try to get Valerie to make a floral project step by step for us.

2010 Conference-08

What do you say?  If you would like her to visit and show us how to make a great looking but easy floral arrangement, comment below yay or nay!

If you need help with making your home happy and comfortable, contact me today!

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A Warm or Cool Room?

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
Do you know what type of mood you are looking for in your finished space?  A warm and cozy room or bright and serene?  What colors are you more attracted too?  White or beige?  Brown or black?  Yellow or blue?  I am definitely attracted to warmer spaces and colors and when I first started out years ago,  I assumed everyone also liked the warm cozier feeling.  But that is not always the case. Take  a look at the rooms below:
Elle Decor

Elle Decor


Patrick Wade

Patrick Wade

elle decor

Jeffrey Bilhuber

They are all beautiful rooms, but which room would you rather come home to?  Which are your favorite?  Least favorite?  If you picked photo one or three (or both)  then you are loving the ‘cooler’ side of decor.  If you chose number two or four, then you like  a cozy and warm space.  Why is that important to you? 

This is just one segment of design that you should have a clear understanding of before you begin to select your paint colors.  Which colors make you smile and feel good, as opposed to those colors that suffocate you and make you feel sad?  Is something off in your living room, and you can’t seem to figure out exactly what it is?  Maybe it is the wrong ‘temperature’!  Any comments? 

  If you need help finding your perfect colors, contact me today!






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Amazing Social Sharing

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

One of my favorite things I love about blogging is all of this amazing social sharing going on. Seeing things out there I would not ever have a chance to see.  Case in point: This morning I am reading my fav blog- Colour Me Happy.  Then I see something interesting on her (Maria’s) site and click. I open this page Design Elements (from Germany?) with these gorgeous photos:

M Design

M Design


Designed by M Design

Designed by M Design

It just amazes me how small the world is in this world of technology.  How easy it is to share ideas, thoughts, inspiration and photos.

Mark Williams

Mark Williams

Now, if I did not share these photos with you, would you have seen these beautiful rooms?  Maybe, maybe not.  It really is amazing to me.  Comments?

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Decorating A Small Office Space

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

In our NH home, there is a small room off the master bedroom that I just could not figure what to do with.

2010 10 14 006  2010 10 14 020   2010 10 14 002

I decided to set up a small office because of the convenience of the laptop being close by on the first floor.  It is however, much too small for my dream office.  My vision for my perfect office is a lot of room for storage for keeping my fabric books in order as well as my paint samples and supplies, a nap couch, huge, white bookshelves and my number one priority for my dream office is a large flat counter top island where I can spread all my work out (and leave it there if I choose to!)

      Myra Hoefer

But this space below is rather small and hardly has any wall space at all because of all the windows. (Not complaining here!)

2010 10 14 006

So we purchased a small desk and file cabinet and placed it against the wall to use as a work space.  The purpose of the room- check!  Time to decorate.

2010 10 14 013-1

 Ben Moore Alexandria Beige HC-77 was painted previously on walls which was carried over from the bedroom.  I did not know where to start with choosing colors for accessories and/or window treatments because I had no fabric to work with already in the room such as upholstered furniture.  So I found a rug I loved at Pottery Barn that included quite a few different colors I love and decided I would pull my colors from that.2010 10 14 062                         Pottery Barn Webster Persian-Style Rug

I had been looking for a place for my new upholstered ‘orange’ accent piece and the colors were going to work great together.  Yipee!

2010 10 14 058

The other little corner would be a great spot for a relaxing reading chair and table.  The hardest challenge in the room was- what can I do with that large wall over the desk?

2010 10 14 002

In an earlier post, Beautiful, Inexpensive Art, I explained a simple way to make your own artwork out of your favorite photos.  Well I took my own advice and had three favorite photos I took from our NH front porch and had them blown up.  I found frames with mats at Jo-Ann Fabrics on sale for only $20.00 each.  And here is how they turned out:

2010 10 14 004-1

Here is a close up of my favorite:

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What do you think? I think the room came out nice and was not overly expensive.  I am not quite finished with all my little touches I want to add but I wanted to share how you can turn a room from boring and useless into something personal and beautiful.  Comments?

If you need help making your space beautiful and functional, contact me today!

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