Category: DIY Projects

Home decor, DIY, Do it Yourself, Renovation, Bedroom Designs

Entertaining a Crowd in Limited Space

Entertaining a crowd in limited space…….


Constructing this monumental gastronomic masterwork called Thanksgiving dinner with an average size

residential stove, less than adequate counterspace, and a fridge already packed with cheeseballs, olives,

and drinks really can be done! But planning and organization are key.

When I was perusing sites for tips to speed up the production of the Thanksgiving feast, I ran across

some great tips from an article published in the local newspaper.

Local chefs say:

–  Have a plan Create a list of everything you need to do for the meal. Start with the big things,

like shopping and roasting the bird; and continue through to little details, such as washing

greens, chopping garlic and deciding what platters and serving spoons to use. Check things off as

you get them done.

– Select appropriate recipes Since a whole turkey dominates the oven space for several hours,

look for side dish recipes that can be made the day before and rewarmed just before the meal

or that can be kept at room temperature. You may also want to think about cooking a turkey

breast, which won’t take as long. One trendy option is to butterfly the bird, which cuts cooking

time to about 90 minutes for a 14-pound bird. Ask the butcher to butterfly the turkey for you.

– Clear the decks Move everything from the counter so you have as much space as possible. Box

up the stacks of papers and put it in another room. Do the same for any appliances you keep on

the counter but won’t be using on the big day. Create a few extra feet of work space by putting

a cutting board or large pan or tray over one-half of your sink.

– Use other appliances Don’t have a double oven? (No, I don’t! thus my double-oven envy!) No

problem. You probably have plenty of other appliances at your disposal. Cook your turkey on

the grill or in an outdoor smoker; use the slow cooker to make the sweet potatoes or warm the


– Make dishes in advance Much of the holiday meal can be made the day before, including fresh

cranberry sauce, appetizer dips, stuffing, sweet potatoes, gelatin salad, rolls and pies. Get as

much of the cooking out of the way as possible.

– Clean the refrigerator (I love this one! Has someone seen my fridge??) It’s a good time to clean

out all of the things that have been hanging around since summer and you’re not using. Besides,

guests open the fridge a dozen times throughout the day so you don’t want to scare them with

moldy mystery containers.

– Ask for help You don’t have to do the meal by yourself. Ask guests to contribute a dish or

two. But be sure to assign them something specific or you’ll have five cheese plates and no

vegetables. Asking them to bring something traditional from their family recipes is a fun idea.

Happy Holiday Season!

12 Mistakes to Avoid when Selling Your House

Thinking of selling?

Yes?…No?  Some tips to consider

Not that I think everything you do to your home should be done with the mindset “How will this increase the value of my home?” OR “How will this decrease the value of my home?”  Hardly!  If we had worried about that every time we made a change or improvement in our homes we wouldn’t have done anything.  We always consider the change and how it will affect our pleasure & serenity and how will this affect the pleasure of our family. To heck with the $$$ amount attached to it when/IF we sell.

However, if you know you will be selling soon or someday here are some great tips to keep in mind from those in the realty world.  Someday you may find them useful.

  • Be careful of the exterior color of your home. “Curb appeal is huge, don’t pick a paint color that isn’t common in your neighborhood or doesn’t fit the style of your home.” Pam Baldwin Foarde of Al Filippone Associates/William


  • Always plan ahead when landscaping.  This is a rule of thumb to follow even if you never move. “Planting trees too close to the house or driveway—without considering how big they’re going to get—creates major problems later. Roots can cause breaks in the pavement that might raise your homeowners insurance or make it hard for you get a policy until the problem is fixed. Before you plant anything, think about how it will look in twenty years.” Chris Winn of Kellar Williams/Advantage Group
    • Your entry way is the first introduction to your home.  Don’t ignore it.  Others won’t.  “Having a front door lock that doesn’t work properly or hardware that looks old and pitted makes buyers uneasy and puts them on high alert for what else has been let go in the house.” Donna Marie Baldwin of Coldwell Banker


  • Never assume you’ll recoup every investment.  Like I said, if we had considered the return on some of the investments we have made over the years, we wouldn’t have made any improvements at all.  “People spend a lot of money putting in a pool and want to recoup the value when they go to sell their home. Unfortunately, putting in a pool never gets you back the value or cost of the pool.” Chris Winn of Kellar Williams/Advantage Group


  • Fussing with the fireplace. “Be cautious if you’re thinking about updating the fireplace, especially if you want to paint over exposed brick. [meaning, sheetrocking over, or tiling over.  Painting bricks is a wonderful option at times and will only improve the opportunities to sell] Depending on what the trend is at the time it could lower the value. People tend to like the aesthetic of exposed brick.” Chris Winn


  • Skimping on an AC system.  A mistake many of us have made with much regrets. Always pay for the next system up for your home’s size. Paying more initially will bring down your power bill while you live there and will up the value when you sell.


  • Getting too complicated with paint. “It might be trendy to paint the trim a contrasting color, but it distracts the eye. Keep it the same color as the wall to maximize the space.”  Great advice if you are making preparations to sell.  I love complicated paint and as long as I’m in the house…. color, color, color!


  • Neglecting the small stuff. “Buyers have their eye on details you might forget. Keep up with cleaning and maintaining windows, making sure light switches work, or making sure the garbage disposal runs properly—it all shows that the house has been cared for.” Davida Hogan


  • Not doing a deep clean. “Even the tiniest details matter when it comes to cleaning. The tracks of windows, sinks, grout, ovens, and appliances are all looked at by buyers.” Donna Marie Baldwin


  • Don’t be obsessed by trends. “Buyers aren’t attracted to trendy—they are looking for kitchens or bathrooms in classic, neutral colors. If you want to add color and personality to your home use bright accessories (that are easy to change) to bring in fun details.” Pam Baldwin Foarde


  • Thinking too small in small spaces.   “Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. That being said, you always want to make a small space feel as big as possible. Don’t re-tile a small bathroom with small tiles; they only make the space feel smaller. Use bigger tiles; they’ll open the space up.” Davida Hogan  Who would have thought?


  • Last but certainly not least ~ NEVER, EVER think you will recoup the money you spend in improving your property.  A swimming pool may mean the world to you and your family, but to others it could mean a liability.  NOT ME!! I would love one…..

How to Paint Bricks and Make them Look AMAZING

Painting Bricks………

        ………not a faux pas any more (if done decorously)

Painting bricks used to be considered such a faux pas!  Not so much any more, or maybe it’s just the part of the country you’re from.  But I love white painted bricks and this deco-form seems to be the trendy one right now.  Painted bricks, especially white, can successfully bridge that gap between elegant and rustic.  However, you have to know going into this that restoring brick back to its original form is near to impossible, so before you pick up that bucket of primer/sealer be sure….be very, very sure!

How to Mix Different Flooring Styles Throughout Your House


…………..It’s not the same old matchy-matchy anymore

As I stood in a marvelous “parade of homes” home the other day I looked down and counted FOUR, yes 4 different types of flooring all coming together in a medley of color and texture.  Two types of wood, carpet, and tile.  And guess what?  It looked GORGEOUS! YAY!  Even more endorsed flexibility in design.  Yes! Yes! Yes! Decorating becomes more and more fun as we go!

Now, that being said, there was a common theme color in those floorings.  They were all neutral shades.  The wood tones were DULL (a new thing) not shiny, in a soft chocolate and another in a light tan with darker knot holes.  The carpet was a great shade of taupe-ish, and the tile was another earthy tone.  It worked!

Back to the “dull” thing.  It was fabulous.  I really can’t say what type of finish was on the wood and I didn’t think to ask anyone, but it looked as though there was no finish at all.  In fact, it looked dusty.  Isn’t that perfect?  A floor that is supposed to look dusty?  My daughter would kill for that.  She has a beautiful dark, shiny floor that is the bane of her existence.  It’s like owning a black car (ask me). Nothing looks better when it’s clean and nothing looks worse when it’s dirty.  Not so with these cool floors.  Wide planks, tongue and groove (I know…a sweeping nightmare, but gorgeous none the same.)

So if you are in the throws of remodeling, redecorating, or even buying/building a new home, remember that flooring is once again an almost anything goes (as long as it “goes”) designer’s choice (the designer being YOU!)  Shop around, create your portfolio ala Candace Olson style.  Take your time and enjoy!

10 Simple Ideas to Add Color to Your Patio

Color, Color, Color…..

…..Look what can be done with color on a patio!

So I’m really into patios this year.  I guess it’s just the excitement of a new-life-because-of-new-weather mindset.  I’m just really ready for warm days and cool nights.  At least that’s my dream this year; last year was so darn hot we barely went outdoors, day or night!

I’ve been looking to add some more color to our patio.  We have green, mustard, orange so far, but I’m ready to perk it up a bit with some blues and purples.  I have found the easiest way and one of the cheapest ways is to look for pillows to add the spark.  Now we all know pillows can be expensive but you really don’t want to expose an expensive pillow to the elements. Remember you can do the pillow case cover with wonderful bright fabric over an old or thread bare pillow you’ve tossed aside.

Another way to add that much wanted ooomph of color is to find an old nightstand or two (thrift shops, garage sales) and paint them those bright colors you are wanting to enliven your space.

The fun thing about this type of area is that you can make almost anything work.  You don’t have to stick to a defined style.  Just have fun with it.  A few ideas to throw out there:

  • Flowers (of course)
  • Baskets
  • Vases
  • Throws
  • Pillows
  • Painted furniture
  • Ceramic Pots
  • Knick-knacks
  • Paint a wall
  • Painted clay pots