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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Trees- It's dogwood season

The dogwood tree is the stuff of legends. It is supposedly the tree used as the cross to crucify Jesus, though they are not native to the Middle East. In the Native American culture, it is a symbol of good luck for the Quileute and Makah ( Yes, the "Twilight" tribes), as well as a historic food source for many tribes. For some, it indicates when to plant corn, for others, it indicates the start of spring and the Easter season.

I am a passive gardener, in reality. So, if a plant volunteers in a spot that seems good, I leave it. If it survives my neglectful gardening, all the better. This volunteer dogwood has been growing in a garden bed for a few years. It is the "under story" tree to a volunteer oak tree. This is the first year the dogwood has really bloomed and it out did itself! The blooms are about 3 inches across and plentiful. So, maybe it is good luck, maybe it is time to plant corn, but this showy shorty is a winner with me! 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Inspiration- Neutral dining room

Today's design board is a nod to the neutral color palette lovers. Neutrals are a great way to play with pattern and built a hierarchy with scale and theme. Hierarchy, you say? Yes! Just like a diagrammed sentence, Manslow's hierarchy of need, or a Venn diagram, there is a visual hierarchy in place in all rooms. Building this hierarchy with patterns, colors, size, scale, texture, or a mix is what makes a room great. When you eliminate some of these options, like color, or pattern, it is easier to see the built environment's hierarchy.

For this space, I added one color that is different from the rest- a green buffet. It is the top of the hierarchy, because you see it first. It is the lead singer in the band. The next is the arabesque wall paper, it is the most graphic (greatest contrast in tones close together) pattern and it is the tallest and biggest item in the room. The hutch is the tallest furniture in the room and breaks up the wallpaper, which would be overwhelming with out the visual breaks of the hutch and the art. The art provides a place for your eye to rest from all the pattern. It ranks third. Lastly, are the table and chairs, they are why you are in the room. You are naturally going to gravitate to them and you will physically interact with them, so there is less reason, design-wise, to make them the star.

Laurl Designs boards can be found here.
Another hierarchy to think about is the senses. You see the space first, let your first sense get the top billing for all the reasons listed above. Then, you hear the space. Is it loud or quiet? Carpets on the floor, drapes and other textures change the noise level in a room. Fine dining has carpets, texture wallpaper, tablecloths and sometimes draped interior spaces. They are very quiet. In fast food places, there are no soft fabrics... I'm not counting the dust mats at the doors. You want your space to sound like fine dining, not McDonald's or like McDonald's, you will be leaving the space quickly. Last sense in a space is touch. The things that you would touch in a space, the chairs, table, possibly the buffet, should have textures that are interesting to feel. In this space the chairs are cane and linen, the table is zinc topped, and the buffet is painting wood. These are all interesting textures to feel and contrast with each other.

Then there are the smallest of details, the brass tray that moves the light around the room, the pretty buffet lamps that add a warm glow and the antler chandelier which add an unexpected element in the space.

If you are interested in any of the items on the board, you can find there here!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Inspirations- The Pink and Green family room, a modern classic design

Today's inspiration board is a pink and green family room. The large chesterfield sofa in olive green velvet prevents the space from being saccharine sweet. I have also used my rule of threes, to incorporate three shades of green and of pink so that the any one shade does look off.  The space is grounded with the neutral wallpaper, drapes, coffee table and lamp shades. Lastly, adding touches of gold and brass provides the spark. The real design comes in with mixing the prints by using a variety in scale, as well as referencing multiple cultural elements with the Greek key on the drapes, foo dog lamps, and adding a trunk for a coffee table gently references travel and worldliness.

If you see anything you want, you can click HERE to go to the inspiration board and purchase! If you love the mirror top side tables, I have a pair in stock and ready to go, just contact me.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Green design- in common practice

I have been thinking a lot about green design today and how most people already practice the tenets of green living, even if we do not live it to the letter. And, probably do not see themselves as "environmentally-friendly" people. We call it other things like saving money, saving time, being crafty, shopping or helping local artists. Like many things, it all depends on the way you frame it.

We used all of the furniture and accessories from the top picture (before) and rearranged them to create the bottom picture (after). We added the small tables and lamps framing the fireplace, as well as the throw pillows.  #family room redesign #homedecor
More info about this image here.
If you choose to rearrange your furniture instead of throwing everything out and buying all new furniture, you are working in the tenets of green design. Same goes for painting furniture instead of tossing it!

My antique space at Hanna Antiques in Birmingham
If you are shopping for accessories in an antique mall, or to some extend TJ Maxx or Homegoods. You are buying recycled and saving items from the trash, that are not trash.

If you are choosing a paint that doesn't smell, then you are choosing low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints and helping the environment, as well as the respiratory health of your family.

Beautiful pottery from my friend, Tena Payne, found here.
If you buy ceramics or pottery from a local artist, or art gallery that represents locals, then you are buying regionally which is very green especially since many potters are able to get they clay locally.

Greener than you thought?  It is not just about sorting your trash for the recyclers or buying smelly sofas from the thrift store. Respecting the environment is not an all or nothing proposition, thankfully. It is steps toward a healthier world around you on a continuum.

This is the first post in a series of posts on green design and living. Next up is all about water! Please follow my blog for more info, or search green design in my search box on the right to see most ideas and ways to easily practice greener living.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Business Lady tips- tax season small business solutions

It dawned on my with two recent conversations about my business that  after running in for a few years, I might have some tips and "wish I had known" items that are worth sharing.

Since we are in tax season and I finished my taxes yesterday, I thought I would begin there.

TAX TIP ONE: online bookkeeping.

 If you sell online or have a job with billable hours and/or need to produce estimates, I would recommend's online bookkeeping. It can pull all your sales transaction info from Ebay, Etsy, Amazon, as well as bank accounts, paypal, credit cards, etc. Then, it gives you a tally of your sales to purchases for each month and a running total of your profit or loss. I am not an accountant, nor do I even enjoy math. So, I like a program that does the work for me... including putting together the info for my schedule C. Below is a screen shot that give your the overview of the info they can provide for your account.

The fact that I have to occasionally go in and categorize expenses is minimal compared to doing all the data entry. I'm too busy creating, meeting, buying, packaging and selling to also do data entry. I also love that it will create my invoices and email them! There are probably other bookkeeping sites and programs that do this as well, but I like only paying $100 annually and not having to store the info on my computer.

However, I am not totally against doing some math and a spread sheet, because I do like statistic. So, when I first starting my antique business, I decided to create a spread sheet with the item and price I paid, as well as when I purchased it. It seem like it could provide some good statistics as well as allow me to see patterns in my sales, purchases, and trends. Which brings me to....

 TAX TIP TWO: Record when and where you go to purchase your stuff! 

I realized that though I have a good record of my trips to the post office, I had not recorded all the locations of all the sales I attended. So, I could not enter mileage for all the trip into my tax program, because my info was incomplete! Here is a look at my purchasing spreadsheet. You can see I enter, after I get home from the sales, who, when, where, what and how much. I was at first also tracking how much I spent each weekend, but I ditched doing that, because I didn't find it that helpful. But I did not lose the data, in case I changed my mind later.

I have now added the street names for each purchase on the master spreadsheet. I also have some little equations to give me running totals and random math that I think is a good idea at the time, but later not sure what the math is for. Yep. Not a mathematician, but I try.


TAX TIP THREE: Organized your sales taxes for each month.

One of my New Year's resolution's was to not have the "Oh no, I haven't done my sales tax this month!" panic that can wake me up in the night on the 15th of the month. This year I have streamlined the process with a big envelope for each month and in each big envelope is the paper work for sales tax, as well as the addressed and stamped envelopes. No more looking for papers, stamps, passwords, tiny books, etc. And, I do my taxes on the day I sent out bills dedicating one day to paperwork and though I might want to forget taxes, I will not forget to be paid. So, connecting the two allows me to remember to do all of it and only have 1/30th of the month in paperwork!

What are your tax tips or small business tips?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

DIY Bar Cart! From Mid-Century Modern table to Mad Men-tastic bar cart

I love the look of those two tier mid-century side tables, however they are too low to function with modern furniture. So, I choose to remake one into a bar cart because I love the idea of the two levels, one for storage of bar items and one for glasses and mixing. And since you know how much I was in love with the Russian Figure ladies skater's costume as evident of my post on inspiring images in that color palette, I choose to use dark grey and bronze.

The key to the table is getting the right height and scale. The mixing surface was moved up to 26 inch high and the storage is about 34 inches high. This cart is styled for mixing alcoholic drinks, but would be super cute as a coffee bar, tea cart, or even as a small desk! I plan to use it for coffee.

This is a simple project of cutting off the legs, adding a little lumber, and a nice paint job. The nice paint job includes using a pattern. I have included the pattern at the bottom. You can enlarge it to the size you need! The instructions can be printed with the title of the project at the top.

For this project you will need the following supplies to complete a table similar this one.

A table to alter- if using a table like this pick your cutting zone carefully and with consideration to the size of your lumber! I chose a spot that was not tapered to make adding the legs back easier.
lumber- I used 2"x 2" which is nominal measurement of 1.5" x 1.5". This scale worked for my project.
8 dowel screws
wood putty
liquid sanding/ deglosser- I clean the table with this type product for better paint adhesion
Hack saw
drill and drill bits
locking pliers- plain pliers might work, but locking pliers make the work easier

tracing paper
gold paint
circular saw
painters tape

Leaf pattern for the top of the table.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The early week's scores- shopping for tables

As you know from my previous shopping post, I scored on some lighting from a local company that is moving to a new site.

Well... I kept thinking about the tables that I saw at the sale...

and how pretty they were...

 and how there might be still some left at the end of the sale.

So, I went back yesterday and grabbed this handsome table at the left.

Then there were these pretty gold tables with antique mirror tops. Grabbed a pair!

Occasional Tables Furniture

And, I thought, "while I am here..." my famous last words as they always cost me money! I picked up a lamp and a sisal rug.

Dawson Lamp

All I need now is the perfect space, or spaces, for all this great shopping! If you need a space redesigned, or one of these pieces, contact me!