• Default design philosophy

Some Tips to Re-design Your Wall

When I was single, I “invested” in some nice pieces of artwork. That was a while ago and I have found that my tastes have changed. Because my priorities and spending habits are at a different place right now, I have found some inexpensive ways to decorate my walls!


Thanks to Michael’s & Hobby Lobby I have gotten some great frames. Lately, I’ve had a white theme going. I’ve purchased a few different frames on sale for $4.95!!! My other great find is all the free downloads available online!

My first print came from the Handmade Home. Love the vintage prints! I actually printed three different designs. One other “hint” – I used heavy card stock paper from the scrapbooking section of Hobby Lobby.  It cost a lot less than purchasing heavy paper from the office supply store. This Christmas print was also FREE! In addition to cute prints, I’m also finding free tags to print for Christmas! We have so many resources available to us!

My last frame is my new chalkboard! Yes, I have gotten the chalkboard paint bug! Nowadays, I am working on a charcoal paint. You can have Charcoal Drawing from your photo. I found a 50% off the frame, got out my paint and went to town. These are just a few ideas of how you can decorate your walls and keep your cost down. What are you putting on your walls?

What I Learned From the Cleaning Lady Last spring my husband bought me a Group on for three hours of cleaning! I have never had anyone clean my home before. How exciting!!! I was waiting for the perfect time to take advantage of this gift. Well, the past few weeks have been extremely busy (part of my absence from blogging), my parents were visiting for five days, parent-teacher conferences (my husband and I both teach), countless meetings for committees and volunteer responsibilities that we are apart of, etc. I know many of you can understand!!!! So, I figured this would be a great time to use up this Group on. I had no idea what to expect. When I first called to set up the  appointment, I was asked, “What are your priorities for things to get cleaned?” I was thinking – my entire home!

Well, I knew that wasn’t going to happen, so I blurted out “the bathrooms and the hardwood floors”. Now, keep in mind, I do a fairly good job at keeping the clutter organized, but deep cleaning is another story!

Here is what I learned from the experience:

1. Walking into the home that smells clean can do wonders for you!
2. Polishing the chrome surfaces so they shine will brighten your day!
3. Enjoy the moment or hours of a clean home, it will not last!
4. Given the chance, I would do it again!
By the way, I’m not posting any pictures, because the house has reached the point
of “it will not last”!
Would you or do you use a cleaning service? What would be your cleaning

Modern Design ideas

Our house sits on a low-lying area within the neighborhood – basically at the bottom of a hill. With hard rain, water pours down the street and floods our side yard.
photoThe September rain from Isaac did a fair amount of damage (about a 15 foot wide area of flooding) to our side yard. When we returned from vacation, we were shocked to see just how much grass had been killed – Hence the swale. What’s a swale, you ask (other than my new favorite word)? According to Merriam Webster, a swale is a low-lying or depressed and often wet stretch of land.

This was one of those “necessary” projects – Not the kind I typically get excited over, and usually the kind that requires a lot more work than we anticipate. This is one of those projects where my husband says, “It will be fine,” and I end up not being able to move for a week.

Modern design ideas

Within a matter of days, we were well on our way to planning and designing our very own swale. Based on the amount of water that pours down the side of the yard, we decided that the swale would need to be about three feet wide, which meant we would need more than a couple of shovels – see what I mean?!

Yup! That’s right – a back hoe and a bobcat. Luckily we knew someone who knew how to actually drive these things. Digging the trench took six hours and produced about ten truck loads of dirt that needed to be hauled away. Design philosophy can be achieved by articulating what is useful and what is not and working upon that.

And, lucky us – At the same time we were doing this project, some major construction was underway on the same corner:
I’m sure the neighbors were extremely appreciative that the whole street was completely blocked.

The next step was to lay down some heavy weed barrier. You can also see here just how much of our grass is dead. 006We had seven tons of large river rock delivered. The rock needed to be large enough so it would not move, and we opted for river rock so it would look pretty. We also wanted to make sure that we could use the bob cat, while we had it, to help dump the rock into the swale.

Sounds like a good idea, right? Wrong! Once the bobcat scooped up the rock, it was way too heavy to maneuver in the grass without doing damage. So, the seven tons of rock had to be moved by wheel barrel…can you say Arghhh!

It took me two days to move and arrange the rock. If you are ever in search of a great lower body workout, just squat down in a swale for two days – it works great.

A few days later, after power washing the street (yes, I’ll admit to that) and grading and aerating the yard, we were ready to lay down some sod and seed the side yard.
A couple of weeks later, with the help of a little sun and rain, our sod looked fantastic and our seedlings were starting to sprout.
For those of you wondering whether or not it works: Hurricane Sandy dumped seven inches of rain on us and the swale worked swell!

Before moving to Modern design ideas you should have an idea about Simple design ideas beforehand.…

Simple Design ideas

Those of us in the Mid-Atlantic region are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Sandy (a.k.a. Frankenstorm).  So, as we await to see what this storm might bring and whether or not Halloween will be cancelled, I thought I would share some recent Halloween favs.

First, my new BFF – Menacing Mummy:

Isn’t he great?  I love him.  I first spotted him driving through a nearby neighborhood.  He was lurking in an upstairs window.  I thought “I must have him.”  A quick Google search for scary window mummy poster and two days later Menacing Mummy was mine.  I have him displayed on my front doors.  He looks incredibly three dimensional like he is actually trying to get out of the house.  The effect comes from back lighting.  This is just one of many posters available from Wow Window Posters.  You need to also check out Shrieker and Green Demon…Absolutely Frightastic!

Simple design ideas

Halloween is also all about the sweets.  My brother and sister-in-law just had a Halloween Party (see their costumes below).  Ali is quite the baker (check her out on Facebook at Solano’s Kitchen).  Everything tastes as good as it looks.   Here are some ghoulishly yummy dessert ideas:

Pumpkin cupcakes with shards of glass

Cow Intestine (actually nutella stuffed in puff pastry) – so grossly awesome!

Brain Matter cupcakes with cherry blood clots inside

I made these food tags using You Murderer font that I downloaded for free.  I then took a little red food coloring tinged water and splattered them for that special little touch.  They really do make the food that much more appetizing. You can integrate basic design principles from normal ideas and it will go a long way.

Every Halloween table could use a brain (cauliflower) centerpiece.

I love to see how other people express their creativity with a costume.  Just as long as it isn’t a scary clown…I hate the scary clown…think Killer Clowns From Outer Space – Now you know where I am coming from.

What a great idea for a costume – she is a Pinterest page.  Better yet, she chose a bunch of pinned images where you say to yourself “Why would anyone want to pin that?”

And, for all you Game of Thrones fans: 

Yes, that is Viserys and Daenerys of House Targaryen – Very creative!  How about that house sigil (three headed dragon) on their blackboard wall – great touch – my bro has skills.

Core designing skills are also very important.

Happy Halloween everyone!  For those of you in the Mid-Atlantic region, stay safe!…