Wednesday
Feb022011

Fire & Ice

When you live in Arizona you learn to deal with the fire by bringing in the ice.  The same principle can be used in interior spaces when working with warm and cool colors.  This inspiration board was created to demonstrate the technique of combining colors to "regulate the temperature" of your space.

  1. The color scheme here is a combination of a "Direct Complimentary" and a "Split Complimentary" scheme, meaning that orange is directly across the color wheel from blue, and yellow is just down the road from orange.  Using this type of color scheme is a great way to bring in both warm and tones colors since you are incorporating colors from each side of the spectrum.  Another important aspect of this color scheme are the anchoring colors used throughout the space.  In this instance, I've incorporated white and dark gray/black as accents throughout the materials to provide a backdrop to the remaining colors in the room.
  2. Use of line is another element that unifies this space.  This sofa from Crate & Barrel (priced at $2,699.00) features clean, straight lines throughout its build.  The legs elevate the sofa from the ground, allowing the rug to become more of an attraction within the room.  Additionally, the dark gray fabric is unique to the space, which draws the attention of the eye to the most important area within a living room--the sitting area. 
  3. The lacquered bamboo collection from Z Gallerie offers plates bowls ($49.95), Vases ($59.95) and trays ($19.95) which can be used as colorful accessories throughout the room.  Display them in grouped arrangements, or use them individually for a splash of color...either way, they won't disappoint.
  4. Add some round elements into the room to soften the space.  The Dot coffee table from West Elm ($399.00) features a golden tone which compliments the color scheme, yet does not cry for attention.  It is an excellent piece because of the subtle, yet powerful, impact it has on the room.
  5. To really make a space your own add artwork that inspires you throughout the space.  Determine the color you would like to make the largest impact and find pieces that highlight that color while combining other colors within your scheme.  You'll notice that this art piece (prices vary) found on AJ Williamson's Imagekind gallery emphasizes orange tones, but also ties in the yellow tones of the scheme.
  6. This media console ($999.00) from Crate & Barrel features the clean, straight lines that are also found on the sofa.  It also ties in the dark gray/black colors that are being used throughout the space to anchor the bright yellows, oranges, and blues, to ensure they do not become over-powering.
  7. As you look for accessories to use throughout the room, consider purchasing multiple items from the same store.  Typically, stores will develop product lines within the same color family so it is easier for customers to envision the items paired together.  For example, these canisters from Z Gallerie (prices vary) can easily be used in conjunction with the Fleur Tealights (#8) which can also found at Z Gallerie ($9.95).  Use a solid collection of multiple items from a combination of your favorite stores and you will wind up with a space that fits your personal style without appearing "cut-and-paste."
  8. See #7.
  9. Clear glass vases are a great way to incorporate colors within your scheme while also allowing for flexibility.  You can change the contents of glass vase as your preferences change, or even seasonally.  For this space, a straight, cylinder vase fits best because it will remain consistent with other line patterns throughout the room.  Use natural elements such as stones (shown here in white) and foliage to create an element of tranquility.  This vase/arrangement was found at Pottery Barn, and is priced anywhere from $23.00-$71.00 depending on the size of vase, however, stores such as TJ Maxx and Ross often have a great selection of similar vases for $6.00-$25.00.
  10. The Dead End Rug ($299.00) from CB2.com was actually the starting point for this room.  Typically, when starting a design it is easiest to first choose your focal point pieces (textiles and artwork usually work best).  Once this item (or sometimes "these items") has/have been determined it becomes easier to choose items that either enhance or compliment your focal point(s). Keep in mind that less is more when it comes to focal points.  If every element within the room demands attention from the eye it becomes a harsh environment.
  11. 12, & 13--When combining textiles, maintain an overall theme.  For example, you might observe that each of these pillows feature a color from the scheme as well as an anchor color (white).  The combination between the two is different for each pillow, but it is that combination which unifies the textiles.  This also allows these textiles to balance with other textiles in the room, such as the rug, which also features a scheme color and white anchor.  Like these pillows?  You can find them here:  #11 ($34.00), #12 (Must register for pricing), #13 ($18.00).

 

Sunday
Jan302011

Words, Words, Words...

Lately, I've been noticing that much of my time has been spent on words.  I take words and I turn them into sentences.  I take sentences and I turn them into paragraphs.  I take paragraphs and I turn them into text messages, emails, school papers, and blog posts.  Words, words, words...

Since so much of my time has been spent writing, I thought it would be fitting to dedicate a post entirely to some ideas I've had for using words as wall art in my home.

In my house there is a wall.  That's not really saying much...there are many walls in my house (or else it wouldn't be a house)...but this wall is, well...let's just say, complicated. 

 When I took this picture I was sitting on the sectional that we have in our family room.  This is the outside view of the guest bathroom wall, and as you can see it has the potential to become a focal point of the family room and other areas of the house.

My challenge for this wall is creating an art arrangement that will work well with the existing "accessories" (thermostat, light switch, and doorbell enclosure) that I'm sure the builder placed strategically to destroy all hopes of a grid arrangement.

The good news is that I have several other walls in my house that can accommodate a grid arrangement, which means an asymmetric arrangement will be quite refreshing in the overall scheme.

So here's the idea I've been rolling around in my mind...

Have you ever heard of wordle.net?  If you haven't you should check it out!  Wordle.net is a website that allows you to enter in text from speeches, quotes, scripture, or even just you're own thoughts and "randomize" the words into word clouds. 

What I would like to do for this wall is create a "wall wordle" using cut out, painted letters of different sizes and thicknesses to create depth and texture.  Today I spent some time playing at wordle.net to come up with some possible arrangements and here are the ones I liked best:

 There were a lot of other arrangements that I created, but these were my top three.  Why these words, you might ask? I just started typing things I would like to fill my home with.  Music, for example, is because Mark loves to play the guitar and write music in his free time.  Creativity, on the other hand is for me. 

Some words that I forgot, but will most likely add:  laughter, inspiration & hope.  Can you think of any other words that describe things you would like to have in your home?

Now that I see all three arrangements together, I think that I'm leaning toward the second arrangement...so imagine my wall like this:

 What do you think?  Not too shabby, huh? 

My next step will be to play around with the colors until I find the right blend within the color scheme of the room.  Once the plans have been finalized it's off to get the materials and get to work!

While I was playing with the arrangements on wordle.net, I thought it might be fun to see what some of my previous blog posts looked like as wordles.  Here are some that I came up with:

 

If you're curious about which post these wordles were created from, click on any of the images and they will link you back.

Feel inspired to create your own word cloud art?  Wordle.net does not charge for any of the images generated and they even allow you to use the images you create for resale purposes.  These word clouds would be great for creating cards, framed art, T-shirts, and other accessories!

If you've created a fun project using word clouds, send an email to ahappyplacecalledhome@gmail.com.  Your project may be featured on my blog!

As always, wishing you the best from,

 

Saturday
Dec252010

Christmas Eve 2010

I'm sure most of you are currently sleeping (stalkings hung, and sugarplums dancing...or something like that), but let me be the first to wish you all a Merry Christmas!  Technically, it's been Christmas day for approximately 50 minutes...and yes, I'm still up...and yes, I'm posting to my blog!

Before saying "lights out" I had to share a few highlights of the evening's events.  Many of you probably have traditions for your families on big holidays such as Christmas.  When I was growing up, Christmas Eve consisted of the entire family getting together (cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents, and close family friends) for a big dinner and either a reading of the nativity story or an enactment of the nativity story.  That's right...I said "enactment," meaning costumes, role-play, and the like!

Over time, we all grew older, got married, and started our own families, which caused this tradition to eventually evolve into a quieter tradition of dinner with family friends, and a Christmas video.

Mark and I were married on December 17th 2005 which worked out extremely well for our first Christmas together.  We had a tiny little tree (no taller than 18 inches), and a new apartment which was filled with nothing but moving boxes and wedding gifts.  I've never seen a tree with so many presents underneath!  Then again, scale might have had something to do with that!

On Christmas Eve for our first Christmas it was just the two of us.  My family was spending Christmas at Disneyland, and Mark's waits until the big day to get everyone together...so we had the opportunity to create our own memorable Christmas Eve tradition.

I mentioned in my biography that we are pretty low key when it comes to spending time together, plus we were broke so we had to be resourceful.  We decided to drive down Mill Avenue (a popular spot by Arizona State University) to look at all of the Christmas lights they put up.  On our way, we stopped by Jack in the Box and grabbed some milk shakes (you can do that at Christmas time if you live in AZ!) and then we wrapped up the evening by walking down by Tempe Town Lake to look at the big Christmas tree. 

So, now whenever it's just the two of us on Christmas Eve we consider our tradition to be looking at Christmas lights around the city.  This year we scrapped the milk shakes and went for beverages from home instead.  I sipped hot chocolate while Mark enjoyed a Dr. Pepper.  We also searched for a few light display "hotspots," and thanks to Google, here are some of the places we found:

The first comment I would like to make about our little "Tour of Lights" is that I was really surprised by how many people seem to have the same Christmas Eve tradition as we do.  To get into some of these places we literally had to park a half-mile away and hike in.  At one location neighbors who lived across the street had actually started selling hot chocolate because of the crowds.

At the house featured in the first three pictures the owners had Christmas music playing from a speaker system, which made the experience even more festive.  The public building in the next three pictures had small sets with recordings playing that told the Christmas story.  It also featured gardens which were covered in lights, and a big open lawn with the three wise men (and camels) making their trip to see Christ.

The last two pictures were actually from an entire street of houses that were extravagantly decorated.  Most of the families who lived there were sitting out in their driveways, roasting marshmallows or socializing with the crowd.  One family had moved their ping-pong table into the garage so that people could play.  It seemed like a tradition that they all enjoyed.

Well, to all of you who celebrate Christmas, I wish you a Merry Christmas.  To all of you with other traditions, I hope this season has been filled with happiness!

 

Tuesday
Dec072010

Season of Giving

I simply love this time of year because its the only time when everyone turns their thoughts to the act of giving, rather than receiving.  For me, the entire thrill of the holidays comes from developing the perfect gift idea.  I get extremely excited when I imagine the reaction of the recipient and I have a hard time keeping everything a secret before the big day!  This post is going to show you how to turn a regular serving bowl into a spectacular gift!

Mark comes from a large family of seven siblings, so each year we all draw names for a gift exchange.  This year, Mark drew the name of his brother's wife, Becca, but he asked me for a little help.  It actually worked out perfectly since I drew his dad and was struggling with an idea for what to get him.

We started our search at TJ Maxx where we found this really cute serving bowl!  I loved the bright yellow, green, and white combination...and the size was an entertainer's dream!  I can't even imagine how many chips would fit in this thing! 

Total, the bowl cost $12.00. (Steal!)

I thought it would be fun to load the bowl up with a bunch of goodies.  At first, I was thinking baking supplies...or maybe gourmet food products like hot chocolates, cheeses, etc., but the idea wasn't making me too excited.  (Which I take as a bad sign!) 

Luckily, it didn't take me too long to come up with the idea of a spa theme.  You simply can't go wrong with a gift filled with items made for pampering!

If you know me then you also know that I like to color-coordinate everything, so nothing was selected as a filler for the bowl unless it fit into my yellow and green color scheme.  Thankfully, it was really easy to find products that met this criteria!  In fact, it was almost too easy!

Here are some of the items that I found:

There were so many great products to choose from, but I wound up getting a variety of lotions, soaps, lip balms, and body wash.  I also found an 8x8 wall accessory place that was green and yellow and said, "No act of kindness, no matter how small, goes unnoticed."  It was perfect, so I just had to toss it in with the mix!

One of my favorite items was this specialty candle, which I found at Target. It was one of the more pricey items (coming in at $9.99) but the combination was pretty unique.  I almost bought one for myself too!

Another one of my favorite items was the snow-man lotion/hand-soap holder, which was purchased from TJ Maxx for about $6.00.  I thought this would be a cute little decoration piece for the holidays in a guest bathroom, or even in the kitchen next to the sink.  It's definitely not a conversation piece, but it added a bit of Christmas flair to the arrangement...plus, how could anyone resist this little face? 

Once everything had been rounded up, I started to arrange the bowl.  The bowl is pretty deep, so I started by stuffing some tissue paper down at the bottom to fill up some space.  (Secret Tip:  Since I knew this paper would not be seen, I actually just used the paper they used to wrap the breakables from the store, rather than the fancy tissue paper I had purchased from Target for embellishment.  We'll just call it recycling!)

Once everything was up to the level that I wanted, I started to put each item into the bowl, starting with the tallest and largest, and working my way down to the smallest items.  It was a pretty tight fit, but eventually I found an arrangement that would work without making everything appear to have been "dumped" into the bowl.

Here's a small tip:  If you're struggling to get everything into the bowl, basket, or whatever you're using, you might want to reconsider some of the items you have chosen for the arrangement.  If everything is crowded, then you will lose the emphasis on each piece, which defeats the purpose all together.  Keep things simple, and always know when enough is enough.

Now, this is a gift, remember, and half of the fun of a gift is the "revealing" which means that there needs to be an element of surprise.  To create this element, I took each sheet of tissue paper that I purchased from Target, pinched the paper together in the center of the sheet, and then tucked the sheets in various locations in the arrangement.  The tissue paper came with four sheets of soft yellow, and four sheets of colored stripes, so I alternated between the solid and the stripes for a balanced look.

When everything was said and done, I ended up with a pretty, cheerful, and completely loaded bowl arrangement that looks like this: 

I can't wait to see Becca's reaction!

Have any of you created any baskets/arrangements that you'd like to show off?  Please send photos to ahappyplacecalledhome@gmail.com, and your photos may be featured on my blog. 

 

 

 

 

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