Welcome to Freedom Friday

Hello everyone!  Today, I begin a new weekly blog entry called Freedom Friday.  It’s the day of the week we give time for freeing our creative side.  Look for upcoming inspirational home design ideas that will hopefully lift us off our mundane habits and get us creating!

Today’s inspiration comes from Pinterest. Unfortunately, I have failed to find the originator of this photo as every web page I clicked onto had a link with a different source.  So if anyone knows where this photo originated from, please let me know.

I am a big lover of bringing the outside in as well as trees (and as you all know) books.  I am LOVING this idea.  I am definitely thinking of doing this in our new home if we have the space!  I think my hubby will agree to it.  🙂

bookshelf

I even like the worn out leather chair next to it and the fur rug underneath.  It’s all about texture and making a showcase for your cherished books!

Please feel free to comment and if anyone has seen some inspiring crafty home decor, please email me pics! 🙂

 

It’s All About Autumn

Growing up In New York meant that I chose Autumn as my favourite time of year.  When I moved to England I was surprised to find that my favourite season changed to Spring. Spring in England is special.  English gardens are beautiful and the grass is always green. What I was slow to realize was the reason that Autumn lost its appeal until I made the recent trip to New York to attend my daughter’s wedding.  Autumn leaves are more vibrant and colourful in the US.  In England, leaves change only slightly and we don’t get much oak leaves. After doing a bit of research, I discovered there are certain weather conditions that need to happen for the best Autumn (or “fall” as we Americans call it) colours.  What is needed is a warm wet Spring combined with a sunny cool Autumn. Basically, Autumn in England (and most of Europe) is cloudy rather than sunny. Personally, I think it’s good that New York has such spectacular Autumn colours. A lot of what you see is pretty grey and dull looking most of time in most areas.

While I was staying at the Catskills ( home town of Rip Van Winkle), the colours were amazing and yet funny enough we met some locals who informed us that the colours were a let down this year due to too much wind and rain.  Really? Take a look at these pictures I took while visiting a local Buddhist temple:

Buddhist temple Catskill

Buddhist temple Catskill 2

Catskill Buddhist temple

 

These colours really make me want to bring the outdoors in.  I didn’t do much shopping while visiting the US as I was under strict luggage weight and bulk limit but I managed to squeeze just two things I found in Target that I simply had to have.  What do you think of this pumpkin-shaped potpourri?

pumpkin potpourri

 

I actually added some cinnamon-apple oil essence as the fragrance was a bit too dull.

pumpkinpotpourri2

I also purchased this pumpkin made from tree bark which is the pumpkin on the right.

barkpumpkin

 

The other thing I had added to my living room was this vase filled with autumn coloured faux flowers and berries and the copper-coloured pear next to it.  I think it looks quite nice on my fireplace mantle.

autumnbouquet

I am loving my Autumn décor so much that for the first time ever, I am not in a hurry for Christmas to come!

 

 

Bibliography: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/outdoors/8114574/An-English-autumn-puts-the-US-fall-in-the-shade.html

Design Affinity Part 4: What Keeps Us Centered

Welcome to part 4 of Design Affinity, a series that aims to help you embrace your dreams, passions and who you really are and inject that into your home décor.

What does it mean to be centered? Many have tried to explain the terminology but to tell the truth it isn’t easy.  To be centered is a feeling inside that is recognizable but not so easy to put into words.  I would explain it this way:  To be centered means you have something in your life which keeps you grounded.  It is a base point which you focus on which keeps you emotionally and mentally stable and helps you feel balanced inside.  When you are centered, you feel confident and often feel serenely peaceful.  It is something which you feel very strongly about.  This can be a spiritual or religious practice, your family, your business, your relationships, your goals or even physical exercise such as weight-lifting or yoga.  What keeps me centered is my relationship with God, my family, writing, caring for other people, books, prayer and meditation.  Love is at the centre of all of these,  Loving others and meditating and books keeps my spirit tuned and humming.  With centeredness also comes expansion simply because love grows.

You may be at a very different place than me.  It may be that for you it is your job or your art or poetry that keeps you centered.  It may be something else.  When you think about what centers you, what images come to mind?

Here’s my idea.  Whatever room you are decorating or working on, have at least one item in it that is symbolic of the thing which keeps you centered.  It can be a painting, some personal art work, a sculpture, a framed poem, a religious item such as a mezuzah or a lotus flower…anything that is meaningful to you.  For instance, I have photos of my children in three of my rooms and books in every room (except the bathroom).  In my bedroom, where I do most of my reading and meditation, I have these two sculptures:

meditate

The small one is hard to see but it is made of jade and it’s a baby whale on top of its mother which my daughter gave me.

When you add something to your décor that centers you, every time your eyes rest on the object, it reminds you of what is important-what fills you up with peace and stability.  Below are some more examples but keep in mind that what you choose has to inspire or be meaningful to you.

I love this sculpture as it could remind someone to embrace life with joy.

Picture Source

Picture Source

Simple message.  It can mean to believe in God or yourself or whatever is personal to you.  You can also get letters to spell whatever you want.

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Picture Source

When it comes to lighting candles especially with the lotus holder below, it can have an instant calming, centering affect.

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Picture Source

The home-owners below used a collection of photo art which is personal to them.

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Picture Source

This collection of photos is a wonderful reminder of family love.

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Wall art sculpture is another way to show personalization in a room.

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Picture Source

A self-created montage of images that are important to you may be a mystery to everyone else, but you will understand.

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Picture Source

Wall decals of your favourite quote, saying or life inspired message can add interest and drama in a room.  You can choose different fonts and wording of your choice.

Picture Source

Picture Source

That concludes the Design Affinity series.  I hope it has given you lots of inspiration to design your personal space in a way that is meaningful to you.  It is possible that having a room decorated this way can help you stay focus on what is important and aid you in manifesting your dreams.

Oriental Inspired Living-rooms

As soon as you walk into an Oriental inspired room something changes.  It is as if inside you there is a switch that has now been turned to a new setting: RELAXATION.  Tranquillity is at the heart of Oriental design which is why this is the decorating scheme choice of many.  Referring to oriental design interiors usually means designs influenced by China and Japan and sometimes Thailand.  Chinese inspired interiors tend to be vibrant and colourful.  Rooms are often decorated in red and/or black and furniture is dark.  You also see black lacquer furniture and chinoiserie.

Chinoiserie Photo credit: www.faccents.com

Chinoiserie
Photo credit: http://www.faccents.com

Chinese art work is seen on wallpaper, cushions, murals, curtains, paintings, vases, folding screens, silk cloth, furniture and bamboo scrolls.  Chinese art is a lot like calligraphy and is done in ink using paint brushes.  The art work shows a depiction of landscapes, branches with tiny flowers. birds, dragons and people in traditional Chinese costumes.

original source no longer available

Picture credit: www.denoxa.com

Picture credit: http://www.denoxa.com

Picture credit: www.houzz.com

Picture credit: http://www.houzz.com

Japanese inspired design is different as it tends to use neutral and nature colours such as beige, brown, grey and green. The furniture is low to the ground with legs of furniture often  being curved.  You will sometimes also see cushions on the floor.  Japanese is more minimalistic then Chinese.  The philosophy being to have only what is necessary.  That philosophy even extends to the indoor walls which is why you often see sliding doors in homes in Japan to open up the space.  A lot of natural elements are also used in Japanese design such as bamboo rugs or flooring, bonsai plants and water features.

Original picture source no longer available

Picture credit: www.homelibs.com

Picture credit: http://www.homelibs.com

If Oriental design appeals to you, you can incorporate it into your home.  This especially works well if you have a modern house.  The most important aspects to keep in mind are colour, space and balance.  While western design groups objects into threes, oriental design is symmetrical.  Think of one lamp on each side of a console for instance or have a look at the symmetry in this Thai inspired living-room.

Picture credit: www.casasugar.com

Picture credit: http://www.casasugar.com

Autumn/Winter Interior Design: Decorating With Throws

There is something warm and comforting about the transition to autumn.  The leaves begin to take on their beautiful rich colours of reds, oranges, golds and umbers. Sheer clothing gets replaced by soft, warm sweaters. Fireplaces start to get switched on again and hot cocoa appears on our shopping lists.  This is also a good time to add some warmth to our interiors.  What better way to do that then to add a throw in a room which will always be on hand to snuggle into?  Besides adding warmth, it can also be a source of comfort after a hard day.  However did you also know it can add a LOT of style or even change the look completely of a piece of furniture?  The below chair is a great example!  Adding the two contrasting throws transforms this plain white chair into something a bit more sophisticated.

This white fluffy throw  adds a bit of brightness and fun to the dark sofa.

In summer the owners below have white slipcovers on their living room furniture but now that autumn appears they have simply added a couple of warm, vibrant throws.  I love how the throw covers most of the sofa showing all its rich colours and patterns while the throw on the chair is simply thrown across the back.

I love the luxurious feel of this faux animal throw!  It just seems to beckon me to curl up on the sofa with it.

A throw on a table?  Why not! It’s creates a great little nook for a cup of tea and conversation.

This bed throw adds texture and interest to this neutral bedroom.  A very important tip when decorating in neutrals.

An exceedingly sumptuous faux animal fur throw adds glamour in the bedroom.

Super stylish idea!  Pair up a bright coloured throw with a large gold rope and tassel and you have got an instant wow feature on your bed!  There are many ways to decorate with throws depending on the look you want to create.  Use them over chairs, ottomans or settees as well!

An Easy Way to Figure Out Your Interior Design Needs

This is something I learned years ago and it really does work!  Once you discover how effective this is, you have to be brave to continue on.  First get an empty paper towel roll.

paper towel roll

Next, walk around your house and stop at different spaces and look through your paper towel roll.  Sometimes you really don’t realize how well you are doing and how well you are not doing when it comes to decorating your home.  You need tunnel vision.  You need to be able to look at every aspect of your home. For instance, does this look alright to you?

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This is a hall where coats are hung and mittens and scarves are put away inside these handy baskets.  Not a bad idea but look at those picture hooks still on the wall where past picture frames where hung.  How much better would it be if this was taken down?

desk area

What about this desk area? Sure, it’s neat and tidy but is it aesthetically pleasing?  This is somebody’s home!  Perhaps a better chair and some colourful prints on the wall?

mantle

This mantel piece décor is looking pretty good but if it was yours could you make it more personal to you?  Find things you absolutely love that mean something to you like a favourite poem or some books or some gorgeous flowers.

vignette

Here is something more personal.  A photo of a child, some special books and a pretty vase.

 

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This bookcase has beautiful books pushed fairly forward and some personal items as well.  What do you think?  I know hard to have an opinion of somebody else’s interior design taste.  Interior Design is all about your taste.  Your home!  What is meaningful to you?  What do you find pleasure in?  The paper towel roll helps you to realize what is lacking, what needs tidying up etc.  You don’t need to spend a lot of money.  You just need to figure out your own taste and have fun with it!  For help on discovering your interior design style click here.

 

Beautiful But Frugal Budget Art

I am still working on re-decorating my lounge on a budget…well its a budget after the John Lewis carpet was put in and the decorator hired to paint.  If you have read my previous blogs, I spray painted a vase of faux flowers and got a nice but frugal multi-frame aperture which I then added special effect photos via Photobucket.  I did manage to buy one nice large framed print of a Renoir but still wanted some  more art work.  I found this picture on Google images and fell in love with it.  I love paintings of mother and child.

mother-and-child-b-k-lusk

The only problem with this is that the gold colouring didn’t match my living-room.  So, I decided to see what Photobucket could do for me and this is what I came up with:

 

8ea56850-248b-430c-9f39-cb8806289f1c_zps0e4dc693

 

I love it!  I think its better than the original and the red colours match my living room and the bonus is that now the baby’s hair has gone from blond to red!  Two of my girls are red-heads and I’m a brunette so it feels a bit more personal.  I suppose I could have used my Portrait Professional program to change the eye colours to green but their eyes are gorgeous the way it is.

So there you have it. You can change your existing art work or photos to match your room colour using photobucket online or any other number of picture enhancing programs.