is definitely here and so are the wonderful colors of fall leaves,
pumpkins and gourds, cider and apple pie. (you thought I was going to say
pumkin pie, didn't you?).
Time to look at making your home more
comfy for chilly nights and more welcoming for indoor activities and
A good friend sent me the following note:
"I am struggling with
how to display photos - both on tables or shelves and/or in a pretty large
area up the stairs...right now that area is blank because of my photo
phobia...don't want it to look junky...should they all be black and
white...different type frames - the same type frames?? updated frequently
as grandchildren change......no people, just places???? How many? How big?
The list goes on, so I don't do anything!"
Let's take a couple of examples of Photo Phobia and possible cures.
Shelf, table and piano top displays can get so large that it looks like a
crowd or a miniature family reunion. Often these collections begin with a
small grouping of vintage family photos that grows into an assortment of
mismatched frames and sizes that have no relationship to each other.
One solution is to sort the photos into categories like vintage
family (groups and individuals), current family (within 1-2 years),
birthdays, events, holidays, vacations, baby's first year, highlights of
the current year and more. Pack each of these into labeled boxes and
rotate the collection periodically. You will be able to see the photos
better in smaller groups and will have the pleasure of rediscovering the
"new" photos each time you rotate the groupings.
Hanging photos on
the wall also takes a bit of restraint and some organizing. Again, sort
photos to see what natural groupings occur. Do you have lots of your
children's sports or other activities? Choose the best of the best and
limit the number so that each child is equally represented. A grouping
could include the team photo, the individual photo, and one or two action
shots. Keep the photos in the same type of frames ( all black or the same
wood tone, for example) and vary the size of the photos for interest. Most
photos will be in color but depending on the subject or grouping, copying
them in black and white can me more dramatic. It can also rejuvenate some
of the faded photos from the 50's-70's. Scan old photos and touch up with
one of the many programs available like Microsoft Picture It, Paint or
Photo Shop. Additional photos can be scrap booked or kept in archival
boxes for protection. You can change out the photos as the years pass,
placing the old photos in the scrapbooks.
Some may find sorting and
eliminating too emotionally difficult to do. If so, consider the photo
frames that produce a slide show of your pictures. They are an easy way to
store lots of photos without having to dust and straighten frames. There
are many different frame sizes and looks available now and some that
incorporate three regular frames for photos or memorabilia like
invitations, announcements, etc. If you opt for the single electronic
frame, you can easily add other framed memorabilia in a display around
The key is to avoid making a collection of photos look like a
"shrine" or a museum display. Simple groupings that have a logical
connection are more interesting and much easier to maintain.
about creating photo groupings next month!
||Halloween Party Ideas
Many of you know
how much I like Halloween. Not the gory, frightening stuff. I never
understood the appeal of that. I like the dress up, creative costume and
decoration part of Halloween with a few surprises and some eerie
atmosphere thrown in.
If you are
planning a Halloween event, here are some tips to keep in mind :
- Use glow in the dark craft paint to create ghostly messages on
plastic film. Attach to stairway walls, mirrors, or to the inside of
windows for approaching guests to see.
- Hang flying ghost shapes on the underside of gutters, on the ceiling
near an open window, along a branches in a tree, or on beams in an
unfinished basement in a random pattern. Make a paper pattern, tape it
to sheer polyester fabric, cut out the shapes and seal the edges with a
touch of white glue.
- Put a twist on standard party fare. Serve things in Halloween
inspired shapes like bite sized cheese cake tombstones.
- Let the shapes of foods suggest a Halloween twist. You may have seen
deviled eggs turned into eyes. How about chocolate crepes turned into
mummy wrappings or stuffed bat wings?
- Identify your party foods with interesting tent cards or labels. Use
inexpensive plastic vampire teeth from the dollar and party stores as
stands to hold your menu cards or as place card holders at a dinner
- Paint a few decorative accessories for the party with glow in the
dark paint and replace your regular light bulbs with blacklight bulbs.
That dark book on the table now glows with the words "Secrets", the eyes
of the people in the group photo glow eerily in the dark...
- Replace regular light bulbs with clear blue ones for atmosphere.
- Be sure to have enough light in your rooms for guest to see when
moving around. It's not fun to stumble around in the dark and people
won't be able to see your great decorations.
- Vary the music volume and intensity during the party. Don't
overwhelm your guests when they first arrive with too many sights and
Spread your decorations around your rooms but
also try to cluster them in natural groupings. Just as in regular
decorating, your props and decorations will have more impact if there is
space between each cluster.
Half the fun of being a guest at a
party is the gradual discovery of all of the creative thought and effort
of the hosts. Tuck surprises in areas where guests would least expect to
find anything. It doesn't have to be something that moves or startles.
Sometimes the subtle surprises are the most memorable.
||Form and Function
contemporary vases are the perfect thing for displaying one large tropical
leaf or flower, whether real or artificial. Partially fill the base with
tiny decorative filler, grass green split peas, coffee beans, or other
interesting textured material and you have an interesting organic objet
d'art for well under $10. Combine three of these using your color palette
as a guide for accent colors and you have the beginning of a centerpiece
for everyday or a special occasion.
These vases are also examples how the shapes of everyday objects can
suggest other uses. For Halloween, fill just the bases with colored water,
add some polyester batting, stretched out to look like steam, around the
bases of each with a bit of "steam" coming out of the top. (be careful not
to stuff it into the vase as you may not be able to get it
out!) Now you have the beginning of a laboratory effect, perfect for a
powder room, beverage area, or even the laundry room!
||Fall Decorating with Non-Traditional
What do you do
when your decor or your dinnerware doesn't conform to the traditional
colors of the season? Do you just ignore it and hope for the best?
This is one of the many decorating problems I address in my
Redesign Parties and the picture shows a typical example. The dinnerware
looks more like Spring rather than Fall with its pastel colors and
delicate design- a small floral using greens, peach and a bit of plum. The
solution for a centerpiece (or a floral accent for a room with these
colors) is to take each color and find a fall equivalent. Using a terra
cotta pumpkin box for a base, frosted grape leaves on a vine and mottled
fall leaves with a bit of gold, peach and brick colors (instead of the
usual orange and red) were used as a filler. Peach and tangerine colored
berries, and peach spider mums fill the place that orange might in a
traditional fall arrangement. White is carried through with white mums,
silk mushrooms, frosted white berries and some white and pale pink- peach
veined foliage. The plum is picked up by miniature purple iris for
contrast in height and texture instead of using purple berries or
Fall colors are more than golds, greens, reds and oranges. Just as
peach translated into terra cotta for the example, teal can translate into
porcelain berry clusters (a real plant, believe me!), navy blue can
translate into deep purple-blue grapes or berries, purple into asters and
pink into purple cone flowers. All can be mixed with white pumpkins, brown
accents like cat tails, dried grasses with seed heads, chocolate
eupatorium (Joe Pie Weed) and yellow green fall leaves, dried hydrangea
blossoms or artichokes (real, dried or "silk").
These are only a
few examples-try some of your own and do send me photos-your creation may
be featured in next month's issue!
||Fall Clean Up
Does the idea of
clearing your house of clutter make you think of grabbing your leaf blower
and taking it through your house one room at a time?
You know what
to do, it is just making the time committment to do it. There are many
ways to get started-with an easy job first to give you a sense of
accomplishment or a difficult job that will really be obvious once it is
done. Be sure that when you select the project that you have the time set
aside to finish it properly, the supplies you need and the determination
to focus on it without becoming distracted. Assemble everything in the
room in advance, even if it takes several days to get everything together.
This will encourage you to get the job done. Use whatever tricks you need
to keep yourself focused. A timer set at half hour increments may help you
keep on track. Stop periodically to stretch and refresh but take no longer
than a half hour or so to keep up the momentum. Plan rewards for yourself
after each project is finished. Chocolate perhaps?
Fall clean up is a
little like a harvest. You will reap rewards such as saved time because
you know where things are, saved money because you know what you have and
won't buy duplicates and peace of mind because you won't have the stress
that disorganization causes.
||Product Review on Bella & Birch Designer Wall
Bella and Birch is
a new designer wall finish that comes on a roll, but it's not wallpaper.
It's a dry paint pattern that smoothes on with no seams! Intrigued? So was
I. After a bit of a delay, I can report on my experience with this great
new product and you can see for yourself what a difference it can make in
an incredibly short time.
recently moved into a new house and wanted to give her dining room a
little oomph to set it off from the adjoining, open living room. We
selected a subtle mottled tone on tone pattern, Dance, in Chareston Sand,
to give the room definition. After watching the short instructional DVD we
loaded the dispensers with the product that comes on a roll and we were
ready to go.
The area below the chair rail was our selected space
so using the edging strips we applied the product to the wall, smoothed it
down and peeled away the top protective film. Simple and easy!
||Bella and Birch Application
filling in the space using the larger roll of the product using the
applicator that applies it to the wall as you run it down in a smooth
motion, then cuts it and smoothes the edges. No drips, smudges or uneven
paint application at the edges to fuss over. Brilliant!
this room transformation next month!
||About The Redesigner's Notebook
The Redesigner's Notebook is devoted to tips and articles
relating to interior redesign, decorating, entertaining, organizing and
If you have an interest or question that you
would like to see addressed, or a community event that you would like to
see included that relates to these subjects please contact me. Your
comments and suggestions are always appreciated!
~ Pam Faulkner,
Faulkner House Interior Redesign