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Blue Accents

The color blue is one of the most popular colors today.

In fact, it’s been a popular favorite for many years.  It can be found everywhere!…in fashion, bedding, art,  and of course everything that is home decor.

Here are a few pictures of a recently completed project where blue played a key role.

Accents in soft shades of robin’s egg blue  provide an updated feel to a traditional decor.

The shade of blue I used was inspired by the area rug.  What’s wonderful about this room is that, if the homeowner wanted to freshen the look after a few years, she could simply replace the blue items with another color in the rug …and get a totally different look.

For now, though, this elegantly casual room is loving the BLUE!

Hope I’ve inspired.

Alba


Beautiful 4th of July Decorations

I love this country.  Long ago It embraced my family and me with open arms, offering us a new place to call home.  I feel honored and privileged to be a Naturalized American and am profoundly grateful to have had that choice.

Here are a few decorating ideas to help us celebrate Independence Day.

I love this 3 level floral arrangement.  You can use carnations, which are economical and can be found in a variety of colors at most grocery stores.  When July is over, you can do it again with fall flowers, then Christmas…

Plan now for next July.  Make a note on your calendar to plant ahead for flowers that will be blooming like these come July.

These ordinary galvanized flower buckets look amazing with painted stripes and stars.

Of course, you can’t go wrong with a wreath…one of the most basic, classic forms for decorating.  Here are 2 that are undoubtedly patriotic.  For a tutorial on how to make your own felt wreath like this gorgeous one below,  Click Here.

A star wreath.  Attach a metal star to a boxwood wreath (any wreath will work) then wrap red, white and blue ribbon around it for a classic patriotic welcome.  This star wreath is also totally versatile year round.  Simply use the appropriate ribbon for the season or holiday.

Frames are another classic venue for decorating during any holiday.

Purchase small flags and gently remove them from the stick. Center the flag on a mat inside a frame with no glass. Glue only the top edge of the flag to the mat so it appears to be blowing in the breeze…a very elegant way to display your patriotism.

I love this box below.  Both the box and flag were found items that have been assembled beautifully.  It’s art that can be displayed year round.  For instructions on making this box, Click Here

Here’s a project you can do with the kids.  Wood letters smothered in glitter.  Makes me smile just thinking about it. For a tutorial,  Click Here.

Happy 4th of July!!

Hope I’ve inspired.


Yes, You SHOULD Paint the Paneling

Believe it or not, there are still people out there that don’t want to paint the paneling!  So here’s yet another reason why you should.  I recently completed a family room that was stuck in a time warp…in large part because of the paneling!

My client calls this room the “den”.  It started out as a paneled room that was dark and outdated.  Fortunately, she was more than willing to paint…and it made all the difference!

Before

Before

We started by painting the room in a light, buttery color.

Although we did purchase new seating furniture, we reused the existing trunk for the coffee table, the end table and the Tiffany style lamps.  The built-in bookshelf was reconfigured to accommodate a new flat screen TV.

For the window treatment, we placed a woven wood Roman shade, outside mounted and all the way to the molding.  This made the window look larger and more balanced for the room.

The homeowner wanted to use her existing Tiffany style lamps, but they were a bit short.  Using a decorative box we raised them making them the right height, and increased the storage in the room.

The homeowner is an avid movie watcher and wanted to incorporate that “theme” in the room.  We accomplished this with art.

The biggest impact, however, was definitely created by painting the paneling!  It made the room feel fresh and updated.  So don’t hesitate…Paint the Paneling!!

Hope I’ve inspired.


Decorating a Family Room

Recently, I completed this casual and comfortable living area in Frisco, TX.

The homeowners had purchased the furniture from Rachel Benedict at Thomasville.  A gorgeous sectional in a light taupe leather, complimented by industrial inspired tables…including a bar height table with stools.  My job was to decorate it.

The room’s Transitional style is a total departure from the more Traditional look that  the homeowners are comfortable with.  The old world map provides that traditional element, while still moving  in the direction of a more streamlined, simple look.

The room reflects the homeowner’s love of travel and we personalized it with evidence of their trips.

Two rustic shelves display their collection of city cups…each reflecting the name of a city they have visited.

Both love taking pictures, so a few of their favorite photos were enlarged and framed.  These can be changed out every few months to display their latest adventures.

The time zones in 5 of their favorite cities…

Industrial jars filled with edible gum balls, Skittles and Jellie Beans…bringing fun and color to the space.  Below, the homeowner’s initials in monogram tins personalize the bar.

We stocked the bar with the basic necessities (minus the alcohol…well ok, we got some wine!).  In the corner, 2 industrial crates display their collection of Coca Cola bottles.

I loved decorating this room!  Hope I’ve inspired!


My Sister’s Garden

On a recent visit to Miami, I had a great time taking photos of my sister’s garden.  It’s a colorful and versatile garden…full of beautiful flowers, vegetables, fruits, foliage…the variety is incredible!  All delicately loved.

Peppers and Tomatoes

Lemons and Avocados

But it’s the FLOWERS that take the show!

Can you believe how gorgeous these are?  And there’s more…

The cashew tree

The garden feels wonderfully casual and random.

Thanks ST, for sharing it with us.

Hope I’ve inspired!


Honoring our Heirlooms

Honor and Appreciation

Although those two sentiments are usually reserved for people, there are countless of objects in home décor that require and deserve both.  I will say though, that most of these objects are usually tied to someone who is, or has been special and dear.  We keep and display these items to honor their existence and their part in our lives.

The most common of these are family pictures.  Every time you display a picture in your home, you are no doubt honoring the person in the photo.  So it’s also important to show a little honor for the photo itself.  For example, original photos (taken with film and developed on paper) should always be matted.  The mat will prevent it from touching the glass, which believe me, the photo can stick to the glass after several years…ruining the picture!  Older photos should be protected if you expect them to last.

Today, digital photography has increased our options.  I highly recommend that you take the time to scan all your important and very old photos so that you have a digital record of them. It’s definitely time consuming if you do it yourself, but totally worth the time…you can give a copy to all your family, further honoring them and your heritage.

Sometimes, we honor the memory or actions of those we love with small heirlooms that once belonged to them…medals, pins, jewelry, etc.  Again, protecting these heirlooms is  important, and for this, shadow boxes are the way to go. Almost any small collection can be showcased in a shadow box.  So if you have a collection of small heirlooms in a closet somewhere, think about displaying them.

If you’re creative, you can do it yourself.  But most framing shops can artfully display your collection for you.  The shadow box will protect your treasures while on display for all to enjoy.

Furniture is another home décor item that is often inherited.  And how better to honor and appreciate than by using it!  Of course this isn’t always possible, …you don’t want to destroy it either.  But if your item is functional and usable, then I encourage it.  I believe your ancestor would be honored to know that you’re truly appreciating the piece by actually using it in your home.

And by the way, if it doesn’t fit with your current décor (and it’s not a valuable antique) it’s ok to paint or alter it to fit your needs. Even if altered, it’s STILL the same piece.   Some people might think that’s wrong, but I feel that the point is not to keep it intact, but rather to enjoy and appreciate it.

Hope I’ve inspired.


EAA Fish Fry – April 2012

The EAA Chapter 1246 annual fish fry was held on April 21 at the MHOA hangers. As is tradition, the North Texas Flying Club helped host the event.


8 Women That Have Inspired Me

Renowned interior designer Charlotte Moss has an office that is truly inspiring.  She has artfully devoted an entire wall to pictures of women that have inspired her.   When I first saw this wall in a magazine, I fell in love.  And I decided to start my own gallery.

We are all inspired by different people, men and women.  But AS a woman, I’m particularly inspired by other women who have had an impact in changing their world…and in the process, changing the lives of others.

Charlotte Moss

I share with you some of the women whom I have admired most of my life.  These are not in order, nor are they the ONLY women I admire, but all have definitely played their part in shaping my ideas…

Coco-Chanel (1883-1971)

Coco Chanel was an influential French fashion designer and founder of the famous brand Chanel.  Her biography is certainly colorful and controversial, but there’s no denying that she led an amazing life whose work is still impacting the world today.

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Catherine The Great, Empress of Russia (1729-1796)

Catherine The Great was the most renowned and the longest-ruling female leader of Russia.  Under her reign, Russia was revitalized,  growing larger and stronger than ever and becoming recognized as one of the great powers of Europe…and the woman wasn’t even BORN there!!

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Eva Peron (1919-1952)

Eva Peron…As far as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by the story of Eva Peron.  Partly because of the rags to riches element, but mostly because I so admire her determination to seize life.

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Queen Victoria (1819-1901)

Queen Victoria…became queen at the age of 18… ruled for 64 years in what is considered Britain’s great age of industrial expansion and economic progress….had 9 children in the process…enjoyed a loving and lasting relationship with her husband…and was SO influential that an entire era is referred to her!!  Need I say more?!!

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Gloria Estefan (1957-Present)

Gloria Estefan.  I love Gloria.  Like me, she was born in Cuba and migrated here with her parents.  We both share being raised in a Cuban household.  I LOVE her music… and I love her dedication to family. The American Music Awards presented Gloria with the Lifetime Achievement Award.  They told her that children were not allowed to the ceremony.  She objected and brought them anyway, even bringing them up on the stage to accept her award.  She said that she and Emilio both felt that their greatest achievement was their children…that’s why they had brought them.  You gotta love that!

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Mary Kay Ash (1918-2001)

Mary Kay Ash…did you know that she didn’t start her cosmetic empire until she was 45 years of age?!!  That in itself is inspiring, but in the process she also created countless opportunities for women around the world.  I’m inspired by her commitment to her values and her unwavering belief in the power and potential of women.

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Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993)

Audrey Hepburn…the epitome of style and class, and one of the world’s most famous actresses of all times.  She remains one of  few entertainers to have won Academy, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Awards, yet always remaining modest about her acting abilities.  She was hugely influential in the fashion industry redefining glamor itself, yet devoted her later years to UNICEF, working in some of the most profoundly disadvantaged communities of Africa, South America and Asia.  I am inspired by her beauty, inside and out, and her kindness.

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My Mom (1928-2006) with my sister and me

My Mom…the most inspiring woman of ALL.   A woman who came to this country with nothing and worked hard to create a safe, nurturing and loving home for her family…the kindest woman I’ve ever known.

I am inspired by her in ways too countless to tell!

Who inspires YOU?


Trend Alert: Monograms

Monograms are personal signatures that have been around since 350BC.  It’s a form of personalization that continues to be extremely popular.  I absolutely love them, but I think they should be used sparingly for major impact.  Although, today you can monogram just about anything, here are some of MY favorite items to stamp as your own…

Towels.  This is one of those small details that makes a huge difference…making you feel special on a daily basis.

And what guest would not feel special to use a towel that has been placed there specially for them!

I don’t actually use a bath robe, but if I did, I would definitely get it personalized.  I think it would make me feel like if I was on vacation every day!

Furniture is another popular item for monograms.  But again, restraint is important.  You don’t want to overdo it.  I love this iron bed below with a single initial monogram.  It’s simple, classic and elegant.

Pillows are the perfect venue…and I’m particularly partial to monogrammed dining chairs.  SO elegant!

One of the most versatile items to personalize is the drinking glass, especially if you entertain.  But also, they’re perfect as gifts for ANY occasion.

…and you can serve the drinks with personalized napkins.

Here are the basics of 3 initial monograms:

The three-initial monogram is probably the most common format in use today. Typically, the last name initial is placed in a large type at the center of the monogram, flanked by the first and middle initials in a smaller type. For example, a monogram for Jane Marie Doe would read as follows: jDm. This is generally referred to as the Victorian format.
Another format for 3 initial monograms is using all capitals.  In this case, the first name, middle name, last name initials are placed in order using the same size font for all three letters. Example: Jane Marie Doe is JMD

Of course, these are just guidelines, part of the fun is creating a unique look that is all your own.

I have to say though, that my favorite item to monogram are note cards.

This one below is my current note card.  My sister bought them for me as a gift and I absolutely love them.  Probably cause it has an animal print (which I also love in moderation), and because it came from her!

Inside THIS particular note card I’ve written…

Thank you to all of you…my dear clients, for your continued support of my talents!

Till Next Time,

Alba


Ideas To Take Outdoors

Spring is in the Air…

Before you know it, Spring will be in full bloom! I love Spring. You can feel the renewal and the energy in the air, which makes it the perfect time to live outdoors.

So, whether you have a grand patio with a pool, or a modest balcony, your outdoor space should be comfortable, inviting, stylish and reflect your personality. Here are 10 simple ways to boost the energy of your outdoor space.

Put Out a Bird Bath

Bird baths are sculptural art for the yard. They come in all shapes and styles. Find one you love and place it where you can see it. Our feather friends are sure to appreciate it as the weather gets hotter, and there’s nothing more precious than seeing little birds splash in the water.

Wind Chimes

If you don’t have a wind chime, I highly recommend them.  Not only are they pieces of art, but their soothing tones promote relaxation and reduce stress, anger and tension.  Their tone will depend on how they’re made and what they’re made of.  So, listen before you buy.  I personally prefer the deep baritone sounds, but the important thing is, how the sound make YOU feel.

Add a Fountain

If you love the “water” idea, but not the wildlife, try adding a fountain. Whether a standing or a wall fountain, there’s nothing like the sound of water. Many fountains are inexpensive, easy to install and create enormous atmosphere. You might consider looking into solar fountains too.

A Portable Fire Pit

Now that you have a water feature, bring in the FIRE!  Like water, fire evokes warmth, life and energy.  And today, there are many ways to enjoy fire outdoors without actually having an outdoor fireplace.

Outdoor Curtains

What better way to bring the intimate indoor atmosphere outside? Outdoor curtains are not only beautiful but also functional. Depending on where you hang them, they can provide privacy plus heat, sun and mosquito protection. But DO make sure they’re made for the outdoors. Interior panels won’t hold up to the elements.

Suspended Relaxation

Have you considered a hammock?  No matter if you hang it between 2 trees or the stand it comes with….once you’ve experience this suspended relaxation, you’ll wonder how you ever did without one.

Or how about this hanging lounge?!  This outdoor hanging lounge looks like a bird nest. It’s the perfect place for relaxation, meditation and conversation outdoors.  It’s called Nestrest and was designed by Dedon, a German company that creates really amazing furniture for outdoors .

Wall Decor

If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space with a wall, you should take full advantage of it.  There are no rules that say you can’t hang art outside.  And there are no rules that say “art” has to be a painting.  Clocks, canvases, sconces, murals, wreaths, iron…as long as it can withstand the elements, it can be used outside.

Container Gardens

It’s SO much easier to water and maintain a container garden than one planted on the ground, especially if space and time are limited.  Yet, the impact is no less colorful. Container gardens are perfect for annuals, and allow you to create and enjoy a garden anywhere you want to place it.

Hanging Ferns

I LOVE hanging ferns.  Oh, I suppose there are many plants that you can hang on your porch, but there’s something exquisitely Southern about a fern that just screams “hospitality”.  Think of them as an annual accessory…you can get them for less than $10 each, water them frequently and they’ll last through the summer getting bigger and lusher.

Area Rugs

Here’s another design element that I’m passionate about…area rugs!  Today’s outdoor rugs are not the same as even 5 years ago.  With modern weaving techniques and modern yarns, today’s outdoor rugs are durable and more colorful than ever.

Yes, Spring is almost here.

Hope these have inspired you to breath in the air,soak in the sun and enjoy your outdoors!

Till Next Time,

Alba