Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Winter Garden

With the reluctance of settling my garden in for the Winter months comes the sudden, sweet joy of finding yet another reason to decorate.
Being a tad lazy, I am inclined to have decorations that will last from November to April; ones that aren't too themed, and will stand up to the snow and ice that could easily keep them firmly in place until Springtime. They have to be something that I enjoy seeing every day, and something that won't look misplaced in the middle of February (quite possibly the worst month of the year), and, if it somehow involves a gnome or a small, metal bird, then I may just have to wrap a plaid scarf around its neck.

For me, it is all about exploiting Mother Nature, and working with rather than against the harsh elements that could crack a favorite sculpture or topple a childhood tree. Nothing should be too fragile. I like to keep it simple, play with shapes that are already there, and use materials that will only look better with a good dose of age.

I am sure that my small gargoyle (made handily of resin) will last for many seasons, and that the verbena flowers can be left tall, holding onto their seeds, waiting for when the hungry birds will need them the most. The old trellis brings much needed height, while a small mason jar is able to sway, ever-so-gently in a nearby tree - holding a candle that may never get lit, but bringing the quiet magic of possibility to many of our cold, gray days.
Some berries and leaves have stayed vibrant and red, defying common sense with the stubbornness of a child that won't be ignored, holding on tight to their color next to the freshly fallen snow.
I actually don't like the cold at all, yet I find myself bracing the freezing temperatures for a few, stolen minutes outside; I am still amazed at the transformation when I stare at the harsh, brittle landscape - alternatively watching clouds and stars, gathering new images every day, and reminding myself of how simply beautiful the Winter garden can be .....

For more information on where the photographs came from, just click on the name:
Birdhouse, Topiary, Bird Feeder, Trellis, Flowering Quince, Verbena, Gargoyle, Glass Jar, Metal Orbs

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Decorating By Numbers

I like simple Math; tell me how much money is in my checking account, what I can spend on a new coat, and I am very happy, but please don't ever ask me how X multiplies into Z, or why Radicals are invading the privacy of my Square Root Quotient. See, even my brain just laughed at the mere thought of trying to figure all of this out.  
But, lucky for us, I escaped from the classroom a long time ago, and found comfort in knowing that not all numbers are boring, and we can even use some equations to help us decorate.
So, whether you like numbers or not, here are some of the tried and true one's that you may find quite useful.

How Close should my Sofa be to the Wall? 

Not that close. Pulling the sofa slightly away from the wall (about 6 - 8 inches) will do all sorts of wonderful things for your room - it will make your room feel bigger, cozier (strangely enough) and help to avoid that formal, Waiting Room appearance. 

How much Space do I really need between the Sofa and Coffee Table?

The minimum is about 18 - 22 inches. This gives most of us enough room to move around, but also is close enough for us to sit down and put our cup of coffee on the table without pulling a muscle or having to getting up every few minutes.

What actually is Eye Level Height when Hanging Artwork?

This is a useful guide for when you are a hanging a large piece on a fairly empty wall; the center of your piece of artwork should be approximately 5 feet from the floor (57 - 60 inches). The same goes for if you are starting a gallery wall - put the first piece around the 60 inch mark, and work out your designs from there. If you are hanging art above a sofa, then the bottom of the piece of art should be about 6 - 12 inches above the top of the sofa.

How Large or Small should my Ceiling Light be?  

For the height of a ceiling light, take the height of your room and multiply it by 2.5 - 3 inches (i.e. an 8 foot tall room can have a 20 - 24 inch tall light). For the width, take the width and length of your room, add them together, and that should be the approximate diameter, in inches, of your light (i.e. 10 x 15 foot room = 25 inch wide light).

What is the Ideal Height and Width of a Chandelier over my Dining Table?

The bottom of the chandelier should be approximately 30 - 34 inches from the top of your table, and about 12 inches narrower than your table. If your room is taller than average, add a couple of inches for each additional foot (i.e. for a ten foot tall room hang your chandelier 34 - 38 inches above the table).

How High should my Coffee Table and End Tables be?

Most of these are at a fairly standard 16 - 18 inches tall; just make sure they are slightly lower (or even) with the arm of your sofa, or 6 - 8 inches taller than seat level.

What size Coffee Table do I Need? 

Look for a coffee table that is approximately close to half the length of your sofa. The goal is that everyone can reach it comfortably, and it visually fills up the space.  

What Size Rug should I Get?

In a perfect world, in a perfect room, a rug should sit approximately 18 inches from the wall, however there are other ways to choose a rug that can help you determine the size you need.
-  Decide whether you want it just as an accent i.e. just under the coffee table, with the furniture surrounding it, but not touching it.
-  Do you want it to be a part of the seating area, but not taking up the entire room i.e. just the front legs of the furniture on it.
-  Do you want it to act a bit like a carpet i.e. all of the furniture on the rug. 
Because rugs are such a cumbersome item to buy and return, a good idea is to lay down a bed sheet, or mark the space with painters tape first to see what size and layout looks best in your room before you choose.  

What about Using a Rug in my Dining Room? 

This is probably the only rule that I never mess with. The table and chairs should all be on the rug, with the rug extending at least two feet further behind the chairs so that people can push their chair in and out without getting caught on the rug. If in doubt, use a bed sheet to map it out first.