You’ve probably noticed these whimsical, slightly Bohemian, tuffet-like pieces popping up in stores and home magazines in the past few years, but have you considered introducing a pouf (or pouffe) into your home? Used for ages as low seating and accent tables in Morocco, soft-sided poufs are available in endless color choices and patterns, and come covered in every type of material — from silk to cowhide.
Poufs also have been glorified in vintage Hollywood films where they provided seating at elaborate vanities.
And while you could spend hundreds of dollars on hand-embroidered leather poufs made in Morocco, there’s no need. Shop around and you can snap up an accent pouf for around $100. Beware, however, that some poufs sold online come without stuffing.
Think of a pouf as a pop of color in just about any room in your house.
They’re ideal for
Putting together a comfortable guest room for overnight visitors means more than throwing a clean set of Spider-Man sheets on Junior’s bed and adding a handful of extra wire hangers in the closet. On the other hand, you don’t have to perform a total room makeover, either. Follow these tips to give your guests a comfortable, restful stay.
Invest in guest bedding. Buy the best quality, neutral colored sheets you can afford and set them aside for guests. That way, they’ll remain pristine. You really don’t want your guests sleeping on spotted or worn sheets. Same with the pillows. Keep a pair of fresh pillows just for guests. If you don’t have a lot of extra room, put the pillows and guest bedding in Space Bags, suck out the air and stash the pancake-size package out of the way when not in use.
Speaking of pillows. Avoid excessive piles of decorative throw pillows on the bed unless you have plenty of space where your guests can put them away. Your guests don’t need to fight the
By now, you’ve seen napkins manipulated, folded, stuffed, fanned, and generally transformed into countless, impossible shapes, ranging from absurd to “I wonder how they did that.”
You choose. Under which category do these origami napkin shoes fall?
How about this over-the-top fold from Marie-Antoinette’s table at the Court of Versailles?
If you’re interested in the history of napkins, and the intrigue once associated with them, check out What’s Cooking America.
Now that entertaining season has kicked into high gear, it wouldn’t hurt to know at least one napkin folding technique. Trust me, it’ll come in handy, and your guests will feel special that you went to the trouble.
I present you with the envelope fold from vintage Martha Stewart.
The beauty of this easy fold is that you can do it far ahead of time if you like, since you’re not creating 3D swans or floral arrangements with this elegant, flat fold. But, ironing is involved. You’ll need starch or sizing to get each
The space on your holiday table is prime real estate, and there’s no reason to clutter it up with a clunky, obnoxious centerpiece that obliterates your guests from across the table, and, even worse, doesn’t leave room for the gravy boat. That doesn’t mean you should eliminate a centerpiece, either. Just get it right.
What to do:
Do incorporate some meaningful treasures. For instance, if you’re not serving soup but have a lovely tureen, consider using it to hold your centerpiece. Here’s a perfect example from The Cottage Market.
Do consider placing appropriate centerpieces where guests will frequent, other than just at the dining table. Some ornaments and a bit of greenery at the bar, a small cluster of pine cones and a candle in the powder room, a large bowl of seasonal fruits and nuts on your kitchen island will tie your rooms together.
Do keep in mind guests with pollen allergies. You can still enjoy a festive table arrangement without traditional flowers. Look to
A modern take on the menorah comes as stacks of chunky optical crystal. Candles not included. Available through One Kings Lane. Price: $30.
Working in the garden may be a popular hobby, but it can lead to absolute misery if you don’t take a few precautions. Want to lose a toe? Mow in flip flops instead of practical shoes.
Think all of those heavy metal concerts put a dent in your hearing? Well, if you don’t wear ear plugs when you’re playing with the leaf blower, you could do even more damage.
The idea is to play in your garden while getting some exercise and fresh air, not aches and pains — or worse. The Centers for Disease Control offers up gardening health and safety tips, but when it comes to tools, I’ve got some practical advice for you, too.
The right tool for the job:
You don’t live in the flatlands, so you know the exertion that comes with pushing a lawnmower up hills, then the sheer terror of white knuckling the thing as it free falls.
You can make this inevitable chore much easier on yourself with an all-wheel drive lawnmower like the tough Husqvarna HU800AWD. This powerhouse is
When it comes to putting together a functional dorm room, there’s little to no margin for error. Let’s face it, a room averaging about 12 feet by 15 feet, shared by two people, is more prison cell than penthouse.
I found a trio of functional items that not only save space and are USB friendly, but two of them let you use your imagination so that you can amp up the decor quirk factor.
Satechi USB Portable Humidifier
Not only does dry air cause static electricity but it plays havoc with dry skin, and if you’ve got a cold or respiratory issues, you want relief from moisture in the air. That’s when a humidifier comes in handy.
Here are a few reasons why I think you should consider the Satechi USB portable humidifier:
Transforms most screw-top water bottles into a portable or bedside humidifier. Simply screw the humidifier into the top of a water bottle.
Powered by USB 2.0 or 3.0.
We all have different vacuuming needs. Maybe you’re looking for a stick vac that can do double duty while squeezing into a dorm room. Or are you someone leaning toward a pumped-up model with some serious oomph? I know. You’re finally ready for your first apartment vacuum, yes? Not to worry, I’ve picked the perfect trio for you to check out. One’s cordless, one is small but with a powerhouse motor, and all three are bagless. Oh, and one I can’t live without. They’re listed by order of price — least expensive first.
Eureka AirSpeed Zuum All Floors (Model AS5210A)
Designed with a tool cleaning feature, and an 8-foot easy-to-access stretch hose and telescopic wand, this upright vacuum also includes the PET Power Paw Turbo Nozzle to remove pet hair from furniture. Eureka Zuum all-surface cleaning vacuum comes with an on/off switch that controls the brushroll. Turn it off on hard
Just as rugs or carpets can anchor furniture groupings or add finishing touches to a room, they can perform the same service to your outdoor spaces. Place them in seating areas as well as beneath dining tables to ramp up your outdoor decor.
Here are a few tips to help you select the perfect all-weather rug to dress up your patio, porch or deck.
Look for durable materials that can tolerate extreme sun exposure while resisting mildew and mold. Many all-weather rugs are made of polypropylene, a durable, stain-resistant plastic-like yarn that can mimic sea grass, sisal and other natural materials.
This handsome Chevron stripe rug from Ballard Designs is made of non-fading, washable, 100-percent mildew resistant polypropylene, which is easily cleaned with mild soap and a quick rinse with a hose. I even vacuum my outdoor rugs.
A while back, I found a crazy good deal on this solid crystal lamp from HomeGoods. So good, in fact, that I bought a pair. But, as you can see, the shade is a bit of a plain Jane.
I needed these lamps to pop. But I had no idea what to do to make that happen. That’s when my design SOS was answered by my friend, Nicholas Kniel, who owns the Sandy Springs ribbon and button store that bears his name. I’m not talking about your neighborhood craft store. Nicholas Kniel Fine Ribbon & Embellishments offers a millinery with stunning custom made and whimsical hats ranging from bridal toppers to cocktail hats and even feather fascinators. Kniel also creates custom masks, and his shop offers classes on how to fashion ribbon flowers. Check out his website.
Nick suggested that my lamps could easily be transformed with a glue gun and a couple yards of ribbon.
The instructions were simple: Measure the circumference of the top
With kids of all ages heading back to school, it’s important to keep their supplies — from laptops to locker contents — secure. Masterlock offers a slew of new locking devices loaded with advanced features to keep students’ property safe and sound. Check out the highlights.
1. 1500eDBX dialSpeed Digital Combination Padlock
High-tech, ergonomic design for one-handed, no-look operation, making it ideal for visually impaired students.
Easy to use dialSpeed directional interface, light-up keypad and easy-to-recall resettable personalized codes. Includes a five-year battery.
Programmed with a permanent Backup Master Code users can retrieve online from Master Lock Vault.
Padlock is for indoor use only. Comes in white or black.
2. Set-Your-Own Combination SafeSpace Laptop Computer Lock
Offers security when you and your laptop are on the go.
Set the WORD combination from 10,000 possible combinations.
Self-coiling cable with sturdy metal construction, extends
Waking in the middle of the night because it’s too hot to sleep is a big pain. And while you can go out and spend thousands of dollars on a fancy schmancy mattress with remote controlled cooling (and heating), I’ve got a few ideas that won’t break the bank. Oh, and there’s even a little something to keep the family pet from overheating.
Offers thermostat control in a pad that’s removable and portable.
Available in single zone with one control for the entire surface, or dual zone with a control for each side of the bed. Comes with wireless remote.
Cools and heats with water, not air.
Available sizes range from single and extra-long twin to California king and standard king.
Price starts at $399.
A gel pillow pad, surrounded by medical grade material, slides into your pillow case, over your pillow, to keep you cool.
You add water to the Chillow, which circulates within
If your taste in design leans to modern with a good dose of luxury and artistic flair, then take a look at what Ligne Roset has waiting for you in its showroom this fall. All of the pieces come from France, and note that many of the upholstered selections are available in nearly 30 different fabrics and two leathers.
Ligne Roset is located at 805 Peachtree Street at 5th, Atlanta, 404-541-1212.
Modern or contemporary furniture — love it or hate it? Show us your favorite
Get inspired and lose the color with this dramatic French bedroom. I’m so doing this to my dull guest room. You could replicate the crisp look with trips to IKEA and HomeGoods. And don’t forget cans of black and white paint. Plus some good painter’s tape for those stripes. Here’s a video tutorial on painting perfect stripes on a wall.
Have you gone wild with stripes? We’d love to see them. Send your photographs to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them on Instagram with the hashtag #AJCdiy.
You know the rock I’m talking about. It’s a lump in the yard that’s disguised as a rock but it’s really a speaker. And while it was clever enough back then, today’s outdoor speakers work via Bluetooth, and they’re discreet enough to stay out of the way, yet portable enough to follow the party, no matter where it ends up. That rock? Well, it’s pretty much relegated to the yard. If you’re looking for music that can move to the deck, the front, side or back yards, check out this trio of powerful Bluetooth indoor/outdoor speakers.
Outdoor Tech’s Turtle Shell Boombox is designed to be the life of the party anywhere you go. Dust proof, shock proof and water resistant, this tough shell is completely wireless and connects with your computer, smartphone, tablet or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. It streams clear sound from a 30-foot range, and a charge lasts up to 9 hours. And when the dust clears and the guests have gone home, Turtle Shell is ready to get to work on that
I hate to say it, but 2013 is sliding downhill. Fast. The autumnal equinox hits on September 22 and, let’s face it, once you enter the “er” months, before you know it, you’re wearing a funny hat, hoisting a glass of bubbly and kissing this year bubye. What I want to know is did you let 2013 slip away without embracing this year’s “it” color according to Pantone, the Big Kahuna of color trend forecasters?
It’s Emerald. From fashion runways to living room walls, the bold green is still in for a few more months. Last year was Tangerine Tango. Next year’s is still a mystery. There are rumblings about a blue, but also a coppery tint and maybe a yellow.
Oh, and if you’re loving the Pantone Emerald shade and want it for your walls, it’s available exclusively at Lowe’s via Valspar Paint.
Are you glad Emerald is on its way out? Did you use it in your home? And what color are you rooting for in 2014? Send your photographs to email@example.com or post them on Instagram with the
If you’re planning a bang-up Labor Day bash this weekend, you’ve probably decked out your outdoor space by manicuring the lawn, arranging comfy patio furniture and giving the grill a good cleaning. But if your patio or deck looks a little bare, you might consider dressing up your exterior walls.
There’s no reason not to treat that blank outside wall as you would an interior wall — keeping in mind the weather, naturally.
To perk up this dull stucco, I took a wire window box planter that I found at HomeGoods, removed the fiber basket, turned it upside down and screwed the flat side against the house. I needed a fairly wide surface to hold the large iron lantern (on sale at Hobby Lobby), which is why I had to turn the wire basket upside down. I cut a piece of plywood slightly larger than the opening and painted it black to match the iron. The plywood is just sitting in place.
See? It makes the perfect outdoor shelf and fills up some drab space, giving the area a open-air
Custom Cupboards recently launched its dramatic new Facets line, which introduces a proprietary process that digitally prints designs and personal artwork directly onto furniture, cabinet doors, drawer fronts — solid stock as well as paneling – allowing you to personalize your home to the 10th power.
But with this new technique comes great responsibility because, after all, you might want to sell your home someday, and it’s going to be difficult if you’ve plastered every cabinet in the house with photos of your Schnauzer or, well, plaid.
From a distance, Facets may look like contact paper or a painted surface, but the images and patterns are deeply imprinted onto the wood’s surface, making a bold, permanent statement. As far as cost, Facets cabinets are slightly higher than standard cabinetry but, remember, this is meant as an accent, not the whole shebang.
Depending on the color and pattern you select, Facets can lend tranquility to a room.
For more information, and to
Several years ago, Oprah declared on her television show that she hated the sight of tissue boxes lying around. I never thought much about it before; I’m just grateful there’s a box within reach when needed. But, I did find myself pulling tissue out of the boxes and placing them in the little drawer of a small cabinet I have sitting on the guest bathroom vanity. The tissue fit perfectly and it saved on counter space. The problem with that clever idea is that no one else knew there was tissue in the drawer.
There are plenty of kitschy ideas out there if you want to cover up that tissue box — some less dignified than others.
However, my favorite facial tissue holder comes from a
While it’s not nearly as thrilling an observance as National Ice Cream Day or National Pie Day, the fifth annual National Clean Out Your Garage Day, will make you feel much more satisfied than a day spent with pie a la mode. Really, it will. Trust me.
Five years ago, the Lehigh Group, maker of Crawford garage and home workshop organization products, proclaimed Saturday, September 7, National Clean Out Your Garage Day.
“We established National Clean Out Your Garage Day to occur on the first weekend after Labor Day, a time when much of America moves from summer to fall, and items such as bikes, outdoor toys, sports and camping gear, lawnmowers and garden tools are put away for the season,” said Deborah Hanson, director of external affairs for The Lehigh Group.
Here are six tips to get your garage from this:
1. Before you begin the dirty work:
*Have plenty of trash bags on hand.
*Purchase plastic containers with lids for items you want to store. Those cardboard boxes
When you think of a La-Z-Boy chair, do you picture some guy sprawled out on a baggy recliner that resembles a giant brown marshmallow, while glued to a television with pizza sauce smeared on his grungy T-shirt and a beer can in his hand?
Does this look like a frat boy’s chair to you?
Whether you’re interested in who wins the game or turned on by the food and libations, tailgating is a big deal this time of year. But not all tailgating has to take place in a dusty parking lot, and that’s when homegating enters the competition. These tips will easily turn your home into game central.
Keep Your Eye On The Game
You mean you don’t have a big screen TV on the deck? You do now. With the FAVI J5-PICO-HD projector, which is about the size of your cell phone, and the companion FAVI 72-inch portable tripod screen, you can set up an extra game viewing area anywhere you want, including outdoors.
The FAVI J5-Pico projector is about as small as an iPhone.
The portable projector features a range of inputs so that you can easily connect it to your iPad, iPhone, android device, Mac, PC or gaming console. It’s available online for $599, or you can order it from Walmart and have it shipped at no charge to a store near you for $569.99.
The FAVI tripod screen
Now that the weather is cooling off a bit, many of us who love to cook can finally turn our thoughts to spending time in the kitchen, slowly braising or concocting soups and stews. And colorful enamel cast iron cookware is not only ideal as a heat conductor on the stove and in the oven, but with its clad of many colors, it also adds a drop dead gorgeous element to your kitchen decor. But there’s often a heavy price to pay for enamel-clad cast iron cookware. Or is there?
Le Creuset is often hailed as the favorite in the category. This French cookware is so revered for its stellar cooking qualities and good looks that owners consider the pieces heirlooms. And you can expect to pay more than $500 for a Le Creuset goose pot, the largest cooking vessel the company makes.
But, really, most of us don’t need a 15-and-1/2-quart pot.
Here’s a handsome 5.5-quart Le Creuset Dutch Oven that sells in most local kitchenware stores for around $275.
Let’s face it, summer took flight only hours ago, but many of us are already gearing up for the hectic holiday season. And today’s kids are nearly as mobile as adults, so you’re either going to entertain a young house guest or send a child off for a holiday visit. Either way, there are special considerations to keep in mind. Get these safety related items on your radar before you get distracted with the scramble that accompanies the impending holiday crunch.
1. Keep a temporal thermometer handy.
When kids travel, it’s not unusual for them to catch a bug. If your little house guest isn’t feeling well, the Exergen Temporal Scanner will quickly and easily take a temperature with a gentle stroke to the forehead. No more probing into the ear canal or under the tongue — and no stress. These are available at most drugstores and mass merchandisers for about $30.
2. Endevr MyID emergency identification bracelet.
Ideal for the young traveler with a medical
I don’t need a designated day to get me excited over a cup of joe. However, since Sunday, September 29, is National Coffee Day, let’s talk java.
Sometimes you can end up with a kitchen sans upper cabinets by design. Maybe you have spectacular views that trump storage space. Or, more likely, you simply don’t have enough wall space to hang cabinets. And, too many upper cabinets can make a Lilliputian kitchen seem downright claustrophobic.
By now, you’re all too familiar with rain and the mess it can make, especially when you’re coming into the house with a drenched and dripping umbrella and no landing gear. You can lean it against the front porch, or you can cradle it until you reach the bathtub, hoping you haven’t left a river-like trail in your wake.
This year marks the fifty-first anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death but, look around, it’s as if she never left.
Since the platinum blonde’s death, the Marilyn persona has morphed into a branding bombshell, fronting booze and perfume to cosmetics and even Marilyn Monroe spas and nail boutiques. And via her estate, Marilyn now has her own Twitter account boasting more than 164,000 followers. She’s also on Pinterest. (Please follow me, Marilyn. I have a board devoted to you.)
When you think of decorating your fireplace, it’s often Christmas that gets first billing. But, this year, consider dressing up the focal point of your home for Halloween. You can take it in any spooky direction your imagination wanders. There is one caveat, however. If you plan on lighting a fire, keep the decorations away from the flames.
This moody look comes from Home Depot and Johnny Love. If you want to know how you can replicate some of these creepy ideas, click here.
For these ghostly portraits, simply find interesting faces online, print them out and glue them to black construction paper or cardboard that’s been spray painted black or silver.
No one said that eerie couldn’t be contemporary and sleek. Right?
You can start with this black lace cobweb mantel scarf from Party City, then take it from there.
I love this fireplace overflowing with carved pumpkins and candles. So easy to create. If you’ve got young children and pets in the house, consider
This creepy little skeleton pirate will set you back
If you’ve got a metal door, this is the easiest method. The magnet comes as two powerful disks — one rests on the inside of a glass pane and the other on the outside. Or, if you’re using it on a door without glass, simply stick one of the magnets on the outside of the metal door and hang your wreath. The hook holds a wreath that weighs up to about six pounds. And while you once only found chrome magnets, you now can buy them in colors, including black and white. The magnets are available in most hardware stores and at The Container Store.
Wreath Pro Adjustable Hanger
This clear polycarbonate hook system, with a slim, invisible design, allows you to easily hang just about any wreath from doors and windows. While
OK, so you’ve decided to throw a Halloween cocktail party. Now it’s time to come up with some creepy cocktails to add to the festivities. I’ve got a few ghoulish selections. Offer them all, or make it easier on yourself and choose one as your signature Halloween party drink.
Cheers and boo!
Wolf Bite A.K.A. Zombie Bite
Banned for years, absinthe, once the favorite drink of the bohemian crowd in Paris, is now widely available. The anise-flavored spirit still offers a bit of mystery, making it ideal for the scariest night of the year.
1 oz. Lucid absinthe
1 oz. Midori melon liqueur
1 oz. lemon-lime soda
1.5 oz. pineapple juice
Drizzle of grenadine
In a cocktail shaker add Lucid Absinthe, Midori melon liqueur, pineapple juice and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a two-ounce shot glass. Splash lemon-lime soda on top and a drizzle of grenadine.
2 oz. SKYY Infusions Blood Orange vodka
1 oz. lime juice
1 oz. peach puree
1/2 oz. hibiscus