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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Antique Lighting and Candles

Lighting plays a key role in the way a space looks and feels. Dim lighting can be mysterious, even spooky--perfect for a Halloween night. Brighter light can make people feel welcome and happy. Antique lighting and candles can make guests feel very much at home because the rustic feel leads to a sense of history, as though the light fixtures have been in their current place for a long time and witnessed many celebrations.

Wrought iron is a popular choice of material to use for antique lighting fixtures. The material is sturdy enough to withstand all kinds of weather, but it still has a rustic, antique look to it. When most people hear the term "wrought-iron" they probably think of an old farmhouse out in the country. However, wrought iron can be used in any home, both indoors and out. Depending on the particular fixtures being used, the wrought iron could make a space warm and inviting, or more formal. For example, if wrought iron fixtures were used to line the aisle for a bride on her wedding day, the atmosphere of a formal ceremony would not be lost but guests would still feel welcome at the ceremony.

Antique lighting and candles can be used in multiple combinations, depending on the size of the space to be lit. If using the candles for an outdoor patio area, for example, one option would be to hang a chandelier with several candles. Alternatively, a walkway could be lined with several individual candle holders. Both options have the effect of inviting people in and creating an atmosphere of fun and relaxation.

A new alternative to candles is LED candles. This option is particularly popular with those who have pets or small children, or who have sensitivities to certain fragrances. With battery-operated LED candles, there is no need to worry about fire hazards, dripping wax or overpowering fragrance. LED candles are also good for using outside, when certain weather elements come into play.

Overall, the incredible versatility of antique lighting fixtures and candles can change the atmosphere of any space in the home.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Rustic Chic Home Decor for Christmas

Every year the Christmas holiday brings cheer and happiness when the family is brought together to celebrate. But more often than not, frustration and anxiety can accompany the yule tide season due to all of the preparations, cooking, and shopping. Decorating should never be a bother, in fact it should be considered one of the most enjoyable rituals of the holiday season. Rustic chic home decor is quickly becoming popular this year. This decor has proven to be both creative and the least tedious compared to loose tinsel and fragile glass ornaments.

Mantels and tabletops

Mantels can be easily transformed for the holiday season. To add light to the main room, line the mantel with different size mason jar candle lights. These lights are a traditional rustic chic decor item and can easily be made to match the main decor by tying colored ribbon around the jars. These are complemented well when surrounded by fern and pine cones. Pine tree planters made from barn siding can be reclaimed for mini junipers. These planters look great next to the mason jar candle lights, or can be displayed on either side of the door to greet guests with the pleasant aroma of Christmas. Bark or trunk section candle holders are a wonderful addition to any display. No rustic chic mantel can be completed with leather-denim combination stockings. Burlap or knitted stockings detailed with hemp or even brass buttons can be used for a more chic look.

Wall Decor and Lighting

Empty mirror frames can be reinvented as illuminated sculptures with the addition of large lights. An intricate white frame can be laced with white lights for an elegant piece to bring life to a bland wall or hallway. Metal Holiday cut outs compliment theses sculptures as well as worn chipped paint candle chandeliers. Decoupage letters in festive colors look beautiful displayed along the wall, and can be arranged to spell out a warm holiday greeting. These also work well as table top decorations.
Wall Decor and Lighting

Tree trimmings

Shaped bark or small cross sections of tree trunk ornaments add a natural warm feeling to any tree. these, along with stitched fabric tree, heart, or star shaped ornaments look magnificent hanging on the tree. Twig garland wrapped around the tree adds a rustic flair. Yarn and hemp wrapped glass ball ornaments pair well with this look, especially when a combination of sandblasted glass ornaments blended into the mix. Some of the most unique ornaments include glass light bulbs filled with fern or cotton to resemble snow. Pine cone owls and music note cutouts also pair well and add diversity to this style.
As for the tree skirt, off white burlap or similar fabric can make the ornaments stand out. A colored plaid patterned felt can be used to add a bit of color. To top it all off, either a bulky sand blasted glass star wrapped with thick wire, or a large white bow with long streamers detailed with fine curled brass wire.

The right rustic decor can greatly improve the warmth of being at home with your loved ones for the holidays. Have fun and let your imagination run can't go wrong!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Metal Garden Arbors

Gardens can be relaxing and beautiful places. Many people like to spend time in their gardens soaking up nature and enjoying the outdoors. Gardens can also be functional. People grow produce and herbs in their garden that they can then enjoy by eating. Gardens that are functional can also be beautiful. Many people merge the ideas of a functional garden with a beautiful garden, which allows them to enjoy their gardens in two different and distinct ways.

One of the ways to make a garden more beautiful is to add an arbor. Arbors are archways that add a sense of elegance and design to a garden. They can be used to separate one area of a garden from another. They can be made out of many different materials, but one of the best materials to use is metal. Metal Garden Arbors come in many different styles and colors. They are extremely durable because they are made of metal.

Garden arbors can be used in many different ways. Some people use them to create an archway over a garden path. This can make a path that seems to start in an awkward place seem less awkward. It gives clearly defined starting point to a path and directs an individual’s eye towards the path. The metal garden arbor itself is not a focal point of the garden, but it does help focus an individual’s vision towards what one wants the focal point to be. If a gardener wants his prize rose bush to be the center point, placing a arbor at the start of a path that leads to the bush will make the bush the center point.

Arbors can also be used to help separate parts of a garden. Some people like to have their produce in one section and their flowering plants in another. An arbor could be used to separate these two sections. It allows for there to be a break in the continuity of the garden in a non jarring way. This beautiful method for splitting up a garden can help the gardener remember where he planted certain things. Arbors are a beautiful and elegant way to split up a garden.

Ultimately, Arbors are a great thing to add to any garden. They make the garden an inviting place, where people feel welcomed. Gardens can be a lovely place for people to spend their time. Arbors make a beautiful garden even more beautiful.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Garden Topiary Gifts

Landscapes of all shapes and sizes are adorned often with the living art of decorative and functional garden topiary. Dating back to ancient Roman times the sculpting of perennial plants into deliberate shapes has been practiced by horticulturalists worldwide. Different plants can be used for topiary but commonly evergreen species have been employed. There are a variety of execution options to satisfy the different needs and skills of a gardener, garden topiary craft is all embracing.

Individual cultures practice this plant training in assorted methodical ways. Generation after generation the skill has been handed down and refined. Julius Caesar era Romans' were modifying their mini indoor landscapes into animals or symbols, and today in Europe the tradition continues. Greek Homes and atrium's are still known to be found with Topiary around and inside of them. Changing a plain garden or interior appearance into that of a decorated one was not always approved of in European culture but the choice was being made long ago to improve a garden or home this way.

Landscape modification by means of topiary had become invigorated after a period of decline in the European Renaissance era. Courtyards, balconies, and terraces again became the object of the wealthy exclusive European. Some countries become more elaborate topiary boasters than others. The English became fond of eccentric designs while France was prone to more conservation obelisks, and the Japanese Zen Garden remained rather unchanged. This can still be noted in Europe and Eastern Europe today. However, the trends leaned over the centuries towards utilization in all levels of economic status rather than only the wealthy having the skill or concern for Topiary in their Gardens.

Over time the technology for movable and advanced Topiary was explored and today there are many examples of this around the world. More extravagant options have come to fruition thanks to these advancements. The advancements have not only contributed to the luxurious wealthy landscape, but smaller simpler gardens have benefited as well. A simple everyday garden including a wire frame topiary that may help a vine or a shrub grow into a learned state is the materialization of thousands of years of effort by gardeners and can be respected for its beauty same as an ornate topiary design can be. In backyards of home owners, in palace gardens, temples and more, the skill to cultivate topiary has been adapted to the new movable pots and settings of the modern era. A common household gift to receive is one of a small simple Topiary.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Enduring Beauty of Vintage Corbels

Vintage corbels are the cream of the crop when it comes to the various styles, are intricate and offer so much to the world of architecture. These fantastic creatures seem to talk because each one has its own unusual shape and hand wrought artistic design. It takes a skilled carpenter to design each piece of wood in the shape and the unique style that sometimes is made without a pattern. The artisan's personality defines the piece so unique that it reflects his own heart and soul.

They are really amazing - how many styles and shapes a person can make from wood. Some designs show a clump of grapes, others fig leaves, or the shape of a scroll. The architect who designed the pilaster acanthus corbel may have fashioned it slim for an interior designer who may want to place it beside the mantle. A maple leaf design or oak leaf design brings the outdoors into the home and offers a wide space to place a decorative vase.

Corbels were used extensively in the 18th and 19th century and reflect the special artistic designs that we admire in museums and craft shows. Many of these wood pieces have been restored and placed back into architectural design. Capturing the feeling of the craftsmen from those centuries have made wooden corbels popular today. Sometimes these can be found in old buildings or matching a capital on a column with the very same design. This is arts and crafts at its best and the homeowner may be searching for just the right touch to finish out the unique design of their new home. This is it! These designs are specially handcrafted and speak volumes of the talent of those who crafted them.

Corbels originally were used in support of a shelf or mantel or the overhang on a roof. Today they are fashioned into the buildings themselves or set apart inside as a part of the interior decoration of the home. Many look for vintage corbels in historical homes or auctions and antique flea markets. There were times in history when corbels were viewed as something to discard even though they added support to various designs of architecture of the home. There is a growing desire to find the exact corbel to fit in a special place in a living room or dining room - a special one near a fireplace to serve as support for a mantel. The craftsmanship of yesteryear can be found and put in a place that does its artistry credit today.

A rustic corbel design, sometimes called rustic wood brackets or braces, have a sleek and smooth design, and makes its own impressive statement. It can be accented by a decorative vase or small lamp which will add light and design to the corbel itself, and bring out its beauty. Another type of smooth design is the mission style wood corbel. This corbel makes a statement all its own at 90 degree angles and swirls of design in the front surrounded by indentations. It has a nice large space on top for display.           

Friday, November 8, 2013

Garden Living: Arbors, Gazebos And Gates

Nothing evokes the spirit of summer like a rose-covered arbor. Trellised roses and other climbing plants create an old-world charm, bringing memories of gentler, happier days: ladies in flounced gowns, parasols, afternoon tea, romance in the air. For readers of classic mystery novels, gazebos and arbors recall secret assignations, clues to mysterious strangers, and sometimes dramatic and gruesome discoveries. Whatever the reason for the fascination with arbors, gazebos and garden architecture, including one of these structures in a garden design is a chance to incorporate these dreams into one's own daily life.

From a design point of view, gates and arbors provide points of interest and focus, highlighting both natural features of the landscape and special plants the gardener wishes to display. They are thus an essential element of garden design, providing or adding to the basic structure which will be clothed in color and life according to the plants chosen.

The dictionary defines an arbor simply as a shelter of vines or branches or of latticework covered with climbing plants. Behind this rather prosaic definition lies a wealth of meaning and rich variety. Cultures around the world have seen gardens as spaces for living in. An arbor or gazebo offers privacy, comfort and a place to become part of the natural world.

A range of designs for arbors and gates allows the creation of a personal garden getaway, giving a living form to the individual's philosophy of life and work. Arbors also serve a practical purpose, providing seating in an environment perfect for entertaining friends, reading, catching up on work, and meditation.

Arbor and gate designs cover a wide range: rustic, Mediterranean, contemporary, classical, Asian, formal and tropical. Like arbors and gazebos, gates can serve both practical and aesthetic purposes. They can be used to provide security and access, ensuring the safety of children and pets. They can be used as purely design features, to create a sense of mystery, of purpose, of moving forward, travel, or for the calming effect created by the vision of a gate covered with a flowering vine, with a convenient bench to sit on.

Features such as arbors and pergolas are sure to become a favorite location for children's games. Arbors and gates make garden living part of your lifestyle, and for those fortunate enough to share it.

The plants chosen to complement design features such as arbors, gazebos and gates are an integral feature of the design. Roses, vines and even weeping willows are classic arbor plants, creating a mixture of sunshine and shade that goes to the heart of garden living. Vines with sweetly scented flowers such as honeysuckle and sweet pea evoke nostalgia and serenity; jasmine in warmer climates and Virginia creeper with its fall display of color give the garden its sense of place. Wisteria is a perennial favorite. Or plants can be picked specially to attract butterflies or hummingbirds, or to provide food for the local fauna.

Incorporating arbors and gates into garden design thus offers the fullest scope for individual creativity while remaining firmly anchored in centuries of design tradition.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Large Garden Urns Create a Dressed-up Feel For Home or Garden

Garden planters come in all shapes and sizes, but large garden urns have weathered the test of time, perhaps even more than statuary. As garden decor, they are well able to stand on their own. However, when placed on a plinth and filled with lush greenery, they can, like the tuxedo on a groom, grace our gardens with a formal, elegant air unsurpassed by nearly any other garden ornament. And with the vast array of styles and materials available in today's market, urns deserve a place in every garden.

So, why large garden urns? They are a versatile focal point. All gardeners love to add interest to their garden beds through the use of texture and color in their plantings. Since urns might be filled with any delightful variety of plants, from trailing ivies and large blooming annuals, to the tasteful perennial topiary, they are a convenient means of matching the color, period, or ambiance of the home to the outdoor living spaces surrounding it. This helps create that welcoming atmosphere for which conscientious homeowners and gardeners, alike, work so hard to achieve.

Although large garden urns can be situated in any number of locations, they deserve the honor of residing in prominent places. Many gardeners love to feature them at the very heart of their gardens, to be viewed from every side. Other desirable ways to use them is to assign a pair of urns to stand on either side of the gate to a patio or swimming pool, by the entry to a garden walk, or alongside an entrance of the home. Like twin sentinels, they create that fostered look that is so desirable in a well tended yard. Locating one by the side of a reflecting pool or water garden gives the added appeal of enjoying its reflection in the water.

Lastly, in addition to the great variety of shapes and sizes in which they come, one quality that bestows the garden urn with nearly limitless versatility is the vast number of materials of which they can be made. Antique urns are often crafted in iron or stone, while the most affordable types are made of inexpensive plastic. Cast iron may initially be more expensive, but the lasting beauty and durability of these urns more than make  up for their cost.  In fact, they will probably be here long after the initial owner is gone.  Aluminum is another good option for large urns. Two of the more durable modern materials used are fiberglass and cast stone, sometimes call fiber stone. These are combinations of fibers, mixed with resins and ground stones or glass, molded and treated in ways which often give the finished urns and plinths that wonderful patina seen in aged, natural cut stone. They can also be made to resemble nearly any other natural material from terracotta to marble.

With such a immense assortment of styles and prices from which to choose, no garden should feel completely attired without the inclusion of this traditional garden ornament, the urn.