April 12, 2014

Are You Ready for ” Radiant Orchid”?

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There seems to be a new front runner for color in 2014. It’s called Radiant Orchid.

Now you know we love color here at Southern Smarts, but do find this years Pantone pick should be used sparingly. We cannot imagine a whole room painted this color as one may feel trapped in a bottle of Pepto- Bismal. However, this wonderful color may certainly be used in window treatments, accessories, pillows or even as an accent paint. A wall of bookcases in neutral like a soft grey would be elegant and stunning.

This is a cool, very daring color that if used sparingly can create quite the wow factor. What a great way to brighten up the winter months by accenting with this bold and hip color! Chabby.

 

 

Tree Trimming Tips.

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This is how Southern Smarts really trims a tree! Literally! The idea behind thinning out your Christmas tree is to give some depth and dimension to your lights and decorations. A big full Frazier fir is beautiful, but can be difficult to decorate with out giving it a flat look. If you go down your tree and evenly trim out some branches giving some space to the trunk, you can hang your ornaments and string your lights in a way that gives your tree a much richer look. This highlights some of your beautiful ornaments, and gives you an excuse to buy more! On sale of course!

Happy decorating!

Holiday Garland! From Artificial to Outstanding!

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Decking the Halls can be fun, and even more gratifying if it looks fabulous and is economical!

We  dressed our doorway with a strand of artificial garland with lights. We wanted the garland to look natural, and priced natural pine garland at our local farmers market to add to our swag. Very pricey. So, we decided we could use some of the Christmas tree branches we had cut from our tree, and it worked perfectly! Natural branches were attached using left over green wire ornament hooks. The pine around the door looks natural, and the artificial garland does its job by supporting the lights. This works for doorways, mantles, and staircases. Using your reserved trimmings makes for an economical upgrade. Of course you can also do the same with flowers and berries. Anchor with some artificial flowers, and fill in the rest with what is in your yard. Remember here at Southern Smarts we are committed to simpler living for simpler times! Especially around the holidays!

Why We Love Our Gargoyles

Gargoyles… What was their purpose? Gargoyles have been around since the time of the Ancient Greeks. Many were erected on churches and expensive buildings of that era. Why would a church in particular put something so often considered grotesque, ugly and most of all frightening in the sense of representing evil? Well the arugement for the times was simple…these creature were placed there to ward off evil spirits. The idea was that demons would be frightened away. It was an attempt to create a scary looking creature to protect the building, Almost all gargoyles at that time were carved with their mouths open,  to appear to be devouring their enemies. It is also believed that because literacy was not an option for most people of this era, symbolism was a great means of communication. The churches believe that it was a way to appeal to non Christians who were accustomed to medieval beliefs of half human and animal. The resemblance to the Roman gods could perhaps bridge the church and Christianity to a long time belief in pagan images.

We are familiarized with the possible reasons for these mounted creatures. I now want to tell you that they also served a practical purpose… They were mounted at the end of the roof gutters to direct the rainwater away from the building walls and foundations. Hmmm, and interestingly enough the gargoyles mouth being open was the point at which the rain water was dispersed.  They were there to “protect the building” from the evils of water damage! Well for whatever reasons these creatures came into existence, I for one am glad that they became a part of the architecture that remain a fascination with us today… I have a gargoyle by my door, believing all the while he will protect my home , and maybe even invite a few people inside…

Keeping your Jack O Lantern Fresh.

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halloween,pumpkins,fall,tipsHalloween is fast approaching and if you are anything like us here at Southern Smarts, we love to get festive with our pumpkin carving.

This is a great tip to keep your carved festive Jack O Lanterns fresh for weeks longer.

After you carve and clean the inside of your pumpkin, dip it in a large container of bleach and water. You will use One teaspoon of bleach to one gallon of water. The bleach will kill bacteria and help keep your pumpkin fresher longer.

Once completely dry add Two Tablespoons of vinegar and One Teaspoon of lemon juice to a quart of water.  Brush this solution onto your pumpkin on the inside and outside to keep it looking fresh for weeks.

We all wish you a happy and safe Halloween season!

Mementos, A New Direction.

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When we lose someone we love there is a time when we have to decide what we want to keep, and what we can part with.  Sometimes different circumstances can limit what we can hold onto. We may not have enough space, or perhaps an item does not work with our décor. Our friends at Memory Maker have some wonderful ideas about how to incorporate these special keepsakes into different areas in your home.

Below are pictures from some of the Memory Maker gallery.

An old brass lamp is trimmed out in Dads favorite belt. Mom loved to play Scrabble, so the old tiles were used for a special piece of art. Ladder back dining chairs were given a bright coat of chalk paint. A dish towel is framed, and coordinates with guest room decor.  Moms cedar chest is painted and distressed, and used as a coffee table.

These creative ideas are just a few examples of ways you can blend special family memories and enjoy them for years to come!

 

If you would like more information on Memory Maker, please message Cindy Dawsey on Facebook

Andi Bartruff

Someone’s Junk Is Somebody Elses Treasure…

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We have heard this saying a thousand times before, and that’s because it is so true! I have found many treasures that people have put out at the curb as a “give away” or worse as a “throw away”. Many times these items need a makeover that is beyond the owners capabilities or desires. I am a reconditioning fool, so finding someone’s else junk can be a fun and challenging to makeover. I can’t always use what I find, but I will always have reconditioned it to give away to someone else. It feels good to save or pass on a found ” treasure”! It’s value continues to exist! So the next time you see someones junk at the curb, remember it could be a treasure, and you better find it before me! Stephen Spurling

 

Deck+Stain=COLOR!

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I know. Everyone dreads having to stain or restain their decks.  We recently had to tackle this project while creating a new outdoor living space for ourselves.  I don’t know about you, but we have tired of the myriad of browns that are available.

Upon searching for a stain for our deck project, we were happy to find color as an option.  The  green we chose set up a beautiful green blue hue that created quite a wow factor in the yard, and harmonized beautifully with nature. It also gave us the opportunity to use the color for accent pieces on our outdoor furniture, and inspired some beautiful container gardens.

So, next time you have to stain a dreary deck, think color!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Simple Painting Tip for Your Plaster Walls

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As many of you know  we at Southern Smarts love our renovating projects. We also love old  houses, and bringing them back to life is a passion for us. There is a simple DIY  painting tip when painting plaster walls in an older home that can hide a multitude of sins where settlement issues become apparent.

The simple answer is a good quality of “Flat” finish paint. When using a semi gloss, high gloss or eggshell on old plaster you will find any blemishes are highlighted and become extremely visible. A flat finish paint definitely camouflages the imperfections on the surface of the walls.

Now we know the best way to take care of this would be to “Skim Coat” the walls and sand. But hiring professionals to do this can be expensive. If you are looking for a quick fix that is extremely economical, it is as simple as the finish of the paint you plan to use.

Hope you find this quick tip helpful and thanks for visiting us here at Southern Smarts!

 

New Life for Old Lamps.

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Lately I have had lamps on my brain. Big ones, small ones and everything in between. In addition to the utilitarian reasons we use lamps, I have found they do have personalities all their own, and can make a statement in any room. One afternoon as we were cleaning out my mothers attic after her passing, I came across this old pair of Ethan Allen lamps from the 60′s. They were solid wood with a dark stain and I remembered seeing them  in our living room as a child. They certainly were very fashionable for the time, but now needed some serious revamping.

Those of you that have followed us here at SouthernSmarts.com you all know I do enjoy designing with color.  For inspiration on this project I used the sea. I love the beach, and thought they would make some interesting table lamps for a smart beach place. Always budget conscious I was going to have to create something with minimal cost.

First, I sanded them with a fine grade sandpaper so they would hold a good primer. I used a spray primer applying very light coats until they were completely covered. The faux brass base and top had to go. I used a high gloss off white paint applied with a small brush, while being careful not to leave brush marks. It was now time for color, and after much thought I decided to use a wonderful turquoise semigloss interior paint that I happened to have in the garage. I did not want a heavy painted finish, as there are some wonderful markings on the lamps themselves, so I decided on a Turquoise wash. I used a little paint and thinned it with water and applied the color with a small rag, carefully controlling how much paint went on at a time. Upon reaching the desired effect I was through.

The next step was a bit difficult. I had to find the perfect shades. I looked everywhere, and finally on my last stop at my local Target, I found them. The shades remind me of the horizon as you look out over the ocean, and they could not have been more perfect.  They were 14.99 a piece, and my wallet was happy.

The final touch were these little beads I had found at a cool shop in Southport and have  crystal droplets that turn them on and off by pull chain.

I now have a really cool pair of lamps that I can’t wait to take to beach.  And the fact that they were my moms makes them that much more special. I feel like I have a part of her there, and I  can’t put a price on that.

Cheers! Chabby