August 9, 2016

Two Home Redos. The Gift that keeps on Giving.

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Amid the hustle and bustle of everyday life, home has become a personal refuge.  We live in a crazy world and our home should be our sanctuary.

Disorganization takes away from the tranquility of our personal space. Here are two upgrades that are sure please and calm.

Separate Laundry Room:

A well-organized laundry space is the “gift that keeps on giving”. You can enhance laundry room space by installing shelving and cabinetry surrounding the washer and dryer. It does not have to be expensive; it’s the perfect DIY project. Consider what can be stored in that space: laundry detergent, other household cleaners, an iron and an ironing board, towels, bedding, and of course, dirty laundry.Add bins or baskets for instant clothes sorting. A big enhancement, if there is room, is the addition of a rolling table for folding laundry or doing arts and crafts projects.

Smart Storage:

For smart storage I recommend dedicated towers or cubes for each member of the family even one for pets. Add names to them and place them near a widely used entrance. They are great for creating a convenient system for sorting jackets, backpacks, mail, keys and leashes.

Rain and Rhythm- More Music

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Ok, another unusually rainy, and cool day in August.  In these parts, it is a bit of an adjustment to get acclimated to day after day of rain.  It certainly affects your activity, and well, certainly the way you feel the day. Instead of the magic, and imagery of a hot, sweaty, and sunny summer experience, that includes sand, wet bathing suits, and sun kissed noses, and produce,  I am now picturing covered porches, tin roofs, and books read in comfortable chairs.  I see water meeting water on lakes, rivers, and oceans, instead of daylight always hugging the horizons. With the late summer grey, I long to prematurely swaddle in a sweater. It has actually made me think of a little travel to a place that depends on winds, and weather I have not experienced….

So, until the travel takes place, or the jet stream changes, a good way to enjoy the current elements is to rock with the weather. This selection is for thunderstorms, and rainbows….

” Paper Airplane”  Alison Krauss and Union Station

“I’ll Be Seeing You” Billie Holiday

“Right Down the Line” Bonnie Raitt

“Just the Way You Are”   Bruno Mars

“Blossom”   Carole King and James Taylor

Andi Bartruff

 

 

 

Have you used your talents lately?

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This recent economic upheaval  has taken many of us, and put us in a position to do some soul searching in regards to what we should do next. This could be a real blessing in disguise. How many people have buried what they do best under an unfulfilling career, and ignored latent talents? I have had to do different jobs for practical reasons, but I have nurtured what I love the most.   I must say my #1 talent is creating wonderful renovated living spaces.  I am one that must be doing something all the time. I operate this way almost  to the point of it being a fault! My work is only as good as the effort I put into it! Even when I am sitting down at the end of a hard work day, my mind is strategically planning my next working day. Why do I give so much time to my work?  Because I love it! It makes me feel good to utilize my talent and I can see my accomplishments. My passion doesn’t always pay me money, but it always offers me satisfaction! Fostering your talents, and seeing yourself mature past another time in your life, is incredibly rewarding.

I challenge each of you to focus on your talents. Yes we all have something that we do better than the average person. We are all gifted in some way! Putting energy into your talents will not only make you feel good about yourself but motivate you to do something that pertains to that talent. So no matter how big or small your talents are, use them! We are only as good as we allow ourselves to be! Spend time using your talents and I promise you will feel awesome about yourself and what you can accomplish! Yes we are all average people, but each of us have something we do that makes us above average and shine.

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

EcoSmart. Organic Insecticide

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Here at Southernsmarts.com we are always on the look out for new products that are good for our environment and safe for our furry friends. Upon a trip to my local Lowes store, we found yet another product we would like to introduce you to.

EcoSmart Organic Insecticide. Now there is an organic insecticide that is safe around children and pets and will not harm the environment. EcoSmart Organic Mosquito fogger is made form a patented blend of organic plant oils. It kills fast and repels mosquitos and other pesky flying insects for hours, without any synthetic toxins or harmful residue. Its safe. Its effective. Its smart. Naturally

The fresh natural pleasant scent signals it’s working.

Upon using this product ourselves here at Southernsmarts.com we found it to be all it stated to be. Plus the scent was very pleasing and lingered for up to 8 hours.

Thanks for visiting and y’all come back now. You hear.

Steven J. Chaberek

 

Finally, Tv for Me.

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Thanks for coming to visit Coopers Pet Corner! My parents just bought me the best thing ever!! They found out about a new TV channel just for me! ( No more waiting for pet food commercials..) It is called DOGTV, and it keeps me company when they have to leave me alone for a little while. A few smart folks with a lot of degrees got together, and found out what we dogs really like to watch and listen to, and made is something special for us! We can listen to music, that dogs like. (none of that bad people music).  We can watch our friends play, and see our other friends at home with their families. It makes me feel good. I don’t get depressed, or bored, and the time goes so fast. Before I know it my parents are home! It started August 1st, with Direct TV, and is only 4.99 a month. Cheap compared to all the dog toys I like to destroy!

I am glad you took some time to come and see me. I hope you and your dogs can enjoy DOGTV!

DOGTV has a facebook page, and a website. dogtv.com. You can also preview DOGTV on YouTube.

Hot Staging Trends in 2013

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The clutter is cleared. The house is clean. Now, what accessories and accents can you use to make a room look fresh and modern? Try chunky woven blankets, reflective surfaces and tangerine combined with neutral shades.

Other Ideas:

Mother Earth Inspired Elements. Nature is popular this year. popular color palettes are reminiscent of natural elements-reds found in earth and soli, blues of the sea, lush greens of the rain forest, and neutrals that draw from the softer, textured look of eggs, seashells, and sand. the natural tones are being paired with color accents, such as Tangerine. Also look for accessories that incorporate natural elements such as woven baskets, leather stools and cotton towels.

Fabulous Faux. Think zebra stripe rugs or leopard print votives. But beware: use animal prints in small doses only.

Digital Fabrics. Framing a piece of digital fabric is a great way to create an inexpensive piece of artwork. Try textiles with fern or tree branch patterns.

Not your grandmothers Doilies. Add lace in subtle ways-on top of tablecloths or paired with bold colors. Traditional quilts and crochet peices are also popular.

Faded Area Rugs? Vintage is in Vogue! Instead of ditching that old Asian rug, use it as the foundation for your rooms color and aesthetic palette. Add modern artwork and accessories that compliment vintage pieces.

Opposites Attract: Think silk with suede, furniture with studs, “shiny with vintage”.

Touch the Sky: Think about clouds and water when choosing reflective white, blue and silver objects and hardware. Mirrors are great for staging as they make the room look much larger. Also consider mirrors in other ways, such as for a tray holding a tea-cup and saucer or on a wall in an area where there isn’t a lot of light.

Bottom Line: Have fun and let your creativity shine.

Chabby. Southern Smarts

Photo courtesy of Elle Décor.

 

 

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!

 

Better than Sex Cake.

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If you are in the mood to really treat yourself,  and I mean really treat yourself, this is the recipe for you. I would say you could share it, but more than likely you won’t want to…
1 yellow box cake mix
2 cans condensed milk
2 package frozen strawberries (or your favorite frozen fruit)
Cool Whip
Fresh strawberries to slice
Bake yellow cake
Use the end of a wooden spoon, and poke several holes in the cake.
Pour the two cans of condensed milk evenly over the cake and into the holes.
Place the bags of frozen fruit on the cake
Frost cake with Cool Whip
Slice Fresh Strawberries and arrange on cake
Sprinkle crushed Peanuts across the top.
Don’t even bother getting a plate….Just grab a fork and take it to the bedroom.

Art in the Heart

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        Art is a wonderfully subjective thing. I have visited many world renowned museums.  I pondered the Mona Lisa, wished to twirl after a Lautrec,
and spotted a Seurat, { no pun intended}.. But art really is about the heart. It does not have to go in a portfolio, and it does not have to impress the guest. It does not even necessarily need a frame. It just needs to go where you can see it, feel it, and love it, and let it well, make you happy.
 We have a treasured painting from a dear friend of our rescue dog Cooper. Let me start out by saying our friend is quite talented, but she knows us, she knows our dog, and she transferred the two elements into a fabulous portrait that is absolutely, one of our treasures. Another local artist we have highlighted , has taken her vibrant personality, intelligence, and love of the outdoors, and painted that onto her canvas.  I just want to put the joy I see in her art, and all her wonderful color under my pillow, and let it soak in…
Paintings can fill up a wall, or they can fill up your soul. You do not have to stand on a marble floor in a long gallery to fall in love. Find a local artist , it might even be a friend, and share their passion. Encourage them and make them share their gift with you. Proudly put their work on your wall or under your pillow.. and when you look at it and know it was from them, it will guaranteed, touch your heart.
Laine Neese is an avid golfer, philanthropist, and artist in Burlington ,NC. More of her paintings can be viewed at her website, http://lainefranis.blogspot.com/2011/07/pet-portraints.html.
Bett Huggins is a nurse anesthetist, and  artist . Her work can be seen at Ellen Taylor Gallery at The Vista, in Columbia, SC.
Andi Bartruff writer/contributing editor