July 16, 2017

Are You Ready for ” Radiant Orchid”?

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.

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!

Something to Cheer About!

The Holidays call for something special in your glass for many seasonal cheers.  Here is a recipe for a traditional favorite with a little twist.

1  ounce Vanilla Vodka

1 1/2 ounce Baileys Irish Cream

desired amount of Half and Half

Frozen Coffee ice cubes

Mix well and enjoy!

 

 

Halloween Finger Cookies

This recipe comes from one of our very creative friends, and all around good cooks!

Thank you Karen, and Happy Halloween!

Soften 1 stick of butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg yolk, save egg white for finger

1 tsp. grated orange peel

1 3/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp. Baking powder

2 tablespoons Fresh orange juice

cream butter and sugar, add egg yolk and orange peel.

beat well, and add sifted dry ingredients, alternating with orange juice

Roll pieces of dough into fingers. Dip one side into small amount of granulated sugar, and place sugar side up on greased cookie sheet. Dip one slivered almond in egg white, and stick on finger like a nail. Bake in pre heated 350 degree oven for  10-15 minutes. Coll, and dip end of finger in red icing. Enjoy!

It is Better To Give Than to Receive..

Happily our holidays are headed our way.. The plethora of activity goes on and on.. We prepare the ambiance and then we think of what we can do for others.  Southern Smarts pauses to consider all the worlds ministries that need attention, and we are going to jump into the gift of giving.  When we say that to the world we see that sometimes the world can be a next door neighbor who lost a loved one last year. Sometimes it can be acknowledging a person on the street, and feeling compassion in your heart for what they may have gone through. Always, there is the hope of Santa Clause for needy children. There are meals to be cooked for homeless and hungry. There are donations to be made for enslaved, and persecuted. There is abundant need for refugees, the repressed, rejected, and victims of natural disaster. The list goes on, but it starts with a recognition and then the unabashed desire to satisfy what touches you. If you want to give yourself a gift, let something outside yourself break your heart, make you mad, and make you cry. Make it forever. Then get attached to your calling. Make it as much a part of your life as the gym, your next vacation, and your next promotion. When you discover the vision and the passion to give to others, you have given the best present ever to yourself…

 

Andi Bartruff

Two Home Redos. The Gift that keeps on Giving.

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.

Leveling Out Your Playing Field

 

I remember a lot of great things about my mother , but her green thumb has to be my most treasured. I learned so much from her passion for gardening, and how to tend to and appreciate the beautiful things that grow in nature! Satisfying the need to dig in her gardens gave her a quiet control. She would make time to fertilize, water and “dead head”. This is the technique of pinching off the dead blooms. The simple effort keeps the plants blooming.  For my mother an “off with the old and in with the new!” gave her a hopeful activity. No matter how tired or busy she was with the other things that can consume all of our daily lives, , her gardens always held high priority for her time and attention. Her reward was a beautiful, thriving garden, and moments of peace for her soul.  The relationship she had with nature was one that she could control and because she nurtured her garden, and it responded, she had very few disappointments in that peaceful place. I realized that her gardens were more meaningful to her sanity, a rejuvenating sanctuary of sorts. I think of all the times in her life that chaos would take center stage, and she would head to her gardens… A place she created for herself only… A place that made her smile and feel great about her success as a gardener. I often think my mother was “leveling out the playing field” in her life by spending time in her gardens. After all-controlling plants and their success was easier than trying to control the chaos of people around her. My mother had a lot of beauty in her life, some was a blessing, and some she created.  We all can learn to create beauty in our lives, we just have to remember that controlling a “plant”, is easier than controlling a person. My mother often said ,” My  life was chosen for me, and it is my responsibility to make it as beautiful as I can.” Her ability to distinguish between what she could create and control was the lesson that I learned from her. This lesson was one of many she taught me. No, I didn’t get her green thumb but I got so much more.  I recognize that we can not control people, but we can create a place to go and dwell in what we love. A place that offers us peace and beauty… We can always create a place that makes us smile and offers peace. It can be perfected with our love, and hard work. And does not have to revolve around people problems.  When you find that place visit it as often as possible… It will “level out the playing field” in your life.

Lighting for deck stairs

I have come up with an easy and inexpensive way to light up your deck stairs. First you must have what are called risers, ( boards that run between each step, used to close up the area under each step. I cut out a 1 inch  high by 12 inch width rectangle of the riser (bottom side closest to the step). The best part is that I envisioned a frosted plexiglass cover for each cut out . However, plexiglass seemed way to labor intensive and costly, so I thought what material would give me the same look? I was at Home Depot and thought plastic, clear plastic which isn’t clear, has a frosted look. I headed to the paint department to find a roll of plastic. I cut the plastic into squares and stapled  the plastic squares to the back the stair risers. I use a single light under the stairs that is on a timer.  Look at the pictures as they explain and show the results. Forget the plexiglass and use the inexpensive plastic to create lighting for the stairs. This project shows how to substitute materials and save money doing it!

This idea could also be used on a handicap ramp!

 

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…

Willis loves Wise Up Workbooks!

Hi. I’m Coopers friend Willis. He said I could write for him today because he is helping his dad build a deck. I wanted to tell everyone at Southern Smarts about a really neat book that can help you take extra good care of your pets. I thought about it when I ran out the door the other night, and my mom had to come find me. She was yelling something about “If someone finds you, they will bring you back… Blah,blah,blah..”  I knew she would bring me home because she loves me and takes very good care of me and my brother. . But it made me think.. What can someone do if they need to tell someone all the special things you have to do to take good care of mans best friends?  Well, We found this great new pet organizing workbook called Wise Up! . They help you, your pet sitter, your family, and everyone who can help you with your pet, understand all your pets needs. Even in the worst situations… Floods, fires, etc…. They thought of everything. Even the scary stuff.  They have pet workbooks for cats, dogs, birds, and even reptiles!

As a bonus these workbooks were written by a very caring pet owner and her sister. They love their families, and they love their pets, and I love them! Thank you Penny, and Morgan, for helping to take such good care of us!

As for me, I had to share, but now I think my mom might have put on her tennis shoes. And you know what that means!  A Walk!   Thanks for checking out Wise-up! Workbooks! Cooper will be back soon!

 

For more information on Wise Up! Workbooks check out their site!  www.wiseupworkbooks.com

 Willis.

Contributing  Canine Writer

SouthernSmarts.com