July 16, 2017

Rain and Rhythm- More Music

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

 

 

 

Deck+Stain=COLOR!

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

EMPATHY (What is it and do you have it?)

              I have recently discovered, that there is a theory that only certain people are born with empathy. In relation to sympathy, which is a harmony of feeling, empathy is a deeper, more vicarious connection to another’s experience. It is one of the best character traits to have, but it is possible that if you were not born with it, you will never have it! It could be that possessing true empathy is like being born with blue eyes!
           We all experience disappointments in some people. Their lack of connection to a myriad of individual situations is frustrating at best. But this plausible idea has been an epiphany for me. It has freed me from some of my relational prostrations, and made me realize that some may not be capable of walking in another mans shoes.
This lack of empathy can also lead to the not so favorable trait of righteousness. If someone cannot relate to another persons experience, then that posture is ripe for judging.
     So for those of us out there that nurture, and are in touch with their ability to empathize, we need to share it, and if we don’t get it back from someone, then maybe that person is not capable of the gesture. Lowering my expectations for the empathy exchange, has freed me from much disappointment. If your empathy tank is low, be conscience of filling it up, trying on some different shoes, and adding on a new intense awareness for a richer life.     Stephen Spurling

New Life for Old Lamps.

 

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

                                                                                  

Finding the Joy in the Journey.

When life suddenly scaled things down with the subtlety of an F5, I had to regroup on most things. Gone were the days of chartered boating, upscale resorts, and divine city dining. This lifestyle change may have adjusted my itinerary, but it has not changed my wanderlust, and curiosity for what may be around the next bend. Therefore, In my travels, I have reached out, and made incredible journeys into my own.

Locally, I have discovered an ethereal coastal compound for wild horses, that have inhabited this extraordinary island for hundreds of years. I happened on a bird sanctuary, that rehabilitates birds of prey, and fosters and guards its local eco system. I have toured  historic buildings to better understand my local history. I have happened on locally grown treats at state highway roadside markets, that make it more than worth the diversion. I have found characters in small, rural towns, that have turned their passions into content for national documentaries.  I have enjoyed views from day hikes that can be postcard perfect, and sunset kayak excursions on local rivers, that would be worth a much longer trip.

I am grateful for the five star resorts, and the first class seats, and all the luxury of a different time. But for now, I am tuned into a fresher, deeper, and more mature adventure. I am enjoying rich and simple discoveries in my own backyard. “The Joy of the Journey”

Andi Bartruff

Contributing Writer/Southern Smarts

 

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