Tuesday, March 29, 2011

{link-a-palooza!}

Here are some of the links I've shared in recent weeks on my Willow House Facebook page. Stop by and become a fan (just click "like") so you don't miss these great resources!
 






© Suzanne Jackson 2011.
{I'd love for you to share this post with friends, but please share the full link. Common courtesy dictates that you do not copy the post into your own blog without proper attribution. Thanks!}

Monday, March 28, 2011

White House, anyone?

Strangely enough, two of my favorite blogs featured homes with primarily white decor today. While both of the homes were absolutely beautiful, as a mom of two still-at-home kids, owner of a large dog, and someone who frequently entertains, I can't imagine myself in a home decorated like this. My choice of decor is frequently dictated by the desire to hide the dirt!

Admire them for yourselves, then come back here and let me know whether or not this is your style!

Monday Design Inspiration: White {The Ardent Sparrow} 

A Favorite Decorator and a Favorite Home {Plate and Pattern}


© Suzanne Jackson 2011.
{I'd love for you to share this post with friends, but please share the full link. Common courtesy dictates that you do not copy the post into your own blog without proper attribution. Thanks!}

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tip 2: Think outside the box

{This is part of the series "Top Ten Tips for Decorating on a Budget"}

In my last post in this series, I talked about controlling the clutter. We all have it, we all hate it, we all want solutions! For me, the two biggest needs in controlling clutter are discipline and creativity. As discussed last time, discipline simply involves having a plan and then following the plan. And discipline alone can get you some great results… just ask the military! But who wants a home that looks like an army barracks? Not me! Just a little creativity can take your clutter control up a notch.

In the last post, I showed you the Decorative Card and Photo Display – and mentioned that it could also be used to organize (and display!) your jewelry. And remember the Eclipse Serving Platter? It serves up my mail just fine and keeps my countertop clutter-free! Each of these items were used for something beyond what they were originally designed for… beyond what they were even named for. Getting the most from these items just involves a little thinking outside the box!

Here’s a fun exercise we do at many of my design workshops. I pull out my beautiful, heavy-duty Morningside Caddy and simply say, “This could be used in any room of your home. What would you use it for?”

Just to get them started, I tell them that my friend uses it for her silverware – a pretty standard use for entertaining. But she bumps it up a notch by having her kids unload the silverware from the dishwasher straight into the caddy. The children can also easily set the dinner table – inside or out – by carrying the caddy to the table with them. This makes Ann Marie’s life infinitely easier!

Sometimes, it takes a few minutes – and a few hints – to get the creative juices flowing. But then, the ladies always amaze themselves with how many practical uses they can come up with! Here are a few:

¨      Living room: caddy for remotes, reading glasses, pens, reading materials, hand cream (keeps it all corralled and is easy to move for dusting)
¨      Any room: portable home office for bills, checkbook, calculator, pens, etc. so that you can work anywhere
¨      Bedroom: use on nightstand for glasses, lotions, water bottle, reading materials, remotes
¨      Bathroom counter or shelves: great for organizing all those toiletry items, plus insert a small jar or juice glass in one compartment and add fresh flowers!
¨      Garden tub area: create a mini-spa by storing spa products and washcloths next to the tub
¨      Guest bath: Great way to welcome your guests by proving mini toiletries and fresh linens, along with fresh flowers
¨      Guest room: create a hospitality kit with snacks, candles, reading materials, and flowers
¨      Nursery: Create a portable diaper changing kit by placing diapers and small wipes container in large compartment, and ointment, powder, and small toys in the smaller containment. Great shower gift – mom can keep baby's things handy anywhere in the house, and later convert it to any of these other uses

See how easy it is, once you get rolling? All of these ideas help keep things corralled and organized beautifully.

Think about that Eclipse Serving Platter again. Wouldn’t it look amazing on your husband’s dresser, corralling his keys, change, wallet, business cards… all those things that just add clutter? And as  bonus, you have a great piece to
steal
borrow for entertaining or decorating as needed – because it looks even better serving bread, fruit, or even barbequed brisket, and it makes an amazing statement on your coffee table or in your entry way with candles placed atop stones or sea glass.

As women, we pride ourselves as being multi-taskers. By thinking outside the box, we can make our stuff multi-task, as well!

For more great ideas on thinking outside the box, stop by MyStyleShare.com. This is a new online community where you can see real ideas from real women like you, and even share your own ideas! Come and join the conversation! For starters, check out Melanie Grant’s ideas for adding style to everyday tasks


Note: Have a girls' night in with your friends and think outside the box together! With a  Willow House Design Workshop, you can help fuel one another's creativity. And, as host, you can earn free and discounted products to help carry out your organizational plan. If you’d like to know more, contact me.

I linked this on:

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating  
 

© Suzanne Jackson 2011.
{I'd love for you to share this post with friends, but please share the full link. Common courtesy dictates that you do not copy the post into your own blog without proper attribution. Thanks!}

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tip 3: Control the clutter

{This is part of the series "Top Ten Tips for Decorating on a Budget"}

Does clutter bother you? Many of us have convinced ourselves that clutter doesn’t really affect us, that it’s just the way things are but that we’ve learned to live with it. However, if you’re like me, you’d have to admit that you feel more relaxed and creative in a clutter-free environment! The great news is that there are just two keys to clutter control: discipline and creativity. The bad news is that most of us struggle with those two things, at least in relation to clutter.

Discipline means that we actually deal with the clutter before it becomes clutter. Do you have a plan and a place for everything? For instance, what do you do with those appointment cards, library receipts, notes of encouragement, cute pictures of or by the kids (and the list could just go on and on)? Do you hang them on the fridge, so that the door eventually becomes so overloaded that it just swings open on its own?

One simple, yet pretty solution is our Decorative Card and Photo Display. This provides great organizational space for announcements, recipe cards, photos, and more. The two diamonds can be hung together or separately on a door or wall. It even works for your necklaces and earrings, so you might want to use one section in your kitchen or mudroom and the other in your bedroom or dressing area.

In your craft or sewing room, a memo board is always helpful to keep swatches and inspiration at eye level. Odds and ends can be corralled in the oh-so-colorful Zoe Organizing Buckets -- out of the way, yet at your fingertips. Think how much more creative and productive you'll be when your special space is organized so beautifully!

Sometimes I find myself bogged down by the little things: mail, keys, spare change, etc. Remember the Eclipse Serving Platter we used to dress up flat surfaces in our last tip? It makes a great clutter corral, as well – and it pulls double duty by becoming a fantastic decorating or serving piece the next time you entertain. I’m amazed at how much better my countertop looks with the mail stacked in the Eclipse Serving Platter instead of just laying on the counter!
 
What about our other key to clutter control, creativity? Hint: our use of the Eclipse Serving Platter above is a great start… and we’ll cover more in our next tip!

Note: Do you need a clutter & chaos support group? Why not have an organizational-themed Willow House Makeover Design Workshop with your friends --you know they probably need it, too! And you can earn free and discounted products to help carry out your organizational plan. If you’d like to know more, contact me.


I linked this on:

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating  


© Suzanne Jackson 2011.
{I'd love for you to share this post with friends, but please share the full link. Common courtesy dictates that you do not copy the post into your own blog without proper attribution. Thanks!}

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Trend Alert!

Have you experienced the latest trend in entertaining? It's hostess-friendly and fun for guests! Tasting parties are designed to let guests try a little of everything and the Hyacinth Ramekins are perfect for this new trend in entertaining. Try these fun recipes for your next party gathering!

CLASSIC CHEESECAKE
Serve in 12 oven-safe 3 oz Ramekins
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 8-0z package cream cheese, softened (ricotta cheese may be used)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 can cherry, blueberry pie filling or fresh berries for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For a simple graham cracker crust, mix graham cracker crumbs, margarine and sugar, then divide equally between the 12 ramekins.
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer until well blended. Add egg whites, mix well, then add sour cream and mix thoroughly. Pour equally into the 12 ramekins, almost to the top.
Bake 20 minutes or until center is almost set. Turn off oven, leaving oven door open for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and refrigerate until chilled. When ready to serve, top each ramekin with a spoonful of pie filling or fresh berries.


TEXAS PARTY QUICHES
(And y'all know I love anything Texas!)
Serve in 20 oven-safe 3oz ramekins
  • 1 pkg refrigerator bisucits
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 tbsp finely chopped green onions’
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, optional
  • 1 jar of salsa for topping, optional
Separate biscuits and cut in half horizontally, making 20 pieces of thin pastry. Place a piece of pastry into each ramekin. Press down. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, until just brown and slightly puffy.

In a large bowl, combine beaten eggs, and cottage cheese. Beat in flour, baking powder and melted butter. Stir in Monterey Jack cheese, green onions. Mix well.

Pour mixture equally into the ramekins. Sprinkle a few pieces of cheddar cheese on top(optional). Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until done. Serve warm, plain or with salsa on the side in a dip bowl.

You can also make this quiche without the pastry crust, or us some toasted bread cubes. You can add almost anything to this recipe: bacon, mushrooms, green peppers, etc.

{Thanks to my fellow Willow House design consultant and Fair Winds team member Tina Stephens for this great idea!}

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tip 4: Dress those flat surfaces

{This is part of the series "Top Ten Tips for Decorating on a Budget"}

We all instinctively feel that a flat surface is a boring surface. I love my countertops and dining room table uncluttered, but when they are completely bare they just look… sterile and boring. And too many bare walls just seem to lack personality.

A flat table or ottoman often needs a tray to anchor it. In fact, adding a tray to an ottoman adds instant table space. The Parisian Ottoman Tray shown here adds instant interest and functionality. It’s also versatile for entertaining as it can move easily from living room to kitchen and back again. If you’d like a different look, the Napa Tray with its pressed metal might be just your style.

The Eclipse Serving Platter isn’t quite a tray, but that’s easy to forgive because its beauty blends with any d├ęcor. Whether it’s a catch-all for your mail and keys, or creating a spa setting with riverstones and candles, it adds just the right touch to that flat, boring table surface. As a plus, it’s food safe and can be borrowed for entertaining.

The Covington tray is a great multitasker, as it works beautifully on your table with a grouping of candles or vases, and looks equally nice personalizing your wall with a lovely monogram. Wouldn’t it look great in a grouping of family pictures? (Thanks to Stacey Everett, fellow Willow House design consultant, for sharing this photo with me.)

For another personal touch, try using a hanging metal tray as a great display for family memories. A few photos, a few magnets, and you have the makings of a great conversation piece. I snapped this photo while visiting the home of my friend, Ann Marie Brezina -- who is also my Willow House sponsor. I always find great ideas at her house!

Mirrors can often mimic trays on a table and add depth to your arrangements. And, of course, mirrors always add brightness and light to a room without dominating the scene.

So take a look around? Got any bare surfaces that need dressing up?



Note: It's easy and economical to take your surfaces from flat to fantastic with a Willow House Makeover Design Workshop, especially when you can earn free and discounted products for hosting! If you’d like to know more, contact me.

© Suzanne Jackson 2011.
{I'd love for you to share this post with friends, but please share the full link. Common courtesy dictates that you do not copy the post into your own blog without proper attribution. Thanks!}

Monday, March 7, 2011

{link-a-palooza!}

Here are some of the links I've shared in recent weeks on my Willow House Facebook page. Stop by and become a fan (just click "like") so you don't miss these great resources!



Fans of my Facebook page will also see updates to this blog, as well as the latest giveaways and hot weekly deals -- don't miss out!


© Suzanne Jackson 2011.
{I'd love for you to share this post with friends, but please share the full link. Common courtesy dictates that you do not copy the post into your own blog without proper attribution. Thanks!}

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tip 5: The Power of Three

{This is part of the series "Top Ten Tips for Decorating on a Budget"}

 Remember the old saying, “Three’s a crowd?” When it comes to decorating, three is practically a perfect number! By duplicating one item three times, you get more than triple the punch because the repetition adds unity to your design. Even simple glass vases with elegant flowers pack a punch when you place three on a mantle, don’t you agree?

Our last tip helped us create some mantle magic. If you love a simple (and low-maintenance) mantle, let the power of three work for you. Our mantle shown here plays three Chancelor Mirrors off a single piece of driftwood – who knew seaside cottage style could be so elegant?

Our triplets don’t have to be completely identical, however. Note how two of the three Coronado Stone Pedestals hold candles, while the center pedestal displays stones and fresh flowers. (See how Mr. Fuzzbucket looks on approvingly?)

Now take in the whole room -- featuring the power of three on both the mantle and the coffee table unifies the room. It looks balanced and orderly – it welcomes you to come in and relax! Elements of glass pull the pedestals and mirrors together in yet another unifying feat.

Mirrors aren't just for mantles. Trilogy mirrors lined up in a corner bring interest and light to the room. The rustic metal styling plays off of the cool hues and earthy elements in the room.

Using the power of three also makes smaller pieces more potent. Three glass containers lined up in a row turns what could be clutter into a thing of beauty. Your vanity will have good reason to be vain!

The power of three works not just with triplets, but also with siblings --by this, I mean related pieces. Each Amira Candlestand is a unique size and color, but the three work together to add beauty to function on your buffet -- or anywhere else, for that matter! Where can you harness the power of three in your decorating scheme?


Note: There's power in numbers when it comes to getting together with friends, too! Willow House Makeover Design Workshops make a great girlfriend get-together, especially when you can earn free and discounted products for hosting! If you’d like to know more, contact me.

© Suzanne Jackson 2011.
{I'd love for you to share this post with friends, but please share the full link. Common courtesy dictates that you do not copy the post into your own blog without proper attribution. Thanks!}






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