Friday, January 14, 2011

It's Time to Dress Up... the Mantle

Part One: Nothing is better than sitting by the fire keeping warm and toasty to kill of the wicked winter chill that seeps into your bones. With that statement, I guess it's no secret that I live in the North! While you are sitting by the cosy fire, it is even better if you can have a lovely looking mantle to make everything look so picturesque.
There are a couple of things that you need to consider when deciding what you want to put up there:
What is your Theme.
Have a Color Scheme.
Highlight some of your "Treasures".
Pick a Style.


Our Mantle at Christmas, complete with Stockings!
(Click on any of the pictures to view them larger)
THEME: A mantle is the perfect gathering place for setting up a theme. For instance, I bet you all had your mantles decorated to the max for Christmas. I know I do. Every year. Love it. Here's a Picture of it done up for the holidays.
But now, the holidays are over and hopefully you are now faced with a clean slate.
Using the holidays as your theme again, it's time to get ready for Valentines Day.
OR you can use the Seasons as your theme. Right now would be Winter. If you have a special collection, like my mom does of Milk glass, Fenton glass and Lenox Birds, she could use her collection as her theme. 
COLOR SCHEME: Once you've picked your theme, it is time to move on to color. YOu need to have a palette in mind. It can match what furniture you have in the room or coordinate. You definitely do not want to pick something that clashes- everything should compliment the other colors. The only time that that would not matter is if you are going with a color to match you theme. It's ok that you use orange and black when it's Halloween. Just make sure that you use enough of the color together, that it's obvious that it is meant to stand out from other parts of the room. 
This mantle design color theme is picking up on the red colors that took us through Christmas and now through Valentine's Day. I'll give you some close up pictures this weekend of the individual pieces that I'm using. Here are three different versions :


Version One Mantle: RED  color theme.
Version Two Mantle: Red with a Winter theme.
Version Three Mantle: Sea Blues and Butter Yellow Spring theme.
TREASURES: Treasures are things that you collect because they mean something special to you. Why not show them off on your Mantle? Enough said.
STYLE: Everyone is drawn to a specific type of design style. Whether you love Shabby Chic, French Country, Modern or Eclectic; (to just name a few) each of these different styles also looks better with the way you lay them out. Symmetrical or Asymmetrical. Minimal or Complicated Layers. 
Now there a couple of considerations that could pose a dilemma. One is how high off the ground your mantle sits and how much room you have above the Mantel until you hit the ceiling. Also how wide your mantle is from the wall? Both of these were two huge issues for me as the space between the shelf and the ceiling is not very wide. I chose a large narrow rectangular Watercolor painting to hang above it. Then, because my shelf area is not very wide, it limits how much layering I can do. It's not possible to put many of my lovely treasures up on the mantle as it won't hold them, it's too narrow.
Just make a choice and start to play around with different items that you want to use until you get it to look right. You'll know when you are done. It will just feel right to you.
My last piece of advice to you is that rules are nice, to help you to follow, but they are also made to be broken. Don't be afraid to try something totally different!


My next post will detail some of the different treasures I used in the pieces above.
Until next time- Blessings!

Friday, January 7, 2011

The New Year- Change it Up!

Cheers and Happy New Year! I love the Holidays, they are my favorite time of the year, but honestly I am glad when they are over. Hate packing all my Christmas treasures up until next year, but after it's done, I can take a good look around and figure out what it's time to change.You should do the same. Are you asking: I like what I have, why would I want to change it? Also, where is all this money going to come from to make these changes?
Let me tell you that, to answer the first question about what to change, it doesn't take much to make an impact on a room. You do NOT have to change every single thing in your room or spend a ton of money to make an impact on your home decor. It can be as simple as giving your room a new coat of paint or changing up a centerpiece on a coffee table or the kitchen table with a new item to give you an updated style. Maybe your mantle needs a new focus. So remember one nice new something for your home can make your room feel brand new and give you a much needed boost as well.
This is the Viridian Oval Container one of Willow House's brand new products.
imagine this as a centerpiece on your coffee table. To change it up, why put it in your kitchen
 filled with green apples adding a little bit of color to your winter while making a
nice healthy snack center for the family.
Why do you want to change it? Well, if you change everything all at once, it can be costly and who has the money to do that as well as the time and energy? Well if you find a new style that you like, make a list and prioritize what is most important. Then buy a little at a time as it makes it affordable to make changes. If you don't take an honest look at least once a year, then suddenly you may find your home a little faded and jaded.
Remember just because Aunt Milly gave you that vase, it doesn't mean you need to keep it for 20 years. If you feel guilty about getting rid of it, then give it away to someone that admires it. They will love it and so will you!

Now, I am going to tell you that before you get something new, make sure that you buy something that you can find more than one way of using. Don't spend the money on something that you will tuck away in your closet for 8 or 9 months out of the year.
I love products that are not only beautiful but useful. You also need to look at quality. If you do not by something that is well made, it will fall apart before you are ready to change it up and when that happens you will be sad. Believe me, I have learned this the hard way. So it is worth it, to spend a little more.

Blessings! Pam

The Beauty of Designing for Internet Blogging

The best thing about putting your ideas up on a blog, or web site, is that it is organic. What I mean by that can be better explained by the definition of the word organic: developing in a manner analogous to the natural growth and evolution characteristic of living organisms; arising as natural outgrowth. In everyday language- it means that like a living organism, things on your site can always changing and evolving. Think of a small baby and then think of that same person 2 years later. Way bigger and more knowledgeable and their ability to communicate with people and the amount of people they communicate with greatly expands, if you know what I mean...


So, if you want to share your ideas, a blog is a great way to be able to do that, even if it is just a form of self-help therapy for you to start off with. Every one including the kids are starting them. My 16 year old Alyssa has to make a blog and post in it at least 3 times a month for her Journalism class in high school. A Blog can also serve a purpose too, especially for a entrepreneur or small business owner. You can share your expertise and let it help you expand your connections or network!

Now when I started this back in August, I honestly wasn't really sure how I what I was going to use this for. But being first and foremost graphic designer/art director, I felt it would be a great way to do some graphic design experimentation. You see, more and more, all kinds of advertising design is being used on the internet so for my Ashford Design business, it is imperative that I keep up and be knowledgeable on what the latest trends are. Blogging is Big Business... Yes, Big Business... that made me think about how I could really be able to share my wealth of knowledge about all kinds of design and use it to not only share with others who might be interested, but use it to grow my different businesses.

Now in another post, I will give you some more specific's about what I found out in my "independent study" about blogging, but for now the idea that I really wanted to share this: Design and advertising on a blog is unlike something that you design and print. You can get stuck with a bunch of business cards, flyers, brochures or catalogs that can become outdated very fast. And usually you need to print a minimum amount, or if you print just a few, it is very costly. 

On a blog or web site, you can constantly be changing what information you are sharing, even after you first share it, revisions and updates are a snap to do. You can also change the theme, style, look, sound and intentions of it pretty easily too. And this is a good thing! 

If you have been following me since I first started Create and Decorate, you will know that I have had at least 4 different formats and designs. I have finally expanded my ideas on what I will share in this blog. In a nutshell, it has evolved into a much better and more rounded space and I hope that you will continue on this journey about design with me and that I will be able to inspire you about all kinds of design.
Blessings,
Pam