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5 glittery gifts1. Removing sticky price tags and labels.

I wish that I had known this one when my kids were little. Removing labels or anything sticky from most surfaces is a cinch. Just spray the label residue or the label itself with WD40. Let it sink in and then rub the sticky stuff off with a rag or a plastic scrubby. There may be a little oily residue on cardboard but that is not important. Just don’t use it on fabric.

2. Wrapping multiple children’s gifts.

Colour code the paper. Use the same colours every year.  Child #1’s gifts are all wrapped in red paper. Child #2’s are wrapped in green. If there is a third and fourth, have one all gold and one all blue. This way kids know which gifts are theirs, even before they can read – and can spot their own from across the room, when they can read. You don’t even have to put gift tags on gifts from the big guy, if you use this system just for ‘those’ gifts.

3. Recycle, recycle, recycle

Use store gift boxes year after year until they are only good for starting the Christmas fire. Fold them back flat and store them in a large cardboard box. This way you always have gift boxes. The same goes for gift bags. Save and reuse until they are falling apart. Keep all your bows and ribbons, you rarely have to buy any after a year or two. Store them in large gift bags, so they don’t get crushed. I also save tissue paper that is not torn and even metallic wrapping paper and reuse until it no longer looks good.

These little pointers will reduce the expense and stress of christmas!

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The coffee table is frequently an afterthought when decorating your living room. People often dash out to the big box store to get a matched set of coffee and end tables that they think will ‘do’ for the time being. This is a mistake.

The ‘coffee table’ is front and centre in your living room. It should make a statement, and be useful as well as a ‘decor piece’. The one thing it should not be is part of a matched set of coffee and end tables. In most cases, that look is dated and dowdy.

Your coffee table does not even have to be a table. We are now all familiar with the ottoman with a tray on the top, being re-purposed as a coffee table. I have a large wicker trunk that is my coffee table and doubles as storage space for extra throws and cushions for movie nights in the winter. It can also be used as a place for hiding the children’s toys instead of the usual open shelving.

trunk

Back in University, I lined up 3 old cheese boxes in a row. In our earlier homes, I had a cluster of little cube tables, that suited the small spaces admirably. At one point an antique 6 legged table with a brass tray for a top, served as my coffee table. Use your imagination. Almost anything with a flat surface and is not too big can be adapted and used.

One point here, I do not like low, low coffee tables, unless all the furniture is low slung. They look too 50s for one thing, but mainly their proportions are wrong and they are awkward to use for anything but a foot stool. You will find that something that is side table height is more useful and visually pleasing. 20″ high and up makes a good, useful coffee table.

21.5" h coffee table from Sears.caThis is a cocktail table from Sears.ca. It is nice and tall at 21.5″h. It would make a really nice coffee table and is a much more convenient height for your coffee. Its round shape makes it easy to get by (with no more barked shins) and will fit in with most furniture shapes and arrangements.

Put two together

Put two together

Conversely, this little cube table is 23.5″ h and is meant to be an end table but put 2 together and they make a nice comfortable height coffee table or put 3 in an L configuration in front of a full sized sectional sofa. They are also quite adaptable when you move. They can be end tables, bedside tables, etc.

So think outside the box and you will come up with a unique and visually pleasing coffee table that is both useful and decorative

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An affordable answer for the kitchen cabinet refresh/replace dilemma

Kitchen cabinets are crazy expensive but can become tired and dated looking after only a few years. You can totally replace them, if you have the budget for it, but you don’t have to. If the layout works for you and the cabinets are still in good shape, you can paint them to refresh your look. The problem with painting them is that you really should strip the old finish, sand them down, which is hard work and prime with a high adhesion primer. You need a top quality paint and even then the paint will only look good for a few years. Regular paint scratches and marks easily.

I have found a really interesting product, Rust-Oleum Transformations. I haven’t used it yet, but it looks like a really good product that is DIY  friendly. Check out the link below to see all about the product!
http://rustoleumtransformations.com/ 

There are a number of ‘transformation kits’. There is one to refinish your cabinets with paint colour and one for stain colours. There is a transformation kit for counter tops as well. They even offer a kit for wood floors, tiles and furniture!

If you are willing to put in the work, you could refinish the cabinets, counters, backs plash and floor, all with a Rust-Oleum kit!

As I said in the beginning, I have not used these products yet but they looked so interesting that I thought that I should pass on my DIY find. I will be trying it out for myself in the near future, I think.

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This is one of Para's delicious colour combinations for 2013

This is one of Para’s delicious colour combinations for 2013

Colour, colour is everywhere this year.  You see it in the decor stores and on the catwalk.

Bright, bold and beautiful colour is everywhere you look.

The pictured colour combination is straight from the 70s. Avocado green, melon orange,  harvest gold with a warm cream to leaven all that colour, is all the rage this year.

Brown and beige have been the colours of choice for the last decade. They were usually paired with turquoise or soft blue as an accent colour. You can give your room(s) a whole new look by simply removing the blue accents and replacing them with vibrant cushions, throws and a few other accent pieces in these bright, bold and very cheerful vintage colours.

If you are not enamored with this particular combination, try other brights and bolds together. Purple, lime green and gold make a striking statement or you could liven up your brown furniture with red and gold with a touch of just the right eggplant purple.

You don’t have to spend a lot either. Just change out a few pieces purchased at your favourite bargain store. It is amazing what you can do with a couple of new cushions, a throw, a vase and a bowl and maybe one new piece of inexpensive, unframed art. And don’t forget to update your lampshades. Lampshades are so often forgotten and they too get shabby and dated looking.

Time to go shopping.

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Professional looking gift wrappings are really easy to do. You need scissors and clear tape (not magic tape, it shows too much), lots of tape and a little bit of patience (not a lot).

The first thing to do is put the gift in a box of some kind. This automatically makes it easy to do a good job. I keep my boxes from year to year to year, so I always have lots. I also use anything that is the right size. Shoe boxes, Tea boxes, cereal boxes etc are all grist to my mill. Whatever logo is on the box, usually has nothing whatsoever to do with the contents!

place your box on the paper

place your box on the paper

Place the box across the paper as shown. Place the edge of the box slightly less than the thickness of the box, from the edge. At the other side, fold the paper up along the side of the box and mark. Lay the paper down and roll the roll to the mark. Draw a guide line right along where the roll meets the mark, using the roll as a straight edge or ruler. Cut along the line and put the roll aside

start at the bottom

start at the bottom

Make sure the box is centred on the paper. Pull the bottom edge up to just past the centre of the box and tape into place. Then fold the top edge over so that when it is wrapped, it covers the first edge. Crease the fold with your finger. Make sure that the outside edges overlap evenly, if not shift the box a little (without untaping if possible) and try again. When the edges are even, tug on the paper a little so that it is nice and snug, not sloppy. Tape the centre down firmly.

Nice, neat ends are easy

Nice, neat ends are easy

Place the box so the seam is on top. Start at one end. Push the top edge down and crease, right to the sides. Tape it down in the centre. Make an angled crease at each end as shown and crease it neatly with your thumb and finger. (Always press every fold and it will come out so much more neatly) Each neatly creased fold makes the next step easier and neater too.

Fold the sides in and finger press

Fold the sides in and finger press

Fold in each of the sides and finger press, then tape into place.

Fold the bottom edge

Fold the bottom edge

Fold up the bottom edge so that when it is folded up the folds make a perfect triangle — see the next picture.

Triangle corners

Triangle corners

Tape each corner and the centre for the best result

Finished end

Finished end (bottom side is up in the picture)

Now to tie a simple bow properly

Take a dollar store spool of wired ribbon. Find the middle. Place that on the front side and bring both end around to the back. Before you cross them, measure them out with your eyes to make sure that one end is slightly longer than the other. Now cross them and bring them around to the front.

How to make the tie come out straight with the tails the same length

How to make the tie come out straight with the tails the same length

Wrap the shorter end so that it comes out behind the knot and the longer end is on top of the knot. Grab the shorter end and make a loop with the tail on top and facing you. Wrap the longer end around the loop from above (over your finger holding the other loop) going from right to left. Tuck it under the front loop but over the knot. Pull snugly. If the loops are too big and the tails too short, start again but makes the loops smaller at the beginning.

Puff up the loops and bend the tails into a pretty bend. Cut the ends into a V  and tape the tail to the paper with a little roll of tape underneath.

Ta-Da, one beautiful gift.

Ta-Da, one beautiful gift.

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Blue and silver tree trimmings and coordinating gift wrappings

Blue and silver tree trimmings and coordinating gift wrappings

A tip to help you get that decorator look to your Christmas tree. Add something unexpected. Look around your collections of this and that for something that would add interest to your tree.

I like to stuff flowers in my trees. One year it was filled with artificial white poinsettias. Another year I filled it with red ones. One year I took tiny puffs of pillow stuffing and put it on the tips of many of the branches so that it looked like snow had just fallen. This year I used sprigs of glittery white berries with leaves and some baby’s breath. I also inserted large silver snowflakes inside the larger ‘holes’ in the branches. I also curled curling ribbon and draped it in long curls randomly down the tree. It all adds up to one very pretty and rather elegant Christmas tree this year.

Blue and silver ornaments augmented with white flowers

Blue and silver ornaments augmented with white flowers

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Wow, the JYSK (pronounced Ysk, y as in yellow, by the way) has a great deal this week. (Nov 8 – 14, 2012) All of their drapery panels are half price. They have a huge selection and even at regular price are a good deal. If you want to do over your window treatments for Christmas or need to refresh a room, this is a very economical way to do it.

http://www.flyertown.ca/flyers/jysk-jyskweekly?sf_any=true&flyer_run_id=3500&type=1&locale=en#!/flyers/jysk-jyskweekly?flyer_run_id=3500

I am very fond of JYSK for a lot of different ‘decorating on a dime’ projects. They a wide variety of household items big and small. Take a trip to a store near you.

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