How to Grow a Butterfly Garden

July 21, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to make a butterfly gardenA butterfly garden is a flower garden specifically planted to attract butterflies. Whether you take on this project alone or with your children, you will watch in wonder as butterflies come flocking to the garden you planted.

Gather Materials

Before you start planting, be sure you have all the materials you will need. Your garden will need flowering plants or seeds (see below for specific types of blooms), a clean, empty, plastic milk jug, large flat stones, and gardening tools.

Choose a Location

You will want to locate your butterfly garden in a sunny spot with good soil. Try to find a place that not only gets direct sunlight, but that is visible from your patio or windows so you can watch the butterflies enjoy your garden. Also, make sure your garden is in a location that will not be damaged by other pets or children playing.

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Choose Your Flowers

Butterflies are attracted to fragrant flowers that have large petals or blossoms that grow in direct sunlight. Consider flowers such as giant swallowtail, prickly ash, swallowtail ash, violets, pansy, pearl crescent, asters, milkweed, ageratum, bee balm, bougainvillea, calendula, coneflower, dahlia, daylily, geranium, hibiscus, marigold, milkweed, snapdragon, yellow sage, and zinnia. These types of flowers provide easy access to the nectar that butterflies love to eat.

Plant Seeds or Seedlings

Once you have your spot picked out, prepare the soil, making sure it is moist, and plant your seeds or seedlings. If you are planting seeds, be certain to follow the instructions on the seed packet. Remember that butterflies tend to migrate to groups of flowers, so plant your flowers in bunches.

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Add Other Elements

Your garden will not just consist of flowers. Provide places for the butterflies to rest and bask in the sunlight and socialize. Place some flat stones near the flowers where the butterflies to land. Also, dig a small hole and place the milk jug inside the shallow hole after you have cut off the top of the jug. You may choose to lay some stones over the edge of the jug to keep it from blowing away and to give the butterflies more sunny spots to perch. Fill the jug with fresh water. This puddle will give the butterflies drinking water and a place to socialize.

Decorate Your Garden

The extra elements in your garden don’t have to just be for the butterflies. You may choose to decorate your garden to make it more pleasing to the humans that visit it. Add a small fountain or garden arbors to enhance the look of your butterfly garden. Once you have finished putting everything together, watch and wait for the butterflies to come!

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How to Make Christmas Table Decorations

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to decorate a table for xmasThe shopping is done, the tree is decorated, the presents are wrapped, but something is still missing. When all your guests gather around the table for the Christmas dinner you have spent hours preparing, what will they see? A bare tabletop? Let’s hope not. With a few simple touches, your dinner table can become a showcase for some beautiful Christmas decorations.

Centerpiece

The centerpiece will be the focal point of your table, at least until Aunt Mary starts telling embarrassing old family stories. While you can purchase a fresh or silk flower arrangement, a sculpture or figurine of some kind, or a potted poinsettia, there are other options that you can assemble yourself on a budget. Try filling a pair of clear glass hurricane lamps with cheap and colorful glass globe Christmas ornaments. You can also use a vase to hold peppermints or small red and green candies. Use the candy to support a classic taper candle or a small group of artificial flowers fitting for the winter season.

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Napkin Rings

A great opportunity to add a personal touch to your table is with your napkin rings. Napkin rings can be a pricy investment, or they can be a creative outlet of your holiday spirit. For a basic approach, cut one inch segments from the cardboard tube inside your wrapping paper. You can cover these with the wrapping paper itself, or paint or color the cardboard. Hot glue a small ornament to the top of the napkin ring. Another option is to string festive beads or buttons on a piece of elastic. Whatever you create, your guests will appreciate the time and creativity you invested in this Christmas decoration.

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Placecards

For large or small crowds, use placecards to not only help guests find their place at the table, but to showcase your holiday spirit. You can adapt gift tags to be placecards, or glue rectangles of wrapping paper on a stiff backing and write guests’ names on your homemade place card. Another option is to cut a Christmassy shape such as a star or bell out of cardboard and cover it with aluminum foil. A permanent marker will have no problem writing on the surface, making a lovely placecard.

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How to Decorate Your Yard for Christmas

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to decorate a yard for christmasChristmas is a festive time and it’s also a time to pull out your decorations to show your holiday spirit. Decorating your yard for Christmas can be fun, but it doesn’t have to be stressful, too. Some basic decorations can go a long way this holiday season. Here’s how to decorate your yard for Christmas.

Hang Greenery

Your first step to decorate your yard for Christmas is to hang garlands around your door and windows. Greenery around openings is festive and is a good basis for additional decorations such as lights and ribbons. In fact, greenery or a wreath with a large red ribbon may be all the outdoor decoration you need.

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Hang Lights

Lights have a special place at Christmas time. Hang a strand of lights over your holiday greenery to dress it up. Frame your door and windows with lights, and outline the shape of your roof with a strand. You can use standard light bulbs, twinkle lights or dangling icicle lights for this purpose. You may choose to climb onto your roof to hang additional lights, but if you do, be very careful as this is one of the most common holiday accidents waiting to happen.

Put Out Lawn Ornaments

Once your lights and greenery are hung, pull out some lawn ornaments, The latest craze is to place a giant blow up statute on the lawn in the shape of Santa Claus or a snowman. You can purchase one of these light-up statues, or opt for the more traditional reindeer made of sticks and light. Craft shows may have specialty decorations made from painted wood that suit your style.

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You can also use smaller lawn ornaments such as candy canes, mailbox covers, and luminaries to dress up your lawn. The holidays are a time for frivolity and fun, so if you’re worried your decorations have gone overboard, don’t. Everyone loves a festive set of decorations.

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How to Decorate Wall Space

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to decorate wall spaceThere is nothing more intimidating than a blank wall staring you in the face when you enter a room. A large expanse of wall space cries out for decoration, but a wall can be the hardest place to decorate. There is so much space and so many options; it’s hard to narrow down your choices. Here are a few ideas for how to decorate a wall.

Give it Some Color

The first step to cheerful wall decoration is to give your wall some color. Paint it or put on some wall paper. Even if you only paint the single wall, you will have provided an accent wall which may be enough decoration on its own to brighten up your room.

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Find a Large Piece

The next step for a large wall is to find a large decorative piece to grace it. The large piece may be something as simple as a framed poster, or it may be quirky colorful collection such as your framed montage of outhouse décor. If you’re on a budget, two sconces and a valance can frame smaller pieces of artwork, or find a mirror and repaint the frame to match your current furnishing.

Add Accents

Your next step is to add accents to the wall. These might be smaller pieces of framed artwork, sconces and candles, wall mounted light fixtures or decorative iron work. Plates on a plate rack also make an interesting wall decoration as does a well draped tapestry or rug.

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Window Décor

If your wall includes a window, be sure to spend some time considering window treatments. You might hang a simple curtain or sheers. Plantation shutters might have the right feel for the room or you could add molding around the window as the only source of decoration and leave the window uncovered. Decorate your walls to coordinate with your furniture and existing décor, but be sure to throw in enough of your own personality to make it especially yours.

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How to Decorate a Small Patio

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

<how to decorate a small patioApartments and garden homes often come with a very small patio that can be challenging to utilize well. You want to maximize the use of your patio, but decorate it in a style that makes it inviting for sitting and relaxing at the end of the day. Here are a few tips on how to decorate a small patio.

Make Seating Count

Rather than cramming in inexpensive plastic chairs, make the seating on your small patio count. Invest in a petite table and two chairs that are sturdy and attractive. Think of bistro dining to get inspiration for the kind of table that might fit in a small space. If a table isn’t important to you, consider purchasing a garden swing to install into overhead beams or set up in a frame if one will fit. A swing can be a relaxing way to snuggle up on your patio, especially if you’re looking for a romantic feel.

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Plant Quality, not Quantity

Large patios have room for plenty of plants, but small patios require a bit more finesse. Buy a handful of plants, and pot them in attractive containers. These plants are not only the greenery to decorate your patio, but can be conversation pieces as well, so choose something that appeals to you and grows well in your light and temperature conditions. Also consider the use of plant stands to bring your plants up the level of the rest of the patio.

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Use Details to Decorate

Details can make a small patio feel snug and inviting rather than simply small. Consider hanging wind chimes or using a small fountain to bring a bit of environment and extra detail to the area. Hanging plants and twinkle lights can help set a mood as can an outdoor shelf and candle collection.

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How to Decorate a Patio

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to decorate a patioA patio can be a lovely extension of your home, or it can be a big bare slab of concrete. The difference is just in the decoration. With a few simple touches or even a sizable investment, you can make an outdoor living area that will be a joy to spend time in or entertain on.

Consider Your Budget

The main thing to consider when beginning this process is your budget. How much do you have to spend on this project? Can you afford a makeover or are you just in the market for a few inexpensive touch-ups? If you have the money, you can hire a landscaper to surround your patio with lush vegetation, some shady trees, or some cheery floral annuals.

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Or, you can invest in some durable patio furniture like a table with an umbrella and matching chairs, an outdoor bar, or outdoor fireplace or chiminea. Perhaps you want to take your culinary flair outside and you choose to invest in an outdoor kitchen or gas grill. Don’t be discouraged if these ideas are out of your budget. A few less extravagant purchases can make a difference, too. Once you have an idea of what you can afford, you will be better prepared to make a plan to decorate your patio.

Choose a Theme

Some people choose to have a central theme with their patio decorations. From garden gnomes to birdhouses to dragonfly décor, a theme can bring your decorations together for a more well-thought-out effect. Without a theme, you can still decorate tastefully, or you may end up with a motley assortment of uncoordinated items.

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Go Shopping

Once you have a budget and a theme, it’s time to start shopping. You may want to look for decorative pots in which to grow some herbs, flowers, or greenery. Perhaps the relaxing sound of running water sounds good to you and you want to shop for a little fountain. There are a large assortment of figurines and ceramic or metal decorations to adorn your garden. Don’t forget to find a centerpiece for your patio table! From candles to outdoor wall hangings, you have limitless options to express your style and transform your patio into a showcase for your creativity.

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How to Decorate a Mantle

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to decorate a mantleThe fireplace and mantle should be the focus of a room. Therefore decorating a mantle must be done carefully. After all, the rest of your home décor stems from this focus plus all eyes will be drawn to such a large structure upon entering the room. There are as many decorating ideas as there are decorating styles. Here are a few ideas of how to decorate a mantle:

Big and Small

One of the easiest ways to decorate a mantle is to use a large piece of décor combined with several smaller pieces for balance. For example, a large mirror can be hung over the mantle or stood on the mantle and leaned against the chimney for a more casual look. Then a smaller vase or clock can be arranged on one side of the mirror with a small candelabra or votives arranged on the other. Two or three tasteful accent pieces such as coordinating picture frames or collectibles can be places on either side, but always balanced.

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Photo Collection

If you have a smaller mantle, or don’t have the means to buy a large, often expensive, piece, you can create a montage of smaller pieces. Collect your favorite photos or even pictures from a pretty calendar. Buy coordinating or matching frames from a discount store, flea market or garage sale. The color of the frames can match, such as all white on a painted or brick background, or be varied to create a more cottage feel.

The frames should vary in size. Use matching mats (white is universal), and frame your pictures. You may opt to remove the glass from the frames for a more authentic feel.

Arrange the frames on the floor in a pattern you find visually appealing. Mix and match sizes and layouts to make a true collage. Then carefully hang your pictures above the mantle preserving your layout.

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As you now have a great deal of visual interest above the mantle, keep the mantle decorations simple. A simple vase or ornate box combined with low candles or floral arrangement should do the trick. Be sure not to block any of the pictures, and you should probably not use frames on the mantle itself unless they are part of the overall collection and design.

Light It Up

If you’re a fan of candles, the mantle is great place for their special light and beauty. Find a bold collection of thick candles ranging in heights. Arrange three to five candles on either end of the mantle with another, possibly larger collection in the middle. You need an element on the wall behind the mantle, so consider hanging a few coordinating sconces or a tasteful mirror which can reflect the candlelight back into your room.

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How To Decorate a Living Room

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to decorate a dining roomThe living room is the center of your home. The formal living room often sets the tone for the rest of the household, and the decorating style you select has bearing on every room in the house.

Find a Theme:

When you decorate a living room, you must first consider your preferred style. Are you a fan of country decorating with gingham and lace? Or perhaps you prefer classic styles with display tables and curios. Modern styles with bold lines and bright colors are increasingly common as are comfortable styles that use neutral colors and oversized furniture. Flip through decorating magazines or websites to see examples of what appeals to you.

Find a Focus:

The focus of your living room will be the starting point for decorating. The focus should be a large item that brings your personality to the room such as the fireplace mantle, picture above the fireplace, sofa, rug, or even an ottoman. Use that piece to find your color pattern and inspiration for the rest of the room.

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Living Room Colors:

Once you have your focus, select a wall color and accenting colors for accessories and additional furniture. Don’t be afraid to be creative, but using a focus piece will help keep the room coordinated rather than matching. Paint the walls or use wall paper, then select window treatments, rugs and upholstery that coordinates with the rest of your selections.

Living Room Window Treatments:

Window treatments such as drapes, blinds and shutters give a room a polished look. Shutters can be a more beautiful alternative to basic blinds, and drapes or window hangings bring a room together.

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Living Room Furniture:

The furniture in the living room can be many things, but most often consists of a sofa and additional seating. Chairs, chaise lounges and love seats all find their way into living rooms as do rocking chairs, ottomans and foot stools. Desks and bookcases are common additions as are coffee and side tables. Buy furniture according to the size of your room and your particular decorating style. Minimalist styles will have little furniture while traditional styles will have much more.

Living Room Accessories:

Finally, once the colors, windows, and furniture is selected, you can focus your attention on finding accessories such as pictures, lamps, curios and houseplants to help bring a room to life. Don’t overwhelm your living room with accessories, but tasteful accent pieces scattered throughout the room make the room comfortable and personalized to your unique taste.

Living Room Arrangement:

Arrange your furniture according to the shape and traffic flow of a room. Many believe the arrangement of furniture can affect the tranquility of a home, and at the very least a misplaced table or sofa can be the cause of repeatedly stubbed toes and bashed knees. Leave plenty of room for navigation and ease of motion. Group chairs together for conversations and be sure to play up the focus of your room as it is the piece that brings everything together.

Once you have your focus, select a wall color and accenting colors for accessories and additional furniture. Don’t be afraid to be creative, but using a focus piece will help keep the room coordinated rather than matching. Paint the walls or use wall paper, then select window treatments, rugs and upholstery that coordinates with the rest of your selections.

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How to Decorate a Guest Room

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how to decorate a guest roomGuests should be welcomed into a warm and inviting space, and your decoration in a guest room can help make guests feel welcome or more like an intrusion. When you decorate a guest room, be sure to think of as many small touches as you can to ensure your guests know you are delighted to have them – even if that’s stretching the truth a bit.

Accommodations

When decorating your guest room start first with furniture that is accommodating for your guests. If most of your guests will be young single friends or young couples, a futon and blankets may suffice. But if your elderly grandmother is coming to stay, consider a raised daybed or full sized bed to ensure her comfort (and safety.) Two twin beds are also more accommodating than a full size or queen size bed. A couple can easily stay in a full bed, but two brothers may be more comfortable in separate beds.

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Welcoming Décor

The décor in the room should be tasteful and welcoming. You don’t want to overwhelm your guests with bright colors and odd lighting. Stick with the most traditional welcoming accents when you use pineapple décor – the pineapple was a sign of a home friendly to visitors historically, or use something more exotic but try to keep colors and accessories tame.

Thoughtful Touches

Be sure to include as many thoughtful touches as you can. For example, put black out curtains under the drapes in the room to keep it dark should your visitors be battling jet lag or fatigue from a long journey. If you have a coordinating bathroom, leave plenty of towels and washcloths out for guests to use. Also prepare a guest basket of travel sized soaps, shampoos and lotions you can leave in the bathroom cabinet until needed.

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Be sure to offer guests a place to put their luggage. Keep an inexpensive luggage rack in the closet or clear a dresser or desk and cover it with a towel so that guests don’t have to dig into their bags on the floor which may be challenging for that elderly granny. Finally, be sure you provide an alarm clock in the room along with a bottle or two of water so that guests don’t have to feel their way around your kitchen or bathroom at night when they are ready for a drink.

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How to Decorate a Dorm Room

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

how do I decorate my dorm roomA dorm room is a pretty tight space often shared by one or more roommates. It can be particularly challenging to decorate a dorm room as the walls are often an unattractive material, you’re unable to paint them, and there are few places to actually put decorative elements. That shouldn’t stop you from doing what you can to spruce up a dorm room, however, you’ll just have to be creative.

Coordinate with Your Roommate

If you’ll be living with a roommate, your first step is to discuss any decorating plans. You may find your roommate doesn’t care about decorations. She might also be interested in buying matching bedspreads and accessories to be sure the room is coordinated. You might also find that your roommate has her own special plans for the room. If this is the case, you can go along with the plans or you can agree to simply decorate your own space.

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Find Decorations that Fit

The most area you have to decorate in a dorm room are walls, ceilings, and floors. Any shelves will most likely be crammed with books, desks are covered in computers, and of course your bed will have a bedspread. There will be little or no room for furniture and certain accessories, such as candles, may be illegal in the dorm.

Decorate the Floor

Floor coverings such as a carpet remnant or rug offer you some comfort under your feet and a starting place for decorations. Classic beige carpet allows for any type of décor while a colorful woven rug may lend itself best to sometime more exotic such as Moroccan décor which lends itself well to colorful pillows and blankets. Find a floor covering that fits your budget and space allotment.

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Decorate the Beds

Your bedspread might be the largest splotch of color in the room if you choose bland colors for the floor and wall. Find a pattern that appeals to you. Don’t be limited by department stores. Search out markets that sell colorful spreads and blankets as an alternative to the traditional bed in a bag. Your bed may match your roommates or it may not – it’s up to the two of you.

Decorate the Walls

While you’re grabbing fun blankets for your bed, grab a few for your walls, too. Hang a lightweight blanket with an interesting pattern behind your bed to give your walls color since you can’t paint. You can even tack the blanket up over your bed in a kind of drape to give your room a truly unique flair. Twinkle lights, posters, and picture collages are another fun and personal way to add touches to your room. Add what accessories will fit and enjoy your new, if tiny, space!

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