Friday, March 21, 2014

Creative Floral Arrangements for Green Store-Bought Flowers

 Ahhh, the first day of Spring!  It's a new beginning for all life but its also a beautiful way to commemorate mother nature's renewal.  What better way to celebrate it than with all things green! While shopping for the meals,  I found a simple grocery store bunch of green flowers and instead of keeping them in one vase I converted them to  many different looks to jazz up a romantic outdoor table!

BEFORE - bunch of flowers

BEFORE -  Table 

BEFORE  - Flower Arrangement 1


BEFORE - Flower Arrangement 2


closer look 

 Using the same flowers but with a different look by using a vinyl purse and ribbon 

BEFORE - Flower Arrangement 4 

AFTER -  added green dried flowers 

BEFORE - Flower Arrangement 5 

AFTER - with a little embellishment of green wire string

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Fudgy Cheesecake Brownie

 My boys love brownies and I love something that's creamy and chocolaty.  So what a better way to combine the two than this brownie topped with cheesecake and chocolate!

Fudgy Cheesecake Brownie 

Bottom Layer

Use your own brownie recipe or use  a package of  Fudge Brownie Mix . 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare brownie by following the instructions on the box. Grease 13 x 9 in baking pan and spread the mix.
I normally use the lowest cooking time so it's still a little soft when it has to be baked the 2nd time around. 

Middle layer

Combine the following:
1 (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
2 T butter, softened
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 (14 ounce)  can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract

Pour the mixture evenly over brownie batter. 

Top Layer: Chocolate icing
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon  vanilla extract

Melt butter with water then stir  in cocoa powder. 
Remove from heat and beat in with powdered sugar and vanilla extract. 
Mix until it has a consistency like an icing. 
Bake for 40 -43 minutes until top is lightly brown. 
Cool for 45  minutes.
Spread with chocolate icing.  
Keep refrigerated. 


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Staging a Rental Home for Sale

A friend, who is a Realtor, had asked me to help with staging the rooms for a rental property  to be sold. This seemed like something I could assist with - one of the things I really enjoy doing (and the scope of this site!) is putting a design together by harmonizing colors and accentuating with accessories.  

The challenges: 
  • The owner wanted to save money in the redesign of the rooms by having us use items from her own house to stage this property. Minimal improvements only  to the walls or structure. 
  • Finding the color scheme in the existing pieces of furniture and accessories to create a cohesive theme. 
 Judge the results for yourself from the before and after shots of the staged property. But I think the result is a house that looks warm and inviting!

BEFORE - Living Room 
 Red brick fireplace and yellow tinted walls and light brown rug.  hmmmm, what to do...

I saw this old painting in the owner's garage and I found the inspiration for the English style for the  living room by pulling together all the colors: red/maroon, blue, beige, brown, and gold.  The color scheme on this painting also set the tone for decorating the different rooms. 

AFTER - Living Room 
The colors on  the rug cohesively brings all the colors together in the living room.

To complete this corner's look, I used the my friend's beautiful silk floral arrangement and serving platter.   

BEFORE - Living Room Window 
Window is exposed to the street and curtains are very short.  The owner wanted it covered so it can't be seen from the outside but didn't want to spend a considerable amount on the curtains. 

AFTER - Living Room Window 

To bring out the gray colors on the floral chairs, I used grey curtains that my son used to have in his room.  To create a different look, I hand-tied the white sheer curtain and accessorized the rod with silk flowers to highlight the rosy flowers on the chairs.

I added cups (with blue teapots design)  to bring out the color of blue from the cobalt urn by the  fireplace

I pulled out the blue color from the painting by using  the cobalt vase I found in the owner's  basement  to contrast with the redness of the fireplace and  to hide the dark, old fireplace. 

BEFORE - Hallway

AFTER - Hallway 
By adding a runner in the hallway it gives this space a brighter look.

BEFORE - Kitchen nook 

AFTER - Kitchen nook 
In this room, I wanted to create a liveliness and brightness to contrast with the brown cabinets by combining the red and blue, giving it a classy contemporary look. 
BEFORE -  garden urn 

Before - contemporary dining set 

AFTER - Kitchen Table 
 I combined a garden urn and glass table to create a more up to date look with my pillows and table accessories.  

I brought in a few different plates and candlestick accessories to complete this tablescape.   

To give this space personality, I  found all kinds of blue and white accessories in the owner's garden and kitchen and displayed them on this corner opposite the kitchen nook. 

 BEFORE - Kitchen counter 

AFTER - kitchen counter 

BEFORE -  Family Room 

AFTER - Family Room 
Kept the brownish gold curtain and added a golden-hued sheer.  Used the rattan furniture that the owner  stored in the garage and borrowed my friend's rug to bring out the red, gold  and brown to look more inviting.

BEFORE - Master Bedroom 

                                                          AFTER - Master Bedroom  
Gold and brown is more pronounced in this room.  Found a bas relief golden column from the bedroom of the owner and switched an old lamp shade  to simply add flare to the base of the golden white lamp.  We had to borrow my friend's bedding to complete the color scheme for this room.  The wall is adorned by cement flowers that came from the garden.

BEFORE -  2nd Bedroom 
AFTER -2nd bedroom 
The idea for this staging is to make the buyer see the decorative possibilities of the rooms and readily imagine themselves living there.  The power of accessories!

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Arranging Store Bought Flowers

Brighten gloomy days or seasons with flowers.  There's nothing better than flowers that evoke a smile and a bright atmosphere.  By  surrounding myself with flowers improves my mood and changes the mood around me. 

 Below you'll find several ways flower arrangements bring sunshine to every room just by using a single bunch of grocery store blooms.

Floral arrangement 1 - used my porcelain watering can to match the pink colors

Floral arrangement 2 - used  beaded lamp shade over a glass of water

Floral arrangement 2A -  just by adding extra greenery gives it a different look

Floral arrangement 3 - used the other lamp shade to try a new way to bring about the purple

Floral arrangement 5 -  used candles as the base and clear glass votives to highlight the yellow..

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