Read More »from Throw a Tea Party
When tea is served to friends in a lovely corner of the yard or garden, something enchanting happens. Women's voices ring in the breeze. There is laughter. And in the dappled sunlight, at a table set with favorite china, delicate confections, and tea sandwiches, affections are renewed. To transform a weekend afternoon into a tea party for the women you admire most, begin with inspiration from the garden.
Set the Scene
Set the scene with fragrant branches of lilacs and vintage china adorned with English rose motifs. Floral-print napkins, silver teaspoons, tiered serving pieces, and a dash of pastel-colored sugar all add a touch of romantic grandeur to an easy afternoon. Fanciful, intimate, and simple to prepare, a tea party is a party like no other.
Extravagant blooms, such as garden roses, lupines, peonies, and lilacs, set the scene, as do lush arrangements in pitchers filled with flowers from your own garden or a market.
For ease and eclectic style mix your
Blog Posts by Country Living
Read More »from Throw a Tea Party
Have a chair in need of a face lift? Country Living's associate editor, Rebecca Thienes, did. So she learned to upholster at The Furniture Joint in New York City to transform this faded occasional chair into a fabulous find.
After the class, I attempted my first project: a worn Louis XV-inspired chair with carved fleur-de-lis details and pretty cabriole legs that were overpowered by a dowdy fruit-patterned fabric. With help from the shop's owner and course instructor, Matthew Haly, and interior designer (and fellow student) Jennifer Eisenstadt, we made over the chair in a single day.
Price point: For the average DIYer, upholstery will prove itself a challenging but rewarding activity that can save on decorating costs. Look for classes at local trade schools, or consult a book that details the basic techniques, such as Upholstery: A Beginners' Guide (Guild of Master Craftsman). Projects that require tufting, pleats, or major restoration are best left to professionals. ToRead More »from Chair Upholstery Makeover
Make over your windows in just one weekend. Start with ready-made panels, then customize the look with a few simple embellishments you fashion yourself from everyday household items.
- Bulldog clips give this grey silk-linen panel a fun twist. Affix the steel cable hardware to the frame, then clip the fabric to the wire, leaving a two-inch fold between each clip.
- Give a summery, lightweight curtain beachy flair by stitching a border of mother-of-pearl buttons across the bottom of the rod pocket.
- Use antique butter pats, tiny plates used to serve butter, as holdbacks. Many butter pats, popular during the Victorian era, can be found at antiques shops or auction sites for under $10. To do: Place a three-inch flathead screw through the hole in a fender washer, making sure the washer and screw head are flush. Attach the fitted hardware to the back of the butter pat with epoxy glue; let dry. Then affix to the wall or window molding where desired.
Quick Read More »from Quick Curtains
Wendell T. WebberRead More »from How to Make a Monogrammed Glass
Expecting overnight guests? Make their stay more comfortable with bathroom amenities -- a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and cotton swabs -- presented thoughtfully in a monogrammed glass. Leave it bedside with a personal note.
1. Wash and dry a clear drinking glass.
2. First make the letter stencil by taping contact paper to a cutting mat. On top of the contact paper, tape a pre-made stencil of the initial of your choice.
3. Trace it, then cut out the letter with a sharp X-acto knife and discard, leaving only the contact paper template.
4. Peel the contact paper from its backing and position on the glass where you want the monogram; smooth out any air bubbles.
5. Using a small paintbrush, apply the etching cream inside the template and let set according to instructions.
6. Rinse the glass thoroughly with warm water, then peel off the contact paper.
TOOLS & TIPS: Wear rubber gloves and long sleeves when using etching cream. Work in a well-ventilated area.
For more monogram gift
Read More »from Create Your Own Private Nook
A Private Place: Whether it's a sunny room or that favorite chair, create a cozy nook that's just for you.
Strategies for finding the best place in the house and decorating it in a way that captures your spirit and individuality.
1. Find a space that is underutilized -- beneath the stairs, beside a window, or under an eave. Even the tiniest alcove can be turned into a stylish sanctuary.
2. Carve out a small area within a larger room if there is no traditional nook to be found. Separate the two spaces with sliding doors or curtains or a large piece of furniture.
3. Ask yourself if others will see your nook. If your private place is within a public area of your home, coordinate its decoration with the larger room.
4. Personalize the space with things that inspire and comfort you: photos, keepsakes, and interesting collections.
5. Indulge in a few good pieces. If you intend to write, invest in an ergonomic chair. If you wish to read for hours beside a large window, a luxurious
Read More »from Reinvent an Entryway
Question: My home office is just off the living room and the door is often open. What do you suggest to make the entry more attractive?
--J.F., Portland, OR
Answer: There are a number of ways to embellish your entry. A quick change would be to replace the doorknob with an antique example such as amethyst glass or intricate brass. If the decor of the living room permits, you might paint the door--sage green or even fire engine red. Or remove the door and the hinges altogether and install a small curtain rod to support a thick drape. A beautiful tieback is a nice finishing touch. A unique faux bookcase opens to reveal Nancy Laboz's home office. To construct it, a previous homeowner applied narrow "shelves" to the surface of a door, sawed off the spines of out-of-date reference books, and pasted them above the shelves. If your door can support it, make shelves deep enough to create a real bookcase.
DIY Decorating Resources
Front Door Appeal
Read More »from Easy improvements for outdoor spaces
Maximize living space in your home: Spruce up your porch with distinctive furnishings and decorations.
Create an outdoor room: Whether your home is blessed with a generous wraparound or a small front porch just big enough for a chair or two, this is important emotional real estate. It's a place to unwind in the fresh air after a long day, an area that allows you to extend a summer evening outdoors with friends and neighbors. Should you call it a porch, a portico, or a veranda, this space is a significant element of American architecture, especially in the South, where wide, deep front porches are common. Treat your porch as you would the rest of your home, outfitting it with all-weather rugs and furniture, and other decorative touches.
A mood room: If you use your porch to entertain or simply to read and relax, creating the proper ambiance is a key concern. Be sure to install the right lighting for evening hours, and put up curtains or blinds to help filter the daytime sun. A comfy
A favorite served at fairs, backyard parties, and sidewalk stands, lemonade is as refreshing as it is simple to prepare. Here, how to make the original, plus two yummy variations.
To prepare a 2-quart pitcher, mix 2 cups of lemon juice with 6 cups of water and 1 cup of superfine sugar. Fill with ice. For the best results, use fresh-squeezed lemons. Tip: About 6 medium lemons produce about 1 cup of juice.
Note: Lemonade served in a full-bottomed pitcher easily accommodates a pretty garnish. Make the garnish tasty, too, using fruit-flavored ice cubes. Cut up the fruit of a honeydew melon into 1-inch pieces, puree in a food processor, strain, and freeze in ice cube trays overnight. Try pureed watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwi, and mango, also!
Stir 2 tablespoons of grape juice into 2 quarts of fresh lemonade for just the right shade of pale pink. Chill and serve.
Combine 1½ cups of fresh lime juice and ½ cup ofRead More »from Lemonade 101
Read More »from Dressing Up Deli Salads
Transforming plain deli fare into just plain delicious is a matter of notching up the taste of your store-bought side dishes with a few ingredients.
For example, you can transform:
EGG SALAD with a judicious dash of cayenne pepper or cumin, or by stirring in a smidge of wasabi mayo or horseradish.
Infuse ordinary MACARONI SALAD with a touch of culinary inspiration via vinaigrette, some artichoke hearts, and/or a helping of chickpeas.
And here's a flavorful trick that not only adds kick to a CHUNKY CHICKEN SALAD, but also stretches the quantity: Mix it with chopped green apples or herb-roasted fingerling potatoes; or, for texture, add some dried cranberries or chopped walnuts. Or set out the add-tos so guests can pick their own favorite flavorings.
Packing a Picnic
Summertime Potato Salad Recipe
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Read More »from How to Navigate the Nursery
At the nursery, the profusion of colors and scents, varietals and blooms can sometimes make even the most enthusiastic gardener a shrinking violet. But there is an easy-to-adopt strategy for making a visit to the local nursery a successful shopping experience.
BEFORE YOU GO
- Make a List: Just as you would for most shopping excursions, when venturing to the nursery make a written list of what you hope to accomplish and buy. Be as specific as possible, taking into account such factors as sun vs. shade and container vs. ground plantings. The more specific you can be about the cultivars you want, the easier it will be for the staff to expedite the order and fill you in on availability (if you're really ambitious, have an alternate list of plants in mind, in case what you want is not in stock). Consider bringing along pictures of the space you are going to plant.
- Choose a Color Palette: To build a color palette, clip images from catalogues and magazines, or use swatches of your favorite