Blog Posts by Country Living

  • 6 Styles for Your Bathroom

    Thinking of giving your bathroom a quick face lift? Choose your decor from six of our favorite interior styles.


    No. 1: Architectural
    The rough-hewn wall of this 1825 house was left exposed, to reference the home's history. Placing a vintage footed tub in front of the wall makes it a focal point. Painted floorboards and old-fashioned brass floor-mounted plumbing (try California Faucets) complete the authentic feeling.



    No. 2: Traditional
    Blue and white gain new freshness and grandeur in St. Antoine wallpaper in BP948 by Farrow & Ball. The symmetrical arrangement of the sinks and cabinets by A-Ball brings order to a small space. Minwax stain was applied for the bold diamond pattern on the floor.



    No. 3: Rustic
    Natural wood, rugged plaster walls, and antique furnishings adapted for the bath conjure the ambiance of a Tuscan farmhouse and also offer a way to minimize the appearance of fixtures. An old dresser is retrofitted as a vanity, and a tall bookcase stows extra items. Wrought-iron

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  • Tasteful Halloween Decor

    Your decor should be sophisticated yet never minimal. Simple linens and dishes in the Halloween color palette express a more adult ambiance than the typical kid-centric party supplies. Try incorporating a few fun and playful elements to spark conversation.



    Graphic black-and-white plates and trays are the highlight of an autumn vignette. Affix them to the wall with Fun-Tak adhesive.




    Use silk flowers to create an unexpected (and long-lasting) centerpiece. Choose daisies and marigolds or other flowers in shades evocative of fall foliage, and, using wire cutters, trim the stems to an inch and a half long. Then insert the flower heads into a Styrofoam ball to make a densely packed sphere.

    A versatile decoration, these floral ornaments can be used to add punches of color throughout the room. Vary the size of the Styrofoam balls, mix the type and color of flowers, and tack on a nylon loop for hanging. Suspend them from a chandelier, or hang them over the dining table at differing heights.

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  • DIY Oak Leaf Wreath

    Aimee HerringAimee Herring


    What you'll need:

    1. CLUSTERS of fresh oak leaves, plus seasonal elements such as rose hips and pinecones, and ribbon.

    2. WREATH BASE of wire, vine, or straw.

    3. TOOLS: floral wire, waxed green floral twine, a wire cutter, and scissors.


    INSTRUCTIONS:

    1. Attach a loop of floral wire to the wreath form for hanging.

    2. Secure leaf clusters to the form by wrapping twine around stems with an overlapping motion, adding new clusters to conceal twine with each pass.

    3. Accent with wired clusters of rose hips, pine cones, or tiny bottle gourds. Add ribbon.


    IN A HURRY?

    Enjoy the wreath without the work. Purchase a fresh oak leaf wreath that is ready to hang, or embellish it with your own gatherings. Pacific Coast Evergreens; (415) 781-4274.

    For more easy-to-make seasonal wreaths, keep reading DIY Wreath Ideas.

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    Floral and Berry Wreath Instructions

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  • Pumpkin Patch Cake

    Picking pumpkins has never been more pleasing. Nestled in luscious fields of honey buttercream, these marzipan marvels are sure to inspire furtive samplings. Plant a patch on the tired cake before serving.






    This towering pumpkin patch begins as three Pumpkin Spice cakes in graduated sizes, with three generous layers of Honey and Spice Buttercream that escape temptingly toward the tiers' edges. The pumpkins and leaves, both made of tinted marzipan, needn't be perfect to be appreciated, so invite young helpers to assist.Â






    Divide marzipan into three batches. With food coloring, tint one green and one orange; leave one natural. For mottling, combine batches. Roll pumpkin spheres, scoring lobes with a skewer. Cut leaves with mini cutters.



    RECIPES:
    Pumpkin Spice & Pecan Cake
    Honey & Spice Buttercream Frosting


    See how to make a pumpkin-shaped cake drizzled with icing here.


    Related Links:
    DIY Costume Ideas for Kids
    Festive Halloween Cakes - Mini Pumpkins, Cobwebs, and Cat Cake

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  • Autumn Decorating Projects

    Come autumn, the garden may seem to be winding down. Nevertheless, wherever you live, this can be the perfect time for harvesting things to display inside your home. Contributing Editors Richard Kollath and Edward McCann enjoy the fall in New York's Hudson River Valley, where an abundance of natural elements inspired the simple yet stunning ideas shown here.With minimal preparation, you can complete each of these projects in under an hour, integrating some of your favorite bowls, platters, or containers from the garden shed.



    Create this wreath on a square wreath base or a picture frame; tie the end of a spool of waxed floral wire to the base, then use an overhand.





    Use cake stands and glass cloches or bell jars (secretgardenflowers.com) to displayyour autumn harvest. Showcase your pumpkins before you carve them, or choose unique varieties to display indoors as a counterpart to your outdoor jack-o'-lantern. Check out some beautiful pumpkin varieties here. Make sure to keep

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  • Advice: Opening an Antiques Shop



    QUESTION: I would like to open an antiques/collectibles shop with an emphasis on vintage linens, pottery, shabby chic items, etc. Do you have any contacts that you could direct me to for some advice, suggestions, etc? -- Annie J.

    ANSWER: Dear Annie,
    It seems that you share a common dream of many vintage and flea market shoppers whose purchases have outgrown their ability to display them. I polled the owners of some of the emporiums and antique malls that I've discovered in South Florida and found that their advice applies equally well to anyone outside of the local market for vintage goods. Many of them started with a dream of opening a retail store based on their love for "vintage" objects and collectibles, and they have worked hard to keep their businesses growing. One way to get your feet wet in the antiques and collectibles business is to set up a booth at a local antiques fair or festival. For a nominal fee, this will allow you to test buyers' response to your inventory. Selling

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  • Halloween Treat Bags

    Susan Gentry McWhinneySusan Gentry McWhinney

    Halloween isn't just for kids -- adults can get in on the fun, too!

    YOU WILL NEED

    -11" x 14" card stock
    -1 yard each cream and black bookbinding or construction paper
    -1 yard each assorted ribbons
    -spray glue
    -1/4" hole punch
    -stapler
    -scissors and pinking shears

    Cut 10" squares of card stock and black and cream Japanese bookbinding paper (our source: talasonline.com) or construction paper. Adhere the black paper to the card stock with spray glue. Wind black square into a cone and staple closed. Cut across top to even out the opening.

    For a black-and-white effect, place the black cone at one corner of the cream bookbinding paper and lightly secure with tape. With pinking shears, cut paper at halfway points of cone. Remove paper and spray glue it to the black cone. Punch out holes from leftover bookbinding paper and glue to the white portion of the cone. Punch out two holes on cone top to thread ribbon handle through. Secure an alphabet tag to handle.

    TIPS:
    Stuff your goody

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  • Scrambled Eggs with Sherry McKenney




    Sherry McKenney, owner of the Murphin Ridge Inn and cookbook author, shared advice and recipes for her famous brunch at the Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio this month. Here are her top 8 tips for cooking scrambled eggs.

    Sherry's secrets for delicious eggs:


    1. Beat eggs with a fork, not a whisk.

    2. Add heavy cream to eggs while beating.

    3. Use real butter in the pan, not margarine.

    4. Add your own twist! Try fresh chives, dill, basil or even hot sauce

    5. Heat a heavy pan before adding butter.

    6. Add eggs once the butter starts to sizzle, but before it browns.

    7. Use a spatula to gently push the edges of the eggs into the center of the pan while cooking.

    8. Undercook eggs slightly. By the time you serve them they'll be perfect!


    For more of Sherry's brunch ideas, keep reading Brunch Tips from the Fair...



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  • Quick Tip: Choosing a Paint Finish




    Matte works well for most ceilings and walls because its flat finish does not accentuate surface irregularities. In an older dwelling, where the walls may be uneven, Decorator's White, a Benjamin Moore staple, lets light reflect pleasingly off the adjoining surfaces.

    Satin has a gentle sheen that lends a soothing glow to a bedroom, bath, or study. Laura Ashley's White Mint has a cool green cast that's calming and spa-like. Keep the trim color a purer white, like Laura Ashley's Milk Sugar, so this tempting tint can be discovered.

    Gloss, whether high or low, is a suitable choice for most types of furniture. Try painting an old chest in Sherwin-William's Dover White in high gloss. Its warm tone will lend an antique-cottage feel to the piece; Add vintage glass knobs to complete the look.

    -- Jane Dagmi

    Read Jane's blog on Country Living



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  • Kitchen Stoves: Antique VS New



    QUESTION:
    We have an American Foursquare in Amityville, NY, and are trying to restore the kitchen to the way it was when it was built. Here's the problem: I would like to have an original gas stove from that era, and my partner (the cook) would like something more practical/safe like a new Viking. How can we come to a compromise? Any comments you might have would be greatly appreciated. -- R. Melendez


    ANSWER:
    Restoring your 1920s kitchen will make your American Foursquare home even more charming and also add to its value. The choice between a 1920s stove and a new model will ultimately come down to your feelings about the stove, but here are some suggestions that might help you make your decision.

    Finding a stove from that era -- or one that just looks like a vintage stove -- is now easier than ever. There are a few companies that produce vintage-style ranges in both electric and gas models that offer many colors and cooking options. The first company that comes to mind is

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