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    How to Display a Collection of Matchbooks


    You know I have a thing for candles in the house. But did you know that I also have a thing for something that all candles need to produce candle glow and that is matches.
    Yes, I have a thing for matches.
    It started when I was a child and my mom thought my siblings and I needed to each acquire a hobby of collecting something to broaden our horizons.
    My brother chose stamps. My twin sister – miniature books, and I chose to collect matchbooks. My younger sister was an infant at the time, so she missed out on this new adventure.

    Over the years, my matchbook collection made it through 6 moves and is still going strong.
    Recently when styling the coffee table in the living room, I was at a loss for something to add that was unique.
    After a bit of contemplating, it came to me  – my favorite collection. I can place them in a bowl or small tray –“why had I never thought of that before?”
    I think I always felt I needed to protect it, but why have something you love, if you can’t enjoy it. It can become the best  home decorating accessory, better than just another tchotchke.
    I don’t collect many things as I am a firm believer in less is more, but I do have an abundance of one particular item – a true collection in every sense of the word.
    A collection that I am rather fond of and that has many memories attached to it.  I went in search of it – It is in a big hat box that has been stored in a closet. Bringing it out to the light of day, I realized was also going to help me keep one of my New Years goals in check  – to have my favorite things around me. Happy colorful things that make me smile…
    …like hundreds of matchbooks and matchboxes!!!

    I have a lot of them in all shapes, sizes, and colors from places near and far.
    Each of these matchbooks has a story behind it. I can pick one up and automatically, I recall a fond memory. The restaurant where Ed proposed to me, or the store where I got my first job in display, and the trip we took to Hawaii.
    When I thought more about using the matchbooks as a decorating accessory, it made even more sense as matchbooks fill the bill in more than one way. When placed on a table they can become interactive conversation starters as well as visually adding color and interest to the tablescape.

    My matchbook collection started when I was in elementary school. My mom thought it a good idea that my twin sister Carol, and I each collected something. She called it “broadening our horizons”.   My older brother collected stamps so we knew a little bit about collecting as a hobby and were excited to have a collection to call our own.   My mom decided that I was to collect matchbooks and my sister miniature books.
    We both still have our collections. I have a lot more items in mine as matchbooks were a little easier to acquire than mini books.

    They are not as easy to find anymore – since smoking is not allowed in most public places and most smokers use lighters nowadays.

    My dad traveled to many business dinner meetings and always brought one home for me wherever he went.  Most of my matchbooks are from-restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, drug stores, department stores, beauty salons, and banks as there was always a stack of free matchbooks for the taking.
    I had an aunt that lived in Brooklyn and worked on Wall Street. When she came to visit, she always had a bag full of them for me. As a kid these were the most exciting to acquire since they were from the big city – they were shiny and big from sophisticated and elegant establishments. As I got older, I started picking them up wherever I traveled. These have become my favorites – the ones I picked up myself.

    I love seeing all of them together, but I do have a few favorites – one from a long gone restaurant that was on the bay in Ocean City, NJ called Holgate’s.  I also love the one from Hess’s Department Store, The Copacabana in NYC and the real estate office in Ocean City that my family used to use to rent our vacation home every summer – fond memories…

    Most collectors choose what they want to collect, but my mom knew me well when she chose matchbooks for me. She knew the colorful art and designs on the covers would pique my interest. She was right as I still pick them up if I see an interesting or colorful one when I am out and about– it has become an automatic response.

    My mom is no longer living, but I think it would make her smile if she walked into my house today and saw that I have them prominently displayed.  They are the perfect decorating accessory – interesting and meaningful.  I have to thank her for wanting to “broaden my horizons”.
    Did you collect anything as a child that you still have or display in your home?

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    How to Decorate So You Feel at Home


    How to decorate your home in the best way possible, so you feel at home.

    When I first started blogging, I kept one of my favorite quotes about decorating and lifestyle in my blog’s sidebar.  If you have been a reader since the beginning, you may remember it.

    Diana Vreeland the legendary fashion editor’s insight so elegantly reveals the impressions we feel when we are in others homes. We may visit a friend’s home and love the way she arranged and accessorized her family room.
    When we enter our own family room we frown and think it lacks style and we need to go buy something new because it doesn’t look the same as your friends…
    …or does it?

    Decorating versus Lifestyle
    When I did residential design, clients would show me room clippings from magazines with the look they wanted to achieve in their space, but I found what they really wanted was the lifestyle and feeling the room evoked.
    I ended up not actually decorating for them, but helping them to “style their lives” and help boost their confidence in the choices they made.  It rarely involved spending money. It was more of a matter of making better use of what they already owned.
    When you think about how to decorate your home  – walls, furniture, paint, fabric, and accessories usually come to mind, but the list often omits the most important factor – YOU and your families unique traits, passions, and personalities, and of course the “stuff” you love.
    These traits and things we all personally do to our homes with individual flair add up to enlighten others without us even knowing it. We don’t see our own decorating style from their perspective.
    It is when we think we need to copy or follow the dictates of some arbitrary decorating source to create a beautiful home, that it backfires on us because it is not authentic.

    When I look at magazines, I get more excited when I see a glimpse into the homeowner’s personal life –   a telltale sign that shows a life in progress.
    It could be the books in the bookcase or the way they have their mudroom set up with the names of their children over each hook. These elements add human interest and tell the lifestyle story of the occupants.
    Instead of thinking “designer” or good, better, best as the only element when choosing furnishings – think comfort, function, and personal style.  Instead of wanting to copy a look you see in a magazine – first figure out what it is about the space that caught your eye – then proceed to add that element to your home.
    It may not have to be purchased or it may just require you to move items out or in from another room.
    How Do You Want to Feel in Your Home?

    Stop thinking about how you want your home to look, instead think… How do I want to FEEL in my home?
    Ask yourself:
    Does your home truly reflect who you are?  If the answer is no, or only a little,  then ask yourself – Why not?  Then figure out what is needed so that it does reflect you.
    Are all your needs being met physically and emotionally?  What do you do upon waking, eating, working? Is everything you need at arm’s length or easy to get? Do you have the right wattage of light bulb to read by? Is the sink at the right height, the cabinet for your dishes right above the dishwasher so you can empty it with ease. Do your rugs feel good under your feet?  These little things make the way you live “the best” – not designer plates or an expensive appliance.
    How do I really want to live?  Is it casual, formal, cozy, spacious, dark, light.
    If you were the only person you had to impress, how would you decorate your home?  This is the hardest to figure out but once you do, you will be on your way to knowing what change is needed so you feel good in your home.
    How one feels in their home is as individual as each one of us – our tastes, personality, and past. Your home should feel customized just for you and your family.
    How to Begin to Feel at Home
    So how do you get your home to start feeling the way you want?  Simply start with a list.
    Start small… tackle a kitchen cabinet first.
    Take everything out and ask, “What do I hate, what do I love?”  Only put back in what you love. From this point forward only add back in what you truly love or need to that cabinet and then move to the next.
    Keep going around your kitchen. Once you’re done, start in another room until you have edited every room in the house.  It may take you weeks or longer, but know that you are on the right path to creating a home that feels like you are getting a big hug every time you walk through the door.

    My Feeling at Home Love List:
    I have expanded on each item to show you how I try to make it happen in my home.
    Comfy Seating – I have an oversized sofa and chair and two movable ottomans in my family room – they are worn, but super comfortable.  To make them look more cohesive with each other, I covered them with white slipcovers.
    Lots of Natural Light – I don’t have window treatments that block any light so throughout the day the house always feels bright and cheery.
    Smells Good – This one is a constant struggle, but I do feel much better in my home when it is clean and smells fresh. I use home fragrance to entice my sense of smell. It also helps when I don’t have a chance to get the Spic N’ Span out every week.
    Expansive views – (a recurring theme that goes with the natural light above – makes it extra important that I make sure I have this in my home). I have regular sized windows, but do not cover them up with heavy window treatments that block the light or views.  I use roller shades at every window so that if I do need privacy or to block the sun, I can simply roll them down.  On windows were I have curtain panels, I made sure that the rods were cut wide enough so when the panels were hung they didn’t cover the window, only overlap the window trim.
    Clutter-Free – I only keep what we love on tables and mantels and bookshelves.    Trendy or stuff bought on a whim always seems to end up in the pile for Goodwill.
    Fresh Air  – Window and door screens are a must in my house for the summer.  I want to catch every breeze that blows by. I could not even imagine living in a house without open windows and doors to allow in the fresh air.
    Color – I like white walls and seating with pops of color scattered throughout each room.   If your spouse dislikes a color you love, don’t let this stop you from enjoying the color in your home.  Paint the inside of your drawers with it. Think how happy it will make you feel when you open one of them to grab a t-shirt.
    Low Maintenance – Enough said  😉  Even as a DIYer I have my limits on what I want to take care of around my house.
    Natural Elements – In the Spring and Summer I bring in whatever is blooming outside and place it in a vase. I usually place it on the kitchen table or island.  In the Fall, I bring in branches with colorful leaves still hanging on.  In the Winter –  greenery that I buy at the local nursery and at Christmas, the clippings from the bottom of the tree when we buy it.  In the Summer, I display my shell collection, in the Fall – pine cones and acorns, although with Trax the cat, the acorns usually become his play toys.
    Candle Light – Candlelight is magical.  I like to use it as much as I can, at dinner, taking a bath, along the mantel, outside in the summer. It elevates the mood to one that says sit and stay awhile.
    Photos of Family– I used to have a lot more photos of friends and family around, but as the photos faded or the frames outdated, I have only put back a few – mostly of my daughters since they no longer live at home I like to see their photos and blow them a kiss as I walk by.
    Mirrors – Across from windows and doors to expand the light. I also place one by my front door so that I can take a quick glance at myself to make sure I look presentable when I answer the door. If you work from home in yoga pants all day, having this is a necessity.
    Simple, Yet Highly Functional –  I like simple appliances with no bells and whistles that take a 100 page manual to learn how to use. On/Off is good enough for me.
    Texture – I don’t like anything that feels scratchy against my skin.  I once made pillows with burlap.  Not only were they scratchy but they smelled of burlap when you sat or laid on the sofa. Not a good feeling.  Out they went.
    Soft White Lightbulbs – I am not a fan of the new LED and CFL lightbulbs.  Even the newer ones that are said to have nicer light still give off an odd cast of light. As long as they keep making soft white light bulbs,  I will be using them.
    When a space starts to feel off, I take out my list and edit the space until it feels just right again. Many times all that is needed is the removal of a few items and the addition of an item taken from another room.

    In the journey to feeling at home you will take some missteps, but decorating a home is a journey that as it evolves over time, will get better and better.
    What would be on your list? Nobody’s list will be exactly like yours, but if you follow it and edit the rooms in your house you will begin to feel truly at home.
    Download a Free Printable Feeling at Home Love List

    Remember to Keep These Points in Mind

    Enliven Every Day – Surround yourself with beauty.  Don’t save items that you love for special occasions only- use and enjoy everything you own every day. Drink your daily intake of water out of a crystal goblet.  Use the good china every night. Buy the fluffiest towels so when you step out of the shower you feel pampered.  Place a lit candle on the table at dinner every night.  Keep a vase of flowers on your desk.
    Fulfill All Your Senses -All through the house, play your favorite tunes and spray or diffuse room fragrance. Buy the softest bedding you can find so after a tough day your body melts into the sheets.
    Edit…Edit…Edit…  Learn to be choosy – most of us are so programmed to live the way marketers want us to live. They rely on the fact that people no longer have the creative energy after a busy day to think for themselves.  Edit out the noise and only choose what truly makes you smile.
    Follow Your Instincts – That little voice in your head is usually right.
    Break the Rules – How boring would homes look if we all followed the rules?  Decorating rules were made to be broken. There is no such thing as the decorating police – you are the only one stopping yourself from doing what feels right when it comes to picking out what you like and don’t like. Instead of thinking you have to have a sofa in your living room because that is what is expected, ask if your family would prefer to each have their own chair to watch TV.  Four oversized club chairs arranged in the room may be a better option.
    Let it Evolve – Take your time; decorating a home to feel good does not have to be done in a day, a week, or a year.  I let my decorating evolve – it will never be done since I am still living.  It will be done when I am no longer alive.  When you take the time to let the rooms evolve over time is when you create rooms that fit perfectly into your life.
    The next time you find yourself doubting the way you decorate your home, turn the tables.
    Cherish the way you decorate. Realize that others are inspired by you, just as much as you are inspired by them.
    Take pride in the fact that you organize your kitchen cabinets in a way that is ultra efficient.  You think it is nothing, that anyone can do it, but your neighbor thinks it is terrific, since no matter how hard she tries she can never get her organization to the same level.
    The more you edit, follow your gut, and break the rules, the more you will feel at home.

    How to Decorate Series BlogHop
    This post is part of a How to Decorate series hosted by Beth at Home Stories A to Z.  If you are looking for more decorating inspiration from other DIY decorating bloggers, then follow the links below.
    Day 1:1. Beth, Home Stories A to Z: How to Find Your Decorating Style2. Courtney, A Thoughtful Place: 5 Gallery Wall Styles3. Stacy, Not Just A Housewife: How to Decorate with Plants4. Myquillyn, Nesting Place: Turning a House into a Home on a Thrift Store Budget5. Donna, Funky Junk Interiors: How to Turn Worthless Junk into Home Decorating Must Haves
    Day 2:1. Melissa, The Inspired Room: The Secret Ingredient Every Room Needs2. Jessica, Four Generations One Roof: How to Decorate with Container Plants3. Traci, Beneath my Heart: How to Style a Coffee Table4. Cyndy, The Creativity Exchange: Tricks for How to Zone in on the Perfect Paint Color5. Laura, Finding Home: 5 Ways to Personalize Your Home

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    How to Repurpose an Urn into a Side Table


    How to instantly transform a classic garden urn into a side table.
    Post updated: 09/01/2020

    This black urn sits in a corner of my living room. I have had it forever. It is one of those classic items that always is in style. It has made it through many of my decorating furnishing purges over the years.
    Over the summer I placed a fern in it.

    In the fall at my previous house I used it outside. I placed leaves and a pumpkin on the urn. In the spring and summer – I filled it with flowers.

    Now I am going to show you how to repurpose an urn into a useful piece of furniture that can work either inside or outside your home. I could have titled this post – My 2-Timing Urn. 🙂
    I love to find new uses for all kinds of objects.
    Many years ago when I started to experiment with transforming the urn into a small side table, I tried adding a round piece of glass on the urn. It looked nice, but the glass just sat on top and was not secure or safe.

    I then tried placing a round silver tray on the top of the urn. The tray was the type where the center section of the tray is lower that the rim. This made it secure in the urn, but it looked like an ash tray you would see at a bus station. Not the look I was after. 🙂

    I like to shop my house… so I kept looking through all the rooms and found this cake stand in my china closet.

    I placed it inside the urn…

    …Presto-O-Change-O!   It worked.
    It looked good and was secure in the urn.
    The stand part of the cake stand keeps it from moving back and forth in the urn.

    The repurposed urn makes a sweet little side table that is perfect for a glass of wine or a cup of tea.

    Or the perfect small table to hold flowers from your garden.
    And the best part of this little table. It can be as temporary as you want or need it to be. In less than a minute I can remove the cake stand and place the fern back in.
    I have repurposed many items in my house to make tables over the years, take a look at how I made these tables:
    For more fast and easy decorating ideas, check out what my blogger friends have done in less than 20 minutes:

    On Sutton Place | Fall Porch Decorating Ideas

    Shabbyfufu | French Farmhouse Fall Style Fall Bedroom – Easy Ideas

    StoneGable | Brambly Fall Front Door Basket

    Designthusiasm | Shelf Decorating Ideas

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    Thinking Ahead to Fall Decorating


    Notice the title of this post is… thinking ahead to fall decorating, as I am not quite ready to actually decorate my house for fall yet. It has been on my mind now that summer is slowly winding down.

    Fall Mantel DIY Ideas
    I have been reflecting on past fall seasons and how I decorated the house. This year, I want to make the fall season feel even more extra comfy-cozy… as if placing an extra blanket of calm and comfort throughout the house.

    Remember the catch phrase from the 90’s… Cocooning?
    Hunkering down in place, but with all your cozy comforts around you to make sure that you had everything you need to live a comfortable life right in your own home. This is what I am planning on doing.

    We have no trips abroad planned or party invites like we did last fall. Life this fall will be about sticking close to home.
    This fall, with uncertainty about the pandemic and more still looming, I want more than just decor to create a comfy fall home.
    I want the “whole lifestyle package” that fits my life, wants, needs, and budget. Life is too short not to make the best of every second of every single day, even if they are mostly spent at home.
    I am finding that this is what I am seeking more than buying new “stuff” to simply decorate the house.
    Decorating for fall this year is going to be more about making sure the decor feels just right for how I want to “be” at home.
    Being at home for you could mean setting up a desk in the least used room for your 9-5 job or a place where your children can learn at home.
    As fall arrives and the weather gets cooler we will find ourselves back inside more. Time for our inner homebody to shine instead of feeling stuck inside like many of us did back in the early spring 6 months ago. In the spring, we were in shock and not mentally prepared to be homebound.
    Now we have time to plan ahead to make sure we have everything we need to make the most of our time spent more at home this fall.

    Sourdough bread by Alexandra Cooks
    My youngest makes the best sourdough bread and guided me to Alexandra Cooks’ website to learn how to make it. She gave me a portion of her sourdough starter to get me started on my own bread baking journey.
    The smell of fresh bread baking brings back fond memories of simpler times that I want to embrace in my life.
    Good smells add to the ambiance of a home.Remember, creating a beautiful home is not just about the decorating.
    When Decorating for Fall I Am Going to Make Sure That:
    I have cozy comforts in reach – good books, good internet, favorite music, as well as good food and wine stocked in the pantry.

    Since Ed and I are not going out to the movies and dinner every week like we used to pre-pandemic. I want to make sure we can create some “special evenings” in our weekly schedule. For us, this is movies and good food. For you it might mean something entirely different.
    We are saving money by not going out to eat, which in turn gives us more money to splurge a little on better wines and better cuts of meats and fish for Ed and plant based for me to make at home to enjoy. We also order dinner from our favorite local restaurants to pick up every Friday night.
    TV shows this fall will mostly be reruns as TV show production was put on hold like everything else. So for me Netflix, Prime Video and streaming new release movies will be key for movie watching.
    I also upgraded my Spotify account so I could listen to music anywhere in the house that makes me feel good all day while both working and just hanging out.
    Making sure I have all that I need to do these pursuits in the style I want on a daily basis is what is important to me.
    My Fall Decorating Plans
    Decorating for fall this year has me thinking that it doesn’t necessarily mean using lots of pumpkins, gourds, and plaid blankets, but maybe something not so contrived.
    I did buy a velvet pillow back in June to use on my sofa come September. It has great texture and is perfect for my white and woodsy decorating scheme that I am trying to build upon.
    I made up a list of fall decorating projects that I plan to do around the house and post about. The first one you will be seeing involves this…

    Last summer, one of the patio umbrellas on my deck broke. We fixed it the best we could. This summer “our fix” broke and the umbrella is a goner.
    Instead of throwing the whole thing in the trash, I threw away the mechanical frame and kept the Sunbrella fabric cover you see in the photo above. Next week I will share with you what I am doing with it.
    Come September, I will start removing the warm weather touches around the house and will slowly begin to add items that will give a subtle ‘nod’ to fall since Fall doesn’t officially arrive until the end of September.
    I hope that I will inspire you to make the best home life you can for yourself in your own style this fall…
    Whatever this means for you, try to plan and make sure you add it to your home and life as the weather begins to transition into the Fall season of 2020… the year most of us will never forget.
    Let’s make the fall of 2020 unforgettable, not because of the pandemic, but by the ways we make the most of how we choose to live in our homes in the best way we can within our style and means.
    Staying home in your own style is the new lifestyle to embrace.

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    Add Fresh Summer Color to a Room In Minutes


    Happy Friday, my friends.
    I have a dose of summer color therapy for you to start your weekend off in colorful style.
    Could your home use a fresh pop of some happy color right about now to take your mind off the problems of the world? Or feeling like you want to look at something bright and cheery, but can’t get out and about for some retail therapy to purchase something new?
    If you answered yes to either of these questions, then these simple decorating ideas are easy to do using what you already own. A few can even be done in minutes… for real… minutes!
    Go In Search of the Most Colorful Book In Your Home

    Take a stroll through your house in search of the most colorful book you have. Place it on your coffee table. Add a small plate from your kitchen or dining room, a candle, matches and a small decorative item on top. A grouping of three objects is always pleasing to view.
    Bring Out Vacation Souvenirs

    If you have souvenirs from a past summer vacation, take them out of storage and put them on display amongst your things in a cabinet…

    … or even on an outdoor table that will add a summer vibe to your surroundings.
    Raid Your Clothes Closet

    Just because you may not be able to go on an exotic vacation to a faraway beach this summer, raid your clothes closet for a colorful Pareo or scarf. Use it as a summer throw on a chair or sofa.
    Head To Your Cardboard Recycling Bin

    Head to your recycling bin to find a large piece of cardboard to punch up a neutral color scheme for the summer. With all the online deliveries many of have been getting, make use of those boxes. 🙂 When you cover it with colorful fabric or gift wrap, prest-o chang-o – new look!

    Use smaller pieces of cardboard from your recycling bin to make a lid for a basket. Use colorful fabric or gift wrap to cover it. Once done, the basket is stackable.
    No Basket – line a serving tray to use as a decoration, not to carry something.
    Mix Up The Bathtowels

    Instead of having the towels in your bathroom match, hang a variety of colors. Don’t have any colors you like? How about hanging colorful beach towels for a summer change that won’t cost you a thing.
    See I told you… some of these ideas can be done in minutes and will allow you to start the weekend with fresh doses of happy colors all around the house.

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    Wicker Basket Side Table for My Living Room

    How I instantly made a unique side table to go next to one of the chairs in my living room. This DIY side table idea could not have been easier to make. In fact, it was assembled in an instant with no power tools needed. Side Table BEFORE This is a photo of the corner […] More

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    Decorating for Summer in Casual, Easy Style

    Summer is one of my favorite seasons of the year to decorate my home. This year I went with a slightly different color scheme to flow with the outdoor colors that surround my house. One year ago this month, the hardwood floors in my living room and kitchen were refinished with Bona by a Bona […] More

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    What These Houses Taught Me About Decorating

    What have the homes you have lived in taught you about decorating? If you think about it, it may be quite a lot. Over the last few months I have been reading many decorating books, both old and new. From how-to’s to high-end coffee table style decorating books. There isn’t a decorating book I don’t […] More