DIY pumpkin decorations
Dressing up your home seasonally for holidays is a great way to better appreciate what each season has to offer, as well as give your space a quick makeover. For Thanksgiving and Halloween, using mini pumpkins is the perfect choice: they are inexpensive, can be found at most markets and are a great way to bring a little bit of nature into your home decor. Whether with paint, ribbons or glitter, these decorations are easy to make and adapt for any room of your home. We've presented them as centrepieces for your dining table, but they also look beautiful atop a mantel or stacked in a large glass vase or bowl on a coffee table.
Keeping it simple
For a simple centrepiece, gather cream and orange mini pumpkins and arrange them in a bowl. Add a pumpkin at the center of each plate, alternating between both colours, for an easy festive tablesetting.
Plates, placemat and glass courtesy of Crate and Barrel.
Paint it black
For spooky yet elegant decor, paint mini pumpkins using black and silver matte paint. Add a first layer of multi-surface paint and wait until thoroughly dry. Add a second layer for a perfect finish.
Mixing it up
For a less monochromatic look, try alternating between black and silver paint. This combination of colours works beautifully for a chic fall table setting. Simply add silver placemats, black napkins and scatter the pumpkins at the centre of the table. When entertaining, give a pumpkin to each of your guests to take home at the end of the evening.
Add a little shimmer
For a whimsical look, try adding a little shimmer to your table. Using a flat brush, paint a layer of all-purpose glue on the pumpkin. Sprinkle with glitter and thoroughly shake off excess. You can leave the stem as it is or paint it a darker shade of green.
For this easy DIY project, you'll need an array of pretty ribbons and double-sided tape. Secure a circle of tape around the centre of each pumpkin. Cut a piece of ribbon and tighly place atop the tape. Press gently to make sure it stays in place. We've used some of our favourite ribbons here, including black velvet, stripes and polka-dots but the centrepiece will also look beautiful using one kind of ribbon only and different sized pumpkins.
Sela Ward's French country-inspired L.A. home
Tour through Sela Ward's French country-inspired family home, situated in beautiful Bel Air, Los Angeles.
Set back behind an expansive thicket sits at 13,932 square-feet of Parisian country style. The home was originally designed by infamous architect Samuel Marx, featuring golden wood tones and light brick throughout the exterior and interior to create a calming, natural look to match its surroundings. The home offers seven bedrooms, 13 full baths, one game room, one three-sided infinity edge pool, three offices, one massage room, an outside ampitheatre seating 100 people, a swimming pond and an outdoor shower.
Perfectly situated in Bel Air, this family home is on the market as CSI: NY's Sela Ward prepares to get up and move to New York City - a new dream for the family. They're leaving this Parisian home behind for $39,995,00.
Sound reasonable? Here are the details and listing:
This wooden gate perfectly blends with the eight acres of trees and greenery to enhance the curb appeal of the family home.
Light stone and golden wood accents on the home's exterior creates a warm welcome for guests.
Once inside, the natural light in the kitchen keeps the home bright and warm, enhanced by the golden tones on the counters and floors.
With plenty of character and the perfect rustic tones, this dining room almost doesn't need the stunning chandelier centered above the table. But it definitely keeps the elegance of the kitchen flowing from room to room.
There are many different ways to decorate with a fireplace. A little reading area on the other half of a library is the perfect place to relax at night.
Large, uncovered windows are a theme in Ward's house. With the warm flood of natural light there is no need to redecorate the living room apart from adding some warm accents and another breathtaking chandelier to spread the light.
The walls in this room are effortlessly decorated to create a stunning artwork collage. Despite mixing colours, textures and patterns, the wall works to create an interesting piece of art on its own.
Using textured couches and chairs atop a lightly patterened rug demonstrates how using colour and texture, although often intimidating, can make a room feel full of personality and style.
There is nothing subtle about the coloured rug in this family room, but there is also nothing wrong with it. Coordinating blue and copper tones in the rug with the furniture and pillows shows how having confidence in colour choices can result in a bright, fun room.
Creating a bright, multi-purpose family room can be tricky, but by throwing pops of orange throughout the room and a classic pool table, it instantly becomes "the" place to be on a Friday night with the family.
White furniture seems almost plain compared to some of Ward's other rooms, but with gold accents and dark floors this sophisticated master suite is a relaxing space for when it's time to turn in.
In every dream home there must be an elegant dream closet, complete with a vanity and gorgeous view of the outside greenery. A regal carpet runs down the middle to complete the Hollywood glamour look.
Open to an outdoor terrace, there's something luxurious and spa-like to this indoor-outdoor bathroom design.
Stepping outside after a long bubble bath requires a feminine patio set. A fluffy robe and book required to complete the calming seating area just outside the bathroom.
The modern rustic decor inside doesn't need to stop at the glass doors. Let the comfy outdoor seating continue to welcome guests out on a sunny afternoon.
The bright dining set stands out among the trees. Having stylish outdoor furniture doesn't need to require much effort - a simple set of colourful chairs around a neutral table is all you need to dine and enjoy.
White outdoor furniture sounds like a disaster, but it actually provides the perfect spot to enjoy a relaxing dessert or a glass of white wine after an alfresco dinner.
When a house is nearly 14,000-square-feet, getting from deck to deck can be a hike. However, when your pathway is surrounded by greenery you won't be upset about escaping the city life and enjoying nature for a moment.
Living among acres of greenery can be overwhelming, although it should actually be calming when it comes to design. Trees, bushes and plants are natural designs that make any outdoor living space colourful and fresh.
Designing around a pool isn't too difficult when the bright turquoise water instantly draws the eye. Some focus should be set on making poolside perfection with white furniture, glass accessories and perhaps another pop of orange.
Having such a big space to work with can lead to awkward design plans. The design of three seperate, yet flowing, outdoor living spaces is something to be admired. The bright orange colour being spread throughout each space with a constant use of greenery is why this house is a must-have.
Buying guide: The truth about thread count
Is there anything better than sliding into a bed laden with good quality sheets? At the end of the day, I can't wait to stretch out under my fresh, soft covers and nestle my face into a good cotton-covered pillow. We spend a third of our lives in bed so quality sheets are key, but how do you get quality for your money? There's no doubt that most consumers believe the higher the thread count, the better the quality, but this isn't entirely true. With the help and expertise of Joanna Goodman, owner of Au Lit Fine Linens, we expose the truth about thread count and what it takes to find quality bed sheets.
What is thread count, really?
Simply put, thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. This number is based on the threads woven horizontally ("weft") and vertically ("warp"). Extra threads can also be woven into the weft threads to increase the thread count. These added threads are called "picks" and are added in the overall count, which is how some sheets end up having thread counts in the thousands. This is why the idea that high counts equal better quality isn't really accurate. Consider this: Joanna says most weavers will say the maximum number of threads that can be woven into one square inch of fabric is 500 to 600. Though the number is arguable and, according to Joanna, "depends on the mill you deal with," it gives you an idea of where the line is between single-ply, unpicked weaves and ones that add threads here and there to bump up the count.
What to look for when buying sheets
Joanna lists three things to look for on the label: if it's Egyptian cotton, where it's woven and, lastly, the thread count. While thread count is a bit misunderstood, the buzz around Egyptian cotton is true. "The very best cotton in the world is grown in Egypt. So Egyptian cotton will be of a better quality," Joanna says. She also recommends pima cotton, which is grown in America, "though not quite as exceptional as Egyptian." When it comes to weaving, however, she swears by the Italians as being the "master weavers of the world" due to their "long tradition of weaving" and use of the best Egyptian cotton. Be sure the label says 100% or pure Egyptian cotton though, otherwise it may only contain a small percentage of the good stuff. As for the thread count, look for a minimum of 200. From there, it's all about preference!
What to avoid when buying sheets
Joanna's one key piece of advice is to watch out for extremely low priced, high thread count sheet sets. A complete sheet set with a high thread count for $100 or less is probably not the dream bargain you think it is. As Joanna believes, "you always get what you pay for." The price tag for bed linens will vary depending on the sheet size and what items you're buying, such as a duvet cover, sheet sets, or pillowcases. "A superior quality 200 thread count queen set (including flat, fitted, two pillowcases), made of Egyptian cotton and woven in Europe, could retail reasonably for about $150-$250," says Joanna.
What do you prefer?
After going through the quality checklist, go with what feels best for you. If you're looking for a durable linen, Joanna recommends any percale from thread count 200 to 800. Percale is any cotton woven with a 200 thread count or higher and will be more durable than a cotton satin of the same thread count. It's also less likely to pill than cotton satin because it has a denser weave. Love the feel of a cotton button down shirt? Joanna advises a crisp, dense 200 thread count percale. Prefer a silkier sheet? Go for a 300 to 600 cotton satin. If you want lighter sheets, Joanna says, a 400 thread count sheet can be soft and light, while an 800 percale would be soft and dense. The higher the thread count, the more likely multiple-ply thread is used or picks are added, making the fabric denser and heavier.
Now you know that quality is not just about the number, so don't let numbers rule your bed! Remember what to look for on the label and be wary of too-low prices for supposedly high quality items. Beyond that, go with what you prefer. Get a good feel of the sheets before buying. Whether you're unzipping the packaging or lying down on a display bed, make sure the fabric feels good against your skin and soon you'll be having sweet dreams!
Find out how to keep your new linens crisp and clean with our tips to whiter-than-white sheets.
How to: Paint outdoor furniture
When undertaking a DIY project, there are usually a few things to consider. Add tempermental weather to the list and suddenly that little list has multiplied. How do you prepare your furniture for painting? What type of paint do you use? How does it differ for different types of material?
Though the process of painting outdoor furniture may seem daunting now, the best way to go about a DIY job is to be prepared. We talked to an expert at Canadian Tire to do just that. Michael Bache, Category Business Manager at Canadian Tire, shares his prepping and painting how tos to help put your DIY nerves at ease.
1 What supplies will you need for prepping and painting?
Depending on the state of the furniture (e.g. new wood, old plastic, painted metal, painted wood) and the type of paint chosen, a variety of items should be considered.
If using brush-on paint, consider using a primer before applying a new fresh coat of colour. When priming your furniture, make sure to use a good quality paintbrush and rags or drop cloths for clean-up. However, if you're using Krylon® Fusion™ no primer is required.
If repainting a metal or wood surface that has loose peeling paint, it must be removed for best adhesion. You can use sandpaper, steel wool, wire brush, scraper, or a stripper. You may require a tack cloth to clean up dust residue when sanding. If sanding a latex paint, a simple damp rag will work just fine.
2 Do these steps differ when prepping different materials, such as metal, plastic, wicker or wood?
Yes. Some products don't require primer, saving you a prep step. Using an aerosol is a benefit, too, as you also save a step in the prep. It generally dries faster and doesn't require clean-up since no paint brushes are involved. Even better, aerosols tend to give a factory style, air brush finish when applied properly, as opposed to a brush-on paint.
Bare wood generally requires a primer to seal the wood prior to painting as the surface is porous. The primer is used to provide a nice, smooth finish. Krylon Dual saves a step on both bare wood and metal since it primes and paints in one easy step. This saves time and allows people to have more time enjoying their furniture and less time prepping it!
3 What type of paint should you use for outdoor furniture?
Always follow the directions on the label for specific product use. This will ensure proper adhesion to your surface.
Plastic patio furniture should only have a paint specifically designed to adhere to plastic and hard-to-bond surfaces. Many general purpose paints can adhere to most surfaces except plastic.
For wicker or rattan, spray paints tend to make a nicer finish and easily gets into the grooves. Muskoka chairs are also easier to paint when using an aerosol as opposed to a paint brush. Now there's even an aerosol wood stain by Krylon. Spray stains make fast work of Muskoka chairs and planters - no brushes to clean up either.
5 What about rust prevention?
Paint designed especially for metal surfaces tends to add rust protection into the paint - make sure the paint says "rust proofing" or "rust inhibiting".
As our climate changes, U.V. rays are also a consideration - they're hard on our skin and our exterior patio furniture! Some paints actually have U.V. protection in their paint. This will help protect your finish to resist harsh weather conditions. We suggest storing patio furniture during the fall and winter months when not in use. If space is a problem, a variety of covers and tarps are available to help protect your investment.
6 What are the best painting methods to use?
Much of this is personal preference. However, some surfaces, like wicker and rattan, have a nicer finish when sprayed versus brushing.
7 What kind of finish, if any, should you use?
Most paint companies offer a variety of finishes to choose from - satin, gloss, textured, metallic, hammered, and more. As long as you use an appropriate paint for your exterior surface and follow the instructions, you should achieve the finish you want. The really nice thing about the variety of paints and finishes available is that people can turn "garage sale finds" into treasures. Mixing and matching old and new creates a different and personalized patio set.
8 How many coats should you use
Follow the instructions on the can, however many paints suggest two coats. When painting remember this rule of thumb: Thinner coats are better than thicker coats. Thinner coats dry faster and produce a harder finish.
9 What should you look for in a brush?
Is it the right paint brush for your paint? Oil-based paints generally have different bristles than latex paints. The brush label will specify this.
Is the paint brush the right size to do your project? If you are painting furniture, smaller brushes may be better. Ensure it fits into your paint container.
A roller can be great for large flat surfaces, like a tabletop. This can help reduce brush marks, too!
10 How does climate affect the painting process?
Weather is a big factor. For the most part, if you're getting a sunburn and sweating, it's probably too hot to paint. This will cause the paint to dry too fast. If it's too windy and you're using an aerosol paint, your paint may dissipate before it reaches the surface. Either wait for the wind to die down or use cardboard to build a spray tunnel. Humidity can affect the paint's dry time, which leaves more time for surface imperfections to take place on your finish. In general, 21ºC and about 50% humidity are ideal conditions for painting.
12 Any last tips?
Remember to protect other surfaces if working outside by using masking tape and drop cloths. Most importantly, regardless of your project, remember to always read product labels thoroughly and follow directions.