How is Your Outdoor Decor?

A beautiful yard is like a fabulously decorated home: well thought out, purposefully designed and carefully put together. If the impression your yard gives is as important to you as the interior of your home, you’ll want to invest time and thought into this outdoor extension of your living space. You’ll enjoy the rewards of your efforts for many years - and receive many compliments along the way!

Okay, to start: you’re the landscape architect - pull up a chair and let’s get to work! Let’s start by deciding:

What you want to use the space for.

This can be single or multi-purpose. Talk to everyone in the house and brainstorm together. You may want to keep the entire space in thick, green grass just for putting practice (single-purpose). Or you may want to have a space for the kids and another for adults (multi-purpose). Do you cook outdoors? Want a flower bed? How about an area for your pets?

The other thing that goes hand-in-hand with this is considering what you’re working with.

Is your land flat, hilly, rocky or full of trees?

How much sun/shade does each area get at different times of the day - and will it make a difference for that area’s purpose?

Do you have a noisy neighbor? You probably wouldn’t want to put a meditation corner near them.

Safety should be the first consideration for children’s play areas. Place them away from streets and alleys, don’t position the slide to end in the pond (unless that’s what you want) and keep Fido’s pooh-pooh area far away from their little feet!

Now get out a pencil and paper - or landscaping software - and map out the spaces, keeping in mind the “lay of the land” and other pertinent factors. For now just make general circles or squares to mark the space for each purpose.

What style you want to use.

Is it formal, informal, country, eclectic? And don’t forget to consider what’s already there, like the architecture of the house or the style of existing fencing. Consider the style of existing structures that will stay and how those styles will fit in your plan.

What color palate you’ll use.

Of course you must consider other existing colors: siding and trim on existing buildings and fences, landscaping colors, maybe even the color of a neighbor’s garage if it’s butted up to your yard.

My house is blue with white trim, and that’s what I chose to use for the outdoor decor: my chair cushions are a great blue floral, the stone deck is colored blue-gray and I just planted one of those gorgeous blue hyacinths next to the neighbor’s white fence. Now, I could have gone with a green palate because there’s so much green in the yard already (grass, trees), but that’s just me.

Now comes the fun - uh, I mean the hard part: shopping for everything you need. And color coordinating it. And making sure the styles coordinate. And having friends over to analyze the work (over food and drinks of course). And somehow, somehow managing to hold up under the enormous amount of praise and compliments you’ll receive for your labors.

It’s a tough job. But someone’s got to do it. Might as well be you!

Curtain Rod Rings: Useful Helpful Delightful Things You Need to Know About

Curtain rod rings… you know, there are many things in life you can go a long time, maybe forever, knowing nothing about. They’re usually the littlest things, the awful-est things, or the most mundane things. But then there are those things you wish you’d known about years ago because they’re so useful-helpful-delightful. And that’s the category for curtain rod rings.
Now, don’t be mistaken - even though some of you will think so, curtain rings really don’t fall into the I-don’t-need-to-know-about-this-ever category. They’re actually amazing, and for more reasons than you can hang a curtain on.
Why, you say, should I be interested in these, uh, ringy-thingys? Because, we say, your life will totally improve in useful-helpful-delightful little ways. Yes, curtain rod rings. Want proof? We’ve compiled a short list of uses for curtain rod rings, just enough to feed your own inspiration.
In the kitchen.
Recipe holder. Yes, you read that right. Clip that recipe card or magazine page to the curtain rod ring and hang the ring on a cabinet door knob… Pretty cool, huh?
How about hanging a hand towel the same way? You can have it right where you need it while cooking or baking, and remove it when guests arrive!
For fun, use a curtain rod ring to hold cloth napkins for diners – you can clip them to the tablecloth, chair, glass or whatever makes you smile!
In the bath.
Shower: on the curtain rod to hold extras: loofas, wash cloths, sponges, razors, etc.
How about a Don’t-Knock-I’m-Busy sign on the door?
Of course there are always those little affirmation notecards - now you have an easier way to keep them in view: clip one to a curtain rod ring and hang it on anything around the mirror.
In the bedroom.
In the closet: curtain rings are perfect to hold scarves, necklaces - why, you can hang them right next to the outfits you love pairing them with!
In the closet: let’s take that first tip a little farther: some people actually have matching lingerie for outfits - really, we’re not joking - and a curtain ring would be a perfect way to keep them together. Easy to grab and no searching required.
Again in the closet: how about those trouser socks? Since they’re so easy to lose in the sock drawer, why not hang them from a curtain ring in the closet?
Still in the closet (yes, we know it’s not funny…): have an item that you just can’t fit anywhere, like that belt with the gigantic buckle?
In the hallway.
Kids’ mittens, hats, scarves - even the kids if they’re light enough! (Just kidding, of course!)
What about that collection of green save-the-earth shopping bags you’re always forgetting to take along? Need a place to keep them where you’ll actually remember to grab them?
And, of course, those fab designer handbags - now you can hang them in the hallway closet on a curtain ring so they’re at your fingertips when you’re ready to switch bags.
In the car.
The great thing about curtain rod rings is they hang easily on small knobs – and most cars have an abundance of those.
Things you can hang from a curtain rod ring in the car: phone cords, travel tissue boxes, maps (almost things of the past), notes, grocery lists…
Other ideas.
Hang your curtain rings on chairs and clip balloons to them for birthday parties.
Don’t forget the obvious: to hang curtains! 
So now you know all about the double life of curtain rod rings - one of the true useful-helpful-delightful things you need to know about!