A Destin, Florida Destination

Although Florida has been most famous for Miami, many are discovering the beauties of the Emerald Coast and the allure of Apalachicola. I know I am one of that number. In fact, Florida’s Emerald Coast has been voted the “Best Beach Town in the South” by the readers of Southern Living magazine, in 2011.

Visiting The Emerald Coast? Discover Destin Beach!

The Destin area is great for families. No place better for reunions, it is a fun place to meet up with kids and grandkids. The beaches are clean and beautiful, there are plenty of things to do and see -in a completely relaxed atmosphere.

Lots of shopping opportunities in the general area.

The clear waters, ocean breezes, and nice condos are the perfect backdrop for good memories and family fun…. and that is what makes this an area worth return visits.

Read on to find out about some of the great restaurants, attractions, hidden gems -all honestly reported from our family visits.

 

Our Latest Destin Beach Vacation

family picture by the ocean
Our favorite part: time on the beach!

Another great time of fun in the sun

We love to spend most of our time on the beach.

Take along a really great beach bag to tote all the necessary essentials. My daughter uses the beach cart and considers it a lifesaver for hauling all the family gear to and from the beach: boogie boards, sand toys, beach umbrella, etc.

This cart is so handy to transport gear from condo to beach.

We’ve always enjoyed the beach, but Destin has such clear water and white sand beaches, it rates as our family’s top favorite place to enjoy a Beach vacation.

Being in the panhandle, it is a little far north for some snowbirds who like to vacation during the winter months, but for us the late spring and early fall are good times to go. That is when we have experienced Destin at its most pleasant.

The General Area: The Emerald Coast – Basic Beach Vacation Info

The Beach is what I go to Destin for… those gorgeous white sands and emerald waters are the centerpiece of the area. There are plenty of things to do and places to eat, but when all is said and done it is the natural beauty of the area that makes it really special.

  • Emerald Coast Guide
    Things to do at one of the most beautiful places in America. BEACH INFORMATION: Emerald Coast Guide Home, Recreation and Attractions, Fishing, Dining and Entertainment, Shopping, and more
  • Official Site For Destin
    Award-Winning Beaches THINGS TO DO

Must-Have Travel Essentials for Florida

Must Have…Beach Towels!

These are beach essentials
These are beach essentials

Be sure to pack these:

  • Don’t forget to have sunglasses
  • a small insulated pack for water and refreshments.
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen …especially if you are from the North! Or have pale skin!

Most condos don’t have beach towels, so bring a nice big beach towel. You can buy them at the outlets, but they are cheaper and much better quality if you buy them before you arrive in Destin. This is true of most resorts and beach destinations.

"Sunscreen?",... by Kurt Ard

“Sunscreen?”… by Kurt Ard

Packing list if you travel by car:

  1. Sunscreen,
  2. Insulated pack
  3. Beach chairs
  4. Beach towels
  5. Bottled water and drinks
  6. Beach umbrella or tent
  7. Extras of paper products like paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper.

Get ready for the beach – Beach gear for maximum fun

Shade Shack Instant Pop Up Family Beach Tent and Sun Shelter, Blue/Yellow by Demco Incorporated

This is another great idea that my daughter has adopted for her family’s beach vacations. When the sun is as hot as it gets in Florida, these tents are great for the young children who need to take a little nap, or for moms with fair skin who need timeout from the midday sun.

 

I need to reiterate: if you come from the North and have fair skin (I do) use a powerful sunscreen 30+ and above right from first thing in the morning.

I had thought I was protected enough but got badly burnt. Until slathering on 55 SPF first thing in the morning it was not enough. Get everything possibly exposed to the sun covered with sunscreen.

!!!

 

Skinceuticals Sheer Physical Uv Defense SPF 50 Broad-spectrum Sunscreen Fluid, 1.7-Ounce Skinceuticals Sheer Physical Uv Defense SPF 50 Broad-spectrum Sunscreen Fluid, 1.7-Ounce

Explore the Area

visit Seaside, too, while you are on the Emerald Coast.

My Favorite Breakfast Place

My family and I revisited my favorite haunts listed here during our 2011 trip. I still like Another Broken Egg, and the oysters from Shrimp Shack were still excellent.

We spent more time getting items at “Fresh Market” during this vacation, and found they sell oysters ‘Rockefeller’ there. The sandwich wraps, bakery items, and salads were just wonderful. Very good fresh fruits and juices, too. We highly recommend this as a choice for many lunch and light dinner times.

Another Broken Egg Cafe

I had the ultimate crabcakes here, but no matter what you order from the menu this restaurant is a destination as far as I’m concerned. I bought the souvenir coffee cups, too. We tried it out on recommendation of my daughter and son-in-law, and they know how to pick ’em.

I like everything about the pleasant inviting decor, the delicious food, and the menu selections. Everyone in our large party was happy. And that is a tall order!

If you want to know what other people thought, here’s a review of the Destin locations.

Source: theopinionatedfoodie.wordpress.com

 

My Favorite Oysters

At the Shrimp Shack in Seaside- Go There

I know it is a bit of a run to get over to Seaside, but it is a nice attraction. While you are there looking at the little shops and all the pretty houses, get some Apalachicola oysters at the Shrimp Shack. They are addictively delicious.

The beach directly behind the eating area is pretty and there is a great smoothie trailer across the street.

Another Oyster and Seafood Place:

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The Boathouse Oyster Bar

Taste the sea

A fun loving place where the oysters are shucked as fast as the guy can get ’em out, and the crowd is loud and happy. This place is tucked away and a bit hard to find… look for the “Boathouse Oyster Bar” sign as you near HarborWalk Village. They have lots on the menu besides oysters, but if you love oysters this is the place you want to go.

One thing, though, is that you can’t get them for take-out… oysters must be eaten on site.

I ordered the baked oysters “Half and Half”, two recipes of 6 each: one a butter,mozzarella,bacon, and onion smothered oyster- the other a cocktail sauce and cheddar cheese concoction. Both good.

Definite “beach” feel with old style wooden building.

Harborwalk Village – shops,views, fun, and food

photo by Marvin Kuo
photo by Marvin Kuo

Harborwalk Village is a waterfront collection of stores, eating places, and some fun stuff for kids located right next to the Destin Harbor Marina. A small “locomotive” gives a ride, upscale stores offer a place to spend your money, and restaurants are bright, lively, and can be expensive. It is all pretty expensive – but an enjoyable place to see. Located across the street from Mcguire’s and below the Emerald Grande Hotel.

Very sunny and hot in the daytime, I preferred visiting in the evening after sundown, the lights reflect on the water and the mood is upbeat.

Source: flickr.com via HarborWalk
Source: flickr.com via HarborWalk

Harry T’s

Harry T
Harry T Restaurant

Located within Harborwalk Village is Harry T’s – a loud and sloppy restaurant, but with very decent food if you don’t mind the high prices.

I ate the catch of the day which happened to be snapper and buttery new potatoes. My husband had the “best Reuben sandwich I ever tasted” – that is what he said, just quoted him.

We were seated overlooking the bay which was very beautiful, just missing the sunset views which I’m sure can be spectacular…looking over the water and towards the bridge to Okaloosa Island.

I thought the seafood was okay, and very overpriced … so while it was an overall good experience, I don’t think I would choose to go there on my next trip.

Harry T’s Menu

 

Unanimous Thumbs Up for McGuire’s Irish Pub

Great Place to Eat

  Everyone seems to agree that this is a place for good food and fun.  Mcguire’s in Destin is right across the street from Harborwalk Village,  wonderful  place to walk along the waterside, visit upscale boutiques and eat- even if you don’t decide on Mcguire’s.

Read reviews at Yelp.

Look at McGuire’s Irish Pub Menu and give them a call

There is a cute souvenir shop attached, and we bought some t-shirts, shot glasses and other Irish flavored memorabilia, but the big draw is the food.

Steak is a big favorite there. Try it- you won’t be sorry. Also famous for their burgers, they won best burger in Destin.

Very Good Asian Food

Chinese/Thai Food @ Lins Asian next to the Winn Dixie by Silver Sands Outlet. I recommend the panfried noodle dish.

Destin Commons

 An outdoor mall with many little shops and the usual: Starbucks, Loft, Talbot, Victoria Secret, etc. Anchored by a giant Bass Pro Shop, you can’t miss it on Highway 98.

I enjoyed the many different shops strung along the pleasant walkway, had great smoothies and fresh sandwich at Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Stop at the information desk for a map and ask for the coupons.

Don’t miss their “Life is Good” shop, where you can get lots of the newest designs of your favorite t-shirts.

Destin Commons website

Destin Area Festivals

Find Events Going On

We attended the Seafood Festival when there during our last vacation. I wasn’t very impressed. It was very crowded and the long lines for the seafood dampened my enthusiasm for the event.

If you want to know more, they have a facebook page.

facebook.com/Destin-Seafood-Festival-192710857443315/

Beer Festival October 13th

Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation Concerts in the Park

For more information, 850.650.2226

Destin’s Fishing Tournament

The Sandestin Wine Festival

Destin Area Events

Destin, Florida Annual Events Calendar

There are always all sorts of fun events going on including the annual ones like the Seafood Festival, the Beach Kite Festival and the Annual Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival .

Emerald Coast Events:

-watch this space for up coming events or check the website link-

For info and in depth descriptions, see the Calender of Events

Rent a Beach House – For us, that was the ideal place to stay

Postcard from Destin Florida by ilonagarden

Destin Info List – Important Links

Who was Mattie Kelley?

She was an important pioneer of modern Destin, and the arts foundation which gives summer concerts is named in her honor. Find out about Mattie Kelley, and how to enter an art contest.

Best Time To Visit

September is one of the best times to visit. Off season rates, more comfortable temperatures.

Beach Resort Footwear – Keep it comfortable and casual

These beach resort shoes are comfy and casual.

Buy before you go because they are pricey in the shops.
Sanuk Men's Shipwrecked LoaferBrindle11 M US

Sanuk Men’s Shipwrecked Loafer

Sanuk Women's Yoga Mat Flip Flop,Ebony,8 M US

Sanuk Women’s Yoga Mat Flip Flop,Ebony,8 M US

Gulf Coast Shopping

Gulf Coast Shopping
Gulf Coast Shopping

 

Changing Over to Mac from a PC Laptop

set your sights on technology

I Changed From A PC Laptop To Mac

Making the Switch from Desktop PC to Mac Pro Laptop

Why Start with a PC?

It was once thought that Microsoft products were best for businesses. Perhaps that is still the opinion of many today. It was the reasoning behind the purchase of our first computer.

Years and years ago when first wanting to use a computer, I desired a Mac computer. But as fate would have it, my husband bought  our first computer for his business. On the advice of one of those computer professionals who set up businesses with a computer and a manual of unintelligible instructions on “what to do” we became the owners of a Desktop PC.

I say “we”, when it was my husband’s business machine. However, we all (me, my husband, and my kids) learned to use the PC, Windows, and various types of computer software on that rather prehistoric computer with dial-up internet connection.

Five Years Later

starting with Macbook

Fast forward about five years and my husband stayed locked into the elementary levels of computer usage (whichmay or may not consist of banging on the keyboard repeatedly in frustration), I journeyed my way to a fair amount of computer literacy, and my sons- well, they are computer professionals today, well respected in their field.

Apple Products, Re-introduced

It was those sons who started using Mac laptops as their main computer of choice, and then several years ago with not a little trepidation, I started using Apple products which were completely unfamiliar territory for me. I did not have an iPod, I did not have an iPhone, I did not collect any money, and I did not pass “Go”. I simply went to an Apple store and bought my Macbook Pro.

And anyone who uses the computer a lot, without having any natural facility for it, knows that that takes a lot of courage. Or foolhardiness. Or both.

Anyway, it appears that I had plenty of both, and a couple years ago I bought my long desired Mac Laptop.

Here is my story of how that’s worked out for me.

Photo of a Macbook,Apple Macbook Pro MJLT2LL/A 15-inch Laptop (2.5 GHz Intel Core i7 Processor, 16GB RAM, 512 GB Hard Drive, Mac OS X) (2015 version)

Macbook Pro –

I decided on the Macbook Pro version of an Apple computer because more than portability I wanted the requisite hardware to run graphic software (which I have not yet purchased for my Mac). But I was thinking ahead, you see.

Now that tablets have taken the technological world by storm, I’m glad I have this for my main computer work, and later I also bought an iPad for traveling.

IPad vs. Pro

On that topic, would I still start out with a fullsize Macbook Pro versus a tablet?

Yes. It depends on your needs. If you need the power to run programs and will essentially replace using a desktop, then a fullsize laptop is the right choice. If you need computing on the go that is easy to carry, then an iPad is more practical. Or like me, you might find both is the right answer.

Are you ready to make the change?

I am glad I made the change from PC’s since I do like this laptop better than the Toshiba Satellite I had as my laptop before. Apple has a better interface and is easier to use in many ways. It is a little challenging to change what you have become used to with a PC.

I still don’t know how to locate things on the inside of the MAC system, but I haven’t needed to (troubleshoot) as much as I did with the PC.

Adding and deleting software is simple. Many cool utilities, Synced with iPhone ( I own one now)

Several Years Later With My Mac Pro – Would I choose it again?

lady at the desk

The Pros Of A Pro

  • I would. No question, I would choose the newest version of my Mac Pro 17 inch laptop. I like the size for working on at home. It works without glitches, and I have gotten the knack of a Mac, so that now I prefer it.
  • I still use my PC desktop, but not as often.
  • The battery life is not as long as I might have hoped, and I usually keep the laptop connected to its cord, but it is longer than anything I was used to with the old Toshiba.
  • The screen and graphics are clear and beautiful.
  • I love the usability of Apple apps and feel. The design of a MAC is outstanding, and that is important when you spend lots of time on a computer. Mostly I prefer the software of the MAC, its utilities, etc.

There was quite a learning curve for me. I don’t think that would be an issue if I hadn’t used PC’s for so long. I had to relearn how to do things I wanted to do.

Overall, it is a good choice and I am happy to have made the switch, even though I can’t say I am fanatical about Apple products, but are most people nowadays?

The Longevity Of PC Laptops Vs Apple

My husband and youngest son were sold on the Acer Tablet, after my husbands friend, an electrical engineer raved on about it. I still have sort of an elitist bias against Acer, I guess, but I’m trying to stay open minded about it. Maybe that will be my next electronic expenditure.

Five years down the pike, I still have my Mac and although it has signs of needing a new battery, it works well for my needs.

The PCs? They had to be replaced.

Reasons To Switch, Mac Or PC?

Still thinking about a PC?

We’ve used Dells, HPs, Acers, and Toshibas in this family. Of the PC brands the Toshiba has been the best in my experience. It was a hand me down from one of my computer professional sons. Lasting through lots of use, it served well and was trouble free until it died the death that all computers seem to come to eventually- but not until lots of years of service had been put in.

Get A Protector, Like The Speck Case

An investment that made me happy.

It was my daughters idea. I had bought her a Mac Pro computer for her new working life after she graduated from college. It was her graduation present from me. She wanted a protective cover in pink and I went ahead a sprung for mine in black.

Of course, that was before I started designing some of the customizable electronic products over at Zazzle. At some point I will buy one for myself from there that I customize… to replace the plain black. But I am very happy with its practicality and worry-free way it keeps the case looking like new. It has a nice feel to it, too.

Find many cases for all sorts of electronics on Zazzle (including your laptop!)

update: Zazzle now offers only sleeves for laptops and only up to 15″. They no longer have Speck brand cases.

Get Some Protection

I was very happy with my Speck case, it lasted in good condition for many years. It became slightly scuffed over time, but overall retained its good looks and more importantly, protected the finish of my laptop.

Mac Accessories – Car travel
Something I use a lot: a car jack adapter for my Mac.

Migrate Your Data From PC To Mac

Things I like about Apple Products

not me
No, not me in the photo

Nothing really new for me to say except to add my opinion to the many. The primary thing I like about Apple, including the Macbook Pro, is that they are designed well. The features fit well, work well, and everything is solid and nicely made. Those things are increasingly important to me, and I think that is what made the Apple company. I hope they keep that aesthetic even though Steve Jobs is not around to helm the company ship.

I like that I can sync together the products, although I don’t understand it very well. but I do know that when I take pictures with my iPhone I can hook it right up and easily transfer everything to my computer. Done and done.

I am thinking of getting an iPad for taking with me when I travel … although my husband is a strong voice for the Acer product ( the money factor weighs heavily for him). I really like my iPhone, after resisting the change form my very old, very basic Nokia for so long. I like the idea that I can use the Sync feature.

So all this means that I made the switch to Mac in more ways than just the laptop, and looking forward to working more efficiently in the future.

Are You A Dummie? – Never fear- we all start out that way. Numerous times.

MacBook Pro Portable Genius
MacBook Pro Portable Genius

Find out about Macbook Pro Portable Genius

 

Comparisons for Gaming

Summary, Two More Years Down The Road

I use my Mac Pro laptop almost all the time, but in the interim I also replaced my old Dell desktop with another HP “All in One”. Many people are no longer using the larger laptops, but rigging up their other portable devices to do everything a laptop does. I can understand that, since it is cumbersome to lug a laptop around when traveling.

The desktop still is useful for the heavy duty work of a full graphics program like Photoshop, etc. And it is better to sit up straight at the desk than slouch around on the couch when doing long periods of computer work.

When comparing the two, PC and Mac, neither wins out definitively. PC still has more of the programs that I find important , while the Mac still remains more secure from problems like viruses. It is easier to use, especially given the difficulty of the newer Windows OS.

I also like the idea of touchscreens; but again, switching over to new habits has proven to be a hassle, when it was supposed to have been more effective.

I think the best way to decide which machine is best is to know which one fits your work style and software best. And today everyone needs some sort of portable device, but phones are incredibly powerful, an innovation not foreseen (by me, anyway) several years ago when I first purchased my Mac laptop.

Buy the power and memory you need to accomplish your end results for work or gaming.

I went For a Mac the Second Time Around

After giving me almost ten years of service, my Mac Pro laptop was exhibiting problems. There was a choice of refurbishing with a new battery or buying a replacement. I decided to buy a replacement.

The Macbook Pro 2017 is much lighter and very sleek. It no longer has a CD slot and the charger has changed. I’ve been very happy with it and it works very powerfully even with big Adobe graphics programs.

I personally am very, very happy with Apple’s design and quality. My daughter decided she was ready to switch, however. She chose a PC laptop and switched from an iPhone to another kind. She seems equally happy with her choice.

I do believe that the best choice remains in the arena of what works best for you in terms of software and what you use your machine for. For me, blogging and Adobe software makes Apple the ideal choice.

Use a wireless printer

I use a wireless printer so that I can easily print from my desktop and my laptop. My kids can print from their laptops! It makes life easy.
Fujitsu PA03656-B005 Image Scanner ScanSnap iX500computer things

Fujitsu PA03656-B005 Image Scanner ScanSnap iX500

With a wireless, you can print from your laptop, which is a real convenience.

Hardware equipment that goes both ways:

I am not happy when a printer or scanner can only be used by one type of machine, are you? Look for those which can be used by as many of your machines as possible.

Love Your Gray Hair: Silver Is the New Blonde

Ilona Erwin

If you decided to go silver, winter is time to love your gray hair and take care of it. That includes protection from the elements, using the right hair care products, and styling.

Now that I have spent a number of years allowing my hair to grow into its natural silver and white, it is time to spill the beans on the realities of keeping my mane looking its best.

Problems and solutions follow, along with some hairstyle looks for inspiration.

As Years Go By

Do I still love it? Yes, going gray was one of the best beauty decisions of my fifties. Has it rendered my haircare totally carefree? No.

I should get my haircut refreshed far more often than I do. What a difference a professional cut can make- giving shape and movement to create a more lively look.

I have also learned the hard way that a pennies amount of protection and prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to maintaining the good looks of gray.

I continue to seek the perfect style. (I am starting to believe this dissatisfaction has more to do with losing bodyweight than fixing my hair.) I did want to update a few of the tips which have stood me in good stead for that past few years.

When Gray Isn’t at Its Best

I have had some challenges as a Silver Fox that I never had when I was a Brunette.

The most irksome:

  • Yellowing. This is the worst problem and the one which has been hardest to deal with.
  • Flyaways and thinning, related to aging, rather than the color; but requiring care and products to manage.
  • Challenges of growing it long and keeping it looking good.

Those have to be the top three problems for most gray locks ( except for the last one, not everyone wants to have long hair!).

Silver Styling

bob hairstyle
This is the default long bob hairstyle, that I will ask my hairdresser to use if the longer lengths do not work out.

Short Gray Hair

Not everyone needs or wants to chop the length, but it is one way to deal with the above named topknot troubles. It was easiest for me to maintain shine and silveriness when I had a mid-length bob.

Cutting off hair that has been damaged by the elements or heat styling is a tried and true way to control the dryness and discoloration.

It also gives a fresh new look that is instantly rejuvenating.

Love Really Short?

pixie for over 60
pixie for over 60

Growing It Long

long gray hair
source: pixabay.com

I know there are many women, like me, that see those gorgeous long locks of shining gray hair. It is so tempting to desire those below the shoulder lengths.

So I gave in, after two or three false starts, and began to grow out the length of my hair. I must be honest and say that the results are mixed. I haven’t given up yet, but if I remain ambivalent about this look, I will go back to the smooth, mid-length pageboy.

long grey hair style
I like this loose, slightly wavy style.

What Is My Beef with Body?

Thinning means less hair to give “body” to a style, and I have had layers put in to keep the style from going flat. Layers, however,  can be more prone to flyaways when the weather turns cold (a trial for all types of hair).

 

Tame Flyaways
Serums are still the best bet for taming flyaway hair, although hair pomade like Alberto VO5 works, too. Beware of too much which can weigh down and flatten your style.
GLOSS Moderne High-Gloss Serum, 4 fl. oz.
List Price:$49.00
Price:$49.00
Price Disclaimer

Have you tried to grow out your silver locks? What were your hurdles?

Stop Turning Yellow!

salt and pepper hair
Clarify

I admit it, I didn’t use the color correcting products as often in the past year. The shampoo and conditioner formulated for gray hair make a huge difference under most circumstances.

I had an  experience with battling a bout of yellowing after a beach vacation two years ago. I am convinced that using sun protection would have prevented it. I even went to my stylist and had a “Malibu Treatment” at the time, but I felt the results were negligible. Perhaps it will work better for you?

I’ve written about fav hair products, here.

So far, the best antidote has been Paul Mitchell’s Forever Blonde line. In the future I will make a review comparing and contrasting several product lines, but this is my top tip so far.

Natural Tip
Try rinsing with the juice of a lemon added to two cups of water. It will help clarify and brighten.

I have to contend with hard water,  exposure to the elements ( LOVE being outdoors), what are your bug-a-boos? City pollution? Certain hair products? Chlorine?

UhOh Argan Oil

Maybe this personal anecdote is silly, but every time I used Argan oil, which makes hair very soft and pretty and is good for skin, I noticed a yellow cast to my hair. Hard water is also an issue in my area, but I believe the Argan oil was yellowing. Coconut oil is a better solution when moisturizing hair.

Alberto VO5 for gray hair has been my go-to for smoothing when styled, but I like natural oils for occasional replenishing.

The New Blonde

The longevity of the gray Celebrity fashion has been a happy circumstance. More and more models and actors display silvery manes. It is no longer remarkable when seeing women “of a certain age” with natural looking hairdos.  The beauty of maturity is accepted and even celebrated, though I believe we have a ways to go in appreciating the middle-aged and aged.

A few highlights for a vibrant look in maturity:

  • Keep the style “young”, but not faddish.
  • Keep hair healthy, whether short or long.
  • Good grooming is always in style, don’t go for frumpish.
  • Shampoo often
  • Protect from too much sun and heat.
  • Take vitamins- good looks are from the inside out!
  • Find the products that work best for you- experiment.

I hope these tips, styles, and reminders are helping you keep up appearances in the best possible way.  I love my gray hair and would never go back to the artificial coloring regimen. I think it has the lighthearted feel of a Blonde, with the intelligence attributed to the Brunette, and an attitude of confidence all its own.

 

Homeschoolers Can Plan Their Own Garden Unit Study

 

How Does Your Educational Garden Grow?

One of the most rewarding ways to learn about a whole range of subjects is to focus in on one topic and create a unit study from it. 
Unit studies are one of the most rewarding ways to incorporate all of the curriculum into a fun project.

This group of activities creates a break from dull workbooks and tiresome drills ( as necessary as those sometimes are).

This article takes you all the way through how to plan and implement this form of curriculum to specific topics to explore. Included are convenient links to books on Amazon.

Steps To Teaching Core Subjects Through Garden Unit Studies

How-To

  1. Plan the overall unit, write down which projects you wish to accomplish. Plan the reading for literature, with writing projects such as how to keep a journal, writing an expository essay,etc.
  2. Make a list of books to purchase or borrow from the library. Obtain them. buy your folders or journals.Create math projects from cost lists, geometry problems from garden layouts, etc.
  3. Make a supply list of everything you will need to do the projects and then go shopping! Scavenge around the house for everything that will be used instead of purchased. Get pots, soil, seed starting supplies, or whatever you think you will need.Add a history lesson on tools and the materials they are made from as a way to measure the advance of civilization (stone, bronze, iron) . Or compare societies that were hunters and gatherers with those who farmed. Or create a lesson on the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.
  4. Begin your unit study with seasonal appropriate activities, field trips, and science experiments. Surprisingly, a gardening unit study can be done at any time of the year.Use science projects on weather, soil testing, botany, etc.
  5. Grow things!

A Garden Topic Covers Every Spectrum of Curriculum

Why is this one of my favorite group studies?
I spent a lot of time and effort in the pursuit of gardening, and have always tried to include my childrenin gaining an appreciation of nature. For their homeschool studies this included lessons in the satisfaction of working outside.

Let’s Run Through a List of Subjects
  • History
  • Language Arts
  • Science
  • Mathematics
  • Art
  • Character Development

History Outside, For Example

Gardening is one way to include indoor and outdoor pursuits. The history of gardens is so interesting that it can encompass whole eras as well as many famous people who had interests or stories somehow related to the garden.

For instance, did you know the ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ involved the transport of breadfruit plants in the great plant exploration era of England? Or that Josephine Bonaparte had a well known rose garden?

The opportunities for garden math, horticulture, chemistry, and journaling are plentiful in the garden… come see.

History in the Garden

Gardens in history
Gardens in history

Plants in Garden History
Plants in Garden History

Penelope Hobhouse is one of the premier garden writers in my book. she tackles the task of presenting plants throughout garden history. She will make it interesting for you, I promise.

History Topics

Investigate the School Garden Movement

  • How did children make a difference in their communities?
  • Henry Lincoln Clapp, a teacher at the George Putnam Grammar School in Boston, MA, established the first school garden. And the idea spread from there.
  • What does the Edible Schoolyard Movement look like today?
  • Make a specific era your focus for art, history, and science. Find out about the gardens of that time, the plants common to them, and how they were used in the medicines and manufacture of clothing.
  • Make a scrapbook page of dye plants. Learn about which plants to avoid eating, or explore the history of the tomato…. where did it originate ( the New World) and what did Europeans think of it ( it was feared to be poisonous)
  • Plant hunters and explorers- who were they and how are our gardens different today?
  • OR why do we have plant transport and import laws? Why are there no more American Elm or Chestnut trees in our gardens?

These are just a few of the topics to chose for your own garden unit study.

Hidden Stories in Plants
Hidden Stories in Plants

Plants are exciting when viewed from the perspective of the mysteries they hold, instead of a compilation of dry facts.
Let them tell their stories, and children will be intrigued.

Geography in the Garden

Where does that plant come from?
China

China

Plants From All Over The World

Plants in our gardens are rarely native, and with a  Horticultural Encyclopedia

or any plant book which describes the origination of the plant (many do) it is s simple task to locate the geographical location where the plant originated.

A study of a great plant explorer like E. H. Wilson can combine fascinating history with a geography slant.

 

Teaching Unit Studies

One of the best ways to engage your child’s interest in learning, there are many great guides available and even the planning work of the unit study all plotted out beforehand.

Language Studies and Writing

 

What Type Of Writing Will You Learn?

Expository writing is the type of writing you create for term papers, essays,etc.

Narrative writing is a type of writing that requires you to tell a story that describes an event or relates a personal experience.

Persuasive writing argues a point and is often called argumentation.

All three can be used in the Garden Unit Study.

Expository: Write a paper about why improving the soil is important, or a biography of a famous plant explorer.

Narrative: Relate a funny or interesting thing that happened while making the garden, tell a story from a bugs point of view!

Persuasive: To spray or not to spray, that is the question… choose a controversy and argue why your opinion is the right one.

Include How-To Books for Success

Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children
Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children

Hands on how-to is what makes this unit study so much fun.

But how do you make learning and working in the garden seem more like fun and less like work? And how to best present gardening to children? Find your ideas in this nicely illustrated guide.

Keep Nature Journals

The best writing exercise for young children is a garden journal with pasted pictures of the plants and projects and words.

Garden catalogs, hardcopy or digital are a rich supply of pictures and information – just print out or cut out and paste into the journals. Seed packets can be saved and used, too.

Nature journals, garden journals, lapbooks about plants, can be worked into your homeschool curriculum and are especially useful in studying with the unit method. They are lasting items for school portfolios.

gardening issue of good housekeeping magazine
Use pictures cut out from magazines on the topic of gardening and plants.

 What is a “Lapbook”?

Lapbooks are a system of file folders in which the student stores creative summaries of their work.

Lapbook creation is a lot like notebooking,  another alternative way to keep and showcase your child’s Garden Unit Study projects and papers.

“An educational learning tool made from a folder and meant to take the place of worksheets.” AKA “shutterbooks, graphic organizers, fold books, presentation books, flap books, and project books”.

To find out more about the concept and difference between lapbooks, notebooks, and scrapbooks, “To Lapbook, Notebook, or Scrapbook– that is the question”.

Basic Supplies for a: Lapbook
  • Folders (regular or legal size)
  • Various types of paper (construction, cardstock, index cards, etc.)
  • Writing tools (markers, pencils, pens, crayons)
  • Stickers, Rubber Stamps , Clipart -for illustration and accents
  • Glue

Why Bother to Create These Projects?

The beauty of such projects are the physical keepsake results of your schoolwork endeavors, and the motivation it provides for your child to see that their schoolwork matters and is not just a bunch of vain or repetitious effort.

Organize Your Lapbooks

Lap books store easily in the plastic, up-right, magazine holders on your bookshelf.

Make a Nature Lapbook

 

Look at these informative links

 

 

Science and the Garden – it is all about science…

Photo from the Smithsonian lesson on "Plants and Pollinators".
Photo from the Smithsonian lesson on “Plants and Pollinators”.

Beneath the garden soil and above it, it is all about the science of growing things. From botany to chemistry, there are a myriad of topical experiments and learning exercises in gardening.

  • Find out about the pH of the soil and test your garden soil.
  • What are the ingredients of common fertilizers and what do their numbers stand for? (Nitrogen, Potassum, and Potash)
  • How are flowers pollinated? What is the life cycle of a plant?
  • What about microorganisms, how important are they in soil health?
  • Discover more about the garden than meets the eye. Take a lens ( a real lens) out into the garden to spy on bugs, look at leaf veins, inspect pollen in flowers.

 

68 windowsill plants from kitchen scraps – Science fun

An easy science experiment for small children is to grow a plant from a kitchen scrap. Old carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes… many will grow roots and sprout a plant.

Don’t Throw It, Grow It!: 68 windowsill plants from kitchen scraps by Deborah Peterson and Millicent Selsam

Don't Throw It, Grow It!: 68 windowsill plants from kitchen scraps
Don’t Throw It, Grow It!: 68 windowsill plants from kitchen scraps

Learn how to grow vegetables, fruits, and nuts, even herbs, spices and Asian vegetables. Lots of projects to make exciting plants from a trip to the grocery, great way to get across the lessons on how what we eat comes from the earth, not the store shelves. Humorous and informative, this book will teach you more about growing plants and have more fun doing it.

More Garden Unit Studies Help

Field Trips

Visit public gardens like those listed in Gardens of Ohio. Many educational events are to be found!

 

Math by the Yard

The opportunities for math skills multiply in the garden

Example of Garden Math problems.

“Gardens are a source full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers that provide for and sustain life. But did you know a garden, from its creation to harvest, is rich in mathematical concepts and connections as well?” so says Gardenmath blog and gives us one very helpful post of diagrams and examples.

You can think up all sorts of ways to apply math within the garden unit study including the suggestions included here. Measurements, accounting, and ratios may all factor in the making of a garden.

Classic and Topical Books – for young gardeners

A Child’s Garden

by Molly Dannenmaier

 

A guide for parents to nurture their children’s sense of wonder and curiosity within the garden with projects and lots of information on how to give a sense of imagination and play to learning

Great book to use for one of the most exciting unit studies right in your own backyard.

The longer you garden the better the eye gets, the more tuned to how colors vibrate in different ways and what they can do to each other.

You become a scientist as well as an artist,with the lines increasingly blurred.

The Arts

The Garden and Art – Many artists depict garden subjects

Millet

Millet

Art History

Whether you chose Millet, Renoir, or Monet, Fragonard or even Gustav Klimt, the historical time or genre can be explored as well as the gardens or garden related work depicted. An entire tour of the life of Monet, Impressionism, and the garden at Giverny yield rich discoveries within a garden unit study.

Jean-Francois Millet painted many works of people busy in the fields.

A Little Garden Music

Ketelbey: In a Monastery Garden

THE COMPOSER: Albert W. Ketelbey was born in Alma Street in the Lozells area of Birmingham, England, the son of George Ketelbey (written with no accent), and Sarah Aston. At the age of eleven he wrote a piano sonata that won praise from Edward Elgar. Ketelbey attended the Trinity College of Music in London.

The Ballet, ‘The Firebird’ has scenes in a garden.

Character Development

 

My Family, Hard at Work

Raking is a good team project
Raking is a good team project

in the Garden – Character Building: Diligence and Teamwork

One of the lessons that a garden unit study can teach is the value of being diligent and working together as a team. This is something that will be naturally absorbed in the garden work, but can be formally instilled through underlining within the teachable moments and with written assignments geared towards thinking about these characteristics.

We used this nature character study through all grades. Interesting facts about many animals integrated with Bible studies and lessons.

We used this nature character study through all grades. Interesting facts about many animals integrated with Bible studies and lessons.

  • The Bible points to the ant as an example of diligence, and there are usually plenty of ants to observe in the garden. It is easy to perform experiments in how easy it is to get a job done when working as a team and this could also be useful for civics or social studies lessons.
  • Many maxims, quotes, and poems originate in the act of gardening, ever heard of “a hard row to hoe”? That makes literature and language arts easy to incorporate.Many have to do with exercising diligence and working together to create a garden.A classic book like “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a famous one.
  • Diligence in following directions can be gained from the directions on the backs of seed packets. Plant a few in contrary conditions and note the difference between plantings

— Marjorie Harris

For Little People – Children younger than 8 yrs old benefit from their own sized tools

A colorful garden tote filled with tools will give a sense of fun and play to any garden activity. Real garden tools, but in a small size useful for light garden projects for children. Use any sharp tools, such as secateurs, with care.

Garden Outfitters

For a range of ages, tools that will stand up to digging in the dirt and a handy wagon for playing or hauling garden supplies around.

 

Radio Flyer Classic Red Wagon
Radio Flyer Classic Red Wagon

I had one as a kid, my children had them, and I used them in the garden. This is the classic all purpose wagon.

And after years of hard use, when the wagon rusted out from being left in open weather… my Dad scavenged the wheels and made two wheeled garden carts, one for me and one for him.

The only caveat I’ll give you is that these tough little wagons last better if they are put away when not in use (another “do as I say and not as I do” piece of advice.)

I’ve used the plastic kinds, but nothing is as good as the Radio Flyer Classic.

 

  • 5 Tips
    useful tips for getting kids interested
Ilona has gardened actively for most of her life, and been a writer and webmaster online since 1998. Homeschooled all 10 of her children.

Creamy Lemon Turkey Casserole

Turkey: Jeremy Keith on Flickr

Cooking, eating, entertaining, having a good time… it’s why I collect recipes and share them. Plus I’m half Hungarian.

Get Out Your Casserole Dish and Bake This Tonight

Casserole baked in an old style Pyrex baking dish.

My Family’s Favorite Comfort Casserole

Many years ago, a dear friend sent over a meal after I had given birth to my second son. It could be frozen for later or eaten that night.

Indescribably delicious to this nursing mother, whose appetite was ravenous!

When I asked for the recipe, was pleasantly surprised at how simple it was. Consisting of just a few common ingredients, it can be thrown together and simply heated through: a home cooked meal with almost instant preparation time.

This turkey dish became a staple at my house, a favorite of all my children, and a company dish as well. I passed on the kindness when I, in turn, made this dish for the families with new arrivals in the following years.

It is the kind of meal where an addition of a simple salad, some steamed green beans, and a homey apple pie for dessert is just about the perfect All American meal.

Vary It

You can also use this as a base for variations. Try adding some chopped, cooked onion, some steamed broccoli florets, or steamed medley of vegetables.

Serve it over mashed potatoes or stuffing, if you don’t care for noodles, or make it with the addition of rice and some sautéed garlic. There are many ways to vary this, but my favorite has always been its yummy, basic self.

Delicious with Chicken, too.

This is the perfect dish for sharing, as well as good comfort food for your family on a winter’s evening. As if that weren’t enough, it is the ideal way to use up leftover turkey from the Thanksgiving feast.

If you were wondering what to take to the potluck or wanted a good recipe for a buffet repast, start with this easy, economical, casserole dish.

Try Any Poultry

Not just for turkey- it is equally delicious with chicken.

Family Style, From Oven To Table

Corningware French White III Oval Casserole with Glass Cover, 1.5-Quart
Corningware French White III Oval Casserole with Glass Cover, 1.5-Quart

Use a good looking casserole dish to serve what is sure to become one of your favorite recipe. This white covered dish is a classic, making any food look great on the table or buffet.

I’ve used Corningware for years and they keep their good looks and work hard for you family cooks! Easy to clean, and bake up a casserole in superb style.

This is the baking dish I would use for Lemony Turkey Casserole.

What I Love About This Recipe

  • It is easy.
  • It tastes delicious.
  • It uses economical ingredients.
  • Everybody has loved it.
  • You can make it for two or for twenty.
  • You can choose what to serve it with: noodles rice, over toast, with potatoes.
  • Prep time: 20 min
  • Cook time: 40 min
  • Ready in: 1 hour
  • Yields: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked and diced turkey meat
  • 2 cans Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1/2 pint of sour cream
  • Juice of one fresh lemon (about 3-4 T)
  • 1 package Ritz crackers
  • zest of lemon, optional

Instructions

  1. Mix the soup, lemon juice, optional lemon zest, and sour cream in a large bowl; add cooked turkey.
  2. Pour into oven-proof casserole dish.
  3. Crumble Ritz crackers (I use a rolling pin to crush them) and cover the top of the turkey mixture.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until heated throughout in a moderate oven. Heat at 325 degrees F.
  5. Serve over cooked noodles.
  6. Tips:
  7. Medium width egg noodle is good for getting the sauce along with the turkey in delicious forkfuls.
  8. Healthier substitutions for condensed soup include making a “white sauce” with chicken broth base.
  9. Thin down and create more sauce with a splash of milk before adding to the chicken.
  10. More calories? Pour a bit of melted butter over the cracker crumbs.
  11. Directions for white sauce if you find the condensed soup too processed for your taste. Good substitution for Cream of Chicken soup.

<h2″>You Will Love This Recipe

Suggested Variation and Sidedishes

Because this is a favorite of my family, I plan to freeze some ahead for the busy week before Christmas. It is an ideal casserole to make ahead and have ready to pull out of a freezer and heat up in the oven on a busy evening. Add some green beans or a salad, cook up noodles, and it is all ready in about 30 minutes.

____________

Sometimes I use the zest from the lemon to add a little more lemon flavor, and will often reduce the amount of sour cream and add a little milk to make a lighter sauce. This is a very forgiving recipe, and the sour cream could be completely replaced by yogurt for a much lighter version.

Elegant Buffet Dish for a Crowd

Like I said, this is good enough to serve for company buffets and get togethers. It looks special when served in sleek buffet dishes. The recipe is easily doubled for plenty of home-cooked goodness!
Cuisinart 7BSR-28 Stainless 11-Inch Round Buffet ServersCuisinart Stainless 11-Inch Round Buffet Servers

Because this recipe is ideal to make in large quantities to serve a crowd, this server is the ideal way to keep it warm. It is an exceptionally elegant way to serve the humble casserole.

The Artist Gift List, For Budding Creatives And Experienced Alike

Delightful Gifts for Artists

Pastels, brushes, and other art supplies
Pastels, brushes, markers… so much to choose from!

Maybe you are like me, or maybe this sounds like someone on your gift list :

One of the hardest things for me to come through on has been the promise I made to myself a number of years ago:

I determined I would once again create art.

Instead, it seems that all my time is spent writing, or cleaning house, or doing a hundred other things. I love writing about gardening, writing about art, writing about computer related things… but there is something about sitting down with some fresh art supplies and creating something with that media that is calming, restoring, and satisfying.

For a few years I have been collecting art supplies.

Here are is a collection of those I most want, if I don’t already have them.

Watch my additions, soon I will write about what I want to do with the paints, pencils, papers, etc.

This might be the ultimate procrastinator’s tale…. however, let this lens function as my wish list for art supplies, as well as my record of whether I actually follow through on the dream.

artistic sheep

Perhaps you have helpful hints that will motivate and inspire me to stop only writing about it and actually create a brick and mortar oeuvre. Just note them in the comments, and all of us artist wannabees will be grateful.

(Oh yes, included in this post are examples of inspiring art that is fun to look at, AND a number of informative videos.)

For presents, either birthday or Christmas, art supplies might be the perfect choice. Artistic people seem to constantly need resupplying.

Top Choices?

  • paper
  • sketching supplies
  • water soluble supplies
  • pans and palettes
Know your artist: that is the best bet for choosing presents well.

Little Rembrandts

Children benefit from all the things that encourage them to be creative. Basics are welcome. School supply lists can give you ideas, too.

Artist Paper – that stands up to water

childlike art

For watercolor or pen and inks, a paper that is strong enough to handle the water and hold its surface texture.

Pen Techniques and Supply Suggestions

Know Your Papers

Sketch pads are usually made for dry utensils like pencil or charcoal, but the intended use is listed on the description that is found on the front. when giving a gift for an artist, and you aren’t sure which is their favorite medium, use one that is suitable for a broad range.
Delta Wirebound Sketchbook 7x7
Stillman & Birn Delta Wirebound Sketchbook, Heavyweight 180lb, Ivory White, 25 Sheets, 7×7

Gorgeous heavyweight paper. archival quality multi-media paper. This is top of my own personal wishlist.

Your Talent

If you have a talent, use it in every which way possible. Don’t hoard it. Don’t dole it out like a miser. Spend it lavishly like a millionaire intent on going broke. – Brendan Francis

pen and ink
Pen nib photo by Charlotte L

Pen And Ink

Pen and ink was my forte in drawing. Working with it, alone and with watercolors, was the way I best expressed the art that resided in my mind. Later in life, encouraging my children to learn calligraphy meant giving up ownership to my pens. And while I do not regret that, since some of my girls developed real skills in calligraphic writing, I now find a desire for the high quality pens and inks that give the best results.

So guess what supplies are now high on my list? Yes, quill pens and inks.

I Love To Draw With Pen and Ink

I let my children have all my pens…. now, what about me?

Supplies For Pen And Ink Artists

  • Winsor and Newton India ink
  • Speedball Standard Point Dip Pen and Nibs
  • Faber-Castell Pitt Artist’s Pens
  • Strathmore Bristol Vellum Paper Pad

Pens and Watercolor Wash

watercolor art

What’s On The Artist Gift List?

This is the short list for gifts that I would be personally happy to receive, make your own for you or someone you know.

An adult Artist who loves watercolors and pen and ink. Also draws sketches with pencils.

  • Paper for pencil, also for watercolor work.
  • Derwent pencil set
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Winsor & Newton or Rembrandt watercolors

Art Gifts For Children

If I were buying a selection of child art supplies I would start out with a large sketchpad of drawing paper, a beginners set of pencils, including a gum eraser. Then I would add a small set of watercolors with some extra brushes (you always need more than one brush!), and a set of good markers.

Did you know that Mary Engelbreit started out with just markers to make her wonderful drawings? And look where she ended up- an Empire and a Career.

An Artist Easel

Dream of an easel
I like desk easels the best, but any easel helps to hold the paper and paints while working.

Royal & Langnickel 150-Piece All Media Easel Artist Set

All media easel set

Delightful start to getting ready to draw or paint, and easel keeps you art ready to work on, and provides the perfect space to keep your utensils handy.

Use It Or Lose It Is The Rule For Your Talents

If you (or giftee) are just starting out, be sure to check out the tutorial videos and the lists here. Slowly build your stock of supplies, but try to give free rein to your creativity.

There are times we waste by not using our paints. Let yourself liberally use the paint and papers, the pencils, the inks… don’t let them sit and languish.

For Those Who Paint

Each medium has its own set of techniques , brushes, and painting supplies. Which artist are you buying a gift for this year?

In Watercolor

  • Brushes, sable watercolor brushes or synthetic
  • Pan or tube paints
  • Palette or mixing pan
  • Watercolor paper pad

Traditional Oils

  • Titanium white, ivory black, cadmium red, permanent alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow light and cadmium yellow paints
  • Palette and palette knife
  • Turpentine or mineral spirits
  • linseed oil
  • canvas

Easy Acrylics

  • paper or canvas
  • paints in same colors as oils
  • acrylic brushes
  • palette and palette knife

Adult Coloring Books are Still Popular

A whole new world of Adult coloring books has opened up and colored pencils as well as crayons are used to give hours of peaceful meditative coloring.

Caran D'ache - Supracolor Watercolor Pencils - Set of 120

Caran D’Ache Color Pencil Set – Supracolor II Watercolor Pencil Set of 120 Assorted Colors

Yes, I want the WHOLE set of these fine watercolor pencils. I want to be able to take my watercolors wherever I go, and this will be perfect.

These work wonderfully for the new adult coloring books that are now available everywhere. Consider gifting someone with one of these pencil sets and a beautiful, intricately drawn coloring book.

Try Your Hand At Coloring

Here’s the how- to if you ever wondered why someone would love to sit and color.

Gift Ideas for Artists – Get your gift-giving creative juices flowing

There are many gifts that will make your artist happy! That is one of the things that makes this so much fun. It is easy to shop for artists when you don’t know what styles they prefer because you are supplying them with something they always need, will actually use, and they can create their own style.

When someone has been practiced in their craft, it does make sense to give quality supplies. You wouldn’t believe what a difference a well made paper or pigment produces in a finished piece.

Art Papers are always welcome

There are many types of papers for artists, but a basic sketchbook is always welcome. A good quality paper that will take a number of media is probably the best choice.

There are differing weights, whether they are suitable for wet medium (like watercolors), and differing component materials ( cotton, wood pulp, etc).

Luckily, most list on the cover or label which medium they are useful for, eliminating guesswork.

The art of painting
The art of painting

Strathmore Spiral Toned Sketch Book 5.5"X8.5"-Gray 50 Sheets
Strathmore (412-105 400 Series Toned Gray Sketch Pad, 5.5″x8.5″, 50 Sheets

Please, please, I wish for this gray toned paper sketchbook by Strathmore. It will be the perfect paper for pro look sketches that pop from the page. Super inspirational for an artist.

Save and Display Your Child’s Art

Display case is such a cool gift idea
Display case is such a cool gift idea

My daughter-in-law uses this for displaying my grandchild’s masterpieces. It is a beautiful frame- such a great idea!

Children’s Gifts, And Those for Moms

Giving children art supplies of some sort is almost always welcome. Level of interest makes the sorting out of whether we get coloring books, markers and crayons, or oil paints, brushes, and canvas.

For moms- ways to organize and display the resulting art sparks many ideas for appropriate presents.

  • a wall-hung case
  • a metal wire with clips (I saw this idea at Ikea)
  • decorative magnets strong enough to hold artwork onto frig or magnetic board

Brushes and Pens

If you know that the artist on your gift list paints in a certain medium or loves to create pen and ink drawings (Zentangle, anyone?), then gifting a great set of brushes or new pen nibs or inks is a very thoughtful thing to give.

Good quality is always appreciated, and to be considered much more than quantity. In other words, one bottle of excellent quality ink is better chosen than five bottles of less expensive, and thus less dependable inks.

This is why it pays ot now a little about the person. Young artists who are beginning to experiment might be the exception to this rule.

Why?

Beginners should feel free to use the supplies and not worry about mistakes. That is why pads of paper are always welcome, too. Plenty of room to practice and perfect their art. This is th ecase in which a gift of less expensive quality, but greater quantities are welcome.

Paint Brush Set Acrylic Xpassion 10pcs Professional Paint Brushes Artist for Watercolor Oil Acrylic PaintingPaint Brush Set Acrylic Xpassion 10pcs Professional Paint Brushes Artist for Watercolor Oil Acrylic Painting

Which Brush for Acrylics?

This video will explain it all for you. Very helpful if you are faced with an array of choices and aren’t sure which to choose.

Are You an Artist? – What do you use?

What is your medium of choice?

  • pen and ink
  • watercolors
  • acrylic paints
  • oil paints
  • clay sculpture
  • graphic computer art
  • pencil sketching
  • oil pastels
  • charcoal
  • markers
  • collage findings

Another gift idea besides the art supplies would be lessons, either with a teacher or online. So many courses are available that are fun and easy. My son loved taking a class with others that resulted in an easy to accomplish oil painting to take home. Look for these which are often offered locally.

My Daughter Uses Mine, The Wacom Drawing Tablet


 

This is the way I create most of my art- with graphics software and a graphic tablet. The Wacom pen tablet is on your graphics artist wishlist, believe me!

Computer Graphics

Not all artists use hardcopy paper. Increasingly there are very fine pictures produced with software graphics.

When it is time to invest in something like a pen tablet, it may be out of budget for a young artists, particularly if they are trying to improve the quality of their chosen software. Buying Adobe Photoshop or other Creative programs leaves little room for the peripherals.

That is why this may be one of the best choices, if you know they have it on their wishlist. Wacom makes several types according to the output desired. Art, Photo, Comic?

Artist Drawing Board – When it is fun to go back to the drawing board!

Studio Designs 10050 Futura Craft Station, Silver/Blue Glass

Wow, someone is so lucky and going to be so happy this year when they go back to the drawing board. Especially a sleek high style one like this.

I have a cheap drawing board, but this is the one I really want. It is a beautiful piece of furniture that really WORKS for an artist.

How Many of You Are Like Me?

drawing

Do you have talents you let go dormant?

 

  • I have talents, but I don’t have time
  • I have talents, but don’t have supplies and tools (or instruments)
  • I am unsure if I have talents
  • I secretly believe I have a talent, but I am afraid I will fail
  • I have been pursuing and developing my talents
  • I’ll think about this another day

 

Wherever you are on the spectrum, think about going into the coming year armed with all the supplies you need to accomplish your artistic dreams. Or help make that happen for the artist on your list.

If I were buying a gift for an artist that primarily created in pen and ink, watercolor, or colored pencils, I would choose a large kit.

A younger artist still experimenting with what they like, or someone who primarily works in sculpture, collage, or oil painting, would probably appreciate a smaller kit. Just see whether they liked the medium before investing lots of money in it.

An Ingenious Paint Accessory, the Masterson Sta-Wet Palette

I want one now. I have canvases, I have acrylics. I used to paint with tempera and watercolors, and occasionally oil paints, but have never actually used acrylic paints very much. I think it would suit me best to work with them… and I love the description of the palette.
My own method for keeping paints usable is to cover them with Saran wrap, but this is far superior for the purpose!


Sta-Wet Palette Keeps Paints Fresh For Days With Airtight Lid.

Pressed Flowers Can Make Pictures

I’ve always admired Penny Black’s pressed flower art, so I could start making my own supplies for that, couldn’t I?
Unusual maybe, but if an artist likes to use mixed media, and often incorporates natural elements into their work, a flower press, along with an inspirational book of ideas could be an inspiring and welcome gift.

pressed flower art
Pressed flower art

Penny Black’s the Book of Cards and Collages

Art supplies are not only pens and pencils, or paints, brushes, and papers, they might also be such things as pressed flowers or found objects. Creating collage is one pursuit that many have found relaxing and expressive.

When I read Penny Black’s book on pressed flower pictures, it really opened my eyes to the possibilities of using such materials in creating art. Simpler uses make wonderful crafts for cards, too. Bits and bobs of buttons and lace are well known to scrapbookers for the way a collage can be created with the most ordinary of throwaway objects. We just have to use our imagination!

The first virtue of a painting is that it be a feast for the eyes. -Eugene Delacroix

Beauty Appliances for Aging Gracefully

Facial Steamers

When I was a young woman I regularly used a facial steamer. It lasted me for many years… Until one of my teenagers rendered it unusable (don’t ask me how! I have no idea).

I recently decided it was time to begin facial steaming again.

Years ago, it was a Conair brand that served me well. Now I wished for some updated features.

In my research into reviews, the “KINGDOMCARES NanoSteamer” came up regularly. I like the features, although it came with a few negatives. Comments such as ” water reservoir was too small”, or complaints about plastic odor were offputting.

Pure Daily Care Nanosteamer

It was a close runner up to the one I have decided to purchase which is the “Pure Daily Care Nanosteamer“. Two features tipped the balance:

  1. Long running time (up to 30 minutes)
  2. Towel warming feature

This steamer comes with a bonus (extraction tools), but that did not weigh into my decision. It was named in the short lists for a number of recommended steamers, although never as #1 choice; Panasonic brand rated more highly, but was twice the price.

This appliance’s moderate price was a factor for me.

I would have liked the addition of aromatherapy features, but decided the quality of the steam, reliability of machine outweighs that addition of having essential oils at this time.

Most all of the steamers recommend using distilled water to reduce calcium buildup. Many customers of different brands reported problems if they used oils or tap water water. For aromatherapy, it seems best to use an appliance specifically for that purpose.

Lighted Magnifying Mirrors

My mother always had magnifying mirrors, so this was not new for me. What was new is the revelation of how important a lighted mirror with good magnification would be for aging eyes.

In a guest bathroom, a whole new view was revealed when I saw myself in a lighted 10X Vanity mirror. Hairs to pluck! Skin texture to exfoliate!

I knew it was time to order a mirror, and I knew which features I wanted:

  • high magnification
  • lighting
  • with a cord
  • one with good reviews

I ended up with two mirrors, one ordered from Amazon, and one my husband picked up at Costco. Read my comparisons here.

Conair Oval Vanity Mirror

After much research I bought a Conair brand mirror that had less magnification, but better looks. Initially, I wasn’t as happy with my choice, but after use it has proved its assets.

 

 

This is the exact one I bought. I love the Satin Nickel finish. It is a very good looking mirror, and the lighting is pleasing. At first I felt the 7X was not strong enough magnification, but I believe this is one of the best mirrors to buy after a couple months of actually using it.

The Costco Mirror

I am less happy with this one. It was very economical ( which is why my husband bought it), but it has a buzz that is unpleasant when the light is on. The lighting is also very harsh and bothers my eyes. The 10X is useful, and I do use the mirror, but the glass quality seems lacking.

It is definitely a case of “you get what you pay for”.

Why Have Beauty Appliances?

In this time of life when my major goal is “divesting”, it is fair to ask why I am buying more appliances. I’ve done fine without them for so long…. why now?

For the mirrors, my aging eyes have had increasing trouble seeing my face for beauty regimens, including putting on makeup. The magnifying mirror with good light is a necessity. More important than a hairdryer, for me.

The steamers serve more than one purpose, and these things have to do with luxury and comfort. In a way, it is also more economical to give myself a facial than to spend extra on spa services.  The steamers are good for home health, since they moisturize the air and skin.

So what appliances do you now feel are necessities for you? One of these or something else? Leave a comment to tell me about your favorites.

Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin, Dinner Holiday Menu

beef tenderloin

Christmas Dinner At My House

christmas dinner

Every year, and it is my hope to continue, it is our tradition to have a big family meal together on Christmas Eve.

We keep certain foods on our menu because they are something that say “Christmas” to us in a special way, but we also change around the menu occasionally to include new dishes for excitement.

I want to share some of the foods we love with you, and the menus we have enjoyed as a family.

Sharing the holiday meal together is one of the most treasured ways we have celebrated Christmas.

Toys break, sweaters get stretched out and worn, games are forgotten in a drawer, but memories of enjoying a special meal stay woven within our hearts. Foods that create a part of a celebration together are an important part of that experience.

Dream Of An Old Time Christmas?

Memorable recipes are a time honored way to create a special experience that combines tradition, nostalgic memories, and fresh new excitement into your celebration.

The act of sitting around a table that is decked out in a beautiful setting is quite an unusual thing for many of us. Making it simple, special, and homey recalls old time ways of gathering family together for a memorable meal.

Eating Our Christmas Dinner
pear/pomegranate salad
Our first course fo pear/pomegranate salad.

A Festive Christmas Menu

While it is my favorite for Christmas Eve dinner, consider this meal for special times from New Years Ever to Valentines day, and beyond. Anytime you wish to have something to impress your family and guests.
Simply customize the serving amounts.

So what’s on the menu this year?

  • Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin
  • German style fingerling potatoes
  • Pear and Pomegranate Salad
  • For Dessert: purchased cream puffs and warm fudge sauce
  • Cardamom Rolls

(The Cardamom roll recipe is long, and it takes some time to make, but it is worth it. I’ve had it online with other Christmas recipes I make….)

Why Choose Beef Tenderloin for the Main Course?

Tenderloin is very easy to cook

An expensive cut of meat, but we only have it once a year! An expensive cut of meat, but we only have it once a year!

I know this cut of meat is costly, but if you remember that it is boneless, easy to fix (hard to mess up), and everyone loves it… you might want to consider it as your Christmas dinner menu centerpiece.

It is usually accompanied with a cranberry relish for Christmas, but I sometimes skip that dish , depending on the rest of the menu.

We always have a fruit and a green salad. A side dish of potatoes, sweet potatoes, or noodles is usual; and we always always have the Cardamom rolls that I make only for Christmas Eve.

 

Follow the link for Cardamom Rolls.

Or learn more about the spice, All About Cardamom.[/one_half_last]

 

Holiday plate
Holiday colors

Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin

This has become our family’s all-time favorite, and the entrée I now make for Christmas dinner. One of the things I like about it is the ease and relatively short cooking time involved.

Make Ahead Tip

The roast can be seasoned and refrigerated up to 4 hours before roasting.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp. fennel seed, ground
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, freshly cracked
  • 2 -1/2- to 3-lb. beef tenderloin roast, with excess fat trimmed
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. How to make…
  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, rosemary, fennel seed, salt, and pepper. Stir to make a paste.
  4. Pat the beef dry with paper towels and rub the paste all over the surface of the meat. If necessary, tie the roast at 1-1/2-inch intervals.
  5. Put the roast on a rack on a small, rimmed baking sheet or in a shallow roasting pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center reads 120 °F for rare, 125 ° to 130 °F for medium rare,or 135 °F for medium, 40 to 50 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, mustard, and lemon juice. Season lightly with salt to taste.
  7. Transfer the roast to a carving board (preferably with a well for collecting juices) and let it rest, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes before carving it into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve the beef, passing the mustard sauce at the table.
  8. The original recipe was from Fine Cooking magazine.
  9. ————–
  10. I found it difficult to locate the ground fennel, and ended up using a spice grinder to grind up the fennel seeds, myself. since I was able to find containers of Devon cream in the store I used that to replace the crème fraîche.
Crème Fraiche

1 ½ cups whipping cream

4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) buttermilk

Combine cream and buttermilk in a jar with tight fitting lid. Shake well for 2 or 3 minutes. Let stand at warm room temperature for at least 24 hours. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Besides being used for the beef:

Use it as a dessert topping, too. Very good added to vinegar and oil dressings. Delicious over fresh fruit and berries.

How To Cook A Beef Tenderloin

If you have never prepared this roast for a meal before, you may gain confidence from viewing the how-to video.

German-style Fingerling Potatoes

German style fingerling potatoes
This is an easy recipe to make, for something a bit more involved, but extremely tasty, try Fine Cooking’s Glazed Fingerling Potato Salad with Pancetta and Warm Mustard Vinaigrette. This was the original recipe I used;  if you have the time it is excellent with the beef.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30-40 minutes

Serves: 6 (6 cups)

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. halved fingerling potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp.olive oil
  • 3 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • a little chopped parsley
  • bacon can be substituted for the proscuitto

Instructions

  1. Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water over medium high heat until almost tender, 5 to 8 minutes, drain.
  2. Sauté prosciutto in oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat until crisp, 5 minutes -or the bacon cut into pieces. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Return pan back to burner, add vinegar and sugar and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Add potatoes, simmer 4 to 5 minutes, then stir in prosciutto (bacon bits), add parsley, season with salt and pepper. Garnish with scallions.

Pear and Pomegranate Salad

– Refreshing, Colorful, and Easy

pear pomegranate salad
Pear-Pomegranate salad

This is one of my all time favorites. It is fancy looking with its creamy white pears, ruby red pomegranate seeds, and deep pink syrup sauce, yet quite simple.

Ingredients

  • 3 pears thinly sliced – two red pears and one Asian
  • 1 pomegranate seeded
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds (optional)
  • 4 sprigs fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)
  • dark green lettuce leaves

Instructions

  1. Place the sliced pears and pomegranate seeds into a bowl.
  2. Toss with lemon juice to coat.
  3. Combine the brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a small cup or bowl, then mix into the fruit.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to blend the flavors.
  5. Serve in individual dishes on a bed of lettuce greens, and garnish with a sprinkling of sliced almonds with a sprig of mint
  • Cook time: 20 min
  • Ready in: 20 min

Whole Green Beans – Simply delicious

  • 3/4 lb whole green beans
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard

Instructions

fancy whole green beans
fancy whole green beans
  1. Fill a bowl with ice water.
  2. Cook beans in a large pot of salted boiling water just until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain beans and transfer to ice water. Drain well in a colander and pat dry.
  3. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté beans with mustard and salt and pepper to taste, stirring, until heated through, about 4 minutes.

Recipe from Epicurious which is closest to how I make these simple green beans.

Pioneer Woman Talks about Holiday Foods

Some of my best holiday recipes and serving ideas have come from special holiday cookbooks. They are inspirational and come in a wide variety of cuisines to cater to every tradition and taste.

Once I found a set of menus that my family really enjoyed we rotated them through the years. We always seem to have a few things that we can’t do without for our holiday repast… usually the sweet potatoes and Waldorf salad (and of course, my Cardamom rolls).

Christmas Holiday Cookbooks


Christmas Entertaining (Williams-Sonoma)

This is a book of inspirations for all types of holiday meals and party fare. It includes the menus plus the decorating ideas and everything needed to make it a time to remember.

How to decorate the table festively and work plans to make everything happen without a hitch.

Holiday Settings – Festive Table Trimmings

Christmas Oldtime Dinner

Whether it is a few hand-picked pieces or an entire set of china dedicated to the trimmings of the season, it really brightens the table setting to have plates or serving pieces with iconic Christmas trees, bright ribbons, or snow scenes. Spode and Lennox are just a few of the companies which are famous for Yuletide dinnerware designs.

My sister has a complete set of dinnerware for the season, while I tend to pick up bowls and platters from after Christmas sales. They add a cheering note of pretty color to my all-white stoneware. When fixing a special meal like beef tenderloin, this servingware really showcases the special foods, economically.

Christmas table setting
Christmas table setting

 

Pretty dishes that are perfect for holiday dinners make the table part of the annual tradition. I always loved to see certain cups and dishes that were reserved for special family times on my grandmother’s table.

Spode Christmas Tree 12-Piece Dinnerware Set, Service for 4

Spode Christmas Tree 12-Piece Dinnerware Set, Service for 4

Set a festive table with this fine dinnerware perfect for the Christmas season. Made by one of the best names in fine pottery.

 

Not Christmas Yet?

 

When first writing this, it was far from Christmas time. For Christmas aficionados I know no apologies are necessary. Some people (like me!) are only too delighted for an excuse to plan the upcoming Christmas celebration.

Originally published by Ilona Erwin on 05/10/11

Create a Memory with a Gingerbread House

simple gingerbread house

Christmas season is upon us, and one of the delightful things about this season is the many opportunities it holds for making lasting good memories.

Christmastime gingerbread houses
Two handmade gingerbread houses

Gingerbread House Memories

Creating a gingerbread house is one traditional, and super fun way to pull in many of our favorite things: the delicious aroma of the gingerbread, the visions of sugarplums in the form of applied candies, creating things in miniature. It is whimsical, homey, and has a touch of fantasy all at once.

The amount of time and work involved depends solely on the choice of the maker, nowadays. We once had to bake all the gingerbread parts and assemble them carefully, but today with the many kits available it is quick and simple.

Of course, the kits are lacking in the creativity and detail of expert bake and craft mavens, but their easiness and convenience make a premier craft activity for children.

My mother and I made some of the home baked gingerbread houses in my youth. I still remember decorating upside down cones with icing and candies for the Christmas trees outside the house. We used “Necco” candies for roof tiles… it was quite an undertaking! But you see, here I am, a sixty something grandmother, with vivid and happy memories of that Christmas project of long ago.

Kits Make It Easy

More recently, when the grandchildren were here, I had purchased a kit for them to do up in the manner they wished. Everything was included and the work was quick, which suited the schedule and their attention spans. The result was no piece of artwork, but it was immense fun!

I plan to do the same this year. They can take more time, but for the short time they are here, the simplicity of a ready-made kit is ideal.

There are so many options, from plain cookie and icing ones available at Ikea to more traditional ones from Wilton online, or at most Walmart stores. I see them offered in many stores!

Of course, if you plan to eat your project, I would definitely make them from scratch.  There used to be a page online that was the most complete set of directions. I have a recipe and edited some of the instructions included with it for making your own from scratch.

gingerbread house
Gingerbread
Print Recipe
gingerbread house
Gingerbread
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. TO MIX GB DOUGH: Pour melted Crisco into mixer bowl. Let cool slightly; add sugar and Karo, blending well. Add eggs, mixing all until smooth and creamy. Add salt, baking soda and spices into mixture and begin to add flour, just a little at a time. Knead the flour in when dough becomes too stiff for the mixer. DON'T HURRY THIS STEP! Continue adding as much flour as the dough will absorb.
  2. TO ROLL OUT DOUGH: Lightly grease baking pans. Roll the dough out, lay pattern pieces on, and cut the desired shapes. Leave a 1" space between each piece so they won't bake together. Remove the excess dough and the pattern pieces.
  3. WINDOWS: Must be cut before baking. You can add crushed hard candy for "a stained glass look." Use "sour ball" candies. Crush them with a hammer before unwrapping the pieces. If pieces bake together, cut them apart immediately after removing from oven, while house parts are still hot and soft. Bake house pieces at 375 degrees for 5-8 minutes. Pieces should not brown. Again, slide the cardboard back under the foil to remove the baked house pieces from the oven. Cool on flat surface.
Recipe Notes

ASSEMBLY: To "glue" house together

1. Use a very sturdy tray or 2-3 cardboards to set the house on. Cover cardboard with FDA foil or white freezer paper!.
Three 14" round cardboards together work well for this size house.
2. Using #5 tip in decorator bag, back of house first; pipe out icing on each side-edge of back. Stand the back house piece up and place one side at a time against the back of house. Prop with cans of soup, etc, if it doesn't stay firmly together. Or hold it for a few moments, until house feels like it is staying together.
3. Place icing up the front edges of standing sides. Add house front section. Let dry for 10-15 minutes, then add roof and chimney.
4. Decorate with desired candies using royal icing to hold decorations on.
5. Do "landscaping" last. Let dry and store covered away from dust.

Christmas Ornament Cookies

Before baking the cookie, use a straw to punch a hole to tie a string through. Add the string before baking.
"TREES" can be added on the "lawn" made of ice cream cones, decorating tip #67 or 352. While icing is still wet, sprinkle on multi-colored sugar decorations.
Window shutters for the house can be of gingerbread or candies. Sugar wafer cookies also make nice shutters.

Put a Light in It?

A single tiny light bulb on a chord - the type ceramics shops have - can be inserted through a hole in the bottom of the cardboard your house sits on. This hole must be cut before assembly.

*recipes and directions from Dolores Inlow McCann. Her wonderful site is gone, but her helpful hints remain.

Share this Recipe

Whether you decide to make your own cookie construction in your kitchen, or assemble a simple store bought one, this is a wonderful activity to add some priceless memories this Christmas.

 

Gingerbread House

Christmastime gingerbread houses

Use this icing recipe to construct Gingerbread house and decorate with candies.

RECIPE FOR ROYAL ICING

Beat together:
1 1/2 cup Warm water
12 Tb. Meringue powder
Add:
4 lb. Powdered sugar
1 tsp. Almond extract

Beat until icing loses it’s shine and stands in peaks.
Beat water and meringue powder until frothy. Add as much p. sugar as necessary. Continue beating until icing stands in peaks. Color as desired.
Icing should not be stiff or house will not hold together as long. Add more water to thin the icing if necessary.
Makes enough for 2-3 houses. Can half recipe.
ROYAL ICING NOTES:
Icing will keep about 2 weeks unrefrigerated or may be stored in fridge for months. Seal very tightly so that it doesn’t harden into lumps. (Tupperware or similar container is very good container)
Requires heavy-duty table mixer*
Any bit of oil will cause this icing to become soupy and unusable.
Icing should not be stiff or GB houses fall apart a lot sooner!
You might want to add 1/4 ts Cream of Tartar for additional icing strength.

The Prettiest Nail Polish Trends

Who doesn’t like pretty nails?

A woman’s love for shoes is well known, but what about the beauty of those feet inside the shoes? The finishing touch for a pedicure, the toes peeking out from sandals, and otherwise unadorned feet on the beach all deserve a little attention that comes from pretty polish.

Top Trends for Spring

In spring and summer those sandals shod or otherwise bare feet are on full display.

FOR fall/winter 2017

During the winter season, hands take center stage with bling, deep color, contrasts, and matte looks..

What colors are trendy? Which ones are classic? Nothing is easier to change and experiment with than nail polish.

So I thought I’d gather together a few of the thousands of choices available.

Whether you give yourself a home pedicure, or book a professional salon, these are the colors and looks to get for this year.

Trends

My Favorite Nail Polish Color

What is your favorite manicure style?

photo by lloria
photo by lloria

Trendy Colors

What’s The Newest Fashion?

For 2016, gray and metal have gone to chrome. Ombre is taking the Pantone duo of Serenity blue and Rose quartz and mixed them one into the other. Yellow appears for spring.

Going into fall, matte looks and geometrics with bling are on trend. Take the ombre idea and make it matte with your fav wardrobe colors.

~~~~~~~~~

2015…

There are always seasonal changes, deeper colors for fall/winter and lighter ones for spring/summer, but what about fashion forward trends?

The buzz: BLUES are big. For 2015, it was cobalt, specifically. Freshen up your blues with this strong color that fairly sings (like a bluebird?). It will make you feel happy.

Autumnal shades are also a beautiful look. Try them in sheers or marbled looks.

Then there is the true gray color that has the same effect as the Gothic black (which is still popular), but looking newer.

For Spring?

Look for pinks, gray and neutrals, pastels on a sheer base for an almost nude look.

found on topteny.com
found on topteny.com

Lots Of Matte Look

Some say adding eye shadow or cornstarch to polish gives you the effect. For 2016, it is back to black

Tantalized?

These were the Top Ten looks for 2016:

  1. Navy with sparkles
  2. Milky white, Creamy Beige opaques
  3. Unusual French Nail Colors
  4. Nail art.
  5. Silver Metallics
  6. Apple Red
  7. Seafoam Green
  8. Glitter
  9. Gloss finishes
  10. Geometric and Abstract designs

For 2017: Keep the Navy, Get Edgier With the Art

Found on wewomen.com: this deep blue was popular for 2015. Update the design with vintage or geometric asymmetry.
Found on wewomen.com: this deep blue was popular for 2015. Update the design with vintage or geometric asymmetry.

Past Looks, Which Will Stay?

How it looks in 2016:

Gorgeous Red takes on a pure red apple look.

Nail Art goes to the art museums for abstracts, 3D, and geometrics.

Nudes with flat beige.

Marbled went to “Oil Slick”.

Compare this years spring looks with the slightly weird stuff of 2014

For 2015: Gorgeous Red…. Dreamy Creamsicle Orange…. Super Natural…. Ballet Pink….

Get the picture? Classic reds, chic corals, soft pastels, and nudes are 2012’s colors. For 2013, the reds are tempered with art effects: half moon, racing stripes, and blood dripping art.

Get with 2015 and use sheer colors, tribal or marbled painted look. Or sophisticated gold stripe across every nail.

Nudes which are strongly blush pink and milk white, nail art.

Black is still strong …Pearl effects …Skin matching …Racing Stripes … the verdict is IN.

New Looks

Pantone’s color of the year: Rose Quartz

Blues are navy.

Grays are charcoal.

Greens are seafoam.

Reds are apple.

Matte is Strong for 2016/17

DKNY matte nails
DKNY matte nails

Green Tips

green nail tips
Monique Lhuillier, IMAXTREE

French Manicure – Is Back! But Different

The look of a French Manicure is classic and elegant. A natural colored nail with a white tip that is given a satin glaze.

The History of the French Manicure

Some stories tell it that Max Factor invented today’s “French Manicure” in the 1930s for Hollywood stars. It is one of the most requested nail designs.

This polish style had fallen out of favor with fashionistas, and the natural nail or black nail replaced it. The variation of the “American nail” with an off-white tip is considered more fashionable than stark white tips, today. And this is the basic way it has re-emerged.

For some, it was always be the favorite choice, and they will be happy this year.

The newest way to use a French nail look is with the edge stripe in pastels of green, blue, or pink. Fantastic art effects can also be found.

In 2016

It takes a new tack: tips are done in color. Emerald green made an appearance…

Give yourself a manicure?

The Frugal Way To Be Fashionable

Gather together:

  • Pack of cotton balls
  • Paper towels / Makeup removal pads
  • Nail polish remover
  • Nail polish
  • Emery board
  • Nail trimmer
  • Cuticle remover

LUSH has some of the most delicious products that are good for you and smell heavenly.

  1. Soak hands in warm soapy water
  2. Remove Nail Polish
  3. Trim your nails
  4. File your Nails
  5. Remove Cuticles
  6. Apply 2 Coats Nail Polish
  7. Apply Lotion


A paraben-free formula with 14 natural oils including Jojoba oil, Almond oil, Evening Primrose oil and now Argan oil and Borage oil. Zeva creates this luxurious emollient in a convenient pen applicator.

Keep your cuticles cared for – These are the best beauty buys for nails

Reading the advice of top manicure experts, you will no doubt come across recommendations for the best nail care products. The implements and time saving ways to keep your nails in top form. Take some time to look over these selected nail care products for gift ideas or to give your own nails the care they deserve.

Best way to Accessorize?

Cute manicures and pedicures!


Sanitation Is Important

At home, but especially when using a salon, remember to keep implements clean and sanitized for good foot health.

When was the last time you had your nails done?

Maybe its time to get a pretty pedicure

Maybe you are like me and tend to forget about your nails until there is a special event… like a wedding or a vacation where you will wear sandals, and you think, “Oh no, I need to do something for my nails!” Now, with all the pretty nail polish colors available, and the relaxing experience of a pedicure or a manicure, maybe it is time to put an appointment with a salon on your schedule a little more often. It isn’t a big thing, or an expensive thing, but the time spent grooming and painting your nails can add a little good feeling into your day.

photo by Multiple fragments of tissue
photo by “Multiple fragments of tissue”

More than just a chance to pamper yourself, it can be a part of your health regimen. Cleaning with proper cutting and clipping of the nails can prevent ingrown toenails and infections. This is doubly important if you suffer from a condition like diabetes. If you opt for the professional pedicure or manicure, a massage is often included which improves the blood circulation.

Probably the most important concern is not the choice of a pretty polish color, but of the sanitation practices of the salon. You can always bring your own polish color, but the conditions of the facility is far more important for the health of your feet.

Body Toolz Deluxe Manicure/Pedicure Kit

Blue – Can still be found, but the newest trend is Navy

Pretty Colors From OPI

Love their colors, their quality, but admitting that their whimsical color names have something to do with it,too!

Look for blushy pinks, matte neutrals, and bold metallics

Try their “local” color collections: Hawaii, San francisco, New Orleans…

Best Colors in a Mini Collection


No need for a big bite out of your budget when you want to experiment with the trends in nail color.

Small sizes of polish give clear opportunity to try out a look before spending money.

Prettiest summer colors including trends of the right red and the new green.

Vintage Trends through the Years

Polished with Color or Natural? – Which manicure would you opt for?

Which do you think is better? Polished or natural nails?

How to Manicure Your Nails

When Only Sexy Deep Red Will Do – A dark red nail may be the classic sultry look

Oxblood is still IN. You might want to step up the brightness to an Apple red for summer and in keeping with the latest fashion looks.

What if you want to go lighter, but still give your nails a rich color? The color of the year is “Rose Quartz”, which is a dusty pink. Consider giving it some glitter or opal effect.

A color that will take you far this summer is the new beige or a charcoal gray.

Take a look at your wardrobe colors and pick a trend that is a versatile harmony with the colors you will be wearing this summer.

Gypsy Style Belly Dancer, Costuming and Gift Ideas

I took bellydance lessons and performed, then became interested in costume. The historical relationship of dance and culture is fascinating. Let’s examine the way we think they look, with swirling skirts and ethnic jewelry.

Discover Gypsy’s performance art and their colorful costuming, then borrow the look for your own, for performance or Halloween dress-up.

Gypsy Dance, Colorful Costumes, Fiery Passion

A Gypsy Garb

We call them “Gypsies”, they call themselves “Roma” or “Rom”.  They are a colorful people with a long history, who inspire a romantic view and enrich our cultures with their costume, crafts and dance. The first part of this post looks at the way we can put together a costume with Gypsy flavor; secondly, it is filled with gift ideas for the dancer in your life; winding up with examples of the styles of costume and dance.

This is a brief look at how their dance influences other cultures and costuming, because we all know that it is a favorite look whenever there is a costume party!

Picture Yourself

Immediately we think of a wild melange of color, but what are the essential elements?

Depending on which shape-shifting variation you wish to present:

  • Belly dancer…
  • Eastern European …
  • Flamenco dancer

Why Put Together This Style Costume?

If you attend Renaissance Fairs, take part in dance performances, (or that most loved time for dressing up) attend Halloween events, the costume ideas are all valuable.

Each of these occasions call for one of the variations of this highly identifiable outfit.

Whether it is for your own dance performance or for the classic Halloween costume, “The Gypsy” look is fun to put together. The common denominator is plenty of flash and color.

Costume Ideas from Gypsy Dancers All Over the World

The Quintessential Coif: Long Dark Hair and a Scarf

What do you think of when picturing a gypsy? Long black hair warn loosely, a bright scarf to wrap it up and gold coin jewelry.

What do you think of when picturing a gypsy? Long black hair warn loosely, a bright scarf to wrap it up and gold coin jewelry.

Don’t have the long dark hair that is a signature style for under the bandana? Simply use a wig, many dancers do. If you find the idea of extensions too troublesome and costly, especially if just wanting to costume for a single event like Halloween, use an inexpensive wig just for the purpose.

Common Elements of this Mode of Costume

  • The jewelry: hoops, bangles, strands of beads, coin decorated scarves.
  • Scarves: for head and hip, and over the shoulder, as well
  • Skirts: full and colorful, combining prints and bright colors in a uniquely individual way.
  • Boots, high heels, stylish footwear, if possible. Take your pick.
  • Blouse that is full and feminine- peasant style.

Put Together Your Own Version

Gypsies brought their culture to many countries

Gypsies brought their culture to many countries

Gypsy-Style D-I-Y Ensemble

Many parts of belly dance garb have been lifted from the wardrobe of performing Gypsies. The intention was to draw attention and impress with vivid and spectacular design. This makes for an impressive performance.

Except for real gold jewelry, it doesn’t take much wealth to produce an eye catching outfit.

Anyone wanting to make a splash in their Halloween plans can borrow these costume ideas. It isn’t hard to put together this ensemble.

Nowadays, we don’t need real gold to create shine and sparkle, anyway. There are plenty of costume jewelry choices: chandelier earrings, strands of golden metal and beads, fake coins, and ethnic looks.

Add them to beautiful skirts and blouses, and further outfit with heeled boots.

Voila! You’re done, with a more or less authentic look that brings theatre onto the scene.

Skirt Style and Accessories: Get the Look

  • Whether short or long, a skirt that flares and swirls is part of the traditional gypsy look.
  • Tiers of colored ruffles or one skirt over another, with the outer one hiked up to reveal the underskirt.
  • A full peasant blouse, sometimes with a wide neckline. Sometimes a bolero vest.
  • Set off the waist with a hip scarf or wide belt.
  • A headscarf and big hoop earrings. tie on bandana style
  • Bling, bling, bling when it comes to necklaces and bangle bracelets.
  • Dangling earrings bring more bling

Performance Costuming

Most of the bellydance performance bras and belts can be quite expensive, and must fit exactly, but there are plenty of stretchy and adjustable tops, and hip scarves that will work for almost any size. Look for those to give as a gift- they will be very welcome as most of the time a belly dancer spends dancing is practicing in a studio or at home.

While any dance-wear works, those with fringes and coins make the dance more fun and help visualize he way the movements look.

Fringed Coin Bra Top


Gift Idea

This is the ideal gift- a practice or tribal performance coin decorated top. Enough fringe to accentuate those important rolls and drops.

Any belly dancer would love this for an authentic feel when practicing and doing classes and rehearsals.

Dance Photographer – Brendan Lally

Gifts Ideas for your Favorite Belly Dancer

It is easy to shop for someone who discovers belly dance, they have all sorts of costuming and makeup ideas they want to try. But maybe it isn’t quite as easy for you to figure just what thrills the heart of a student of Oriental dance, and that is what this lens is for… to open the world of Middle Eastern souks, the exciting accessories of the look of the Orient, and suggest the perfect gift choices for a Belly Dancer.

It can be a birthday, it can be Christmas, or any special holiday that you wish to use to shower a dancer in a show of appreciation. With these suggestions you are sure to find something that thrills a special someone who loves to shake and shimmy to her favorite Raqs Sharqi music.

The Key To A Great Gift Choice

That is what a woman wants: to feel beautiful and cared for.

Find out what those key things are and you know what to give as a gift she will remember. As well as your thoughtfulness.

For a woman who enjoys the Baladi dance form, part of the fun is the feminine way it makes them feel, including the chance to dress up and use exotic makeup. Exploring other cultures through the music, and even a bit of the history is part of the entire experience.

Clue into these things and you will have a treasure trove of ideas that will make the perfect gift, unlike any others.

Jewelry Is Always A Welcome Addition

For dancing performance or anytime she wishes to dress up, there are some fun costume jewelry ideas here. There are lots of different styles – some with coins, silver tone, gold tone, some that totally different … but all are fun and add sparkle.

For any woman on your list, jewelry might be a safe bet for a welcomed and enjoyed gift, but the Belly Dancer is just a little bit different.

She not only likes lots of jewelry, she adores the sparkly, kind that is strung with coins, and makes a great show when she moves.

That is why eye-catching items such as slave bracelets, Cleopatra bib necklaces, and chandelier earrings are favorites. If you really want to get the perfect gift of costume adornments, check the colors of her favorite outfits to see if gold or silver are the metal color for her.

Gift Inspirations

  • Tribal jewelry is always welcome, because it can be used anytime. Artful and fun, tribal jewelry gives any outfit a unique and fashionable look. Ebay is the perfect place to pick up great pieces that any belly dance aficionado would love.
  • Chandelier earrings, bib necklaces, armbands, all these types of jewelry are used to give an exotic flavor to an outfit, or in a dance performance.
  • Spa gift cards are guaranteed to make most women happy, but especially when a dancer wants to look her best. Manicures, pedicures, facials, even a massage is a great way to give a gift that will be appreciated.
  • There is always room for one more coin hip scarf!
  • Dance wear for practice and workouts can be a unique gift.
  • Belly dance slippers
  • A 3.5 yard length of silk for a dance veil, hem the ends and it is a beautiful gift. Great for all sizes.

Fabulous Tribal Gifts

To find something truly authentic with a degree of craftmanship that is rare, try online auctions.

The beauty of some of these tribal pieces is sometimes astounding in the way they add to an outfit or a stage costume. Don’t miss out on the chance to get a gift that is beyond the run of the mill mall purchase!

Feeling Beautiful is Really Important

Spa gifts, manicure and pedicure sets, creams and lotions…

Cosmetics And Fragrance Gifts Are Classic

This classic combination is a good choice for any woman, but look for the cosmetics that are recommended for the stage. Mac or Stila brand eye makeup, Glittery eye-catching powders… things like that.

Gifts of cosmetics and fragrance can be the best kind, so long as they are the right kind. Do a little sleuthing, or get something a seasoned bellydancer recommends.

Try to find the type of eye makeup your belly dancer prefers, or any beauty treatment or luxury skin treatment is a welcome present.

Common Elements of Gypsy Dance and How It Influences Other Cultures

The history of the Roma and their dance is intertwined. A common denominator in many of the belly dances, folk dances and the Flamenco of Spain, are hip and hand movements. All these dance forms share some of the same movements and steps.

Today’s fusions have proven a little harder to “pull off”, because while the movements create a common bond, the other factors such as feeling and manner are much more difficult to meld well.

What are the elements of Gypsy dance?

Take a video tour of a few examples and enjoy the entertainment that Gypsy people have perfected in their artistry of music and dance.

Romani Style Belly Dance

Turkish Dance

Eastern European Dance Fusion

Making the Dance Moves

Pay attention to specific movements in this dance form.

What makes this style dancing so enthralling?

It is enthralling for one reason: the performance is infused with passion and intensity. The most technically well-articulated gypsy dance leaves the viewer flat if it does not vibrate with the emotional intensity of the Gypsy soul.

That is just part and parcel of this style of dance.

I am not sure if the dance can be separated from the music and interaction of the performers. It is an art form of inner fire, but also a response to the musicians and the story that is being portrayed. But like any particular cultural performance style, there is a vocabulary of movement and gesture that can be understood and appreciated by the audience.

Gestures, hand bumping, and skirt gestures might have meaning in certain cultural forms, but they are usually used as a way to accent percussive sounds in the music. Some of the gestures are obvious references to everyday activities like washing clothes or baking, etc.

Emotions Expressed

Happiness may be expressed by the dancer touching her fingertips to her forehead, or placing her fingertips just at the top of her ear.

For instance, an Egyptian gesture, “Al Assal”, is made with the dancer’s fingertips to the side of her chin, meaning “as sweet as honey.”

Flamenco Style

Spanish Gypsies, An Example of Culture and Costume

Arising from Spain, flamenco brings together many aspects of Gypsy culture, and is a particularly sophisticated costume. One of the most famous dancers, Carmen Amaya, demonstrated that the dress wasn’t always stereotypical.

Greatest performances

Connections with Flamenco

Flamenco dances, from the gypsies of Andalusia, are considered to be of fairly recent origin. It is believed these dances preserve many of the traditional characteristics of Spanish dancing.

“One can hear the strong Arabic influence in flamenco music….the dance moments in flamenco with the hips and the portrayal of strong emotion and passion are essentially Arabic.” -Hossam Ramzy

Spanish Styled Costuming

red is a classic color choice for these dresses

Red is a classic color choice for these dresses

Elements of the Flamenco ensemble for women include:

  • Ruffled, colorful skirts
  • Large flower in the hair
  • Large hoop or chandelier earrings
  • At times, a long fringed shawl
  • Mid heeled dress shoes
  • Sometimes a version of the men’s style

Men’s styling:

  • Bolero jacket
  • High waisted trousers
  • Boots, usually short.
  • Decorations such as braid on the jacket

My Favorite Dance is….

Which is your favorite Gypsy influenced dance?

Cheerful Strawberry Décor For Any Place In Your House

Cheerful, with the attractive red, white and green palette, strawberries are beloved motifs for fabrics, furnishings and decorative objects. 

Strawberry Fields Forever

Everybody probably has some sort of design motif that is their favorite, whether it derives from its colors, or shape, or other connection to memory or loved object. Maybe a motif is as simple as a pattern that has an unconscious resonance for us with harmonies in nature.

For me, I somehow have always loved strawberry plant designs. I even gravitate toward the red, green and white color combination in home décor choices as a sort of default.

This hub is for all those, who like me, love the humble strawberry… in fruit and in flower.

Kitchen Strawberries

Beautiful interpretations of the brightly colorful strawberry

Strawberries, perhaps because of their cheerful appearance- those bright red berries with golden little polka-dot seeds and beautiful green leaves, are cheerful. Is that why we are drawn to decorate with them in painting them on furnishings or printing them on fabrics?

Equally attractive when framed with black or a white background, they are common in tole painting projects and often are popular with kitchen accessories. After all, what is more at home in the kitchen than a bright luscious strawberry design? The colors the delicious food motif, bring a bright note to many styles of kitchen decor.

Imagine your everyday meals dressed up with this cheerful strawberry decorated dinnerware.

Take a look at just a few of the examples of kitchen products that employ the cheerful strawberry:

Wild Strawberry Special Occasion – Delicate Strawberry Flowers and Runners

The delicate strawberry flowers bring a completely different feeling of pastel prettiness to many famous designs, such as the Wedgwood chinaware.

Wedgwood Wild Strawberry 5 Piece Place Setting

Wedgwood Wild Strawberry 5 Piece Place Setting

One of the prettiest designs possible. A beloved design from the famous Wedgewood pottery.

Would You Like to Learn to Paint Strawberries?

Strawberry Tole Designs – Folk style painting

Toleware – A favorite decorative paint method

As pretty as they are, you know strawberries will show up in decorative painting! One of my favorite forms is the tole painting method. It is a method that can be easily learned and there are many tutorial books and classes available to learn from.

Start with a watercolor tutorial and then experiment with acrylics and oils.

Strawberry painting tutorial

It is traditional to use methods of painting fruits and flowers on wood and tinware, but if the metal work of antique lamps or chairs have lots their color- there are ways to restore the bright berries and leaves. All much simpler than you might have imagined.

Cultures with decorative painting techniques: Norwegian and Swedish Rosemaling, Pennsylvania Dutch Tole, Russion Khokhloma.

Russion Khokhloma

“Khokhloma is an ancient Russian folk handicraft which appeared in the 17th century in Nizhny Novgorod. This is a decorative painting of wooden utensils and furniture in red, black and goldish color. Green and yellow paint is occasionally used. Traditional elements of Khokhloma are red juicy rowan berries and strawberries, flowers and twigs.”
– Wikipedia

Khokhloma History:

“Khokhloma craft is over three hundred years old. It first appeared in the northern part of the Volga region and originated from icon painting. In the 17th century the craft developed near Khokhloma village of Semyonov district. Thus, wooden painted plates and dishes became known as Khokhloma utensils. And the craft itself acquired the name of Khokhloma.”

Norwegian or Swedish Rosemaling

Rosemaling technique of folk painting is better known and centers on the rose as a motif, but there are a wide range of flowers and fruits which are painted into the swirls and scrolls of this exuberant and colorful folk decorating technique.

The the three main styles are Telemark, Hallingdal and Rogaland, named after the regions where they originated. There are five basic brush strokes, the C and reverse C (or parentheses stroke), the S curve, the O (or circle stroke), the straight line and the dot, and from these are built quite intricate designs.

Tole Painting

“Tole painting is the folk art of decorative painting on tin and wooden utensils, objects and furniture. Typical metal objects include utensils, coffee pots, and similar household items. Wooden objects include tables, chairs, and chests, including hope chests, toyboxes and jewelry boxes.

The practice began in 18th century New England, and was also extensively carried on among German immigrants in Pennsylvania.” -Wikipedia

Khokhloma – Russian Strawberry Motif Tole Painting

Khokhloma Russian Nesting Doll 5pc./4" by Golden Cockerel
Khokhloma Russian Nesting Doll 5pc./4″ by Golden Cockerel

Strawberry Decor Bits and Bobs

Strawberries Everyday – Happy and bright colors

Red, White, and Green Cheers Up The Room

Strawberry Decor

Strawberry plants and their fruit are most often a theme for country style décor. It is a natural motif for kitchens, whether on wallpaper, as accents in dishware, kitchenware, or towels and table linens.

Joie 3-Piece Strawberry Colander, Huller and Slicer Set A colander like this is fun and decorative- makes time in the kitchen cheerier.

Berries Outside the Kitchen

Strawberry Fabrics – Brightens up everyone’s day

“Strawberry Thief” by William Morris was one of his most popular textile prints. It was also one of the most expensive to produce using the painstaking method that arts and crafts revived. Designed by Morris in May 1883, it is still printed in shades of green, blue and pink on a deep blue ground.

However, when an artist like William Morris created his famous fabric pattern, it was obvious that the humble red berries could be planted as easily on living room or bedroom furnishing to bring a bright note to rooms that were full of flowery chintz.

The bright red color and simple outlines could be with a bit of imagination, utilized in modern, more minimalist environments.

Red is often a popular accent color in modern interior design. So, if you love strawberries, don’t feel that they have to remain in the kitchen!

Strawberry Pink

This pink is warm, with a definite tint of yellow, while still registering as a true pink.

In interiors it is most often seen in little girls rooms, or as an accent with pastel color schemes.

Bursting With Ripe Color

Strawberry Kitchen Accessories

Aprons or bedspreads, towels, or curtains, chair covers … if you have a strawberry fabric design there can be strawberries wherever you like.

Using a fabric ribbon with the design of berries can be applied to curtains, edging shelves, or trim for solid placemats.

I’ve seen ideas that include using decals to create your own strawberry pattern on kitchen appliances, decorative boxes, and even kitchen cupboard doors.

People do such creative things with bits of fabric and a needle and thread.

  • Strawberry Tray
    A very nice tutorial with pattern and illustration for painting a strawberry design

Embroidered Strawberries

Embroidered Strawberries
Embroidered Strawberries

The Meaning and Mystery of Emerald Green

The Emotional Meaning Of Green

Eemerald Green Interior
How does emerald green make you feel?
Revealing the mystery of Emerald, the clear green  jewel hue. Pantone colors track the trends in fashion and interior decor and chose this as one of their colors of the year.

What this Shade Does for Our Psyche

Green has taken on a whole additional layer of meaning as it has become the catchword of all thing environmental and ecology-minded. But that is only natural as it is one of the most common colors of the world of plants. When we see green we think of nature, but is that the main feeling we get from Emerald Green?

The pure vibrant tone of Emerald skips the more negative meanings of a yellowed green, and goes to the heart of prosperity, harmony, and youth.

A feeling of being wealthy and richness is attached to the emerald gem, along with the lush luxury that a deep jewel color conveys.

Green is happy and fresh and clean and classic.

– designer Sally Steponkus

Relax and Keep Calm

All greens tend to be relaxing psychologically and give ideas of peace and calm.

Mid range greens like clear Emerald serve to increase appetite. It can lift one’s spirit and dispel depression.

Personality traits associated with green are understanding, being adaptable, sympathetic and compassionate, generosity, humility, and of a romantic nature.

Green represents safety.

How Do They Choose Color Trends?

At Home: Freshen up your interiors with a touch of green

Bright color of emerald pairs perfectly with black and white.

Trends In Home Furnishings

Chosen For 2013, But Still Going Strong

I am still seeing plenty of Emerald green in home and clothes products as we close the year 2015 and go into 2016. Trends are not “fly by night” fads, rather they are slowly growing movements toward a popular feeling that people have for , say, pastels, or brights, or seasonal colors.

Buying furnishings is a longer term investment, so trendsetters try to alert the buying public to what kind of colors and designs will give them something stylish for their homes.

Entrancing Emerald takes the Lead

Don’t be green with envy, go emerald for a gem of a color trend hue. A deep jewel color, what makes emerald new, starting in 2013, is the way it is used in tandem with other brights, especially yellow gold.

How is this shade described?

  • Lush, taking cue from nature’s growing plants.
  • Brilliant, in homage to its jewel origins.
  • Luxurious, which denotes how it makes us feel, emerald green velvet, anyone?

Follow this yellow brick road to the Emerald City of Pantone’s swatches to learn more of what emerald green could do for you.

Lush… Brilliant… Luxurious

How You Feel When You See This Hue

Those descriptive terms paired with “Emerald” can give you a clue about what styles your home might express with this color, where and how to use it.

There is always a posh element to emeralds, and they are certainly items of luxury. Silks, satins, velvets, upscale furnishings, fine antiques… all those elements certainly go with the emerald green trend. But what if you are more a whimsical, retro, or modern type? What are the ways you can use emerald green for a lighter, brighter feel? Go lush with it.

Inviting Emerald Into Your Home

The use of deep green for home goods might be best in those things that best show off the depth and sparkle that makes this color great for accents.

Think of crystal and glassware highlighted with Emerald, or a table runner for a dining room accent. Cushions or an occasional chair, slipcovered if a permanent change isn’t desired.

This is a color that give formal notes to an interior decor.

Sparkling Glass Crystal From Waterford

Waterford Crystal Snowflake Wishes for Courage Emerald Flute, 2nd Edition
Waterford Crystal Snowflake Wishes for Courage Emerald Flute, 2nd Edition

Waterford is one of the finest names in crystal, and this sparkling gem of a flute can mark a special occasion or commemorate one.

Emerald Green Bedroom – Fit For A Queen

Emerald Green Bedding
Emerald Green Bedding

Keep Calm

Since this hue is calming and tends to lift the spirits it is a good color to wake up to …and go to bed with, so consider giving touches of restful green to your bed furnishings.

Although the Pantone Emerald Green is a more saturated color, home materials might be toned down and desaturated, while taking cue from the tonal green to green-blue hue.

Green Is…

Green is the fresh emblem of well founded hopes. In blue the spirit can wander, but in green it can rest

– Mary Webb.

Lush Emerald Fashion

Blue and Green Are A Classic Combination

Fresh touch of emerald in unexpected places brightens up blue jean fashion uniform.

To get a similar exciting look for summer try out these look-alikes. The combination of cobalt and Emerald is bright and fresh, and it can’t go wrong when matched up with the classic white t-shirt and blue jeans. The pairing of the bag and shoes in unmatched deeply saturated color brings a new look to the outfit which is casual, but eye-catching at the same time, The colors bring zing.

Designers carry the Emerald green banner into their fashions, and created some shining examples of how good this color can look in accessories.

The splash of an emerald colored accessory is probably the most brilliant use of this color for personal fashion.

Add it as a surprise color accent, keeping fashion forward without a big budget investment.

Fashionable Color

Pair the Pantone emerald green “with other bolds, such as royal blue, fuchsia, or purple jewel tones,” says Christina Pierce

Cleopatra

The queen of Egypt covered her neck in emeralds. The emerald was her preferred jewel.

Trivial Emerald Green Facts

  • The favorite color of George Washington? You guessed green, you were right.
  • The human eye is most sensitive to and able to discern the most shades of green.
  • A green flag signals the start of a car race.
  • A green light means approval.

Touch of Emerald Links

  • Emerald Green – The New Colour for 2013
    Okay when I read the colour of the year was emerald, I thought , okay, hmmm….. well gardens are green. All things considered I like every colour in the garden and plant whatever I want. Not much of a fad person here. …

GIVING THE GREEN LIGHT – GO AHEAD AND COMMENT