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Summertime Blues: DIY Party Decor

It doesn't take a lot of work or money to put together beautiful decor - 
and these simple decor suggestions for a summertime party will help you do it in style
without spending a lot...

Let me share a few tips and photos with you
from one of my own summer dinner parties in my yard:
Greet your guests with style:
This pretty floral arrangement sits on a table just inside my front garden gate...
It's where the appetizers and wine were served as guests arrived,
so I wanted to set the tone of the party right at the entrance.

The color scheme is established with the appearance of blue hydrangeas,
tucked into a collection of enamelware pieces. 
The vintage enamelware buckets and dishpan with lid stayed out on the patio all year long, 
changed up with various flowers and fruit/vegetable displays to suit the seasons.

Having go-to containers for quick decor changes is a smart idea for easy decor.

continue reading to see more easy decor ideas!


Thrifty Weekend Makeover: Part IV

Welcome to Part IV
of my Thrifty Weekend Makeover, 
where we're Re-Styling Rooms using items found in the house
and adding some thrifted elements!

 You've seen the backyard patio, the family room, and the wine bar and guest bath...
In this final of four installments, you'll see the
 Living & Dining Room Reveal!

Let's start at the front door...
The grapevine wreath that was hung on the family room fireplace is now on the front door.
I left the greenery on it, and embellished it with some easy accents:
two small bunches of faux orchid flowers, a little pair of zorie sandals
and a small beach sign [all from Dollar Tree
introduce the turquoise/brown/green color scheme and the tropical theme.

Talk about 'Fast, Cheap, & Easy'TM - this cost four dollars and took all of five minutes!
continue reading to continue your tour...


Thrifty Weekend Makeover: Part III

Welcome to Part III of my Thrifty Weekend Makeover, 
where we're Re-Styling Rooms using items found in the house
and adding some thrifted elements!

In the family room reveal in my last post, I hinted that there was something around
 that I was REALLY excited to share with you!
So, just peek around the right side of that wall with the hat and clock and straw bag on it...

 BEFORE, you would have seen THIS:
It's a regular-sized closet, refitted years ago to hold wine accoutrements 
(glasses, wine-related picnic ware, 2 small wine fridges, etc.) 
as well as the LARGE oak leaves for the dining room table.

 Well, that just didn't go with the Tropical theme, so I got busy...

 I took down the curtain, emptied everything out of there, and then painted it.
This paint is the wall color from the living & dining rooms in the house,
and I used half a gallon of it that was out in the garage.
[it took THREE COATS to cover the raspberry red!]

You can just see the edge of a mural on the garage door before
I painted that out, too - the trim is now white and the wall & door are tan.
[it's okay - I painted that mural back in 1991. I've hated it ever since.]

Then I put everything back in the closet, starting with the two wine fridges 
and the table leaves... only I laid one of the table leaves on TOP of the fridges, 
creating a totally usable counter area that wasn't there before.
And then I decorated it!

If you're ready to see what it looks like NOW, continue reading...


Thrifty Weekend Makeover: Part II

Welcome to Part II of my 
Thrifty Weekend Makeover!

I have some really GOOD NEWS for you:
This just expanded from a 3 part to a 4 part series

I have so many photos to share, I can't fit them all into 3 posts!

When I began this house restyling project for my parents,
I assembled all of the items that I had found in cabinets and cupboards and closets,
 and then went to several thrift stores to pick up other items to use.
Here are some of the main elements and accessories that I used:
The items shown here are split just about 50/50 between what Mom already had
and what I purchased at thrift stores, ReStore, and the Dollar Tree store.
I also found more items in the house to use as I went along.

The Tommy Bahama-inspired tropical theme 
came from my parent's love of Hawaii and their turtle collection
and the color palette grew out of Mom's love of the color turquoise.

I wanted to incorporate her preferences into her rooms - but not overwhelm them with bright color.
Hues of aqua, turquoise, and teal are used in transition through different rooms to connect them,
and are grounded by warm neutral brown tones.

In Part I, I started this tour backwards - from the patio in the backyard -
so today, we move indoors from there for the

Family Room Reveal!

continue reading to see what's just off the patio...


Thrifty Weekend Makeover: Part I

 Yes, it's another weekend makeover project!
Everyone seemed to enjoy my LAST makeover project so much,
that I thought I'd share this one with you!

This makeover actually preceded - and INSPIRED - the one you saw,
because when my brother and my sister in law saw THIS makeover, they wanted one, too!

 This makeover wasn't entirely FREE - I bought some things at thrift stores to complete it,
so I'm calling it the THRIFTY Weekend Makeover!
 The home, which belongs to my parents, started out kind of Tuscan. And also Beachy.
which was, honestly, confusing...
It now has a very Tropical, Tommy-Bahama style... but I'm not to that part of the story yet...

This makeover actually started with a backyard project:

My Mom was kind of fed up with the aged, faded bamboo fencing on one wall.
My Dad, not really wanting to replace it, remembered a TIP from a friend who lives at the beach:
if you put shellack over old bamboo, it will bring out the original color again.
I doubted this. So did my mom.
But Dad grabbed his can of shellack and got to work - and VOILA! It worked!
[so I grabbed my camera for a 'before' shot, because he was movin' FAST!]
Great results, huh?! It really made a difference.
And I have been instructed to say that Dad is A GENIUS for remembering that tip!

So, you know how backyard projects go, right?
You do one thing. And then you think 'Well, since we did THAT, we should...'
uh huh.

continue reading to see what happened next...


5 Ideas for Seashell Displays

This, my friends, is apparently my best.idea.ever.
It's my number-one pinned image:

Deb's 'Beach in a Jar'!
more about that in a minute....

I recently took a drive (um... 2200 miles worth) to Seattle, to empty a storage unit,
and while there, I was thrilled by the discovery of four boxes of my seashell collection!
I wasn't sure if they were still in there...

For over ten years, I've used my shell collection in my home decor,
and I have some favorite ways to display them that I'd like to share with you!
(you won't believe number 5...)
This photo shows a few of the ways that I like to display shells...

continue reading for more...


FREE Weekend Makeover: Part 4

Welcome to the final post in my
week-long four-part series:

How to refresh, restyle, and redecorate
without spending a CENT -
  by using what you already have!

Today's final reveal is the Master Bedroom and the upstairs Hallway,
two areas where it didn't take too much work to bring color and life to the rooms.
Remember, everything you see in the photos was already here - 
I just needed to help it come out of hiding!

 The Master Bedroom
The walls are soft mocha, the bed is a sculptural black iron, and the other furnishings are black wood.
A perfect neutral palette to start with.

The deep red pillows and tablecloth just made this room feel dark when combined with the black -
not to mention that this is the hottest room in the house
and red is not a color that cools you off in the summertime!

Note that the bamboo window blind stops mid-wall... it covers a small square window,
but every time I looked at it, it felt like an old air conditioner was hidden behind it!

The fabric hanging on the bed is a printed cotton tablecloth,
which I found brand new in its bag in the living room buffet drawer.
[I should have ironed it]
Along with adding color and pattern to the room, 
this softens the look of the bed - which is all angles.

continue reading for more of the tour...


FREE Weekend Makeover: Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of my FREE Weekend Makeover!

How to refresh, restyle, and redecorate 
without spending a CENT -
by using what you already have!

We're at the halfway point!
You've seen the deck and patio, and the living room in previous posts,
and now it's time for
The Dining Room!
The dining room is located to the right as you view the house from the front entry,
but it's actually part of the main living space.
That large modular sofa was blocking it off from being used to all of its potential, though.
[You saw in this post how I rearranged the sofa sections to open up the living area...
and you were probably wondering 'Where's the other sofa section?']

Here's the other sofa section!
The armless unit [from the center of the old 'U'-shaped sofa] has been moved to the dining area.
Why? Because it helped open up the living room to get it out of there.
And because this wall was screaming for something on it.

And because this piece of furniture here gives the dining room more uses:
*You can still see the television from here, so it's a great lounge space.
[Ask my brother. He loves it!]
*You can participate in conversations in the living room.
*You can move the table over and this section creates two extra seats -
so the table seats six instead of just four -
which also works well for working on home work or a laptop.

And  because by putting it here, I've created another area
where one of two preteen girls can sit with a book, a Kindle, or an iPad
and not be sitting right on top of her sister all summer long
[one on the chaise in the living room, one here -
WAY better than fighting over corners of the old 'U'-shaped sofa!]

That's a LOT of value added 
by simply scooting one four-foot sofa section across a room!
Remember, you have to SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY!

continue reading to see MORE of the dining room - and kitchen!


FREE Weekend Makeover Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of my FREE Weekend Makeover!

How to refresh, restyle, and redecorate 
without spending a CENT -
by using what you already have!

You know those 'BIG REVEALS'
that all of the home improvement & decor shows do on HGTV?

I don't have a bus. Or a bullhorn.
[I smile at that reference to Ty Pennington,
 because I was lucky enough to be a part of Extreme Makeover Home Edition
when it filmed in Washington state years ago - at the Dore Family House in Kingston]

So in lieu of being able to swing the front door open wide, and say
like I did for my brother, sister in law, and nieces when they returned from their vacation,
I am going to welcome you via photos!
In the MANY photos to come, 
the 'Before' shot is on the left, and the 'After' shot is on the right...

continue reading to start your tour...


A FREE Weekend Makeover!

How to refresh, restyle, and redecorate without spending a CENT -
  by using what you already have!

Last week, my brother and his wife & daughters headed out of town on vacation.
I house-sat and pet-sat for them. Oh, and I also gave their house a total makeover!
[Hello, I am Deb. And I am a Decorato-holic.
After 35+ years as a retail display stylist, I should be!]

This project is a perfect example of my HOMEWARDfound decorating philosophy:
Re-think what you already have on hand to make your home look terrific!
And even as I was decorating their home,
I was thinking about sharing the process with you in this WEEK LONG SERIES

Let's start OUTDOORS, shall we? 
Here's the front deck,  
which is the first thing you see when you enter the yard. 
[I have no 'before' photos of this deck, because I was in HYPERdecorator mode and FORGOT -but I can tell you that there was just a firepit, and four chairs with four pillows sitting here.]

The 'found' items that I added here are the umbrella and the table.

The beach umbrella was shoved in the garage, so I just hauled it out and set it up.
[there are two tan umbrellas over on a nearby patio, and this perfectly echoes them]
The wood table was on the side of the house. Unused. Beige. And kinda' dirty.
So I painted the table with the white exterior trim paint on the house (can was in the garage).

The succulent plants in 3 pots had been placed at the front edge of the deck,
where you literally walked past them without seeing them.
By moving the two small pots onto the table, and the large pot next to the chair,
the plants add softness and life to this exterior 'room' and bring it to life.

The pillows were already here, and they work perfectly to connect the color scheme to the home's interior.

Next Up: the patio
It sits closer to the house, located in the front and side yard.

continue reading to see what else I did!


Long May She Wave

I'd to share a story about the American Flag...
or rather, my own collection of American flags.

I have several of them.
One is an old boat flag, hand-sewn, with embroidered stars,
which formerly flew on a Chris Craft yacht. (Hopefully on Lake Tahoe)
There are a few others that aren't valuable, or special,
but have been flown with love and pride by me - and by people before me.
Because I bought them all at thrift and vintage stores.

One has a tattered hem - and yes, I still use it inside my home.
Please don't preach to me about 'the flag code'.
That tattered flag may have flown at the home of a veteran.
It may have hung on the wall of an immigrant family for generations.
I don't know the actual history of that flag, but it has one.
It shows the signs of being hung with pride for many years...
and I think it has more value with a tattered hem
than any brand new flag imported from China.

It reminds me of the flag
that Francis Scott Key described in one verse of our national anthem:
"And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

It survived a battle. And kept on waving. A sign of strength and courage.
It certainly wasn't clean and pressed and without tears, rips, stains, and holes.

I don't think something that has been used and loved, and that still stands for something,
should be burned or buried just because it's not 'perfect' anymore.
I don't believe that there is only one way to show patriotism.
Or one way to display a flag with honor and pride.
That's my personal belief.

This story is about what my son DID with my flags.
And the memory of it means something to me, and says something to me,
about the man he was becoming and the immense pride for this country
that runs in his bloodline. In MY bloodline.
Because you see, George Mason is my ancestor.
He was the writer of the Virginia Bill of Rights - which were incorporated into
the Bill of Rights for our fledgling country back in 1775.
I possess pride and gratitude for the part he played
in founding this country of ours.
I display my collection of flags with reverence for that contribution.
In remembrance of my grandfathers and uncles who served in the Navy,
and my dad who served in the Marines.
And though my son has not served in the military,
he did something heroic that I honor each time I hang my flags...

click the 'read more' link for the story...


It's All In the Details...

I am smack in the middle of a residential decorating project 
(and you BET I am photographing it for future posts!)
so today I am sharing some of my images of past Fourth of July & Summer decor...
where the simplicity of small details makes all the difference.