Archive for November, 2012

Top 5 Christmas Trees For Small Spaces

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

The Christmas tradition is to get a giant, live evergreen tree to prominently display in that second living room (right in front of the oversized bay window). But we don’t all have second living rooms just like we don’t all have maids, and our first living rooms are usually filled with our furniture. There are also countless situations when a home just might not have room for a standard sized Christmas tree, or might not realistically be able to keep a large living tree – those living in apartments or temporary homes, those with major travel plans, those away at school, those planning large parties, those with small children and/or rambunctious pets… the list goes on.

But just because you don’t have the space or the lifestyle to care for a large living tree doesn’t mean you’re forced to skip out on Christmas decorating. There is a growing variety of smaller and other alternative trees to help you ring in the season in style. Read all about the top 5 Christmas trees for small spaces!

full size artificial christmas tree

5. Large artificial trees: If you don’t have the type of lifestyle that can support caring for a live tree and you don’t want to be dealing with a brown, dead tree on Christmas day, an artificial tree can be the ideal solution. Modern designs have come a long way and many now look just like the real thing. Just light a scented candle nearby so it smells like the real thing.

potted live christmas tree

4. Smaller live trees: If space is the issue, a smaller live tree can give you that Christmas tree feeling without forcing you to rearrange your whole home. They don’t require as much upkeep and don’t spread as many needles around! You can even rent a Christmas tree (imagine that!),  and have a small to medium sized live tree in a pot delivered and then picked up after Christmas to be planted, which both saves time and hassle and is great for the environment.

rosemary christmas tree

3. Table top potted trees: If space is a big issue, there are miniature “trees” that sit right on a table as a centerpiece that can be decorated with small ornaments and tinsel. These “trees” are actually rosemary bushes, grown in the shape of a fir tree. They smell great, can last for months after Christmas when cared for, and can be used in cooking!

charlie brown christmas tree

2. Table top artificial trees: There is always a group of people who have neither space nor the ability to care for a live tree (frequent travelers, we’re looking at you). Enter the table top artificial tree. Often a small symbol of Christmas more than anything, a table top artificial  tree still says Christmas without making you feel guilty for killing yet another house plant. (And this Charlie Brown replica brings back childhood memories.)

space saving wall christmas tree

1. Wall decals: If you have absolutely no space for a tree whatsoever but still want one, a wall decal may be your saving grace. Constructed from whatever materials you have on hand (get creative!) or printed out on paper and taped together, a wall tree can get as large as the wall if you like. This non-traditional Christmas tree alternatives is sure to get some comments, but no doubt that it will be the center of your holiday festivities.

Honorable Mention for non-tree decorations: Wreaths, interior lights, garland, tinsel, candles and everything-but-the-tree decor can make your home feel as Christmas-y as ever, even if you don’t have the tree. You can also tape your holiday greeting cards in the shape of a tree! Decorate for the season as much as you can and as much as you want, but if you have to (or want to) forego the tree this year you don’t have to feel like you’re skipping Christmas.

Images courtesy of Tree ClassicsThe Sierra ClubFTD, and Apartment Therapy

5 Most Outrageous Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Thanksgiving is almost here! If you’re anything like most Americans, you’ll be sitting down on Thursday to a delicious spread of your family’s traditional Thanksgiving recipes. This can mean a turkey, but it can also mean traditional menu staples from your country of origin or a tweak in the recipe that’s been followed for generations. Whether you put mushrooms or slivered almonds in your green bean casserole, have turkey or ham, cornbread or bread rolls, your feast is sure to be chock full of the foods you love.

In honor of this food-centered holiday, here’s a list of the 5 most outrageous Thanksgiving dinner recipes. These are sure to leave you stuffed!

Bacon Stuffing

5. Adding bacon to anything: This first one is a bit of a cheat, since it’s not actually a recipe. But with bacon stuffing, bacon weave apple pie, and putting bacon in vegetables, there’s no shortage of ideas to add bacony calories to your Thanksgiving menu. Another great favorite is to make a leftover sandwich the next day with crispy bacon. It’s not like the vast majority of Thanksgiving dishes are super healthy, and that adding a bit of bacon is a little treat, which is why bacon toppings deserve to be on the list.

Candied Sweet Potatoes

4. Candied Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are actually quite healthy, but when they’re topped with brown sugar, butter, and marshmallows the calories just seem to pile on. Not to mention, adding sweetening toppings to sweet potatoes seems a little much.

Krispy Kreme bread pudding

3. Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding: Paula Deen takes the traditional bread pudding recipe and kicks it up several notches. Two dozen Krispy Kreme donuts, condensed milk, eggs, fruit cocktail and raisins make up the ingredient list on this over-the-top dish. But to really top it off, she recommends covering the whole thing in a rich butter rum sauce, which is loads of butter, sugar, and rum.

Cherpumple

2. Cherpumple: Inspired by the Turducken, the Cherpumple is a pie in a pie in a pie in a cake. Made from several different Thanksgiving desserts, the Cherpumple is sure to please everyone (or no one at all). To create this dessert, bake a cherry pie in a white cake, a pumpkin pie in a yellow cake, and an apple pie in a spice cake and combine them together using frosting.

The turbacon

1. The TurBacon: This monstrosity deserves to be the #1 most outlandish Thanksgiving dinner recipe based on number of calories alone. The team from Epic Meal Time has counted more than 50,000 calories in this concoction. The TurBacon, also known as a bird in a bird in a bird in a bird in a bird in a pig, has turkey, duck, chicken, cornish hen, quail, and, of course, immense amounts of bacon, all inside a whole pig, which is topped with even more bacon. Warning: the video is not for the faint-hearted, or the vegetarian.

Images from Karl StraussRecipe GirlDelish, Serious Eats, and Epic Meal Time

Get Organized For The Holidays

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

get organized for the holidays

There’s so much that can be said about being organized around the home- besides making it easier to find things you need, a well organized home creates a calm and peaceful feeling. Clutter is also a major source of aggravation and is always the first thing your guests will notice, not the dust bunnies behind the couch. Even if you’re not planning to do any major party planning this holiday season, getting your home organized and in order for the end of the year will help you start off 2013 on the right foot (and for those of you who are, Thanksgiving is officially one week away!). Ready to get organized for the Holidays? Read on…

The first step to an organized home is to take stock of all of the things you have. The second step is to do a small purge – just enough to help you clear some space. Clear off counters and desk tops of junk mail, old documents and unanswered letters. Go through every room, including the bathroom and the kitchen, and take an honest stock of all of the things you keep. The best rule of thumb for organizing at any time is to make sure everything has its own place: if it doesn’t have a “home” it doesn’t need to stay.

Once you’ve cleared out belongings you don’t need to hang on to, you can get some new organizing tools. Think of things like good looking shelving for the empty space on the wall and inserts to better organize the junk drawer in the kitchen. Try to use what you already have rather than spending a lot of time and money finding and buying new things. Open shelving and display cabinets force people to be more organized and neat because disorder and uncleanliness is out in the open.

A home will look cleaner and more organized with open spaces, and if you have collectibles and other personal items spilling all over your shelves your home will look messier than it really is. Open shelves on the walls not only hold your belongings but tend to look like they’ve been artfully designed. Another good thing to keep in mind when getting organized for the holidays or any time is to keep things easy to clean. You may love your collection of vases but if you have to move them around every time you want to dust you’ll probably just let the dust accumulate. Keeping your visible things clean and as free of clutter as possible is the key to an organized home.

Some handy advice can come from home staging guides, which will help your home look better more often. Just make sure to not completely depersonalize your own home!

Image courtesy of Solutions

Furniture Rental for Holiday Entertaining

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Dining table furniture rental

Getting your home prepped for holiday entertaining

As much as we sometimes like to pretend they aren’t, the holidays are right around the corner. (We aren’t sure where the year went, either.)  This means that in just two short weeks you’ll likely be faced with the prospect of entertaining family, friends and neighbors in your home, which can be challenging if you don’t have a formal dining area already arranged. Fear not! You certainly don’t have to go out and buy a fancy dining set just to appease the in-laws, and won’t be forced to disappoint them with paper places and perching precariously on the sofa arm. Read on for reasons why furniture rental for holiday entertaining is a great idea:

Furniture Rental- Best of both worlds

Why not rent a dining table? Most people don’t use a formal dining table throughout the year, so it doesn’t make sense to spend large amounts of money on a nice set when it’ll just sit there for 10 months out of the year. Dining room furniture rental can give you everything you’ll need to host a holiday dinner, including setting it up and taking it away when you’re done with it. All you need to do is set up the date and time you want your pieces delivered and taken away.

Chances are you won’t already have a formal dining table if you don’t have a formal dining area, and due to downsizing this is the case for many people. But even if you don’t have a dedicated dining room you can still fit an elegant dining table with enough eaves to seat the whole group with some creative arranging. It will be far more cost effective to rent a formal dining table and chairs set for one or two months and put your current dining pieces in the garage or in short term storage than it is to buy all new furniture and rearrange the whole home.

fall table setting

Rent furniture when you’re away from home

Those who are away from home for the holidays and living temporarily in another city or state can find furniture rental services to be particularly useful at helping recreate seasonal traditions. Signature Furniture Rental has a number of elegant and sophisticated formal dining room rental sets to make your holiday entertaining easier than you expected. The only thing left to worry about is the right table setting.

Image from HGTV

How To Use Pinterest For Home Design

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

how to use pinterest for home design

By now you’ve undoubtedly heard about the new social media site Pinterest, which has been taking the Internet by storm. Dedicated exclusively to images and videos, Pinterest is the home designer’s paradise. There are categories perfectly suited for home design, including Home Decor, Design, Art, Architecture, Gardening, even DIY & Crafts. Other categories that the home designer might be interested in are Kids, Products, Technology, Videos, Holidays & Events, and Food & Drink. Seeing as how the majority of “pinners” are women of a home-owning and child-having age, plenty of photos end up on Pinterest that are related to the home.

find products on pinterest

Here are our top 5 tips on how to use Pinterest for home design:

  1. Sign up and start pinning. Create as many boards as you want (there’s no limit) and make each board specific to a room or idea. Have a kitchen board, a bedroom board, a kid’s room board, a furnishings board, etc. Don’t forget to add your own boards for fun things or humor. (Pinterest is a social site, after all!)
  2. Pin images to the right boards. This seems obvious, but it’s actually a very common mistake to pin an image to the wrong board (and then good luck finding it again) because Pinterest is set up to pin to your most recent board automatically, forcing pinners to manually change to the right board. It’s easy to do, but rushing pinners can forget.
  3. Pin from the source. That super cute blue and gray elephant nursery design you saw on some random stranger’s board might be adorable, but if the link goes nowhere you won’t be able to get information on how to replicate the look or where the furnishings in the room came from. Always check to make sure the link goes to the source (online store, how-to blog post, recipe, etc.), and if possible pin directly from the source. There is a “repin” option, but you should at least check to make sure the link goes where it’s supposed to.
  4. Follow those who have similar interests. Follow your friends, of course, but remember that Pinterest is not Facebook. You should be following people you don’t know in real life who have a taste you like so you can see things you haven’t already seen in your friend’s homes. Also, follow home stores, interior designers and decorators you’re interested in to stay on top of their latest designs and offerings.
  5. Interact! Pinterest is a social media site and as such it encourages real interactions between its users. If you see a pillow you really like in a home designer’s photo, leave a comment to ask about it and perhaps she’ll tell you where it came from so you can pin it to your own board.

Use pinterest to find DIY furniture

Good luck with your home design pin boards! Follow Signature Furniture Rental on Pinterest for great products, home design ideas and fun ideas around San Diego. Oh, and use the little button below to pin this article so others can learn how to use Pinterest for home design!

Images courtesy of  The Nester, Shades of Lightand Apartment Therapy