How to Make Homemade Trophies

Trophies can be a brag-worthy element for any birthday party, community picnic, talent show or kids’ game night, but that doesn’t mean they need to be expensive or tacky. Making half a dozen trophies took less than an hour and cost no more than $20. Guests will leave impressed and excited to display these simple, clever and modern trophies.

Simple handmade trophies are festive for any occasion.
Things You Will Need

  • Plastic plates, bowls and footed cups
  • Animals, figurines or other small objects (to go on top for decoration)
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Spray paint
  • Tarp or scrap cardboard
  • White card stock
  • Tape (optional)

Tips: Visit the dollar store to find a variety of affordable cups and plates as well as small toys, animals, figurines, etc. Use gold spray paint for a classic look or a fun color or two for a more modern look.

Use inexpensive plastic plates, bowls and cups.
Create Pedestals for the TrophiesStack and glue plastic bowls, plates and cups together to create pedestals for the trophies of varying heights and sizes. Place hot glue on the rim of either a bowl, plate or cup and top with a second piece to create a pedestal for an animal or object. Repeat this process to create as many trophy pedestals as you’d like.

Create pedestals by gluing cups, bowls and plates together.
Glue Objects to the PedestalsNext, stack and glue toys, animals, objects or figurines on top of the pedestals to make a variety of interesting and unique trophies. Get creative by using unexpected pieces. Make sure to work quickly with the hot glue.

Stack and glue objects to the pedestals.
Spray Paint the TrophiesSpray paint the pedestal trophies in a solid color such as gold or a colorful matte finish. You could also spray paint single footed cups for simpler trophies like those pictured. Be sure to spray paint either outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. Place the trophy in an old cardboard box or on a tarp, hold the paint can about a foot away and move in smooth strokes as you spray for an even finish. Wait at least 20 minutes in between coats to avoid paint drips.

Spray paint trophies with unexpected colors in a matte finish.
Download Trophy RibbonsDownload and print these free ribbons onto card stock. Cut them out and gently bend them around a finger or pencil to create a little curve.

Download free trophy ribbons.
Add Ribbons to the TrophiesAttach ribbons to the trophies with either a piece of rolled tape or a dab of hot glue in the center to finish the look.

Attach a ribbon to each trophy.
Celebrate With Custom TrophiesYou can customize each trophy’s color, size and shape, giving you the ability to personalize them for any type of event and for all kinds of winners and champs.

Modern colorful trophies.
Hand Out and EnjoyHand out each trophy and practice acceptance speeches because with these customized awards, everyone wins!

Gold ice cream trophy.

Can You Deduct Renovation Costs for a Home Office?

The Internal Revenue Service distinguishes between repairs, which are fully deductible in the year you pay them, and improvements, which must be depreciated over the useful life of the home. Repairs keep what you already have in working order, such as painting over a stain on the wall or replacing a broken window. Improvements add to the value of the property or give new use to the property, such as finishing a previously unfinished basement so you can use it as a home office.

Figuring the Deductible Portion

  • When doing home renovations, you must decide whether the renovations are directly related to your home office, related to the general upkeep of the entire home or unrelated in any way. Direct costs are fully deductible, either immediately or over the life of the home, and include things like repainting your home office or remodeling the room you use for your office to suit your business. The portion of general expenses equal to the percentage of your home that you use for business are deductible; a new roof falls into this category. For example, say your home office takes up 7 percent of your home. If you put a new roof on the home, you can depreciate the cost of 7 percent of the new roof as a business expense. Unrelated costs are never deductible. For example, if you install a pool in the backyard, you can’t write off any of that cost — unless, of course, your home-based job is teaching kids to swim.

How to Decorate a Rental Apartment

Hanging cookware on walls helps utilize space.The problem with decorating most apartments is the fact that you are generally limited by space and rules regarding such things as painting. Apartment decorating is a challenge but it doesn’t have to be difficult. The most important thing you need to remember is that you should like your décor and part of this means not feeling cramped or crowded. Once you know what you need to do to make the most of your apartment space, decorating it can be fun.



1. Arrange items with openness in mind. Since apartments can be short on space, decorate to make rooms feel more open. Place a rug in the center of the room because it will act as an anchor, according to Better Homes and Gardens. Place your sofa so that it floats in the room. To do this, place the front legs on the rug with the back legs on the floor. This way, the sofa is accessible from all sides.

2. Keep all furniture pieces and objects to scale. If you live in a small place, do not dwarf it with armoires or televisions that are simply too large for the area. They will end up becoming eyesores and problematic when you think of redecorating. Keep in mind oversized items take up extra room. Shop for functional pieces that fit your apartment.

3. Use a screen or room divider to separate areas of your apartment. A room divider between the living and dining areas can help make the space seem much less crowded and more calming.

4. Use tall, space-efficient bookshelves. They are not just great for holding books. You can line one shelf with matching storage containers for all your paperwork and other items. This keeps your apartment from looking messy and keeps you organized.

5. Place a slim table or desk behind your sofa to utilize space often overlooked. Use a chair that easily slides under the table to conserve space.

6. Use acrylic or glass tables because they make the room seem less chopped up and more spacious.

7. Use your wall space for more than pictures. This is especially helpful in kitchen areas, where you can hang pots, pans and cooking utensils on the walls.

8. Use mirrors to make spaces look larger. Arrange smaller mirrors on your walls in groups to give your room a sense of extra space.

9. Attach fabric to walls with very small tacks if you can’t paint walls or apply wallpaper. Press the ends ½ inch in from the wrong side and hang. Hang smaller pieces of fabric in a frame or frame with strips of ribbon.

Industrial Pipe and Mahogany Table

My husband is an incredible woodworker.  Recently, he decided to build a table base out of plumbing pipes rather than wood.  (yes, I was a bit shocked!)  :)
Lots of pipe and connectors from Home Depot.
He painted everything black.
He made the top out of mahogany.  It is such a beautiful wood!

It really came out nice!


Home Remodeling For The Office

When it comes time for home remodeling of your office space, you may think that this is an easy job to do. After all, you just need some paint and new furniture for the space. However, there is a lot more that can go into this type of project to make it a success. Every individual needs to take into consideration what his or her needs are, but hiring a professional to give you ideas, times and guidance may be well worth the investment. Often times, you will learn how to tailor this space to fit all of your needs for years to come.

Configuring the Space

One of the first steps in this type of home remodeling task hs to determine what this area needs to provide. Is it where you work for your job? Do you spend time here reading? What does it needs to serve as for your specific needs? By answering these questions, you can begin to see what your options are in creating a successful space for you and for anyone else using it. The remodeler will ask you questions about this, including what types of tools and resources will be housed here later.

Designing Furniture

One of the best things about upgrading this space is picking new furniture. Everything from built-in bookshelves to stellar hardwood desks can make this space very professional and elegant. You may want to discuss the style of the space to ensure that you choose the right types of furniture to create the theme or decor that is right for your needs. You also want to focus on selecting the layout of the space based on the size of the features you plan to add.

Considering the Details

One of the main reasons to work with a professional is because he or she is going to help with those fine details. For example, if you will be placing a computer on the desk, where will the outlet need to be? How many outlets do you need? Where should lighting focus? What about privacy shades on the windows? You may want to work with this professional on flooring choices as well as wall coloring and decor. There is plenty to think about, but with the help of a professional, you do not have to worry about any detail.

Home remodeling can be a great way to add value into the business, but only if you invest enough time and effort into it. If you want nothing more than to paint the walls, you may not need a professional (though that is still a good idea too). However, for more advanced projects and a more tailored finish look, turn to a professional instead.

New Hooked Wool Drawings

2015 #5-8, hand dyed wool and egg tempera on linen, each 13 x 11 in.
My idea for this group of hooked wool drawings was simple: a shape inside a border, crossed by a line, straight or angled. Only the line is made of wool loops; all the rest is paint.


2015 #5, hand dyed wool and egg tempera on linen, 13 x 11 in.

I did a lot of sketches, trying out different shapes and color combinations. I ended up with a trapezoid….

2015 #6, hand dyed wool and egg tempera on linen, 13 x 11 in.

….a rectangle….

2015 #7, hand dyed wool and egg tempera on linen, 13 x 11 in.

….a circle….

2015 #8, hand dyed wool and egg tempera on linen, 13 x 11 in.

….and a triangle, each having a line that I thought fit the shape. The colors are both complementary––as in the case of yellow and violet, and blue and dark orange––and in the same color family: red/orange, green/lime green. The color of the wool lines add contrast. I enjoyed working with this simple format, and maybe it will lead to other similar ideas.

How to Start a Home-Based Handmade Card Business

If you already love to scrapbook and make paper crafts, making homemade greeting cards may be an excellent choice for you. If you like to spend time looking at greeting cards in the store and think you can write the friendly, heartfelt messages in these cards, then this may be an appropriate business venture. Making a profit selling handmade greeting cards takes time, hard work and perseverance. Craftspeople, artists and writers have necessary card-making skills.



Obtain a business license and a resale license. It is illegal to operate any size business in the United States of America without proper licensure.

Visit your city or town offices to obtain a business license. Tell the person at the town office what type of business you will be running out of your home. You will most likely be required to pay an annual fee to maintain a business license.

Obtain a resale license from your state. A resale license gives you the right to purchase supplies to craft greeting cards at wholesale cost and without paying sales tax. You may then sell your cards at wholesale to retail shops or at retail to the general public. When you sell at retail, you collect sales tax and remit that to the state.


Set aside dedicated workshop space in your home. This space may be a small room or a section of a larger room. Measure the square footage of your workshop and office space because the percentage of your home that is dedicated to your business is tax deductible.

Keep everything related to your business in this office and workshop space. Keep it neat and orderly. Have a place for your files and your computer. The bulk of this space will be for creating greeting cards. You will need a spacious table and plenty of drawers and cubbies in which to keep your art supplies.


Visit the gift shops in your area during regular business hours: 9:00 to 5:00 on Mondays through Fridays. Never try to do business with a retail store on weekends or evenings; they are too busy serving customers. Visit gift shops, ask to speak to the buyer and bring samples of your cards to show the buyer. If the buyer is unavailable, ask for her business card or if you can make an appointment. Hopefully, you will find shop owners and managers who are interested in selling your cards in their stores.


Visit craft fairs and art shows. Get a sense of the quality of the work at the art show, and when you like the quality in the majority of booths, ask around to find the promoter of the show. Introduce yourself to the promoter and request information about applying to sell your handmade greeting cards in future shows. The promoter may give you paperwork with information, or suggest you go to his website for additional information.


Prepare yourself to sell cards at craft shows if you want to go this route. Start with small, indoor affairs around Christmas time. Many churches and schools house small craft fairs that are inexpensive to join during the holidays.

Purchase a canopy and display setup if you are successful at selling cards to the public. These are expensive business investments that allow you to show your work at its best, both indoors and outdoors, on a year-round basis. Do not buy these things until you have been successful at small fairs and feel confident that you will benefit form working larger fairs.

Blinky Palermo: An Expansive Minimalism

Installation view of the exhibition “Palermo: Works 1973 – 1976″ at David Zwirner Gallery.
(the exhibition has ended)

I have a passionate love for all the work of Blinky Palermo (1943-1977), the German artist who took the name of an American gangster/fight promoter and lived a short and very productive life. I use the word passionate deliberately, as it implies a highly emotional, almost irrational response. It’s difficult to describe clearly why Palermo’s work moves me and makes me happy to be in its presence, as I was at the recent show at Zwirner, link above. I suppose I can start with minimalism, pared down, mainly geometric painting, which I love, and which has influenced much of my work the past few years. I’d have to include Palermo’s work within the frame of minimalism, but he throws a curve ball into the mix. Looking at the long black line on the left wall, I see that it has some weight and presence, but it’s not quite a sculpture.

Untitled, 1973, detail; oil on canvas over wood, 3 1/2 x 88 3/8 x 1 9/16 in.

It is, rather, a long narrow, irregular painting, pointed on both ends so as to push into the space around it, animating the wall. The surface isn’t polished and smooth, but bumpy and somewhat misshapen. I find this imperfection very touching, and the emotion is heightened for me by the ordinariness of this object placed on the wall: it is a line, and a hand-formed object, inviting metaphor.

Wooster Street, 1975; acrylic on aluminum in 2 parts, 22 1/2 x 41 5/16 overall.

There were two of Palermo’s metal paintings in the show. The thin metal surfaces of the paintings gives them a lightness on the wall despite their strong presence and moves them outside the familiar oil-on-canvas tradition.

Wooster Street detail

The care with which white paint was laid over the darker color, making subtle stripes, belies the idea that the artist might have been a sloppy thinker.

Untitled, 1973; primer, oil, fabric, and wood; 98 7/8 x 26 3/8 x 3 5/8 in.

Palermo called his hybrid works of painting in three dimensions “objects”. They are painting amplified. In the piece above, a dirty red-orange supports gray and bright blue on a tall, thin rectangle. At the bottom another orange rectangle is layered. It is very difficult to achieve balance with such a tall shape, but this work feels achingly perfect to me.

White Wing, 1974-75; protective wood paint and mixed media on wood with acrylic on aluminum, 119 7/8 x 35 1/16 x 1 15/16 in. overall.

A simple black line and and a white parallelogram washed with a stripe of pale color: a combination offering numerous metaphors. White Wing is dramatic in its actual presence, being 10 feet tall, engaging a sweep of wall. You can see its scale in the first installation photo above.

White Wing detail

The tall black shape isn’t a simple flat line, but a slightly volumetric wood form, roughened and marked by paint and staples. What appears from a distance as a clean, crisp form is instead worn and speaks of time and the hand.

Object with Spirit Level, 1969-1973; rustproof paint, muslin, found level, and press board;
21 3/8 x 53 1/2 x 1 3/4 in.

This work is quite witty, I think. Two implied vertical rectangles bookend a horizontal one, and on top is a spirit level, painted the same way as the board beneath. I had never realized that a level was also called a spirit level; to me it implies some kind of magic. In this case, the level is missing the liquid and its bubbles, so it cannot measure its straightness on the wall; it is an abstraction, with references.

Untitled, ca. 1974; oil on wood, 9 11/16 x 22 3/16 x 3/4 in.

With a plain shape on the wall, a triangle….

Wood Parallelogram, 1974; varnished wood, 35 9/16 x 22 1/4 x 2 in.

….or a parallelogram, is where the mystery of my deep response to Palermo’s work comes most to the fore. There seems to be no reason for me to be so moved by a shape on a wall, but I am. It is as though I am being asked to see the basis of life, its essential form, turned into something poetic; a transmutation of matter.

II-1 and II-2, 1974; pencil on paper in 2 parts; 72 1/4 x 93 3/4 and 72 1/4 x 147 7/8 in.

In the same room as the Wood Parallelogram were six drawings, most in two parts, that seemed completely empty sheets of paper at first glance. Like a group of Ad Reinhardt paintings shown in this space in 2013, it took attention and time to see what Palermo had done. Like the Reinhardt’s, they are impossible to photograph.

II-1 detail

On each sheet of white paper, a surface rich enough to look as though it was painted or gessoed, is one or more finely and crisply drawn parallelograms. They very subtly create a tension between them, a movement across the expanses of empty space. They anchor the space, but with such a light touch that they are almost illusory. They are beauty, hard to grasp.

4 Prototypen, 1970; four color screenprints, each 23 5/8 x 23 5/8 in.

I very clearly remember the first work by Blinky Palermo that I saw: it was the four prints above, and it was at a gallery on the north side of 57th street, sometime in the mid 80s I think. I remember being thunderstruck by this group of prints with their offbeat geometric forms. It was love at first sight, and this was when I was painting precise landscape paintings. It was a treat to see them again, in a show of Palermo prints at Carolina Nitsch Project Room.

Five Miniatures, 1972; suite of five color stencil prints on handmade paper; each 15 3/4 x 10 5/8 in.

In the print show were several suites of miniature prints, which showed another aspect of Palermo’s sensitivity to form and color, and his ability to work at different sizes and with different materials. His drawings, which I wrote about here(another show at Zwirner), show another aspect of his marvelous sensibility.


I love these small images, their inventiveness and simplicity; their color and form. There is grace in all Palermo’s work, a fluid ease with materials, a mysterious rightness that touches my heart and enlarges my spirit.

Home Improvement Products For The Kitchen And Bathroom

The kitchen and bathroom are considered the most valuable rooms in a home. Home improvement products that can create a better and more modern look for these rooms are good investments. They increase the value of a home, and they are items that will be used every day by everyone in the household. The products are available in every price range.

Kitchen and Bathroom Fixtures

In the kitchen and bathrooms, the fixtures are one of the most important home improvement products that can be purchased and installed. When a bathroom has a sink, faucet or shower that is outdated or in poor condition, the home’s value is severely affected. Installing the latest fixtures can be done by the homeowner, and they can often be purchased for a reasonable price.

In the kitchen, the sink, dishwasher and countertops are vital to the modernity of the room. Home improvement products that can update these features can add thousands to the value of the home. Home improvement websites can provide everything from the tools needed to install fixtures to the latest appliances.

Flooring for the Home

The flooring that you have in your kitchen and bathrooms speaks volumes about how up-to-date the home is. Updated homes often use tile or wood flooring in the wet rooms. Home improvement products available online can make it easier to lay tile or to install wood flooring. Some of the popular flooring styles are made to be easy to install for homeowners. With grooves built into each piece, they can simply be slid into place by anyone, regardless of their home improvement experience. Many brands of wood flooring come with a tongue-and-groove system that make it fast and easy to lay flooring.

Adding Personal Touches

In addition to the fixtures, appliances and practical items that every kitchen and bathroom needs, many people want those rooms to be personalized. Home improvement products like towel racks, wall shelves and even art work can be bought online and used to create exactly the room that moves you.

Paint, spackle and trim for the walls are all home improvement products that can transform the look of a room. A new paint job that keeps the room sporting the latest trendy color is an inexpensive way to update a room. Trim added to the baseboards or to the ceiling makes a room look completed. Often, these are the only items needed to take a plain, unmemorable bathroom and change it into a modern room that reflects the personality of those who live there. The rooms that you use every day should be attractive, useful and modern to make every day a little more enjoyable.

A New Path for the Side Yard


For the past couple of years, I’ve wanted to get rid of the grass on our side yard.  It’s a really narrow area and kind of pain to mow.  We put a shed back there to hold the snow blower in the summer and store my pots for the winter, but other than that, we rarely go back there.  Pavers and pea gravel seemed like an easy solution.  Of course, once the project starts, it’s always harder on the body than expected.  :)
We started with this:
We removed a truckload of sod.
We ordered a yard of sand, but the guy with the tractor at the garden center put this road base gravel in the truck.  Once it’s put in the truck, there are not a lot of choices.  Luckily, it worked out ok.
They were able to add the pavers to the truck with a forklift.  Then we only had to handle them a couple of times.  At 18 pounds each, they are heavier than you might expect.
 It took a LONG time to set the pavers.  Each had to be completely level itself, and with the other pavers.  We used 2×4 pieces to keep the spacing correct.  As soon as we’d finish two rows, we’d fill the rows with the road base to hold the pavers in place.







We are thrilled with the result!  And amazingly enough, we had only two shovelfuls of the road base left over.  Boy were we lucky that we had enough, but not too much.

While we were in the middle of this project, we added this adorable boy to our family.  Henry is such a sweet boy and we are thrilled he’s ours!

How to Decorate My New House

Decorate your new home to reflect your personal style.After going through the trials and tribulations of purchasing a new house, the idea of decorating it may be a bit intimidating. Before diving in and decorating the entire house at once, take it one room at a time and you’ll feel less stressed. Make a plan for each room and when one room is completed, move on to the next one and before you know it, the entire house will be decorated.



  • Planning

1. Write down a plan for each room. Decide what look you want to create for each room and write down the elements that you think you’ll need to create each look. If necessary, consult home design books and magazines. Think about color palettes, fabrics, furnishings and accessories.

2. Assign a rank of importance to each room. There are likely some rooms in your home that you likely want to have decorated as soon as you move in and others that can wait a while. For instance, the kitchen and living room may be of utmost importance to you, or the bathrooms and bedrooms. Tackling the rooms that are most important to you first will give you peace of mind and allow you to enjoy your new home.

3. Determine the necessities. If you’re moving from one home to another, you will likely be able to use several of the items from your old home in your new home. Go through what you already own and decide what you can use. If this is your first home, you will probably need to go shopping for the materials. Even if it isn’t your first home, you may want to add a few new touches to the home. Come up with a specific, or at least a vague list of things you need to serve as a reference point while you shop.

  • Execution

    • 1

      Jump into decorating after you’ve sorted through and collected all of your goods. Start by painting or wallpapering the walls.

    • 2

      Arrange the furnishings. Start with the largest pieces–a bed and dressers, for example–as they will become the focal pieces of the rooms they are in. Once you’ve established where you want to position the bigger pieces, bringing in the smaller items, such as chairs, bedside tables and bookshelves.

    • 3

      Tie the look of the room together with accessories. Hang the curtains, display pictures, stack books, set out vases and any other accessory that you think will complete the room. Even if you don’t get every accessory that you want in the room, the major decorating will be complete; adding accents and personal touches down the road is easy to do.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take the tastes of the other people who will be living in the home into consideration to make it a place that all will enjoy.
  • Decorating can be a costly venture. You may want to set a budget before you begin.

How to Make Homemade Soap

Homemade soap is an ideal birthday present, teacher or hostess gift or wedding shower favor. Glycerine soap base comes in a few different varieties, such as honey, aloe and shea butter; most soap bases come without added colors or fragrance. You can easily personalize soap with fragrance, colors, and even names and short phrases as shown here.

Homemade soaps are great gifts!

How to Make Colored, Scented Soap

Step 1:You can make colored, scented soaps with melt-and-pour glycerin soap base, soap coloring, essential oil and soap molds. Any heat-resistant, nonstick silicon mold will work. Please see the last slide for an itemized list of tools and materials.

Supplies for making homemade soap


Step 2:Melt the base over low heat. Glycerine soap base comes in a few different varieties, such as honey, aloe and shea butter; most soap bases come without added colors or fragrance.

To determine the amount of soap to melt, consider the size of your soap mold. The mold used here yielded 12 soaps, each 2 inches by 3 inches by 1 inch. One-fourth of a pound of soap base will make three soaps of this size; one pound of soap base is enough to make all 12 soaps of this size.

Melt and pour your soap base into the molds.
Step 3:Transfer the melted soap to heat resistant container, such as a paper coffee cup, to add coloring or fragrance.

To add a scent to the soap, place 3 to 5 drops of essential oil per 1/4 pound of melted soap for a lightly fragrant soap. For a more fragrant soap, add more essential oil, little by little, until the desired fragrance is achieved.

To color the soap, add a few drops of soap dye to lightly color 1/4 pound of melted soap. The more dye you add, the darker the soap will become. Lavender (shown here) is made with 2 drops of red dye and 1 drop of blue.

Add color and fragrance.
Step 4:Mix thoroughly and pour into molds. Allow soap to set for several hours on a flat surface or place mold in the refrigerator if you’d like to harden the soap faster.

Pour into molds.

Spell Out Words or Make Shapes in Your Soap

Step 1:Melt about 1/4 of a pound of opaque white soap base in a melting pot on low heat.

Melt white soap base.
Step 2:Add a little color, if desired; just be sure it’s not so dark that your shapes and colors aren’t visible. To add color, transfer the melted soap to a mixing container, add a few drops of color and stir. This color was made with 20 drops of red and 5 drops of yellow.

Add color.
Step 3:Pour the soap into a shallow tray, plastic box top or Tupperware lid. The tray shown here is a turned-over serving tray with a lip. A thin layer of soap no more than 1/4 inch high is best. Allow the soap to harden for about 20 minutes. Place the tray in the refrigerator if you want the soap to set faster.

Pour into shallow tray.
Step 4:Cut out names, words or shapes with small letter cookie cutters. Set the shapes aside.

Cut out words and shapes from the soap.
Step 5:Melt clear soap base over low heat. Pour this clear soap 1/4 inch into the molds and allow to set for about 15 minutes. You don’t want the soap to completely harden, so do not place it in the refrigerator. You want the soap firm enough to hold the letters, but not completely solid. This step can take some practice.

Pour clear soap base 1/4 inch in mold.
Step 6:Arrange the letters and/shapes in the molds — positioned as a mirror image — on top of the pre-poured clear soap. When finished, the bottom of the molds will be the top of the soap.

Arrange words/shapes backward.
Step 7:Pour more clear soap over letters. The soap must be warm enough to pour, but not hot enough to melt letters. This step is a bit tricky and requires a little bit of patience and practice. Reserve a few molds to practice until you get the hang of it.

Pour more clear soap over the letters.
Step 8:Fill the soap molds completely with clear soap base. Or, stop 1/4 inch from the top, allowing the clear soap base to set and then pouring a layer of opaque soap over the clear layer. Allow the soap molds to harden for two hours.

Back with an opaque layer.


Best Ways to Decorate an Office

Who Wouldn't Want To Work in This Room?Most people spend the majority of their time working. Your work space should be inviting, comfortable and one that is conducive to productivity and creativity. Look for ways to make your workspace your own, as you will want to be in a space that reflects who you are and makes you feel something.




A Dedicated Space

  • This is the office and only the office

    Whether at the office or at home, make your office space yours. Even in an open environment, such as cubicles in an commercial office space, can be personalized with your own with art, photos and posters. But take heed in balancing your personal style with the rest of the office decor. Make sure not to put out co-workers or supervisors.

Want to Work

    • The orange chair is a perfect pop of color.

      Create energy. The office is a place for work and usually creativity. Create that energy with vibrant colors, such as red, orange or yellow. Blue and green are used for calming and cooling, but will work well for rejuvenation. If you are partial to neutral colors, use bright accents to create vibrancy. When you feel tired, take a walk and come back to the bright beautiful space you call an office.

A Place to Work

  • The focal point of this office space is the shaped desk

    Place the desk as the focal point in the room. No office is complete without a desk. Have a workspace that is clear of clutter and functional. Options include a wood, glass, shelving, even a door. Add a chair that is comfortable and beautiful.

A Place for Everything

  • Storage cabinets hide away paper and provides exact table space

    Create an organized and functional space with storage. Have dedicated spaces for books, magazines and filing. Organize paperwork in a file cabinet, shelving for books and reference manuals and baskets for trade magazines.


  • Storage is pretty and functional

    Add accessories for color and flair. No office is complete without pencil cups, letter trays and journals. Don’t cover every inch of your desk, but add desk accessories for color and functionality. Don’t forget to hang art. Offices of today are not complete without inspirational words, so find words in a finish you like and hang them up. Look for “energy,” “dream,” “devotion” or anything that will inspire you.

Light the Way

  • The desk and artwork pop in this office creating energy and interest

    Place a lamp on the desk. You can’t work without lighting. Lamps are more than just functional, they can set the tone of your entire space. Coordinate a lamp with your decor, or use one a completely different color.

Make it Green

  • Add plants. One of the easiest ways to decorate an office is with plants. Read the labels of any plants you are considering and choose ones that will work in your office space. If the plant needs direct sunlight and your space is in the back and doesn’t get any, you may need to chose an alternative, or purchase a lamp for that plant.

Welcome Home Decorating Ideas

Make your welcome home celebration festive by choosing just the right decorations, whether you’re welcoming a new baby, college student or military member. Yellow ribbons are a mainstay of welcomes for military personnel, for example, while handmade banners and colorful balloons are suitable for any returnee. Decorate both inside and outside, and don’t forget a favorite part of any welcome-home celebration: Set out welcome baskets or cook up a spread of the returning family member’s favorite foods.

Outdoor DecorationsStart welcoming the guest of honor before he ever gets inside the house. Tie ribbons or balloons on signposts and trees along the route the honoree will travel on the way home. If it’s permitted in your neighborhood, post colorful handmade “Welcome Home” signs or banners at the entry to your subdivision and at the beginning of your street. Hang a large poster or banner on your garage door or create a balloon archway across your front porch that greets the returnee by name. Finally, hang a “Welcome Home” wreath on the front door.

Indoor DecorContinue the welcoming messages inside. Create a “welcome walkway” by putting a red carpet from the front door through the entry or hallway. Line it with paper signs, each of which features the letters in the words “welcome home.” Hang these signs on the walls, or have each family member or friend hold up one of the letters. If you have a fireplace, string a garland that spells out “welcome home” across the mantel, or use lettered children’s blocks to spell this out on the mantel or prominent table.

Welcome New BabyWelcome home a new baby and her parents by decorating outside and inside their home. Make or rent a large sign to put in the yard, welcoming the new arrival. You can use a standard poster or a wooden signboard in the shape of a stork or teddy bear. Tie colored balloons to the mailbox, trees or nearby signposts. Hang a colored banner across the front of the garage with a greeting such as “Welcome home, baby!” — include the child’s name if desired. Inside, display any flowers or gifts that have come for the baby on a table decorated with baby-themed paper goods.

Military HomecomingGo all out to welcome home your returning military family member. Enlist the help of community organizations and businesses to post large welcoming signs on schools, billboards and marquees along the returning service member’s route home. Tie patriotic or yellow ribbons along trees and signs. Ask friends, neighbors and family members to line the route and give them small flags to wave or “Welcome Home!” and “Thank You for Your Service” signs to display. Drape the front of your home with patriotic bunting and a “Welcome Home!” sign made by family members — and don’t forget to have your flag waving proudly.

Cheap and Easy House Exterior Ideas

It doesn't take a lot of money or skills to spruce up your curb appeal.Ideas for adding some pizazz to the exterior of your house do not have to be expensive and you do not have to be a home improvement expert to add curb appeal either. With a little time and effort you can turn your dwelling from drab to fabulous and show everyone driving by your personal design style.




  • Add a little color for your home to stand out from the rest on the block.
    Add a little color for your home to stand out from the rest on the block.

    Though painting the entire exterior of your house can get expensive and entail a lot of hard work and may not be easy to do with vinyl or metal siding, you can still add color with paint. Concentrate on trim, around windows, the eaves and doorways. Choose a color that contrasts with the base color of your home for extra pop such as turquoise on red as pictured in the photo.. For additional drama, paint your door yet another color, like a bright red or other favorite bold hue.


    • Flowers and plants add color and life to your curb appeal.
      Flowers and plants add color and life to your curb appeal.

      Another cheap and easy exterior idea is to add color and texture with plants and flowers. Choose petals that complement your exterior. For example, pair red rose bushes with a red door or yellow daisies with turquoise trim. For additional eye-catching color, buy the same type of flowers but in different hues. In addition to planting individual seeds or bulbs, home improvement and garden stores usually carry roll-out pre-seeded flower beds to make it even less time consuming. Put in window boxes or line up decorative pots and planters alongside your home to eliminate weeding.


  • Replacing your standard house numbers with decorative ones is just one cheap and easy exterior decorating ideas.
    Replacing your standard house numbers with decorative ones is just one cheap and easy exterior decorating ideas.

    Other easy ideas for maximizing curb appeal with little money is to choose small exterior decorating touches. It can be as easy as changing your standard house numbers to something more decorative. A few screws and you’re done. Buy some more detailed numbers from your local home improvement or hardware store, paint the ones that you have in another color using outdoor spray paint or make your own using tile and paint. Choosing a theme for the exterior of your house, just as you would in the interior, is another easy way to show off your personal design style. For example, line up a collection of gnomes or garden fairies alongside your potted plants and flowers. These can be found cheaply at garage sales, thrift shops and even unfinished at craft shops where you can add the colors that will complement the rest of your outdoor decor.