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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
It really came out nice!
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 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.
I did a lot of sketches, trying out different shapes and color combinations. I ended up with a trapezoid….
….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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With a plain shape on the wall, a triangle….
….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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kitchen and Bathroom Fixtures
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.
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!
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.
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.
Jump into decorating after you’ve sorted through and collected all of your goods. Start by painting or wallpapering the walls.
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.
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.
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.
How to Make Colored, Scented Soap
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.
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.
Spell Out Words or Make Shapes in Your Soap
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.