Creating a Home with Atmosphere

The blogger Seth Godin  said, ” In every city there are expensive hotels that are noisy, with $56 breakfasts, no parking, blinds that don’t make the room dark and rooms that don’t have enough closets. But the fact of paying extra to stay there ensures that you’ll be surrounded by others just as wealthy as you, and just as interested in proving it.”

Paris hotel

I consider there is a little more to a five-star hotel than location, wealthy clientele and flashy decor.

Did you know that the luxury hotel market was first created in France with a hidden agenda. The country desperately needed to improve their balance of trade so they decided to get creative. Can you believe that a whole country invented a luxury culture that they then used for the country to prosper. The French created an image and a style that was uniquely French and tourists flocked into the country to wine and dine, and shop. I know that the French were successful, for we visited with Peter’s brother, who was living on a house-boat on the Seine, and we were shown the  best of Paris. My mouth still waters as I recall the subtle tastes of the delicious food and I can still see the fancy, fashionable ladies swaying down the Champs Elysee.

I am not trying to talk you into going to France for nowadays who wants to go through Airport Security?  I m rying to show you that what the French can do so can you. You can create a uniquely stylish home and it won’t even cost all that much money. You can even add French pictures and they always add a touch of class and at Picture Lady they are not expensive.

french cafe onefrench two

So I don’t quite agree with Seth although I do know of some hotels that are overpriced.  What I believe though is that there is a subtle quality in the best hotels, which I like to call it “atmosphere”   As a creative homemaker you can become a master of atmosphere in your own home.  I believe that a loving atmosphere in your home can become the foundation of your life.

My message is that if France could do it, so can you and creating a home with atmosphere does not need to cost a great deal.  With a little bit of imagination you can create your own  home culture, something special for your family, and it need not be based on pretension, it need not even be expensive. It is all in your attention to detail.

Much can be done with lighting. Ever notice how many lamps hotel rooms have – at least five lights in the room? Real estate agents will turn on every light in a house they are showing. Lamps create atmosphere faster than anything else!  Much can also be done with Aroma. I invite you to check out the Aroma Lamps from Picture Lady Home Products.

Even more can be done with color.Here is the color palette for 2013:

art palette

We are fortunate this year in that the fashionable colors in 2013 are positive, and strong. For some years we have lived with tepid colors, but all that is gone. Now opposites attract  like never before, exerting a magnetic pull on the spectrum. Today’s colors may fight with each other, yet they always make a strong statement.

color palette 2013

 Quote for the Week

Love is a feeling completely bound up with color, like thousands of rainbows superimposed one on top of the other.” 

Happy Decorating!

Lynn
The Picture Lady

The Day the Volunteers went on Strike

Why we write these blogs

Excerpt from “Politics IOU” by Ella Bevan

Liberty in the medical sector in Shadow City, was evaporating like a mist on a summer morn.

The cost of medications had skyrocketed until they reached a level higher than what the average man could pay. Big Pharma had decided that they would have to find someone to pick up the exorbitant tab. When electronics also entered into the field of medicine with its expensive diagnostic machines, one after another hospital (all in deep fiscal trouble)  began to fail. All over the nation (and especially in Health Care) the numbers weren’t  adding up.

Health Care endangers LIberty

 

Nice Government Men, all with the best of intentions (and an eye on the next election) had legislated that all the hospitals had to treat anybody who arrived at their doors in Emergency; whether citizens, whether they had the funds or the insurance or not.  Indigents and illegals quickly took advantage. The hospitals were being forced  into free service = free fall. It was a medical fiscal cliff.

Rith, the Director of Volunteer Services in Shadow Community Hospital was a woman whose good looks were understated. She loved her volunteers and she loved the hospital for her job gave her the opportunity to help others. She had known her hospital was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and that the Board of Directors had sacked the old CEO and appointed a new and younger corporate leader. This didn’t phase her for the hospital did not have to pay her volunteers.  Because Rith was popular and a good organizer, her Auxiliary was able to pick  up several vital  hospital functions that had been dropped after the recent layoffs.

She didn’t like the new man; this new pompous CEO, but who was she to say? She was content to stay out of the limelight, do her job and do it well. She figured that in the end it would all come out alright. There were sick people and an aging population and they all needed help. The need was not going to go away.

She walked along the slate pathway through the exquisite rose garden past the patio, giving her fundraiser Ginsee a cheerful wave.  The new CEO had banished her fundraising events from the front lobby to the patio, and she knew that the Auxiliary-Pledge, usually a very generous gift to the hospital, would be about half this year.  The volunteers were just not getting the support from the hospital that they deserved.

Rith had almost reached the entrance to the hospital when she saw or rather heard the commotion. What was going on?  She could see her seventy-five octogenarian volunteers parading in a long line in front of the newly remodeled hospital entrance.   Some volunteers were behind walkers, some were leaning on walking sticks, and many were in power-wheelchairs or on scooters. Everybody was there; Rith had not seen such a turn-out of her volunteers before. It was something else! They were holding up (or trying to hold) big, heavy, aggressive, bold signs.

“NO FREE LUNCH, NO FREE WORK!”

“WE WANT OUR VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION DINNER”

“WE DEMAND AN AUDIT OF OUR CONTRIBUTIONS”

“WE ‘RE THE PINK LADIES AND DON’T THINK WE’RE YELLOW!”

“THIS AUXILIARY IS ON STRIKE”

“Yes I get that,Pearl!” said Rith, breaking into a run.

Pearl, the diminutive Auxiliary president, was out in front leading the parade.

“Did you call me, Rith?” she inquired demurely, having left the line and coming up quietly next to Rith.  Pearl was just shy of five feet, and she could almost fit under Rith’s left elbow.

“What on earth are you up to?”

“Can’t you see? We are on strike!”

“Volunteers don’t strike,” said Rith through clenched teeth.

“Pearl! Get back here; we need you to lead us!” yelled a gray haired volunteer who was doubled up with laughter. She had not had this much fun, not in her full seventy years.

Pearl skipped back to the front of the line and took her position as the leader of the pack. She picked up her megaphone and yelled: “Don’t you ever dare take us for granted again!” She was proudly leading them, all four foot eleven of her, their new, feisty  president, firm and resolute! Rith penetrated the inner line and pulled out Jay, the vice president; she pulled him out by his last four gray hairs. Usually she could depend on this intelligent man for stability and sane solutions.

“Jay, Jay what on earth are you doing?”

“We’re striking,” he said mildly looking up at her.

“That I can see! What situation precipitated it?”

“You know how it has been. It began to get bad after the hospital was bought out.”

“Yes, I do know all about that, but Jay, there must have been something, one big thing that upset you’ all?”

“There was no Volunteer Appreciation.”

“No Volunteer Dinner?”  Rith was astounded. She had left it all organized before her trip.

“He canceled it. “

“Who canceled it?”

“The new CEO and he also canceled our free cafeteria lunches.

Rats! This was trouble; big trouble! This CEO was typical of a new class of manager coming in dedicated to cutting costs, looking good to the share-holders and making a tidy profit, rather than dedicated to good organization and to good healing.

“Jay, you know that volunteers don’t strike.”

“Yes that is what I told Pearl,” said the placid, little man.

“And what did she say?”

He blinked his eyes, “She said: “Don’t be such a wimp, Jay, do you want him to walk all over us?”

“She said what?”

“What could I do?” He looked up at Rith, eyes wide.

“For heaven sakes Jay, there are going to be consequences.”

“Really?”  Rith hoped she was not too late to calm the waters.

She walked off to find the new CEO, who was, as she well knew, the real culprit here; this new CEO brought in to save the hospital money. With volunteers all you had to work with, was their willingness? Did he not understand this?

She knew that her volunteers loved their annual event; they had been planning a dress-up party with a fashion show! They had even chosen their outfits and they were going to do the modeling themselves. This type of event was right down Pearl’s alley and she had drummed up much excitement in her followers. She had even arranged that the clothing the volunteer models were going to show would be donated by a few local clothing stores.  These ladies were all on a fixed income so this meant a lot to them.   Hot skies above, after all the volunteers had done for the hospital, why deny them this little night of pleasure?  Did this new CEO have any idea how much her volunteers saved the hospital?  They worked the front desk, they manned the phones, they handled the backroom paperwork, and they even conducted valet parking!  It was going to take some damage control, and she hoped that she was not too late to save the day.

Back in front of the hospital entrance, she found the supercilious man confronting Pearl. His fat shoulders and head were thrust back which showed his pot-belly to disadvantage. He and Pearl were in loud dispute, no he was the one shouting and she was listening, ominously quiet. The man stood, smugly satisfied that he had stopped the procession; he was into stopping.  He stood encased in self-importance, so typical of the impeccably coiffed new generation of managers, turned out by colleges far removed from the demands of real life and real people.

Little Pearl was standing her ground in front of him, intense, courteous to a fault, but Rith knew she had not stopped being trouble.  She could see it in the cleft in the little raised chin. Rith began to run again.

“Pearl! Pearl! Please stop this!”

Power wheel chairs began to close in on the CEO from every direction.

Volunteer in wheelchair going fast

The CEO, backed off and spun round. Then he saw Rith and exploded.

“You are fired!”  he spat out.

Rith blanched. She knew he was not going to change his mind; could not change his mind.

“And you, er you, you,” pointing at Pearl with his whole body shaking, “you, you little impudent snippet , you, you, right now, you get right off my campus! “

The man, he was the Man turned and stomped off.

The volunteers went into shock. This was something they hadn’t predicted and had not wanted. They had all loved Rith, each and every one of them.  They began to disperse slowly, beginning to realize what they had done.. Rith watched them go, watched them all leaving her. They had been everything to her; they had been her life, for nearly a decade.

She turned around slowly, not quite sure where she was going to go, or what she would do.

~~~~****~~~~

Politics IOU will be up on Kindle at the beginning of February. Meanwhile you can read the story for free at www.ellabevan.com

Latino Heritage

Celebrating our American Diversity

As we remember Black History in January and February in America, we appreciate our Latino Heritage in the months of September and October.

It has been impressive to see more and more Spanish leaders emerge with each new election.

Music dancing and great food is very much a part of the Mexican tradition.

dancing mexican womenMexican Celebrations

Each city in Mexico has a Zócalo, where celebrations take place and people of all ages come out to enjoy themselves. The square livens up with music, laughter and vibrant colors. Parades are so popular that people wake up early and rush to the streets seeking a good spot to watch and enjoy them.  It takes months of rehearsal and preparation for marching bands to perform and compete, all wanting to be the best.  There is usually dancing and music in the square with the ever so popular mariachi bands.

No celebration can be complete without food.  A few days before the big event, hundreds of stalls start aligning on the streets near the Zócalo.  Restaurants all over offer the most representative of Mexican cuisine: Mole Poblano is a thick spicy sauce that comes from blending more than 40 ingredients, and is spread on top of turkey or chicken with Mexican style red rice.   Mole is so popular that it is served on nearly every important Mexican occasion.

Here are some Latino pictures from Picture Lady:

The artists are Leonel from Guatemalo, Diego Rivera,  & Segura Torres from Guadalajara.

Boy with Calla Lilies  ]   

The most exciting of the Mexican celebrations is the 16th of September, their Independence Day.

Quote for the Week

Art is the lie that makes us realize the truth – Pablo Picasso

Fourth of July

Caught flat footed?  Been working too hard? Not yet ready?

Go out early and buy some blueberries and raspberries and whipped cream. Take some squat glasses and put a layer of blueberries then whipped cream, then raspberries then whipped cream and so on up. If your kids have a sweet tooth, sweeten the cream with Stevia to stop that sugar frenzy that will spoil your day.  Your family will love the decorative dessert!

Independence Day

Independence Day

Now hotfoot down to “Dollar Tree” and buy some flags and red white a blue artificial flowers. You can make the house look festive in less than an half an hour!

While there buy some red white and blue tissue paper and a bunch of red white and blue “whatever”!. Put the trivia objects in a basket or a bin and leave it in the center of the table.  Tell your kids this is a “hat contest”.  Tell them they can use anything in the bin or anything else they can rustle up to make themselves a 4th July hat.  Give them until noon to get their creation finished. That’ll give you time to do the cooking.

Then settle back to enjoy the fabulous lunch or barbecue!  Hey, you are a creative homemaker and it’s your day too!

Did you know?

The bald eagle our national mascot can achieve a speed of nearly 200 miles per hour  when diving for a catch. Normally it flies about 30 miles per hour.

It is rumored that during the cold war in the ball on top of our flagpoles, there could be found a razor blade, a lighter and a bullet.  This was so that Americans could destroy the flag if the Russians invaded.

That Calvin Coolidge was born on the Fourth of July.  That Thomas Jefferson died on the Fourth of July.

That there are 31 places in our nation with Liberty in the name.  Iowa has more than any other state with Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty.

Some good Fourth of July Quotes

Better to starve free than be a fat slave – Aesop

Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it. – George Bernard Shaw

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every Fourth of July. They celebrate not with a parade of guns, tanks and soldiers who file by the White House in a parade of strength and muscle; but with family picnics where the kids throw Frisbees. They are having fun where the potato salad gets iffy and the flies all die of happiness!

You may think you have overeaten but it is all about patriotism – Erma Bombeck

 

 

Beating Death by Volunteering

Age (or threat of death) could not dim those hazel eyes, filled with so much  life and intelligence.

“So what stands out in your volunteering as a special moment?” I asked.

She smiled.  “At the gift shop late one night,” she said, “I had almost closed when a big Spanish family came, maybe six or seven people. They were so happy I was able to relate to them. Their attitude  made it worthwhile for me to stay the extra 15 minutes or so.”

“How much did they spend? “ I asked.

“Over a hundred dollars,” she said proudly.

Volunteering

Taking Responsibility

Then she looked up at me, her hazel eyes laughing as she made sure I got the right importance. ” Money is not important.  I get much more out of working here than they could ever, ever pay me.”

“Do they pay you?” I asked.

“Of course not, but being a volunteer allows me to be part of something worthwhile.”

This was her story: She had had cancer and it had spread to her liver. She followed the standard therapy guidelines, surgery and chemotherapy but she had decided she was not ready to die.

“I just wasn;t ready to die,” she said.

So she made a strong decision to live and within days was given a chance to be a part of a special study for a new cancer drug which saved her life ,  no side effects..

“Yet you didn’t go back to work?” I watched her count out the change, far faster than I could ever do and I also keep a store.

“There are parts of my brain were impaired by the chemo.” she said, ” I may not be perfect but I decided I would still function and contribute. See here, this machine tells me exactly how much change to give. . . ”

Not just beautiful, not just intelligent but also practical.

I admired her.

 Weekly Quote 

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”
-Albert Schweitzer

Why do we write this blog?

This blog is dedicated to helping you to get your life together and to bring your home and your family a better quality of life.

We want you to be able to re-create your comfort zone. 

How is it done?

Firstly filter out the noise. Yes you can turn off the TV even if only one night a week. Go more to the Internet and seek out sites that are positive and have no hidden agenda.
Then, too, you can learn to become a Creative Homemaker on a very gentle  gradient.

What are the qualities of the Creative Homemaker?

  • The Ability to lighten the load for all and to create a little bit of magic.
  • The Ability to listen to your friends and family and make each one special
  • The Ability to beautify your home, making it a place of joy for others. .
  • The Ability to laugh at yourself and let your family  laugh along with you.
  • The Ability to turn your Home into a Sanctuary – to close the door and leave a troubled world outside.

Creative Home Makers are blessed with unique qualities; they are compassionate, but only sometimes competent and organized. They may not be great cooks, but they know how to get along with the in-laws. Unlike Lady Gaga the Creative Homemaker may or may not be a knock-out but like Lady Gaga they also don’t mind cleaning toilets!

The creative homemaker is good at forgiving and most of all she knows how to forgive herself.

We write because if we can make you smile, that is a very good thing nowadays.  In addition if we can also give you some useful information you can use to improve the quality of your family-life that is better still. You can access these posts directly or via links in our monthly newsletter.

We closed out the comments section as we were getting too much foreign spam.  Know however, that you can always communicate with us by using the email contact feature of http://www.picturelady.com/signup.htm .  We are very interested in your views and love to hear from you.

Wishing you the joys of spring and summer and all good things!

Quote for the Week

When women are depressed, they either eat or go shopping.
Men invade another country. It’s a whole different way of thinking.

— Elaine Boosler