Because you Deserve a Good Night’s Rest

Are Microfiber Sheets a Good Choice?

Cuddly catWhen you go shopping you are likely to find bed sheets made of many different threads. What exactly is Microfiber?

There are variations in the threads, with a blend of cotton, polyester, and nylon being the most common Microfiber. In fact the term microfiber refers to any fiber where the strands are less than a denier in width; a denier is a measurement that is used to identify the fiber thickness of the individual threads. Apart from bed sheets you may have seen the term when buying pantyhose or stockings. A denier is extremely fine, three times more so than cotton. This makes for very soft sheets.

Some complain of static with these sheets but this seems to be the only downside. This is easy to correct with a fabric softener like BOUNCE in the drier when they are washed.

 The advantages of Microfiber Sheets

  • They  need no ironing; they do not wrinkle
  • They do not develop cotton balls
  • They are durable and seem to last forever.
  • If liquid spills it will bead up and be easy to wipe off the sheet leaving no stain
  • There is a significant price advantage over all other sheets, especially King and Cal King.
  • In the summertime these sheets breathe so you don’t sleep all sweaty.

Deep Pocket Sheets
All sheets now add extra inches for deep pocket mattresses but some are better than others. Always check the measurements which will be listed on the packaging.

Green, blue and beige sheets

You may well find you want to switch to microfiber sheets, the ultimate in comfort.

 Quote for the Week
Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone!

Anthony Burgess. 

Downsizing

Moving to a Smaller Home. We are so used to “big” in America. With a European husband and raised in Africa, I may have a different view. This is how I see it, that when you choose a simpler lifestyle and consciously create an aesthetic transformation in your new-small-home, life actually gets easier. Perhaps the biggest benefit you are going to find is time. The less “stuff” you have the more time you seem to have. For life is not about what you wear, the stuff you own or the house you live in. It is about relationships. It may even be easier to create a cozy, welcoming atmosphere for your friends and family, leaving a troubled world outside, when the space is small and affordable. Mirror with lamps Mirrors are good, especially if placed alone on a short wall. (Note: You can select your mirror online with Picture Lady and we will bring it to the show) Here are some tips to help you decorate to do this. The first thing you absolutely MUST do is remove all the clutter
Furniture with a glass top, or a filigree, makes a room look more spacious. Rather than several different colors choose several shades of the same color. The small room will appear less fragmented Bright colors advance, and cooler colors recede. You want to choose cool colors like sage green or a soft teal or lavender for a small room. Much can be done to create the idea of a bigger room with a careful selection of pictures. Scenery that fades into the distance makes a room look twice the size.

Cafe at LakeChoose furniture that has built in storage, like nesting tables, or a bed with drawers or an ottoman. Choose only one or two medium sized pictures. A lot of small pictures make the room look busy. Sorry, that family photo-wall and that glass cabinet may have to go. There is a solution: Choose only two or three precious photos and turn these into a collage with PHOTO TO ARTWORK. (Remember the photo-work is free) Last but not least, every room deserves a little “bling”! Find one outstanding or unique item that makes everything around it look expensive. It doesn’t actually have to cost you much. In my sister’s front room her focal point is an antique lamp that she got for free at a flea market! May you have lots of fun decorating for downsizing! Collage

Snap-e Pie

Quick and Easy and Healthy also!

Snap-e Pie has become a popular meal in my home. I bake at least two or sometimes even three pies in a week. We like them but I love them even more.for they are easy on my wallet and a good protein substitute for meat and also gluten-free.   Best of all they are easy to make.  One pie takes ten minutes to prepare, and twenty-five minutes in an oven at 300 degrees. There is usually enough in a pie to continue eating for two or three days, unless the kids fall in love and gobble it up, which is entirely possible!

I started making Snap-e Pies because I wanted more protein and a freedom from gluten.

(When we all began eating Snap-e Pies there was an additional bonus. We became “regular” – this was from the psyllium; psyllium is a husk-like product that gives roughage. It can be bought at TJs. )

Here is the basic recipe.

4 eggs
A half a tub of TJs whipped cream cheese ($1.99)
A half a cup of Psyllium or a cup rolled oats (gluten free if you or family members are gluten-sensitive)
A pinch of salt
A pinch of baking soda

Separate the eggs, putting the yokes in the blender together with the cream cheese.

Whip the egg whites with the salt until so stiff that the little eruptions stand up firmly.

Blend the eggs and cheese and fold into the whipped whites. Add the Psyllium and the pinch of baking soda and mix thoroughly. Bake in a baking pan at 300 degrees for twenty five minutes.

This basic pie is delicious if you serve it with butter and Marmite. Marmite is a spread rich in Vita B1 and is an acquired taste. Your kids may love it or hate it. Adults usually love it and so do animals because of the B vitamin factor.   If your kids hate Marmite, serve instead with butter and marmalade.

marmite

Sweet Snap-e Pie

(Here are some sweet variations It is the same basic recipe)

To the blender with the cheese and egg yokes, add grated apple and grated coconut. To the final mix add oats rather than Psyllium and finally, just before baking, add a little box of raisins. Garnish with baked, sliced coconut. (Instead of the coconut you can use honey roasted sliced almonds or spicy pecans.)

 Or

Use banana or peach or pears instead of the apple. Blend thoroughly before adding to the egg whites. I almost always add raisins to my sweet Snap-e Pies.

Snap-E with Sausage and  Cottage Cheese

Snap-E with Sausage and Cottage Cheese

Savory Snap-e Pie.

(These can serve as a meal replacement rather than a snack)

Chop Up a zucchini and press some ginger into the mixture in the blender. Add raisins. It is a sweet and savory variation..

Or

Add hummus to the egggs and cheese. Then add lentils to the final mixture and spread a layer of TJ lentils on top of the savory pie covered with a layer of salsa. Garnish with grated cheese. Yum – delicious.

Or

 Add TJs chopped Asian vegetables to the final mixture. It is kind of crunchy and I serve it with marmite and butter. My husband likes this one

 Or

 Add cooked spinach to the final mixture and garnish with a thick layer of cheese. Trim with tomato slices.

Gluten-free pie savory

Snap-e Pie savory

With the basic recipe so easy and quick and truly healthy, there is no end to the variations you can create. Easy & Delicious!

 

Days of Summer!

And guess what, your house is an unholy mess!

It seems to you that all the world is descending on you for a visit.  The problem is that you were so busy in March and April that you forgot to spring clean, and now it is just far too hot to bother.

But . . .

Your husband is bringing his golf buddies back for dinner!

And challenge of all challenges the in-laws are coming to stay for a week or two or three or four  . . .  and so it goes.  Oh my, will you ever survive?

To add to your distress all the kids in the neighborhood have descended on your pool. You are going to have to jump in and create some summer cleaning games, and create some summer music before you send them all back home and get to it  . . .

Now for the Serious Stuff:

First:
The kids helped but you still need to hire a cleaning lady or service. With all you have going, and are expected to do, you have rights!

Two:
Take a clipboard and walk through your house and really look at what is there. You want to make three lists:

  • One, everything you love.  These are the things you plan to keep.
  • Two, things that you dislike and would prefer to discard.  These are the items you are going to replace. It doesn’t have to happen all at once.  You start with the 20% that will make the 80% of difference.
  • Three: The worn & shabby list: Furniture etc that has become old and threadbare.  Don’t hesitate. Throw it out.  It is better to leave an empty hole than fill your house with anything that you feel is sub-standard. (there are a few exceptions – beloved things you really couldn’t do without because they are so useful, so expensive to replace or hard now to get any more – they stay but try to refurbish them!)

Now, here’s the rub: What about those items on the first list that are dated.  You have been holding on to them because you love them. Meanwhile fashions change, the world moves on,  and while the images may still be beloved, the frames, well those old gold frames don’t they really suck?

Did you know that at Picture Lady we can Resurrect Your old Artwork? This is one of our more affordable and very gratifying services.

Art for the Home:

Spend a little bit of money to cheer your spirits and your home. Invest in one new bright picture for each of your main rooms.  (Living, Dining and Family) Primary colors are always best for the summertime

whimsy one

                                            Cafe Marie 

(I just love the whimsy in this bright picture that reminds me of touring in Europe)

Picture Lady wishes you a summer full of fun and friends and all good things!

And if you are traveling on the I-5 don’t forget to visit us at our weekend store!

Quote for the Week

“A messy house is a must – it separates your true friends from other friends.
Real friends are there to visit you not your house!” 
Jennifer Wilson 

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

Halloween

Is it Fabulous Fun or a Frightening Fad?

As the year rolls round and we slide into winter, even with a time change designed to keep our kids out of darkness, creative homemakers view the last day of October, October 31st, with some misgiving. Is this American tradition, which is now firmly embedded in our culture, sick or sensational; good or evil?

Cat in front of lantern

The Origins of Halloween

Historians are not quite sure how this holiday entered into the eerie fabric of our culture. The most popular interpretation is that long, long before the birth of Christ, in the Celtic world of Ireland, England, and parts of France, the end of summer harvest was celebrated, with the New Year beginning shortly after. It was said that on the last night of the year the curtain between alive and dead was at its thinnest, and the ghosts of the dead came out to roam the countryside. The frightened people lit bonfires to keep away the evil spirits and if they walked abroad, they would light their way with a candle in a hollowed out turnip which they had carved with an ugly face. Halloween survived in the Catholic Celtic world, and it even survived the Protestant Reformation with its rejection of all things Catholic, false or symbolic. Halloween, as it exists in America today, was brought here in the mid 1800s, when more than a million Irish immigrants made their way to America, following the disastrous Potato Famine. Once here, they discovered that pumpkins were far easier to carve with funny faces, than turnips.

Bats for halloween

These Irish immigrants, rather than dressing as Saints in a Church parade, asking for soul cakes in return for prayer, got creative with spectacular costumes and went from house to house begging for handouts – and they found it was a lot fun! This was when, in good Irish, elfish mischief, the tricks entered in. Most were centered around the outhouse, and Halloween tricks tamed down when good plumbing became the order of the day. It was in the 1920s that children began to dress up and go from door to door. The idea was to get to know the neighbors, and to foster community spirit. Various bad incidents put a damper on the celebration in the 1970s, but by the year 2000 it was estimated that 92 percent of all American kids went Trick or Treating.

You as a Creative Home Maker

Would you want to deny these beautiful children below the glorious fun of Halloween? All are loved to the degree their parents or grandparents asked us to do a family portrait to keep them alive in the treasure of their family memories. In the innocent world of my new granddaughter, Sofia, I observe that there has been a shift from ghouls and brimstone and lightning, and the fires of hell, to creating an opportunity for the kids to explore new realities. last year Sofia was Rapunzel and this year she will be Cinderella wearing her costume first at the end of September (her birthday) to Disneyland. So in 2012 with parent’s policing the excessive sugar and shepherding their children around from house to house, the kids are having a grand ol’ time for Halloween!

From the Comfort Zone

Bring us your photographs and we will help you preserve your treasured memories. (We’d love to see a photograph of your child in a Halloween costume!)  We would surely post it on this blog and on our website.

Quote for the Week

Eat, drink and be scary.  ~Author Unknown

 

Vincent Van Gogh

Featured Artist for the Month

I met a delightful customer at our store in the Flying J this last week. She was particularly interested in the Art of the Old Masters. In our American rush for the novel and the new we sometimes forget the lasting quality of art  and products that have stood the test of time.  In her house she  had the Van Gogh sunflowers and we carry a spectacular version of this picture in Art-Tex that seems to bring out every brushstroke. It was she that inspired me to write this post.

art masterpiece

Van Gogh Sunflowers

There are some misconceptions about this artist:

  • Van Gogh did indeed sell some paintings during his lifetime.
  • Although he was wild and suffered from some deep depressions and did some strange things, it is highly unlikely that he was really insane.
  • He was considered so good that he was often copied. He had a stong following of student admirers. Once during his lifetime his work was even forged.
  • He didn’t commit suicide with a shotgun. This was a gun accident, he tripped and fell on teh barrel of the gun causing it to go off.

The most remarkable thing about the artist is that we do not have a single mediocre picture from him, not even done in his formative years. All are masterpieces. Either he was so good or he had the good taste to destroy his early efforts.

His talent is astounding!  Many of us know and enjoy the the vitality and brilliance of his paintings like Starry Night, Night Stars, and Cafe Terrace.   These pictures are stunning when done with a white linen liner and a black ornamental frame that contrasts with the bright colors. They are perfect to add to your Creative Homemaker decorating for the fall.

What we remember about Van Gogh is that he is one of the most gifted draftsmen who ever lived. he is right up there in the same class as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and Picasso.

 Quote for the Week

To do good work one must eat well, be well housed, have one’s fling from time to time, smoke one’s pipe, and drink one’s coffee in peace.”  Vincent Van Gogh  

 

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