Monday, August 30, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love & Yoga

It seems with the impending release of the movie Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts, the yoga fervour is getting stronger especially amongst those of us in the search of inner peace like the ingénue in the story. If reading the book of the same title has sparked you to pursue yoga more seriously, then it would be best for you to practise it in a conducive environment.

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Designing A Yoga Room

The practice of yoga is continuing to increase in popularity. While many people go to yoga studios to take courses or just for a serene and comfortable place to practice, other people prefer to do yoga at home. For yoga devotees, having a room in their home set up in an ideal way for their practice is just an extension of their commitment to yoga.

A space to practice yoga does not need to be expensively decorated. Neither does it need to be difficult to create. The most important thing in a yoga space is it needs to be pleasant; if it is not somewhere you want to spend time, it will not be conducive to practicing yoga.

The room you choose for your yoga room needs enough free floor space for you to stretch out on the floor lengthwise in any direction with a little extra space for motion. The ceiling should be high enough to allow you to stand on the tips of your toes with your arms stretched as high overhead as you can reach. A space that allows these motions should allow you to do any yoga positions. Of course, if you plan to have more than one person using the room at the same time, you should make sure all of the people can stretch out on the floor, arms fully extended, with at least a foot between you.

If you use a portable yoga mat, you can practice yoga over any flooring surface. However, if you want to go all out, consider flooring made just for yoga studios. Several manufacturers make durable and flexible matting that is designed for covering the floors of yoga studios. It accommodates the heat and humidity of the studio while offering some padding and slip resistance. It can be cut to fit any size or shape studio.

Make sure the lighting for your yoga studio is adjustable; lights on a dimmer often are preferable since you may want different light levels at different times. Use indirect lighting or ensure that none of the lights shine directly on the area where you will be practicing since bright lights or glare can be very distracting and unpleasant.

Build in some storage space for all of your yoga accessories. If you use blocks, a belt, portable mats or pillows, make sure there is a place to keep all of these items put away in between sessions. Clutter is not only unattractive; it is a distraction.

If you enjoy music while you practice yoga, make sure your room is equipped with a sound system and speakers. Ideally, use a system with a remote control so you can adjust volume or change tracks without leaving the mat. If you use videos to advance your yoga techniques, your space will need a TV that you can view from the mat and a DVD player or VCR.

Remember to add some attractive decorations to your yoga room. Whether you choose meaningful artwork to hang on the walls or decorate with candles, plants or flowers, a few ornamental objects can make your space more personal and more enjoyable in which to spend your time.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hey Couch Potato!

Oh the feel of a good leather sofa and the joy it brings! Before you rush out to buy one though, ensure that you're getting what you pay for by asking questions about the grade of leather and how to care for that leather once you have it sitting prettily in your living room. Happy couch potato-ing!

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Spotting The Perfect Leather Sofa

Looking for satisfying leather sofa can be difficult because so many alternatives are available, different kinds of leather, different levels of texture, and different prices… buying the most overpriced leather sofa doesn’t always mean you are getting the top-notch sofa or best selection for your needs. So be an educated buyer when looking for leather sofa. It’s better to do your research over the web as many stores hire salespeople who are more about closing the sale than really getting you into the correct leather sofa set. The best thing you can do for yourself is to get self-educated before you go to make your final decision.

First, make sure you selected the high quality leather sofa. Remember that it’s a long time investment that which will last for years. Solid wood with leather covered could be good choice. Because the interior structure may not so serious in the beginning, and the sofa would collapse some day. But solid wood structure could last for hundreds of years.

Second, make sure you have enough space for your selected leather sofa. Before you step into the furniture store, you’d better check the dimensions and the pieces will fit in your designated spot and the doorway to get in. you will have a much better experience planning ahead with this elementary rule.

Third, find a trustworthy furniture store. Make sure the store you decide to go has good reputation and is not new to the business. As you will find, the gimmick store locations with big balloons and other things to lure you in may not be the greatest when a problem arises with your leather sofa. Feel comfort and don’t be squeezed into buying something immediately. Thinking about what genuinely will fit your needs and make an educated decision there.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Stop Losing Your Keys!

Who needs the added stress of misplacing your keys every single day? No more, with this DIY Key Rack.

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Key Rack

All too often, keys end up in obscure places where you can't remember having put them. Keep all your keys accessible and organized with a functional and easy-to-make rack; hang it on a wall in your kitchen, mudroom, or garage.

Tools and Materials
Primer and paint (optional)
Paintbrushes (optional)
Wooden plaque
Metal label holders with screws
Cup hooks

Key Rack How-To
1. Prime and paint your plaque, if desired; let dry.

2. Using a ruler and pencil, make a mark on the front of the plaque 1 inch down and in from the top-left corner; repeat on top-right corner. Working your way down the plaque, make as many equally spaced marks as you'll need for your keys.

3. Place the left-side hole of a label holder over the top-left mark, and use an awl to burrow into the wood; repeat on top-right mark with the right-side hole of the label holder. Drive corresponding screws into the wood. Repeat step for remaining marks.

4. Center a cup hook underneath the top-left label holder, and screw it into the wood. Repeat step for each label holder.

5. Insert labels describing which key is which into holders, and hang the rack on a wall.
From Martha Stewart Living Television, January 2001

Read more at Key Rack and more decorating ideas, organizing tips, and homekeeping and cleaning solutions on

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When Life Gives You lemons...

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How to Clean a Microwave With Lemon Juice

When it comes to cleaning with lemon juice, it's not about the smell, it's about the citric acid. The enzymes in citric acid cut through grease and make a greener alternative to abrasive store bought cleaners. The less money spent on cleaning the better. Using a method of steam and citric acid, microwave dirt doesn't stand a chance. And I suppose it smells good too.
Has the microwave been working overtime this past weekend? Give it a good clean with lemon juice.

Step 1
Open the microwave door and remove excess debris using a damp cloth.

Step 2
Set cut lemon wedges into a microwave safe bowl of water. 2 to 3 cups of water should be sufficient and 2 to 3 tbsp. of lemon juice is a simple alternative if fresh whole lemons are not available.

Step 3
Place bowl in microwave oven for about 2 to 3 minutes or however long it takes to boil water in your microwave. This creates the lemon soaked steam that will cut the grease.

Step 4
Let bowl stand in microwave for at least 10 minutes. The water will be very hot and by letting it stand, there is time for steam to build up inside microwave oven.

Step 5
Remove bowl carefully from microwave. Set aside.

Step 6
Wipe the inside of the microwave with a warm damp cloth or rag. This will remove the surface grease.

Step 7
Repeat steps 2 to 6 for any remaining built up dirt and grease. The microwave walls should be squeaky to the touch when completely clean.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Top 15 Indoor Plants

Some may think indoor plants are boring because of the lack of choices. This article shows they are anything but.

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15 of Your Favorite Indoor Plants

Houseplants add color and beauty to any room, but sometimes they can be frustrating to grow. If you're looking for a low-maintenance or easy-to-grow option, try one of these GardenWeb member favorites.

"Red geraniums are my absolute favorite [indoor plant]s. I have two in my kitchen. They're cheery, easy to grow and I love the color." —lynninnewmexico

Mother-in-Law's Tongue
"I think my most favorite [houseplant] has to be the truly easy-to-grow, even if you forget to water [it] for weeks, snake plant a k a Mother-in-Law's tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)." —redbazel

Peace Lily
"My favorite houseplant is the peace lily... This plant is really beautiful and, no matter what I do, I just can't kill it. I don't mean to, but I neglect it severely sometimes. I will go quite a while and forget to water it, but it always lets me know because the leaves start to droop. Then, I just water it again and it perks right back up within a few minutes. It is really easy to care for. This plant has really pretty big green leaves and has beautiful white blooms every once in a while. If you're looking for a low-maintenance houseplant, this is a great one!"

"My favorite [plant] for indoors is the amaryllis (hippeastrum). Late every summer and in the early fall I go through catalogs and decide which kinds to order for the coming year. I stagger the plantings and usually keep amaryllis in various stages of growth on display from December through July. [It's] such an easy plant to grow, so beautiful and, if you keep the flowers out of strong light, they last a long time."

"Kalanchoe is easy-care and [it] starts well from cuttings. [Mine] blooms every now and then (depend[ing] on the length of the day)."

"I have a miniature schefflera that sits on the floor next to a window in my family room. I like the way it looks and I only water it once every two weeks."

"[My favorite houseplant is] definitely ivy. I have it inside as topiary and just free-form. There are so many varieties to plant... The secret for long-lasting survival inside is to use an insecticide to prevent spider mites and aphids and to water infrequently."

"Without a doubt the very easiest, least demanding and most dramatic plant is the zeezee plant. The leaves look like you have dipped them in shiny wax, although that is their natural look. It will grow in low light or bright indirect light and only require[s] watering about once every two weeks... They thrive on neglect. I just love this plant."

"Aloe is easy-care and [it] starts well from cuttings. Plus, the sap is good first aid for burns."

African Violets
"I bought [African violets] on the dead-and-dying rack at Home Depot or Lowe's for a quarter. The cashier gave me that ‘Are you nuts?' look when I check out with three bone-dry pots of shriveled plant material, but they all survived and are now rewarding me with flowers!"

"The only plant I have now is a ficus tree... The indoor ficus is flourishing and I've just had to repot it into a larger pot. It thrives on very little care and seems to like its situation in the dining room below a large window and a French door on the perpendicular wall. It receives a lot of light but no blazing sun."

Jade Plant
"[My] jade plant just keeps growing. It is easy-care [and] starts well from cuttings."

Aloe Vera, Philodendron and Christmas Cactus
"What works for my brand of neglect are aloe vera, philodendron, and my Christmas cactus."

Cut Flowers
"I guess you could say that my favorite indoor plants are in-season cuttings from flowering outdoor plants."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Meg Ryan's Home Decor Tips

America's sweetheart, Meg Ryan, shares with us decor home decor tips.

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Meg Ryan’s Design Tips

For all her Hollywood glamour, the actress’s take on decorating is eminently practical

Design philosophy
“The whole idea is to keep things as simple as possible; I like everything pared down to its purest form.”

Consider the light
“The light on Martha’s Vineyard is the most beautiful light ever. It’s like the light in an Edward Hopper painting. It’s absolutely beautiful, just operatic—how the sun rises and sets, and then the moon comes up and goes down. I’m so infatuated with it that I don’t have anything on the walls except for a couple of maps.”

The decor should reflect the structure and setting
“My house is a sturdy thing that has survived nor’easters. Where the house was situated, on a hill, and the sturdiness of it was what I loved. The post-and-beam design is about seeing the skeleton of the house, but it felt like there were no walls. I thought if I added Sheetrock walls to it, it would clean it all up and make it feel more finished. Now it feels unencumbered. There’s a real purity to it.”

Live in a place before making any decisions
“I lived here for a year before I did anything to the house, which I think is a smart thing to do before you renovate. You want to see how people move around the house, where the traffic is, and where people like to be. My interior designer, Marsha Russell of Satinwood Ltd., and I figured that out first before we changed anything—though I ended up overruling the architect a few times.”

Practicality rules
“There’s nothing easily broken in my house. There are no side tables in any of the bedrooms, just shelves that stick out from the wall. The outside is so beautiful—the simpler the inside is, the more you are going to stare out the window.”

Make the most of a few materials
“I just went around putting in painted-brick and bluestone in the bathrooms. And I found some old sinks in upstate New York, including a huge soapstone farm sink that I installed atop stacked painted-bricks.”

Look locally for inspiration
“I went to a fantastic old Vineyard house—full of painted-brick and cast iron in the kitchen. I took tons of pictures of that, and that became thematic for my own home.”

White is right
“I used a combination of different shades of Farrow & Ball white paints—there are several whites on the walls.”

Textures soften a space
“I wanted the furniture to be comfortable and not hard-edged, and the gray mesh curtains soften all of the angles of the room. There’s a mix of textures—masculine and feminine; soft and hard.”

If you like it, stick with it
“I found a vintage light fixture I liked, so I had them copied and made two for each bedroom.”

Never stop looking for inspiration
“I do nothing but rip pages out of magazines. One idea leads to the next.”

—Interview by Ingrid Abramovitch