Sunday, 10 April 2016

Dressing Up Your Yard With Garden Decor

It is common for people to toil in gardens and yards for hours on end, pruning bushes, watering flowers, harvesting vegetables, and raking out dead leaves. However, many people forget to stop and "smell the roses" as they beautify their gardens and yards. One reason this may be the case is that many people forget that their yards and gardens are meant for their own pleasure as much as they are for everyone else! One way to remind oneself that the yard is for personal pleasure is to spruce it up with garden decor.

Adding home decor to a garden, yard or patio can make the area seem more like a room in the home rather than a work zone. Extending living quarters to include the outdoor areas of a home makes sense simply because when the property was purchased, it included the land with the building. Adding home garden ornaments and garden furniture can make the garden area seem as though it is more personalized with the qualities and creative efforts of the occupants, and this can achieve a sense of peace and relaxation.

Inside the home, no one wants to live in an empty room. A room in the home is a blank canvas with which to work. A garden can be viewed the same way, and adding garden decor is like furnishing a room in the house. When a fountain is added in the center of a garden, the area seems more complete. Likewise, in order to sit out in the yard and enjoy the surrounding serenity, it is important to have furnishings outdoors. Patio furniture can say a lot about an individual's personality, depending on the color of the pieces, the decadence of the design, and how intricate or simplistic the furniture is.

Having a yard void of garden ornaments can seem like it's not home. It may begin to feel as though the occupant is just biding time, waiting to move on, rather than making the place a comfort zone with personal touches that dress up the garden. Of course, there are people who are almost laughable in creating what is essentially a garden museum, so full of garden decor and home garden ornaments that visitors are afraid to step into the garden for fear of knocking something over or breaking something. However, if the design makes the homeowner happy, then the most important point has been achieved.

Garden decor should make an individual feel as though he or she is not really leaving the house when stepping into the front or back yard. It should be an extension of the home, complete with basic furnishings and accents to bring color and enlightenment into the area. It should be dressed up and decorated in a fashion that welcomes the occupant to look around and feel as much at home sitting on the patio reading a book as inside watching television. When this goal is achieved, then the garden decor is as it should be, complete and perfect for the purpose of the homeowner on a daily basis.

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Saturday, 9 April 2016

Popular Home Bar Decor Items

Are you looking for a few ideas or tips on how to make your home bar a little more exciting? There are a number of great products on the market that can provide a personalized touch to your very own bar or entertainment room. Some of these items include personalized bar signs and wall mounted bottle openers. Not only will these items make your place of enjoyment feel more like home, but they'll make great conversation items and will grab the attention of your guests each and every time they are invited over.

Personalized Bar Signs

What's the point of having a home bar if you're not going to make it look and feel like a bar? If you don't decorate your bar accordingly, it may seem like just another room. If you take a look around the average bar, you will notice a lot of signs. Signs advertising different types of alcoholic drinks and signs of many different types. Often times you will also see signs that display things about the bar such as the actual bar name, names of the owners or favorite phrases, sayings and expressions that have been adopted over the years.

You can make your own home bar unique by putting up personalized signs of your own. You might consider having a sign that has your last name and the word "Bar" after it. So for example if your last name is Smith, then the sign would read "Smith's Bar". You could also add an illustration or graphic of your beer mugs or anything else related to the bar atmosphere. Often times bar owners like to hang more than one personalized sign to achieve more of bar look and feel. Not only will they look great, but your guests will enjoy them as well.

Wall Mounted Bottle Openers

Since beer drinking is one the most frequent activities that will take your place in your home bar, it only makes sense that you have accessories that will make that activity more enjoyable. Glass beer bottles are a popular choice for home bar owners because often times they provide a fresher drinking experience, especially when it comes to craft beers and other types of beer that are not typically found in aluminum cans. If you constantly have a supply of bottled beer available for your guests, then chances are you are always looking for a bottle opener. Hand held bottle openers often get lost or misplaced, so wall mounted bottle openers are a wonderful substitute because it's not possible to lose them because they are mounted directly to the wall.

Another great thing about this type of bottle opener is the fact that you can personalize them with your very own bar name or any other expression or information that you wish to have imprinted on them. You'll also find them available in a number of different shapes, sizes, materials and colors. Decorative or painted/stained wood has become more and more popular versus plastic or other composite materials because of the fact that they provide a more rustic look and feel. Bottle openers are also great if you are collector of bottle caps because they have a cap catcher that makes it virtually impossible for you to lose the caps.

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Thursday, 7 April 2016

It Will Always Be Johnie's Broiler to Me

I was born on a hot July afternoon 1981 in Downey, Ca. Not quite the 90210 area code but my childhood is full of nostalgic memories of places long forgotten. A suburb full of the working middle class, to my child-like mind its a bright and shiny memory that has weathered the years with much more grace than the city itself has.

I remember walking to school and walking past construction zones where busses were being driven off unfinished freeway bridges. I remember going to get my parents at the restaurant where they would park their truck (it was one of the only places easily accessible for them and convenient for family dinner too) that has been used in dozens of movies. I never thought there was anything special about it - at least not until my sister gave news of its impromtu (and illegal) demolition. It was just Johnie's.

The restaurant, my second home, my favorite childhood memory. An old coffee shop and drive-in diner built in Googie style architecture that would bring flashes of the 1950's cruisers, sock hops and doo wops to mind. The Fat Boy on the neon sign holding his serving tray wearing his little white paper cooks hat.

Installed in 1969, just after the restaurant had been renamed, Fat Boy stood proudly atop the neon fixtures displaying his famous Harvey's Chubby (the original double decker cheeseburger). Granted by the tine I was graced with his remarkable presence, only about half of the neon signage still lit up, on most days. Not unless there was a movie filming.

In my memory, there was a movie filming every time we went. The lights so bright, so colorful the passage of time can not dull. For films they would even bring the carhops back in their skates. And we went a lot. I hated going in the daytime and missing the bright lights even when they were half burnt out by the mid 80's.

We moved in the mid 90's out of Downey and not many reasons for me to be grateful for being uprooted, it did spare me the trauma of what became of my beloved second home. In 1999, Fat Boy and his burger lit Firestone Boulevard for one last movie. Ironically the same year my mother passed away.

Johnie's closed its doors and shut the restaurant operation down in 2001 for reasons unknown and in 2002 it was converted into a used car dealership but the restaurant was still there Fat Boy and all. In 2006 the dealership's lease was terminated. A new tenant signed a 99 year lease and despite having been denied permit, illegally demolished much of the dining area and car hops stalls.

After many years of attempting to purchase it and being turned down by Harvey (the original owner), Bob's Big Boy (Johnie's competition) entered into a long term lease. With the help of the Downey Historical Society and Downey's Redevelopment society the restaurant was the building was restored and rebranded as a Bob's Big Boy Broiler.

Fat Boy is still displaying his world famous cheeseburger but his neon no longer lights the sky, he now greets guests as the drive into the parking lot. But still he stands guard and proudly gives diner patrons and cruise clubs a quiet reminder of the diner's rich history.

I grew up in this place and while I haven't been back since 1995 and it breaks my heart that's its not Johnie's anymore, any cruise club member or tourist wanting checkout movie filming locations in Downey should check this place out.

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Monday, 4 April 2016

A Career in Interior Decorating

Imagine having a career that lets you use your creativity to make homes and businesses more beautiful and comfortable. Welcome to the world of interior decorating!
There are few careers that offer so many benefits. As an interior decorator you will have the satisfaction of making your vision a reality. You will meet interesting people, and because many people who hire interior decorators are wealthy, you will likely spend time in many beautiful homes and businesses. If you start your own decorating business you can enjoy the freedom of being your own boss. And perhaps most importantly, your "work" will be fun, interesting, and rewarding.

As long as you have the desire, you can become an interior decorator. No special education or experience is necessary to break into this career and succeed. (Unlike becoming a certified interior designer which has strict requirements including two to five years of post-secondary education in interior design.) You can become an interior decorator immediately.
If interior decorating sounds like the career of your dreams, here are 10 steps to breaking into this fabulous job, based on the FabJob Guide to Become an Interior Decorator published by

1. Train your eye
Since you are interested in a career as a interior decorator, chances are you already have a "good eye" for design. In other words, when you look at a room you can see what looks good, and what could be improved. But no matter how naturally talented you are, you can continually "train your eye" by studying what people consider to be good design.
Seek out beautifully decorated interiors to look at. You can find numerous examples of beautiful interiors in design magazines or in your own community by visiting show homes, open houses for sale in wealthy neighborhoods, furniture showrooms, historic homes, art galleries, and offices of professionals such as interior decorators and corporate lawyers.

2. Educate yourself
Interior decorators are expected to know about the various elements involved in decorating such as: space planning (how to arrange furniture and other items within a particular space), use of color and light, furniture and decorating styles (for example, Colonial or Southwestern), floorings, wall coverings, window treatments, and use of accessories such as pillows and art. You can learn decorating basics through courses, books, web sites, and even by speaking with retailers of products used in home decorating (paint, carpet, lighting, hardware stores, etc.)

3. Practice at home
Most interior decorators get their first decorating experience working on their own homes. Even if you have just one small room to experiment with, you can get "hands-on" experience with a variety of decorating techniques. For example, you can make a dramatic change to any room, quickly and inexpensively, simply by rearranging the furniture or painting the walls a new color. Give it a try! Experiment with techniques you wouldn't ordinarily use. Consider this room your "research lab" where you can try things out before recommending them to a client.

4. Volunteer your services
Your friends and family members may already have asked for your advice about decorating, but if they haven't yet asked you to actually decorate their homes or businesses, why not offer?
Some occasions your family or friends may want to redecorate are when they experiencing transitions in life, such as: marriage or co-habitation (help them merge two households into one), moving into a new home, childbirth (offer to decorate the baby's room), hosting a special event such as a wedding or dinner party, starting a home business (you could decorate their new office), and selling a home (explain how a well decorated home can attract buyers).

5. Prepare a portfolio
A portfolio is a collection of samples of your work, plus any other documents that can help show why someone should hire you. The most important part of an interior decorator's portfolio is photographs of interiors you have decorated, so make sure you take "before" and "after" photos of every space you decorate. Choose 15-20 photographs of work you are proud of, and arrange them in a photo album or portfolio case.
Your portfolio can also include letters of recommendation and "design boards" (poster boards onto which you have pasted pictures and samples of materials such as fabrics, flooring, wallpaper, etc.) to show clients what you recommend to decorate a particular room.

6. Get a job
Even if you plan to start your own interior decorating business, you can learn about the business and meet potential clients by starting with a job in the industry. Companies that hire people with decorating talent include home builders, manufacturers of furniture and housewares, hotel and restaurant chains, retailers (furniture stores, home improvement stores, antiques dealers, housewares stores, etc.), plus interior design and decorating firms.
To get a job, you will need to prepare a resume that emphasizes your experience with decorating plus any other skills the employer is looking for, such as customer service or organizational ability.

7. Start your own business
Many interior decorators dream of being their own boss. If that's your goal, you'll need to decide on business matters such as your company's name and whether to incorporate or not. Free basic business advice is available from organizations such as the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Many interior decorators choose to work from home when they start their businesses because it saves on the cost of an office and, unlike many other types of businesses, you won't be expecting clients to come to you - you will usually be going to their homes or offices.

8. Establish relationships with suppliers
Suppliers are companies that supply the products and services you need to decorate. They include manufacturers of furniture, wall coverings, flooring, fabrics, etc. as well as contractors who do painting, carpentry, installation, etc. When you go shopping as a professional interior decorator, you are entitled to "designer discounts" of up to 50% off the regular retail price which you can pass on to clients.
While some decorators charge an hourly rate or a flat fee, others charge "cost-plus." For example, if your cost for a product is 40% percent below the regular retail price, you could charge the client your cost plus 20%, thereby saving the client the other 20% they would pay to buy the same item at a retail store. This opportunity to save money on decorating may convince clients to hire you.

9. Get clients
Your potential clients could include home builders, new home buyers, wealthy home owners, professional couples, advertising agencies, art galleries, bed and breakfasts, boutique stores, corporate head offices, hotels, law firms, restaurants, spas, and many other types of businesses.
One way to market your services is by networking with professionals who can refer business to you, such as real estate agents, architects, antiques dealers, art dealers, home renovators, and owners of businesses that sell home furnishings. Other marketing techniques include putting up a web page with photos of interiors you have decorated and getting publicity in the homes section of your local newspaper.

10. Grow as a professional
Successful interior decorators continue to learn new decorating techniques. Once you have started a business you can continue to develop your skills by attending trade shows, reading decorating magazines and books, and joining professional associations. You can also impress clients and have an advantage over your competition by becoming certified as a professional interior decorator.

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