Friday, March 2, 2018

7 Easy Steps to Start a Successful Blog

A photo of a ceramic cup, laptop computer, pencil, throw & a stuffed animal

So where and how should I start ? This is probably the question that boggles your mind and hence caused you to land on this page in the first place. 
Let's begin by taking a deep breath and maybe grabbing a cup of your favorite beverage and or bite of your favorite  treat and lets get started. 
We would like to approach this topic with some simple steps that should at least help you get the blogging engine churning towards the right path. 

Ask yourself, why a blog !
Are you starting a new business of which you are attempting to gain some audience. Do you already have a business and you simply want to add another marketing tool to give it a new dynamic and more exposure.
You may be interested in simply sharing your skills and thoughts about a specific passion of yours online.
Or maybe the reason is to become a publisher and monetize your passion online. Whatever the reason may be, you'll need to asses accordingly. 

Identify your Niche
This is probably one of the most important bullet points to consider when starting a successful blog. 
A niche to put in simple terms denotes to an area of interest whether it be services or products that appeal to a specific group of people. 

With this been said, you may well be interested in many things, nevertheless in order to keep the wheels churning as time goes by, you need to brainstorm about what it is that really fascinates you and causes you to spend countless hours of devotion. 
As you may have already noticed with this particular blog, we talk a little about Everything Home and Garden. 

Here we spend time discussing, sharing, and putting together ideas that may be useful to those interested in the same niche. We even take time to put together pages such as this one from time to time that may help those whom are jumpstarting their blogging journey like we once did.  
Once you have identified your niche of interest, you are now 2 steps closer to getting that first blog post out into the world wide web community. 

Carefully choose a domain name and a hosting platform
You want to think about this step very closely and approach it with a one and done mentality. You do not want to find yourself in the predicament of not liking your domain name months down the road. Pick something catchy, but yet keep it simple enough for your audience to remember. 

If you want to change your domain host down the road this can be easily done, therefore I wouldn't worry about this much. 
Hosting Platforms are the software or services one uses to publish content over the internet. This platform is required in order to render your domain name, hence a  (URL)Uniform Resource Locator.
The common platforms used for hosting are Blogger, WordPress, Wix, which are just a few among many.  

Create a Logo
Believe me when I say don't leave the logo for the future. I learned this the hard way. If you take a close look at our blog you will notice that our older post lacked a logo signature. This missed detail caused us to have to repost images in past articles to include our watermark logo. What a tedious task, but well worth it !
Please save yourself the time and hassle and create one. There are quite a few online services such as picmonkey that are cost efficient and provide a wide variety of photo editing tools as well. As your blogging skills become more profound, you'll be thankful you did. Not to mention it will give your page the expert look.  

Don't worry about the content 
Take it from our experience. At the time we began blogging we had no idea where it was going to take us or where we would get the material to write about. 
As an example of this, we had no idea we were going to write this particular post you are reading right this moment. 
The truth is once your niche and passion is identified, you will find that the topics needed to create consistency and continually provide helpful information to those visiting your page will flow naturally. 

Note: Take this advice with a grain of salt. This does not mean you should not take note of a particular idea that jumps into mind. If it's a great idea, best practice is to write it down (keep a log) and save it as future writing material.

Start with a header image for the post of interest
Now this is a very close and personal tip of mine. Once you have garnered all of your ideas and have selected the perfect name for your blog page(website) and title for your article post, start by posting a great header photo image (like the one below the title of this article) that closely relates to your article.  

A photo stimulates the mind in an interesting way by creating an initial sense of engagement and visual interest. I have found that if I'm stuck as to where or how to begin an article, a photo at the top of the post will help spark and inspire that initial paragraph, while helping me take pride in what it could eventually look like once completed. 
Once the first few sentences are tipped on the page, the rest just flows. It works all the time (for me at least)! I simply though it may be able to help in the case you found yourself in the same predicament.  

Don't be afraid (Publish It...)
Once you have completed that first article post and you have proofread your work, don't think it through, simply publish it. There's such a feeling of euphoria and pleasure in knowing that one has accomplished a task that has been close to one's heart. I'm sure you have felt this sometime before. 
Nevertheless, you can also send a link of your post to a friend and or relative and have them give you an honest "no holds bar" critique of your post.This tip really helped me in the first few months of writing and publishing this blog .  

Conclusion: No matter what you thoughts are about blogging, always remember that it gets even better with time. As you learn techniques and play around with the countless ideas on making "your" blog space uniquely yours, blogging could become a truly rewarding lifelong experience.  



Monday, February 19, 2018

How To: Ideas on Refinishing Home Entertainment Wood Veneer Equipment

Refinishing home entertainment equipment furniture to complement your interior design
Publisher's Note:  Please note  Image(s) on this post are unrelated to the Ad links throughout. 
Some  third party native Ads may display related images

So you have a great set of speakers, but you just don't like the way they look when incorporated into your interior decor. 
The problem also lies in the fact that with speakers such as Subwoofers which will have to be placed somewhere on the floor, do not always match or blend well with the overall scheme or color of your flooring or walls. 
Considering there are many inconspicuous Subwoofer placement ideas that could give you great sound, let's face it,  depending on your room layout you may not always be able to place that speaker behind a couch or nestle it into a wall out of plain sight.  

What if my budget does not allow for custom tailored speakers ?
We believe to have a simple cost effective way to give those speakers a facelift while also giving it a custom look that will blend seamlessly into any decor scheme. 
When it comes to these circumstances, you have to make the best choice possible by deciding whether matching the flooring or the walls would appease your personal style and decor. 

In this particular post we have decided to match the floor speaker to the walls behind it in the best way possible, therefore creating fluency in the room as opposed to having your eyes suddenly stop at the site of the bold black speaker cabinet enclosure

3 Reasons why you want to keep furniture pieces light in color.

Visual Flow / Airiness  
When you walk into a space regardless of whether it is a home or an office, your eyes will tend to wander throughout noticing objects and colors. Color usually cause the main visual impact and causes the eye to follow the space. This is why many home decor and or interior decorators will use deep bold colors to create a focal point wall in a small area of the space. 

Bold colors will tend to immediately draw your visual attention, hence making it a focal spot. If you want to avoid unintended focal points throughout, you will need to avoid deep/dark and or bright varying color changes in the space.  

Have you ever had the feeling that there is just "too much stuff". The reason for this at times is not necessarily that there is " too much stuff" per say. It may quite be that the pieces used in the decor, furnishings or even the colors of these objects may indeed be obstructing your visual flow. 

Transparency and or Opacity
Keeping the pieces light in color will keep the eye moving through the space making it appear to be larger than it actually is. Especially in smaller living quarters. 

It is to be expected that the colors used on your walls may well not be the exact match available for the options in spray paints available on the market. Nevertheless you may choose to have the same color made in a spray option if your project is not budget limited. 
If you want to keep the budget friendly option, then you can opt to go for the closest shade possible to your wall color and always choose a shade lighter than the closest match. You can choose the Glossy option for an extra punch or stick with the flat finish to really make it blend inconspicuously.   

Note: Even though it may be obvious that an object is there, this will fool the eye keeping it from focusing on the object, hence creating an improved more appealing visual flow.

What is wood veneer?
Veneer is usually a thin slice sheet of wood that is glued to a larger baseboard such as a fiber or particleboard sometimes known as Medium Density Fiberboard. This is normally done to give the furniture piece the look of hardwood with all of the grains and wood rings. By doing so, detail and interest is added to the furniture piece without the expense of real solid hardwood. 
Depending on the manufacturer of the wood veneer, some maybe applied by gluing it down or by ironing it down onto the desired surface. 
Refinishing home entertainment equipment furniture to complement your interior design
Before sanding make sure you cover the speakers woofers and any ported openings on the speaker box as to prevent dust particles from entering the circuitry. 

Refinishing home entertainment equipment furniture to complement your interior design
Time to sand away. Wait not quite ! 
Take a good look at your sandpaper by choosing a fine grade sandpaper (400 - 600 grit). The key here is not to sand so deep into the wood veneer, that you sand away the details in the grains.

The reason for sanding the veneer is to eliminate as much of the original glossy finish as possible. This will help the new finish adhere with a better bond to the speaker box.  
But you must remember that veneer is a very thin layer of wood adhered to another material as a base usually particulate board and or MDF, therefore "sand with care".

Refinishing home entertainment equipment furniture to complement your interior design
In the above image we used a sea blue as the base color for the speaker cabinet. This made sure that the original black color was completely covered avoiding too many coats of paints. This color was also within the range of hues used on the walls where the speaker will be placed. 
Refinishing home entertainment equipment furniture to complement your interior design
Refinishing home entertainment equipment furniture to complement your interior design

In the image above you can notice how the speaker now blends in with the wall behind it. 
For those whom are familiar with speakers, also know that the grills are typically of a black mesh like material. Here we painted the woofer grill to also match the enclosure box.   
The colors used for this project were of a flat finish taking into account the same finish on the walls. 

In the above images we have demonstrate how the speaker now blends into the scheme of the decor. The first picture was taken with bright lighting in the space and the flash feature on the camera enabled. 
The former image was taken with flash disabled to provide a darker example of what it would look like in a darker environment. The walls, decor and new speaker finish makes for a lighter feel throughout.  

In this image we wanted to give you an idea on how closely matching the color of your entertainment equipment to your walls can help create fluency and visual flow without making the items in the space feel too heavy. 

Here we used a deep charcoal black on the walls as the backdrop for the LED TV and the Horizontal CD Rack that sits above the TV just below the ceiling.  
We must also mention that the color used on the wall were for a family room and NOT a dedicated Home Theater Room. This turned out to be truly amazing, considering it blended splendidly with the rest of the home design and decor.  

NoteThis technique will make the equipment really disappear, especially when watching your favorite TV programing at night time, giving the space "the feel" of a dedicated Home Theater. 

The wood veneer of the CD Rack above the TV was refinished in a deep black lacquer to also match the bezel of the TV. ( More on how to refinish with lacquer paint in near future).   

This is a close up image of the deep charcoal black color of the wall and a corner of the black TV bezel. 

Note: We do not recommend using lustre and or glossy wall paint in this area, as it will always tend to bounce too much light when watching the TV or with the ambient lights on. 

The short video snippet below was taken with the lights in the space complete off. As you can see, the outcome resulted in the total disappearance of the entertainment equipment and the wall behind it "perfect for movie nights". The subtle cool blue spotlights seen on each side of the TV set are an option for a "less pitch black ambiance". 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

How To Ideas for Clay Pottery & Planters

A clay pot and or planter refinished with metallic colors and used in interior decor
Publisher's Note:  Please note  Image(s) on this post are unrelated to the Ad links throughout. 
Some  third party native Ads may display related images.

If you have ever taken a look at the conventional clay pot/planters sold at your favorite home improvement store and or nursery, your first impression may well be,NOT impressed at all. These may tend to look cheap, bland and unimpressive. 

Nevertheless,I challenge you to take a closer look!   

Many of us may not even consider it, but clay pots besides being made of an organic matter, it is very versatile and easy to work with in different projects. Careful though, they are easy to crack/break.  

Some interesting facts about Clay Pots are

a) They adapt to the environment very well.

b) Pottery forms an intricate part in many cultures around the world,but originated in ancient egypt. 

c) There are different types of clay and each are distinct in their organic compositions and how they are used. Within these are Kaolin or (porcelain), Fire, Stone and Earthenware Clay which is the most common type found.

d) They can be used in the yard for planting your favorite greenery or in the kitchen for slow cooking your favorite food. 

Note: Clay cooking pots usually undergo a glazing process prior to being used for this purpose. Make sure your purchase is suitable for this cause.

In this tutorial we will look at an up close idea on using clay pottery in ways other than for planting.

Here is a photo of a medium clay pot you may or may not be familiar with. These are very much inexpensive when considering the price you pay for a generously sized pot. For the project in this post we used medium small clay pots, keeping in mind they will be used as centerpiece decor items. 

Metallic RustOleum spray paint cans.
Above are a series of RustOleum metallic spray paint we used for this project. We can't stress enough how important it is to stick with the same brand of paint. Whichever brand that may be for you, go with that for all your color choices. 

A perfect example on how reflective these paints are,is demonstrated perfectly in the first image of this post below the title, where the reflection of the glass candle holder is seen clearly on the painted surface of the clay pot.     

A clay pot and or planter refinished with metallic colors, embellished with a Oyster shell Clustered ball and used in interior decor as a centerpiece
A clay pot and or planter refinished with metallic colors, embellished with a Oyster shell Clustered ball and used in interior decor as a centerpiece

In the above images you can see how the different tones of the metallic paints of steel(as the main background color,rose pink and pearl mist (as undertoned hues) gave the final outcome of the pot and shells a subtle and distinct gorgeous sparkling effect.

Important: Because the clay material used to make these pots or planters is of an organic matter, it can be very porous, therefore you do not want to skip the base coat layer of paint prior to applying your metallic colors.    

a.We also applied some steel metallic layer of spray paint to the oyster shell ball which we nestled into the clay planter.
(More on these shell cluster balls in a future post.) 

b.A couple large reflective tri colored glass beads were placed between the oyster shells giving it the "Gem pearl in a shell" look if you will.

Here we used another clay pot painted in metallic chrome. Added some hints of metallic coral blue which ties into the shell cluster we used to anchor this great centerpiece to the dining area. 

Just another view of the centerpiece with the chandelier lights on. The glow and shimmer of the lights and crystals onto the centerpieces metallic colors truly stikes a conversation during meal times.   

Another close up view taken at day time. The metallic chrome color really gives it a mirror like effect and helps prevent the centerpiece from feeling too heavy in the space. 

A clay pot and or planter refinished with metallic colors, embellished with a Oyster shell Clustered ball and used in interior decor as a centerpiece
In the above image we painted another clay pot and oyster shell clustered ball with a metallic chrome spray paint as our main background color, and added some metallic hints of pearl mist and Sea Mist blue hues used as undertones, gives this planter and oyster shells cluster a reflective mirrored like look which we loved for this outdoor theme.

A clay pot and or planter refinished with metallic colors and used in interior decor

Another look at the outcome of this project which sits on a chrome oriental cylinder  side table that anchors the seating area of this outdoor space.  

Conclusion: Rethink, Repurpose,Reuse. There are always ways to use simple items around your home to add a fresh new look to any space. When it comes to Decor, you don't always have to run to the nearest brick and mortar store for that next new item. 
Choose a theme that goes with your interiors scheme and don't be afraid to mix it up a little. Who knows,with some ingenuity you may even come up with your "very own" next conversational piece of decor item.