Our daughter is planning to have a haunted house for her friends on Halloween. She has lots of things planned for it, but i'd like to help her do something that will really be creepy. Do you have any suggestions?
That sounds like too much fun! I have a great idea for you. When I was a little boy my sister and her friends planned a haunted house filled with cardboard coffins and lots of shrieks and screams. It was all very creepy to me and my friends but the one that got us the most was a bowl full of eyeballs that we had to put our hand in!
To create this effect, chose a large bowl and buy several bunches of large round grapes. Usually red seeded work best for the correct shape. Carefully peel each of the grapes and place them in the large bowl - they will be very slippery and slimy! In the haunted house either blind-fold kids adn have them place thier hands in teh bowl of "eyeballs." or place the bowl in a dark part of the haunted house where they can't see that they are really feeling grapes.
Good luck and happy spooking!
The cement floor in our laundry room needs repainting again, but every time I do the paint peels off. What can I do to make the paint stick better?
Painting your cement laundry floor does help cut down on dust and the possibility of mildew as well as making it easier to clean. If you use a brighter color it can also add light and warmth to the room.
Unfortunately, not all cement can be painted since cement or concrete is almost always subject to some moisture penetrating them from the outside.
To test to see if your floor has excess moisture, cut a piece of plastic approximately two foot square and tape it firmly around the edges to your floor. Wait a day or so before removing the plastic. If there is condensation on the underside of the plastic or if you can see a visible shadow of damp on the floor the surface is probably too damp to hold paint.
Another affliction of cement is that it may be too hard too. To test for this, on an unpainted portion of the floor, place a few drops of water, if it soaks in, it can probably be painted (if it does not have the excess moisture problem stated above,) but if the water beads up, it may not allow the paint to adhere. If this is the case the best you can most likely do is to clean and scrape the floor as well as possible and then apply a concrete sealant.
Assuming that your floor passes both of these tests, the first thing you will need to do is scrape all of the existing loose paint from the floor then clean it with a strong detergent and hot water. Rinse the floor thoroughly and allow to dry for several days.
Next fill any chips or crevices with resin filler. Allow the floor to dry completely before applying a primer coat of concrete sealant to prep the surface to accept your new paint.
When selecting paint, look for one that is specifically made for cement. I would recommend a latex paint. Latex paint will allow moisture to pass though from below. Apply two coats of your new paint to help prevent wear.
We have high cathedral ceilings in our great room. Recently I painted the room a rich cinnamon including the ceiling. The guy at the paint store said for the ceiling I should just go to a lighter color on the sample card and I did but it really looks terrible. It looks completely different. What do you do for ceilings?
I'm sorry you got bad advice on paint colors. If you are still certain that you want the ceiling cinnamon there is an easy fix. Go back to the paint store and select the same color of paint as you choose for the walls, but before the technician mixes the color, tell him you want him to reduce the color by 30%. The reduction of intensity by 30% will make the ceiling color look virtually the same as the walls. This intensity reduction is something that all paint store employees should know how to do, but If he doesn't know how, ask for his supervisor who will have more experience.
We have a newer home over looking a lake that we just love, but it has a very long entry hall that I have never done anything with. I bought this great table but even though it looked great in the store I am not happy with what it does for the hall. I have added a mirror and candle sconces but I am still not happy. Any suggestions?
I think you have made a good start with the table, mirror and sconces. I think where you need to concentrate is in the accessories.
When you are choosing accessories you will want to do a few small collections of items, and always in odd numbers. When arranging them on the table you want to visually create a triangle, with taller items being the point of the triangle. I would suggest you begin with the taller items on one side and working down to shorter items on the other. If you need to raise the height of something to make your triangle, try making a riser for added height with a decorative box, or a stack of vintage hard-bound books. I would also continue your display to the floor on the low side of the console with a fat potted plant that is about half to two-thirds the height of the table.
I hope these suggestions help you finish your entry hall!
We currently have a queen size bed on a Hollywood frame, but I have always wanted a canopy bed. I can't afford to buy a 4-poster right now, so I was wondering how I could make a simple, inexpensive one myself. Any ideas?
If it is just the canopy you want I would suggest you leave the bed as it is and add a canopy by suspending it from the ceiling. You can use hooks in the four corners and drape the fabric between them. If you want a four-poster look, I would go to a local lumberyard and order some fancy turned/carved wooden columns meant for porches. You can finish them at you like then secure them to the floor and ceiling at the corners of your bed, or run a matching frame around the top of them, hang your fabric and have the look you want.
I am an amateur interior designer and I read one of your posts about paint being an easy way to make dramatic differences in a room. I got excited and ran to the hardware store only to be overwhelmed with the different finishes available. What are the differences and where would I use them?
If you are unfamiliar with painting I always recommend that you begin with Latex paint. It is low-odor, non-toxic and cleans up with soap and water.
There are five common paint finishes: flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss. Some paint manufacturers add a level of sheen in between, or rename them, but these finishes are the most common. As a general rule, the lower the sheen the more imperfections it hides, and the less light it reflects. The higher the sheen the easier it is to clean, the more imperfections it shows, and the more light it reflects.
Flat paint: Flat paint is what I prefer for most home walls as it hides the flaws in the sheetrock, and when properly applied it has a softer, non-reflective surface that makes lighting much more pleasing. It does have its drawbacks, however. Flat shows scuff marks more easily (more noticeable on darker colors.) and it does not resist oil or grease.
Eggshell: If you remove an egg from your refrigerator and notice the shine level on it, you will see exactly what this will look like when dry. The name eggshell is an appropriate description as the paint does feel like the surface of an egg when it dries. I like this for almost all interior walls as well as it is still low sheen, but is a little more washable. Before you paint an eggshell all over, pant a small spot and allow it to dry completely. I have specified eggshell paint before and ended up with it having as much shine as a semi-gloss! Not pleasing to say the least.
Satin: This is what I usually recommend for woodwork and trim. It has a light sheen to it, it clean easily, and its rich finish looks great on wood trim when paired with flat or eggshell walls.
Semi-gloss: I rarely use semi-gloss as I prefer the look of lower sheen, however it does clean easier than the lower sheens. It might be useful in rooms with very high traffic, hard use areas such as children's bedrooms, playrooms, bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens. The one thing I will caution you on is that it will show every imperfection in your walls and the reflection from lighting can be very unattractive.
High-gloss: This finish is more difficult to find and as it’s name suggests, is very shiny. Personally I would only use a high gloss on an accent wall or a piece of built in cabinetry. It looks great when used this way in more contemporary homes, but again, whatever you put it on, need to be perfect for the end result to be attractive, as it will accentuate even the slightest blemish.
I have an 1898 Victorian with 9ft ceilings in Queen Anne (Seattle) and I really want to attempt to make my own swag valances for the formal parlor. I was told that to make a swag valance the fabric has to be cut on the diagonal, so it hangs in nicely. Is this true or can I cut it on the straight of the material? If it's cut on the diagonal this really will limit my fabric options, because if it had a pattern, then pattern would be diagonal.
When constructing a swag valance, cutting fabric on the bias will definitely give the fabric more give and allow it to hang much more gracefully, so cutting the fabric this way is the preferred method. Most patterns will look good cut on the bias, however if you are considering a stripe, please reconsider as stripes just don't work well in this type of valance.
This is an ambitious project for a beginner, so before you buy a ton of yardage, I would recommend that once you select your fabric, buy just a yard or two at first. Construct just one swag with the fabric to see if you will like the way the pattern looks when draped. If the pattern you just love doesn't look good cut on the bias then try cutting the fabric straight on a second swag. This way you will be able to see that differences in pattern and in the way the fabric hangs once constructed.
I am just curious, why have water fountains become so popular inside people's homes?
Water features have become popular for a variety of reasons. First, in our current economy, we spend more time at home with our families than we did a few years ago, so its only natural that we would want to make our home even more of a haven than ever before.
Water features, whether indoor our outdoor, add a sense of freshness and relaxation helping to bring on a peace of mind. Also Feng Shui has become increasingly popular in the west so has the use of water features. In Feng Shui, when placed correctly, water features help in bringing good fortune, good conversation and lively energy.
Lastly, installed water features increase the value of your home. Whether that value is real or perceived is unclear to me, but the sense of well being they bring to a home, is invaluable when a home is being shown to potential buyers.
I noticed that you sell fresh cut bouquets now. Can you tell me a good way to keep cut flowers longer?
There are many “Old Wives Tales” about putting odd things in the flowers water to help them last longer, such as copper pennies, aspirin, sugar and even bleach.
An aspirin is supposed to increase the acidity of the water helping it to move up the flower stems easier, but it also makes the flowers droop prematurely and loose their petals.
Copper pennies are meant to act as a natural anti-bacterial. Unfortunately they also promote slow blooming and early wilting.
Household bleach is meant to keep mold and mildew out of the water. This does work, however it also bleaches the stems of the flowers to the color of something long dead and make the color of the blooms fade.
Sugar is supposed to recreate the sugar creation during photosynthesis, however it also promotes bacteria growth and causes uneven and over blooming.
Here are a few tips that I recommend:
Place cut flowers in the refrigerator for about six hours before arranging them. This will make them last up to three times longer.
Mix the flower food packet that comes with the bouquet with clean fresh cold water. (Warm water dehydrates flowers.) The flower food packet contains a biocide to kill bacteria, an acidifier to encourage the stems to drink deeply, and a sugar to give nourishment to the blooms.
Before placing your flowers in the vase, cut off one to two inches of the stems, and remove all leaves and foliage below the water line.
Finally, change the water and re-cut the stems every few days.
We live in an older home with an upstairs hallway that always seems so long a little dark. What can we do to make it feel more welcoming?
The first thing I would suggest is adequate lighting. Since it appears you are in an historic home, I have to assume that there is one overhead light fixture for the entire hall. I would contact an electrician about adding additional recessed lights to the hall ceiling that would be switched with the same switch as the existing fixture. This will add additional light without losing the historical ceiling fixture.
Paint is another great way to brighten the hall and make it visually appear shorter. Start with a medium-tone color on both of the long walls; next use the same color but several shades lighter, or a contrasting color, on the shorter end walls. This change of color will make the hall appear less long and tunnel like. Finally paint the ceiling an even lighter shade of the long sidewalls.
Finally, make the hall appear homier by adding some art to the walls and a few accessories on shallow tables.