This Valentines day I have definitely bitten off more than I can chew, I usually don't take on projects like these. It just so happens to be my oldest daughter's last year in elementary school, and my youngest daughter's first Valentines day in pre school. So I figured why not make it extra special for both of them.
Earlier this month I posted the Valentines day bookmarks we made for my oldest daughter- they turned out so cute! For the how-to and template check out my blog post here. For my youngest daughter we did salt dough necklaces, then of course for their teachers, we did these fun nail polish gifts...of course we decorated the bottles with... buttons!
The salt dough is a fun project you can do with your kiddos anytime, and even make ornaments at Christmas time. Here's what you'll need~
2) Roll out and cut out some hearts – in different sizes. Place on a baking tray.
3) Using a toothpick make holes for hanging later.
4) Place in the oven at a 100C. After 5min, “repoke” the holes for hanging (they may close up) and turn. Repeat 2-3 times. Then leave in the oven for 3-4 hours. In summer, these will EASILY dry outdoors in the hot sun. You CAN bake them at a higher temperature, but take care that a) they do not bubble and b) don’t brown at the edges (or completely burn them like I did). Patience is best though. If you do end up burning them, you can spray paint them. :)
5) Once fully dry (you may want to wait a few days). Take some bakers twin or other string. Add some cellotape to the ends – a bit like shoe laces to make threading easier…. then thread your buttons onto the twine and through the hearts.
DONE! Pretty pretty pretty!
Free Download For Teachers Tags
(Better Than My Version, You're Welcome)
You can find gold nail polish at any $1 Store. We took some gold heart buttons, hot glued them to the bottle, took bakers twine to attach the tag, and, there you have it!
I must say it is was a lot of work getting all these cute handmade goodies ready for today, but it was fun, and I am so happy we did it all. While they may not remember every Valentine's day, maybe the memories we made creating for this one, they will.
Happy Valentines Day from The Toscano's
This week I am excited to share a guest blog post from fellow blogger, Alice Robertson, of A Tidy Home. Be sure to visit her website for great organizational tips for your home.
You’ve spent countless hours perusing Pinterest and gazing in awe at all the gorgeous home office spaces, but they all seem to be designed with two things in mind: a big budget and big space. Unfortunately, you have neither of those things, leaving you wondering if you’ll be destined to use the living room couch as your makeshift desk. Fear not; there are plenty of ways to create a fully functional home office with limited space, all without forking out a ton of cash.
Get Creative With Your Office Location
Building an extra room will cost you a pretty penny, but utilizing the space you already have won’t. There are several creative places where you can squeeze in an office. If you have a spare closet, convert it into a small office space and use the shelving at the top as bonus storage. Perhaps your home has a random nook or corner that a desk could easily fit into. Think about rooms you never seem to use such as the dining room or a child’s playroom. You eat most of your meals in the kitchen or on the couch, and the toys end up in the living room anyways, so make use of this space however you can. The fact that you aren’t building on an addition paired with a small space equals savings that can be used to furnish and decorate your home office. If you’re having trouble picturing it, these home office photos courtesy of Apartment Therapy will get your creative juices flowing.
Stick to the Essentials
Once you’ve got a space carved out, it’s time to start filling it with the essentials, but if you aren’t careful costs can add up quickly. To maximize savings, scour your house for things you already have such as office supplies, desk lamps, and décor. Check out your local thrift store to find unique and affordable items, and personalize your space with DIY touches. Of course, there’s no need to count out the chain office stores as long as you know how to make them work for you. For example, you can fill your office with many of the supplies and technology you need by shopping at stores like Best Buy. Before you go, do your homework and look for Best Buy coupons and promo codes to help you save money, and make note of any upcoming sales. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family via word of mouth or social media to inquire about any unused office supplies they are looking to part with for free or a fair price.
Focus on Productivity
It’s easy to get caught up designing your office space, but don’t forget about its ultimate purpose – providing you with a productive, distraction-free workspace. Clutter makes an office feel chaotic and stressful, making it hard to focus. Having the right desk, chair, and office technology is important, but proper storage is right up there too. Thankfully, storage is an area you can DIY, and it’s budget-friendly too. Install wall shelving above your desk and paint or wallpaper the wall to add a pop of color. Use storage containers in various sizes to keep your desk and office area neat, and don’t forget about desk organizers to prevent drawers from becoming a chaotic mess.
Comfort plays into productivity as well, so invest in things that truly make a difference such as an ergonomic office chair, extra lighting, or a diffuser filled with your favorite scent. Keep in mind that working from home is filled with distractions, so take advantage of tech tools that keep you focused such as a social media blocker, sound machine apps to block out noise, and a digital to-do list to hold you accountable.
There’s no reason to let your small space and budget keep you from having the home office you want and need. You might have to get a little creative with the location, but it’s all part of the fun. All you need is an idea and a budget-friendly mindset, and you’ll be setting up shop in your office in no time.
My dear friend Lori, bless her heart because this friend of mine has everything you could ever imagine when it comes to arts and crafts. A few years ago she showed up at my store with a huge box filled with buttons she no longer wanted. Hundreds, actually THOUSANDS of buttons. As the years have passed those buttons have sat in a cabinet in my store waiting to be used. Finally I found a use, or maybe a few.
I typically don't decorate for Valentine's day at home or at my store. However this year I wanted to get back to the part of my business where I was when I first started; creating more, trying new things, and not just for monetary gain but for the peace it brings me when I'm doing it. So, I pulled out that box of buttons this week and just let my creativity go.
After a few cute Valentine flower arrangments, I started to look for some other fun ideas courtesy of Pinterest, and stumbled upon some cute bookmark ideas made with paperclips, except the bookmarks were made with cloth hearts. So with the help of my two daughters, we dug through that box of buttons looking for every heart shaped button there was, and there were A LOT! After a few hours and a lot of hot glue, the bookmarks were modified and complete. Not too mention how much fun we had looking through thousands of buttons.
What things do you have laying around your home that could be used to create something beautiful and fun?
Valentine bookmark tags courtesy of The Mama Diaries Blog
If you like staying ahead of the trends you will love today's topic. I have the Top 5 Interior Design Trends for 2019. No, don't start throwing out your old stuff yet, this list may surprise you!
1. Klein Blue
Created by French painter Yves Klein in 1957, this striking bold blue will make a big statement to any dull room. Guess who has an amazing tall-boy dresser painted in this exact color, dripping with gold paint, for sale? ;)
2. Wood Panelling
You heard me, but not like what you are thinking. Natural materials that are classic in style, and natural wood grain, preferably with shade variations, looks light, modern, rich, and cozy.
The big trend these last couple years has been the cold Scandinavian look. Now you can incorporate woods, with rich reds, black and white, ceramics, and of course plants! Making your home into a meditative atmosphere is what's in,
4. Statement Ceilings
We've been seeing for the past decade or so, so much emphasis on statement walls, but we forgot about the 5th wall...until now. now colorful patterns and bold colors add personality to a room without overwhelming it. In addition to painting, you can add dark wooden beams for a really rustic look.
5. Cement Tile
Probably my personal favorite for 2019's biggest trend! These amazing textiles transform a room, whether as a floor tile or a kitchen backsplash. The patterns are often colorful and intricate and bring an old world charm to the home. I love how each tile is slightly different, adding handmade elegance to any room.
Of course velvet has made a comeback, gallery walls, and with furniture- art nouveau is making it's way back.
Ready to re-think your space but don't know where to begin? Call me to schedule your design consult, I'd be happy to help!
I'm interested in hearing your feedback on some of these trends. Love? Hate? Let me know!
Photos Courtesy of Toscano Interiors, Freshome.com, Granada Tile, Stein Team NYC,
All this talk about how much trouble our environment is in, had me moving towards making some of my own personal changes in how I waste less not just in my personal home but at the store as well. As we continue to move our company towards a more "greener" or conscious approach to doing things, you can imagine how excited I must have been when I discovered a better alternative to paint disposal.
We've all been there, many of us have unused paint cluttering our basement or garage just waiting to never be used again. I have an entire cabinet full of old paints! If finding creative ways to use up leftover paint is not up your alley, instead of just leaving the paint to collect dust, the best option is to recycle it.
PaintCare is the paint recycling program in Colorado that makes it easy for consumers and businesses to drop off their unused, unwanted paint for free recycling at more than 150 participating locations, 13 of which are located in Colorado Springs.
The drop-off sites are located mostly at paint and hardware stores. Paint drop-off sites accept all paint brands, regardless of when or where they were purchased as long as the paint is still in its original container with an original label on it. Items that can be dropped off include most house paints, primers, stains, sealers, and clear top coatings (varnish and shellac). Drop-off sites are open year-round during each retail location’s regular business hours.
PaintCare’s partners then transport the collected paint from the drop-off sites to processing facilities, where it is remixed into recycled-content paint, used as fuel, made into other products or, in the case of some unrecyclable paint, it will be dried out and properly disposed.
So, next time you think about tossing your leftover paint in the trash, take it to a PaintCare drop-off site to be recycled instead.
For more information about PaintCare and to find a PaintCare drop-off site near you, visit www.paintcare.org.
So often when working with my client's I notice one constant theme- their house doesn't really reflect the people living in it. More times than not it's a replication of something they've seen on television, or perhaps a past relationship. Hanging on tho things that no longer serve them or things that have nothing to do with their personality or lifestyle, period. Why? Why don't our homes support us, the real "us"? As a life coach and designer it is so important to me to make sure my client's feel supported in their spaces. That these spaces are a real reflection of the people living in them. A beautiful, well-intentioned home reflects your true self back to you. It holds you through life’s lows and celebrates you through life’s highs.
In my own personal home, my taste is more eclectic. I like unique pieces that you can't find unless you are buying direct from the artist who created it. When I travel, instead of buying kitchy souvenirs, I go to galleries and find a piece of local art that moves me. Art is something that you have to have an emotional response to in order to buy it. I feel that on so many levels, being an artist myself, and the feeling I get knowing I supported someone who put a piece of their soul into what I bought, that will in turn go into my home, and move my soul every time I see it.
I found these beautiful photos by Photographer, Amie Davis, this summer, when we made a day trip to New Orleans while vacationing in Orange Beach, AL. I even got to meet her the day I purchased these in this fun little shop on St. Peter Street, called Skull Paradise. She explained what kind of film she used and the type of camera. it made these pieces even more personal, and I love looking at them whenever I pass by them in my upstairs hallway. It takes me back to that hot July day, my kids were whining because they were hot and hungry, but I was entranced by Amie's story of the 35mm film from the 70's she used, and how she loved taking photos of cemeteries (as do I). I love that my personal home is filled with lots of eclectic art pieces like: photographs, religious artifacts, pottery, and sculptures. They are unique to me, and have a story to tell every time I look at them. This is how "home" should be. It should tell a story. It should be your happy place. Your furniture doesn't have to be the best, you don't need to replicate what you see on t.v. in order for you to be happy there.
Could your space use a little help in supporting you? Maybe you are going through a new life transition. You don’t need to have gone through a major, external, or difficult transition to benefit from this work. Perhaps you’re just ready for a little update or a jolt of vibrancy, joy, or some wild creation. If so, I would love to help make your home a place where you are happy and your soul feels at ease.
You may have heard this term used before or you may have read it on my website, and maybe aren't to sure what exactly this is. A mood board is an arrangement of images, materials, textures, fonts, and colors that evokes the style of a project or concept. ... A design schematic is a complete room design similar to a mood board, but it includes a floor plan with furniture and decor laid out to scale.
One of the most difficult parts of interior design, especially for the client, is envisioning what a space is going to look like at the end. Showing clients a board helps them visualize their ideas, it helps them and myself mix and match design elements and remove/add ideas. The concept board is a great way to explore the design and lay out my inspiration in a comprehensible way. Toscano Interiors specifies different options of furnishings all well coordinated no matter what the client selects, forming a unique tailored design aesthetic for each client. Each concept board introduces a comfortable amount of variations on how a room can be set up without overwhelming the client. Of course floor plans and elevations are also introduced to the client for the overall design concept presentation.
Creating a mood board to present to clients allows everyone involved to agree on a direction before too much work is done. Two people may use the same word, for example “clean” or “vibrant” but they may mean something completely different to each person.
As you can see, offering design concept boards to my clients as a part of my design packages helps as an important tool in the beginning stages of the creative process as well as a very versatile communication tool.
What do you do for a living?
Certified Interior Designer & Life Coach...and mom!
How would you describe what you do?
I create authentic spaces for my Client's. Whether it's residential or commercial, I guide people through life transformations by helping them create a new, more meaningful and authentic relationship with themselves and their space.
What does your work entail?
Color Consulting, home staging, redesign (using a client’s existing furnishings to create a new look), new construction design, furniture restoration and reupholstery, CAD, remodels and decorating existing spaces for both residential and commercial.
What’s a typical work week like?
On a slow week I may meet with one to two clients and spend 5-10 hours shopping for a project or communicating with sub-contractors regarding specs or bids. On a busy week, you can add to that two to three additional client meetings, pit stops at a showroom or two to place orders, and working on my social media or networking events.
How did you get started?
When I was a child I realized how much I loved rearranging my mother's furniture every other week or so, as well as redecorating my room as much as I could with what ever I had. In high school my mom became a single parent and I remember decorating my entire ceiling of my room with all the pretty paper shopping bags I had saved from cute boutiques I had visited. There were at least 50 bags stapled to my ceiling, and it looked really cute. All my friends ended up wanting the same look in their rooms. I just had to improvise a lot because we didn't have a lot of money. I started repainting and repurposing furniture before it was even a 'thing'.
What do you like about what you do?
Seeing the look on a client’s face when I present them with a finished room is all the reward I need!
What do you dislike?
The “back office” work! No one tells the aspiring designer that they will also be the bookkeeper, the PR person, etc. I HATE keeping up with the invoices, the receipts, the bills..
How do you make money/or how are you compensated?
In addition to an hourly fee, in some not all cases, there may be a 10-15% mark up on items purchased for the clients when a trade discount is available.
How much money do Interior Decorators make?
The average Certified Interior Designer in my region makes between $75-$115 per hour, depending upon their range of services and advanced education.
How much money did/do you make starting out as an Interior Decorator?
What education, schooling, or skills are needed to do this?
In the State of Colorado you DO NOT need a degree to practice interior design. However it is important to always get credentials regarding certifications in interior design. ASID designers make more, starting at $150 per hour but that degree program is much more lengthy, comparative to an architecture degree.
What is most challenging about what you do?
Taking the client’s vision and putting it to paper then creating an actual room is by far the easiest aspect of this job. As designer, I’m often playing the role of mediator between spouses, and three people can describe the same vision for one room but be thinking of three completely different end results, this is by far the most challenging part of my job. Clear communication is key! But it helps that I hold a Psychology degree for when those moments arise!
What is most rewarding?
I love helping and teaching my client's that their home is so much more than where they live, but breathe, grow and celebrate. I love the intimacy of common ground and the excitement of fresh possibilities. I love harvesting the beauty on the other side of chaos. I love the glow of a woman, man, couple or family recreating their life from a place of intuition and self-love.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
Start small- take on small jobs for people you know, build your reputation and word of mouth will spread. Don’t be afraid to talk money with your clients and contractors and if ever you walk onto a job site and you’re not sure what you’re doing- fake it! Be confident, if you don’t know the answer, ask someone who does, but never let your clients see that you feel overwhelmed. And never, EVER, steal business from another designer in order to try and get ahead. Focus on what you bring to the table and be authentic!
How much time off do you get/take?
I used to work 7 days a week just to keep up until I realized that I was setting myself up for burnout before age 40. So now I never work Sundays and one weekday, and during slow months, I meet with clients only on Monday through Thursday to allow time for personal appointments like Dr visits or trips out of town.
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
That anyone can do it! Often times a lot of people are born with that God given talent as I was, however there are still skills sets and education you need to back it up. There is a lot more to what I do than what HGTV makes it seem.
What are your goals/dreams for the future?
Within the next few years I hope to be the go-to designer in this region as someone who has created my own unique niche in a very saturated marketplace. I want to be known for creating a new type of design that is really focused on the Client- inside and out. I want to be known as an innovator, business women who inspires others to think outside the box, a real pretty box. ;) I would also like to start traveling to other State's to do design work and build my portfolio. I also want to write and publish a book!
What else would you like people to know about your job/career?
This is a very fun profession with great reward and plenty of room for growth, however, it is not without its risks and challenges. New designers should protect themselves- legally with proper contracts and physically by not going to questionable meeting places alone. As a single female designer I will occasionally take a friend on new client consultations when I am commissioned by a male client. I have had an inappropriate situation arise, and it was not a good experience. It’s always best to air on the side of caution!
The spaces where we spend our time whether at work or at home are very much a reflection of who we are. The environment we are in is a reflection of possibilities and limitations. Our home’s interior space has a big impact on how we perceive ourselves, moods, self-esteem, and confidence. Some people will eagerly welcome visitors even in their humble abodes, while others are not too enthusiastic about receiving visitors.
Your home’s interior space is an extension of your personal space. It tells a lot of who you are and who you are becoming. By creating an authentic space, you discover your authentic persona and allow it to emerge and be expressed in the different colors and themes of your home’s décor.
Treating your space is treating yourself
You can change your self-perception by changing your home’s interior space. This could be something as simple as re-arranging the furniture or the wall art. You can breathe new life into your home’s interior space and shift your outlook as well by changing the way it looks. You break out of the box that you think defines you. If your home’s interior space receives a change so do you. By making changes in your space you are re-envisioning and re-positioning.
When do you require to use life coaching principles in interior design?
• When moving into a new home for any reason; up/downsizing or moving in with someone else
• When passing through major life phases that is emotional
• When you don’t know what to decorate with, suffering decorating paralysis
• When you need a new look from your existing home items
• When decluttering and clearing away old but emotionally attached items
• When staging the home for renting or selling
Interior designing from the inside out.
The way you plan your spaces has a big impact on your choices and the direction your life takes. Consciously or unconsciously your interior designing supports or hampers your goals in ways you may not recognize.
The state of your environment supports you psychologically. You may want to cook but find the kitchen in disarray. The first instinct is to tidy up the kitchen, which then ends up taking longer than you would have liked. Or trying to make some space for your intended morning yoga classes but find that the humongous dining table takes all space.
How well do you like spending time alone in your house? Does it feel warm, bright and inviting you to lie down and take a nap? Or does it feel gloomy and dark pushing you to spend more time outside? Does your bedroom feel comfortable enough to sleep through the whole Sunday, or do you get out at the first light? The interior space of your house has marked effect on your emotions and thoughts.
Changing your home’s interior space can begin to change your overall well-being. You shift space on the outside which then starts influencing change within.
Design psychology explains how personal space impacts our lives. Does your space serve you like you would want? How do you feel when you get into your kitchen or bathroom? Paying attention to these feelings helps to understand the different psychology involved in interior design.
Designing to support goals
Our physical space plays a big part in supporting our goals. This happens unconsciously as we go about trying to achieve these goals. Maybe the goal is to write 5,000 words in a week as a home-based writer. If your home is bright airy and quiet, it creates the atmosphere for creativity and helps you write better. If the place is dimly lit, cluttered and noisy, you will not have a good atmosphere for writing. You can get support in different goals by trying some design goals:
Goal – Eat healthy
The kitchen is where your food comes from. Rearranging the kitchen for faster cooking encourages you to cook more, and rely less on take away food. Organized cabinets and drawers make it easier to prepare home-cooked meals.
Goal – Sleep better
Do you often have to move stuff off your bed to go to sleep? Is your lighting too bright for sleep? Changing the bedroom’s atmosphere is the best antidote to poor sleep. Declutter, install dimming lights and burn essential oils. It also involves ridding the bedroom of stressors, for example, unpaid bills, disruptive electronics, and unwashed laundry.
Goal – Better time management
A better organization at home is part of ensuring energy efficiency. If the home is in disarray it becomes difficult to organize thoughts and tasks, making poor time management. Design changes that would improve efficiency would be, for example, installing an umbrella and key rack to spend less time looking for these items or installing a corner office desk to work in early mornings instead of working from the bed.
Goal –Better self-care
You have to love yourself so that you can make the effort to take better care of your wellbeing. Starting by making the space around you fun makes you feel good and in turn motivates you to make the necessary changes for a better lifestyle. Get rid of the old sofa to make room for a meditation space, install LED lights to change the color scheme at different times of the day, and place some motivational plaques over the door to motivate you at the start of the day. There are a variety of design changes that can help you feel motivated in all aspects of life including keeping fit.
Interior designing is very much complementary to the principles of life coaching. Whatever is in your environment impacts you.
This month in my Masterclass group I am discussing ways we can really organize our homes and our lives. Did you know that often times our homes are what keeps us trapped in life? No really, it has even been scientifically studied and proven that clutter and mess in our homes is one of the leading causes of depression and anxiety. Read about this great study done by UCLA
When I work with Client's who use my 'Organizational Mapping' design package I notice a lot of these client's have a lot in common.
* Not so great finances.
* They are often feeling overwhelmed and stressed
* Their health is suffering, and they are regularly feeling tired
* They struggle to accomplish their goals and manage their time effectively
* Their home does not feel like a safe haven or does it lacks the peace and order they long for
These are just a few of the results from excess clutter in a home. Excess clutter affects our finances, our mental state, and even our physical health. Clutter steals your time and focus, making it more difficult to pursue your goals. Perhaps most important, it robs you of that feeling of peace and comfort that your home should provide.
Almost all my client's who remove clutter after using my techniques and suggestions are able to maintain their homes cleanliness and have a sense of well-being and peace as they look around at a neat and orderly environment.
You can immediately eliminate unnecessary stress in your life, by eliminating unnecessary clutter.
Some quick easy tips to declutter your home without getting anxiety from doing so:
1. Make A Master Plan
Yes, I really mean grab a notepad and pencil and go room by room and create a list of items that you decide belongs in each room/area on your plan.
For example, decide ahead of time where the household papers belong – do you want to keep files in the kitchen near your what I refer to as your command center or do you have a home office.
2.. Prepare For The Clutter Purge
Use Three Large Boxes. Label these boxes as follows: “Put Away,” Give Away” and “Throw Away.”
3. My Room Declutter Strategy
Here’s the simple process I use to declutter each room… when going room-by-room:
4. Make sure you finish each room completely before moving on to the next!
Once you have eliminated the clutter from your home you will be able to clean it in only minutes. It's easier to find things. You will feel more relaxed and less overwhelmed while actually living in your home. You will finally enjoy being home.
Author, Candance Toscano
"You can design the life of your dreams and acquire that luxurious, fulfilled and empowered lifestyle you know you have always wanted."