Creating Your Home Sweet Home! Outdoor Living!

Creating Your Home Sweet Home!  Outdoor Living!

Summer and outdoor living, along with patio potluck picnics just seem to go hand in hand…cozy backyard spaces have become peaceful havens to help us escape the busy schedules of our everyday lives!

Creating Your Home Sweet Home! Outdoor Living!

Much like the rooms indoors, an outdoor living space evolves to accommodate our family’s needs…but it’s sure to be a popular place to gather if a few key things are taken into consideration.

  Include comfortable seating! 

Nothing says come stay awhile than a comfy and inviting place to sit.  My husband and I always look forward to some special gatherings with family and friends out on our patio during the summer!

Patio decor! www.mytributejournal.com

“Come sit with me on the patio…the drinks are cold and the friendship’s free.”  Tribute Journal

Quaint southern porches.

I fell in love with the quaint, inviting outdoor living spaces of the south when my husband and I visited my son and his family in Augusta, Georgia last year. 

♦  Make it cool and shady!

I think you’ll agree that one of the main purposes of outdoor living is to provide a cool and shady retreat from the glaring sun and hot summer weather.  Nothing can cool off a space quicker than a ceiling fan–and believe me, there’s a wide assortment available depending on your style and the mood you want to create.  An electrician can add one without too much hassle.

Patio ceiling fans.

“It’s always a good idea to take a smallish nap or two in a nice summer breeze.”   Winnie the Pooh

Vintage floor fan by Oak Tree Vintage.

For added circulation, I put this vintage floor fan on my patio.  It has various speeds and turns from side to side.  It is from www.oaktreevintage.com

♦  Set the mood with fun lighting!

Not only is good lighting integral to setting an inviting mood to your outdoor living space, but it also extends the hours of use well past the time when the sun sets.  String lights give you the most bang for your buck and add a festive feeling to your patio too.  My daughter recently added these lights to a pergola they built last year; it becomes a magical place to get together with her family come nighttime!

Patio string lights.

“Outdoors is where you realize…what is beautiful, what is rare, what is true!”  Ben Okri

Outdoor patio lighting.

How fun are these unique lighting ideas to give our patio’s the perfect ambience!

♦  A grill is a patio must-have!

Good food always adds to any outdoor living experience, and summer food cooked on a grill is everyone’s favorite, it seems.  Whether it’s a fancy grill with all the bells and whistles or a simple briquet barbeque, I think a grill is an outdoor patio must-have!  For large groups, my husband especially loves his Black Stone gas grill.

Black Stone gas grill.

“Grilling takes the formality out of entertaining–everyone wants to get involved.”  Bobby Flay

Summer grilling.

My husband knew he had taught our son to keep his priorities straight when he saw that he got a nice grill for his patio when he moved into his new house!

Toddler grilling play set.

I would say that my son also firmly solidified his “man-card” when he purchased these cute grilling accessories for my grandson, Elliot’s backyard swing set!  

♦  Have some kid friendly spaces!

Whether you have young kids of your own, or grandkids who come to visit like I do, kid friendly spaces for your outdoor living areas are a necessity to give them a place to play and make them feel welcome!  It’s as simple as getting a small table set that they can eat at and special dishes that you use just for them.  This was one of the most fun areas to create on my patio.

"Lunch Bunch" on the patio www.mytributejournal.com

"Lunch Bunch" on the patio! www.mytributejournal.com

“At the end of the day…your hair should be messy and your eyes sparkling!”  Shanti

Water table for kids.

Outdoor playhouse.

You can’t beat the fun water table or playhouse that my daughter has added to a corner of her patio, they’re perfect for extra summer creativity for her girls! 

♦  Add your special touches! 

Just like our inside home décor, I think our outdoor living spaces should be a fun reflection of our personalities–filled with things we love; it should be a place where we automatically feel we can sit down and relax and take a break from our daily grind…a little escape from reality!

Patio decor www.mytributejournal.com

“Taking time to do nothing, often brings everything in your life into perspective!”  Doe Zantamata

Creating Your Home Sweet Home! Outdoor Living!

Patio furniture www.mytributejournal.com

My patio is a nod to nature and simplicity…I love being surrounded by plants and flowers.  I go here to recharge and remember that I am very blessed!

I hope everyone is having a fabulous summer! 

William Wadsworth quote.

What do you love most about outdoor living?

–Love, Mary

Creating Your Home Sweet Home! Love At Home!

Creating Your Home Sweet Home!  Love At Home!

We’ve probably all got a few Valentine decorations adorning our houses for the month of February…..but I think it’s fun to have a few love and heart themed design elements in our homes that we can leave up all year-long!

Home Sweet Home! Love At Home!

In this crazy world we live in, it seems like a good idea to have some little reminders around our homes to help us remember that love will always be the stabilizing factor that helps us through the ups and downs of everyday life!

Live Laugh Love art!

A canvas sign like this sat on a hall table of my parent’s home for many years, and served as a timeless reminder for me to embrace all that life has to offer! 

Love deeply quote.

I like the updated version of this message via Zazzle, hung in such a clever way.

Home Décor With Heart!

As I’ve mentioned before, my oldest daughter, Malia, is an interior designer, so it comes as no surprise that she has a flair for including unique love and heart design elements in her home that make it warm and welcoming…..I can attest to the fact that it feels like you’re getting a big hug as you enter her cute house!

Home Sweet Home! Hi, I love you sign.

This sweet greeting is the focal point of a collage Malia hung on a loft wall by her girl’s bedrooms where they play and do homework.  Her daughter, Makena, told her she loved reading it when she ran up the stairs to her bedroom after school.

FullSizeRender (30)

The double-sided glass of the white frames makes it easy to change-out photos.

Mother Teresa quote.

I have a neat friend, Hayley, who has been remodeling her home over the past year, and she has one of my favorite love quotes hanging in her cute kitchen.

Love At Home! Pictures of love quotes.

(via Hobby Lobby)

These are a few other heartfelt signs that I love!  No matter your home décor style, there seems to be a unique framed love quote that will fit in perfectly!

Decorative pillows are an easy and fairly inexpensive way to spread a little love around your home. 

Love At Home decor.

While it’s definitely fun for getting into the Valentine spirit, Malia likes to leave this pillow out all the time…..a subtle reminder to always have love at home! 

Love At Home! Flour sack pillows!

(via etsy)

I like to decorate with pillows too.  I especially love these fun flour sack pillows!

Oftentimes, it’s the little accessories or sentimental items from loved ones we place around our houses that have the biggest impact on giving it a special, personalized feeling of warmth and love!

Home Sweet Home! Love At Home!

My sweet hubby gave me this wood love plaque several years ago when we first moved into our house.  While I may add some Valentine’s decorations during the month of February, it sits on our living room table all year to help us remember that first and foremost, we want to create an atmosphere of love in our home!! 

Home Sweet Home! Love At Home!

Again, my friend, Hayley, shared this special flower heart that is on her 13 year old daughter’s dresser to remind her every day that she is loved.  Next to it sits a bunch of pink peonies, her grandma’s favorite, who had over a dozen bushes in her yard.  Whenever it’s possible, Hayley likes to have fresh ones in her home.

While I’m not one to invest too much on home design trends that seem a bit fleeting, there are a few out there that are fun additions to any love at home décor!

Love At Home decor trends.

(via Pinterest)

I love the trend of blending design styles that is so popular now…..like the look of this vintage chair with the more modern, geometric pillow.  Such fun love décor.

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Cutting boards in different shapes and sizes stacked on your kitchen counter are definitely on trend now, so why not add a heart one to the mix like this one from Sundance catalog.  Also, how fun are the variety of letter boards available these days where you can change the quotes depending on the holiday or your mood.

Valentine's Day decor.

Even when gold isn’t as trendy as it is now…..I will always love it in my home!

(After Valentine’s Day, you could swap out the heart card for another fun photo.)

Share Love!

There are so many décor options available to showcase love in our homes, but let’s never forget that the best part of love is to sincerely share it with others!

Love quotes.

“It’s beautiful to express love…..but it is even more beautiful to genuinely feel it!”  Dejon Stojanovic

I hope you always find ways to surround yourself with love!

What special décor do you have in your home that inspires you to love better?  Comment about them below and you’ll get a chance to have one of the gold love clips sent to you!  

–Love, Mary

Creating Your Home Sweet Home! Baby Love Nursery Design!

Creating Your Home Sweet Home!  Baby Love Nursery Design!

As a Maternity/NICU nurse, I can vouch for the fact that there is nothing more wonderful than the birth of a sweet, new baby…and springtime seems to be an especially favorite time of year to have a precious, little one!  (I have a spring birthday and all my children were born during the first part of the year.)  Aside from the thrill of welcoming a new family member, parents love to prepare a special space for their baby as they anticipate their arrival.

Baby Love Nursery DesignLike any other room in your home, you want your baby’s nursery to be a unique extension of your family’s personality and style…while at the same time allowing for it to be a place where your baby can grow and develop his/her own special characteristics!

Things To Consider As You Design A Nursery!

My husband and I now have five grandchildren–three of them arriving just last year!  Not only has it been wonderful to welcome each of these adorable babies to our family, it’s also been fun to see the darling nurseries designed for each one!  Here are a few ideas I came across, as well as some my kids and their spouses shared with me for creating a special nursery that not only includes decorating ideas, but safety tips from pediatricians too.

Style That’s Safe!

While creating a safe and secure nursery for your baby should always be a top priority for expectant parents, it doesn’t need to take away from the of excitement of deciding paint colors, gathering fabric swatches, or other fun design elements you want to incorporate.  Here are a few of the top recommendations from the American Pediatric Association for you to consider as you decorate that special room for your little one!

  • Use minimal, lightweight artwork over your crib to prevent any future mishaps of it falling on your baby as they grow.  If you do decide to add framed pictures or other heavier design elements…..be sure and anchor them securely with earthquake-proof hooks and pull the crib away from the wall a little.

Scallop wall nursery design.

Baby Love Nursery Design!

My daughter, Malia, and her husband created this unique textured wall by installing individual cedar scallops that they sanded and painted and hung securely on the main wall of my granddaughter, Maylan’s nursery.  This design element added such a fun impact to the room and goes so perfectly with the vintage feel Malia wanted to create, that all she felt she needed above the crib was a simple, lightweight name banner and a few extra strands of lace.  

Stylish and safe nursery design.

Painted wall murals or designs, as well as vinyl decals would also be a good décor option for above a crib.  My youngest daughter put a beautiful macramé wall hanging above her little girl’s bed.

  • Obviously, buying a crib is always a big consideration when creating a baby’s nursery…getting a good night’s sleep is a common desire for any new parent to be-for their baby and for them!  When assembling a crib, take time to make sure each screw is tightened securely.  The slats on a crib should be no more than 2-3/8 inches apart.  Also steer clear of any cutouts in the headboard where a baby might get stuck.  An adjustable mattress is a must too.  

Baby Love Nursery Design!

Another important safety factor to consider is to avoid any window treatments with fabric or cords that the baby can reach.  My son and daughter-in-law live in Germany while he serves as a dentist for the Army.  The darling nursery they’ve set up for their sweet little boy, Elliot, who they adopted last September, has a fun European vibe to it.  I love the fact that the windows there have retractable shutters built within the window itself!  Such a brilliant idea–and certainly child-proof!  (You can read more about their adoption journey here.) 

Baby Love Safe Nursery Design!

Any stuffed animals and blankets should also be kept to a minimum when putting your baby down to sleep.  If your thermostat is set at a comfortable temperature, the pajamas and swaddle blanket used to wrap your baby in, is warmth enough. (Eli is one lucky little boy!)

♥ Convenient Comfort!

  • As a designer, my daughter will tell you that a room’s design and décor shouldn’t collide with the normal ebb and flow of your everyday living!  That seems to be especially true for all the activity that takes place in a nursery!  

Babinski nursery rocking chair.

Nursery rocking chairs.

You’ll want a comfortable place to rock your baby or offer late-night feedings.  As you can see from my grandchildren’s nurseries, there is a wide variety of rockers available that will suit your décor style. 

(Eli’s sleek rocker is from Ikea, Malia ordered her’s from Babinski’s.)

Modular baby night light.

Modern nursery lights.

Overhead lighting on a dimmer or an extra source of ambient light to help keep the room soothing while you care for your baby during the night without fully jarring you both awake is a nursery plus too. 

(The modular Ikea lamp is similar to the one that Mandi put in her nursery and fits her fun, ecclectic modern design style.  The unique natural wood cylinder table light on Eli’s dresser/changing table is also from Ikea.) 

Nursery rugs 2

Having soft, durable floor coverings or rugs with lower fiber pile for easy cleaning is nice to have in a nursery since they will more than likely become a frequent play area for you and your little ones! 

(Rugs make a big design statement–I like the selection of rugs from USArugs.  I also love the Oh Joy brand from Target and Land of Nod for nursery decor! )  

 ♥ Trends and Treasures!

  • I remember trying to incorporate the latest trend styles into my nurseries when I had little babies, but I think the prettiest home design is most often created when you use a thoughtful mixture of both trendy décor items and timeless treasures that have a sentimental value–as well as special pieces that have been passed on to you from previous generations. 

Baby Love Nursery Design!

Hanging on the wall as you enter my granddaughter, Maylan’s cute nursery is a picture I had in my girl’s bedroom when they were little.  I had it reframed after my sweet grandmother gave it to me; looking at it always makes me feel like somehow she’s watching over us!

Vintage baby shoes.

These little vintage shoes on Maylan’s dresser were another special treasure passed on to Malia and add a unique touch to the room.

Baby Love Nursery Design!

 Sitting on top of Eli’s bookshelf is the sign his parent’s held for their adoption profile pictures–he’ll know that he joined their family in a very special way!  Nursery décor doesn’t get much better than that! 

My mom used to say that a child’s room should mostly reflect love– she often told me she was a better person for having children…..and grandchildren!!  I echo her sentiments!

Baby quote.

Our families truly do provide us with our greatest adventures in life!

What’s something you love to incorporate in nursery décor?

–Mary