July 4th: History, Fun, Family and Some Recipes

“All great change in America begins at the dinner table.” – Ronald Reagan.

a Fourth of July trifle from the Kitchn

So why not at our own dinner tables…on July 4th especially?  Do we really instill the reasons why we celebrate the 4th? We need to – more and more. Our family had its share of political talks but also of the reasons why we wanted our freedom – and why this is so important. But, of course, the celebratory part took over.  I wanted it to be a memorable one for our family so I tried my best – I think it worked. Here are some pics from the party…and a recipe for a Summer Sangria, if you’d like to make something special for your guests this season.

devil's food chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese icing and blueberry and rasperry decoration

I am still trying to get the hang of icing cupcakes – but this cream cheese icing (usually what I use for carrot cake) tasted delicious with the devil’s food cupcakes. It was entirely by accident that I did this. I ran out of the vanilla icing and I needed a substitute. I had cream cheese in the fridge – so….

July 4th trifle made of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, angel food cake and whipped cream

My attempt at making trifle…and making a star out of raspberries!

a Fourth of July trifle from the Kitchn

My inspiration from thekitchn.com

My family was greeted at the door with some colorful décor. This part was a lot more fun for me than the baking!

Welcome Aboard pillow and blue pillows for July Fourth celebration

Because we’re a sailing family, I had to include some nautical decoration.

red geraniums and a red star for the entry on the 4th of July

red geraniums and a painted lantern for a porch decoration

My oldest granddaughter, Meghan, arrived first. I am so proud of her. She graduated from college this year (full scholarship) and she is now going for her Masters in Psychology. I know …she looks like she’s 14! She was just awarded a grant from NASA too. She’s a brilliant young lady.

My granddaughter Meghan arriving

But she’s still young enough to eat the star shaped watermelon, blueberry and cheese kabobs I made for my 3 year old granddaughter – who wasn’t that interested in them!

Meghan with fruit skewers

I just did a simple red, white and blue for the outdoor table setting. I didn’t want to do that much ‘cause there was the threat of rain – and it did come. But it didn’t rain that hard and, thankfully, it didn’t last that long!

red, white and blue table setting for the Fourth of July

I snapped a few Limoncello Sangria shots before it started sprinkling. My husband and I had visited Italy last October and we ordered several bottles of Limoncello when we were on the Amalfi Coast. We still had a few bottles left so I thought that I could use some for a different kind of Sangria.

Limoncello Rose Sangria

 

Here’s the recipe. You can make your own Limoncello, or buy it online (much easier!)

Limoncello Sangria

Serves 6
3/4 cup limoncello
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup hulled and quartered fresh strawberries
1 750-ml bottle chilled demi-sec rosé champagne
1 medium lemon, thinly sliced, seeds discarded

In a large pitcher, combine the limoncello and the strawberries. Top with the chilled rosé champagne and stir in half of the lemon wheels.

Pour the sangria into ice-filled stemware. Scoop some fruit into each glass and garnish with a lemon wheel.

Limoncello Sangria with fruit and ice

When the rain subsided, it was time for fun – in the pool. My granddaughter Peyton had so much fun with her dad. She would have stayed in for hours…but by the time the rain was through, it was about 4PM.

Fun in the pool

She was exhausted – but she had to do some “fireworks” – some safe ones (snaps). Safety first!!

safe fireworks on the Fourth of July

All in all, it was a great day. A big thanks to my husband, Richard, who did the barbequing (great job!!) and my daughters who brought appetizers, libations…and their children (most important!).

my husband Richard did the barbequing for the July 4th holiday

And to my family – kids, step children, grandkids, brother Dan and sister-in-law, Marie…I love you all. Thanks for such a great day!

my beautiful grandkids

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1 Comment | Posted in Holiday Decorating, My Life, Uncategorized

Home Staging: Elmont NY Home Sells Even Before the Open House

a staged living room in Elmont NY
We staged this unfurnished home for a real estate investor that we had worked with before – and the home sold even before there was a public Open House. Here are some of the before pictures.

before renovation and home staging in Elmont NY
 
When staging a home for sale, I feel it’s very important to give a potential buyer a glimpse into what his or her life will be like if they buy the house. Giving the home (even very modest ones like this one) some elegant touches like a bar cart with drinks and accessories in the living room, allows the buyer to dream a little. Even if they never put a bar cart in the space once they move in – it’s important to fashion a beautiful lifestyle in the home.
a staged bathroom in Elmont NY
a staged Master Bedroom on Long Island (Elmont NY)
The layout was a little problematic – and that’s where I believe that home staging really can make a huge difference in whether a home gets purchased quickly or not. Narrow living rooms, small bedrooms, open floor plans – these kinds of spaces confound a potential buyer. If a buyer cannot figure out where to place their furniture and if they wonder if their furniture will even fit – most likely they will not make an offer.  It’s always best to stage an unfurnished home. It’s also important to rearrange and edit furnishings in a home for sale that has furniture. Most people have too many furnishings, accessories etc. in their rooms  and the spaces look cramped and small. Here are some other pictures from this project.
a staged kitchen in Elmont NY Long Island
kitchens and baths are key rooms to stage if you want to successfully sell your Long Island home
 
home staging on Long Island; staged living room
staged living room in Elmont Long Island
If you would love some help getting your Long Island or Queens home sold, please give me a call at 631 793-1315.
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Sold in 2 weeks: A Successful Staging on Long Island

staging a living room to sell on Long Island

We staged this vacant home in Dix Hills in mid October of this year and it sold before the month was through. Continue reading

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2 Comments | Posted in Home Staging, interior design

Vacant Home Staging in Long Beach NY

 

cobalt blue bottles, pale blue kitchen towels and green tray for beachy decoration in kitchen

I was so happy to hear from Dan Adams of Real Living Innovations Realty in Wantagh, NY. Dan hired me several times when I was a fairly new home stylist, so I give him credit for helping to jumpstart my business. The first vacant property I staged for him sold in 1 day for list price! This was back when my inventory consisted of a cream love seat, a sofa, 2 faux TVs, some pillows, several end tables, two nightstands, a coffee table, a few console tables and occasional chairs – and some art and accessories. Hardly a small corner of a warehouse – to say the least! But, I put what resources I had to good use and with the money I made from that home staging – I bought more. Continue reading

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2 Comments | Posted in Home Staging, interior design, Makeovers

Birds, Reindeer Moss, Sea Turtle Art, Coral…Sea Fans: A Summery Coastal Mantel

Creating a coastal inspired fireplace mantel

I have a habit of changing the decorations on my great room mantel pretty often…but sometimes I am guilty of being lazy and not changing it soon enough. Up until a few days ago my mantel was stacked with bunnies and nests – so it was surely time for an overhaul! Continue reading

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6 Comments | Posted in interior design, Makeovers, Tutorials

Painting Upholstery: A Tutorial on How to Use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint on Fabric

How to Paint on Fabric to Transform Upholstery

I had to give this a try…been reading about it so much on different blogs. I watched Annie Sloan’s YouTube video on the subject, read some other tutorials as well (11 Magnolia Lane  ) and I just decided that I would just jump in and see what happens to a loveseat that I had purchased a few years ago that had seen better days.

 old damask loveseat after Annie Sloan Chalk Painting

Of course, I started with something “big” instead of a small seat cover – that’s my nature…just go for broke. The worst thing that could happen would be that it looked terrible and I’d have to scrap it or bite the bullet and get it reupholstered. Continue reading

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6 Comments | Posted in Annie Sloan's chalk paint, Home Staging, interior design, Makeovers, Paint, Tutorials

The Beauty of Real Craftmanship in Handmade Furniture

The Unmatched Beauty of Bespoke and Handmade Furniture: A Guest Blogpost 

Here is another guest article from my friend, Jo Lee of Swedish Interior Design, in our “View From Europe” series. Handmade furniture from craftsmen who are applying timeless, painstaking techniques to make beautiful, lovingly crafted pieces, are being edged out it seems in this economy of fast, soulless, cheaper MDF-type case goods. Here Joe looks at the benefits to be gained by ordering a custom made piece of furniture.

The world of interior design is increasingly cluttered by poorly made reproduction furniture in a wide range of styles coming from China and the Far East. This is all to satisfy our unshakeable desire for something new, different or exciting in this world of transient tastes and ever changing fashions. We forget, as we spend to maintain our ‘habit’, about the attendant environmental costs of mass manufacture, carbon intensive shipping and cheap Third World labour. These become ever more important as resources become scarce and the quality of human life lessens – just remember the recent factory collapses and death tolls in India as a direct result of our need for new things. Continue reading

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3 Comments | Posted in interior design, View from Europe

The E-Guide to Choosing Colors for Your Home…It’s Almost Finished

I Just Need to Know Your Color Struggles and Problems…so I Can Answer Them!

ornage, blue and green color scheme for a room

How to create a split complementary color scheme

I am in the midst of writing an e-guide on How to Choose the Right Colors for Your Rooms” that I will be giving away to my readers. In general, it will cover some secrets on how I use color (and some common mistakes that you should avoid) but the main point of the guide will be to give you some tools that will make choosing color easier…and less fear-inducing!

Continue reading

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Leave a comment | Posted in Color Roundup, interior design, Paint

Painting and Decorating Architectural Fragments

Chalk painted and antiqued ornamental board

Creating something from nothing

I was coming back from a decorative painting job out in the Hamptons and I came across this wonderful old antique shop named Lloyds in Eastport, New York. I had passed this store many times before and finally – I had a little bit of time to go in and take a look. The store is a lot larger than it appears from the outside – and there are two large floors full of antiques. Just what I needed – a ton of stuff to choose from! Anyway, I fell in love with a couple of things that I just had to pick them up (I only had about 20 minutes to peruse because I had another appointment to go to). Continue reading

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10 Comments | Posted in Annie Sloan's chalk paint, Decorative Finishes, interior design, Makeovers, Paint, Tutorials

Help! I’m Having a Problem Picking Paint Colors

 

What’s Involved in a Paint Color Consultation?

 

I have received a few questions about how I go about doing a color consultation for my clients. Instead of answering separately, I thought it best to do a blogpost about it…so here goes!

 

paint brushes with paint

Source

Q: I am having trouble picking some colors for the first floor of my home. Can you tell me how I should prepare for a color consult with you and what should I expect – what’s your process?

Hi – this is a great question. I do things a little differently than some color consultants, so I am glad to tell you a little about my process.

First we’ll start with how you can prepare for it. I will have a phone conversation with you before I come over. I want to know which rooms you are having the most trouble with and I ask you why you think you are finding them difficult. I then ask questions like these… Continue reading

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2 Comments | Posted in Benjamin Moore, Business, Color Roundup, Decorative Finishes, interior design, Paint