Monday, January 24, 2011

Orchids 101...because I need to know.

I  recently  purchased my first Orchid and the inspiration was this photo Orchids from "The Well Appointed House" beautiful display Melissa!

My new orchid-sorry, lighting is terrible.

Below I added instructions from Martha Stewart on how to care for orchids.  I would love to hear any success or not so successful stories with orchids.  Wish me luck!

Additionally, this is a great way to add some color and sophistication to your home if it's for sale in the winter and spring months!

Orchids generally need to be watered every four to seven days depending on the orchid, the home environment, and the time of year. Take your orchid to your kitchen sink and run tepid water through the potting mix until the water flows freely through the drainage holes.

If your orchid is done flowering, cut the flower spike down to the base of the plant. From there, move the plant to bright, indirect light and repot if necessary using proper repotting medium, such as orchid bark; combine with charcoal and sphagnum moss to help with drainage.

There are two types of orchids: terrestrial and epiphytic. Terrestrials, like the paphioppedilum, commonly known as "lady's slipper," grow in the ground. Epiphytics, like the phalaenopsis, naturally grow balanced on a limb of a tree with its roots in air.

Both kinds of orchids need to be kept in bright, indirect sunlight, evenly moistened, and fertilized regularly in order to bloom at the right time. Orchids love humidity, so grow your plants over a tray of pebbles with water or keep them in the bathroom. The first step in making sure your orchid is in shape is to get rid of its dead or dying leaves. If it needs repotting, you should do so before it is in bloom. Terrestrial orchids are repotted like other plants -- just make sure to use the special terrestrial orchid growing mix; ephiphytes, however, require something different.

Orchid Exhibition in Columbus

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Butter, Sugar, Hersey's Syrup...I'm IN!

Sibyl cake Paula Deen/foodnetwork photo

This is a Paula Deen Recipe from that my mom had made a few months ago and I fell in Love!  I tested it for the first time this weekend (I am not a baker) and it was HEAVEN!  For any of you chocolate cake lover's out there, this is a must try recipe!

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 (16-ounce) can chocolate syrup (recommended: Hershey's)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup evaporated milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan.

For the cake: Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in another bowl. Add to creamed mixture, continuing to beat. Add vanilla and chocolate syrup to batter and mix well. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Just before cake is done, prepare frosting.

For the frosting: Put butter, chocolate chips, sugar and evaporated milk in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stirring ingredients together, boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and nuts. Pour over warm cake.
I'll bring the coffee:)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Refining for 2011

Organizing for the New Year by Michele Thrasher

Every year we resolve to be Organized! Here are some tips of the trade to get you started:
Mantra: It didn’t get this way in an hour, so it will take a bit of time to conquer.
Time: Set aside a block of time that is equal to the task/area. If you have 15 minutes, the kitchen countertops might be a good place to use that time. If you have an entire Saturday, maybe the master bedroom closet or garage.

Tools of the Trade: 5 garbage bags or totes clearly labeled



3) KEEP in this space

4) MOVE to a more appropriate area

5) REPAIR ~ reserve this for items that you really will repair or sew that button on

6) for those who are having a difficult time purging ~ THINK ABOUT

Ready, Set, Purge/Edit/Organize!

• Empty the space you are organizing completely. Yes, that means unload the garage into the driveway or the closet onto the bed.

• Take a few more minutes to clean the area.

• Okay, now picking up each item SORT into one of the 5 or 6 totes. If you’re organizing your closet, save a step and re-hang the item immediately if it’s a definite KEEP.

• Be ruthless with yourself and give yourself to the count of 3 to make a decision.

The Next Steps

• Take the Trash to the can or recycling bin.

• Take the Donate tote to your car so it will leave the house.

• Keep items are neatly organized where they belong.

• Move items are put in the appropriate room/space.

• Repair items on front and center so they will be taken care of.

• And, the Think About tote is labeled and dated. If you don’t reach for the item in the next 6 months…it’s time to donate it.

Simple “Rules”

 If it doesn’t fit ~ don’t keep it.

 If you don’t like it ~ don’t keep it.

If you can’t remember why you even saved it ~ don’t keep it.

If it’s broken and you’ll NEVER fix it ~ don’t keep it.
Remember, getting Organized is a Project ~ Living Organized is a Process.

Need some assistance? Michele Thrasher of Staging by Mon Brio is also a Professional Organizer and would be happy to assist you!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Small Homes Becoming More Desireable

The “small home” craze continues as buyers say they find less square footage more desirable. Nearly half of Americans say their ideal home size would range from 1,000-1,999 square feet, according to a recent survey by of nearly 1,500 home owners and buyers.

Just five years ago, the National Association of Home Builders reported the average home size to be 2,400 square feet — that’s 400 square feet larger than what buyers say they now want.

So what’s to happen to all the McMansions out there from just a few years ago when big homes were in their heyday?

Naturally, you would assume that the cost of homeownership has gotten buyers thinking smaller. But according to this survey, when asked whether cost was a main deciding factor in choosing a home, most respondents said it wasn’t very important. In fact, only 29 percent of survey respondents said that living costs was the most important reason when considering a move.

So why have buyers gotten so practical with their home buying decisions?

“As home owners rethink how much space they need, I think we’ll continue to see more innovative approaches to living well and sustainably within a smaller footprint,” said Sharon Asher, chairperson and founder, in a public statement about the survey results.

■Sububia reigns: The survey also found that 54 percent of Americans continue to find a home in the suburbs the most desirable. They want to live near the city but prefer the peace and quiet of the suburbs. Urban and rural neighborhoods were only preferred by 24 percent and 22 percent, respectively.
■Main priorities in selecting a home: Neighborhood safety was an important factor in choosing a home. Buyers judged neighborhood safety by the upkeep of homes and front lawns in the neighborhood, word of mouth reputation, and local crime reports and statistics. Besides neighborhood safety, respondents also ranked proximity to decent shopping and having a large backyard as important factors in selecting a home.
Most sought-after features: Survey respondents said the most desirable features of a new residence are central air conditioning (87 percent); custom, walk-in closets (50 percent); and “top of the line” dishwasher and/or refrigerator (43 percent).
■Least sought-after features: The least desirable home features were custom window coverings, followed by an in-ground pool or spa.
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine