Daily Archives: December 9, 2009

Remodel Your Kitchen Cheaply

All things come to him who goes after them.

The information you just read was pulled from many different resources. You should continue searching for information until you believe you have a firm grasp of the subject. I do want to thank you for visiting and good luck.

Want to decorate your kitchen but don’t have a lot of money?

With a little persistence and time, you can find decorative items at yard sales for pennies! Of course, it will take a bit more work then just walking into your local Home Interiors store, but you will spend far less and end up with some unique items that will add interest to your home.

Beauty is only skin deep, ugly goes to the bone.

You can find items at yard sales that make over go with any kitchen decor. If your kitchen is country style, look for old baskets and chunky old pottery bowls and pitchers. Put them above the cabinets for a decorative display or use them on the counters to store fruits or everyday items. Look for old wooden boxes or silverware trays that you can use as decorative items – this old wood adds warmth and character to your kitchen.

Yard sale finds are perfect for decorating a retro style kitchen. You can still find many kitchen items from the 1970’s and 60’s in good condition. Some of these are true collectibles but many are just fun and decorative. I always look for old bread boxes, canister sets, salt and pepper shakers, napkin holders, wall clocks and other bric a brac for my retro kitchen.

If your kitchen is more of a 1940’s look, you might have a harder time finding vintage items of the era, but you can come up with some good finds if you scour the yard sales and dig into those old boxes. Kitchens decorated in this era, beg for vintage linens to be used as tablecloths and displayed hanging from the stove and cupboard handles. These old linens are stamped with colorful designs and add cheer to any kitchen. Some of the state map tablecloths are quite collectible and can be very expensive in antique shops, so if you find one of those in your travels, you have a real gem on your hands!

If your kitchen is the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s style you might want to consider a few easy, inexpensive fast improvements.

Fast Fix:

Purchase a ready-made island if you can find one that will fit your kitchen’s dimensions. You’ll want enough clearance all the way around (generally a minimum of 30′) so appliances open easily and people can walk around freely. Absent any ready-made options, if you’re handy (or know someone who is), create your own island using stock cabinets (such as a pair of wall cabinets attached back to back) from a home center. It’s fine to go with a different finish from what’s on your other cabinets, too. Paint the lower part of the island a contrasting color and top with laminate, butcher block, or even luxe-look granite.

As for color ‘ that’s the fun part! Take your pick and go conservative with soft gold, sage green, or pale blue, or get crazy and paint the walls barn red, terra cotta orange, or kiwi green. Look for scrubbable paint in a satin or semi-gloss finish.
Fast Fix:

Get rid of those boring white walls!

The good news about this project is that paint is inexpensive and the walls in a kitchen are generally confined to smaller areas above, between, and next to the cabinets. The bad news: you’ll have to mask off cabinets and countertops with blue tape and sheets of plastic so drips and painting mistakes won’t be an concern.

If you prefer a modern or contemporary kitchen, you can find many almost new and gently used items to suit your tastes at every yard sale. Try hitting the sales in the upscale section of town and you might find some very expensive items for much less than you would pay at the retail store. You may have to look around a bit to find exactly what you want, but your resolve can pay off big time!

Sometimes you can find items at yard sales that have antique or collectible value. If you find that you lean towards collecting a certain kind of item like old pottery or vintage linens, it might be worth your while to invest in some reference books on the subject. That way you will be able to recognize a good piece when you see it. Who knows, your yard sale treasure could turn out to be a real winner!

This could be the start of something big

What you are about to read is the culmination of information from many different places and resources. I hope you enjoy it.

Dan Farrell is the owner of Kitchen And Bath Design
where you can get more information and links to home improvement.

Antiquing in Rhinebeck, Ny

Rhinebeck New York, located in Dutchess County in the beautiful Mid-Hudson Valley has some wonderful antique shops. 

Whether you are looking for fine English antiques, artwork, collectibles, vintage jewelry, pottery, porcelain or any other item prized by collectors you can find it in the antique shops of Rhinebeck, NY.

It was a beautiful day today in Rhinebeck so my husband and I took a stroll through all of the great shops.  We are collectors of artwork, porcelain and carnival glass. We had an enjoyable time as we strolled through town and spoke to all of the friendly shop owners and searched for new treasures for our collections.

The Beekman Arms Antique Market is located in a red barn directly behind the Beekman Arms Inn.  The Inn is reputed to be the oldest continuously run inn in America.  The Beekman Arms Antique Market is a group shop with everything a collector could want.  They have furniture, glass, pottery, art work, textiles, and jewelry along with pretty much everything else.  The shop is open 7 days a week from 11AM – 5PM.  They can be reached at (845) 876-3477.

Across the street from the Beekman Arms is Asher House Antiques.  This beautifully done shop specializes in English antique furniture.   Fresh merchandise arrives from England on a regular basis. In addition to fine furniture, porcelain, sterling and assorted antique items, they have beautiful accessories – both old and new – for your home. The shop also carries a beautiful line of reproduction furniture. The shop is open 7 days a week from 10 AM – 5:30 PM.  They can be contacted at (845) 876-1794.

On the corner of Route 9 and West Market street is the Rhinebeck Antiques & Artisans.  This is a showcase shop with about 40 cases of wonderful small antique items.  When I was in the shop this week I saw an impressive collection of Roseville and American Beleek on display. There is fresh merchandise almost daily. Loman Eng, one of the owners is also an artist.  Loman paints wonderful landscapes and these are available for purchase also. The center is open Thursday through Monday from 10:30 AM – 5:30 PM.  The phone number at the center is (845) 876-5555.                 

Right next door to the Rhinebeck Antique and Artisans is The Portly Pug.  This is a small, cozy shop filled with wonderful treasures of all kinds. The Portly Pug is named after Picabo, Myron’s (the  proprietor’s) pet. There is a wonderful collection of dog related antiques, a selection of beautiful tea caddies and fine antique furniture just to name a few things.  The shop is generally open Friday through Mondays from about 11 AM – 5 PM.  It is a good idea to call ahead as the hours vary.  They can reached at (845) 876-6896.

All the shops are just a few steps away from each other but each one has its own unique charm.  Come spend a morning or afternoon browsing the antique shops in Rhinebeck…you never know what treasure you might find!

Happy Hunting!

To find building lots Rhinebeck, have a chat with a real estate professional that knows the Hudson Valley residential real estate marketplace.

Family Activity Holidays in France

With France being such a vast country of varying cultures, landscapes and different regions you can travel to, France can really make the perfect place to go for a tranquil getaway whilst enjoying your activity holiday.

So if you like Yoga, then you can practice gentle yoga with caring and experienced teachers in idyllic settings, plus you can take guided nature walks in unspoilt countryside, or if you feel like being pampered, then there are a variety of different holistic therapy holidays, where you can really treat yourself and relax in the beautiful surroundings.

Another traditional art that has become popular in France is Tai Chi, which is all about health and therapy using your own internal body energy, and with classes and dedicated breaks in lots of towns and villages throughout this beautiful country, you could end up with feelings of wellbeing and inner strength you never knew you had!

Also, we all know that France is a country proud of its good food and good wine to accompany it, and what better place could you go to for a cooking holiday. So for those of you who are into learning more about French culinary delights, there are cooking courses available in most areas of France, where you can learn to cook some of their traditional dishes, whilst enjoying the pleasures of tasting the local gourmet cuisine from top chefs right through from pate to grilled fish and deserts that look too lovely to devour!

But a cooking holiday in France is not just about being in the kitchen, the idea of these courses is to get you out and about by experiencing the culture of the area, take tours and visiting the local markets, so that you can explore their delicacies, enabling you to create the perfect meals for incredible dining experiences that will be a delight to your family and friends when back home.

Of course, lets not forget about the many wine tours, which is also another very popular activity holiday and the vast collections of vineyards can make for a truly educational and worthwhile experience, plus you get to experience the different types of wines and end up knowing exactly what to look for when shopping back home.

There is no doubt about it, that France is the ultimate destination for wine tasting and although Bordeaux has always been the most popular place to visit, there are numerous other areas such as Burgundy and the Champagne Ardenne region, and after you have walked around a vineyard on a hot summer’s day, then entering the cellars to cool down while experimenting with different wines can be an experience you will never forget. But the great thing about a wine tasting holiday, is that you get expert advice on tours, so you can impress your friends with your knowledge when you get back home for those pleasurable evening dinners!

If you have thought about making your own pots and ornaments but do not know where to start, then maybe a ceramics course is just for you. Gaining inspiration from your surroundings, you start by learning how to make and then decorate lots of items from vases to plates so that you can take your new found talents and works of art home with you as a reminder of your activity holiday in France.

Limousin region is famous for its ceramics and the museum in Limoges can provide more inspiration than most would get in a lifetime, but there are numerous other areas in France that provide ceramics courses.

Almost as old as time itself, pottery is a traditional craft and what could be better than having a pottery break in an old restored chateau or barn, so you can enjoy learning the traditional methods of moulding wet clay, managing the potter’s wheel, firing the clay and then finishing off your beautiful pots, and by the end of your holiday you will be able to bring home with you the results of your artistic flair from the skills you have learned.

Everyone knows that France is also famous for its artists and wherever you go, you will always spot someone sketching or painting, so you will find numerous drawing and painting holidays available, which are set in the most beautiful countryside settings, where you can learn new techniques to paint and draw or just brush up on the skills you already have.

Many of these will incorporate trips to museums and galleries along with tutorials, but rather than just being stuck in a studio, the emphasis is put on leisure and pleasure by getting out and about in the area, so that you can experience a variety of different scenarios from landscape painting to the local architecture in your area, which can only enable the budding artist to experiment in areas they may not have considered before, even using different materials, so you can have a holiday full of enjoyment and inspiration.

With a lot of courses, they are more than happily to cater for individuals or for small groups, and vary in duration from a weekend break through to a full week, and of course, these types of activity holidays are available for all levels of experience and whilst you tour and learn by day, each evening you can sit down to gastronomic delights, fine wines and interesting conversation with like-minded people.


Martyn Davis European Traveller, Author, Photographer and Business Development Manager, For all your French holiday needs and travel guide to France, with tourist information, landmarks and attractions – Activity Holidays In France

The Historic Community of Gruene, Texas

The historic community of Gruene, Texas was founded by German immigrants Ernst and Antoinette Gruene in 1849. The Gruene family, including their two sons had immigrated to New Braunfels in 1845, but land was scarce, so Ernst Gruene moved his family down the river and built them a home in the German style of fach werk, and the city of Gruene got its start.

The Gruene family planted cotton on their land, and a few years later, twenty to thirty more families arrived in Gruene, to help farm the fields and build homes for their families. The settlers built homes in a variety of styles, including wooden frame homes, Victorian cottages, and large, brick homes. A mercantile store was opened in 1878, called the Gruene General Store, and a cotton mill which was powered by the Guadalupe River was built around the same time, in the late 1800s.

The town prospered, and shortly thereafter, a restaurant and dance hall was built, and is still in operation today, known widely as Gruene Hall, the centerpiece of the community of Gruene. A new mercantile company opened its doors in 1904, but Ernst Gruene’s son Henry B. Gruene’s death in 1920 spurred the decline of prosperity in the small city of in Gruene, since he had become a prominent civic leader and farmer, with his father and brother.

In 1922, the cotton gin burned to the ground and was replaced by an electric model, called Adobe Verde, but the depression hastened the decline of most of the family-run businesses, and all of them closed except Gruene Hall. The advent of the boll weevil had taken a toll on the community as well, and most of the farms suffered immensely as a result of boll weevil infestation.

The town was reduced to the state of a ghost town until 1974, when Pat Molak moved to town and bought Gruene Hall. The dance hall needed a few repairs, but shortly after Molak purchased to hall and restored it, the 6,000 square foot dance hall and outdoor pavilion became a magnet for local musicians and free spirits. Molak purchased and restored various other historic structures with his friend Mary Jane Nalley, and life was breathed back into the town of Gruene.

Subsequently, the town of Gruene was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and many other structures restored by Gruene were awarded the Medallion from the Texas Historical Commission, as well as recognized by the travel industry as an authentic historic Texas town. Today, Gruene is a mecca for antique aficionados, and included among the numerous antique shops are the Black Swan, Hampe House, the Gruene Antique Company.

There are also quite a few gift shops, pottery stores, and art galleries, including Buck Pottery, and the Dancing Bear, as well as Gallerie at Gruene, Grandmother Moons, and the Grapevine. For candy lovers, visitors can satisfy their sweet tooth at the Great Texas Pecan Candy Shop with some pralines or pecan fudge.

For a more substantial meal, visitors can tempt their palates at the Grist Mill River Restaurant and Bar, the River House Tearoom, or the Gruene Coffee House, or the Adobe Verde, which was originally a gin mill and has been transformed into a cantina with an outside deck to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

For lodging in Gruene, visitors can stay in Henry Gruene’s original home, the Gruene Mansion Inn, which has been converted into a rustic Victorian bed and breakfast, replete with southern style breakfast items, barns, and a carriage house.

Gruene is truly a jewel in the heart of the hill country, so come on over to hear authentic Texas music in a historic Texas dance hall, and grab a bite while you’re there. The only problem is: you might not want to leave!!

Escapeso Real Estate is a small company in Austin Texas. Their website provides information on Austin real estate and a free map search of the Austin MLS. They also have updated graphs on mortgage interest rates.