Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Corner of Coziness-A Love for Accent Lamps

Anyone who knows me can confirm that I have a adoration for accent lamps.  These cute little lamps which I have collected over the years can be found throughout the house and can give a warm glow in dark corners of a room or unlit counter space that immediately welcomes anyone with a cozy greeting.

This post will be the first of a two part series that will demonstrate how to incorporate accent lamps in vignettes that can be a point of interest in various spaces in your home.  It will testify as to how these under-utilized lamps can lend a peaceful and inviting atmosphere and, at the same time, can be a decor piece by itself which can dress up an area that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

The pictures below include those vignettes taken during the day and at dusk when the lamps are lit and validate their charm, but include enough available natural light to take some clear and visible pictures.

Since we are experiencing cold and snowy weather here in Wisconsin which is still perfect for building playful snowmen in the front yard, my first vignette is a snowman inspired one.  The silicone bulb which is used in the precious hat of the snowman-face accent lamp seems to melt my heart on a cold and snowy day.  His adorable face makes me feel like I am a child at play again in the snow.

The plaid bowl in this vignette is perfect for holding both fruits such as apples and pears or faux snowballs and real mini pinecones.  The snowman candleholder includes both a pillar candle which the snowman is holding above his head and tea light candles which are placed in his belly and shine through the stars on his sweater.

As for something a little different, the following vignette is one which portrays an attraction for Victorian design. Some cookies and warm tea by a soft faux oil lamp makes for an elegant and homey setting.

Accents lamps can come in all shapes and sizes and this pinecone accent lamp fits in beautifully with the other decor items representing the Northwoods.  It particularly works well for those of us who have log interiors and wish to depict a rustic setting.

This post was just a brief glimpse at the versatility that accent lamps can provide in sprucing up a room.  I hope you agree that they can be key decor pieces as well as a supplier of low lighting ambience in a room. I would love to hear your ideas on how you use your accent lamps.  Stay tune for more lovely vignettes in the second part of the series on how to use accents lamps to illuminate and embellish unused areas in your home.

So cozy up and turn the light on........

Sunday, January 15, 2017

How to Set a Valentine’s Day Table: Creating a Romantic, but Playful Tablescape

It is that time of year again…love is in the air. What better way to celebrate your cozy, intimate Valentine’s Day than with a delicious homemade dinner at a well-dressed table. So to do exactly that I thought I would share with you my own guidelines as to how to use various elements to achieve the feeling of romance and playfulness in a Valentine’s Day tablescape.

To being with, determine what mood, theme or personality you want your Valentine’s table to have. Feeling a little flirtatious or bashful? Do you want to convey more than one mood, for example, a feeling of restfulness and vitality? Can one mood element be interpreted differently by different people? Whichever you decide, set the mood through your table design.

So lets begin by looking at the various elements that can help you make up the personality of your Valentine’s Day table:


Your table setting does not need to contain just red and pink colors for Valentine’s Day. It can have traces of one or the other color or both or it can include neither of the two colors at all. So you ask…how can it then be a Valentine’s Day table setting? If you are not using the colors of red or pink which are the traditional colors associated with Valentine’s Day, then your table will need to include one or more Valentine symbols. Just to name a few, they could be: hearts, cupids or flowers (see explanation of the element on Symbols below).

These elements will allow those viewing your table to immediately recognize your table setting as a setting for Valentine’s Day, even though it is without the use of the typical colors. With any color that you select, your table color element can be bold and bright or it can be soft and muted depending on the feeling you are going for.

However, there is a limit to the number of colors that can be used in the tablesetting. My own rule of thumb is to limit the use of dominate colors to three. In this year’s table I am using red, black and white as my three dominate colors (see below) because of the whimsical black and white harlequin pattern in the plates and figurines. As you work with adding pieces to your table ask yourself if introducing more colors to the tablescape would work? How does it change the cohesiveness of the table? For example, what would happen if I introduced orange to my harlequin print Valentine’s Day tablescape? Would it work? Would it add to its whimsical mood element or would it be distracting?


Whether you are using the traditional colors of Valentine’s Day or not, it is crucial to add decor items to your Valentine’s Day table which are symbolic with the special day. Again, you don’t have to exclusively use just the common symbols such as hearts and cupids to convey a Valentine’s Day setting. Anything that could remind others of love could be displayed, such as paired items like love birds, rings, butterflies, wine/champagne glasses, lettering which spell out the word, “love” or “xoxo”, personalized picture frames and Valentine’s Day cards or notes.  The red heart-shaped napkin rings and mini heart fillers are the symbolic items I used to convey a Valentine's Day tablescape.


Soft, fluffy, furry, tufted, feathery and fleecy textures are typically used to evoke comfort, coziness or warmth. Lacy, silky or velvety textures have also been commonly used in Valentine’s Day decor. The use of texture can visually enhance your Valentine’s Day table without even having touched the piece.  The use of black and white shredded paper for party bags were added for the needed texture for my tablescape (see picture above).

Pattern and Scale:

Choosing a pattern and its scale for Valentine’s Day can be limitless. In fact, the fun begins when you have more than one pattern at a time. These two elements can determine the feeling you are going for in your tablescape design. For instance, compare my Valentine’s Day tablescape posting from last year in which I decided to incorporate leopard print in comparison to today’s table using a harlequin print. (You can view last year’s posting here: Valentine's Day: So Much More Than Romance).

The addition of the animal print or the harlequin print definitely changed the tone or mood for each table. For some viewers, the leopard print table elicited a feeling of untamed recklessness while the harlequin print tablescape created a bit of playful frolic and mischievous whimsy.  The harlequin pattern is also reflected in the three layers of table linens and in the design of the table topper itself.

So when designing your table, ask yourself what effect would I get if I added, for example, small polka dots to my table? Or stripes? What sort of response would you achieve if you used a paisley print? What happens when there is more than one pattern used? How many can be used? Does it work or not? Do the mixture of patterns still contain two or three dominate colors that are in the tablescape? Experiment and watch your Valentine’s Day table be transformed before your eyes.


Spices, coffee, chocolate, and food of all sorts, incense or scented candles can arouse the senses and add interest and intrigue to your Valentine’s tablescape. Beside food items tasting delicious, the nicely displayed dishes can be a design element to your table as well.  As a special treat, I made some carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for a classic dessert.


Bling or shiny elements are typically used to promote luxury and indulgence which are associated with Valentine’s Day. Darkened rooms and candlelight is often the number one choice for this special day to induce an ambiance of relaxation and awaken one’s sensuality.

Something Unexpected:

A chicken in my Valentine’s Day tablescape? What does a chicken have anything to do with love and Valentine’s Day? Ah…you didn’t expect to see it, right? All the more interesting. The sweet element of surprise. Perfect for getting your loved one’s attention.

One last thing I would like to mention for this special day.   It comes from the movie, The Wizard of Oz, when the wizard presents the long-awaited heart to the tin man and he says, "Remember my sentimental friend, that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but my how much you are loved by others."

Happy Valentine’s Day!