Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How to Get the Best Quality Photos

~ This is a featured post. ~

As an avid photographer, I take my prints seriously. They’re an expression of you and what you think is important in life, and if you like to scatter them throughout your home as I do, you want people to be viewing the best quality you can provide. Not everyone can afford to go to a top-quality printers though, and why should you when it’s just as easy to do it yourself? So, here are some top tips for printing the best photos to wow your guests. 

Camera vs Computer
Many cameras these days have the option to print straight from the device, rather than having to upload them to a computer first. Surprisingly, both approaches can produce very different results, so it’s a good idea to test the different settings available first, so that you don’t print out dozens of images only to find that they’re of a very poor standard.

Choose an InkJet printer
Printer manufacturers have caught on to people’s desire to print their own images at their leisure, so if you can, invest in an InkJet printer. These have been made specifically to cope with the demands of photograph printing, and will give you a far cleaner and more professional image with little bleeding of lines, when compared with a standard printer.

Are you using the right settings?
Of course, every printer is going to be different, so make sure you have all the right settings selected before hitting “Go!”. For example, under the quality section on most printers, you’ll have an option to print for media or magazine; while quality is usually automatically selected for you at “good”, you have the option to change this to “best”. These are very simple settings that can make a huge difference.

Follow all the rules!
You’ll find that most manufacturer’s give guidance in their manuals about obtaining the best results, so it’s always a good idea to check the handbook. However, if that’s too technical, consult their websites instead. They may have blog posts or other guides available online that are written in brief, how-to formats.

Buy different samples
Other factors that can make the world of difference are the materials you’re using. Try different paper samples to see if there’s a difference in quality, and make sure that the type of ink you pick is the correct one for the job, and for your model of machine. As this can end up costing a fortune if you go to the wrong place, always buy from a specialist website for these supplies, such as cartridgepeople.com.

Try photo editing software
Finally, if it’s the image itself that’s bugging you, there are tonnes of free photo editing software downloads that you can use to increase exposure on shots, reduce blur and so on. It’s worth doing your research on the best one for your needs, but you can check out a good guide here.

How do you use your family photos? Let me know in the comments section… 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Best of 2016 and 2017 Project List

2016 was undoubtedly an interesting if not challenging year for a lot of people. The uncertain political climate and outlook has certainly dampened spirits. It seems like a norm that working days only get longer and jobs get more demanding. Alas, the world still spins so might as well take whatever life throws at us with a smile. To quote the Hamilton Musical: Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now. 

As we enter 2017, in the design world, it's also high time to reflect on the projects we did or did not complete in 2016. The #2016bestnine below from Instagram didn't quite sum up what I was up to last year. 

Turns out I was pretty good at sticking to my 2016 Project List. Here's a recap of what got done and what didn't. 

This is what my living room looks like now after a series of changes. 

  • Laundry room:
    • Tiled the walls with white subway tiles and dark grout all the way to the ceiling. 
    • Replaced the pendant light. 
Here's a sneak peek of my mini laundry room/mudroom makeover. More on that later in a separate post.  

  • Master Bedroom: 
    • Replaced the chandelier in my master bedroom with this

Didn't Complete:
  • Foyer:
    • Replace the foyer floor with black, white, and grey marble tiles. Don't think I will be taking on this project anytime soon. 
    • Paint the walls above the wainscoting in the same shade of white; or extend the wainscoting to full walls and paint them in white. 

Now for the 2017 Project List: 
  • Ground floor powder room: what other better bathrooms to wow your guests than the powder room, which seems to be the only bathroom your visitors would ever use. My idea is to create a Parisian style bathroom using the following elements:  
    • Wallpaper the walls above wainscoting. I've already picked a floral wallpaper, more on that in another post.  
    • Replace the mirror with a minimalist round or oval-shaped one. 
    • Replace the chandelier. 
  • Kitchen: 
    • Replace the light over the island. 
  • Foyer:
    • Paint the walls above the wainscoting.
As you could see, my 2017 project is a lot shorter and seems more attainable. That's also my new year's resolution: to try to enjoy life in the slow lane, nurture my mind by reading/seeing the world more, and being with positive people who can add happiness and support to my life. I also want to invest time in a healthier diet by cooking more at home. Design wise, I am going to challenge myself by going with choices out of my comfort zone. 2017 is the year to "invest in myself". I hope it will be a fantastic year for you too! 

Picture below: me and my snowman Aaron Brrr :D

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Table Settings

Well I did it! I finally managed to decorate our Christmas table, with only one day to spare before the feast. 

Picture below: our 2016 Christmas table setting. I relocated the Renoir reproduction "Madame Henriot" painting from above my living room fireplace mantel to here and it was an accidental success. I carried this year's simple, elegant and a dash of feminine theme through to the table settings. 

The flower centerpiece was my first-ever DIY floral arrangement. I gathered a few of my favourite flowers including white hydrangeas and champagne roses, and eucalyptus leaves to add a touch of festivity. 

Pretty happy with how the bouquet turned out. I think I will be making more floral arrangements going forward. 

Saeco Moltio Carafe super automatic espresso machine was probably the most exciting and anticipated addition to our family this year. I took advantage of Hudson's Bay's Black Friday sale and bought ourselves an early Christmas present. Let's just say what comes out of the machine is pure magic and 100% delicious and addictive. Never underestimate the power of being properly caffeinated. 

With that, I am going to sign off and start cooking/baking up a storm. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones! May 2017 be a happy and successful year to us all! 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

How to Maintain Your Doors

~ This is a guest post. ~

Maintaining your home is important, if you want to keep it looking good. There is little point in spending a fortune on decorating your house, only to let it go, once all of the hard work is done. If you do that, your home will end up looking shoddy in no time.

Why doors matter
When it comes to home maintenance, attention to detail is important, which is why, today, we are going to look specifically at looking after the doors in your home. They are an important element of any home.

Do not forget that your front door is the first thing people notice when they visit you. If your door is shoddy, dirty or old-fashioned you are not going to be able to make a good first impression.

Most houses have a hallway with access to each room coming off it. This means that the moment someone enters your home the first thing they see are your doors.

Oil the hinges regularly
One of the biggest mistakes people make is ignoring squeaky doors. The longer you ignore the squeak the worse it becomes, and the harder it becomes to open and close it. Every time you open a stiff door, you are putting an unnatural strain on it, which means that you are creating unnecessary wear and tear.

It only takes a few moments to add a drop of oil to each door hinge, once or twice a year. Doing so, could potentially save you from having to buy new doors earlier than would normally be necessary.

If you notice that your door is starting to drag on the floor, address the issue immediately. Usually, all you need to do is to lift the door off its hinges, and shave a few millimetres off the bottom. Doing so, as soon as you notice the door scraping along the floor will stop permanent damage being done to your flooring.

Painting your internal and external doors yourself
The most important part of door maintenance is painting them every few years. Doing so protects them from the elements and moisture, as well as keeping them looking good.
Most people can easily paint a plain door. However, painting panel doors is a little trickier, but it is still a job you can potentially do yourself.

You just need to prepare them properly and paint the panels in the right order. Click this link to be taken to a video that shows you exactly how to do it. Watching it will only take you 10 minutes, and enable you to work out whether it is a job you can do yourself or if you really do need to call in a professional painter.

Replacing your doors
Unfortunately, no matter how good your doors are, or how carefully you maintain them, at some point, you are going to have to replace them. When you are ready to do so, we highly recommend that you visit the door store website.

This company sells hundreds of different doors, which makes it easy to find exactly what you need. They offer a good warranty with all purchases, and their customer service team is happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

2016 Holiday Home Tour

Can you believe Christmas is less than one week away?! Work has kept me so busy this year that I've been so late to post my holiday tour. Having been featured in magazines for my holiday decor two years in a row, I couldn't help but feeling a bit stuck in a creative block this year. I've done various colours and themes over the years, all of which played a part into the overall style of my house. There are only so many spots at home spacious enough to accommodate a large Christmas tree. And there are only so many new ornament pieces I can buy each year before running out of storage room. My heart says do whatever I like, even though people may react "didn't she already do that last year"? My head however urges me to up the game and try something different. At the end my heart won. It felt good to be true to myself. I am drawn to a certain aesthetics which I want to continue to experiment around, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Picture below: my 2016 (mostly) pink Christmas tree. 

Picture below: holiday mantle adorned with faux greenery from Ikea. The antique neoclassical style mirror was a lucky score just in time for the festive decorations. 

The picture below was the Take One of my 2016 holiday mantle. I added pale pink ribbon accents to the mantel, only to switch to a more eye-catching maroon colour for a pop of visual interest.   

The gold ball garland is a quick and easy DIY project using black satin ribbon and dollar store shatterproof balls. 

My holiday decor wouldn't be complete without restocking the bar cart. 

The arrival of the new brass and lucite coffee table was well-timed. It enhances the feminine and elegant style I was going for. 

Picture below: my holiday living room.

Our foyer is sun-filled year-round. It's a natural place to put the Christmas tree without having to move furniture around. Can you believe the lush faux boxwood wreath in the picture below is from Ikea? 

And here's our 2016 Christmas tree, standing tall and happy in our foyer. 

Picture below: pear glass ornament from Canadian Tire's Canvas collection. 

Picture below: gold pineapple ornament from Glitterville. 

Picture below: this intricate ceramic swan ornament by Chapters Indigo is by far my favourite addition this year. 

Here is a side-by-side comparison between my 2015 and 2016 Christmas tree. This year's tree looks fuller, and more confident. 

And last but not least, for the first time I also added a touch of festivity in our kitchen. 

So in love with this black striped ribbon and faux boxwood wreath combo. 

And there you have it, my 2016 holiday home tour. Now I can concentrate on figuring out how to host our Christmas Eve dinner. 

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