How To: Properly Set a Table

Greetings Readers!

I hope you all had a very enjoyable 4th of July weekend. I, personally, was surrounded by dozens of family and friends! Although it was lovely to see everyone, when it came to dinner everything became chaotic. People are running into one another in the kitchen, someone cut their finger while chopping something, my father almost burned dinner on the grill, and when it came to setting the table, as we say in our family “forgettaboutit” (one word). However, after the chaos was over my nuclear family has a rule that we must set the table every night before we eat dinner. I have always grown up knowing how to set a table informally, however I was curious to know how to set formal table. I will be depicting a basic dinner plate setting, which will come in handy for any small gatherings or dinner parties. At the bottom, I have posted a diagram with more table setting options. Let’s get started!

1. First, start with a clean table (clean as in clean surface, no crumbs, spills etc.) and drape a table cloth of your choosing, (white is the best and most formal, however it is personal preference) it is best to also press the table cloth with an iron before hand for a smoother and cleaner look.
2. Next smooth over the table cloth with your hands making sure there are no bumps, folds, or any other imperfections.
3. Then make sure the table cloth is even on all sides of the table, you do not want one side of the table cloth to be hanging further down than the other. When you are finished with the table cloth, be sure to count seats, organize seating placements, determine where the plate setting will be for each personal and make sure it will be evenly spaced.
4. Then start with the dinner plate (or charger, if you prefer, and then place the dinner plate on top) in front of the seat, place the plate in the middle.
5. Next, take a cloth napkin and fold until it becomes a small square, then fold it in half (either longways to make a small rectangle or you can reorient the small square on the table to look like a diamond, fold in half to make a sideways triangle, again this is personal preference) and then place the napkin on the left side next to the plate.
6. On top of the napkin place the dinner fork and the salad fork onto the napkin, the dinner fork (the larger of the two) will lay in between the salad fork and the dinner plate, or the right side of the napkin and the salad fork on the left, the outermost side.
7. Next place a dinner knife on the right side of the plate, blade turned toward the plate and right next to the knife place a spoon.
8. Then take a wine glass and a water glass, place the wine glass directly about the knife and the water glass directly above the spoon.
9. Then take a smaller salad plate, place it directly above the forks and if desired place a butter (smaller) knife horizontally on the top portion of the plate.
10. Repeat!

It may seem like a lot to do, but it’s actually quite simple! With each occasion, the table setting may vary, but now you have basic knowledge of a general, more formal table setting, rather than just throwing plates on the table with a knife, fork, and spoon somewhere nearby (like this weekend was for my family and I).

Hope to hear from you soon, stay tuned for my throwback this week!

Lauren

Table Setting
Image from Buzzfeed

Throwback Thursday

Greetings Readers!

Today in this Throwback I’ll be transitioning, instead of discussing one particular design style I will be discussing one building. Balmoral Castle is one of the many castles the Royal Family vacations since 1852, when the property was purchased by Prince Albert. Located in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, the purchase, construction and design of Balmoral was not only bought for vacation purposes but was also a political move.

balmoral, twochums
Image from twochums

In the United Kingdom, Scotland and Britain were currently at odds end due to the lifelong hostility between the two nations. However the aggression between the two nations amplified after the Jacobite Rising in 1745, which lead to the creation of the Act of Proscription in 1746. Within these acts, King Charles II of England banned all plaid in Scotland, ruining years of family tradition and heritage. Later on, the Act of Proscription were revoked, but the bitterness still remained. When Prince Albert and Queen Victoria began the construction of Balmoral, while Albert focused on the exterior, with architect William Smith, Queen Victoria focused on the interiors of the castle. Queen Victoria focused on German Biedermeier simplicity but almost every textile was designed to be a plaid. Queen Victoria saw the beauty and the historical importance of plaid to Scottish heritage and designed the interior to be a way bringing peace to the nations.

Prince-Albert-Study-Balmoral, cultureconcept
Image from cultureconcept

Mystic’s own Fulham Road Collection incorporates a tasteful plaid that resembles traditional Scottish heritage. The rich and vibrant colors of the tartan fabric incorporate the quintessential part of an ancient society made for modern day living.

fulham road

I hope you enjoyed todays Throwback, and have a wonderful 4th of July!

Lauren

How To: Make Your Own Coasters

Greetings Readers and Happy July!

As you recently read I am redecorating my apartment on a low budget. Well, recently I have been looking for great accessories, one of them being coasters. However, I don’t have a great amount of money to spend (on my college students budget) on something thats only purpose is to hold my drink. However recently I have found a bunch of blogs that have shown me how to make my own coasters and add personal touches to my apartment, without going over my budget!

If you are interested in funky geometric patterns, check out this blog with geometric felt coasters. Found on the Purl Bee, this how to will show you how to make bright and fun felt coasters inspired by the De Stijl movement. This how to involves sewing and involves materials that can be found anywhere! For more information check out the link below.
http://www.purlbee.com/the-purl-bee/2014/6/29/mollys-sketchbook-modular-felt-coasters.html

felt coasters

However if you’re not into sewing and want something more personal, in this How To Allison Hendrix shows you how to create coasters using your own photos! Its extremely simple and involves materials that you may already have. For more information check out the link below.
http://www.thehouseofhendrix.com/2013/02/02/photo-coasters/

photo coasters

Next, if you want maybe a more upscale, modern look, here is a how to for you! In this blog, it demonstrates how to create wooden coasters with designs from metallic stencils. The blog includes step by step directions and gives you different stencils. This how to is even more simple than the previous blog, you can finish this project in 30 seconds, its my personal favorite!
http://www.the36thavenue.com/2013/12/diy-coasters-tutorial.html

Stencil coasters

There are several other blogs I could continue writing about all with great ideas and designs! What are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comments below!

I hope you all have enjoyed todays How To, stay tuned for my throwback this week!

Lauren

Throwback Thursday

Many of these postings have recently been about styles influenced by politics, monarchy and standards of living, however today we will focus on style built and inspired by family. German Biedermeier, a revival of Greek design, is a period of culture and family. During the early 1800s, Germany faced strict authoritarian rule, banning all political rebellion and activism, in turn people began to focus on their households and families. German Biedermeier began as a style to reflect everyday lives, practicality and comfort became more important than upscale, formal design.

During this time, private interiors were the most influenced by this movement. Public buildings were more influenced by the heavy and regal Empire style. However the German Biedermeier was started and made popular by middle class citizens. Rooms and furnishings became more intimate and personalized to the individuals living in the households. For instance, families began using their hobbies, such as needlework, for the decor or began leaving it around. Nick-knacks became prevalent in this style as well as family portraits and photographs. Decor became smaller in scale, minimal pieces were used. Colors were light and bright, typically colors consisted of browns, yellows, greens, blues, natural but exquisite. Geometric shapes were abundant during this time, because of the heavy Greek influence many decorative arts such as wall paper and furnishings were very geometric with natural influences and motifs.

klinebooks.com GB
Image found on klinebooks.com

Furnishings became more comfort oriented. Instead of focusing on design and structure of the piece, German Biedermeier focused on human scale and functionality. Angular, geometric shapes come into play, pieces became light in scale and in design. In upholstered pieces, stripes became a popular design, a classic and simple element. These furnishings, although simple, were reflections of artistry, concern for material and excellently crafted.

GB-FURN found on google
Image found on google

The Radiance Copper Collection from Mystic is a reflection of the ideals and simple esthetic of German Biedermeier. The brown shimmer material demonstrates the elegance of simplicity, while the natural vine motif gracefully drapes the bedding and creates a cohesive, simplistic but beautiful look.

radiance copper

As always, I hope you all have enjoyed todays Throwback, looking forward to hearing from you.

Lauren

How to Make Pillows

Greetings Readers!

Recently I’ve been doing a bit of redecorating in my apartment, and on a college students budget I’ve been trying to find the cheapest (but tasteful) way to do so. I’ve spent countless hours in department stores, garage sales, estate sales, and antique stores trying to find some great deals- and I have- but I decided that I also want to try some DIY projects. Recently I’ve discovered the hilarious blog The Shabby Creek Cottage, written by Gina, who is hilarious and thrifty! Recently I read her post of the cheaters guide of how to make pillows found at the link below. I’ll share today with you my experience making pillows and how to inexpensively make gorgeous pillows!

Heres what you’ll need. Pillow insert, size depends on your preference in this exercise I used a 24×24 pillow and template. Now as for material, you’ll only need enough patterned or pretty material for the very front! So 24×24! Then as for the back fabric buy a cheaper fabric for the back of the pillow, something that will match the design of the front of the pillow. You’ll also need a sewing machine, thread and the like.

Next take the pretty front fabric and cut using a 24×24 template OR by measuring it out of the fabric- whatever your size preference and however you want to cut it. Then take the less pretty back fabric and cut out two 24×18 pieces. Next put the back pieces on top, the right sides will be together and the backs on top of the front. Make sure all outer edges are lined up, the backs will overlap. Pin all pieces together and sew away! For more information check out the full blog posts and for images to clarify. Hope you enjoyed todays post!

http://www.theshabbycreekcottage.com/2013/11/how-to-make-pillows.html

Lauren

Throwback Thursday!

Greetings readers!

As I am writing this I realize this is the first throwback in which it takes place in America! Today I’ll be discussing American Georgian, a time when America was finally gaining a style and more upscale furnishings and interiors. Emerging from the dreary and simplistic colonial style, Americans were gaining knowledge and skill in architecture and interior design from our English predecessors. In American Georgian, a chain of influence starting from the elaborate French court (which had influences from all over Europe and Asia), influencing the British in their design esthetic which, in turn, influenced our ancestors here in America.

American Style colonial
Colonial American, image found on Google.

In colonial America, many people weren’t skilled in furniture making or architecture. Americans had a basic understanding of architecture, thus led to basic buildings with no extravagant embellishing or any sign of skill. However in the 1700s, Americans began studying the works of English architects and became inspired by the works of Andrea Palladio, Inigo Jones and others who all had written fundamental architectural pattern books. Using these designs, American style became more sophisticated and elegant. Symmetry and formality began appearing both architecturally and internally in American buildings, especially in public buildings. More detail and elegance also began to appear in furnishings, textiles were being imported creating more luxury in homes. Although American Georgian is still simplistic compared to styles such as French Rococo, American Georgian is significant however because it started the esthetic of classic American design.

draytonhall_georgian historichouseblog
American Georgian, Drayton Hall

Mystic Valley Traders encompasses American Georgian in the Montana Collection. Similar to the colors of American Georgian, classic reds, black and creams are being used in the saddle, meadow and cabin fabric. A lush floral design on the duvet cover expresses the similar elegance that American Georgian began to import during that time. These classic designs provides warmth and intimacy in any room.

Mystic-Valley-Traders-Montana-Complete-Bedding-Collection

I hope you all have enjoyed todays Throwback!

Lauren

How To: Naturally Clean Hardwood

Hello readers!

Excuse me for this but this will be a shorter blog than normal. However, as promised its time for another How-To Tuesday!

In my household, we try to clean environmentally friendly. Recently I have been introduced to a way clean hardwood floors naturally with ingredients that are most likely in your kitchen. All you need is olive oil, hot water, and lemons (as well as a mop and a bucket). This remedy will not only clean your floors immaculately but it will restore you floors to brand new condition, or very close to it.

First, move away all furniture that would get in your way, in doing so, you will have an open floor to clean every inch of your hardwood floors. Before you begin mopping, make sure to sweep your floors and rid of any dust or dirt to make sure you get the best possible result.

Next fill your bucket with a gallon of hot water, pour in a half a cup of lemon juice and three quarters cup of olive oil. Mix together with your mop and start mopping! Once you have mopped your entire floor, allow for floors to dry before walking on floors or moving your furniture back. Once floors are dry, if they are a little slippery buff them with a rag or towel.

And done! Now you have naturally clean hardwood floors. What are your naturally clean remedies? Let me know in the comments below!

Lauren

Throwback Thursday!

Greetings Readers!

It’s time for another throwback Thursday!

As we have all learned through our European history classes, Frances economy in the 1700’s was on a downward spiral. After the death of Louis XIV, his grandson Louis XV inherits the crown, however under a regency due to his young age of 5. Assuming the throne at the age of 13, Louis XV had little interest in politics or repaying the extreme debt his grandfather had created. As a result of this, Louis XV had to surpass on many luxuries, one of these luxuries included a gardening staff for the Palace of Versailles. Since there was no one to tend to the gardens, they slowly began over growing however to avoid suspicion or ridicule, Louis XV created a new style to reflect the over growing gardens of Versailles, French Rococo. Although French Rococo did not originate from that story, the style did grow further with it. French Rococo transpired as a reaction from the Baroque style, known for its stiff and regal characteristics, Rococo embraces a more romantic, exotic and feminine style, although incorporating and encompassing the classicism of Baroque.

hallofmirrors172_radford.edu/
Image from Radford.edu

During this time, interiors and home furnishings dictate the style. Interiors slowly were becoming less formal in palaces and wealthy homes. Romantic ornamentations and natural materials, like wood, replace formal grand materials such as marble. Rocaille designs are the asymmetrical and naturalistic details that create a plethora of decor, reflecting the overgrown and unmanaged gardens. These rocaille designs covered walls and ceilings. Color palettes included yellow, green and blue mixed with a frequent gold and white palette. The rocaille designs normally were composed of plaster and started from the walls extended into ceiling creating a feeling of abundance of life to each and every room.

fauteuils_artfinding
Image from artfinding.com

The furniture in French Rococo matched their interiors exquisitely. Furnishings had elevated standards in French Rococo, attention to detail was keen and craftsmen were prided on the intricacy and delicacy of their furnishings. New pieces were orchestrated for comfort to match the new less formal style, gaming pieces also became in fashion. The curved cabriole leg evolved onto chaises or chairs, to reflect the flowing delicacy of the style. Furniture sets also began to become fashionable, they may include canapes, fauteuils, bergers, and stools. A fauteuil is a typical arm chair, normally consisting of whorl foots, cabriole legs, aprons with curves or swags, curved backs and supported arms, typically upholstered with florals or naturalistic scenes.

COTT_collection__45369.1387743595.1280.1280

Encompassing the flowing grace and delicacy of naturalistic motifs, Mystics own Cottonwood Collection embodies the essence of French Rococo. Using the popular yellow, green and blue color scheme, Mystic’s Cumberland fabrics flowing naturalistic designs create a peaceful esthetic.

Hope you all enjoyed todays Throwback!

Lauren

How To: Buy the Right Furniture

Greetings Readers!

Everyone in their lifetime is bound to go furniture shopping. Whether its cheap furniture for your first apartment or buying new more expensive pieces for a remodeling, it can be hard determining which furniture is right for your wants and needs. So in this How To, here are some tips and tricks for to get the most bang for your buck.

1. Don’t be afraid to get up close and personal. Sit in the piece of furniture (unless noted other wise), exam all the details for scratches and dents (unless its just a showroom piece and for display only, which would be likely to have many).

2.Check out the stain on the furniture and see if there are any bubbles or brush marks.

3. Look for comfort and quality of the cushions, neat and clean lines indicate proper stuffing, whereas a bumpy surface indicates the opposite. Also look under the cushions of the furniture and see the structure of the piece.

4. Look at the structure. Look for loose screws, insufficient support, etc.

5. Go for quality and not quantity. If you’re on a tight budget it might be hard but save up for more expensive and higher quality pieces, but try to. Most likely they will have a much longer life span which would decrease spending costs on furniture overall. Although you may have to run to Ikea for some pieces, on the furniture that will be used the most though you should aim for higher quality.

6. Look at estate sales and garage sales. At estate sales you can find really great deals on higher quality furniture instead of buying something cheaply made and its retail price being around the same. In most cases the organizers of the estate sales are eager to be rid of the furniture pieces, so be aware for that. Garage sales you may be able to find the same, especially if the people are moving and may not want to take their furniture with them. However you might have more luck at an estate sale.

7. On upholstered pieces, use the back of your knuckles and slowly run them down the back of the piece. Make sure the piece is framed. If you feel cardboard, run away.

8. For rugs, if purchasing a rug for a high traffic area, go for a wool rug, they have a higher durability than other rugs. However if you’re looking for rugs that can be cleaned easier, go for a cotton, viscose (rayon) or silk.

9. When buying bedding, look at the thread count higher the number the better the quality. Also, if applicable, look at the weave of the textile, a basic weave is a normal under over pattern and which is highly durable. For duvets exam the filling make sure it is evenly filled and see what type of feathers it has. (Also for great quality check out Mystic’s bedding, available online on our webpage or at Amazon.com)

10. Make sure the style of the piece fits with the rest of your home.Don’t buy anything that will clash and or cause you to redecorate.

What are your furniture buying tips and tricks? Let me know at the comments below!

Hope you enjoyed todays How To, stay tuned this week for my Throwback Thursday!

Lauren

Throwback Thursday

Greetings readers! It’s time for another throwback!

Similar to the Islamic religious devotion, Gothic architecture is an unmistakable symbol of Christianity. Quintessentially Gothic are cathedrals, however stylistic manifest in private buildings, decorative arts and interiors. The style derived during the early 1100s, a time of peace between European nations as newly formed governments developed. Religion remained people’s utmost concern, and they built buildings and cathedrals (from “cathedra” or “seat of the bishop”) visualizing the centricity of religion in their lives.

Interestingly enough, each elements of Gothic architecture pre-existed the evolution of the style. The architects of the reconstruction of the Abbey of Saint-Denis in France combined these elements to emphasize verticality which provided abundant light, symbolizing divine illumination. These elements included stained glass windows, pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and elegant, slender columns. Soon, Gothic style spread across France and throughout Europe in under a century. Cathedrals were sited in the heart of cities, towns and villages, given their importance to worshippers. Common Gothic cathedral motifs include trefoils, quatrefoils, cinquefoils, gargoyles, dwarfs, rose windows, foliage (e.g., oak leaves), crockets, and linenfolds.

window
Image from Wikipedia

Medieval Gothic interiors were neutral in neutral colors, accented with natural construction materials. In most public areas, color emanated from ornate stained glass windows. Note that stained glass windows also told visual stories given the largely illiterate population.

bedding

Similar to the beautiful colors of the stain glass windows, the silk plum collection at Mystic is as rich and lush as the violet colors in the windows. The luster in the material matches the light reflecting off the window.

Stay tuned next week for my new blog postings!

Lauren