Showing posts with label interior. Show all posts
Showing posts with label interior. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Collecting Antique Canes

Collecting Antique CanesWhen it comes to collections it is possible that antique canes, walking sticks and gadget umbrellas might just be the most interesting collections of all. There was a time in history where you the streets were lined with well dressed ladies and gentlemen all carrying a cane, umbrella or walking stick of one kind or another. In times of yesteryear it was not for support that these devices were used but instead to accentuate an outfit, show a level of status and wealth.

Antique canes, from the nineteenth and early twentieth century's were often made from rare and unique materials. Materials like ivory, tortoiseshell, enamel, porcelain, gold, silver, various precious and semi precious stones were used to create rare walking sticks, unique antique canes and unusual gadget canes.

These items often told a story. The materials that were used, the carvings that were engraved and materials that were blended together all were used to express the history of the time. The events of the time were chronicled within these unpretentious accessories.

"Shadow canes" are a prime example of this. Upon first glance shadow canes look to be a simple stick in which the handle top is designed with concentric rings. When a light is cast upon the cane it reveals a shadow. The silhouette tended to be of a controversial figure of the time. Also known as the Napoleon Shadow Cane, as supporters of the dynasty used them to pledge their allegiance during his infamous exile.

Canes come from three basic categories: decorative, gadget and weapon canes. The most intriguing element of antique canes is that there is one that matches any interest the collector may have. A Faberge Cane is a style of cane that uses a combination of elegant materials including precious stones to create an accessorial piece. When it comes to those that are interested in music there are Dulcimer and Flute canes. This style of cane is incredibly rare and includes a system of working systems built directly into the canes shaft to create music.

A rare type of weapon cane that is familiar to most collectors is the La Diabolique. These canes were eventually outlawed. The stealthy sticks were used by wealthy Protestants during the Revolution. When someone in the crowd would grab the piece, the force would release little metal spikes along the shaft and would shred the attacker's hand. The owner of the cane could release the spikes by simply tapping the cane quickly on the ground.

There are so many stories to be told through collecting especially when it comes to antique canes, gadget canes, and weapon canes. To view more on cane collections check out antique cane collections online today.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Christmas Herbs

Christmas HerbsOkay I know it's July but they say Christmas comes earlier every year, and this year, as usual, most of us will be wondering how to get through the long shopping expeditions as well as stressing over the bank balance.

Not necessary! Give friends and family potted herbs to grow in the kitchen or plant outside. the following Spring. Herbs are always welcome as they are practical and attractive in the house as well as in the garden. Earn loads of Brownie points in the kitchen by adding fresh mint leaves to new potatoes!

At this time of year, you can often find herbs and small shrubs in garden centres at reduced prices. Make sure they are healthy though. Even the un-reduced plants aren't particularly expensive.

To save even more money, use your own plants. Take cuttings from healthy shrubs now, push cut end down into pots of fresh compost and keep warm and watered so that when you give them away as presents they are growing well and developing roots. I bought an aloe vera plant last year that has so far produced 8 new plants and the original is still growing well!

The best herbs to give as Christmas presents are perennial such as:

Aloe Vera
Lemon Balm

Look around for different varieties. For example there is a new hybrid mint that smells like chocolate, and would be perfect to garnish an ice cream dessert.

Some herb varieties differ in the colour of flowers or leaves. Rather than buying the first one you see, check for healthy growth. If the plants are drooping or have brown leaves, discard and find a healthier one. The idea is you want to keep them alive and kicking until Christmas, after that they are their new owner's responsibility!

Keep the plants on a windowsill or warm bright place in the house and don't let them dry out. If you have to re-pot them, make sure the new pots are well-drained and use fresh compost to give them a good start.

Then all you need to do is buy a pretty container. Clay pots can be hand-painted with a simple daisy design and sealed with a clear varnish. Tie a bow round the pot and you have an instant Christmas present, that has taken you months to grow!

Author's Bio: 

Linda Gray has written a number of books on home and garden themes and runs a popular blog and Facebook page:

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Choosing Cookware

Choosing CookwareMost people know that the quality of their food can make a difference in their health. But how many know that the quality of cookware is also important and can impact their health? It definitely can make a difference and I'm going to briefly explain why.

The main reason has to do with the composition of materials. Pots and Pans come in six categories: 1) Non-stick, 2) Aluminum, 3) Cast Iron , 4) Glass, 5) Stainless Steel and 6) Enamel-Coated. And there are variations in most of these categories.

Non-stick cookware is extremely popular and widely available. You can find high-end brands at department stores and on the Internet all the way down to dollar-store brands. But no matter what brand you pay for, you are risking your health using chemically-coated cookware. It does break down in high heat and can release toxic gases and particles into your food and into your environment. Think the heat isn't that high in every day cooking? Not so. Your cookware can easily get above 400 degrees on the surface in less than five minutes. Non-stick cookware is one of those "modern conveniences" that is in the long run not-so-wonderful.

Aluminum cookware is also very popular because it is very light-weight and it heats up quickly. It can also be inexpensive. Since aluminum is a soft metal that dents and scratches easily, aluminum cookware can be problematic. Aluminum does not belong in your body. It is not some kind of "trace mineral" that you should have--it is toxic. You may find cookware labeled "anodized aluminum." That's a little better because that means the aluminum has been treated to make it harder, less porous and more scratch resistant. But it doesn't 100% resolve the problem of aluminum getting into your food. If you have aluminum cookware or choose to buy it, my best advice is to keep it protected and don't let it get scratched or dented.

Cast Iron cookware is said to be beneficial because the iron can leech into your food. I'm not one who would promote getting your iron in that form, but at least it is probably harmless. I use cast iron frying pans and I have recently gotten a cast iron stove-top grill which I love. All of these are very well seasoned and most cast iron cookware comes with instructions on how to season them. One brand, Lodge, has a line of cast iron that is already seasoned. My son used cast iron for camping throughout his scout career and became the chosen one for preparing dinner for his troop. His specialty was peach cobbler made in a cast iron dutch oven. For some, a downfall to cast iron might be the fact that it is extremely heavy. Also it requires special care and attention so it doesn't sit in water or remain wet because, after all, it is iron and can rust.

Next is glass and I really don't think many manufacturers are making glass pots and pans--though I have seen some. Mainly we know glass cookware when we're talking about baking pans. I like them and I use them.

Now we come to stainless steel and there is a seemingly infinite variety of these and many decent brands to choose from. Growing up my mother had the old Revere Ware with the copper bottom. The first thing you should know is that stainless steel cookware has "ingredients." That's right! Just like food (sort of)! It is a combination of metals and/or sometimes a layered conglomerate of metals. For instance the stainless steel may be on the outside and the inside cooking surface with layers of aluminum and metal alloys in between. I highly recommend good stainless steel cookware and tend to choose the layered variety. My favorite brand is All Clad. That is a high-end brand but the quality is excellent. Regardless of what stainless steel cookware you invest in, you will still have to check the metal content and you definitely have to take good care of the pots and pans so they too do not get scratched and dented exposing other metals to your food.

And finally we have enamel-coated cookware which some say is the safest and best thing to cook with. The popular brands are enamel-coated cast iron which make them very sturdy but also heavy. Again you would have to take care to protect the enamel by following the instructions and making sure you use the right utensils so it doesn't get scratched. I would choose this cookware for preparing dishes with longer cooking times. Who wouldn't love a hearty stew cooked in a beautiful enamel-coated dutch oven? These types can also, by the way, go from stove top to table because they make beautiful serving dishes as well.

The best kind of cookware is cookware that suits your purposes and that you'll be able to enjoy using without compromising your health and the well-being of your family. Be prepared, no matter what you buy, to care for it, clean it and handle your cookware well because all cookware requires proper care and maintenance.

Here's to you and your future culinary creations!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Chicago Interior Design-Designing Outdoor Spaces To Be Luxurious

Chicago Interior Design-Designing Outdoor Spaces To Be LuxuriousPart of crafting a well-planned luxury home is ensuring the outdoor spaces are just as sophisticated and well appointed as the Interior spaces under roof. The secret is imagining the balcony, terrace or verandah isnt out-of-doors at all and approaching it the same way you would an Interior design challenge. Anchor your scheme with lavish, ultra-comfy furniture, art, lighting, sound, some great architectural detailing andof courselots of beautiful plants.

Time spent outdoors is when you relax, take in fresh air and let the surrounding world pass you by. Its vital that furnishings be stylish and noble, but equally important that they exude exceptional comfort. John Robert Wiltgen Design, a Chicago Interior designer that also specializes in outdoor spaces, recommends adding a piece of sculpture; depending upon the size of the space it can either become the centerpiece or can be tucked into a corner. You will also want some high quality in-ground speakers so that you can listen to music to lift your spirits.

Some great architectural detailing adds personality to your garden; it can be something as simple as a pediment over the exterior door or it can be something more elaboratea shed that looks like a Greek Temple with some moldings and columns. Once all of these pieces are in place then it is time to add lighting; it should come from a variety of placesin the ground and in the trees. And lighting does not have to come only in the form of something with lampsit could also be torches, tables with firepits, or tall heaters for your terrace.

High-end teak with oversized cushions is a popular starting point for quality outdoor seating thats cozy and chic while still being well suited to face the elements. Do not be afraid to mix it up a bit. Just like indoors, everything does not have to match. It is far more interesting to combine a variety of materials and textures. Make room for a glass-top or quartzite table and sculptural iron chairs for al fresco dining. An indulgent patio features ice buckets on stands, an outdoor television, a place for sunning, a place for those who dont like to sun, a gas grill, even a water feature. For those who wish to create a more private ambiance, consider a hedge or walled gardensimilar to the kind you find in Italy or the south of France.

Feel the warmth

Few experiences in life sooth like watching flickering flames on an open fire. Whether you opt for a full-on brick fireplace or an ornate gas-powered fire pit, adding an element of heat helps bring people closer together, even during the summer months. Homeowners short on space should consider investing in a gas firepit table; it could be a dining table, coffee table or both.

Be consistent with your color selections

So much of your balcony, terrace, or verandah is visible from the Interior of your residence so your color scheme should complement the basic palette of the rest of your home. There are so many choices in fabrics today that are suitable for the outdoors and yet so sumptuous; prints, textures, and lots of solid colors. Plenty of greenery is a must for any luxury terrace. Try to select the color of the leaves and flowers to blend with the fabrics and material selections of your outdoor space. All of these details are just as important as designing the inside of your home.

Twinkling lights

Take bold off the menu when it comes to outdoor lighting. Think lanterns, candles, torches and anything that sparkles. Electric LED faux candles are perfect for courtyards subject to a lot of wind.

Once night falls its all about relaxing and having a good time, so worry less about overhead lighting and more about accents and ambiance. Creating a mood is far more relevant than emulating sunshine.

Your own private piece of heaven

Friends will love coming over to your place for drinks and a bite to eat after setting up your little slice of paradise. Be sure to use heavy wine glasses so the wind does not blow them over. Cloth napkins always add a touch of elegance to your dinner table. Lush cushioned bar stools are a must and somewhere comfy for the bartender to sit while practicing mixology on you and your guests. Enjoy.

Looking to design the luxury home of your dreams? Contact John Robert Wiltgen Design, Inc., 70 W. Hubbard Street, Suite 205, Chicago, IL 60654 or visit www. jrwdesign. com.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Chandelier Basics. Versatile Elegance With A Variety Of Applications.

Chandelier Basics. Versatile Elegance With A Variety Of Applications.One of my favorite topics is the chandelier because of its history as a method of lighting that was used before the sixteenth century. The earliest chandeliers were very basic, almost primitive devices that involved two pieces of wood connected together to form a cross. A spike was inserted at each end to hold the candles and a rope or chain was connected to the crosspiece and then suspended from the ceiling. As a former antique dealer, Ive found that nearly all of the earliest chandeliers were destroyed and very few authentic examples remain in existence today.

The chandelier found its resurgence in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and was found in the great palaces of Europe and America. They soon began to find their way into some of the more expensive mansions and private homes in this country and abroad and have been around ever since.

The industrial revolution provided the impetus for mass production of this once exclusive lighting fixture and today, chandeliers can be found in many homes and in any number of rooms in these homes. One of the major appeals of the chandelier is the drama it creates. It automatically lends character and a somewhat regal atmosphere to an otherwise plain room.

One of the major appealing characteristics of todays chandeliers, are their versatility. A kitchen can be transformed into a high-class dining area with the addition of the right chandelier. A large bathroom can be given an air of elegance with the installation of a chandelier. Some homeowners will even use a chandelier in the master bedroom to give it that special feeling.

Chandeliers are available in all kinds of styles, shapes and can be made from a variety of materials. Although the most common type of chandelier is made of crystal, faux candles and other types of lighting is also available. One of the best ways to find the style and size chandelier that will best complement your dcor, is to go online and look at whats available.

Keep in mind that the chandelier usually draws the immediate attention of a visitor so it should fit the basic dcor of your home. Proper sizing is critical. A chandelier that is too large for the space it occupies will overpower the room and may even lend a sense of claustrophobia to the visitor. On the other hand, a chandelier that is too small for the room just looks out of place regardless of its style.

Although most chandeliers can easily light an entire room, the result can often be a harsh or raw look. Many decorators prefer matching wall sconces and have both the chandelier and the sconces on dimmers so that just the right balance of light can be achieved.

Always keep in mind that chandelier and elegance go together conceptually. In fact, many consider a chandelier to be a piece of art.

Here are some practical considerations to keep in mind when looking for and eventually installing a chandelier. Sketch the room and include dimensions. Consider the size of any prospective chandelier in terms of the ratio of its size to the room where it will be installed. Some individuals fall in love with a particular chandelier, purchase and install it and find that it just doesnt work. This is usually the result of improper sizing.
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