Tag Archives: home decorating

Go Home Green!

Make your home Earth friendly every day.  Whether you are thinking of building, remodeling an existing home, or just need to clean up the one you have, the Library has resources that can help you green your home environment.

Build Green and Save Book CoverBuild Green and Save: Protecting the Earth and Your Bottom Line by Matt Belcher
Let this book show you how to select green building materials, make sure your construction activities are green, and explain the benefits of green building practices.

Big Green Book of Recycled Crafts book coverThe Big Green Book of Recycled Crafts: Over 100 Earth-Friendly Projects
Did you know you can fuse together plastic shopping bags and make your own reusable tote? Or that old blue jeans can be turned into at least 5 different crafts? These and other fun and easy projects are explained in this book, along with lots of pictures to guide you.

Home Enlightenment Made Easy: with Annie B. Bond
Watch easy to follow instructions on this DVD for making your own nontoxic formulas to clean your home, fabrics, and even your face!

Green This book coverGreen This!: Volume One, Greening Your Cleaning by Deirdre Imus
Room by room, this book deals with the dangers of commonly used household cleaning products and then gives greener, homemade cleaners as substitute options.

Practical Green Remodeling book coverPractical Green Remodeling: Down-to-Earth Solutions for Everyday Homes by Barry Katz
With useful information such as a simple explanation (and diagrams!) of how geothermal systems work and 10 ways to reduce your water usage, this book goes beyond the typical green building materials recommendations. But it has those too!

Easy Green Living book coverEasy Green Living: The Ultimate Guide to Simple, Eco-Friendly Choices for You and Your Home by Renée Loux
Every room in your house can get clean the green way. Even the laundry gets a makeover. The author includes advice on shopping green, light bulbs, and better choices for personal hygiene that will protect you and the environment.

Big Green Purse: Using Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World by Diane MacEachern
Change the way you spend money and change the world! You’ll get background information about how certain products negatively impact the environment and people, along with alternative options you can purchase to combat these effects.  You have the power!

Green Living by Design book coverGreen Living by Design: The Practical Guide for Eco-Friendly Remodeling and Decorating by Jean Nayar
Organized by area of the house and materials utilized, this book guides you through making informed decisions about remodeling and furnishing your home in an earth-friendly way.

Real Simple book coverReal Simple: 869 New Uses for Old Things
Not sure what to do with those leftover name tags? Use them to label your casserole dish so it comes back home after the potluck. This encyclopedia lists most common household items and ways they can be re-purposed.  You won’t ever need to throw anything away again!

Simple Steps to a Greener Home DVD coverSimple Steps to a Greener Home: With Lifestyle Expert Danny Seo
This DVD gives many “smart and stylish” suggestions for remodeling in an eco-friendly way.  

Your family, your home, and your Earth will thank you.

-Melissa M.

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Creating your world

A friend recently asked me for decorating advice, perhaps not quite realizing how seriously I take the subject.  As I walked through their house, noting the appalling wallpaper and the flesh-toned vertical blinds, I wondered where to begin!  My friend had no idea, either where to start or even that the wallpaper and vertical blinds were that bad. 

As always, the place to begin is at the library.  Decorative choices are a matter of opinion.  My apartment has every color of the rainbow in it – for me it’s energizing and joyful, for others, it feels like a nursery school.  But when I was designing my personal space, I looked through many, many decorating books and magazines here at the library and gave a lot of thought to how I wanted it to feel.  As I did so, I began to realize what mattered most to me when it came to creating the feeling that I want to have when I am in my own home.

I can’t list all the resources I used in that process – there are just too many.  I highly recommend a trip to the Main Library just to go through as many of the books and magazines as you can!  However, I do have some titles to tell you about, just to get you started. 

Probably the simplest way to make a space feel different is to paint.  Do you want to feel uplifted? Calm? Protected?  Take a look at The Color Scheme Bible or The Color Palette Primer, both of which offer pages and pages of color combinations.  See how you respond as you look through them.  Remember two things:  painting is fun when you make it a party, and it’s easily changeable, just have another party!

The Color Bible  The Color Palette Primer

Getting a feel for your own style is also important.  Perhaps you grew up surrounded by lace curtains and antique furniture.  You know that floral wallpaper gives you scary flashbacks, but you don’t know what the other options are.  Paging through The Home Styling Sourcebook or Home Therapy will help you know what else is out there, how it looks, and whether it inspires happiness or the heebie jeebies.

The Home Styling Sourcebook  Home Therapy

Some basic introductions to home decorating can help break down the different areas you can focus on if you’re overwhelmed by all the different things you might like to change in your space.  I so agree with the title of Ty Pennington’s book, Good Design Can Change Your Life; and anyone can use The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Decorating Your Home, even if you’re not an idiot.

 The Complete Idiot's Guide to Decorating Your Home  House of Belief

Saving my absolute favorites for last, no discussion of decorating that I’m a part of is complete without a mention of Tricia Guild.  Part of my quest to make the world more colorful is to recommend Tricia Guild on Color to everyone.  Finally, another decorating heroine of mine is Kelee Katillac, author of House of Belief: Creating Your Personal Style.  Katillac takes a fairly deep approach to design by using a variety of exercises to explore what you value in your life, then helps you translate that into creations and spaces that reflect your values, your dreams, and your spirit.  With a home like that, how could you go wrong?



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summer reading

Ah, summer.  Time to relax, take a vacation, lie in the grass…  or not.  Kids may get the lazy days of summer, but many of us adults keep going to work, schlepping the kids around, running errands and pretty much continuing what we do all year round.  Still, that’s no excuse not to participate in Adult Summer Reading!  Especially since any kind of reading counts, including quick reads like the unfortunate series of children’s books that I’ve been reading lately, graphic novels, even magazines

My personal favorites have always been the decorating magazines.  I have to tell you, Art et Décoration (art-decoration.dekio.fr) changed my life, despite the fact that I don’t understand a word of it.  It came along at a time when I wouldn’t paint my walls anything but shades of white and saved me from myself.  And before I ever read Bridget Jones’s Diary, or any of Sophie Kinsella’s delightful novels, Ideal Home (www.idealhomemagazine.co.uk) let me see what their homes might look like, or at least what they might want them to look like.

Mental Floss (www.mentalfloss.com) is a great one for those whose thirst for knowledge is sated with sips of information from all across the subject spectrum, while Psychology Today (www.psychologytoday.com) can help you understand the behavior of your fellow homo sapiens.  Pittsburgh Magazine (www.wqed.org/mag/) helps me to understand my fellow Pittsburgher; if you’re interested in people, you might also enjoy Life & Style (www.lifeandstylemag.com), People (www.people.com) or In Touch (www.intouchweekly.com).  Food tends to come in higher on the priority list for me, so Vegetarian Times (www.vegetariantimes.com), Bon Appetit (http://www.bonappetit.com/) and Cooking Light (www.cookinglight.com) are my obsession, and I love to get the inside scoop on our local food scene with Table (www.tablemagazine.com).

With summer reading this easy, who cares about the prizes?  You know you’re reading anyway, so sign up today!


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This is your life.

I was all set to do a post on beauty and fashion because for some reason, I have beauty and fashion on the brain.  The truth is, I’m dying to do a beauty and fashion program series here at the library.  But then someone told me about this, and I began to rethink my post. 

I think of fashion and beauty as a terrific example of how the library offers all sorts of materials on all sorts of topics, from the clothes we wear to the food we eat .  So I’m going to start my blog with the first thing in the morning:  the bathroom.  What’s the deal with this bathing-every-day thing?  Why are we all so obsessed with cleanliness?  Were we always this concerned about our odors?  Find out in The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History, by Katherine Ashenburg or in Clean: A History of Personal Hygiene and Purity, by Virginia Smith. 

But perhaps your morning thoughts are of a more practical nature.  Perhaps you walk into your bathroom every morning, and you look at the wallpaper and think of creating your dream bathroom. Or you wish you knew how to fix that dripping sink, or worse, you wish you had gotten to the bathroom faster.  (Now if that particular title doesn’t seem up-to-date enough, give one of our health databases a try.)  Do you see what I mean?  Every aspect of our lives on the planet is addressed at this library!  And we haven’t even gotten to the closet yet!  I’ll save that for next time.

Posted by: Kaarin


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