How Comfortable Are You in Your Living Room?

Making your living room comfortable is vital to the very purpose of the space. If it isn’t inviting, it won’t be used.

You can start off by thinking about the way things feel. The tactile quality of an object, even one you have never touched, can affect the way you perceive it in a subtle but powerful way. Just imagine walking into a room made entirely of concrete.

In the living room you want things to be soft. This puts people at ease. They know they won’t get cut or scraped. It is safe to relax and let down their guard.

You also want your living room to be warm. A cold space is going to put people on edge, make them grumpy. It will isolate them as they huddle mentally and physically into their own warmth.

Blankets are a great accessory in the living room. They encourage you to cuddle up and get cozy, allowing each person to be as warm as they like. They just make the space seem friendlier, and they do promote sharing, which can help to bring people closer together.

Pillows are another way to make your living room more inviting. A soft piece of pure comfort décor, they can be easily rearranged however you want, allowing visitors to customize the space to their own preferences.

The flooring you choose is going to affect you every time you take a step in the space. While it isn’t easy to completely overhaul your floors every time you want to change the ambience of the living room, finding the right carpets and throw rugs can have a pretty dramatic affect. Even on the roughest stone and concrete floors, the contrast of a fluffy rug can make the room seem even cozier.

The perfect compliment to a fuzzy floor rug is a roaring fireplace. Thanks to modern technology you don’t even need a chimney anymore you can just look into one of the various electric models available. The best part is that it is a quiet and subdued alternative to casting a television / media station as the centerpiece of the rooms focus.

Candles and candle holders are another way to add peace to your living room. They promote a relaxed atmosphere on a variety of levels, adding both a serene visual quality and a soothing fragrance to the space.

The most important consideration when developing a warm and relaxing living room are your own personal feelings in the space. You should always customize to suite your own preferences first, adding elements which are meaningful, beautiful, and comfortable for you. In this way, your own sense of ease will be a part of the ambiance of the room, acting as a subtle cue to visitors that this is a place where it is safe to relax.

Marble Drink Coasters – The Complete Story

Marble is an elegant natural material with a long history of use in great works of art, architecture, and design. A set of marble beverage coasters allows you to bring the elegance and sophistication of this classic material into your home or office, without having to go through the trouble and expense of having elaborate construction done.

Care and Maintenance of Marble Coasters

In order to keep marble coasters looking their best it is important to know a little bit about the material itself. Marble is a base in an acid base relationship. When an acidic substance touches the surface of a piece of marble, a chemical reaction will occur, which will cause a discoloration in the stone. Common acids include juices, sodas, and many vegetable based sauces.

Most marble coasters are treated with an invisible substance which serves to clog the pores in the stone, while creating a thin protective layer over its face. This layer is effective at keeping the coasters from staining, over a short period of time. However if you leave an acid on the surface of a marble coaster long enough, it will eat through this layer and come in contact with the actual stone, causing the coasters to stain.

To avoid this you should simply be certain to wipe the coasters down with warm water whenever they come in contact with an acidic substance. If you’re not sure whether the liquid is acidic, just wipe the piece down to be safe.

Important Cleaning instructions

Almost all commercial soaps are acidic. Do not use hand soap, dish soap, or anything abrasive to clean marble coasters. Do not put them in the dishwasher. You should simply wash them by wiping them down with a warm wash cloth. If you have trouble getting them really clean you can also leave the stone to soak in very warm water for a couple of minutes.

The Color of Marble Coasters

Marble in its pure form is a white semi translucent color. However during the formation of this stone, various chemicals and elements may be present which can cause the stone to take on a variety of different colors and multi-colors. The colors most commonly appear in bands and swirls which sweep across the surface of the stone.

White marble coasters are often called “Cloud” coasters, due to the fact that the pure white tends to resemble fluffy clouds. This color is generally quarried in Pakistan.

Red Lightning Coasters are characterized by having a deep crimson color, which is broken by white lightning shaped streaks. This color is usually quarried in Pakistan.

Fossil coasters are usually a tan or brownish color. These coasters are made unique however by the fact that they contain real fossilized formations right in the surface of the stone. These are not technically real fossils; they are actually dendrites, however they do represent the images of real million year old creatures. In the surface of many of these coasters you can actually make out the imprint of leaves, and small shells, or sea creatures. This color of marble can be quarried in China, Pakistan, or India.

Onyx coasters are also misleading, in that they are usually not made from real onyx, but are rather made from a multicolored marble. The term onyx is part of the home décor industry vocabulary, and refers to the color of this particular marble. However despite this technical inaccuracy, these coasters are actually some of the most beautiful in the world, with each one containing a unique series of patterns arranged in a distinct variety of colors. The marble itself usually comes from Pakistan.

Teak coasters are a subdued beige color, and are often broken by perpendicular lines of black and dark brown. They are considered quite modern and refined, retaining an elegance and sophistication that is belied by their natural stone inheritance. This marble can come from Pakistan or India.

Oak wood green coasters are made from a multicolored marble which contains mostly green tones, with some browns, reds, and oranges merging throughout the surface of the stone. This stone is primarily quarried from India’s Himalayan Mountains.

Oak wood brown is like the sister of Oak wood green. It comes from almost the exact same part of the mountain, except that the brown strain is taken from a section that has a chemical, which turns the majority of the material blue. It also contains strains of red and orange, as well as a slight undertone of green.

Coaster Surfaces

One of the unique properties of marble is that it can be polished to an extremely high, glossy, shiny finish. This is its most popular application.

In drink coasters however the high polish can be a problem, as it can get slippery when wet, sending a sweaty glass flying off of the top. That is why most marble coasters have a carved lip set into their crown, to hold both the glass and the moisture on the piece.

Another option is tumbled marble coasters. These are made from squares of marble which are put into what is essentially a giant rock tumbler. Inside of this device, the coasters are rounded off to have softer edges, and a less polished surface.

Marble is a beautiful natural material which has graced the hallways of palaces and been the inspiration for some of the greatest works of human art. Whether polished or tumbled, solid white or multicolored, the grace and elegance of this material is undeniable. When used in a set of drink coasters, this combination of style and strength can be brought into the home in an easy and functional manner, allowing you to capture the spirit of a mountain, in a sophisticated and refined manner.

Power Decorating

Sometimes you walk into a room and you are just impressed. There is an energy to the atmosphere; it almost crackles, like it’s full of invisible lightning. These are power spaces and they don’t happen by accident. They are the result of planning, strategy, and the application of a variety of decorating technique.

One of the key aspects of power decorating is conflict. If you want to add energy to a space then you can’t be all perfectly soft and sweet. There has to be a certain amount of tension between the various elements in the room. This tension will keep people off guard, it will keep them looking, keep them searching the space for some sort of foothold that will allow them to relax and be at ease within the environment. In this way their own emotional turmoil will be fuel for the force of the room.

The most basic example of creating tension in a room is through the use of contrast. Contrasting colors are two tones which exist on opposite ends of the color spectrum. When used together in a room, the contrast of the two opposite colors will make each of them more visible, because of the differences between them. Using contrasting effects you can make colors pop out, and look much more vibrant than they would if used on their own.

While tension within a space can add energy, it is important to note that you can go too far with this. Conflict is uncomfortable, so using it to your advantage is a matter of balance. You don’t want the environment to feel so creepy and anxious that people are in a hurry to leave. Instead you want them to be overawed and impressed with the various energies that are present within the space.

Size is another important element of power decorating. The larger an object is, the more impressive it will be. If your home decor it is so large that it towers over peoples heads, all the better; people tend to respect those things which they have to look up to see. If you don’t have that much room to work with, try painting the ceiling a light color, to create an illusion of height.

Certain colors are also going to be more powerful than others. For instance red is extremely energetic, invoking a sense of imperial strength, and even the violence of war. Black is also a strong color, as its stark nature makes it the far end of the spectrum. In general deeper, darker colors will invoke a sense of strength, while lighter colors are more evocative of peace and serenity.

One of the major keys to power decorating is attitude. You have to be bold, confidant, and ready to take chances. You should fill the space with decorative pieces which are inspirational and passionate. In this way, you will be demonstrating your own, very real power, through the artistic arrangement of your environment.

How Your Home Influences Your Life

It is pretty much common sense that people react to the environment they are in. If you are in a room with all fours walls painted bright red, then you’re going to get a little agitated. Take the same room and paint it sage green, with earth toned home décor items, and suddenly things are much calmer. When you spend a lot of time in one place, such as in your home, the characteristics of the environment can start to merge with your own personality.

One example of this comes from clutter. If you’ve ever been in a space that is cluttered and messy, with way too much going on, you know that it is difficult to think in a clear and coherent manner in such an environment.

When you live with clutter every single day however, it can start to infect your mind. You will find your thoughts coming in a jumble even when you aren’t in that particular place.

Colors, as mentioned earlier, can also influence your psychology. In general brighter colors will make you more energetic, while darker tones will make you calmer. Further, the individual colors each have their own symbolic meaning, and can evoke very different effects in different people.

In general green and blue tones will be the most peaceful, as they often evoke thoughts of nature, either of the ocean, or of lush vegetation. By contrast red and orange are violent colors that make people excited, energetic, and even a little angry. Earth tones are comforting, and can evoke feelings of familial love and warmth.

Another thing to consider is the style of your home. There are a wide variety of decorating styles, based loosely on time periods or artistic movements. Pieces which are purchased can imitate the style of a certain period of time, or they can emulate the style of a particular artist or movement.

A formal decorative style in the home will have the obvious result of making you fell more restricted, and proper. On the other hand a casual style will make you feel more comfortable, but also a lot less disciplined.

The important thing to understand is that your home environment can have a relatively large impact on both your psychology, and the way you interact with the world. Once you are aware of this, you can strive to create an environment which fosters your positive aspects, and makes you feel comfortable and strong.

The Significance of Coasters

You enter a beautifully stylish, well decorated home. The couches are perfectly upholstered, the walls are tastefully adorned, and everything is lovely and pleasant. Your host generously offers you a beverage which you accept, and then after a hefty sip, you set the cold sweaty glass down on their priceless antique coffee table.

Splat, water damage. Now there is a ring, a ring of discourtesy, etched into the surface of the table. This wheel of water is insidious, and as it sits beneath the pressure from the glass, it works its way into the material of the table, permanently altering the wood, warping it, disfiguring the perfect beauty of the surface.

Even worse than that are the set of stylish drink coasters, sitting in a stand just next to the glass. They are almost mocking you, calling you rude, and standing in accusation as to the mess, the damage that you are creating in this exquisitely decorated home.

When a person goes to the trouble of purchasing a set of coasters, and setting them in their home, it means something. It is a clear indication that they care about details, and perfection. They are worried about the small picture as well as its effect on the big picture. And they want you to know it.

Further, coasters act as a kind of test as to the quality of your manners, and your personality. If someone goes to the trouble of displaying them, then it means they want to you to use them. Failure to do so, says something rather profound about you as a person. It shows a lack of respect, or at least obliviousness to others feelings. It also shows that you lack that same discernment for details that your host has already displayed.

However if you are the host, you can’t go out of your way to trick a guest, hiding your coasters in obscure locations, or blending them in too well with the rest of the homes décor. A set of coasters should stand out, a contrasted fixture in the space. They should be vibrant, noticeable, and easily available wherever someone would be likely to sit with a drink.

The act of placing a glass on a table can trigger several responses. If it is an expensive surface, most likely you will get a quick, embarrassing outburst from the owner. However, the more subtle will have different methods. Often all you will have to do is take and use a coaster yourself, and by setting this example, you will gently lead others to follow. If this fails, pointing out the coasters, talking about their style and color, can help to awaken the oblivious.

Drink coasters are all about caring for the details of a space. If you are the owner, you want to maintain the perfection of your home. If you are the guest, than the coasters are a kind of test, an impromptu personality quiz designed to reveal your own attention to detail, as well as your respect for the considerations of others.

Decorating Ideas - Moving In Together

I have been contemplating some of the decorating considerations that you need to take into account when two people move in together. Whether it be two room mates moving into the same space, or two people romantically linked coming together for greater intimacy, the environment you inhabit will have to reflect the personality of both parties. If one person dominates the space, the other can quickly find themselves feeling like an alien in their own homes.

One of the things about moving in together, is that both people involved already have a certain amount of stuff. If the situation is between room mates, each person will have a room where they can store and enjoy their possessions. In the case of a couple, things are a bit more complicated, with each person having to pick and choose from amongst what they own, as they populate the space.

Another option is to use the move as a chance to completely redecorate. This allows you to create something together, and can be a wonderful bonding experience. It is also easier to re-imagine a spaces decor from scratch than it is to integrate the individual styles of two different personalities.

If one partner or room mate is dominating things a little too much, it can make the space seem cold and unfamiliar to the other. An easy way to combat this is to carve out a corner, or small space in the home, and reserve that as the neglected parties personal place. This can be as elaborate as giving them the garage to fill with their hobbies and models, or as simple as keeping a comfy chair around where they can feel comfortable.

Blending is about more than just space, it is also about the artistic vision of each person, being played out in an environment that you will both have to live in. This incorporates taste, interests, even hobbies, and it is important to be sensitive to each others feelings. If they are a fan of chess for example, you can choose to incorporate a novelty chess set of your choice into the space, as a comprimise between taste and interest.

Color is actually a very powerful and important element of a home atmosphere. When mixed in various patterns, different colors can have relatively dramatic effects on the mood of people within a space. In general brighter colors will be more invigorating, while darker colors will tend to feel calmer and more peaceful. This can be balanced against the personality of either a lethargic, or over active individual.

If you have one person that is calm and another that is manic, blend hot and cold colors together to make both feel comfortable within the space.

In general coming together and creating a home really is about blending what each of you considers to be beautiful, into a joint artistic creation, that you will actually live in. It is a pretty cool adventure, and it can really bring two people together.

The Philosophy of Inspiration

Inspiration is that ineffable experience, where emotions and ideas meet in a burst of fire that can spark an avalanche of new concepts. However ideas are not born completely out of darkness. Instead it is like being in a boat moving slowly toward the shore. Everything around you affects your minds, adding up, contemplating, assuming and rejecting until new shores around reached and new pinnacles are attained. However, these are only the tips of the known world which you had already been living in.

There are two kinds of inspiration. One is the burst of creativity, that spark that allows you to connect to the solution, or to understand just what a character should say. The other kind is a slow, oozing type of inspiration. It drives you on slowly, giving you a steady beat of new ideas over time. Most people experience both types of inspiration in varying degrees throughout their lives. Striving towards creative goals is one way to jump start and increase the amount of inspiration that one will experience.

One of the problems with an idea is that you can’t think about it, without having another thought. Our contemplation of our own thinking is forever influenced by that thinking. That makes it impossible to get an unbiased opinion of the process.

However we do not experience ideas in just a logical, rational manner. Instead we are creatures of emotion. We feel concepts, we breathe our ideas, and we explode in inspiration. It is this very feeling that makes inspiration such an enjoyable experience.

Inspiration is intricately tied into the psychology of a person. Many times people will lose their inspiration after undergoing a trauma, or having a difficult experience. It is almost like the train of creativity hit a snag, and it is impossible to get it moving again.

For other people inspiration will fly into and out of their heads at random, with both joy and sadness working equally well to fuel the fire, but with the artist left without any control over their passions.

Different people think and feel in different ways, and so the experience of inspiration or the lack thereof, is entirely unique and individual. This too makes it difficult to truly understand the nature of inspiration, as you will get two different answers when asking two different people about how they experience it.

The generation of inspiration is often tied into beauty, art, decorating, and design, or the result of other people’s inspirations. This can be due to jealousy, or can simply be the artists mind taking in a concept and then questioning how it would be if things were a little different. This isn’t stealing, it is simply the subtle webs that make up our thought processes, and can be quite unconnected. The beauty in a sunset can lead an artist to the creation of a novel, which never once mentions a sunset. That is because the artist was inspired by the feeling evoked, more than by the vision seen.

Inspiration is an ineffable thing. We understand it in rough, personal ways, but we do not control it. It feels wonderful when we have it, and terrible when we don’t. We know its tied to beauty and art, and can be evoked by the presence of these things, but it is not the art itself that is important. Instead it is the psychology, and the emotions of the person that can lead to the generation of new thoughts and concepts.

Amber Glow Stone Drink Coasters

This is the newest of our line of printed stone drink coasters. I will talk more about the others soon enough but I just wanted to explore some of the interesting paradoxes that this particular piece represents.

First of all, the coaster itself is made from natural sandstone. This material is quarried in the southwestern United States, and it has the same porous surface, that allows them to absorb the moisture from a sweaty glass, holding it in its pores until it can be evaporated away into the air. This material is slightly less absorbent than its Indian counterpart, but that also means it is more resistant to stains.

The interesting thing is the printing that is found on the surface of the piece. First of all, the printing process is pretty amazing, whereby it is possible to stamp a detailed, and vibrant image onto the surface of these stones, without destroying the ability of the pores to absorb.

However in these particular beverage coasters you find that the picture they chose to use is that of another type of stone, amber to be exact.

If you inspect the picture you will see that the artist has used a mixture of light and shadow techniques to create a representation of the inside of a piece of amber. While the colors are not vivid in a real life sort of way, they are made dramatic by the use of contrast and explosive visual effects.

However this vision of stone, is also printed onto another stone. In a way, this shapes the nature of the image, because the stone canvas has texture, as well as weight and definition. These factors all serve to give an added depth to the graphic itself, reinforcing its own natural beauty, even if that beauty is just representational.

In this way, these coasters represent an interesting situation, in which nature inspires art, and then affects it, because the artistic rendition is placed upon another piece of art. Anyways I thought it was interesting.

Chess Refresher – A Quick Look at the Rules of Chess

Chess is a game of strategy and thought that has been played for centuries. While chess may look complicated at first its complexities are based around a set of fairly simple rules or laws. The rules vary slightly between different places and with different variations of the game such as fast chess or online chess. In general rules have been around since the sixteenth century and are now regulated by the World Chess Organization.

Chess is played on a 64 square board with alternating black and white squares. One player plays with white pieces and the other with black. Each player has 16 pieces of which there are six different styles.

The rules of chess dictate that each of these six types of pieces can only move in a certain way and their movements form the basis for the rules of chess. For example surprising to some the queen, not the king, is the most powerful piece on the board as she can move any number of squares in any direction horizontally, vertically or diagonally. The king can only move one square in each direction while the bishop can move any number of squares but only horizontally.

The objective in chess is to capture the king of the other player. This is called a check mate. One of the rules in chess is that if in your next move you can capture the king you have to say check which lets the other player know of your potential win. When this happens the opposing king is said to be in check.

These are only a few of the rules of chess but as you can see this complex game is based on a number of fairly easy to understand rules. The rules of chess may be simple but the game is not and can often run for hours.

This article provided by Joey Pebble

An Overview of Slate Wall Clocks

Slate is a natural material which is born in the belly of towering mountain ranges. Raw, and unprocessed, the colors and features which will eventually make up the stones surface, are formed due to the mingling of various chemicals which are present during the stones creation.

When slate is pulled from a mountain, it is sliced off, in giant slabs of pure stone which are literally pried off the face of the earth. These slabs are raw and enormous, with their colors dulled, but their features already present.

The giant pieces of stone are then cut down, worked, and processed, to make them into the beautiful finished pieces, that are then used in our line of slate wall clocks.

What you have to understand is that each piece of stone we use had to undergo a million year journey. As the world turned, and all of human history played out, this stone slept, slowly changing with the rhythm of the earth, slowly becoming the piece that would one day adorn your wall.

The result of this journey is that the slate face of every clock has a distinct personality. You can almost see life, when you look past the unique colors and patterns, you can almost feel the whisper of the earths spirit in the stone.

The clocks that we offer are available generally in 12” X 12” pieces of the stone, although it is quite possible for us to chop up larger or smaller squares, and even to do elaborate geometric shapes for custom jobs.

We also hand select only the finest pieces of slate, the ones with the most color, and the prettiest patterns. This ensures that you only get the truly special pieces, when you order a clock.

One of the things that people are often impressed by when ordering a slate clock is the fact that no two clocks are ever exactly alike. That natural birthing process which the stone undergoes ensures that the features found in its surface are unique, and exotic, making that timepiece an absolute one of a kind.

There are basically two types of slate that can be used for making clocks. You can either have a solid colored slate, such as the mountain black, or you can get a multicolored piece of slate, such as in the case of the African multi.

Another option to consider is the texture of the slate. In its natural form this stone is often craggy, and dimensional, with a lot of character. However it is also possible to have a slate which is honed smooth, with a grinder. This can sometimes dull the colors in the stone, but it does have the effect of making it a little more perfect, and refined.

This article written by Joey Pebble

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