Take your shoes off
Furniture mogul Mitchell Gold has his eye on the Oval Office -- on redecorating it, that is. As retailers, editors and reporters paraded through his showroom at the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, N.C., last month, Gold passed out red-white-and-blue bumper stickers, pins and yard signs: "Send Mitchell Gold (Furniture) to the White House," the Washington Post reports.
"It's time for a makeover. The White House is filled with English and French antiques. There should be an American feeling in there," Gold told the Post.
One suggestion for the Oval Office would be to install his Dr. Pitt conversation pit, which includes sofas, love seats, corner sections and ottomans that fit together.
"If the president and his advisers sat in Dr. Pitt, they would sit eye to eye. They could take their shoes off and be more relaxed. It would be a better way to communicate with world leaders," Gold said.
Keep baby safe
Here are a few safety tips to review regarding windows, shades and blinds, from Levelor:
Never leave children unattended with access to windows and/or window blinds.
Hang cordless blinds in nurseries and playrooms. Keep cribs away from corded blinds and draperies.
Lock cords into position when lowering horizontal window blinds or shades. Hang your blind's cords on a hook out of the child's reach.
Use cord shorteners on blinds with long cords.
Bring on the bunk beds
Here is an interesting trend: Even as some of today's families move into more spacious houses these days, kids are still sharing bedrooms. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that some affluent parents are deciding that the best way to instill character is to make their kids bunk together.
"They have to learn to share," one parent told the Journal.
And there is another reason parents put kids together: Moms and Dads have other ideas for extra bedrooms, such as converting them into home offices, work-out rooms, media rooms and upstairs laundries.
Light your fire
The best firewood is seasoned wood that is hard and dry. A green or unseasoned log may contain moisture, making it difficult to light and maintain a burn.
How can you tell if firewood is properly seasoned? Here are a few clues, reported by Knight Ridder Newspapers:
Wood should make a ringing sound when two pieces are knocked together. If you hear a thud, the wood isn't seasoned.
Green wood usually emits a fresh tree fragrance, and may have moisture inside after being split.
Unseasoned wood produces a lot of smoke when it burns. It will also making hissing sounds or let off steam.
A seasoned log usually has a deep split and crack in its ends. Splinters from seasoned wood should snap easily.
And finally . . .
"The most memorable gifts are often the least practical."
Designer Cynthia Rowley