How to Decorate Using Animal Hides

Hey Friends!

If there is ONE thing that I have noticed over and over again is that adding TEXTURE to your room will give it that polished, "magazine look" you have always wanted.

One of the best ways to add texture to a room is with "fuzzy" blankets or area rugs.  Using greenery is also a wonderful way to add texture.  Just think of all those green leaves, even if they are fake, you can visualize how much texture they can add to a room.

But for this post, I thought we would highlight and analyze some home decor pictures where they used animal hide (faux or real) as their main element of texture.

Notice the "fuzzy" sheepskin pillow and neutral hide rug.  They have created such a peaceful setting.

Adding hide over wood floors is beautiful....two natural elements. I love the contrast - the white rug against the brown floor.

Isn't this fancy :-)  This room is full of texture from the decorative wooden ceiling planks to the stone fireplace.  I personally think the hide is what makes this room - it was a bold move but I love it.

This porch would look boring without the splash of color the chestnut and white hide provides.  Notice they also layer each of the seats with even more sheepskin texture.

Lindsey Hene Interiors
Like the first photo, this is a very neutral setting.  Not only is there great texture by using the hide, I LOVE the texture the brick wall provides!

This is a great vignette.  Once again, it's a neutral setting but then it throws in a pop of industrial style with the lights and the metal table.  The greenery, pink blanket and the hide rug softens the setting. It's always fun to see an eclectic room come together.

Since this post is about decorating using animal hide, I can't forget to add Vivienne's dresser makeover.  I LOVE IT! (the before dresser was painted camouflage!)

Yes, that is real cow hide glued down to the front of each dresser panel and then tacked with upholstery tacks along the edges. 

You can purchase cow hide remnants off eBay for a decent price.  Last time I was in IKEA they had hides there too.

And in my OWN home I have added just a tiny bit of animal hide texture :-)

Living room faux animal hide blanket and pillows.

I'm sure there were a few of you who thought they would NEVER use animal hide in their home decor.  :-) What do you think of it now?  

The PICKLEBALL Sports Court Completed!

YES my friends, the sports court is finally completed :-)

I have to laugh......we thought it would be done at the beginning of summer, but HEY, life never goes as planned so having it finished before snow hits the ground works too ;-)

The landscaper did a BEAUTIFUL job and if it wasn't for all the awful issues with the FlexCourt company (who provided our sports tiles, I don't recommend them) it would have been completed a lot earlier.

We bought a great high quality portable net.  We store it in the winter and we can take it with us when we travel.

The pavers that match our back patio really added a nice finishing touch. :-)

One of my favorite things about the court is how much family/friend time we spend on it.  At least 3-4 times a week my husband and I see who can beat the other person in a game of pickleball.   When we have company over we always get them to try at least one game.  Of course, whenever my son's friends come over the FIRST thing they want to do is play on the court.

My son and his buddies playing pickleball.

I also LOVE the fact that even though we didn't have full grown trees to put a hammock on, we just inserted posts in the ground and VOILA, an inexpensive hammock stand!  I have found that some people enjoy the hammock even more than the court! ;-)

I found that INDOOR balls worked so much better on sports tiles.  The sports tiles have so much grip on the surface that if you use the hard outdoor balls they do not play at all like a normal outdoor concrete court would.  Using the indoor balls made a huge difference.  (thank goodness!)

I also want to mention the great companies that gave me pickleball paddles to review and try out on the court.

Paddletek gave me 4 awesome paddles - my favorite out of the four is The Elements
My tournament partner's favorite Paddletek paddle was the Power Pro (like the name suggests, it has lots of power due to the weighted top)

Selkirk paddles is an upcoming superb pickleball paddle company.  In fact, the paddle they gave me to review (the 300A XL),  I used in a tournament last weekend AND WON! :-)  

Grand Champion in the Spokane USAPA regulated tournament.  
My husband now calls me the "The Pickleball Queen" ha!

In case you want to see up-close what my shirt says here it is. (Oh boy, this is really starting to look like one of my Fess Up posts! Ha!)  

One other company that gave me a paddle to review is Paddleboardz ergo-grip pickleball paddle. I think this would be a smart one to try if you are dealing with tennis elbow.  I know the creator and the owner of the company had his tennis elbow go away after using this paddle.  It's different, but there might even be some shots that you could hit better than with your standard shape paddle! Check out Pickleball Central.

OH, and somehow I also got into the paper: "Tickled to Talk Pickleball". Yep, should have saved this for a Fess Up post - hahaha!

"See Pickle" - this makes me least my RELISH the Moment shirt is making more sense to a few of you. ;-) 

Overall, I am thrilled with investing in a backyard sports court (and let me tell you, it was an investment! ugggh!) I know it will be used for MANY years to come.

Now who wants to come over and play a game of PICKLEBALL!!!! :-)
Amazon Affiliate links used :-)

Fess Up Friday - Smart Technology 007 Style

Has anyone else noticed the smarter the technology gets the dumber it makes you feel?

In the beginning of summer I received a "smart" car from my husband (OK, for some reason this makes me chuckle) 

Friends, this car is SMART!

toyota 4runner 2014 smart technology

First off, it came with KEYLESS technology - ya, you just walk up to the car and it in, What the heck!?   I just reach out to the handle and it practically speaks my name, welcomes me and invites me in (I am just happy it doesn't offer me candy or ask if I want to see a cute little puppy - I would RUN away if that happened.)  ;-)

Now, if you ever leave your keyless gadget IN the car and walk out it YELLS at you.....seriously, if you feel dumb when people honk at you when the light turns green just get ready to feel the same way over and over again when you leave your keyless entry "keys" in the car and attempt to lock and leave.

First off, I NO LONGER NEED KEYS (Really you guys, you don't even need keys to start your car!  You just push a button!!) So, can you see how easy it would be to leave your little "smart key gadget" in the car?

On a side note, if you are parked in your garage and you need to get in the locked car and you left your window down, do NOT attempt to reach in and push the unlock button.  I mean it, because if  you do, all the neighbors will be calling the cops that someone is murdering you.  Yes, as the "sirens" went off I seriously had to DIVE into that open window (it would not let me unlock the door) and attempt to locate my keyless entry "keys" that were NOT in the car but on the counter inside and I guess that is why my smart car was so mad at me.   I'm sorry, I miss the good old days of being able to unlock your door if the window is down. :-)

Another "smart" thing this car is equipped with, is that it BEEPS REPEATEDLY if you have anything near the front or back of your car bumpers......say, like a big rock.  (and yes, decorative rocks in your yard can put huge dents in your car) But, every morning it beeps violently at me as I pull in or out of my garage (it doesn't like how close I am to the sides) so I get to start my day by the car yelling:

"Can't you even DRIVE lady?"  

I just reply 

"Can't YOU even tell I'm just in my garage?!  Come back when I'm in serious about to hit a rock - okay!"

007 and I have these type of conversations daily.....ya, I named my car as it is SO smart, it only seemed right he had a name.....James and I are on a first name basis as we have already been through a LOT together. ;-)

Recent conversation with my 7 year old:

Daughter: Is your car named Siri?

Me: No, his names is James

Daughter: YOUR CAR IS A BOY!????!!! (said with huge wide eyes and open mouth)

Me: Ya, why?  What's wrong with that?

Daughter: Nothing really, it's just weird that you're a girl and your car is a boy.

Me: Well I just thought it's such a smart car that it deserved 007 spy like status, so I should call him James Bond.

Daughter: Your car's really not THAT smart - it always just keeps beeping at you.

(Have I ever mentioned how much I love 7 year olds) :-)

I am POSITIVE my girly girl daughter will have a car that looks like this when she is older :-)

On my last 007 Smart Technology adventure I was in the Target parking lot and I could NOT figure out how to roll up my rear window.  Thankfully I had my SMART phone with me (hee,hee) and asked Siri (yes, I just spoke into my phone) "How do I roll up my new 2014 Toyota 4Runner's rear window?"  Obviously there were other "dumb" people that ran into my same dilemma as I was able to quickly locate the LOCK rear window button that somehow got pushed accidentally.  (Why is there a rear window lock button anyway?!)

Of course, the moonroof has to have a story of it's own.  I like tilting the moonroof up to get a little breeze in, but I never remember (or even want to remember) to close it completely when I park in my garage.  I need to sit in the car with a "shaken not stirred" vodka martini and let James know I am in my garage and please stop raising my adrenaline by, ONCE AGAIN,  loudly BEEPING and flashing yellow lights that I did something wrong as I push the "engine off" button. I need to inform him that the only bad thing that can happen is a mouse will find it's way into the car.  But hey, maybe that's what James is worried about.  (My previous "dumb" car let a mouse find it's way into our glove box and didn't let it out tell it died and smelled like hell......I guess I can appreciate my smart car's smarts regarding that one)  :-)

All to say, I am convinced that the smarter the technology gets, the less smart I seem. :-)  Oh well, I do like how it magically starts playing my favorite songs off my iphone playlist - that always puts me in a good mood.  Maybe it's James' way of trying to make me feel better about myself - ha!

I suppose I could get used to being a Bond Girl :-)  

I like it :-)

Easy and Healthy No Flour/Sugar Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Hi Friends!

At my house I always have bananas. :-) Not that I personally eat them a lot, but bananas are cheap and healthy so I feel like if I have them on my counter at all times the chances that my children will grab a banana (over chips) are elevated - hee,hee.

heathy banana blueberry protein muffins
This recipe gets 2 thumbs up from the dorky carrot and corn "people" i.e. my son and me ;-)
Unfortunately what usually happens to my nice display of counter bananas is quite a few of them turn black - well, maybe just a very spotted brown. :-)

I have 2, gallon size bags in my freezer full of peeled very ripe bananas.  I use them in banana shakes for my kids ALL the time (just bananas, milk, and plain Greek yogurt.....sometimes I add cottage cheese too, they have NO idea as it is so well blended)  

When I found this recipe on Pinterest I had to give it a shot.  I am all about just dumping ingredients in a bowl and baking it up (sorry to disappoint anyone who thought I might have been a gourmet baker- hee,hee) But what I have found is you can't mess these up - really!

healthy banana blueberry protein muffins

EASY Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Muffins

(no sugar, dairy or flour!)

3 very ripe bananas
1 cup vanilla almond milk (I used unsweetened flax milk)
2 eggs (I used 6 tbsp egg whites)
2 cups oats (I used the quick ones)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
dash of salt and cinnamon
 (if you want it a bit sweeter add a dash or few drops of stevia)
Add blueberries (or any fruit!) 
*protein powder optional

ok, this actually would work with chocolate chips too (shhhhhhh)

Dump ingredients in the mixer and slowly mix until bananas are all mushed throughout batter (I am so good with this professional baking terminology - ha!)

Let me re-try that - "Mix until bananas are well integrated throughout your delicate oatmeal batter." ;-)

Bake 350° for 35 min or till inserted toothpick comes out clean

* For those of you who would like to add a bit more PROTEIN to these muffins, I experimented with adding a scoop (or two) of protein powder and it didn't change the taste at all.  

healthy banana blueberry protein muffins

Edit:  For those that are interested, here are the macronutrients - I added 2 scoops of plain whey protein (200 calories) into the recipe.  These are one of my FAVORITE easy snacks!

1 muffin - makes 18

Protein: 4.4   Carbs: 13.3    Fat: 1    Fiber: .8    Calories: 80.2

They turned out REALLY good! And just so you guys know, I don't post all the recipes I try, only the ones that were "hits" :-)


Biking the Hiawatha Trail in Montana - Disneyland Style

Hey friends!  

For us, this was the year of the bikes :-) Last year was the year of the front landscape - ha!  It's actually quite an investment to get each family member a good quality bike! Shoot!! But, since we made the investment, we wanted to take advantage of the amazing bike trails over here in Idaho.   Last weekend we went on one of the most loved bike trails in the area - the Hiawatha Trail.  It was so much fun and had the most breathtaking scenery ever!  

Looking DOWN off one of the wooden bridges we crossed - YIKES!

The nice thing about this trail is it's family friendly (not just for the fitness fanatics.) You start at the top and continue for 15 miles (yes, my 7 year old biked 15 miles!) but once you get to the bottom they shuttle bus you back to the top :-)  

The absolute coolest (literally and figuratively) thing about the trail is the mile long TUNNELS it has.  

Imagine this:  You are entering a large mountain inclosed rock tunnel with NO end in sight.  It's damp, eerie and cold and somewhere in your subconscious you hear "Dead men tell no tales." :-) The occasional drop of perspiration falling on you from the top of the cave gives you a jolt of the unknown.  I honestly expected to look up and see a pirate from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride whispering "It be too late to alter course, mateys.....and there be plundering pirates lurking in every cove waiting to board.  Ye come seekin' adventure and salty ol' pirates, eh? Sure ye come to the proper place.  But keep a weather eye open, mates and hold on tight, there be squalls ahead!"   (I may or may not have started singing Yo Ho Yo Ho a Pirates Life for Me a few times during the course of our tunnel riding) ;-)  What is my family going to do with me? - ha!

hiawatha tunnels bike trail

All my family pedaling out of the underground grotto ;-)

At one point my husband said, OK Selina, you lead us in this next tunnel.  (No problem, I can handle that - right?)  

I started getting deeper and deeper into the tunnel and I absolutely could NOT see a thing, it was blacker than black!  I started to get frantic (I thought my eye's would adjust) but when I still BLINDLY continued to peddle and knew how EASILY I could lead my entire family into the stone wall I yelled,  "I CAN'T SEE A THING!  I CAN'T LEAD YOU!! IT'S ALL BLACK!"  My husband simply replied "Do you have your sunglasses on?"  Oh.....hee,hee.  

He should know better than to ask me to lead our family through a very long, eerie, pitch black tunnel  where I had previously been chanting YO HO YO HO a pirates life for me! ;-)

I really should get extra blogging points for posting this picture of myself - hahah!  Yes, the helmet and the light was required.  My husband had a great time making fun of me. If I was to incorporate my Pirates of the Caribbean theme I may have been the girl he'd be auctioning off "Weigh anchor now, ya swabbies.  What be I offered for this winsome wench? 'elmet and light wearing she be....."  ;-)  I love my daughter's photo bombing of this classy picture of myself - LOL!

I will say, the bus ride back was crazy,  I would liken it to the Indiana Jones Adventure ride. :-)  It was a bumpy, ONE lane road (we even had to pass a few other vehicles) and our driver drove FAST!  She left the front door open for "AC" so I had a clear view of all the vertiginous CLIFFS.....she would drive so close to the edge that it looked like we were inches from toppling over.  I would have REALLY started to freak out if she started to chant "Dead men tell no tales" (or blog for that matter hee,hee.)

Overall, we were gone ALL day and if I were to choose between going on this bike trail again and going to Disneyland I would choose.......OK fine, I would still choose Disneyland - ha!  If you are ever in the Montana/Idaho area this would be the epic trail to go on.  You can rent everything you need right at the top.  It was an amazing trip.

ENJOY this beautiful season my friends and remember
to always live life as an adventure :-)

My Top 5 Interior Design SECRETS

Alright my friends - here you have it!  THE "ALL IN ONE" SECRET SPILLING POST that will help you the rest of your life! 

Hey, I had to write something to catch your attention!  Honestly, even though I have my degree in "Interior Design Technology", I have to say, the most practical design secrets I have learned have been from working hands on in the field.  So now, I'm going to share my TOP FIVE design secrets with YOU!

What we'll cover (and I bet you've been wondering about!) 

1.) How to know what size your area rug should be. 

2.) The best way to hang your curtains and place the rod.

3.) Painting tips and paint knowledge you can't live without.  
    (paint is a designers BFF - seriously!)

4.) Great ideas on gallery wall layouts.  

5.) How far you should hang your art over a sofa or console table.
     (and what size your art should be to look "right")

Area Rug Size

For area rugs, your goal would be to cover the ENTIRE living room furniture area but if that just isn't going to happen, the next best thing is to make sure that at least the front half of your furniture's feet are on the rug.  When the area rug is too small, it really does nothing to the space except clutter it. 

 The guide below shows OPTIMAL, GOOD and POOR examples. 

Decor Mentor

 Hanging your curtains

This picture is worth a million words :-)  Simply put the rod near the top of the ceiling (instead of right over your window frame) and elongate it enough so that the curtain frames the outside of the window instead of the window itself.  I always have a small sweep or puddle of drapery fabric on the floor, but the amount of fabric touching is up to you.  Remember though, in general, it HAS to touch the floor.....if it's a few inches off the ground it just looks like nerdy highwater pants.....we don't want nerdy pants :-) 

VOILA!  Your room will look bigger and more sophisticated in no time!


Painting Tips

PAINT IS YOUR FRIEND!  You can change a room from blah to WOW by simply applying a few coats of paint

When choosing a color from paint chips, pick your favorite and then choose the lighter and darker version of it also.  Colors look brighter on walls than tiny paint chips do.

Light, cool and pale colors RECEDE and make a room look larger. Dark, deep and warm colors EXPAND and make it look smaller.

Always paint TEST PATCHES!  Paint at least a 2'x2' area and not just in ONE spot but in a few different lighting situations.  Without doing this, choosing the perfect paint color is just guesswork.

If you want to paint multiple colors in corresponding rooms, just be sure use colors with a common undertone.  You can always use shades of the same color throughout your home for a subtle style change.

Eggshell sheen is the one I recommend.  It does well in higher traffic areas and yet it's not "shiny".  It IS true that using a matte finish will make the colors appear richer but if you have KIDS and a busy life, it's just hard to upkeep. :-)  Always use semi gloss or satin on trim.

You can see the full post of TIPS here 

Gallery Wall Layouts

This is a great reference for fantastic ideas on layouts you can hang your collection of pictures.  I SWEAR by the Wax Paper Method for hanging these large groups on your wall.  I did a friends wall with at least 20 frames and pulled it off beautiful by using that method.

My Own Gallery Wall Layout Work

Hanging Your Art Pieces

This next tip will MAKE or BREAK the overall feel of your room.  Believe me, this designer secret is VITAL (so pin this for future reference!)  

To create balance, your artwork (or grouping) should be at least 2/3 the length of the sofa.  Smaller than that will look odd, and if it goes over the edge of the sofa the artwork will overwhelm the furniture and won't create the right look.

This next issue comes up ALL the time.  I call it the "floating art" mistake :-) As a general rule (yes, there are some exceptions), the bottom of the art frame should start 8-10" inches above the top of your furniture.  Please, no floating art my friends - hee,hee.

More Simple Home Decor Tips

Also, if you have architectural features like door or window casings on the same wall that you are hanging the art,  try not to line up the height of the picture to the top of the molding.  Always adjust it an inch or two higher or lower.  Just believe me, it looks best that way ;-)

THERE ARE MY SECRETS MY FRIENDS (Wow, this post took a LONG TIME to write!)  I hope you save it as a reference so the next time you start decorating, you can pull off a designer look in no time! 

Interior Design Secrets


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