Finding Your Home’s Style

I never really knew what it took to reinvigorate a home until I finally moved in with my girlfriend this past year. Before, I was aware that my parents’ house was nicely decorated and “put together”, but I probably couldn’t have told you why.

Now that I’m on my own and we buy our own furniture and decorations, though, I’m starting to realize what it takes to do it all and really put a place together thematically. And let me tell you, it’s really not as easy as it would seem at first. Even deciding on a theme can take awhile to do, and other times, the theme doesn’t really present itself until you’ve already got mostly everything together. It’s a lot tougher than imagining in your mind that you want a rustic living room and that’s that. What makes it rustic? What would be too much rustic and what’s too little? Obviously, putting something like cardboard boxes in a specific room as art (it happens!) may  not fit a rustic theme, but if you’re going for a more industrial look to a room, having cardboard boxes stacked strategically really could work.

Overall, it’s trial and error. I’ll share a few of my style tips below.

Succulents.

I’m a huge fan of live plants in the house. It makes the air more refreshing, oxygenated, and a little more humid to help combat that dry skin during the winter. Succulents, in my opinion, are the most gorgeous indoor plants you could take care of while also being some of the hardiest around. While one species to the next will differ in how you take care of it, succulents are pretty self-reliant for the most part.

Open space and minimal decor.

One problem people run into when they’re trying to bring a theme together in a room is cramming too many things into a small area. If the room is big, it may require bigger pieces of furniture and decor. If it’s smaller, it’ll require smaller things. No matter the size of the room, though, you don’t ever need to cram too many things in at once. While I will admit that part of our place is still open or barren compared to others and could use some decor, I’d rather have that for the time being than too much stuff.

Liquor bottle display.

This one is dependent on your home, the type of liquor you drink, and where you place it, so be careful about putting too much on display in an ill-fitting spot. I just recently got into finer tequilas and mezcals in the past month or two, and I wanted a way to show them off as decoration rather than having a liquor cabinet specifically to dive into for drinks. Our home entertainment system has a lot of shelves and other similar decor, so I figured putting the tequila bottles next to one another on top of the home entertainment system’s bridge would show off my collection well. I wasn’t disappointed in my choice to move them there and they really don’t seem out of place whatsoever.

All I’ll suggest is shying away from cheaper liquors, as no one really cares to see your bottle of Captain Morgan or Jose Cuervo on display above your TV.

Easter’s On Its Way

Easter is one of those U.S. holidays that sneaks up on you without much warning. Perhaps it’s because the spring season does the same thing, coming out of nowhere after it’s been winter for seemingly half a year. Perhaps it’s because Easter’s date fluctuates anywhere from late March to mid April. No matter which is the case, I think it can be agreed on that the bunny-filled holiday is quite sneaky.

Easter is a peculiar holiday at the very least. While it’s one grounded in religion, it’s almost received a lot of the same treatment Christmas has in that gifts, bright colors, decorations, and family seem to surround it. And more than any of those things, businesses capitalize on the potential it holds to make a lot of money.

More than any other time of year, Easter is when you’ll see loads of pastels. It doesn’t matter what item or merchandise or decoration it’s on, pastels reign supreme around Easter season. It sort of makes sense, though, in that many of Easter’s themes revolve around new growth and life. The holiday is supposed to go hand in hand with the new spring season, so baby blues (the color of robin eggs), bright greens (new shoots and buds), and soft pinks (reminiscent of flowers) abound.

Like I said, though, Easter can be a cash grab for a lot of businesses. Gift card companies make a killing off of it, just like any other major holiday for them. Candy makers roll out their latest candy boxes to entice parents wanting to stuff their kids’ baskets full of unique treats. And department stores go wild with the stuffed animals, egg-painting kits, and more. It’s almost easy to forget where the holiday actually originated considering how businesses make sales off of the bunnies, candy boxes, chicks, eggs, and baskets more than they do off the figure of Jesus.

Just like any other holiday that’s big in the U.S., Easter isn’t spared by its ability to sell. While most of our holidays have religious, political, historical, or national backgrounds, we find a way to produce and consume it in ways that strip the holiday from its actual origin.

In a way, I find how these holidays are treated by the masses quite harmless. However, if I had more ties to the figures, religions, or nations associated with certain holidays, I could find myself wondering how it’s come to this. The short answer, for anyone wanting to know, is pretty much capitalism. The longer answer probably spans across the realms of culture, business, economy, and history, but it’s better left to the imagination.

The Hidden Benefits of Stretch Film

 It’s common knowledge that stretch film is a vital asset when it comes to packaging and shipping. It would be impossible to transport pallets of product without it. Delivery men would have to move hundreds of boxes as opposed to utilizing a forklift and moving a few tightly wrapped pallets. The hidden benefits of stretch film are a lot less common knowledge. Probably because they are hidden. Not the type of hidden that involves discovering a map under an old floor board, which tells you to find the man with the glass eye, who will tell you to go here and do this, and in the end you are digging a gigantic hole and you discover this other realm… Or maybe that is just the plot to the novel that I’ve been meaning to write… Awkward…

Benefits-of-Stretch-Film

No, the kind of ‘hidden’ I am talking about comes with knowing people, and a little thing called street cred. You see, someone with street cred has this hidden knowledge, which they share with you and then you act on it, and then you have street cred too. Consider this: a group of teenage guys work at this café, and after hours they may or may not get some booze from one of the chefs, and even party in his trailer, but they all have access to certain items that are necessary when it comes to running a restaurant. In this case: stretch film. Now, this would be the type of stretch film that is more or less just saran wrap on steroids.

prestretch-film-rolls-on-winder

A solid thousand feet of the stuff wrapped on a three-inch pole and requiring a special team of trained individuals to operate. Okay, maybe not the last part, but anyone that deals with normal sized saran wrap could probably believe that huge saran wrap needs some sort of license to operate. Anyway, this particular crew of teenage guys, who may or not be under some sort of influence (and I’m not talking about the thrill of adventure and the glory of youth), decide to use one of those giant rolls of stretch film to wrap up the manager’s car. It only takes about ten minutes to use half a roll and the result is incredible. It’s going to take the jaws of life to set that Toyota Camry free. And done: street cred earned, and a hidden benefit bestowed on multiple individuals who will, in turn, bestow it on multiple others.

Everyday Uses for Stretch Film, Part 2

As evidenced by the title, this is the second part in a two-part series on the everyday uses for stretch film. A quick recap: in the first part I briefly discussed that sometimes when we search for a subject like ‘stretch film’, we find out about their “cousins”, and may indeed discover a better product for what we are trying to accomplish. I spent the majority of part one discussing shrink film, one of the cousins of stretch film. I mentioned a couple everyday uses for it, and I will mention one more before moving on.

My church puts on a Christmas play every winter, and it’s kind of a big deal. Not a big deal as in “oh we think we are so cool because we have the best play ever” but because the volunteers work really hard, the children take it seriously, and the parents are very proud. So, every spring, a DVD of the Christmas musical comes out for people to buy. Recently, the church invested in some shrink film (don’t forget the heat gun!) and they began wrapping the DVDs, since a lot of people wind up giving them as gifts throughout the year.

Stretch Film

It’s been well appreciated. I have yet to purchase one, but my kids aren’t old enough yet to be in the play. How about poly sheeting? This is also a cousin of stretch film. Surprisingly, a common use for poly sheeting is a drop cloth. When my husband and I moved into our fixer-upper we invested in a canvas drop cloth. It has been good, to say the least, but if we had known about poly sheeting we probably would have gone with that instead because it comes in different thicknesses and you can get a variety of sizes, too.

Also, there is black poly sheeting which we began to use in our home garden. After tilling up the ground and making the furrows, you spread out the plastic sheeting, cut some holes in it, and plant the seeds in the holes. The black is supposed to be good for ground plants like cucumbers and pumpkins and whatnot. Whatever the case, we had a really good crop this past. The moral of the story is that stretch film is not as narrow a subject as it appears to be. I guess nothing really is…

Everyday Uses for Stretch Film, Part 1

Did you know that you can use stretch film for more than just food? Or for wrapping pallets? I’m guessing you probably didn’t, which is why you are reading this right now. Well, it’s true. This is because stretch film is more than just saran wrap, or industrial style.  As a matter of fact, if you are searching under ‘stretch film’ odds are that you are going to get hits on that specific item but also its many cousins. This is probably because of a lot times when we try to search for something, we think we know what we want but we don’t really, because we aren’t familiar with all of the products out there that could be used for a particular purpose.

It turns out that there are a ton! While we might just assume that some good old saran wrap will do any and all jobs, which it probably would, there are actually some other avenues that could be more suited to the need. For instance, when looking into stretch film some other types of plastic sheeting might be better. Like shrink film! This is a product that actually shrinks to seal around an item. Yes, there are pallet shrink bags, but there are also shrink wrap bags for gift baskets! Since it is the holiday season, this would probably be a lot less frustrating than Saran wrap, and you might even convince people to think that you are giving them a store bought item- unless, of course, you want the credit for your creativity and product prowess, which I most certainly would. A lot of times people like to know they are getting a homemade gift, anyway.

It really shows some thought, these days. It used to be kind of a drag to get gift cards, like that was a cop out. Well, nowadays you don’t even have to go through the trouble of purchasing the actual card, you can just order it online and send an e-card. So, yeah, maybe taking credit for the shrink wrapped gift basket would be a good thing. There are all manner of items we may want to have shrink wrapped. For instance, I tried getting those garment bags that you vacuum seal using your own vacuum, and it completely did not work. I imagine that a roll of shrink film would easily do a much better job. But don’t forget the heat gun!

There is still more to be said about the everyday uses for stretch film, so look for part two!