Archives For Living Well

Lioness carries her cub

A lot of people are blogging this week about “What does Mom really want for Mother’s Day?

Most answers tend to fall in three categories:

1. A little peace and quiet away from the kids, no matter what age.

2. Some meaningful time just hanging out with their toddlers, teens, and adult children.

3. A heartfelt message of appreciation from the kids.

Note that not one of these requests requires money to buy stuff, just a little time and thoughtfulness.

Flowers, candy, and breakfast in bed are great, but most moms say a card or letter with words of love and gratitude from their child makes the hard work, sleep deprivation, and never having a moment alone all worthwhile.

Beloved humorist Erma Bombeck had a lot to say about motherhood, too. A couple of our favorites:

“When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they’re finished, I climb out.”

“I take a very practical view of raising children. I put a sign in each of their rooms: Checkout Time is 18 years.”

“I have never gone to the bathroom in my life that a small voice on the other side of the door hasn’t whined, “Are you saving the bananas for anything?”

Give mom what she really wants this Sunday – your time and affection.

Silk flowers for early springAfter the harsh, snowy weather in much of the U.S. this winter, spring can’t get here too soon. Unless you are lucky enough to live someplace like Northern California (home to Humble Abode headquarters), where there are already signs of an early arrival of springtime warmth and blossoms, you may have to wait a bit longer for fresh flowers from the garden.

Thanks to traditional artistry, contemporary craftsmanship, and modern materials, you can add beautiful blooms to your home now for a touch of spring – and every season – with extraordinary silk flowers and plants.

The Humble Abode Signature Series offers fine handcrafted silk accents to brighten any room in your home. We stay up to date with the latest in home fashion trends and colors to bring your environment to life with lovely, permanent foliage.

Our silk plants and flowers are made to order with a laborious manufacturing process that begins with botanically correct designs from live species. These distinctive designs are scanned, then an experienced sculptor creates an exact bas relief, from which a skilled mold-maker produces a plastic injection mold. Bolts of durable fabric are silkscreened to an exact image of the scan. Meticulous cutting, finishing, and assembly result in remarkably life-like flowers and leaves.

Another method scans individual flower petals, which are then hand cut and/or hand painted using the finest fabrics and dyes to the exact hues as found in nature. With either method, it usually takes up to two hours to produce one uniquely hand-crafted flower stem.

Stems are assembled into realistic arrangements in quality pots to suit every taste and mood. Best of all, they’re extremely durable, requiring no watering or fertilization to be totally maintenance free, thus an easy way to “go green.” They also make great gifts, especially for anyone who is housebound or in the hosptital.

These are not the ghastly artificial plastic flowers and leaves of old, but gorgeous handmade replicas that will brighten your home year round at a fraction of the cost of live plants and cut flowers from florists.

Here’s to a lovely springtime in your neck of the woods!

Birch Wine Gift Box

Think outside the heart this Valentine’s Day with an unexpected gift from www.humbleabode.com.

Tasteful home accent gifts by Roost Home Furnishings will delight your guy or gal (without busting the budget).

Black Friday Offer has expiredThank you to all our new and returning customers for orders placed during Humble Abode’s Black Friday Deals Week. This offer has expired, but stay tuned for more holiday promotions!

Check out HumbleAbode.com for our current offers, including an extra 10% off all orders of Hillsdale Furniture. Simply place your order into our shopping cart, then enter coupon code H6512 when prompted.

Hillsdale is one of our bestselling furniture manufacturers, so don’t miss this opportunity to save on dining sets, bar & counter stools, bedroom furniture, and much more to brighten your home for the holidays.

Humble Abode also offers free shipping on thousands of items and our everyday low price guarantee year ’round.

Of course you are super busy getting ready for all your holiday fun, but put Humble Abode at the top of your list because this coupon offer ends at midnight PST Tuesday, 1/15/13.

The Humble Abode elves are working overtime to deliver the best furniture buying experience for our customers. If you’ve never bought furniture online, this is the place to start. We have been selling quality furniture online for over 13 years and have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Our vast selection of furniture comes from all over the world and has been featured on HGTV. We look forward to helping you find the furniture you want, at the lowest prices allowed by manufacturers, and with the best customer service in the industry.

We look forward to serving you.  Our best Holiday Wishes to all!

 

Company’s coming, ready or not.

Kudos to you if you redecorated your guest/dining/living/bed room in August and can concentrate on the fun stuff like food and gifts.

Speaking of gifts, you may want to browse our special Black Friday Week Deals from the comfort of your home. You never know, you might find a fabulous gift for your special someone or that hard-to-buy-for person on your list. And get cool saving at the same time.

For the rest of us, it feels like our lists just get longer and the days get shorter, don’t they? But wait! There’s still time to order furniture from HumbleAbode.com and get it in time to transform your guest room, dining room, living room, or media room for Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

We offer free shipping on thousands of items year ’round, and right now we have ten different promotions that could save you a bundle, too. Head over to http://www.humbleabode.com/ to find your perfect bed, dining set, or living room furniture and find our current offers.

We know you’re super busy this Thanksgiving weekend, but you ought to put Humble Abode at the top of your list to allow enough time for shipping and delivery – AND because all Black Friday offers end at midnight Monday, 11/26/12.

The Humble Abode elves are working overtime to deliver the best furniture buying experience for our customers. If you’ve never bought furniture online, this is the place to start. We have been selling quality furniture online for over 13 years and have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Our vast selection of furniture comes from all over the world and has been featured on HGTV. We look forward to helping you find the furniture you want, at the lowest prices allowed by manufacturers, and with the best customer service in the industry.

From our family to yours, we wish you a safe, festive, and delicious Thanksgiving Holiday 2012!

The Godfather Desk from the film by Francis Ford Coppola

The Northern California Wine Country is a spectacular destination for wine lovers. We take all things wine very seriously here. Most wineries are elegantly rustic showcases for the main attractions – wine and grapes. In contrast, a newcomer to the Sonoma County wine region has created a new kind of winery, with much more than a tasting room.

The man who brought this vision to life is the famed movie director, Francis Ford Coppola. He says his concept is “…a wine wonderland, a park of pleasure where people of all ages can enjoy all the best things in life – food, wine, music, dancing, games, swimming and performances of all types. A place to celebrate the love of life.”

The result is the Coppola Winery, a family-friendly “wine resort” with gardens, restaurants, tasting rooms, swimming pools, and the Movie Gallery, a museum of memorabilia from his famous films.

Don Corelone at his Desk in the film by Francis Ford Coppola

Fans of The Godfather trilogy flock here to see Don Corleone’s desk and chair, where Marlon Brando and Al Pacino sat in many scenes in some of the greatest films of all time.

Original Tucker Sedan from Coppola's Movie

The original – and cherry – Tucker Sedan from Tucker: The Man and His Dream slowly rotates on a large turntable to the awe of classic car lovers.

There are scripts, production notes, and casting reviews from other great movies like Apocalypse Now, The Conversation, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Even some of his Academy Award statuettes are on display.

Apparently this is an idea whose time has come.To make the most of a pool day at Coppola Winery, it’s a good idea to get there early. And don’t even think about dining at “Rustic, Francis’s Favorites,” the popular Italian restaurant, without reservations. Happily, the Movie Gallery is open to the public at no charge, and even spur-of-the-moment visits will not disappoint.

Have you visited Sonoma County?
We’d love to hear your Wine Country stories.

Let us consider the humble clothespin. The first clothespin was just a simple piece of wood with a knob on top, and an opening carved between two prongs that held clothes to a drying line.

Then some clever 19th century American inventors perfected the clip-style clothespins with a spring mechanism, to prevent wind from blowing clothes off the line. The invention of automatic washers and dryers should have brought an end to the lowly clothespin, but it survived, mostly because it was remarkably versatile in crafts projects. Show a clothespin to a kid under 18 or 20 these days and s/he will probably recognize it only as something to make reindeer with – if they know what it is at all.*

Like clothespins, the lowly laundry basket originated ages ago. Wicker baskets were woven and used for things like grains, fruits and vegetables, and yarn and sewing items, which by the 1800s they were called “hamper baskets ” in the Southern United States. By 1900, the Sears, Roebuck and Company Catalog was selling wicker clothes hampers in three sizes nationwide. Nowadays there is a design and style for virtually any use imagineable. Built-in to bathroom cabinets, hidden in chests of drawers, molded into plastic shapes like cars and turtles for kids. It seems American ingenuity is unlimited when coming up with fresh ideas for the modern laundry basket.**

Evidence suggests that humans have been “doing laundry” almost from the beginning of time. Mixtures of charcoal and sulphur or ashes and silicates improved the results of beating fabrics against stones by rivers. Soap shortages during World War I led to discoveries of chemicals that eventually became what we call powdered detergents today. Americans were using them routinely by the late 1940, and the 1950’s brought melodramatic daytime “soap operas” that were sponsored by detergent manufacturers vying for attention with modern housewives. The lastest holy grail of the laundry detergent industry is to make their products 100% phosphate-free, biodegradeable, and environmentally friendly. Spending a little more on these products will be a big help to Mother Nature.***

The next time you start a load of laundry, spare a thought for your great-great-grandmother. She very likely used a bar of hard soap, rubbing it with the clothes against a metal washboard over a tub of steaming hot water. Water she had to heat after she built a wood or coal fire….after she hauled the wood or coal into the kitchen.Early Washing Machine

Yet even Great-great-grandmother had it better than our ancestors, who didn’t have soap for eons. One of the first leaps forward in laundering added “washing bats” to beat the fabric on flat wood “wash boards” easier. Some enterprising soul discovered how to make a kind of harsh soap from lye to de-grease and whiten cloth. Soap didn’t become sudsy until the 1900s, when chemists found ingredients that foamed in hard water. Small wonder doing the family wash was, at best, a monthly affair and a team effort until the mid- 20th century. Early washing machines were primitive, but promised legions of housewives and washer women a new era of relief from their heavy labor. With microprocessors and automatic everything, today’s washers and dryers bear little resemblence to their predecessors. Doing the laundry is hardly the tedious chore it used to be and everyone in the family can pitch in.****

One of the great things about the internet is industries, teachers, and everyday historians are leaving no stone unturned to record the history of everything, even the minutae of humans and their laundry. How awesome is that?

Do you have a historical tidbit to share about laundry?

[*New York Times Magazine, 5/11/12]
[**Los Angeles Times Magazine, 5/14/94]
[***Wikipedia.org]
[****oldandinteresting.com]

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Teacher's Apple

10. It is a nutritious fruit that says “Thank you for being a good teacher.”

9. It shows you are a nice, respectful kid.

8. It’s nice to carry on an old tradition that associates apples with knowledge and education.

7. Your family grows apples and likes to share them.

6. Your mom put it in your lunch box, but you hate apples.

5. You didn’t read a single book on your summer reading list.

4. You meant to give it on the first day of school, but forgot.

3. It’s never too late to be an “apple-polisher.”

2. It will be a distraction from your incomplete homework.

And the number one reason to give your teacher an apple:

1. You need an A in arithmetic!

But seriously. Dedicated teachers everywhere deserve kindness and respect. Even if you give your teacher an Apple iPad, don’t expect special treatment. Just enjoy how good it makes you both feel.

If you want to know more about this tradition, visit Smithosonian Magazine

Rosie the Riveter representing Labor Day

Most of us will probably be taking a little time off this weekend for marching in parades, picnics with friends and family, and watching some great U.S. Open tennis.

It’s the last blast of summer, especially for families with kids in school and students heading off to college, while couples, singles, and empty-nesters head out to enjoy the pleasures of Indian summer and autumn.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Labor Day has been the first Monday in September since the first observance in 1882 in New York City. Started by the early labor movement, it remains dedicated to the social and economic achievements of all American workers.

This quote from the DOL website reminds us why we celebrate this late-summer holiday: “The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known, and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.”

Many Americans will be working as police officers, firemen, store clerks, movie theater and resort staff, not to mention the men and women serving our country around the world at embassies and military outposts, making sure the rest of us have a relaxing and safe holiday. While we pat ourselves on the back, let’s say “HOLLA!” to them, shall we?

Go ahead, say thanks to someone who has to work this Labor Day!

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Blue Moon 2012We hope you were able to enjoy the Perseid meteor showers earlier this month. August offers another nighttime thrill this year, with a “blue moon” on the 31st.

The second full moon in a single month is one definition of a blue moon, and the most common one passed down through folklore. Even older folklore stories define it as the third full moon in a single 3-month season. Neither of these moons is actually a blue color. That is a much rarer occurrence, and is due to unusual conditions like certain kinds of particles of dust or smoke in the atmosphere.

Happily, this blue moon happens on Friday evening, so we can stay up late to enjoy it, then sleep in on Saturday. For the romantically inclined, check out the classic Rogers and Hart song “Blue Moon” (“Blue moon, you saw me standing alone/Without a dream in my heart/Without a love of my own.”

If you are superstitious, there are plenty of strange things to watch out for. While a rise in crime rates, or the “Transylvanian Effect” has been scientifically debunked, many police officers will tell you: Human activity in general tends to increase the nights leading up to a full moon, and peaks on the night it is completely full. This means the bad guys are probably busier, too, so extra caution is warranted.

We wish you clear skies and balmy weather to get out and enjoy the blue moon glow.

Send us your blue moon stories and photos!

2012 Perseid Meteor Showers Peak Soon

Millions of us will shift our focus from Mars to the stars in a few days as the Perseid meteor showers build toward a grand finale Saturday night, August 12-13, 2012.

The crescent moon will not interfere the last few hours before dawn Sunday morning, when there could be up to 100 “shooting stars” per hour.

Try to orient yourself toward the Northeast, where meteoroids will appear to “rain” down from the inverted “Y” of the constellation Perseus as it rises around midnight.

Look for a viewing spot as far away as possible from city lights, trees, and buildings to expand dark areas of the sky and increase the number of visisble meteors.Watch for Perseus to rise in the Northeast sky after midnight

All you need to enjoy this awesome spectacle are warm clothes, blankets, comfortable chairs, and some favorite snacks. Oh, and someone to snuggle and ooh-and-ahh with!

Our fingers are crossed in hopes of good weather and cloudless skies in your neck of the woods.

Will you watch the Perseid meteor showers this weekend?
Do you have a viewing tip to share?

Cape Cod Bedroom Suite in Buttermilk by Fashion Bed Group

What does the color of your bedroom say about you?

Decorating a room in blues and other cool colors like green and lavender reflect a soft, soothing atmosphere. Warmer colors in shades of red, orange, and yellow create a subconscious feeling of sunlight, which in turn suggests strength and vitality.

Bedroom wall colors create either a feeling of coziness in a larger room or spaciousness in a small one. Warm and darker colors make the walls seem closer, so a large bedroom feels intimate with brown or terra cotta paint. Visually enlarge a tiny bedroom by painting the wall in cool colors that remind you of water and sky, making the walls appear to recede.

After paint, the type and finish of furniture characterizes the mood of a room more than anything else. Bedroom and guest room furniture either blends into the walls, making the room appear larger, or contrasts with the walls to create the illusion of a smaller space.

Cape Cod Bedroom Suite in Ebony, by Fashion Bed Group

One of the fundamentals of home decorating is balance and contrast. Try pairing lighter furniture such as pine with darker walls, and deep espresso- or mocha-finished furniture with lighter walls so your new furniture stands out without visually impairing size perception.

Consider the size of your bedroom first, then the amount of natural light available and what “feel” you want to create. After painting the walls in a yummy color, look for the color of furniture to work your decorating magic.

Whether your taste runs to curvy and feminine, or a more masculine linear style (and no matter what your budget), there is a fabulous universe of furniture materials and colors to explore for your bedroom makeover.

Do you have a color tip to share?