More Living Ideas

Our editors share their inspirations every day

Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

Entries from the ‘how-to’ Category

Setting the Perfect Table

Posted by

la103374_1207_centerpiece_xl

When you're setting a formal dining table for a holiday dinner, knowing how to set it shows that you paid attention to the details. Trust me, your guests will appreciate it.

Back
1 of 6
Before the First Course: Flatware should align with the bottom rim of the charger, a large plate, which will be removed after everyone spreads his napkin on his lap (napkin rings, customary at family meals, may be used as a festive decoration). The water glass stands above the dinner knife, white wine to its right, and red wine top center.

1 Before the First Course: Flatware should align with the bottom rim of the charger, a large plate, which will be removed after everyone spreads his napkin on his lap (napkin rings, customary at family meals, may be used as a festive decoration). The water glass stands above the dinner knife, white wine to its right, and red wine top center.

Setting the Table for Soup: Soup is served in a heated soup dish, atop a dinner plate, and eaten with the soup spoon, at outer right. When every guest has finished and laid his spoon, bowl up, across the upper right hand corner of the plate, the plate, bowl, and spoon will be removed. The bread-and-butter plate and butter knife remain.

2 Setting the Table for Soup: Soup is served in a heated soup dish, atop a dinner plate, and eaten with the soup spoon, at outer right. When every guest has finished and laid his spoon, bowl up, across the upper right hand corner of the plate, the plate, bowl, and spoon will be removed. The bread-and-butter plate and butter knife remain.

Setting the Table for Fish: A midsize plate arrives bearing the fish course. Use the short, broad fork at outer left and the fish knife at outer right. When they have finished this, or any other, course, guests should place their silverware diagonally across the plate -- handles at 4:20 and knife blade facing in.

3 Setting the Table for Fish: A midsize plate arrives bearing the fish course. Use the short, broad fork at outer left and the fish knife at outer right. When they have finished this, or any other, course, guests should place their silverware diagonally across the plate -- handles at 4:20 and knife blade facing in.

Setting the Table for the Main Course: Course two has been cleared, leaving the table set for the main course. The large dinner plate may be brought in either bearing a portion of food or empty, if food is to be served at the table. In either case, the plate should be preheated unless the main course is served cold. Eat with the dinner fork and knife.

4 Setting the Table for the Main Course: Course two has been cleared, leaving the table set for the main course. The large dinner plate may be brought in either bearing a portion of food or empty, if food is to be served at the table. In either case, the plate should be preheated unless the main course is served cold. Eat with the dinner fork and knife.

Setting the Table for Salad: Salad is served on a midsize plate and eaten with the remaining fork, which has a broader end tine than other forks and can be used for cutting. After this course, the bread-and-butter plate, butter knife, and both wineglasses will be cleared, along with the salad plate and fork, leaving the table set for dessert.

5 Setting the Table for Salad: Salad is served on a midsize plate and eaten with the remaining fork, which has a broader end tine than other forks and can be used for cutting. After this course, the bread-and-butter plate, butter knife, and both wineglasses will be cleared, along with the salad plate and fork, leaving the table set for dessert.

Setting the Table for Dessert: A small dessert plate arrives along with a coffee or teacup and a teaspoon. Use the cake fork and the dessert spoon, laid across the top of the setting before the meal began (note that the fork's tines are set facing right and the spoon's bowl facing left). The water glass is the only stemware still on the table.

6 Setting the Table for Dessert: A small dessert plate arrives along with a coffee or teacup and a teaspoon. Use the cake fork and the dessert spoon, laid across the top of the setting before the meal began (note that the fork's tines are set facing right and the spoon's bowl facing left). The water glass is the only stemware still on the table.

Glitter & Bones

Posted by

For Halloween this year, I headed to the Craft Department where Hannah Milman taught me some easy tips for glittering objects to decorate with. I've accumulated an assortment of faux skulls and bones that I want to coat in a shimmering hue for Halloween arrangements. The transformation from dull gray to a wonderful, tinseled autumnal brown was not only fun, but also informative. Check out these pictures of my process!

Back
1 of 25
The sparkly skulls are from last year's decorations; I'm recycling and I want them (plus some additional skulls and bones) to have a fresh look!

1 The sparkly skulls are from last year's decorations; I'm recycling and I want them (plus some additional skulls and bones) to have a fresh look!

Those boards with pins sticking up are designed by Crafts to rest a glittered piece on while it dries. This is especially important when coating all sides of an object with glue and glitter.

2 Those boards with pins sticking up are designed by Crafts to rest a glittered piece on while it dries. This is especially important when coating all sides of an object with glue and glitter.

My office is right next to the Craft Department, so I was thrilled for an opportunity to rummage through their supplies!

3 My office is right next to the Craft Department, so I was thrilled for an opportunity to rummage through their supplies!

This gorgeous Antique Silver glitter was a contestant for my skull and bones project.

4 This gorgeous Antique Silver glitter was a contestant for my skull and bones project.

Until I found this tinsel-cut Brownstone hue; how warm and luscious is this color?

5 Until I found this tinsel-cut Brownstone hue; how warm and luscious is this color?

The first line of Martha Stewart glitters were all shades of stone; the neutral hues are so fun and sophisticated.

6 The first line of Martha Stewart glitters were all shades of stone; the neutral hues are so fun and sophisticated.

Testing out glitter! I just loved this tinsel variety. The Craft Department also designed these pans to catch [most of] the glitter that doesn't stick to the glue.

7 Testing out glitter! I just loved this tinsel variety. The Craft Department also designed these pans to catch [most of] the glitter that doesn't stick to the glue.

The Antique Silver color is on the right, but it almost felt like a repeat of last year. The coppery Brownstone is glamorous and unique.

8 The Antique Silver color is on the right, but it almost felt like a repeat of last year. The coppery Brownstone is glamorous and unique.

A lesson in painting glue on a skull; I'm new to this and there's definitely a technique!

9 A lesson in painting glue on a skull; I'm new to this and there's definitely a technique!

Shake, shake, shake! The key is to keep the glue evenly coated and not too goopy, so that it dries well with the glitter on it.

10 Shake, shake, shake! The key is to keep the glue evenly coated and not too goopy, so that it dries well with the glitter on it.

My turn! The first section is a success. We love the look of the tinsel glitter.

11 My turn! The first section is a success. We love the look of the tinsel glitter.

The glue had to be thinned a bit to stay smooth in all the eye and nose cavities. You paint right over the edges of the glittered parts to ensure no breaks in the final layer.

12 The glue had to be thinned a bit to stay smooth in all the eye and nose cavities. You paint right over the edges of the glittered parts to ensure no breaks in the final layer.

Looking spooky; the darker shade of glitter is just a hint more ominous than silver--perfect.

13 Looking spooky; the darker shade of glitter is just a hint more ominous than silver--perfect.

We switched to brown paint that helped fill in the crevices.

14 We switched to brown paint that helped fill in the crevices.

It looks a little like peanut butter but it worked with the Brownstone glitter much better. All glues used were basic water-soluble types.

15 It looks a little like peanut butter but it worked with the Brownstone glitter much better. All glues used were basic water-soluble types.

As I learned how to handle the glue and skulls, the process sped along. I was so excited to see some results.

16 As I learned how to handle the glue and skulls, the process sped along. I was so excited to see some results.

Chavo was concerned about my glittering skills.

17 Chavo was concerned about my glittering skills.

I deftly erased his doubts.

18 I deftly erased his doubts.

Good morning! We let the skulls dry overnight before filling in the missed spots.

19 Good morning! We let the skulls dry overnight before filling in the missed spots.

Here are the other bones I glittered to use in some arrangements. Love the spindly little feet and hands.

20 Here are the other bones I glittered to use in some arrangements. Love the spindly little feet and hands.

The texture of the tinsel glitter is so coarse and reflective; I love how it gives depth to these delicate shapes.

21 The texture of the tinsel glitter is so coarse and reflective; I love how it gives depth to these delicate shapes.

A tray of glittered jawbones.

22 A tray of glittered jawbones.

Gotcha. Spreading a project out over a few days makes it less rushed and therefore less stressful.

23 Gotcha. Spreading a project out over a few days makes it less rushed and therefore less stressful.

The Craft room in our building makes it easy to be creative.

24 The Craft room in our building makes it easy to be creative.

Voila!! A half-dozen bronzed beauties.

25 Voila!! A half-dozen bronzed beauties.

Afterward, we took the glimmer bones to a giant vent to coat them in spray-fixative, a finishing adhesive used by artists to make sure things stay put (charcoal, graphite, glitter). I solicited the help of my assistant Chavo, who aided me in this careful finalizing process.

Back
1 of 11
How fantastic is the coppery color of my bones?

1 How fantastic is the coppery color of my bones?

We had to get suited up because the funky-spraying fixative has to be handled carefully. I promise I'm excited!

2 We had to get suited up because the funky-spraying fixative has to be handled carefully. I promise I'm excited!

Ready to be sealed in glitter!

3 Ready to be sealed in glitter!

We set up our station right next to the vents.

4 We set up our station right next to the vents.

Hold on, Chavo! Make sure you face the vents while you spray.

5 Hold on, Chavo! Make sure you face the vents while you spray.

Chavo caught on quickly.

6 Chavo caught on quickly.

Getting ready to switch out from skulls to finger and toes and the other bones.

7 Getting ready to switch out from skulls to finger and toes and the other bones.

Carefully transporting our goods.

8 Carefully transporting our goods.

Almost there...

9 Almost there...

This is how it's done, sprayed at a clear 8 inches from the object.

10 This is how it's done, sprayed at a clear 8 inches from the object.

Perfect! These now need to dry overnight so that I can set them in all kinds of new configurations. Halloween goes glam!

11 Perfect! These now need to dry overnight so that I can set them in all kinds of new configurations. Halloween goes glam!

And finally, some images of an arrangement and then a peak at one final vivid element of the composition.

Back
1 of 9
Here it is! I put together this arrangement of bones and a scull with a little satin ribbon and a refined glass case.

1 Here it is! I put together this arrangement of bones and a scull with a little satin ribbon and a refined glass case.

Isn't the texture from the tinsel glitter just incredible?

2 Isn't the texture from the tinsel glitter just incredible?

Now, for round two of decorating options. I'm attaching the other sculls to these glass pillars with a hunk of wax.

3 Now, for round two of decorating options. I'm attaching the other sculls to these glass pillars with a hunk of wax.

I just crammed the wax into the top of that pillar and let the skull sink into it on top. Easy assemblage and easy clean up afterward!

4 I just crammed the wax into the top of that pillar and let the skull sink into it on top. Easy assemblage and easy clean up afterward!

Gently pressing it into the wax to position. So simple!

5 Gently pressing it into the wax to position. So simple!

There he is! Now, for the finishing touches.

6 There he is! Now, for the finishing touches.

These real preserved butterflies came all the way from Spencer, Ohio!

7 These real preserved butterflies came all the way from Spencer, Ohio!

Aren't they gorgeous?

8 Aren't they gorgeous?

I'm going to glue them delicately to the skull and bones when they're all arranged. One on the front temple, another on a finger or toe... A whole box of these little containers arrived; I can't wait to put it all together!

9 I'm going to glue them delicately to the skull and bones when they're all arranged. One on the front temple, another on a finger or toe... A whole box of these little containers arrived; I can't wait to put it all together!

These real butterflies are all harvested from butterfly farms, places that actually aid the survival and re-population of butterflies to their natural habitats, in addition to fueling rainforest preservation.  I got mine from Connie Hurt at Butterflies and Things; Connie is the only licensed dealer in the US who buys direct from these conservation-oriented butterfly farms. Aren't they completely gorgeous? I hope my glittering project gave you some inspiration for last-minute holiday crafting before the weekend arrivals.

Weekend Project: Hanging Pictures

Posted by

Arranging framed photos or hanging a new painting on your wall can feel like a big project. After renovating my apartment I know I wanted to make sure that the placement of the art being mounted on my walls was just right. However, I realized there is no need to agonize over a picture hanging project. If you do a little bit of prep work and follow a few basic design rules, it is easy to create an interesting display in a weekend.

There are so many different ways to exhibit your favorite artwork and photographs–deciding your strategy is the first step to creating an attractive display. For today's post, I've rounded up some tips and inspiration to help you get the project done.

Back
1 of 15
Instead of marking your walls with nails, use picture rails to display your artwork in a variety of ways.

1 Instead of marking your walls with nails, use picture rails to display your artwork in a variety of ways.

Add pop to a collection of black-and-white prints by using mats in a rainbow of colors.

2 Add pop to a collection of black-and-white prints by using mats in a rainbow of colors.

If you have a lot of pictures to hang, adhere photocopies or white paper that approximate the size of the frames and stick them to the wall using removable tape in the grid you want. That way you can move them around without creating holes in your wall.

3 If you have a lot of pictures to hang, adhere photocopies or white paper that approximate the size of the frames and stick them to the wall using removable tape in the grid you want. That way you can move them around without creating holes in your wall.

This arrangement was created by tracing the frames on to kraft paper to make a template and then taping and moving those templates around to get the final look.

4 This arrangement was created by tracing the frames on to kraft paper to make a template and then taping and moving those templates around to get the final look.

Give a grouping of horizontal and vertical photos a chic, cohesive look -- and add interest to a long wall in a hallway or above a sofa or bench. Use the same frame and mat for each, then hang pictures along the same center line, spacing each two inches apart. Alternate horizontal and vertical pictures, using the latter at the ends.

5 Give a grouping of horizontal and vertical photos a chic, cohesive look -- and add interest to a long wall in a hallway or above a sofa or bench. Use the same frame and mat for each, then hang pictures along the same center line, spacing each two inches apart. Alternate horizontal and vertical pictures, using the latter at the ends.

If you have a several photos of the same or similar subject, create a photo gallery with them like Martha did here http://www.marthastewart.com/265313/creating-a-photo-gallery

6 If you have a several photos of the same or similar subject, create a photo gallery with them like Martha did here http://www.marthastewart.com/265313/creating-a-photo-gallery

The secret is to divide and conquer multiple framed pictures: Mark a horizontal midline on the wall, and hang all pictures above or below it.

7 The secret is to divide and conquer multiple framed pictures: Mark a horizontal midline on the wall, and hang all pictures above or below it.

Think outside the frame. Here, we printed images on stretched canvases (ours are from Duggal) and mixed posed and candid shots for a nice contrast.

8 Think outside the frame. Here, we printed images on stretched canvases (ours are from Duggal) and mixed posed and candid shots for a nice contrast.

A bulletin-board picture rail hung the length of a hallway or between two doorways lets you proudly show off kids' artwork while keeping tape and thumbtacks off the walls.

9 A bulletin-board picture rail hung the length of a hallway or between two doorways lets you proudly show off kids' artwork while keeping tape and thumbtacks off the walls.

Pictures in high-traffic areas, such as halls and entryways, often end up askew. Remedy this with self-adhesive Velcro tabs in 1/4- or 1/2-inch sizes.

10 Pictures in high-traffic areas, such as halls and entryways, often end up askew. Remedy this with self-adhesive Velcro tabs in 1/4- or 1/2-inch sizes.

This display is so impactful. The home's owner converter Polaroids into documentary art, taped them to the wall, and held them in place permanently with a Plexiglass overlay.

11 This display is so impactful. The home's owner converter Polaroids into documentary art, taped them to the wall, and held them in place permanently with a Plexiglass overlay.

These sepia landscapes are framed by a decorative trim that sticks to surfaces when gently heated. The images and trim are arranged on freestanding panels that were painted to match the walls and then mounted when the artwork was complete.

12 These sepia landscapes are framed by a decorative trim that sticks to surfaces when gently heated. The images and trim are arranged on freestanding panels that were painted to match the walls and then mounted when the artwork was complete.

In the thin vertical space between two tall windows, a little piece could get lost. These five eighteenth-century landscape prints use the awkward space cleverly: Hung frame to frame, they function as one.

13 In the thin vertical space between two tall windows, a little piece could get lost. These five eighteenth-century landscape prints use the awkward space cleverly: Hung frame to frame, they function as one.

An unbound family album fills a wall. It is composed of inexpensive eight-by-ten-inch frames. The frames give consistency, while the pictures differ in size and style; some are horizontal, others vertical. Begin a grouping like this with one row or a minigrid of four frames.

14 An unbound family album fills a wall. It is composed of inexpensive eight-by-ten-inch frames. The frames give consistency, while the pictures differ in size and style; some are horizontal, others vertical. Begin a grouping like this with one row or a minigrid of four frames.

Get even more picture hanging tips from Martha here: http://www.marthastewart.com/268983/arranging-pictures

15 Get even more picture hanging tips from Martha here: http://www.marthastewart.com/268983/arranging-pictures