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Naptime Tips for a Lazy Labor Day


Actor Tony Shalhoub (of “Monk” fame) takes his hat off to napping. Photo Credit: Lucas, Allen; CountryLiving.com

 For way too long, I’ve labored entirely too much on Labor Day.  Instead of hanging out by the pool or sleeping in, I’m always up and about trimming up the yard, tidying the house and cooking like crazy for the holiday picnic I seem to always wind up hosting. But this year, I’m turning over a new leaf and replacing much of this hectic hullabaloo with a good old-fashioned nap on a lazy Labor Day.

My forever sensible Midwest parents have always been nappers.  Mom’s all about the 10-minute power version while Dad snoozes the afternoon away.  And it seems they’re onto something, according to doctors at the Mayo Clinic who say that napping offers benefits galore.

Among them–relaxation, reduced fatique (duh!), improved mood, increased alertness and better performance both on the job and off because napping is linked to better memory, less confusion and quicker reaction time.  Those benefits are good enough reasons to avoid work on a lazy Labor Day, don’t you think?


Got your hammock ready for Labor Day? Photo credit: Sue Daley, CountryLiving.com

So what’s the recommended way to lazy up? Mayo Clinic doctors advise napping in mid-afternoon–around 2 or 3pm; limiting snoozes to 10-30 minutes (otherwise you may feel more groggy than rejuvenated) and creating a restful environment in a quiet place with comfy temps and no distractions.

If you’ve got a cool breeze and shade trees in the yard, string a hammock between them. Hammocks with stands also work well on porches and patios.  However, if yours is a high temp/full sun climate (like mine in Texas), beeline it indoors where it’s also easy to set up napping central.


It doesn’t take much coaxing to lounge on a chaise like the Cosette from Sam Moore.

For brief naps (the kind most recommended), the Cosette chaise is ideal.  It offers the right balance of back support and extension for legs.


The Morgan 3-way lounger from Bradington-Young is not your grandpa’s recliner.

For guys who love to nap in recliners (and you know who you are!), the Morgan 3-way lounger may be the most perfect of its species.  Not only does Morgan have a stylish silhouette dressed in chic red leather (which we women will give a thumbs-up to), it also has a “power recline” option with a remote control-operated, rechargable battery pack. Can’t get more lazy than that.


Couch potatoes will appreciate a roomy sectional like this luscious leather one from Bradington-Young.

The Wiki two-piece sectional is totally nap-worthy with a gorgeous green leather cover made for technicolor dreams. Wiki’s also sized right for multiple napers and, if one of those happens to a pet (like in my house), paw prints are easier to remove than from fabric cushions.


The Lana bed from Hooker’s Melange Collection puts the va-va-voom into naptime.

For seriously stylish snoozers, there’s the Lana shelter bed.  Its sexy silhouette (look at those curves!) delivers a big dose of Hollywood glam tempered by a menswear-inspired faux mohair covering.

If your mom’s like mine, she’s always said, “Do what the doctor says!”  So I ask you. How can you, me, we not nap this Labor Day ? So get your spot to sleep ready to go and let’s get lazy this Labor Day.


A Passion for Painted Furniture and Art


The latest window art at The Love Letter and Vintage Finds at the Ohio Valley Antique Mall.

 What do you get when you blend antiques, accessories and a dash of DIY?

A form of creative expression that is both personal and nostalgic! Through the emerging craft of painted window art, a host of chic and ever changing design options has grabbed the attention of interior designers and artists everywhere, blazing a pathway for the personal statement pieces that can now be found in the hearts and homes of so many.

The romantic painted furniture era, as some of us have come to know it, has offered home décor enthusiasts the perfect opportunity to develop a signature style that is uniquely personalized just for them.


The timeless look of black and white spring into detail on this gorgeous black and white painted chest by Hooker Furniture.

The curvy feminine lines, along with the bold color combination in the Black and White Chest create a decorative piece that will maintain classic staying power in whatever room you prefer to display it in.

Now, interior designers, artists and patrons everywhere have harnessed ways to enjoy the elegance of historical ambience by incorporating into their way of life a chic classy design style that not only represents past generations, but can create a design legacy as well.


Hummingbirds with red hollyhock create a bold window art design at The Love Letter boutique.

The concept of blending vintage elegance with a contemporary fashion approach has proven that intrinsic value is the real basis behind this fascinating concept emerging in the design world today. History is the story about who we are and where we have been.

Time touches people.

Now, decorators of every kind have fallen in love with the ingenious concept of blending old and new through the look of painted furniture and accessories. Our romantic attachment to the ideas of yesteryear has created an environment in the interior design industry for the creative process to think outside of the box in these vintage creations.


My personal venture with the romanticism of this classic form of design has inspired me to start showcasing some of my painted salvage window artwork in my boutiques.

For many years, I painted salvage window art for friends and family only, but now The Love Letter and Vintage Finds has offered a new venue for me to place a sample or two of my work in my boutiques. Along with the combination of my hand picked vintage finds,there seems to be more of a collective variety by adding the artwork, which for me speaks of my own romantic tale. 


I look for special qualities in my windows, then I fashion together a unique variety of decorative vintage hardware and architectural salvage remnants onto the piece to polish the characteristics. Suddenly the window is transformed into a re-purposed, one-of-a-kind finished piece of artwork for someone to hopefully love and enjoy.


Garden themes seem to fit me best. The chippy detail of the aged paint on my windows seems to add a bit of time worn charm that is appealing to me. Each window becomes its own definition of what the duration of time has done and how well it held up through the process. I find that in some way,  a piece of history is preserved through a small segment that is captured by what I consider to be salvageable. 

What makes this design concept so alluring?

The romanticism of the style speaks to us. The decorative influence becomes part of the decorative plan! We become attached to why we bought it.


An example of some of my earlier window art with a coastal theme.

This is an example of some my earlier window art with a coastal water inlet scene.

Picking out the right pieces that combine the feel intended for a room will create a character-rich plot to your design story.This is where personal design choices come in and can help brand your look to be as unique and original as you are! Painted furniture with specific details can become a compass pointing to places you admire or have been in the world.


The hand-painted Bombay chest from the Rhapsody Collection by Hooker Furniture.

The Hooker Furniture living room Rhapsody Bombay Chest conveys “sweep me away” to a place lost in time where life is simple, and romance is a day to day way of life. The beautiful detail shares with you a heartfelt story that one can only visualize for themselves in a daydream. 

A style flavor for romanticism can be very engaging to the senses. Think about what colors fit the way you live. If you’re drawn to bold and daring colors, then live vibrantly through your furniture choices. Painted furniture and accessories can offer such an array of color rich options.


The 3- Drawer Diamond Front Chest from the Sanctuary Collection.

The beautiful Sanctuary 3- Drawer Diamond Front Chest has the appearance of painted glass and offers the luxurious feel of stained glass windows. The gorgeous three drawer chest offers elegance with a pop of color.

The rich vibrant hues of paint finishes can add panache and intense design depth. It’s  the punch to the project.  The details and lines of the right collection of anchor pieces can become the road map for direction in a space as well. Size and proportion laid out in proper measurement help you to decide on other accessories such as mirrors, small accent furniture or decorative art pieces.


The stunning Sanctuary Collection Landscape Mirror

The stunning Sanctuary Landscape Mirror by Hooker Furniture represents true craftsmanship with the extensive process that goes into creating this striking piece. Once again you have the appearance of stained glass in the details, giving the piece an old world charm with a modern level of sophistication.


This armoire is an example of my re-designed painted furniture. Once an old antique wardrobe with no real personality, I decided to give it a new look by adding salvage pieces as embellishments, then a fresh coat of my own paint mix. Finally, I polished it up with rusty wrought iron pieces that I salvaged from an antique show. Now it is one of my most favorite re-dos!

I have personally developed a love for the “old meets new” way of thinking. The opportunities for inspiration will never run dry and will constantly keep me on the road of refinement and re-invention,whether the change is being made to my next project or within me!


Summer Fresh Color Combos for Home


The deep berry of the Graydon chair by Sam Moore is regal with gold, elegant with silver and exciting with olive.

There’s still a bit of summer left, but you’ve done all the outdoor things and are beginning to look ahead. Now, while it’s warm enough to keep the windows open, why not freshen up a couple of rooms with new paint?  And while you’re at it, add a few splashes of your fresh color scheme with accent pieces or upholstered chairs?

 If you’re like most of us and dread making a mistake when choosing from thousands of paint samples, ensure the long-term appeal of your decision: Just pick a cool-but-classic combination from the color scheme possibilities we offer here. These color combos stand the test of time in a teen’s bedroom, a family room, any room, because they balance cool and warm, light and dark, bright and subtle.

Take this mixture of deep purple with yellow/gold, for instance.


The classic, warm gold sofa balances the bold orchid purple walls nicely. Photo credit: Gaita Interiors on apartmenttherapy.com

The orchid-purple could well be over-the-top, but its complement, the gold sofa, balances it. Other neutrals and metallics, including gold and golden-brown, also calm the room setting by Gaita Interiors,without sacrificing the statement-making drama that only purple can bring.

 These recommended color combos prove you don’t have to stick with beige to avoid mistakes, but any of these duos work well with beige, gray, taupe, and the other neutrals you already own.  And don’t forget, most prints include more than two colors, and your room will be filled with books, toys, flowers, mementos and other things in a wide range of colors.

 So don’t worry you’ll make the scheme too matchy-matchy. You’ll just be making it coherent and chic!

Chic Color Combinations

Royal Blue/Navy and Lime Green

lime, navy comforter

This lime and navy comforter set from Macy’s shows how lime updates navy for a fresh twist. Photo credit: macys.com

This fresh twist on the classic blue-green color combination is perfect for a guest bedroom or youth room. Imagine just about any third color to bring in his or her fave hue, and it’s a winner. Change the third accent and you have a whole new look.

Orange, Gray and White


Tangerine, a recent Pantone Color of the Year, is paired masterfully with white and gray in this geometric cover on Sam Moore’s Darya swivel chair.

Coral, Yellow, Deep Blue and Dark Green


Coral, salmon and soft yellow, with a pop of dark blue, create a classic and romantic combination that’s gender-neutral. Photo & arrangement by Mary Wynn Ryan.

 I created this silk arrangement for our local Senior Center lobby. To keep the menfolk happy, I skipped my fave pink and went for coral, salmon and yellow with a touch of deep blue against dark green.

Coral and Navy

Blending today's "it" color--coral--with a classic like navy is a stroke of genius. Photo Credit: Lavender Linens of Nazareth, Pa. via Etsy.

Blending today’s “it” color-coral-with a classic like navy is a stroke of genius. Photo Credit: Lavender Linens of Nazareth, Pa. via Etsy.

The nice thing about balanced duos like these is, you can add one of the suggested alternates and make it a three-color scheme. Remember that all tints and shades of the colors you use can also work, so if you’re thinking coral, you can also do light peach and mysterious cinnabar red-orange. And if you can’t imagine deep purple walls, switch dark for light: switch purple for lavender/orchid, one of the lightest tints on that purple paint chip.  Then, use rich gold instead of yellow, coral instead of salmon and olive instead of lime. Play around with some paint sample cards and you’ll see. Safe choices aren’t just beige!

CalypsoHibiscuschair in Danish Linen

Pale pink looks edgy in this angular print, especially anchored by handsome wood tones.

 Imagine this Hooker Furniture accent chair chair and other pink and taupe accents against a dramatic forest green wall.  Not your mother’s scheme, that’s for sure!

Renee ottoman

Olive green functions almost as a neutral, but it’s more interesting and alive.

 This generously sized (41” round) olive green round leather ottoman/cocktail bench from  Sam Moore Furniture is on casters for easy moving. It would add quiet drama to a pale blue room.


Vivid aqua brings the serene hues of sea and sky into any room on the wings of a modern wing chair.

Vivid aqua brings the joyful hues of sea and sky into any room on the wings of this modern chair by Sam Moore.  Against rich chocolate or deep forest green walls, it’s a natural, forever!

And the chair sets just the right tone for relaxing or socializing, don’t you think?