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Christmas Decorating, Christmas Decorating and Preparations with an Eco friendly Twist, Interior Design, Stress free Entertaining

A little Christmas Spirit brightens all the world

So…the count down is on, as I write this there are less than 7 weeks ’till Christmas!

While that might not sound ‘that bad’, I must confess thinking of Christmas and all that needs to be accomplished before the end of the year, I break out in a cold sweat!

This brings me to the reason for this blog…it is my hope together we can de-stress a little, do a little strategic planning and get our groove back and head into the festive season with confidence and an eager happy heart. It wouldn’t be a blog from my heart if I didn’t share a few sustainable and eco friendly tips along the way too!

With this in mind let’s get started!

First port of call is to decide what will be scheduled in for your Christmas festivities? Will you be hosting meals at your home, at a venue, at another home, by the beach or at a park?

*Who will this include?

*Number of people?

*Ages of the guests?

*Dietary needs?

*The type of lunch or dinner meal – traditional roast, cold meats and salads, BBQ, family favourites according to your favourite cuisine or a combination of these?

Once these details have been decided / voted on ( if your family is anything like mine – very diplomatic 😉) it is time to get planning!

The planning stage:

Call me old school…. but I love nothing better than grabbing pen and paper (or an old school book with plenty of blank pages) and writing down my list. Using the dot points above as a guide I start planning out all the details so I can clearly see what will need to be done. If you are delegating certain jobs, meals prepped or cooked etc.. add that in with names of those helping and let them know well in advance your plans.

Now you have a plan you can see what needs to be done and a time line in which to get that list ticked off.

To simplify I will break each of the main places we normally host a Christmas meal and add in some decorating and planning ideas.

Christmas lunch / dinner at your home:

Often seen as the most stressful option, we will start with this first, as with a little planning it can actually be the least stressful of the options.

Starting with a good clean and declutter you will have your home ready for decorating and all the preparations needed for Christmas. I like to give the home a thorough clean at the end of November ready for the Christmas tree going up 1st December – a family tradition.

Decide on a Christmas colour theme and consider what you can reuse from previous years. When purchasing new items for decorating be mindful of its quality and materials. Purchasing a few quality items made from sustainable materials will be a wise decision long term.

Don’t forget bringing in natural foliage from the gardens is another lovely way to decorate, adding fairy lights, Christmas ornaments, ribbons and including natural candles is a beautiful way to decorate with out purchasing a lot of plastic ‘future landfill’ products.

Writing a menu for the Christmas meal, including all snacks, drinks and other extra goodies will not only help with food prep and purchasing, it will also give you the perfect opportunity to assess your crockery and glassware needs.

Filling in the gaps with new wine glasses, tumblers for the children, serving platters and plates is a great way to introduce some modern and sustainable options in beautiful neutral colours that will stand the test of time. Replace paper napkins with linen napkins in a neutral colour for an earth friendly option. Use extra Christmas ornaments etc.. to add in extra festive colours of choice with your table decorating to compliment your Christmas tree and other decorations throughout your home.

As your special Christmas lunch / dinner approaches decide where you will eat – inside or outside depending on the time of day, weather and number of people attending. Alfresco dinning is one of our favourites when weather permits. Again decorating outside in the entertaining space with fairy lights, garlands, candles and cushions and throws add a little bit of inside comforts to the great outdoors.

Preparations with foods and drinks can usually start a day or two before the event, making a shopping list and then listing preparations in a timeline help keep you on track and organised. Enlist help wherever possible – take out the stress by not doing it all yourself! Usually people enjoy helping, but often don’t realise the help is needed!

On the day…..have your final to do list, breathe, and enjoy! Your guests will enjoy the day/night even more if they sense you are relaxed. You have done your best and now it is up to each person to make the most of the festivities!

Other Destinations:

At another home:

If you have been invited to another’s home, check in well in advance as to what you need to contribute, then the day before do a final check that plans have not changed, confirm arrival time and pack ready for an easy departure the next day.

At the beach or park:

We love being outdoor and being prepared is key to having a fantastic time,  over packing is better than being caught out with not having essentials for the day.

Sunblock, hats, towels, picnic rugs and chairs plus games and activities for small and big kids alike – frisbee, cricket, football, water sports etc… all make for joint effort fun times!

Don’t forget ice for the esky, a way to provide shade and extra seating and tables and even the BBQ if that will be your source of food cooking. Better to be prepared than miss out because of crowds. A little decorating can again go a long way to adding to the festivities – on tables, in nearby trees and on the back of chairs. Swap out plastic cups and plates and cutlery for eco friendly options like bamboo settings available at most grocery stores and don’t forget your fabric napkins – better for the environment and they don’t have that nasty habit of flying away! Lastly provide a bin for the rubbish.

At a venue:

If you will be having a large gathering at a venue or a self catered venue preparation will be key to have everything run smoothly. Having one person as the contact person for the venue or the head organiser for the self catered festivity will be wise so the details don’t get missed or doubled up. It’s important that large amounts of organising is delegated but overseen by the ‘organiser’.

Confirm booking a week before and then again the day before to ensure all goes smoothly. Follow up with other guests a week before that all details are clear and understood. If you have special table favours or decorations you will need to discuss this with the venue. Decorating the self catered venue will add to the glamour of the event. Often decorating can be done the day before – enlist help and bring the music, snacks and drinks and have a mini party while you are at it!

Arrive at the venue approx 20 min prior to the party and if at a self catered venue know what is required for after party cleanup.

Final Touches:

Don’t forget the music – keep it age appropriate and a mix of Christmas and current music should keep the crowd happy!

Light the candles, turn the fairy lights on, tidy up, adjust the tree, decorations and presents (even the big kids can’t help touching and rattling the gifts etc…😉) and finally take 5 minutes for some time to breathe and smile…..Enjoy and Merry Christmas xx

From my family to your family, wishing you and your loved ones a very safe and Joyous Christmas and a Fabulous New Year!

This blog is the property of Sherri Smith Interiors. No part of this blog can be copied and shared without written permission by Sherri Smith Interiors. ©️2019
Interior Design

Spring Decorating Your Home with Hygge

Bringing Hygge into your home this Spring

How will you welcome Spring into your home?

Recently we were invited to write a guest blog for My Decorator called ” How to decorate your Living room with Hygge”. My Decorator a Sydney based Interior Design Studio was fascinated with Hygge and wanted to know a little more… you can read the Blog at http://www.mydecorator.com.au

Today we are going to look how you can get your home ready for Spring with a little inspiration from Hygge. Before we begin it’s important you know just what is Hygge and how it relates to decorating your home. Hygge is a Danish word that means …well loosely translated ‘a big hug’.

That’s how I remember the name huggie but it’s phonetically said ‘hoogah’. The sentiment is to create an environment where you and your closest family and friends can come together to share a heart warming time, eat good foods, enjoy each other’s company and create a welcoming atmosphere.

Now that you understand the basics of what Hygge is we can get started on how to bring Hygge into your home this Spring.

In part Hygge is governed by a minimalist decorating style with a neutral colour palette incorporating natural materials. So with this in mind… Spring is the perfect time to get busy decluttering your home from the extra layers of soft furnishings, bedding and blankets that Winter brings.

“Spring cleaning” with natural cleaners, removing mould, dust and grime from the year thus far will ensure your home is safe from contaminates, allergy triggers and harsh chemicals. With that out of the way, it’s now time to assess your clean decluttered ‘slate’ / your home to see where you might like to freshen up your decor ready for Spring and the Summer months ahead.

Freshen up your Decor

Spring is the perfect time to bring in some lovely colour. Hygge inspired colours include whites, natural whites, beige, soft greys, duck egg blues and blush pinks and of course greens in your potted plants! Try to work with three colours, the 60,30,10 rule works wonders. A main colour/ the dominant colour at 60%, the secondary colour at 30% and an accent colour at 10% added in for a little extra interest. Look at what you currently have in your furnishings, window coverings and floor and wall colours. Minimalist styling is key here, don’t over complicate the area with to many different colours.

If you have a dark sofa, add in some natural whites and perhaps soft grey/blue cushions and a throw. Don’t forget your greenery. Add in some fresh flowers – again whites, greenery and a touch of soft blush pink or delicate yellows. Subtle is key for Hygge as is natural fibres and wood and ceramic decorating items.

After you have finished adding in the fresh new cushions, throw and flowers, plants, candles and decorating items, don’t forget to see where you can brighten up the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. Just about anywhere in the home can benefit from a little extra / fresh elements to welcome in Spring and our entertaining season!

New dinner ware to brighten your dining table along with fresh flowers and tea lights creates a beautiful Hygge dining experience. It also gives you the opportunity to play around with your new spring/summer colour palette.

Loving these gorgeous ceramic bowls and plates from Kmart, just the right hint of colour for a beautiful coastal or country look. They even can be introduced into a modern decor.

If you live near the beach collect shells and other interesting beach finds and display them in a wooden bowl. If you live in the country collect finds from nature and display in a beautiful vase. You can supplement your finds with dropping into a florist (We love Branch and Blossom in Gympie check them out at https://branchandblossom.com.au/ they even have an online shop! ) to pick up extra pretties.

When creating your displays from the ocean or the countryside be sure to mirror your new colour palette in the display, whether you have the same colours or complimentary colours – it will harmonise with your new colour palette.

Above is an example from Branch and Blossom of how gorgeous mixed elements can look with fresh and dried flowers and grasses.

Don’t forget your natural soy candles and essential oil burners. The warm glow and beautiful scents add to the Hygge atmosphere !

The finishing touches

Now that you have spring cleaned your home, decluttered, and have added a few fresh colours in your cushions and throws, flowers and decorating accents it’s time to invite your besties over to enjoy the Hygge experience.

Cooking and sharing good clean healthy food, enjoyable beverages hot or cold, soft music and your twinkle fairy lights and candles all set the scene for a beautiful relaxing time shared with loved ones or even a self care date on your own. Enjoy!

If you need a little help with your Spring decorating get in touch. We love to help. We offer in person and on-line consults.

Happy Spring decorating! Warmth Sherri

Sherri Smith Interiors – Home of the Sustainable, Healthy and Beautiful Interiors.

All content is copyrighted by Sherri Smith Interiors. You are welcome to share this in its entirety but must be credited back to Sherri Smith Interiors. If you would like to share, reproduce, or distribute any portion of this blog, written consent is required.

©️ 2019 http://www.sherrismithinteriors.com.au

Outdoor entertaining, Outdoor Furniture, How to choose outdoor furniture

How to Choose Fabulous Outdoor Furniture for Entertaining and Relaxing

Being outside is the Aussie way of life. We are often said to be a happy bunch as we get plenty of “ feel good” Vit D thanks to our Aussie sun and lifestyle.

Outdoor furniture can enhance our outdoor entertaining and with a little know how you can choose your outdoor furniture and style it like a pro designer!

The Sustainable and Eco-friendly options

It may come to no surprise that I’m not a big fan of plastic outdoor furniture. Sure they can have their place, are economical and durable (to a point) but…. they don’t tend to last long in our hot Aussie sun and become brittle if not stored away from direct sunlight.

From an environmental point of view to keep our landfill contributions down it is far wiser to choose wood, metal, or fabric products.

Before choosing outdoor furniture consider what you will use it for

*How many people do you need to cater for?

*Adults, children?

*Do you need to consider pets or larger animals?

*Casual dinning or something a little more formal?

*Will the furniture be in direct sunlight, near a pool or undercover?

*Style choices to compliment your home or other outdoor features?

*How will the furniture serve you?

*Is it for sit down eating, standing at the pool side bar?

*Lounging by the pool or a pretty spot under a tree?

Style choices

There are beautiful and practical tables and chairs available in a variety styles and weather hardy timbers, metal with timber, and fabric options for chairs and hanging chairs/ hammocks.

Not only do you need to choose what type of furniture fabrication is most suitable, you also need to consider size, colour and style. Look at the size of the area you have to put your furniture in, keep the furniture in proportion to the area in question.

Don’t put a large 8-12 seater table in a small space, and if you have a large area to work with, create zones for eating and sitting rather than put the table and chairs in the middle.

You want to create ambiance with the furniture, ease of movement and accessibility.

We are liking the simplicity of these outdoor suite and table setting. Clean lines with comfort and style while offering an enjoyable and practical solution for entertaining outside.

The outdoor beanbag comes in a variety of colours and can be used in a number of outdoor spaces, imagine sitting by the pool in one of these lovelies sipping your Mojito Mocktail. I just love the idea of the macrame swing chair for my Sunday afternoon relax with my favourite novel or design magazine!

See stockist list below

Styling your outdoor area

Now that you have chosen your furniture, you are happy with the style, functionality and suitability for the given area and needs, it’s time to have fun with styling your outdoor space.

With a little preparation and planning you will be styling like a designer!

Follow these tips to get you started on your styling journey

*Consider the ages of people using the space ? Do you need to consider breakages – eco-friendly plastic/ bamboo or wood products verses glass and ceramic options

*What style do you want for this area ? Casual, formal, kid friendly or adults only?

*Is the area exposed to the elements? Do you need a storage space for your styling items?

*What is your current outdoor colour scheme -what colour is the exterior walls? Trims? – it’s important to have cohesion in your colour scheme with the home, entertainment area, furniture and styling items. You want the areas to harmonise, not clash.

* Lastly is there a theme you would like to portray in this space? Tropical, Beach, Country, Hamptons, Californian beach bungalow? This is where you can get very creative – be sure to include the appropriate plants, colours and decor items to bring the whole look together!

Stockists for outdoor suite and table setting see Early Settler

Stockists for outdoor beanbags and macrame swing chair see their online store or Instagram account – “Outdoor Beanbags”

Please note this blog is intended as information only and is not intended for specific application. It is recommended that you seek your own advise when choosing products for your and your family’s safety.

All content is copyrighted by Sherri Smith Interiors. If you would like to share, reproduce, or distribute any portion of this blog, written consent is required.

©️ 2019 http://www.sherrismithinteriors.com.au

Interior Design

A guide to choosing the Right Tradie

Let us help you find the right Tradesman with our checklist:

It can be daunting to find the right tradie for the job, especially if this is your first time engaging a tradie to do work on your home or you have had bad experiences with tradies in the past.

Our Checklist:

Word of mouth or recommendations are a great place to start when looking for a tradesman with work in the home.

*I suggest always getting 3 quotes for a job – ask if it is free to get a quote, explain the job, ask if they would like to do the job and if they have time?

Ask what is the expected time frame to start the job and have the job completed?

*Ask if the quote includes any relevant taxes, does the quote include all costs?

*Ask if the tradesman / business has happy clients you can contact, or recommendations on their social media sites?

*Google the business name with “complaints” and see if anything comes up in the search.

*Ask or research their qualifications / credentials.

*Start looking for tradies well ahead of start date! This eliminates the risk of not getting the job done on time. If they are available at short notice – there may be a reason why they are not busy?

*Get a written quote with fixed prices, tax, timescale, materials and cleanup.

*Make sure the tradies have insurance, check warranties and guarantees.

*Make an agreement on a payment plan / schedule. Release payments based on targets for specific deadlines being met. Never pay in full upfront. Last payment should be upon completion and that work is done to your satisfaction.

*Directory style sites can be good and some can offer greater assurances.Finding the right Tradesman:

Word of mouth or recommendations are a great place to start when looking for a tradesman with work in the home.

*I suggest always getting 3 quotes for a job – ask if it is free to get a quote, explain the job, ask if they would like to do the job and if they have time?

Ask what is the expected time frame to start the job and have the job completed?

*Ask if the quote includes any relevant taxes, does the quote include all costs?

*Ask if the tradesman / business has happy clients you can contact, or recommendations on their social media sites?

*Google the business name with “complaints” and see if anything comes up in the search.

*Ask or research their qualifications / credentials.

*Start looking for tradies well ahead of start date! This eliminates the risk of not getting the job done on time. If they are available at short notice – there may be a reason why they are not busy?

*Get a written quote with fixed prices, tax, timescale, materials and cleanup.

*Make sure the tradies have insurance, check warranties and guarantees.

*Make an agreement on a payment plan / schedule. Release payments based on targets for specific deadlines being met. Never pay in full upfront. Last payment should be upon completion and that work is done to your satisfaction.

*Directory style sites can be good and some can offer greater assurances.

Nothing is fool proof, but following our checklist will get you pointed in the right direction.

Remember if things do go wrong there a government bodies to help with resolutions to problems that may arise.

If you are ready to embark on a project for your home and would like to chat about the process, Sherri Smith Interiors now offers online consultations as well as in-home consults. Drop us a line, we would love to hear from you! Leave a message in the comments of the blog or reach out to us on the following:

Email:sherrismithinteriors@gmail.com

Facebook: Sherri Smith Interiors

Instagram: Sherrismith_interiors

Pinterest: Sherri Smith Interiors

This blog and its content is subject to copyright, no part can be shared or reproduced without consent of Sherri Smith.
©️Sherri Smith Interiors
Www.sherrismithinteriors.com.au
Top image courtesy of Haymes Paints
Interior Design

Interior Paints and Air Quality

We all love a beautiful interior, and one of the best ways to freshen up a room and make a big impact for a small outlay is to paint the walls. However not all paints are created equal and choosing the right paint is important for your indoor air quality.

It wasn’t until my youngest daughter became asthmatic that I realised I needed to investigate ways to improve the “health” of our home to provide a healthier living space for her and our family. This newfound awareness led me down a path of discovery that has fuelled my passion for helping others to create healthy, sustainable and beautiful homes.

When clients ask for assistance in selecting a new colour palette for their home I relish the opportunity to bring this “healthy home awareness” to their consciousness. Clients are surprised to hear about the impact a Low VOC paint can have on the air quality of their home, not only while the painting is being applied, but also while it is drying and beyond.

What paint company do I use and recommend?

Thankfully we now have great paint companies who understand the need for low or zero VOC paints. I use and recommend Haymes Paints. After investigating many paint companies with their VOC ratings in paints I discovered Haymes paints produce sustainable eco-friendly paints and wood stains with extremely low VOC and zero VOC. This gives a cleaner air quality, reduces the impact on the environment with clean up and because they are an Australian owned and Australian manufactured product their carbon footprint is far better than some other paint companies.

Adding to this, the paint itself is easy to apply (yes I do my own paint work in my own Reno work) and gives a fabulous finish. Most of their paints are water based, meaning clean up is easy and I am comforted to know my paint clean-up water flow is not harming the environment or waterways.

What is a VOC rating?

Until I began my journey into creating a healthy home for our family the term VOC had never come into my knowledge of understanding. It wasn’t until I started to ask questions about chemical content and chemical exposure that this term “VOC rating” came up. I was shocked to learn our every day household items were full of chemicals that had the potential to cause ill health. VOC can emit a variety of chemicals including but not limited to formaldehyde, methylene, chloride, toluene, xylene, ethyl acetate and glycol. The rating itself is a measure for the amount of chemicals per litre of liquid.

VOC – Volatile Organic Compound while it may sound ok, even a bit ‘friendly’ after all it does have the word organic in it, however it couldn’t be further from the truth! While many household items can contain and emit VOC, paints emit VOC while being applied, drying and after the paint has dried. Have you ever noticed how strong regular paints smell while being applied and drying, or how it continues to have a strong odour when the home has been shut up on a hot day? Personally I don’t like to take chances with unnecessary chemical exposure and if I can swap out my regular high VOC paint for low or zero VOC paint, then I know what my choice is going to be!

Making your home a safer home for your future

Next time you want to do some DIY decorating or think about hiring a Painter to come in, or better still request the advise of an Interior Designer make sure you specify Low or Zero VOC paints for your home. Your health will thank you for it!

If you would like to know more about our services at Sherri Smith Interiors, including on-line consultations, email us at sherrismithinteriors@gmail.com or head over to our website and fill in the contact form and we will answer your enquiry. We would love to hear from you!

Join us for your own “healthy home awareness” journey on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest at Sherri Smith Interiors.

Still want more? ….. Sign up for our free Newsletter for tips and tricks for your Sustainable, Healthy & Beautiful home today! Fill in the contact form with “sign me up”! in the comments.

Follow the link: http://www.sherrismithinteriors.com.au/contact

Above Image credit: Haymes Paint: Photography-Martina Gemmola, Styling-Ruth Welsby. Haymes paint colour ‘Mimosa Leaf’

Interior Design

Are your Fresh Flowers toxic?

I absolutely adore receiving fresh flowers! Who doesn’t? But what if that gorgeous bouquet of flowers is doing you and your family, or your pets harm?

The Good, Bad and Ugly of fresh flowers

Have you ever considered as you pop your cute little nose into the middle of your fresh flowers and breath in their heavenly scent that you could in fact be doing yourself harm?

It wasn’t until I started to assess what possible toxic items were in my living space that I began to question the health affects of the gorgeous flowers my hubby would surprise me with to brighten my day. I was horrified to come to the knowledge that the pretty blooms sitting in my heirloom vase could be doing our family more harm than good.

So what is a health conscious gal to do? Keep reading and you will be happy to know there are solutions to this conundrum!

Allergies

The first consideration in this quest for answers to the health benefits or toxic affects of fresh flowers needs to start with the question …. are the people or pets in your home allergic to pollen or the flower itself?

I was sadden to read today that some people suffer allergy issues from Jacaranda flowers! In my mind the stately Jacaranda is the darling flowering tree of the tree world! Yet for some they bring nothing but mystery, as for me it’s the native trees that cause severe allergy reactions! Particularly the Wattle and Melaluca flower that are in full bloom through Spring and into Summer.

Needless to say when it comes to flowers for inside the home there are flowers that cause allergies for some peeps that include headaches, stuffy or runny noses, itchy or swollen eyes, rashes, shortness of breath and even nausea. If in doubt keep flowers out of bedrooms and discourage breathing in close to the flowers. Ultimately recognising and avoiding trigger flowers is the best solution here. Main culprits include the daisy family, some natives and heavily scented blooms.

Flowers and Pets

Did you know pets can have allergy issues with flowers, ranging from skin conditions, tummy upsets to death. Cats have been known to die from lilies, eating any part of the lily or grooming after coming in contact with lilies can be fatal. Our friendly dog companions can suffer terribly from ingesting flowers from the daisy family. There are a few other varieties of flowers that can cause illness in your pets. To be sure please do your research and if in doubt remove the flowers from your pets reach inside the home and your gardens.

Pesticides on your flowers??…..What?

It may come to some surprise, it certainly did for me when I found out the flower growing industry does not have a Maximum Residue Limit (MRL). What this means, unlike consumable produce, flowers do not have any pesticide and preservative restrictions. No doubt, this is a little if not a large concern to you, as it is to me. Handing a gorgeous bouquet to my sick friend to cheer her up could in fact be doing her harm!

Not only are the pesticides and preservatives potentially harmful to you and your loved ones, they pose a risk to our environment. Run off from the flower crops into the waterways is causing environmental damage and toxic buildup. Another alarming fact here is the devastating effect these chemicals are having on our bee and bug populations.

The bloom solution

I am happy to report there are solutions at hand! No you don’t have to stop giving and receiving flowers, you just need to get savvy!

Next time you purchase flowers please take a moment to ask a simple question “are these flowers organic or spray free”? You may get a few strange looks, but until the suppliers realise customers are getting hip to the potential risks with regular commercial flowers and their pesticide and preservative practices, nothing is going to change in the industry. I like to see it from the point of view: by demanding change to the industry practices we are in effect helping the growers, the florists and the environment.

Source organic florists (yes they do exist!) or grow your own flowers to gift and fill your home with. When growing your own flowers be sure to avoid the pet toxic flowers and human allergy trigger flowers mentioned if allergy is a concern.

If you prefer to continue with regular commercial flowers, or you cannot source organic/spray free flowers, be sure to minimise handling the flowers and stems to a bare minimum. Do not allow children to put theses flowers near or in their mouths and wash your hands thoroughly after handling.

If you are using flowers for culinary purposes, be sure to source edible flowers. The edible variety are available as organic and spray free.

Remember the precious gift of flowers, get savvy with your choices and enjoy all the sensory beauty and the emotional sweetness of your next floral bouquet!

Interior Design

Creating a tranquil living space with Colour Therapy

Have you ever walked into a room and immediately started feeling uncomfortable?……Emotionally or Physically ?

Have you noticed how you feel walking into a room with red walls? Or how relaxing a blue lagoon looks before diving in?

Colour therapy is an amazing facet to interior design and in our latest blog collaboration with the intuitive Emotional Intelligence Coach Sue Hurst we explore steps to creating your sanctuary.

Follow the link to check it out : https://deliberatepresence.com/guest-post-by-sherri-smith/

Sue Hurst is a Speaker,Trainer Social and Emotional Intelligence coach. She works with people of all ages in areas of EQ and stress management. In the near future Sue will be offering an on line EQ course designed for parents and their children.