My Decorating Tips provides many real stories that will inspire you. They are meant to convey my passion for interior design and healthy living at any age.
This what your My Decorating Tips Blog Ad will look like to visitors! Of course you will want to use keywords and ad targeting to get the most out of your ad campaign! So purchase an ad space today before there all gone!
notice: Total Ad Spaces Available: (2) ad spaces remaining of (2)
Beauty alters the grain of reality. -Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch Since February I wake up every day with the hope that the war in Ukraine is over. Being a Ukrainian-American mother myself the thoughts about Ukrainian women and children come in powerful waves. It is remarkable that despite a nearly impossible load on their shoulders […] The post Ukrainian Women and Children. Art that Will Touch your Heart appeared first on My Decorating...
Since February I wake up every day with the hope that the war in Ukraine is over. Being a Ukrainian-American mother myself the thoughts about Ukrainian women and children come in powerful waves.
It is remarkable that despite a nearly impossible load on their shoulders the courage and resilience of the Ukrainian women are beyond imaginable. Honestly, I’d rather see them prosper in peace rather than display unthinkable heroism during this cruel and senseless war.
Clearly, it is hard enough to be a woman and raise children in a peaceful time. Now, imagine being thunderstruck with fear when your kids are clinging to you in a freezing basement!
Families are torn apart. Sirens nonstop. Raging fires everywhere.
Art is something to hold on to when everything else fails but the soul is still begging to survive. So, because art helps to lessen the pain I am drawn to it like a bee to a sunflower.
In this post, I will share some works that deeply touched my heart. They refer to the sacred subject of women and children through the eyes of talented artists.
These breathtaking images show that beauty still exists next to darkness, grief, and despair. Whether the art piece is a drawing, an illustration, or a napkin – they cast the light to illuminate the eroded souls.
Thankfully, most of the artists below are willing to sell the prints of their original work as digital downloads. You can own a great quality inexpensive print while helping Ukrainian people.
Most artists use the proceeds from their sold artwork to donate to Ukrainian charities. Their determination takes my breath away. I bought many prints already. And you can do it too. Many of them are on Etsy, but some I found on Instagram.
I included a gallery of images at the end of the post. Scroll down and you will see the links. Click on the links to buy great quality digital downloads.
Viktor Babak’s acrylic painting of a young Ukrainian mother protecting her baby from the horrors of the war. She is stunningly beautiful and strong. Her traditional Ukrainian Vyshyvanka (shirt) and Vinok (wreath) are symbols of Ukraine. Apparently, two conflicting and powerful forces on the right and on the left loom over her. On the left, close to the heart is nature itself represented by birds and butterflies on a bright blue background of the sky. The dark forces of the war on the right. She is hurt, humiliated but dignified, unflinching, unwavering. her focus is solely on protecting her baby.
Polina Skurykhina portrays a modern Ukrainian mother on her quest to save herself and her baby. Violent piercing all over her feminine forms looks like the war itself tears her apart. The blue and gold colors are dazzling on the pitch-black background. She holds a baby in her large arms in a powerful gesture. She is thunderstruck but not destroyed, devastated but intensely beautiful.
The artist, Maria Dyavgo says about this work:
A beautiful woman’s face is always a mystery and a pleasure to look at. All my modern women portraits feature female power as the future is female.
Intentionally curvy lines of the painting accentuate softness and femininity. In contrast, her face is angular and composed. The red color of pain prevails. Allegorically, the cup contains red as well. Of course, blue and yellow make reference to the Ukrainian traditional colors of the flag. The primitive style of the painting makes the eternal subject of mother and child more human.
The magic of Lizzie McLoughlin’s painting is in contrast between the lacy and delicate watercolor technique and the strong, powerful emotions it evokes. The woman is holding a beautiful baby in her strong arms. She is all that love and motherhood stand for. The baby is wrapped in traditional Ukrainian khustka, which is a lovely scarf representing true love. Vinok (wreath) in the background is a symbol of Ukraine’s independence and heritage.
Miriam Kraft lovingly draws an image of a modern young mother who looks like she just took a deep inhale. Perhaps, she is praying for peace. Dark circles under eyes. Hair unbrushed. Swollen faces. She is at a crossroads. Did she just lose her home? Is she fleeing to save her children? The intensity of the moment is multiplied by the softness of the baby’s little bright blue shirt with innocent white clouds. Obviously, the woman is thunderstruck but she stands strong. The immense image of the Peace Dove is transparent, powerful, and clear over the flames and darkness of the war.
Miriam Kraft writes:
The thoughts spinning in your head, the anger in your stomach and the whispering fear in your neck need an outlet…
Clearly, I can’t say better than that. By the way, this is my favorite drawing. Thank you, Miriam.
Unfortunately, I don’t know the artist of this piece. It says in Ukrainian, “Ne chipay moih ditey” (Don’t touch my children). Blood red Vinok with flowers falling off represent pain, chaos, and darkness. Is she fleeing to save herself and the baby? it looks like this young Ukrainian mother swishes through the air, through the darkness, through the war. But suddenly, the sun peeks through the darkness, and very soon it will light up her life and her child.
Kateryna Stepanishcheva’s I Love You to the Moon feels to me like I entered the door to my childhood. Nostalgically, I remember my grandmother’s dinner napkins with a very similar flower motif sewn on. Also, the precious mother-daughter embrace – something between the umbilical cord and a perpetual love gesture – has a simple, almost childish composition yet a deep and meaningful symbolism. It amplifies the eternal bond in a relatable way.
Personally, I would use this illustration to decorate a pillow. But you can also use it as a postcard, a shirt, a bag, or a napkin.
On the night of February 24, at five o’clock in the morning,
Russia attacked Ukraine without declaring war!
By purchasing this digital poster you can show your encouragement to people in a difficult life situation.
We pray for a peaceful sky without missiles and warplanes.
Your prayers, your encouragement are very much appreciated, it is impossible to put it into words.
God Save Ukraine!
I hope that the war will end soon with my beloved Ukraine will celebrate victory very soon. Meanwhile, more than anything I’d love it if you share this post with your friends and family. I also hope that you will consider helping Ukrainian women and children by buying art. As a creative myself, I know firsthand how hard it is to work when your heart is crushed. Let’s support them!
Instagram inquiries: Dreaming of Peace and NO War by Miriam Kraft. Instagram: mirikft
Ukrainian Mothers are the Strongest Mothers on Earth by Polina Skyrihina. Instagram: pollypop92
The post Ukrainian Women and Children. Art that Will Touch your Heart appeared first on My Decorating Tips.
Buying art directly from Ukrainian kids for $3-$5 gives me some level of satisfaction. I go on Etsy and type “Ukrainian art” or “Ukraine children art” and the whole bunch of shops pop up. The best part is that I can write a review after the purchase. This is great because I can express myself […] The post Why I Buy Inexpensive Art from Ukrainian Kids All the Time appeared first on My Decorating...
Buying art directly from Ukrainian kids for $3-$5 gives me some level of satisfaction.
I go on Etsy and type “Ukrainian art” or “Ukraine children art” and the whole bunch of shops pop up. The best part is that I can write a review after the purchase. This is great because I can express myself and wish them all I want.
The best part of this is that I buy directly rather than through charity.
Why is it good? Because it is personal.
A little person gets the money and he or she is very proud. It is not charity.
He or she earned the money. No one feels sorry for the kid. See the difference?
Because I was a kid once too.
I remember living by the hour. In childhood, this is exactly how you live. Everything is colored by the emotions of NOW.
Just think about it.
Below are the links to Etsy.
You can go to Etsy site and for $3-$10 make a difference in the way the young artist feels. I heard many times from my friends in Ukraine that emotional support is priceless for them.
The post Why I Buy Inexpensive Art from Ukrainian Kids All the Time appeared first on My Decorating Tips.
Keeping my bewildered eyes on the news, photos, and videos about the war in Ukraine is what I have been doing for the last week. Then I came across an article by one of the popular bloggers The Roaming Boomers, Ukraine, War, and Travel who wrote a short matter-of-fact little post about European travel where […] The post Ukraine Will NEVER Fall! appeared first on My Decorating...
Keeping my bewildered eyes on the news, photos, and videos about the war in Ukraine is what I have been doing for the last week. Then I came across an article by one of the popular bloggers The Roaming Boomers, Ukraine, War, and Travel who wrote a short matter-of-fact little post about European travel where he states:
“The sad and likely scenario is that Ukraine will fall to the overpowering forces against them”.
“And further, as you can see on the map, this conflict is quite far removed from the European countries where most of us desire to travel”.
Even if there is one person left in Ukraine this country will NOT fall.
It is true that the forces are not equal and Russia’s military resources are larger.
But Russian soldiers have no idea what and why they are killing.
Any war, especially this one, is about people.
Ukrainians and I happen to be being one of them by birth, will fight and WIN with or without arms, with or without missiles, with or without help from anyone.
Even if Putin places his dogs in Kyiv it will mean nothing in terms of actual victory over the people’s minds.
A servant will spit in their soup.
A teacher will conduct underground education of the children until they know the truth.
There will be a partisan war on all levels and so strong that the occupiers will be thrilled to get out.
All these years in the United States I saw beautiful images of Ukraine as peaceful, warm, beautiful, musical, spirited, smart, colorful, funny, spirited, unique, multicultural, humorous, alive!
Now my mental images are poisoned by a spray of hallucinative horror. It’s like someone has painted beautiful pictures with blood and death. The grief is blood-deep and paralyzing, but also powerful at the same time.
My dear friend in Odessa with whom I grew up is actually trying to calm me down, not vice versa.
This is the image that she sent me today, a beautiful flower in February in the middle of the chaos. I think it is very symbolic.
And one more thing, David.
This “conflict” concerns ALL OF US, and it is not “quite far removed”. If you think about it real hard, you’ll get it.
Why a Good Contractor Can Actually Save you Money The best way to minimize average bathroom remodel costs is to do it once instead of trying to fix what’s done wrong. I will never forget how one of my favorite clients turned down two contractors and pointed to the third one that, in my view, […] The post How to Minimize the Average Bathroom Remodel Cost appeared first on My Decorating...
The best way to minimize average bathroom remodel costs is to do it once instead of trying to fix what’s done wrong.
I will never forget how one of my favorite clients turned down two contractors and pointed to the third one that, in my view, was rather expensive. “That guy knows what he is doing,” she proclaimed. “I don’t want to go through this process twice!”
Turned out she was right. The contractor she selected did a wonderful job, and the process was smooth. Firstly, he was able to get materials for less. Also, no subcontracting, which means almost no waiting for Johny, the plumber, to come four weeks after the demolition is finished. He was checking on his installers every day, ordering the right quantities of materials instead of tons of unused ones that end up in your garage.
NKBA (National Kitchen and Bathroom Association) states that an average bathroom remodeling cost is between $635-$650 /square foot depending on the area.
Only twenty percent labor cost and eighty percent materials. Of course, it varies depending on where you live. For example, in my area, Central New Jersey it is up there on the chart.
The good news is that, if we trust the numbers, a bathroom renovation recoups up to 60% of the cost at the sale of the house.
Below is the breakdown of the average bathroom remodel cost.
Unfortunately, there are many things that can go wrong as soon as you put a hammer touches the walls in your bathroom.
For example, my first concern is always waterproofing. Because mold is the last thing you want, using the right process and materials for your bathroom remodel is like eating good food for you to stay healthy.
Slope to drain in the shower pan is crucial. The shower can look very pretty but if you are ankle-deep in the water it’s annoying, to say the least. A typical slope pitch requirement is the ratio of 1/4″ of a slope to one foot of the floor to the drain. This is what your contractor has to get right!
So, whether your contractor is building the shower bed from scratch or using the ready-made pan, he needs to know what he is doing.
Because not all ready-made shower pans, as well as drains, are created equal. I don’t recommend trying to save money on drains and ready-made shower pans. Ask your contractor about your options.
Since it takes many trade people to remodel the bathroom the process is never easy.
I designed more bathrooms than I wanted in my interior design career. They all turned out good at the end, some better than others. Whether I wanted it or not, I always ended up on the forefront- that is, coordinating plumbing and electrical, tiling and painting.
Sometimes it seems to be easier just to call a tile guy, and then the electrician, and then the plumber and have them all come in at different times. Maybe the final cost will be lower than what the general contractor charges.
But then you might have many surprises. For example, let’s say that you schedule a plumber to install the new valve for your showerhead. Suppose he even comes on time. But, oh horror, now he demands the carpenter to move the stud by two inches. “I am not a carpenter!” he croaks. By the time you hire a carpenter and reschedule, your kids already spent too many overnights at grandma’s, and now she is calling you to complain.
Because if one thing goes wrong and off the schedule, everything gets scrambled like a lego house for a one-year-old.
See what I am saying?
In my opinion, it is easier to work with a good general contractor rather than going through the scheduling issues with a number of people.
Tip: Ask the contractor what certifications and/or licenses he has. Don’t rely on experience only.
Suppose that you decided to hire a GC (general contractor). The next thing you do is ask around for references. That’s exactly what I do, and sometimes, not so successfully.
Not so long ago, I got a GC reference from my long-time tile supplier. She told me the best things about him, and I didn’t think twice to doubt her. I did not check his other references from real clients, and I did not ask to see his work. Her referral was golden to me. Guess what? It turned out that he was a fraud. He subcontracted to the guys that started building the shower bed and cutting corners. I had to let them go and then apologize to the client. Bottom line: ask to see the actual project, and/or talk to as many people as possible.
Tip: I can’t stress it enough- the best way to minimize the average cost of bathroom remodel is to have it done the right way from the get-go.
Some people are capable to remodel their bathrooms DIY, and I admire that. However, don’t rely on YouTube videos as if they are bulletproof instructional manuals. Many of those videos are giving utterly wrong instructions. It is sad but true. Anyone can make a video and post it on YouTube. If you want to consult with a specialist, at least go to official manuals, such as TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass, and Stone Tile Installation
Ceramic and porcelain tile– is usually less expensive, easier to install, and more versatile. You might want to consider it first.
Marble and marble mosaic – marble breaks easily when cut, so you will have much more waste. Therefore, more material equals more cost. Some beautiful kinds of techno marble look just like their natural counterpart.
Pencils are priced by the piece. For example, one twelve-inch marble or even ceramic pencil can cost from$10-25. They can embellish the look of your bathroom, but they do add the cost.
As an alternative, use Schluter Systems for corners and niches or transitions to reduce the cost.
Glass tile – can be sleek looking and pretty. However, cutting it requires special tools. Also, depending on the transparency of the glass tile, an installer might need special glue and grout. Be aware of it. From my experience, a contractor will charge you more when he knows that the tile is not easy to use.
Used cabinetry doesn’t necessarily mean that it looks old. Facebook Marketplace is a good source for bathroom vanities. You can come across some great bargains. If you live close to a big city, check out their Facebook groups as well. You’ll be surprised what you can find.
The best shower system is the one that lasts. Right? What if you need a replacement part? Ask about availability and cost of replacement parts as well as the manufacturer’s level of service.
From the lips of my plumber, Moen is known for good service and availability, and Delta is not.
Also, think about the functions that you must have in a shower. Is it the pressure/speed? Looks? Some people get carried away with too many functions they think they want. Every additional feature adds cost. Are you going to use all of that in real life?
Please chat with me by writing a comment below if you want to know more about minimizing your bathroom remodel cost. I’ll have my eyes on your project. How to minimize average bathroom remodel cost.
Why would you want a bathroom accent wall? Sometimes it happens like this. You think that all you want is to get rid of that outdated, chipped tile that is so annoying. So you start with Home Depot just to have an idea of what kinds of tiles are available and trendy. Then you find […] The post Think about Bathroom Accent Wall Like a Pro appeared first on My Decorating...
Why would you want a bathroom accent wall? Sometimes it happens like this.
You think that all you want is to get rid of that outdated, chipped tile that is so annoying. So you start with Home Depot just to have an idea of what kinds of tiles are available and trendy. Then you find your way to a smaller tile store with a myriad of absolutely gorgeous mosaics, porcelain, or marble tiles. But one tile in particular just calls your name. Well, turns out it is either too expensive or too busy for the whole bathroom. So you settle for a bathroom accent wall instead. Sounds familiar? Yes, my friend, it happened to me too.
In truth, I’ve seen some perfectly designed bathroom accent walls. And I’ve seen just as many flops.
Because it is so easy to make expensive mistakes when dreaming up your new bathroom I decided to offer my two cents on the subject of choosing tiles as well as accent walls.
Truth be told, it almost always looks good and more harmonious when a bathroom accent wall or a feature wall goes continuously from floor to ceiling. Use an organic pattern for a clean unassumed look.
This gorgeous bathroom/steam room is the work of Black Laquer Design. The back bathroom accent wall boasts carefully selected and matched marble slabs that form an organic pattern similar to the ones you see in the cathedrals of Malta. It is mysterious but at the same time glamourous. The free-flowing pattern of the wall is juxtaposed with the streamlined chevron pattern.
If you crave clarity and simplicity but still want variety go with identical colors and textures. Then introduce several shapes throughout the bathroom. Sometimes, an ordinary subway tile can look fresh if you install it diagonally. All of a sudden it creates a subtle bathroom accent wall that is smart and unpretentious!
Clearly, the safest way to achieve the look that will last is to use monochromatic or neutral colors. And if you don’t want it to look boring introduce several textures. Add cheery furniture within the same style. Finish it all by using amazing lights or sconces.
On the other hand, when a square appears randomly in the middle of the wall it creates visual confusion. Check out an image below. This accent looks like a very pretty patch. Am I right?
Pretty wall tile, right? Except ironically, if you use it all throughout the bathroom it will lose its glamorous appeal. It’s meant to be used as jewelry- in small amounts.
For an organic look that is also rooted in industrial design using a combination of grainy wood and veiny stone. Compliment with details with strong geometric lines. Add flowers to soften it up a bit. Apparently, this look is energetic and calm at the same time.
For those who like a combination of gold and muted blues, this bathroom design might look ideal. I like how shiny herringbone glass tile co-exists with the circular cement look of the floor. This shower accent wall is perfectly installed as well.
Want to energize when you take a shower? introduce a brisk geometric pattern! That simple! Pull the neutral colors from the pattern, such as dark gray and medium gray for other surfaces.
Obviously, you don’t have to use colors if that’s not your thing. Tactile qualities of stone can bring in enough interest to your bathroom design. Use three-dimensional tiles, mosaic tiles, and large squares of the same neutral colors for a distinctly industrial look.
In my opinion, the accent wall and the floor of the above bathroom don’t quite work together. The whole mood of the beige elements is somewhat a marriage of farmhouse and provincial styles. Meanwhile, the blue geometric pattern distracts and creates confusion.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Any questions that you might have about your bathroom accent wall? Shoot an e-mail to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
When I was dreaming up my bathroom I chose black and white bathroom tile so that it would be easy to decorate. Surprise, surprise! It turned out it wasn’t easy, both in terms of installation and coordinating it with other elements. Black and White Tile Quest Some time ago I spotted a pretty geometric black […] The post Great Tips for Black and White Bathrooms appeared first on My Decorating...
When I was dreaming up my bathroom I chose black and white bathroom tile so that it would be easy to decorate. Surprise, surprise! It turned out it wasn’t easy, both in terms of installation and coordinating it with other elements.
Some time ago I spotted a pretty geometric black and white mosaic that looked timeless. However, the price of forty-eight dollars per square foot was more than I could chew.
Luckily I came across a copy of the same tile (made in China, of course) at twenty dollars. Even though the original was thicker and more durable but I decided to go with a cheaper one.
The above is the tile that I picked.
As I said, the tile was not your class A and needed a good installer. The first guy we hired worked very fast. A phone in one hand and the trowel in the other he looked like a guy from Ford’s assembly line. As a result, the tile looked like it had peaks and valleys. It was not completely smooth to touch. Luckily, the wall that he did was for the sink, the vanity, the toilet, and the towel rack so that most of it is covered. We parted with this installer before he started a more visible wall.
Tip: When you notice that the tile installer works too fast and gets distracted check the quality of his job before it is too late.
To complete the project we hired an old-school guy with totally different work ethics. Now the process changed dramatically. No more phone, no more blaming it all on the quality of tile. The second guy, let’s call him Jake, took his time and measured everything to a millimeter. He took his job with black and white bathroom marble mosaic seriously as if he was Michelangelo carving David. Is it a good thing? Yes and no. It literally took him the whole day to cover a few square feet of the wall. Finally, he was done! The quality of the installation was perfect. The installation looked as smooth as wallpaper!
The bathroom is only six feet by eight feet including the shower area. If I were to continue with the same black and white mosaic tile it would look very busy to my eye. So I picked large format (12″x24″) Carrara techno marble, durable porcelain that looks like marble. Honestly, you can’t tell the difference in terms of color and texture. Thankfully, it is easy to install and cutting is a piece of cake compared to marble mosaic.
Tip: For shower area it is safer, easier and quicker to use porelain or ceramic tile rather than marble mosaic.
To transition from the mosaic walls to large size tile in the shower area I chose a black narrow marble pencil. I used half an inch pencil in certain areas and three quarters on the top. The black pencil not only separated the two areas but also created a visual focus.
Tip: Thin black and white tile pencils create a more interesting look. You can choose 3/4 inch or 1/2 inch pencil. They range from $5-$12 each.
To be true to the geometric motif of the walls mosaic in the shape of the peaks I used a circular mosaic on the floor. That was risky, I know. I was running the risk of clashing the elements making the look too busy. But I needed a small pattern on the floor to avoid slipping. The circular small mosaic was a good choice for that.
However, because there was no black within the floor tile pattern, the light gray and darker gray marble did not look overpowering. The border of the floor was repeated on the top of the shower to tie it all together for the visual flow.
I can’t wait to show you the final result of my black and white bathroom project! The lighting and final touches are in the works now. So, stay tuned for my black and white bathroom pictures.
Or if you prefer use one of our linkware images? Click here
If you are the owner of My Decorating Tips, or someone who enjoys this blog why not upgrade it to a Featured Listing or Permanent Listing?