Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Appeal of Rustic Lighting

If you enjoy the outdoor lifestyle, spending time in the beautiful solitude of the mountains and exploring the wilderness, you will probably love rustic decor. Rustic lighting incorporates the materials, designs and history of the great outdoors and the western lifestyle.

Common materials used in rustic lighting are wrought iron, antlers, mica and rawhide. Painstaking detail goes into the design and craftsmanship. Large rustic chandeliers are commonly found in lodges, cabins and log homes. Most of these types of fixtures need a high ceiling and a lot of space. For lower ceilings, a mounted ceiling light or hanging lamp works best. Rustic wall sconces and lamps work well for accent lighting.

Animals such as deer, elk, moose, buffalo, wolves, bears and evergreen trees are popular designs used in rustic lighting. Native American art and designs are also common, as are cowboys and horses. Since deer and elk shed their antlers each year, these can be collected to make stunning chandeliers and lamps. Rawhide and mica are commonly used for lampshades. Rawhide lamp shades look great natural or they can be painted to display beautiful western or Native American designs.

The highest quality rustic lighting is usually handmade right here in the USA. Most designers are willing to take custom orders, so your lamp, chandelier or light fixture will fit in your home the way you want it to. They will also work with you to come up with the exact design and look you want, so you can have a one of a kind item in your home. It might cost a little more but it is well worth it.

Whether its nature, the western lifestyle or Native American art and history, or all of it that appeals to you, rustic lighting makes a great addition to your home. You can find some great ideas browsing through rustic or log home decor magazines or on the internet with rustic and western decor websites.

If you would like more information on custom rustic lighting, email

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cast Iron Cookware

Cast iron cookware has been in home kitchens for hundreds of years. When properly cared for, cast iron skillets, pots, pans, kettles and Dutch ovens can last for generations. Leaving a cast iron kettle or pot on the stove top adds a rustic feel to your kitchen decor. They also look great on a hutch or display shelf. You can also place a cast iron kettle or pie steamer casserole filled with scented water on top of a wood burning stove to add moisture and aroma to the air.

Some cast iron cookware can be purchased pre-seasoned. Seasoning is a treatment that is applied to the cookware to protect it from rusting and provides a non stick surface ideal for cooking. This is done by applying a layer of lard, vegetable, palm or coconut oil to the surface of the metal and then heating it in the oven to bond the fat to the metal. Cooking with fats and oils over time also adds to the seasoning process.

When cleaning your cast iron cookware, it is important not to use a soap or detergent as this will remove the seasoning. The most common methods for cleaning cast iron are simply wiping it off or rinsing with hot water.

Cast iron’s ability to maintain and withstand very high temperatures makes it an excellent choice for searing and frying. It also retains and diffuses heat making it great for slow cooking. Cast iron Dutch ovens are commonly used for this. The term "Dutch oven" has been around for over 300 years, as this type of cooking vessel was first developed in the Netherlands. Cooking with Dutch ovens was very popular with early American colonists and through the 1800's with the explorers of the American frontier and cowboys on long cattle drives. They could be used over a campfire and with coals placed directly on the lid as baking ovens to make biscuits, cakes, breads, pizzas and pies. They were also used for slow cooking roasts and stews. Dutch oven cooking remains as popular as ever today.

With its long history as a staple of home kitchens, cast iron cookware is a valuable addition to your home. In fact, cast iron cookware was so loved and valued by people in the 18th and 19th centuries that it was included in many wills to be passed down to other family members. Start your own collection of cast iron cookware and add some rustic flavor to your kitchen decor.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Decorating Inspirations

Most people decorate their homes to reflect their individual taste and personality. There are many different styles of decor, and within each different style, there are many different possibilities. You could look at ten different examples of contemporary decorating, for example, and each one would be totally unique.
Living in Las Vegas, I see a wide range of decorating styles, everything from ultra high end contemporary designs, Southwestern influences, rustic and lodge themes and many cultural influences such as Asian decor. Asia is such a large continent that this type of decor has influences from China, Korea, Vietnam and Japan as well as countries like India and Pakistan, where the style looks more middle eastern instead of oriental. All Asian decor has one thing in common though, exotic beauty.
Having been born and raised in Wyoming, I have a passion for rustic and western decor. This type of decor is popular all over the country as well as out West. I have the pleasure of working with some very talented designers of this type of decor. One supplier I work with, New West, was co-founded by a fourth generation Wyoming native, Mike Patrick, who grew up on a large cattle ranch. He was also one of the founders of the Western Design Conference. His designs were influenced by the famous Western designer Thomas Molesworth. Matt and Venita Sheridan bought New West in 1993, and continue to produce top quality western furniture and decor with their team of talented craftsmen in historic Cody, Wyoming. Another talented family owned and operated supplier from Wyoming that I have the pleasure of working with is Frontier Ironworks. Founded in 1995 by husband and wife Chris and Traci George, their unique rustic furniture and lighting has been displayed by invitation for years at the Western Design Conference. They have also been featured in several magazines such as Country Living, Log Home Design Ideas, Cabin Life and Wellington Lifestyles. I also feature handmade rustic decor from designer Kendal Von Feldt. She uses pine, Aspen and weathered barnwood found in the rugged forests of the Colorado Rockies to create beautiful one of a kind rustic wine bottle holders, candle holders, picture frames, mirrors and more. Her handmade rustic decor can be found in retail stores throughout Colorado and online at
Another popular design scheme is tropical, which evokes a sense of casual relaxation. Tropical furniture, made from tropical wood such as bamboo, rattan and abaca, calls to mind an island vacation or perhaps a plantation in British Colonial West Indies. Furniture made from these exotic materials is also considered to be eco-friendly because harvesting these plants actually promotes rapid regrowth.
Whatever your style is, have fun with it!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Decorating with Copper

Copper is a fascinating material when you really stop to think about it. Copper is a chemical element, with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29 on the Periodic Table. It is a ductile metal with many valuable uses as a heat conductor, electrical conductor and building material. It is also an essential trace nutrient found in many plants and animals. Who knew copper could be and do so many things!
Copper has even been referred to as a "green" metal because of its many uses as a building material. Everything from plumbing tubes, electrical wiring, roofing and gutters, it can easily be recycled and used over and over again. Copper roofing shingles are known for being durable, low maintenance, light-weight, easy to install and have high recycled content. Copper shingles and copper sheet roofs have been known to last 100 years or longer. Many homeowners are opting for copper roofs, not only because of its ability to withstand harsh weather conditions, but also for it’s visual appeal. Over time, as copper is exposed to the elements, it develops a natural protective film called patina which turns the shiny red color to a blue-green or brown coating that protects it from deteriorating.
While copper has been around for centuries in our homes, used in everything from cookware to more recently, plumbing and wiring, copper is gaining popularity as an art form and can be made into stunning home decor.
Our new copper art home decor comes from Texture Home Decor by Padama’s Plantation. These beautiful copper pieces are available as copper tiles, copper panels, copper discs, copper vases, copper wall art, sconces and more. Explore different ways you can use copper to beautify your home inside and out.