Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Holiday Gift Ideas Part 1–Kachina Dolls

As the holidays are approaching, now is the time to start your online holiday shopping. In the first post of my Holiday Gift Ideas series, I will highlight a fantastic gift idea for the Native American or Southwestern art lover.

Originally given as educational gifts to Hopi children, an authentic Hopi Kachina doll is my first pick for an amazing and unique gift. This would not, however, be recommended for a child today, these dolls are much too valuable. I would only recommend this as a special gift to a serious collector of Native American or Southwestern art and only if it is within your budget.

Kachina dolls represent the masked male dancers called Kachinas. Kachina dancers represent spirits, often animals or abstract ideas, that carry the prayers of the Hopi people back to the spirit world. The Kachina spirits are believed to live on certain sacred mountain peaks in the Southwest. Ceremonies are held during the Hopi religious calender, from December to mid July. There are five major ceremonies lasting nine days each. The Kachinas dance in the plaza and from Kiva to Kiva, giving the dolls and other gifts to the children. The Hopi people sprinkle corn pollen on the dancers as they pass by, offering prayers and exchanging blessings before the spirits return to their mountain homes.

Traditionally, Kachina dolls are carved from a single piece of cottonwood tree root. These roots are light and sturdy, making them an excellent material for carving. Starting with a rough log of cottonwood root, the artist begins carving out the basic shape of the doll. As the work progresses, finer details begin to appear. When the artist is finished carving, the doll is painted with the appropriate colors of the Kachina it represents. Kachina dolls are believed to posses some of the power of it’s spirit likeness.

There are other Pueblo Native American tribes that make Kachina dolls like the Zuni and Navajo, but these dolls do not have the religious significance or value that authentic Hopi Kachina dolls have. The Zuni make Shalako Kachina dolls as decorative figurines. The Navajo also began carving Kachina dolls, embellishing them with beads, leather, feathers, fur and turquois. If an authentic Hopi Kachina doll is out of your price range, an authentic Zuni or Navajo Kachina doll would also make an excellent gift.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Adding Modern Contemporary Decor To Your Home

There are so many different choices when decorating with a modern or contemporary theme. Just as in the fashion industry, designers of decor and furniture are continuously creating new and unique designs.

Many new designs in home decor mix modern art with home decorating. Texture is popular and important element in creating decor with a unique look and feel. Wall art that has dimension and texture is one of the hottest trends today. A great example of this is 3-D etched metal wall art. There are many designers and artists using metal to create stunning wall art. Copper is a popular element used in metal wall art. Beautiful and unusual designs are achieved by oxidizing copper leaf over powder coated metal.

Sculpture is another popular element in contemporary decorating. There are endless choices in materials, colors and designs in sculpture. Everything from the smooth, sleek lines of glass, ceramic and metal to the rich textures found in natural elements and materials. Blown art glass is an ancient art form that continues to captivate collectors and decorators. Watching a seasoned glass blower create these wondrous works of art is fascinating.

There is also an abundance of choice in contemporary furniture designs. It can range from ultra sophisticated to ultra casual. Sleek lines and cutting edge designs are often found in what’s called modern furniture. Ironically, modern furniture often has a retro design or look. Natural elements that add texture and bring a sense of nature indoors are common in tropical decorating. Tropical themes are very popular in contemporary furniture and a growing trend is eco-friendly or green furniture. This style of furniture is usually made from renewable resources like bamboo, rattan and abaca and gives the room a casual, relaxed atmosphere, much like a tropical resort.

The next best thing to the flexibility of contemporary decorating is the wide range of prices. Contemporary decor has something for every budget. Exploring your creative side has never been more fun, inspiring and exciting.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Updating Your Bathroom

Bathroom make overs don’t have to be an expensive, major home remodeling project. If your budget is tight, especially in today’s economy, there are things you can do to update the look of your bathroom without breaking the bank.

The first thing you need to do is figure out your budget. How much do you want to spend or more importantly, how much can you comfortably afford to spend. Once you figure out your budget, stick to it. Remember, your bathroom make over can be done in stages if necessary.

A fresh coat of paint on the walls is a great place to start. Don’t be afraid to use color! If you’re worried about the paint color clashing with your shower curtain and accessories, then buy those first. Decide what design and color scheme you want for your bathroom accessories and then pick a paint color for the walls that will contrast nicely with those colors.

You can improve the way your toilet looks and functions by buying a new decorative flushing handle and plumbing kit for the tank. A new seat and lid can also greatly improve your toilet. A dark cherry wood seat and lid looks beautiful.

Laying new linoleum on the floor is an easy, inexpensive improvement. If your bathroom has a window, new blinds or curtains are a big help. New towel racks and toilet paper holders are quick and easy to install.

No matter what your bathroom design is, a great addition includes bamboo fiber bath towels. More absorbent than cotton towels, bamboo fiber bath towels are naturally odor resistant and anti microbial. These luxury bath towels are incredibly soft and come in many vivid colors.

If you have a small bathroom, try using lighter colors on the walls. Large mirrors help reflect light and give the illusion of more space. A pedestal sink instead of a traditional vanity with cabinets under the sink can help open up space in a small bathroom. Shelving over and behind the toilet can be used to store items that were kept under the sink.

A nice final touch to your bathroom are scented candles. Not only do they look great, when lit, they add a calming, relaxing atmosphere and pleasant aroma.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Unique Decorating With Rustic Art

Handmade rustic art makes unique and unusual home decor. It also enables you to decorate your home with items that are one of a kind. Many of the home decor products you can find at HomeTreasureCove are made by hand, including rustic and western decor, Asian decor, Native American decor and hand blown art glass.

One rustic artist we have the pleasure of working with is Kendall Von Feldt. Kendall grew up in the scenic Pocono mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. This 2400 square mile area of mountains, lakes, streams, waterfalls and woodlands is a popular vacation destination for outdoor enthusiasts. A true lover of the outdoors herself, Kendall currently lives on what she refers to as her "own little piece of heaven" in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. She is excited about building her first solar cabin.

Kendall has always loved all forms of art and especially loves designing earthy elements to decorate the interior and exterior of her home. Most of the wood she uses in her rustic art comes from her own property. She gathers forest materials and transforms them into picture frames and mirror frames, making collages on the frames from different natural elements. Some of her most unique products are her Aspen wine racks, which are made from hand picked Aspen trees. Kendall also uses reclaimed barnwood to create beautiful rustic picture frames and old fence post pieces to make unique candle holders.

The latest items Kendall is in the process of making are charming little rustic cabins. These cabins are made out of pine and driftwood and will soon be ready to purchase online. They make excellent gifts for anyone looking for something unique. If you would like more information on these cabins or have a special request, email support@hometreasurecove.com.