“The Voice of the Internet”

Reddit.com is a website I visit daily. Unlike Digg, Fark or Drudge Report, I prefer Reddit for the simple and easy to navigate design.

First off, Reddit hardly contains any distracting advertising. It has a list of links to websites, pictures justified on the left hand side where it is easy to skim through and select what you would like to read more about. Advertising is usually located on the right-hand of the screen when displayed and as a top ‘sponsored’ link.

Reddit uses a simple color for the background and uses blue for links and as an accent in certain places. Reddit uses a simple font- nothing fancy or difficult to read.

With a list format similar to Fark and Digg, Reddit stands out with its extremely simple format of text and links.

A popular discussion recently on Reddit was about revamping the website. Many avid Reddit users disagree with a change as Digg recently changed their design and lost tons of readers. Reddit readers enjoy this website because of it’s simplicity and easy navigation.

If I were to make changes to Reddit’s layout, I would make an option for users to login to their account and have customized layouts. This way users who want to change the appearance will be satisfied and it can stay the same for those who like it just as it is.

Again, one of the main things I love about Reddit is how simple and easy it is to use. When you first visit Reddit.com, you are greeted by numerous links to click upon. There are also links at the top of the page explaining the different sections of the website you can venture into. I like how these are separated into different sections so I can find something that interests me quickly, where it be news, funny pictures and comics or advice posts.

Joining Reddit.com is also extremely easy without any hassle or long annoying process. Registering for Reddit literally only takes a few seconds. Reddit does not require you create an account with your email and I like knowing Reddit will not be selling or spamming with email with advertisements.

Finally, one of the design elements I find important is the ranking system of websites or picture submissions and comments. This allow readers to rank the submissions higher or lower and it will appear on the website accordingly. I feel this is a great feature because the submissions enjoyed the most will be the highest featured and not just the most recent boring story I do not care to read. Reddit readers communicate about every subject featured on the site and have a great sense of community. Alongside the newsworthy and comedic photos, I greatly enjoy reading the ‘Ask Reddit,’ where users submit an issue or question they want advice from Reddit users.

Reddit is very interesting in how it continues to gain popularity with such a simple website design. Most would believe that in this 21st Century, only websites created in flash with interesting things to look at in every pixel would be thriving, but Reddit just goes to show that isn’t always the case.

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Light and Linens

Spring air is refreshing and is one of the best times for projects to be done before the summer heat. Creating your own blackout drapes is actually a lot easier than one might first think! Most blackout drapes are only available in solid boring colors with suede fabric that collects dust and pet fur. For less than the cost of blackout drapes, you can purchase fabric and Roc-lon, a flame retardant drapery lining. Roc-lon also is available in different widths so you can choose how much light you want to show through.

Sew the Roc-lon to the fabric.

I created curtains for my sliding glass doors as they were letting an extreme amount of heat in each day. I went to my favorite local fabric store and purchased fabric that I thought would work best with my living room. I started by looking in the clearance bins and ended up finding exactly what I wanted for half the price!

Sew the edges to prevent fraying.

First measure exactly how high you want the curtains on the wall and give approximately 7 inches more for the rod and a seam around the edge on the bottom. When working with such large pieces, lay the side you want exposed to the room down, flat on the floor. Pin the edges for the seam and to prevent fraying and sew. With the curtain fabric face down, lay the Roc-lon on top of the fabric and pin the top, folding over the fabric approximating 3 inches for the curtain rod. Do not sew seams on the Roc-lon as it is will not fray with astraight scissored cut.

Hang the rod and curtains and it’s finished! You have created customized blackout curtains for a fraction of the cost and can now stay cool all summer long.

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Chalk It Up!

HGTV.com's Thrifty Chalkboard

Chalkboards do not always have to be for teachers, they can be used to decorate too! Chalkboards are great for daily family reminders or for month-long activities.

Chalkboards can be insanely fun and leave an incredible amount of room for creativity. By mounting the chalkboard by the door allows all the members of the family pass by it before leaving for the day and be aware of any notes left behind.

You do not have purchase a big and boring chalkboard from the store as you can create your own in little to no time.

You can get creative with finding a frame that fits your design. You can either purchase frame wood from your local home-improvement store or you can find an old picture frame at second hand stores, such as Goodwill or Savers. Pictures frames are usually cheap at these stores as they are missing the glass that isn’t needed for this project. Remember, don’t worry about color! You can paint it any shade and can add any kind of embellishments or frills.

After you have the frame in the exact size you want, trace the area inside of the frame on the wall. Purchase chalkboard paint in your desired color at a home-improvement store and paint it in the traced area. After it dries, nail the frame to the wall and you have the perfect chalkboard made just for your needs.

Don’t let the frame limit you! If you’re adventurous enough, paint an entire wall into a chalkboard. The children will love being artists and you will constantly have darling new artwork.

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Paintings and Portraits!

Three canvas panels can create a dramatic effect in any room.

I love artwork and I love it in all forms, especially paintings, photographs, portraits! I was so excited to decorate my house in beautiful pieces that would accentuate the room, but I was having trouble finding a piece of artwork that would cover a decent amount of space on the vast wall in my living room as displayed in the photo above. (Top photo courtesy of JCPenny.com)

Credit: Art & Creativity Blog

I found an outline of a dandelion being blown by the wind online. I love the artistic, natural and dainty appeal of a dandelion and wanted to incorporate this into my modern living room.

I printed the dandelion to where it takes up the majority of a normal sized piece of paper. and copied it with a copy machine onto a transparency paper, available at a local office supply store. I also purchased three canvases, matching paint and brushes from Michael’s creativity store. I found that they have the best sales on canvases – wait for a buy one get one free deal!

This step can be a little tricky, but with patience and creativity you can find a way to make it work. I hung the three canvases equally spaced and where I wanted them placed on the wall. I then found a old moving box and cut a large square, large enough for the entire image to be seen through. I taped the dandelion transparency on square hole and placed a lamp on it’s side in the box. This will create a shadow and outline onto the wall of the design. I traced the entire image with a pencil onto the canvases and then brought them down to paint. After they were all finished I rehung the paintings and my living room was completely and exactly how I dreamed it look.

What picture or design did you choose for your artwork?

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Doors to Dreamland

My Home Made Headboard

I wanted to create a different and artistic headboard for my bedroom. I love the antique and rustic feel of taking old materials and making them into something else. I was at garage sales for weeks and on the hunt until I finally found two very old and very heavy antique doors. I knew right away they were perfect! I then sanded the doors and painted them a dark red color that matches my bedroom.  After the paint dried, I applied crackle medium that you can purchase at your home improvement store and then applied a clear finish.  The clear finish is important as the paint can crack off entirely without it!

For many different crackling techniques, visit Michael’s website, a home craft store. They have instructions for applying the paint in various ways to get the exact type of crackling you desire for your project.

Crackle paint gives an authentic antique feel.

After the paint dried, I screwed on wall mounts so I could properly attach the doors to the wall and did not have any worry about it falling. With the doors hung and the bed made, my bedroom has the exact feel and decor I originally planned. (My finished project is featured above.)

Blissful Begonia's fabric headboard

Headboards do not always have to be attached to the bed frame. Let your creativity run wild and think of something unique!

One of my favorite projects that is inexpensive and cheap to produce is a fabric headboard. With plywood cut to your bed size, matting, and a matching fabric pattern for the room, you can create a stylish headboard. Blissful Begonia has a tutorial on how to make this interesting and fun piece. I also love the picket fence headboard from HGTV.com! It would look darling for a little girl’s princess room.

How have you decorated your room? Did you create something different with the headboard?

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Dining and Designing for Less

 

A breakfast bar was created from a sofa table by adding matching stools.

A friend of mine was wanting a bar so they could eat, watch television, get on a laptop or read at a table while still being with the rest of the family in the living room. Instead of building an expensive and permanent bar, she found a perfect sofa table with matching stools.

The swirl design really gives the room a refreshing look.

The color compliments her couch and matches with the rest of the furniture. The swirl design is a nice change from the straight-boxed feel of the other furniture nearby. She also brought in the color scheme of the rest of the room by adding matching place-mats.

Adding place-mats and plates help bring the colors from the room together.

She found this breakfast bar and all the stools for under $250 at a local Marshall’s. By being patient and continuing to search for exactly what you want will save you time and money. She did not have to hire a contractor and she still has the possibility to change it at any time.

Keep thinking on how you can create any object to meet your needs!

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Relaxation and Meditation

There are many reasons individuals redecorate a room, whether it be to add space, to reuse the space in a different way, or to obtain a whole new look and feel. No matter what the reason, it’s always a good idea to keep the basic zen elements in mind when you are wanting to attain a peaceful environment. Making a relaxing space is different for everyone. The picture above, taken at the Azul Hotel in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, is an example of a zen-inspired room. While this works well at a hotel, I recommend making your space into something that represents you and will make you feel jubilant, yet rested.

calm environment is an clean environment. Getting rid of anything you don’t need and sorting out the rest will help create an organized and peaceful atmosphere. In the blog, My Journey to Lean, the writer suggests getting rid of everything you haven’t used within a year. If it’s still lingering around untouched between all the holidays, projects and parties, it’s time to toss it.

After you have cleared the space, you must begin to think of a color scheme. Most would assume neutral and earthy tones to be calming, but that isn’t always the case. Think about what suits you and makes you happy! In Sincerely Samantha’s blog, she loves black and white and has created a perfect area for her to enjoy and relax. Even though it’s only two colors, it’s anything but boring. It’s up to you and how you want your space to make you feel. If being at the ocean makes you happy, paint your room blue and decorate accordingly.

If you’re having trouble finding a color or scheme and don’t want to make the commitment to a certain color just yet, here are some examples of the meanings of colors from ColorWheelPro.com:

  • Red – Energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination, as well as passion, desire, and love
  • Brown – stability, masculinity
  • Orange – energy and happiness, increases oxygen supply to brain, stimulates mental activities
  • Yellow – sunshine, joy, happiness, warms, increases mental activity, generates muscle energy, may cause babies to cry more
  • Green – nature, growth, harmony, freshness, healing power, restful, can improve vision
  • Olive Green – peace
  • Blue – sky and sea, depth and stability, trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, decreases metabolism, increases calm
  • Purple – stability and energy, power, nobility, luxury, ambition, creativity
  • White – light, goodness, innocence, cleanliness
  • Black – power, elegance, formality, death, evil, mystery

In the end, creating that perfect zen space is all up to you. Discover what makes you happy or where you find true bliss. Choose any color you desire and run with it. Possibilities are endless. Remember, don’t be afraid to try something new or different. There isn’t anything a few coats of paint won’t fix.

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