Product Review: Stone Marble Bear Sculpture

27 December 2011

Stone Marble Bear SculptureArt sculptures can add a dignified and, well, artistic look to a home. In cabins, they can be an especially welcome touch, especially by exploring natural themes. A cowboy sculpture in a western or frontier décor setting, or a bear or moose in a more lodge-style décor setting can add a sophisticated museum look.

This Stone Marble Bear Sculpture has a richly sculpted look and is finished in a multi-step process for a lot of dimension in the final color. It’s cast in a fine plaster called Hydrocal that’s often used for small sculptures like this one, lamp bases, or other fine crafts. The sculpture comes in a substantial size, without being oversized, and attracts a lot of attention in a room.

A piece like this is fairly heavy, so if you place it on a tabletop, make sure your furniture is sturdy enough to hold it. Also, keep in mind that the lightweight plaster is not water resistant, so be sure to clean it only with a dry cloth.

As for design, it’s great for adding an elegant touch to your cabin décor. If you have a rustic look in your living area, maybe with a bear-themed sofa set and rugged furniture, a sculpture like this one adds a little note of sophistication and shows off your love for the outdoors. It’s especially good for bear lovers in particular—it portrays the beloved bear in a very respectful and artistic way.

Native American Symbols

19 December 2011

Jerome Bedding CollectionSouthwest-inspired designs make for really lovely cabin décor. The colors may be subtle and muted or rich and saturated, but they’re always gorgeous, and the patterns beautifully capture the beauty of our early heritage. Have you ever wondered what those Native American patterns symbolize?

The meaning behind most Native American patterns will vary among tribes and time periods. But according to this craft maker, here are some guidelines:

  • A symmetrical stepped border pattern is often used on wedding baskets and can symbolize male and female, night and day, mountains or clouds.
  • A border pattern in squared spirals can indicate water or renewal.
  • A circle at the center of a cross of bars is called a Zia, named after the first people to use it, and it symbolizes the sun and the four directions.
  • Arrows symbolize direction or movement, or the life-force of a person or animal.

This soft wool bedding collection uses arrowed crosses that symbolize the place where an individual becomes whole. We love the colors and texture, and the meaning of the pattern only makes it that much more special.

Are you a fan of Native American patterns in your décor? Tell us what they mean to you.

What National Parks Are Near You?

14 December 2011
Courtesy nps.gov

Courtesy nps.gov

National parks can be a great way to experience nature and all the varied beauty of America. We all know about Yellowstone and Yosemite. But there are parks all over the country that are beautiful and offer plenty of tourist opportunities. Here are a few lesser-known parks that may be in your neck of the woods. For your next weekend jaunt, they might be a great destination spot.

  • Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. With 44 miles of historic carriage roads, a sand beach and lots of cool biking opportunities in addition to the usual hiking and picnicking, Acadia is a unique New England destination.
  • Arkansas Post National Memorial in Gillett, Arkansas. Created in memorial of the Poste de Arkansea, a French settlement in early America, this spot is rich in history. It also has an abundance of wildlife with its combination of prairie grasses, lowland forests and wetlands.
  • North Cascades National Park Complex in Sedro-Wooley, Washington. This park offers boating, birding and lots of opportunities for climbing in the gorgeous mountains of the Northwest. If you’re looking for a lake vacation, this is your spot.
  • Petrified Forest National Park in Petrified Forest, Arizona. This is a great place to go if you’re interested in ancient natural history. It has a large and colorful concentration of petrified wood, and you can view fossils that are millions of years old.

Have you taken advantage of national parks in your outdoor adventures? What have been your favorites so far? Any plans to visit a new one anytime soon?

Bear Facts

7 December 2011
Photo courtesy fws.gov

Photo courtesy fws.gov

We love us some bears at Black Forest Décor. We offer a wide selection of bear décor simply because bears make great cabin décor—they can be friendly and whimsical or noble and mysterious, and they make wonderful symbols of the great outdoors. Here are some things you might not know about bears.

  • Grizzly bear cubs are usually born between January and March. A grizzly cub can climb trees until he is about a year old.
  • You probably already knew that a baby bear is called a cub, but you might not have known that a female bear is called a sow and a male bear is called a boar.
  • The largest bear species are brown bears and polar bears.
  • Bears eat constantly during the months before winter to make sure they have enough reserves to get through their winter sleep. During the winter, a black bear might lose between 30 and 50 percent of its fat reserves. Black bears mostly eat berries, nuts, grasses, carrion and insects. Only about 15 to 20 percent of their diet comes from meat.
  • Bears can be dangerous, but they mostly want to avoid people. So if you’re out in bear country, try to avoid surprising a bear—make your presence known by making noise or talking—and give any bear you encounter plenty of space. Here are some guidelines for keeping ever-hungry bears away from your camp food, and for handling an encounter with a bear if that should occur.

Bears are beautiful, shy, intelligent and curious, and they are certainly fun to watch (from a distance). They’re also abundantly fun to decorate with if you enjoy rustic styles. So here’s to bears! May your berries be plentiful and your cubs extra curious.

Product Review: Ducks in Flight Pendant

30 November 2011

Is your cabin also a hunting lodge? Or do you simply enjoy lots of time in the outdoors? If so, outdoor looks make a great addition to your interior décor. This Ducks in Flight Pendant captures a tranquil moment in the marsh with amber mica and copper-finished metal art. It comes equipped with everything you’ll need for installation. If you’re in the dark, so to speak, as to how to install pendant lighting, here’s a helpful video:

If you’re not sure where to place a pendant like this in your home, the ideal place is over a kitchen island. Make sure it hangs down low enough to provide light over the counter without being obtrusive—too high, and it will look awkward, too low and it will simply get in the way. The chain is adjustable to allow you to customize the height. You can also hang it just over a table or desk, or in your home’s entryway if you have a high ceiling.

In terms of style, this piece is outdoorsy, but classic, so it can add a touch of warmth to a hunting lodge, or a rustic element to a lodge study. And of course, it provides light just where you need it, making it functional as well as beautiful. Lighting fixtures like this one are the kind of details that make a home’s décor what it is.

Fire Building Tips

22 November 2011
Courtesy loghome.com

Courtesy loghome.com

Chilly weather is upon us, and for some, that is very good news, because it signals the time to start building fires in the fireplace. There’s something about curling up in front of a toasty hearth with a hot mug of something that makes winter wonderful. But how do you build the perfect fire, one that burns beautifully and spreads heat? Here is a quick how-to from Mother Earth News magazine:

  • Start by stacking small kindling pieces in the middle of your fireplace grate.
  • Then place two split logs at either end, perpendicular to the bars of the grate, angling them toward each other slightly at the back. Don’t let them extend more than about an inch past the edge of the grate, or they may cast a bit of smoke into your home.
  • Next lay a few more pieces of wood across the two logs at a perpendicular angle. Make sure the farthest one from you is actually touching the back of the fireplace.
  • Finally, light the kindling using lit twists of newspaper. The goal of this arrangement is to create a “fire box” that efficiently draws in air and creates heat.

Hopefully those guidelines will help you build the perfect fire the next time you’re at the cabin. Also, keep in mind that the EPA advises against putting anything in your fireplace that releases toxic chemicals when burned, which includes—

  • Household garbage items; the colored ink on magazines, boxes and wrappers is the culprit.
  • Wood that has been coated, painted or pressure-treated.
  • Driftwood, plywood, particle board or any wood with glue on it.
  • Wet, rotted, diseased or moldy wood.

And if you’re looking for fireplace accessories that are just right for the cabin, you might try this Black Bear Fireplace Screen, or this set of Antler Fireplace Tools w/ Brush. They’re both functional pieces that feature the rustic look you love. And they might make your fire season just a little bit brighter.

Summer Entertaining at the Cabin: Resources Roundup

22 June 2011
From RealSimple.com

From RealSimple.com

On this first day of summer, you may have ideas dancing in your head for the perfect party at the cabin. After all, with the Fourth of July and those long summer days that stretch well past 9 p.m., summer is a great time to throw a casual, delicious dinner party, and a cabin is a great place to entertain. To give your hospitality creativity a jump-start, here are a few resources. Enjoy!

  • Here Real Simple offers some tips for easy outdoor entertaining. Our favorite super-practical idea: weigh down paper plates with small bowls of fresh fruit.
  • For a cocktail party, here are some delicious-looking recipes from MarthaStewart.com. That blue cheese and walnut spread looks simple and amazing.
  • Winner of the first season of Master Chef Whitney Miller has a book of simple southern recipes due out in a few weeks. We might be sold on the cupcakes on the cover alone.
  • For barbecue aficionados, here’s a cookbook from pit master Rick Browne that spans the globe. If there’s a grill master in your house, he (or she) will be thrilled to try out these recipes.

With a location at the lakeside, on the beach or in the cool of the mountains, a cabin can be a great place to throw a summer shindig. Tell us what your summer entertaining plans are.

Natural Disasters – How to Be Prepared

14 June 2011
Courtesy appomattoxnews.com

Courtesy appomattoxnews.com

With the recent tornadoes in Tuscaloosa and Joplin—and even Massachusetts—comes the realization that we need to be prepared for disasters and emergencies well before they actually strike. A little preparation can help you weather the storm, and might even save your life, in the event of a flood, tornado, or other emergency. Maybe even a zombie attack, according to this recent CDC blog post.

It turns out that the steps of preparation you should take for a zombie apocalypse are the same for lots of other disasters—stocking up on water and food, keeping household sanitation and first aid items handy, and securing important documents. Some disasters have special additional preparations, of course. Here are some extra things you can do to protect yourself and your family in the face of—

  • Floods: learn flood terminology to help you understand emergency broadcasts; seal walls in basements with waterproof materials; try to move the furnace, water heater and electric panel if they’re in a place that’s in danger of flood; and make sure your essential items are located on the second floor if possible.
  • Tornadoes: create and communicate a family plan for what you’ll do in the event of a tornado—and practice it and have a radio with back-up batteries.

For more information, check out Ready.gov and 72hours.org.

Bear Bedding from Comforters to Coverlets

7 June 2011

Bear Bedding, Comforter, Accent PillowsWhen it comes to cabin décor, bear themes are an overwhelmingly popular choice. They complement wooded settings and rustic décor schemes, and they’re versatile enough to range from a rugged, nature-loving look, to Native American-inspired décor, to classic and traditional, to just plain cute. Bears work as collectibles and figurines and can also adorn functional pieces like dinnerware and furniture. And they have a place in the cabin bedroom as much as any other room in the house—bear bedding can be fun, beautiful and of course, comfortable.

When exploring your bear bedding options, think about what you need most in bedding in general. What time of year do you find yourself spending the most time at the cabin? Do you need heavier-weight coverings, or lighter-weight? What type of bed coverings appeal to you most?

  • Duvet: a down comforter, usually with washable cover
  • Comforter: a filled blanket that covers just the mattress
  • Bedspread: a lighter blanket that covers the bed all the way to the floor
  • Coverlet: like a bedspread, but covers the bed only to the top of the box springs
  • Quilt: a bed covering made from layers of fabric stitched together and padded

Once you’ve decided what type of bed covering you need, you’re sure to find it in the perfect bear design. Choose a color palette that goes well with the rest of your décor. If you have a soft shade of sage green on the walls, for example, go with cooler tones in your bedding. Match jewel tones with similar shades, and warmer color palettes with rich reds and browns.

And when it comes to pattern and fabrics, go with what appeals to you and fits in with your decorating scheme. Bear bedding comes in a variety of rustic themes, from natural looks to Southwest geometric patterns to rugged, outdoorsy designs. A bear quilt can create a warm, traditional feel, all in the bear theme you love.

Once you’ve chosen a pattern and color, don’t neglect the extras like pillows, shams and throws. These little decorating elements make a cabin bed a showpiece that’s both visually and physically comfortable. Here’s a really helpful video breaking down all the elements of a beautiful bed set, with explanations of each: How to Choose Bed Linens.

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There’s a reason why bear bedding is such a beloved addition to cabin décor. Fortunately, there are plenty of styles out there to suit your interior design needs and make your cabin or lodge into a comfy rustic home.

Give Your Room a Budget-Friendly Update

15 March 2011
Photo courtesy loghome.com

Photo courtesy loghome.com

If your décor is looking a little blah and your pocketbook a little thin, there are lots of ways to give a room a refresher without breaking your budget.  Here are five easy, budget-friendly updates you can give your favorite room. In no time, you can be relaxing in a room that looks all-new and didn’t cost you a fortune.

Paint

A splash of color on the walls has a way of giving a room a completely different look. Whether you choose to take a chance on a bright shade or soften the room with a mellow neutral, a coat of paint is an effective update that doesn’t cost much. Here are some painting tips and techniques from Sherwin-Williams. According to them, when choosing a color, remember that:

  • Warm colors create a feeling of energy, excitement and action, while cool colors are more useful if you want to create a peaceful, relaxing mood.
  • Bright, light tones make a room feel spacious, while deeper shades can make areas appear smaller.

Accessories

You can switch out pieces like window treatments and lamps to create a new look in your room, or you can add new touches like picture frames, mirrors and throw pillows. In this article on SheKnows.com, designer Andrea Evans says, “Adding mirrors to rooms adds glamor, twinkle and brightness, while opening a room up at the same time.” Little touches can make a big difference in your room, and won’t break the bank.

Hardware

Evans also says that updating the details of a room can make a small, but effective change. Decorative switch plate covers, vent covers and other hardware can give a room a little extra polish and are very often not expensive at all. Try new cabinet knobs and pulls in the kitchen or a new towel bar in the bathroom, and watch your walls get a total makeover.

Giving a room a whole new look doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money. A few simple changes can get you closer to the room of your dreams without taking half your paycheck in the process. All it takes is a little creativity. Happy decorating!

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