Author Archives: Treetopia

Red, white, and blue are the colors of patriotism for many Americans especially when Independence Day rolls in. The 4th of July is the perfect time to transform your home into a stylish display of American pride. Though this special day is only celebrated once a year, simple changes to home design can instill a festive atmopshere that befits the occasion. Here are some home decoration ideas that you can try:

Flaunt the colors of Americana

A favorite way to exude patriotic vibe in your home is to go for the red, white, and blue color theme. Check your cabinets for functional items that come in these colors and mix and match for a balanced look. Spruce up kitchens and dining areas with colorful trays, dish towels, and containers. Bedrooms come alive by bringing out old-fashioned quilts, layering red and blue linens, and replacing a contemporary lampshade with a red gingham one.

Bring color to windows, shelves, and tables with red, white, and blue flowers like geraniums and hydrangeas. Use blue metal buckets or ceramic pots with red patterns as planters or put  some cutflowers in stylish white vases with red ribbons tied around them.

If you want to go beyond the color scheme, shoot for the stars—and stripes. Revive living rooms with throw pillow covers or rugs with stripes-and-stars patterns. Create a fitting garland by cutting out red stars strung along a blue and white ribbon.

Set the ambiance with flags

Nothing replaces hanging the Old Glory for the 4th of July. Hang the flag on your front porch and add red, white, and blue accents like blue hydrangeas tied with red ribbons on the white fence.  You can also hang a couple of smaller flags on one wall of the living room for a bold impact.

A creative way to go about this is to set up the Vote for Me Tree in your living room. An interpretation of the flag, this patriotic tree exudes true American vibe.

Add vintage accents

Vintage items spell old Americana. Scout stores or garage sales for enamelware you can display or use as containers in the kitchen.  Arrange antique ceramic décor like figurines or family heirloom on shelves and hang paintings in traditional frames in the living room. Rustic watering cans can be hung on the porch or used as a unique vase or planter for an outdoor table.

Make dining a patriotic affair

Make your 4th of July gathering complete with a table all decked out with patriotic flavor. Start off with a table cloth with vintage design or a simple white linen with red and blue table runners. Place mini flags in tiny glasses beside each guest’s plate and tie table napkins with red and blue ribbons. Whether plastic or ceramic, go for dinner ware that come in red, blue, or white solid colors or patterns. Set this on top of place mats in contrasting color.

With these decorating ideas, your home is ready for a truly happy Independence Day celebration. Now you only need to sit back as you watch the fireworks light up the night sky. Happy 4th of July!

Let’s be honest – Valentine’s Day drives everyone nuts. Every year, countless people make grand romantic gestures in the throes of this temporary insanity and wind up falling flat on their faces.

If you think getting rejected in front of all your friends is embarrassing, be thankful you’re not always in the public eye like celebrities are. While we always have the chance to conveniently forget our romantic faux pas the next time February 14 rolls around, the more famous folks among us have to live with each agonizing mistake recorded forever on tabloids, news sites, and artificial Christmas tree company blogs. This Valentine’s Day, we’d like to give you the gift of schadenfreude with this list of famous romantic mistakes:

Having a Spur-of-the-Moment Wedding in Vegas

So you meet someone and you feel like it’s love at first sight. You’re in Vegas and after three rounds of shots, you both decide it’s a good idea to tie the knot. Britney Spears did it with childhood friend Jason Alexander, and Britney had the marriage annulled just hours later. Pam Anderson had her own Vegas wedding after a night of bar hopping – she and short-time hubby Rick Salomon got an annulment two months later. See the trend?

Sure, less-famous people do the same thing every day, but their mistakes aren’t front-page tabloid fodder for the next week. Here’s a tip for you lovebirds out there: alcohol + wedding chapel doesn’t automatically mean romance. Stay clear of this gaffe and avoid the hangover of your life (along with some pretty hefty lawyer’s fees) by not partying too hard in Sin City.

Tattooing Her Name on Parts of Your Body

It’s permanent ink. It hurts. It’s usually in easily-visible parts of the human body. It’s a horrible, horrible mistake if you’re part of a Hollywood romance.

Johnny Depp was once so in love with his Edward Scissorhands costar that he had “Winona Forever” tattooed on his right bicep. Ten years later, he’s had kids with another woman and she’s been in court for shoplifting. The tattoo is still there, but he’s had to have additional work done to change it to “Wino Forever”. Denise Richards got “Winning” star Charlie Sheen’s name tattooed on her ankle. After their divorce, it was reworked into a fairy.

When you’re a big star and want to forget a failed romance, you probably don’t want to have lasers and needles involved. Instead of getting a tattoo of your partner, go for flowers and candy instead. They may not last forever, but your relationship might not, either.

Having an Affair with a Married Person

Husband-stealer, home-wrecker, tramp – there are dozens of words we wouldn’t want associated with us, ever. When you’re in the spotlight and dating someone else’s significant other, however, random strangers on pages all over the Internet get to call you that.

Leanne Rimes and Eddie Cibrian were the focus of an Internet mob when they were caught by their respective spouses cheating with each other. Adopters extraordinaire Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt supposedly started their affair while filming Mr. and Mrs. Smith, despite Brad still being married to Jennifer Aniston at the time. What followed suit was a pop culture war between Team Angelina and Team Jennifer.

Tabloids love it when celebrity couples ruin their marriages, and people just love to eat these stories up. Having illicit affairs with paparazzi following you around will make sure that it all gets discovered and airs on television the next day. So as a helpful reminder from us here at Treetopia, please don’t like it if someone else put a ring on it.

There are countless other stories out there, each more cringe-inducing than the last. This Valentine’s Day, let’s all take some time to be thankful our romantic faux pas aren’t plastered all over magazine covers.

 

Image by Dewet, accessed via commons.wikimedia.org.

February 8 marks the birthday of one of history’s most inspiring authors, Jules Verne. The visionary thought well ahead of his time, writing about submarines and expeditions to the moon long before they were invented. To this day, many experts consider him to be the Father of Science Fiction.

Jules Verne’s work never ceases to stimulate the imagination, which is why in celebration of his birthday, we’re presenting decorating ideas based on two of his most popular works:

 

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

This beloved classic tells the tale of Professor Pierre Annorax, a marine biologist, and his adventures aboard the mysterious Captain Nemo’s underwater vessel, the Nautilus. Submerging into the deepest areas of the open seas, Annorax, Nemo and the rest of the crew encounter fantastical creatures and discover awe-inspiring ruins – including the city of Atlantis itself!

Capture the deep-sea atmosphere by using deep blue as your main color. Our In the Navy Blue Christmas Tree makes for a perfect backdrop, but you can also use a traditional tree for this theme. Clear or yellow lights on the tree help simulate the small glowing wildlife that’s learned to adapt to the ocean’s abyss. Trim your tree with underwater-themed ornaments like coral and fish. You can also “rebuild” Atlantis and other sunken ruins by hanging lightweight aquarium ornaments like castles and shipwrecks onto your tree.

There are two key pieces to this theme: the Nautilus and the giant octopus that attacks the crew during one of the book’s most exciting parts. You can find any toy submarine (although the more steampunk the style, the better) to serve as the Nautilus, while the only requirement for the toy octopus is that it’s bigger than any other individual ornament on the tree. Either makes for a good tree topper, but I do find that the Nautilus looks best floating around the center of the tree.

Around the World in Eighty Days

Wealthy bachelor Phileas Fogg wagers that, with the creation of a new railroad system in India, it is now possible to travel around the world in just 80 days. Taking along his valet Passepartout, Phileas embarks on a grand race against time for the adventure of a lifetime.

Although Phileas and Passepartout never actually use a hot air balloon in the book, the image of their sky-bound travels has been used in so many movies and TV shows that it’s the most recognizable aspect of the story. It’d be a shame not to use the popular conception of the story for our tree, so we might as well do without literary faithfulness this time.

A light blue Christmas tree will suit this scheme best. Line the lower portion of your tree with ornaments in the shape of buildings and homes from different cultures – go for as much variety as you can! Scatter a few white ball ornaments along the upper third of your tree to serve as clouds. A pocket watch makes for a quaint-looking ornament, while at the same time serving as a reminder of Fogg’s time limit. Make sure you hang a toy hot air balloon in the most visible spot in the sky; it’s the star of the show, after all! You can either top the tree with a clock or the sun, or you can leave it bare.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg with Jules Verne! You can draw inspiration from his enormous body of work, which includes creative masterpieces like A Journey to the Center of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon, and The Mysterious Island, among many others. Have fun, and let your imagination run wild with his stories!

It’s February, and lovebirds everywhere are talking about what they’ll be doing for Valentine’s Day. While everyone is sharing their ideas for dates, gifts, and single-ship awareness, we at Treetopia would like to bring to the forefront the very thing that makes all the romance possible: the heart.

February also happens to be American Heart Month, a special month-long movement for raising awareness on cardiovascular health. We’re showing our support for this project with our very own Facebook donation program. For every new “Like” we get on the Treetopia Facebook page, we’ll be donating $1 to Go Red for Women, the American Heart Association’s project for raising awareness for women’s heart problems.

Show you support by heading on over to the Treetopia Facebook page and clicking on the “Like” button. If you already like us (and thank you for doing so!), feel free to spread word to your friends – it’s for a really good cause!

For more information on Go Red for Women, click here. You can also “Like” them on the Go Red for Women Facebook page!

 

Super Bowl XLVI promises to be an epic battle between the New England Patriots (Go Pats!) and the New York Giants, and we all know what that means – it’s time for a Super Bowl Sunday party! There’s nothing like watching a thriller in the company of good friends and good food, unless of course you’re lucky enough to get tickets to the big game. For those of us who’ll be stuck at home watching the game on TV, things can be just as fun with a few party tricks:

1. Plan Your Guests

The people you invite make up the bulk of your party’s atmosphere, so it’s really important that you get the right folks to come over. From my experience, it’s always good to have some of your loudest, most raucous friends watch the game with you. Noisy fans tend to have contagious energy levels, which is key to creating that stadium feel at home. Besides, who watches football quietly seated in the corner?

You have to make sure, however, that whoever you invite is a good sport. You want this in case your team loses (Brady isn’t going to let that happen, of course); bad sports make for bad company in these situations. They’re either big downers or so full of anger that their moods will actually spread throughout the party.

This is especially important if you have friends rooting for the opposite team. The occasional ribbing is part of the fun with sports, but you don’t want anyone starting fights in the heat of the moment – especially when you have the safety of your furniture to think about.

2. Put Up Some Unique Decorations

While the game and your guests set most of the party’s atmosphere, your decorations will go a long way into creating the mood, particularly during the pre-game.  Put things over the top by using a unique focal point to the decorations, along with some other unconventional items throughout the house. Not only do these pieces keep everyone’s minds on football, but their wow factor also serves as a conversation starter.

This year, I’m bringing out my red, navy and silver Christmas trees and setting up a sort of “Super Bowl nook”. It’s always fun to see your team’s colors where you’d least expect them. I even bought some cute tree ornaments from the NFL shop to spruce things up.

If you have kids, you can gather up some clothes in your team’s colors and dress up some of their stuffed toys. Give the toys their own “bleacher” – an unused chair or sofa – and craft up some handmade pennants and signs. This will give you a second group of adorable fans to watch the game with.

Feel free to experiment and indulge your creativity. The more out there your ideas are, the more interesting your décor will be.

3. Go Overboard with the Food

By “overboard”, I mean both in flavor and in quantity. Savory food like buffalo wings and pizza always add to the energy of the affair, and they taste fantastic to boot. You’ll also want to prepare food for more people than you’re expecting; people tend to get peckish before, during, and after the game. You also never know who’s going to bring a surprise plus one to the affair.

For my parties, I also like to toss in a quirky item into the menu. Last year, I made perogis stuffed with 3 types of Wisconsin cheese and jalapenos in honor of the Steelers and Packers. This year, I’m baking up a batch of gingerbread men wearing Patriot and Giant uniforms. This way, the Patriots will be with us in more ways than one, and we can bite the heads off of the Giants. It’s win-win, in my opinion!

4. Have Extra Entertainment Handy

It’s crucial that you don’t depend entirely on the game to keep your guests entertained. Not everyone enjoys the halftime show, and some people tend to linger for a while after the game. We typically fire up the kids’ Xbox for a little football gaming after the final whistle, but I’m thinking of doing something different this year. We bought a couple of new board games recently, so I’m probably going to try them out with everyone once the game’s done.

Of course, what you do at your party is purely dependent on what your friends are interested in. If you have a bunch of budding singers at your party, renting out a karaoke machine is always a good idea. Cocktails are also always welcome, and you won’t have to strain your imagination too much. What’s important is that you always have something fun to break any possible lull moments with.

Hopefully, these tips have given you a few ideas on how to make your own Super Bowl party extra special this year. Let’s hope Sunday’s game is just as good!

 

Trophy photo by pkeleher, pizza photo public domain. Both accessed via commons.wikimedia.org.