Mirror Mirror on the Wall (or Floor or Door or Anywhere)

Mirrors are wonderful. They can be used to enlarge a space, add a decorative accent, or be used to customize a bath or bedroom. They are available in an unbelievable array of sizes and finishes as well as styles and prices.

Historically, mirrors have been very popular. If you have ever had the fortunate experience of going through Versailles in France, you will know what I mean. There are reproductions today of mirrors used in every decade of history. And the reproductions are available now for all of us to enjoy.

Venetian mirrors are very “in” right now. It surprises me a bit, since economically we are in a tough time and they are probably the most opulent of mirrors. They are made with hand-etched beveled glass and often have very ornate rosettes, ribbons and gold leaf accents. At Tuesday Morning, we occasionally get them in and they are sold as quickly as we can unpack them.

Tuscan style carved wood mirrors are also very popular right now. They are ornately carved and often have unusual shapes. When hung above a sideboard or a dining room buffet they add interest and reflection and can enlarge the size of the space.

Think about grouping mirrors as you would artwork. Purchase a multitude of small mirrors in different shapes but similar finishes and hang them above the sofa. Check out http://www.bejane.com/ - this is a good website that tells you step-by-step how to hang mirrors properly.

Cheval style mirrors (really just a mirror on its own stand) are wonderful in guest rooms or bedrooms. Take down the dated mirror in your powder room and hang a new decorative one. Check our Tuesday Morning or HomeGoods - they both stock mirrors and their stock changes often.

Another idea is to go to a picture framer and have them make you a custom mirror if you have a difficult space. Or, take the unframed mirror from your bathroom and choose a new molding at the framers and they will assemble it for you. Customize instantly!

I also love the giant wall mirrors that are not hung, but lean against the wall. They serve to enlarge the space and look cool while doing so. My daughter Adrienne has one she purchased on sale from
Crate and Barrel. It looks great and I know she will be able to use it for years.

So, mirror mirror on the wall, we all know the fairest of them all and it is YOU, the great Becky Knows Everything reader!

*Becky Knows Everything: Don’t forget, all mirrors do one thing, they REFLECT so be sure you want to see what they will reflect. In other words, be wary of hanging a mirror above a fireplace since it is mostly going to reflect the ceiling or the ceiling fan!

Photos from Elle Decor and Crate and Barrel


Becky Knows Everything - Not Just a Blog, but a Book Too!

Have I told you about my new book? Not too long ago I told you we were celebrating 100 blogs on BECKY KNOWS EVERYTHING. I had some wonderful reader response and my son and daughter-in-law sent me beautiful notecards with a black chandelier and “BECKY KNOWS EVERYTHING” printed on the front. They were such a nice gift and I have already used most of them! My wonderful sister also sent me a gift certificate to the Outback. My favorite!

My daughter Adrienne pulled of a huge surprise - she HAD ALL 100 BLOGS PRINTED IN A HARDBOUND BOOK FOR ME!! I couldn’t believe it when it arrived in the mail. She used the photos on the website and all the info just as it was originally written. Quite simply, it was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.

It’s all in there – photos of Mom and Bonnie and family and friends and recipes with photos and comments too. What a wonderful thing to treasure and hand down to my grandchildren someday. I have taken a photo of my book so I could share it with you. Hope someone in your life brings you as much happiness and support I have received from my family.


Parsley, Basil, and Thyme, Oh My!

Don’t you love to cook or even just smell fresh herbs? And don’t you hate the way Martha Stewart pronounces that word? She says it like the man’s name Herb and it is a bit annoying, at least to me. Every time she says it I talk back to the TV and tell her to knock it off.

Anyway for the last three years I have tried to grow fresh herbs for myself. I have tried basil and thyme and rosemary and parsley. That famed duo Pudgie and Vicki also have tried to help me and each year they either drown from too much rain (yes, I do make sure they have a drainage hole) or they die from heat exhaustion. I wish one of you would write in and tell me what I am doing wrong.

My former Cincinnati neighbor, Kathy has 10 green thumbs, (you should see her plants) and she laughs at me each year. She gives good advice but it never seems to work for me. I have sent her photos of these pitiful plants and she has lots of ideas on how to salvage them, but nothing happens. Anyway, I will try again this year and let you know. Meanwhile, I have taken a photo of my current basil plant (I say this loosely since it is not planted, but does have roots) purchased at the grocery. They last pretty long on my sink and I always have a cute container for them, so that is something anyway.

Maybe 2010 will be my year!


Best Bar Nuts Ever

There is a wonderful restaurant in New York City called The Union Square Café and one of the things they feature are spiced nuts, which they serve at the bar in the late afternoon at cocktail time. I have been to the restaurant a few times and the food is terrific, as well as the atmosphere and service, but the bar nuts are over the top.

I was able to get the recipe for you from the Food Network website, since a few of their stars, (Giada and Nigella Lawson) have both spoken of the recipe on their shows.

The Union Square Café’s Bar Nuts

2 ½ c. nuts, including mixed nuts, almonds, walnuts and pecans
2 tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
½ tsp. cayenne pepper (don’t substitute, this is the spice part)
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt (I only used 1 teaspoon since my mixed nuts were already salted
1 tbs. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toss the nuts to combine in a large bowl and spread on a cookie sheet. Toast in the oven for 8 minutes. The original recipe says 10 minutes, but my pecans were too done, so I suggest only 8 minutes. This is an important step as roasting nuts really brings out their natural flavors.

When nuts are almost toasted, combine rosemary, cayenne, sugar, salt and melted butter in a bowl. Add the warm nuts and toss to coat. Serve at once. The spicy butter mix is really good.

**Becky Knows Everything: When I made these for Mike, (a true nut and nut lover) he said “they were great except mine had a lot of little twigs in them.” Of course he meant the rosemary, a really essential ingredient. Oh well, he still at them all up!


Spring Smiles Part II

We recently talked about bringing that springy feeling into your life with some inexpensive changes (candles, flowers) and getting some candy too. Here are a few more décor ideas that require a bit more time.

First, no fun, but cleaning up is a good idea. I don’t mean the usual vacuuming thing, but really clean up some of your clutter. Go through those piles of magazines, tear out the things you want to keep (
Bon Appetit here I come) and discard them into the recycle bin. Go to your linen closet, gather up the sheets etc. that no longer have beds to fit or towels that really have no good home and start a Goodwill or Salvation Army box. I think I still have towels from 4 houses ago. They are never used, just saved “in case.” In case of what – 20 people showering at once, or the dryer breaking forever or a flood? You get the picture.

Buy a new colorful throw – I know it is getting warmer but even the spring and summer produce some cool nights. Take the old one and retire or store it and buy a new one in a soft, pretty color like yellow or pink or even cream. Try to find a few more accent pillows that you can exchange with the current ones that pick up a different color in your room. Even small changes like this can add so much.

Paint something. A chest, a chair, an old table – it doesn’t matter. Put a shiny new coat of paint (I love white) on a piece and watch it come to life. You can even stencil a cool design on it if you wish.

Add a few new accent pieces. You must be getting tired of the old ones and it is nice to add or change – go to flea markets or discount stores and find a new mirror you can refinish or just hang. Buy a few new frames or candlesticks. Or buy a new tureen and display it in the dining room. Add a new lamp to the foyer or change the shade on the one you have. These are simple ideas that really will make you feel like spring is here. You don’t need to spend a ton of money, just a little time for the hunt. And you will discover treasures in so many places.

Invite some people over – it is the perfect time to update your look in a small way and even if they don’t notice (remember some of them are men) YOU will know the changes you have made!

Photos from Better Homes & Garden