But first, I did meet one of my decorating heroines.
I have to tell you that Mary Carol Garrity is one of the nicest ladies I have ever met. Very humble and down to earth. Most of the audience got in line for a photo op with her and tried to conduct themselves in regal decorum to match what this lovely lady has in spades. But, being the goof ball that I am (Who else would wear a skirt covered in chairs?) I went up to her and said, " I know I should act like I have it all together and it doesn't faze me that I am meeting you, but I just want to jump up and down, clap my hands and say Mary Carol Garrity! Mary Carol Garrity! and then I did just that. I received a huge smile, a great big hug and a laugh. She said, "I wish my family at home was this excited to see me." She signed all of my books and I think she really liked my bracelet.
She had so many creative ideas and I will share a few with you. Mrs. Garrity has a true love for silver. She uses her silver on a regular basis but swears she only polishes it twice a year. Her collection of silver trays are used in a variety of ways:
~Placed up against the back of dark bookcases and spaces to add light and sparkle.
~As a back splash in the kitchen.
~To hold her olive oil, spices and spoons next to the stove.
~Smaller pieces are used throughout the house to hold small treasures and in the bathroom to holds soaps and rolled up towels.
She adores 3 tiered trays and stacked cake plate stands. Some of the ways that she uses the stands are:
~Group like items together to create a true collection that makes a greater impact.
~On the patio table to hold succulents.
~With jars on top to hold forks, napkins, etc when entertaining.
She loves to change her rooms out seasonally and recommends that each room have one piece of great quality and then you can use less expensive things with it, but it will still look good.
~Try pairing rustic with formal such as a silver tray with a small mossy covered birdbath filled with apples on a coffee table.
In terms of business advice I loved what she said about difficult customers "The best way to get even with a jerk is to take their money." (smile)
Another speaker that I enjoyed was Terri Bowersock. Ms. Bowersock has dyslexia and graduated from high school unable to complete a job application. She went on to become the founder of the successful franchise "Terri's Consign and Design".
Ms. Bowersock had brought in a truck with some furnishings, artwork and accessories from her local store. We were challenged to use only the items we were given in a short amount of time to create an aesthetically pleasing space.
One entry created a tablescape.
Another showed how a sofa table can be decorated.
Here is a small sitting area that keeps your eye moving.
This entry used all of their items to form a creative sitting area.
The conference meeting room had the perfect niche for this buffet.
Would you like to see my entry?
Of course the first thought is: "How am I going to incorporate bright yellow oriental balls and a ceramic dog sculpture into a pleasing configuration?"
The number one rule in my decorating world is to think outside the box.
An unattractive cowboy print didn't really work as artwork, but it makes a great tray for a cup and a book.
Don't forget to add a little whimsy to your space. I think the dog makes an excellent spectacle holder in this little reading nook. Wouldn't you agree?
Man's best friend is joined by a frustrated homeowners best friend: Arranging Elegance.
Much of the guidance I have been given in how to use my abilities comes from two great women who have been such wonderful mentors.
Joanne Lenart-Weary, aka, The Queen of Decorating.
The gracious Jane Douglas, who is now retired, but continues to provide support and great advice.
Thank you ladies, you inspire me to continue on as the Duchess of Decor.