Traditional Japanese Interior Design – Bamboo

If you’ve ever seen tall stalks of golden bamboo in a grove or in photographs, you might be surprised to learn that it is a grass. A very fast growing, tall grass. While ‘dwarf’ bamboo grows to less than a foot, some species actually grow 100 feet tall!

Bamboo is attractive, pliable and sturdy, and is the preferred plant used in the making of wicker furniture. (It’s also provides the preferred food of the Giant Panda, but that’s a different story.)

Once the wood has been properly treated to prevent insect infestation, bamboo forms a very tough hardwood that can be used in fences, canes, toys, musical instruments, clothing, and much more, including decorative baskets.

Bamboo grows in many countries around the world, such as China, Japan and Indonesia, and each country has its own traditional method of weaving baskets. So if you’re thinking of adding a decorative bamboo basket or two to your home decor, you can go with traditional designs of your own area, or purchase something unique from another country.

Baskets woven from bamboo are works of art in their own right, and can stand on their own as decorative pieces. But they are above all functional, and can be used for a variety of purposes, from holding various knicknackery to setting off plants or flowers placed within.

Don’t just go into a local store and buy the first basket you see. If you search the web you can find hundreds of examples of intricately woven baskets that will amaze you with their beauty. Even if your home is not furnished with an ‘Oriental motif,’ a traditional Japanese basket is such a unique work of art that it will stand out and complement its surroundings.

Because bamboo baskets can be so beautiful, it’s no surprise that it takes a long time to learn the craft. It can take artists up to ten years just to learn to master the art of bamboo weaving. However, if you like to create your own baskets, don’t despair, there are plenty of resources which will show you how to work with bamboo.

Books such as The Basket Book: Over 30 Magnificent Baskets to Make and Enjoy, Handmade Baskets: From Nature’s Colorful Materials, and The Craft & Art of Bamboo: Projects for Home and Garden are written for the beginner and have simple designs to start with.

On the internet, bamboocraft is a website chock-full of links to every possible subject you could want to know about bamboo and the art of working with it and creating everything from furniture to baskets to clothing! It includes a message forum so like-minded artisans can get together to exchange stories, hints and techniques.

The American Bamboo Society americanbamboo is another excellent resource – and it provides links to societies around the world, from Mexico to Europe to Australia to China and Japan. There’s a vast network out there for those who’d like to learn how to make beautiful bamboo baskets…or appreciate those who have.

The Absolute Importance of Proper Photography & Interior Design & Home Staging for More Showings!

Realtors, Home Owners, & Home Investors pay very close attention to this article, it will affect all of you in more way than one. If you are not technologically savvy or are some how unaware of it you need to become aware of it quickly.

With over 80% of all home sales being directly correlated to being listed in a real estate MLS database, and now that over 79% of all consumers are actively searching the internet and websites for premium homes, the photo of the homes in these databases featuring properties will be what actually determines if a home buyer or home shopper chooses to see your property. Most disturbing is the fact that by ignoring this simple irrefutable fact in modern internet marketing may altogether eliminate your beautiful home from prospective buyers should there be some less than effective photographic or staging/interior design elements that are lacking.

Properly staged homes (lighting, props, interior design) + proper photography (proper agent selection of camera angles, lighting, proper lens & camera selection & photographic techniques) now weigh in more than ever on a potential home buyers making it to your home to actually view your property.

The question to be asked now is: Does the home I am selling look as good or better than the majority of competing properties. If not, potential home buyers may actually choose simply by the interior design and photographic expertise employed to see other properties.

Of course home price is still the largest determining factor, buyers with discerning tastes and no interest in fix-up properties or homes that may be perceived as less than “perfect” will not be getting the amount of buyers through the doors to effectuate a sale. Also considering that 62% of all home buyers are couples and 22% of all first time buyers are single females, anyone who ignores the new dynamics in internet marketing will be missing out on attracting these important buyers by failing recognize these new variables in the information age of marketing.

Cutting corners on not hiring a professional staging company or at least taking the time to either do it yourself or find a friend or family member help with the interior design/staging element could result in less than effective marketing results. Two more points are to remember to concentrate on proper lighting and the proper use of props where available. The consensus from most realtors that I have discussed this topic with is that it really comes down to being flexible mentally and using a lot of creativity and setting the time aside in your schedule where you can experiment with how the home looks through the camera frame. Many people are in such a rush to move that by ignoring the simple fact that this home will be on the world wide web with buyers actively searching 24/7 it may be one of the most important and under rated decision home buyers make when allocating resources towards attracting more buyers to the home. My opinion on this is that the more buyers who select you on their computer will = more people printing it out on paper or e-mailing it to their real estate professional for them to set up a showing appointment.

More showing appointments lead to more opportunities for a full price offer. “Change is going on all around us, let’s see that change and adjust quickly”, says Rick LeForce, my husband and local real estate broker here in Phoenix, Arizona.

Rick was recently highlighted in a local investor group as a keynote speaker:

“Investors, if you want to be able to see what properties to concentrate on after the home has been on the market for 90 days and will be there for another 90 days, look at the photos & the interior design, odds will be that seller will be ready to consider a discounted offer around the 180 day mark”

-Rick LeForce

Do You Need a Graphic Design Degree?

Do you really need to get a graphic design degree? It is true that many graphic designers have never formally studied, but rather taught themselves over many years on how to become a great graphic designer. Many were or still are freelance designers who also work for a company.

Whatever the case, a degree in graphic design can only strengthen your position when it comes to finding employment in this competitive field. Without a doubt, the top corporations who employ graphic designers will look for a degree. This is because a degree proves you have perseverance and commitment to the industry. Commitment is often a more important factor for employers as they want to be sure they are hiring a graphic designer they can rely on well into the future.

People interested in graphic design generally begin their interest in high school, sometimes even before that. Many students practice graphic design at home in their spare time. The affordability of high end graphic design software and capable computers has made this art more accessible than ever before. There are now millions of excellent graphic designers the world over, some working freelance and gaining 100% of their work online. These people do not have a graphic design degree but are very proficient in the art.

Graphic designers typically earn between $40,000 and $70,000, but this can vary greatly depending on the employer and whether the designer partakes in any freelance work to supplement their income.

Currently some of the most established and recognized places to gain a graphic design degree from are available both online and offline. These include:

Academy of Art University Online

American InterContinental University

The Art Institute Online

ITT Technical Institute

Westwood College Online

Penn Foster Career School

Penn Foster College

Most schools offer a wide range of design courses which focus on different areas, including computer animation, fashion design, television, media, interior design, web design, video game design and more. All of these areas require graphic design skills so you are not limited in the careers you can pursue once you are qualified with a degree.

If you wish to be employed locally and make graphic design a stable career for you then earning a degree is the best way to begin. It will win you points in the eyes of employers and will also equip you with the skills and experiences that you would otherwise miss out on.