hanging your portraits :: guest post

I've taken a bit of time off from the blog since the holidays, spending a bit more time with the kiddos, working on some fun new business projects, and baking a few too many cookies. I'm looking forward to getting back into some blogging - I've missed you all! This year I want to make the blog a little more personal - more about my life, my interests outside of photography (what??? who knew?), and my family. You'll still be seeing plenty of my photography here, but I would like to make it a little more well-rounded. A little more me. And I'll be bringing some awesomely talented people in to the blog to share their words, like today! Huzzah for guest bloggers!

I met Jane-Marie through Health Foundations Family Health and Birth Center. She is the  interior designer at Embellishments Design who made the birth center the warm, friendly, inviting space that it is. I asked Jane-Marie to write a little piece for my blog, and she came up with this fantastic advice for hanging art. Got some new portraits to hang? This piece is for you! And now, over to Jane-Marie!

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Photography by Landmark Photography & Design, Interior Decoration by Embellishments Design Studio

Have you ever walked into the home of a stranger and immediately known what height that person must be by simply looking at how high they have hung his/her artwork?  I tell you, it happens to me all the time.  The husband, who has been assigned the task of hanging, is over 6 ft and has placed all the pictures at his eye level.  The wife is only 5'3" (because you know he married someone much shorter than he - I know this because I am tall and ALL the tall men seemed to be taken and dating shorter women when I was in the dating pool!) and she can only see the picture if she pulls out the step ladder.  If this sounds like your house, never fear.  There can be a method to the madness and this method has nothing to do with your height.  Here are my top 5 tips for hanging artwork, mirrors and pictures successfully:

1. As a general rule of thumb, the center of a picture should be around 58" from the floor. Of course, you may need to eyeball this to see how it looks in relation to other objects around it (such as fireplace mantels, window mullions, other architectural features), but 58" is my all-time favorite height.  If you need to take other architectural elements into consideration, consider centering your picture on that element (i.e., the height of the mantel becomes your center point of your picture).

2. When hanging it above something else, make sure to hang your picture in relation to the piece of furniture it is going above.  If hanging it over a dresser or a sofa, you may have to hang it lower than 58" so that it doesn't appear to "float" too high above the furniture.  4-12" above the furniture is appropriate.

3. Make paper templates of your pictures and tape them to the wall in order to see what the pieces will look like BEFORE you pound a nail.  This is very important when hanging collages of pictures.  And note, whenever you want to add another picture to your collage, you should make a new collage rather than building onto your current one, regardless of how many school photos you are determined to add to the mix down the road.  Another hint:  Lay out your pictures on the floor in the shape of a square.  I first find four pictures that form the four corners of the square (they don't have to be the same size) and then I add additional pictures within those four corners, pushing out the corners if I need more space.

4. Measure the distance from the top of the picture to the center point of the picture and subtract from this the distance from the top of the picture to the hanger/wire, then add this number to 58".  Now you'll know exactly where to pound the nail.  This will ensure that you don't hang the piece higher than you expected.

5. When hanging two or more pictures side by side, I like to keep them approximately 2 - 4" apart unless they are going above a very wide piece of furniture.  In that case, I suggest spreading them out so that the outer pieces of artwork start no more than 8 - 12" from the end of the piece of furniture.

If these tips don't address your picture hanging dilemma, just give me a call!

Embellishments Design Studio is a full-service interior decoration studio, specializing in custom furniture, space planning and custom window treatments. The Studio has been serving the decorating needs of the Twin Cities metro for almost nine years. Owner, Jane-Marie Bloomberg, has a passion for achieving well-appointed interiors by focusing on what you already have, what you really need and what you truly want. Jane-Marie’s background in interior decoration started at an early age with the 4-story bookcase she renovated into the Barbie house to trump all Barbie houses. Currently, she has been working on the interiors of the Health Foundations Family Health and Birth Center in St Paul, MN, where Gwendolyn Waite's work is also featured.

Please contact her at janemarie@embellishmentsdesign.com or at 612-251-6512 and transform the house you live in into the home you'll love.  Her website is www.embellishmentsdesign.com.

asthma, allergies and acupuncture :: guest post

So who says that I get to have all the fun writing for my blog? It's time to share the love! I have invited a number of people to share some words here on my blog, and we've got some fabulous people lined up. Yay! My first guest writer is from the acupuncture clinic where I am currently taking my son Oliver. He has suffered from seasonal allergies all of his life, and we haven't been able to find anything that helps him out. Even a little bit. Then we tried acupuncture, and SHA-ZAM! He had an amazing positive response right off the bat. I would highly recommend this clinic to all parents in the Twin Cities. They treat only kids, and have special ways of working with kids to make acupuncture less intimidating. They're fabulous.

Enough about me, here's Nancy from Pediatric Acupuncture and Wellness Center in St. Paul, MN.

Did you know that acupuncture works to help relieve the symptoms of allergies and asthma?  Acupuncture and herbal medicine have been used for centuries to successfully treat these conditions and many others.

Whether you have symptoms of asthma, allergies, or some other condition an acupuncturist will do an in depth interview at your first visit to learn many things about your health.  The acupuncturist will then analyze how you are doing and determine if your bodies systems are functioning in harmony.   After doing this diagnosis they will explain to you what they believe the problems are, what is causing them, and derive a treatment plan that will help you.  One of the bodies organ systems that is out of balance with both asthma and allergies is the lungs.

There are many factors that can cause the lungs to function poorly and be irritated.  Sometimes people are born with weak lungs or have lungs that are damaged by frequent or severe respiratory illnesses.  An acupuncturist knows how to increase lung function.  This is usually done using acupuncture, acupressure, and herbal medicine.

Often pollutants and pollens overwhelm our lungs and cause them to react.  In the acupuncture profession we call these pollutants EPI’s.  That stands for external pathogenic influences or evil pathogenic invaders. The idea is that viruses, bacteria, pollens, pollutants, cold winter winds, dry air, and other intruders invade our bodies through our skin, mouth, and nose.  Your skin, mouth and nose are all pathways that lead directly to your lungs and it is through these entrances that nasty external pathogens make you sick or wear you down so that you become reactive.  Your acupuncturist will work to make your immunity stronger.   Acupuncturists know how to strengthen the external armor of your body so that your immunity is the defense that can stop the bad guys (the pathogens) at the door.  There are special herbs and acupuncture treatments designed to specifically help with this.

Generally speaking a part of any acupuncture plan for treating asthma and allergies includes keeping your immune system strong.  In addition to the use of acupuncture and herbal medicine it will enhance your recovery to receive dietary and lifestyles advice.

There are other things that can be causing reactive lungs such as your diet, too much stress, or your environment.

A clean, clear, bland diet is best, especially for children with asthma or allergies.  It is advisable to limit dairy, sugar, greasy foods, fast food, and processed foods.  These all can create phlegm and ultimately make lung problems worse.  Cold and raw foods are too hard to digest and also aggravate asthma or allergies.  I recommend using probiotics to help the digestion, increase immunity, and improve health.

In my career as an acupuncturist I have treated many children with asthma. Children who received simple acupuncture treatments weekly or bi-weekly for several months and took herbal medicine found that they used their inhalers less, participated in sports more, and showed increased lung function at their doctor visits.

For young children very few needles are used and they are retained a short time.  Often acupressure, pressure point beads, and magnets can be used on the acupuncture points in place of needles.  Scraping and massaging areas of the body, such as the upper back, can be a helpful technique used on children. In my clinic seasonal allergies are treated pro-actively by doing acupuncture and herbal medicine before the difficult season arrives.  This builds the immunity before the invaders begin to attack it.  Once the difficult season arrives the symptoms of the allergy attack are treated.  Herbs can be quite helpful with symptoms such as runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, itchy watery eyes, and sore throat.   It is important to utilize a trained herbalist so that herbs are used correctly.

It is worthwhile to consider visiting an acupuncturist to discuss treatment of asthma and allergies. *Always see your MD or pediatrician for an initial diagnosis and the follow up appointments your doctor requests or if the symptoms seem severe or life threatening.

Nancy Anderson-Bierma has a Masters Degree in Oriental Medicine and is a licensed acupuncturist with the Minnesota Medical Board.  She practices at Pediatric Acupuncture and Wellness Center in St. Paul, MN specializing in the treatment of children from infancy to young adulthood. Please contact her at nancy@pedacu.com or 651-644-4460. She has an additional practice in Roseville, Nancy Bierma Acupuncture - 651-303-2367.