The History of Cupolas

Good Directions Cupola and WeathervaneCupolas are both ornamental and functional in design. They are placed on top of domes or roofs and provide ventilation and natural light. This natural light is great for attics and loft spaces. The word cupola comes from a Latin term “little cupo” or little dome. Cupolas are made from an assortment of materials, which include aluminum, wood, fiberglass, and vinyl. The tops of the cupolas can be covered in either traditional shingles or copper.

The Humble Beginning of the Cupolas

Cupolas began to appear in Islamic architecture around the 8th century. These first cupolas were very large and contained one or more balconies by which criers would call for prayer. These large cupolas were placed on top of minarets.

Later on, these architectural structures were not limited to government building but could be found on homes in the Middle East and India.

Later on, nomadic Moors brought them to Europe by way of Spain. Cupolas are very prevalent in Bavarian and Austrian churches where the domed roofs topped with cupolas prevented snow from accumulating and collapsing the structure.

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Green Living – How to Use Fresh Plant Material to Welcome the Season

Christmas_WreathHoliday decorating does not have to cost a lot of money or have a large carbon footprint, instead decorations can be found right outside ones door.  Natural plant material is a great choice for those who want a more nostalgic decoration or desire to reduce their consumerism by using what they have lying around their home.

There are three major types of decorations that can be created from live plant material.  This includes wreaths, swags, and centerpieces.  While other decorations do exist, the bases for these decorations are derived from the three listed previously.

The first step that all decorations start with is the collecting of the material.  All three types of decorations require filler, color and texture.  All of these requirements are met by what you harvest in your backyard and if you do not have enough, do not hesitate to ask a neighbor.  Pruning a neighbor’s plant material will not only help you, but will also reduce the amount of yard work your neighbor will have come spring.

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The History of Halloween Symbols

witch_fountainHalloween as we celebrate it today brings out the wacky, weird and sometimes frightening in all of us. Known as a good excuse for adults to play dress up and behave ever so naughty, Halloween in the 21st Century is more about a good time and less about its origins.

Today’s celebration of Halloween mixes traditions from the Catholic All Saint’s Day and All Souls’ Day, the Roman festival of Feralia, and the Celtic harvest festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).  This mix of traditions has ingrained individual symbols we associate closely with this holiday however, these symbol have a rich history of their own.


The word “witch” comes from Old English “wicca”. Since the early days of Christian Europe, witches have been synonymous with Halloween wickedness. Shakespeare depicted the witch as cretinous women of prophecy who revealed the fates of Macbeth and his clan. In colonial Salem, Massachusetts, the witch became a young woman offering carnal temptations to men already bound by wedlock.

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Centuries of Bell Ringing Form an American Tradition

The World Peace Bell in Newport, KY

The clang of a bell certainly calls attention.  Whether it’s done to herald an announcement, celebrate a marriage or simply call the family in to dinner, bells have been ringing all around the world and throughout history.  Bells placed in particular locations had specific purposes and some of those have made their way into our culture as icons of the past.  Others are more practical and have played a big role in family life for centuries.

Country Dinner Bells

Picture a Western ranch or a sprawling Midwest farm.  With the family and farm staff hard at work and scattered across the property a dinner bell became an essential tool.  There were no loudspeakers to call in the crew and no microwaves to heat up the food if it got cold.  Everyone needed a signal that it was time to gather for a hot meal and the dinner bell was a perfect solution.

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Music of the Spheres in Pop Culture (with a 10% Coupon off MOTS Wind Chimes)

Music of the Spheres Wind ChimesThe reverberating sound of chimes can be mesmerizing, and music therapy has been used to heal the mind, body and soul. Does your mood change when you listen to classical or upbeat music? Well, the wind chime can also have a profound effect on your overall state of being. From reducing stress and anger to connecting your mind with a sense of peace, the elegant chimes can have a restorative power. They are also an element of Feng Shui and can re-establish balance and harmony in your space.

Music of the Spheres wind chimes can add elegance and entertainment to your outdoor space. These chimes are made from black, powder-coated, aluminum alloy tubing, which gives them a chic look. You can choose from six sizes that span four octaves, and one model is an astounding 14 feet high! These wind chimes can make a lasting presence in your home and bring a rich sound to your ear. After all, they are known as the Stradivarius of wind chimes.

For the pre-Christmas wind chime sale, some of Music of the Spheres models are already marked down to almost 40% off. However, Outdora is offering an additional 10% off when you use coupon code MOTS10 from now until Nov. 29. Some believe the wind chime is good luck, and you can reap that good fortune now!

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Hibernate This Season with Luxurious Accessories

Planika Coffee Table FireplaceIt’s easy to become a bag of lazy bones during the winter. Between the cold temperatures and threat of precipitation, cozy indoor shelters become more inviting than ever. Instead of isolating yourself at home until the snow melts, it’s more fun to avoid the wintry blizzard when in the company of great friends.

You can prepare your pad for a season of bliss by incorporating some must-have accessories that will keep Jack Frost at bay. Of course, you can never go wrong with an indoor fireplace, but if you’re pampering yourself or entertaining others, there are a few more eye-catching and functional accents you will want have around.

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