Designing Saratoga

Good Luck charms and Symbols in your home

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What symbols or items can bring us luck or welcome people into our homes? Let me take you through just a few of my favorites and hopefully they will bring you and yours luck and happiness!

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Pineapple
A few years back I had hosted an event in Newport, RI and when I was escorted around all the mansions looking for the perfect venue, my guide told me at great length the significance of the Pineapple symbol in Newport. The pineapple can be seen throughout the town. He said it represented the hospitality and warmth that is Newport, RI

So when I was making gift bags for all my guests I called a local shop and had pineapple chocolates made along with a letter from the tourism office explaining the significance.

According to the Newport , RI Guide "Today the city's symbol is the pineapple, a sign of welcome left from Newport's great commercial era when traders back from West Indies with this fruit would put a pineapple outside their warehouses to invite customers to come in and look over the stock. Many hotels, inns B&Bs and motels have adopted it as their symbol"
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This question was posted on the website Answers.com: What is the origin of the pineapple as a symbol of hospitality?
The pineapple has served as a symbol of hospitality and warm welcome through the history of the Americas.
Christopher Columbus wrote the first account of a western encounter with the pineapple in the journal of his second discovery voyage across the Atlantic. He and his men landed on the Caribbean island of Guadalupe where the sailors enjoyed this sweet, succulent new fruit, which had already become a staple of native feasts and religious rites.
In 1493, Columbus first brought the pineapple back to Renaissance Europe that was largely devoid of sweet foods, including fresh fruit. The pineapple's exotic nature and sweetness soon made it an item that soon acquired both popularity and curiosity for centuries after its European arrival. For two centuries, as European horticulturists struggled to perfect a hothouse method for cultivating pineapples in Europe, the pineapple became even more a coveted commodity. In the 1600s, King Charles posed for an official portrait while receiving a pineapple as a gift.
In colonial America, hostesses would set a fresh pineapple in the center of their dining table when visitors joined their families in their homes. Visiting was the primary means of entertainment and cultural exchange, so the concept of hospitality was a central element in colonial life. The pineapple, then, symbolized the warmest welcome a hostess could extend to her guests, and then often it also served as the dessert for the meal. If the visitors spent the night, they would be given a bedroom with a bed in which pineapples had been carved on either the bedposts or the headboard -- even if that was the master bedroom.

Since my event in Newport I too have tried to incorporate the Pineapple into my home in the hopes that it will symbolize hospitality and warmth towards my guests.

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Here is a stool in my bathroom.

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This pineapple hangs in my kitchen.


Horseshoe
Horseshoes are recognized virtually around the world as a good luck symbol. For hundreds of years it has been considered lucky to find a horseshoe in your travels, or to have a horseshoe hanging on your wall, or above your door.
In short, back in the day finding a horseshoe was considered good luck mainly because of the value of the iron. For people who did not have a lot of money it was considered a sign that your luck was changing if you found one. Many people back then would melt the iron and use it for other things because the iron was of more value to them melted than hung on their wall.
By todays' standards, the probability of finding a horseshoe is slim to none since most people travel by car. Although, if you frequent the Saratoga Racetrack this summer, you just might get lucky. Even still, if you happen to come upon one, hang it above your door for good luck! Just be sure you secure it because I'm not sure what that says if you get hit on the head with a horseshoe, I would think that would be bad luck.

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Plants
Next time you're shopping for a new plant for your home go for a four-leaf clover plant. You know the saying 'the luck of the Irish' well even though that is primarily an ironic phrase, it can also be traced back to when the Irish came over to the US exploring for gold in the West, there were a number of Irish people who got lucky and found their "pot o' gold" in California. So, for the sake of this blog we'll say it is a lucky phrase and I hope a clover plant will bring you just that.

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Bamboo is also considered a good luck plant. Buyer beware if you plant bamboo it is considered to be one of the fasted growing plants in the world, it will consume your landscape but it is lucky none the less.

I recently bought a money tree in the hopes that it will bring me good luck, I'll be sure to let you know how that works out!


Bugs

Decorate with bugs particularly ladybugs and dragonflies which are both said to bring luck. The number of spots on a Ladybug can indicate the number of happy months that are ahead. Legend also suggests, if you catch a Ladybug in your home, count the number of spots, that's how much money you'll soon find. Whenever I see a ladybug in my house or land somewhere near me I think of good luck. I'm not sure I feel that way because you don't often see ladybugs or because out of all the "bugs" I actually find them to be beautiful, harmless really. With that said it is considered bad luck to kill a ladybug.

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Depending what culture you're in Dragonflies are symbols of many things and can represent change, new beginnings, good luck, and happiness. All things you hope for in your home!

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In closing, there are so many symbols and good luck charms one could put in their homes but I guess in the end it is what you believe in and to be honest, what looks good! If you're in need of a little luck and these days who isn't, head to your computer and look up good luck charms or try one of the ones I suggested. I'd love to hear what has worked for you!

When it comes to luck, you make your own. ~Bruce Springsteen.  

When it comes to decorating, it is all you! ~Laurel Ostiguy







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Kimberlee Billok
From humble beginnings redecorating my childhood bedroom every few months much to my mother’s chagrin, to years of life as a military spouse making short-term stops our own, to finding myself in Saratoga Springs in a 90-year-old home in need of lots of TLC, I have always enjoyed honing my home decorating and design skills in pursuit of making a house a home for the most important people in my world, my husband Mike and our three children. In pursuit of this goal/obsession I have put my undergraduate studio art studies to work, as well as the unofficial HGTV degree I’ve earned under the tutelage of Vern Yip, Genevieve Gorder, Candace Olson, and the other pros who make us all feel as if we can create as they do. I’ve had the good fortune to have numerous colleagues, friends and family who have trusted me enough to allow me to design their spaces as well, and even redecorated the office of my children’s elementary school principal, which although intimidating, was quite a good time (think a juxtaposition of animal prints and sharpened pencils…luckily she loved it!).

Outside of the decorating/design realm I inhabit in my free time, I am fortunate to spend my days teaching 3 and 4 year old preschoolers here in Saratoga, who can’t help but inspire me to be creative on a regular basis. So since every part of life is an adventure, please join me on this one…combining form and function, design and real life, making each room feel beautiful, comfortable, classic, and personal. All wrapped up in a structure that has been in existence before the invention of spray paint (it’s true—I looked it up!). Here goes!!