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Monday
Dec312018

Vision boards as art: A decoupage craft project for a happy new year  

Words to live by: Back in the day when kids declared themselves “BFF” or best friends forever, the craft brand Plaid came up with this project idea for a canvas celebrating friendship.

Years later and at the dawn of a new year, we like the finished piece because it emphasizes, in a format meant to be displayed, some of the most important qualities of a strong friendship (you can lean on me, laugh, share good times).

This wordy decoupage project is great way to relax on the eve of a new year with an activity that can set the tone for 2019.

Plaid still makes word stickers for scrapbooking and decoupage projects such as this one, but it's also easy to clip out magazine words and images that speak to our goals or to print them out from the Internet. Such a project is appropriate for today and for the first part of the year because, with the right words and images, it can be a reminder to stay on track with our resolutions and the ways we want to grow better and stronger in the new year.

The beauty of decoupage is that it can be done on a variety of surfaces. Plaid makes its Mod Podge glue and sealer in several formulations:  for paper, fabrics, furniture and even outdoor surfaces. There are matte, gloss, glittered and other finishes. So grab a magazine and clip out inspiring words and images to make yourself a crafty vision board — a beautiful, visual reminder of your dreams and what it takes to be the very best you.

There's still time to get to the crafts store! For a bit more guidance, see our previous instructions to make an inspirational decoupage table.  

Friday
Nov162018

Lidl vs Aldi: Competition is awesome in Hazlet

Signs of things to come along Route 35 in Hazlet, where Lidl and Aldi stores are expected to open in direct competition on opposite sides of the highway later this month.According to the lone Aldi cashier that rang through my purchases yesterday in Union, that store will be opening at 8 a.m. starting Monday. 

Maybe this is a first time ever, holiday-related change in store hours from the regular 9 a.m. opening?

Nah, it's because of competition from the other German supermarket chain that opened in the area earlier this week. No word yet on whether hours will change at Aldi stores not in close proximity to a Lidl store.

It's probably only a matter of time before there's a Lidl store not far from almost every Aldi store. Both store chains are expanding their presence in the U.S. Aldi has been here longer and has more locations, but Lidl is opening its new stores rather quickly. 

The next New Jersey Lidl store is scheduled to open Nov. 28 on Route 35 in Hazlet, and Aldi is planning to move from its older Hazlet store, also on Route 35, to a newer store just across the highway. Finishing touches were being added to that store, in part of a shuttered Pathmark.

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Monday
Nov122018

Lidl to open third New Jersey supermarket Nov. 14 in Union 

Uniformity in sleek architecture is a big part of brand identity for Lidl supermarkets. The Hazlet store shown is expected to open Nov. 28 and will be the fourth to open in New Jersey. The state's first Lidl store opened in Vineland in fall of 2017.When the Lidl store on the westbound side of Route 22 in Union opens this Wednesday, it will be the German supermarket chain's third New Jersey location. 

To give our readers a preview of what's to come, we traveled to the Eatontown Lidl last week to see exactly what's beneath the sloping roof and behind the glass facade of this company's sleek architectural branding. 

We love Lidl's exterior design and the abundance of natural light from all the windows. We found surprisingly low food prices, many more famliar brands than one typically finds at Aldi, unusual imports, as well as meats and other products sourced in the U.S. (One example was an organic vinegar-based "shrub" soda from North Carolina in flavors like peach-ginger-cinnamon and watermelon-basil). There were toys, tools and Christmas decorations. Clothing, bundled or thinly boxed for bins, included $5.99 dresses and $24.99 men's ski jackets. 

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Monday
Nov052018

2018 Rahway River Parkway calendar helps protect a vital NJ greenbelt

When a calendar highlights the diverse beauty of the 1,100-acre greenbelt of riverside parks from Springfield to Rahway, it becomes more than an organizational tool that marks the passing of time.

Each year since 2015, the annual Friends of Rahway River Parkway calendar has drawn local photographers and nature lovers who capture the parkway in the vivid colors of various seasons. Additionally, the calendars, which follow the seasons with appropriate images of nature and wildlife, are a major fundraiser for the organization’s efforts to win historic designation and the associated protections for the entire Rahway River Parkway.

Friends of Rahway River Parkway works to raise awareness of the parkway while advocating for and working on its preservation, restoration and enhancement.

The 2019 calendar is a standout compilation of images, beginning with the cover’s “Winter Wonderland” shot taken at Lenape Park by Cranford photographer and artist Diane Frank Metz.

Calendars are $15, and proceeds support the organization’s preservation efforts. Buy online at RahwayRiverParkway.org, which has information about the parkway, the organization’s work and re- lated events. The site lists retailers carrying the calendar, including Golden Touch Jewelers, 27 N Union Ave., Cranford; The Computer Guys, 992 St. Georges Ave., Rahway; and Williams Nursery,524 Springfield Ave., Westfield.

Tuesday
May092017

Interior design withdrawal: How to pick the perfect chandelier

Photo by Wheeler Kearns Architects - More contemporary dining room photos

It's time to buy a new chandelier, and the choices are overwhelming.

So many shapes and styles and light sources. It helps to narrow things down. Are you attracted to ornate lighting dripping with rows of sparkling crystals? Or do your tastes run more toward angular forms – lights anchored within square lantern shapes or arranged upon linear frames? Advances in LED lighting have brought us so many options that resemble abstract art.

 

What follows is visual exploration of why certain styles work in their room.

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