Friday, 21 December 2012

Season's Greetings. See you in 2013!

I'm wishing you a happy and safe holiday season. May the new year be full of beautiful interiors and great, inspiring design!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Ideas for your holiday table

Holiday table à la Homesense. Note the china
in alternating colours, the varied heights of
vases and decorations, and the sparkles from
candles and glass balls.
Preparing your holiday table can be very enjoyable, especially if you have plenty of time and a few helpers. Here are ten tips on how to add interest and personal touches to your arrangements:

1) Think layers. Start with charger plates or placemats atop a table cloth and work your way up with  plates of different sizes. Mix patterned and solid-coloured china.
2) Throw in vintage pieces. Scout thrift stores for unique serving bowls or, if you're lucky, simply open your cupboards and take out grandma's old porcelain.
3) Bring in something from nature. 
Small spruce tree branches don't just look pretty, they also spread a lovely holiday scent. Pine cones and grey, dry moss look authentic in a centrepiece arrangement.
4) Personalize your guests' place cards. Handmade paper has a nice texture. Add layers of paper in complementary colours and varied thicknesses.
5) Think beyond red and green. There are so many other nice colour combinations for Christmas; light blue and silver, gold and purple, red and turquoise.
6) Prepare a feast for all the senses. No need for artificial fragrances with all the wonderful natural scents from food, beverages, pine trees...  Cloves in mandarins look and smell wonderful. Textured table cloths and napkins feel good to the touch.
7) Make sure the vases, candles and other decorations on your holiday table are of different heights.
8) Add some sparkle. Whether it's a mirrored tray or glass balls in a bowl, reflective surfaces on your table will make the light bounce around and spread interest.
9) Think beyond poinsettias! Why? Because they are so predictable! Surprise your guests with a more unexpected flower on the table.
10) Want more drama? Dim the lights and add yet another candle.

Light blue and silver make an elegant colour
combination for Christmas. These trees
are from the Green Store in North Bay.

Include something green, complementary scents,
layers and textures... Your personalized place cards
will be a hit!

So are you going with the real thing this Christmas, or
are you also a fan of the "real lite" battery-operated
candles, as seen at the Green Store?

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Retailers' Christmas picks

Christmas preparations are in full swing! Everything is right here, so there is no need to leave North Bay to celebrate in style. I asked local retailers to share their treasured holiday items and ideas. Read on for some of their suggestions:

A new use for grandma's white crocheted doilies:
hip and decorative snowballs, as seen at the FARM.
These doilies are from Antiques at Deegan's. Be
sure to scroll down to the end of the posting for
DIY instructions. You  too can make these beautiful
The Farm carries these cozy mittens, made in Hamilton,
ON by SLO Mittens. Katie Bevan, the FARM: "This is a
new purpose for those old "ugly" sweaters we all wore
in the 90's. The mittens fit nicely and are lined with eco
fleece. They are so soft you'll want to climb right in and
curl up! They come in two different sizes and retail for $38."

And here is yet another way to use granma's
doilies. Pillow from the FARM.

A soft, red throw from the Great Room.
Nancy Fullerton: "This looks great for
the Christmas season, but can be used
all winter long. Nothing better than having
a cozy throw wrapped around you on a
cold night!"

How about a TV stand from the Cutter's Edge?
Megan, the Cutter's Edge: "This is a great and
popular spouse gift. It can be passed down for
generations.  Since customers can choose their
own stain colour and wood it’s easy to make it
match in any home."

Plush Santa/Moose/Snowman, also from
the Cutter's Edge. 

And here are the instructions for the crocheted snowballs, courtesy of the FARM's Katie Bevan. Make at least three of them, or five, for a decorative display (odd numbers generally look best).

You need:
- Balloons (the punching balloons that you can get at the party store are best)
- Doilies
- White craft glue from the hardware store (more affordable than the glue sold at art stores), with a very little bit of water to make it smoother to put on
- Brush to apply the glue to the balloons
- String for hanging the snowballs
- LED lights (optional) for inside the balls

Inflate the balloons, wrap  the doilies around them and apply generous quantities of glue. Hang to dry for about 24 hours. Pop the balloon when you are sure the glue is dry, and remove it. If the decorations deflate, just soak them with water and re-glue. Easy peasy!

Check out this link for more details and inspiration, and have fun:

Do you have other great DIY Christmas ideas? Drop me a line and send a photo!