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This one will knock your Christmas Stockings off!

how-to: tie a bow

I know this might sound silly - but do you know how to tie a bow?
A beautiful bow... one for a package… a little girl's hair… a wreath… a staircase railing… a church pew?

Actually, it's very easy... if you know what you're doing! I sat down with a friend one night (over the phone, no less) and tried to explain how to tie a beautiful bow for a Christmas garland.  It was a mess, a hysterical mess, but a mess. 

Then I ran across a great step by step How to Tie a Bow (with pictures!). Now I'm going to share it with you for your reference. (You just never know when the knowledge of tying a beautiful bow may come in handy!)

How to make a Basic Bow

 1. Using three yards of ribbon, measure about 7" for the first tail. Squeeze the ribbon together and hold it with your thumb and forefinger.

2. With the right side of the ribbon facing out, make a loop on one side using 6-7" of ribbon. Pinch the ribbon together and hold it with your thumb and forefinger as before.

3. Make a full twist of the ribbon so the right side is facing out and make a loop towards the other side.

4. The second and third sets of loops should be progressively smaller than the first set. Make a fourth set of loops still smaller than the first three. Be sure to fully twist each loop so that the right side of the ribbon is always facing out.

5. Twist the remaining ribbon around your thumb to make the center loop. Adjust the tail so the right side of the ribbon is facing out. Insert a piece of wire through the center and twist it tightly at the back of the bow. 

6. Spread out the loops and cut the ends of the tails at sharp angles or inverted V's 

Now, with any type of ribbon (grosgrain, wired, satin, etc) and the best quality of wrapping paper to match (of course) - you can wrap some of the most beautiful presents this year. 

Want a little more inspiration?


making it through the holidays - the basics of decorating

Yesterday, I talked about decorating the Christmas Tree... and I got to thinking this morning, I just SCRATCHED the surface on decorations. So, I want to add just a few more tips on decorating...

Just Some Basics

Sometimes the old saying is correct, Less is More.

When you are just starting out with a new home, money can be so tight and in these economic times, well... I suggest you 'invest' in Christmas Decorations, ones that will last a lifetime.  Take your time and choose decorations that really 'speak' to you, ones that represent you and your 'likes'.  There will be plenty of time in the future to add to your collection of decorations.  In other words, don't go out and just buy a 'bunch of stuff' to fill the house... buy quality and spotlight it in special areas of your home.

*Try to remember this tip throughout the year when it comes to the design of your home.

Think about decorations that can play 'double duty'. 

Candles are a great example of multi-purpose items.  Think of all the many design uses pillar candles offer throughout the year.  At Christmas time, just add some garland, a splash of red... and there you have it.

But don't discount all those tapers you have piling up in your junk drawer.  They can work just as beautifully in any Christmas arrangement.

Whether you choose an artificial tree or a real tree, be sure to purchase a few clippings of fresh pine. These can, not only, be used in so many different areas of your home, but can also add that great scent of Christmas.

Ever wonder what to do with those left-over ornaments that just don't fit on the tree this year. 

You love all your ornaments (I mean, that's why you have them, right?) and some of them probably have marvelous memories attached to them.  Don't pack them away for another year... display them 'center stage' throughout your home.

If you don't have room for a tabletop display of ornaments.... find other ways to display your treasures.  There are so many ways to add a touch of the season in little tucked away spots.

I think if I had one suggestion to offer everyone, it would have to be RELAX. This time of year can get totally out of control and before you know it, you are too tired to enjoy anything.  Slow things down, take your time, this is a time to be with loved ones.  Remember - LESS can be MORE!

Unique DIY Christmas Centerpiece

Here are some added suggestions to help you
Make it through the Holidays

Click on Video

This post is one in the series - Making it through the Holidays.
See the whole series with the links below:

making it through the holidays - decorating the tree

I have to admit that I am somewhat of a Christmas Tree snob. I used to insist that only LIVE trees would pass over the threshold to my home... but over the years... with the lack of time and the ease and beauty of the new pre-lit artificial trees... yes, I have weakened.  Actually, it's amazing how wonderful and life-like the artificial trees have become... I bought one last year and I actually had to step up to the display and touch it to confirm that it was artificial.

Not only do I insist on the life-like quality of my trees... over the years, I have collected an assortment of Christmas trees with various themes throughout my home.  I just can't seem to get enough Christmas decorations and the atmosphere it creates with all the glitter and lights. 

Now, to the fun part.... the actual decorating of the tree.  Where to begin? 
I prefer a Christmas tree with some sort of theme, whether it be colors, lights, or decorations.  For example, I have a Boyd's Bear Tree in my Dining Room, a Beaded Fruit Tree in my Music Room and a Memories Tree in my Family Room.

Here are a few more themed trees to get you inspired and started on Christmas in your home.

For more help, click here.

Nothing says Christmas like an evergreen covered in scarlet-red decorations. Carry the festive color throughout your home with bold candles, decorative ribbon, and festive china. 

The little ones will love helping you decorate a tree that's just for them (Norfolk Island pine is used here). Try hanging homemade gingerbread-man ornaments (made of felt, buttons, rickrack, and candies) and strings of gumdrops as garland.

The Western theme seems to have taken over the interior design industry lately.  For a Western themed Christmas, purchase several prominent cowboy-style ornaments, and then fill in the rest of the tree with traditional lights and solid-colored ball ornaments. Finish off the look with rope (for garland) and a cowboy hat topper.

 This simple, timeless design will never go out of style.
Tip: Instead of purchasing individual ornaments, opt for boxes of multiples in one color and put the money you saved towards more gifts.

Energize your seasonal decor with Dr. Seuss–inspired colors and styles.
Tip: If you travel frequently during the holidays, skip the fresh garland and tree and go for the artificial versions. Tinsel trees and feather trees are sophisticated options.

Introduce a fresh color scheme to your holiday decorations (cranberry, robin's egg blue, and chocolate), and repeat the colors for maximum sparkle.
Tip: Before adding ornaments, look at the lit tree at night so it's easier to see where you need to add or take away a strand.

To make your tree especially meaningful, look around your home for personal collections to use as ornaments. Here, family heirlooms, such as silver baby cups, create a silver-themed tree.

Take the tree outdoors! By mixing multiple trees in varying sizes with garland, seasonal plants (such as poinsettias), and wrapped boxes, you can create a festive backdrop for an outdoor holiday gathering.
Tip: Keep your setup safe from the elements by staging it in a covered area.

Use what you already have to inspire new looks. The decor for this tree began with a butterfly-patterned piece of china from the homeowner's collection. The plate's pinks, reds, yellows, and greens dictate the color scheme for this holiday home.

Fashion a farmstand vignette by trimming a small potted evergreen with country ornaments and a braided-straw star topper.
Tip: Use vintage kitchen items - such as metal canisters, egg crates, and rooster figurines - to round out the display.

The only rule for tree decorating is to create a look that is special to you and your family.
Tip: Start a holiday tradition this season by purchasing a new ornament every year that reflects each family member’s hobbies, favorite color, or personal interests. This will make your tree even more special as the years go by.

How about a little more inspiration...

This post is one in the series - Making it through the Holidays.
See the whole series with the links below:

quick tip: renew your furniture

Can't afford new furniture?
Try making over an existing piece of furniture by painting in a new color and recovering in a new pattern.


Get a little daring and see how simple one piece of furniture can be completely transformed when recovered.


quick tip: throw pillows

If you can't afford new furniture, try adding new throw pillows. 

There are dozens upon dozens of affordable, fabulous pillows that are one of a kind and will add a facelift to your space instantaneously.

For an easier fix... measure your existing pillows and just buy a new cover!

Here are just a few for inspiration...