B L O G
beautifying, loving, organizing & good things
for your home & life
for your home & life
We are all starting to put up the Christmas tree. How can you take your tree from so-so to spectacular? It’s certainly not how much $ you spend on the decorations. It’s not necessarily the height of your tree… There are simple steps to take your tree from so-so to spectacular. This week’s Be Your Own Designer tip… 7 steps to the perfect Christmas Tree. Whether your tree is a table-top 18" hi tree, or 18' like the one above, these steps work every time.
1. SET UP & FLUFF UP. Of course we all set up the tree. We make sure it’s well situated and make any structural adjustments to ensure stability. That part is obvious. But the fluff up part is something we tend to rush, and it’s an important step. If you have an artificial tree take your time to really fluff out the branches. Move some of the bendable branches up, AND push some branches downward as well. By fluffing out each and every branch, you make the tree look fuller and more natural.
2. LET THERE BE LIGHT. In fact, lots of light. I love light (and not just because my name is Alana Light.) If you have a pre-lit tree… great! But feel free to add more lights.
My general rule of thumb is 100 lights per vertical foot. In other words, a 9’ tree can have 900 lights. I’ve been known to add as many as 1200+ lights to a 9’ tree. If in doubt, add more light. As a friend said, "It's not done until the tree can be seen by the Hubble Space Station!"
3. RIBBONS & SPARKLE. Wired ribbon, ropes of beads, pearls, popcorn, pompoms whatever you like to use, this is step 3. Many people put the ribbon on later in the process, but after 30 years of decorating trees, I’ve found that adding the ribbon now is easier in the long run. Don’t just wrap it around the outside like you’re wrapping a burrito with saran wrap.
Whether you prefer a horizontal look or vertical ribbon pattern, weave the ribbon in and out of the branches, tucking the ribbon about ½ way back into the tree. How much do you use? A typical 9’ tree would take 3 rolls of ribbon (that’s 30 yards). Buy more than you think you need, and you can use the extra to coordinate the packages with the ribbon that matches the tree. Ooh – you’re starting to get the designer look already.
Next up... the real fun begins.
4. LARGE ELEMENTS FIRST. Have you ever gone to the Dallas market with acres of Christmas trees? Have you ever seen the tree at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego? You’ll notice that designer trees have larger scale décor elements. We’re talking bigger ornaments here. The taller your tree, the bigger the ornaments you can use. It doesn’t have to cost you very much.
BONUS: BUDGET ORNAMENT. You can easily make twine ornaments around a 9” balloon. Dip the twine in mod podge mixed with glitter. Just like papier-mâché, wrap the twine around the balloon. Once dry, pop the balloon & viola… a beautiful, perfectly scaled large ornament that costs next to nothing to make.
Large scale ornaments really make the tree look like you hired a designer to do it. Now we're on a roll. What's next?
5. MEDIUM & SMALL ORNAMENTS NEXT.
These go on the outer edges of the branches. Now it’s really coming together but we’re not through yet.
Ready for the surprise factor many people overlook?
6. ADD FILLER for FUN. What do I mean by filler? Sprays of berries. Sprays of curly cue’s. Giant bows you can make easily or buy pre-made. Any of those pics you can find at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby will do. They don’t cost a lot but wow –do they really fill in those holes. Anywhere you can still see wires or the tree trunk, fill in with filler. When you’re adding the filler, keep stepping back from the tree, to make sure you’ve got a balance and you’ve filled in all the holes with filler.
Last but not least.... drum roll please....
7. ADD UNEXPECTED JOY to the tree. For the first national bank tree on the plaza, we added Santa Clause & his elves to the tree. For a family with young kiddo’s, maybe a giant Santa hat as the tree topper. For a music lover, it might be your first trumpet you played in Jr. high… I want you to always smile when you see your Christmas tree… and that’s the key – add something that brings *you* joy.
7 steps to the perfect Christmas Tree! Happy decorating.
We love to hear from you. Email us and leave comments below. Have a blessed Christmas season.
It's a New Year, and time to refresh your home: 3 easy steps that cost you $0
Sometimes when we take down the holiday decorations, the house feels a little sad. We loved the festive decorations and there’s a little feeling of loss, when we take it all down. It’s not a letdown – but it’s a set UP for you to make some positive changes in your home. Let’s give your home some new life. You need a box, a towel, and a hammer.
Step 1: Let's go boxing
Look around your room right now. Is there anything that does not spark joy in your heart? For instance, if you’re in your home office – are there any books that really are not you anymore? If so, grab that box and gather the books you are going to donate. Move to the next room and repeat this process. Someone will appreciate these books – whether it’s the library, or the local thrift shop that benefits your favorite charity.
"HEY CLOTHES, COME OUT OF THE CLOSET". If your clothes are so jam packed into the closet that you always have wrinkled clothes, chances are you can let go of a few items of clothing. If this is you – get the grocery sack and pull out all the clothes you haven’t worn in the past 12 months. Pull out all the clothes that still have the tags on them that you never got around to wearing this past year. Eliminate all the clothes that don’t fit. Ladies, if you have a dress that’s a few sizes smaller than you are, clothes do not exist to shame you. Put all these items in the donation box. Guys, if you're in your 30's and still have high school tees, time to let them go. It’s a win win - Every time you walk in your closet, only have clothes that fit you and make you smile when you wear them, and the clothes reflect who/ what you are today. And you’ll donate to organizations that will benefit others with your old clothing. That is the first step - fill up a box (or two or three! ) and donate them.
STEP 2: Grab a towel. We're going to move some furniture.
Think about the room you had your Christmas tree, or your holiday decorations. Could that room use a bit of a refresh? You can easily do this by rearranging your furniture in a more conversational set up. If your furniture is pushed up against the walls, pull it out a little – ‘no wallflowers’. The towel under the furniture make moving furniture easy. (Or you can use Super Sliders, available at most stores. During January I'll have these on the Links page.) If you always have the recliner in that one corner, switch it up a little – and see how the room feels. If you have always had your room arranged straight on, with sofa parallel to the wall, consider changing it up by putting the sofa on an angle.
We were celebrating our anniversary at the Inn of the Anasazi in Santa Fe, and I noticed the little living area adjacent to the concierge was arranged on an angle. Something as simple as shifting the arrangement to be on an angle can dramatically change the look and feel of a room. Or if you have a kitchen table that’s square to the wall, try turning it 45 degrees. I encourage you to rethink your rooms, and rearrange – change it up. This step costs nothing, but can make the room feel brand new. That was fun. What's next?
Step 3: It's hammer time.
When refreshing a room, I like to take down every piece of art and reconsider where they are placed. Could you regroup your pictures / artwork in a new way so it’s more pleasing to the eye? Go ahead – take down all the artwork in a room, and look at your walls – it’s a blank canvas! Rearranging your artwork can completely revitalize a tired room, and again – it costs you nothing to do that. So many times we just throw artwork up to fill empty spaces. But if you’re more thoughtful about it – you will love the results.
The key is to group like with like – such as landscapes all together, or a certain colorway together. Perhaps you have different pieces all framed in a similar fashion – that’s your common denominator. Group like with like items together and you will be pleased with the new arrangement. (The example above shows how brightly colored art from different artists and genres can effectively coexist.)
Play with the artwork arrangement over your bed – try something different behind your sofa – and change it up. All you need is a hammer, and an adventurous spirit. If you have lots of family photos, instead of having pictures here there and everywhere scattered throughout the house. Gather all the family photos and create a hall of memories. I was at someone’s home recently who did exactly that and it looks fantastic. It’s a nice reminder of our loved ones every time you pass through that hallway.
There’s a medical bonus to this work. If you’re over 50, studies show that rearranging your artwork and furniture can help stave off Alzheimer’s – giving your eye a new arrangement to look at is good for you.
REFRESH YOUR HOME this New Year. All you need is a box, a towel and a hammer to refresh your space. Fill up the box with donations of that which you don’t need any more and know that you’ll be blessing someone else with your donations. Use the towel to slip under heavy furniture when rearranging for better functionality. And the hammer is for rehanging your artwork in a new way.
Here's to your New Y.E.A.R., Your Easy Affordable Refresh. It's not a let down, it’s a SET UP for you to give your rooms new life, at no cost.
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Decorating your home is as easy as A-B-C
A = Always allow your authentic self to be expressed in the home. What do I mean by authentic self? It’s your true self. What is most important to you? Spending time together as a family? If so, ensure there is ample space for the family to gather & play games together. What if your authentic self loves to socialize and to have friends over? Arrange your furniture to allow meaningful conversations. Avoid the temptation to arrange furniture to only face the television – “worship the box” arrangement. In fact, if you do not have a television in your living space, you’re on trend! Elle Décor reports that tech-less living spaces are trending. Wouldn’t it be nice if we went back to a time when families actually talked to each other after dinner? What a concept! Arrange your furniture so you actually face one another. Placing another sofa opposite, or two chairs opposite the sofa will do the trick, allowing you to have a conversation with friends & family. Allow the space to support how YOU live, to support your Authentic Self.
A also stands for allow only artwork and accessories that speak to YOUR spirit. If rustic farm chic does nothing for you, but antique glassware reminds you of your beloved grandmother, then display antique glassware. Or display grandmother's favorite candlesticks (pictured). If the design magazines encourage us to display some trend, only do so *if* it brings you joy. Your home is YOUR home and it must reflect what is important to YOU.
B = Ban Builders Beige. Last week I met with a great family that loves outdoor activities. Their family photos were filled with gorgeous greens and glories of nature. Yet, their walls were a sea of beige. That's where paint comes in! Painting your walls is the least expensive way to completely transform your home. A soft green – like Dunn Edwards’ Glisten Green - can warm up a room for less than $100. Or if you’re looking for a tranquil feeling in your bedroom try Behr’s Crystalline Falls or Sky Light View. You’ll feel like you’re living in a high end spa. Ban Builders Beige. If you need help choosing the right color for your space, I’m happy to help you. Contact me here.
B also stands for bringing in nature's beauty. I believe every room should have a touch of nature's beauty. A gorgeous crystal geode. Cuttings from your garden. A rustic side table made out of a log. God has made such beauty. Bring a touch of nature's beauty indoors.
C= Creativity. Create spaces to encourage your own creativity. Whether you’re a bookkeeper or a CEO, creativity is essential to succeed in what you do. Allocate space for the hobbies and activities that bring you joy. You know the joke – when you’re only in your left brain there’s nothing right and in your right brain there’s nothing left. Set up a space to do that woodworking you so loved when you were in school. Set aside a crafting corner for creating beautiful crafts. Last year the popularity of adult coloring books soared! Why is that, do you think? When you’re being creative, you lose track of time, and you open up to the Creator of the Universe. There is something so healing when you allow your creativity to flourish. Creativity.
C also stands for create cozy spaces in your home that are conducive to conversation. (Okay, I'm getting carried away with the "c" words.) Instead of ignoring your fireplace, pull up two chairs on either side of your fireplace. What a delightful place to sit and de-stress after a long day of work. Cultivate cozy spaces in all the rooms. I have a pair of chairs at the foot of my bed so we can read, or sit and chat. Very cozy spaces make your house a HOME.
A – Always allow your Authentic self to be reflected in your spaces, as well as keeping only artwork and accessories that feed your spirit.
B – Ban Builders’ Beige. Bring in color and nature's beauty to warm up your home.
C – Create cozy and creative spaces to allow your house to truly be a home.
I love hearing from you! Leave a comment here as to how you make your house a home. ~Loralana Light