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Posts Tagged ‘hanging lights’

Ask an expert on holiday decor, and they’ll probably tell you there are three types of do-it-yourselfers:  those who start early in November, those who pace themselves after Thanksgiving, and those who do nothing at all.  But there’s a fourth type of celebrant – Those Who Wait Until The Last Minute.

 You’ve seen us.  We’re those who slap up decorations, evergreens, and lights on December 24th, then wonder why our house looks like a holiday hairball instead of a designer’s showcase.  Our light strands sag, the wreath is pathetic; the door to the corner gas station is more welcoming than the “2012” disaster theme on our front porch. 

 Without spending hours channeling Martha Stewart, turn catastrophe into triumph with these simple steps.

The wreath:  We know it’s store-bought, but it doesn’t have to look it.  Personalize that wreath with adornments.  

–  Glean the garden for homey accents, such as Catalpa pods, seed heads, pine cones or grass plumes. 

–  Fresh berries, holly, or other floral touches are available at your local florist.  Ask the florist how often they get shipments, then pick up your material the day it arrives.

–  When adding accents, try to have four main points of interest as you move around the wreath. 

–  Wire on material for best results or use hot glue.  Don’t scrimp on the glue, use enough to secure the pieces in place.

Tip:  Keep your wreath fresh by spraying once with an anti-dessicant, such as Wilt-Pruf or Wilt-Stop, available at florist shops.  Hang the wreath out of direct sun or away from heaters.  Mist with water each day, but if hanging outside, avoid misting in freezing temperatures.

 That porch:  Welcome guests with a door display that’s simple and elegant, by converting summer planters into dazzling evergreen containers. 

– Pull out dead annuals, leaving the soil in the pot.  Push branches of pine, fir, spruce and juniper into the soil.  Add a few branches of red twig dogwood or corkscrew willow, ribbon, and colorful ornaments or floral sticks.  Water the pot weekly to keep the greens fresh.

Tip:  Alter the height of the branches, leaving some evergreens cascading over the rim.  Go easy on the ornaments; they should accent not overpower.

 Those lights:  Pick a warm day and have a plan if you want your house tastefully lit.

– Start simple by outlining the roof and one or two trees.  Larger trees light better than small saplings, whose branches don’t support many strands. 

– Light shrubs in a spiral, or toss net lights over them.

– Stick to one size bulb for a smooth, finished look.  Mixing small and large bulbs often confuses the eye, making your display look haphazard.

Safety tips: Use outdoor-rated lights with fuses in their plugs, checking each set and discarding those with cracked sockets or frayed wire.  Avoid connecting too many strands to one outlet.  Read the package instructions for number of strands you can string together.  Be sure your extension cord is certified for outdoor use and can take the load.

This blog post appeared in the Longmont Ledger December 6.

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