Cool this yule: What's new in holiday decorating; how-tos to use this week

Cool this yule: What's new in holiday decorating; how-tos to use this week

November 23rd, 2013 by Susan Pierce in Life Entertainment

The use of burlap is a top trend this season. For a cozy, homespun theme, combine it with woodland decorations and rustic pieces such as lanterns.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Michelle Sowder shows how ribbon is swagged on a partially completed mailbox huggie and what the finished decoration will look like on the mailbox.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Kevin Roberts offered step-by-step instructions on making a Deco Mesh tree skirt using the wreath form. You will need two rolls of Deco Mesh in contrasting colors: one 21 inches in width, the other 10 inches.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Thanksgiving weekend is traditionally the time homeowners light up for the Christmas season. But before tossing any tinsel, do you have a plan for getting your holiday bling on?

The difference in a good look and a great look is a plan, says Kevin Roberts, designer at Trees N Trends in Cleveland, Tenn. Decorating starts outside, he says. Begin with the front door and match outdoor decorations such as mailbox arrangements. Then decorate from the door to inside the house -- the same style and colors should flow from the entryway into the living spaces.

More than 250 women packed into the home decor store on a Saturday afternoon earlier this month to hear a Christmas decorating seminar led by Roberts and designer Michelle Sowder. Here are five trends for Christmas they described along with some how-to's to get the look.

• Monograms. It's all about you. Center a wreath with a big initial or pop some ornaments on the tree that bear the letter of your last name.

• Burlap with winter wood decorations. "It's still burlap, burlap, burlap -- especially in this area," says Roberts. "A lot of people are wanting burlap garlands to drape their front doorway or burlap combined with a patterned ribbon."

• LED lights. These battery-operated strands of lights allow homeowners the flexibility to illuminate areas that aren't within reach of electrical plugs without a maze of extension cords. New strands are so minuscule, the LED lights are barely larger than pin heads. Roberts suggests them for wrapping garlands and mailbox arrangements or weaving them among a lighted village display.

For a quick decoration children will love to make, "put LED lights in a glass bowl, pour in fake snow to fill the bowl and then light the snow up," suggests Sowder.

You can also "wrap them around baskets filled with Christmas greens," she says.

• Mercury glass. Also known as "silvered glass," mercury glass adds glitter to a table centerpiece. Now it can shine as well when combined with LED lights. Transform an older piece of mercury glass just by placing a coil of lights within the glass. "The great thing is that LEDs won't heat up and break the glass," says Roberts.

• Deco Mesh. Even after three years, the popularity of this shimmering ribbon hasn't lost its luster. Deco Mesh is still so in demand, forms are available to consumers to help them shape the mesh into wreaths, tree skirts, teardrops and garlands. The newest addition is "the mailbox huggie," a flexible wire ladder that bends to fit over the box. Each "rung" of the ladder has two sprigs of silk greenery attached on each side, which holds a loop of mesh with the ribbon swagged back and forth across the rungs. Deco Mesh forms begin at $6.99 for a wreath; a mailbox huggie is $9.99.

How to make a wrapped topiary ball

1. Cut two strips of wired ribbon the circumference of the ball plus four inches. Shape them in an X and attach with a twist-tie at the center.

2. Pull two sides of the ribbon up around the bow and attach at top with twist-ties, then the remaining two ribbons. To make this step easier, Roberts suggests setting the ball in an urn or other cup-like opening to hold it still.

3. When the four ribbons are attached, they will leave an extra couple of inches at the top to which the finishing bow is attached.

How to make a Deco Mesh tree skirt

Roberts offered step-by-step instructions on making a Deco Mesh tree skirt using the wreath form. You will need two rolls of Deco Mesh in contrasting colors: one 21 inches in width, the other 10 inches.

1. Using the 21-inch roll, begin blousing out the mesh into big loops the width of the tree's bottom branches. Blouse and tuck a loop into each section of the form all the way around.

2. Repeat the blouse-and-tuck process with the 10-inch mesh, but make loops half the width of the bottom row of mesh.

3. Cut strips of contrasting ribbons in 2-foot lengths. Tie these together onto the top of the form, spacing them around the circumference.

4. Lay the tree stand on the floor. Place the tree skirt over it on the floor, then put the tree into the stand.

'DESIGNER' TREE

Steps for creating a tasty tree.

1. When putting up an artificial tree, each branch should be shaped, spreading the needles out, with a slight downward sweep. Start at the bottom of the tree and work upward.

2. If your tree is not prelit and you are stringing the lights, start on the bottom row of branches. Weave lights down one side of a branch to the trunk, then back up the other side and on to the next branch. Weaving lights to the trunk adds depth.

Plan on buying 100 lights per foot of tree. For example, a 6-foot tree will need 600 lights. Plug no more than 300 lights into one plug of an extension cord, and another 300 lights in another plug on the cord.

3. Next, place the large pieces you have chosen to carry out the theme of the tree. These pieces should be used deep in the tree, not on outer edges. Set one near the top, leaving room for garland, another midway and the third on the bottom, somewhat following an 'S' shape around the tree. This sets the focal point. If only using one large piece, set it three-quarters up the tree.

4. Setting the focal point shows where the ribbon/garland should be used. Open wide pieces of netting, start at the top and tuck in, blouse the mesh out and tuck in again, carrying out the lines of the focal pieces. Use any large netting or burlap fabric first, then follow with narrower ribbon on top of the larger. If using more than one ribbon, apply them at the same time. Hold the ribbons in your left hand and work with the right hand.

5. Next, place any decorative flower or berry stems, feathers or glittered stems. Start at the top and follow the lines of the garland. Use an upward motion to stick the bottom of stems in the tree toward the trunk to keep the downward sweep.

6. Use ornaments correctly. Start with large sizes and work down to smallest. Place large ornaments in the tree hanging from branches to add depth; smaller ones should be used on outer branches.

Source: Kevin Linder, Trees N Trends

Monograms are big this season, such as a large initial centering a wreath.

Make an easy centerpiece using a piece of mercury glass. Insert a strand of LED lights into the glass, stand it up and surround the base with berries, greens, ornaments or a combination of these.

At right, LED lights add sparkle to a large ornamental ball. To get this look, Kevin Roberts sprayed a metal-cage ball a deep green. When dry, he sprayed the ball with adhesive, rolled it in glitter and let that dry. After winding the exterior of the ball with a strand of LED lights, he attached the bow on top. The ball may be seated in an urn or suspended from the ceiling.

The use of burlap is a top trend this season. For a cozy, homespun theme, combine it with woodland decorations and rustic pieces such as lanterns.

Michelle Sowder shows how ribbon is swagged on a partially competed mailbox huggie and what the finished decoration will look like on the mailbox.

How to make a wrapped topiary ball

1. Cut two strips of wired ribbon the circumference of the ball plus four inches. Shape them in an X and attach with a twist-tie at the center.

2. Pull two sides of the ribbon up around the bow and attach at top with twist-ties, then the remaining two ribbons. To make this step easier, Roberts suggests setting the ball in an urn or other cup-like opening to hold it still.

3. When the four ribbons are attached, they will leave an extra couple of inches at the top to which the finishing bow is attached.

Contact Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6284.