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Archive for Sunday, October 31, 2004

Forethought helps make decorations last longer

October 31, 2004

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Decorating for the holidays takes effort. Wouldn't it be nice to make that hard work last longer than just the Christmas season?

It can, with some forethought and a little judicious editing.

Cindy Faller, a designer at Rice's Nursery near Canton, Ohio, and Gregory Perry, owner of the Akron, Ohio, decorating company Re-Design, shared their decorating ideas that can extend beyond a single holiday. Both recommended starting with elements that aren't traditionally tied to a particular time of year, then adding and subtracting holiday-related accents.

Perry, for example, likes to display an artificial wreath in the autumn that's made of leaves, berries, curly twigs, glittered fruit and grapes. The colors are rich -- primarily deep reds and greens -- and the fruit speaks to the bounty of the season. Missing are the oranges and yellows that are common in fall, but you could add fall leaves if you wished.

After Thanksgiving, Perry turns the wreath into a Christmas decoration simply by taking off the bright fall leaves and adding evergreen branches from a craft store or floral shop. He likes to use about a dozen -- three each of four types of evergreen, some with pinecones. He just tucks the pieces into the wreath and holds them in place by wrapping the wire stems around existing parts of the wreath.

Fresh evergreen could be wired to the wreath closer to Christmas to give it a more realistic look and the Christmasy fragrance, he said. Add fake snow if you like.

The same concept can be used for centerpieces, door swags and mantel decorations, Perry said. Even an artificial Christmas tree could be dressed with fruit, leaves and other floral elements for Thanksgiving, then accented with red and green ornaments to turn it into a Christmas tree, he said. Add seasonal accents

Like Perry, Faller suggested starting with a base of natural or natural-looking greenery and elements, such as pine, birch, curly willow and honeysuckle vine or grapevine. Then you can temporarily add accents appropriate to the time of year -- say, colored leaves and small gourds in October, pilgrim figures and cornucopias for Thanksgiving, and ornaments and candles for Christmas. Natural elements such as seed pods can be worked in, either in their natural state or spray-painted to pick up the seasonal colors you're using.

Design your decoration so those temporary elements can easily be pulled out, Faller said. And consider incorporating a mirror into the arrangement, she said -- perhaps as the base of a centerpiece or propped on a mantel. It reflects light and color, making your arrangement even more eye-catching.

Whatever accents you choose, use odd numbers for a more visually interesting look, Faller suggested. And avoid getting carried away with colors at Christmastime. She'd use three colors of ornaments in varying sizes.

Perry also suggests thinking in terms of extending a decoration from Christmas to spring. He loves putting out simple white pots containing red silk tulips at the holidays and tucking some greenery around their bases, perhaps accented with ribbon and red bulbs. After Christmas, just remove the greenery, and you have a decoration that lasts for months.

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