Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 09, 2011

Lighting the Way

Those who know me well know I have an opinion on most any topic and when it comes to style, decorating or how things look, I have been known to pop a blood vessel or two over certain observations. Yesterday, my girlfriend was complaining that her husband wrapped their outdoor trees in multi-colored Christmas lights without noticing that she had meticulously decorated the front porch in white lights. This brought to mind my #1 pet peeve this time of year: bad holiday lighting!!! I told her I was going to do a blog post on how badly so many houses hang their lights when in reality, it doesn't take Martha Stewart to see simpler is better.

This is going to be painful, but take a look around:

This is the stuff that hurts my eyes! WHY, WHY, WHY, do people just gather any old strand, never thinking of the color or the size and hang them... wherever! Some are new, some are old, some are LED, some are missing; it's a train wreck and look at the time it took!

This is really what sends me driving off the road: see how the strand to the left just falls off into never land while looking for the extension cord. ARGHHHH!!! Stop the madness!!

Will someone please shoot the person who invented LED lights???!! Or, if you're using them, do the ENTIRE HOUSE! When did neon lavender become a Xmas color??!!!

AND ENOUGH WITH THE HEDGE LIGHTS!!! Polka dots are not Xmas lights!!! (hint: I know these are easy but throw a few strands of real lights over them or poke them down into the bushes!!!)

Where do I begin? Ok, sometimes a gaudy mess is good (see below) but the homes that use the blow up snow globes from Costco (shoot those manufacturers too please!!) along with the plastic soldiers AND the mechanical figures- sorry no words can describe how wrong this is. AND, AND!!! when you drive by in the morning and they're all lying there deflated!!! Egads, people!!! This is not a good thing!!!

Ok, my blood pressure is rising, I have to move on to GOOD IDEAS!!!

How simple and beautiful is this?? These giant stars are probably easy enough to find online and by just attaching long strands of white lights from them they make a simple and effective decoration which can attach to trees or the side of your house. How great for a neighborhood to do this between houses too!

This is how to wrap a tree. Thousands of lights and meticulous wrapping but o'boy the results. If only you do one tree and nothing else, this would be divine.

Now this is a mystery: This might have been a set or a Candy Lane somewhere but how effective to not use lights but add snow trim to the outline of your home. Some work, yes, but so are hanging lights.

I love seeing these in front of some businesses or parks but they would also be easy enough for you to do in your own yard. I would use all white lights of course or just one color.

Now this is how to do a big house: Although I am not a fan of the icicle lights either, these are done really well. (hint: Put a blow dryer on them to loosen them up before hanging.) Swagging the front garland perfectly also softens the horizontal lines of the architecture and the red bows are a nice contrast. Well done!

Now on the other hand, if you're going to go to all the trouble, then GO FOR IT! Who doesn't like to stop and look at this madness. (Their neighbors I am guessing.)

Humor is always good too!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

A New Holiday

Matthew Mead's personal cover of HOLIDAY 2011

True to form, our creative friend Matthew Mead and staff have given us another wonderful issue of HOLIDAY.

Over dinner recently with a few creative friends, I predicted (due to the state of the economy and my recent study of Pinterest) this year was going to be the DIY Christmas. Matthew, being light years ahead of us, obviously knew this months ago as he prepared this current issue.

In HOLIDAY you will find not only the lovely photos, ideas and recipes we have come to love Mead for, but this issue is layered with page upon page of instructions for decorating your home, packages, ornaments, trees and gift-giving food. Order this issue, gather the girlfriends, sisters or nieces and plan a day of crafting gifts and decor that will be valued for years to come.

A fresh and bright addition to the average wreath.
The magazine also shows a version with fresh limes.

How easy is this?! I loved the haphazard drizzle of the white icing.

No doubt inspired by European styling, this simple vignette
above shows less is more.

One of the many magnificent trees shown throughout the issue. This
pastel version adds a fresh spin by adding Chinese fans.

Designer/crafter extraordinaire Amy Powers loves to work in
miniatures and contributed these ideas above.

Another simple idea for the cookie exchange. Adding a
ribbon turns them into instant ornaments.

Feel free to test this recipe and send me samples for approval.

From the "why didn't I think of that" file: Using a
drop leaf coffee table as a tree skirt. Genius.

Look for this cover from Time/Warner on newsstands
or order direct here.

And from my own list of things to make, more ideas from my boards on Pinterest:

A new idea for the junky jewelry

Can't wait to hear what your husband would think if you suggested covering his precious taxidermy! But how great is this idea for when we find those tattered carcases at the flea market.

Now this is what I call a space-saver. Any old scrappy wood would do.

Taking paper and scissors to whole new level!