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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Making Holiday Clove Oranges

Copyright © 2009-2012

To make a clove orange decoration you'll need:

  • an orange
  • thin coloured ribbon (enough to wrap around your orange twice and a bit more)
  • cloves

Clove Orange Instructions

Step 1.
Wrap the ribbon around the orange, twisting at the base, to divide the orange into quarters.

Step 2.
Feed the ends under the piece of ribbon at the top of the orange.

Step 3.
Tie a simple overhand knot to secure the ribbon in place.

Step 4, 5 & 6.
Now start pressing cloves into your orange. I like to outline the ribbon with cloves first, and then fill in the gaps.

You can also make pretty patterns on your orange with cloves. Try making stars, hearts and more!
Once you are finished, hang the clove orange on your tree by tying it on with the extra ribbon, and enjoy the spicy Christmas aroma!

Alternatively, decorate several oranges (or clementines, mandarins, etc) with cloves and display them in bowls around the house. This will add a beautiful aroma to your rooms at Christmas time, and looks great too!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Decorating The Perfect Christmas Tree

When Christmas comes around, we all look to get the largest and fullest tree to decorate. However, the decorations are ultimately what makes a Christmas tree look fantastic. Here's how to decorate it in a way that looks elegant and professional.

  1. Pick your tree. Some people prefer the look and smell of a real tree, while others like the reliability of a fake one. Other traditional alternatives to "real" options are feather trees and tinsel trees. They can have a lot of old-fashioned charm, but may not work with all decor.
  2. Look at the shape of your tree. When buying a real tree, make sure you see the tree out of its netting. Look for a full tree with evenly spaced branches and a symmetric, tapered shape. Get a tree that still has the tips of its branches intact. A sheared tree is cheaper, but it looks less natural and will have more loose needles, which may cause a mess.
  3. Get a Christmas tree stand. You want to select one with the deepest water reservoir you can find. Make sure the tree is securely wedged into position and only add water after the tree is in place.
  4. Decide on a color scheme. Common color schemes for Christmas include all green, red and gold or red and silver. The color scheme you choose should also complement the color scheme in the room that your tree will be in, such as your front room or living room. You can also consider using non-traditional ornament colors to give your tree an updated look.
  5. Decide on a theme for your tree. This could include something such as angels, nutcrackers or snowflakes. However, this part is of course optional.
  6. Shop for decorations. This includes ornaments, garland, ribbons and beads. You can also purchase different styles of multi-pack ornaments which are the most useful.
  7. Buy coordinating lights. Make sure that do not play music or flash.
    • Either incandescent or LED lights are fine, but get small ones since their purpose should be to accent the ornaments, not be ornaments themselves.
    • Hang the lights from top to bottom, pushing them partway into the branches to hide the cord.
    • Use them sparingly and space them evenly.
  8. Utilize ornaments. Remember that they should enhance and not dominate the tree.
    • If you use tinsel, use sparingly and add each strand separately, making sure each hangs straight down. You could also try metal or glass icicles instead of tinsel.
    • Plain spheres are another traditional, elegant ornament shape.
    • For a truly minimalist look, use only white or silver ornaments. Otherwise, use a simple color scheme or use colors that work well together. 
    • If you use ornaments other than glass balls, find a theme such as birds, antique toys, boating, etc.
    • Ornaments can make a tree individual and personal. A collection might take a few years to acquire, but you can use your imagination.
    • You can even use things that aren’t strictly for the tree. Candy and other treats are a traditional addition and popular with kids. Also try natural objects like pine cones and fruit.
  9. Wrap ribbon around your tree. Mesh ribbon usually works best for this. Make sure to scrunch the ribbon and wrap a branch around that part. Start at the top and work your way down. Make a poof of about 12 to 16 inches and scrunch again, wrapping a branch around it. Go all around the tree.
  10. Finish off your tree with a bow or topper. Make a bow using three different ribbons. When you have made as many loops as you want, tie it off with a chenille stem or a piece of wire. Fluff out your bow by adding streamers to it and tie your bow on to the tree using the chenile stem.
  11. Make the most of your best pieces. To really make a statement about your Christmas tree, start with the most important ornaments by hanging the largest ones first, spacing them evenly apart. You will then want to fill in the spaces with any medium and small sizes to balance the overall look of the tree.
  12. Don’t forget to decorate the bottom of your tree. You can add more depth by hanging ornaments closer to the trunk. Use an interesting variety since there are so many fabulous ornaments for sale now. Be sure to get include ornaments such as icicles, teardrops, squares, triangles. A little variety can really separate your tree from the rest.
    • Place ornaments and other decorations 'inside' your tree as well as on the tips of branches to add depth and fullness.