Friday, December 18, 2009

twinkle, twinkle

As promised, here’s a peek at my tree.

I like a lot of extra lights on my tree because I love the twinkle. This year’s tree was a bit wider and more full than I thought it was, so in my opinion, there are not nearly enough lights. Oh well, perhaps I'll be picking up more in a good boxing day sale…

The twinkle is my favorite part. I make sure I spend some quiet time admiring it every night. For some reason, it’s very calming. A friend of mine swears multi-colored lights are “coming back in” again. I don’t know about that, but I do know it would be very hard to convince me to give up beautiful white lights.

I’m infatuated with mat finish ornaments, so this year I decided to go with a baby blue color. It’s been around for a year or two, but something about the color speaks to me. As you can see, you really don’t need lots of a particular colored ornament to make it pop. Especially when it’s a more non-traditional color.

I like a clean, simple look, so I mixed these with my classic ornaments that I use each year -- clear glass, silver and a touch of white. The glass and silver add a bit of extra shine because they increase the reflection of the lights. I did add some tree jewelry too -- in the form of silver and glass draping/hanging ornaments…you got it, more twinkle!

I added a touch of whimsy (and a peek at my sense of humor) with three little sparkly blue birds that are tucked into the tree to help hide a couple of the natural gaps in the branches. Unexpected for me, because I am not a fan of birds (in the realm of decorating) nor am I of feathers. But that’s a whole different blog topic. Again, I think the twinkle factor saves them.

On a side note, the beautiful red ornaments I used last year are now placed all over the house in various ways – in glass vases, perched on a windowsill, added to the door wreath, and hanging in an archway between rooms. I still get lots of enjoyment out of them.

This season, for a very low cost, my tree has a fresh new look that I’m really happy with…and so does my house. I hope you have a great time decorating, and admiring, your tree too!

We’ll be taking a short break to celebrate the holiday season and will be back with a new posting in early January. In the meantime, very best wishes to all faithful just a little rouge readers and rouge clients for a wonderful season full of love, laughter and lots of sparkle!

Thanks very much for a great 2009. You have been my gift and I am thankful.

See you again in 2010!

xx rouge.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

merry and bright

I assume by now you all have your tree? Maybe by the end of the weekend?? It’s time.

Here are a few tips, ideas and trends to make your tree merry and bright this holiday season.

lights: when setting up your tree, ensure 2 feet (61 cm) of space all around side that faces room, and between tree topper and ceiling.

Choose energy-efficient LED lights to curb energy use and costs (an average home uses 27 per cent more lighting in December).

Have a strand of 100 lights for each vertical foot (30.5 cm) of tree. For the extra wow-factor, up it to 200.

Plug in and ensure they’re all working before you put them on the tree!

Start at the top, plugged into the tree topper (if required) or near it, and carefully wind your way down as evenly spaced as you can. When you are done, take a step back and readjust as required to have a nice, even look.

ornaments: have 20 to 30 ornaments in various shapes and sizes for each vertical foot (30.5 cm) of tree.

Some suggest choosing ornaments that coordinate with colours in room. I say, choose a color scheme you like and go for it!

trend: coppers and corals are the latest trend. Bronzes and browns are still in fashion too. You’ll also see lots of other non-traditional colors like various shades of purples, pinks and blues.

Place largest ornaments first, tuck
ing some midway along branches to light up dark spots in the tree.

For impact, add remaining ornaments in clusters of odd-numbered ornaments.

Don’t forget to add in a light sprinkling of your favourites, your sentimentials, and your family “heirloom” ornaments to personalize your tree.

I like to add in a touch of whimsy and/or something unexpected to my tree each year for added flavor. A unique ornament with feathers, birds, sparkles…etc are all fun (just don’t overdo it…one strategically placed gem is enough!)

wide wire-edged ribbon, wide stiff ribbon with die-cut with holes is “in” this season, and beaded garlands are good options if you want to add garland.

tip: garland has a huge impact on the overall look of your tree, so if you go this route, adjust your number and positioning of ornaments as required so your tree won’t look overdone.

Now…sit back and enjoy! Remember to water your tree regularly (only if it’s real!) to ensure you’ll be able to continue to enjoy it for the next month.

Remember to check your recycling and garbage pick up schedule to find out when your municipality will pick up trees for mulching.

And check out next week’s blog to see my tree!

Happy decorating.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

oh christmas tree, oh christmas tree... lovely are your branches!

My favorite thing about the holiday season is the Christmas tree. I love the whole thing…going to the lot, choosing a tree, the adventure of getting it in/on the car and bringing it home, getting it into the stand and of course, decorating it. I love the twinkle of the lights and I love the smell. I enjoy my tree from the second week of December until New Year’s day, where I sadly undecorated it and pack away all the ornaments until next year.

There are lots of things to consider about your tree…here are a few bits of info, some tips gleaned from my favorite blogs (you know that’s you,!), and some of my own thoughts and family traditions.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the eco pros and cons to both real and fake Christmas trees.

Real trees come from tree farms, not virgin forest, so they are a sustainably harvested product. But fossil fuels are used to harvest them and get them to the lot where you buy them, and then, to your home -- unless you're dragging them via dogsled!

If you buy a real tree, make sure you check out your city's post-holiday pick-up rules and schedule, so the tree gets wood-chipped and reused as mulch, rather than being landfill-bound as part of the regular garbage stream.

Fake trees
use large amounts of petroleum in their manufacturing process. However, if you buy one now and use it for decades to come, you are you're reducing the volume of fossil fuel used to buy real trees each year. If you go faux, commit to your tree. Spend the $$ and make it an investment and don't change trees every few years.

Because, I’m just going to say it, there are lots of fake trees that are really awful. Take heart, now more than ever, the look and quality of faux trees has significantly improved so you can easily find one you will be happy to display.

Potted trees are great if you understand the commitment they require. Most potted Christmas trees actually end up dying. Potted trees need to be kept outdoors. Being moved into an unseasonably warm indoor climate isn't good for them and they won't recover when returned outside. So, if you're open to having your tree on your front porch or back deck full-time until it gets planted in the yard come spring, this might be a good option for you.

I always go for the real deal, the balsam fir. If you can't find a balsam fir, look for other top choices such as fraser fir, white
spruce and scotch pine. These trees are all well known for being aromatic and with branches that retain their needles.

Before you buy a tree do a quick freshness test. Grab a branch and pull your
hand toward you. If the tree is fresh, only five to ten needles should fall off. If you grab a handful of needles, find another tree. Get the vendor at the lot to make a fresh cut to your tree – about 2 inches will do it.

Tip: If you aren't ready to decorate your tree when you get home, store it in a sheltered area where it will be cool and dry. Cut about two centimeters off the bottom of the trunk and put it in a bucket of water to provide moisture. When you're ready to bring it inside, make another fresh cut in the trunk and put it in a stand filled with at least four liters of water.

Tip: The Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association recommends using tree stands that can hold six litres of water or more. Check the water level every day -- constant watering will mean your tree will keep its scent, colour and needles.

As a kid, I have fond memories of crawling under the tree and putting ice cubes in the tree stand, so the tree would be slowly watered as the ice melted. I also remember seeing either my mom or dad doing the same…which for some reason, was also incredibly funny at the time. I don’t know if it was necessary, but it sure was fun!

Check out next week’s blog for decorating tips and ideas. In the meantime, happy tree-hunting!