Selecting Your Christmas Tree

Selecting Your Christmas Tree

This is the season for Holiday decorating! Especially this year, everyone seems anxious to usher in the beauty and comforts of the Holiday season. Choosing your Christmas tree is a great place to start since it is usually the most exciting Christmas decorating project of the season.

If you decide to use a live tree this year, it is essential to do a little preparation before you head out to search for your perfect tree.

 ONE

Measure your ceiling height and take measurements to be sure you know how tall a tree you will need. Leave room for your tree topper, and tilting the tree to an upright position when installing, also allows for your tree stand and tree trunk. Even the most beautifully shaped tree could look like a mess after having to cut half of the tree branches off to stand it in place. Check your measurements, and be sure to purchase a tree that is shorter than your ceiling height!

– Check your doorways, hallways, and stairways, be sure you have a clear path to your final destination. Be sure the length of your tree will make all the turns that it needs to make to enter your room.

– Of course, you also want to be sure you have a vehicle that can transport your tree back to your home, with plenty of cords or rope for securing your tree to your car. Always aim the tree’s trunk toward the front of the vehicle, so the wind doesn’t break the branches during transport.

TWO

When I decide to use a live tree, I purchase my tree from a local tree farm here in Massachusetts, where choosing the perfect tree involves a long hike, down a path, into the woods, through the snow, down past a stream, and up a hill in the freezing cold. Once you reach the peak of this hill, you can see a valley of beautifully tended live trees, all sparkling in the sunshine and all hoping to be my Christmas tree, makes the journey worthwhile. Once you are deep in the woods, it can become challenging to judge these beautiful trees’ height. Luckily my favorite tree farmer comes equipped with a tree measuring stick, a saw, and a pickup truck to haul my perfect tree back to civilization. If you are fortunate enough to visit a tree farm, ask your tree farmer about the different varieties of trees and what to expect regarding the longevity, fragrance, and durability of the needles and branches that vary with each tree.

Your local Christmas tree lot can also be a great place to purchase a live tree, this involves less hiking, less time, and you could also be helping to support a local cause with your purchase. When choosing a freshly cut tree, be sure the needles are not brittle. You don’t want to purchase a dried-out tree that will lose its needles quickly.

THREE

Once you get your Christmas tree back to your home, be sure that your tree trunk has a fresh cut before installing. A new cut allows the tree to continue absorbing water. After installing, fill your tree stand with water immediately, and continue daily watering. Remember, the taller the tree, the larger and stronger the tree stand needed to hold it up safely.

FOUR

Thinking about an artificial Christmas tree? As much as I love the fragrance and the all-day pilgrimage of selecting and installing a live tree. Artificial trees offer many benefits, such as no constant dropping of needles, no daily watering, and much sturdier branches that can hold up decorations that most live trees cannot support. For someone who puts up their decorations early, an artificial tree allows much more longevity. You can also find artificial trees in every shape and size, and variety you could get in a live tree. A quality artificial tree will look very authentic and will last many years if properly stored. There are many trees to choose from, including flocked, pre-lit, and many tree companies offer different varieties of trees, from Frasier firs to White spruce. Remember, decorations and lights go a long way, even with an inexpensive artificial tree.

Until next time,

Gia

 

From The Blog

Selecting Your Christmas Tree

Selecting Your Christmas Tree

This is the season for Holiday decorating! Especially this year, everyone seems anxious to usher in the beauty and comforts of the Holiday season....

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A Peek At My Thanksgiving Table

A Peek At My Thanksgiving Table

This year I’ve decided to hold my annual Thanksgiving dinner a week earlier than usual. My adult children have to go to several homes to attend numerous Thanksgiving dinners—eating Thanksgiving dinner sometimes four times a day. For many years they were more than willing to do this. I decided that this would make it easier for everyone, including the newest 2-month-old addition to the family. Also, giving us more time to visit together as a family during our Thanksgiving celebration. Since my Christmas decorating officially starts on Halloween (this provides plenty of time to decorate my own house and my client’s homes and time to photograph my holiday decor). Most years, my own home is in full-scale holiday decorating mode completing just before Thanksgiving. This year my early Thanksgiving idea lost me a week. However, somehow the house is ready, and I am excited to share a peek at the decorations with you.

broken floor tile

As always, my tablescape is a mix of old and new Items. Some of my cherished pieces of blue and white china from my many years of collecting, mixed with new items like my jewel-toned velvet pumpkins and the beautiful new chinoiserie pumpkins that I stumbled upon earlier this year. I added silver and mirrored chargers purchased for previous events that I have held, antique crystal candle holders, and a few silver pumpkins wrapped with iridescent pearls. This year, I am using cobalt blue and silver for all of my holiday decorations in my dining room, so my Thanksgiving table is following suit. The numerous combinations of colors that I have used for this room are always one of my favorites, so I have used it again this year—an easy transition to my Christmas Decor.

Add rich color.

This year, I’m using cobalt blue satin napkins folded with the silver metallic linen blend napkin. Silver napkin rings trimmed with rhinestones will hold these napkins on top of my place settings. As I’ve mentioned before, don’t be afraid to mix and match when you set the table. When I use my blue and white collection, you might notice that there are about four different patterns of blue and white in one of my table settings. I prefer this layered look of compatible patterns mixed rather than the look of just one pattern on the table, which gives it a lot more interest. It also allows me to add pieces to my collection without worrying about having a certain amount of plates. I know I can always mix a new piece in with the others.

If you prefer a more clean-lined look, you could certainly use one pattern or solid colored plates. When using solid plates, I like to add some contrast to the table with color or pattern in another way. Maybe a more colorful centerpiece, or even a simple floral strong in structure, like an orchid, gives you a much more modern look. When I’m setting the table for a sit-down dinner, I try to keep any centerpiece or center decoration low enough to where you can see over it, especially crucial during Thanksgiving when you are probably going to be sitting at the table for a while. Depending on your table’s shape, you will need to decide how much space you need to create a centerpiece accordingly.

I always use place cards at my holiday table. When my kids were little, it was always a fun project to create place cards for everyone. I still enjoy creating different place cards for everyone joining us for dinner and coming up with different ways to display the place cards. When it comes to glassware, I treat this the same way I treat my china or plates. For this table, I’ll be mixing and matching. This year I combined two patterns of cobalt blue glassware with silver goblets. I also mixed in a few silver-rimmed antique glasses since we were using silver on the table. I try to mix glasses of complementary proportions; this is the key to mixing glassware.

Instead of fresh flowers, which I usually use, I used a few potted flowering plants on my tables for this tablescape. The small lacey blossoms on these flowering plants were pretty and delicate, and I knew they would look great with all of the chinoiserie patterns. I placed these flowers in white ceramic pots. The details on these pots complement the Chippendale details in my high gloss white dining room chairs. I have enjoyed these potted flowering plants in my home all fall and decided to work them into my Thanksgiving tablescape. A few ice and glitter-covered greenery stems add some additional sparkle to the table and complement the room’s Christmas tree, which is ready and waiting to greet guests in this dining room. I’ll add a few more small details to finish out this tablescape, but I thought I would give you a quick peek. Happy Decorating!

Until Next Time,
Gia

From The Blog

Selecting Your Christmas Tree

Selecting Your Christmas Tree

This is the season for Holiday decorating! Especially this year, everyone seems anxious to usher in the beauty and comforts of the Holiday season....

read more

Preparing to celebrate the holidays at home

Preparing to Celebrate the Holidays at Home

After a crazy year of making adjustments in our lives due to the pandemic, many of us might be adjusting our holiday plans slightly. You may have fewer events to attend, smaller events at home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and more time at home. But this doesn’t mean that we can’t still celebrate the holidays with style and beauty.

broken floor tile
Add rich color.

Here are a few tips:

ONE

Decorate! Over the many years of decorating professionally, both year-round and for Christmas, one thing I know for sure, your environment affects the way you feel. Walking into a warm, inviting, and well-decorated house can be a great boost to your mood throughout the year and the holiday season. Maybe this year, you are working from home; this could give you a little more time to try some of those Christmas decorating ideas that you never seem to get around to doing. Start early to avoid the stress of getting your home in order. Make your home as festive as possible. If the kids are home, involve them in the process by making some decorations. It’s an excellent idea for a kid’s activity and a great way to personalize your decor with handcrafted ornaments or decorations.

TWO 

Mix things up a bit. If you usually host a Thanksgiving dinner for 30 with paper plates buffet style. This year, since you might have just a few people, bring out your china and be a little more elaborate on your table setting. Allow yourself to explore some possibilities that you couldn’t do with 30 people. Setting the table for a sit-down dinner might be a fun way to do things a bit differently

THREE

Instead of one large party or gathering, try hosting a few smaller gatherings with friends and family throughout the season. Spread out the fun and visit with your guests on a more personal level. Maybe plan an activity done with just a few people, like cookie baking or gingerbread house decorating. Take advantage of the smaller-scale gatherings and plan accordingly.

FOUR

Fill your house with the sounds and scents of the holidays. Even if your holidays will be more low key than you might have envisioned, enjoy the holidays’ sounds and smells throughout the season in your home. The sounds of the season’s holiday music and aroma can be uplifting and enjoyed even if you are just by yourself working from home.

 

Until next time,
Gia

 

From The Blog

Selecting Your Christmas Tree

Selecting Your Christmas Tree

This is the season for Holiday decorating! Especially this year, everyone seems anxious to usher in the beauty and comforts of the Holiday season....

read more

Early Fall Decor

Early Fall Decor

Here in New England, the weather is starting to transition to fall.
A few crisp cool days appear as early as mid-September approaches.
It is a beautiful time of year here as there are many sun-filled days as we transition from summer into fall. A few more weeks and will start to see some beautiful fall colors on the trees.

We also start to see pumpkins for sale, pumpkin lattes at our local coffee shops, and an early glimpse of some beautiful fall chrysanthemums standing ready to burst open and share their fall color.

broken floor tile

This time of year, it feels time to start transitioning your seasonal decor. Here are a few ways to
welcome fall into the home.

Add rich color.

ONE

Create some simple flower arrangements with some of those late-blooming summer flowers. In my yard, my beautiful hydrangeas seem to be at their peak around this time of year. So I love to cut them before they fade and mix them into some early fall flower arrangements. Across my mantle or in large vases, these flowers can be enjoyed for a few weeks before they fade until next year. I also use them in outdoor flower arrangements, as it’s a great time of year for outdoor entertaining as nature’s decor will set the tone providing the perfect color scheme for any event.

TWO 

A quick trip to the grocery store will bring the first sighting of numerous pumpkins and gourds—innumerable shades of orange, whites, greens. I love the variety of textures and shapes. The sculptural nature of the pumpkins and gourds combined can be a beautiful composition that you can enjoy off in the fall season. One sculptural pumpkin displayed on a table or cake stand or a grouping of pumpkins on your front stairs can be a welcome sight That will greet you at your front door. The sizes and shapes are endless. A yearly trip to my local apple farm, it’s always a great treat this time of year as it also has a large pumpkin patch with numerous varieties to choose from. It is a sight to behold. The colors’ varieties sizes are endless. But choose carefully as they are heavier than they look.

THREE

The scent of fall can be brought into your home easily with scented candles. The smell of apple and pumpkin or the spicy aromas can help you transition your home with the warmth feel like fall.

Add rich color.

FOUR

Choose colors to coordinate with your decor. Fall Decor doesn’t have to be orange or yellow or brown. Choose colors that reflect and correspond with your Decour. There are so many options pumpkins can be painted glorious pastel tones, made of fabric, or gilded metallic. Use colors that you love and will mix into your decor. White is also a great color to use for fall decorating and can easily blend into any room’s color scheme. Natural or human-made fall decorating items give you the option of limitless color combinations. Dot be afraid to do something unconventional.

FIVE

Add a cozy throw blanket or a few textured accent pillows to your room. It will add warmth to your space and provide comfort on those cooler fall evenings.

 

Until Next Time,

Gia

From The Blog

Selecting Your Christmas Tree

Selecting Your Christmas Tree

This is the season for Holiday decorating! Especially this year, everyone seems anxious to usher in the beauty and comforts of the Holiday season....

read more

Choosing Fabrics For Outdoor Use

Choosing Fabrics For Outdoor Use

Summer is a great time to be entertaining outdoors and with so many people working on the preparation of their backyard spaces, it’s so important to learn a little bit more about fabrics that are appropriate for outdoor use. 

The sun is shining and you are preparing those outdoor spaces, but what you don’t realize is how much those outdoor furnishings really take a beating. The sun, heat, wear and tear, chlorine, rain, tree sap, really can shorten the lifetime of fabrics that are not specifically made for the outdoors. Those beautiful brightly colored fabric cushions might look great the first few weeks or months but their long-term use might be shortened by the choice of fabrics used.

Today there are so many types of fabrics that are specially made for outdoor use. These fabrics can be made of synthetic fibers, acrylic, or cotton blends. They are treated with a chemical during the manufacturing process that allows them to resist water which reduces rot and mildew. Sunbrella is one brand name that is popular. However, today most fabric companies do offer an all-weather outdoor fabric option that is specifically made for the outdoors. 

Gone are the days where there are only a few color selections and manufacturers of outdoor fabric. The early outdoor fabrics were stiff, uncomfortable, and hard to work with. Today’s outdoor fabric is really an outdoor/ indoor fabric. Soft to the touch, easy to work with, and the options are only limited by your imagination. The highest quality outdoor fabrics are available in almost any color or pattern imaginable.

Add rich color.

Most designers have access to superior quality outdoor fabric, as most “to the trade” fabric companies make outdoor fabric. This confuses consumers because they believe there is only one manufacturer of outdoor fabric and that if they ask for this they are seeing all the options.

Here are some facts:

  • Any fabric, cushion, or pillow that’s left in the outdoors will experience more wear and tear than a cushion that’s indoors.
  • Outdoor fabrics have built-in UV protection and water-repelling properties that make it easy to wipe off.
  • Most of the designer type fabrics that you are seeing on outdoor furniture are custom options. There are some retails that offer some custom options on outdoor pieces. You will choose from the fabrics that they offer.
  • Don’t be afraid to explore custom options for cushions and outdoor fabric work. The choices are endless.
  • The best way to lengthen the life of your outdoor cushions, bring them inside or cover them in rain or bad weather. I try to suggest pieces that have removable cushions. This makes it easy to bring the cushions inside. It also makes it easier to replace the cushions or re-cover the cushions when they wear out. Remember that a soaked cushion with eventually deteriorate quicker than one that only experiences a quick shower and then is dried off.

Until next time,

Gia

From The Blog

Selecting Your Christmas Tree

Selecting Your Christmas Tree

This is the season for Holiday decorating! Especially this year, everyone seems anxious to usher in the beauty and comforts of the Holiday season....

read more

Adding the Luxury Of Fresh Flowers To Your Home

Adding the Luxury of Fresh Flowers to your Home

I have always loved creating different types of flower arrangements, whether it’s for an event, one of my design projects, a project photo session, or for my own home. Most of my flower arrangements are created by foraging outdoors for flowers and greenery, or a handful of simple grocery store flowers that I’ve arranged in interesting containers. Occasionally, I might order specific blossoms from my favorite florist to weave into my arrangements.

I just love flowers, I think this runs in my family as my mother’s family ran a small flower shop in New York City. My mother followed suit with creating beautiful flower arrangements of every kind. My sister and I seemed to inherit her passion for flowers and decorating.

Now, more than ever we should enjoy the little luxury of having a few fresh flowers in our home. That doesn’t mean we need to have expensive arrangements. But now that spring is upon us we can easily find a few blossoms to create simple arrangements that we can enjoy indoors and outdoors.

Add rich color.

Even a simple arrangement of mixed greenery or branches can create an interesting arrangement.

One.

Use what you have in your own yard. If you have a backyard with some flowers that you can cut then this is perfect, use what is in bloom to start your arrangements. If you don’t have any flowers in your yard and you have some greenery, use a mix of interesting greens to create an arrangement. If you don’t have a yard, a few grocery store flowers can surely be made into a few nice arrangements.

Two.

Find an interesting container. This could be a glass vase, ice bucket, canister, teacups, or a few mugs. You could use a galvanized bucket as an outdoor flower pot, a wine glass, or just about anything can be used to display flowers. As long as it holds water and the proportion is right for the flowers that you have.

Three.

Small arrangements are easier to place in your home. Maybe instead of creating one large arrangement, find a few small containers and create several small arrangements. These can definitely be mixed into your decor easier than a large arrangement. A small vase next to your sink in the kitchen or bathroom, a small arrangement on your desk, or a few small arrangements on the dining table still allow for other items to be on the surface. Smaller Arrangements on the dining table also allow for easier conversation during dinner then a tall arrangement.

Four.

Place arrangements where you can enjoy them. I do love creating one large arrangement for my entry table. I’m counting the minutes until my lilacs bloom in my yard so I can collect hand fulls of beautiful fragrant blossoms to display in my entry. I change out this display depending on the season and what is blooming at the time. This area works great in my home since I can enjoy it whenever I pass through this central location. The fragrance greets me in the morning on the way down the stairs. Think about where you might enjoy fresh flowers in your home.

Five.

Use color. Add a burst of color to any room with fresh flowers. If you have flowers that compliment your decor, then great. But don’t be afraid to add fresh flowers of any color to your decor that splash of color will add interest and give your home the look of a finished designed space.

Until next time,

Gia

From The Blog

Selecting Your Christmas Tree

Selecting Your Christmas Tree

This is the season for Holiday decorating! Especially this year, everyone seems anxious to usher in the beauty and comforts of the Holiday season....

read more

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