Decorating on a Dime

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The more creative you are...
the more you can save, the further you can stretch your dollar, and the more beautiful your holiday decor.  Start with scale and the theory that sometimes "less is more".  The smaller your tree the fewer ornaments you need and the less expensive they will be.  If your going with a smaller tree put it on a buffet, side table or any suitably sized piece of furniture that puts your tree at an appropriate height for enjoying.  We used a fabric remnant to drape around the base of this tree.  It looked a little flat so we got a large piece of brown paper from the recycling bin, scrunched it up and put it under the fabric to give it volume.

For this tree we decided to use royal blue, white and opalescent.  We had the opalescent garland and mini glass balls.  To that we added an inexpensive package of traditional balls in white, a few blue hearts and a chopped up beaded garland.  We wrapped little candy boxes with white tissue and ribbon to coordinate with our tree and fill up the empty spaces.

Our tree topper is a clip that we found at a second hand store and spray painted white.  We thought it gave this tree an interesting and updated look.  We also went to Ikea and bought inexpensive paper ornaments.

To save even more money you could use paper from your recycling box and make origami ornaments yourself.  If you don't have the time to go on line and teach yourself origami, simply cutting out a bunch of decorative shapes will work.  Then tie them to the tree with a flashy ribbon.

There are so many options available for different sized ornaments making it fun to play with scale.  Small ornaments can be hung from branches in vases, and from ribbon on boxes decorated to look like presents.  They're perfect for distributing little hits of your accent colour throughout a room.

We added sticks, boughs and mini ornaments to different vignettes throughout the residence.  To add volume to this display we wrapped cardboard boxes, rescued from the recycling bin, in tissue and blue ribbon.  Lights are what make the evening ambiance so we added strands strategically throughout to get the right level of light and create just the ambiance we were looking for.  To make it easier on yourself put your lights up at night so you can really appreciate and adjust the effect.

Each vignette we did uses elements of blue and white to maintain consistency throughout and tie all the decorations together.  In this display we incorporated a few red accents to the colour palette, adding interest and a touch of tradition.  And we kept on wrapping, this time we used brown paper, burlap and tree ornaments.  The snowflakes are from Walmart and the deer along with the blue and white ribbon are from Ikea.  We wrapped a piece of art for the backdrop and propped our drummer boy on more wrapped boxes from the recycling bin.

We just kept wrapping and wrapping, here we wrapped diplomas that were previously on display above the computer cabinet, creating a fun and festive vignette.

Your holiday decor does not have to scream Happy Holidays from the roof tops.  You can tone things down by simply adding a few ornaments and greenery to your display shelves.  We purchased all our boughs from Sunnyside Greenhouse and the purple ornaments from Walmart.

We added ornaments in to pickup on existing accents throughout the home, melding the festive and glittery accents with the existing decor, for a seamless and multi dimensional effect.  We set ornaments on sugar to keep them just so.

We also used repetition to create unexpected and interesting focal points using brightly coloured balls.  Just a little punch of colour here and there, and a touch of sparkle proves the age old adage "less is more".

We displayed ornaments on serving plates, for sparkle and colour.

In keeping with our holiday decor colour palette we added a splash of blue.  The purple decorations blending with the existing purple accents, keep this interior from being overloaded with screaming holiday colour.

When you decorate for the holidays it's important to consider how your decorations coordinate together, and how they incorporate into your interior. You need to the right balance of colour, proportion and consistency to create an enjoyable holiday ambiance.  Anything can be used for a display or turned into decoration, even your favorite holiday treat can be displayed in a way that adds to your living space. 

Every year there are different holiday trends in magazines and stores and this year is no exception.  I've spotted royal blue, but not just royal.  You will see every shade of blue, many dark shades of purple as well as lime and leaf green.  Variations on the scale of decorations, everything from mini bulbs to oversized statement ornaments.  You will also find an array multi packaged, colour coordinated, ornaments.  And birds, birds are everywhere right now and not just in holiday decor either.  You'll find that fabrics, clothing and accessories are all sporting birds these days.  
With all that comes and goes it's hard to keep up.  Deborah and I would suggest you stick with what you love best, adding only a couple of trendy items as focal points in your holiday decor.  Another great tip is to have a party and exchange ornaments you're tired of with your friends.  You've heard of clothes trading parties, well what about trading ornaments and decorations.  The holidays are a time for enjoyment, and we believe that includes your decorating.  Get together with friends and help them decorate their homes, then have them over to help you decorate yours.  Better yet hire Deborah and I to do it for you, we've been enjoying the holidays and still have room for a few new Inspired Holiday Decor clients. 
Happy Holidays & Happy Decorating....creatively Deborah & Stacy.

Inspired Holiday Decorating

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We have been busy decorating up a storm, 
and finally it has snowed.  Making the perfect backdrop for our holiday decor.

In this vignette we mixed orange, rust and burgundy with golds and creams, for a beautiful and unexpected mix of colour.

We wrapped small boxes in coordinating colours to hang as mini presents on the tree.  Another tip for decorating, trim your beaded garland and hang small pieces over individual branches, this is way easier than trying to drape a long strand of beads.  And we think it looks quite elegant too.

We layered and bunched fabric along the buffet to add colour and softness to the display, carrying gold tones throughout the vignette and punctuating with splashes of burgundy.

The overall effect was quite stunning and coordinated beautifully with the interior finishes throughout the room.  Changing up the style drastically we put together this blue and green retro vintage look for another client of ours.

Our client had a taste for all things vintage and wanted to use this retro fabric as inspiration for her holiday decor. Always being up for a challenge we loved the idea.

We kept our client's unique qualities in mind and decorated in unexpected ways, with beautiful vintage items.

Decorative turquoise glass and canning jars were a no brainer, especially since they were part of the client's cherished collection of vintage artifacts.

We mixed the turquoise with white, silver and a funky green.  These colours don't match the fabric exactly, they mimic and reference the colour palette adding depth and interest to the vignette.

Throwing a few traditional touches to the mix gave our retro vintage display a unique and unexpected holiday feel, every bit as funky as our client.

For this vignette we used a more traditional colour palette of red, brown and gold, updating it with an interesting twist on scale.  This season you'll see an array of oversized ornaments in the stores.

Clustering a collection of large bulbs in gorgeous fabrics makes this simple display come to life.  We added a touch of unconventional flair with the leopard print lamp shade.  The colours worked beautifully and the shade reflected the client's wild side.

The elegance of our vignette mixed with the traditional elements and the play on scale makes for a fun and festive holiday display.

We are off to a great start and are having a wonderful time stretching our imaginations to create Inspired Holiday Decor that reflects the individual style of our clientele.  If you live in the Calgary area and are interested in having us decorate your home for the holidays, please contact us we're booking up fast.

Millarville Christmas Market (con't)

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Christmas market is not just for decorations,
there were some great ideas for Christmas gifts too.  Although, Christmas decor items do make great gifts.  Here are a few of my, non-Christmas, favorite finds.

These monkeys have incredible flair compared to the sock monkey I remember having as a child.  I had to wait a few minutes to get this photo.  There was a young boy talking to the monkeys as he rooted through the basket to find just the right one.  The monkey that inspired a heartfelt conversation, and that all to familiar declaration, "Mom this is what I want to spend my money on."  It was so cute I forgot to get the name of the vendor.

These amazing photos and paintings are by artist Ursula A. Krol. Her artwork focuses on wild flowers, mushrooms, birds and the magic of Alberta's nature.

I love the colours in the middle picture of the barns, Ursula gave me a greeting card featuring that image.  If you're interested in her work check out her website In the Wild Photos.

These purses are form Fibers of Life a very socially responsible company with very funky products.  They're always at the Currie Barracks Farmers Market, which will soon be moving to a new location.  Check out the Farmers Market website to find when and where they're moving.

Ok, back to the Christmas goods.  Not that these Canada geese wouldn't look fabulous all year round in the right modern decor interior.  It's just they're currently dressed for the holidays.  In the right setting they make a simplistic and quirky Canadiana art statement.  These birds are not just decoration, they're sculpture, and what I love most is they're truly Canadian.  The birds are made by E C Recycling Tire Mats and can be found at the Crossoads Market. They're featured on the market website as outdoor garden decoration, I completely disagree I think their calling is for sculptural use in a sparsely decorated modern interior.

These glowing gifts add a touch of holiday sparkle to any decor.  You could put them under your tree, or nestle them on your mantle among sprigs of evergreen.  I though this was a creative and unexpected use of common materials.

Creative Ironwork & Design had a vast array of metal decorations.  Everything from Christmas trees sized to display tea lights, to Christmas trees as big as 3' tall, in various metal finishes.

They also had metal decorations for your tree.  Last but not least there was Wilderness Wonders.  They had a collection of very creative and rustic mailboxes.

I think you'll agree all of their crafts were charmingly rustic.

These wooden ornaments would look beautiful hanging on a traditional tree.

They just had so many to pick from, the options were endless.

From the looks of this they have a tiny little santa running their workshop, I can only imagine the size of their elves.  
After a busy weekend shopping at the Millarville Christmas market we set to work (not that it felt like work) organizing all our purchases.  Deborah and I have started installing vignettes for our Inspired Holiday Decor clients, we hope to have pictures of our work up soon.

Millarville Christmas Market

Saturday, November 6, 2010

It may be hotter outside than it's been all summer......
but Christmas is here, you just have to know where to look.  I went to the Millarville Christmas Market with Deborah yesterday to shop for our Inspired Holiday Decor clients.  We were pleased with what we found and we're gonna share it with you.  In hopes you'll be shopping for local handmade products and supporting the artisans.  Today is the last day for the Millarville Christmas Market, you should really make the trip.  We did and this is what we found.

The Red Barn Mercantile had lots of supplies for making your own holiday arrangements.

We found Santas to hang from the tree,

and snowflakes too,

and accessories for displaying candles that smelled so good we wanted to eat them.

Of course there was lots of decorated greenery.

Handmade stockings, hung in the quonset with care, by Sew Noel.

We found a menagerie of mini deer,

and families of cedar deer,

dressed for a season of holiday cheer.

Moving on from the quonset and out to the grandstand we came across The Rustic Hutch.  

As you can see they were happy to see us.

They had santas in boxes,

and buckets of snowmen.

There was the Chicken Coop,

that had beautiful doors,

and the windows were from Memories Forever.

We found mini trees in boxes,

and a selection of things to hang from your tree.

We saw so many things it was hard to keep track, of all the places that we needed to go back.

We headed to the arena to see what was there.  At Prairie Perceptions and found birds in handmade arrangements.

Bows, bells and berries were beautifully displayed.

There were handcrafted ornaments,

and weaths on display.

We also saw these hand crafted quilts by Photo Quilt Creations hanging in their booth.  It was a wonderful time there were lots of great treasures, too many tell in one post.  I look forward to adding more photos from the Christmas Market and sharing with you images of our Inspired Holiday Decor.  This is just a small sample of what we saw at the Millarville Christmas Market, many of the artisans don't have company names, or websites.  If you're interested in what you have seen you must go to the varous craft fairs throughout the holiday season.  The next big craft fair is Spruce Meadows International Christmas Market

Inspired Holiday Decor

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I'm looking forward to an enjoyable and inspiring holiday season.  I've gotten together with a good friend of mine Deborah Wilkinson from Touch of Elegance Interiors.  We collaborated on offering holiday decorating packages, because we thought it would be fun to work together doing what we love most DESIGNING.  Our desire for making your world a beautiful place combined with our excitement for working together throughout the holidays has prompted us to offer some pretty spectacular pricing.  Two designers for the price of one is a limited holiday offer that we hope you see fit to enjoy.

Includes: A 1hr Consultation (with both of us), Tree Decorating & 2 Holiday Vignettes for $500, plus the cost of decorations and supplies.  Additional Vignettes with the Inspired Package are $75 each plus the cost of supplies.

Is a 1hr Consultation with Deborah and I for $150.  We meet at your home to look through your collection of decorations.  We discuss decorating ideas and themes using what you have and suggest what to add to your collection.  We have a binder chalk full of inspiring holiday decorating images to get your creative juices flowing.  We teach you to see ornamental and decorative uses for common items you may have around your home.  We help you to define your style and create a plan for adding to your decorations.  We assist you in developing an appropriate budget for new decorations.  Budgets for holiday decorating can range anywhere from do-it-yourself  boxes wrapped in gift paper and ribbon used as tree ornaments and display fillers to purchasing one of a kind hand painted ornaments and vases.  You can have us make you a custom made wreath to hang above your fireplace, or you can fill an existing picture frame with decorative paper and wrap a ribbon around it.  You can use brown paper bags and burlap or you can use organza and silk.  The options and price ranges are limitless.  We work with you to creatively determine what you can do for what you want to spend.  We can give you ideas for what to purchase and where to shop or we can take the decorating budget and purchase your decorations for you.

A Holiday Vignette can be; a custom container or urn for use inside or outside, custom wreath, fireplace mantle display, dining table centerpiece complete with linens and dishes, buffet table display or decorating your banister with garland.  The options for vignettes are endless.  Design and installation of a Holiday Vignette is $95 plus the cost of supplies.  We work with you to determine your budget for the vignette supplies and we incorporate as many of your items and decorations in the vignette design as possible.  We use the allotted budget to purchase everything that is required and then we design / install the vignette in your home.

We will decorate your tree for you using your decorations or we will decorate your tree with additional decorations that we purchase.  We work with you to develop your vision and tree ornament budget.  Decorating your tree with your decorations costs $175 for a 6'-7' tree.  Decorating your tree providing new ornaments and decorations costs $275 for a 6'-7' tree plus the cost of decorations.

It is our MISSION to creatively customize holiday decor by reusing repurposing and refurbishing.  We decorate using environmentally friendly materials to the extent of our vast imaginations.

It is our GOAL to foster relationships with potential interior design and renovation clients by giving them a taste of our value, knowledge and style.

Stay tuned we plan to post our decorating adventures in the near future.  If you have any questions please contact either Deborah at Touch of Elegance Interiors or myself at Racher Interiors.  The photos we used in this blog were found from some of our favorite magazine websites, Canadian House and HomeCountry Living and Style at Home.

As my friend Deborah likes to say "You only live beautifully".