Posts Tagged ‘easy’

by Aggi Stevenson

Interior Decorating

Little Brown Jugs

We have been talking about the correct size centerpiece for the table when we are entertaining. If we have to lean to see the person across from us, the centerpiece is too large.  The centerpiece becomes a nuisance and no matter how beautiful it is our guests will hate it. They will feel as though we have built a wall down the middle of the table.

Wouldn’t it be better to have a centerpiece that is actually a conversation piece? Wouldn’t it be better to hear “I would have never thought of that?”  A centerpiece can literally be anything. Anyone can put a vase of flowers on the table…yawn.

In a previous article I mentioned making a centerpiece from a collection of  little brown jugs. You can use any collection you may have. It takes at least three to be considered a collection.

 We had 28 people for dinner. The formal dining room table had a centerpiece made from a collection of little brown jugs. I put them in a wire basket and placed them in the middle of the table. I  inserted just a few flowers in the neck of the jugs filled with water.


 The water made the jugs more reflective. I placed tea candles around the base of the jugs.  A beautiful amber glow was visible from every angle. The light of the candles illuminated the jugs enough to see the stems through the glass, adding more interest.

The centerpiece made from a collection of little brown jugs was unexpected in a formal dining room. Just what I needed to tone down the formality. The comments were great. The best thing about it is that it was free. It is easy to make a centerpiece from just about anything. 

Note: I couldn’t get my original picture to upload. I had to go to my attic and try to re-create the October centerpiece. I had purple Dyanthus mini carnations in the jugs. (they won’t be back until spring) For this picture I had to use fake flowers and they look like fake flowers. Never a good idea. You will have to use your imagination on this one. 

Now go have fun.  Make your own centerpiece!


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Easy Christmas Tree Decorating

by Aggi Stevenson


Trimming the Christmas tree shouldn’t be a dreaded job.

We have several social events at our home during the Christmas season. Each time, I get the same question, “Who did your tree?” I suppose it would be a stretch for my friends to believe I did it myself? But when I tell them how easy it is, their jaw drops. I can see the I-think-I-can-do-that look in their eyes as they pinch their chin between their thumb and forefinger and say, “hummmm.” This year I created a similar tree … it’s easy!

Always invest in a pre-lit tree. Assemble the tree in the area the tree will be on display. It’s difficult to move a tree once it’s assembled.img_0007_edited

Buy enough pre-lit decorated garland to wrap around your tree. I have a nine foot tree and it takes five nine foot sections of garland. The garland is already adorned with lights, bows, ribbon and ornaments. Once you wrap the tree with pre-lit decorated garland your tree doesn’t need much more.


Before placing the garland on the tree, check to make sure all lights are working. If you wrap the tree first, and then find a section with non-working lights you  have to start over.


Start wrapping the tree with the female end of the wiring at the top of the tree. I don’t care much for tree toppers but if you like them, you will have a place to plug it in at the top of the tree without running a seperate extension cord up the back or middle of the tree.


We have an open foyer and considered getting a 12 foot tree. The only reason we didn’t  is because the 9 foot tree was on sale. Now we’re  glad we didn’t get the taller tree. This is an 8 foot ladder and I have to climb to the top of it to reach the top of the tree. Also, we didn’t take into consideration the span of the bottom of the tree. A 12 foot tree takes up more room than we have and we have a good size foyer. Consider the space the bottom of the tree takes, and if you are willing to climb more than eight feet to decorate your tree.

There is no use to fluff  your tree until you get the garland wrapped around the tree. If you do it before hand, you will have to do it again. Now that the garland is in place go around the tree and fluff out each section of branches in a star burst design to make the tree look as full as possible. You will have to fluff the garland as well. This is the most time consuming part of decorating the tree. The ribbon is wired and becomes quite beautiful when fluffed. The garland has it own greenery and blends into the tree giving the illusion that you spent hours making bows and attaching ornaments and wrapping the tree in co-ordinating ribbon. The tree can be considered finished at this point. However, I like a little more bling.


These are clear acrylic ornaments of churches and angels I purchased at Dollar Tree. There were other figures but I chose to limit it to two types. They come already wired with a white light. You just remove a light out of it’s socket and plug the ornament light in. I thought that was too much trouble so I removed all the wires and lights. They just slip out the bottom. Then when I hang the ornaments on the tree I just insert a light that is nearby through the opening in the bottom. I no longer have to worry about hiding the white wire.


The ornament appears to be expensive. I choose to think they look like crystal. No one can tell they are acrylic unless they touch them. The look is the same as glass, but they are unbreakable. Resist the temptation to over do it on ornaments. The tree will take on a junky look.


I keep assorted sizes of pine cones and tuck them in gaps that need to be filled. Peacock feathers are another cool thing to insert here and there.


Put your tree skirt in place to hide the metal stand.  It’s done!  However, there is a special surprise to decorating your tree this way.


The pre-lit tree lights, and the garland lights, work independently of each other. When the company is gone, unhook the tree lights and leave the lights of the garland on. It’s like having a Christmas tree night light. The warm glow is very pretty at night and romantic as well. Imagine That!


Don’t spend all your time decorating your tree. Spend that time with your friends! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Easy, quick, cheap and beautiful flower arrangements

Easy, quick, cheap and beautiful flower arrangements

Ten Minute Flower Arrangements
by Aggi Stevenson
You don’t have to be a florist to create beautiful flower arrangements for your home. There really is no substitute for live flowers. I have very little money in the flower arrangement above. I picked up the vase at a yard sale for a couple of dollars.  I simply go outside and clip some of whatever is growing around my house. You will see a couple of clippings from my Japanese maple tree, red burning bushes, green and yellow Eponymous and the green and white gaiety variety, Rose Glow and Crimson Pigmy Barberry bushes, Boston Ferns, and purple Dyanthus. Sometimes I have no idea what a plant is called but if it has pretty colors I will use it. I don’t spend a lot of time trying to make it look like it came from a florist. I let it take on it’s own personality. If you love it…that is all that matters.
Who says you can’t use sprigs from your shrubs and trees in a vase? They make beautiful free style arrangements and last longer than cut flowers. I get lots of compliments on my arrangements. Unless you have a landscaper or florist in most people will never know the difference. Even if you do have a florist or landscaper in, it just may give them a different perspective on what you can put in a vase and display. Just select a variety of colors. Fill the vase with water and presto…you have a live arrangement.
This arrangement is big, bold, beautiful and cheap!  It is not intended to stay on the table during dinner. You should never have an arrangement that your guests cannot comfortably see over. Many people think this rule does not apply to bud vases. Nothing is more annoying than constantly having to lean and peek around a flower arrangement to converse with your guests. I was at a dinner recently with eight people at a round table with a high bud vase of flowers in the middle of the table. The arrangement was nice but someone finally laid the vase on it’s side so we could see each other. It is better to have no center piece at all rather than a tall arrangement.
Now go have fun. Make your own arrangements!
Tomorrow I will show you what I do with the same arrangement to make it even more dramatic.
The next day I will show you how to capture the beauty of your arrangement and make cheap and beautiful artwork…even a series!

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