The lists of CHRISTMAS TIME

christmas-chokeberry-21Dianne Ross Photo

Following a Christmas-List reality check this week, I came up wanting. I was horrified to accept the fact that it may not be possible to accomplish all of my tasks. Only on Thursday did I begin shopping for gifts . . .

No cards written, addressed, or mailed, but the house is looking fairly festive.

No baking done, but I know where the cookie cutters are.

No gifts wrapped or embellished, but I did find a Tupperware container filled with 8 scotch tape dispensers and a 7 inch strand of wrinkled ribbon. The container was in the cupboard behind the cookie cutters.

Stocking stuffers? No comment. But, I digress . . . BACK TO THE LIST!

And to exterior design. Well, uh,  I don’t have any outdoor lights up yet, either. But it’s on my list.

When I shot this photo in my courtyard, the glitter of the snow was as fresh as my ambition to design my own Christmas cards this year. Talk about excited! Instead, what I did was sprinkle salt (ever so artfully) on the front step and then I scooped the sidewalk.  Exterior design. I ran out of steam and I’m running out of time.

TIME. It also occurred to me that my story might very well be your story. Our holiday lists apparently have no end! So here’s a thought, if you will, and a generous gift to give yourself. It’s the gift of awareness. . . .

To see the beauty of glitter on the snow,

To hear the somber tolling of bells,

Give yourself the gift of TIME . . .

To stop long enough to behold the spirit of the Christmas.

This year give yourself the gift of time for awareness.

(it’s on my list!)

Merry Christmas!

This is a re-post from 4 years ago but it speaks to me today.  After losing two beloved family members this year I would like to add one more thought for the gift  list. . .

This year give yourself the gift of TIME. . .

to cherish those you love.

 Give yourself the gift of awareness for a grateful heart.

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer/Phelan’s Interiors

363-9634

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WHITE Christmas Decor

 
 

 

 

 “Always use white”

 

 

was last week’s advice and will be going even stronger today.  

The white Christmas mantra will be seen all through the house!

It’s classic, it’s traditional, it’s fresh, modern and funky. It’s even nostalgic, country and shabby chic.

 
 
 
 

Browse and be amazed with WHITE!

          Here, there,  . . . everywhere WHITE elegance!

 vintage WHITE delicacies

 

All dressed up,  fancy WHITE tulips

 

 

rather flirty, never serious,   **youthful WHITE**

 

unexpected snow-covered decanter and tray

 

 

What?!  

WHITE piano topped with WHITE churches! Delightful!

 

 

Flocked WHITE wreath with peacock feathered poinsettia

 

Environmental WHITE Lodge

 

 

Smart books on WHITE shelves

 

  

 

Restful turquoise, silver and WHITE 

 

All photos are from Country Living website.

  I would, however,  love to see your holiday whites!

           Send your photos to me and I will publish them. Now get out there and deck your halls with

WHITE!  

 

 
 
 

Fa la la la la la la la la!

 

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer/Phelan’s Interiors

363-9634

It’s a Wrap! SIMPLE Christmas packages

Because I believe the Christmas box or package should rival what’s actually inside, many of my friends and readers ask me for help concerning how to wrap glorious gifts during this, the most gift giving time of year.

First:  consider the decor and colors in your room.  Match it up.

SIMPLE!

country living photos

 

Second: And then – Always use white. . . . somewhere.

 

What could be more beautiful or simple than an all white presentation?

 

                                                                                                                            Delish photo

This is SO simple you don’t even need paper!

Using white gift boxes make this type of package the easiest to wrap.         Use white satin ribbon or color coordinated ribbons, add an ornament for embellishment and you have an impressive designer look in under three minutes!

 

camberly photo

This designer of these packages did use white paper instead of white boxes but she kept it casual and simple by using white yarn instead of ribbon. You could also use string before adding some artificial flowers and fruits. In my yard I have evergreen trees, so I simply cut a few sprigs and tie them onto white packages.  Easy!

 

Third: Use white!

If you have young children and want a more fun type of simple  look,

  go for the white boxes or white paper again!

good housekeeping photo

Let the kids stamp alphabet letters or family initials onto the paper.

This is quality time and your opportunity to teach them how to wrap pretty gifts! If this project ends up with messy letters who cares?! 

 Children love simple holiday projects.

If the idea of ink and children scares you, then buy some fanciful stickers and let them go at it. Nothing gets more simple than that!

 

One more festive presentation that children of all ages love is done with something very simple, inexpensive, and available everywhere:

Candy Canes!

little loveables photo

 

Fourth: Use more white boxes!

                                                                                             

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I think I’ve blah, blah blogged long enough on this subject! Can you tell I love it? Maybe I should offer a gift wrap class.

 You bring the eggnog and I’ll bring the scissors! ooops. I meant to say I’ll bring the white boxes!!

 

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer/Phelans Interiors

363-9634

Candy Corn! Trivia, Decor and Food – really?

 

The origin of candy corn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

Not Really.

This card (which I received 5 years ago) is so Halloween-gross,  it still cracks me up! 

 

Actually, the sweet little treat was invented in the late 1800’s, and because we were predominately a farming society then, the idea was to make candy in the form of something people would recognize. Corn!

We have been eating these tiny kernels of corn for over 200 years!  Don’t tell the First Lady but this month 20 million pounds will be sold.

So, besides scarfing them down, what else are people doing with

Candy Corn?

Everything!

Okay I have touched on some Corn Candy trivia so let me show you another very simple way to decorate  with candy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You could also use the candy instead of glass rocks under the candle.

Black bowls and Candy Corn.

Told you it is simple!

 

To make  an easy, crowd pleasing  Halloween treat using Candy Corn try this version of  an American staple: Rice Krispy Bars.

  • 1/2 c Butter
  • 10 c Crispy rice cereal
  • 9 c Miniature marshmallows
  • 2 c Mixture of candy corn and Indian candy corn
  • 3/4 c Miniature chocolate chips
  • Candy pumpkins
  • Yellow and red food coloring

Preparation:

Melt butter and marshmallows; stir until smooth. In a large bowl, mix rice cereal, candy corn and miniature chips together. To marshmallow mixture, blend in 2 drops yellow food coloring and 1 drop red food coloring, adding more coloring if necessary to reach desired shade. Add marshmallow mixture to cereal mixture; stir quickly to combine.

Spread on a large buttered pan; press with buttered hands. (Or shape the entire glob into a pumpkin, ghost, or candy corn (!) shape before refrigerating and decorate accordingly.)  While warm, press on candy pumpkins spaced 1 to 1/2-2 inches apart. Refrigerate and cut into squares.

**Most of you are aware of my total dedication to PEEPS,

 my personal favorite health food snack,**

 but this is the season to embrace that waxed little marshmallow treat – Candy Corn!

 

I found this photo along with a cupcake recipe from alisonchirdon.com

See? 

It is possible to honor the integrity of  PEEPS,  and to incorporate candy corn as an element of  decor.

 

One more time for review and/or slow learners:

The origin of Candy Corn 

mojeetcat photo

More to come next week!

 

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer/Phelan’s Interiors

363-9634

After Christmas Sad-House Blues

This syndrome is defined as depression following holiday parties.

It has many names (Treatment is available) and is sometimes known as

POST PARTY-UM BLUES.

Onset begins 4-10 days after Christmas tree removal.  You are at low risk if you have some but not all of these symptoms:

You have a family history of living in snow bound areas.

Sudden onset of snarky attitude and general melancholy.

Not remembering how dark the house is without Christmas lights.

Most, if not all of these symptoms of Winter-Dark-House Blues will be eliminated by implementing a non-specific commonsense home improvement project of any type. Do not deny the power of these Blues. Shop with an understanding friend who shares a similar experience and is good with color.  There is help. There is hope.

 However, CALL YOUR INTERIOR DESIGNER  immediately if you experience any of the following high risk symptoms:

jill_1

Thoughts of hurting your sofa.

Halucinations – Seeing colorful accessories that aren’t really there.

Having an uncontrollable desire to paint everything sun flower yellow.

Thoughts of completely destroying or eliminating a wall.

These are traumatic manifestations of Post Party-um Blues. If your symptoms are severe, last longer than an Iowa winter, or if you find yourself  fixating on buying an ocean front condo in Costa Rica, then you must be treated by a professional interior designer. Therapy won’t work. Medication is useless. Googling Rosicrucian psychosensory incantations is definately out of the question, but –

TO CURE THE MOST HIDEOUS CASES:

 Talk with your designer.

Schedule a house-call.

Make a plan and follow through with confidence.

See the light.

At the very least, buy one lamp!

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There is absolutely no need for Post Party-um, Dark -Days -of -Winter Blues to envelop you. For more information on this debilitating syndrome contact your personal interior designer or . . . or call me!

 

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer/Phelan’s Interiors

363-9634 

 

 

The Glitzy-Glam Tannenbaum (i.e. Christmas tree)

xmas-tree

                               O Tannenbaum O Tannenbaum

The history of our Christmas tree is long and murky. The first worshipped trees were of pagan origins and celebrations. But then, somewhere around the 1600’s came the tannenbaum. Germany gave us the lovely, candle-illuminated, first  Christmas tree.

O Tannenbaum!

Today in most schools the words have been changed again – going back to a more pagan nomenclature – they are now referred to as holiday trees. Seriously?

 Throughout wars and times of peace the holiday (i.e. Christmas) tree has transformed, morphed, progressed, and regressed.

In the 1930’s trees became large and real again. Balls, bells, tinsel, mercury glass, crystal – anything that glistened  – was done en masse. Over the top didn’t exist.

When the 50’s and 60’s introduced us to “less is more”, decorators could not, would not give up the glitz and the bling, no matter how sophisticated and modern they attempted to be. Solution? Make the whole tree out of blinding bright, silver color, aluminum! Now, that had some razz-ma-tazz! And everybody could save face by labeling it as minimalistic.

Today holiday (i.e. Christmas) trees of every creative style abound. Last week I saw Hollywood-Glam trees advertised and they are PINK!  Trees with a theme are apparently going to be with us for a while: Snow Queen trees, Mickey Mouse trees, Victorian trees, Fishing Lure trees, Pokemon trees, Feather trees, etc.

Well, whatever they are called, whatever they are made from, whatever hangs on their boughs, they are one of the best ornaments ever invented! Aromatic fresh or long term fake makes no difference to me. . . You might remember I am the one who loves everything about Christmas? ESPECIALLY if it’s shiny?!

If you scroll to the end there is another photo of a grandchild under an enormous  holiday (i.e. Christmas) tree with me . . . it was taken last year in the lobby of a Texas hotel, as we celebrated my birthday.  

O tannenbaum!

 

westin-color

 

Merry Christmas Everyone

Dianne Ross

Interior Designer/Phelan’s Interiors

363-9634