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Published December 14th, 2016
Stylish Solutions
Photos provided

Merry, merry! December is always a magical time of year, but oh so busy. This month I wanted to share some helpful tips for your holiday home that are perfectly easy to implement last minute.
If you are running a tad behind on your decorating, go natural. I love the strong sentiment for décor inspired by nature. The simplest way to embrace the look is with pine cones, simple twigs and sticks. It may sound fundamental, but let me share how these three simple items can be used in your home and still look like you made an effort and planned.
A reminder about design: sometimes less is more. I love lavish to be sure, but the repeat of a simple element can bring a strong sense of design to any space. No apologies if you are overbooked this season and need to go this route. It's your home and your space. Beauty is in your eye.
The Pine Cone Garland:
It's always nice in raw state, but if you have three hours to give to actual labor and about 24 hours overall (paint drying) to give to the process, this simple craft project (note: I am not a crafter by nature, so if I can do this, you can too) can have a huge impact on your home. Go overboard with a simple element and the strong design statement will make people think you planned this look from the midsummer. You will have garland for miles, some with lights, as well as arrangements for bowls, book shelves and coffee tables
How: We are dipping the bottom half of the pine cone in paint, potentially adding some flocking on the tips where painted and using these as elements everywhere. These are easy to source on your morning walk in Lamorinda, or at the local hardware store or craft store. If you gather them, make certain to soap and soak, so uninvited critters aren't part of your celebration!
I am loving the all-white look this year, but you can substitute any color that works in your home. We did one home in Reno this season in a deep red wine. It looks incredible! This is an easy and elegant approach. I like to use chalk paint due to the thick, matte look, paint can size (no transfer of paint needed) and coverage (no double dipping).
Dip your washed and dried pine cones into the paint about half way up. Let them hang to dry, rolling on newspaper to get any drips out from the center section. Apply a thin coat of spray sealer if you think you may use them next year, so paint doesn't end up all over your storage boxes.
Wait 24 to 36 hours to use. Make sure paint is dry before placing on furniture!
For the garland: About two rows down from the top, wrap and knot tie the pine cones so they don't move, using a strong but simple rope. Be careful that the rope you use doesn't break easily. Some brands are less hardy than others. Vary the spacing according to your design eye. We have gone as narrow as 4 inches for an almost solid look and as wide as 24 inches for an oversized, contemporary look. For a festive touch, add fairy lights that are battery operated.
I like this garland because it can be as long as needed. No 6-foot limits! The only thing holding you back is the number of pine cones and length of your rope. If you need to string light sets together, tape the battery packs to the back of a pine cone on the garland. A heavy dose of double-sided tape works well, but do use enough to hold. For large battery packs, you may need to hack off the back side of one pinecone to hide. Did I say hack off? I meant cut off carefully.
This simple garland is easy to make with all sizes of pine cones. For our Tahoe clients, we walk their properties and locate the biggest cones possible, dip them in paint, add a touch of 'spray snow' (aka flocking) on the tips, and voila, a simple, natural, inspired décor.
For bookends, bowl displays and inserts for trees, consider dipping the tops instead of the bottoms. Add some gathered sticks and twigs and call it a day.
Let me know how your holiday home is coming along, and remember - no stress! This is about you and yours celebrating the holiday as best serves you and yours.
For additional information or to engage our course, Stress Free Holiday Home, visit: www.stressfreeholidayhome.com.
Shalom, from my home to yours!


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