Thursday, 15 December 2011

Top Tips For Christmas #3

My tip this week

Don’t Change - Rearrange

Too many magazines feature a load of new decorations you need to buy to make your home look different and sparkling and festive. I have realised that I already have loads of decorations, and I do not want to go out and spend a fortune on new stuff.

So I am putting out the same old things – but in a new way.

DSCF2872For years I have had some strings of ‘bead garlands’ which I have draped round the Christmas tree. This year, as I finished hanging the ornaments on the tree [the order of hanging is always lights, skirt, ornaments, angel, beads] Bob said “That looks great, I don’t think you should put the beads on – it will be too much.”

[oops – this photo clearly shows the reflection in the windows of all the stuff piled on the sofa!]

He was [as usual] quite right – so instead, I filled my glass bowl with the beads.




My copy of this amazing pop up book [Jan Pienkowski’s Christmas Kingdom]usually goes on the table under the tree. But I decided that it gets a bit lost under there, so this year I have moved it.Instead of being swamped by the decorations hanging from the lower branches, this year I have opened the book on a higher shelf.I think that the new arrangement with the pillar candle looks much better.


DSCF2875I have some patchwork squares [a gift from the Baptist Women Of Canada in 2005] which usually get hung in random places.

This year, for the first time, I have pinned them  together on a white satin ribbon, along with a red stocking. This somehow unifies the red-and-white theme.

In true Martha StewartDSCF2876 fashion, I have ‘fish-tailed’ the bottom of the ribbon. This trick instantly gives it a little more style [according to MS, that is]

Speaking of Ms Stewart reminds me of an old joke…

What’s a Greek Urn? About 4 drachmas a week.

Or as The Independent put it a few months ago… greek urn

MS has an obsession with urns, look at all these from her magazine

martha urns1

DSCF2871I declared a year or so ago that I thought an urn would be useful – then in October when we were with Liz, I spotted this in a charity shop just off Baker Street.

It cost a little more than my usual Charity Shop spend [and it was utterly filthy] but I bought it and polished it up.

I have a box of 48 gold baubles from B&Q – two years ago [during the great replacement double glazing debacle] I strung them across the bay window.


Last year I hung them from my ‘Gospel’ chandelier in the dining room [just seen here in a Christmas day family shot]DSCF1005

This year I’ve done the Martha thing and arranged them in my urn.


Martha does this sort of arrangement by filling the urn with a styrofoam cone and hot-glueing the baubles in place.

I didn’t want to do that – it means I cannot re-arrange the baubles next year.

So I took a piece of grey Oasis [that’s the sort for dry arrangements, as opposed to the green stuff which needs soaking] I cut it in two and then secured the pieces with a wooden BBQ skewer. I covered the lot with a piece of kitchen foil.


Then I strung the baubles on loops of thread [Eleven on bottom layer decreasing to five at the top] I simply draped them over the foil to get my pyramid. It looks very pretty standing on the edge of the fireplace, gently reflecting the light.

If you think your decorations are looking too ‘samey’, don't rush out and spend money on new ones - just try re-arranging them for a fresh look.

The same rule applies to your wardrobe – your ‘new’ Christmas outfit is probably in there already, you just need to combine some garments in a different way.

Don’t Change - Rearrange

Have you re-arranged or restyled any old decorations this year?


  1. It's looking lovely, Ang! Well, we have some ornaments which just seem MADE for a certain place. The three wood and felt stars which hang from our stairs are a good example. While we live in this house, I don't think I'll ever look for anywhere else for them. But other things are indeed open to rearrangement! This year I've taken the vintage advertising jar which usually sits on a corner shelf and just arranged Christmas decorations in similar tones around it. It was good to be forced into a colour-scheme by one item, and then to rummage around until I had enough, disparate decorations to coordinate!

  2. I love the urn thing, I tend to put all my extra baubles in cake stands and domes, but will have to try this next year

  3. We're a military family and move every few years so by definition my decorations get re-arranged. I love being able to look at things with fresh eyes and see their beauty again. I keep my colour palate similar - red/burgundy and gold and silver and everything always "goes" although not everything gets pulled out every year. The same thing applies to the house furnishings as well. You never know what room something will fit into until you try.
    I've been really enjoying your advent blogs - thanks for sharing your insights.
    Merry Christmas

  4. Yes I put most of it back in the loft!
    Am going minimalist :)
    I have just the tree and then on the mantle shelf I have put the vintage coloured glass tree baubles I inherited from my Dad which glow at night-time amongst some white fairy lights and tea lights.Very simple.
    I did buy one decoration- unusual for me - which is on the hall shelf - a plaque that reads "don't get your tinsel in a tangle!" which kind of says it all for me - I think we make a lot of fuss over the wrong stuff at Christmas :)
    Love your bauble urn - I have re-arranging ideas for next year now, thanks :)

  5. Thanks for all the comments - Sylvia, I admire any military family who are continually 'on the move' - one colour palette is a wise idea.

    Floss- I agree some decorations are 'just right' in the same place, year on year

    Jen - It's taken me ages to find my urn, hope you have more success

    Lynn - Love the motto on the new plaque !

    Christmas Blessings, everyone!

  6. Hi Ang!
    Everything is so pretty!
    I am not buying anything but greens and candles. I am over the top when it comes to bringing more stuff into our home. I would love to have an elf driver to hold open the trunk (boot) of the car and cheer me on as I fill it and go back for more. Then, he could drive to the Good Will drop off and speed back for more. Maybe Bill would be the elf.

  7. For us it's same decorations but in different groupings...really because I can never remember where they were the year before!
    Jane x

  8. I like bringing out the same decorations year after year. They all have a little bit of history attached to them, particularly the kids' homemade decorations! Cx

  9. Your urn looks stunning, very Country Living!

  10. I love your urn , and your baubles when they hung in the window. I haven't bought anything new either , just used what I have along with stuff from the garden. I've rearranged too as I have the hallway and the dresser this year, both of which I'm still excited by!

  11. Oh I sat reading House Beautiful in work tonight and all was artful and fabulous. But how can you bear not to just put it all up the same way as last year, when two small suns are flinging things at branches and so proud of it all?! I love your resourcefulness, in this as in all things. And your festive family is as beautiful as you!


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