Let the garden inspire your holiday decorating: Display ornaments under a garden cloche -- a bell-shaped glass cover that functions as a miniature greenhouse for outdoor plants (you can buy them at garden-supply stores). Filled with sparkly trimmings, each one will add radiance to any tabletop.
To fill, turn a cloche upside down and balance it inside a teacup. Place ornaments, then invert a plate over the open end. Carefully turn cloche and plate right side up, and display.
With the help of these candle and flower centerpieces, the whole table will shine. For each one, use candle wax to attach a small floral frog to the center of a shallow bowl. Push a taper into the floral frog to secure. Pour water into the bowl. Clip amaryllis blooms (or other large flowers) from their stems, and arrange them in the bowl around the candle.
This simple arrangement will fill your home with the aroma of a winter walk in the woods. Pick a branch with interesting, sculptural lines and lots of fresh needles, and collect a few handfuls of pinecones to use as a frog to steady the branch.
When you include woody plants like this in arrangements, cut the end that will be submerged with pruning shears; this allows it to absorb water more easily. Use a widemouthed glass vase so the pinecones are visible; fill with water, and set the branch firmly among the cones.
The best material for stringing cranberry or popcorn garlands is inside your medicine cabinet. Waxed floss is strong and slick, so cranberries and popcorn will slide on easily. Knot one end of a piece of floss and thread a needle onto the other; just pierce through items and slip them on.
With a few bags of cotton balls, you can blanket a tree with the softest snow.
Thread a needle with fifteen inches of fishing line and sew through two or three cotton balls, leaving gaps between (dab white glue next to each so it won't slide); make loop for hanging. Use a sieve to add a dusting of cornstarch over the branches; cut batting for a skirt.
Unlike Narnia, where it's always winter and Christmas never comes, this land of ice and snow welcomes festivities (soundtrack: Louis Armstrong's "Cool Yule"). A combination of vintage and contemporary vessels holds white spider mums as well as seeded eucalyptus (available at florists) and blue Atlas cedar branches lightly frosted with silver floral spray paint. For a change of scene, line up containers across a mantel, along a windowsill, or down the middle of a table.
Create an idealized winter wonderland indoors using snowflake-like bouquet holders and a string of holiday lights. To make one of these garlands, slide a store-bought paper bouquet holder over each bulb. Hang the "snowflakes" inside a doorway or a window, and then plug in the lights.
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