Monday, November 27, 2006

Holiday Decorating With Larry

Now that Thanksgiving is over, my attention turns to Holiday decorating. As has been the tradition for several years, I head to southern Minnesota to set-up my niece Kelsey’s Dept. 56 North Pole Villages on the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year we both came back up to Minneapolis on Friday night and she and I did a wreath decorating segment during Saturday Morning 5 Eyewitness News. After that it was two days of decorating my house inside and out – something we both love doing. I’ll show you some of what we did during the week ahead.

Here is an easy project that Kelsey did on Sunday afternoon and took home with her when she was done. She started with a whole bunch of left over ribbon that I had in a box. She cut 12” lengths and made simple loops that were tied off with floral wire. Those loops were wired into the wreath with the round part of the loop facing towards the center and the tails facing out.

She mixed about 8 different kinds of ribbon together until she had the wreath completed.It was easy to do and can be completed in about an hour. Now she just has to figure out where it is going to get hung.

Make your day a good one.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Winterizing Your Outdoor Pots

The mild weather has made it perfect for getting my outdoor pots and containers ready for winter. It’s time to spruce up the planters with spruce tops.
For those of you not familiar with what these are, spruce tops are swamp spruce. They are cut in northern Minnesota and Canada. These spruce don’t grow very tall and once cut; grow back allowing them to be cut again in the future. They’re a great renewable resource. They are sold in bundles.

I like to take the bundle, cut an inch or so off the bottom of each one and put them in a bucket of water overnight to hydrate before I push them in the soil of my pots and containers. Once you have your container “planted” with the spruce tops, there are any number of things you can to do give them unique finishing touches. You can add other evergreens such as cedar to soften the look, branches of red twig dogwood, curly willow, dried hydrangea stems, bright red permanent berry stems or even branches of magnolia.

You can mix and match any of these for an endless list of combinations. Here are a couple of pictures of some fun and different planters – these are not at my house. The one is loaded with hydrangea, pomegranates and magnolia – some of the items were sprayed with just a hint of gold floral spray paint to give it a different look. The other planter has bright weatherproof balls in with jewel tone accents.

For my window boxes, I used a few jumbo spruce tops (jumbo means taller) and some standard spruce tops. I left these plain since I will add lights later on. By my side door, I added some magnolia, and on the patio some clumps of red twig dogwood and cedar branches were added.

It is my front door that I “funked” out this year. I wanted something totally different and new there - something that I had never seen done before. I started with 3 rolls of copper tubing. One was 1/4” and two were 3/8” inch. I pushed one end into the soil in the pot and then bent and twisted it into a unique shape – it bends really easy. I pushed the second piece in the soil and sculpted it around the first. That step was repeated with the third piece. I then took the standard spruce tops, cut each one in half and filled the pot. I wanted the spruce tops low so they didn’t block the tubing. I will add some lights to the pot later on.

This was quick and easy – it really does look like more work then it was. Now that should give my neighbors something to talk about.

Make your day a good one.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Turn the Water Back On

The last two days have felt nothing like November – driving around with the windows down…nice!

I chatted with 5 Eyewitness News Meteorologist Dave Dahl about the warm weather and the fact that October was the driest in 30 years. So far this year we are 2.5” of rain below average.

If you planted trees, shrubs or evergreens this year or last year, I would highly recommend that you get out the hose and give them a good watering on Thursday before we see some snow fall.

It’s very important that plants – especially those recently planted go into the winter hydrated and that the soil is moist. Don’t think for a moment that whatever snowfall we get that melts will do the trick. These plants need a good watering.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but that may mean dragging the hose out again and turning the water on to the faucets. All that effort will be worth it.

Make your day a good one.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Dinner Party

It’s been a while since I posted here. Now that it’s November and the yard and garden has been officially put to bed for the winter, my postings will not be as frequent. In the weeks ahead, I plan on posting tips on outdoor decorating for the winter, holiday decorating tips and even some tips on throwing a party or two.

Speaking of which, I had a dinner party for eight friends last Saturday. I’m always looking for something unique to make the table stand out. Good food becomes great food with the right presentation and nothing sets the mood like a creatively set table. I like mixing old and new or traditional and contemporary to create a table setting with unpredictable interest. My inspiration often comes from nature.

In the setting shown here, which is the one I used last Saturday, I took large landscape paver slabs, put little felt protectors on the bottom to keep them from scratching the table and put one at each place setting like a place mat. The center of the table was filled with an assortment of pumpkins, squash, gourds and bittersweet. The simple white dinnerware, flatware and such were all placed on the landscape slab. It was not much work, but created a big “wow”.

If you want more great decorating tips, this Saturday from 10:00-4, I’ll be making a rare public appearance at Bachman’s on Lyndale during their Project Holiday Event. I’ll be showing some more great ideas for table settings, tips on decorating a mantle, Christmas tree decorating tips, plus a number of other ideas. So grab a girlfriend or two and stop by, it should be great fun.

Make your day a good one.