DIY Creative Corner

Winter touches for your home

By: Maggie Bonanomi

As soon as December arrives on our doorstep and the year begins its slow slide toward the beginning of another year, it’s time to prepare for the upcoming holidays, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah ,Kwanzaa or just the joys of the winter season. Sometimes I feel as though I am speeding uphill, trying to get everything done and by the time the holidays are over I feel as if I’m in a free fall , having not had time to actually enjoy the holiday. I don’t think it’s just me, we all get very busy with work, families and other commitments and time just flies by! Now, I try to keep things simple!

Decorating for the holidays is a great time to mix up your favorite collections, old and new, rustic and sleek, vintage and modern. Gather up some fresh green, nothing smells much better than that, fill containers and set them around your house. One year we missed getting a tree but found the scrap branches from the tree lot and used those, best smelling Christmas we ever had. I even like to buy several tiny decorated trees at the grocery store but I take off the cheap décor and place the pots in groups on a great old vintage platter along with a few old ornaments, perfect centerpiece.

Running out of time? Fill a bowl or tray with your decorations, ready for trimming but beautiful on their own, a little like on old treasure chest! String up several strands of lights, colored or clear on the wall, set a tree in an old rusty galvanized bucket or an old silvered punch bowl add one special decoration, you’re done! Find an old lantern with a lot of glass or an old aquarium tank use these to highlight a collection of your holiday favorites. I placed a vintage Santa one year, in the old lantern, another year some of my bottlebrush trees.

Paper white Narcissus and Amaryllis bulbs are easy to force but you can also buy potted ones, they’re perfect gifts as well as fun to watch grow. I plant mine in old glass bowls and bakery molds with pebbles, the bulb sitting just about ½” into the pebbles. These are also great after all the holidays are over, it’s when I actually have some time to really enjoy them.

For some quick holiday treats when friends stop by keep some cookies and candies in the pantry, then plate them on an old platter with a sprig of green or a vintage ornament, looks fancy but is really simple. Have a bowl of clementines as well and of course something to drink.

The New Year will come in quickly, I would put away all holiday except the silvery, white and sparkly decorations, lots of white or silver votive candles and add any old clocks or clock faces to the mix, maybe find some old calendars from years that have special meaning, hang them up highlighting new years eve.

Once the new year has arrived I actually look forward to a little down time, good for nesting, catching up on projects I want to do maybe some reading, that sort of thing. This is the time I actually enjoy having my paperwhite bulbs planted, my white dishes out as well as any white collections I have,actually any one color display is very calming after all the holiday hoopla.

February, still wintery here, brings us St. Valentine’s Day, bake up batches of your favorite cookie cut into heart shape, pack into clear cellophane bags, tuck in a vintage valentine, tie with ribbon and you have a perfect valentine to give to friends. By the end of February I crave a little spring, something blooming and growing, so I head out to the garden centers to find a tiny pot or two of violas or pansies. I set the small pots into old cups or bowls to remind me that spring is quietly approaching and will be here before we know it.

About Maggie: I cannot remember a time when I was not creating something. I moved most of my life, my dad as well as my husband were military. I was always having to create a home. I now live in Lexington, MO, a sweet town east of Kansas City where I have a wonderful old home and studio/shop and where my life right now seems to be controlled by my Westie puppy Lulu! I have designed and taught rug hooking as well as wool applique for more than 20 years, traveling nationally and had the opportunity to teach in France. I have had 8 books published with the Kansas City Star Quilts, two of which are published by a French company. I have spent the last year writing a monthly newsletter for a club through a Quilt shop in Wisconsin. I would say my style of design, whether for a workshop or decorating tends to be simple, nature often taking the center stage.