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Holiday decorating tips

Here are some holiday decorating tips from Hallie Burrier of Frederick, Md.:

1. Assemble items in groups of three or five. Odd numbers work best for groupings. In creating vignettes, use items of varying heights to allow the eye to travel.

2. Repeat colors and patterns. Keeping a theme going throughout a room creates a sense of connection. Add a few surprises in each space for a bit of discovery.

3. Use a high/low strategy. Mix expensive and inexpensive items that you love. Incorporate personal pieces that tell the story of your life.

4. Pull out your best china, crystal, linens and family heirlooms. Use your best things this month as you host family and friends.

5. Add sparkle and scent. If you have a fake, pre-lighted tree, add strands of lights. Burn some spruce candles or have some cloves and cinnamon simmering on the stove.

Washington Post

Hands off hydrangeas

As part of your fall cleanup, leave the hydrangeas alone – you don’t want to remove buds needed for next year’s flowering. The canes can be trimmed back a little in early May once frost danger has passed. In old, congested shrubs, remove the oldest, thickest stems entirely. If in doubt, leave mophead and lacecap hydrangeas untouched.

Washington Post

Make a paper Chihuly

Rachel Motta, an art teacher in Tennessee, came up with this craft after being inspired by a trio of exhibitions of Dale Chihuly’s contemporary glass sculptures. Chihuly created a series of colorful, organic, bowl-shape forms called Macchia (which means spotted in Italian).

This version uses coffee filters. The translucency of the paper mimics the look of glass.

1. Use scissors to trim the edge of a coffee filter to create an uneven, organic shape.

2. Make lines, spots and blobs on the coffee filter with non-permanent markers.

3. Drape the coffee filter over an upside-down plastic cup or yogurt container.

4. Apply spray starch to the filter until the marker colors bleed together and the coffee filter is completely wet.

5. Let the filter dry.

FamilyFun magazine

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