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Coming Up

Mon 01 Barenaked Ladies & The Persuasions perform  
Tue 02 Veep actress Anna Chlumsky
Thu 04 Tommy Smythe tours architectural historic preservation projects

Gardiner Museum
12 Trees of Christmas 2012
November 17 – December 9, 2012

Brett Walther
Home & Garden Director

Tulip Dye
Also Available at Michael's and Walmart

Celebrate the Season in Style with these Frugal Flourishes

Warm Welcome: Gold spray painted pineapples

It’s no wonder traditional textiles and architectural accents were rife with pineapple motifs – as the universal symbol of hospitality, the pineapple represents warm welcomes and elegant entertaining. What better way to greet guests than with a row of the friendly fruit, glammed out in a coat of mirror-finish gold spray-paint? Grocery store décor never looked so luxe!
Premium 18 kt. Gold Plate spray-paint, $5 per 227g can, krylon.ca. Ornamental Mouldings Cartier mantel kit, $229, homedepot.ca.

All Wrapped Up: Ribbon-wrapped Parsons chair

Give a plain Parsons chair a very merry makeover by running horizontal and vertical bands of ribbon across the chair back. Fix the ribbon in place at the upholstery seams with barely-there t-pins.
Henriksdal chair in white with slipcover in Gobo White, $80, ikea.ca.

Shake Things Up: DIY salt and pepper shakers

Individual salt and pepper shakers at each place setting may seem like an over-the-top indulgence, but these do-it-yourself models have modest beginnings. Unscrew the metal lids from clean, dry single-serving glass jam jars, and punch holes through the top with a power drill. Fill the jars with salt and pepper, replace the lids, and elevate your dining table to a new level of elegance.

Organic cotton fabric in Avocado Green, $16 per yard, tonicliving.com.

Take Your Seat: Pinecone Placecards

Don’t sweat silver-plated place card holders: a pinecone from your own backyard does the job just as beautifully.

On the Runner: Pashmina table runner

No money for new table linens? No problem! Simply lay two or three pretty pashminas widthwise across the table to repurpose as runners.

Party Trick: Frozen grapes

Frozen grapes aren’t just a healthy holiday snack; they’re also the perfect way to chill a glass of that room temperature white wine your guests brought for dinner. Unlike ice cubes, grapes won’t dilute the wine as they thaw (nature’s answer to whiskey stones!).

Snowglobe Centrepiece: DIY snowglobe centrepiece

Can’t get enough of the stylish snowglobes that are popping up everywhere this season? Here’s how to bring the look of holiday’s hottest trend to your tabletop. Simply place a festive figurine on a charger, dust liberally with food-safe faux snow (we used Maldon salt, but coarse canning salt would work in a pinch) and top it all off with a bell jar, cloche, or overturned glass vase.

Mangowood charger plate, $TK, indigo.ca. Glitter tree, $17; dome-top glass cloche, $33, abbottcollection.com.

Detailed instructions for the snowglobe centrepiece:

  1. Cover the entire surface of a charger plate with food-safe “faux snow” (such as coarse Maldon sea salt).
  2. Place a favourite festive figurine or statue in the centre of the charger.
  3. Cover with an overturned clear glass vase, cloche or bell jar.
  4. Sweep away any faux snow that remains on the rim of the charger, outside the rim of the overturned glass vase.

Luxe Linens: Dip-dyed monogrammed napkins

This fashion-forward napkin might look like a million bucks, but it’s really just the product of an easy afternoon makeover. Immersing just the lower half of white cotton napkins in green fabric dye (a technique called “dip-dyeing”), we got this on-trend ombré effect, and then added an iron-on monogram as a decadent detail.

Detailed instructions for dip-dyeing:

  1. Start with a canvas of white, 100% cotton. (Natural fibres like cotton and linen take dye much better than synthetics.)
  2. Pre-wash the fabric to remove any sizing that could interfere with how the fibres take the dye, and wring it out to remove excess water. (The fabric should still be somewhat damp.)
  3. Mix the dye according to the manufacturer’s instructions in a hard plastic, glass or stainless steel vessel. (I like to use a big Tupperware tub, which in turn is plunked in my bathtub.) For this particular Tulip dye packet, you’ll need one gallon of hot water, and a quarter cup of salt. Stir constantly!
  4. Immerse just the bottom half of the fabric into the dye solution, and let the top half hang over the lip of the vessel. Keep stirring to ensure all fibres are evenly treated.
  5. Have fun! Working with dye isn’t about getting perfect results, and that’s part of the charm. You’ll splash and smudge, and the pieces you create will always bear the mark of their maker.
  6. Gradually the dye will creep up above the water line, and you’ll get this “bleeding” effect, also known as ombré: super-saturated colour below the water line that gets paler and paler as you move up.
  7. For a more distinct division between dyed and undyed portions, use fabric that’s completely dry. (The dye won’t bleed as readily when fibres are dry.)
  8. After an hour, remove the fabric from the dye bath, and run it under cold water until the water runs clear. (This process removes excess dye.) Squeeze and hang to dry, and launder separately.
  9. Apply iron-on monogram according to manufacturer’s instructions.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Holiday Guide


Holiday Guide

12 Trees of Christmas

Coming Up

Mon 01 Barenaked Ladies & The Persuasions perform  
Tue 02 Veep actress Anna Chlumsky
Thu 04 Tommy Smythe tours architectural historic preservation projects