December 29, 2010

A New Year’s Centerpiece & A Bloggy Resolution

Happy New Year!

I can’t believe that 2011 will be here in just a couple days.  2010 was an eventful year around here, and I’m sure 2011 will have its share of surprises too!  I’ll be back soon to share a year end wrap up and more about my plans for 2011.  But for now, I’d like to put my first 2011 resolution in print.  “I, Julie from JulieChats, will do my VERY BEST to post every week here on my blog, sharing something creative to inspire my readers to pull out their papercrafting supplies or do a little something to beautify & organize their homes.”

This week, I’m getting a jump on my resolution by sharing a centerpiece I’ve created to celebrate the coming New Year.  To me, silver is the color of New Year’s.  And since I use a lot of red & green in my Christmas decorating, it’s fun to pull out some of my blue items to combine with the sparkle of the silver.

To create my centerpiece, I took a tour around my house thinking about things that would create fun silver & blue New Year’s theme centerpiece.  Since starting my Willow House business in September, I’ve managed to collect some fun new items to use in my centerpieces.  I wholeheartedly believe in using items you already own with new ones to create a look for your home that’s all YOU!  Mixing the old with the new also saves money, which is a big theme at my house.  So the new items I choose have to be versatile and useful in many ways, for many occasions, all over my home.  Getting them for free or at a discount is a HUGE plus too!

So on my little tour, I found one of my favorite Willow House items that I ordered in August, even before I became a consultant.  I chose to purchase the Cyprus Footed Bowl with Hostess Dollars from my 40th Birthday Willow House Party…so, it was FREE for me! 🙂  (Bowl was $59.96, now $49.96)  Then, I continued my tour and found two items from the new Spring/Summer 2011 Willow House catalog that I just knew would go perfectly with silver & blue.

I chose the gorgeous, Mediterranean Sage Bowl and the stately Stiletto Pedestal (I used the small pedestal, it comes in a set of 2 with a large & small version) (Set of 2 $49.96).

To fill my bowl and pedestal, I gathered silver & blue decorations from other centerpieces & arrangements around the house.  Fun silver garland with little stars, a silver string of beads discovered for less than $2 at the grocery store, one pick cut into 3 pieces featuring sparkly balls found at Michael’s for about $1.50, 3 mirror-ball ornaments from Michael’s (about $1 each), a collection of various small ball ornaments I’ve had for years, in shades of blue & white gathered from a Christmas arrangement and a silver, iridescent bead encrusted candle purchased years ago from Pottery Barn during a day after Christmas sale…I now had everything!

I started putting together my New Year’s centerpiece.  First, I set the Mediterranean Sage Bowl inside the Cyprus Footed Bowl, to raise it up and give it a larger presence on my table.  Next, I placed the candle inside the Stiletto Pedestal and set the pedestal in the center of the Sage Bowl.  I ran into a little problem here, the center of the bowl is concave and the pedestal wouldn’t stay in the center.  It kept sliding to one side or the other.  I thought about what to do.  If I had any of the little sticky stuff that you use to hang posters on the wall without damaging the wall, I would have tried to stick the pedestal to the bowl with that.  But since I didn’t have any, I used a white fabric napkin, folded in quarters and placed in the center of the bowl.  When I set the pedestal on top of the napkin, it didn’t slide around.  Now this isn’t a really sturdy fix, but I’m not leaving the centerpiece where my 2 year old can play with it and I don’t live in earthquake country, I think it will make it through New Year’s Day just fine!  The napkin did stick out from under the pedestal’s bottom, but I just made sure to arrange my garland and beads to cover it as I laid them around the bowl, circling the pedestal.

No, expert knowledge is needed to create this centerpiece.  Garland and beads are forgiving and since they sparkle, any arrangement of them looks great.  Just toss the garland in the bowl around the pedestal and lay a length of beads over the top, letting it fall into the spaces between & around the garland.  I did have a small piece of beading that I’d cut from the larger length in order to create a different arrangement, so I used inside the pedestal, laying it around the candle to give it a little more sparkle & another layer of silver.

Next, I placed the mirror-ball ornaments.  One of the design principles I’ve learned after years of doing my own decorating, watching tons of decorating shows and following even more decorating blogs, is that an odd number of items makes an arrangement that is pleasing to the eye.  And being a layout designer with some graphic training & a lot of scrapbooking experience, I know that using touches of the same colors or same shapes in a triangle pattern around your canvas, paper or container, helps the eye travel around your creation in a pleasing manner.  For me, it’s easiest to use 3 similar or identical items and arrange them in a triangle.  So I did this with my mirror-ball ornaments, placing them gently into the garland and beads.  Next, I arranged the 3 picks in a triangle around the bowl, tucking the ends into the garland.  Last I took my small ornaments in various shades of blue & white and used them in little groupings around the larger mirror-ball ornaments.  I used the principle of odd numbered items here too.  While placing the small ornaments, I considered their color and tried to place each group of them in a triangular shape around the bowl.

TIP

Now, when I talk about placing the items in a triangle, I’m not saying that you should be exact and place everything very symmetrically into your centerpiece.  For this arrangement, I placed the smaller ornaments in a triangle around the bowl, nestling them in around the larger mirror-ball ornaments, but not in exactly the same spots, just in close approximation.  Check out my photo and look for the “same color” small ornaments to see what I mean.  The arrangement should have the colors and shapes, well placed to help the eye travel all around it, but it should also not be obvious that you were trying to create a triangle in your arrangement.  If it helps you to create a very symmetrical arrangement first, that’s great.  Then try moving your elements around just a bit, so that they look like they just happen to have fallen into their places and weren’t placed there with the precision of a magnifying glass & measuring tape.  It may take a little work to be happy with the placement of your elements, but I think that if you take a some time moving your elements and looking at them again & again, you’ll find a look that’s pleasing to you.

I hope you enjoy my centerpiece and learning a little about creating your own centerpieces.  Sign up to follow me or have my posts emailed to your inbox and you’ll be among the first to learn more about decorating around your own home.

If you’re interested in the items I used to create my centerpiece, please visit my Willow House Website.  And if you’d like to receive my monthly Willow House newsletter, featuring design ideas, recipes and the latest sale & special news, leave me a comment saying so here, with your email address.  I also have a Willow House Facebook page, where you can “LIKE” me and get fun decorating ideas & sale info. in your news feed.

Thank you for following JulieChats and I hope you enjoy my new creative direction.  I’m planning to share papercrafting ideas along with decorating tips & projects each week.  Stay tuned for all the news on my Scrapbook Studio reorganizing project.

The Mediterranean Sage Bowl is featured in the new Spring/Summer 2011 Willow House Catalog and will be available for sale January 1, 2011.  The bowl sells for $69.96 and is microwave, dishwasher and oven safe.  It is large, measuring 15″ in diameter and 4 3/4″ high.  In addition to creating a centerpiece in my new bowl, I used it to hold a big salad for Christmas dinner.

Leave comments here or email me at willowhousejulie@aol.com anytime.  You don’t need to be invited to a party to order from my website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  And when you stop by my website and click “Shop Online,” don’t miss the Online Outlet featuring tons of mark down items and showcasing Weekly Specials that change every Monday.  Items will be delivered directly to your home and when you spend $40 or more (including regular and outlet priced items), you qualify to receive one regular priced catalog item up to $40 for 1/2 price.  So stock up on outlet items and get your favorite catalog item for 50% off!!!

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