Indoors Sparkles With Outdoors Flair

Indoors Sparkles With Outdoors Flair

In just a little more time than it takes to wrap your ficus tree with twinkling lights, you can add natural, holiday flair to the inside of your home with items traditionally used outside.

Add color with — or to — flowers.

Grown outdoors in warmer climates, white, red, pink and striped poinsettias add beauty to homes. "They'll fade in the sunlight," says Amanda Rhein, floral arranger and salesperson at Judy's Florist & Gifts in Central Point, "They won't bloom all year, but they will live when kept evenly moist. Don't over-water them or let them dry out." Don't choose these plants if you have chewing pets or young children as their sap can irritate the skin (and stomach if ingested).

It's easy to add fresh flowers and evergreen stems to potted plants with small water picks that give each stem its own little vase. "We do it all the time," says Rhein. "Add long-lasting flowers like carnations, chrysanthemums, and daisies [to the picks] and simply put them into the soil."

Infuse cut flowers with color by adding a few drops of food dye to their water, or paint them. Yep. Crafted for spraying on fresh flowers, Design Master paint comes in an array of tones including metallics.

Outdoor implements and garden decoration can be brought inside and transformed for the holidays.

"Use interesting vessels like old rusty buckets and fill with flowers [to] bring a natural, rustic look indoors," advises Kate Crowston, of Kate Crowston Designs in Medford, "Using outdoorsy items indoors adds whimsy. Something functional used for a different purpose with a kicky attitude makes your friends say 'Oh my gosh"¦ a watering can' and talk and giggle about it."

Small, live trees smell great and provide decorating opportunities for kids. "We are definitely noticing the green trend. Lots of people don't want to kill something. If you have a live tree, plant it in the garden after the holidays"¦ but away from the house"¦ it's going to get big," says Rhein.

For a stunning centerpiece, use fresh fruit instead of flowers. Insert a wooden skewer into whole, pears, pomegranates, and apples and secure to an oasis or Styrofoam forms. Or make an arrangement with skewered fruit, then fill a vase with cedar, pine and evergreen boughs. This adds a holiday touch and disguises the skewers.

Wreaths are a staple of winter decorating. To spice yours up, adorn purchased evergreen or herbal wreaths with items in coordinating colors. For a quick tabletop centerpiece, cluster an odd number of pillar candles in the center of the wreath. Or place wreaths carefully on a chandelier.

Live wreaths do not last as long indoors. Make sure yours doesn't dry out and become a fire hazard.

Feeling crafty? Start with a straw or Styrofoam form for easy wreath-making. Insert long, slender twigs, branches, and feathers into the form, on the bias, angling the same direction. Cover the styrofoam form entirely with greenery, ribbon or fabric.

Create any sized grapevine wreaths with long, supple vines. If they dry out, soak them overnight. Begin coiling with the thickest part of the vine and secure with wire. Begin wrapping the next vine in different spot and repeat until it's as thick as desired. Attach a wire or ribbon to hang your masterpiece, and decorate.

Wired wood picks support bulkier items, while floral tape, hot glue, and Styrofoam glue should secure most items like birds' nests, ornaments, ribbons or pinecones. "Some people spray or soak pine cones in essential oils like cinnamon or wintergreen," says Rhein, "When you smell something, it triggers memories,"

This season, embrace Nature's offerings — from oaks' acorns, galls, and mistletoe, to evergreens, to fresh fruit and blooms — and enjoy a unique and scent-sational holiday scene.

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