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San Clemente Journal

New Ideas for Holiday Decorating

Nov 05, 2005 04:01PM ● By Don Kindred
by Rosemary L. Sieve

    Let’s face it, it’s that time again. The holidays are just around the corner and it’s not a pretty sight. Gas prices have soared, interest rates are increasing and the stock market is on a roller coaster. 
To take our minds off the doom and gloom, the majority of us would like to brighten up our houses for the festive season, but at the same time don’t want to spend a lot of money. Long time San Clemente resident, Margaret Kruse of Ardco Redesigns, has some great suggestions that will fit the bill, yet won’t break the bank.
“Anyone can go into a store to buy decorations, but it’s not as interesting as buying a can of gold spray paint, finding some nuts, thistles, pine cones, or any type of pod and getting busy.” Margaret said, creative blue eyes sparkling. “The key is having different textures and shapes to play with.”
Kruse’s fertile imagination is well known in the community, and the members of St. Andrew’s Methodist Church always look forward to her special centerpieces molded from the twisted Juniper branches and wispy grasses found in her garden. Often complemented with a fake apple or pear bought from the local 99-Cent store. 
“These fruits are a real bargain, and can be put on wreaths during the festivities in place of fresh fruit as they do back east.” Margaret continued. “Another inexpensive idea, and very dramatic, should you have a glass top dining table, is to place a miniature flood light under it, or string fairy lights around the base for your holiday get-togethers. This will really impress your guests.”
Original ideas from Margaret are many. For instance, should you be fortunate enough to have French doors, hang greenery, junipers or yew will do nicely, around the perimeter; place an enormous red velvet or plaid bow at top center, its streamers hanging loose, and randomly attach gold painted pine cones. And, a charming way to display your Christmas cards is to paste them onto each pane of the doors, easy to do with a glue gun. 
For your mantle or table centerpiece, select approximately nine or ten tumblers and stemware of various sizes, turn upside down and spray two coats of $1.79 gold paint (WalMart), only on the outside of the glasses, of course. When dry, place a tea candle in each glass from a bag of 100 (Pier One approximately $6), then tuck pieces of greenery and ribbons between and around them, together with golden sprayed pine cones and even candies. Like magic you’ll have a magnificent creation. 
If you have a roomy stoop at your front door a fun idea, instead of the usual wreath, is to place a tri-pod easel there (easily constructed from three one-inch dowel rods and a two-ft. piece of one-inch wood). Then find an old picture frame that may be hiding in your attic, and spray it with that gold paint again. Fill it with gold-sprayed poster board, and write the appropriate greeting - ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Happy New Year’ on it. Attach some greenery with a big bow, and if you’re lucky enough to have an electrical outlet nearby, plug in a floodlight aimed at the easel. Or, if you have limited space at your front door, hang the frame directly onto it. It’s a decoration that is imaginative, yet theatrical, for little expense, and one that can be used year after year. Another original idea for the front door is to use a three-foot yardstick, some picture wire and glue gun. Attach greenery from top to bottom with a heavier concentration of greenery top to middle, nestling into it a large red or plaid bow about six inches down, leaving the streamers hanging. Then attach enameled glossed red apples (3) and green pears (2), purchased from the 99-cent store, on varying lengths of the same ribbon as your bow and fasten to the wood support with the wire. Select one of your red-flocked Christmas cards with a holiday greeting, preferably in gold, and glue it a little to the right of the bow, flipping a few sprigs of greenery over the corners. Curly willow, large jingle bells, cow bells or pine cones tucked into the swag, all sprayed gold, can also be added for variation.
These, then, are some great ideas given by Margaret Kruse, and should you need further expertise from her, and when she’s not entertaining at the Community Center’s Funtastic Follies with her singing comedy act, you can email her at Have fun with the ideas and enjoy an expense easy holiday season filled with imagination and possibly the purchase of stocks in a company that manufactures gold spray paint! b