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San Clemente Journal

O Christmas Tree… And Other Holiday Decorating Tips

Nov 01, 2007 11:44AM ● By Don Kindred
by Anne Batty

Are you singing the “O Christmas Tree” holiday decorating blues? Then sashay on down, Thursday, November 29, at 6 p.m. to Backstreet Home Décor, on El Camino Real in San Clemente and join Interior Designer Dayna Camerena’s Christmas Tree Decorating workshop. Held in conjunction with the store’s annual Holiday Open House (to which workshop attendees are also invited), Dayna guarantees this class to be, “lots of fun,” and says the $20 charge for this workshop includes free tree topper bowmaking.

“During the class, we will discuss Christmas tree decorating from head to toe,” Camerena explained. “We will talk about what to do first and where to go from there. One of the things I encourage people to do is use lots of lights, because personally I have never seen a tree with too many lights.”

Dayna points out that the most efficient way to decorate a tree is to begin by stringing the lights from the bottom up, weaving them in and out of every branch, so that even the middle of the tree is illuminated. Next she recommends putting into place the tree topper, accompanied by ribbon, fabric, or bead garlands. Then she says it is time to work big to small, placing ornaments, flowers, leaves, berries, and/or toys and miniatures in groupings, leaving heirloom, cherished and breakable ornaments until last. And finally, she suggests using a variety of shapes and sizes to create interest and dimension.

“Tree toppers can consist of two or three bows wired together with pipe cleaners to look like one large bow,” Camerena said. “Ribbon tails can then cascade down the tree, or be gently wrapped around it. And when doing groupings, depth can be created by placing some of the clusters deep in the tree and some further out.”

Along with tree embellishment, Dayna will be sharing some of her other favorite Holiday decorating tips. Among them are: 
* Filling large glass bowls with colorful ornaments, to use as centerpieces.
* Hanging special ornaments from chandeliers, accompanied by beaded garlands.
* Using colorful Christmas fabrics for table runners and Christmas tree skirts.
* Swagging garlands, and/or placing groupings of ornaments or florals on stair railings and atop doorways, accompanied by strategically placed bows.
* Hanging special ornaments made by the children on garlands over the kitchen sink, or adorning miniature trees to be placed in a family or game room.

Holiday and interior decorating come naturally to Dayna Camerena. This homegrown San Clementean grew up in the décor business. Her mom, Susan Smith, is a decorator and owner of Backstreet Home Décor, and her sister, Tracy Knox, formerly owned and operated Cheers, a gift and card shop on Avenida Del Mar.

Having learned the trade by osmosis, Camerena has been decorating homes and teaching floral design classes since she was eighteen-years-old … in her words, “over half her life.” While working with her mom in-store and out, she has taken many design courses, and as a result of her connection with Backstreet, receives many requests from customers for help with their in-home decorating.

“I love helping people design the interior of their homes,” Dayna remarked. “I always encourage my clients to use quality materials, and tell them it is okay to add pieces a little at a time and not to sacrifice quality for quantity.”

Listening to her patrons’ ideas and thoughts, consulting with her mom, and visiting trade shows is key to Camerenas’ decorating expertise. She realizes it is a challenge for customers to find the décor right for them, and wants to be sure a comfortable, livable environment is the end product of her work.

“I am fortunate to have a shop that offers quality materials as a home base,” Dayna revealed. “Mom’s store is really a hidden treasure, a place that makes available individualized, custom designing at a reasonable price, where design consulting is offered free to those who purchase the items they will be using in their homes through the shop.”

As a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene College and credentialed elementary and secondary schoolteacher, decorating isn’t the only profession this woman of boundless energy is involved in. In her spare time Camerena has taught at R. H. Dana Elementary and San Clemente High Schools, and is presently teaching English as a second language at San Juan Elementary School. If that isn’t enough, as a licensed real estate professional, Dayna also works as a “stager” for anyone in the process of selling homes. In between, she somehow finds time to care for her two daughters Bella, 4, and Lexi, 8, and … as President of San Clemente High’s Class of ’88 is in the process of planning their 20th Reunion.

Multi-talented and multi-faceted, Dayna Camerena is looking forward to helping people decorate for the holidays with the excitement of a child awaiting Santa. When she speaks of her upcoming workshop and the opportunity to beautify San Clemente homes, her enthusiasm pours forth like a bubbling fountain, and for her clients there’s no more singing the holiday decorating blues. Just a wonderful opportunity to join Dayna’s class, and/or tap into her expertise, as a means of chasing those seasonal blues away.

To register for this class, call Backstreet at 498-2210, and plan to stay for the Open House as well.