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Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
by Jan Colvin
A sweet Swedish Christmas
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About this blog
By Jan Colvin

I have been a professional interior designer for over 25 years (Allied ASID). I credit my mother Pat Robinson and Lucille Chase for my intense interest and love for design.
I've taught interior design at the college level and operated a ...

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Through the Front Door

I have been a professional interior designer for over 25 years (Allied ASID). I credit my mother Pat Robinson and Lucille Chase for my intense interest and love for design.
I've taught interior design at the college level and operated a private design business since 2001. Today I spend a majority of my time completing a new book which will be available in the first quarter of 2013.   

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Happy hues of Swedish design-charming and magical
Happy hues of Swedish design-charming and magical
By Jan Colvin
Dec. 11, 2013 8:02 a.m.



Good Morning my lovely readers!

Here we are at the most magical time of the year—Christmas! For most of us, our fondness for this season starts with the family traditions that stay with us through generations, forming our own personal Holiday History! I can’t tell you how much I understand this dedication to tradition! But this year, I’m going to try a bit of seasonal silliness and mix a few new ideas into my mix, and I encourage you to do so as well.

My traditional holiday décor involves a tried-and-true red and green color scheme with maybe a bit of acid green to liven it up some years. This year, I’m actually thinking about limiting my use of plaid…somewhat…maybe. Aside from that dramatic change, I’m pondering creating my own interpretation of a Swedish Christmas. I have dreamed about doing a Swedish-inspired Christmas spectacle for years. I hope to accomplish this by using wonderful, rich, spectacular and affordable felt (a fabric those of you my age are likely to remember fondly). To accompany my traditional red and green, I plan to add some new hues for the holiday—turquoise and a spicy green. Rather than change out all my décor, I’ll perk up my tables and mantel and maybe make a few wreaths.

Fabulous Felt Tablecloths

Now for those fond memories of felt. If you’re of a certain age, you may remember the amazing felt circle skirts your Mom made for you in the 1950s? My Mom employed the most captivating creativity and the sewing skills to match to create three of these skirts for me. One in particular sported Santa, a Christmas tree and a reindeer, all embellished with sequins, bugle beads and jingle bells. Oh, I loved how that skirt sounded when I walked!

So why not take that same idea and create a tablecloth or runner? Dress out the edges that cascade off the table, whether linear, circular or rectangular. Just load up the edges or ends with holiday themes such as amazing felt reindeer , snowmen, or elves, all hand done by you, gorgeous! And for heaven sake’s consider the remarkable family heirloom you could make with a handmade tree skirt. A gazillion patterns and ideas are available online, a quick Google or Bing search away. Find a wonderful pattern or use the ideas you find to draw your own. What a wonderful family affair to start making now!

I found bolts of 72” wide felt on Joann’s website and used a coupon that offered substantial savings. Now I’m envisioning snowflakes, Dala horses, charming hearts, snowmen, and, of course, reindeer. To decorate, just cut the ornaments out with super-sharp scissors so the edge is pristine. Next, gather up all your amazing embellishments—beads, small and large jingle bells, little fluffy pompons, sequins, rickrack—you know, gorgeous, all the bedazzle me stuff! Find all that stuff we love to create the Christmas explosion of excess. Then start sewing them together with yarn and child-like stitching.

Consider making your tree garland out of felt as well. Start with 4”-5” wide strip and cut the edge with pinking shears. Wind it through the tree as you would any other ribbon garland—easy and so unique! This type of garland could either give you an elegant Ralph Lauren or a bit of homespun personality.

Magnificent Mantels

We all love our mantels for the holidays and the amazing holiday displays we can create. After all, this is where Santa makes his grand entrance! (And if you don’t have a fireplace, try this technique on shelves or on a tall piece of furniture.) Here’s my vision for this year’s Swedish display:

Cut a piece of felt exactly the same size as the mantel shelf.

Extend the front edge at least 8”-12” so it drops down onto the face of the fireplace (maybe even get fancy with the shape of the edge, scallops perhaps or even a Swedish curvy edge).

Decorate the edges beyond belief, creating another heirloom for your collection.

Your new mantel display can now rise from a new color and a new look. Astonishing things can happen!

Add some greenery with the shimmer of snow and some undetectable white lights to add some more enchantment.

Start from the middle and build out, or from the ends and build in. Mantels are a building process. If designing a mantel frightens you, remember that classic symmetry is your friend. Simply create mirror images on each side of the mantel.

Place a mirror above the mantel and hang sparkling snowflakes with invisible fishing line at varying levels or delicate boxwood wreaths from satin ribbon in one of your holiday hues.

Let’s see these tips in action:

Start with a shocking turquoise color felt and embellish it with acid green and red jingle bells, twirling and whirling rickrack sewn into loose loopy swirls, and shimmering snowflakes.

Incorporate the same colors into the mantel design with turquoise and red mercury glass votives (use LED lights with a switch so there’s no fear of flame).

The new battery powered LED lights are just the cat's meow as well and no cord hiding!

Add some beaded garlands, mercury balls and solid-colored balls in a variety of sizes—all in the same captivating colors.

Create some height at each end of the mantel with a pair of topiaries, slender Christmas trees, whimsical elves, snowmen crafted from felt, vases filled with spruce and gleaming sticks, or even large hurricanes. The height should step down about a third of the way from the top of the mirror or art (higher in the middle and lower on each end).

Color-blasted Candy Wreaths

Let me share another bit of my holiday history, again, from my dear Mom. Oh that woman could create—she was a whirlwind of amazing ideas. I don’t know where Mom got this idea, but it’s perfect for adding a blast of Swedish colors. Her Christmas candy wreath makes a wonderful teacher gift, hostess gift, or Bunco prize. It’s a bit tough to explain, but you can find videos online to guide you. (No, Mom didn’t have that luxury.)

First, you need to go shopping at a craft store such as Hobby Lobby, Michaels or Joann’s.

Find inexpensive Box Wire Wreath forms. (You may also find heart-shaped ones for that perfect Swedish appeal…not to mention Valentine’s Day. Oh, think ahead my darlings!)

Select yardage toile (cut into 6” long strips) or ribbon-size toile (like you would use for gift wrapping bows) in a color that will work for your holiday palette.

Buy a bolt of curling ribbon in the same color.

Choose candy wrapped in paper with the little twisty part at each end for anchoring to the wreath. It takes about 150 pieces or 2.5 pounds of candy for a 6” wreath.

It takes about an hour—and some concentration—to create a 6” wreath, so it’s a great TV-watching task. At the end of an hour program you will have a wonderful gift for someone. To make the wreath:

Cut one of the forms apart to create forms for two wreaths.

Wrap the form with the toile.

Anchor the candy twisty ends with curling ribbon.

Enhance the completed wreath with a wonderful bow of wired or non-wired ribbon.

Hang the wreath with ribbon (in a window for a little extra shimmer).

It’s a real bonus to find that child who lives inside you during Christmas, allowing you to have so much fun you can hardly sleep at night for all of the creativity swirling around. You will truly have visions of sugar plums dancing in your head. But at the end of all of this fluff and fun, we know the magic of the season comes through showing our love and affection for family and friends.

I will leave you with some lovely words from Gordon B. Hinckley’s “A Season for Gratitude”:

“Christmas is more than trees and twinkling lights, more than toys and gifts and baubles of a hundred varieties. It is love. It is the love of the Son of God for all mankind. It is magnificent and beautiful.”

I will be here next week, so come visit me!

I would love to help you with your holiday display. If you would like up to
20 bows made with ribbon and pipe cleaners you provide drop by my home on
Wednesday December 11 from 10:00 until 4:00 and I will make while you wait
or you can come back and pick up. We have a short holiday window this year,
I would love to give you a bit of help! 1611 Highland Drive! Happy Holidays!

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