Our 4th of July collection of tabletop and holiday entertaining ideas just in time for the holiday….
Last week I published my post 7 Great Christmas Trees to Inspire You, a collection of options and styles in Christmas Trees for 2015. I thought I would share with you some thoughts and photos of the selection I made for our own new tree. I do promote Balsam Hill as one of my affiliates and don’t make recommendations for any supplier unless I have some personal experience with the product I am promoting. I am happy to say that I chose a 7.5 foot narrow Stratford Spruce unlit tree from Balsam Hill Vermont Collection and am very happy with my selection. Here’s why:
1. The branches are the most realistic I have ever seen. The tree I chose is a combination of most realistic mixed with realistic on the inner branches so the ones that show look so real you have to touch them to tell they are artificial.
2. The setup was a breeze. My tree that I was retiring required individual placement of every single branch so to be able to have the tree up in 3 connected pieces was a dream!
3. Once the tree was standing it did require pulling the branches out to give the needed fullness and realistic look but even the few places where you can still see through to the trunk looks very realistic because the trunk resembles real bark.
4. I chose the narrow profile tree to fit into a space between my sofa and Grand Piano. The fit was perfect.
5. The branches easily supported my heavier ornaments and I chose this particular tree to make sure that that would not be an issue. Balsam Hill clearly states in the detailed description different levels of realism and support for various ornaments which is very helpful when making your selection.
6. The color of the branches is a medium green, very much like the real thing. Here is a photo of the fully decorated tree. I hope this helps you if you are considering a new tree this year. Happy Holidays!
In search of the best Christmas tree? It is a good time to be looking. There are a wide variety of styles and sizes out there. We have sorted through the chaos to bring you a short list to get you going. Here is the Sage Garden Style 2015 list of 7 great Christmas trees:
If you are a purist, a real tree might be your best choice. It is the first pick of the list to set the stage for your holiday decor. With a little know how to get you started check out this tutorial from Better Homes and Gardens showing how you can plant the tree in your yard and enjoy for years to come. Here is another excellent article from Gardenista with a step-by-step guide showing how to plant your Christmas Tree after the holidays. The biggest take away? You must plan for this one. Keeping the tree indoors for more than 10 days seriously compromises the ability for your tree to thrive and grow once it makes the transition outside.
If you have decided that an artificial tree is your preference there has never been more variety. From realistic to fantasy colors and a lot in between.
You want color?
Treetopia offers some of the best colored trees on the market. Here is Pretty in Pink, one of their most popular trees. It is available in a wide variety of heights from 4′ to 9ft. The smaller tree would be adorable in a little girl’s room.
If you want the natural look of a real Christmas tree but with all that an artificial tree can offer, Balsam Hill does it right. It is the #1 selection for set designers. They offer easy set up, a wide variety of faux species that are so realistic it is hard to believe they are not real. They also have narrow profile trees too which are excellent for apartment or small spaces. Here is the stunning Colorado Mountain Spruce from the Aspen Christmas Signature Collection.
Flocked Trees give instant winter magic and the Alberta Spruce from Target flocked and frosted in white is Classic
Prelit Trees offer the easiest setup. Frontgate offers spring loaded branches designed to bounce back year after year.
Tabletop trees are great for an extra accent in any room in the house. These from Balsam Hill are beautifully rustic with their burlap and velvet ribbon accents.
Lastly, Novelty Upside down trees have been around for a few years and are a fun choice if you are looking for something different. There are some great customer photos on the site to inspire you if quirky is your thing!
A few last minute tips:
1. Check the warranties to help you decide. A pre-lit tree in particular may need maintenance down the road with light outages and you want to know how easy it will be to fix.
2. Be sure to measure the space for width and height before you shop. Sizes can be deceiving if not shown in the context of your space. You don’t want the tree to overpower the room. Even worse, you also don’t want it to get lost in the room either. An underwhelming Christmas tree is just sad. A good rule of thumb is if you want the tallest tree possible allow 6″ between the ceiling and the tree top to allow for a tree topper. The width of Christmas trees is measured at the widest part so make sure you can move around it with at least 3″ of clearance in the back and I like to be able to walk around the other 3 sides with at least a foot between the tree and furniture if possible.
3. Some trees are meant to handle heavier ornaments better than others. Check the manufacturer’s specifications for information on each offering.
3. Be sure to add enough lights. The industry guideline is 100 lights per foot, I like more. Lighting from the inside out will give a shimmering effect that is magical. Happy Holidays!
Raking is still one of the best ways to rid the yard of leaves when autumn arrives but a leaf blower can make the job much easier if the leaves are scattered into landscaping behind bushes or behind outdoor fixed objects such as air-conditioners, outdoor furniture, or garden ornaments.
Q. Do you want a gas powered blower or an electric blower?
This is probably the main question to answer first because it narrows down the choices quickly. For me, I quickly discovered that electric was going to be my preference. Read on to find out why…..
Q. Does weight make a difference? (I will be carrying this thing around and when I get going with garden work I don’t like to stop so having a blower that is manageable for a woman is important to me.)
A. Electric blowers are lighter than gas blowers. They are also quieter according to most of the reviews I have read.
Q. What maintenance is required?
Electric leaf blowers are much easier to maintain than gas blowers. Why? Using the right type of fuel for your specific gas blower is important. Not following the guidelines can lead to expensive repairs. Just as certain types of fuels are recommended by car manufacturers, so it is with brands of gas blowers. Electric blowers do not require anything but a working outlet.
Q. How about productivity?
A. Gas leaf blowers win out here. This is usually why most landscapers go this route. If you are covering a large area, dragging a cord around behind you may not be practical. There are also some restrictions on how long a cord is recommended as the maximum so before you buy an electric model it would be important to check this out if you intend to cover a large area and your source of electricity is limited.
Q. Is having a vacuum option important to you?
A. Some leaf blowers come with an optional vacuum attachment that can mulch the leaves. We recommend the Toro Electric Leaf Blower with mulching ring.This is a nice option for two reasons. It makes clean up quick work of the leaves that blow into your garage in nooks and crannies and the mulched leaves can be spread throughout your garden in the fall creating a protective mulch layer. Your flowers will thank you in the spring.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Here are a few ideas to make your holiday entertaining a festive celebration!
Ribbons and trimmings are a holiday essential and can be used to dress up floral arrangements, tie rolled napkins for your dinner table for an easy pop of color, or tie around candlesticks and let them hang freely for a loose accent to your room decor. M&J Trimmings has some of the best.
These Placemats in gray and gold are not only great for Thanksgiving but a great way to mix warm and cool tones together with your gray home decor.
Start the holiday season with a wreath of harvest tones that will carry you right through the Christmas Season and New Year
What do we remember most? The smells and sights of the season linger long after the day is passed. Candles are a holiday essential that create instant cozy on cold autumn days and nights. This one from Nest is nice.
One unique serving piece is all you need to set the season apart. This handmade mahogany pumpkin by artisan makers would make a great addition to any Thanksgiving table setting.
Dress up your front door this holiday season with one of these decorative front door wreaths. Wreaths are a perfect accent to your front door especially as fall turns to winter. Dating back to ancient Greece the wreath is associated with symbolic meaning representing victory but also hope as the winter solstice approaches. It is a great way to celebrate the affirmation that the earth will renew itself and reminder of the natural cycle of nature and the seasons.
If you live in the South, Magnolia’s grow everywhere and the leaves are harvested as a staple for decorative front door wreaths. Here in the Midwest, a wide variety of evergreen trees and berries keep the landscape alive in otherwise barren months. Hydrangea’s, Peonies, and Roses that grow in the summer months can be dried and used as well.
I grow a lot of boxwood in my own garden as a soft backdrop in the winter months and it is one of my favorite materials alone or with other materials in decorative front door wreaths.
If you are inclined to make your own wreath that is best saved and will be covered in a future post. But if you love the look of natural materials with realistic looking evergreen needles you must touch to tell the difference- then read on.
These wreaths from Balsam Hill carry the Good Housekeeping Seal and are so realistic looking they are a perfect way to adorn your front door with the advantage of carefree artificial materials that will last beyond a few weeks. Balsam Hill is known for their offering of quality materials that are a blend of art and technology. Visit the shop to see our hand selected collection. These are the Sage Garden Style picks for the 2015 Season.
The blog has been sitting silent until recently, waiting for me to work out some changes in real time. We downsized. Once we made the decision to do that I made a plan and began to plant less and add more ground cover and mulch to make the space more manageable for the new owner who might not be as inclined as I was to participate in a very demanding landscape.
I find myself once again connected to my garden in a way that makes me appreciate it differently. My new garden is right outside my back door. The larger garden I left, with some trepidation, was below a second story magnificent stone Veranda with a splendid view of a giant 300 year old Oak that seemed like a caretaker, offering shade from the beating sun, for the gardens spread out along the earth beneath it. I could walk out and view it all from above.
Here, in this new smaller garden, I find myself once again in a place that looks very much like where I started. Life goes in circles. Some think that it is the explanation for that experience we all have had called Deja Vu. The more living I see the more convinced I am that it might be true.
This garden is different than any garden I have had in the past yet it shares one thing with the garden that was mine when I was inspired to start a business dedicated to the pursuit of the perfect blend of home and garden style. The new garden is terraced all the way to my door. My first garden was flat. Both begin right outside the back door. It has connected me to the garden in a way I had forgotten. It is a nice surprise. I am reminded as I make my morning coffee that the seasons are changing. I see a leaf fall and then more. I know winter is coming and wonder how the bones will look once all of the trees, bushes, and flowers go dormant. I will use that to make my plan over the long winter days of what this new garden can become. People who garden are eternal optimists. They are believers in tomorrow. I cannot wait for spring.
Your home and your garden is always a reflection of the season of your life. What you want and need changes over time. With luck you will say “I have been here before” and be in the moment. Maybe that is the reason for Deja Vu? Whether your space is grand or modest, no matter what your current lifestyle, your ability to incorporate nature into your surroundings can bring you great pleasure and nourish your soul.
Trends come and go. Styles change. But the inspiration from nature is always there. It is timeless.
Firepits today are available in a wide variety of styles, materials, and shapes to suit whatever your space and surroundings demand.
They can have a bohemian vibe with screen cutouts in mixed metals that are just plain fun. Firepits can compliment any decor style from traditional to modern in materials that are timeless such as brick, granite, concrete, resins, and more that stand up to the rigors of rough weather.
They can be round, square, rectangular, or oblong to suit any seating arrangement or space.
If you live in a climate where the four seasons change dramatically, adding a firepit can extend your outdoor living well into the later months of the year.
If you live in a warmer climate where firepits can be used as a focal point for your outdoor room, the options from traditional to modern abound.
There are portable firepits for tailgating at the football stadium or baseball park as the season heats up in October when every play counts!
If you live near the beach, portable firepits can be perfect for extending your stay into the evening for a beach party bonfire.
The best firepits are the ones that are right for your needs. There is no one design that is right for everyone. Think about your overall space and decide which are the best firepits for the way you live.
Here at Sage Garden Style, we have selected some of the best firepits we have found for all of the ways we live and play and made them available in our shop.
Firepits today offer practical ways to provide multiple mixed uses including covered firepits that serve as coffee tables when not in use so that you can use that space to maximum advantage.
Some can be used to do double duty as beverage containers during the summer months when the weather is warmer. If making a statement is your goal there are firepits that can be built as fountains too, some that are active at the same time as the fire creating a spectacular ambiance!
Velvet Pumpkins and Pillows are popping up for home decor. Real stems on some and others that look realistic with a bit of beading add to the rustic refined look we love. For a more down home look what says fall better than burlap? Below is a list of some of of my favorites in everything from burlap to velvet to add a little bit of fall seasonal celebration to add a little glam to your farmhouse garden style!
This is the first post of the upcoming winter holidays. Christmas will be hear before we know it. I have been absent for a while so this is also my first post on the blog in a while. We have made some changes in our lifestyle and downsized. We sold much of our stuff and now find that some things need to be replaced with new products that fit our new home. Here is the first thing I am going to buy. A new Christmas tree. Our 9 foot tree will no longer fit into our living room. Balsam Fir is offering a great deal to get a head start on the season and I am planning to do more posts on comparisons in trees that are both beautiful and offer easy care maintenance.
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