Monthly Archives: November 2011

Jessica | Balsam Hill Designer

Using Baskets to Incorporate Unfinished Holiday Craft Projects into Living Room Décor

Share Button
Baskets can hold firewood for a practical and decorative touch

Baskets can hold firewood for a practical and decorative touch

At the beginning of each holiday craft project, we work with fervor and anticipation. However, as the days go by, we lose track of time. Suddenly, we realize that the holidays are upon us and we’ve left our craft projects unfinished. What to do? Don’t worry! I’ve come up with some helpful ideas to incorporate these unfinished holiday craft projects into your living room décor. How? By using baskets!

  1. Autumn Harvest table centerpiece: Ever set out to make a few dozen candles, only to end up with just two or three? Although you can’t give these candles as gifts anymore, you can use them as decorative accents for a table centerpiece. Pick a beautiful round basket and place the candles in the middle. Use some evergreens as filler and add berries and pine cones. Viola! You’ve got the perfect table centerpiece for the autumn harvest season.
  2. Thanksgiving bouquet of flowers: Have you tried making floral arrangements, only to come up with a few dried flowers here and there? There’s no need to fret because your dried flowers won’t go to waste! Collect whatever you’ve been able to make and put them together in one Thanksgiving bouquet of flowers. Display them in a vintage square basket and place them on top of your mantelpiece.
  3. Halloween pumpkin patch display: Do you have some small pumpkins leftover from your attempts at making wreaths or garlands for Halloween? You can still use them! All you’ll need is a wide, rectangular basket and a few yards of green cloth. Put the green cloth in first and arrange it to look like a bed of grass. Next, strategically place the pumpkins on top and make them appear as if they were growing out of the basket. You now have a lovely Halloween pumpkin patch display!
  4. Firewood storage and display: Need a place to store all that firewood? Try placing them in a basket! It’ll double as storage and as a decoration for the fireplace.

Baskets are made from natural materials and are easily available. Besides being used for decorations, they can also be used for storing craft projects. Since craft projects often have unsightly tools with them and straggles of materials, I’d recommend using a beautiful basket (with a lid) for projects in progress. Happy decorating!



Jessica | Balsam Hill Designer

Evergreen Everlasting: The Differences between Fir, Spruce and Pine

Share Button


With so many artificial Christmas trees available on the market, it’s difficult it is to tell each one apart. How’s a person supposed to tell the difference between a Norwegian Spruce and a Balsam Fir? And often, we want to make sure that our trees look like their Natural namesakes.

Fir, spruce and pine are three of the most popular Christmas tree varieties, and have their own characteristics that make them special. If you were to look at the real trees, here are some things you would notice. Use these distinguishing characteristics when you shop for artificial Christmas trees, to make sure that yours looks like the real thing:


Fir trees have individual flat needles attached to the stem. The needles grow in a spiral on the tip and lay flat, and this kind of display gives fir trees their full look. The shape of a fir tree is bushy and full, which doesn’t leave much room for ornaments and is perfect if you like a less-decorated tree.


Like fir trees, spruces have single needles connected to the stems. However, spruce tree needles are sharp and square-shaped. On a real tree, spruce needles easily break apart if you bend them. As a whole, spruce trees sport the traditional full Christmas tree shape, thanks to their upturned branches. Their strong branches can hold heavier ornaments, so load them up with your biggest ornaments with confidence!


Unlike the fir and spruce trees, a pine tree has needles that grow in bundles — you can see three to five needles bunched together on a pine tree branch. Pine trees have fewer branches, so they tend to look sparse with their upturned branches. However, this leaves lots of room to hang ornaments at the back and middle of the branches, allowing you to hang all of your favorite ornaments.

With the pointers in mind, you can easily find the perfect Christmas tree!

Jessica | Balsam Hill Designer

Thanksgiving Centerpieces that Leave Room on the Table for a Thanksgiving Feast

Share Button

This Thanksgiving, I recommend incorporating some festive centerpieces to add warmth and color to your dining table. Since you’ll still need space for your delicious Thanksgiving feast, I’ve picked out some ideas for table centerpieces that are just the right size (otherwise there won’t be enough room for the turkey!).

  1. Gold pillar candles decorated with sugared orange slices or green vegetables: For a lovely combination of form and function, use pillar candles as table centerpieces. In line with the Thanksgiving theme, choose gold pillar candles and jazz them up with a few slices of sugared oranges. An alternative decorative accent would be green vegetables, like artichoke hearts or asparagus stalks.
  2. Clear glass containers filled with votive candles and orange Fall flowers: Add a touch of whimsy by filling clear glass containers with water and placing pretty votive candles and orange Fall flowers to float on top of it.
  3. Butternut squash vases topped with red berries and sprigs: As a tribute to the harvest season, you can create an all-natural vase filled with Nature’s bounty! Select some butternut squash in different sizes and remove the flesh. Afterward, gather some red berries and sprigs from the yard and place them in your charming, home-made vases.

Somehow, seeing a beautifully laid table just makes dining much more pleasurable. To make this even more fun, you can create these Thanksgiving centerpieces together as a family. Happy decorating!

Jessica | Balsam Hill Designer

Simple Ways to Decorate for the Holidays Using Natural Objects

Share Button

I really like dressing up my home with all sorts of decorations during the holidays. Why? Simply because I just love how holiday decor makes my home feel so warm and inviting! I’ve realized that using natural objects as decorations really makes a difference.

Christmas wreath


On that note, I’ve got some simple ideas on how to incorporate these natural objects into your own decor.

  1. Winter flowers and plants as table centerpieces: Take advantage of the beautiful winter flowers and plants by using them in a table centerpiece. Artfully arrange the flowers and plants in a nice big vase or bowl. For this, you can use traditional poinsettia flowers and just add natural accents like ivy and mistletoe.
  2. Wreaths and garlands as mantelpiece displays: Who can resist the classic combination of a wreath and garland on display? Place these on top of a mantelpiece and create an instant hit by adding some festive Christmas lights and natural accents like holly berries and pine cones.
  3. Seasonal produce as bookshelf and cabinet decorations: Liven up your bookshelves and cabinets with a burst of color, courtesy of seasonal produce like apples and cranberries. Combine them in different colors, like using both red and green apples at the same time (not only will these be lovely to look at, but you can even eat them afterward!). To add holiday nostalgia, incorporate charming orange and clove pomanders in elegant silver bowls.

Natural objects bring the outdoors into any home, along with all their lovely charms like vibrant colors and aromatic scents. For more ideas, you can read my earlier post on creative ways to use pinecones and other natural objects. Happy decorating!