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Dressing Up Your Doorsteps for the Holidays

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Dec 02, 2016

It’s time again to make plans for your holiday décor since the season is now upon us!  As you’re reading this, you’ve probably begun to make a list for garland, wrapping paper and maybe even a tree but please keep in mind that there’s plenty to do outside of your home as well.  Did “Christmas Vacation” just flash across your head, remembering the efforts of Clark Griswold blacking out his neighborhood with an extravagant light display?  Although hysterically funny, I’ll reassure you that decorating the outside of your home doesn’t have to be this elaborate…

suzie front steps.jpg

By using a few easy tips, you’ll be able to create a beautiful holiday presentation without spending gobs of money or using up precious time that could be better spent with family.   By “Recycling, Refurbishing and Reapplying” certain items that you already own, you can transform your plain entryway into a gorgeous welcoming display for friends and family.  Many people believe they have to be “Martha Stewart” in order to achieve a “magazine cover” appeal but judging by this guideline, you clearly don’t.  Shake off your worries and roll up your sleeves because it’s time to get going on your outdoor holiday decoration!



Check in the garage and attic for anything that can be used to hold either small or large arrangements.  Iron cast urns, ceramic pots and metal containers are fabulous for holding pine and other seasonal greenery.  Next, poke around for last year’s lights and take a few minutes to both untangle and plug in to see if they still work.  Typically, the previous winter’s bulbs are tossed out for convenience but you’ll be happy to save a few bucks reusing rather than spending unnecessary finances.   



Sometimes we toss out certain objects because they become a little shabby, worn or rusted, particularly things used in the yard such as planters.  Instead of automatically discarding them, we should be thinking first if they can be fluffed and buffed for future purpose.  When setting up an outdoor holiday display, these items become treasures by simply giving them a good cleaning and applying a fresh new polish of paint.  Marble, cast iron and metal materials are fantastic for this process and will come out looking brand new when placed on the doorsteps stuffed with pretty foliage.  



I love naturally growing outdoor foliage and even though the flowers have disappeared until spring, there is plenty still available for the picking.  If you live near wooded or forested areas, simply clip a few smaller branches from nearby trees and combine together in an outdoor pot.  Make sure you are collecting from a variety of species and you’ll soon learn that you don’t have to be a floral designer to make stunning arrangement both in and outdoors!

Tags: Holiday Decor, Christmas, December, Pottery

Garden Accents, Decor and Planters

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, May 23, 2016

When you’re into your garden, one tends to try making everything around the lush flowers as beautiful as possible.  To those who find themselves relating to this statement, you know what I’m talking about… We attempt to design the perfect accents to accessorize our gardening efforts such as matching colorized pots, adding decadent potting benches and even incorporating pieces of furniture into the presentation such as tables and chairs.  When it’s all said and done, yes- you’re probably going to have one heck of a spread but how about the cost of this to make it all happen?  Companies specializing in these products like Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel aren’t cheap.  They’re really EXPENSIVE!  Even if you do buy everything new, the outdoor elements are bound to age your props at some point, forcing you to go out and spend another wad of cash just to replace what you’ve lost.  Doesn’t that sound wasteful?  


As I find myself admittedly a member of this crowd, I’ve found a better way to use my resources and still “outer decorate” my flower and vegetable beds.  By recycling used furniture, repurposing items already owned and inserting a little creativity into the mix, you can orchestrate a stunning stage of garden galore while still saving money on unnecessary purchases. If you can be cleverly thrifty, you’ll see that your garden will explode with fun and complimentary accents making a splendid Eden you can enjoy throughout the summer!  Here are a few pointers to get you started…

  1. Attic Search                                                                                                                  Before you do anything with your wallet, go check in the old attic for some finds such as chairs, tables and stools.  All of these can be sanded down and re-painted to whatever color you’d like to make pop near your plantings.  Other hot treasures include ceramic bowls, teapots and wooden crates that can be made into dish gardens, flower vases and small raised beds.
  1.   Yard Sales

Yard sales are excellent places to hunt for props and they’ll also be marked at prices well below market value.  Since people are generally attempting to get rid of their “junk”, often you can even negotiate for a better bargain than already offered giving you a deal that you simply cannot refuse.  Plus, you’re helping the environment with your “green” savvies!  

  1.  Repurposing Old Furniture

Do you have old shutters lying in the garage with no place to go?  Make your own standing window boxes by hinging three shutters together constructing a screen.  Either build small boxes or look around the house for something that would be similar and connect these at different angles on all panels.  Add your favorite pots of geraniums, lantana or cacti and now you have the perfect standing garden boxes!

Tags: Gardening, Outdoor Living, Pottery, Garden

Outdoor Design Trends for Summer 2015

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jun 26, 2015

The summer is bringing on the heat and that means we are able to transition from hiding within the limitations of our homes to the fun season of outdoor living!  There will be holidays, barbecues, pool parties and dinners served alfresco so we’ll need to amp up the décor of our decks, patios and backyards.  No, we won’t need to ring up extravagant home shopping bills just yet.  With a few lighting, color and texture tips, you’ll be able to transform that dull yard into a fabulous Eden for you and your friends to enjoy.  Here’s what’s hot this summer for 2015 according to some of my favorite design companies!




                              photo via Restoration Hardware

I’m in love with the new lighting ideas that are making their way out of design rooms this season.  Particularly the “filament bulb strung lights” models are grabbing my attention, which are perfect to be hung on trees or deck eaves.  They are replacing the lantern look of previous summer catalogs and providing a more sophisticated look for evening settings.  The gentle luminescence of the bulbs provide a romantic glow to your nighttime affairs and are exactly what’s needed for those intimate moments when things start warming up in July and August!


                                                            Ceramic Potting Gardens


                                               photo credit: Pottery Barn

I don’t know about you, but I’m so excited for this look to be returning this summer, which is being showcased by Pottery Barn!  Ceramic pots are not only super easy to pick up on your travels for low cost but they actually become more trendy when they have been a little chipped or the paint has worn down.  Make sure you clean them well before potting your favorite plants and try to get creative by adding complimentary pops of color to your containers.  Once they have been designed, place the pots strategically on your deck, patio or around the barriers of your backyard garden, pool or lounging area. 


Bright Fabric Is In


            photo credit: Crate & Barrel

Another fab line from Crate & Barrel has decided to go bright and bold with their outdoor pillows and cushions.  Orange, lime green and teal seem to be this company’s go-to color palette, adding popular ocean and beach themes within the textiles.  You might frown a bit at the cost but keep in mind that these are so cute and versatile that they can be brought indoors once the cool weather returns to New England.

Tags: Gardening, outdoors, Outdoor Living, Pottery, Design

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