Decorators create quick, affordable holiday centerpieces

Homeowners, decorators and florists from around the Miami Valley employ a variety of methods for making quick, affordable decorations for the holiday season.

In early December Susan Gayle, 61, took part in the inaugural Grafton Hill Historic District Holiday Home Tour. She takes pride in accessorizing her home for the holiday season, but having an event that showcased her home and her decorating took it to the next level.

“My idea for my dining room table is to have a floral oasis with hidden greens inside of it. I collect Christmas tree toppers and plan to use those to create a forest look and finish by sprinkling fake snow,” she said.

To save money, time and to add a personal touch, Gayle repurposed items from around her house to make her centerpieces and to decorate.

Katie Lunne, a five-year resident of Grafton Hill who also participated in the home tour, prefers to shop for free using natural objects like pine cones, leaves or sticks to make her holiday centerpieces.

“I try to make things with found objects from inside and outside the house,” she said.

Lunne finds that being creative helps her the most when coming up with holiday centerpiece ideas. This year she took ideas from Martha Stewart Living magazine and stacked old books on top of each other, topping them with a red bow for a simple end table centerpiece that mimics the shape of a Christmas tree.

In order to make the greatest impression on guests, Lunne suggests using the entire space with a large, unexpected focal point instead of staying low to the table.

Wendy Poli, 50, is a flower designer for The Flowerman who conducts holiday centerpiece workshops at the 2nd Street Public Market. Poli says table decorations can be simple and made on a budget, but still have a “wow” factor.

Her staple item for each centerpiece is a $1 brick of Oasis Floral Foam that can be found at stores such as The Flowerman or Hobby Lobby.

“It’s a fabulous base that if kept watered like your Christmas Tree can last up to 6 weeks and you can change it throughout the holiday with different flowers or ornaments,” she said.

Poli focuses on the “do it yourself” aspect of decorating because it’s affordable and more personal. The average price for four bunches of flowers from The Flowerman is $12, which can create as many as three separate centerpieces, she says.

“You’re looking at close to $100 if you decide to buy a pre-made centerpiece compared to less than $20 for one big piece that you can claim your own,” Poli said.

Nicole Eccles, who has a shop on the Etsy website called Sunny Skye Creations, uses everything from cookie sheets and muffin tins to old family photos to design her own holiday centerpieces.

Eccles suggests using layers to add height to a centerpiece for a dramatic effect. Using a glass jar with glittery ribbon as a base and different colored ball and snowflake ornaments as fillers, Eccles created an easy and inexpensive centerpiece to present her handmade paper flowers to customers at a recent craft fair.

“You can go lots of different routes, but remember to be creative and cute,” Eccles said.

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