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Decor experts: Trim your tree from the top down
Two women share decorating tips for the holidays
Decorating specialists Marla Gazaway, right, and Cindy Coon demonstrate Christmas tree decoration ideas at the Brenau Downtown Center during the monthly WomenSource Brown Bag Lunch. The women fashion a unique tree topper, using tree fillers, glittery tall items, stems and whimsical pieces.

Wrapping wreaths with decor

When decorating a wreath, Marla Gazaway and Cindy Coon of Everyday and Holiday Decorating use sparkling filler pieces, cut them down and wire them around the wreath. They also run a ribbon around or across it and attach some large items.

The biggest difference in decorating the wreath is the bow adorns the top. Coon and Gazaway make their bows.

To create a bow, make a loop, pinch it together, fold it over and flip the ribbon so it’s right-side-up, Gazaway said. Continue the process until six to eight loops are formed. Tie them together with a wire or pipe cleaner and fluff them out.

“The hardest part is learning to hold the ribbon together,” Gazaway said.

With less than two weeks until Christmas, tree-trimming and holiday decorating time is in full swing. However, each year new decor trends and methods appear to add a different flair to the season.

For those who are apprehensive about the new ideas, Marla Gazaway and Cindy Coon of Everyday and Holiday Decorating shared some easy tips at a recent WomenSource brown bag lunch.

Gazaway and Coon are fans of ribbon, bows, glitter and big ornaments in their decor, and they have many ways to incorporate these elements throughout the house, starting with the tree as the focus and working from the top down.

“Decide on your color combination before you get into the store to shop,” Gazaway said.

For a tree topper, the pair strays away from traditional stars, angels or boxed items. Instead, the two women choose to fashion their unique toppers with tree fillers, glittery tall items, stems and whimsical pieces that can be tied together in the tree’s color theme.

“We just kind of walk around and say ‘Oh, I like that, I like this,’ and then group them together,” Gazaway said. “We use some sticky-outy things and hangy-downy things, and use a garland tie to tie it all together.”

The large, tall topper can be simply inserted into the tree and attached to the main tall branch with more garland ties or ribbon to hold it in place.

“Some trees are thick enough to just stick stuff in, but others you have to attach it,” Gazaway said. “We start with the taller things, then the bigger things, and then use leafy things to fill it out.”

With the topper, decorators can try to make sides look even and similar. On a fake tree, the topper may stay in place without any help, but on a real tree, the pair recommends finding a strong branch and attaching the topper with a ribbon.

Once the topper is secure, Coon and Gazaway add ribbon throughout the tree. They use two methods: bows and “running the ribbon.”

The bows are simple to make, but have the appearance of a large, complicated bow. To make one, take three long pieces of wire ribbon in various colors to match the theme. Then, fold them in half. Take a pipe cleaner and attach the ribbons together in a bunch at any spot, depending on how large the desired loops are. Then, fluff the three loops out and fold the raw edges of the tails under.

“You can make a bunch of them and tie them together for another kind of topper,” Coon said. “For a big tree, they are great fillers.”

As an alternative to garland, Coon and Gazaway use another three-strand ribbon to spiral around the tree called “running the ribbon.”

“Start at the top with three long ribbons, and attach with pipe cleaners to branches in a spiral around the tree,” Gazaway said. “Then come and poof out the three pieces in each place.”

Coon and Gazaway have a specific order of decorating to create a uniform look. After adding ribbon, bows and floral elements, if desired, they add large ornaments.

“Don’t be afraid to put big items in your tree,” Gazaway said. “Use ornaments, packages, etc., and do the biggest ones first. Scatter them equally top to bottom and around, and work down to your smaller ornaments.”

Many times, large ornaments will hang down low and pull the branch down with them, especially in real trees. Securing the ornament tight to the limb and further back, however, will help prevent drooping.

“Always tuck ornaments under limbs,” Coon said. “Never let anyone see the string. Even if you’re using the green hooks, bend them up more so it pulls the ornament close to the branch.”

Once the large items and ornaments are secured, Coon and Gazaway add “items” for personalized touch.

“Items are anything that is not a ball,” Gazaway said. “Put those on last.”

The “items” Coon and Gazaway enjoy are themed, match the color of the tree, and are different shapes and materials. The pair also encourages sticking to the theme of the tree and not changing the aesthetic with handmade or shabby ornaments.

“For all of those ornaments the kids make in school, you can do another tree or one in their room with all of their ornaments on them,” Gazaway said.

Once all ornaments have been placed on the tree, go back to ribbon and filler pieces to complete the look.

Gazaway and Coon also have a specific method to add lights.

“Start in the middle of the tree where the plug is,” Gazaway said. “Come out the branch and go back in the same branch so that you have light depth.”