Blog :: 11-2019

5 Tips To Jazz Up Your Holiday Dining Table

 

The holidays are here again and if you're like us, you're looking forward to decorating and making your home feel cozy and inviting.

Here are some fun tips to spruce up your dining table this season and make your guests feel extra special without breaking the bank. 

Add a pop of color with a bold tablecloth

There's no need to splurge on pricey new place settings. Instead, pick up a festive tablecloth and coordinating runner and placemats. It's such an easy way to completely change the look of your table and inexpensive enough to allow you to buy a few different items to alternate through the season!

 

DIY greenery and floral touches

DIY greenery and florals are definitely in now more than ever! Instead of splurging on a premade bouquet, opt for individual stems or affordable greenery to tuck into your napkin rings or run down the center of the table.

Keeping your florals low and simple leaves more room for food and drinks and won't obstruct any views when catching up with your nearest and dearest over dinner. Stop by your local market or Trader Joe's and look for greens like eucalyptus, which looks—and smells—sumptuous. For extra oomph, throw in a couple of sprigs of rosemary to place in napkin holders.

 

Add festive copper mugs

Don’t want to spend a lot, but want a quick upgrade that will elevate the look of the entire table? Go buy a set of copper mugs! Your guests will love sipping something festive out of a special cup.

Copper mugs are everywhere now that the Moscow mule cocktail has grown in popularity, but even if you're not serving Moscow mules for the holidays, they make a nice touch. Try serving cold apple cider in your mugs, or any other cocktails you might have on your menu.

 

Modern farmhouse touches

The modern farmhouse look is still trending in home decor, and that doesn't stop at the holidays. The good news? You can get the vibe on a budget —just try some fun but affordable accents like birch logs, acorns, miniature pumpkins, buffalo check patterns, antlers, and greenery. Add some sparkling fairy lights to the mix, or wrapped around pine boughs, for an extra magical touch!

When in doubt, go monochromatic

This time of year our homes can be overwhelmed with festive decorations. Keep the focus on the meal by choosing a pretty tone and outfitting your entire table in it. Add a metallic of your choice for accents, and a few candles for a pop of interest. Not only is it simple to pull together, but the result is incredibly chic as well!

 

Brrrr! It's time to get your fireplace serviced!

With temperatures and snow falling fast, there's no better place to be than nestled in front of a cozy fireplace. Before settling in, there are a few safety measures to take to ensure you can relax and enjoy the comfort of a crackling fire all winter long. 

According to Susan McKelvey, a spokesperson for the National Fire Protection Association, half of all US home heating fires take place between December and February. Follow the tips below to put your mind at ease and start enjoying your fireplace right away!

1. Regularly clean the interior

Burning wood in fireplaces can release pollutants in the air and leave a buildup of dust, ash, and creosote, which can cause fires. Also watch for any accumulation of soot, which is softer than creosote, is flammable, and must be regularly cleaned from the chimney.

The NFPA recommends chimneys be cleaned at least once a year, at the beginning of winter, to remove soot and debris. For homes who use their fireplace regularly a more regular cleaning schedule may be better. Contact a local chimney cleaner to get a professional opinion.

2. Cap it

Use a wire mesh cap to cover the top of the chimney to keep birds, squirrels, rain, and other debris from entering. Some critters can mistake chimneys for trees and build nests inside them to escape the cold. This is not only a danger to the animals, but a potential fire hazard. Capping your chimney is an inexpensive fix, usually running around $75-$80.

3. Check the damper

The damper is a movable plate meant to seal the fireplace when not in use. Be sure your damper is working properly and free of debris that would keep it from opening and closing properly.

While you're checking the damper, also take a look at other components such as door latches, handles and grates. Over time these items can break or warp and should be repaired/replaced.

4. Monitor for smoke

Excess smoke can be caused by animal nests (see Tip 2), an unclean chimney that has creosote, soot buildup, a closed or partly open damper, or wood that is not burning completely.

Check that your chimney is properly vented to the outside to minimize the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Be sure your smoke and CO alarms are functioning properly. 

5. Choose the right wood to burn

Hardwoods such as maple, oak, ash, and birch burn longer and hotter, have less pitch and sap, and will contribute less creosote buildup.

You can burn any type of untreated wood but to make sure it is properly seasoned. You'll know your wood is well-seasoned when it fades in color, is hard, sounds hollow when you knock on it, and has loose bark.The most effective way to dry out wood is to cut it, split it, and stack it.

6. Use heat-proof glass doors

Glass doors help protect against heat loss and keep embers, cinders, or logs from rolling out of the fireplace and causing damage. You can have doors installed on the frame of your fireplace or pick up a tempered glass screen. Of course, be sure to keep anything flammable well out of the way of the doors or grate.