holiday decorating

By Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger

I LOVE to check things off of lists!  I appreciate the finality of the act and my holiday decorating is no exception.  Whether actually on paper, or just a mental list, I have definitive areas of my home I want to decorate and, when they are completed, I CHECK, CHECK, CHECK them off:





Etc., Etc., Etc. CHECK, CHECK, CHECK

However, there is always one area I struggle to check off.  I never feel like it’s complete.  It always has a, “I was tired of decorating and it was the last thing I worked on,” feel about it.  The “area-that-must-not-be-named”—the dining room table!  Suspenseful music plays—Dun, dun, dun, dunnnnnnn!

I think many of us struggle with what to do with this decorating dilemma.  On one hand, we want it to be beautiful and incorporated into the rest of the décor.  On the other hand though, what exactly is there to be done with it?

This year I decided to do a little research into different decorating ideas for dining room tables and I am happy to share my findings with you.


Contemporary style is defined as a compilation of styles being used seamlessly together.  Basically, a style that does not adhere to any other particular style, but instead borrows what it likes from across the board.

In a contemporary centerpiece you may want to use items old and new, natural and manmade, bright and subdued.  Any color palette goes here, but red and green of some shade are most likely to be the stars.


Costal décor is defined as usually reflecting hues of cream, white, aqua, blues, and coral.  Natural shells and sand play huge in coastal design.  In a holiday coastal centerpiece you may want to incorporate white votive candles and drift wood as well.



Vintage décor is marked by the inclusion of nostalgic bygone era items: broches, hats, dresses, silver, trays, etc.  Using all of these items together to form new interesting displays is part of the fun and challenge of vintage design.  In this photo an oxidized chalice has been paired with an array of antique broches and hair pins to form a nosegay of sorts.

The colors for vintage range from deep forest green, to bronzy gold, to snow white.



Country/rustic style is simple and uncluttered.  It uses items with utilitarian purpose to decorate and display.  This decorating style is marked by the use of items found in nature—bringing the outside in. Rusty metal and raw wood both are used liberally in the country/rustic décor movement.  Also used in this decorating style is burlap and tartans.

Home spun colors such as true red, camel, cream, and leafy green are great colors for country/rustic décor.



Elegant /romantic style is full of bling and shimmer.  This design style uses lots of reflective materials including satin, mercury glass, silver, gold, clear glass, etc.  A center piece in this style is most likely to have some height to it and be a true focal point of the room.

Colors for elegant/romantic center pieces are mainly anything bright and reflective, but can include pale pinks, bright reds, emerald greens, aqua blues, etc.



Hope this helps you complete your holiday tables.  Enjoy!


Clutter Out! Focus In!

December 10, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbuck-Boerger

Happy New Year!  Woo Hoo!  2014 is going to be AWESOME!

Wait a minute!  What do you mean 2014 is almost over?  Wasn’t it just yesterday we were heralding in the New Year?  What?  It’s Christmas 2014 already?  Huh?  Yikes!  Mom and Dad were right; the older we get the faster time goes.  Along with this time-warp comes another realization.  The realization that we spend much of our lives paying attention to too many things that really are not important.

As I was listening to my pastor’s sermon Sunday I was reminded that we must sweep out, clean out, and shut out all the things that clutter our heads, hearts and souls, all the ‘stuff’ that blocks us from focusing on the holiday season at hand.

I thought to myself, “Yes, but there is so much more to this sermon than meets the eye!” In order for us to literally focus our eyes and thus our minds on the season we also need to deal with the clutter clogging up our homes.  Even when it is not the holiday season I frequently feel like I can’t see clearly what I am supposed to be focusing on for all the stuff in my way—whether that stuff be meetings, appointments, piles of laundry, sinks full of dishes, etc.

I’m sure, like me, you have probably by now dug out all of your holiday decorations and gleefully decorated your home with Santas, snowmen, poinsettias, wreaths, trees, etc.  I don’t know about you but this process always makes me smile and lightens my heart.  At the same time that the ‘spirit’ of the season is creeping into me so is a little bit of crazy that comes with all of the extra clutter!

All of the added stuff lying around my home drives me seasonally insane!  “So why do you do it then?” you may ask.  Well I do it for any number of reasons—my children, to celebrate the season, tradition, to create memories, etc. But when I decorate for the holidays I basically remove all my other décor so all I have left are festive substitutes (if I tried to fit the everyday stuff and the holiday stuff all into one cohesive design I really would be huddled under a side-table somewhere tearing my hair out).

Even then it gets a little overwhelming.   Too many presents, too many added plants, too many cookies, too many parties, too many trinkets, too many must-buy-this, and don’t-forget-thats.   There’s just not enough space open to see clearly what’s important.  So I start to feel a little claustrophobic.  I start to yearn for some order, some wide-open spaces, a cleaned out organized closet, a garage that I can walk through, a windowsill that has been cleared of items that compete with the view outside, and a little more time to just sit and be and enjoy.

I imagine many of you can relate.  I encourage you to clear out a small bit of clutter and go from there.  It may only be a drawer, but it will be one less space in your world that is screaming for your attention.  It may mean decorating with just a few items instead of all 33 tubs of gold-red-green-silver-reindeer-Santa-snowmen-peppermint striped- holiday-décor.  It may mean not putting out any of the gifts until Christmas Eve or saying no to a party or two or deciding to give to charities as a family instead of exchanging gifts with each other.  The clutter may be more emotional and less physical.  Perhaps working through an issue you are having with family or friend.

I am encouraging all of us to do what we need to to refocus our attention on what is important to us this holiday season.  It may be our spouses, our children, our faith, our neighbors, our communities, or all of the above.  Whatever it is that you need to see more clearly will be easier to focus on when the clutter is gone and our path of vision is unobstructed.

The clutter could be physical clutter around our homes, emotional clutter we are carrying, grudges we are holding, over extended schedules we are shouldering, etc. Whatever it is we are at the end of 2014 and there is no better time to clean it all up, put it away, get ourselves together and head into 2015 with a clear focus on what is important.

Happy holidays to you all.

Clutter photo


Fall in 3D

September 8, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger When I think of the seasons, none spring forth as being more texture-rich than fall.  Fall is full of such amazingly intricate tactile aspects that it is hard not to view it as a beautiful design pallet. I love this quote by the American young-adult author Lauren DeStefano: “Fall has always […]

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