_Decorating Tips

Serves: 5



Hang a swag of fresh flowers over doorways and garden gates to welcome springtime guests. Just secure stems to a raffia braid using florists' wire...so simple!

Dress up pillar candles with eyelet lace, gingham ribbon or raffia bows...tuck in a fresh-picked blossom for the finishing touch.

Make a whimsical tablecloth out of a pretty floral sheet...just cut down to size and add a ribbon border. For a no-sew version, use iron-on binding for the edge.

Fresh-cut blooms look so pretty in Grandma's teapot. Look for tulips, daffodils and white daisies to brighten up the buffet or kitchen table.

Add whimsy to a plain wooden frame with upholstery tacks. They come in all shapes and sizes and are easily applied with a tap from a rubber mallet. Use one in each corner or create a row all around the frame.

Vintage glass milk bottles and vases can be dressed up with paint...many craft varieties are made just for glass. Paint festive polka dots, stripes in old-fashioned colors or a whimsical checkerboard.

Brightly colored stepping stones add cheer to still-sleeping flower beds...they'll blend right in when the flowers come up!

Keep your blooms standing tall in a picnic centerpiece. Slip stems into clear drinking straws and they'll keep their heads up all day!

Braided homespun rugs are at home in any room but they look especially cozy in front of the fireplace, the sink or the stove. Look for nostalgic rag rugs at flea markets and antique shops.

Add garlic braids to kitchen décor...hang them next to the door or along with copper pots on a wrought iron rack.

Looking for a way to display those vintage glass doorknobs? Create a whimsical peg board in an afternoon...just screw them into a weathered piece of wood using vintage-style hardware, attach metal picture hangers to the back and mount to a wall. Hang baskets, fresh spring blooms or even a straw hat!

Search for vintage egg cups at flea markets and antique shops...so pretty on the breakfast table or lined up on the windowsill. These dainty cups were made of everything from hobnail milk glass, porcelain to even sterling silver!

For a sparkly centerpiece, brush fresh fruit and greenery with watered-down glue and then sprinkle with superfine glitter.

Hang a sturdy wooden spoon sideways on a wall...add 3 cup hooks for a handy kitchen pegboard.

Use Grandma's pressed glass cake stand to make a centerpiece of pillar candles. Stack the tallest in the center and shorter ones toward the outside...tuck in seasonal greenery and fresh flowers to add a warm glow to dinner.

Vintage glass salt and pepper shakers can be put to new use as tiny single bud vases...wire a mismatched pair together and hang from a pegboard or on the back of guests' chairs.

A pretty table centerpiece for a twilight baby shower...float tea lights in glass dessert dishes. Group 3 or 4 dishes per table and light for a magical night.

For a garden party, arrange flowers or vegetable bouquets in produce baskets or miniature watering cans. Insert seed packets attached to bamboo skewers into the arrangements or use them to identify the dishes served.

Create customized canisters with just a little craft glass paint. Add a flourish of script with the help of stencils or add a simple initial in a color that matches the kitchen. Try etching cream on glass canisters for a touch of frost!

Welcome Spring with lacy cotton curtains in the kitchen or bedroom...tie back with brightly colored fabric strips. Tuck a bunch of fresh flowers into the tie-backs to bring a little outside color inside.

Fill the tiniest terra cotta pots with votive candles. Lined up on a windowsill, they'll add a warm glow to any kitchen!

Snip new branches from a pussy willow and pair up with the very first forsythia blooms for a cheery spring bouquet...instead of a vase, gather them in a nostalgic pitcher!

Fill a sparkling pitcher with bright lemons and limes...set the pitcher in the center of the kitchen table for a burst of sunshine.

Dress up pillowcases with whimsical buttons. Just sew them onto the finished edge of the pillow...line up in a row or make a polka-dot pattern with old-fashioned favorites.

Cookie cutter topiaries make sweet centerpieces for spring flings. Just secure a dowel in a terra cotta pot using sand or floral foam, glue a flower-shaped cookie cutter on top and tie on a ribbon for the "leaves."

Search flea markets for painted windowpanes (with glass removed) for a ready-made frame...use it to display colorful shells or starfish gathered on summer vacation!

Breezy days call for flirty curtains in the kitchen! Whip up a fun addition with cotton napkins...2 or 3 per panel, depending on the size of the window. Just tack a rod pocket in the top of one and sew others onto the first with dainty buttons.

Turn a vacation memento into a candle that can be enjoyed year 'round...place a wick in the center of a scallop shell and fill with melted wax. So easy!

Decorate the garden with weatherproof collectibles...flea market finds can include vintage-style watering cans, old-fashioned spinning sprinklers or even a weathered wooden bench.

Comb flea markets for plastic or metal cafeteria trays in soft pastel colors. Their no-frills retro look will not only be right at home at barbecues and other backyard gatherings, they'll look pretty on a dresser or a buffet.

Red, white and true blue! Use mini flags as plant pokes or along a backyard walkway...hang patriotic bunting from a porch or fence to show patriotic pride year 'round.

Search out nostalgic yellowware soup tureens and matching bowls at antique shops and auctions. They'll add an old-fashioned flair to the dinner table or buffet.

Float cut blooms in water for a 5-minute centerpiece! Roses, sunflowers and dahlias are so pretty in a cut glass bowl or tea cup.

Snuggle in under the stars no matter what the weather! Look for architectural stars at auctions or pick up reproductions at the craft store...paint them or leave them rustic for a primitive touch. Use epoxy to attach picture hangers to the back and then group them over an old-fashioned iron headboard.

Pick up mismatched dessert plates in similar sizes at antique shops and auctions or find a few in Grandma's attic! Hang them over the kitchen doorway for a cottage touch.

Add a fresh coat of paint to small mismatched frames and then glue a few favorite floral patterns to the cardboard insert of the frame. Voilà...flowers that won't fade! Hang together over a mantel or in the hallway.

Liven up terra cotta pots with acrylic paints...add brightly colored polka dots, a whimsical wavy line or stamp the name of the flower planted inside!

Add some spark to Fourth of July picnics by topping the table off with whimsical fireworks. Paint some assorted dowels with red, white and blue stripes, stamp on a star or 2 and add a jute "fuse"...what fun!

Fill muffin tins with a little coarse salt and nestle bright votives in the centers for an instant centerpiece in any season!

Instant charm! Cover everyday frames, mirrors and boxes with squares of bright scrapbook paper, vintage fabric or even wallpaper remnants found at hardware stores. Create a patchwork effect with larger pieces and decoupage a chair, table or headboard.

Setting out summer annuals? Try planting them in an old red wagon for a touch of childhood charm! Be sure to drill holes in the bottom and add some gravel for even drainage.

Have star-spangled barbecues all Summer long! Use red, white and blue tableware along with mini flags and sparklers in the centerpieces.

Keep an eye out for vintage-style Shaker bottles once used for storing dried herbs. They'll look so pretty filled with dried lentils or beans on a kitchen shelf.

Sew an easy pouch or buy cloth bags at the craft store to fill with dried flowers or fragrant herbs. Simple sachets are so pretty tied with a satin ribbon or raffia!

Set a glass tabletop on a birdbath for a whimsical side table...fill the inside with vintage seed packets, flowery garden gloves and a found birds' nest. Perfect for a patio or porch!

Turn unfinished wooden boxes into vacation keepsakes. Whitewash on all sides and glue pretty shells on top to remember the beach even when miles and seasons away!

Jelly jars make lovely lanterns for backyard gatherings! Nestle a tea light inside and hang with wire from tree branches or fenceposts. Look for citronella candles to keep mosquitoes away.

Vintage milk bottles make clever last-minute vases. Fill with small bouquets of cut flowers from the garden and line up a few down the center of the table.

Sprinkle flower petals, bright green leaves or vintage photos down the center of the table. Lay a chiffon runner over them or any other sheer fabric. Set simple pillar candles on top to secure for a simple and elegant table.

Wire egg baskets can add a nostalgic touch to any room. Pile them high with shiny apples or vintage postcards...look for large square ones to mount on the wall in the bathroom to hold fluffy towels.

Don't save pretty cake pedestals for just pastries...pile on fragrant lemons, limes and green apples for a splash of color.

Rescue an ornate garden gate from a tag sale or auction. Cover any imperfections with matte spray paint and hang on a wall...they're a clever way to display family photos.

Love retro style? Search out old packages and make color copies of their whimsical packaging. Mat and place in small frames for a clever grouping.

Vintage cotton napkins look so pretty hung across a curtain rod in the kitchen...look for mismatched sets in gingham, polka dot and old-fashioned ticking.

For a Thanksgiving arrangement, fill a glass vase with plump kumquats to anchor flower stems...scatter fall foliage on the table too!

Frame fall's foliage in a wooden frame and hang in small groups. Dip leaves in glycerine, let dry and glue onto heavy white paper...stamp a label underneath, if desired.

Add a lovely touch of nature to white pillar candles. Lay the candle on its side and place colorful autumn leaves on the surface. Working on newspaper, spoon melted wax over the leaves until they are covered. Allow melted wax to cool and smooth surface with the back of a spoon.

Look for vintage pie plates at the flea market...filled with votives and ornamental gourds, it'll add a warm glow to fall festivities.

Set a pail of mini pumpkins on the front porch for a cheery welcome to trick-or-treaters!

Welcome Autumn with a wreath on the front door! Decorate a purchased wreath form with clusters of berries, ornamental grasses and other fall finds. Simply attach the fall finds with wire or hot glue.

Gold and silver metallic felt-tip pens make placecards easy...write guests' names on mini pumpkins, pretty leaves or individual votive holders.

Bunches of bittersweet tucked into a grapevine wreath will welcome autumn guests at the front door.

An old-fashioned stoneware butter crock makes a festive fall centerpiece when filled with Indian corn and dried flowers.

Keep an eye out for vintage cake stands at flea markets and auctions. Not just for cakes and pastries anymore, try them out as centerpieces holding candles or fresh fruit.

Make whimsical "topiaries" from small pumpkins and colorful gourds. Use a rustic branch to hold them up in a terra cotta pot!

Dress up a pillar candle in seconds! Press whole cloves into the candle in the shape of a leaf, tree or star. Surround with fall foliage for a quick & easy centerpiece.

Press pretty autumn leaves between 2 sheets of wax paper and place a cloth on top. Using a warm iron, press and then let cool. Trim the edges of the wax paper with pinking shears. Use as a placemat or cut out individual leaves, add a ribbon and hang in a sunny window!

An easy harvest centerpiece...fill a bowl with bright green apples then tuck a few cut mums in harvest colors between the apples and set on the table.

Plant pots of mums and other fall favorites in old-fashioned sap buckets or galvanized pails. Placed by the front door, they'll provide a warm welcome.

Remember the littlest trick-or-treater with a photo snapped on the big night! Frame with a mat decorated with Halloween stickers or old-fashioned candy wrappers.

Trim linen napkins for the harvest table with a simple running stitch along the edge. Choose contrasting embroidery floss or coordinate with the tablecloth for a personal touch.

Add some sparkle to fall festivities! Brush on glue in whimsical swirls or dots on miniature pumpkins and gourds...sprinkle with glitter and line up in a row down the center of the harvest table.

Tuck Indian corn, bumpy gourds, colorful autumn leaves and bright sunflowers into a Thanksgiving cornucopia for a festive addition to the mantel.

Fill a wooden salad bowl with dried orange slices, dried apples and fat pine cones for a yummy-smelling addition to the buffet or coffee table.

Surround a simple votive candle with acorns inside a Mason jar...tie on a raffia bow to welcome Autumn.

Display mini pumpkins and gourds in a whole new way...use them in a wide-mouth jar to secure bittersweet, cattails and dried autumn grasses for a nothing-to-it centerpiece!

Line up these clever candles on the mantel or dining room table. Just hollow out a few mini pumpkins and pop a tea light inside. So simple!

Look for old-fashioned pottery or stoneware jugs at yard sales, auctions and antique shops. They're charming on the front porch or by the fireplace with a sprig of bittersweet inside.

Use pretty glass trifle bowls to hold pillar candles...keep them in place with fall treats like candy corn, popcorn or even dried cranberries.

Instead of cutting the stem out of pumpkins to be carved, cut the hole at the bottom. It'll sit evenly over a candle for a festive welcome from the porch.

Fill a shiny colander with plump red apples and mini pumpkins for an easy harvest centerpiece...tie on a gingham ribbon and tuck in a few sprigs of bittersweet too!

Sew a few old-fashioned yo-yo's out of orange fabric scraps and secure the middle with a button. Add a little green square for the stem and string together for a fun harvest garland!

Search the farmers' markets and the pumpkin patch for moonglow pumpkins and light yellow gourds. Their muted colors look so pretty against bright red and gold autumn leaves.

Transfer gilded imprints of fall foliage onto simple cotton napkins in no time. Using a foam brush, apply a little gold paint to the backs of collected oak, maple or sycamore leaves and stamp away...just right for Thanksgiving dinner!

Look for die-cut wood shapes at craft stores...pick up an apple, a pig or even an old-fashioned milk bottle. Paint with 2 coats of chalkboard paint and add a stick-on magnet to the back. Hang on the fridge for a quick & easy memo board.

Spruce up child-size chairs and add charm to a favorite nook. Add a new coat of paint and a couple of sparkling old-fashioned glass finials. Just drill 2 holes in the chair rails and the finials screw right in!

Look for decorative 5-inch tiles at the hardware store...glue a 5-inch square of cork to the back. Line up your favorite designs along the back of the counter and they'll be ready to act as trivets under hot pots and plates!

Take advantage of the finished edges of vintage-style dish towels and transform them into pretty pillows in minutes! Using a straight stitch, leave a margin of about 2 inches on 3 sides, stuff and finish stitching across the fourth side. Add buttons, ribbon or trim along the edges, if desired.

Frame a photo for a loved one and decorate a simple frame with candy conversation hearts...how sweet! Brush some clear sealant over the hearts to keep them looking bright.

Use flea market finds to make one-of-a-kind picture hangers. Small drawer knobs or old-fashioned clothes hooks can be used...just add a screw and hang the picture from a wide ribbon.

Clippings of holly, boxwood or evergreen will welcome Winter when placed inside a nostalgic tin coffee pot. Stamp on some stars or paint a whimsical checkerboard, if desired.

Wired ribbon in festive holiday patterns and prints dress up terra cotta pots on the patio and porch.

Combine one cup cinnamon and 3/4 cup applesauce with 2 tablespoons craft glue to make cinnamon-apple ornaments. Roll out dough, cut with cookie cutters and let dry...hang on a tree or in the center of a wreath!

Take a walk out in the snow and hunt for pine cones...the whole family can go. Stack them in a basket or tie on ribbons to make ornaments to share!

Force tulip or crocus bulbs in a planter surrounded by colored glass marbles or smooth rocks...keep them watered and their blooms will add color to a winter mantel.

Stringing popcorn and cranberries for the tree? Tie on some tin cookie cutters too!

Surprise newlyweds with dressed-up towels...sew washable ribbon onto plain bath and hand towels in coordinating colors. For a no-sew version, use iron-on adhesive to secure ribbon in place!

Make a memo board in the blink of an eye! Cover a piece of plywood with cotton batting and fabric stapled into place on the back. Create a latticework of ribbon overtop, pull taut and secure with straight pins around the edges...staple in place on the back. Slip vintage photos, postcards or other mementos behind the ribbon!

Sparkling hard-tack candy looks so pretty surrounding a candle in an old-fashioned candy dish.

Use old dresser drawers for everything from under-bed storage bins to whimsical window boxes outside. Spruce up small drawers with a new coat of paint and some fun hardware...fill with cookbooks in the kitchen too!

Toss some plump pine cones with a few drops of cinnamon oil and just a little glitter in a plastic zipping bag. Give it a shake and set them all along the mantel...so easy and sparkly!

Transform terra cotta pots or bowls with hard candy...just glue wrapped candies all around the edges. Fill with treats and it'll be just right for giving homemade goodies at the holidays or anytime!

Spruce up inexpensive baskets by trimming the edge with a sparkly wired ribbon. Add a plastic liner and place 3 or 4 little pots of herbs inside...an easy gift for any season!

Looking for a way to dress up throw pillows? Trim them with big buttons, velvety trim or whimsical rick-rack for instant charm.

Lightly place paper doilies on a window and coat with spray snow...take away the doily for a dainty snowflake!

Look for unfinished wood pieces at the craft store to make seasonal decorating easy. Stencil or stamp tissue boxes, crates or picture frames to welcome the holidays year 'round.

Use red and white peppermints or other holiday hard candy to anchor a white taper candle inside a canning jar. Use mismatched jars for a charming look.

Wow 'em with wallpaper! Make plain-jane frames extra special by covering them with wallpaper remnants...add ribbon or sparkly beads too.

Reduce clutter in the bathroom...use pretty baskets to hold everything from soaps, bath beads and lotions to fluffy towels and washcloths.

March mini evergreens up the stairs inside or out for extra winter festivity! Wrap the pots in burlap or homespun fabric and tie with holiday ribbon.

Look for vintage wrought iron trivets at antique shops and paint to match the kitchen. Hung on a wall or lined up on a shelf, they'll bring back memories of days gone by.

Create a fragrant Christmastime welcome by wrapping a few bunches of cinnamon sticks with holiday ribbon. Arrange them in a wicker basket with fresh, aromatic pine branches.

From "5 Ingredients or Less!" Copyright Gooseberry Patch. Used with permission of the publisher, Gooseberry Patch. All Rights Reserved.

This _Decorating Tips recipe is from the Gooseberry Patch: 5 Ingredients or Less! Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

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