Organizing the holidaysThe most dreaded chore this time of...


January 02, 1994|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Staff Writer

Organizing the holidays

The most dreaded chore this time of year is packing up Christmas things. How tempting to dump everything in boxes, hide them away and worry about it next year.

But how nice to think that if you organize carefully now, next Christmas will be that much easier. Take the time to organize your leftover wrappings, gift tags and ribbons in clearly labeled boxes. Rolls of wrapping paper should be stored upright, either in gift wrap organizers or inexpensive wastepaper baskets. Cover with plastic bags to keep the dust off.

Store ornaments in separate compartments to keep them from being crushed. You can use the original boxes, egg cartons for small items or purchased storage boxes. If you don't have compartmentalized boxes, wrap each ornament in leftover tissue paper.

Store Christmas tree lights by wrapping around their original Styrofoam. If it's long gone, you can coil them carefully and layer in a box with tissue paper between each strand. This will keep strands from tangling and bulbs from breaking. Replace any burnt out bulbs this year.

Store a holiday planner, or at least a list of gifts and cards given and received, with your other Christmas things. If you're really organized, write yourself a list of Christmas do's and don'ts to make next year easier. And don't forget to look at it early!

Stylewatch, a trade publication put out by Colonial Homes, calls it "threadbare baronial." It's a style where things look not only old, but rather grand. Gilt mirrors. Faded tapestries. Tassels and swags. Antique gold trimmings. The aged surfaces that are popular now, like marble, Venetian plaster, weathered bronze -- anything that has a patina.

New York designer Connie Beale feels that threadbare baronial works very well if it's used appropriately. She had a client's dining room painted a faded gold, with a stenciled design rubbed to give an impression of age. High-backed leather chairs, an iron chandelier and richly carved wood completed the look.

Ted Pearson with Rita St. Clair Interiors points to fabrics currently on the market that have a rich, old-fashioned, faded look, such as "antique" velvets. In the furniture line, he notes the use of distressed leather. These blend well with antiques and reproductions, lend themselves to grander houses, and give an impression of permanence and age.

Even though you might not want to go all out with the look in your home, consider an accent piece, a fabric, a piece of $H furniture that looks "neo-ancestral." Odalisque, a store in Los Angeles that has pioneered the style in accent pieces, uses vintage fabrics and trimmings to create wonderfully rich pillows with a sense of history behind them. That might be about as much threadbare baronial as most of us can handle.

There are a lot of country inn books out there, but "The Romance of Country Inns: A Decorating Book for Your Home" is different. Gail Greco not only profiles 27 American inns, but gives dozens of decorating tips from them -- plus gardening secrets, recipes, sewing projects and more.

Three Maryland inns are among those featured: Twin Gates in Lutherville, Christmas Farm in Wittman and Antrim 1844 in Taneytown. Illustrated with lavish photos by the author's husband, Tom Bagley, the text focuses on how readers can bring the romantic atmosphere of country inns into their own homes. Ms. Greco gives directions, for instance, for creating the charming window treatments at Antrim 1844. The Resource Guide tells you how you can order one of the church seats you'll find used at Christmas Farm. And Gwen Vaughan of Twin Gates shares her gardening tips.

"The Romance of Country Inns" is published by Rutledge Hill Press and costs $29.95.

Susie Smithers has lived and worked in cities from Beverly Hills to New York. When she came to Baltimore as buyer and manager of Dahne & Weinstein's new store in Lutherville, she says she pretended she wasn't buying for Baltimore but for all the cosmopolitan cities she's lived in before. Shoppers have responded enthusiastically to her sophisticated lines of gifts and accessories. "It worked really well," she says. "We've been incredibly busy."

Ms. Smithers has brought in items exclusive to this area such as Quimper faience from Brittany, Portuguese pewter, lines of handblown glass and hand-painted linens, miniature clay baskets with silk flowers, custom-made steel tables and chandeliers. You'll find these and much more in the several rooms and levels of the charming shop, located in what was originally the toll house for Falls Road.

Dahne & Weinstein Gifts and Accessories is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at 10749 Falls Road at Greenspring Station. The phone number is (410) 296-7004.

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