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GIFT ES CERTIFICAT AVAILABLE 534 University Park Dr.

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Have yourself a very vintage Christmas

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Retro style is back in full force, but how well do you know your decorations by decades?

By Lindsey Romain CTW Features ostalgia is in vogue, and nothing embodies nostalgia like the holiday season. But what exactly constitutes a vintage Christmas? And, with all of this familiar influence, how well does anyone really know the eras from which they came? A quick flip through Susan Waggoner’s book Have Yourself a Very Vintage Christmas: Crafts, Decorating Tips and Recipes, 1920s-1960s (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2011) is a reminder that the idea of vintage can get lost in its respective decade. Perhaps the two most distinguishable decades in Christmas style were the 1920s and the 1950s. The ‘20s were about family, warmth and tradition, the ‘50s about adapting to the suburban lifestyle and utilizing new technology. “To me, the big dividing line between those two decades was World War II,” Waggoner said. “It became way more flashy after the war.” Indeed, 1920s décor placed a heavy influence on the idea of gathering together near an open fire, as demonstrated by Christmas cards from the time. “It’s amazing to me how many cards had the fireplace as the focus and the tree to the side,” Waggoner said. “Every home had a fireplace and a mantel, and that was really more important than the tree. The fire was the source of warmth, the social center.” Trees still had a presence, but without electricity, they relied more on sheer volume than glittering spectacle. “And I don’t think people actually used candles as a source of light,” said Waggoner, noting the flammability would have turned most people away from that as an option. Instead, garland and cardboard ornaments filled the branches, and homemade villages took the place of presents under the tree. For any curious decorator looking to create a ‘20s holiday theme, Waggoner suggests starting with the colonial elements like framed silhouettes and postcards. As for the use of colour, the ‘20s focused primarily on red, said Waggoner. Green was more of an accent than anything, while other colours were kept subdued. By contrast, the ‘50s were all about bright, statement-making colour explosions. “For the first time, the public was offered ornaments in pink and aqua,” said Travis Smith, author of “Kitschmasland!: Christmas Décor from the 1950s to the 1970s” (Schiffer Publishing, 2008). Silver-coloured aluminum Christmas trees were also sprucing up the room, and light was becoming a prominent household staple. “In the ‘20s, anyone with electricity would have had to plug their tree into the ceiling light fixture, but in the ‘50s everyone had electricity and it became more about outdoing your neighbour,” Waggoner said. Blown-glass ornaments gained popularity in the ‘50s, as well as ornaments that looked ‘atomic.’ “You also saw the emergence of plastic, which was a relatively new material,” Smith said. Suddenly, plastic light-up Santas and reindeer dotted lawns and living rooms, and imitation candles lined windowsills. The bold palette of ‘50s design makes it a more

N

Silver-coloured aluminum trees and bright, splashy colours were typical of a ‘50s Christmas. Photo courtesy Travis Smith popular look today, and online venues like eBay have become prime markets for those recreating vintage holiday looks. Waggoner, however, likes the challenge of the more traditional ‘20s theme, which can be recreated without tracking down pricey items in antique stores or online. “Use some Stickles Glitter Glue and trace the lines of old postcards,” she suggested for a ‘20s Christmas craft. “Get the kids involved; homemade cellophane wreaths are an easy project to work on with them.” Regardless of the era, a vintage Christmas is all about the spirit at the center of the holiday. “Vintage is popular again because it evokes a nostalgia for simpler, more innocent times, when the world ran at a slower pace, and when holiday celebrations revolved around family and not having the latest gadget,” Smith said. “For me, Christmas is just a time to look back and think, ‘Gosh, my life was so much easier,’” Waggoner said. “But there’s also something about old art that’s lush, wonderful and detailed.” © CTW Features

Holiday pixies made of felt were typical of ‘50s Christmas décor. This set was made in Japan, while other varieties originated in Germany. Photo courtesy Travis Smith

Tree Light Reflectors From Have Yourself a Very Vintage Christmas by Susan Waggoner Adapted with permission from Stewart, Tabori & Chang Although tree lights were introduced at the end of the 19th century, they remained a luxury for many through the ‘30s. A string of 12 to 16 lights cost more than $30 by today’s reckoning, and were far more expensive to operate than today’s energy-efficient bulbs. It’s no wonder that those who had lights wanted to make the most of them, perching them on beaded clips and adding colourful reflectors to make each and every light stand out. Early reflectors, which were made of tin, were soon replaced with lighter, shinier aluminum and clear, hard plastic halos, rimmed and dusted with glitter to maximize the glow. Materials: • 1 or 2 clean, dry 2-litre soda bottles, with the label sleeve removed • Glitter in preferred colours • Any hard circle, about 1.5 inches in diameter, that can be traced around, such as a lid, egg cup or cookie cutter •C  raft knife, utility scissors, brush and clear-drying glue, such as Mod Podge Directions: • Trace your circle onto a piece of paper and mark the center. Set aside. •C  ut away and discard the top and bottom of the soda bottle. Cut open the remaining cylinder so you have a smooth sheet of plastic.

• Place the plastic sheet, curved side down, on a cutting mat or thick magazine. Place your hard-edged 1.5-inch circle on it and hold it firmly in place while tracing around it with the craft knife. You aren’t trying to cut out the circle, merely score the outline. Trace a circle for each reflector. Line each circle up over the circle you traced on paper and mark the center. • Cut the circles out with utility scissors and use the craft knife or small scissors to cut a 1/2-inch cross in the center of each disk. • Paint each disk with glue and sprinkle with glitter. If you want a halo effect, dip the edges of the disk directly into the glitter. • Let these dry for 24 hours. Mount on mini lights by sliding over the bulb with the curved side facing you. Push gently over the base of the light so the reflector is resting on the base, not the bulb itself.

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Eco-friendly winter survival tips the top five environmental risks to public health. Considering most people spend the majority of their time indoors when the weather is cold, breathing poor air can result in illness. Houseplants are an all-natural way to filter out offensive air without relying on powered air purifiers or chemical air fresheners.

he winter season is here, and has brought cold temperatures, snow and ice for many people across the country. There are plenty of people who revel in the idea of frolicking over snow-capped hills or skating on a frozen pond, but many others hope winter passes them by rather quickly. Much of the focus each winter is on staying warm and surviving this often-harsh season at whatever the cost. But there are ways to survive winter while helping the environment.

Lighting

Many areas of the country experience nightfall around 5 p.m. during the winter months. That means people are more likely to turn on artificial lighting to illuminate homes and surroundings. The International Dark-Sky Association says that artificial lights can waste energy and confuse nocturnal animals. If you must use night-time lighting, select a low-wattage bulb and point it downward. Motion sensor lights save energy and will turn on intermittently, not enough to disturb animals.

Prevent home break-ins any time of the year

T

he joys of the holidays are many: sharing eggnog, exchanging presents, trimming the tree, contacting the police to report a robbery. The last one certainly isn’t a joy, but it’s an all-too-common reality of the season. The holidays may not be the only times that home break-ins take place, but thieves often take advantage of several factors at that time, such as the fact that many people are away from their homes for extended periods of time, there are often new items in the home that are about to be given or have been received as Christmas gifts, and during hectic times, usual precautions may be forgotten. But there’s no telling what goes through the minds of thieves, and preparing for any situation is the way to avoid loss due to theft. Statistics Canada reports that break-ins are not only the most serious type of property crime committed in Canada, but they are also one of the most common. In 2009, there were more than 205,000 break-ins reported to the police, accounting for 15 per cent of all property crimes. Despite burglary numbers being down in Canada, homeowners can still be diligent in their efforts to prevent break-ins and property loss. Here are some strategies for thwarting would-be thieves.

• Forget about hiding keys

• Break down cardboard boxes

• Don’t give burglars easy access

• Don’t advertise your status on social network sites

Darkness and camouflage are a thief’s best friends. Being able to hide behind shrubs to jimmy a window or lock hides him or her from others who may witness suspicious activity. Keep landscaping neat around doorways and windows, and promptly replenish any burned-out bulbs.

Act Now!

Carpool

Individuals who used to bike or walk to work when it was nice outside may be tempted to take the car when it’s cold. Maximize energy savings by carpooling with like-minded individuals.

Invite people over

Instead of turning up the heat when the indoor temperature drops, invite friends and family for an impromptu party. Research indicates that each guest is the equivalent of a 175-watt heater! Not only will you have fun, you’ll feel toasty, too. Surviving the winter in an environmentally friendly way really isn’t that difficult when you employ some simple strategies.

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Houseplants serve as natural air deodorizers and provide fresh oxygen inside a home. Indoor air pollution has consistently been ranked among

Many cars can do a cold-start and get on the road without the need for idling in the driveway. Instead of wasting gasoline and pouring engine emissions into the air unnecessarily, just get in and drive. If you’re sensitive to a cold car, try to park it in the garage during the winter.

Some people love the open look of drape-free windows. However, giving outsiders a clear view of the interior of your home can set you up for trouble, as it gives thieves a view of your valuables. Close the blinds after dark and especially when you’re leaving the home for a time. There are many tactics to take to help protect your home and belongings from being stolen. Employ these tips during the holidays and year-round.

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Keep houseplants thriving

Don’t warm up the car

• Keep things out of easy view

Many people fail to realize that the garage presents a great point of entry to the house, one that is often private and away from the eyes of concerned neighbours. Once inside the garage, a thief can use tools in the garage to pick at the lock on an inside door to the home.

Rock Pointe

When holiday decorating, choose a real tree. These trees are harvested from tree farms that replenish stock as soon as trees are felled. They can be recycled into mulch, and real trees are also biodegradable.

Do yourself — and the environment — a favour by weatherproofing your home. Add a storm door, check weather-stripping or caulking for drafts, seal entry points for cable, phone and water lines with foam insulation, and also be sure attic and other spaces of the home are thoroughly insulated. This will keep from wasting energy on heating, which is harmful to your budget and the environment.

Leaving ladders or items that can turn into stepping stools enables thieves to reach any window or door of the house — even upstairs windows that may be unlocked.

• Lock every door and window all the time — including the garage

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Before you throw down chemical ice-melt products, think about safer alternatives. Regular table salt will melt ice and may not be as harmful to the surrounding environment. Sand can offer improved traction when scattered on walkways, and it’s nontoxic.

Select a real tree

You may be excited to share your vacation adventures with friends, but posting pictures of your vacation or telling others about when you’re planning to leave the house can be dangerous. Even if you have your security settings locked down to only friends, the fewer people who know about your whereabouts the better. Your list of 200 friends may not be the closest friends anymore.

There’s no better way to tell thieves about all the new presents you received than by advertising them at the curbside. Burglars will see that empty television box or other expensive gadget boxes put out for pickup and have a clue about the new goodies inside the home. Instead, cut up the boxes and bundle them with newspapers so they are inconspicuous or take them directly to a recycling bin.

Rock Pointe

Reconsider winter traction techniques

Thieves know about all the places homeowners hide spare keys. You’re not fooling anyone with faux rocks or a key taped over the door. If you’re prone to forgetting your keys, leave a spare pair with a trusted neighbour instead.

• Trim bushes and fix lighting

Weatherproof the home

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✔ Treated water in all homes ✔ 9ft ceiling on main floor ✔ 4 bedrooms ✔ Complete basement with 9ft walls ✔ Stucco and brick exterior ✔ Concrete Driveway ✔ Triple glazed argon filled maintenance free windows ✔ Gas fireplace in great area and lower walkout & 3 way fireplace in master bedroom ✔ Single lever chrome faucets and double chrome stainless kitchen sink

✔ Soaker tub in master bedroom ✔ Maple cabinets and granite countertops ✔ Complete deck with duradeck flooring and glass rail and concrete pad under walkout deck ✔ Central air conditioning ✔ Underslab heating in basement ✔ Wet bar with wine cellar basement ✔ White rail fencing around the house ✔ Chipseal Roads ✔ Paved driveway

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Create a perfect dining room for holiday gatherings

How did the cranberry connect with turkey? (NC) — Convenience had a lot to do with this classic coupling, as history reveals: The settlers of North America in the 17th century depended on foods that were readily available along the Atlantic coast. One was the wild turkey, which was in great abundance and another was thriving just under the surface of coastal bogs. Every fall, the extensive marshland of New England was alive with ripe, red berries, so the clever cooks of the day experimented with this available nutrition to serve up the tastiest combination of poultry and fruit — a meal that we’ve never forgotten. “Apparently, the berry got its name because the flower and stem looked like the head of a crane,” said Sonia Derhak at ACH Food Company. “Over time, the name was shortened to ‘cran’ and the fruit of that flower became the ‘cranberry’.” Located near Toronto, the ACH Food Company distributes a range of cooking products including Fleischmann’s Yeast, Mazola, Canada & Benson’s Corn Starch and popular corn syrup brands like Beehive, Crown Golden, and Crown Lily White.

(NC) – Gathering around a table to share a meal is a ritual as old as civilization itself. At no time is this more important than during the holidays. Hunter Douglas consulted with designer Elaine Griffin, author of Design Rules, to offer the following tips for creating a dining room for holiday dining that works for you, whatever your style:

china cabinet either. “An overly large cabinet can shrink the room by a third,” she advised. “The furniture should balance in the room too,” she added. Sideboards should look good when not in use, so dress them with a pair of candlesticks, lamps or other decorative elements — pieces that can be easily removed when the piece is in use.

The Dining Table “The shape of your dining table should relate to the overall shape of the dining room’s space,” said Griffin. A rectangular room calls for a rectangular or oval table and the squarer the room, the better a round table looks in it. Dining tables should be 30 inches high, and you should be sure to leave enough space between the dining table and the walls so you and your guests can maneuver around it. And, according to Griffin, allowing 18 inches of table width per person is a good rule of thumb in determining the size.

Windows Dining room windows should enhance conversations around the table, not detract from them. Harsh glare, prying eyes and expanses of dark glass at night can all make the dining experience a less than optimal one. The right window coverings can make a difference. Products like new Hunter Douglas Design Studio Roman Shades available in 320 woven fabric choices can add beautiful colour, pattern and texture at the window and bring decorative harmony to a room as well as a host of practical benefits. Rugs If you choose one, and Griffin reminds us that they can get “crumby” and make it difficult to slide chairs in and out. Remember that a dark-coloured rug is better because spills will not stand out. Patterns tend to camouflage stains better than solid rugs, though be careful not to select a pattern that is too busy for the room’s décor.

Dining Chairs First and foremost, dining chairs should be comfortable — upholstered or cushioned seats are a must and upholstered backs provide added comfort and help absorb sound — an important consideration for this room, where the focus is often on conversation. Use upholstery fabrics such as cotton blends and wool that are relatively easy to spot-clean and are typically resistant to wear and fading. Griffin suggests the seating should be at least 16 to 18 inches off the floor to the top of the seat, including any cushions.

Cranberry glaze

“Clever cooks today continue to experiment with creative ways to add the goodness and taste of cranberries to holiday meals,” Derhak continued. “Have you tried a cranberry glaze for both turkey and pork? It’s a topping that combines the tartness of cranberry with orange and soy sauce, plus a high quality corn syrup for sweetness and consistency. “Corn, of course, is also indigenous to North America, a food that not only ranks high as a nationwide favourite, it also gives us a whole range of ingredients to flavour and perfect any family feast.” www.newscanada.com

Chandeliers They’re a stylish way to achieve general illumination. To pick the perfect chandelier, measure the length of two walls in the room. Add them up and you get the diameter in inches of your chandelier. So, if one wall is 14 feet and another 16 feet, you should look for a chandelier that is 30 inches wide. Another hint, chandeliers should be hung 32 inches up from a table. Wall sconces can also be a great dining room addition. Both chandeliers and sconces can be decorated with ornaments during the holidays.

Sideboards and China Cabinets Griffin notes that if your dining room is small, your sideboard should be too. Don’t overwhelm your room with one or with a

Table Settings Last but certainly not least, decorative place mats and coordinating settings add instant personality to the room while incorporating an extra element of colour. Especially for the holidays, create a festive centerpiece by filling a crystal bowl with fresh cranberries, adding one aspirin per bag to preserve them, and topping it with fresh flowers with cut stems. For place cards, use holiday cards in small gilded frames.

When you host a large gathering, serving a buffet-style meal will allow you more time to spend enjoying the day with your guests.

Three tips for the perfect holiday buffet (MS) — By Carla Jordan The countdown to Christmas is on, bringing with it the challenge of how to serve a large gathering fast and easy. Fear not! There’s a simple solution. Forego the traditional, full-service, sit-down meal and opt instead for a buffet-style serving. Follow these three steps and yours will be a gathering remembered with fondness by you and your guests. 1. Divide and conquer No more waiting in line as Uncle Fred peruses the spread so slowly other guests nearly faint from hunger! “Set up multiple food stations. This idea will save your sanity,” said Chef Jeff Gillis, www.CelebratingHome.com. “A few days before your gathering, clear most items off your kitchen countertops, table, island and dining room buffet, and move contents to the laundry room or garage. Convert each area into a serving station where foods will be grouped by category. Label each area with a sticky note so that when the big day arrives, the stations can quickly assembled.”

H o l i d ay C r a n b e r r y Glaze 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries 1 cup Crown Lily White corn syrup 1/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoon orange juice concentrate 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground pinch clove, ground Directions Combine all ingredients in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Continue to gently boil for five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool before serving. May be stored refrigerated up to two weeks. Serving suggestions: delicious as a cranberry side dish or as a glaze over turkey or pork. Also makes a nice turkey sandwich spread. Makes 3 cups www.newscanada.com

With these simple tips, you’ll have a dining room set for holiday cheer in no time. More information is available online at www.hunterdouglas.ca or toll-free at 1-800-265-8000. www.newscanada.com.

At each serving station, stack plates so diners needn’t traipse off to the table for one. Pre-fill glasses with ice and beverages for quick pick-up. Remember, it’s hard to carry more than a plate and glass, so preset the table with napkins and flatware. 2. Control the crowd “Don’t think twice about placing tables in multiple rooms,” added Chef Gillis. “That’s better than crowding everyone together or asking guests to balance plates on laps while sitting on your sofa.” To seat people quickly (and without a fuss), use place cards.

Holiday dining in style — both a round pedestal table that allows uninterrupted seating and versatile Parsons chairs are showcased in the room above for holiday entertaining. The slate floor provides a practical, easyto-maintain flooring solution. Stylish and practical Hunter Douglas Design Studio Roman Shades are used on the windows and French doors.

3. Keep it simple Flowers in a vase are so last year. Instead, style up the buffet with an eye-catching “message tree,” a tabletop tree festooned with ribboned tree tags. Guests write their favourite Christmas memory, wish or greeting on tags and, after dinner’s done, take turns reading. This is a unique way to remind guests about the true meaning of the day.

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Dinner party prep

How to prepare your home for dinner guests

H

osting a dinner party is about more than just preparing food for guests. One of the more demanding tasks when inviting others over is preparing the home for the special guests, whether those guests are friends, family members or professional colleagues. Dinner parties can be large or small affairs, but the size of the guest list should have no impact on the work that needs to be done getting the house ready to host. Dinner party hosts who want their next event to go off without a hitch can consider the following advice. Be sure ample parking is available A guest’s first impression will be formed long before his or her first hors d’oeuvre. Guests will need a place to park their cars and enter the home. Be sure there is ample parking available, and let guests know, on the invitation, where they can park. This will save them the frustrating effort of driving around looking for a place to park. Discuss parking with neighbours before the party and let them know there will be extra cars around the night of the party. If possible, remind the neighbours a couple of days before the party just to be courteous.

A clean and decorated foyer or entryway is one way party hosts can set a welcoming and positive mood for their guests.

Make the foyer or entrance area as welcoming as possible Make sure the entrance to the home is clear and safe for all guests. In the foyer or the area where guests will be entering the home, add a flower pot or a seasonal decoration. A warm and welcoming entryway can relax guests and set a positive tone for the rest of the night. Make sure the home is clean Hosts don’t have to obsess and clean every last nook and cranny of the home, but they should make a thorough effort to clean the home before guests arrive. Pay particular attention to areas like the living room, kitchen, dining room, and bathrooms. Guests will likely be limited to these areas during the party, so they should take precedence over other rooms like the bedrooms or basement. Set the mood with music Music works wonders when establishing the mood for a party. For small intimate gatherings, consider some classical music to set a more relaxing tone. For larger holiday gatherings, choose some boisterous holiday music to put guests in a festive mood. If hosting a gettogether for professional colleagues, be sure to avoid music that’s likely to inspire controversy or debate. Though some light debate might make for good small talk, the music should not serve as a distraction to the business at hand.

Have a contingency plan in place The yard should be ready for guests so the party can smoothly transition outdoors, should the temperature be at a comfortable level. Hosts should clean the patio just in case the weather is simply too nice to stay indoors all night. This doesn’t mean scrub the deck down to your knuckles, but just make sure the furniture is clean and there’s enough seating for each and every guest. If there’s a fire pit in your backyard, have it ready to light. That way, you can invite guests to sit around the fire and warm up while enjoying a night under the stars. Even if its chilly out, prepare an area for any smokers on the guest list who might wish to step out for a cigarette. Have a guest room ready Even if no one plans to stay overnight, it’s a good idea for hosts to have a guest room ready just in case someone needs to stay over. Inclement weather might make it difficult for guests to get home, and if the guest room is ready, that will make guests more willing to stay overnight. When hosting a dinner party, there are lots of responsibilities, not the least of which is getting the home ready so all guests can comfortably enjoy themselves.

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Create a perfect dining room for holiday gatherings

How did the cranberry connect with turkey? (NC) — Convenience had a lot to do with this classic coupling, as history reveals: The settlers of North America in the 17th century depended on foods that were readily available along the Atlantic coast. One was the wild turkey, which was in great abundance and another was thriving just under the surface of coastal bogs. Every fall, the extensive marshland of New England was alive with ripe, red berries, so the clever cooks of the day experimented with this available nutrition to serve up the tastiest combination of poultry and fruit — a meal that we’ve never forgotten. “Apparently, the berry got its name because the flower and stem looked like the head of a crane,” said Sonia Derhak at ACH Food Company. “Over time, the name was shortened to ‘cran’ and the fruit of that flower became the ‘cranberry’.” Located near Toronto, the ACH Food Company distributes a range of cooking products including Fleischmann’s Yeast, Mazola, Canada & Benson’s Corn Starch and popular corn syrup brands like Beehive, Crown Golden, and Crown Lily White.

(NC) – Gathering around a table to share a meal is a ritual as old as civilization itself. At no time is this more important than during the holidays. Hunter Douglas consulted with designer Elaine Griffin, author of Design Rules, to offer the following tips for creating a dining room for holiday dining that works for you, whatever your style:

china cabinet either. “An overly large cabinet can shrink the room by a third,” she advised. “The furniture should balance in the room too,” she added. Sideboards should look good when not in use, so dress them with a pair of candlesticks, lamps or other decorative elements — pieces that can be easily removed when the piece is in use.

The Dining Table “The shape of your dining table should relate to the overall shape of the dining room’s space,” said Griffin. A rectangular room calls for a rectangular or oval table and the squarer the room, the better a round table looks in it. Dining tables should be 30 inches high, and you should be sure to leave enough space between the dining table and the walls so you and your guests can maneuver around it. And, according to Griffin, allowing 18 inches of table width per person is a good rule of thumb in determining the size.

Windows Dining room windows should enhance conversations around the table, not detract from them. Harsh glare, prying eyes and expanses of dark glass at night can all make the dining experience a less than optimal one. The right window coverings can make a difference. Products like new Hunter Douglas Design Studio Roman Shades available in 320 woven fabric choices can add beautiful colour, pattern and texture at the window and bring decorative harmony to a room as well as a host of practical benefits. Rugs If you choose one, and Griffin reminds us that they can get “crumby” and make it difficult to slide chairs in and out. Remember that a dark-coloured rug is better because spills will not stand out. Patterns tend to camouflage stains better than solid rugs, though be careful not to select a pattern that is too busy for the room’s décor.

Dining Chairs First and foremost, dining chairs should be comfortable — upholstered or cushioned seats are a must and upholstered backs provide added comfort and help absorb sound — an important consideration for this room, where the focus is often on conversation. Use upholstery fabrics such as cotton blends and wool that are relatively easy to spot-clean and are typically resistant to wear and fading. Griffin suggests the seating should be at least 16 to 18 inches off the floor to the top of the seat, including any cushions.

Cranberry glaze

“Clever cooks today continue to experiment with creative ways to add the goodness and taste of cranberries to holiday meals,” Derhak continued. “Have you tried a cranberry glaze for both turkey and pork? It’s a topping that combines the tartness of cranberry with orange and soy sauce, plus a high quality corn syrup for sweetness and consistency. “Corn, of course, is also indigenous to North America, a food that not only ranks high as a nationwide favourite, it also gives us a whole range of ingredients to flavour and perfect any family feast.” www.newscanada.com

Chandeliers They’re a stylish way to achieve general illumination. To pick the perfect chandelier, measure the length of two walls in the room. Add them up and you get the diameter in inches of your chandelier. So, if one wall is 14 feet and another 16 feet, you should look for a chandelier that is 30 inches wide. Another hint, chandeliers should be hung 32 inches up from a table. Wall sconces can also be a great dining room addition. Both chandeliers and sconces can be decorated with ornaments during the holidays.

Sideboards and China Cabinets Griffin notes that if your dining room is small, your sideboard should be too. Don’t overwhelm your room with one or with a

Table Settings Last but certainly not least, decorative place mats and coordinating settings add instant personality to the room while incorporating an extra element of colour. Especially for the holidays, create a festive centerpiece by filling a crystal bowl with fresh cranberries, adding one aspirin per bag to preserve them, and topping it with fresh flowers with cut stems. For place cards, use holiday cards in small gilded frames.

When you host a large gathering, serving a buffet-style meal will allow you more time to spend enjoying the day with your guests.

Three tips for the perfect holiday buffet (MS) — By Carla Jordan The countdown to Christmas is on, bringing with it the challenge of how to serve a large gathering fast and easy. Fear not! There’s a simple solution. Forego the traditional, full-service, sit-down meal and opt instead for a buffet-style serving. Follow these three steps and yours will be a gathering remembered with fondness by you and your guests. 1. Divide and conquer No more waiting in line as Uncle Fred peruses the spread so slowly other guests nearly faint from hunger! “Set up multiple food stations. This idea will save your sanity,” said Chef Jeff Gillis, www.CelebratingHome.com. “A few days before your gathering, clear most items off your kitchen countertops, table, island and dining room buffet, and move contents to the laundry room or garage. Convert each area into a serving station where foods will be grouped by category. Label each area with a sticky note so that when the big day arrives, the stations can quickly assembled.”

H o l i d ay C r a n b e r r y Glaze 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries 1 cup Crown Lily White corn syrup 1/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoon orange juice concentrate 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground pinch clove, ground Directions Combine all ingredients in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Continue to gently boil for five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool before serving. May be stored refrigerated up to two weeks. Serving suggestions: delicious as a cranberry side dish or as a glaze over turkey or pork. Also makes a nice turkey sandwich spread. Makes 3 cups www.newscanada.com

With these simple tips, you’ll have a dining room set for holiday cheer in no time. More information is available online at www.hunterdouglas.ca or toll-free at 1-800-265-8000. www.newscanada.com.

At each serving station, stack plates so diners needn’t traipse off to the table for one. Pre-fill glasses with ice and beverages for quick pick-up. Remember, it’s hard to carry more than a plate and glass, so preset the table with napkins and flatware. 2. Control the crowd “Don’t think twice about placing tables in multiple rooms,” added Chef Gillis. “That’s better than crowding everyone together or asking guests to balance plates on laps while sitting on your sofa.” To seat people quickly (and without a fuss), use place cards.

Holiday dining in style — both a round pedestal table that allows uninterrupted seating and versatile Parsons chairs are showcased in the room above for holiday entertaining. The slate floor provides a practical, easyto-maintain flooring solution. Stylish and practical Hunter Douglas Design Studio Roman Shades are used on the windows and French doors.

3. Keep it simple Flowers in a vase are so last year. Instead, style up the buffet with an eye-catching “message tree,” a tabletop tree festooned with ribboned tree tags. Guests write their favourite Christmas memory, wish or greeting on tags and, after dinner’s done, take turns reading. This is a unique way to remind guests about the true meaning of the day.

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Dinner party prep

How to prepare your home for dinner guests

H

osting a dinner party is about more than just preparing food for guests. One of the more demanding tasks when inviting others over is preparing the home for the special guests, whether those guests are friends, family members or professional colleagues. Dinner parties can be large or small affairs, but the size of the guest list should have no impact on the work that needs to be done getting the house ready to host. Dinner party hosts who want their next event to go off without a hitch can consider the following advice. Be sure ample parking is available A guest’s first impression will be formed long before his or her first hors d’oeuvre. Guests will need a place to park their cars and enter the home. Be sure there is ample parking available, and let guests know, on the invitation, where they can park. This will save them the frustrating effort of driving around looking for a place to park. Discuss parking with neighbours before the party and let them know there will be extra cars around the night of the party. If possible, remind the neighbours a couple of days before the party just to be courteous.

A clean and decorated foyer or entryway is one way party hosts can set a welcoming and positive mood for their guests.

Make the foyer or entrance area as welcoming as possible Make sure the entrance to the home is clear and safe for all guests. In the foyer or the area where guests will be entering the home, add a flower pot or a seasonal decoration. A warm and welcoming entryway can relax guests and set a positive tone for the rest of the night. Make sure the home is clean Hosts don’t have to obsess and clean every last nook and cranny of the home, but they should make a thorough effort to clean the home before guests arrive. Pay particular attention to areas like the living room, kitchen, dining room, and bathrooms. Guests will likely be limited to these areas during the party, so they should take precedence over other rooms like the bedrooms or basement. Set the mood with music Music works wonders when establishing the mood for a party. For small intimate gatherings, consider some classical music to set a more relaxing tone. For larger holiday gatherings, choose some boisterous holiday music to put guests in a festive mood. If hosting a gettogether for professional colleagues, be sure to avoid music that’s likely to inspire controversy or debate. Though some light debate might make for good small talk, the music should not serve as a distraction to the business at hand.

Have a contingency plan in place The yard should be ready for guests so the party can smoothly transition outdoors, should the temperature be at a comfortable level. Hosts should clean the patio just in case the weather is simply too nice to stay indoors all night. This doesn’t mean scrub the deck down to your knuckles, but just make sure the furniture is clean and there’s enough seating for each and every guest. If there’s a fire pit in your backyard, have it ready to light. That way, you can invite guests to sit around the fire and warm up while enjoying a night under the stars. Even if its chilly out, prepare an area for any smokers on the guest list who might wish to step out for a cigarette. Have a guest room ready Even if no one plans to stay overnight, it’s a good idea for hosts to have a guest room ready just in case someone needs to stay over. Inclement weather might make it difficult for guests to get home, and if the guest room is ready, that will make guests more willing to stay overnight. When hosting a dinner party, there are lots of responsibilities, not the least of which is getting the home ready so all guests can comfortably enjoy themselves.

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AA6

Advertising Feature

S aturd ay, December 3, 2011

Saskatchewan EnerGuide for Houses Program

What is

ENERGY STAR®? ENERGY STAR® is an international symbol of energy efficiency. It helps you quickly and easily identify the most energyefficient products available to help you save energy, money and protect the environment. Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan’s) Office of Energy Efficiency promotes the international ENERGY STAR® symbol in Canada and monitors its use. Products that display the ENERGY STAR® symbol have been tested and are proven to meet or exceed higher energy efficiency levels without compromising performance.

Tips for a more energyefficient home

Use less and save more — it has never been so easy! • Clean or replace your furnace filter every 1 to 2 months to enhance airflow and decrease the amount of time your furnace has to run. • Book a SaskEnergy Network Home Heating Tune-Up or SaskEnergy Home Check-Up annually to ensure your furnace is running safely and at peak efficiency. • Install an ENERGY STAR® qualified high-efficiency furnace with a brushless DC motor and save over 30 per cent a year in energy costs. • Look for the ENERGY STAR® symbol when purchasing new appliances. They are 30 to 50 per cent more efficient than conventional models. • Lower your thermostat by 4 to 5 C at night and when no one is home. You can save 2 per cent on your heating bill for every 1 C you turn down your thermostat. A  • pply weather stripping or caulking to windows and doors (exterior, garage and attic) to keep the warm air in and keep the cold air out. • Apply plastic window film inside to prevent heat loss. • On sunny days, open south facing drapes and let the sun in, a natural source of heat. If you have large windows that don’t receive direct sun, keep the drapes closed. • Shrubs and trees around your home will shade your windows in the summer and help protect your home from cold winds in the winter. • Close the damper on your fireplace to prevent warm air from escaping through the chimney, and ensure that the damper fits properly. • Place insulators behind the cover plates of your electrical outlets to prevent indoor air from escaping. • Keep return air grills and heating vents clear of furniture, rugs and drapes, to avoid interference with the flow of heat throughout your home. • When washing clothes, switch to cold water and select appropriate water levels for the wash and rinse cycles. 85 to 90 per cent of the energy used to wash clothes is to heat water. • Choose a front loading washing machine. Not only does a front loading washing machine save water, it saves energy, as well. It uses about 40 per cent less water and about 50 per cent less energy. • Always wash a full load in your dishwasher and air-dry your dishes on the “energy saver” setting.

Leader-Post • leaderpost.com

There are many steps that you can take to make your home more energy-efficient, such as using cold water and choosing a front-loading washing machine.

Thinking of making your home more energy efficient? Grants of up to $5,000 are available through the Saskatchewan EnerGuide for Houses Program for eligible energy-efficient retrofits you make to your home. The program includes grants for upgrading your heating, cooling and ventilation systems, as well as for increasing your home’s insulation levels. You can also receive grants for installing new ENERGY STAR® qualified windows, doors, light fixtures, clothes dryers and clothes washers. These improvements are designed to lower your energy costs, improve

comfort and reduce your home’s impact on the environment. Homes that are 25 years old have the potential to reduce their annual energy consumption by up to 35 per cent, which adds up to significant savings on your utility bills. Homeowners must schedule and have a pre-retrofit evaluation of their home completed by an EnerGuide Service Organization before starting any work to qualify. Complete any or all of the suggested retrofits in the homeowner’s report and schedule your post-retrofit evaluation with the same organization that completed your initial evaluation. The service

organization will submit your file and you will receive your cheque within 90 days. Act fast and you may also be eligible to receive federal grants through the ecoEnergy Retrofit for Homes program. Prior to entering the Saskatchewan EnerGuide for Houses program, visit ecoaction. gc.ca to determine federal grant eligibility. Qualifying retrofits, eligibility criteria and program deadlines are different between the provincial and federal program. For more information, visit saskenergy. com or contact any EnerGuide Service Organization.

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Upgrade your home today, save on energy bills for years to come. You could receive federal and provincial grants towards energy-efficient upgrades for your home. The Government of Canada has renewed the ecoENERGY Retrofit - Homes Program from June 6, 2011 to March 31, 2012. This program provides federal grants to encourage property owners to make smart energy decisions. The maximum federal grant is $5,000 for applications since April 2007. If you participated before April 1, 2011, and have not received the maximum amount for your current property, you can submit one more application for additional improvements completed after June 6, 2011.

The Saskatchewan EnerGuide for Houses (SEGH) program also provides provincial grants for energy-efficient home improvements. This program runs from April 1, 2011 to October 31, 2013. In order for you to be eligible for both federal and provincial grant money, you must obtain a post-retrofit evaluation no later than March 31, 2012. After this deadline, provincial grant money from the SEGH program will still be available. Book your energy evaluation with a certified AmeriSpec Energy Advisor today.

For more information, contact AmeriSpec of Regina at (306) 565-1703 or visit www.amerispec.ca/regina REG34101140_1_1


Leader-Post • leaderpost.com

Advertising Feature

S a t u r d ay, D e ce m b e r 3 , 2 0 1 1

Tips

The features and benefits of

for more

ENERGY STAR®

energy-efficient appliances • Warm up your winter and save

up to $530 a year by installing an ENERGY STAR® qualified furnace with a 95 per cent AFUE and brushless DC motor. An ENERGY STAR® qualified high-efficiency furnace is a comfort in so many ways. You get a warm home all winter long, and it’s reassuring knowing you’re saving energy and money, with the number one way to reduce your home’s harmful emissions.

• Save up to $60 a year by installing

a programmable thermostat. Set your temperature down a little to save a lot. For every 1 C you turn down your thermostat at night or when you are away from home, you can save up to 2 per cent on your heating bill. Plus, for a limited time, receive a one-time $15 rebate on the purchase and installation of a programmable thermostat. Visit saskenergy.com for a rebate form.

• Save up to $72 a year when you

install a natural gas clothes dryer and enjoy clothes with less wrinkles and static. Your natural gas dryer offers faster drying than conventional electric units because a greater volume of dry, absorbent air passes through the clothes. A natural gas dryer heats up instantly to full temperature with clean, moist heat that reduces wrinkles and static. Gentle, moist heat means less need for fabric softeners. Best of all, natural gas dryers operate at about half the cost of electric dryers.

• Purchase a natural gas range and

cook on safe, fast, precise heat that costs 50 per cent less to operate than an electric range. Preparing food comes naturally with natural gas. Even a novice can be a great chef with stovetop burners that let you choose any temperature setting you want — high, simmer, warm or anywhere in between — and tailors its flames to many sizes of cookware. Natural gas provides a moist method of cooking and an infinite range of heat settings so your baked foods won’t dry out.

• Save up to $186 a year when

you install a natural gas fireplace and cozy up to instant warmth that’s as convenient as the push of a button. Natural gas fireplaces create a room-warming fire without having to haul wood. You can start, adjust and snuff out fires with the touch of a remote control. Natural gas fireplaces are easy to install almost anywhere. Units with heat exchangers offer the dependable warmth of a space heater, allowing you to heat your basement,

AA7

qualified new homes

additions and other rooms efficiently. A standard wood-burning fireplace can actually remove more heat from a house than it produces. Cold outside air rushes in through cracks and leaks in the home to replace the air that exits up the chimney — even when the fireplace is not operating. A direct vent natural gas fireplace eliminates this problem with a direct, outside combustion air supply.

• Never run out of fuel again and save up to $41 a year with the purchase and installation of a new natural gas barbecue. Enjoy the delicious flavour of barbecued foods without the hassle of tanks, coals, ashes or lighter fluid. Natural gas barbecues are safe, fast and easy to use. All natural gas models have even heat control settings to give the exact temperature you desire and there is no waiting for coals to catch and reach the proper temperature; the permanent lava rocks or ceramic briquettes only take 5 minutes to heat up.

• A natural gas water heater will give

you all the hot water you need, when you need it, as well as up to $438 in annual savings. Look for a water heater with a high energy factor (EF). The higher the better. Natural gas heats your water three times as fast as electricity. It takes 30 minutes for a natural gas water heater to replace the hot water used for a 10 minute shower, which is 63 per cent faster than an electric water heater.

• Natural gas pool heaters increase

your fun all year round, indoors and out, for a fraction of the cost. There are a variety of heaters for spas, hot tubs and pools, including gas-fired storage, instantaneous, circulating and immersion systems. The major benefit of using natural gas is its low fuel price in comparison to propane and electricity. As well, natural gas is less expensive and heats faster than electricity. You’ll notice a fuel-cost saving immediately when using a natural gas pool heater.

Energy Efficient

Rebate for New Homes

Building a new home? Think ENERGY STAR®! Purchase a new home that is ENERGY STAR® qualified, R-2000 certified, or has an EnerGuide rating of 80 or above and receive up to $5,900 in rebates. Receive a minimum $1,000 rebate for the purchase of an eligible new home, and in addition, rebates are available for the purchase and installation of natural gas appliances, solar domestic hot water heating systems, drain-water heat recovery systems and geothermal systems. These homes are approximately 30 per cent more energy efficient than conventionally built homes. Enjoy the comfort, lower utility costs and peace of mind that comes with building an ENERGY STAR® qualified, R-2000 certified or EnerGuide 80+ new home; one that is better for you and the environment. Talk to your qualified home builder today about the benefits of ENERGY STAR® new homes. Visit energystarsask.ca for a list of qualified builders.

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• Increased wall and ceiling insulation keeps heat from escaping, reduces heating and cooling costs, and helps prevent noise penetration.

• Sealed duct work provides more efficient

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• An ENERGY STAR® labelled high-efficiency

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• ENERGY STAR® labelled windows and patio

doors reduce condensation, reflect sunlight in the summer and keep heat in during the winter.

• High-efficiency lighting reduces electrical costs. • ENERGY STAR® labelled appliances reduce energy costs.

• Water-saving toilets, shower heads and clothes washers reduce water use.

• ENERGY STAR® qualified homes include

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AA8

Advertising Feature

S aturd ay, December 3, 2011

Leader-Post • leaderpost.com

REG31200501_1_1

Colour my home (MS) — Show me the colour! That’s become one of the most common requests for homeowners in today’s marketplace as people look to add more colourful features to their homes as part of remodelling and new construction projects. “A well-chosen colour scheme for a home’s exterior can bring out architectural details, downplay flaws and enhance the overall look of the home,” said Kate Smith, president of Sensational Color. “I always recommend starting from the top down when considering the colours for a home. Start with the roof, work down to the siding, then consider the windows, entry door and trim.” When offering colour consultations on home exteriors, Smith begins with the roof. “Depending on the style of a home, as much as 40 per cent or more of the visual you get when looking at a house is the roof,” said Smith, a colour consultant for DaVinci Roofscapes. “The more roof that is shown, the more important it is to allow the roof colour to help define the home’s style. “I’m a great fan of colour blends for roofs, which you can easily find in polymer roofing products. When you select blends with different shades of a colour or two, the entire roof seems to merge and unify the home exterior. This softens the roof visually and provides you with more PERSONAL CARE HOUSEHOLDS NOW OPEN

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long-term options for accent colours to ‘pull out’ from the roofing blend colour.” After determining a roof colour, Smith will then look at the siding of the home to determine how the texture plays into the overall home’s appeal. Fixed features like stone, brick and stucco need to be considered, along with paint colours for some exteriors. Moving to the windows, Smith believes a growing trend for homeowners is to select energy-efficient, vinylframed windows with colour exteriors to complement the overall look of a home’s exterior. There are product lines for both replacement and new construction windows and patio doors that offer unique colour options such as brick, pine, chocolate, bronze, and cream “These frame colours, when matched with trim pieces such as crossheads, shutters and mouldings, create stunning accents,” said Smith. This can help to make the windows and doors more focal features of the home.” Both garage and entry doors are also primary products that beg for colour on a home’s exterior. According to Smith, having a door that is painted in a bright, warm colour can focus attention on the welcoming aspect of a home. “Generally, if a garage door is clearly visible from the street, it’s best to blend its colour to the siding and trim,” said Smith. “When the garage is in line with the front door or behind the home, you can potentially add more colour. But keep in mind that you want the main entry door to ‘pop’ more than the garage, so reserve your key colour push for that area of the home.” One of the easiest ways to add colour to the front door is to select an entryway especially designed for painting. “Colour fascinates all of us, but some people are afraid to make a mistake by using the wrong colours,” said Smith. “If you have a Colonial-style home with a blend of grays on a roof and white or cream siding, you can easily make the house details pop out with red window frames and a red front door. Or, you can have an Arts-and-Crafts style house with an Aberdeen blend of five neutral colours on the roof that flows down to a rustic wood siding. Deep green accents around the windows, trim and entry door would perfectly accent that type of home.” Visit www.sensationalcolor.com for more insights into exterior colours for the home and to download the free “How to Pick the Perfect Colors for Your Home’s Exterior” guide.

A growing trend for homeowners is to select energy-efficient, vinyl-framed windows with colour exteriors to complement the overall look of a home’s exterior.

REG34001437_1_1

Holiday Food Bank drive,

in Regina’s largest showhome parade.

‘Tis the season to be jolly in Harbour Landing.

A Community of Choice

A Community of Choice

Drop off your Food Bank donations at 4707 Glass Street, and Dundee Developments will match your donation!

Put some twinkle in your holiday spirit! Join us Thursdays for hot chocolate and cookies as you admire the festive cheer in our showhome parade!

Parade located on both Glass Street & Upson Road Crawford Homes Homes By Dundee Northridge Developments Ripplinger Homes

Homes by Deveraux Artisan Design Build Trademark Homes Harmony Builders

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Decorate your home in Harbour Landing for the holidays and you could win one of three gifts valued at over $500! REG34502234_1_1

Homes for the Holiday  

Tips and advice for you home this holiday season.

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