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Tie one on

Ribbons are a big trend in fashion right now -- you'll find them on shoes, gloves, sweaters and more -- but they also come in handy for home decorating, especially during the holidays.

Two ideas: Jazz up an ordinary table cloth or runner with ribbons.

Or, as Better Homes & Gardens suggests in its Holiday Decorating issue, use ribbon to add a festive touch to the backs of chairs.

Here's how: Take plaid ribbon -- or striped or whatever other pattern you fancy -- and thread the ribbon through the spindles of a Windsor or similar style chair. Then, wire on a sprig of green and top with a bow.
Design tip

Here is a holiday decorating tip from Pottery Barn: Choose one seasonal decoration -- bay leaves, glass beads, etc. -- and repeat throughout a room for the greatest visual impact.

For example, hang bay leaf wreaths from ribbons inside the windows and use bay garland in the room as well.
Holiday safety

With each holiday season come reminders of fire safety. Here are a few of them to review from Kidde, a manufacturer of fire safety products:

Water Christmas trees frequently to keep them moist. Always unplug Christmas tree lights and electronic toys and trains before leaving home or going to sleep.

Position tree a safe distance from any heat source. Make sure it doesn't block exits.

Select holiday decorations that are flame resistant, flame retardant or made with non-combustible materials.

Never leave burning candles unattended, and keep candles away from decorations and other combustible materials, including Christmas trees.

Keep an eye on the range or stove when cooking at holiday gatherings.

Test smoke alarms and replace batteries and units as needed.

Place fire extinguishers within reach in every 600 square feet of living space and on every level of the home, including in kitchens, garages and basements. Ensure that adults know how to use one.

Have your home, heating systems and appliances inspected by a qualified professional. Have your chimney inspected for cracks and/or blockages.

Make sure the flue is open before starting a fire in a wood burning fireplace to prevent carbon monoxide from building up in the home.
And finally . . .

"A Shaker box is an excellent example of an object that is both beautiful and practical for storage."
John Wheatman, from "Meditations on Design: Reinventing Your Home with Style and

Simplicity" (Conari Press, $24.95)

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