Plain water best for Christmas trees


Question: Does it help to add a Christmas tree preservative to the water in the tree stand?

Answer: Research shows it’s not necessary to add a tree preservative to the water, said Eric McConnell, forest product specialist with the Ohio State University Extension. It won’t keep the tree fresh longer than plain water.

What is important is to never let the cut end get dry in the stand, because then it will seal over with resin and lose its ability to take up water, McConnell said. Slice about a half-inch off the bottom of the trunk just before putting it in the stand, and use a stand that can hold plenty of water. McConnell said the stand should contain one quart of water for each inch of trunk diameter, and you should always keep at least about a gallon of water in the stand.

Because the part of the tree that takes up water is just below the bark, don’t trim the outside of the trunk to fit the tree into the stand.

House bloggers share ideas in book

Sherry and John Petersik insist they knew nothing about fixing up a house when they bought their first place in 2006. Since then, they’ve earned their home-renovation chops and a slew of fans who follow their progress through their blog, Young House Love.

Now they’re sharing even more ideas through a book by the same name.

The Petersiks’ goal is to make home improvement less intimidating and expensive while still producing first-class results. In the book, they’ve compiled doable projects and tips designed to give their readers not just ideas, but confidence.

Most of the ideas are their own, but they also tap the talents of guest bloggers such as Ana White of Ana White: Homemaker and Jessica Jones of How About Orange. Even their Chihuahua, Hamburger, makes frequent appearances in the book.

“Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love” is published by Artisan Books and sells for $25.95 in hardcover.

Holiday decorations from nature

Florist Edle Catharina Norman believes you can find beauty in your own backyard, even in winter.

She uses materials found in nature this time of year to create the holiday floral designs featured in her new book, “Beautiful Winter.” Some are enhanced by flowers and greenery available at flower shops.

Norman provides instructions for wreaths, garlands, Christmas tree decorations, centerpieces and other seasonal accents. Most are simple to create, so you’ll still have time for all that shopping and baking.

“Beautiful Winter, Holiday Wreaths, Garlands & Decorations for Your Home & Table” by Edle Catharina Norman comes from Sellers Publishing and sells for $15.95 in softcover.