Holiday table

Are you expecting lots of guests over the Christmas holidays? Do you intend to entertain with parties and fancy dinners? Well, not only should you dress accordingly, but your tables should also be decked for the holidays. Festooning your table properly will set the mood and create a warm, holiday atmosphere. Decorations can include tablecloths, plates, napkins, glassware, flowers, placemats and other accents.

According to Colleen Mullaney, author of "Faux Fabulous Florals" and "It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere," it is good to start to dress the table by layering it. Keep in mind the size and shape of the table - if it is round, build from the center; and if it is rectangular or square, work down the table from one end to the other. Start with a tablecloth. Colleen recommends solids for a clean backdrop. The next decorations to add are the placemats. They come in many great shapes and sizes, as well as in a variety of colors.

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Gift ideas

Want to give a special gift for the holidays?

Power tools are always a welcome gift. Skil, a leader in the power-tool industry, introduced in 2008 a handy lithium-ion-battery-powered rotary cutter that can be used to cut cardboard, plastics, vinyl flooring, vinyl siding, etc. The lightweight handheld cutter fits easily in one hand, and the rotating blade is protected by a stationary metal guard making it impossible to cut your fingers .

And then there are flashlights. What better gift than one that shines all year long? Craftsman also has a new Homeowner Tool Kit, which contains all the essentials needed to tackle everyday DIY projects. What's in the kit? A tool bag containing a parts tray, hammer, 16-foot tape, utility knife, pliers - both slip joint and needle nose - adjustable wrench, six screwdrivers, a bit driver and an assortment of bits.

Some tips

Here are some home-improvement tips from Home and Garden Television:

n Don't skimp on the grout sealer. You can spend a lot of time and money installing tile, but if you don't properly seal the grout it can absorb water, dirt and other stains.

n Don't ignore safety. This goes for any home-improvement project. Simple precautions like wearing safety goggles, not overloading outlets and turning off breakers will only take a few minutes or a few extra bucks.

n Don't forget about the subfloor. Laminate flooring needs an underlayment/vapor barrier for almost any surface upon which it is being installed. Not only will a subfloor protect flooring from moisture, it will also help with soundproofing. Hardwood floors need an even subfloor.



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