Holiday Decorating Tips

This time of the year is a great time to create new memories with your family and friends.  What is better than having your home decorated and inviting them over????  Below are some tips to get your "Winter Wonderland" suited up just right for those guests.

Happy Holidays from TMI Real Estate!

1. Forgo a traditional floral centerpiece on the dining table and instead create a charming holiday scene featuring gingerbread houses or ceramic Christmas village miniatures. First sprinkle faux snow along the center of the table, then place homes, stores, trees and people to create a focal point that will delight guests of all ages.

2. Rather than rushing out to buy expensive new china, glasses and silverware for a holiday get-together, consider renting it. No matter where you live, chances are there's a party rental store near you. The prices are reasonable and by renting rather than buying you also avoid having to store the items year after year.

3. A simple way to give your holiday decorations a professionally decorated look is to stick to just two or three colors. Deciding on a palette before you shop makes the selection process quick and easy.

stockings-mantel-lit-candlesFlameless candles are a great holiday decorating solution when you want the flame without the fuss.

4. Flickering candlelight is beautiful, but if small children or pets will be part of the celebration substitute battery-powered votive and pillar candles for a warm glow without the worries.

5. For a custom look that's easy to achieve, add ornaments, wrapped candies, children's toys or glittered greenery to a plain wreath. The decorating options are nearly endless and embellishing a wreath is a fun project to do with the kids.

stockings-mantel-lit-candlesHomemade gingerbread men add a sweet touch to Christmas decorations.

6. Adding a vintage element, such as homemade gingerbread men, hand-strung popcorn or a cranberry garland to your holiday decorations lends a sentimental, old-fashioned feel.

7. Always test Christmas lights before adding them to the tree. Nothing is more disappointing (and frustrating) than spending an afternoon carefully wrapping the tree with lights only to plug them in and discover that they don't work.

stockings-mantel-lit-candlesA humdrum chandelier is given a holiday update with an evergreen garland and paper shades embellished with ribbon.

8. Give your chandelier a simple holiday update by draping the arms with an evergreen garland and embellishing plain paper shades with an assortment of ribbon attached with hot glue.

9. To cover an unusually shaped or extra-long table, simply drape it with fabric from the bolt. Measure the length of the table keeping in mind that 36 inches is equivalent to one yard. Add a few inches to each side to allow the fabric to puddle on the ground — no sewing required.

stockings-mantel-lit-candlesFresh roses add a colorful and fragrant pop to holiday decorations.

10. Add fragrance and an unexpected touch to evergreen garlands and the Christmas tree by placing fresh flowers among the greenery. To keep flowers fresh for days, first clip the ends then insert into water-filled bubble tubes which are available at florist-supply stores.

11. A lit fireplace is beautiful but can quickly heat up a room filled with guests. To get the look without the warmth, instead fill the hearth with lit pillar candles.

12. Make your decorations shine by working strands of twinkling mini lights into garlands, topiaries and tablescapes. If you plan on using lights outdoors, check the packaging to make sure that both lights and any needed drop cords are rated safe for outdoor use.

(12 tips for Holiday Entertaining Success borrowed from



Energy Saving Tips - For Winter Months

Happy Autumn!

We are entering a new time of the year when the trees begin to change to such beautiful colors.  Along with the picturesque views here in the Birmingham area, we also are entering a time of the year when the weather gets colder. 

TMI Real Estate has put together a list of useful energy saving tips.  These suggested tips may help with your monthly utility expenses.  Also, you may consider budget billing, especially for your gas services.   Budget billing is when the bills are divided up over the entire year rather than just larger bills in the winter time.   Below is a list of utility company phone numbers:

Alabama Power…………..(800) 245-2244      Alagasco………… (205) 326-2800

Bessemer Utilities…….…(205) 481-4333         

We certainly trust that you have a great rest of the year in 2011 and looking forward to 2012!

If there is anything that we can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Amy Miller - TMI Real Estate  205-985-1010

Energy Saving Tips


Replace Light Bulbs

  • Replace standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and save 75% off lighting costs.

Unplug Electronics

  • Unplug electronics, battery chargers and other equipment when not in use. Taken together, these small items can use as much power as your refrigerator.

Adjust Your Thermostat

  • Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees. For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you'll save up to 5 percent on heating costs. Wear warm clothing like a sweater and set your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower during the day and evening, health permitting. Set the thermostat back to 55 degrees or off at night or when leaving home for an extended time, saving 5-20 percent of your heating costs (heat pumps should only be set back 2 degrees to prevent unneeded use of backup strip heating).

Be Smart About Lighting

  • Turn off unnecessary lighting and use task or desktop lamps with CFLs instead of overhead lights.

Power Down Your Computer

  • Enable "power management" on all computers and make sure to turn them off at night. A laptop computer uses up to 90% less energy than bigger desktop models.

Wash Clothes in Cold Water

  • When possible, wash clothes in cold water. About 90% of the energy used in a clothes washer goes to water heating.

Load Up Your Dishwasher

  • Run your dishwasher and clothes washer only when fully loaded. Fewer loads reduce energy and water use.

Maintain Your Clothes Dryer

  • Make sure your dryer's outside vent is clear and clean the lint filter after every load. When shopping for a new dryer look for one with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off when clothes are dry.

Furnace Filters

  • Replace or clean furnace filters once a month. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use

Shorten Showers

  • Simply reducing that lingering time by a few minutes can save hundreds of gallons of hot water per month for a family of four. Showers account for 2/3 of your water heating costs. Cutting your showers in half will reduce your water heating costs by 33 percent


  • Let the sunshine in. Open drapes and let the sun heat your home for free (get them closed again at sundown so they help insulate)