Deck the halls

Want to turn your home into a wonderland this holiday season? Gertens is offering several free decorating workshops with ideas for creating a festive look both inside and out.

The first is a Christmas decorating workshop where visitors will learn design tips for dressing up the mantel, railings, walls and ceilings, to create a mood of glitz, retro flair or country charm. The workshop will be offered at 1 p.m. on Saturday and again at 1 p.m. on Nov. 23, 30 and December 7.

Another workshop, focused on holiday containers to spruce up entryways, patios and decks, will be offered at 11 a.m. Sunday, and next Saturday, Nov. 10, 17, 24 and Dec. 1, all at 11 a.m.

Workshops are free, but registration is requested at Gertens is located at 5500 Blaine Av., Inver Grove Heights.

British accent

If you like your shopping with a side of tea and crumpets, check out the Knightsbridge Boutique at Benilde-St. Margaret's on Saturday. The event, inspired by London's luxury retail district, will feature 65 Brit-style shops and market stalls, with items ranging from household items to clothing, accessories and jewelry, spa products and gourmet foods. Shoppers can refuel at the RoyalTea snack bar, where English treats and beverages will be available.

The boutique will be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Benilde-St. Margaret's Haben Center, 2501 Hwy. 100 S., St. Louis Park. Admission is free. For more information, visit

Holiday Ideas House

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Bachman's historic family home, where designers are putting final touches on this year's Holiday Ideas House.

The theme is "A Cozy, Contemporary Nordic Celebration," featuring light, airy spaces, fresh greens, traditional reds, metallic accents and natural driftwood. Different rooms will offer different takes on the Nordic simplicity theme, including a porch with a hot chocolate bar, a dining room with Scandinavian-patterned dishware, a sunroom with a festive holiday bar, a fairy dream bedroom, and a room with three tablescapes set for a contemporary holiday wedding, a formal black-and-white New Year's Eve party and a traditional Christmas gathering.

The Holiday Ideas House opens Thursday and will remain open seven days a week through Dec. 15. The cost is $5, with $1 donated to the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance. Tickets for self-guided tours are sold in 30-minute increments. To order tickets, or call 612-861-7311. The house is located at 5936 Lyndale Av. S., Minneapolis.

Holiday open house

Gabberts is celebrating the season next weekend with its Holiday Open House, featuring free seminars on decorating and entertaining, plus music and refreshments.

On Saturday from 1 to 2 p.m., Mark Masica from Hirshfield's and designer Jennifer Ball will share the latest color trends and how to incorporate them into your home decor.

On Nov. 10, also from 1 to 2 p.m., Cindy Abramovitz and Corey Heath will demonstrate how to create holiday decor that can take your home from Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve.

The seminars are free but reservations are requested at or 952-928-3123. Gabberts is located at 3501 Galleria in Edina.

Weavers Guild sale

Looking for unique holiday gifts? The Weavers Guild of Minnesota is hosting its annual sale Friday through Sunday. Items, handmade by local fiber artists, will include linens, rugs, scarves, bags and hand-spun yarn.

Sale hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. next Sunday, Nov. 10. The sale will be held at the Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson St. NE., Minneapolis. For more information, visit


Summit homes book launch

A new coffeetable book, "Great Houses of Summit Avenue and the Hill District" (Big Picture Press, $54.95), from architectural photographer Karen Melvin, offers an inside look at some of the stately turn-of-the-century mansions along St. Paul's renowned street.

Common Good Books is holding a book launch at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, 38 S. Snelling Av., St. Paul. Meet the authors, Paul Clifford Larson, Bette Hammel, Melina Nelson and Dave Kenney, as well as Melvin. The event includes a short presentation and book-signing. Call 651-225-8989.