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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

perk up

Getting droopy?
Not you...your Valentine's flowers silly!
It has been about a week so this is the time that beautiful floral arrangements start took look not-so-beautiful anymore and unfortunately they hit the trash. Oh no! Here is a short refresher on how to extend the life of your flower arrangements. 
 
 
Flowers are such a treat, especially when a lovely bouquet unexpectedly appears from someone special!

 
And it is a sad day when they start to droop. You can extend the life of your flowers by sorting through the arrangement and salvaging the perky blossoms.

 
Some flowers have the ability to last a long time once they have been cut. Alstroemeria has a very long life as cut flowers and they are often used in floral arrangements. Gently remove them from the arrangement, cut off spent blooms and leaves, and then cut the bottom of the stem at an angle. Place the newly prepped stems into a clean vase of cool water.

 
As roses continue to open, their heavy heads will droop. Simply follow the same steps from above. Cut the stems short then place them into a container that will help support the gorgeous full blossoms.

 
Even if their are only a few flowers that still look okay, you can place them into an old canning jar. It is an adorable way to create a rustic and informal bouquet to place in any room of your home.

 
As you take apart the floral arrangement, don't worry if a few flowers break off of their stems. They will be happy as "floats".

 
I like to pepper my home with floats. It's an easy way to be able to enjoy fresh flowers in every room of the house!

 
Mix-and-match vintage wine glasses are perfect for floating individual flowers.

 
I will get carried away and float flowers in all sorts of vases, glasses and unique planters.

 
So as you are looking at your drooping floral arrangements, step away from the trash receptacle! Find clever ways to extend the life of the perky flowers. It will give you so much more time to enjoy them. Everyone deserves a second chance...even the flowers. Just as a fairy (they always know what's best when it comes to enjoying flowers!).
 


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

happy valentine's day

I just wanted to wish you
a Happy Valentine's Day!
I hope you are surrounded by people you love.
Take a few minutes to spoil someone (or yourself!) with something special.
How about some pink frosted sugar cookies with sugared rose petals...YUM!
 
 
Maybe you can place a big bunch of flowers in your favorite spot in the house. Anything that will make you smile!

 
No matter how large or small the gesture, do something that will warm your heart and the hearts of those you love.
Happy Valentine's Day
XOXO


Saturday, February 10, 2018

ready...set...romance

Valentine's Day is right around the corner!
I wanted to share a quick and easy way to create a centerpiece for a coffee table, foyer table or dining table.
 
 
I try to advocate "using what you have" to decorate. I am the first to splurge on beautiful fresh flowers and plants for my garden. However, for holidays like Valentine's Day I try to rummage through my closets and cupboards for decorations.

 
For this centerpiece, I started with a tray. You could also use a large platter. When you create a tablescape on a platter or tray, you can move it from one room to another if you are entertaining.

 
First, come up with a color palette. I selected pink, purple and green. Next I dug out vintage Christmas ornaments, beautiful ephemera and silk flowers from my Easter decorations. 

 
I placed the florals in large pink cut glass bowls, then I peppered in some green votives for lovely warm candlelight.

 
Finally, I added layers of mix and match vintage floral china.

 
Whether you are going to have a romantic dinner for two or host a fun couples dinner party...
use what you have to make a creative and colorful centerpiece from the heart!
Happy decorating...


Thursday, February 1, 2018

february filled with flowers

I love February because I feel like I have carte blanche to fill my world with flowers. Who am I kidding? I surround myself with flowers 365 days a year!
At least I feel like I am a bit more "normal" in February.
Having bought every kind of cut flower imaginable, I have come up with my top 5 list of "go-to" flowers that are long lasting and no fuss. (Plus they all come in a variety of colors...surely colors that will coordinate with your décor!) Now I am a creature of habit, I tend to buy the same varieties over and over again.
Here are my suggestions if you want to surround yourself with romantic no fail flowers this February.
 
 

TIP: Whether you shop at a farmer's market, the grocery store or a florist, make sure you go with a list in hand.
If you are anything like me...I get totally distracted the second I see buckets upon buckets of beautiful blossoms! It's so easy to over-shop.
 

 
IMPORTANT: Take the time to properly clean the flowers and containers. All leaves that will be below the water line in the vase need to be gently removed. Next, trim away all spent blooms. They take energy away from the rest of the flowers. I wash all of my contains with a diluted bleach solution and rinse them thoroughly. Make all cuts with clean sheers then place a freshly trimmed stem into clean cool water.

 
TIP: Most of the time, fresh flowers are packaged with a packet of flower food. If you do not have any, you can keep the flowers lasting longer by adding a crushed Aspirin to the water. The salicylic acid in the Aspirin will help keep the water clean and free of flower damaging bacteria. Another option is to use a solution of sugar, bleach, and lemon juice to keep your cut flowers lasting longer. 

 
TIP: If you are intimidated by making formal flower arrangements follow this easy rule of thumb. Divide the flowers by variety and shape, Then match a container accordingly. I like to group 3 sizes and shapes together. This is a terrific combination: delphinium, baby's breath and roses.

 
TIP: Select colors that coordinate with your décor.

 
I use vibrant delphinium in my living room and a slightly lighter shade in one of my bedrooms... 

 
A coffee table is a lovely place to display an arrangement.
TIP: It is best to keep the shape low as to not interfere with conversations or television watching.
This is one of my very favorite combinations for an easy-to-create arrangement: cream hydrangeas and blush roses.

 
I use the same blush roses combined with pale blue hydrangeas on the breakfast table. For special occasions I will add a few white lilies. They add a wonderful fragrance!

 
Since I have an affinity for white and cream, I always have buckets filled with baby's breath around the house.
TIP: Be sure to change the water often to keep the flowers looking healthy as long as possible. Cut off the ends of the stems if they start to look like they are beginning to rot.

 
Another favorite to add to the list is stock. It lasts a long time and the scent is so refreshing.
TIP: For a punch of color, add a bowl of fresh fruit to your floral displays. These apples are as delicious as they are beautiful! The green and white colors make my kitchen look so cheerful!

 
So here is my list of go-to cut flowers:
hydrangeas
roses
delphinium
stock
baby's breath
The other reason these are my favorites...
all of these flowers can be dried! I can enjoy them while they are fresh then they get a second life in dried flower wreaths, flower arrangements and potpourri...then I can enjoy them forever!
Make your list and go shopping!!!
Happy February...
 

Friday, January 19, 2018

brrrrr

Even though I live in a very sunny warm place, it's really cold here! I know it's all relative, but cold is cold. Okay 50 degrees isn't cold to a lot of folks, but I'm cold. No one would believe I spent my younger years in Canada and West Virginia! I guess I've become a cold weather wimp.
I am excited to finally need a sweater. It makes me think about an article I wrote some time ago about what to do with old sweaters. I had so many when I moved to Sanibel Island. I never wore them...so I chopped them up for projects. I've shared some of these ideas before, but this was on my mind so I thought I would share.
 
 
I took piles of my old sweaters and some knitting projects from my mom's stash and came up with a few easy ideas...
 
 
I saw some sweater pillows in a home décor shop and fell in love. But I didn't love the price. So I made some for pennies!
Simply cut out the shape and size of a throw pillow you wish to cover. Both sides can be sweater or one side sweater and the other can be a fabric remnant.

 
I took an old lampshade and stripped away the tattered covering. Then I wrapped a sweater around the wire form. Either sew the edges right sides together or use fabric or hot glue to make this a no-sew project. Don't forget to finish the raw edges by stitching the hem or glue along the edge and fold under.

 
Using a pile of old heavy socks (some are even wool), I made this fun winter wreath. Start with a foam wreath form. I covered the entire form with sections of the socks.

 
After I chopped up the sweaters for the pillows and the lampshade, I had the sleeves left over. So I pulled them up over plain glass vases. I have used these to display flowers. Another great use is to place a battery votive inside. It gives a warm winter glow.

 
If you love to sew, you can make these sweater purses...



 

On a personal note...
A few years ago when I went home to West Virginia, I photographed a farm. It is near and dear to my heart. The owners are like family. We met at church when I was still in high school. When I go home I love to drive out to Sugar Grove to see them. We ventured to the top of the farm so I could visit the final resting place of my sweet Mackenzie. She was my girl and a wonderful fur baby. I couldn't think of a better place to lay her to rest. As we rode up the hill on this particular day, we were followed by the sheep.
 

 
They had just been sheered...


 
In case you were wondering why I was sharing...
This visit was the inspiration for my sweater article!
Inspiration is all around us each and every day. Sometimes you just need to look for it!
Now I need to figure out how to stay warm. I chopped up all my sweaters!
 


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

snowbirds

January in South Florida on the Gulf of Mexico means one thing...
the snowbirds are here!
For those who don't know this phenomenon, Northerners flock to the South to soak up the warmth and sunshine.
Snowbirds are the inspiration for my January decor.
 
 
Not the "people snowbirds"...
actual birds are my inspiration!

 
Several years ago I photographed and wrote about some of my favorite January decorations for Victorian Homes magazine.

 
January is a tough month for decorating. I'm not ready to part with all my festive Christmas decorations, so I edit and leave out my winter "snowbirds".

 
I pack away the red and green, pine garlands and wreaths...but I leave out my precious vintage bird ornaments and anything snowy, white, silver and gold.

 
I love my glittering nests too...




 
I also showcase my collection of vintage costume jewelry. The special pieces from my grandmother take center stage.

 
Wishing all of you a peaceful,
warm and sparkling New Year!