DIY Santa Hat Holiday Treats & Crafts

Learn how to make Santa’s hat out of strawberries and flowers!

Everyone loves Santa and everyone loves Santa’s Hat! Put one on and it’s an instant party! Anyone can wear one – young or old, big or little, animal or human! Don’t believe me? Check out our truly original Santa Paws a-DOG-able and see for yourself!
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I decided to have a little fun with Santa’s hat and make one entirely out of fresh flowers to complement the mini hats that we made out of fresh strawberries. These are great ideas that are so easy and will make you look like quite the “hostess with the mostess” at your holiday brunch for the girls! Include a little spiked peppermint hot chocolate and let the merriment begin!

How to Make the Santa Hat Floral Centerpiece

Materials you’ll need for the flower Santa hat:

  • Red and white carnations
  • Floral foam – cone shape
  • Dish
  • Evergreens

Flower Santa Hat Step-by-Step:

1. Thoroughly soak the floral foam by letting it float in a sink full of water until it has fully absorbed the water before placing it on a flat dish or a low bowl slightly larger the the foam. I used 9” x 4” floral foam cone by Oasis and a 6” clear design dish.

2. Cut the carnations stem to a length of about 3” and insert into the foam starting with the white ones to form the “fur” trim at the bottom of the hat. Leave one carnation for the pom-pom at the top.

3. Add the red carnations all the way around until you have completely covered the foam. Finishing off with the white one on the top.

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4. You can add a few sprigs of evergreens to the base and a little at the top if you feel that it needs it as a finishing touch.

5. Keep your Santa hat centerpiece in a cool location, adding an ice cube to the dish everyday and it should stay fresh for more then a week!

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DIY Santa Hat Strawberries with Marshmallows & Coconuts!

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These sweet little pop in your mouth treats are so easy to make you’ll find that you keep making more – for yourself, your family, friends, co-workers… Or you can find lots of delicious dipped strawberries to send this holiday at our Fannie May and Fruit Bouquet sites.

strawberry-santa-hatsMaterials Needed for the Santa Hat Strawberries:

* Strawberries
* White melting chocolate
* Coconut flakes
* Mini marshmallows

Santa Hat Strawberries Step-by-Step:

Remove the green stem from the strawberry. Don’t cut it off just gently pull it away from the strawberry.

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Dip the larger end of the strawberry into the bowl of melted white chocolate covering about a fifth to a quarter of the strawberry.

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Immediately hold the dipped strawberry over a bowl of shredded coconut and using a spoon drop the coconut flakes onto the melted chocolate on the strawberry. Place on a plate dipped side down.

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The last step is to dip a mini marshmallow into the melted white chocolate and the place on top of the strawberry to complete the Santa hat. As the chocolate cools and hardens it will hold the marshmallow onto the strawberry.

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Peppermint Hot Chocolate

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It’s all about the presentation! I used a regular hot cocoa mix but made it look fantastic by serving it in a monogrammed mason jar mug (available at 1800flowers.com), garnished the rim with crushed candy canes and topped it off with marshmallows and a candy cane. The candy cane alone will add a peppermint flavor to the hot chocolate or you could add 3 drops of peppermint oil per glass. Better yet include a shot of peppermint schnapps to the hot chocolate to help chase away that winter chill!

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Seasonal Autumn Harvest: Rose Hips

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I don’t think that there is a flower or plant that I don’t like. I am lucky to be in the flower business. I get to enjoy and experience unusual varieties that most people don’t have the opportunity to be exposed to. Each season produces its own unique little gems. While spring time is flush with bulbs and flowering branches, the fall has lots of berried branches, vibrant foliage, and fluid grasses.

Everyone is familiar with roses, but have you ever thought about using rose hips as a cut flower? Our grower friends at Sun Valley have bunches of cut rose hips available for a few weeks each year. They are grown on their farm in Willow Creek, which is all the way up at the northern tip of California. I had the pleasure of visiting with them last fall just when the rose hips were starting to be harvested. Lane DeVries, the owner of Sun Valley, has even started growing grapes and making wine at this location. Flowers and wine – two of my favorite things!

Rose hips look fantastic by themselves cut to fit into a favorite container.

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Or mixed with other varieties as they are here. A simple mason jar holds a garden bouquet of rose hips, roses and spray roses.

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I’ve included some of my photos from my visit to Sun Valley’s farms in Willow Creek, California below.

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I thought Sun Valley Farm’s Bill Prescott put it well…

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sun-valley-farms-rose-hips

How to Make Your Own Homemade Christmas Wreaths

One of my favorite traditions during the Holiday season is taking a day to decorate the house. While it may feel like a chore for some, I have always enjoyed putting a lot of creativity and effort into my décor this time of year.

Personalizing the front door wreath is one of my favorite ways to help set our home apart from others in the neighborhood. Years ago, people would put wreaths on their front door featuring different floral arrangements or crafts to identify their individual families and house—similar to the way we use house numbers today. Once I learned this, I couldn’t wait to create a few different Christmas wreaths for my friends and neighbors!

The wreaths shown below were inspired by each recipient’s hobby, but you could create one for just about anything—a new baby, a friend’s favorite movie or even a family’s heritage.

DIY Christmas Wreath for Knitters
Christmas Wreaths for Knitters

Read more »

DIY Apple Dessert Bar with Caramel & Chocolate Covered Apples

A do-it-yourself caramel and chocolate apple bar is a fun idea for any gathering this time of year and it works for kids and adults alike! Using apple slices instead of whole apples makes it easy for guests to create different combinations. Plus, it’s easier to eat one slice at a time anyway. No double dipping allowed!

Here are the basic steps to get you started. Just remember to have fun with it and make it your own! Fresh fruit, whether dipped or not, is a great gift to send as well.
chocolate-covered-apples-buffet

Materials Needed:

* Apples (Different Kinds Are Welcome)
* Chocolate for Melting (White, Milk & Dark is Always a Fun Option)
* Caramel
* Head of Iceberg Lettuce
* Kale
* Container to Hold the Chocolate Dipped Apples
* Skewers
* Crunchy Options for Dipping (We Used Crushed Toffee, Walnuts & Toasted Coconut)
* Apple Corer
* Lemons
* Signs to Explain to Guests (i.e. Label the Macintosh Apples as “Macintosh”)
* Various Display Dishes

Preparing the DIY Apple Dessert Bar:

* Choose a few different varieties of apples.
* Wash apples before coring and slicing.
* Core and slice apples.
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* To prevent the apples slices from turning brown, put the slices in a bowl and squeeze a lemon or two over the slices. Gently mix the slices with a wooden spoon so that they are coated with the lemon juice.

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* Prepare the container that you will be using to hold the skewered apple slices on the buffet table by compactly filling it with a head of lettuce. For a fancier look, use pieces of kale to cover the lettuce.

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* Insert a wooden skewer into the bottom of each apple slice.

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* Place the other end of the skewer into the cabbage and continue adding apple slices until you have filled out the container.

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Chocolate Dipping Dishes:

Start with the “glue” – melted milk or white chocolate or caramel sauce. Use microwave safe dishes and pop them in right before serving. I recommend having an extra set of the melted dips so that you can quickly replace them as they start to cool off, rotating them out throughout the party. You could also keep the melted chocolate or caramel sauce on the buffet table in a small crock pot or keep the individual bowls on a warming tray.

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Next is the crunch. The choices are endless! We used crushed toffee, walnuts, toasted coconut, and turtle crunch. Fill up bowls with the topping and have spoons available for easy coverage!

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Setting Up the Buffet

With All the Bells & Whistles
Thinking about the idea of an apple for the teacher, I went for a bit of vintage school house charm here. An old wooden framed blackboard sets the tone; To carry it through, the topping signs and apple ID tags were made to look like chalkboard signs but were actually made on the computer!

And what else brings a smile to the teacher – a pretty bunch of flowers! To match the rest of the look I combined red roses, spray roses, and rose hips in a simple mason jar tied with a red gingham bow.

chocolate-covered-apples-bar

Take Home A Treat

As soon as I spotted this fantastic old wooden crate at one of my favorite antique spots, I knew that there were tons of fun ways that I could use it!

I had friends over recently for our first fall get-together and treated my guests to a pretty bunch of flowers at the end of the party. They had to wait until they were leaving because I used the crate with all of the paper bag bouquets as a decoration on one of the buffet tables!

How to Make a Paper Bag Vase

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What You’ll Need:

* Fresh Flowers
* Kraft Paper Bags
* Cellophane Bags
* Floral Foam
* Raffia or Ribbon
* Water
* Floral Scissors or Shears
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Step-by-Step:

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Step 1. Cut a third of the brick of floral foam.

Step 2. Put it in a sink or a bowl filled with water and gently drop the foam in, allowing it to naturally absorb the water. Wait until it is completely soaked before removing.

Step 3. Place in a cellophane or plastic bag that will fit into the paper bag and completely cover the foam.

Step 4. Insert the flowers one at a time giving each one a fresh cut, on an angle, before inserting into the wet foam. You only need a couple of stems for this casual bouquet.

Step 5. Place in paper bag.

Step 6. Tie with ribbon or raffia.
DIY Paper Bag Vase - Flowers in Floral Foam and Cellophane

Step 7. Share with a friend to make them smile!

paper-bag-bouquet

Vacation Memories

Turn Vacation Souvenirs Into Home Decor

Part of the fun of traveling and visiting new places is sampling the local foods and beverages.  In California I enjoyed locally brewed beers and home grown wines.  I enjoyed the artwork on the various labels as much as I enjoyed what was inside of them!  I kept a few samples and brought them home with me to enjoy and to keep my vacation memories alive.

To stay true to their California roots I popped a few stems of California grown seasonal flowers and placed botanicals into the bottles. I lined my new floral arrangements up on the windowsill right over my kitchen sink. They certainly made doing dishes a nicer experience!
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California Grown Flowers

Flowers Grown in California

Trend Spotting: Copper

Copper is the Look for Fall

Copper has an ageless appeal that has transcended centuries. And as the saying goes “everything old is new again!” Copper seemed to start popping up everywhere this spring, and now it truly is “the” metal for Fall!

You can find old pieces such as the Old Dutch teapot or the hammered water pitcher in antique stores and flea markets. Due to the renewed popularity there are many new items that you can pick up to add warmth and an elegant glow to your home this holiday season.

Of course as I always say, if it can hold water it can hold flowers so here’s a little inspiration for making your copper accessory uniquely yours.

I love the combination of these beautiful roses in shades of lavender in a hammered copper water pitcher.  The rose varieties that I used here are Cool Water roses and Moody Blues roses with sprigs of wax flowers and seeded eucalyptus completing the bouquet.

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I love the warm rosy glow of the copper perfectly complemented by the mango calla lilies and Free Spirit bi-color roses. Hypericum and tinted solidago add the finishing touch.

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These “Shocking” lilies are like fireworks in the fall. They are part of the Sonata variety of lilies and are grown in California by Sun Valley Farms. They are very seasonal and available for just a few weeks each year. You can get yours now while they last at 1800Flowers.com!
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The chrysanthemum is a flower that falls within the “everything old is new again” group, just like copper. For whatever reason, the mum fell from grace in the mind of the consumer. I am here to champion the simple beauty and longevity of the chrysanthemum. They are available year round in many different shapes, sizes, and colors but I think that Fall is their season to shine. Drop a few stems like I’ve done here in a container that you wouldn’t normally think of using as a vase and you will be able to enjoy their beauty in your home for 3-4 weeks.
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1800Flowers.com has a nice bouquet of mixed mums available called the “Fall Mum Medley.” It’s robust enough to be able to make a bouquet for yourself and one to share with a friend – just because!
Fall mums in an amber glass hobnail vase

The Moscow Mule: A Delicious & Inspirational Drink

There are a few themes that you will see weaving throughout my latest posts – what’s trending now, everything old is new again, my recent vacation in California, and California grown flowers.

moscow-mule-copper-mug Here’s one that covers them all – The Moscow Mule. A drink that was first created back in the 1940’s. Legend has it that it was first created in the Cock ‘n’ Bull bar located on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California. As with any legendary story there are a few slightly different versions, but to sum it up – vodka was just being introduced to the U.S. market and the salesman was struggling. He stopped in to see his bartender friend at the Cock ‘n’ Bull who was frustrated by his efforts to sell his homemade ginger beer. Get where we’re going here? The two beverages were mixed together with a little lime and a new drink was born! To market the new drink, the two turned to a friend with a copper factory who happened to have too many copper mugs in inventory and they engraved the mugs with the names of famous celebrities who frequented the Cock ‘n’ Bull. It didn’t take long for word to spread and everyone wanted to drink what the celebrities were drinking! Sound familiar? Everything old is new again!!

I had my first Moscow Mule at my sister’s suggestion who just had her first in Austin, Texas, at Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch in Carmel, California. Perfection – the setting, the company, and the drink! Needless to say I had one in every town we stopped in along the coast on our way down to San Diego. I am personally responsible for the growing popularity since I’ve been back in New York. Just working on this post created quite a few fans.

Where did you have your first Moscow Mule?

Moscow Mule Drink Recipe: Mix It Up!

The Moscow Mule is very simple to make!
moscow-mule-drink-ingredients Drink Ingredients:

      * Copper Mug
      * Vodka
      * Ginger Beer
      * Limes
      * Ice
      * Mint Leaves

How to Mix It Up:
Step 1. Fill your mug with ice.
Step 2. Add 2 oz. of vodka.
Step 3. Fill the rest of the mugs with ginger beer.
Step 4. Squeeze the lime wedge in to the drink before adding it to the drink.
Step 5. Garnish with mint.
Step 6. Enjoy!

Moscow Mule Drink Recipe with Vodka, Lime, and Mint

Flower Inspiration from the Moscow Mule’s Copper Mug

Of course I see the copper mug as a perfect vessel for flowers or a plant. Here are a few photos to inspire you to create beauty in your life everyday.

Coffee break roses, sprigs of bittersweet, and liquid amber.
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Peony – Red Kansas – imported from Chile. Simply beautiful. Limited availability and expensive but I couldn’t resist.
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I love succulents. They look good anywhere and are so easy to care for whether as a potted plant or as a cut flower.
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DIY Mother’s Day Craft: How to Make a Floral Hot Air Balloon for Mom

Pink and Orange Hot Air Balloon Place SettingMom does so much for the family throughout the year: No matter how long her to-do list is, you know you can always count on her for anything. Because she means so much, let her sit back and enjoy herself on Mother’s Day, and show her how appreciated she is. Treating your mom to a nice brunch is the best way to make her feel like a queen bee: Since you’ve already taken care of everything, Mom doesn’t have to lift a finger. To make her day even more special, pick a fun and truly original theme for your luncheon: hot air balloons!

This beautiful hot air balloon arrangement adds a whimsical take-me-away touch to any Mother’s Day table setting. As soon as she sits down, Mom will feel like she’s floating among the clouds without a care in the world! This Mother’s Day craft is really simple to make, so you can make a big, loving statement with minimal effort. Here’s how to make a floral hot air balloon for Mom on Mother’s Day! Read more »

Create Fun and Simple Easter Decorations

Easter Tree with Egg Ornaments
You can create simple Easter decorations that are simply beautiful and inexpensive by using seasonal flowers and re-purposing hard goods that you already have around your house or from other holidays.

Easter Tree

Easter Egg Tree
Making simple Easter decorations couldn’t be easier! Take out your tabletop faux “Charlie Brown” holiday tree and dress it up with Easter egg ornaments and fresh flowers. For this arrangement, I placed floral foam around the base of the tree and created a burst of spring with hydrangea and statice. I then used floral adhesive to attach individual blooms of lavender stock to the hydrangea florets. I did the same thing with little clusters of baby’s breath. Bring a little bit of the color and texture of the fresh flowers up into the tree in the same way or attach with small pieces of craft wire. I included petite sprigs of solidaster into the tree branches for its sunshine yellow color. All of these flowers will air dry nicely, so you will be able to enjoy your Easter tree for a few weeks.

Blue And Green Floral Cornucopia

Spring Cornucopia

Who says a cornucopia is only an autumn decoration. I love the beautiful blue color of this vintage ceramic cornucopia. To make it a truly spectacular vision, all you need are a few stems of coordinating blue/green hydrangea. First, place a piece of wet floral foam in the cornucopia and insert the hydrangea stems into the foam. The foam will keep the hydrangea fresh for about a week – you can add water to the base and sprits the flowers with water to help them stay fresh longer. After about a week or so, let the hydrangea air dry and enjoy for a few more weeks.

You can also incorporate some decorative Easter eggs and seasonal fruits and veggies into the design. Just use your imagination!

Easter Still Life

How sweet is this Easter display! And it’s easy too. To create the hydrangea eggs start with a faux egg (plastic, wood, ceramic) and spray it with craft adhesive. Snip individual florets from a hydrangea and attach to the egg. This project hardly uses any flowers – you can make it with florets snipped from hydrangea that you have used in another project such as the cornucopia!

Easter Flowers in Egg Holders

Egg Cup Place Setting

I believe you can make a big difference with little details. Use an egg cup filled with sprigs of fresh flowers to decorate each guest’s plate instead of or in addition to a traditional centerpiece. This is especially sweet for an Easter brunch.

Yellow and Blue Flowers in an Easter Egg Cup