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2015: The Year of the Sunflower!

July 7, 2015

That’s right: Fleuroselect—also known as the Home Gardening Association—has designated the sunflower as the 2015 Plant of the Year. And this honor certainly is well-deserved.

The sunflower has been adopted as a symbol of happiness, strength, a love of the sun and sunlight. Because the sunflower always turns its face to the sun, it has also come to symbolize faith and the constant search for light, or enlightenment. Everybody loves sunflowers!

Here are a few ways to incorporate the irresistible beauty and warmth of the sunflower into your next summer get-together.

Vintage Sunflower Tabletop

Sunflower Tablescape with DIY Placemats

Use Antique Single Flower Vases

For an updated twist on a traditional centerpiece, an assortment of vintage-style green and yellow bottles, each holding a single sunflower, are lined down the center of the table creating a garden of sunflowers with their faces looking up to the sun!

Sunflower Tablescape Top View

How to Make Sunflower Placemats

Sunflowers come in many different colors and sizes—from mini to giant. Our super-size sunflower placemats make a big impact and are easy to make!

Supplies for DIY Sunflower Placemats

What You’ll Need:

• Cardboard circle – approximately 10″ in diameter
• Salal leaves – 20-25 leaves in various sizes (fake leaves can work too for a longer lasting placemat)
• Glue
• Yellow spray paint
• Brown paint
• Sponge

DIY Sunflower Placemats Step-by-Step

Step 1

Cut one cardboard circle for each placemat. (This is a good use for old cardboard boxes!) Each circle should be about 10″. I used a dinner plate as a template to trace a circle onto the cardboard, which worked perfectly. Use the sponge to add brown paint to your circle, leaving a bit of the original cardboard color showing through to create a textured look for your sunflower center.

Step 2

Cut all of the salal leaves from the stem and spray paint them yellow. Once they have dried, glue the wider end of the larger sized leaves to the edge of the cardboard circle.

Step 3

Glue the smaller leaves between each of the larger leaves.

With fresh salal leaves, the sunflower placemats can be made a day or two before you plan to use them. Keep them flat and in a cool place.


Painted Flowers

June 22, 2015


Stem Dyed Rose
Painted flowers of all sorts have become extremely popular over the last year or two. There are basically two different methods for painting flowers—stem dyed and surface painting. One of the most popular by far is the stem dyed multi-colored rose. You may hear them referred to as rainbow, tie dyed, or kaleidoscope roses. This method, used to achieve a multi-colored rose, is one of the more complicated processes, but the results are stunning! While the flower growers that we work with at have this process down to a science, it’s also a fun project to try on your own. This was actually the first time I tried it myself, and it was so interesting to see how the petals on each rose accepted the various dyes a little bit differently, creating a bouquet of roses that is as unique as it is beautiful!

Continue Reading…

Holiday Decorations, How-To's, Mother's Day

DIY Mother’s Day Craft: How to Make a Floral Hot Air Balloon for Mom

April 23, 2015

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! Continue Reading…


DIY Apple Dessert Bar with Caramel & Chocolate Covered Apples

November 19, 2014

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.

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.

* 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.


* 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.


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


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


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.


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!


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.



Take Home A Treat

November 12, 2014

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


What You’ll Need:

* Fresh Flowers
* Kraft Paper Bags
* Cellophane Bags
* Floral Foam
* Raffia or Ribbon
* Water
* Floral Scissors or Shears


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!


Entertainment, How-To's

Create Your Own Dramatic Candle Centerpiece

December 30, 2012

Think Fire and Ice

Why purchase a centerpiece when you can create your own dramatic candle centerpiece?  This is a fabulous look for any special occasion during the winter and creating the dramatic effect of fire and ice couldn’t be easier.

Here’s what you need:

  • Double sided tape and/or spray adhesive
  • Glass votive candleholders
  • Plain clear glass beverage glasses
  • Container of stardust glitter

For the raised candle centerpiece, first I sprayed the outside of the votive holders with spray adhesive and then dusted them with stardust glitter. After I sprinkled faux snow on the glass top of a pastry stand and placed the candles in a line down the middle of the stand. For a little more sparkle weave a strand of crystals around the candles. The flickering light of the candles reflects in the crystals – the look is stunning. It’s so simple, yet so elegant.

Create coordinating vases by placing a band of double-sided tape around a beverage glass and sprinkle the tape with the glitter. Drop a few stems of white tulips in the glass and you’re good to go! Place several of these beautiful vases around the dining or buffet table for maximum impact. When the party is over and you need drinking glasses, simply remove the tape and they’re as good as new!

Sophisticated Soiree

For a look that is clean, elegant and sophisticated, use a single variety white flower such as the tulip, a lot of sparkling clear glass vases and candle holders, and add a couple of chandelier crystals. The result is breathtaking. This is a perfect look for celebrating the start of a brand new year with all its limitless possibilities.

A Meaningful Memento

Since ancient times, evergreens have been a symbol of life, rebirth, and the stamina needed to endure the winter months. Use sprigs of evergreens tied with silver ribbon and a sparkle monogram to create a place card with a message.

Wishing you good health and peace in the New Year – remember that every day is a gift to be cherished!

Fall Decor, How-To's

Make Your Own Fall Wreath

October 15, 2012

Wreaths can be used in so many different ways to decorate your home and are very easy to make. Here are three options, in three different sizes, using three different bases. Which one are you going to create this Thanksgiving? Maybe you’ll do them all!

Grapevine Chair Wreath
Here’s an unexpected touch for your Thanksgiving table (or chair in this case).

Grapevine Chair Wreath

  • Start with a 5” grapevine wreath, which you can get at any craft store for under a dollar each.
  • Glue a base of autumn leaves, a bit of berries, and assorted foliage such as eucalyptus and magnolia leaves. I used a hot glue gun.
  • Attach a cymbidium orchid with a dab of floral adhesive.
  • Attach the finished wreath to the back of each chair with a beautiful ribbon that coordinates with table linens.

Magnolia Wreath
Magnolia wreaths have always been popular in the South. However, we northerners are being lured by the dark glossy beauty of the two-tone magnolia leaf (the back of each leaf is brown). Making a wreath using just the leaves with a simple ribbon creates a look that is fresh and sophisticated.

Magnolia Wreath

  • Start with a pre-made wire base or create your own using heavy-gauge wire.
  • Cut the magnolia leaves from the branch.
  • Wire small clusters of 3-4 leaves together.
  • Wire the individual bunches of leaves onto the wire wreath form, making sure to overlap them so that their stems don’t show.
  • Spray your wreath with artist’s fixative or hair spray, and hang it on a wall or door.

Fresh Sunflower Wreath
This wreath is made with a floral foam base and is designed entirely with fresh flowers and foliage. The focal flower is a sunflower, which is perfect this time of year with its chocolate brown center and golden yellow petals.

Fresh Sunflower Wreath

A fresh flower wreath makes a beautiful centerpiece with a pillar candle and hurricane lamp in the center. Follow these simple steps to create your own fresh flower wreath.

    • Thoroughly soak the wreath form.
      Rinse Wreath Form
    • Create the initial shape by inserting short stems of foliage into the foam.
    • Add the sunflowers even spaced around the wreath.
    • Fill in the wreath with the other flowers that you have chosen.
    • Fill in any gaps with oak leaves, raffia, and other assorted foliage such as salal leaves or pittisporum.



How to Preserve Flowers with Wax

September 2, 2012

Create Your Own Wax Flowers

Wax Roses as Centerpiece Around a Candle on purple table clothJust when you thought your Valentine flowers were done here are two more tricks and tips to make the last few blooms more then just a memory. Waxing fresh flowers is a craft that dates back to the Victorian era. It’s quite easy and inexpensive to do. It just takes a little practice, because the most important part is getting the temperature just right for the types of flower that you are waxing. Almost any type of bloom can be waxed so go ahead and experiment.

Wax Flower Materials Needed:
* Fresh flowers
* Paraffin wax
* Double boiler
* Wax or Parchment Paper
* Empty vases or bottles for drying the flowers
Continue Reading…

Flower Care & Handling, How-To's

Make The Most Of Your Graduate’s Corsage

May 26, 2012

Tips on Choosing Your Grads Corsage!

The summer weather is here and that can only mean one thing; graduation time! Whether graduating kindergarten or college, it is a blissful, bittersweet celebration. This is their day to shine, and what is a better way to make the day even more memorable then giving them a one of a kind wrist corsage that will complement their personality and spirit. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your graduate’s corsage!

  • Flower buds are good choices when creating wrist corsages. Buds are beginning to bloom retain color and scent for a longer period of time
  • Depending on what kind of look you’re going for, for a dramatic look, one large flower such as the Catteiya, is a classic type of orchid available in practically every color except true blue.
  • The more colors in the corsage, the more lively the corsage will look.
  • Durable flowers, besides the regular roses or carnations are orchids, calla lilies and daisies.
  • Gerbera daisies and carnations are the least expensive, and come in a large variety of colors that make them perfect for any occasion.

Hope these tips help make the most of their (or your own) special day!


How to Dry Flowers

March 1, 2012

Create Your Own Dried Flowers

Framed Dry Rose in a White Frame surrounded by beautiful candles

There really isn’t any easier way to preserve flowers then to just let them dry. I think flowers look beautiful when they are dry; they take on such a romantic vintage feel. And while the flowers that your loved one sent you were beautiful, the message that was sent with them is just as beautiful.
Why not frame a few of the flowers that have dried and the sentimental card?
By framing the flowers and card, you are able to get the same good feeling that you had when you first received the gift!