December 16, 2009

25% OFF SALE


December 10, 2009

Christmas Decorating Tip: Children's Artwork


Yall, don't you just love it when your precious little ones come home with their masterpieces they've created at school? They are so excited to show it to you and you display it proudly on the fridge, for a while anyway.  Then eventually it gets added to the endless stack of artworks past.  I have a solution that I think you may enjoy.

Have you ever thought of using your child’s artwork for decorating purposes?  Of course I don’t mean all of them, just use some of the best ones.  The trick is not to display too many.  You want your home to feel warm, elegant but kid friendly-not a museum dedicated to your children's artwork.

Make sure to save and display pieces in which they write to Santa and the pieces where they have used their handprints or thumb prints.  So as your children grow up and see their artwork displayed year after year, they will become more cherished.  My kids, one now 17, love looking at their old masterpieces during every holiday (we do this for Thanksgiving & Easter).  We discuss them and remember how small they used to be and how blessed we are to all be together for another holiday.

Here are some of the places, where I’ve hung my children’s’ masterpieces over the years:

  • On French doors:  Just tape your pictures in a random but pleasing pattern in the square windows of your French doors.
  • Front Door:  If you have transoms or windows around your front door, you can tape the artwork there.
  • Garland:  Using standard evergreen Christmas garland, attach the artwork by punching a hole and attaching a ribbon in a coordinating color.
  • On mirrors:  Don't cover the mirror entirely but you can tape on the corner and sides, framing your mirror.
  • Over existing artwork: Just tape the artwork over the glass of one or two pieces of your existing artworks hung on the wall.
It’s amazing how this little trick will instantly make your home feel festive.  Remember not to use all of these suggestions during one holiday, just one or two.

After the festivities and Christmastime comes to a close, I take them down and pack them safely with my other Christmas decorations to reuse the following year.   So, where will you hang your child’s (or grandchild’s) masterpiece?

December 8, 2009

Christmas Decorating Tips: Garlands


Here are some Christmas decorating tips my friends and family seem to be eager to learn from me regarding garlands:

If you notice in the magazines, interior decorated houses or holiday gift stores, their garlands are always so thick and lush.  Well it has to be doesn't it?  I mean how else will you be able to add all of the designer ornaments, lights and ribbon. Instead of paying for a high priced garland, this is what I do in my house. 

Garland Type
Figure out how much garland you need by measuring with a tape measure.  Make sure to account for any swagging or draping at the ends.  Go to your local craft store (I only use Michael's but your favorite store will have it) and purchase double the amount of evergreen garland you need.  This garland is approximate $3 for nine feet. 

Thick and Lush
When you get home fluff the garlands by separating and straightening each branch.  Combine the two garlands into one thick, lush garland by lining them up on the floor parallel and wiring them together. I typically use florists wire to wire them.  This insures they will not come apart.  However, one year I was feeling lazy and just used the wired branches themselves to wrap around the other garland for a quick fix.  There you have it a thick, lush evergreen garland ready for decorating.

Lights
When decorating my garland, I prefer an elegant look by using the white mini Christmas Lights with green wiring.  They come in a box of 150 (enough for 3 garlands end to end).  However, you can buy them in boxes of 50 and 100 count if your garland is shorter in length.  Add the lights making sure to space them out consistently.  Wire the lights on using the wired branches to hold the lights in place.  This makes it easier if I need to replace the strand the following year.

Add the Ornaments
Using a florists green wire paddle (found in the florists foam & hot glue gun isle of Michael's), wire your ornaments onto your wreath. If your garland is around your fireplace where there is not a lot of foot traffic only using the wired branches of the garland should do okay.  But if your garland is on a stairs banister or around your door or porch outside, I highly recommend using the florists wire to secure your ornaments.  Also, make sure your ornaments are safe for outdoor use.  If not, they can either fade from the sun or melt when it rains so read the tags.


Archive
I take several pictures of each of my garlands with my digital camera.  I've created a Holiday Decorating Archive file in my pictures folder on my computer.  Under this folder I've created a sub-folder of the year and another sub-folder named garlands. I can refer to these pictures next year to help speed up the decorating process.

Disassemble
So when packing up my decorations for storage, I cut the wire holding the ornaments in place and store them separately from the garland.  I do the same thing for the lights. Yes, I disassemble every garland in my house at the end of the season.  Why go to this much trouble?  It saves me money:
  • Broken lights-It never fails there will be a strand of lights that either doesn't work at all or only half works.  It is easier to replace if I know this before hanging my garland.  
  • Customized look-Each year the garland is custom made to a specific environment.  So if I want to hang the garland a little differently this year, no problem since I start fresh every year.  Additionally, garland with prewired ornaments gets twisted and does not display the ornaments pleasingly in following years.
  • Easy to change- If you want to change your ornaments due to your color scheme or style changing in the room or even if some ornaments are starting to look shabby, this method makes replacement easier since you custom design the garland each year.

I realize this is a tedious task but it works for me by saving me money, hopefully it will help you too.


Storing Garland
At the end of the season make sure to pack your ornaments, lights and garland away securely so they look just as good for next year. Wrap each ornament separately or with like ornaments.  Wrap lights in tissue paper.  Feel free to fold the garland up as little as possible taking up as little room as possible since you begin fresh next year when you fluff out the branches. 

I hope this tip on designing garlands will save you money in the long run like it does for me.

Not sure what happened :(

Well I had my blog posts typed and scheduled to post on different days but they didn't.  So some of my entries are a little late.  Sorry  I will be checking into this so it doesn't happen again.

2009 Holiday Decorating Trends

No one knows for sure what the coming holiday season will bring in terms of decorating. To help you with your decorating decisions, I've listed below the 15 top-selling holiday product categories (hard goods, gifts) of retail florists according to Florists' Review Magazine:

1. Permanent arrangements (centerpieces, etc.)
2. Permanent wreaths, decorated
3. Ornaments (designer, collectible)
4. Candles/ Reed Diffusers/Potpourri
5. Decorative containers
6. Figurines
7. Gourmet food baskets/fruit baskets
8. Bows, custom made
9. Ribbon (by the yard or bolt)
10. Candy/Chocolates
11. Ornaments (basic glass, plastic, etc.)
12. Permanent Christmas trees, tabletop (decorated)
13. Gourmet Foods
14. Nativity Sets/Creches
15. Permanent flowers/foliages/branches, unarranged

Of these top product categories, several such as permanent arrangements and wreaths, are "designer created", meaning the finished products most likely will be developed in a flower shop.

I was very pleased to learn that permanent decorated wreaths was second on this list.

Source: Florists' Review Magazine, July 2009

November 7, 2009

Simple Halloween Arrangement How To

I found this simple arrangement and had to share it with you. While this arrangement is pretty on its own, imagine several of them lined up down the middle of your buffet table or kitchen island. You can easily make this arrangement yourself; you don’t need to be a professional florist. All of these things can be found in your local craft store. Here’s how:

Materials
Terra cotta flower pot
Acrylic paint in yellow & orange
Paint brush or foam brush
Floral foam for permanent flowers
Serrated knife
Hot Glue
Candy corn
Gerber Daisies
Wire cutters
Faux fall leaves (about 7)
Candy corn

1.Paint the outside of your flower pot to resemble a candy corn and let dry.

2.Using a serrated knife, carefully cut and shape the floral foam to fit inside of the flower pot (see tips here). You can squirt a little hot glue into the bottom of your pot if you want to insure a permanent fit; however, if your foam is a snug fit it should stay put in your terra cotta pot without glue.

3.Time to cut the Daisies. Place your terra cotta pot close to the edge of your workspace. Taking one of the Gerber Daisies, hold it up close to the pot letting the stem hang below the work surface, this way you can measure exactly where to cut the daisy stem. Using wire cutters, cut your daisy at an angle. Cutting it at and angle helps to “spear” the stem into the foam. Do this for all three daisies. You can cut them all the same length if you want, but I think it adds more depth if they are staggered in height don’t you? (Tip: Make sure to shape and bend your permanent daisies to resemble live daisies. This makes the arrangement look more authentic).

4.Now spear the daisies into the center of the foam. It’s starting to look kinda cute isn’t it?

5.Working a little section at a time, squirt hot glue onto the top of the floral foam and add your permanent fall leaves. Make sure the leaves stand up and are at varying heights as well by bending them and gluing them further out from the base of the flowers. The leaves are adding another layer of color to your arrangement. Let your arrangement cool completely before moving on.

6.Once, the glue is dry, sprinkle real candy corn around the top of your arrangement. Nice job!

To store your arrangement for use next year, just brush off the candy removing all crumbs and now you can store it. Next year pull it out and add fresh candy corn and you ready to go for another season.


Variations
Flowers: Use your imagination and don’t be afraid to use different flowers (sun flowers, mums, orange roses, etc.).
Topping: Instead of candy corn try hot gluing orange and yellow beads, miniature faux pumpkins, or acorns or sweet gum (real or fake).

Paint: Paint your pot in other coordinating fall colors and your arrangement can be used for the entire fall season instead of just for Halloween.

This would be perfect for a fall wedding table centerpiece or a nice hostess gift.

Cutting Florists Styrofoam Bricks

For those of you needing to make your own permanent floral arrangements, here are some tips for cutting Florists Styrofoam. The brown colored found in your local craft store is perfect for faux flowers. I like OASIS® SEC Dry Bricks because they are perfect for use in dried and permanent floral arrangements. Its high density means that all stems are held firmly in place, providing the security and stability required for arrangement in any size. They are easy to cut, glue or spray paint in other colors (i.e., gold or silver, which is useful for Christmas decorating) and most importantly they are fire retardant. Here's how to prep your florists foam:

Use a serrated knife and run a bar of soap along both sides of the blade for easier cutting.

Position the container, base side down, on top of the Styrofoam and use a marker to trace around the container’s perimeter.

Use the serrated knife to cut along the marked line, angling the blade outward if the container’s rim is wider than the base or vice versa.

Test fit the foam inside the container, trimming away any excess foam.

Additional tips: Cutting Styrofoam is not an exact procedure. It is preferable to test-fit the foam inside the container to ensure a snug fit. If you cut the foam too large, use your knife to shave off small sections by slicing away small amounts at a time until the foam fits snugly. If the foam is cut too small, wedge as many small pieces of foam between the wall of the container and the foam block as needed to create a snug fit.

October 20, 2009

Cheddar Chowder Recipe


This recipe was a favorite among my siblings growing up. I hope it warms your tummy this fall and winter.

3 cups water
3 chicken bullion cubes
4 medium potatos peeled & diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour
4 cups milk
3 cups cheddar cheese
Tabasco Sauce & Salt to taste

Combine water and bullion in a large pot. Bring to boil and add diced vegetables. Reduce heat, cover and simmmer approx. 12 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, melt butter in another pot then blend in flour using a whisk. Add milk slowly and bring to a boil but stirring constantly so milk won't burn. Once it boils, remove from heat and mix in cheddar cheese. Make sure to let cheese melt completely. Then combine the cheese mixture into the vegetable mixture. Add Tabasco Sauce and salt to taste. Serve with crusty french bread and a side salad.

Notes:
I use skim milk and reduced fat cheese and it still taste great.
Frozen chopped onion and bell peppers can be substituted for the fresh.
Cut all veggies in similar size so they all cook consistently.
Enjoy!

September 25, 2009

Back to business...

I AM BACK to wreath making work! YAY After a full summer of volunteering, vacationing, house remodeling due to water damage, and getting the kids back to school, I can’t wait to get back to wreath making. Fall is here and I feel eager and a little behind in the game. I will be listing new wreaths next week and trying to get caught up on emails and blogging.

July 21, 2009

Staging Your Front Entryway

Some homeowners come into their home through the garage, side door, or a back door. But when you have your house on the market, the buyers will and should always enter your home through the front door. Otherwise, they enter from an unnatural starting point, making them feel unsettled. Your floor plan was designed with the front door as the main entry to the home. The front door should not have peeling paint or cracked and faded wood, which will not be very inviting to buyers or guests. In addition, if you are the type that does not use the front door, make sure you have prepared your entry to where there is nothing blocking the front door. This is the time to rearrange for the public. Buyers need to enter through the front door and as they view different homes, it gives them a common reference point as they start their tour. Below are some tips to producing a positive first impression:

• Repaint or re-stain your front door (if your door is falling apart, your really should replace it).
• A fresh coat of paint on the garage door and window trim is an inexpensive way to set your house off from the others.
• Power wash your fa├žade, windows, porch, sidewalks, and roof (if your roof has any discoloration, home buyers could see that as an un-kept home).
• Keep the front gardens maintained, grass cut, and add plants, shrubs and flowers to make the entryway more appealing.
• Make sure the sidewalk and driveway aren't cracked, if so, fix the cracks.
• A new mailbox or mail slot.
• Tasteful garage sidelights.
• New house numbers (if old or out-of-view).
• Fresh plants in tasteful plant holders for your porch (Once you purchase these flowers don’t forget to water and maintain them.).
• Possible planters under windows containing seasonal plants.
• A doorbell that works!
• I personally hate screen doors, but if you have one make sure it is a new screen door or full-view storm door
• New decorative kick plate and/or door handles.
• A seasonal or decorative door wreath (check my website here).
• A clean, cobweb-free, and leaf-free porch area.
• For large porches you can further stage with some porch furniture.

You need to make a potential buyer want to come into your home; otherwise, they are not going to see how nice it really is inside your home. In some states, it is a common practice for realtors to have potential buyers drive by different homes on the market, and if one of those homes is yours, and it does not show well on the outside, they will not even bother with the inside. Even if you do not have the most attractive house, there are always things you can do to make the best impression possible.

June 4, 2009

Containers

The container for your floral arrangement is critical to the overall proportion of the arrangement. Your arrangement should be 2 to 2.5 times the height of your container. Also, try thinking outside of the "container box" and consider using something off the beaten path (ie, a tin can, watering can, hat box, or like pictured a mint julep cup). Basically, anything that can hold the foam is considered a container. The most important elements when working with proportion are the scale of the flowers in relationship to the container and the scale of the arrangement in relation to its purpose and placement. Use your imagination to make an impact with your arrangement. With a floral arrangement, it's better to go overboard than to be unnoticed.

May 28, 2009

Textural Interest

Textural interest can be created by mixing flowers of different kinds and at varying stages of development. The natural texture of flowers, such as the feathery edges of Fern Fiddleheads, velvety smooth surface of Rose petals, and the frothy texture of Hydrangeas, can establish a textural dynamic that creates depth and realism with permanent flowers.

Using multiple kinds of foliage with ribbon and florals can also create a pleasing combination of texture and color.

For example, "Likeside" (left) with its wood texture of the grapevine, feathery Honey Locust leaves, spiky Sweetgum balls, hair-like centers of the Cone Flowers, and velvety smooth ribbon helps to make this wreath not just full but with a lot of texture.

Additionally, using an odd number of stems in an arrangement also creates an interesting shift in focus. Try mixing leaves of different shapes in different shades of green in one arrangement for a more subtle effect.

April 27, 2009

Tips for Your Fresh Cut Flowers

I know my craft is silk floral design but since my garden is starting to bloom, I'm bringing my cut flowers in and thought I would share a few tips regarding fresh flowers.

Having the same type of flowers in a vase will last longer than a mixture of different types. Since the flowers are all the same, they will decompose by the same means and at the same pace.

A single flower in a vase will last longer than several of the same type of flowers.

If your fresh flower water appears cloudy or discolored this indicates decomposition of stem and bacterial growth in the water. Change the water in the container at least every couple of days. Use fresh warm water to open the stems and allow more water to be absorbed.

If your stems are discolored and filmy this indicates that stems have been stagnating in water, impairing water absorption. Recut your stems each time you change the water and this will help.

Strip leaves that will be submerged into the water as leaves will quicken the decomposition and bacteria growth in the water.

Glass and plastic containers are the best when displaying your fresh cut flowers. Make sure you clean and sterilize before using.

Happy gardening!

April 14, 2009

Custom Designed Wreaths

Gone are the traditions and styles of years past, whatever we want to do with flowers and the arranging of them are no longer restricted by rigid rules, subject to strict guidelines, or influenced by fashion and style. Currently, floral arranging has become a personal expression of sentiment, beauty or design.

There really isn’t anything one can’t incorporate into a wreath or floral design. Imagine a cherished childhood toy, scraps of a baby’s beloved blanket or christening gown mixed with coordinating flowers or foliage. What better way to display collectibles such as dolls, fairies, or tea cups? You can also incorporate your favorite sport or hobby into a wreath. Here are a few ideas:

Try a baseball mitt and a team cap from your t-ball superstar mixed with small wild flowers, oak leaves, wild berries, and smilax branches. These silks would give the wreath a masculine air.

Are you proud of your favorite college team, high school, or dance team? Just incorporate team memorabilia with flowers in the team’s colors.

Do you have a cook or a baker in your home? In the kitchen would be a perfect place of a wreath containing measuring cups, whisk, or measuring spoons….add a rooster, sunflowers, and red gingham bow and you’ve created a memorable piece to display for years.

Unfortunately, many of us have loved ones in a nursing care facility. What better way to display some mementos that remind him/her of the great lives they’ve lived. A wreath will brighten up their room or room door and will remind them they are still loved. When their caregivers see the details of your beloved’s life, they stop looking at a patient and see a human being who deserves to be loved and respected.

These are just a few things one can use to make a wreath or floral arrangement more personal and memorable. The possibilities are endless. Email me and let’s chat, I’m sure together we can make your dreams a reality.

April 12, 2009

Inspirations

Many customers ask me where I get the inspirations for certain wreaths. I tell them my inspirations come from the world around me. It could be a pattern or print on a girl’s Sunday dress, upholstery fabric, a highway framed in wild flowers, or a magazine layout. I just go about my daily activities and a voice in my head will say “Hey, Wake up! Can’t you just imagine that in a wreath?”

With spring in full bloom, my mind starts to wonder forward into the summer months and then to weddings. I know most of my wreaths are full of foliage, flowers, and details but I also like simple. I’ve designed a couple of wreaths that would be perfect for a newlywed’s front door or for those who just like simple but “Southern” entryways. I can also imagine these on a kitchen or bathroom wall. See more of my wreath examples here.

April 1, 2009

A Meaningful Arrangement

Finally, spring is in full bloom....candy to my eyes. I wish my sinuses were half as pleased. For those of you thinking about creating your own flower arrangement, you may be interested in the symbolism behind some of the more popular flowers.

Almond Blossom: hope and watchfulness
Azalea: temperance
Blue Bell: Delicacy and Humility
Camellia: excellence
Candytuft: indifference
Clematis: artifice and ingenuity
Coreopsis: always cheerful
Dahlia: good taste
Daisy: gentleness, innocence, loyal love
Delphinium: airy
Forsythia: anticipation
Gardenia: “I love you in secret”
Hyacinth: playfulness
Hydrangea: thanks for understanding
Iris: faith, hope
Jasmine, Yellow: Timidity and Modesty
Magnolia: dignity
Peony: happy life
Phlox: sweet dreams
Petunia: anger and resentment
Poppy: imagination, dreaminess, eternal sleep
Rose,Pink: love, grace, gentility,You’re so Lovely, perfect happiness, Please believe Me
Rose, white: purity
Rose, yellow: infidelity, joy, gladness, friendship, jealousy, welcome back, remember me
Viburnum: thoughts of Heaven
Wisteria: youth and poetry
Zinnia: thoughts of absent friends

I hope I'm lucky enough to design with all of these flowers. Southern Charm Wreaths
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