How to Keep Fresh Roses

rose bouquet by www.designerssweetspot.com

The week has flown by. Valentine’s Day has come and gone. We were sick all week so we haven’t done anything special this year. I feel like I am missing all the good things in life lately, with the move, being sick and trying to catch up and get organized.

I am still not on top of things, including blogging.

Valentine Roses by www.designerssweetspot.com

Valentine’s Day came around and I found these lovely bouquets of flowers on the table along with cards and chocolate. My sweet hubby out did himself this year. The second bouquet was for my mother. She was so pleased, she said she has NEVER gotten flowers or candy for Valentine’s Day. What a shame!

cutting rose stems

There are some tricks to keeping bouquets as long as possible. Perhaps you weren’t aware that your flowers need some special treatment when you bring them home from the store.

First step is to pull them out of the vase and trim the stems at a 45 degree angle, at least 2″ or more depending on the size of your container. Both flowers and greenery should get this treatment.

Smashing rose stems

Roses do better in water when you smash the ends of the stems with a hammer. This helps them draw the best water and stay fresh longer.

Roses in the vase

Before you put them back into the vase, remove all foliage below the water line. This keeps the water cleaner and gives the flowers more room to spread out and open.

Fill your vase with water. Add your floral fresh if you have it. A crushed aspirin makes an excellent substitute  for fertilizer. Replace the water in the vase at least every other day or as needed. Your flowers should keep for up to 7-10 days.

Roses and Quote

I hope you got some beautiful flowers for your special day. However if you didn’t, I highly recommend that you pick some up for yourself. Aldi’s has bouquets for $3.99. You can’t get more joy for less money!

Have a great day!

Budget Fall Centerpieces

 

jars in a row2

There was an interesting thing posted on Facebook this week. The most popular post on Hometalk last year was some simple Budget Fall Centerpieces. They had a whopping 1.5 million views. Wow, that’s a lot of page views! They were simple and beautiful, I can see why everyone liked them.

They weren’t my page views however. If they were, you would have heard me screaming all the way in Texas.

Daisies topside

I am slow to decorate for fall, I like minimal decorations that are easy to put away when it’s time to being out the splashier holiday decor. I also am not a huge fan of orange, but it’s growing on me.

One of my friends asked me to help out with some fall decorations for a dinner party. I had fun putting these together.

Modern Masters paint

I started with some quart size mason jars, you can never have too many of them. They make great vases.

I painted the jars gold with this paint from Modern Masters. This color sample was given to me at a blog conference earlier this year. I love how bright this gold color is! I gave each jar 2 coats of paint. Modern Masters is known for their high quality metallic paints. This gold is so rich looking!

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The flowers all came from the Dollar Tree. These are faux Gerbera Daisies, leaves, and burlap patterned leaves along with some faux Millet and interesting grasses.

I cut the stems apart to fit into the jars without popping out. There are dried beans in the bottom of the jars that I use to keep the flowers in place, I use them for candles too.

Jar and bow

A bit of twine and bi-colored bakers twine finish the jars. I am not one for huge bows, I like simplicity.

Perfect for a simple dinner party.

Colorful and inexpensive, these 6 jars cost less than $20.00 to make.

What could be simpler than that?

Who knows, it may even be worth a million page views!

Ombré Painted Flower Pots

 

I’ve been spending lots of time outside, working on the garden.

I finally have all my flower pots planted. These Ombré Flower Pots were on my list of projects for quite some time. They are miss matched pots, of the foam variety which are great for our tough climate.

They started out looking like this, one green and one brown. One was a gift, the other came from a pile of trash. There is no better way to marry two odd ball items than by painting them both the same.

My paint choice for this project is Krylons High Gloss Spray Paint. It holds up well to the outside elements and works great on foam or plastic. This blue and green combo is so lushious for the garden, there is something captivating about blue and green together.

The first step was to clean the pots with a spray bottle of water and a damp cloth to remove any dirt. Starting with the pot upside down, I sprayed the outside with the blue color. I used two coats, spraying lighter as I worked my way to the top (bottom).

After it was dry, I turned the pot right side up, and sprayed with the blue inside the pot to a depth of 3″. Then I sprayed from the top down with the green paint, layering the color and letting the green fade towards the bottom to create the appearance of Ombré.

I chose a variety of annuals for my pots. I always be sure to add enough holes for drainage, the foam pots easy to drill holes in with an electric drill. The best soil to use is one with a built in fertilizer, as constant watering will leach all the nutrients out of the soil and kill your plants. For this reason I prefer Miracle Grow, it feeds for 6 months without needing more fertilizer.

I combined both herbs and annual flowers in these pots, including purple basil, kale, petunias, sage, fennel, and streptacarcus. I like to try out the placement of the plants before planting them.

I am so pleased with how these turned out, I may do a couple more of them.

Happy Planting!

 

 

How to Make a Flower Crown

 

 

Crown leadI have been dreaming about flowers lately. They find their way into my dreams, my shopping cart, my home and garden. I just can’t get enough of them. Recently, I attended a party at the SNAP Conference where we made Floral Crowns from faux flowers. They were nice, but I am a sucker for the real thing.

supplies

I found these flowers at the market the other day and on a whim, I decided to give the Floral Crown a try. The flowers weren’t all that expensive, about $15.00 for all.

I was not disappointed.

supplies2

Here’s how to make your own Floral Crown:

Supplies:

Floral Wire

Floral Tape

Wire Cutters

Pruning sheers

1 bouquet Baby’s Breath or other small flowers

1 Mixed flower bouquet with Daisies and Chrysanthemums

6 spools 1/8″ craft ribbon in various colors (white, blue, pink, purple, magenta, green)

scissors

measuring tape

cut to size

 

The first step, is to cut 20 pieces of wire, about 6″ long.

I attached my measuring tape to the table with Scotch tape to make it easy to measure.

I also cut 9 pieces of 3″ wire.

Then I measured the circumference of my head, mine was 21″.

in process

 

Starting with the small baby’s breath branches, I wired several of them together with the 6″ wire pieces. I trimmed the ends of the flowers to about 8″ in length. When they were firmly attached, I grabbed another spray of them and wired them to the stems first ones, making a chain.

baby's breath

I continued this same process until my chain measured 23″. This was slightly longer than my head circumference, but I wanted to have enough room to attached the chain together at the end.

Notice how the flowers are all facing one direction, it is best to keep the back side flat so it will fit against your head.

flower with wire

 

The next step was to trim the Mums to a 2″ stem. Using a 3″ piece of wire, I poked it up through the middle of the flower, hooking it slightly at the end with the needle nose end of the wire cutters. PULL the hook gently back through the center of the flower until it’s secure, it will disappear in the center of the flower.

adding flowers

Add your flowers to the baby’s breath chain, wiring them to the base at even intervals.

joining the ends

 

Join the ends by overlapping the first strand of baby’s breath and the opposite ends of the chain. Wire in place. I also used floral tape to cover the wire ends to keep them from being sharp. I left a small space between the ends to attach some ribbons.

adding the ribbons

 

I cut 3 pieces of each different colored ribbon (18 pieces total) at 24″ long. Putting them all in a pile, I attached them to the flowers by making a loop halfway up the ribbon length, then pulling the ends back through the loop, leaving the cut ends free.

finished This Flower Crown reminds me of the ones that they sell at the Renaissance Faire each summer. I think I will be making another one for the trip to the Faire! I can imagine how darling this crown would look on bridesmaids, or even for a special event like a birthday party or bridal shower. The possibilities are endless!

on the fence

 

If you are walking by my house and see this crown hanging on the picket fence, you are welcome to take it home with you.

Have a beautiful day!

How to Plant a Marigold Border

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I am deep into gardening mode! I spent the weekend working in the beds, weeding and adding compost and leftover ashes from the fireplace (they are wonderful for your soil).

I even had time to plant the cold weather seeds, radishes, lettuce, swiss chard, mache, spinach and peas.

I took a risk and planted my marigold border as well, I am so impatient! Hopefully we won’t get anymore snow!

designerssweetspot.com

How do you plant a marigold border? First, I purchase several large boxes of bulk seed.  I found these at the local home improvement store on sale. I love the mix of colors and textures of these flowers.

designerssweetspot.com

We have raised garden beds, but you could just as easily plant a border in a flat area. I plant the outside with the flowers, and put the rows of veggies inside the border.

designerssweetspot.com

The seed boxes are designed for easy planting. Simply, open the side to expose the hole where the seeds come out. There is a bit of loose material in with the seeds to keep them from sticking to each other, it also makes it easy to just sprinkle the seeds over your planting area.

designerssweetspot.com

Can you see the white powder material? That’s the seed mixture. In our 10′ by 10′ garden beds, I sprinkle an area approximately 12″ wide around the edge of each bed.  The seeds can then be tapped into the soil with a rake or gently cover them with 1/8″ of soil. Our garden was very dry, it was easy to sprinkle some dust on top of the seeds. Shortly after I finished planting, the rains came.  Beautiful flowers are not far away!

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That’s it! Seriously, it’s that simple. Just sprinkle them on the dirt and your done!

This is our garden last August. You can see what a beautiful pop of color the marigolds are! They are very economical to plant in bulk, I spent a total of $10.00 on seed that covered the edges of more than 5 large beds. To purchase flats of marigolds to cover this same area, it would have cost well over $100.00, and not been as thickly planted.  The time savings is huge as well. I spent 15 minutes spreading seed, it would take hours to plant each one of these flowers by hand!

I love marigolds for lots of reasons.

Rabbits don’t like them, and we have seldom had rabbit issues. I like to plant other “stinky” plants inside the border such as onions, shallots and garlic. Then I use the middle section for the plants that the rabbits love to eat, such as strawberries, beans, and lettuces. It’s not fool proof, but it does seem to discourage the bunnies from getting to all that good stuff in the middle.

The marigold blossoms are edible if you grow them organically (I don’t use any chemical fertilizers on our garden), but do not eat them if you purchase commercially produced flowers (they have too many chemicals on them to be edible).

Best of all, marigolds are hardy even in our zone 4-5 garden. One planting in spring will yield beautiful flowers by mid to late June and until frost. A little care is needed, I occasionally pluck the dead blossoms off or snip the tops of the plants off with a scissors for continual bloom.

Happy Gardening!