Monday, April 7, 2014

Posh Purpose: Styling a Low Flower Arrangement

I hope y'all got a chance to check out our How to Host: Tea Party post last week.  I had a lot of fun hosting and planning for the party.  One of the "must do's" I mentioned in the article was putting out pretty fresh flowers.  As promised, here is a tutorial on how I pulled my arrangements together.

Low, wide bowl
Scissors for cutting tape and trimming flowers
3 types of flowers - one with large blooms, one with small blooms, and one filler

You should make your arrangements the day before your event and then keep them cool (they don't need to go in the fridge, but don't set them near a heating vent or sunny window either), this will allow your flowers to open up the day of your event.  If you make the arrangement too far in advance, the flowers may start to die or wilt and if you wait to make it the day of, your flowers won't be fully blooming.  If you make your arrangement the night before, this will give the flowers time to open up and your arrangement will look super fluffy like the flowers you see in wedding magazines.  

I started out with a wide, low bowl.  Mine is from Tiffany and measures about 9.5 inches in diameter.

I then marked off the bowl with some painter's tape (shhhhh...don't tell Mr. 3, he hoards his paint tape) because I didn't like the idea of picking bits of scotch tape off the side of the bowl.  If I had to do it over again, I would probably use the scotch tape, but I would buy the cheaper frosted kind because I figure it will hold  up better than the painter's tape, but will be less likely to stick to my crystal.  I should also mention that I cut the painters tape strips in half to make them narrower.  The idea behind the tape is to prop up the flowers so you can shape your arrangement without having the stems flop all over the place.

After a quick trip to Safeway, I bought one bunch of hydrangeas (three stems - big blooms), one bunch of peach carnations (12 stems - small blooms), and one bunch of snap dragons (three stems - filler).  After you've trimmed all the stems down to fit the depth of the bowl, strip all the leaves from all the stems because if they get into the water, your arrangement gets yucky quick.  Then begin arranging by starting with your biggest blooms first.  This will help you better place your small blooms and filler.

After I had those arranged, I added in the small blooms peach carnations at various places around the bowl.  I didn't want them spread out individually all over, but I tried to group them in clusters.

Finally, I put the white snapdragons in the arrangement to fill in some of the holes and add interest to the arrangement.

Which was all fine and dandy until I realized that I hadn't purchased enough flowers and there was one hole in the arrangement.  So, I went back to the store and bought another batch of the same mix of flowers flowers.  I was just going to buy another hydrangea bunch, but then I realized I would have two extra stems just hanging out and I had one other smaller bowl that I could put flowers in for the coffee table.  After I filled in the hole with another hydrangea and a few more carnations, I poured lukewarm water into the bowl with a teapot so the petals didn't get wet or fall in the bowl (Despite what most people think, I read somewhere that lukewarm water is better for flowers.  Evidently, putting cold water on them is like pushing someone into a cold shower and it can shock them a bit.).  After I watered the arrangement, I noticed that the painter's tape had started to sag and it was hanging in the water in a few places, so I carefully snuck my hand around to pull all the tape off without disturbing the flowers.  If I had used scotch tape, I probably could have left it on the bowl and it probably wouldn't have drooped as much.

For the second arrangement (see the one on the right), I  had to use the leaves from the hydrangeas to add more filler because the second batch of carnations were much smaller and also hadn't opened up much.  Since this was a much smaller bowl, I was able to forgo taping off the grid.

I spent about $35 on making the two arrangements, but there were a lot of fun and really easy to make.  Each of the type of flowers I bought were close to the same price.  I went with hydrangeas since they gave the most bang for the buck (hydrangeas take up a lot of room in a vase or bowl!).  Carnations often get a bad rap...and they do look a little sad if you just have a few by themselves...but big bunches of carnations grouped together and packed in are a beautiful, fluffy, and cost effective alternative to roses or peonies.  Finally, the filler flower - snapdragons - were so pretty and the easiest to arrange.

I've had to remove some of the stems that died, but they are still going strong over a week later!  The flowers really made the party and I received many compliments, plus I got to enjoy them all week long.  I found it very relaxing to make the flowers and I love the results!  I wish I were one of those women who treats themselves to fresh flowers once a week, but that's a bit out of my budget.  However, we have a Easter potluck coming up and I think I will make another arrangement for that lunch.  I'm thinking I might try several small arrangements next time around.  Even though I can't have them every week, I can look forward to the times I can have fresh flowers for a special occasion.  Anyone else have any luck making flower arrangements?  Consider making your own for your next party, shower, or lunch!