Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Hydrangea Tricks and Tips

Everybody loves Hydrangeas!
They put on a wonderful show in almost any floral arrangement.
These pretties also have a reputation for being almost impossible to keep for any length of time.
It used to be that I dreaded getting a request for Hydrangeas in our floral work.
Not anymore......I know "Hydrangea Stuff" now!
AND I am going to share that stuff with you!

On Thursday the wonderful folks at Koehler and Dramm delivered 125 Hydrangeas Sweetwater.  Yikes....that is a lot of flowers.
What ever would I need 125 Hydrangeas for?
Why....to make popcorn centerpieces for the Chaska Rotary Circus Themed Gala of course!

Popcorn boxes from the dollar store were stuffed with white Hydrangea to mmic popcorn.
The gala decor is the genius work of the Sweetwater Daughter.....and I got to help!

I think she nailed it.....
Enough bragging on my kid...

I am here to share some tips that will ALMOST guarantee success and a long vase life for Hydrangeas.

TIP #1
HMMMM.....did you know that Hydrangeas take in water from their petals?
So...when I unpacked the 125 flowers....I immediately plopped them all upside down in bucket (or in this case the bathtub) of cold water.

Each flower comes with it's own little baggie of water. This keeps the flower stem hydrated while the flowers soak.

If your flowers don't have this, you can concoct one with by bunching the stems and wrapping a water filled baggie around them with a rubber band.

OR.....you really can submerge the whole flower stem and all in the water.

I didn't take photos of my process...so here is an image from the Flower Muse
I soaked these overnight.  You really only need to do this for a couple of hours.
Give them a fresh diagonal cut when you take them out of the water.  Immediately get them in buckets of water.
The flowers will be really wet when you take them out...DUH!....so they will need to dry off before you arrange them.

TIP #2

Alum Dip

When you cut hydrangeas they can form a sticky substance over the cut that prevents the flower from sucking water up through the stem.  There are a couple of ways to prevent that “sticky stuff” from forming: dipping the stem in boiling water....putting the end of the stem in an open flame....OR this! Dip the freshly cut stem in ALUM(A common ingredient used for pickling, find it in the spice aisle.) 

French Country Cottage

When you are arranging your hydrangeas re-cut the stem  about an inch above the previous cut and immediately stick the bottom 1/2″ of the stem in the alum to coat it, then arrange as usual.

 I learned this trick at a workshop given by a wedding designer who does those really spendy weddings that budget upwards of $15,000 for FLOWERS.
I figure that if he relies on this method, it must be pretty fool proof!

TIP #3

Finishing Spray !
This is my new favorite "secret sauce".  Once this is sprayed on your Hydrangeas or other flowers, it keeps them looking fresh for a really long time.

It might seem like a lot to spend.....but if it keeps your expensive flowers looking good for more than a week....it is worth it.  A little goes a long way too.

Tip #4

You can revive a droopy Hydrangea!  Sometimes all the tricks don't seem to work and a flower will wilt anyway.  It is worth trying to revive your Hydrangea....you have nothing to lose!  Just cut the stem again and fully immerse the flower head and stem in cold water for a few hours.  In many cases, the flower will perk right up!

So the proof is in the photo....right!?

Here are the Hydrangeas from the Gala last weekend.
They were arranged on Friday....
Now it is Tuesday.....
They look pretty good and probably will for at least another 4 or 5 days!

 Now....go buy yourself some Hydrangeas and enjoy them with no worries!!

Link Parties
Happiness is Homemade


Thursday, April 12, 2018

DIY Marble Look Serving Tray

You all know how I am all about "using what I have".

Well...when we redid the bathroom, there were a few of these pretty 12 x 18 tiles left.

I knew that one would make a lovely oversized serving tray.

I checked out retail stores to get some ideas.  These looked the way I envisioned the tray I wanted.

As you can see....the prices were all over the place.  But I figured I could make one cheaper than even the least expensive one....and....I already had the tile just sitting around.

I looked for tutorials for doing a project like this.
House of Wood 
has a nice one......pretty much exactly what I wanted to do.

I bought some drawer pulls at Home Depot.....I got out the tile....and then I made my FIRST mistake!

I asked Mr. S for advice about the type of glue that would be best and if we had something around home that would work.

Mr. S:  Why wouldn't you actually drill the holes and screw the handles in?
Me: Sounds like a lot of work and I don't really want this to be a big deal.
Mr. S: I would be happy to do it.
Me: Go For It!

The tray is absolutely beautiful!

Now....for the other side of the story!

Drilling porcelain tile is a b***h!
It took more than a couple of hours and several destroyed drill bits to finish the project!

So.....my almost free tray actually ended up costing as much as the least expensive retail one!!!

Oh well....to quote Mr. S:  "at least now you don't have to worry about the handles coming off when you are carrying something."

And....I have a really pretty tray and one less leftover tile!

 Have A Great Day!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Dollar Store Spring Wreath

Did you know....that florists no longer call "fake flowers" fake or silk or artificial?
These flowers now have the much more elegant title of "Permanent Botanicals"!
Sounds so fancy.....
You know how much I love real flowers....but sometimes the permanent botanical route makes sense.

Here is my the wreath on the Sweetwater front door!

 The wreath itself is the Trader Joe Boxwood wreath that I bought for Christmas.
I used the information from Julie Blanner's lifestyle blog to preserve it.  You can read about that here: https://julieblanner.com/how-to-preserve-boxwood-wreath/
I am amazed at how well it has lasted.

The flowers are from the dollar store!

Yup....$4 for enough flowers to fill the wreath nicely!

I use "permanent botanicals" from the dollar store a lot.

Here I used little white blossoms and yellow carnations with some preserved magnolia leaves.
I think the little bird nest is a nice touch.
And...seriously...I wish I could keep the bunnies caged up like this to "preserve" my tulips.  PUN intended!

I had some time to do a little looking around for good looking permanent botanicals:
Take a look at this site: Shop Silk Flowers Online at Afloral.comThe flowers are really great looking...definitely not dollar store!
I loved the tutorial for the DIY peony arrangement.  It even tells you how to make the acrylic "water".

In doing the "research" I found a couple of really simple tricks to use is you want your artificials to look more real:

  1. If you don't have the time or inclination to make the acrylic water....put some real water in the vase. (duh)
  2. Don't leave the artificial arrangement in the same spot for more than a couple of weeks...or about the same time as real flowers would last.
  3. Mix flower blooms that are artificial with foliage and fill greens that are real.
  4. Use flowers that are familiar.....and that would maybe come in a florist bouquet.
  5. Take the price stickers off :)

I will leave you with some inspiration!

 Lilacs are so hard to keep looking fresh.  These would stay pretty a long time. I would miss the scent though.

These tulips might serve me well when the bunnies do their damage !
Well...wishing you a day filled with flowers whether they are "permanent" or natural!

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