Thursday, November 29, 2012
My mom and my great-grandparents always made arranging flowers look easy. A handmade arrangement can be so special and meaningful to the receiver. And it allows you to add a person touch for special occasions. My sister-in-law lost her second grandma in the past year this week. For the first funeral, I made this heart-shaped rose arrangement. I had asked about her favorite color before I made it.
But I wanted to do something for this grandma that I had spent much more time with that reflected what I knew of her. Her grandma was such a sweet lady. She was petite and delicate and warm. She had suffered a stroke before I met her that had left her with partial facial paralysis and made her speech difficult to understand. That would have been difficult for many people to deal with in social settings but she was strong and was always there for all the important things in her kids and grandkids and great-grandkids lives. She always came in with a smile and a hug and looked each person directly in the eyes when she talked to you. She was always well put together as she had been a salon owner for many years. She loved to wear sweaters with delicate trails of flowers on them and a beautiful piece of jewelry. With that in mind, I thought of the beautiful, dainty spray roses that are always available at our local farm market.
I selected a vase with a ruffled edge to start that feminine look I wanted at a cost of $2.29. Then I picked these very pale pink and cream "antique" looking spray roses. Our farm market sells these in a bundle for $9.99. I grabbed one bundle of baby's breath for $1 and 3 stems of greenery they sell for $.69 per stem. I also got this sweet little butterfly for $1.49 to add just the special touch. My total with tax was $17.85. Any similar arrangements I could find online started at $40 on up.
The first thing I do is mix the little floral food packet with a little lukewarm water in the vase so it dissolves while I'm working on the arrangement. I set the vase near the edge of the counters so I can hold up each stem and estimate how long to cut each stem individually. I start with the flower(s) that I want to be the center of the arrangement.
Then I work the vase in thirds or quarters, cutting the stems slightly shorter as I get toward the outer edges of the arrangement. Crisscrossing the stems around the center flower(s) helps hold the center vertical as I work.
Once the roses are all roughly where I want them, I fill in first with the greenery. I like the tiny ferns because I think they allow the flower to shine and remain the focal point more than using large ferns. They also seem to look better longer as the arrangement ages. I like to use just a couple and fluff and thread them around the flowers rather than using a whole lot of them.
Then I fill in any spots that seem to be too bare with the baby's breath. I think of baby's breath like a highlight so I like to keep it a little shorter than the main flowers so it fills in the overall look but doesn't compete with the roses.
Once I got everything in, I still had the issue of floppy flowers - you know how they all want to sink toward the edges of the bowl and you can't get your arrangement to look even? This means the stems are too long for the bowl and the amount of flowers you have. I simply pick the arrangement up in one bundle and make sure it looks like I want it to look. Then I remove about 1/2 inch on all the stems (make sure you still cut each stem at an angle). Placed back into the vase, the arrangement now looks much fuller and holds together better. The little butterfly tucks perfectly into this spot.
A glittery black sheer ribbon compliments the black glitter on the butterfly's wings. I make a little card to identify who the arrangement is from by taking a piece of coordinating color card-making scrap paper and edging it with patterned scrap booking shears. Then I write a message and add a 3D sticker or two with flowers and/or butterflies. The stickers can be found in the scrap booking section of most craft stores but I actually found some great ones at Dollar Tree as well.
Posted by April S.