A Good Home, Advent Traditions, Canadian life, Christmas Arrangements, Christmas Decorations, Christmas Greenery, Christmas Traditions, Cut flowers, Domestic Divas, Family Moments, Gardens, Home Decor, Homes

The Un-Domestic Diva Strikes Again!

Okay, alright, enough already.

I know that I am seriously challenged in some things.

Like cooking. Or baking. Or sewing. Or floral arranging. Or…. you get the drift.

Blog Photo - flowers with alium closer

Last year, I tried to make Christmas arrangements. The best I can say for them? They made people laugh.

Indoor Arrangement

But every saint has a past and every sinner has a future, and since this is the Advent season, I am full of hope for my own redemption.

So I’ve been trying to make Christmas arrangements again. A solitary, mindful activity that suits my Advent mood well.

First off: I had no budget. So all, or almost all, the ingredients had to come from my own garden, or from inside my house somewhere.

Blog Photo - Evergreen Tree with snow

The first result is a bit uneven.

Blog Photo - Planter Box 1

I used:

  • Red dogwood twigs
  • Evergreen spruce
  • Dried hydrangea flowers
  • Pine cones
  • A couple of grapevine balls
  • A few Christmas ornaments.

The second one, with much the same ingredients — plus an old fake bird and a single dried rose still on its long stem — showed more promise. Maybe it was just shaped better.

Blog Photo - Planter Box 2

That encouraged me to try a different, larger design. I used mainly spruce branches, dried hydrangea, dried astilbe and a reddish branch of something.

But this one was not quite right – I’m still not sure why.

Blog Photo - Large Winter Arrangement

Maybe the blue Everlasting flower from an indoor arrangement doesn’t fit? (Yes, I kept the dried-up flowers from arrangements sent us when my husband was ill.)

Finally, I felt bold enough to confront the long plant stand. You may remember that arrangement from last year – it was an inelegant mess.

Christmas Greenery
Christmas Greenery

Could I do better this year?

Totally intimidated at first, I cheated.

I bought some discounted southern magnolia branches  – 3 bunches at 5 bucks a bunch… a major steal.  At least, I think that’s magnolia – those leaves that are shiny-green-on-one-side, rust-coloured-on-the-other.

And here is the arrangement:

Blog Photo - Winter arrangement wide shot

Blog photo - Winter arrangement CU2

Blog photo - Winter arrsangement cu 3

My mother used to say: “Self praise is no recommendation.” So I shall make no editorial comment.

Instead, I shall sit back and await your accolades.

Blog Photo - Winter arrangement CU

Don’t let me down, now.

Fishing for compliments is exhausting.

Photos by Hamlin Grange
Photos by Hamlin Grange


Dedicated to my sister Pat and all domestic divas, including many in my blogging network (you know who you are).

83 thoughts on “The Un-Domestic Diva Strikes Again!”

  1. I liked the three striking ones in the first pic. At a glance, I think you get the striking bits right, it’s the padding or garnish or whatever that is difficult. No top tips for me as I don’t do Christmas arrangements although my trees are good. Anyways, the pine/spruce should be shorter and less vertical as they look droopy and patchy. Oh, you wanted compliments. Love the pine cones, magnolia, shiny leaves and red leaves. Does that help? 🙂

  2. I’m no domestic diva, but I’d say your long planter arrangement is lovely. A nice mix of colors, textures and well coordinated. You might have found redemption. XD thanks for the creative inspiration Cynthia.
    Happy Holidays!

  3. Congratulations! You have learned a lot in the past year, Grasshopper. You’re well on the Domestic Diva Trail.

    1. Well, I can hardly wait. Except, it is such a long trail, made up of cooking, sewing, knitting, flower arranging, baking…. makes me tired just thinking about the milestones on the Domestic Diva trail….

      1. One day when I am recovered from all these issues and am feeling strong and confident again, I am going to have to list you as one of the people who encouraged me from afar. You are a fountain of faith and encouragement to so many people, Levi. We are blessed to know you.

      2. And im blessed to know you, dear girl. Thank you!! Its a beautiful day in NY. My daughter and son in law are flying in within the next hour pr so and I’ll have fun showing them around for the next few days. Have a great weekend.

  4. I do not have a crafty bone in my body!! I have always wanted to sew and quilt but I am “fumbly” at best with my hands. I think they are too large for such delicate things!! I so enjoy everything rustic and actually love all the arrangements you made. Ahhh maybe someday I will find an ounce of crafting in some part of me.

    1. Since your hands aren’t too large to cook and bake such wonderful meals, I’m not accepting that excuse, young lady! The talent it takes to cook and bake, are related to the talent it takes to design other things – I’m convinced!
      In earlier years, I actually BOUGHT books and material to quilt – and was too terrified to get started.

    1. Well, thank you, kind Lady. I’ll pass on your congrats to the photographer too.
      “A coup” is high praise, indeed.
      Hope all goes well with the farm. How are the greens coming along?

  5. Well, I think they are all absolutely fine! I am surprised last year’s ones were laughed at – I think they look good. This year’s one in the long plant stand is lovely – I especially like the different shades of pink you have used off-set with the grey-green. ‘Home-made with love’ should always be appreciated.
    I am no good at this kind of thing but I do a little better when I don’t use flowers just greenery. Many people say ‘less is more’ so I try to limit the varieties of plant/leaf shape etc. I also stare at other peoples’ arrangements and try to see what they have done and then attempt my own version – usually with dire results!

    1. Thanks for your encouraging reply, Clare. “Home-made with love” says so much in a few words. I love that last one too. And now that I have a photo of one that works, I can try to replicate it next year.
      I’d love to see one of your arrangements some time. After all, if I can share my poetry, you can share your arrangements! (smile)

  6. Those are beautiful and creative floral arrangements! Your own unique touch with flair, Cynthia 🙂 That’s lovely… a home nicely decorated for the festive season. 🙂 Best wishes and blessings for Christmas! Iris

    1. Hey Iris: What a lovely thought: my “own unique touch with flair”. That could cover a host of domestic sins in my world.
      Blessings for Christmas to you, Iris.
      Thank you for being you.

  7. Ms CR, these Christmas arrangements are nothing to laugh at…. you may even consider giving up your day job… great work.
    lots of love to the family
    one love

  8. Wow! This is beautiful. I’m a kindred spirit. I can cook well. But, when I bake, my presentation leaves something to be desired. Sewing? Fuhgeddaboudit. So my applause is tenfold. I get it. When this stuff doesn’t come easy, a victory means all the more.

  9. Your festive arrangements are all lovely and even if its not what you intended Cynthia what a gift to make folk laugh and smile and interact.

  10. Your fishing for compliments worked; you hooked another one! The last effort was a great one. The window box (?) looks gorgeous. Maybe you’ll join the league of domestic divas after all…

  11. I am glad that you are not a Domestic Diva Cynthia, , they scare me almost as much as people who run around after balls. I love your last arrangement, very accomplished and professional looking. Have a wonderful Christmas.

    1. Thanks, Chloris, and for the Christmas wishes. I’m wishing you a lovely and joyous Christmas too.

      I’m glad you like the last arrangement. It turned out surprisingly well, and my family was taken aback at the improvement from last year. And I might end up running around after balls — but no risk of my becoming a diva in the domestic arts – I can never do the same thing twice!

  12. I think the red branches were nicely spaced in the bottom photo. It can be tough if all you have is green and brown. Ribbon can be useful to brighten things up, and can be reused year to year if it’s stored well. And many bushes have berries, and those can be very pretty. You are ambitious to take it on, and not just buy poinsettias like I might do, if I’m in the right place at the right time. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Brenda.

      You’re right about the colours and the use of ribbons.
      I had ribbons, but am a klutz with them, so put them in, and took them out again, deciding I like the play of the colours and shades I already had.
      The first three lacked the variety I wanted, but I’m very happy with the fourth one.
      I learned something this year: by picking the hydrangea when they are green, and allowing them to dry in the vase, while allowing the majority to stay in the garden till they get brown, I get two colours of hydrangea, which worked well in the last planter.

  13. There’s nothing wrong with your arrangements, they look excellent. Well, you’re saying you had no budget, just like I don’t. If you had a look at my last post, you probably saw what I could make out without any budget, but using some paints (since I am an artist and have paints everywhere) and recycling some materials, plus green stuff from the backyard, pine cones from the nearby park, etc. For those who sometimes wonder how it looks so nice on magazine covers, first of all, yes, there’s a difference whether one has all kinds of tools and materials, or doesn’t. I mean, it’s not difficult to put together all ready parts even if they come from a dollar store, but it takes skills and the right feel to make something out of … just something. Don’t ever be discouraged by nothing! I think when we want to do something, we just have to keep trying until the result satisfies us. Great post!

  14. Homemade arrangements are wonderful, even if they incorporate purchased elements. Congratulations on embracing your un-domestic diva and tackling the arrangements again, I think they are all delightful in their own way, keep at it! While a hazard with a glue-gun and limited to creating bouquets of ragweed and dandelion, I tackled re-creating my mother’s home-made dutch apple pie.

    1. Well, Ann: What an achievement. Home-made Dutch apple pie indeed!
      How did it turn out?

      I have a glue-gun that I’ve never used. I once tried gluing something and all my fingers stuck together.
      But – bouquets of ragweed and dandelion? Tell us more!!

      1. I knit socks and only socks, very badly. And yes I do sing very loudly (and also badly) in church. In fact I think my motto is probably “if you can’t learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.” Which is wiser than it sounds.



  15. Beautiful Really! I was just thinking this week wouldn’t it be amazing to see everywhere & the streets lit up with homemade natural decorations & candles! Zoom me back a hundred years scotty ;))

      1. I imagine there are areas around the world without electric who celebrate Christmas, so I suppose it does. We lose our electric here now & again, and oh the Peace of it 🙂

  16. I love those arrangements, Cynthia. The wilder things look the more I like them. And who says things have to cost a mint? If you see snobs coming your way just tell them this:

    “Oh, you haven’t heard about folk arrangements? They are the latest rage in New York, Paris and Britain!”

    Do what you love. And rejoice for your bank account. ❤

  17. I love it! The last one was pretty good, better than anything I can do! You’ve given me inspiration and courage to post pictures of my arrangements. Thanks!

    1. I’m glad, Julie. Honestly, you’ve never met anyone as ungifted as I at the domestic arts. So I figure that if I can try my hand at this, you with all your talent definitely should! Do share when you do, okay?

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