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.
Last year, I tried to make Christmas arrangements. The best I can say for them? They made people laugh.
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.
The first result is a bit uneven.
- 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Don’t let me down, now.
Fishing for compliments is exhausting.
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!”
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? 🙂
It does. A balanced critique, indeed.
I’m going to pad the two smaller ones with more greenery.
Lol, I think you have done a great job! Off set beautifully against the white. Well done 🙂
Well, thank you, kind Ma’am.
Today, an improvement.
Tomorrow, the stars!
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.
High praise, Sir Brad!
I’m bouleversee with happiness at this moment!
LOL, I had to look up that fancy word. 🙂
Hah! Ask Christiane Kraft from France.
I really like the one in the last picture. Well done!!! Merry Christmas and all the best for your family.
thank you, Jacquie. That’s my favorite too.
My very best to you and your loved ones this Advent and Christmas season.
I like them, but I always prefer seeing arrangements that are made of things scrounged out of the yard. They often show how many different shades of green and how many different textures you can find.
Hey, Allen, everything is scrounged except for the Magnolia leaves! Everything is scrounged from the yard or the basement!
I could tell, that’s why I liked them.
I think you did a fabulous job. You may have to change your name to the Domestic Diva.
Awww…. that is so nice of you to say, kind Sir.
You are too hard on yourself! There is beauty in everything 😀
A girl after my own heart – in my better moments, that is.Indeed there is beauty in all my failed experiments – I just need new glasses!!
Congratulations! You have learned a lot in the past year, Grasshopper. You’re well on the Domestic Diva Trail.
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….
Cynthia, I once had a man tell me that he or she who tooteth not their own horn will go with their horn untooted, lol. Job well done. I’m tooting your horn. 🙂
Thank you, my friend. Someone has to toot that horn – and I love the term ‘tooteth’.
I thought it was funny when he told me that over 30 years ago. He was from Tennesee. Lol. You are a very talented lady. Have a great weekend!!
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.
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.
That sounds lovely, Levi. Have a wonderful time.
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.
I am here in my advanced age (smile) trying to find a bit of talent, despite all evidence to the contrary!
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.
Bold and beautiful, and does the spruce give it a delightful scent?
And thanks for the compliment!
Well, I like last year’s basket also, but this year’s is a coup! Kudos to the photographer.
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?
Love this year’s basket! Sometimes we all need a little professional help…tee hee! 🙂
Tee hee back to you, Rosa.
Your comment made me smile.
Thanks for it.
Hope you’re doing well. I think of you from time to time and always wishing you and your family well.
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!
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)
Ah yes… I suppose you’re right. Another challenge.
Beautiful creativity ,heartwarming.Have a joyous season.Jaalal
Thank you very much! Hope your Christmas is lovely.
You know what they say…”practice makes perfect”! And it shows! Cheers.
I’d forgotten that saying. Thank you, Lee.
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
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.
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
Kind Sir Anthony: What a lovely compliment. I’m so glad I fished for compliments! Thanks very much and sending love to your family too.
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.
Indeed, Kay. You got that entirely right.
Hope your Christmas is lovely.
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.
I shall remember that!
Thanks for putting it that way. And for the compliment. I appreciate it.
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…
Thank you, Faith! That’s my favorite, perhaps because it intimidated me at first, but turned out well.
What a nice surprise that was.
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.
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!
Mine used to say ‘practise makes perfect’ and I think you’re getting there. 🙂 And you have the satisfaction of having tried. Some of us… don’t 🙂
Thank you, dear Jo.
I’ll keep trying.
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. 🙂
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.
Yes, that was good to have two colors of hydrangea. Some bushes have red bark, and they would be good to plant. I may have to look for a holly bush, despite the ouches. 🙂
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!
I did indeed see your post, and it proves that you have TALENT, as well as the right tools!
Thank you for this response. I appreciate it.
I think these look great. That bottom one turned out especially well. It would cost you a bundle in a shop.
Thank you for that. I saw some much smaller arrangements for 80 bucks, and they weren’t as interesting, so I suspect you are right. It would cost a bundle.
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.
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!!
Mwah hahahhrgh! Trust me on this. You are more of a diva than I’ll ever be. Those are fab. I love ’em.
Ah, Girl. I’ll gladly take your compliment.
Methinks thou dost knit and other such fine things — including loud singing in church, right?
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.
I am going to have to borrow that — a lot.
I would say YES…they are lovely:-)
Thank you, Robbie. Very kind.
Methinks you are actually better at this than you give yourself credit for! You fished for compliments and hooked me – I think these look quite lovely. ‘jeanne
Well, thank you, kind Ma’am.
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 ;))
What a great idea! I wonder if that is done anywhere? Would be very nice.
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 🙂
Everything slows right down, doesn’t it?
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. ❤
Atta Girl! What a great quote for me to use.
Wishing you a wonderful Christmas holiday season, and thanks for your excellent blog.
I think all of the arrangements look great! Good job 🙂
Thank you for that!
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!
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?