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

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

A Good Home, Decorating skills, Domestic Divas, Flower Arranging, Flowers, Gardening, Gardens, Interior Design

Inferior Design — A Natural Talent

If I call to invite close relatives to supper, their reply goes like this:

“Oh! How nice…”

Blog Photo - Hostas and Clematis

A long pause follows.

Blog Photo - flowers in glass vase mixed

Then:

“Er… Who’s cooking?”

So — naturally — I reply: You have nothing to fear. Husband is cooking.”

Joyful sounds erupt from the telephone.

Blog Photo - flowers in Brown Vase closer

Me, take offense? No way.

Blog Photo - Hostas and wieglia

I’m the untalented one in a family of creatively gifted domestic divas and I know it.

My mother, sisters, cousins and daughters  — all are fabulous cooks and bakers.

All were born knowing how to arrange a room artfully.

Clothes and hair? Fabulously stylish. Floral arrangements? To sigh for.

Blog Photo - Flowers in vase nice

And then there’s me. I have to work really, really hard at all these things – with surprisingly strange results.

An expert at inferior design, is what I am.

Blog Photo - flowers with alium closer

My greatest talent was in designing and planting our gardens.  Really nice gardens — if you like the lush, exuberant kind.  There, I seem to know instinctively what flowers and colours go together.

But, these days, I mostly pick the flowers, not plant them.

So — naturally — I recently decided to try floral arranging.

You may remember that I once ruined a very simple Christmas arrangement.

But hope springs eternal.

So — naturally — I decided to channel my inner Christiane, and Karen B. – two wonderfully creative, flower-loving women.  I love their blogs.

I stuck some flowers in a vase. Peonies and Solomon’s seal.

Blog Photo - Peonies and Solomon's Seal

“Beautiful”, said my sister.

Shocking.

So — naturally — the next arrangement was — hmmm…..

Blog Photo - Peonies in tall vase

Friends Lydia and her daughter Sarah kindly gave me a book on floral arranging.

The designs seemed so simple that only an idiot could fail to grasp them.

So — naturally — I failed to grasp them.

I’ve been hiding from Lydia and Sarah ever since.

Blog Photo - flowers white daisies in vase

Along comes my daughter, to shore up my confidence.

I’ll cut the flowers, we agree.  She’ll take the lead on arranging them in vases.

They were all very pretty.

So — naturally —  I went and stuck allium heads into one of them and ruined her creation. (See the sixth photo from the top.)

But all she said was: Nice, Mom.

Encouraged, I stuck another allium head  into a few flowers in a thin vase.

Blog Photo - Hostas in tall vase

And all of that explains why this post is full of flowers in vases.

The nice ones are my daughter’s.

In case you were wondering.

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Dedicated to my creative relatives, and Lydia and Sarah. And to creative divas Christiane and Karen B.