Category Archives: Flowers

Coffee Filter Peonies

Coffee Filter Peonies by Farmhouse38.comCoffee Filter Peonies by

Making flowers out of coffee filters or tissue is nothing new, but I’ve been meaning to try my hand at it for quite sometime. And when I say ‘try my hand’, I mean ‘try my hand’:

Coffee Filter Peonies by

Wear gloves. Learn from my mistakes.

Of all the hundreds of tutorials out there on this, I landed on the one from Rebecca at The Crafted Sparrow. I liked this one. So I did it. :-) Honestly, she does a really bang-up job of laying out the tutorial, so I highly recommend you head over and follow her instructions–but I will muddle through mine just the same! Because I am a professional muddler.

I began with pretty simple supplies: scissors, large white coffee filters, thin craft wire, floral tape, hot glue, and whatever color food coloring you are looking to do. I wanted RED. Super-saturated red. We’ll get to that later.

Supplies for making Coffee Filter Peonies by

Simple enough!

Now settle in for some busywork…depending on how many flowers you want to make, there is quite a bit of coffee-filter cutting to be done. I obviously wanted a lot of flowers, so I kind of hunkered down a few nights in a row and cut filters while watching a lot of reality TV. It helps. I promise.

You’ll want to fold a single coffee filter in half, then in fourths, then again into eighths and cut the top of it into an arch (in order to make a scalloped edge). I even folded some to just fourths, and some as much as into sixteenths, because I wanted the ruffles of the flowers to be inconsistent (which feels more real to me).

Coffee Filter Peonies by

For the center of every flower, I wanted some fringe, so I folded the coffee filters into eighths and then instead of just scalloping the top, I actually cut them down in length by about a quarter, and scalloped the edge. Then I cut the edge so that it had fringe.

Coffee Filter Peonies by

Magic! I suddenly have a manicure.

A typical flower is going to be assembled from various pieces of these different-shaped filters–you can use any combination or repetition of any of the scalloped-edged pieces, with one fringe piece in the center.

Coffee Filter Peonies by

A typical blossom is made up of about four pieces, but to make larger ones, sometimes I would use up to six, and to make smaller ones, sometimes I would only use one scalloped-edge piece and one center piece. There is no right or wrong amount here, and I strongly encourage you to make them various sizes–much more realistic-looking that way!

Now, take a small length of wire for your stem. Rebecca at The Crafted Sparrow suggested taking a pencil or a paintbrush or something of the sort and wrapping one end of the wire around this a few times to make a small circle as a sort of catch for the wire to not pull all the way through the coffee filters. I did this. Great idea. So once you have your wire loop, slide a fringed coffee filter piece on up the wire and mush it into a flower shape (again, look at the Rebecca’s tutorial, she did a better job of documenting this with the camera). I adhered it with a dot of hot glue. Then slide a scalloped coffee filter of your choosing up next. Mold it into a flower shape and adhere it with hot glue. Keep building until your flower makes you happy. If you want, at the end, you can wrap floral tape around the bottom to give it a finished look.

Now for the fun part…dyeing them! To get your desired color, you’re gonna have to mess around a little bit with your food coloring. Mix a few drops of food coloring with water in a bowl and test it out on your extra coffee filters. I wanted my flowers to be all varying shades of red, and so, to be honest, I hardly had any water mixed with mine at all–nearly straight food coloring. For some of them, I even added black food coloring to get that black-red color.

Coffee Filter Peonies from

I recommend making several bowls full of varying shades of the same color, as this gives you a really realistic color scheme (flowers are gonna vary in color slightly from one to the next, right??). So play around with it! And…again…wear gloves.

Coffee Filter Peonies by

I dipped my blooms fully into the mixture, making sure that every bit was soaked up with liquid. Then I set them, face down, on a tinfoil-lined cookie sheet to dry. Once dry, I went through and fluffed them up into the proper shape.

I went around and around with what I actually wanted to use these for–my intention was to make a Valentine’s Day centerpiece using up-cycled tin cans as vases. Long story short, I wasn’t super pleased with how it turned out:

Coffee Filter Peonies by

Not the worst thing I’ve ever made, so I figured I’d share the photos anyways. Happy Valentine’s Day a week late!! LOL.

It was at this point that I realized what I really wanted out of these things was a big, lush centerpiece arrangement. So I dug out my big silver basin, and taped the top off into a grid (this is a great florist’s trick that helps support a mass of flowers-live or paper- in a wide-mouthed vessel. I used Scotch tape, which works fine, but clear floral tape works even better if you can get it because it is narrower, clearer, and has a stronger bond).

Coffee Filter Peonies by

Make sure your vessel is completely dry when you apply the tape. I dried it off, but just before I took this photo, my sparkling water bottle exploded everywhere. Perfect.

Be sure to run a length of tape around the circumference of the vessel to pin down the grid tape edges:

Coffee Filter Peonies by

It ain’t too purty but it keeps things secure and theoretically will be covered by the lushness of your arrangement.

I started by inserting a bunch of branches:

Coffee Filter Peonies by

Next, I realized that the flimsy wire I made my peonies with was too flimsy, so I hot-glued each blossom to a piece of stiff, raffia-covered craft wire. Then I proceeded to shove them in amongst the branches.

Coffee Filter Peonies by

Once you’ve got quite a few flowers in there, add a few more branches, and then keep adding flowers until the thing is overflowing.

I even hot-glued a couple of smaller blossoms to some of the branches for a little more drama:

Coffee Filter Peonies by

Coffee Filter Peonies by Farmhouse38.comCoffee Filter Peonies by

So as much as this was supposed to be a Valentine’s Day project, I bumbled it enough that it didn’t quite turn out to be that. But that’s just between you and me.

Happy Valentine’s Day next year!!!

DIY Floral Collar for Dogs (and a Bee Sting)

DIY Flower Collar for Dogs from

Today’s looking up for Phoebe.  Yesterday wasn’t so fun:

Bee Stung Puppyface from

This is what it looks like when you take a bee stinger to the mouth.

Bee stung puppyface from

Needless to say, poor puppyface was in a lot of pain, and had to go to the vet for a shot. Sad face.

But today, her face has returned to it’s normal level of goofy, and she is feeling quite fantastic. So we decided to celebrate with a puppy flower collar.

DIY Flower Collar for Dogs from

Who’s a pretty girl?!

This tutorial harkens back to my floral design days when we’d do floral collars for dogs who got to be in the wedding party (which is pretty much my favorite thing ever). They’re so simple to make, and as long as you have a tolerant dog, they’re pretty easy to wear (I should note here that not all dogs will be a fan of this, so proceed with caution.  Also, be sure to select flowers that are non-toxic–I cannot stress this enough. Roses, marigolds, daisies, snapdragons, small sunflowers, coneflowers, etc. are all choices that are non-toxic and also hold up well in this sort of application-ie, won’t get too floppy too soon. Also herbs–herbs are great for this).

Start off by measuring your pet’s neck, and then add about two inches to that measurement. Now cut that amount of thin craft wire, and twist a small loop at one end:

DIY Floral Collar for Dogs from

Select your flowers and cut them right at the top of the stem so that the blossom has zero stem.

DIY Floral Collar for Dogs from

DIY Floral Collar for Dogs from

No stem!!

Now, carefully poke the wire through the base of the bud and out the other side. Sometimes it’s helpful to use a pin to sort of ‘pre-drill’ through the flower before poking the wire through.

DIY Floral Collar for Dogs from

DIY Floral Collar from

Slide that wire on through.

Slide the blossom on down, and repeat until you have filled the length with about an inch to spare.

DIY Floral Collar for Dogs from

Now, place the collar on your victim and feed the loose wire end through the looped wire end and secure.

DIY Floral Collar for Dogs from

Oh, Phoebe…workin’ that collar!

I should also note that an optional and very pretty way to attach the collar is to start with a slightly shorter wire length, put a wire loop at each end of the wire, and then attach short lengths of ribbon to each end.  These can then easily be tied together to secure around your pet’s neck:

DIY Floral Collar for Dogs from

Willie shows off this version.

This was, incidentally, the method I used to make Millie’s pretty little necklace last spring (some of you might remember):

DIY Floral Collars from

I should note here that Miss Millie was not a fan of her necklace AT ALL. I do not recommend putting accessories on your chickens unless they are just really used to these sorts of shenanigans or are really just that fashionable.

But the Feebster didn’t seem to mind her collar too much. She knows it goes well with her non-swollen face.

DIY Floral Collars for Dogs from

Two DIY UpCycled Flower Vases

Tiny Flower Vases from Farmhouse38

Thought I’d share these two quick, up-cycled flower vase ideas.  The first (pictured above) is a fun little dose of cuteness.  These are leftover essential oil vials and, when tied off with a bit of baker’s twine, they make pretty adorable vases….especially when holding a single, tiny blossom like these chamomile flowers.

DIY Upcycled Flower Vases from Farmhouse38

Yup. That was once a can of dog food.

I love using tin cans as vases; this one has been dressed up with a quick lace collar that is just tacked on with a bit of hot glue.  Doesn’t hurt it’s loveliness factor to fill it up with a jumble of glorious fresh freesia (and yes, a bit of chamomile in this one, as well).  So simple!

That is all!  Carry on!  :-)

Valentine’s Candy Box Roses

Valentine's Candy Box Roses from Farmhouse38

I have a confession….I heart Valentine’s Day in all of its ridiculous glory.  I love the blatant pinks and reds and hearts and sparkles and chocolates and redundant red roses.  It’s all just so darn cute and girly, and I embrace it and accept it despite its pathological commercialism.  I’m really an enormous sucker for some adorable packaging no matter what.

Another thing I secretly love?  Those super-cheesy heart-shaped boxes of chocolate.  You know the ones in the drug store, just to the left of the shampoo aisle?  Yes, those!  It isn’t so much about the chocolate (I swear), as it is about that nostalgic heart-shaped box:

Come on, you know you love this!

Come on, you know you love this!

After the chocolates have evaporated, what does one do with such an adorable box?  At my house, you fill it with flowers, of course!

Here’s how:

First of all, you can do this arrangement in either the lid or the bottom (or both!).  I chose the bottom, which had built-in candy compartments that had to be gently ripped out, first.

This doesn't look so cute.

This doesn’t look so cute.

Now, because this is a cardboard box, we gotta waterproof it.  You need to line it with some sort of thick-gauged plastic lining, whether it be a bit of garbage bag, ziplock, etc.  I happened to use a piece of some left-over painter’s tarp.  Cut it roughly to size with a little bit of overlap.

Fit the Plastic LiningPush the plastic lining into the box, and then, using your trusty glue-gun, run a bead of glue, bit by bit, along the top edge of the box, adhering the plastic just well enough so that it sticks, not so well that it melts through the plastic (which if you are using sturdy enough plastic and a low-heat gun, shouldn’t be a problem).  This doesn’t have to be a perfect, solid bead of glue–just enough to hold the plastic in place.

Glue the Lining

Once you are done, it should look a little something like this:

AdheredNow, run scissors along the top edge of the box and remove the excess plastic.

TrimAs long as you didn’t accidentally pierce or burn through the plastic, you should now have a cardboard box capable of holding some liquid.

Easy waterproofingUnder normal circumstances, this is where I would cut and fit wet florist’s foam into the container.  Lately, I have been trying to steer away from using the stuff unless I just have no choice–it’s really rather environmentally unfriendly.  But this is a personal choice and I chose to go without.  Instead, I cut and fit a double-layer of paper towels into the bottom of the heart, then filled it about half-way with water.  The paper towels serve as a grip for the roses, and also to keep things damp with minimal water (as this is a shallow container and you don’t want a ton in there sloshing around).

Cut your roses real short–right at the base of the bloom:

Cut Rose

Go ahead and start lining them up in the container, making sure the cut stem makes contact with the paper towel.

Flower Assembly

The flowers might tip over a bit as you work–don’t worry, the more you get in there, the more they hold each other upright.

Two dozen roses (straight from Home Depot) should about fill this size container (approx. 12″ wide at its widest point), but I went and tucked in a few coral-colored roses just for effect, so my total came out to 30 roses.

Roses and roses

Now, you’ll probably be able to still see a bit of plastic liner around the edges.  We’ve got to do something about that!  I chose this adorable lacey, felt ribbon to edge the box in, but any ribbon or trim will work.


Run a bead of hot glue around the outside top edge of the box, and apply your decorative trim so that it overlaps the flowers just a bit and hides that unsightly edge.

Pretty trim

Pretty!  But why stop here?  In the spirit of Valentine’s bling, let’s add some sparkle, shall we?  Give your roses a fine mist of water across the top:


Pick your poison:


I give you….Martha Stewart “Candy Apple”!

And then literally blow it like fairy dust across your flowers.  If you don’t like glitter everywhere in your house (then you have no soul!  Just kidding….kind of), please do this step outside!


How I love me some sparkly roses!

Now, you just want to top the whole thing off with a nice, diagonal bit of ribbon and a tailored bow to mimic the way these candy boxes are usually trimmed out.  Cut a piece of your trim ribbon to fit across one lobe of the heart, anchoring each end of the ribbon to the inside upper edges of the box with hot glue (so that the glue and ribbon ends don’t show above the trim).

More trim

Now, glue together a little bow:

Cute bow.

Then adhere this to the middle of your diagonal ribbon, adding bow tails if you wish.

Candy Box Roses

Add a cute tag to complete the package!

Hugs and kisses

To maintain the freshness, drizzle a little new water into the center of the arrangement every couple of days.

Sparkles and sparkles

I adore the red-on-red-on-red monochrome of this presentation, but it would be so cute done up with some different colors thrown in there, as well.  I may have to do up a pink version using the left-over lid!

Enjoy! :-)

Not-So-Gloomy Blooms

It’s a grey, cloudy day at the Farmhouse; a perfect day for a happy, colorful arrangement.  Behold!  My favorite colors all thrown together.

It all started (like usual) with a trip for something entirely else to Home Depot, where I spotted these delicious purple and coral carnations.  The Halloweenish colors of the carnations made me think immediately of something that was growing in my yard….

Darling orange cosmos that were a surprise pop-up in the garden. An 8-foot-tall surprise that my mom insisted was a weed and wanted to pull and I said, “No, it’s not a weed!” and she said, “Well, what is it then?” And I said, “I don’t know!” It eventually turned into a cosmos of some sort. I think. That’s what I’m going with, anyhow.

This crazy plant eventually got so tall that it flopped over and I had to prop it up with an Adirondack foot rest.  But, I digress.

Pretty cosmos to complement my store-bought carnations.

Since it’s almost Halloween, I went with a black, metal cauldron-style container, and began cutting the carnations to length and dropping them in.

Time for some purple.

Add in a handful of marigold-orange cosmos, and try not to be happy when you look at these colors. Just try!

Apples and Roses

I know that this is a waste of perfectly good apples….but I could not resist putting them into an arrangement.  It smells so ridiculously good!

The recipe for this design is pretty simple: farmer’s market apples, store-bought roses (one dozen peachy-pink, one dozen dark red), green hydrangea from the garden, and bits of old wisteria vine.  I used a low, round bamboo container, about seven inches in diameter (and since it isn’t waterproof, I lined it with a plastic bag).  Because the apples are an unusually heavy element, I used a hunk of florist foam wedged into the container (inside the plastic bag liner) to anchor everything.  The apples have to be skewered on sticks (I used bamboo kabob sticks from the market, and put two to three in each apple for extra support), and then stuck into the foam.  I placed the eight apples at random intervals across the foam, then filled in around them with hydrangea, roses, and old bits of wisteria vine.  September in a vase!

Treasure-Box-Style Floral Tutorial

Back in ye olden days, when I was doing floral event design for a living, this style of arrangement was kind of my trademark.  I still love them.  There is just something so charming about a pretty jewelry box over-flowing with flowers.

For this arrangement, I hit good ol’ Home Depot for the flowers, including: one bunch of pale pink roses, two bunches of tuberose (my most favorite-ist flower!), and two bunches of carnations (one white, one creamy yellow).  Now, I know there are a lot of carnation-haters out there that are going to get cranky, and believe me, I used to be one of them.  But they have won me back to the dark side.  Carnations are rampantly misused and mistreated (only elementary school science teachers should dye their carnations….everyone else should knock it off).  In reality, they are a sweet, ruffle-y, wonderfully textural floral element when used either exclusively (as in, an entire, mounded arrangement of carnations), or as a filler element alongside other, less misunderstood flowers.  There.  I’ve said my piece.  On with it.

I actually got this amount of flowers to accommodate two arrangements….the second will follow in a subsequent entry.

I already had a cute little jewelry box from World Market in mind to use:

Dimensions are roughly 6″x6″x6″ plus or minus a half inch here and there.

Next, you want to line the inside of your chosen container (if it isn’t already miraculously water-tight) with a plastic bag to allow it to hold water.  I usually use a Ziploc or other fairly thick-walled zippy bag—you need the plastic to be pretty strong so you don’t accidentally poke through with a stem along the way.  For this sized container, I used a quart-sized baggy, but you can always go bigger….sometimes it’s better to go bigger.

Slip the baggy inside the box so that the edges of the bag are as close to the lip of the box as they can come without showing.  Because this one is a wooden box, I then stapled the top edge of the bag in place.

Staple through the zippy edge of the bag, no lower.

Carefully fill the bag with water and add a little sprinkle of flower powder if your bouquets came with it (if not, just skip this step–it isn’t the end of the world).

Next, if the lid of your container is like this one, it yawns all the way open, and, personally, I won’t have this.  Hold the lid at a semi-open angle and then use a hot glue gun to run a bead of hot glue along each of the hinges, back and front.  Hold it in place (or prop it) while the glue sets, and then the lid should stand at half-mast.  Much better.

Trust me, don’t skip this step.  I will know.  And I will find you.

Now, it is flower time.  For this one, I started with six of the roses, cutting the stems to about a 5 or 6 inch length, removing any remaining leaves, and then setting them into the container so that they kind of rest on the edge.

This one’s about a 6 inch stem length.

Next, it is carnation time.  Carnation-haters, look away!

Because I had two shades of carnations, I used a few of each: about 3 cream and 5 white. It would have worked, also, to just use all one color.

Now, for the tuberose (joy!).  Cut the tuberose to about a 6 inch length and strip away the bottom leaves and flowers (anything that might fall below the water line, you want to remove).  Then tuck those suckers into the gaps that are left.

I wound up using about 5 tuberose clusters.

And there you have it! (Hopefully!)

A Rather Crispy Garden

It has been hot.   Yeah, yeah, I know, you all feel really sorry for the SoCal girl.  My version of hot doesn’t quite hold up elsewhere in the country.  I know.  But, nonetheless, there’s been quite a bit of frying going on in the garden, and because I’m such a wimp with the heat, I haven’t been out tending to things quite the way that I usually do.  But today, I sucked it up, suited up, and headed out (much to the chagrin of both dogs, who just wanted to stay inside and soak up the AC).

Abbie’s face when I suggested she come outside with me.

Filling up the wading pool was the compromise.  You can see how enthusiastic Chance is.

The back ‘weed garden’…looks pretty, but it is so overgrown that you can barely get to the chicken coop.  A serious intervention was in order.  The Black-Eyed Susans got a bit of machete action.

Some harvested Suzies to put in the house.

Fresh roses and fried roses, all jumbled together on the same plant….I need to teach the ladybirds how to dead-head flowers.

Speaking of which….

I also need to teach them to stay off the al fresco dining table.  Maybe.

A lovely jumble of lisianthus, mini roses, and hydrangea in the weed garden.

Saucy hot pink dahlias…love this color!

I just can’t get enough of that hot pink blossom against its black foliage– is this real life???

A crispy rose…still pretty!

Strangely, the hydrangeas don’t seem to be minding the heat.

And the Morning Glory is also undeterred. 

Millie….my constant little shadow/tripping hazard.

My newly upgraded and organized potting bench.

The herb garden….

No wonder Chance always smells so minty-fresh!

Strange dog.

The last of the grapefruit crop (hoping to harvest and make some marmalade this week!)

Followed closely by the next crop!

This is the hardest working fruit tree I have ever seen.

The ladybirds getting all up in my business.

This is what it looks like when a chicken pecks an iPhone.

And finally….a little Fourth of July flair….

Red, white, and blues in the front beds.

And a wreath decorated with festive cupcake liners.

Happy 4th!!!

Memorial Day at the Farmhouse

I’ll start off on a serious note….we are humbled by the men and women who serve and have served in this country’s armed forces, and are infinitely grateful to them for their sacrifices.  Our hearts go out to those that have lost their loved ones, or who are waiting and waiting for them to come home.

As usual, the physical manifestation of Memorial Day came in the form of cocktails and a garden cook-out at Farmhouse38.  You can judge us if you want, but you know you were doing the same irreverent thing.  Because this was a garden party, I turned to the yard for inspiration.  Currently, our herb beds and grapefruit tree are ripe with offerings, so I incorporated as many of these elements as possible into the recipes and decor.

The tablescape was comprised of mason jar flower arrangements and mason jar votives surrounded by an assortment of citrus collected from ours and friends’ yards.

Each setting got a mason jar of minted ice water (gotta stay hydrated!), as well as a sprig of baby grapefruit in the center of each plate.

I wish I could say the sunflowers came from the garden, but these did not.  If it were later in the season, they probably would have!  The green hydrangea and grape leaves are most definitely homegrown, though.

For small gatherings, such as this one, I get to pick from my assortment of random old chairs to use as seating.  Love this!  Also, I like to bring indoor pillows out to add a little extra comfort and texture.

Here’s a pretty decent shot of the hanging crystals and mason jars that are a permanent fixture on the grapefruit tree.  The jars contain battery-operated timer candles that come on at dusk everyday.

The girls arrive, looking for cocktails…heh, heh….see what I did there?

Eloise considers my decor choices.

Mojito Sparkler with pineapple mint from the garden–YUM!  I’ll post the recipe shortly.

‘Saucy Mutt’ cocktail….check out for the recipe.

A bowl of harvested citrus, and some aMAHzing lemon cookies.

This was some gorgeous crudite…thanks, Jill!!!

It isn’t a party without cheese.  Am I right?!

Anyone who knows me can vouch for my sick obsession with creme brulee.  In honor of our citrus theme, I put a spin on these….grapefruit.  Yes, grapefruit creme brulee.  This was seriously good, if I do say so myself.  Recipe to follow.

The afor-mentioned lemon cookies, which came from a recipe I found on Pinterest.  Yay, Pinterest!  Check out the Farmhouse38 ‘The Farmhouse Sweet Shoppe’ board ( to see this recipe:  And go ahead and follow us while you’re there!!

After the candlelit gorge-fest, the small fries ran off steam before we busted out the sparklers.

Firesticks are purty.

Sparklerglyphs.  This spells….something….

It’s all fun and games until someone lights their head on fire.  Just kidding.  Safety first; the kids were sober so they were the ones that got to handle the pyrotechnics.

Orangey Arrangement How-To

With this current demonstration, I wanted to show how to make a fairly decent arrangement just by grabbing a few bunches of standard-issue store-bought flowers (these came from the holy land, Home Depot, but similar ones can be found at most supermarkets, Trader Joe’s, etc).  As you can see, I also stuck a couple of sprigs of garden cuttings in there, too–but this was a last minute embellishment that really isn’t required.

I grabbed one bunch of a dozen orange roses, and two bunches of a dozen orangey-yellow tulips. Monochromatic arrangements are a really quick way to get a lot of visual pop without having to over-think it. It even looks really great if you’ve got different shades of the same color (like, for instance, these roses don’t perfectly ‘match’ the color of the tulips, but they’re all pretty orange, wouldn’t you say? Good enough!). Don’t ever try to match flower colors–it is a battle you cannot win.

Two bunches of tulips, one bunch of roses.

I picked one of my favorite metal containers from Ikea (the other holy land). It’s about 7.5 inches tall and 5 inches wide at its rim. This is kind of a low, rounded arrangement, so it needs a low container with a wide mouth.

Oh, Ikea….you complete me.

Stripped tulips. Scandalous.

Stripped roses. Also scandalous.

Next I stripped those flowers. Typically speaking, you want to strip all the leaves off of tulips, unless, like me, you might want to see a little green here and there, peaking out. If so, leave maybe the top one or two leaves and gently yank the rest of them off of there. Get every last leaf off those roses–if you’ve got a rose stripper, great–if not, just pluck each one off.

Now you wanna take one of the little packets of flower crack that come taped to the cellophane packaging (hopefully, you didn’t throw them away, this stuff works–use one for this, and keep the rest! DO IT.), add some to your container and then fill the container with cold water. For this sized container you don’t need to use the whole packet–maybe only half–I dunno, it’s not an exact science.

Free-with-purchase flower preservative.

It’s go time, people!

I always start an arrangement by putting in the flowers that take up the most volume first–in this case, it’s the roses.

Grab the whole bunch in one hand, and then fiddle with each flower until they kind of form a nice, rounded, even bouquet. Don’t make it flat; have the roses in the center be a little higher than the ones around the edges. Maybe you lucked out and the way you grabbed them looked great. Again, this does not have to be perfect.

Now, while holding them still in the bouquet, you’re gonna cut the stems to the length you want. For these sorts of arrangements (the full, low, mounded sort), I like to cut the length so that the flower heads are gonna theoretically sit right on the top edge of that container. But to really get this right, you don’t want to cut the stems to be exactly 7.5 inches long (the height of this container)–you want to cut them a little shorter than that. Maybe more like 7 inches. You’re better off cutting them a little on the short side instead of the long side.

Next, just drop them in the container and let them fall where they want. They’re gonna naturally produce some gaps, and this is where you want to start sticking tulips. One at a time, cut each tulip to a length of about 7 inches, and start sliding them in there.

What you absolutely DO NOT want to do here is try to space things evenly. This is a lost cause. You want the tulips to look like they’ve grown up through the roses naturally with no space-planning. You should wind up with a haphazard vein of tulips peeking through the roses.

Now fiddle with the flowers individually to give the arrangement as a whole a soft, mounded look. This is where cutting the stems a little (only a little) on the short side comes into play–it is really helpful to be able to push and pull the flowers to the appropriate depth. Again, don’t try to make the shape perfect; by morning, those tulips will have grown a half inch taller (they keep growing the whole time, and you either have to embrace this and let them do their thing, or keep adjusting them everyday). I happen to love this about tulips.

At this point, you’re really, actually finished! This is a cute monochromatic arrangement that only required three bunches of Home Depot flowers and a vase that you, hopefully, had at home.

But maybe you’re not satisfied. Maybe you want to get crazy and add a little more color. So get crazy. Stop whining about it. Go see what you can find in your yard to add in. Sparingly. The main oomph of the arrangement is the tulips and roses–accent flowers and greens should be just that–accents. Don’t go overboard. It’s really easy to junk it up. Use only one or two more materials….if you bring in five more types of flowers and greens from the yard and shove them all in there, it’s gonna look manic.

A few suggestions about yard clippings: greenery is pretty easy to deal with. Most tree and shrub clippings are pretty hardy. Vines work pretty well for the most part. Flowers are temperamental; not all of them are gonna survive being cut and put in water. The only way to know for sure is to try. But such is the beauty of this arrangement: if your accents don’t work, pluck them out and try again with something else, or just leave them out altogether.

I brought in about six pieces of dark blue salvia and five small bits of live grapevine from the yard. The blue is really bold against the orange, so I only wanted to just tuck a wee bit in. As usual, I did this in a very asymmetrical way: three or so clustered just a little off-center, and then the rest spaced around one side of the arrangement. Don’t try to evenly space them around the whole arrangement. It will look too contrived. The grapevine mostly gets tucked in around the base of the flowers, although I always like to have one or two little bits of greenery poking out of the top.

Hopefully, you rode out this long instruction manual and now have a gorgeous arrangement of your own creation. If so, congrats! If not, you’re probably swearing at me right now, and I totally understand.

Please let me know if you have any questions about or what you thought of this tutorial by leaving me a comment.


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