Monthly Archives: September 2014

A Quick, Lush Mason Jar Arrangement

A quick, lush mason jar arrangement from


I think we can all agree that flowers in mason jars are pretty much the bee’s pajamas. The cat’s knees. Yah. You get what I mean. Sometimes, though, I see mason jar arrangements that are pretty sparse and vertical: too tall flowers being shoved in to what amounts to a pretty small container. There’s a better way…I’m gonna show you how to get a lush, mounded composition easily. The secret? You gotta make a bouquet (check out my bouquet-making tutorial here).

STEP 1: I selected a wide-mouthed quart-sized jar (courtesy of the Ball® Canning Heritage Green Collection). If you want to do a pint-sized arrangement, just scale it down accordingly. Start by filling whatever jar you choose 3/4 full of clean, cold water.

A quick, lush mason jar arrangement from

Love them green jars!

STEP 2: Select and prep your ingredients. Have a wide variety of materials to choose from, and clean and strip the stems of all leaves, thorns, and misc buds and stems that might fall under the water line. If you like the look of leaves and buds in your arrangement, allow a few to remain attached close to the blooms.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from

Strip your materials and return them to their buckets.

STEP 3: Begin assembling. Gather a few blooms in your hand to act as the ‘center’ of your arrangement.

How to make a hand tied bouquet the easy way from


Randomly add other blooms and fillers working in a circular pattern around the center blossoms.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from

Keep working until your bouquet is approximately a foot in diameter (for a pint-sized arrangement, work towards about a 6 inch diameter):

A quick, lush mason jar arrangement from


Step 4: Clip your stems. Hold the bouquet in one hand, and in the other hand use good, sharp shears to cut the stems straight across. You want to cut them so they are just shorter than the height of the mason jar (which is about 6.5 inches for a quart jar–so cut the stems to 6 inches or shorter. For a pint-sized jar, cut stems to 4.5 inches or shorter). When you insert them, you want to flowers to be resting on the edge of the jar, you don’t want the stems to be holding the arrangement up away from the jar.

Optional Step 5: You can wrap a single strand of waterproof florist’s tape just above where your hand holds the bouquet. This will ensure the arrangement holds its exact shape. Be sure that the tape wraps around and adheres back onto itself.

Step 6: Carefully insert the stems into the mouth of the jar and drop the entire bouquet into place. If you don’t tape it, you can play with the blossoms a bit to make them fuller or correct any pieces that might have gone wonky.

A quick, lush mason jar arrangement from

Step 7: Now, you can assess the entire composition and decide if you want to add a few more things, which I did. I added some geranium leaves after the fact. I do what I want.

A quick, lush mason jar arrangement from



Don’t forget the old adage ‘The thriller, the filler, and the spiller’ as a general guideline for your composition. Choose anywhere from one to three ‘thrillers’ (something eye-catching and bold), anywhere from one to two ‘fillers’ (something less showy to fill the space between thrillers), and one to three ‘spillers’ (something drapey or spiky to create movement). You’ll notice I did no ‘spillers’ in this arrangement. None of these rules are set in stone. And I like to break my own rules.

Now go! Make some gorgeous centerpieces! I’ll wait here.

Boutonnières Made Simple

Boutonnières made simple by Farmhouse38.comSince we had the bouquet how-to, let’s round it out with a boutonnière tutorial. A tutonnière. Sorry. I’m awkward. Sorry.

Boutonnières really are a very simple thing to make–which is awesome, since bouquet-making tends to be fairly taxing on the old creative juices. The bits and pieces of scrap flowers and greens leftover from bouquet-making are the perfect things to make your bouts from. Don’t get too hung up on trying to make your bouts match your bouquets–they only need to reference each other with a few similar materials.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from

When you strip away the leaves and misc. branches from your bouquet materials, be sure to keep them for use in other small arrangements, boutonnières, and flower crowns. I keep a mason jar with water handy to drop any useable bits into.

It is very important to select really strong, hardy materials for your bouts–as these flowers will be out of water the duration of the event, and are always subject to extensive hug-abuse. You want to pick materials that don’t wilt easy–in fact I highly recommend testing a piece of your prospective materials by leaving them out of water for several hours before you start assembling. Do they get super droopy and flimsy? Pick something that holds its shape better. Marigolds are great, so are roses, and so are a wealth of other flowers and greens.

Much like the bouquets, I would recommend assembling one day prior to the event.

To assemble a simple, single-bloom bout, you will need:

-One large, sturdy bloom (I used a marigold)

-One large, sturdy leaf (I used a scented geranium leaf)

-Light green floral tape

-Baker’s twine

-And don’t forget your boutonnière pins (they come in every color of the rainbow, so be sure to coordinate)

Cut your marigold and leaf so that the stems are about four inches long each (this is much longer than the finished size will be, but there is a method to my madness, I promise). Arrange them so that the blossom sits comfortably atop the leaf, and then wrap the stems tightly with floral tape. Make sure to stretch the floral tape a tiny bit first, this activates the stickiness of it.

Boutonnières Made Simple from

Similar to the bouquet process, only put as much tape on the stems as can be covered by your decorative twine.

Now, tie your baker’s twine just above the top of the tape and wrap it solidly down the stems until it covers the bottom tape edge. Tie a knot, and cut off all loose ends. Take another piece of twine and tie a bow at the top.

Boutonnières made simple by


The stems should still be too long. I usually keep them that way until the day of so that they can sit in a shallow bit of water and stay as fresh as possible.

Boutonnières made simple by

Keep the bouts in water in a dark, cool place until they are ready to be cut a few hours prior to the event. They can be laid flat until they are ready to be pinned onto their victims. Don’t forget to label who gets what!

So there you have a very basic, but adorable boutonnière (and frankly, just doing a single bloom is even easier–don’t underestimate it!). But…well…what if you want to get a little more creative? Here’s some inspiration:

Boutonnières made simple by

A sprig of succulent, a petite rose, and some hypericum berries make a nice little shot of color all finished with a wrap of copper wire.

Boutonnières made simple by

Orangey-red gomphrena, yellow goldenrod, and lavender leaves wrapped in paper-covered wire.

Boutonnières made simple by

Orchids are a fantastic choice for bouts, as they hold their shape out of water for a very long time. This cymbidium is pair with green hypericum berries and wrapped completely in raffia-covered wire.

Boutonnières made simple by

More sturdy ingredients include fern shoots, spiky sea holly, and lemon leaf.

Boutonnières made simple by

I’m a huge fan of using non-botanical materials in bouts and bouquets. It’s pretty great to know that they’re not going to wilt. Here we have some feathers tucked behind a bright zinnia, a sprig of eucalyptus, and a few sprigs of caspia. After the tape-wrapping, grey grosgrain ribbon was hot-glued in place, and topped off with a small steel star (also hot-glued into place). This is a good example of how a bout looks when you trim the stems flush with the wrap for a tidier look.

Boutonnières made simple by

Here’s a great example of why labeling your boutonnieres on the day of is so important. Be sure to provide plenty of pins, and always make one or two extra bouts, just in case.

***Things to remember*** 

-Choose the sturdiest materials available to you. Incorporating non-botanicals is a fun way to make sure your bouts don’t droop.

-Keep your materials in water for as long as possible–often this means keeping the stems long and clipping them just before showtime.

-Experiment with added decorations; don’t be afraid to pull out the hot glue gun and glue fun things into the mix. Don’t be tied (see what I did there?) to only finishing off with ribbon: use wire, twine, beads, etc.

-MAKE EXTRAS!!! Accidents happen, and it’s nice to have replacements.




How to Make a Hand Tied Bouquet

The easy way to make your own hand tied bouquet from Farmhouse38.comWedding flowers–huzzah!! This is for all you DIY brides out there (I’m looking at YOU Garlic, My Soul).

But let me start by stressing a little bit of advice here stemming from (ha! See what I did there?!) my experience in the wedding floral business: it’s all well and good for the bride to intend to get her hands dirty with this kind of project, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE have several friends or family members on board to help you out. I have pre-wedding jitters about your flowers. Things get crazy in the hours leading up to a wedding.

Now that we have that one tiny little bit of ominous warning out of the way–on to the fun stuff! Flowers–YAY! You guys know I am a cheerleader of the Slow Flower movement (read what I wrote about it here); I am all about using what is local, seasonal, and fresh. Whether the materials are from your own garden, foraged (legally) from the wild, or purchased from your most local flower farmer, it’s all amazing in my opinion. Visit to learn more about all this and to search for flower farms, farmer-florists, and locally-sourcing floral designers near you or your wedding venue. There is something truly magical about seasonal flowers.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from

Garden and #CAgrown gorgeousness.

The best time to assemble flowers would be the morning of the event–but…ain’t nobody got time for that. So I recommend doing the flowers the day before. Store them in the coolest, darkest place you can find overnight, and make sure they are all in clean, fresh water.

Material selection is, of course, really important, and sometimes rather daunting, and so I have a few rules I like to stick to. Are you familiar with the container-gardening guideline: ‘The thriller, the filler, and the spiller’? No? Read about it here. This is a cute little reminder that for a fabulous container garden, you need a ‘thriller’ (some sort of eye-catching superstar), a filler (something that fills space around the ‘thriller’), and a spiller (something that hangs down or sticks out from the overall arrangement to add movement and interest). Yeah. I like to apply this rule to my bouquets and flower arrangements, too. It’s super helpful, because it reminds you to keep things simple. As little as three materials can look fabulous (frankly, just one material in abundance can look pretty amazeballs, too–but I digress). You don’t need 25 different flowers in your bouquet. In fact, I beg you, do not put 25 different flowers in your bouquet. You only need anywhere from three to five different materials to make a really great arrangement. I promise. For this bouquet, I bought some gorgeous marigolds and dahlias from a local farmers’ market (because all the flowers in my garden are so scorched right now from record-breaking temps combined with severe drought–GAH!!), and pulled some scented geranium leaves and amaranth from my yard. So that’s four different things–but because I used two different, vibrant colors of dahlias, I like to count those separately–so really, this is five materials. Makes perfect sense, right? In my head, at least.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from

So if we are applying the ‘thriller, filler, spiller’ rule to this bouquet: I see the dahlias and marigolds as the thriller (so that’s THREE thrillers), the geranium leaves as the filler, and the draping amaranth as the spiller. Frankly, the little dahlia buds poking up from the bouquet are kind of ‘spillers’, too. But often they come along with the dahlia blooms and instead of stripping them away, I sometimes like to let them come to the party, too.

Don’t ever get hung up on ‘rules’, though. These are just helpful guidelines. You want that sixth material in your bouquet? You go girl. It’s gonna look awesome.

To make a bouquet, you will need:

-a healthy selection of sturdy, straight-stemmed flowers and greens of your choice (I used approx. 11 dahlias, 9 marigolds, five stems of geranium leaves, and three stems of draping amaranth).

-good, sharp scissors to cut stems with

-some sort of water-proof tape (I recommend this, but narrow duct tape would work just as well, too. I was out of both, so I used this, which works in a pinch, but I really don’t suggest it)

-ribbon or other such decorative material to ‘tie’ your bouquet with

-sharp ribbon-cutting scissors

-pearl-topped boutonniere pins (such as these)

-it’s also helpful to have another set of hands standing by, but not 100% necessary

Building a bouquet requires four fairly simple steps:

1) Clean and prep your materials

2) Assemble your bouquet

3) Tape your ‘handle’

4) Pin ‘handle’ ribbon

Now, let’s elaborate:

1) Clean and prep your materials

Whatever flowers and greens you wind up choosing, the very first step is that you must strip any leaves, thorns, or satellite stems from the main stem. You can do this with your fingers (not what I recommend if there are thorns), scissors, or with a stem-stripper. Cut the length of the stems, also. You want to leave them longer than what the eventual bouquet length will be, but you want them short enough that they are easy to handle as you assemble. I usually leave mine about 18″ long at this point.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from

You want clean, straight stems. Strip all materials that are within the possibility of using, and set aside in their own bucket or basin of water. If a few tiny leaves miss the stripping process, it’s aw-rite.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from

When you strip away the leaves, buds, and misc. branches, be sure to keep them for use in other small arrangements, boutonnieres, and flower crowns. I keep a mason jar with water handy to drop any useable bits into.

Before you begin, cut about three or four six-inch lengths of your waterproof tape and stick one end of each to the counter where they’ll be handy, but not in your way. Fill a quart-sized mason jar about one-quarter full of water (this will be for your bouquet to sit in when you are done).

2) Assemble your bouquet

Gather a few stems into your hand to start the bouquet. I like to start with some thriller. And I always start with an odd number–usually three or five. Hold the stems where the ‘handle’ of the bouquet would naturally fall.

How to make a hand tied bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.comAdd a few more thrillers working around that center cluster in a circular fashion. Add a few pieces of ‘filler’. Be random. Don’t work with an eye toward symmetry. The flowers won’t let you win that one. A good rule of thumb is to stick to clustering materials together in odd numbers–those always seem to appear more natural.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from

Keep adding thrillers and fillers at random. If you’ve got some spiky spillers, pop those in here or there.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from


***Helpful Hint***As you add materials, you may find that certain pieces back towards the center of the arrangement have slipped down. Never fear! Loosen your grip just slightly, and then gently push or pull the offending blossom into a better position (it’s best to try to grasp the blossom by the stem just under the bloom). You want the overall shape of the bouquet to be a natural mound.

Once you have the bouquet to about the size you want, add your ‘spillers’, if you have them. You want the drapey bits to fall here and there from the outside edges of the bouquet.

How to make a hand tied bouquet the easy way from

3) Tape your ‘handle’

Now your bouquet should be more or less how you want it. Go ahead and grab a length of waterproof tape and wrap it around the ‘handle’ of the bouquet just above where your hand is holding it. Wrap that tape TIGHT. Cinch that sucker. Make sure that the tape wraps around and over itself to adhere it snugly.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from

You can wrap tape as far down as you want the ‘handle’ of the bouquet to be. The idea is that whatever tape you put over the stems, you will cover it with some sort of ribbon or decorative material to hide the tape. So how much or how little you use depends on how much stem you want the bouquet to be showing. I like to see a lot of stem (seems more natural to me), so I don’t use much tape.

Now you basically have your bouquet assembled.

***Helpful Hint***If you’re looking at it and thinking you need to add a few more stems, go ahead. Just place them and then wrap with another layer of tape. Only do this once or twice–after that, it will start making things look wonky in the ‘handle’ area.

At this point, it’s a good idea to go ahead and cut your stems to the finished length you want them. Use good, sharp scissors or clippers and get a nice, even cut across all the ends.

4) Pin ‘handle’ ribbon

I chose to use ribbon for this, but you can get creative and use just about any sort of binding material: twine, rope, wire, raffia–almost anything you can dream up. Ribbon is the only material that requires this pinning step, anything else would just need to be tied or twisted.

Choose your ribbon and unravel a piece that is much longer than you assume you need (just how much depends on how much of the stems you want covered by the ribbon).

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from


Start at the bottom of where you want your ribbon ‘handle’ to fall. Pin the ribbon end securely to the stems by inserting the pins at an up or down angle into the stems (obviously you want to avoid sticking them straight in or any other angle that might result in pins sticking out and turning your beautiful bouquet into a booby-trapped device of torture and pain).

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way by Farmhouse38.comNow you are ready to wrap the ribbon. First wrap down one rotation so that you are sure to cover the pins and ribbon edge, then proceed to slowly wrap the ribbon snugly up the stems. I like to overlap the ribbon on itself as little as possible in order to show more of the pattern–but that’s a personal preference. When you get just past the top of the tape, cut your ribbon (this is where it might be prudent to have an extra set of hands), fold the loose end into a point, and pin it with one pin.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from

Be sure to slide all pins in completely–this photo shows it in process so that you can see the angle.

Now, you can call it a day, or you can choose to cut another length of ribbon and tie a bow around the top to hide that final pin.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from


Place your finished bouquet in the quarter-filled mason jar you prepped earlier, taking care to not get water on any of the ribbon. The stems should be submerged so that the water level covers the ends and not much more. Make sure every stem end is underwater.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from


***Helpful Hint*** To prep for transportation, place a bunched up sheet of paper towel in the bottom of a mason jar and fill with enough water that the paper towel becomes super-saturated and there is a tiny bit of loose water above the soaked towel. Just a tiny bit. Insert your bouquet so that the bottom of the stems firmly touch the paper towel. This will give your bouquet the moisture it needs for a few hours on the day of, but will prevent water from sloshing up onto the ribbon during transport. HEADS UP: always remember to dry off the bottom of the bouquet whenever you remove it from the water–water stains on wedding dresses are no bueno!!

***Helpful Hint*** Have mason jars or vases quarter-filled with water sitting on the head table for all the bridesmaids and the bride to be able to place their bouquets in during the reception. This helps keep the bouquets fresh all night (and keeps them from getting smushed by laying them on the table), and actually serves as makeshift centerpieces for the head table.

And there you have it: your very own handmade bouquet!

For more information on where to find locally-grown flowers, please visit

Stay tuned for imminent tutes on boutonnieres, flower crowns, and simple mason jar arrangements to complete your wedding DIY!






Roasted Sweet Potato, Farro, and Cranberry Salad

Roasted Sweet Potato, Farro, and Cranberry Salad from Farmhouse38.comThis is an incredibly yummy salad, adapted from Marin Mama Cooks, which was adapted from Martha Stewart. Thanks to Olive and Love for turning me on to both this salad and!

–1 cup farro

–2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-sized pieces (skin on)

–3 cloves garlic, unpeeled

–2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

–Pepper and himalayan pink salt to taste

–Zest and juice of one lime, plus juice of additional lime

–1/2 cup dried cranberries

–2 tablespoons of cashew cheese (or feta, if you want some dairy)

–1 cup radish microgreens (or similar)

Preheat oven to 425˚F.

Cook farro according to package instructions. Drain, and set aside to cool.

Liquify your coconut oil by zapping it in the microwave for 20 seconds or sticking it in the pre-heating oven for a bit. Dress sweet potatoes and unpeeled garlic cloves with the coconut oil and salt and pepper and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping once, until the bits are tender and caramelized. Remove from oven and let cool.

Peel the roasted garlic cloves and mash them in a bowl together with the lime juice and zest. Add this mixture, the sweet potatoes, cranberries, and most of the microgreens to the farro and mix thoroughly. Garnish each serving with microgreens and a sprinkle of cheese.

Roasted Sweet Potato, Farro, and Cranberry Salad from

Goes great with a glass of pink champagne. Just sayin’.

Black is the New Orange Cocktail

Black is the New Orange Cocktail from Farmhouse38.comJust in the nick of time for Bourbon and Goose’s month long #happyhourclub cocktail contest (follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to join in on the cocktail shenanigans), an end-of-summer, creeping-towards-Halloween-y libation full of tasty bits.

For one cocktail, you’ll need:

–6 fresh basil leaves, plus one more for garnish

–1 fresh blackberry, plus three more for garnish

–2 oz. blackberry moonshine (this is my favorite)

–approx. 4 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice

–1 tablespoon himalayan pink salt

–1 tablespoon unrefined sugar


In a small bowl, mix your pink salt and sugar together thoroughly, then pour the mixture onto a small plate in an even, thin layer. In another flat dish, pour a tiny bit of orange juice. Insert the rim of your glass in the shallow oj, then dip the glass in the salt mixture to rim it.

Now…in the bottom of your rimmed glass, muddle the ever-living daylights out of your six basil leaves. When their souls are crushed, add one blackberry and muddle that, too. Next, pour your 2 oz. of blackberry moonshine, and stir the mixture well. Now fill the glass with ice, and top with orange juice. Use your extra basil leaf and blackberries as garnish however you see fit. They look great just floating there–you don’t have to get all fancy.

Put it all in your face, repeat.


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