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A Quick Fix to Prolong Flower Life

Would you believe that you can prolong the life of your flower arrangements by using an every day household item? That’s right you can. These days every flower delivery comes with that special packet of flower food, but suppose you are doing your own arrangements? You’ve purchased your flowers, you’ve conditioned them, the vases are all lined up and ready to be filled and you realize that you didn’t think to pick up flower food.

Let every day household bleach come to your rescue. That’s right, just a little bit of bleach in each vase, anywhere from 3 drops to a 1/4 of a teaspoon depending on the size of the vase and you’re good to go. Your flowers will stay fresh longer than they would in just regular water. This is because bleach minimizes or kills the bacteria in the water.

Bacteria is the number one reason that flowers fade too quickly. Even if your vase is squeaky clean, the bacteria that may be in your tap water can cause stems to rot and flowers to fade much more quickly.

A Tisket, A Tasket, Support Your Floral Basket

Looking for the best way to create a centerpiece in a basket? Try using chicken wire to support your flowers. Not only is it great for creating supports for your soft stemmed flowers; it is also great for helping to support floral arrangements created in baskets.

You’ll need to use a long narrow strip of small gauge chicken wire for each basket arrangement. Fold this into thirds so that the wire overlaps, creating a lot of small openings. Then wrap this around the basket. Take the container that you are going to use for water and pierce two holes through the top. Place it into the basket and run a piece of wire through the holes and attach it to the sides of the basket for support.

Arrange your flowers in the basket. Then using the chicken wire frame, insert your foliage into the wire. You will need to remember to mist the foliage often as it will not have any other water source.

This is also a great tool for heavy or bulky stemmed flowers and foliage, it works as an anchor along with floral foam to support your arrangement so that the weight of the stems do not stress the foam and cause your arrangement to sag.

Spotlight Your Beautiful Arrangements

As many of you who have watched my videos know, from time to time I add something a little extra to the arrangements to really make them special. Using small lights sometimes known as Floralytes either with plain water or with water beads can create just an incredible one of a kind effect for any arrangement. Looking to add a flickering glow for a romantic dinner, a vivid light to show off a centerpiece or to have some fun with little flashing lights under your arrangements, these little lights will do the trick.

This type of lighting is submersible,so it is sealed and water tight. They add a wonderful dimension to arrangements. These lights are available in a variety of different colors and configurations. You can get some that have a candle light flicker, some that have a steady glow of light and even others that will flash off and on.

These lights operate using a very small battery so you need to plan carefully when you are putting your arrangements together because they will need to be turned on and inserted first before you add your water or water beads. Most of them only have a short battery life, although you can find some that go for nearly 48 hours.

So if you are interested in putting a little added spotlight on your arrangements, consider using these great little lights. We offer them in our products section through one of our vendor affiliations.

Ornamental Gourds

There are so many wonderful touches that can be added to a fall flower arrangement.  This time of year brings an abundance of natural touches, from acorns to gorgeous fall foliage to using ornamental gourds as accents or in some cases as the vase itself.   In fact, there are a number of videos for sale right here that give you all the details you need to create lovely arrangements with ornamental gourds and pumpkins.

Using ornamental gourds to accent your arrangements gives you the chance to not only add in some great fall colors, but also some textures as well.  There are so many places you can pick up ornamental gourds, from your grocery store to your local greenhouse and you can even grown them yourself.  Ornamental gourds are generally 3 to 5 inches around and not over a foot in length.  They come in a wide variety of colors, textures and shapes as you can see by the picture to the left.

Some of the most readily available gourds include:

Apple – This is a white gourd, round and about the size of an apple

Crown of Thorns – This gourd is either cream colored or green stripped.  It is oblong in shape and has a ring of thorns around the blossom end.  It is also known as the Finger Gourd or Ten Commandments.

Nest Egg or just Egg – This gourd is approximately the size of a hen’s egg and was traditionally used to replace eggs in the nest to trick hens.

Flat – This green striped gourd is button shaped and usually about 3 inches in diameter.

Orange – Like the Apple Gourd above, this one also minics the size and shape of an orange.

Pear – This gourd is available in white or green striped versions and is also named for the fruit that it resembles.

Spoon – This gourd is one of the larger variety of ornamental gourds.  Shaped like a dipper, it is a vivid yellow and green in color.  Because of the shape, it can be used as a doll’s head or split in half and hollowed out to resemble spoons.

Warty – This particular gourd is most often orange in color and of course, named for it’s texture.

Water Beads

water beads for flower arrangingWater beads are one of the neatest accessories I’ve found to use when creating my flower arrangements.  I’ve used them in a number of my videos and they look wonder when combined with another product I’ll be showcasing later, floral lights.

Water beads are actually a polymer that is super water absorbent.  They can actually hold up to 100 times their size in water which makes them a great way to keep your arrangements supplied with fresh water.  Before using, they are extremely light weight and appear to be little rocks or crystals.  Once they are added to water, they expand and take on the appearance of colored beads.  They provide a great support system for your flower arrangement as well.

Water beads are available in a wide range of colors or clear.   They can give your arrangement that extra dash of sparkle and elegance plus providing the flowers with a great source of water.  And they are now available in the Flower Arranging 101 Products line.

Have you seen our updated Products?

Flower Arranging 101 Products line has expanded!  I am just so excited to be able to offer you the ability to purchase more than just my videos.  For those of you who have watched or purchased our videos, you know that there is more to flower arranging than just the flowers and a vase.  I know that it’s very hard to find all the items I use on the retail market.  And if you can, they are usually rather expensive.  But now Flower Arranging 101 is able to offer you the chance to purchase these items at a great price so that you can have the chance to re-create the arrangements with all the lovely accessories.

Flower Arranging 101 is now offering you the opportunity to purchase vases, a wide variety of floral accessories including water beads, pins and picks, crystals and even rhinestone ribbons.  Some of the other things you can now purchase include mirrors for placing vases on, floral lights as seen in a number of my flower arrangements videos like my Sleek and Modern Lighted Cylinder Arrangement.

And very shortly, we will also be offering you the opportunity to buy flowers direct, online and have them delivered right to your home!  So keep checking back, there is a lot more to come.

Queen Anne’s Lace-Dried to Perfection

Racks of drying flowersAdding dried wildflowers into a fresh flower arrangement can add some extra texture and eye appeal.   Queen Anne’s Lace, one of the more versatile filler flowers lends itself very well to the drying  process.  And this can be done very easily and inexpensively right at your own home so you can always have a supply on hand.

The most common method for drying flowers is air drying.  To get the best results with Queen Anne’s lace you should select blooms that are just at their peak or even just before full bloom.

Cut the stems to the length that you want them for your project.  Once they are dried, they will be more difficult to cut and it might cause some damage to the dried stem.  Always remove the leaves.  They do not dry well and could issues with the stems.  Using rubber bands, group the flowers into threes or fours and secure them together tightly.

You’ll want to make sure that the area you are planning to use for drying is dark, dry and warm.  Humidity can promote the growth of mold and prevent the flowers from drying properly and direct sunlight could cause them to fade.  A closet or an attic area will work perfectly for drying flowers.  Hang them upside down either on a hook or a nail.  The drying process takes about 2-3 weeks to complete.

If you are in a hurry and need them to dry faster, try  using the Desiccant Method.   The Desiccant method allows you to greatly speed up the drying process by use of white cornmeal and borax as drying agents.  You’ll need some additional items You’ll prepare them the same way you do for the standard drying method, using blooms near or at peak and making sure the stems are the length you will need for your project.  Place the flowers in a cardboard box and cover them in a mixture of equal parts of white cornmeal and borax.  Your dried Queen Anne’s Lace will be ready in about two days.  The only real draw back to this method over the standard drying method is that white blooms may darken in color anywhere from a cream to a tan color.

Queen Anne’s Lace–The Quick Change Artist

One of the more popular filler flowers is the Ammi Majus much better known as Queen Anne’s Lace.  This lovely and delicate wild flower is available all year long through supply shops and can also be found growing wild in open areas or dry fields as well as being cultivated in your own garden.  Although if you are planning to add it to your garden, it is important to note that it has a tendency to crowd out other flowers.

Queen Anne’s Lace has tiny white flowers that grow in a flat topped arrangement creating a lacy appearance.  They can grow up to 4 feet tall and the leaves are long and fern-like growing anywhere from 2-8 inches.

One of the wonderful things about Queen Anne’s lace is the ability to use it fresh, dried or even colored to match the arrangement you are creating.  Changing the color is very easy.  All you need is a mason jar, some food coloring and a sunny day.  Because Queen Anne’s lace stems are rather porous, they quickly absorb the food coloring and within hours you’ll have a lovely tinted filler flower to add to your arrangement.

How to tint Queen Anne’s Lace

  • Fill a mason jar with two parts water to every 1 part of food coloring.  Mix thoroughly so that the color is distributed evenly.
  • Cut the Queen Anne’s Lace on an angle with a pair of florist shears, making sure to leave at least 6 inches of the stem below the blooms.
  • Put the stems into the mason jar and place in a sunny spot for about 5-6 hours.    You can adjust this time depending on how deeply tinted you would like the blooms to become.

Next time, I’ll talk about the two most popular methods to use for drying Queen Anne’s Lace.

Fun with Centerpieces

Floral centerpiece with chili peppersOne of the best parts about creating centerpieces is finding that extra little surprise to add to the design to make it totally unique.

I have used fruits and vegetables in my centerpieces for years. I love incorporating artichokes, lemons, limes, grapes, eggplant or oranges. It adds so much fun to a centerpiece because it is unexpected and therefore causes the brain to react with curiosity and appreciation. I always say, your centerpieces create the ambiance at your event, you spend the bulk of your time, so be creative and spend the bulk of your flower budget on the centerpieces! Besides incorporating fruits and vegetables into the centerpieces, you can also use them outside/around the centerpieces. I have hallowed out an opening in apples and citrus fruits to hold a votive candle, which again is a fun and unexpected element to your centerpieces. The most popular use of fruit in centerpieces is probably using them to fill a vase with the flowers sitting on top of the vase.

The lovely arrangement to the left is an example of incorporating orange chili peppers into the floral designs.

Below is an example incorporating pumpkins and gourds into the design.  This particular centerpiece also incorporated pomegranates and red chili peppers with the mini pumpkins as accents around the centerpiece.  You can see off to the left on the ground some carved pumpkins that held candles for spooky lights when the sun went down.

This is also a great time of year to use terra cotta pots because the color is so perfect.  I used aged terra cotta pots (they have kind of a patina shading to them) and small pumpkins around the actual centerpiece….really fun way to bring in the season.

Flowers of Autumn–The Chrysanthemum

One of the first flowers of fall to burst into color is the Chrysanthemum or Mum as it is commonly known.   The Mum with 13 different bloom types divided into two different style categories is so versatile you will be able to incorporate this traditional fall flower into almost any arrangement you create for the season.

Mums have a wide range of colors, including white and off-white, yellows ranging from a bright sunny color to gold to a dark bronze.  Reds run from pink all the way to burgundy.  And there are even lavender and purple mums.  The most popular mum of all is the “Decorative”.  This is the flower that we all immediately think of when it comes to Mums.  A heavily packed flower with long broad petals.  The center disk is almost completely hidden amid the thick petals.

Like several of the other flowers I have talked about lately, the Mum is also made up of small individual flowers or florets and a disk flower.   Floret and disk flower arrangements determines what bloom category a mum falls in.  The blooms can be daisy-like, decorative, pompons or buttons.   Pompons are a double bloom variety, smaller than the decorative Mum and almost globe shaped.

Chrysanthemums are associated with a number of sentiments, which makes them a popular flower to give or put into an arrangement.  For instance, red mums convey love.  White mums symbolize loyal love and truth and yellow mums are often taken to mean slighted love.





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