Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Flowers: Adding a Pretty Touch at Home

Lately I have been focusing on flowers as an inexpensive bright spot for the home, because they are easily obtainable.

 In the last post I featured the humble primrose which is now displayed in colorful rows outside the grocery stores and Walmarts.  

The highest price was $1.38 per pot, at Walmart and the lowest was 4/$5.00 (about $1.10 ) at BiMart, but have a look around your area and you will see that even up to $2.00 to $3.00 each, it is a very economical plant and you can group them together in a basket for a fuller look:
This plastic container is $1.00 from Dollar Tree and holds 3 primrose pots. The baskets come in a variety of colors, and I have my eye on a purple one to fill with purple pansies. I have this lovely filigree cut-out style basket on a table in my front window and it looks great from outside.

If you already have a container at home, your cost will be minimal. 

There are usually about 12 blossoms on a plant, and some of them have rose-like petals. They can be kept indoors and then added to the flower beds outside and they reappear year after year unless the gophers get them.

 I use them when I need a bouquet for each table, and have bought them each month for the church dinner tables when we have our potlucks. Each month after the meal, we ask people to take one home, and they are happy to do so. 

I mentioned last time we talked, about the metallic floral ribbon and the pots for the Dollar Tree, as you see, above. In the last post,  I used the yellow metallic ribbon with hot glue, and the yellow primroses. Today I am using the pink metallic florist ribbon, above.  I used hot glue but tacky (a thick, sticky white liquid craft glue works as well.

You can also go through your scrapbook and card-making supplies for those little jeweled stickers.

Those of you with true florist tendencies could add some pretty florist picks amd butterflies, etc. to make the bouquet fuller and fill the empty spots.

You have probably seen the lovely bouquets or bridal bouquets with stems wrapped in silk or other material at Michaels or Hobby Lobby. On sale you can sometimes get them for $4.00 each, but if you are trying to keep the costs down, use an old silk floral stem you might already have.

This stem has six roses on it, and I'm going to wrap it with wired ribbon or wired burlap, also from Dollar Tree.  Since it only takes a small amount, the added cost is minimal, or, you could use a strip of cloth or some lace from your sewing scraps. Look in your gift-wrap supply and find tissue paper and ribbon. This kind of bouquet looks gorgeous in tissue gift wrap or colored cellophane gift wrap.

I got the rose bunch from the Dollar Tree, so my "tussle-mussie " hand-held bouquet with the small amount of wired ribbon was about $1.10.

Bend the wired stem upward ,
...and beginning at the top, wrap the stem in the ribbon, firmly wrapping the ends where they won't be seen.

This looks good on the old worn wood shelf:
You can also slip in a few sprigs of artificial baby's breath, allysum, or hydrangea:

There comes a point where you have to decide if, due to time and additional dollars spent, you would be just better off to buy the prepared bouquet (if you need it), but here is a way to do it at home if you need a quick bright spot somewhere.

That brings me to a memory: In the late 1950's and early 1960's there were flower sellers who sold cloth flowers made from felt, bits of silk and velvet, going from home to home. It was just at the end of an era, and then we saw them no more. 

Mr. S. came through the house a moment ago to see what I was doing, and remarked how romantic the flowers were. He was preparing a lesson on marriage. He said, "I'm going to remind the men to be romantic and hold hands with their wives, even as they grow older, and be an example to the younger men. Particularly in my case, we need to hold hands when we are out walking in Walmart, so I won't fall down."

Note the hair style of the 1800's painting at the top of this post. It is so nice to see this is one of the current styles, and I have no idea how people figured out the technique, since so many hairstyles were just handed from person to person and never sketched out or written down. 

Moderns do a pretty good job of reviving these feminine hair styles, and have elaborated on them beautifully , as you see on Pinterest and on the Royal ladies. I myself have never managed it but it is delightful to see hair returning to real hair "dressing" instead of chemical sculpting!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Fresh Flowers For Your Home

I have been told many times how important fresh flowers are in the home, and what a lift it gives the occupants, particularly the homemaker who may spend a lot of time in the house, cleaning, organizing, beautifying, etc., and that the best tea rooms and hotels have fresh flowers. Why only recently we saw fresh flowers on the tables of a local diner, which is anything but elegant service, but yes, what a wonderful luxury it is, and how it eases the emotions.

The question I have always had, is how can you afford the cut flowers, even at the grocery store, when even five dollars is needed to complete your meal supplies or other needful things?  Admittedly the carnations are your best choice for economy and longevity indoors, and I do prefer to do that. 

But what if you had very little money to spare and you need some bouquets throughout the house and do not want to mess with throwing them out later?

Consider the potted primroses displayed outside the shops right now. They can be nurtured indoors for quite awhile and then added to the garden.  They do not die, and it isn't necessary to throw them out and clean a vase afterward.

This variety, above, has layered petals like fancy roses, and there are a dozen blossoms on it, meaning I have a dozen roses for my table.  These are a very economical cost, as I will list at the end of this post

I have inserted this pink one inside a container I bought for $1.00.  The primrose cost $1.10 from one of our stores. We have BiMart and Safeway here locally, as well as Walmart which is in the city.

This one is inserted in a Dollar Tree container, which comes on a package of three, around which I hot-glued a band of florist ribbon, also from Dollar Tree. You can even get your hot glue gun and glue sticks there. If you wonder about the quality, well, I have had my hot glue gun over 10 years.

Each month I try to put something seasonal on the dining tables and mantels, side tables, and Primrose is now my choice. There are sites you can research about taking care of primroses indoors.
The metalic florist ribbon comes on a roll of 9 feet, for a dollar at Dollar Tree.

The total cost when broken down to one plant and container is:

Plants: 4 for $5.00---  $1.22 each. They allow you to buy one, and charge only the single price of $1.22.
Containers: 3 for $1.00--- 33 cents each.
Florist decorative ribbon: 9 feet (3 yards) $1.00 ---6 inches  for about 5 cents or less per pot.

Total for supplies: 

Note: the supplies will not be wasted, as you can use them again.

Total for one bouquet: about $1.66.  

This can be less cost of you already have a container, or place the plant in a little bowl to prevent water leaking, and cover the whole thing in pretty wrapping paper or metallic paper or cloth, or use a pot you already own.  The same with the ribbon, which you might have in your sewing stash.

Total for supplies (note that you can't buy only one container if they are sold taped together at 3/$1.00 so you will have extra supplies. This works well if you are distributing the plants around the house or using them as hostess gifts.

Also, check out the florist section at Dollar Tree. Those glittery and sheer ribbons come in array of colors, as well as the plastic containers.  

Total for one display: about $1.60
That is very good, for a bouquet of 12 fresh flowers ypu will not be throwing away.

You can also gather several pots of these primroses and put them in a larger colorful container all together, which I might do.

With a cost like this, you don't have to deny yourself and your family fresh flowers at home.

A primrose is never wasted because it can be added to the flower beds and often survives the dormant stage in winter and reappears in spring, so you never lose money on cut flowers if you buy this humble primrose. While the grocery store cut flowers are very inexpensive, they are costly if you need the money for other things, and the price of the primrose means everyone can have this luxury in the home.

So today my home has become a fine hotel and guest house, wih flowers in every room.

Someone indictated they were interested in my home made dyed cotton muslin ball fringe curtains so I have added a few pictures here.

Below is one of the accessory pieces I made with the same fabric for the mantel.

...and here is the panel on the front door,

A matching table cover, below.

Putting one pot on top of another empty glass or container gives the plant height for this long vase. The flowers appear to be long-stemmed. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Delight of Hospitality

(Painting by a Canadian artist)

Today I am sharing a Tea fellowship because it is our Thursday Ladies Class. I am being the household Maid and trying to be efficient in getting everything ready.

I was sorely tempted to go miles away to Hobby Lobby and get some table things I have had my eye on, but the time and distance would have taken away from my preparations, so I am using things I have had for a couple of decades. I get tired of them,  but you won't, since you do not see them as often.

As usual I wanted to go out and get fancy napkins but as time was pressing, decided to get out an old ink pad and  stamp some every day napkins:

There are only four people coming today.

The name of the dinnerware is Apple Blossom by Acropal, similar in quality to Corelle.

The apple blossom teacup found in Goodwill years ago fits in quite well.

It is still dark and dreary around these parts so candles are lit.  I don't think anyone pays attention to the candles in daylight rule anymore. We just love the elegance of it all. Maybe that rule came about a century ago to prevent using up the candles, when they were an important light source on the evenings.  Today, women really like them to be lit during teatime.  My candles are  led-lights called Luminesse. There is another brand of those at Hobby Lobby but I can't recall the name.  They have a flickering flame, battery operated.

This is the tea table I keep in the front room by the window, 

and here is a display in the dining room.  I found The tea set in Goodwill, and it's dated 1992.

Mr. S. sent me to the grocery store to get us a plant or some flowers yesterday, but when I got there, the floral department was swarming with men, young, old, blue collar, white collar, and inbetween. It was too crowded to find even a slim space in which to shop, so I left to do my other errands at the post office, dollar store, the garden center. 

When I returned to the floral department at the grocery store, there was a bigger crowd of men, so I thought I would go look at the greeting cards of the season, but I couldn't get there, either. There was a row of men carefully reading the verses inside the cards, trying to pick out just the right one.  

Back to the floral department, and I decided the seed shelf was more accessible so I bought some flower seeds.  By the way Dollar Tree sells seeds at five packets for a dollar. They are great for party favors and to include in gifts or cards.

Finally with my purchases I stood in a long line behind men carrying large bouquets.  I was behind a Brit, although I have no idea what in the world he was doing in this part of the world, and he was quite conversational with everyone around. He too had an impressive collection of bouquets in his arms, which he said were for his wife, mother in law and daughter. He said his daughter was only 12.  He was getting a lot of attention with his charming Masterpiece Theatre accent, which encouraged him to keep talking.

All the lines were long, and it was early in the afternoon, so I stayed behind the Brit. Since all the lines were long, I needed to stay in the one with interesting company, and Mr. Brit was very sociable. 

Mr. Brit was so chatty, he asked the cashier, an eager young man wearing a bow tie and suspenders, if he was taking his girl anywhere that evening. The young man said he was going to a few activities after work with someone he had known 3 years.

Mr. Brit said, "So when are you going to get down on one knee and ask the big question?"  Mr. cashier replied he was thinking about it. I would be too reticent to ask a personal question like that, although it didn't seem to embarrass Mr. Cashier,  and he happily volunteered more information about his girlfriend and the interests they both shared. 

I asked Mr. Cashier if he knew who that Brit was, but he shrugged and said he had never seen him before.

Because I didn't bring home a lily plant, (I didn't want to wait for the crowd to clear in the floral department) Mr. S. found a pot of something that was peeking through the soil, on his office window sill and said we could wait and see what that one produced. He was more amused by my grocery store observations. 

One thing for certain, in spite of all the conflict you read about between men and women, that country store was not full of men-going-their-own-way or men running from women. The impression was they were headed out of the store as fast as possible to deliver those flowers to some very cherished ladies, who might also be showing their flowers off on their social media, and telling what great husbands they have. Many of the men there at the floral department looked like very hard workers, wearing  their overalls and heavy working boots, and what a contrast it was to see them holding those bouquets and looking at the pretty pink and red cards.

Photos of men buying cards. This was sparse compared to what I encountered in our local store, but this is generally what it was like.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Vintage Cards

Today I am showing my own vintage hand made cards from a past post. The cameras today are obviously better than the one I was using so many years ago when I made these cards.  The above card was made with things from the dollar store. I may still have these cards in a folder somewhere around here. 

Below, I used old fashioned construction paper which was interesting to work with and seemed to take glue and glitter without getting soggy or buckling. The pictures were clipped from catalogs.
That year, I ordered some clip art graphics of Catherine Klein clip art and some antique roses graphics, but I am not sure which company it was. 

Finally, I made a scene with pencil and crayons:
Due to things that come up which need attention, I am usually late for every event, but I still might have time to make a card, set a table, and create a new post. 

Mr. S. had an interesting mishap Saturday night while he was polishing up his sermon and finishing the church bulletin. The trend now is to put the bulletins online, but Mr. S. still likes to print the bulletin and put those nice fresh copies hot-off-the-press on a little stand at the entrance where people eagerly pick it up before they sit down.  One man calls it his "weekly reader". I hope he didn't mean "weakly" reader.

When he was a boy, Mr. S. got his front tooth chipped and that's another story. But Saturday night out of nowhere for no apparent cause, the cap on his tooth fell off. He calmly put it on his pocket and came to tell me what happened. 

I told Mr. S. To call one of our sons for a substitute preacher but he thought it was too late to arrange it. I even asked if he might skip the lesson and continue with the rest of the worship service but he was not ready to wave the white flag.

It was 10:00 Saturday night and Mr. S. contacted his dentist emergency number to find out what could be done. The receptionist told him the dentist in our nearby small town did not do any work late at night unless it was an emergency.

 Mr. S. said it was definitely am emergency because he had to preach in the morning and he wanted to be able to pronounce his words without a lisp.

The dentist drove into town from his country home and met Mr. S. at the door of his office. He unlocked and they both went inside, where Mr. Dentist turned on the lights and fixed Mr. S.'s chipped tooth. 

Mr. S. thanked him, adding, "I'm not sure my wife will be as thrilled. She was hoping for a shorter sermon tomorrow."

When I heard the door unlock at 10:30 pm I thought surely he didn't get the tooth fixed that fast! He had only been gone since 10:00. Maybe the dentist was in a hurry to get back and used a super glue for teeth.  I don't know, but it seemed like a very fast trip.

That reminds me of Mr. S.'s mother.  Every so often on a Saturday evening she would say to his father, to whom she had been married 60-plus years "Joe, I wish you would write a new sermon.  I don't want to hear another re-run tomorrow."


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