Baby’s breath and other filler species are often removed from grocery store bunches to upgrade them to something more refined. When used solo, though, baby’s breath can make for a farmhouse-chic floral centerpiece. Remove the baby’s breath from the bunch, then cut it to size with floral shears. To create a ball effect, place each stem into the vessel with smaller stems around the edges and longer edges in the middle.
Shovels and spades are essential tools for any kind of garden. They’re handy for planting and moving items like stones and compost. Technically, a shovel is a scoop (center, above), while a spade is used for digging (outer edges, above). As you stock your tool shed, invest in tools with blades that won’t rust (stainless or carbon steel), and look for designs that feature a head and handle socket that’s hand-forged from a single piece of metal. Tool handle material varies. Wood handles absorb more vibration than fiberglass, but choose one that offers a weight you can easily lift and carry. Small spades, like a drain digging spade or this small contractor’s spade (left, above) are handy for digging around established plants, in places where a full-size shovel head won’t fit.
Peonies are old-fashioned favorites that are long-lived, flowering for generations. Peony blossoms come in a variety of flower forms, like these semi-double blooms of pink ‘Paula Fay.’ A single peony makes a stunning bouquet; combine several stems, and you have a centerpiece fit for any gathering. Plant early, mid- and late season peonies, and you’ll be picking the blooms for 6 weeks. Deer- and rabbit-resistant plants grow 35 inches tall and 24 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 3-8. Good vase companions for peony: lady’s mantle, clustered bellflower, catmint and hosta.
With a fun, "bright pastel” theme for her holiday decor, Amy Weir of Delineate Your Dwelling got to work making mini bottle-brush trees into a magical holiday centerpiece!
“I believe you can incorporate the colors that make you most happy into all seasons, so I created the glitter trees in non-traditional colors for my holiday table,” Weir says. Stacked on a cake stand and detailed with fresh wood discs and jingle bells, these little trees are a big hit on the holiday scene.
Construct a mini gingerbread house for each guest, attached to a cardboard base with icing. Make it the centerpiece of each place setting. Then, just add a beverage, a personalized name card and a few decorations. For a simple, disposable place mat, use a 12x12 piece of decorative paper. To continue the theme, you can also add a gingerbread man or woman for each guest to eat or use for decorating.
Backyard blooms are a natural candidate for centerpieces — in addition to the cost savings of using free flowers, you can also show off your green thumb. Cut flowers early in the morning when the air and ground temps are cooler and plants are least stressed. And, be sure to place the cut blooms directly into a bucket of water to prevent any moisture loss. When arranging, re-cut the stems at a 45-degree angle before placing into a vase with added floral preservative.
Mints weave a striking tapestry in the vase, adding different leaf textures, colors and scents. Count on mint to hold its own as a centerpiece, or use it to add movement and refreshing green shades to other garden-fresh arrangements. A fresh mint bouquet inside offers an easy way to take a quick snip when prepping favorite dishes. In terms of flavor, mint is at its freshest when first picked. The longer mint sits in water, flavor notes shift and may become bitter, especially if you see roots forming along submerged stems.
This stunning vintage white sofa is the one thing I might have tried to run out the door with. The woven upholstery fabric immediately adds an air of sophistication to a wall color that might otherwise come across as juvenile. The sleek curve of the arm that transitions into a fully upholstered leg, housing a floating bench cushion is a work of art with a clear mid-century reference. The only way to address a piece this special is to accent it with sleek black floor lamps, a classic black and white marble coffee table, and graphic drapery fabric by the talented Kelly Wearstler. I really enjoy seeing a successful relationship between the primary colors in the artwork and the tertiary wall color. Angela definitely took risks, but her artistic eye served her well.
“An outdoor reception doesn't mean you have to let go of elegant elements. We used a mix of bistro lights and candelabras, as well as hurricane lamps and smaller votive candles for this garden dinner. The lighting only became stronger after sunset, creating a truly elegant mix of candle light, bistro lights and the natural light of the moon and stars." - Planner Adam Donovan-Groves, of Donovan-Groves Events. Audrey Isaac, of 100 Candles, adds, "Tall, elegant candelabras towering over floral centerpieces create a dynamic feel to a table. Match the candlesticks to the floral vessel for maximum impact!" Florist: Southern Blooms by Pat's Floral Design.
Spend an afternoon in a furniture store or browsing online and you’ll quickly realize that sofas come at all prices, from a few hundred to many thousand dollars. The good news is that you can get a great sofa at every level. “Quality is not necessarily indicated by price, contrary to what people may believe,” says Cindy W. Hodnett, Upholstery and Style Editor for Furniture Today. “You can find an affordable, high-quality sofa—and the exact opposite is true as well.” Part of what determines the sofa’s price is the type—a sleeper sofa, or one with “motion” capability or leather upholstery could cost more—but you should also consider how you’ll use the sofa when deciding how much to spend. “A sofa you plan to make the centerpiece of your living room in your dream-house might be worth more of an investment,” says Max Bar-Nahum, director of custom upholstery at Dr. Sofa, a furniture services provider that offers disassembly (and reassembly), upholstery, repair, and custom design and build. “On the other hand, if you know your tastes change often, you’ll be moving in a couple of years, or if it’s the sofa you’ll put in your playroom for your kids to hang out on, you might not want to spend too much over your budget.”