Floral Inspiration For Winter And Early Spring

Good old January. For many of us, it’s a time of weak sunlight. We bundle up in sweaters as we organize our homes. We begin gathering the necessary papers to file our tax returns. Outside, gardens are in their winter sleep, and summer seems so far away.

It’s also the time of year when a little natural beauty can go a long way toward lifting our sprits.  So today I’m re-sharing some of the simple DIY winter and early-spring floral designs that I’ve shared in the past.

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Winter White And Metal

Winter whites are an understated classic that offer a visual break from the glitz and color of the holidays. Pairing them with metal containers gives them a calm, timeless look.

Winter white floral in a champagne bucket

More winter white floral inspiration is shared in this post.

Cute DIY Moss Pouches

Delicate maidenhair ferns are so appealing this time of year.  And they look especially cute in DIY moss pouches.

Maidenhair fern in a DIY moss pouch

The process for making the moss pouches is shared in this post.

A Saucer Filled with Spring

Spring came early to my living room with this super-easy project.

A common garden saucer serves as a container for indoor spring bulbs

 

Elevated Tulips

Grocery store tulips were the toppers for this fun little “cake.”  Details on how I made it are in this post.

A cake stand makes a grand base for a tulip “cake”

Tulips In A Champagne Bucket

I dusted off my champagne bucket yet again for this tulip arrangement.  The simple trick for securing the tulips is shared in this post.

Tulips in a champagne bucket

 

Post-Holiday Twig Wreath

This wreath, using twigs gathered from my garden, was fun and affordable to make – and it went seamlessly from winter to early spring.  The details of how I made the wreath are in this post.

A wreath of foraged twigs

And speaking of wreaths that can go from winter to spring . . .

Eucalyptus Wreath

It took only a DIY grapevine wreath and a bundle of store-bought eucalyptus to create this sculptural wreath that dried in place and lasted for weeks.

A DIY eucalyptus wreath

The details of how I built this wreath are shared in this post.

And, if you like eucalyptus, check out . . .

Silver Dollar Eucalyptus Floral Design

Ah, the ice bucket again.  But it’s so versatile.  It worked well with silver dollar eucalyptus.  I used a large bundle of greens to create maximum impact.

Silver dollar eucalyptus

But silver dollar eucalyptus is also wonderful combined with other floral elements. More ideas for using it are shared in this post.

And This Year?

My current winter-to-spring floral design is a work in progress which I hope to be sharing soon.  Until then, hang in there.  January is almost over!

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A Foraged Thanksgiving Centerpiece

It seems that festive holiday decor creeps into our homes earlier every year. And, in the process, the beautiful fall season gets rushed and overlooked. This year, I’m making an effort to slow down and fully appreciate the fall season. So, in that spirit, I’m sharing a Thanksgiving centerpiece that I put together using only a sugar pumpkin and foliage that I foraged from my fall garden.

Preparing The Pumpkin

At a local grocery store, sugar pumpkins were marked down to a post-Halloween price of only 25 cents each.  I got two and used one for this centerpiece.

I cut off the top and scooped out the seeds and goop.  With a small water-filled glass beaker set inside to contain the foliage, the pumpkin would serve as the vessel for the centerpiece.

The small glass beaker gets filled with water and set inside the pumpkin

Foraging For Decor

I roamed my garden looking for anything that still looked fresh or had great color.  The first things to catch my eye were hydrangea blossoms. They were the same variety that I used in this wreath a couple of years ago.

The blossoms dried nicely on that wreath and looked beautiful for weeks.

 

 

I kept looking – for fall color, berries, pinecones, grasses, seed heads, anything with fall interest.  It was a small pumpkin so I wouldn’t need a huge amount of foliage.

Here is what I came up with.

The Centerpiece

 

 

A Douglas fir sprig with a pinecone, hydrangeas, and a berry-laden shrub helped to bring color and texture to this centerpiece

For some reason, my pineapple sage plants are blooming very late this year.  They don’t seem a bit deterred by the morning frost we’ve been having.

So I used those red blossoms along with straw-colored grasses and sprigs of the dried seed heads that I had gathered from a gorgeous hike we’d been on several weeks ago.

Abundant dried seed heads and grasses in this meadow

Centerpieces are seen from all sides.  Here is the reverse of this centerpiece.

Maybe I’m too practical, but sprawling Thanksgiving tablescapes don’t make much sense to me.  There are so many serving dishes that compete with them for space on the table.  I prefer something more compact.

 

 

This pumpkin could leak, so I have a saucer under it.  And, of course, a hollowed pumpkin vessel won’t last long. This centerpiece is for me to enjoy now – almost a week prior to Thanksgiving.  I got the second sugar pumpkin because I will be making a fresh centerpiece for the actual Thanksgiving holiday.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Styling A Caterpillar Vase

Recently, a thoughtful relative gave me a cute little caterpillar vase.  I have always wanted one of these.

Caterpillar vase
Caterpillar vase

I was planning to host a small brunch for Mother’s Day, so the timing of this gift could not have been better.  I used it in my table decor, and I even stumbled upon a simple way to double its impact.

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The Vase

Measuring at only about 10 inches wide, the vase has six little connected chambers.  It is very similar to this vase.

 

Doubling Its Impact

I often use a vintage etched glass mirror as a hot plate on my dining table.  I hadn’t intended to use it in my brunch decor but, when I placed the caterpillar vase on it, something fun happened.

Six flower chambers became twelve.

I couldn’t wait to see how it would look filled with flowers.

The Flowers

I learned quickly that the flower stems really do need to be short to work right in this vase.  And the flower heads themselves need to be fairly lightweight.  Even bleeding hearts on short stems were too top-heavy to work.

I ended up using violets and pansies from the garden.  For the greens, I used the foliage from a bleeding heart plant.

 

The Look

This fun little look was very simple to put together.

Caterpillar vase

We have a small dining table, and I often wind up removing the centerpiece when I host a meal.  But, with the low profile of this centerpiece, we could pass food around without worrying about knocking it over.

Caterpillar vase

 

Vintage glass trivet

 

Brunch table setting

 

I have a chronic tablecloth addiction that I’ve been trying to keep in check.  But I couldn’t resist this cheerful lace-trimmed tablecloth, so it was another new addition to my Mother’s Day table decor.

Brunch table setting

The napkins are simply batik fat quarters that I double-hemmed.  Each napkin is different, and I love that they add an eclectic contrast to the formal china.

You may have noticed there are no coffee cups in this place setting.  That is because I made lattes before the brunch began.

 

The Menu

I am not a natural at cooking. For me, it takes some planning and advance prep for things to turn out right.  So I kept it simple.  We had:

  • Salmon quiche with leeks, yellow peppers, and spinach (my adaptation of this recipe, in which I substituted the bacon and onion for the cooked salmon, leeks, peppers, and spinach)
  • Maple sausage links
  • Mango salad
  • Assorted fruit and yogurt
  • Lemon berry mini tarts (a slight variation of these lemon blackberry mini tarts)
  • Orange juice and mimosas

 

The Mirror

I can’t remember where I got my vintage etched glass mirror trivet, but I’m learning that they are not easy to come by.  Right now I am finding only a few similar mirrors on Etsy, like this one and this one (although both are a bit larger than mine).

 

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An Easy DIY Eucalyptus Wreath

For a while now, I’ve been making wreath forms using clippings from the grapevine that grows along my fence.  I like to dress up these wreath forms with other garden clippings to make affordable, all-natural wreaths like this one and the second hop wreath in this post.

So last fall, as I was hard pruning the grapevine, I made a few wreath forms from the clippings.

They take hardly any time to make – and no special tools.  It is just as easy as it looks.  Starting with three vines and adding more as needed, I just cut them to the size I want and wrap, weave, and bend vines around one another, into a circle. Then I tuck and wedge the vine ends in until they are secure.

This works much better when the vines are still green and flexible.  The vines I was working with last fall were already partially brown and dried, which made things more difficult.  But I was still able to make it work.

 

I like my grapevine wreath forms to be thinner and airier than the ones you see at the craft stores.

I gave two away and kept one.

I used my wreath form to make the eucalyptus wreath, but first I used it to make . . .

The Hasty Holiday Wreath

We were going to be out of the state for most of December, and I wanted the house to look occupied while we were gone.  So I quickly put up a few holiday decorations before we left – including a wreath made using the wreath form, a few garden clippings, and a sprig of faux berries.

Hastily assembled, this wasn’t the most attractive wreath I’d ever made.  But we weren’t going to be around to look at it.  By the time I took the photo below, after our return, the wreath was dried out and looking especially haggard.

After I took it down, I pulled the greenery and the berries off and kept the wreath form.

The Eucalyptus Wreath

On a recent visit to Trader Joe’s, I noticed that they had fresh eucalyptus sprigs for $3.99 a bunch.  So I bought one bunch of seeded eucalyptus to use with the wreath form to make a post-holiday mid-winter wreath.

I simply cut the eucalyptus to the sizes I wanted and then, as with most other natural ingredients I put in these wreaths, I just wedged the eucalyptus stems between the grapevines to secure them.

A green eucalyptus stem is wedged into the grapevine wreath to secure it.

The eucalyptus stems were not quite as flexible to work with as some other greenery I have used, but it did work with a little trial and error.  When I was done, I gave the wreath a good shake to make sure everything was secure.

By wedging the stems into place, I didn’t have to use any wires.  So, the entire wreath can simply be tossed into the compost bin later.  Or I can easily remove the eucalyptus and just keep the wreath form.

One bunch of eucalyptus didn’t get me very far, but I still like the look of the wreath.

Eucalyptus wreath

I know this sparse style of wreath, using all-natural materials and no bow, isn’t for everyone.  But I enjoy its simple elegance.

Eucalyptus wreath

And I love the look of the seeded eucalyptus.

But how long will this wreath last?  I have read that seeded eucalyptus doesn’t last long.  It is in a cool and protected area on my porch, so that might give it some advantage.  I will update this post once I find out.

Update

It’s now just a little over three weeks since publishing this post, and the wreath has dried.

I was expecting the seeds to fall off and make a mess.  But they have stayed in place and have also dried.  They’ve lost a little bit of their color, but they still look good.

Granted, this wreath is in a very protected and dry location.  It has been exposed to cool (but not freezing) temperatures the entire time.  In different conditions, it may not have fared as well.

I think I’ll be keeping it around a little longer.

 

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Fall Porch Decor With Hop Vines

The hop vines that grow along the south side of our house are both a blessing and a curse.  Every year in late winter, I pull out massive amounts of trailing underground hop roots in the hope of keeping these vines under control.

The vines usually recover quickly from this setback.  Stronger than before and out for revenge, they are soon back to swallowing up the sunny side of our house.

Hops trying to get in through our dining room window.

But the hop cones are such a beautiful, fresh green when they emerge in late summer.  And they are rewarding to work with.

So today, I’m sharing a couple of my recent hop projects.

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A Hop Garland

The hop garland was surprisingly easy to make.

I simply measured how long I needed the garland to be and then weaved a few hop vines around one another until I had a long enough garland.  Hop vines like to wind around each other naturally anyway, and they almost feel sticky to the touch.  So it was easy to get them to stay woven together.

Hop vines naturally wind around one another.

In the few places where I could not get them to stay together naturally, I just tethered them together with biodegradable garden twine.

The key to success is to do this project when the vines are still green and pliable.  It’s no good trying this once the vines have already dried.

 

 

Then, using clear fishing wire, Chris and I suspended the garland from small hooks that are already installed on our porch ceiling.

There were a few larger hooks, just above the porch entrance, that also came in handy for hanging this garland.

I weaved in extra clusters of hop cones where needed for a fuller look.  When necessary, I tied them on with biodegradable garden twine.

 

This was several weeks ago.  Now the cone clusters have dried and mellowed to a soft caramel color.

And we added pumpkin string lights to the garland.

 

The garland is now brittle to the touch, but it’s holding up very well.  It definitely helps that it is under cover and, for the most part, protected from the rain.

The little hop headpiece that I made for our porch lion looked good at first.

But, since it was not under cover, it suffered in the weather and ultimately had to be tossed.

 

A Hop Wreath

Several years ago, I made this hop wreath using a metal wreath form as a foundation.

My hop wreath from a few years ago.

It was a fun and exuberant wreath, but now I know how to make an all-natural wreath using no metal forms, wires, or other manmade elements.  The beauty of an all-natural wreath is that, when the season changes and I no longer need it, I can just toss the whole wreath into the compost bin and get on with my life – no need to separate it from a metal wreath form first.

I started by clipping some of the grape vines that grow on our fence and weaving them around one another into a wreath form.  As with the hop vines, grape vines are easy to work with when the vines are still green and pliable.

A wreath form made using grape vines.

I just tucked the ends in until they were secure.  The grapevine wreath form didn’t have to look pretty since it was going to be partly covered by the hops anyway.

Then I cut a length of hop vines.  These vines had woven around one another while they were growing, so they had already done some of my work for me.

 

Then, for lack of a better description, I just weaved, folded, and tucked the hop vines securely onto the grapevine wreath.  It took a little bit of trial and error, but it was fairly easy.

There is nothing manmade holding this wreath together.  It is just vines wrapped around one another.

The front door is very protected from the elements so, like the garland, the wreath mellowed into a golden caramel color after a couple of weeks.

 

A Little Viola Pumpkin

This isn’t a hop project, but I thought I’d share another little piece of my porch decor:  This simple little viola pumpkin.

I cut the top off of a sugar pumpkin and hollowed it, scraping out the seeds and some of the pumpkin meat. (The meat I’d removed made a nice side dish with our dinner that evening.)

Then I cut a drain hole in the bottom of the pumpkin.  I planted the violas in a small plastic container and placed it inside the hollowed pumpkin. A bit of moss conceals the plastic pot.

The hollowed pumpkin probably won’t stay fresh for long, so having the violas in a plastic pot will make them easier to remove when the time comes.  I know some folks use bleach or other substances to keep their pumpkins fresh longer but I don’t because (1) I’m too lazy, and (2) I like to compost my pumpkins when I’m done with them, so I want to keep them all natural.

More Fall Porch Decor

The rest of my fall porch decor is not exciting and, as you will see, our porch furniture needs a facelift – badly!  But here it is anyway.

 

 

 

(In case you’re wondering, the white box in the photo above is our Ridwell box.)

Now to plan:  Should I revamp the existing porch furniture or replace it with something new, perhaps one of these looks?

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ORC Week 7: A Pet-Friendly Living Room Makeover

With one week to go before the final reveal, Week 7 of the One Room Challenge had me obsessing over accessories and art.  And I have to say it’s been the most fun I’ve had so far with my living room transformation.

My final goal is an elegant, airy, and inviting living room that can also withstand pet hair and pet stains. If you’d like to see before photos and read about the issues that I’ve been addressing during this Challenge, check out my post from Week 1.

My room transformation has been very simple compared to some of the amazing projects that other Challenge participants are taking on.  You can find their projects here.

Accessories

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I’ll be shopping my house for most of the accessories I need, but I did bring home a few new throw pillows to test in the room.  For our new loveseat, I decided on these two from World Market.

I’m finding that corals and oranges work surprisingly well with our Iced Periwinkle wall color.

The room is screaming for more plants and natural textures, so I got a decent-sized majesty palm.  It is in a corner of the room that gets lots of natural light.

And I ordered this adorable belly basket to put it in.  I can’t wait to see it in real life.

I love that it is made of sustainably grown seagrass and woven by Vietnamese artisans.  It comes with a plastic liner, but I don’t trust that to make it waterproof.  I’m going to place a saucer inside the basket before setting in the plant pot.

But no doubt the most important accessory is the new plus-sized scratching post I got (happily, marked down on clearance) for our plus-sized cat.

Eddie in action

Good kitty, he already likes it.  Now hopefully he’ll leave everything else in the room alone.  His scratching post will be stashed away whenever we have company, so you won’t be seeing this accessory in the final reveal.

Art

We relocated some of the pieces that were in the room before.

The antique mirror is now in our tiny dining room.  Our dining room also got a mini-makeover with the same wall paint as the living room.

But we needed a new piece of art for the living room’s north wall.  I obsessed for hours this week over what we should get.  I love vintage botanical prints and found that the Biodiversity Heritage Library has an extensive assortment of beautiful flora and fauna images available for free download.  So I was down that rabbit hole for quite some time.

Eventually I realized that I was getting very confused and rushing the process just for the sake of completing the Challenge.  It would be more fun if Chris and I could find something for the wall that we both love – and see it in person before deciding.

So in the meantime we’re using an inexpensive canvas print that I found this week at TJ Maxx.  It is nothing special, but it does work well here.

This print is only a placeholder until we find the right piece for this space.  But at least now there’s no hurry.

A Rug Pad

My new rug pad from RugpadUSA arrived.  I like that these rug pads are affordable and 100% felt.  They don’t come with the overwhelming chemical smell that other rug pad products might have.

I ordered it in the 1/4″ thickness and hoped it would be thick enough.  And it is.

But it was just a little too large for our new area rug, so I had to trim it.

Some of the reviews I read mentioned that folks were having difficulty trimming their rug pads with scissors.  But I used sewing scissors and didn’t have any trouble – at least not with this 1/4″ thickness pad.

So, that’s the progress this week.  Tune in next week for the final reveal!

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

SIMPLE SPRING  HOME REFRESH IDEAS

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

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A Saucer Filled With Spring

After a long winter, I crave the colors and fragrances of spring.  But I don’t necessarily want to go out in the rain to find them.  I want them inside where it’s easier to enjoy them.

It seems I’m always trying to bring the outdoors inside (in appearance anyway – minus any little worms or bugs).

One year, it was elevated tulips.

Another time, plants in DIY moss pouches.

But this time, I kept it very simple.

Materials

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I started with some very common bulbs in 4-inch pots:  Hyacinths and tête-à-tête daffodils.

I used a 14-inch glazed clay saucer that was about 2 inches deep.  Why this saucer?  Mostly because I had it on hand, and it was big and could hold many bulbs.

I also used decorative pebbles and potting soil in this project.

Making The Bulbs Fit The Saucer

Of course, the saucer was much more shallow than the pots that the bulbs were in.  I just carefully removed each bulb from its pot (and, since there were several daffodils in one pot, I carefully separated them) and shook away the excess dirt.

Then I placed the bulbs in the saucer and gently spread each plant’s roots around its bulb instead of underneath it.

I didn’t add much soil to the saucer as I did this.

But, once the bulbs were all in place, I carefully packed soil on top of the roots, creating a very slight mound at the center.

The tops of the bulbs were still showing, but to me that was part of the charm. I brushed the dirt from the exposed bulbs, added a few decorative pebbles, and watered them.

 

 

Just to make this little scene look more natural, I added a few fronds from my Himalayan maidenhair fern.  I just pushed them into the soil to make them look like a small fern plant.

How long would these fronds stay fresh?  Not long, I found out.  They dried in a couple of days.  But even dry they are still green so, as of this writing, they are still in this saucer.

Since the saucer has some hairline cracks, I placed it on a cork mat once I brought it inside so it wouldn’t leave any water stains on the table.

It is in a location where it gets light from two large windows.

 

The Result

Apparently, the bulbs don’t mind being planted in a shallow saucer (although I wouldn’t recommend using such a shallow container for outdoor use  in freezing temperatures).

Spring bulbs usually bloom faster indoors.  And, in this bright location, it only took a few days for them to start blooming.

I am very happy with this cheerful and fragrant little spring display.

Of course, the downside is that these bulbs will finish blooming and start to fade faster than they would outdoors.  But, once they are finished blooming, I’ll remove the bulbs and plant them in my garden so they can bloom again next spring.

Until then, I’m enjoying my saucer filled with spring.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

SIMPLE SPRING  HOME REFRESH IDEAS

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

 

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From Ugly to Snuggly: Repurposing A Sweater Into Pillow Covers

All winter, we’ve been using our covered front porch as a safe place to visit with a few people at a time.  We also sometimes use it just for ourselves – to sip coffee or cocktails and feel like we are getting out of the house.  We fire up our small tabletop heat lamp and, if we have visitors, we bring out comfortable, appropriately distanced seating and a few small tables.

The bench is always on the porch, and during the holidays we had a couple of festive throw pillows on it.

The large pillow is actually from our sofa, so I didn’t want to keep it outside indefinitely.  And it was time to change the look.  I wanted comfy, warm-looking pillows that could transition from winter to early spring.

I wanted to make pillow covers that looked knitted.  I’d been meaning to find a used sweater to repurpose, but I ended up using this sweater – which was on clearance for $12 at a local chain store.

In the title, I referred to it as ugly, but that wasn’t fair.  It would look nice on the right person, it’s simply not my style.

But style is not why I bought it.  I chose it for the texture and also for the blocks of color.

 

Creating The Pillow Covers

I started by ripping all the seams of the sweater apart and placing the fabric flat so I could see what I was working with.

I cut two 17-inch squares from the sweater pieces and stitched them on to cotton muslin squares cut to the same size.  The muslin served as a lining for the sweater squares.  It stabilized the knit fabric and gave it some heft and support.

Once the two sweater squares were lined with the muslin, I used them to sew a simple pillow cover for a 16-inch pillow.

Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned

I had enough scraps left to cover a small rectangular pillow, but this time I didn’t take the step of attaching the sweater fabric to a muslin lining first.

This was a mistake, and this pillow cover doesn’t look as good as the first one.  I learned that the lining really does matter when working with a knit sweater fabric.

 

But what about the sleeves?  I saved the sleeves of the sweater, and I’m going use them to make wine gift bags.

Snuggly Pillow Covers At Last

The pillows help my front porch decor make the leap from holiday to winter and early spring.

I have a variety of looks now – not only with color combinations but also with texture since I intentionally used some of the sweater fabric inside-out.

 

 

 

The Promise Of Spring

I’ve decided that paperwhites are not just for the holidays.  The bulbs are sprouting well under the protection of our porch, so now they serve as an optimistic little reminder that spring is just around the corner.

A New Porch Goodie

One thing I gave Chris for Christmas is this little Sanag Portable Bluetooth Speaker.

It makes our porch visits more festive, and I’m looking forward to using it on our back patio and on camping trips as well.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

 

Exploring

 

An Easy DIY Lemon Cypress Wreath

Ever since I made my all-natural, fully compostable fall wreath last year, I’ve been sold on making simple hand-formed wreaths using natural ingredients from my own garden.

They are surprisingly easy to make, and recently I made a winter wreath using this technique.

A DIY Lemon Cypress Wreath

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For my wreaths, I just use trimmings from my garden – plants and vines that I am cutting back anyway.

The Foundation

I still had a few grapevines in my garden that needed pruning.  Most of the vines were a bit brittle by this point, but I found a few bendable ones.

So I simply cut the vines to length and carefully bent and wrapped them together, winding them around one another, to make a wreath form.  I tucked the ends in around the vines as I worked to make sure everything was secure.

It didn’t look perfect, but it didn’t have to.  This would just be the wreath’s foundation.

Note:  For those who don’t have grapevines or other suitable vines to work with, pre-made grapevine wreaths are easy to find and relatively inexpensive.

 

The Main Attraction

We have a large lemon cypress (or goldcrest) shrub in our yard.  It started out as a little accent plant in a pot on our patio, and I originally chose it for its lovely, groomed shape, its lemony fragrance, and for its fresh, vibrant shade of green.  I always make sure to have a couple of these beauties in pots on our porch.

Fresh colors really pop against our charcoal-colored door, and this plant needed trimming anyway.  So I saved a small branch for this project.

I cut sprigs of the lemon cypress to the length I wanted and then, starting at the top of the wreath and working my way down one side, I just wedged the ends between the grapevines until they seemed secure. No wires were needed.

If a sprig failed to secure, or if it didn’t look right, I just used a different one.  When I had that side done, I started at the top of the other side and worked my way down.

The lemon cypress draped nicely and was easy to work with.  Soon I had the wreath form filled.  I gave it a few shakes to make sure everything was secure.

I was tempted to leave it just like this:  Understated and all-natural.  But it did need a little something.

 

Accent Pieces

I’ve learned from experience that natural winter berries, at least the ones that I grow in my garden, don’t look good for long.  So I did add one man-made element, which I already had on hand:  Faux berries.

The faux berries are on wired sprigs, but I just covered the wires as best I could with the cypress greenery.

I tried adding a bow and a few other decor pieces, but they just didn’t look right.  Sometimes simpler is better and, since the berries are slightly over-sized for the wreath, they make enough of an impact on their own.

 

Some of the grapevine foundation is still showing in places, and that’s okay.  Unlike a wire wreath form, the grapevines add a rustic interest.

I think the snappy green of the lemon cypress is a fun departure from traditional holiday greens.  This wreath cost me nothing to make, and making it only took about an hour of my time.

Once the season changes, I can easily remove the berry sprigs and then toss this wreath straight into the yard waste  bin.

Here I must admit two things:

One, since I’ve never used lemon cypress in a wreath before, I have no idea how long it will look good.  I will probably mist it from time to time.  My hope is that it will last at least through Christmas.

And two, our front door is in a protected area.  A wreath like this in a different, more weather-exposed environment, may not hold up as well.

More Fun With Wreaths and Lemon Cypress

It’s fun to use old wreaths in new ways.  A few years ago, before I started making wireless wreaths, I made this wreath from birch twigs.

Recently, I trimmed that wreath down to make it more compact.  I used it, along with lemon cypress cuttings and fresh berry sprigs, to create this very simple and natural look for the pillar near our back door.

 

 

Finding Lemon Cypress

Lemon cypress trees can usually be found at better nurseries and garden centers – and from various online sellers, including some on Amazon and Etsy.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

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Two Projects With One Pumpkin

I recently bought a few pumpkins for our front porch.  One of them was this white pumpkin.

white pumpkin

I wanted to use it to create a succulent planter.  But then I noticed that part of it had a funny little “grumpy face” look that I wanted to do something with.

So I figured out a way to do both.

 

A Pumpkin Succulent Planter

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Pumpkin succulent planters are fun and easy to make.

And I had garden succulents that needed dividing anyway.  This pretty plant, which I believe might be an Echeveria ‘Imbricata,” bloomed so nicely over the summer.

Echeveria 'Imbricata'

But now this “hen” plant was being crowded in the pot by the smaller “chicks” she had since produced.  So I just clipped away the smaller plants, making sure to also take as much stem as possible.

Some of the stems even had little roots on them.

And then I carefully pulled off any dead leaves.

Echeveria 'Imbricata'
Dead leaves have been removed from the cutting on the left.

I had cut the top off of the pumpkin, hollowed it out to about a one-inch thickness, and poked a few drain holes in the bottom.

I filled the pumpkin with moist potting soil, and then I simply poked the succulents into the soil.

It was a lot like creating a floral arrangement.  I used a different variety, a longer-stemmed succulent cutting, in the middle to add some height.

Pumpkin succulent planter

 

Pumpkin succulent planter

The pumpkin probably won’t last long.  They never do.  But once the pumpkin is past its prime, I will re-pot each succulent cutting into individual 4-inch pots and, since they are not winter-hardy in my climate, put them in my greenhouse to overwinter.  Once in soil, they take root pretty easily.

I do this every year with these succulents anyway, but this year they just made a pit stop along the way to this pumpkin planter.

 

A Grumpy Face

The grumpy face that I mentioned having seen in the pumpkin was actually on the top – the part that I cut off when I made the planter.  The stem was the nose.  So, instead of discarding the pumpkin top, I just propped it vertically and gave it a little makeup.

Pumpkin halloween projects

 

And hair.

Live Spanish moss

For the hair, I used my live Spanish moss.  It had spent the summer hanging from branches on the front porch.  I bring the moss indoors in winter, but it should be okay on the covered porch for now.  I secured the moss to Grumpy Lady by tying it in the bow and then using a safety pin to attach the bow to Grumpy Lady.

I put plastic wrap on the back of the pumpkin top in hopes that it will stay fresh longer.

So, Grumpy Lady now sits in a pot in the corner of the porch waiting to be noticed.

And she’s not happy about it!

Resources:

I really enjoy my live Spanish moss.  It requires a little care, but it is so fun to use in floral projects like this one.   Live Spanish moss can be found at better nurseries and also on Amazon.

To see plants similar to my hen-and-chicks-type succulent, check out these beauties on Etsy.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

 

Exploring