Flowers at Christmas? Of course! Why not - is there ever a bad time to fill your home with sweet-smelling, beautiful blooms? And during the biggest entertaining season of the year, it makes sense to splurge a little on some pretties and dress up your space. That doesn't mean you have to stick to those traditional Christmassy flowers like a red poinsettia as a centrepiece. Choose your faves and use them in unique ways on your table, walls and as Christmas decor. I was gifted a big bunch of gorgeous flowers from Freshflowers.com.au - the Eden bouquet, featuring oriental lilies, Singapore orchids, Ecuadorian roses and awesome King Protea. And after admiring them for a day or two, I pulled the arrangement apart and created various decorative ideas with them. Almost a week later I'm still waiting for the lillies to open, but the others, despite being glued, hung upside poked and prodded for days, are still going strong and are a bit of prettiness amongst the dust, dirt, grime, glue, cement and other mess of our bathroom renovation.
Some tools you'll need: scissors, string (I used gold-flecked baker's string and twine), doilies, craft wire, clear glass baubles (from Spotlight or Lincraft). Also handy and not pictured: hot glue gun, galvanised wire, paper, balloons, thumbtacks.
For these ideas, I took the flowers back to the garden. Luckily, in Australia, an outdoors Christmas is possible and so why not head outdoors this year (providing the rain stays away!). I think these ideas would work well inside or outside - also great for a high tea, baby or bridal shower.
Idea 1: hanging blooms
So pretty dangling over the table - you can create a hanging centrepiece and keep the table virtually free (although I still popped a simple, single giant bloom on the table). I've hung the flowers from string before, but those glass baubles I stock up on each year were calling out for something too. Singapore orchids to the rescue! Pour a little water in the bauble (not too much - you don't want it too heavy) and gently squeeze an orchid through the mouth. Then tie on some string and hang - mine were from the garden umbrella, but a patio rafter would work just as well. Mix them with some single blooms of another variety and hang at different lengths for the best effect.
A Singapore orchid, just hanging around.... To remove from bauble, let the water out and use some tweezers to pull by the stem back through the mouth.
Idea 2: flowery wreath
A tiny bit inspired by the Roman wreath crowns, I thought the bendiness of the orchids would work well in a circular pattern. I made a wreath with part of a coil of galvanised wire three and twisted some craft wire in four equal points around the circle to secure. Two large and two small leaves from the lilies were glued onto the bottom with the hot glue gun and the orchids glued on top. The flowers were then carefully rearranged kind of jamming the little stems in between the wire. This is obviously not made to last much longer than a day or two!
It looks so pretty hanging against the rustic old fence - perfect for a backyard soiree; equally as pretty on the door or wall.
Idea 3: simple, striking centrepiece
I have admired proteas in fabric form before (I had a cushion that featured a print of it), but have never seen one in the flesh. This guy is a King Protea and is very impressive. I may have stroked the velvety petals (?) leaves (?) every time I walked past. So pretty. So he was perfect to place in a jar as a centrepiece all by himself. I just dressed up the jar with some half doilies taped around the base and tied up with twine.
Can't resist an aerial shot or two when something looks this good from above.
Idea 4: Bon bon decoration
Every year since I last hosted, I get roped in to make the bon bons. That's because instead of crummy jokes, plastic pieces of rubbish and flimsy paper hats, I fill them with Lindt chocolate balls, proper cardboard crowns (with sticky strips for the kids to decorate with at the kids table), useful gifts (like mini torch keyrings) and .... dirty Christmas jokes. Like seriously rude ones. I am kicking myself for not having a secret camera set up for the first time I did this. Only Steve knew about the jokes so seeing everyone's shocked, amused faces and fits of laughter as they read them to themselves before sharing with the group was priceless. It's a lot of fun, but I'm kind of running out of good dirty jokes. A lot of them border of lame so I might have to delve into further joke territory and move slightly outside solely Christmas. We'll see. Anyway, it's always fun to see pretty handmade crackers turn so incredibly filthy - very naughty and nice. This year, I'm thinking I'll dress them up with my fave combo of white and kraft paper, twine and a fresh flower. Bon bon snappers can be found at Spotlight and Lincraft - just insert them into toilet rolls or even DIYed cardboard tubes, fill with goodies and pretty up from the outside. The good thing about attractive bon bons is that they take the place of plate decor such as napkin rings and just-so cutlery, which I am usually pretty rubbish at.
Idea 5: pinned doily vases
Occasionally, I love a good doily. They're able to make simple things just a fraction more special - like these doily stars I made a few years back. This time I thought why not crete a mini vase for a single bloom and pin them on a pinboard? I made a cone out of sturdy white paper, wrapped it inside a cone made from a doily and pinned it on the board. To keep the flower fresh, place it inside a balloon with a little bit of water and secure with an elastic band. Pop the balloon inside the doily and ta-da! Hanging temporary paper vases! You can find out how to make the painted pinboard here.
And there are just a few things to do with a bunch of beautiful flowers! You could also use them to make crowns or pin in hair instead of Christmas hats - that would certainly make your gathering a little more stylish! Of course, sticking them in a vase as is would also look pretty, but I quite like the idea of getting more mileage out of them! And of course there is no need to wake up at the crack of dawn and hit the flower markets or buy multiple bunches of various flowers to make up one mixed bunch - have them delivered to you. Freshflowers.com.au does just that - check the delivery availability postcode tool before you order though just in case!
The flowers in this post were gifted to me by Freshflowers.com.au - all ideas, images and copy is my own.