EASY FLOWERS

Unfortunately, I am the kiss of death when it comes to plants.  They take one look at me and whither away at the very thought of me over loving them.  So I get fresh flowers, as often as possible, as cheaply as possible.  I’m no Elton John with his extravagant daily fresh flowers, and I’m certain Elton John is not hitting up his local Trader Joe’s for a budget bouquet.  But fresh flowers liven up a room, and they bring nature in without the pleadings of daily maintenance.  Some people fret too much when arranging flowers.  They use floral foam, tape, and wire.  I prefer a more wild, unfussy look and I have many tricks for easy and elegant floral arrangements.

  • Buy your flowers at the farmer’s market, a flower district (every major city has one) or even the grocery store.
  • When choosing flowers, pick within the same color range.  Pinks with reds and fuschias, yellows with oranges and corals. It takes the guessing out of arranging and you never have to worry about clashing.  Never buy anything that’s been dyed because it looks unnatural and strange (I’m looking at you, blue roses).
  • You don’t necessarily have to buy the same flowers in one arrangement, but if you’re nervous don’t mix and match.  I loathe the “garden bouquet” at grocery stores.  The flowers all die at different times and then you’re stuck with some baby’s breath or some random stems of a fern.  
  • Now for my favorite arranging secret…  Before trimming, hold all the flowers like a hand bouquet.  Move things around where’d you like and even play with heights.  Measure your vessel, see where you’d like the flowers to crest and then trim the bottom stems all at the same time. Don’t even bother trimming them one by one, it’s just too time consuming. Also, make sure that no leaves are touching the water, it accelerates the rotting.
  • Don’t limit yourself to just vases.  Use mugs, tea tins, milk bottles, tea pots, or any other water tight vessels. 

Seeing fresh flowers in my home really brightens my day.  They can beautifully scent the air, bring out your home’s accessories, or simply make you feel like Elton John. What more could a girl want?

Easy, classic dome shape.

Sweet peas in a milk bottle. Fresh and simple.

Mixing florals, but when you keep it in the same color range, it takes this guesswork out of it.

Use leftover blooms, broken stems and discards and make tiny arrangements.  These roses are in a sugar bowl in the bathroom. So pretty and unexpected!

FRIENDSGIVING, A TALE OF 25 PEOPLE IN A ONE BEDROOM APARTMENT

So we have a large Texan family here made up of friends in Los Angeles.  We're all struggling artists, actors, and writers, so we often spend the holidays here with each other.  The first year we lived here there were about 10 of us, this year it was a whopping 25!

Alex & Paul graciously opened up their adorable apartment in order to accommodate us all.  You haven't worked miracles until you fit 25 people in a one bedroom apartment for a sit down dinner.  We gathered all of our folding tables, Alex borrowed chairs and more tables, and I brought over our silverware and dishes just to have enough place settings.  So as Alex was cooking away and making sure the boys in back weren't burning the place down (we deep fried our turkey) I went to work on the table settings.

The tables were covered with a simple white table cloth and a runner made of cut burlap.  Alex sprayed the burlap with gold fabric glitter because glitter makes everything better.  She even spray painted gourds in gold and made candleholders by filling mason jars with popcorn kernels.  Essentially I foraged all around her apartment and did three full tables with all the cute stuff she created!

Simple floral arrangement.  Alex printed labels and covered the wine bottles, clever!

You'd never know it, but these gorgeous plates are from the dollar store. THE DOLLAR STORE!  

We used a sharpie to write the names on leaves gathered from outside.

We used a sharpie to write the names on leaves gathered from outside.

Look at these adorable cranberry jello shots.  We garnished them with a tiny sprig of rosemary and fresh cranberries dipped in honey and sugared.  Delicious!

I am so thankful to have such a wonderful group of friends here.  All the planning and prepping was worth it when we all sat down for one of the best Thanksgiving meals to date.

TABLE SETTINGS

Not that long ago, we hosted our very first Thanksgiving.  It was a success and only one napkin caught on fire!

Our place is so tiny and we don't have a dining room, so a little furniture rearranging commenced.  Don't be afraid of entertaining because you don't think you have the space, you can always move pieces to make it work! We had a sit down dinner for twelve people and didn't feel crowded at all.  No one cared that the sofa just happened to be right behind them.  

I purchased two long folding tables and put them end to end to make this super long table.  I made it look cohesive by running a roll of beautiful wallpaper down the middle.  If you purchase a wallpaper that is wipeable, you can roll it up at the end of the night and reuse it at your next dinner party! I even cut placemats out of wallpaper.  I asked our friends to bring chairs, I smuggled chairs in from the courtyard, and we made our bohemian dinner party work.

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TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL TABLE SETTINGS:

  • Keep your table decor low, you should easily see the person sitting across from you.
  • Use pretty votive candles around your whole home and table.  They bring a magical, twinkling feel and set the tone for the party.
  • Do not use scented candles or too fragrant of flowers.  A large part of enjoying food is because it pleases all senses.
  • Place bottles of wine and water on your table so your guests (and you) can enjoy your time without leaving the table every five minutes for refills.
  • Think outside the box with flower arrangements or candle holders.  Use a pretty food can or bottle to hold flowers, place votives in dainty tea cups.  The sky is the limit! 
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This is a dinner party I threw for my book club.  It was smaller, more casual, and our book was food themed.  I used colorful plum tomato cans to hold my gorgeous peonies.  It was hit!