Florence’s Florals: A Jubilee DIY

This afternoon, Becky Hay from Blossom, our resident Florence Finds Floral expert, is swooping in with a patriotic floral DIY to celebrate the jubilee. I know loads of you are having parties or attending them and this would make a lovely centrepiece or gift for the hostess. As Becky quite rightly points out, if you’re over the Jubilee already then switch the shades and save it for another occasion.

I thought the weekend of celebrations the country is about to embark upon deserved a DIY post. It’s Jubilee themed, obvs!

Now I know that not everyone wants to celebrate so if that’s you, forgive the red/hot pink, white and blue overload, and think of this as a summer fete inspired arrangement which you can make in any colours you desire.

What you’ll need for the mini bunting:

  • 2 lengths of string or wool – each the length of half of your table
  • Ribbon to co-ordinate with your colour scheme – mine came from John Lewis.
  • Thin double sided tape
  • Sharp ribbon scissors

How to make the mini bunting:
Cut off short strips of ribbon, double the length of the final flag size you want to finish with.
Fold each strip in half over the string and secure in place using double sided tape. Make sure you leave a length of string at the start and end of your length of string to secure the bunting in place.
Once you’ve attached all of your flags, shape them by cutting a triangle from the base of each flag.

What you’ll need for the arrangement:

  • A cake stand – I’ve used a 3 tiered stand but the same principles apply to a 2 tiered or single tier stand. You’ll just need fewer flowers.
  • Soaked floral foam – I used one and a half blocks.
  • Plastic frogs (available from all florists & garden centres)
  • Oasis Fix
  • A selection of foliage – I used Peony & small Hydrangea leaves with soft ruscus.
  • A selection of flowers – I used Peonies, Hydrangea, Double Lisianthus, Sweet William, Pinks (Scented Spray Carnations), Black Scabious, Cornflower, Gypsophilia, Alchemilla Mollis, and Thlaspi

How to make the arrangement:
Stick a small piece of oasis fix to the base of 6 plastic frogs and stick 2 frogs onto each tier of your cake stand. You’ll use these to secure your oasis in place.
Cut two semi circles of oasis to fit each plate and push down onto each frog to create a circle of oasis in the centre of each tier.

Create the outline of your arrangement using your foliage. Trim the end of each piece at a 45 degree angle to help it glide into the oasis and allow maximum surface area for taking up water.
Start arranging your flowers using the largest heads first which will be the focal points. Make sure the end of each stem is cut at a 45 degree angle.
Keep adding until you’ve used all of your flowers and hopefully hidden all the floral foam. It’s a good idea to keep turning the cake stand as you add to ensure you’ve got an even distribution of flowers throughout.
Leave any fluffy flowers and foliage (in my case Gypsophilia, Alchemilla Mollis & Thlaspi) until the end. These are great at filling any gaps and will give your arrangement a more natural look.
Finally, place your arrangement in the centre of your table and tie each length of bunting to the top handle, draping it in each direction along the centre of your table. You can either tape the opposite ends to the underside of the table or tie them to a wine glass stem.

To keep your arrangement fresh, keep the oasis damp by trickling a little water onto each tier. You can also spray the flowers with a water mist.

As always, I hope this inspires you to create your own masterpieces. I’d love to hear your comments or answer any questions.

Have a great Bank Holiday everyone,

Becky xx

Christmas Contributions Plea!

Just a quick re-post to invite you to take part in Florence Finds next week. It’s now December the 4th, the Christmas countdown is on, and I’m thinking decorations!

Image credit Roger Ford – My cat Charlie in front of our tree a couple of Christmas’ ago!

Lots of people will be putting up their Christmas decorations this weekend (me included!) and I will be doing a round up of Christmas themes over the coming weeks. I would love to share some reader Christmas homes as a part of that.

So here’s what I need from you guys…

A picture of your Christmas decorations. It could be your tree or a smaller area of your home that you think looks particularly stylish – Think fireplace, perhaps your front door with a wreath on, maybe you set up a nativity corner for the kids, or make a little display in another corner. Or you can send a collection of images.

The images need to be 600px wide minimum (most digital cameras take them way wider than this so don’t worry too much) and the best quality possible. If you want some tips on how to take good pictures of things like your tree and light festooned houses… have a look at this Christmas Photos tutorial. And if you would like to, you can include a little bit about the inspiration/choice of decor. Any link you have for the decorations (recent ones that people can buy) would be great too, but isn’t essential.

And that’s it! Please don’t feel intimidated by this, I’m really excited to get everyone involved – I LOVE going to peoples houses at christmas and seeing how they decorate, so I’d love to share yours. Please note that in the event of me receiving many submissions I may not be able to post them all.

Get snapping and send your in to hello@florencefinds.com with the subject box marked ‘Christmas Decor’.


DIY Project – Pumpkin Carving

This afternoon’s post is a project. One that I hope you’re all going to have a lot of fun doing!

Yesterday, I asked you what your Halloweens consisted of. Mine were always the same. We used to carve the pumpkin, then do apple bobbing, usually whilst wearing witches hats and cackling a lot. You know, it’s the small things, right?! 😉

However, one Christmas, I got sent a pumpkin carving kit from some relatives in America. It contained a little saw and scoop and several patterns to use like a stencil. The results were impressive and pumpkins have never been the same since! Although I’ve long since lost the kit I decided to try and recreate the effect myself this year with stuff I had at home and a pumpkin carving download.

You can find some pumpkin carving freebies herehere and here. I chose a bat silhouetted against the moon.

Now let’s get started!

What you will need…
A pumpkin – mine was £2.50 for a large one from Morrisons. (You need a decent sized one or the stencil won’t fit – it might be an idea to take your print out shopping and check!)
A big metal spoon to scoop out the insides and a big spoon (I used a serving spoon)
Your stencil, (see above.)
Something sharp to poke holes through the stencil – a cocktail stick worked for me but I eventually used a handle for corn on the cob. An olive pick would be just as good or skewer.
A small sharp knife, (take care!)
Pins or sellotape.

Preparing your pumpkin…
First off, cut a lid out of the tip of your pumpkin. I made mine zig-zaggy, but it can be any shape, just try to angle the incision rather than poking the knife in at 90 degrees, because then you create a lip for the lid to sit on too.

Ease the lid off after cutting through thoroughly and start scraping the contents off the lid and then from inside the pumpkin. Tip them out and keep going until the inside is smooth and flat with no dangling bits.

Starting your carving…
Pin your stencil flat to the best side of the pumpkin, (usually a flatter area is easier to do.) You may need to make cuts in the corners of the stencil and overlap the pieces to make it ‘wrap’ around the pumpkin.
Now using your sharp implement, poke holes along the lines of your stencil outline. Work your way around slowly, taking care not to miss any bits.

Now remove the stencil and you will see the pattern marked in dots to guide your cutting.
Very carefully start cutting the pattern out, following the dots. This gets more difficult in corners and curved areas so take care not to cut yourself, or a vital piece of the pattern!
I tend to push the pieces out a bit at a time, or push them back in to the pumpkin.
You might want to tidy the pieces up or straighten the angle you have cut the pieces out at, once you have finished.

All you have to do now, is add a tea light, pop the lid on, light it and enjoy!

Et Voila! A very grown up and stylish bit of Halloween fun!

Now you know there’s more to pumpkins than triangle eyes and zig zag mouths, have we inspired you to try something more adventurous? Drop me a comment if it’s a yes and tweet a picture of your creations to @florencefinds or pop a link on Florence’s Facebook page!


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