March 10, 2015

DIY flower gift #2 - tulips

Spring is almost here!  Woohoo!

Can you hear the birds making their way back North?  Do you taste the morning dew on your lips? Feel the freshness in the air?  See the new fashions displayed in the windows of your favorite stores? I don't know about you, but I am ready to embrace the freshness and beauty of new life that pops up all over the city this time of year.  I've been itching for it so badly, I cleaned out my closet, my kids' playroom and even pondered re-doing the living room - paint and all. (That one is still in my brain, so we will see how far the idea becomes reality!) 

Thanks to our friend Susan at LiveFairfax for inspiring this month's floral design and do-it-yourself gift with her timely choice of tulips!  Susan loves the modern look, so let's see how well I design for her! 

Notes / Things to Remember:  Tulips grow towards the light and continue to grow 1-2 inches after cut; they are thirsty flowers so you need to check the water level at least once a day.  Tulips can create very murky water, pretty quickly.  Be sure to include a small enclosure to your recipient reminding them of changing the water daily to give longer life to the arrangement.  You may even want to share the trick of tilting the vase to one side to let out the old water as the new water is poured into the opposite side!  (P.S. This will keep them from having to re-make the arrangement and/or trim the stems.)

OK, so - You can scroll down to the bottom of the page if you want to take a quick look at the design for this month.  If you like what you see, come back here to get started making it yourself.  It is a very simple design, with a very nice wow factor!

If your flowers have been out of water for awhile, give them a clean cut and let them drink plenty of water before designing.  Once they are prepped, get ready to rock your gift giving world!

step 1:  gather your supplies, clean your vase and fill it with lukewarm water, almost to the top.

step 2:  make grass.  a simple trick to measure the dianthus - hold it against the side of the vase and cut where the stem reaches the bottom of the vase and the puff hangs tightly over the top. rotate the vase after each stem and repeat, filling the vase to a nice full, tight look; no gaps!  this will give it the look of grass, and be a nice secure 'base' to hold the tulips and branches in place.

step 3:  remove any unnecessary foliage from the tulips to create your desired look.  bunch them together in your hand until you are satisfied with the style and secure the look with your tape.  give the tulips a nice straight cut with your knife (think of cutting celery), and be sure to keep the stems long so they have enough length to reach and drink water from the vase.

step 4:  gently push the tulips through the 'grass' in desired location.  i put them off to the side for a more modern look, and to leave space for the branches i want to add.  for a fun, potted plant look you could put them directly in the middle of the vase and be done! (tip: to keep them growing upright, place the arrangement directly under the light source)

step 5:  clean the ends of the branches very well.  they tend to dirty the water quickly, which is not healthy for the other flowers.  once the dirt has been removed, measure and cut the branches to add a nice height to the arrangement (mine totaled 18 inches from the bottom of the vase to the top of the tallest branch).  my branches have small red buds on them, but you could easily use branches of other colors.  be sure to use your knife to cut the branches at a slant, removing some of the outer bark and exposing its innards!


this arrangement is appropriate for gifting as a festive st. patrick's day arrangement, a beautiful hostess or get well gift, and even for a friend's birthday! try using different colors of tulips and vases to customize it for your recipient!


bonus:  tulips are usually sold in bunches of 10.  this arrangement used 7, so the extra 3 were wrapped in a short square vase like this to match the modern theme!  

price breakdown:  total cost - 23 euros; vase - 5 euros; dianthus - 10 euros; tulips - 6 euros; branches - 2 euros