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April 08, 2005

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Friday, April 08, 2005

Alternative vases Alternative vases (April 08, 2005)

Spring is the time to decorate with flowers

by Kit Davey

Forget the crystal or silver bud vases! Why not scrounge up an unusual container in which to display your garden's bounty? Anything that can hold water, or in which you can conceal a waterproof receptacle can be transformed into a vase.

Try some of these flower-holding alternatives and add some personality and fun to your home.

** Transform a mayonnaise or peanut-butter jar into a rustic-looking vase. Use a glue gun to apply a thick layer of soft sphagnum moss (available at craft or garden stores) to the outside of the jar. Arrange a nosegay of baby's breath, small-leafed greenery and a variety of other blossoms from your yard in your fuzzy vase.

** An antique thimble can be used to show off a tiny bouquet of violets or Johnny Jump Ups.

** Lean a test tube in a drinking glass, fill the tube with water and pop a blossom into it.

** If you have an armful of tall, unwieldy blossoms, such as hydrangeas, gladiolas or agapanthus, try displaying them in a pickling crock, sap bucket, an umbrella stand, a tall coffee pot or old metal watering can. Use stones or marbles in the base of the container to help prop up the stems.

** Use a shot glass to display that first small blossom from your rose or camellia bush.

** Don't you hate it when a large, showy blossom falls off its stem? Lengthen the life of the beheaded blossom by floating it in a small bowl or placing it on the top of a candlestick holder you've filled with water.

** A single long-stemmed rose or lily looks elegant in a slender wine bottle. Decorate the bottle by tying a ribbon with a medallion or pendant around its neck.

** Egg and custard cups are ideal containers for tiny nosegays.

** Votive candle holders don't have to be reserved for candles. Make miniature bouquets, put them in your votives and place them next to the drinking glasses at your next dinner party. Or line up a row of them on the windowsill about your sink.

** Here's another way to liven up your guest's place setting: Fold your napkins accordion-like, bend the folded napkin in half and place in a wine glass. The napkins will look like a little fan popping out of each glass. Put a blossom in front of the fan shape facing each guest.

** Use an antique teacup and saucer for a small flower arrangement.

** A clay flowerpot from your garden can add a cottage-like touch to your kitchen table. Place a jar filled with water in the empty pot and create a pleasing arrangement in it. Conceal the mouth of the jar with sphagnum moss. The flowers will look like they're growing out of the pot.

** At a child's birthday party fill colorful small Dixie cups with miniature bouquets of flowers and place one at each child's place setting.

** Make a hanging bud vase from a test tube. Clamp a single curtain clip one third of the way down the tube and attach a length of thin-gauged wire to it. Hang your miniature vase from the wall, a doorknob or in a window.

** Next time you visit a friend, don't go empty-handed. Bring along a little bundle of flowers from your garden. Tear out a pretty page from an old book and roll it into a cone shape. (Don't destroy a book in good condition! I keep a stack of mildewed, scribbled on, torn or coverless books for use in projects like these). Assemble a bouquet, place it in the cone and tie up the bundle with a soft, satin ribbon.

** Stand up a bunch of flowers in a silver, crystal or antique porcelain plate. Tubular, thick-stemmed blossoms like calla lilies, ginger or cannas can be bundled together and tied with a ribbon. Cut off the stems at the same length and stand the bunch up on an heirloom plate.

Kit Davey, Allied Member, ASID, is a Redwood City-based interior designer who redecorates by rearranging what you already own. E-mail her at [email protected], call her at (650) 367-7370; visit her Web site at

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