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Thanksgiving Centerpiece final The Prudent Homemaker

A low floral arrangement works well at a meal, so that you can see over it to converse with the people across from you.

I started with a wide-mouthed pint-sized canning jar. You can use anything you have--an old jar that used to have food in it, a short glass--just something wide enough that it won't tumble over from being top heavy.

Fill the glass with lukewarm water if you're cutting fresh from the garden (and cool water if you're using storebought flowers). Over the next week, when you need to add more water to the arrangement, use cool water.

This time of year, I don't have a lot of flowers blooming in the garden, so I planned an arrangement that is mostly mixed greenery. If you don't have any flowers in your garden this time of year, but still have some evergreens, you can still make a beautiful arrangement with just the greenery, or you can add a small amount of storebought flowers to complete the arrangement.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece 1 The Prudent Homemaker

I started this with a few vines that needed to be trimmed from the walkway. I cut passionfruit vine and Lady Banks' rose vines for each side of the arrangement.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I then cut and added euyonomus branches that needed to be trimmed. When I pruned my hedge in October, I left a few spots untrimmed so that I could cut from them later for arrangements. I pulled the leaves off anything that would be underwater, as leaves underwater drastically shorten the vase life of arrangements. These branches will last for 3 weeks or more after being cut.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece 3 The Prudent Homemaker

I then cut some lavender, again tearing off any leaves that would be below the water line. Though it is not blooming at this time of year, the lighter shade of the greenery add a nice contrast in the arrangement.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece 4 The Prudent Homemaker

Next I added three sprigs of dusty miller. Since this is bigger, and almost flower-like, adding an odd number of stems is good. As this arrangement is two sided, make sure to look at both sides of the arrangement when adding items.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece 5 The Prudent Homemaker

I then added in my flowers. I cut three stems of roses from the few in the garden. Ideally, I would have many more than this, and there is room in the arrangement, but this is what I have blooming in the garden right now. 

Thai Basil The Prudent Homemaker

For a little more color, I added in some Thai basil flowers. If you don't have anything small flowering, you could add in some skinny bare branches.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece 6 The Prudent Homemaker

When I was done, I set the glass jar into a silver-plated medium sized mint julip container, but of course it can be left the way it is. You can also start out by tying a bow around your jar before you begin you arrangement.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece final The Prudent Homemaker

 

A note if using storebought flowers: You should always recut the stems of any flowers you buy before putting them in water to extend the vase-life. For a low arrangement like this, you'll be cutting them a lot shorter than they were when you purchased them. Cut individual stems different heights to fill out your arrangement. 

Grocery stores often carry less-expensive individual flowers to make your own arrangements. I've found the lowest prices and greatest selection at Alberston's. They carry bunches of individual flowers for $3 to $4 a bunch. I've occasionally also seen individual flower bunches at Walmart (especially carnations) for $3 to $5. 

You can also use this method to arrange a grocery store Thanksgiving bouquet. Start with greenery from your yard, and then add in the greenery from your arrangement, adding in the flowers last. Often there is one odd flower in mixed bouquets. If you don't want to include it in your arrangment, try putting it in a seperate bud vase (an old vinegar jar works well for this, too) to enjoy elsewhere in the house. Don't feel obligated to include all of the flowers in your arrangement if you don't like the way they look together--just make something different with the others.

Roses have the shortest vase life of this bouquet. They can be pulled out when they have died, and replaced with something else, or the arrangement can continue to look good for weeks with just the greenery.

Be sure to add more water each day, and change out the water completely as often as possible, replacing it with cool, clean water.

 

 

Tagged in: Flowers
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Happy May Day!

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May Day Flowers The Prudent Homemaker

 Have a wonderful first day of May!

Poppy The Prudent Homemaker

 

Tagged in: Flowers
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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Larkspur and Rose arrangement The Prudent Homemaker

It was another windy week, though there were some still hours in which I managed to get outside to do some work in the garden.

I picked mulberries from my neighbor's tree. The wind and birds had aleady claimed quite a few. It was too windy to risk picking on the extension ladder, so I only picked a small amount. I froze what I picked to use in smoothies.

I planted basil, vinca, zinnia, borage, and portulaca seeds in the garden.

With permission, I took cuttings from my neighbor's honeysuckle plants and planted them in my garden.

I cut flowers, branches, and vines from the garden for indoor arrangements.

I bought a beautiful bookcase off a Facebook garage sale page for a wonderful price (and paying for a third of it from money I've made selling items on that same site). I had intended for this to go in the boy's room, but it was too tall to fit through the hallway to get into their room, so we added it to the library. Because of the original plan to put it in the boys' room, I ended up doing some bookcase switching anyway. I moved the cabinet with shelves (that has doors on it) to one girls' room, and the boys other short bookcase to the other girls' room. I moved the taller bookcase from one girls' room to the boys' room. The switch ended up being just what they all needed to be more organized.

Our vaccum died last week. Having to replace a vaccum doesn't seem like a frugal thing--however, this vaccum started giving us trouble several years ago--it is an upright that would even break in half on a regular basis!  We worked on it before and made it keep working for us. When it first started looking like it was time for a new vaccum, I researched and added the one I wanted to my Amazon wish list. My husband suggested we keep using the vaccum (we would put it back together each time it fell apart) and I put off buying the new one--for four years! Now that I had to replace it, I was able to not only get a great price on Amazon, but they also had a bonus $20 off coupon; all I had to do was click the button and the $20 off was applied to the total!  (I must have hit just the right day for the coupon, too, because it wasn't on there the next day when I went to look at it online again). After four years, I saw that the model I researched still has high reviews. It is also bagless and the filters can be washed. 

My husband cut his hair.

My husband and I went out for lunch on my birthday to Firehouse Subs, since they have a free birthday 8" sandwich. I had never been there before; I thought their options looked delicious and my sandwich was very good! We both had water to drink and my husband bought himself a sandwich (we didn't get any sides) so our lunch was just the cost of his sandwich. It was a nice date.

Dill Seeds The Prudent Homemaker

I collected dill seeds and snow pea seeds from the garden.

I cut lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and parsley from the garden. My lettuce is usually bolting and turning bitter this time of year, but I continued to plant every couple of weeks, and so I have newer lettuce than usual this time of year. In addition, the hot temperatures that we had at the beginning of the month were blown away by the colder wind storms that have come through, which has been a blessing in keeping the lettuce growing well.

I picked white and red strawberries.

What did you do to save money last week?

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Ivory's Blue and White Birthday

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Ivory Birthday The Prudent Homemaker

About a year and a half ago, I found a beautiful piece of fabric on Black Friday. It was just a little bit (a yard and 3/8) and there was enough to make a dress for Ivory if I made it while she was young.

This piece of fabric became my theme for her party--blue and white, which seems fitting for a blue-eyed girl named Ivory!

Ivory birthday dress The Prudent Homemaker

The dress is made from the Pascale pattern. This pattern is my absolute favorite pattern; I use it for everything! It has so many variations. I have a copy from the inside of Sew Beautiful magazine from years ago. It's a basic bodice dress with buttons in back. I used blue buttons I bought on a 50% off sale at JoAnn's. The collar is made from white muslin. The dress cost me under $9 in supplies.

Ivory Bracelet The Prudent Homemaker

I made her a matching bracelet with beads I bought on 50% off sale last year at Michael's. This was super simple; I strung the beads on a piece of clear stretch elastic that you can find in the bead section.

Ivory headband The Prudent Homemaker

Her headband is one I recovered (I cut off the original covering). The ribbon that you see is a ribbon that I bought on clearance many years ago. The bottom part of the headband is a navy blue grosgrain ribbon. I cut out two pieces for the bow and sewed it by hand, and then sewed it onto the top ribbon by hand. I then sewed both ribbons together down the sides, leaving the ends open. I slid this over the plastic headband. I folded the ends over twice near the inside bottom of the headband and sewed them closed by hand.

Ivory Imp The Prudent Homemaker

She loves headbands. I made her another one for her birthday too (not pictured) from white grosgrain ribbon. I put a bow on that one as well.

Blue and White Table The Prudent Homemaker

For decorations on the table, I went really simple: blue glass bottles I've had for years with a single stem of snapdragons cut from the garden, and the blue and white vase I found at a garage sale last fall (for $2) filled with more white flowers from the garden, all on a white table runner.

White Flowers in Blue and White Pot The Prudent Homemaker

Ivory giggles The Prudent Homemaker

Tagged in: Birthdays Flowers
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In Lieu of Flowers

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Branch Cuttings The Prudent Homemaker


I had a chance to peruse a Pottery Barn catalog recently. I know that a lot of bloggers have been making their own version of Pottery Barn offerings, so I looked at it with that in mind, wondering what new projects I would see online soon.

I noticed that it wasn't always the products that make the room appealing. The windows and molding play a huge difference in the way the room looks. The other thing I noticed is that all of the rooms have something green and living in them--and it's usually not flowers.

I love flowers. I would love fresh flowers in every room in my house. Flowers aren't always growing in my garden, however. Sometimes, it's just something green.

And that's okay.

Fresh greenery can help your spirit, too.

In many of the pictures, the green living thing was just branches. It's the same with the interior home pictures that you've pinned on Pinterest. Look carefully, and you'll see the way that simple cut branches can make a room look elegant.

I like to trim my euonymus bushes and put them in jars, and march them down the center of the table. They are fun in a windowsill, too.

Another super easy option is to cut leafy branches from a tree and put them in a tall vase or jar, and place it on a mantel, on your piano, on a table, or your bathroom counter.

Both of these options are simple arrangements that can brighten your day.

Here is what I've cut from my garden in the image above:

Euyonomous Cuttings The Prudent Homemaker

 


These are euonymus branches. They look similar to boxwood and I grow them as hedges in the garden. Eventually some will be tall enough to shape into spheres. When they grow taller or wider than you want them, give them a trim and bring them indoors. As long as the water is changed out, these should last three weeks indoors. These ones are contained in a jar that contained sauce from the store (the empty jar was given to me).

Jasmine Sprig The Prudent Homemaker

 
This is a spring of jasmine. It's done flowering for the year, but the greenery is still pretty. The vase had a bit of cork in it when I got it (for free) so I think it may have contained bath salts previously. One man's trash is definitely another man's treasure in this case.

Dusty Miller The Prudent Homemaker

 
This is dusty miller. Our nursery carries two types; the other type has lacier leaves. It's great as a base for flower arrangements, but it's also fascinating on its own. The vase is a store reproduction canning jar, which also was saved from the trash (this piece and the two above came from the same person who saved these jars from her trash for me).

Flowering Plum Branches The Prudent Homemaker

 
These are flowering plum branches, contained in a vase from the Dollar Tree, which also happens to look just like the one I saw in the Pottery Barn catalog--but for a lot less. I bought three of these, so I can also arrange them in groups. 
 
These trees are still young. As they grow taller this year, I am needing to take off the bottom branches, so that the branches will start higher on the trees. This is the second time this year I have cut the bottom branches (which these are) to shape the trees into what I want them to be.

Pomegranate Branches The Prudent Homemaker

 
Pomegranate branches are an easy trim; the plants like to produce an abundance of them towards the base of the tree, which need to be pruned. These are arranged in a vintage canning jar. Look for canning jars at garage sales and thrift shops at 50 to 75 cents each, or buy a new set of 12 for around 75 cents each.

Apple Branches The Prudent Homemaker

 
Apple trees have a good number of small branches in mid-summer. Cut the water spouts--the ones that are growing straight up in the middle of the tree. Those need to be pruned in winter anyway, so you may as well enjoy them now and allow your tree to spend its energy on branches that will produce fruit. These are in a vase from the Dollar Tree. I have them on my entry table, where a tall arrangement works really well.

Brighten your day today with something living from your garden!
Tagged in: Flowers The Garden
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Tulips in the White Garden

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The tulips are up in the white garden. They bloomed just in time for the garden tour last Saturday.

 
 
 
The tulips take all the attention, but the edibles are thriving in the white garden too. If you didn't notice them in the first picture, you're not alone. My garden tour attendees didn't see them at first, either, which also means they're not immediately noticeable to my neighbors. The flowers steal the show, and unless you're looking for them, you won't see the edibles, which is just the way I planned it.
 
 
The Katy apricot has fruit on it already. This tree ripens 3-4 weeks before my Royal apricot, which means we'll have fresh apricots twice. I specifically sought out this tree, not knowing what it was called, but knowing that it had fewer chilling hours than my Royal. My father-in-law's tree is always ripe 3-4 weeks before ours, so I figured out what would be ripe then, and went to a different nursery that carried this particular tree.

 
Near the Katy apricot is this Swiss chard plant. Iris are coming up in front of it. The grass-looking wisps near it are leeks. Just out of view of the picture to the left is a bush variety of zucchini. 
 
I'll plant basil in place of the iris when they're done blooming.
 
 
 
In the upper planter behind the bench are mache, spinach, tarragon, oregano, and my new Meyer lemon tree. Behind the lemon tree I added some garlic chives this year. A single daffodil is up here, but others are starting to come up in this area. When the mache and spinach are harvested, Armenian cucumbers will take their place. I planted seeds for them this week in the garden. 
 
 
 
I planted two thyme plants between the roses. While the roses are edible, rose-petal jelly is prettiest with pink or red flowers, so I will be leaving these roses as landscape roses. They are a floribunda rose, so they will bloom every 2-3 weeks until frost. They're just about ready to bloom for the first time this year.
 
 
Next to the driveway is this planter. Eventually the bushes will grow larger and be pruned into ball shapes. The yellow flowers are the decorative white kale that are bolting. They grow well here from October to early spring. It's time for me to pull them. Between the bushes are daffodils; one has come up here as well. To the left of the daffodils is a red looseleaf lettuce, and to the left of that is parsley, which is still rather small. I'd like to stop buying dried parsley, so I have been planting it all over in order to have enough. I've realized that I would like to use a lot more than I have in the past, which is also incentive to grow more. 
 
The lettuce will be replaced by basil when it gets hotter; I planted basil seeds to the right of the dripline. I usually don't plant basil until April, but everything bloomed here a month early and it is plenty warm enough for the basil seeds to germinate.
 
In the same planter, to the right of the daffodils, is a different red leafed lettuce, and then I have some white alpine strawberries that have just germinated. To the right of that, lining the walkway, are white violas (these are edible if you like edible flowers on things). The violas are tiny, and it will be a month or two before they bloom, as I am growing them from seed. Violas can be planted as plants in October here and grow all winter, but seeds were more cost effective. I may try seeding indoors in mid-summer for fall plants this year.
 
 
Closer to the front door there isn't as much direct sun. In this area, I have primroses planted in front of parsley. When they primroses fade, the parsley will fill this space. The vine in the center of the picture is a passionfruit vine. I don't know how it will do in this space, but it as it grows it will reach sun further up the wall.


Not photographed are the peach and lime trees, nor the chamomile that is starting to come up.

The next flowers to bloom should be the Star of Bethlehem, daffodils, ranunculus, and roses. I'm looking forward to them!
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