Sunday, January 3, 2010

Heavenly Stuff

A common name for nandina is "heavely bamboo," and heavenly stuff it is.  The berries are bright and multi-purpose and the greens are glorious and sometimes turn a bronzy color that make us East Coast transplants all nostalgic for the old country. 

This Christmas I took a bunch of it and stuck it in my Christmas tree instead of the gazillion ornaments I usually use.  The result was fantastic, and even better, the berries dried nicely and I was able to use them in this arrangement.  I just piled them up, one sprig on another to get this effect.  Easy and should last until the cobwebs start appearing between the berries.

Happy New Year

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Good Intentions

My intention was to blog my way through the holidays but I just couldn't muster much enthusiasm after my dear old pal Bud, the best cat in the world, died shortly before Thanksgiving.  Kicked me right in the gut. 

But I did manage to drag the tree out of the basement (I'm not ashamed that I went artificial, but do prefer real) even if there were no kids coming home this year and no holiday party planned either.  I figured it would be just too sad without some decorations up.

Easy Tree

Last year I'd put every single ornament that shined or glittered on my tree and it was truly opulent, extravagant and a pain in the ass to take down.  Being quasi-depressed, I opted for easy street.  I had a box of enormous pine cones my mother had saved and some sprigs of rather sad looking artificial berry sprays so I stuck them in among the branches then purloined some beautiful nandina berries and stuck them in there too.  My grapevine doesn't produce grapes but does a great job on vines which I usually clip and form into wreaths.  I had 3 I really didn't need so I took them apart and wrapped the tree with the vines like garlands.  Some years ago I came across some fake snow...looking suspiciously like shredded plastic bag Pottery Barn that I'd been saving and tossed that on top of it all.  Voila!  Easy up and even better yet, easy down. 

I'm kicking myself that I didn't get a picture of it.  You'll just have to imagine.  Sorry

Mixing Reds

I'm a huge proponent of mixing variations of the same hue.  So much easier than trying to match a certain red.  For my mantle I made a simple arrangement of fake berry sprigs mixed with fresh nandina berries, added a few small magnolia clusters (these are a bit aged as I didn't get this shot while they were still fresh) plunked a couple of fat candles on their perches and it was done. 

Again, so easy.

Don't Forget Flowers

Sometimes we get so into the whole pine and holly mindset that we forget that you can get lovely holiday effects from regular old flowers.  While I'm not entirely happy with the way this arrangement worked out (I think the container was just too big for what I was trying to achieve), I will try something similar next year.

I used a mixture of coffee berries, roses, gerbera daisies and random pine and cedar bits left over from someone's Christmas tree.  I learned that Target just tosses all the branches they cut off the bottom of the trees when they prep them for folks and were happy for me to take some of them off their hands.  Love free stuff.

Round Pot in a Square Hole

Don't forget potted flower options.  Here I took a red cyclamen in a 4" pot and put it in a sandwich size Ziplock bag then squished it into this square glass vase.  I then filled the vase (outside of the plastic, I didn't want the plant to be saturated the whole time) with water and surrounded the pot with sprigs of blooming white azalea.  The plastic pretty much disappears with the water around it creating an interesting effect.  I think it was a nice and festive look for very little money...and the plant will go in my garden when its indoor time is up.

Merry Belated Christmas!