I am all about doing things on a budget, and simple flower arrangements TOTALLY fall into that category. The markup on pre-made floral arrangements is CRAZY! Don’t get me wrong – I will happy accept beautiful flowers sent to me from a loved one ANY day of the week, but in between those occasions few and far, I still love having fresh flowers around. Even just one small arrangement in the kitchen or on the coffee table just seems to cheer up the whole house.
I used to be intimidated by the thought of trying out my own arrangements, but after the first few, it got much easier. Not to knock the florists who artfully create masterpieces, but I found I could easily recreate many arrangements right at home. I just looked online for inspiration (thank you Pinterest), and went from there. Done and done!
To save money, I mostly utilize cups, mason jars, old vases, baskets, etc. from around the house and I always try to purchase flowers that are in season, as those tend to be cheapest. I am pretty fortunate to live in the Pacific Northwest, as there are tons of amazing local flower farms and our farmer’s market has no less than 5 or 6 flower vendors each week. They create the most beautiful (and large!) bunches of amazingly fresh flowers with prices ranging from $7-$20. I love that I can buy $15 in flowers and have enough to create 2-3 beautiful arrangements at home – with these I don’t have to do much except cut them to fit the container, as the seller has already beautifully combined different flowers together. They are so fresh that they tend to last well beyond a week. Plus, I know I am supporting local growers. :) If nothing on the rack catches your fancy, they even let you customize your purchase, and if you reallywant an adventure, some farms let you come pick your own right from the field!
When I can’t get to the market, I grab unmixed “florist bunches” from Trader Joe’s or the grocery store and divide/mix them together myself, as I’ve done with this easy Jellybean Easter Centerpiece. I used two small-ish containers from my cupboard, added a $0.99 bag of jelly beans, and 3 bunches of flowers for $3 each. Tah dah! – a centerpiece for under $10! (add a few bucks if you need make a run to the dollar store for glass containers) Plus, I have a few stems left over to put in bud vases for other rooms. See below for supplies and instructions on how to create one of your own.
2 containers, one small enough to fit inside of the other with a little room around the edges for the jellybeans
1 medium bag of jelly beans (1-2 cups, depending on the size of your containers)
your choice of flowers, about 15-25 stems depending on the size of the blooms and your containers
heavy duty scissors
Be sure to choose two containers that work to fit inside of one another – mine are an old floral vase and a small mason jar. You could easily make a bigger arrangement with a large pitcher and tall cup or mason jar to fit inside. (Just remember to get enough jelly beans – you can always eat leftovers if you get too many!) Remember, you won’t see the inside container, so feel free to break out that old Burger King Disney cup, or whatever you have on hand.
I needed to add a layer of jellybeans at the bottom to lift up the inside container a bit, but this isn’t always necessary depending on the sizes of the containers.
Next, I put in the smaller container.
Then, I added jellybeans around the outside, twisting and jiggling the inside cup to make sure the beans went all the way down the sides. I did have to add more beans underneath the inner jar to lift it up a little because the space towards the bottom was to tight for the jellybeans to go all the way down the sides. Definitely make sure you choose an inner container that leaves you enough room, hahaha :)
Arrange the flowers the way you want, then carefully add water without spilling on the beans – done!
So pretty! I love the bright colors of my jellybeans – if you’ve seen my dishes, then you know I LOVE color just about everywhere in my house. (In case you are wondering, Jolly Ranchers was the brand I used)
This centerpiece would look great on any dinner table or buffet, or even on a side table. If you will be a guest in someone’s home this holiday and aren’t so handy in the kitchen to bring a dish, this would make a great (and inexpensive) hostess gift.
Tips for Home Floral Arrangements:
Here are several handy tips for creating beautiful arrangements at home. I am no expert by ANY means, but these are a few things I’ve discovered helpful over the years. Special thanks to my sister with the giant green thumb who inspires my thumb to be a little less brown…
Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite non- farmer’s market places to find decent flowers, but many grocery stores have good floral departments and will sell you flowers by the stem instead of prearranged bunches. Locally, I also love New Seasons – they often have really unique blooms that are grown on nearby farms.
I like to have an idea for the theme and size of my arrangement, as well as which container I plan to use, BEFORE I purchase my flowers. That way, I am less likely to purchase too many or not enough flowers andI choose the right types of flowers for what I’m planning. Of course, I still sometimes buy on a whim as I’m walking by a flower stand ;-) See THAT kind of handiwork here >> A Little Sunshine
Instead of baby’s breath as filler, I love to use other small flowers like chamomile, alstroemeria, hypernicum berries, wax flower, etc. Many of these are available in fairly inexpensive bunches. Don’t forget to make use of the plain greens or non-flowering stems which sometimes come along with the bundles.
When I get home I unwrap all my stems, trim about an inch off the bottom and place them in an ice bucket or pitcher filled with water to help keep them fresh as I work. I also remove all the leaves from the bottom 3/4 of the stems, as well as any spent blooms/dead leaves up top. That way, all the stems are ready for me to use.
For taller arrangements: I start by holding the flowers in my hand and making a really nice looking bouquet. Then, with a pair of sharp heavy duty shears, I cut them all to about the right height of my vase by holding the bunch next to the vase and eyeballing how much I need to snip off. I always go a little conservative at first because I can always trim more, but can’t put height back on if I’ve cut them too short. Once in my vase, I trim any in need of a height adjustment, and add additional stems to fill in any gaps. I love lilies and hydrangea in taller vases because they have strong stems and they have large blooms so they take up more space and I don’t have to buy as many to fill the arrangement. (lucky me, I happen to have hydrangeas in my yard – yay!!!!!)
For shorter arrangements: Instead of making a bouquet first, I add the stems in layers starting with all around the edge of the container. Then, I add more and more until they create a nice and full, almost domed, look. This style works great for me with varieties like tulips which tend to have more flexible stems that don’t hold up well at taller heights. I also sometimes use just a few (or even sometimes 1, depending on the size) larger blooms like peonies, gerber daisies or hydrangea for a simple (and cheap) way to add life to my counters and tables.
By the way, the idea for the jelly beans came from an old episode of Martha Stewart Living – I guess it just goes to show that some “good things” never get too old!