A Recipe For Beauty: Make Spring Bouquets Last Longer with this Easy, DIY Mix

A Recipe For Beauty

Floral food can a make big difference when it comes to preserving the beauty of your favorite blooms. But a posy plucked from your garden instead of being purchased from the florist or your local grocery store doesn’t come with one of those tiny, bloom- bolstering feed packets. You can, however, make your own flower preservative quickly and easily using a recipe provided by the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

Just mix together the following ingredients:

1 quart lukewarm water (warmer water helps stems drink faster)

1 teaspoon bleach  (bleach fights bacteria)

2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice (acidic citrus adjusts the pH)

1 teaspoon sugar (carbs feed plants)

If you’re working with spring bulb flowers like tulips, use cold water instead of lukewarm as bulbs do best with colder H20 temperatures. After you’ve created your floral food mixture, pour a generous amount of the liquid into the vessel of your choice:  a multifaceted vase, an antique watering can, a teapot, a vintage milk jug, even a favorite cookie jar.

For longer stems, look to an umbrella stand, a trumpet vase, or a tall piece of hand thrown pottery for a dramatic presentation. If you prefer shorter, petite bouquets you don’t have to settle for the typical, nondescript glass vase. Display your blooms in unique style by placing them in a mint julep cup, a square cube vase, a compote bowl, or a collection of dessert cups or teacups (matching or not!).

There you have it:  a recipe for bouquet beauty that’s certain to make others green with envy.

Shop our Spring Flowers and Botanicals collection now!

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Garden Inspired Gatherings

Laughter, joy, and good times are in full bloom when you’re hosting a get-together that’s enlivened with garden beauty. Whimsical, charming, and always refreshing, a garden-inspired motif lends a certain joie de vivre to any occasion, whether you’re dining outdoors on a terrace or indoors in a light-filled great room.

To begin with, as guests arrive invite them to sit back and relax on a sofa and chairs adorned with garden-inspired pillows. Flower prints? Of course. But add in a few unexpected designs such as embroidered berries, birds among branches, robin’s eggs, or bunnies. Sprinkle in a pillow or two boasting the word ‘relax’ and you’ve set the tone for a time to unwind.

Choose a tablecloth, runner, or placemats that suggest the outdoors in pattern or color. Floral motifs are always a good choice but if that’s too traditional for you opt instead for an elegant branch design or a pattern that suggests garden gate latticework. If you prefer a solid color, can’t-miss choices for suggesting the bold beauty of the outdoors include garden green, sun yellow, or sky blue. If your motif features a particular type of flower, match the tablecloth, runner, or placemats to the bloom’s hue for a striking monochromatic effect.

Should you hold your garden gathering outdoors, take into account the temperature. Early spring can mean there’s still a slight chill in the air, especially during the morning or late afternoon hours. Layer light, natural fiber throws in pastel tones on chairs or sofas so that guests can wrap themselves in comfy warmth while they enjoy the fresh air.

Wicker elements always impart airiness to a garden party, and the choices are endless:  Take your pick of chairs, stools, lanterns, side tables, baskets, serving carts, chargers, and more. For even more outdoors appeal, add in a natural sisal or jute area rug; they’re as durable as they are beautiful.

When your gathering starts to wind down and guests begin to take their leave, present them with a small decorative container in which you’ve planted the seed or bulb of a perennial flowering plant. They can grow the plant indoors then transplant it outside when it’s large enough, leaving them with a pretty pot they can reuse next season. It’s just one more way you can make fond memories of your garden gathering grow.

Shop our Summer Outdoor Living and Entertaining collection now!

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And Trending for Spring Are…

Out with the winter blues; in with the spring to-dos. It’s no surprise that spring is the season for changing things up in your home. Just look outdoors and you’ll  see that everything seems to be taking on a new shape, a different color, a fuller form. It’s only natural that your living space, too, should take on an air of refreshed beauty. Here are some of the most popular trends popping up this spring.

Marvelous Marble
It’s sleek, it’s cool, it’s luxurious — and it can also be expensive. Marble can attract your admiring gaze but it can also bust your wallet if you’re looking at large-scale items such as tabletops and kitchen counters. Opt, instead, for these smaller items that add this natural stone’s sophistication to your decor without taking a chunk of your budget:  planters, clocks, candleholders, bookends, and accent tables.

Gray Hardwood Floors
The beauty of this trend is hard to beat:  hardwood floors in a soft, muted gray color. The natural grain of the wood is accentuated by neutral gray tones that allow for ease in blending with home decor color schemes either vibrant or subdued. This spring, the light and airy look of gray flooring is definitely  underfoot.

Farmhouse Kitchens
Their simplicity calls to mind pie baking, fresh thinking, easier living. Falling by the wayside are extravagant kitchens with overly embellished Mediterranean-inspired design. The farmhouse kitchen features soothing neutral colors, open shelving, natural flooring, expansive sun-dappled windows, reclaimed wood, and, of course, a farmhouse sink.

Global Folk Textiles
You can bring a world of beauty to your spring decor by including global folk textiles. Add in a few pops of brightly colored woven and embroidered fabrics and textiles in the form of pillows, throws, area rugs, or wall hangings and you’ll impart international panache to your surroundings.

Matte Finishes
Metallic has moved on:  last year’s glimmering darling has been replaced with this year’s soft matte. Some of the season’s most popular textures include matte glazes, chalk-finish paints, and oxidized metals.

Black And White Decor
Minimalism makes its return with minimal fuss. Black and white decor is on the upswing, owing to a desire to create an interior that showcases just a few complementary colors instead of an entire palette of varying hues. Clean, simple, direct, and bold, a black and white color scheme always seems timeless and allows for the introduction of a few pops of other favorite colors here and there.

Shop our Spring Flowers collection now!

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5 Ways to Take Your Home Décor from Winter to Spring (Without Taking Much Time)

Soon the winter ‘blahs’ will become spring ‘ahhhs’, and there’s no better time to transition your home decor from a time of cool days and long nights to a season of warm breezes and welcome blooms. The following tips can help put a spring in your step and in your home.

  1. Trade out cozy wood accents for breezy touches. Just as wood pieces provide a rustic, cozy, love-the-indoors feel, so do glass, iron, and white-washed accents  create an airy, breezy vibe that lightens up interiors.
  1. Add neutral colors. Subtle neutral hues keep a room feeling wonderfully cool during the warm weather months of spring and summer. An added bonus:  they serve as a blank canvas for wall art, pillows, cotton throws, and the like, which means you can showcase your favorite floral patterns or pleasant plaids.
  1. Bring the beauty of the outdoors in.  Add freshness, color, and the joy of new growth to your rooms with plants that add a punch of color. Consider placing a terrarium with succulents on a display shelf, a miniature herb garden on a window ledge in the breakfast nook, or a posy of blooms in an entryway that says “Welcome spring!”.
  1. Open the door to a new season with a change in window treatments. Pack away the heavy curtains that kept in warmth during the winter months and opt instead for lighter choices. Sheer panels, cafe curtains, and cottage-inspired half shutters let the sunshine in while maintaining privacy.
  1. Spring and summer are just right for white. Pops of white color throughout your home lend a breezy beauty suggestive of newly opened garden blooms, silken summer clouds, polished sea shells, and wonderful wicker accents. Always lovely, always calming, white says winter has waned and — finally — spring has sprung.

Shop our Spring Remix now!

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Take Your Pick: The Symbolic Meaning of Some Beautiful Blooms

Knowledge can stem from many things, including flowers. Did you know that Victorians long ago assigned symbolism to some of the most popular flowers that we cherish today? In Victorian times, the meaning of the flower was what counted most, not how many blooms were counted as part of a bouquet. When creating a flower arrangement for a special occasion, wedding, or holiday celebration, consider adding some of these meaningful flowers for both scent and symbolism.

It may come as a surprise that the peony, known for its large and showy flowers, symbolizes bashfulness. They require little maintenance if planted properly; some have been known to thrive for 100 years. As cut flowers, peonies can last more than a week.

Simple. Elegant. Sophisticated. The simple white rose leaves little to be desired in terms of floral allure; not surprisingly, it symbolizes purity. Well suited to special occasions, white roses have long been  associated with weddings and bridal bouquets, and are cherished as a symbol of pure love.

Bold and brilliant with unabashed panache, the poppy symbolizes fantastic extravagance. Poppies don’t disappoint in terms of just how fantastic they are:  Home gardeners can plant poppies in an array of colors that’s simply stunning, from white, red, and pink to orange, purple, and eye-popping black.

Symbolizing a declaration of love, the red tulip is an unexpected addition to a wedding bouquet or ceremonial floral arrangements that grace a church or reception hall. With their easily identifiable shape, large green leaves, and thick stems, tulips make a bold statement while not being overly elegant or fussy.

The daffodil is a harbinger of spring and rightfully so:  Through the years it’s come to symbolize new beginnings. Once grown extensively by ancient Greeks and Romans, today there are more than 50 species of daffodils. An ideal choice for springtime bouquets that signal the arrival of a new season.

When putting together a bouquet, a floral arrangement for your dining table, a basket of blooms for a terrace, take your pick. Every flower has its own beauty. And now you have the seeds of knowledge to make a perfect choice.

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Eggcellent Easter Dining Decorations

Whether you’re hosting a light luncheon for a small family gathering or a bountiful buffet for a large group of friends, bring the joy of Easter to your dining with the addition of charming  accents that celebrate the holiday.

Before

Hors d’oeuvres needn’t be ordinary:  Serve your guests their favorite noshes and nibbles  on a tray that suggests the gentle beauty of the season. Choose a tray adorned with figural birds, playful rabbits, or petite blooms to suggest springtime. Or adorn your favorite any-time-of-year tray with a few solid glass eggs placed along the rim for a simple yet beautiful touch of Easter.

During

Skip the too predictable tablecloth and opt instead for a table runner that allows you to set the table — and set the tone — for a lovely repast. A floral-inspired runner gives a nod to the splendor of the season. Soft-to-the-touch linen napkins in hues of robin’s egg blue, petal pink, or cloud white lend sophistication to your table without being stuffy. Use all one color for a monochromatic look or mix pastel tones together for an Easter egg inspired palette that blends whimsy with pretty. Pewter flatware adds a subtle silvery tone that’s wonderfully light while gold plated pieces bring a distinctive luster and richness to your holiday setting.

After

Too often, what takes place after dinner is an afterthought but there’s no reason your Easter-themed celebration can’t continue when it’s time for dessert. Entice your guests with a rich chocolate cheesecake presented on a bunny cake plate. Serve up slices on dessert plates boasting brightly colored fields of flowers, embossed garden designs, or raised berries on a soft green background. Add in coffee cups with a branch and leaf design and you’ve got a nature inspired motif that invites everyone to welcome not only the  joys of Easter but also the new beauty of spring.

Pantone’s© Colors of the Year 2016

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Two hues are better than one, at least so it seems in 2016.

Never before has the Pantone© Color Institute chosen two colors of the year instead of just one, but that’s exactly what happened when it selected Rose Quartz (a soft pink) and Serenity (a pale blue). The Institute decided on the duo because together they exude a calming connection, a welcome balance, and a sense of wellness and peace that’s simply soothing but never boring.

Here are a few ways to bring the beauty of these colors home.

  1. Add a rug with either a soft pink or light blue background and a distinctive pattern such as a Moroccan trellis motif, simple stripes, or latticework. The rug’s solid color soothes while the pattern perks up your interior.
  1. Toss in a hint of either of these on-trend colors with pillows aplenty. Typically placed on a sofa, chair, or bedscape, pillows always add an extra touch of visual or textural appeal. But consider adding them to not-so-expected spaces such as a generously sized windowsill, a library bookshelf, a glass-fronted kitchen cabinet, or an heirloom hope chest.
  1. Baskets need not be bland; in fact, you can find decorative baskets in soft pinks and pale blues that blend beautifully with your decor while also offering stylish storage. Whether you’re using them to house pet toys, bric-a-brac, or home office must-haves, baskets in these pretty colors are a cool alternative to the usual warm tones of woven baskets.
  1. Nothing sheds more light on the true beauty of a color than a lamp. Choose a lighting fixture with a base or a shade in either of these on-trend hues and you can easily add a touch of pink or blue to a nightstand, side table, desk, or armoire.
  1. Throws are ideal for mixing both of these soft hues together. Choose a textured throw that’s a combination of both colors  or place two individual throws — one pink, one blue — on your favorite reading chair, loveseat, or at the end of your bed. You’ll enjoy twice the color and double the comfort — all at one time!

Shop our 2016 Pantone© Rose Quartz collection now!

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A How-To for Healthy Houseplants in Winter

AHowToHouseplants

Photo Credit: at {mine} Blog, Photography by Jeska Hearne

Taking care of winter houseplants? Think of it as planting seeds of love. Your favorite plants, flowering or not, need a little extra TLC to get through the days and months of limited sun, drier air, and cold blasts from nearby doors being opened and closed. Help your plants thrive during the winter months by following these few simple suggestions.

Because the growth of most houseplants slows down during the winter, you can ease up on the watering until spring returns. When the compost dries out, add some tepid water then pour out any excess — you don’t want a somewhat dormant plant to be standing in water. And since the plant’s growth cycle has slowed, there’s no need to feed it until it ‘wakes up’ come warmer days.

Closed windows means less air circulating in your home and that can cause dust to collect on plant leaves, causing them to look dull and lifeless. Use a soft cloth or brush to gently clear away any dust particles then wipe the leaves with a moistened cloth to give green foliage a pick-me-up.

If you’re caring for a tropical plant, mist it frequently or place the pot in a saucer of gravel moistened with water. Desert plants fare best in rooms where the temperature is a bit warmer, while those with tough foliage  such as Palms and Yucca thrive in cooler locations.

Finally, remember to keep plants as far away as possible from any radiators or heat sources in your home. Houseplants (like people!) feel most comfortable in temperatures that don’t rise or fall dramatically. Even putting a plant on a windowsill can result in damage to foliage or blooms if the temperature dips down significantly come nightfall.

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Adding Everyday Romance to a Tasteful Home Décor

AddingEverydayRomance

This gorgeous print, Masquerade Midnight IV, of a mysterious woman lends a deep color and romantic touch to any space.

Who doesn’t love refined seasonal decorating and scattered rose petals? But such gestures are so pleasant because they’re temporary and novel. These suggestions help create a more indulgent, romantic mood on a permanent basis – something you can reinforce, rather than reinvent, when you have a craving to add something new.

Choose lush, vibrant colors associated with passion and feeling, and use those to guide palette choices. Deep red, violet, and royal blue are among these shades – so choosing neutrals with pink undertones or accenting a room with deep, shadowy blues and purples sets a glamorous tone.

Look to heirlooms. Whether they’re your storied family pieces or new acquisitions that hint at history, distressed and aged finishes and pieces that feel like they have a background add depth to a space’s mood.

Use layers. It’s possible to make a minimalist home feel romantic, but it takes much more skill (and a few truly evocative pieces). If you like a touch of eclecticism, let that taste do the work for you by giving practical objects well-matched companions that are just there to please you.

Embrace color contrast. Just like black lace over white satin or a velvet valance over billowing sheers, closely-placed high contrast – especially in fabrics – sets a more intimate, eloquent mood.

Don’t forget the other senses. Romantic home décor should be reinforced beyond the visual; this is what makes it feel authentic and upscale. Choose a signature home scent and use furnishings whose texture feels luxe to you, and the scene will be set.

Shop some of our favorite romantic décor now!

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Wonderful Winter Woolens

WinterWoolens

Arequipa Alpaca Throw from top to bottom: Zig Zag Gray, Striped Grey and Ivory, and Striped Light and Dark Grey.

Cozy comfort: That’s where thoughts turn at this time of year. The easy, breezy days of summer have long since sailed past and now it’s time to wrap yourself — and your home — in warmth, rich textures, and wonderful winter woolens. A few well-placed home accessories can add not only style and sophistication but also create that cozy up and nestle in feeling that warms up the season.

  • A first step in adding winter woolens to your decor? A richly textured wool rug. Choose from a wide variety of textures from smooth and silky to hand-knotted, intricate designs and patterns with cosmopolitan appeal, or soothing solids that blend effortlessly with traditional or contemporary decors. As long-lasting as they are lovely, wool rugs offer classic beauty that serves as a warm foundation for any room.
  • Throw out any preconceived notions of where to place a wool throw in your home. A throw can add a much-needed pop of color to an upholstered chair or sofa, but why limit this pretty and practical accessory to only those few items? Place a soft woolen throw atop a welcoming bedscape, a Parsons Bench in a home library, a chaise in a reading nook, or a dining room side chair. Fold brightly hued throws into open cubby spaces in a mudroom or entryway and you have colorful seasonal accents that are always on hand to warm family members or guests coming in from the outdoors.
  • Comfort and style never take a back seat with a wool pouf. Whether in use as a footstool, casual additional seating for guests, or as an accent piece that’s both chic and charming, a pouf fashioned from rich wool invokes a sense of sit awhile relaxation.
  • Toss in a wool pillow. Round or square. Solid or patterned. Bold or subdued. Woolen pillows are available in all manner of shapes and sizes but what matters most is the soft, warm, welcoming feel that they impart to a room. Place woolen pillows as singles or multiples atop your favorite upholstered pieces, on a generously scaled window ledge, or as a backrest on an antique wooden chair. A large woven basket overflowing with a collection of brightly colored pillows adds a warm touch to a great room and makes it easy to switch out pillows whenever you choose.

When it comes to warming up your decor this winter, where there’s a wool there’s a way.