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How To Extend the Life of a Bouquet

19 Feb

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I love receiving flowers as much as any girl, but making them last is always a challenge. My husband surprised me with these a few days before Valentine’s Day and they still look amazing a week later. The sweet gesture reminded me of when we first started dating and he’d bring me the same number of blooms as the number date we were on. Aww, right? Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks that help extend the life of my bouquets and thought I’d share.

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How to extend the life of a bouquet in 5 easy steps

1. Prepare your vase
I own an embarrassing amount of vases according to my husband. I tend to favor very simple, low-profile, short types but there is a style for everyone. I choose my vase based on the types of blooms, usually. Tulips are top-heavy and tend to require some support, so a taller vase is usually a good choice, but my general rule for estimating my vase height is the arrangement itself. I like to pull out my favorite vases onto a counter and hold the arrangement near the counter edge, so I can visualize how much chopping-off of the stems I’ll have to do for each. Once I’ve estimated which best suits the bouquet, I mix the floral food packet with cold water, filling the vase a little under 1/2 to 2/3 full. You should NOT fill the vase with water.

2. Trim stems
Next, I unwrap the entire arrangement, taking care not to muss it too much if I like how it’s arranged. I like to unwrap on a large flat surface, leaving the paper right underneath as a work-space. Next, I’ll grab one stem and hold it up next to the vase as I did in step 1, and trim the bottom on an angle with sharp scissors to the desired height that best suits the vase. This stem will guide me as I trim the rest of the bouquet. Placing the stem back onto the arrangement, with the head of the flower aligned with the rest, work stem by stem, trimming each.

3. De-leaf to the waterline and a bit above
A lot of people don’t know to do this. The less bacteria you introduce from murky bouquet water up into the blooms themselves, the better, so I like the remove a good portion of any remaining leaves on my flower stems. I like a little green up at the top, but removing excess leaves helps encourage airflow among the blooms at the top. Remember, these aren’t growing plants anymore, so you’re trying to preserve and extend their luster.

4. Keep them cold
There is a reason why floral cases are refrigerated. Cold extends the life of cut flowers. At night, I’ll sometimes pop an arrangement into the fridge or the coldest part of the kitchen instead of keeping them in the bedroom where we blast the space heater in the winter.

5. Maintain
To really extend the life of a bouquet, change the water every three days, re-trim the edges, and immediately remove any dead or dying blooms. They release a gas once they’re on their way out that will quickly cause the rest of the bouquet to die, so as soon as you see one start to go, toss it.

I hope some of these tips help you to extend the life of your bouquets as they have mine. I’d love to hear any tips or tricks you have!

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How to: Digitally Organize and Prioritize Projects

9 Jul

Project Organization System for Creative Types/ a few of the many places I stash ideas + inspirations for projects /

I think a lot of creative types tend to inundate themselves with ideas for projects without any systematic plan for prioritizing and approaching them. Writing about those kitchen stools the other day reminded me that I should probably resuscitate my monthly “To Do” list (first posted back in February of last year — ack!) and turn it into a monthly series to keep me on track and accountable. But first, I need to get organized. I tend to jot notes for project ideas EVERYWHERE which only adds to this chaos, so I want to establish a new process for organizing and tackling them.

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First, since I’ll always be a paper-lover at heart, I’ll still scribble ideas as inspiration strikes (or type them into the “Notes” App on my iPhone), but I’ll use Evernote solely to organize them. Then I’ll post to a Master List on a dedicated page here on the blog for a peek at what is on the horizon. Each month, I’ll share my prioritized monthly project list and hopefully stay on track with all the projects I want to cross off my list. Woo woo!

Here’s a sample of what was leftover from that February post, plus some items that have been floating around in my mind to accomplish this summer:

Priority

– Upgrade computer hard-drives so I can finally update and backup
– Create a usable office space for working from home
– Buy an AC window unit for the office
– Find a blog post ideas organization/schedule solution

Creative

– Print best 20 photos for Hawaii photo album
– Decide on a photo management and storage solution
– Instagram Coasters
– Finish Wedding Photo Albums
– Decide about making annual photo books
– Annual Shutterfly calendars
– Kitchen cookbook art
– Tea towel recipe art

Kitchen

– Get kitchen-organized:

pull everything our of the kitchen and clean-out
find a space for everything
jar organization/labeling system

– Find a shelf system for the horribly underutilized wall-space in kitchen
– Install that Ikea rod/storage system in the kitchen
– Hang tea cup rack, black shelving, tea holder, and fruit basket

Dining Room

– Pull everything from the buffet sideboard and assess
– Look for some china cabinet alternatives
– Look for dining room set re-furb ideas, including recovering chair upholstery
– Finish framed photo collages (Hawaii, Italy)

Bedroom

– Refinish nightstands
– Refinish headboard
– New bedding (?)
– Need art for over the bed

Office
– Re-think the office layout; try a smaller desk maybe
– Need a more comfortable office chair

Living Room
– Clean out the wall-unit
– Think about a new coffee table and side-table(s)

General Clutter Control/Maintenance

– Remove all non-current magazines from our living space
– Unsubscribe to magazines we no longer want
– Resuscitate all dying house plants

Non-Priority

– Find more attractive trash barrels for the bedroom, office and bathroom

Phew, I’m amped up and exhausted all at the same time. So that’s a taste of what’s on my monster “To Do” list right now. Stay tuned for a cleaned up version of my “July To Do” list series start next week!

 

Hair 101: Retro Glam Curls

12 Mar

As much as I love Carrie’s signature wild spiral curls on Sex and the City, one of my all-time-favorite SJP looks has to be brushed out, retro-glam waves. It’s an effortless look that actually require quite a bit of effort ironically. Particularly for someone like Sarah with naturally very wavy hair because you first have to blow the hair out then style with rollers. I especially love how modern this looks with the straighter roots and it just gets better after you’ve slept on it. I love hair that I only have to style once! This is a great look to try for a Saturday night, then stretch through to Sunday and maybe even Monday (with a little dry shampoo)!

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1. Starting with freshly washed hair, apply volumizing mousse to the roots before you blow dry smooth using a round brush to lift at the roots and a flat brush from below the ears, down. *You’ll have to switch back and forth every few minutes.

2. Apply a quarter-size blob of curl cream to hair from the length starting at the ears, down, avoiding the roots. Curl cream helps the curls to set and hold.

3. Taking 2-inch sections, roll hair onto curlers, stopping around the cheekbone area and clipping.

4. Let cool completely, then gently remove and brush. Spray with a light hold hair spray.