by Kit Wertz Pictured above is a design I did using orange Marigolds, dark red Mini Gerbera Daisies, Cotinus 'Smoke Bush' and Broomcorn. With the exception of the Gerbers, these flowers are primarily available only in the fall. If you want to learn more about fall flowers, come to our fall floral design class this month at our Floral Design Studio in Torrance. You'll learn all about flowers which you can only get in the fall.
How to Use a Pumpkin as a Vase
This is the time of year when it's fun to create vases out of real pumpkins for our table decorations.
While it’s tempting to carve the pumpkin early for your floral design, we recommend waiting until the day before your event to do this.
Cut an opening in the top that is large enough for the design you want to create. You may want to cut a circle and fit in a small glass container to hold the stems of the design.
Or, instead of a circle, you may want to cut a square, line the interior with plastic and then slip some soaked floral foam inside to help hold the stems. Be sure to trim the plastic so you don’t see it coming out of the pumpkin.
Scoop out all the seeds and other goopy stuff inside the pumpkin (Save the seeds to toast them in the oven. Just wash them, toss a little salt on them and throw them on a cookie sheet. Toast in the oven at 325 degrees until they start to brown a bit.)
You many want to keep the top of the pumpkin with the stem attached as an accent to your design, too.
How to Preserve Carved Pumpkins
When I was researching for this article, I came across an interesting website called myscienceproject.org. The author did a great experiment with all types of recommended ways to keep a carved pumpkin fresh. The final conclusion was to just carve the pumpkin and leave it. All the recommendations: soaking in a bleach solution, coating it with white glue or Vaseline or an expensive product called Pumpkin Fresh, all resulted in problems. The plain old pumpkin with no treatment lasted the longest and looked the best in the end.
One method they did not try was using Ball® Fruit-Fresh® Produce Protector. This is used in food preparation to help keep cut fruit like apples from turning brown in a prepared fruit salad. Even though it says it only works up to 8 hours, I thought I would give it a try on my pumpkin. So I did a control experiment. After one day, the Fruit-Fresh® treated pumpkin looked and smelled just like it did after I carved it. I am still working on this experiment so check in with us on our Flower Duet Facebook page to see how the pumpkin fares each day and get the final verdict.
Use Funkins or Fake Pumpkins
One advantage of using real pumpkins is you can compost them along with the flowers when the arrangement has faded. (Keep floral foam out of the compost heap. Floral foam needs to be tossed into the garbage after using it for floral design. See all our guidelines on How to Safely use Floral Foam.)
Using fake pumpkins or "Funkins" (pictured at left) for your Halloween and Thanksgiving decoration allows you to reuse them year after year! Plus, it’s easy to carve them, paint them or embellish them. You can even gild them to create a classy look!
NOTE: Fake pumpkins are flammable. Use only battery operated lights inside them if you are using the fake pumpkin as a votive holder or jack-o-lantern.
by Kit Wertz
Fall is upon us and instead of the usual orange and black decorations, I am leaning toward a more elegant Halloween look. I am really drawn to the simple elegance of ghosts, owls, bats, spiders, witches hats and ghost pumpkins which are white instead of orange.
It seems that I am not the only one who feels this way about this holiday. I found a lot of inspiration online and have created a new Pinterest board called Classy Halloween. There are not many floral designs on this board, but you could really just create any type of white floral design and then add a few spooky accents like cobwebs, spiders, mini bats or fun sayings like, "Eek!" or "Boo!"
At left, I added
sticker rhinestones to a fake white pumpkin. It was easy to free hand this design using tweezers to remove the rhinestones from the plastic backing and place them on the pumpkin. You could accent this with a fake little spider, too!
I shopped at my local craft, grocery and furniture stores for all the items I needed to create these black and white Halloween decoration ideas. I went to Michaels, Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores, IKEA and Trader Joe's for all my supplies! I purchased all my flowers from Trader Joe's!
I found this elegant black lantern from IKEA and in it, placed a few mini white pumpkins for a simple table decoration. Added the "BOO!" with a few bits of black Spanish moss and a small black Crow as accents.
Purchased two fake white pumpkins from Michael’s and then embellished them with black rhinestones on one to create a spider web and stickers on the other to create a frilly face.
It's hard to make flowers look scary. Calla Lilies can evoke so many moods and this time, I hope you find it a bit spooky with my "Eek!" accent. Happy Halloween!
NOTE: If you carve a fake pumpkin, don’t put a real candle in it, use battery operated lights. Fake pumpkins are highly flammable.
Casey Schwartz of Flower Duet has appeared on Public Television's Creative Living with Sheryl Borden the past two seasons and returned to Portales, New Mexico to film another set of five shows for the 2012-2013 season.
Casey had the pleasure of returning this time with our mom who flew into Albuquerque to meet her, where they drove to Portales and filmed the show the following day. After that it was onto Sante Fe for music, arts, wine, chili and meeting with our 99-year-old Great Aunt Teen, who is the last of my grandmother's seven siblings still with us.
As we send out this newsletter, Casey is just getting back to Los Angeles and we'll soon be posting more free videos to our YouTube channel from her appearance on the show.
Look for this year's techniques which include: Tips and Tricks with Pomanders, Mixing Tropical and Traditional flowers for Winter White Elegance and a Victorian Bouquet complete with flower meanings for each flower we used in the mix.
How many flowers does it take to fill an Oasis Sphere?
While Flower Duet is busy in our production studio with fall weddings and gearing up for the holidays, we’d like to introduce you to the Oasis IDEA video channel on YouTube. These free videos show you how to use their foam and floral products and this month, we are featuring the handy video: How many flowers fit on an OASIS Sphere? This video shows you how many standard carnations to use in a foam sphere, but you can also use Chrysanthemums in spheres with great success. Keep in mind that the smaller the head of the flower, the more stems you’ll need. If you want to purchase Oasis foam spheres, you can get them online or at your local floral supply retailer.
Huntington Library Herb Garden Centerpiece
October 6, 2012
ADULT CLASS - 10 a.m. to Noon
This month's floral design class from Flower Duet is inspired by the Herb Garden of The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. Create a beautiful floral design that can be used as a stand-alone arrangement or centerpiece using fresh herbs such as lavender, rosemary, mint and sage. Learn how to combine herbs with fresh flowers including roses for this fragrant fall flower design. Take home tips on how to grow herbs year-round, how to keep them fresh and how to harvest them - as well as design with them! Students will take home their own design.
South Bay Design Studio
October 27, 2012
10 a.m. to Noon
Rich fall browns and oranges
Learn about the flowers and foliage that are really only available in fall and make a warm and homey floral design that is rich and buttery. We'll use eco-friendly underwater architecture. Flower design class follows our optional tour of the Los Angeles Floral District at 7 a.m. - meet downtown.
Wedding Flower Package
Flower Duet offers a generous wedding package that includes your own personalized Web page, a trip to the LA Flower Mart and
a mockup design of your centerpiece or bouquet! Check out the details on our
Wedding Flowers page. If you are coming to the Los Angeles area for your wedding, we are your Los Angeles wedding destination florist! We create a virtual web site just for your wedding flowers so you know exactly what to expect on your big day!
We are pleased to announce our new online store. We've collected all of our offerings into one convenient place for you to sign up for workshops and purchase floral tools and How-To instructions. We still accept all major credit cards through the secure PayPal payment method. You do not need a PayPal account to purchase with us. Please visit shop.flowerduet.com.
Martha Stewart's Handmade Holiday Crafts: 225 Inspired Projects for Year-Round Celebrations
This book is really worth it for under $20 considering the cost of just one Martha Stewart Living magazine. Published just over a year ago,
this book is still current in its designs. It features 225 projects which cover all major holidays: New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas.
Projects include cards and greetings, decorations, gifts and gift wrapping, tabletop accents, party favors, and kids’ crafts, as well as more holiday-specific activities, such as egg-dyeing, pumpkin carving, and tree trimming.
Mercury glass vases and votives are all the rage right now, but what if you just can’t find the look you want? The answer is to make it yourself with Looking-Glass Paint.
Find a glass container that you like – it’s the perfect size and design for your event. Then, purchase Krylon’s Looking Glass Mirror-Like Paint. It transforms clear glass into a highly reflective surface. You spray the inside of the vase to get the look you want. It’ dries to the touch in 5 minutes and is good to go in 24 hours. It can be used on votives, vases, tabletops, jars, planters and picture frames.
Pictured above are some cool Mercury Glass vases we found in New York to give you an idea of the variety of glass available.
You can get creative with it and make it look more trendy and distressed by using water or vinegar during the process.
You could even paint the outside of the glass a color and the inside with the Looking Glass Paint to get this type of look I found at Crate and Barrel pictured above. Use Design Master Paint for glass for the outside color and go sparingly on the coating.
TIP: Be sure to test it out with water and your stemmed arrangement before you design inside the vase. You don’t want the surface to flake off. You may have to use a liner inside the vase after it’s been treated.
Our favorite floral cutters we have been using since 1999 have gone green! Not just our Flower Duet color green, but recycled plastic eco-friendly green. Mother Earth should be proud. We first featured these cutters in our newsletter back in May 2010, but the new "green" cutters are worth another look.
Each 7.5" cutter features:
Oversized stainless steel blades
Handles made from 70% recycled content
Wire cutting notch
One blade is serrated for grip & cut performance
Locking mechanism for safety and storage
Cuts wire, plastic, wooden branches and more
$15.00 (plus shipping) usually ships within 1-2 days
Living Art Pop Box
Make Your Own Living Art
In April, we talked about our new product, "Pop Boxes" and we are excited to make them available for purchase now from our online store. In this month's newsletter, we show you how to create one of these living art beauties step-by-step.
Our exclusive Pop Boxes are hand-made in the U.S.A. by our crafty father whom we all call "Pop." So, the boxes are named after him as well as the fact that you just "pop" in the soil, "pop" in your plants and then "pop" it up on the wall after the plants have taken root!
Living Art Pop Box Specifications:
Outside Box Dimensions: 8-inches wide square by 2.5-inches depth.
Box Opening Dimensions: 6-inches wide square.
Wood frame is made from Cedar. Cedar is durable in weather, will turn naturally gray.
Wire mesh grid features 1/2 inch openings to allow for different size stems to fit.
Wire mesh is galvanized to protect against rusting (although some rust may appear in time).
Backing is waterproof.
Back includes built-in hanger hole for easy hanging.
Can hold up to 60 small succulent cuttings or 12 medium to large cuttings.
$30.00 (plus shipping) usually ships within 1-2 days
Flower Arranging DVD - Hand Tied Bouquet
What this flower arranging how-to DVD includes:
First, the sister team of Flower Duet, Casey and Kit, takes you on location to their favorite wholesale flower vendor and shows you how to choose only the freshest flowers - just like they do for all their clients in person!
Then, it's back to the design studio where we show you how professional florists prepare flowers to optimize their vase life.
In addition to tips on color and flower choice, we teach you the easiest and most adaptable way to create a hand-tied European wrap bouquet using three different sets of flowers.
All Flower Novelty "How-to" booklets include a complete supply list with instructions on how to use the floral supply, how to make eyes, ears, noses, mouths, whiskers and bows. Patterns are also included for ears for flower puppies and flower bunnies. All "how-to" booklets include step-by-step instructions with photos illustrating each step.