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How to make simple arrangements with grocery store flowers

Houseplants and fresh greenery are key to my neutral decorating style … but first came my love of flowers.

As a teenager, when other girls were covering their bedroom walls with cute boys and fashion tips, mine were filled with magazine tear outs of flowers. Martha Stewart Weddings was my first subscription and I couldn’t wait to pore over the pages looking at all the breathtaking bouquets, boutonnieres, arches and table arrangements. I noticed the color combinations, learn their names, and mostly, just admired the beauty and intricacy of each petal, each leaf, each bud.

This love of flowers grew deeper when I met my future mother-in-law.

Robyn has two sons and was more than thrilled to finally have a girl in the house for dinner and visits. She would show me her latest thrift store find or tell me her decorating plans and I would almost always leave with a gorgeous arrangement of freshly picked garden flowers that she threw together so effortlessly.

Robyn showed me that flowers are not only for weddings and fancy events – they are just as important in the every day.

If you spend any amount of time looking through home magazines, reading decorating blogs or following interior design instagrammers, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that flowers are always part of the equation. You can have a perfectly decorated space but until the flowers are in, the room feels somewhat lifeless.

So how do we incorporate flowers into our homes to bring life and make us happy, even if we don’t have an endless flower budget?

Here are a few of my best tips:

BRING IN HOUSEPLANTS

The main reason I have so many plants in our house is that they bring life to our otherwise pretty dark interior. If I could, I would fill the space with flowers, but that would be crazy expensive. So as an alternative, I use a few houseplants and then bring in a simple arrangement of flowers for color.

CUT FROM OUTDOORS

Now that spring is here, more trees and plants are blooming outdoors. It is the perfect time to clip branches or stems and bring them into our homes.

Perhaps I should not admit this, but I have been known to pull over on the side of the road and clip lilacs from an abandoned tree, peonies from a vacant lot and armfuls of hydrangea blooms from a neighbor’s yard for our wedding bouquets (don’t worry, we asked for permission). Keep an eye out for wildflowers, flowering shrubs, and branches.

BUY READILY-AVAILABLE FLOWERS FROM THE GROCERY STORE

Look no further than your grocery store floral department for reasonably priced blooms. Most carry a good selection of mixed bouquets and single variety bunches. With a bit of intention, you can bring flowers home, prolong their vase life by trimming and feeding them and arrange in a way that gives generic cut flowers the organically arranged look we all admire.

So how, exactly, do you arrange flowers?

The temptation is to bring them home from the store, remove the wrapping and pop them into a vase.

RESIST THE URGE!

Instead, take a few extra minutes to cut the stems, give your flowers a chance to hydrate, clip extra greenery from outside and build a simple arrangement that looks sweet and much more impactful than the original cut bouquet from the store. Not only will it look amazing, but it will actually last longer! Win and win.

If you want to learn how to arrange flowers for your home and to give as gifts (who doesn’t love a sweet bouquet from a friend?!), if you need help figuring out the best tricks, tools and techniques for caring and prolonging the vase life of cut flowers, and if you’d like to figure out how to make those grocery store mixed bouquets look fabulous, I’ve created a class just for you.

SIMPLIFIED FLOWERS

Beautiful flower arrangements made simple.

As much as I adore flowers, it is really my mother-in-law, Robyn, who knows what she’s doing. We filmed Robyn creating a handful of flower arrangements using flowers from the grocery store. Nothing super fancy or unattainable, just beautiful arrangements to bring life and joy to your home. With the addition of teaching lessons and a workbook, this Simplified Flowers class is applicable, informative and so enjoyable to watch.

The class takes place online where you can go at your own pace, moving from lesson to lesson as quickly or slowly as needed. You will have unlimited access to the class and can always refer back to it as needed.

AFTER TAKING THIS CLASS, YOU’LL KNOW HOW TO:

  • Identify common flower + greenery varieties
  • Pick the right flowers for your arrangement
  • Properly care for flowers to encourage growth and prolong cut life
  • Build shape, texture and contrast into your arrangements
  • Incorporate unexpected elements – like produce! – into your arrangements
  • Take generic mixed bouquets and make them stunning

 

For all of the details, a sneak peek at the welcome video, to register and claim your free gift: CLICK HERE.

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learning how to be kind to myself

Be Kind chalkboard art in kitchen / jones design company Be Kind. 

The quality I admire most in others, the one character trait I wish for our children and the word I’d love for our family to be defined by is kindness.

My friend just told me this weekend that in a study of what makes marriages last, the biggest factor was kindness. Honesty, communication, love – these are all good things. Kindness is like all of these wrapped into one. It’s defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

Isn’t that the type of person you want to be around? That you want to be married to? That you want your children to be?

Flowers from The Bouqs / get $10 off your first order at jones design company I would say I’m a kind person – at least most of the time. I am friendly. I am mostly generous. I try to be considerate.

orange ranunculus and kale flower arrangement / jones design company At barre class a few weeks ago, I had this sweet moment with God. I became aware that although I am kind to others, I am terribly mean to myself. I say critical, inconsiderate things in my head without even realizing. I tell myself I must be perfect. That if I’m not perfect, I’m a failure. That I need to do more and strive more and work harder to prove my worth. That if I’m not able to do it well, I should not even try.

I actually say these rude things to myself! Things I would never say to a friend and words I don’t even believe to be true.

Orange ranunculus flower bouquet on desk / jones design company I love that the Lord opened my mind to recognize the ways I am unkind to myself. It has become a theme these past few weeks and a message I keep seeing/hearing time and time again.

Be kind. To others. And to yourself. 

orange ranunculus flower arrangement and yellow mums / jones design company Being kind to myself looks like a lot of things:

+ speaking truthful words to myself instead of critical lies

+ accepting my body and being grateful for strength and health instead of focusing on the flaws

+ filling myself with healthy, nourishing food instead of eating junk and then feeling even worse

+ taking time to quiet my soul instead of rushing through and keeping busy

+ laughing instead of taking life so seriously

+ spending quality time with my family instead of being half-engaged

orange ranunculus flower arrangement and yellow mums / jones design company While ordering flowers for my grandma last week (I like to do this for her every few months just to make her smile. See?! I can be kind!) I saw these orange ranunculus.

Orange ranunculus would look so bright and cheerful in our house, I thought. It’s so gray and gloomy outside and a bouquet of pretty flowers sure would make me happy.

So you know what I did? I decided to splurge on myself as an act of kindness and I ordered those orange ranunculus. It was such a good decision.

Just one little way I’m learning to be kind to myself.

I think I could get used to this.

What have you done for yourself lately as an act of kindness? I’d love to hear …

double-line-tiny P.S. I ordered the flowers from The Bouqs. This is my second time ordering from them and I’ve been so happy every time. Sending flowers can be ridiculously expensive and the arrangements are not even good! This is not the case with The Bouqs. They have classy bouquets and pretty flower/greenery combinations and shipping is free. So the next time you need to order flowers for a friend, your grandma or yourself, The Bouqs gets my stamp of approval.

Get $10 off your first order with this link.

(I spent my own money on the flowers and will definitely order again. These links are referral links so when you click on the link, I’ll earn a small commission. Much love to you if you do :) )

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a naked birthday cake

deliciously-naked-carrot-cake

Sounds like a bit of a risque title, yes?!

No, none of that here. Just a gorgeously rustic, very delicious carrot cake.

carrot-cake

Have you seen this trend of naked cakes (basically a cake that is not covered in frosting)? I find them to be so pretty and wanted to give it a try for my birthday cake.

naked-cake-top

It was so easy and looks so fancy (but it’s not!).

cake-vines

I used Ina Garten’s carrot cake recipe (found here) because everything she makes is golden.  She uses fresh pineapple in hers; I substituted crushed pineapple and it works great.  The cake is so moist and chunky and delicious (did I mention delicious?).

naked-cake-hydrangea

I baked the cake in two cake pans, then cut each one in half to make a thin layer (and just used three of them rather than four). The cream cheese frosting in between layers is rich and buttery and my favorite of all.

decorating-cake

And for fun, I added my last hydrangea bloom, a few lingering petunias and wire vine from my summer planters.

cake
Mmmm.

naked carrot cake / jones design company
We thoroughly enjoyed the cake last night and will be snacking on it for breakfast for the next few days. Because carrot cake with it’s vegetables and fruit is practically healthy (or at least that’s what I tell myself).

*NOTE: turns out hydrangeas are a toxic flower (oopsies). Don’t put it on your cake. Or at least wrap the stem in plastic before putting on your cake. 

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how to make grocery store flowers look fancy

How to Make Grocery Store Flowers Look Fancy / jones design company

If I could, I would have fresh flowers in every room of my house. They add color and texture and scent and life and always make a room feel more lived in and complete.

Gorgeous flower arrangements can be super expensive so I typically just find what I like at my grocery store and use a trick my mother-in-law taught me about making inexpensive bouquets look fancy.

How to Make Grocery Store Flowers Look Fancy / jones design company

This bunch of fall mums was on sale for $2.99 and just too good of a deal to pass up.

The temptation is to just cut off the ends of the stems and plop them in a vase, like this:

in-vase

But resist.

With just a few extra minutes you can instead get this:

How to Make Grocery Store Flowers Look Fancy / jones design company

Cut short and bunched closely together, these mums look elegant and the blooms become the stars of the show (rather than the distracting stems).

Start by choosing your vessel. I used an old silver sugar bowl from the thrift store (my mother-in-law is the thrifter and she passes her finds on to me. I’m one lucky lady). I love using unconventional vases – especially short ones with larger openings for this mounding-of-blooms look. Scavenge through your cabinets to see if you have anything that will work or head to the thrift store and you’ll likely find something clever. And if all else fails, a quick trip to a home store (home goods, target, etc) will likely provide you with a vessel just right.

Fill it with water. Someone once told me lukewarm water was the way to go with flowers. Not sure if that is true, but I always stick to it.

Now trim the stems way down so the blooms hit just to the top of your vase.

cut-stems

It will feel like you’re cutting off half of the bouquet you just spent your money on, but do it anyway.

Gather up a bunch and add them to the vase. Adjust the blooms until they create a mound, adding in extra blooms to fill in.

How to Make Grocery Store Flowers Look Fancy / jones design company

See?! Super easy. Suddenly a $2.99 grocery bouquet becomes and intentional, delicate arrangement that makes a statement.

How to Make Grocery Store Flowers Look Fancy / jones design company

How to Make Grocery Store Flowers Look Fancy / jones design company

I added these to my office and as I sit at my computer, I am cheered by their beauty.

How to Make Grocery Store Flowers Look Fancy / jones design company

How to Make Grocery Store Flowers Look Fancy / jones design company

(and how cute is that little drawing Audrey made?!)

How to Make Grocery Store Flowers Look Fancy / jones design company

Maybe today you can treat yourself to an inexpensive bunch of grocery store flowers and make them look fancy with this cut-and-bunch arranging trick.

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Springtime Succulents (planted in an unexpected way)

Try this unexpected springtime arrangement: plant a succulent in an eggshell / jones design company
Succulents are having a moment right now, and rightfully so. They are uniquely interesting, drought tolerant and rather inexpensive – a great combo if you ask me. When in Austin, Texas last month, we ate at this darling restaurant/flower shop and right away I was taken by the display of pretty succulents in brown paper. I wanted to try a similar arrangement at home, so I dropped by my local home depot and grabbed a bunch of little plants.

succulents Once home, I changed my mind. The brown paper – as cool as it looks – probably isn’t very practical for watering and I wasn’t sure how to get around that issue.

Then one day, I had this weird idea: plant the springtime succulents in eggshells! I know, strange. But I’ve seen wheatgrass grown in shells for spring and thought maybe my cute plants would be a fun twist on that idea.

planted-succulents The process is a bit self-explanatory, but I took photos as we planted with a few tips. I did this one with my No.2 and it was a great Sunday afternoon let’s-get-our-hands-just-a-little-bit-dirty activity to do with him.

HERE’S WHAT YOU’ll NEED: planting-succulents-in-eggs-supplies cracked eggs, washed out and dry / small pebbles / needle / small succulents

STEP ONE: poke hole in bottom of egg

poke-hole-in-egg-with-needle I just used a regular needle, but I remember doing this with my mom to blow eggs and we used a large upholstery needle. Whatever you have on hand will be fine. If you’re using a small needle, wiggle it around to open up the hole a little bit. Beware: the eggshells are thick at the bottom and so you may wreck a few while poking the holes. I suppose you don’t even have to do this step, I’m just assuming it’s a good idea for drainage. Up to you.

STEP TWO: add small pebbles to the bottom of egg

put-small-pebbles-in-bottom-of-egg This will help with draining (in theory).

STEP THREE: pull apart succulents

planting-succulents-in-egg The little plants usually come in groups of three or so in each small pot. Just gently pull them apart, keeping roots intact.

STEP FOUR: place plant in shell + fill in with soil

planting-with-kids succulent-in-egg And that’s it!

succulent-up-close

succulents-in-egg-carton It was fun to try out all the different shapes and textures of plants.

succulents-in-egg-carton2 I kept the original egg carton to display them in (I just lightly water the whole thing in the kitchen sink and the egg carton does fine), and also put a few in a ceramic egg carton (from Anthropologie). succulents-in-eggdish succulents-in-eggs-close

Cute, yes? And maybe a little odd. But I’m okay with that.

double-line-tiny
Succulents are supposedly very low-maintenance, but I have a way with killing most plants that I bring into our home. I did a little research and here’s what I found to help us keep these beauties happy:

TIPS FOR KEEPING SUCCULENTS ALIVE INDOORS

1. Keep in sunny places – they are a desert plant and thrive in sun and dry climates.

2. Let them dry out completely before watering.

3. Bright green plants are easier to keep alive – steer clear of the purple, grays and oranges if you’re looking for indoor success.

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