As many of you know, I grew up in Mississippi on a large piece of property outside the city of Laurel. Every Christmas (even before Martha Stewart made it cool), my family would go out on our property and cut fresh greenery to decorate with during the holidays - wild magnolia and bay leaf, holly, cedar and other evergreens, wild pyracantha and even chestnuts. I grew up watching my mother create some of the most stunning arrangements you can imagine. We used all different kinds of containers from large french baskets to galvanized oval shaped tubs. So, decorating for Christmas brings back lots of wonderful memories for me, and I just love the process.
I mentioned last week I would show you how to put together a large arrangement for your home like the one I did for Christmas Count Down. Here's the final arrangement I made for the night.
And, here it is on my buffet in my dining room. I changed out the branches for sandblasted manzanita branches to give me the look I wanted for my dining room, but it's the same arrangement.
Large arrangements are much easier to make than you think.
In general, remember "the rule of 3's." There are three types of greenery, three types of ribbon, three types of ornaments and the entire arrangement is laid out in a triangle.
Create a base layer by bunching up some burlap. I bought mine on a random trip to Hobby Lobby. It's just cut yardage, so I folded the cut edges under.
Select a container with some height. I've had this container for years, and I use it for lots of different occasions. It was an investment at the time, but I'm so glad I have it.
For a wire container, line it with moss and then place a water tight container in the center filled with floral foam that's been soaked in water. As an aside, when soaking your floral foam, fill up a basin with fresh clean water and drop the foam in - that's it - do NOT push it down to submerge in the water, let gravity fill the foam properly)
Use floral stick tape to secure the foam to the bowl.
Every well designed arrangement includes something tall, fullness in the middle and something draping. (another rule of three). I like to start with the tall, I placed three large branches in the center making sure they're angled out a bit to provide space for the ornaments.
I added the draping element - these branches were from a very sun deprived scotch pine in my mother-in-laws yard! It's a little difficult to see (b/c I'm not a great photographer), but I have grouped these draping branches to form a triangle.
Then I filled in around the base of the branches with large magnolias to cover the bowl, foam etc. The shiny leaves are a nice contrast. Again, I grouped them in three clusters to form another triangle.
Then, I filled in with some cedar just to draw your eye up to the the ornaments on the branches
Almost finished! I added some ribbon to create a contrast in color with the greenery. I used three different ribbons with three different textures. I think when you cut all the greenery out of your yard (or a friend's yard!) you can splurge a bit on the ribbon.
Final step, I placed ornaments on the branches in a sparse way - three different kinds. Don't over do it or it begins to looks like a hot mess!
Lastly, I added something special to the table - packages of Christmas cards from years past. I've been collecting Christmas cards from each year since I got married.
During the season, John and I will pick a night to sit down with a glass of wine and go through some of the bundles. It's always fun to see how people change and families grow.
I hope this encourages you to try an arrangement of your own! Have a great week. M.