Arranging Christmas : A simply beautiful centerpiece


With all of the expenses of the season, the last thing you want to do is spend $50-$60 on a centerpiece for your table.  Below, find a simple tutorial on making a gorgeous natural centerpiece that doesn't strain your budget. 

The Tools:
A vase (I chose a small square vase to keep the look slightly modern)
Ribbon (Use whatever you have left over from wrapping presents.)
A small block of WET florist foam
A sharp paring knife
A small hammer (Just in case you REALLY hate the arrangement.) (I'm kidding.)
White Spray paint
A dozen roses (usually at a grocery store for around $10.99 or less)
Greenery (Available at your local wooded spot and/or neighbor's yard.  Seriously, take a walk with some clippers and look for native greens.  If you live in the north - try evergreens and holly.  If you live in the south, use Magnolia leaves and boxwood.  If you live in a desert, you should move.) (Okay, okay, you don't have to move. Just visit your local Christmas tree lot -try Lowes or Home Depot -and ask for their trimmings.  You can nearly always take them for free.) 
Natural additions - pine cones, sticks & berries  
Hot glue gun 
Wooden skewers or additional sturdy sticks from outside

The Steps:

1. Using a hot glue gun, attach wooden skewers or sticks to pine cones.  
In a well ventilated area, spray your pine cones and accent sticks with a layer of white spray paint.  Allow to dry while you're working on the rest of the arrangement.  

2. Cut a length of ribbon and wrap it around the outside of your vase, securing with tape or a small spot of hot glue.  

3. Cut a piece of florist foam to fit into your container (a serrated blade makes the cutting easier).  Place foam in a sink full of cool water - as it begins to fill it will slowly sink. **Special Note: Do NOT force foam under water. This creates dry spots within the foam and your flowers will not be able to get the fluid they need.
Place foam inside vase. Add additional water and any plant food.

4. Prepare your greenery and flowers by using the paring knife to cut their ends on an angle.  If any of your greenery has a woody stem, use a small framing hammer to smash the end and then cut a small slit along the stem with the knife (this allows more water to be absorbed).

5. Using the evergreens, begin creating a structure for your arrangement by inserting the stems into the wet foam.  Start at the four corners and the center to determine your width and height.
**Special Note: Once a stem is inserted into the foam, take care not to pull it up again.  This action creates an air pocket in the space and the stem will not be able to reach the water. 

6. Switching to the roses, select a few blooms to use as your central focus points on the top and all sides.  

7.  Working from the base up, continue alternating between greenery and roses to fill in the gaps.  Begin inserting the now-dry white pine cones as well.  Rotate the arrangement regularly so that all angles are being filled equally.   

8.  When the vase is almost completely filled in, begin adding the white accent sticks and berries  
(Save these for last as they tend to be the most delicate)

9. Finish with small accents of glittering ornaments nestled in the greens, or a small bow in one corner.  Place on a tray with candles for ease of movement.  

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