As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Hidden Art of Homemaking {Chapter 7: Flower Arrangements}

I was a little nervous about this chapter.  Flower arranging?  Eek!  It is no secret that I rely on faux flowers, faux plants, faux topiaries.  Frankly, they stand a much better chance for survival at my house.  In fact, I've never killed a faux plant.  I can't say the same about the real deal. Have I ever told you about my rosemary topiary?  

My parents have given me lovely rosemary topiaries at Christmas time several years. The plants are carefully pruned into the shape of a Christmas tree, and their pungent aroma is so pleasant in the kitchen.  But they are living.  At least they are when Mom and Daddy give them to me.  (Gulp.)

I usually manage to keep them alive until the season is over.  One particular year, however, the tender green stems were slowly becoming brittle and brown...a good week or ten days before Christmas! I imagined my parents coming on Christmas day and seeing the lifeless "Charlie Brown" topiary. Then I wondered if Lowe's had any more in stock. was worth a try. 

Off the girls and I went to Lowe's, in search of a still-vibrant rosemary topiary.  On the way out the door, I grabbed our memory-of-a-topiary.  (I didn't want anyone to know that I had killed it.)  

At Lowe's, I found a replacement topiary...for half price! Merry Christmas to me!  

But what to do with the dead one? I couldn't take it back home; there was nowhere to hide it without Eagle Eye Ron finding it.  It was too big to put in a trash can. I decided to leave it somewhere that it could just blend into its surroundings and decompose in its own good time. I drove over to the edge of the Target parking lot, got out of my vehicle, and tossed it over the chain link fence, toward a little ravine. Problem is, I didn't throw it hard enough and there was a little snow on the ground and it didn't slide. When I threw it, it just went kerplunk, and lay there on its side not too far over the fence. Of course, by now the three of us were laughing hysterically at the lunacy of trying to ditch this poor plant as if it were contraband or something! where was I?  

Yes, I was saying that I felt unqualified to be tackling this chapter about flower arranging, considering that my expertise lies with faux.  

And yet again, Mrs. Schaeffer has let me off the hook! 

She does talk about flower arranging, but with the purpose of encouraging us to bring life and beauty to the family dinner table, to make just a little effort to add a special touch

(I think I can do that!)  

The idea is to use your own creativity and talents, and work with what you have.

(I think I can do that too!)

So allow me to personalize the concept of flower arranging, using the means that I have.  

Last week, as I discussed the chapter on gardening, I told you about my herb garden. I love to snip bits of herbs and bring them inside to brighten a corner or two. Since they have been "snipped," I don't have to worry about keeping them alive. (Whew!) If they begin to wilt, I just toss them out (in the compost bin, not at Target ~sheepish grin~) and bring in some new sprigs if I wish.

When we visited my son Ryan and his family a few weeks ago, my daughter-in-law Sarah had gathered branches and blooms from their yard and had artfully arranged them into beautiful symbols of welcome. This gesture has caused me to consider whether I might not "stretch" my talents to try some simple arrangements now and then, for the purpose of bringing cheer to the people within my walls.  

Kati hosted a baby shower for a family friend last weekend, and she wanted to use small clusters of flowers to decorate her tables.  I called her from the grocery store on Friday to let her know that I had found some inexpensive bunches of miniature roses.  She said to pick them up, so on Friday evening we amateurs spread out all the flowers and the vessels Kati had chosen and we dug in!  

Here's a photo that Bekah took, a view of the set table. Not bad, those arrangements?

There were only two of us at dinner last night.  Kati was working and ate early; Ron had to work late and then run some errands. But as Bekah and I ate together, we enjoyed one another's company and the beauty of this gorgeous coral-colored rose, a gift from my sister-in-law.  The single bloom was enough.

Do you bring beauty to your home or your dinner table in the form of flowers? Do you arrange flowers?     

If you're interested in this book discussion, you may read along as I usually do 
(click ~here~ for all the posts in the discussion), 

or join in the discussion yourself!
(Click ~here~ for details on how to participate.)


  1. Cheryl, LOL!

    I am always careful when throwing things over fences as my mom once tried to throw a Gatorade over the fence to the dugout and it fell back towards her and broke her nose. She had to be taken to the hospital but my dad and son kept on playing baseball :)

    Your pictures are really, really lovely.

  2. I, too, manage to kill all living plants inside my home. I bought an ivy topiary from TJ's just before Easter....and ivy is so hardy and tough! Nope, this one dried up and turned brown, so I had to toss it. You girls did a wonderful job with the mini roses for the baby shower. xo

  3. I love to:) but again, as you've said, I too am in the learning process! Loved your post:)

  4. You chucked it? That is so funny! I really enjoy simple things like fresh flowers in the house even in winter. My budget is limited to $5 during the months of January through March and I am no carnation snob. Ha! Those rose bouquets are marvelous. The daffodil arrangement is delightful. The single coral rose...such beauty! (I am seriously considering a faux fern, though, the real ones only last a couple of days.)

  5. I think I have tossed quite a few plants over the fence too, Cheryl!Your table setting is beautiful. I try and have fresh flowers inside especially during the spring and summer, Dh brings me flowers all during the winter from Audi's.Your plants look wonderful, and what a beautiful arrangement your DIL had for you all. Enjoy your day, I am taking a noon day break from the garden, blogging and trying to stay cool. ~smile~

  6. I'm catching up on your wonderful, summery posts that I have missed. I think the simplest of flowers can bring sunlight to a table ... I am enjoying the bits of flowers in our garden and right now many of them are small so little baby food jars (at least baby food used to come in these jars) work just right! Your flowers, arrangements, thoughts and table settings you show here are all lovely!

  7. I do believe that Mrs. Schaefer would agree that a single bloom is enough. In fact I think that she would argue that when the meal is for two, a single bloom can be stunning.

    Goodness your story was great. I want to say that everyone can somehow relate but probably that would just be to make me feel better. I'm so glad there is at least another paranoid contraband thrower out there! Somehow I can always count on you Cheryl. :)

    Blessings, Debbie

  8. You are so funny! I am no better with house plants -- I have a totally dead fern sitting on my back porch right now. For awhile I was buying myself some inexpensive flowers when I bought groceries, but these past few months I have really been in a homemaking funk and have not done any of your wonderful suggestions:( I need to get my head back on straight and put some more effort into things.

  9. I'm no good with houseplants, either. And I cannot begin to count the number of live green beauties I've received from my Mother-in-law-with-a-very-green-thumb, only to bury them soon after.
    Maybe that's why I enjoy cut flowers so much, at least no one expects them to live very long.
    Love the beautiful arrangements you shared with us - each one is so lovely and special! What a blessing your daughter-in-law is to you, to inspire you the way she did.

  10. I too, had a rosemary tree given to me - for Christmas - but it dried and died. In one house we rented I placed ferns and other moisture loving plants around the bathroom tub. They did fantastic because with the morning light through the window. When we moved from there to here I gave them all to my newly wed daughter who has an indoor green thumb.
    But in this house it is faux bouquets that do best - with some cuttings from the garden and growers' market.
    Your rose buds are beautiful and quite sweet.
    Karen A.

  11. What a stunning orange rose. The more I think about I think I prefer a simple cut flower or three to a big bouquet. I esp like the herbs!

  12. Your Target story is hilarious!! Thank you for a smile for my Friday afternoon.............late..............
    I do my own flower arrangements, and have plants all over the house..tooo many!! I do have a funny story for you though...I make the flower arrangements for our church and usually use silk flowers so that they will last a few weeks.
    About 2 weeks ago I found a cute watering can in a nice sage green color at the local "junque" shop. I took it home, filled it with foam and arranged some twiggy stems in it with some flowering doo-dads and a few petunia look alikes close to the top of the can. It has been on the altar for a couple of Sundays...and last week a sweet little lady came up to me and told me how much she was enjoying my "tea pot" full of flowers. I wanted to laugh so badly, but I gave her a hug and thanked her. However, it is a mite hard to imagine a watering can as a tea pot :^)
    Blessings to you,


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