The fall garden holds more potential floral arrangements than you might initially realize. I love the burnished leaves of Nandina with it's bright red berries, the cascading shape of cottoneaster (pronouced ka-tone-ee-astor) also with red berries, and the unusual color that the leaves of peonies turn this time of year.
Late sunflowers mix beautifully with fall foliage too, especially if the vessel holding the arrangement has some autumn elements. This is an old copper oil can and the spout has a hinge that extends fully for ease of pouring.
I love the way these olive oil cans relate to my vintage cranberry dessert dishes and tangerine hued, pear shaped candles. I saved a dozen or so and keep them on hand for various design projects.
For most floral arrangements you will need to gather the following tools:
hammering surface (such as a cutting board)
a bucket of water
a variety of vases and vessels ranging from metal to ceramic to clear glass.
For intermediate to advanced floral designers, stems purchased at the flower market make the most beautiful home made centerpieces. Since so few florists do trendy styles like the display above, it is good to learn to do your own, particularly for the holidays. This arrangement has kangaroo paws in a bed of small but colorful mums.
All remaining images from Martha Stewart.
What makes a centerpiece beautiful? Mostly the composition. Whether large or small, vertical or horizontal, loose or tightly arranged, the beauty lies in how the elements relate to one another.
When working with branches be sure to pulverize the woody stems so the plant can absorb water. Always remove the lower leaves so the water stays fresh, and replace the water with fresh water every other day.
These pewter vases are gorgeous, soft and elegant filled with viburnum and eucalyptus.
This display is formal and requires oasis, floral tape, picks and a wide mouth, "squat" vase. It has viburnum berries, magnolia leaves, a few pomegranates, tulips, and roses. Low centerpieces are ideal for entertaining at the dinner table.
Above is the most complicated and costly centerpiece. Complicated because of the time spent carving out the pumpkin and costly because so much material is required for the full effect. It has amazing callas, daffodils, coffee berries, roses, and very little greenery.
Other fall foliage suitable for arrangements
Fig tree branches
Pomagranate tree branches
Maple tree branches
Persimmon tree branches
Sunday morning I made German Pancakes for my son Christian and fiance' David. My family and I have been enjoying this recipe from my sister-in-law Sharon for over 20 years but yesterday I made a slight change--I increased the size and it changed the pancake completely. Here is the altered recipe. You can feed four hungry people.
Try it with real maple syrup. It is expensive but I find well priced, Grade B syrup at Trader Joe's and TJ Maxx that is delicious. Once you use the real deal you won't go back to the gloppy, overly sweet stuff that is so bad for you.
1 1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 C. milk
1 t. vanilla
dash sea salt
1 stick butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put butter in 9 x 11 oblong Pyrex baking dish and place in oven till melted. I like to get the butter a little brown but that's a personal choice. In a mixer bowl partially blend milk and flour. With mixer running add eggs, vanilla, and salt.
Pour all ingredients into the buttered baking dish, scraping sides of bowl with a rubber spatula. Place on second shelf from top to allow the pancakes room to rise. They get quite high.
Bake 25 minutes and serve with warmed maple syrup or powdered sugar. Some people add lemon juice and powdered sugar. I understand that version is called a Dutch Baby.