Episode 514 – Holiday For Blooms
In this special edition of Life in Bloom, J shows you ways to enjoy flowers for the holiday. J gives us a tour of his holiday decorations- show us how to decorate a mini boxwood tree, and create a Triple Berry centerpiece complete with floating cranberries. Learn to wrap presents the “J-way”, and a bouquet made with a few of J’s favorite things.
I’ll show you ways to enjoy flowers for the holiday in this episode of Life In Bloom. We’ll decorate mini boxwood trees, create a centerpiece with a rustic chic flair, wrap presents the J-way and I’ll make a bouquet including a few of my favorite things.
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
– Charles Dickens
“And away they flew, like the down of a thistle.” – Clement Moore
When it’s time for the holidays, my thoughts turn to spreading good cheer with decorations – including flowers of course. I have a few flower projects for the holidays to share, however I also love vintage Christmas decorations and wanted to share with you a few of the cherished items I enjoy every year. Some of them are from my own childhood and many are decorations that were just too good to pass up. My aluminum tree is a great example…
Speaking of trees, I have several ornaments from childhood – Santa and his elf here are particular favorites as is the Angel at the top of the tree, from Kel’s childhood… Aside from vintage ornaments, I also have some treasured gifts, many of which were handmade. I love this TV Dinner one as well as these tiny tropical flowers”
And a nest is a must for any tree as legend has it a tree with a nest brings prosperity for the following year. Beyond the tree, almost no area of the house is left undecorated – including the kitchen, and even the bar.As you may notice my love of vintage Christmas items extends to decorations around the house – including the packaging. King Santa here was a great find at an antique show, but the box he arrived in is also in great shape and worthy of display.
The packaging of these angels is also just too good to hide away. I call this one Santa’s greenhouse – it was a surprise from a friend – I love that it lights up and flashes as well. I discovered these matchboxes with cute Christmas icons and created a shadowbox that I hang on the wall every year. These salt and pepper shaker Santa and Mrs. Claus figures are fun to place on the dining table, but can brighten up any corner of the house.
This vintage mid-century card always makes its way out on display somewhere in the house. Speaking of mid-century décor – I found this magical, musical, domed nativity just a couple of years ago. This adorable little Santa Band fits just about anywhere. This festive alligator is a fun favorite was crafted by Kel’s high school art teacher. Vintage fabric elves can go on the tree but often they find other spots to spread their cheer.
I was swept into the putz house phenomenon a few years back – a tiny Christmas village is hard to resist. Here’s one more item from my childhood – my stocking. I love the beadwork and of course there was a stocking for my best friend Blossom. These were handmade by a babysitter, Rose Brannigan. Thanks for indulging me with the tour of decorations, now let’s see how flowers can add to the excitement of decorating for the holidays…
J Creates Several Holiday Arrangements- that are easy to follow- and can provide amazing decorations for the Christmas Holidays…
Using the Pre-made Boxwood Tree… J creates a Copper and Burlap Mini Christmas Tree featuring Live Textural Flowers… Scabiosa Pods and Silver Bell Brunia… This Eco-Green Concept Tree is perfect for the Holidays!
J shares his version of Hot Cocoa- completed by adding Peppermint to the Whipped Cream- J will make the Whipped Cream with Peppermint flavoring- and Cook up his Recipe for Cocoa- that includes butter… of course… Want the Complete Recipe? Here it is…
Start by warming milk- you can choose Whole Milk, 2 Percent or even Almond Milk… I prefer Whole Milk- and use 2 1/4 cups…
Add your cocoa Mixture of choice… there are so many to choose from- and all of them have specific direction on the back… I prefer Cocoa Felice… it has exceptional recipes for Hot Cocoa as well as pudding…
I add 3/4 cup of Cocoa- 1/4 cup of Sugar… (I use confectioners sugar) … You can omit the sugar if you want a less sweet treat
3 Tablespoons of Arrowroot- this makes the cocoa a bit more thick- again- it’s optional… if you wish
1/4 teaspoon of Salt- this is a wonderful addition- with the chocolate and really enhances the Hot cocoa…
Continuing stirring while heating and bring the mixture to a slow boil… and allow to simmer for about a minute… then remove from the heat!
Stir in 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract- (you can also add White Creme de Menthe or Creme de Cocoa if you wish- When I do that I add 2 Jiggers for a SPIKED Version)
Then stir in 1 Tablespoon of Butter… YES… I know this seems odd- but it makes it sooooo Creamy and delicious!
I prefer to let the mixture cool down in the Refrigerator- until I want to serve it… this gets all the ingredients together and makes it even more tasty- then I heat up the desired portion for each cup and heat and serve with fresh Whipping Cream!
Peppermint Whipped Cream Topping
I use Organic Heavy Whipping Cream… place it in a mixing bowl on my Mixer…
I add about 6 tablespoons of Confectioners Sugar
And 2 Tablespoons of Vanilla Extract… I prefer the one that is aged in a bourbon barrel… just saying…
Then I add 2-3 Teaspoons of Peppermint Extract- Taste test as you go… so you get the minty level you enjoy!
Mix on High until the Whipped Cream has still peaks… and then you’re ready to place a dollop on top of your steaming Hot Peppermint Cocoa!
Dancing Santa Arrangement
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is watching the Judy Garland Christmas Special- there is a certain point- where Judy’s Home (Set) is invade by lots and lots of Dancing Santas… and she seems almost irritated- but in a fun way… This Arrangement is inspired by that part of the Special… and features some fun dancing Santas- and of course carnations and pine!
Featured Flower: Amaryllis
- Amaryllis means to sparkle in Greek.
- Its genus name of Hippeastrum is derived from the Greek words for horse and star.
- In nature, amaryllis bloom in spring or summer, but are commonly forced into early bloom for the
- The U.S. imports more than 10 million amaryllis bulbs every year, mainly from Holland & South Africa.
- Plant breeders have developed more than 600 named varieties!
- Amaryllis reproduce by growing “daughter” bulbs next to the “mother” bulbs.
- It takes three to five years for a daughter bulb to reach a marketable size.
- Growing amaryllis from seed, may take up to six years to reach maturity and produce flowers.
- Amaryllis are tender perennials; most are hardy outdoors only in zones 9 to 11.
- Properly cared for, an amaryllis plant can live for 75 years!
- Amaryllis make dramatic and long-lasting cut flowers.
- The amaryllis genus Hippeastrum has yielded several substances with medically useful properties, one of which has shown promise as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
Winter Berry Trio
The Holidays are one of my favorite times to decorate. It gives us an opportunity to bring the colors and fragrance of Christmas into our homes!
This week’s project is a trio of cylinder vases accented with Cranberries, Princess Pine and Winterberry! The unique ability of Cranberries to FLOAT in water adds an extra dimension to these cylinder centerpieces.
Using Princess Pine to create a structure that accents and holds the Winterberry (or ILEX) in place is an easy technique that makes you look like a pro…
Wrapping Presents the J Way
It’s time to get into the Holiday Spirit… as J shares his favorite tips, hints and techniques for creating Festive Holiday Gift Packages. These packages are guaranteed to help you “Deck the Halls” this Holiday Season!
Favorite Things Bouquet
The holidays are a very special time and flowers help us create memories! Thinking back on all the Christmas Holidays I’ve celebrated, flowers have always been super important.
When it comes to Christmas, I certainly have my favorite things I like for the holidays. Red Carnations are A MUST…no real surprise but it’s true! There is a vase of Red Carnations sitting on my desk right now…and that’s the way I like it!
We’re revisiting one of my favorite Fun with Flowers and J episodes this week in honor of Christmas. It features Red Carnations, Princess Pine, Pine Cones, Ilex (or Winterberry) and my favorite vase for arranging, the Optic Rio Cache. It is “Green” Glass, meaning it’s created from Post Consumer recycled glass.
I truly enjoy this special time of year filled with traditions that will bring joy for years to come. Whether you’re reminiscing of days gone by or creating new memories for future generations, I hope you’ll be inspired by some of these projects to include flowers in your celebrations. For Life In Bloom, I’m J Schwanke.