Monday, April 22, 2013

How to make Floral Water

Making Floral Water
With the arrival of winter and the temporary disappearance of the garden, it is still possible to revitalize your home with floral fragrance and beauty. Of course, as anyone knows, fresh cut bouquets will certainly enhance the memory of spring; but there is also another way. For over 5000 years, distillate waters (hydrosols), the most famous being rose water (in which history records both Cleopatra and Marie Antoinette bathed) have served to soothe the souls of those who embrace them as part of their routines. These sweet fragranced waters are simple to prepare and far less expensive than if purchased online, and the benefit of making your own floral waters is that you can create a unique signature scent to suit your own tastes. There are many ways to make floral waters, but here are two of the simplest:
1) Making floral water with fresh flower petals
You will need:
Fresh flower petals;
Distilled water;
Two large glass bowls;
A fine muslin cloth;
and several pretty glass bottles.
In a large glass bowl, mix the distilled water and alcohol in equal parts and set aside. Pour a cup of fresh flower petals into the second bowl; thoroughly mix the distilled water and alcohol, then pour it over the petals until they are completely covered. Set the bowl in a warm room and allow it to sit untouched for seven to ten days; this will permit the petal fragrance to completely infuse the water and alcohol. Once you have reached the end of the waiting period, use the muslin cloth to assiduously strain the floral water, and pour it into the decorative glass bottles. Store the floral water in the refrigerator in order to maintain the shelf life for eight months to a year.
2) Making floral water with essential oils
You will need:
Essential oils;
Distilled water;
Vitamin E oil;
A glass measuring cup;
and several decorative glass bottles.
Using essential oils in place of petals allows you to produce the floral water without the seven to ten day wait! All you need to do is stop by your local Edmonton health food or holistic medicine store and select the floral essential oils which speak to your soul. Of course, the various scents have many different properties, so you can choose according to how you intend to use them. Examples of the ways essential oils affect our senses in aromatherapy are: Blue cypress is for balance, Lavender for relaxation, Myrhh for meditation and prayer, Peppermint is refreshing and Rose is soothing, and there are many more. If you wish, you can experiment by mixing two or more essential oils to create an exclusive fragrance.
Once you’ve selected your favourite essential oils, take the glass measuring cup and fill it with distilled water. Thoroughly mix fifteen drops of essential oil and two drops of Vitamin E oil (a natural preservative). Then pour into the glass bottles and store in your refrigerator; every so often you will also want to agitate the floral waters in order to disperse the fragrance. Always shake well before every use as the oils will settle when sitting idle.

Making use of floral water
There are many ways to use your floral waters and you might be surprised at how easily they replace a common, chemical laden everyday household product – the air freshener. How does this work? Simply pour your floral water into a spray bottle; you will immediately notice how much more natural and refreshing it is than the ones you buy in the store, and it is also much better for your health. You can even use it as a fabric freshener, for bedding, your sofa, clothes and lingerie, or use it to add that close-your-eyes-and-sigh-with-delight scent to any room by spraying it in the air. Floral waters bring spring to your home no matter what time of year! Share the love and give a few bottles as presents to friends and family. These rich, splendid fragrances are well worth the little time out of your day it takes to make them, and they will surely bring a sense of well being and floral communion to everyone, for, as Heinrich Heine said, “Perfumes are the feelings of flowers.”  Brought to you by a Mater Florist in Edmonton.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

How To Make Your Own Terrarium

Terrariums are very popular and they are a great way to bring plant life indoors that will flourish for months on end. 

You Will Need:
  • Glass containers without lids
  • Gravel, pebbles, marbles or stones
  • Terrarium plants
  • Sterile potting mix
  • Moss (optional)
  • Decorative elements (optional)
Selecting Your Container

For your terrarium, look for a jar or container with a mouth wide enough for your hand to fit through easily. While it is possible to use something with a small opening, it is much easier to add plants if your container has a wider mouth.

If you are using a larger container, you will have a greater choice of types and size plants you can use as well as the option of fitting in decorative elements, such as shells, figurines or ornaments.

Selecting Your Plants 

When choosing terrarium plants, make sure they are small enough to fit in your container, preferably without touching the sides or crowding. You'll also want to buy plants that don’t mind a humid environment.

The following are very popular and have proven to be some of the best terrarium plants:
  • Artillery Fern
  • Aluminum Plant
  • Polka Dot Plant or Hypoestes
  • Peperomia
  • Button Fern
  • Creeping Fig or Ficus Primula 
  • Dracaena 
Preparing The Container

Your container will not have drainage holes in the bottom so you’ll want to create a place for extra water to go that keeps it away from your plants’ roots.

Put at least 2” layer of stones in the bottom, for more shallow containers, you can get away with 1" of stones or pebbles. 

With a large spoon or small shovel, add sterile potting mix on top of your stones or pebbles. Add as much potting mix as you can - at least a couple of inches. You will want to make sure your plants will fit into your terrarium, so you might have to hold your plants up to measure as you add soil.

At this point it’s important to think about the design of your terrarium. You probably want to put your tallest plant in back, or in the middle. You can also contour your soil so that it mounds and sinks to create depth and texture.


 Remove your plants from their pots. You may find that they are root bound, in which case you will want to tease the roots apart, even cutting some off. By cutting off some of the roots, called root pruning, you will also retard your plant’s growth, which is usually a good thing when growing plants in the confines of a terrarium. You'll also want to take off any excess soil as well.

Some plants can be separated by gently pulling them apart. If you’re not sure, look at the base of the plant; there may be several small plants grouped tightly together even though it just looks like one plant. This can come in handy if the plant looks too big once you've tried it out in your terrarium.

 Using a large spoon, or your fingers, dig a hole in the potting mix. Place your plant in the hole and gently pat the soil around it, making sure it is level and the roots are sufficiently covered.

Adding Decor

Once your plants are in place, you may want to create a trail of pebbles, some decorative moss, or even a little garden gnome. This is the part where you get creative, and make your terrarium unique to your taste.

Just ensure that your decorative items do not overwhelm the plants, or do not block them too much from growth or light.

Caring For Your Terrarium

Using a spray bottle or watering can, water your terrarium. You don’t want it to be soaking wet, just damp. You can also use the spray bottle to clean off any dirt that has clung to the glass sides of your container.

Never use glass cleaner on the inside of a planted terrarium, as it could make your plants sick and they may die. 

Caring for your terrarium is easy. Check every couple of weeks to see if your terrarium needs water. Feel the soil to see if it is dry and add water if it is.

Pull off any leaves that show signs of yellowing or damage and prune plants if they grow too large.

Don’t fertilize your terrarium because you don’t want to encourage growth. 

And last but not least, enjoy your terrarium! Place it any room where you need a fresh reminder of nature. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Floral Symbols & The Zodiac Signs


Dec 21st - Jan 19th

The Chrysanthemum

Often called "mums", the chrysanthemum was first discovered in China, it can be found as a large inspiration in Asian art. Although the chrysanthemum has many meanings within different cultures, the primary meaning and symbolism behind this beautiful flower is Truth.


Jan 20th - Feb 18th

The Daffodil

The daffodil carries the meaning Chivalry. An elegant, hardy flower, the daffodil is native to Europe, North Africa and Asia. 


Feb 19th - March 20th

The Freesia

The freesia stems from Africa, and is a very popular design choice for gardens. The freesia is also very fragrant, and it's scent is widely used for lotions, soaps and candles. This upbeat flower means Spirited, and is true to it's name.


March 21st - April 20th

The Tulip

With more than 109 species, the tulip is one of the most common flowers in the world. As such a diverse flower, the tulip carries several meanings, depending on the colour. A pink tulip meansCaring, a purple tulip symbolizes Royalty, a red tulip is a declaration of True Love, a white tulip is for Forgiveness, and a yellow tulip means you are Hopelessly In Love. 


April 21st - May 19th

The Iris 

Iris is Greek for rainbow, which is suiting for it's burst of colour. The iris is a perennial flower (meaning it returns anually, after being planted) and truly sparks the meaning ofInspiration.


May 20th - June 20th 

The Alstroemeria

Often called the peruvian lily, the alstroemeria is native to South America. They are perennial blooms, and are one of the longest lasting fresh cut flower species, it's no wonder that alstroemeria means Aspiring.


June 21st - July 21st

The Rose

The rose is the most commonly recognized flower in the world, with over 100 species year round, it is a staple for floral arrangements and bouquets. The ultimate symbol of romance, it's so surprise that the rose stands for Love.


July 22nd - Aug 21st

The Carnation

The carnation is a very common choice for weddings and holidays such as Mother's Day. Their meanings vary depending on the colour of the carnation, but as a whole they generally representFascination.


Aug 22nd - Sep 22nd

The Gladiolus

The gladiolus is derived from the latin word gladius, meaning sword. A very fragrant flower, the gladiolus also survives many climates. The gladiolus speaks to one's Strength of Character.


Sep 23rd - Oct 22nd

The Dahlia

The dahlia comes from Mexico, Central America and Columbia. They come in a variety of bright hues, except blue. The Dahlia is one of the most common garden flowers, and symbolizes Dignity.


Oct 23rd - Nov 21st

The Gerbera Daisy

The gerbera daisy is bound to make anyone smile, they come in such a vast variety of colours, they are sure to please. So suited that the gerbera daisy symbolizes Cheerfulness.


Nov 22nd - Dec 20th

The Anemone

There are over 120 species of anemone, and they can be found in purple or white colours, but are sometimes seen in red or pink. Anemones are a very popular choice for weddings and are a strong symbol for Fragility.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Preparing For Valentines Day


Another year has gone by and already Valentine’s Day has arrived. On February 14 millions of people worldwide will flock to the shops to buy Valentine’s Day gifts for their loved ones, shower them with flowers and spend a romantic evening together. Flowers are the most popular choice for a Valentine’s Day gift for many reasons; they symbolize beauty and romance, and they capture the spirit of the holiday.

Have you given any thought over what kind of flowers you are going to send this Valentine’s Day? Every flower has a secret meaning and history, giving some thought to the flower you choose this year is not only fun, but lets your significant other know that you care enough about them to put in the time and effort to do so.

There is more than one history of the origins of Valentine’s Day. The difficulty is that there have been several saints named Valentine, it is hard to pinpoint exactly which Saint the holiday takes it traditions from. The most popular story lends itself to a St Valentine of Roman times. When marriage was banned, Emperor Claudius II deemed it as distracting to young soldiers, Valentine married lovers in secret. Jailed and eventually executed for his acts, Valentine’s last act was to leave a letter and a red rose for his secret love, the jailer’s daughter. Red roses have since been a symbol of love, passion and romance.

You don’t need to stick with tradition this Valentine’s Day when ordering your flowers online. Carnations represent longing and heartache, if you’re missing a long distance love then having a beautiful bunch delivered to their door is a great way to let them know that they are in your thoughts. The iris stands for friendship and wisdom, if you have a friend and you would like them to know you care about them, they always make a good choice

Like many holidays, Valentine’s Day is one that we honor the traditions we have learned and observed over time. Although there are many versions on the origins of Valentine’s Day, the same themes continue appearing. Love, courage and dedication shine through every tale of Valentine’s Day. This year when you give your own valentine a gift, let the true nature of the spirit of Valentine ring true. Give gifts with true thought behind them; shower them with flowers, write love letters and treasure every moment you can with the one you love.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Making Holiday Clove Oranges

Copyright © 2009-2012

To make a clove orange decoration you'll need:

  • an orange
  • thin coloured ribbon (enough to wrap around your orange twice and a bit more)
  • cloves

Clove Orange Instructions

Step 1.
Wrap the ribbon around the orange, twisting at the base, to divide the orange into quarters.

Step 2.
Feed the ends under the piece of ribbon at the top of the orange.

Step 3.
Tie a simple overhand knot to secure the ribbon in place.

Step 4, 5 & 6.
Now start pressing cloves into your orange. I like to outline the ribbon with cloves first, and then fill in the gaps.

You can also make pretty patterns on your orange with cloves. Try making stars, hearts and more!
Once you are finished, hang the clove orange on your tree by tying it on with the extra ribbon, and enjoy the spicy Christmas aroma!

Alternatively, decorate several oranges (or clementines, mandarins, etc) with cloves and display them in bowls around the house. This will add a beautiful aroma to your rooms at Christmas time, and looks great too!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Decorating The Perfect Christmas Tree

When Christmas comes around, we all look to get the largest and fullest tree to decorate. However, the decorations are ultimately what makes a Christmas tree look fantastic. Here's how to decorate it in a way that looks elegant and professional.

  1. Pick your tree. Some people prefer the look and smell of a real tree, while others like the reliability of a fake one. Other traditional alternatives to "real" options are feather trees and tinsel trees. They can have a lot of old-fashioned charm, but may not work with all decor.
  2. Look at the shape of your tree. When buying a real tree, make sure you see the tree out of its netting. Look for a full tree with evenly spaced branches and a symmetric, tapered shape. Get a tree that still has the tips of its branches intact. A sheared tree is cheaper, but it looks less natural and will have more loose needles, which may cause a mess.
  3. Get a Christmas tree stand. You want to select one with the deepest water reservoir you can find. Make sure the tree is securely wedged into position and only add water after the tree is in place.
  4. Decide on a color scheme. Common color schemes for Christmas include all green, red and gold or red and silver. The color scheme you choose should also complement the color scheme in the room that your tree will be in, such as your front room or living room. You can also consider using non-traditional ornament colors to give your tree an updated look.
  5. Decide on a theme for your tree. This could include something such as angels, nutcrackers or snowflakes. However, this part is of course optional.
  6. Shop for decorations. This includes ornaments, garland, ribbons and beads. You can also purchase different styles of multi-pack ornaments which are the most useful.
  7. Buy coordinating lights. Make sure that do not play music or flash.
    • Either incandescent or LED lights are fine, but get small ones since their purpose should be to accent the ornaments, not be ornaments themselves.
    • Hang the lights from top to bottom, pushing them partway into the branches to hide the cord.
    • Use them sparingly and space them evenly.
  8. Utilize ornaments. Remember that they should enhance and not dominate the tree.
    • If you use tinsel, use sparingly and add each strand separately, making sure each hangs straight down. You could also try metal or glass icicles instead of tinsel.
    • Plain spheres are another traditional, elegant ornament shape.
    • For a truly minimalist look, use only white or silver ornaments. Otherwise, use a simple color scheme or use colors that work well together. 
    • If you use ornaments other than glass balls, find a theme such as birds, antique toys, boating, etc.
    • Ornaments can make a tree individual and personal. A collection might take a few years to acquire, but you can use your imagination.
    • You can even use things that aren’t strictly for the tree. Candy and other treats are a traditional addition and popular with kids. Also try natural objects like pine cones and fruit.
  9. Wrap ribbon around your tree. Mesh ribbon usually works best for this. Make sure to scrunch the ribbon and wrap a branch around that part. Start at the top and work your way down. Make a poof of about 12 to 16 inches and scrunch again, wrapping a branch around it. Go all around the tree.
  10. Finish off your tree with a bow or topper. Make a bow using three different ribbons. When you have made as many loops as you want, tie it off with a chenille stem or a piece of wire. Fluff out your bow by adding streamers to it and tie your bow on to the tree using the chenile stem.
  11. Make the most of your best pieces. To really make a statement about your Christmas tree, start with the most important ornaments by hanging the largest ones first, spacing them evenly apart. You will then want to fill in the spaces with any medium and small sizes to balance the overall look of the tree.
  12. Don’t forget to decorate the bottom of your tree. You can add more depth by hanging ornaments closer to the trunk. Use an interesting variety since there are so many fabulous ornaments for sale now. Be sure to get include ornaments such as icicles, teardrops, squares, triangles. A little variety can really separate your tree from the rest.
    • Place ornaments and other decorations 'inside' your tree as well as on the tips of branches to add depth and fullness.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Making a candy cane Christmas wreath

These Christmas wreaths look good enough to eat! Fortunately, there are more than enough sweets to go around during the holidays.

Candy-Coated Christmas Wreath

You will have visions of sugarplums dancing in your head when you make this sparkling holiday wreath. Assorted miniature fruit, berries, and mint candy canes glisten with a "candy coating" of diamond dust. This evergreen wreath will bring out the child in all of us. 

Here's what you'll need:
  • Small artist's paintbrush
  • 54 pieces artificial fruit on wire picks
  • White craft glue
  • Diamond dust or opalescent glitter
  • 2 stems red berries
  • 2 dozen plastic candy canes
  • Artificial pine wreath, 14 inches
  • Hot glue gun, glue sticks
To construct a Candy-Coated Christmas wreath:

  • Using small artist's paintbrush, coat each piece of fruit with glue. Sprinkle diamond dust over fruit pieces. Repeat process on berries and candy canes. Let dry overnight.

  • Shape evergreen wreath by pulling out and fluffing branches.

  • Twist 3 pieces of different fruit together into a cluster. Place fruit clusters into wreath. Twist stems of fruit into branches. Continue around wreath until it is full.

  • Cut each berry stem into 5 or so pieces; each piece should have about 5 berries. Glue berry stems into wreath. Spread berries throughout wreath.

  • Glue candy canes into wreath at an angle so that they stick out from fruits and berries.