October 2012 Newsletter

Using Pumpkins as Vases or Floral Containers

by Kit Wertz

Pumpkin Vase
Pictured above is a design I did using orange Marigolds, dark red Mini Gerbera Daisies, Cotinus ‘Smoke Bush’ and Broomcorn. With the exception of the Gerbers, these flowers are primarily available only in the fall. If you want to learn more about fall flowers, come to our fall floral design class this month at our Floral Design Studio in Torrance. You’ll learn all about flowers which you can only get in the fall.

How to Use a Pumpkin as a Vase

Carved Pumpkin Vase
This is the time of year when it’s fun to create vases out of real pumpkins for our table decorations. While it’s tempting to carve the pumpkin early for your floral design, we recommend waiting until the day before your event to do this.

  • Cut an opening in the top that is large enough for the design you want to create. You may want to cut a circle and fit in a small glass container to hold the stems of the design.
  • Or, instead of a circle, you may want to cut a square, line the interior with plastic and then slip some soaked floral foam inside to help hold the stems. Be sure to trim the plastic so you don’t see it coming out of the pumpkin.
  • Scoop out all the seeds and other goopy stuff inside the pumpkin (Save the seeds to toast them in the oven. Just wash them, toss a little salt on them and throw them on a cookie sheet. Toast in the oven at 325 degrees until they start to brown a bit.)
  • You many want to keep the top of the pumpkin with the stem attached as an accent to your design, too.

How to Preserve Carved Pumpkins:
Fruit Fresh
When I was researching for this article, I came across an interesting website called myscienceproject.org. The author did a great experiment with all types of recommended ways to keep a carved pumpkin fresh. The final conclusion was to just carve the pumpkin and leave it. All the recommendations: soaking in a bleach solution, coating it with white glue or Vaseline or an expensive product called Pumpkin Fresh, all resulted in problems. The plain old pumpkin with no treatment lasted the longest and looked the best in the end.

One method they did not try was using Ball® Fruit-Fresh® Produce Protector. This is used in food preparation to help keep cut fruit like apples from turning brown in a prepared fruit salad. Even though it says it only works up to 8 hours, I thought I would give it a try on my pumpkin. So I did a control experiment. After one day, the Fruit-Fresh® treated pumpkin looked and smelled just like it did after I carved it. I am still working on this experiment so check in with us on our Flower Duet Facebook page to see how the pumpkin fares each day and get the final verdict.

Use Funkins or Fake Pumpkins

One advantage of using real pumpkins is you can compost them along with the flowers when the arrangement has faded. (Keep floral foam out of the compost heap. Floral foam needs to be tossed into the garbage after using it for floral design. See all our guidelines on How to Safely use Floral Foam.)

Using fake pumpkins or “Funkins” (pictured at left) for your Halloween and Thanksgiving decoration allows you to reuse them year after year! Plus, it’s easy to carve them, paint them or embellish them. You can even gild them to create a classy look!

NOTE: Fake pumpkins are flammable. Use only battery operated lights inside them if you are using the fake pumpkin as a votive holder or jack-o-lantern.

Create a Classy Halloween in Black and White

by Kit Wertz

Black and White Halloween Pumpkin
Fall is upon us and instead of the usual orange and black decorations, I am leaning toward a more elegant Halloween look. I am really drawn to the simple elegance of ghosts, owls, bats, spiders, witches hats and ghost pumpkins which are white instead of orange.

It seems that I am not the only one who feels this way about this holiday. I found a lot of inspiration online and have created a new Pinterest board called Classy Halloween. There are not many floral designs on this board, but you could really just create any type of white floral design and then add a few spooky accents like cobwebs, spiders, mini bats or fun sayings like, “Eek!” or “Boo!”

At left, I added
sticker rhinestones
to a fake white pumpkin. It was easy to free hand this design using tweezers to remove the rhinestones from the plastic backing and place them on the pumpkin. You could accent this with a fake little spider, too!

Below is a snapshot of my Pinterest board on Black and White Halloween decorations. I hope it inspires you.


Flower Duet’s Black and White Halloween Designs

I shopped at my local craft, grocery and furniture stores for all the items I needed to create these black and white Halloween decoration ideas. I went to Michaels, Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores, IKEA and Trader Joe’s for all my supplies! I purchased all my flowers from Trader Joe’s!
Black Halloween Lantern
I found this elegant black lantern from IKEA and in it, placed a few mini white pumpkins for a simple table decoration. Added the “BOO!” with a few bits of black Spanish moss and a small black Crow as accents.



Elegant White Pumpkins
Purchased two fake white pumpkins from Michael’s and then embellished them with black rhinestones on one to create a spider web and stickers on the other to create a frilly face.


White Halloween Flowers
It’s hard to make flowers look scary. Calla Lilies can evoke so many moods and this time, I hope you find it a bit spooky with my “Eek!” accent. Happy Halloween!

White Halloween Flowers

NOTE: If you carve a fake pumpkin, don’t put a real candle in it, use battery operated lights. Fake pumpkins are highly flammable.


Flower Duet on 3rd Season of Creative Living TV

Casey on Creative Living
Casey Schwartz of Flower Duet has appeared on Public Television’s Creative Living with Sheryl Borden the past two seasons and returned to Portales, New Mexico to film another set of five shows for the 2012-2013 season.

Casey had the pleasure of returning this time with our mom who flew into Albuquerque to meet her, where they drove to Portales and filmed the show the following day. After that it was onto Sante Fe for music, arts, wine, chili and meeting with our 99-year-old Great Aunt Teen, who is the last of my grandmother’s seven siblings still with us.

As we send out this newsletter, Casey is just getting back to Los Angeles and we’ll soon be posting more free videos to our YouTube channel from her appearance on the show.
Flower Duet on Creative LIving for 2013 season
Look for this year’s techniques which include: Tips and Tricks with Pomanders, Mixing Tropical and Traditional flowers for Winter White Elegance and a Victorian Bouquet complete with flower meanings for each flower we used in the mix.


Video: Flower IDEAs by Oasis

How many flowers does it take to fill an Oasis Sphere?

While Flower Duet is busy in our production studio with fall weddings and gearing up for the holidays, we’d like to introduce you to the Oasis IDEA video channel on YouTube. These free videos show you how to use their foam and floral products and this month, we are featuring the handy video: How many flowers fit on an OASIS Sphere? This video shows you how many standard carnations to use in a foam sphere, but you can also use Chrysanthemums in spheres with great success. Keep in mind that the smaller the head of the flower, the more stems you’ll need. If you want to purchase Oasis foam spheres, you can get them online or at your local floral supply retailer.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel: fashioningflowers so you’ll know when we’ve uploaded a new show of our own!

Book Review: Martha Stewart’s Handmade Holiday Crafts

Martha Stewart’s Handmade Holiday Crafts: 225 Inspired Projects for Year-Round Celebrations
This book is really worth it for under $20 considering the cost of just one Martha Stewart Living magazine. Published just over a year ago,
this book is still current in its designs. It features 225 projects which cover all major holidays: New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas.

Projects include cards and greetings, decorations, gifts and gift wrapping, tabletop accents, party favors, and kids’ crafts, as well as more holiday-specific activities, such as egg-dyeing, pumpkin carving, and tree trimming.


Floral Design Tool: Looking Glass Paint – Make Your Own Mercury Glass

Looking Class PaintMercury glass vases and votives are all the rage right now, but what if you just can’t find the look you want? The answer is to make it yourself with Looking-Glass Paint.

Find a glass container that you like – it’s the perfect size and design for your event. Then, purchase Krylon’s Looking Glass Mirror-Like Paint. It transforms clear glass into a highly reflective surface. You spray the inside of the vase to get the look you want. It’ dries to the touch in 5 minutes and is good to go in 24 hours. It can be used on votives, vases, tabletops, jars, planters and picture frames.

Mercury Vases

Pictured above are some cool Mercury Glass vases we found in New York to give you an idea of the variety of glass available.
You can get creative with it and make it look more trendy and distressed by using water or vinegar during the process.

Crate and Barrel

You could even paint the outside of the glass a color and the inside with the Looking Glass Paint to get this type of look I found at Crate and Barrel pictured above. Use Design Master Paint for glass for the outside color and go sparingly on the coating.

TIP: Be sure to test it out with water and your stemmed arrangement before you design inside the vase. You don’t want the surface to flake off. You may have to use a liner inside the vase after it’s been treated.

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