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Sign up for the free newslet­ters we write based on our dai­ly expe­ri­ence as wed­ding and event flo­ral design­ers in trend-set­ting Los Angeles.

Based near the Beach in the South Bay of LA, Kit & Casey take you on a jour­ney each month to our events we cre­ate and share with you the hottest trends in flo­ral design.

As sought-after flo­ral design instruc­tors, you’ll learn the lat­est tips and tricks of the trade.

Using Pumpkins as Vases or Floral Containers

by Kit Wertz

Pic­tured above is a design I did use 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 may 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 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 in 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.

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 BarrelYou 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.

As Ama­zon Asso­ciates, we earn from qual­i­fy­ing pur­chas­es. Some­times we link to a prod­uct on Ama­zon in our arti­cles on

Read more Flower Duet News & Newsletters from past years:

2022 Newslet­ter Articles

2021 Newslet­ter Articles

2020 Newslet­ter Articles

2019 Newslet­ter Archives

2018 Newslet­ter Archives

2017 Newslet­ter Archives

2016 Newslet­ter Archives

2015 Newslet­ter Archives

2014 Newslet­ter Archives

2013 Newslet­ter Archives

2012 Newslet­ter Archives

2011 Newslet­ter Archives

2010 Newslet­ter Archives

Each month, we cov­er a cur­rent event in the flo­ral trade, flo­rals from real wed­dings, our lat­est flower adven­tures and endeav­ors, design tips, cur­rent flo­ral trends, flo­ral design class­es and work­shops, book rec­om­men­da­tions and flo­ral tool tips.

Since 2010, we’ve cre­at­ed a hot list of what’s on for flo­ral design in and beyond South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. As guest speak­ers inside and out­side of Cal­i­for­nia, we know what clients need in the wed­ding and event indus­try. We are your trust­ed resource for flo­ral design tips and tech­niques for all lev­els of the flower enthusiast.

We are Kit Wertz and Casey Schwartz, the sis­ter design team of Flower Duet. We are com­mit­ted to edu­cat­ing our stu­dents and fans since we start­ed our flo­ral design busi­ness in 1999.

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