'Where flowers bloom so does hope.' - Ladybird Johnson
I remember, as a child, being sent out into the garden to find a flower or two for our kitchen table. We had a large garden and there was usually an hibiscus or two , perhaps some frangipani or, even better, a rose. The flowers generally needed replacing every couple of days since neither frangipani nor hibiscus are long-living. But I loved to search for a bright blossoms.
It added such a cheerful accent to the kitchen table. The whole day seemed brighter.
Brighten your home and create a positive mood at the same time
One of the easiest ways to brighten up your home is by decorating with flowers. If you have a garden, then you might consider planting flowers that you can cut and bring indoors. By planting flowers that bloom all season long you can easily decorate with them until the cold hits in autumn.
Not only do flowers look bright and cheerful, they have been found to have a positive effect on people's moods. One study (Rutgers, University of New Jersey) found that flowers produce both an immediate and long term uplift in mood- happiness, less depression, higher sense of life satisfaction.
Further studies found that those who dined at restaurants where fresh flowers decorated the tables seemed in better moods. An increase in cognitive performance has been observed in offices with flowers and plants. The bright blooms seem to chase away anxieties and the blues.
Another behavioral research study conducted by Nancy Etcoff, found that... 'the morning blahs, it turns out, is a real phenomenon'. The study also found that those who began their day with positive moods – happiness, friendliness and warmth, for example – continued to be cheerful and positive through most of the day. Etcoff adds, “Interestingly, when we placed a small bouquet of flowers into their morning routines, people perked up.”
What better way, then, to introduce a quality, cheerful tone and ambiance to your homelife than with a simple bouquet of flowers. Here's how.....
Flower arrangement tips and ideas for beginners
*Before you begin, trim on the diagonal the stems of your flowers before arranging them. It will allow the flowers to drink up plenty of water. (If your roses are a bit limp, trim the stems and plunge into a deep bucket of water up to their heads and even over. Some flowers, like roses, will absorb water through their petals.)
*Remove any leaves that will be below the water line. This will prevent the leaves rotting.
*If you're using flowers with long stems in a tall vase, ensure that the container has a heavy base. (You don't want it toppling over.) The finished height of the arrangement should be roughly 1 1/2 times the height of the container.
*As a rule of thumb, use an odd number of main flowers in your arrangement.. it's not so important for smaller, filler flowers. This will result in an arrangement that looks balanced, more appealing to the eye.
*And your flower arrangements don't have to be huge. A lovely bowl of flowers can be just as pleasing as a large vase arrangement.
*Don't cut your stems of flowers and foliage too long. Consider the height of your arrangement.
*Yes, foliage is important. But you can use what you find in your garden. Begin with small leaved greenery until you become more confident. Simple asparagus fern, spinning gum or callistemon work well and even herbs like rosemary would be fine.
*Use the containers you already own.. you can create some truly beautiful arrangements in a teacup.
Small bowls work well as do teapots, jugs, small watering cans or even large shells.
If you're using a container with not much height, it will probably be best to use some florist foam (Oasis.) Just cut off a piece to fit your container, soak for about 15 minutes. Then push it firmly into your container. Arrange your flowers by pushing them firmly into the florist foam. You will find that you can cut the stems of your flowers and foliage a little shorter when using the foam since you push the stems roughly halfway into the foam to secure in place.
Use flowers from your garden
Decorating with flowers doesn’t have to be expensive. Try looking around your garden and use what you see growing. You don't need a lot of flowers to make a beautiful home accent. For example, do you grow agapanthus? Pick one stem and add it to a container so that the bloom forms a dome at the top of your container. Now, pop some foliage stems and a couple of other flowers between the agapanthus flowerlets and you're done.. easy.
Begin now and plant some flowers that you can use later in your home arrangements. Download the FREE guide to easy to grow and easy to use flowers for arrangements.
why not try to involve your kids and encourage them to help out in your flower garden? They'll love to water the growing plants and pick the flowers as they bloom. You can even grow flowers that kids can eat. Make smoothies for your kids and they can sprinkle the top with nuts, seeds, muesli and ..... petals. (Violas, nasturtium, calendula and rose petals to name just a few..)
Don't forget to add some foliage
To add some flare to your floral arrangements don’t forget to use some of the leaves that grow with your flowers.
Hosta leaves help add a wonderful touch of green to indoor flower arrangements too. You probably have a variety of grasses growing in your garden and these can be used to make your dinner settings stand out. Simply use a grass such as maiden grass of about 12 inches long and tie around your cutlery and fasten with a knot. To add color to your setting pick a small handful of buttercups or daises and tie them into a bouquet as well.
Maiden grass dries extremely well and will keep for up to one year so you can easily reuse them over and over again. If you find the grass is getting a little brittle then spray very lightly with a little hair gel. Works wonderfully!
Creating Bouquet Arrangements
Top floral designers are experimenting with creating tiered bouquets for the home and you can easily accomplish this, too.
All you need for your tiered bouquet are two glass bowls which can be stacked on top of each other.
Then simply fill with a mixture of small and large seasonal flowers. For example, in the spring you can mix pansies and nemesia or forget-me-nots and use larger flowers such as columbine and violas. In the sample one above, I used button chrysanthemums and baby's breath.
First start by stacking your pedestal bowl on top of the larger one and then add water to both bowls. Use smaller blossoms for the base of the bowls and press the stems into the water. Then take your larger blossoms and cut the stems so they fit inside the bowl, simply insert these blossoms throughout your flower bouquet.
If you don’t have a pedestal-type bowl you can use small individual glass bowls and place them around your home. If you are having dinner guests, you could place small flower arrangements at their place setting.
Other simple ideas
Peonies, hibiscus or frangipani look wonderful floating in a small bowl of water. To keep the peony above the water, place a small ball of bubble wrap underneath it for support. Use grasses or leaves to add a touch of green to the bowl.
Check out some of the other simple floral arrangement ideas below.
'Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers.
Download this FREE guide to find easy-to-grow flowers for your own garden and easy-to-arrange flowers and start creating a cheerful, warm home atmosphere.
A lot of people think that growing fruit and vegetables in their garden is going to be a challenge. After all, they need TLC in order to grow into healthy and mouthwatering delights that we can eat with our family. But it can also be an enjoyable experience which might cut the cost of your grocery bill! Here are some reasons why growing your own fruit and vegetables is a must for your garden.
You get to eat them fresh from the ground
The best thing about growing fruit and vegetables is that you have easy access to great food without having to even leave your home! Once they have been fully developed, they can be made for your whole family to enjoy with their dinner! And there is nothing more rewarding than tucking into some fruit or veg that you have spent the time and effort growing yourself! Also, fruit and vegetables which you can fresh from the ground are much healthier for your family than the ones you buy at the local grocers! After all, they haven’t been sprayed with any chemicals and haven’t been stored for ages.
It can be an excellent way to destress
You might not realize that growing fruit and vegetables is one way to destress when you have had a challenging day. In fact, a lot of people with depression head outside to help improve their emotional well-being. It gives you a much-needed boost when you look after your fruit and vegetables and see them come into formation. Not only that, but getting outside in the fresh air can help you get all your necessary nutrients which will lift your mood. Therefore, start growing some today to find a hobby that can help you unwind once you get home after work.
It’s fun and educational for kids
It’s so much fun for children to help grow fruit and vegetables in the garden. They get to see how it ends up on their plate. It often boosts them to eat the delicious food once they have fully formed, which might typically be a challenge! You should let them get involved in taking care of them so that they pick up skills that they can use in school. During the winter months, you might want to consider installing a greenhouse in the yard where you can grow your fruit and vegetables. A lean-to greenhouse is often a top choice as it doesn’t take up too much room in your yard.
It’s ideal to add color to your garden
When we add beautiful plants and flowers to our garden, we are hoping it will make our yard look much more appealing. And even though fruit and vegetables are grown to be enjoyed in the kitchen, they can also add beauty and color to the backyard. As this feature says, crisp cucumbers and ripening strawberries can make a backyard look rather beautiful. Make sure you choose colorful fruit and vegetables to help enhance your garden.
And remember growing your own fruit and vegetables gives you a reason to get outside more in your yard.
All kids love sweet treats and junk food, but as a role model in their life, it’s your job to teach them the importance of healthy eating. The chances are that their parents want them to be as healthy as possible, so as their grandparent, it’s your job to lend a hand. Grandmas are known for treating their grandchildren to their favourite sweets and cakes. But as a grandparent, it’s also important to teach your grandkids about being healthy.
Of course, getting children to eat their greens is no easy task. However, with a little creativity, it's possible to help your grandchildren become healthier.
Bake healthy treats
If you love to bake with your grandchildren that’s all well and good, but you don’t want to be giving them snacks filled with sugar on a daily basis. So get creative and start baking healthier treats. Believe it or not, almost all sweet treats can be made healthy. It’s just a case of changing some of the ingredients. There are plenty of recipes online for healthy cakes and bakes, such as brownies and flapjacks.
Teach your grandchildren to cook
As well as teaching your grandchildren to bake, take the time to teach them to cook healthy, wholesome food. If a child has cooked something themselves, they’re twice as likely to want to eat it, even if it is healthy. So spend time cooking healthy meals with your grandchildren, and you can encourage them to be healthier. You don’t have to make all the meals from scratch; you could use a meal delivery service to make cooking easier. These services send you everything that you need to cook a healthy, delicious meal. So all you need to do is pop it in the oven or pan and cook it. This makes cooking with the grandchildren much easier.
Grow fruit and vegetables together
One of the best ways to get little ones to eat fruits and vegetables that they’re not keen on is to grow them together. The thing is, if a child grows a fruit or vegetable themselves, they’re more likely to want to try it. So, if you have the space in your garden, create a vegetable patch and plant a few fruit bushes and trees. This will not only make your grandchildren more likely to try new foods but will also teach them about where fruits and vegetables come from.
Make healthy foods fun
Remember, it’s important that healthy foods are fun. It can be hard to make all healthy foods fun, but there are ways to do so. For finding ideas, Pinterest is an amazing resource, as are parenting forums. The key to success is serving fruits and vegetables in different ways, rather than just chopped up on a plate. Instead of giving your grandchild a raw apple as a snack, coat the slices in peanut butter. Or, instead of giving them raw pepper and carrot batons to snack on, roast them and serve them with hummus and pita bread. The more fun you can make healthy foods, the better.
Encouraging your grandchildren to be healthier doesn’t have to be a struggle. It’s just a case of knowing how to go about it; that’s all.
It's wet and miserable today, with sudden downpours of rain that are too heavy for a fun walk in the rain and certainly too cold to take two small boys puddle jumping. But they will be here soon looking for an exciting afternoon adventure with grandma.
Fortunately, I've stocked up on indoor activities for just such a situation. Today's plan?... a wonderful mini vegetable garden.
'Woolworths Fresh Food' store's latest shopping incentive for families and the latest in their range of collectible cards, is Jamie Oliver's Garden.
The collectible cards are very attractive with some textured, embossed and even heat sensitive that change if you hold your finger on the print. There are also some cards that are fragrant.
An optional journal can be purchased to store the cards and stickers or you could also buy a coordinated designer tin.
I noticed that, among other matching items that can be purchased, there were some small aprons, gardening trowels and watering cans. So I stocked up on those items for the boys. You have to look the part.. it's half the fun!
And... I bought the mini-greenhouse. It's really great. There is a shallow rectangular tray as the base ready to fill with the provided potting mix.
The rest of the greenhouse is pre-printed and cut clear plastic ready to be assembled. When finished, it rests on the tray and is easily removed to water the garden. Stickers are provided to decorate the greenhouse and herb seeds are included ready to sprinkle over the tray of potting mix.
It's very simple and lots of fun.
But if you can't obtain one of these little greenhouse kits, you can still create your own.
You will need:
* large clear plastic drinking glass (You can use any container but I used plastic for safety with small boys. A glass or plastic jar, bowl or container would look very attractive. Be imaginative.)
* small amount of gravel for drainage
*filtering charcoal if you have any but it's not essential
* herb seeds or seedlings (chives, cress, mint, oregano,parsley)
*herb labels are optional but look great to pop in amongst your herbs. You can find some to download here..
The instructions are simple: add some gravel in the base of your clear container, then some charcoal, if you have some.
Half-fill the container with potting mix and sprinkle with the herb seeds. If you have seedlings, gently plant these in the potting mix. Don't over-fill your container.
Then add some stickers to the outside of your container. (The boys wanted to addlots to their garden container.)
Don't forget to water your mini-garden; that's a big part of the fun for small boys. It might be better to use a spray bottle of water to avoid drowning the seedlings.
And, once the herbs begin to grow, they can be pinched off to use in cooking, added to butter for a herb spread or sprinkled over salads.
Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.