A ‘Downton Abbey’-inspired arrangement

Downton Abbey-inspired DIY floral arrangement

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I created this Downton Abbery-inspired flower arrangement for our Valentine’s Day dinner. It was my first time creating an asymetrical cascade arrangement, and I’m pretty sure that the Dowager Countess would approve! If you don’t know who that is, then you need to get on the Downton train, stat.

I purchased the flowers at Provigo (aka Loblaws) for about $15.00. I love me some inexpensive blooms! Here’s a run-down of what I used:

4 lavender-ish/pink chrysanthemums

1 “market bunch” (about 5 stems) of white spray roses (probably the ‘Majolica’ varietal)*

4 stems of deep pink stock

(I actually purchased some pink limonium too, but didn’t realize the store that the centre of the bunch was rotting (ew!), so I had to throw them away. Boooo! Good think the arrangement turned out well without it.)

*Because one stem of spray roses has multiple blooms on it, don’t be deceived by the seemingly low stem count.

I bought the greenery at a local florist because Provigo doesn’t sell greenery by the stem. The greenery cost almost as much as the flowers (thank you, florist prices). I used:

3 stems Italian ruscus (my all-time favourite greenery for its cascading, delicate stems)

5 stems salal leaf (a beautiful  green leaf that fills out an arrangement nicely)

To create an arrangement like this, you can follow these steps:

  1. Choose your vase and cut your oasis flower foam to be slightly smaller, but at least 2-3 inches taller than the vessel. Leave space around the foam if you want to hide it with something like rocks or glass beads.
  2. Hydrate your oasis and put it in a ziplock bag in the vessel (don’t zip the bag!). Pour in your rocks/beads around the outside of the bag, to hide the oasis. Obviously, if you use an opaque vase, you don’t need to hide it!photo-7
  3. Insert 4 stems of salal leaf at North-South-East-West of your foam. Insert them upward at about a 45 degree angle.
  4. Insert another four stems of greenery (slightly shorter than the N-S-E-W stems) in between the first 4.
  5. Insert 2-3 shorter stems of greenery in the top-middle of your arrangement.
  6. Begin placing your line flowers (the stock, in my case) into your arrangement. Try to create a triangle shape with these.
  7. Add some focal flowers (the mums in this arrangement).
  8. Add smaller filler flowers in between line, focal, and greenery.
  9. Add a few more stems of greenery if you wish.
  10. Sit back and marvel at your creation!photo-9

 

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DIY Chocolate Truffles

Hello fellow DIY-ers! For New Year’s Eve I made my fiancé a romantic at-home meal, which I finished with a trio of homemade pear-liqueur truffles. They were delicious! I adapted my original recipe using Ferran Adriá’s book “Repas de famille” (a Christmas gift from my wonderful fiancé).

Here is the recipe and how-to. This will make about 10 truffles:

*Truffles are not an exact science – you need to adjust based on taste and texture. *

60 g of semi-sweet chocolate (I used the brand Baker’s – 4 cubes)

60 ml 35% whipping cream

1 tbsp butter (cut into small pieces)

1.5 tbsp liqueur (I used pear this time, but I’ve also used amaretto, ice wine, scotch, kahlua etc.)

1. Assemble all your ingredients.

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2. Chop your chocolate into fairly fine pieces. Put them in a small baking dish or bowl.

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3. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan until it is gently simmering.

4. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Cover and let the cream melt the chocolate (about 3 minutes).

5. Uncover and whisk until smooth. Sometimes the cream is not quite enough to melt all the chocolate. In this case, place the chocolate over a pot of gently boiling water (like a double-boiler) and whisk until smooth. 

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6. Incorporate the butter pieces into the chocolate mixture. (Again, use the double-boiler method if the butter won’t melt). Whisk until smooth.

7. Add the liqueur and whisk until smooth.

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8. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is fairly firm to the touch.

9. Sift some cocoa into a small bowl.

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10. Roll the truffles into small balls (they don’t have to be perfectly round) and coat them in the sifted cocoa. Enjoy at room temperature. YUM!

DIY All-White Floral Centrepiece

As I said in my previous post, my fiancé and I had a wonderful, romantic New Year’s Eve dinner at home this year. Here is what our table looked like:

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To really set the ambiance, I created a lush, all-white floral centrepiece for our table. I used my grandmother’s silver rose bowl as the vase, and most of the flowers I bought up at Loblaws.

Recipe: All-white floral centrepiece

8 stems white-cream spray roses (4-6 blooms per stem) ($10)

15 stems white spray carnation (3-4 blooms per stem) ($6)

1 large white hydrangea ($4.50)

1 branch cedar (approximately 8 off-shoots) ($3)

Floral shears (clean, sharp kitchen shears will do)

Vase or bowl

Glass stones

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1. Gather all your flowers in a large pot, filled with warm-ish water and flower food. I bought the spray roses and carnations the day before making my arrangement. The hydrangea and cedar I bought the day-of. Make sure to trim the stems of your flowers.

2. I filled the bottom of the rose bowl with a layer of glass stones, and water. I originally tried to use floral foam, but I hated it so I re-started with just the stones. The problem with the foam is that once you insert a flower, you can’t pull it out really because the hole stays there forever. Also, if you insert a flower too deeply and need to adjust it, you’ll create an air pocket under the stem, and the flower can’t get water. 🙁

3. Place your hydrangea in the centre of the bowl. You’ll have to hold it up at this point. Keep in mind that you want to create a dome shape.

4. Surround the hydrangea with a combination of carnations and roses. For this, keep most of your multi-bloom stems intact.

5. Once the arrangement is secure, fill it out with individual carnations and roses. The nice thing about hydrangea is that the cage-like understructure will hold other flowers in place.

6. Add your trimmed cedar shoots.

7. Ta-da!

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You could easily re-create this look using fewer flowers, in a smaller vase. The rose bowl has a very wide opening, so I required plenty of flowers to give a lush look. In a smaller vase, you’d probably need only 5-6 stems of spray roses, 8-10 stems of spray carnations, 1 hydgrangea, and cedar.