Friday, April 01, 2011

decorating with branches

This week I wanted to make an Easter decoration that wasn't outright bunnies and eggs. I love using branches and thought I'd share an easy way to make a beautiful centerpiece that will stay fresh and keep blooming for up to one month! I used cherry blossom branches that have just started to bud. Hopefully when we celebrate Easter the sweet pink little blossoms will be popping up. Other substitutes that would work great include dogwood, fruit blossoms, or red buds. Curly willow works well throughout the entire year but in the spring it is a treat to use branches with flowers.
To start out you will need: any type of waterproof container - oasis floral foam - four to five branches of your choice - moss - any extra decorative items you might wish to place in moss or hang from branches.

I first started out by cutting my oasis to the size of my container. Oasis is a block of floral foam that is submerged in water and allows for your arrangement to stay watered, giving structure to where you place your branches or flowers. (you can get them at walmart these days in the floral department). Submerge block of oasis in water until you see all the bubbles come out. Then cut with a sharp knife to size. For obvious reasons oasis works well in solid containers, urns and such where it will not be shown. Glass would be a poor option visually.
I began by placing my branches one at a time in the oasis.

The best way to cut your branches to the size you desire is to break them. By splitting the wooded stems open they are able to receive the most amount of water. If you cut them with clippers first be sure to hammer the ends before placing them in the oasis.

Here you can see what happens when branches are cut with a blunt edge. They begin to seal themselves off actually creating the opposite effect you want. Any type of wooded stem needs to be broken apart. Regular flower stems need a fresh clean cut to absorb water and last the longest. So if your stems look like mine when I bought them, go ahead and break, tear, hammer, hit, destroy, smoosh. They will thank you.

After your branches are placed in the oasis block I love to place moss over the oasis. This is my absolute favorite brand of moss. It is fresh and bright and so vibrant. I break it apart and spread it around the base of my urn.

Finally I added some blown out eggs that I made and painted gold. They give a natural feel to the arrangement. Starburst jelly beans set beside the branches also add a natural element as well.

So there you have it. An easy, relatively inexpensive arrangement that should last you the entire month of April. Be sure to keep adding water every other day. As the branches soak of water the oasis becomes dry. I usually fill mine up with a cup or two depending on the container size every other day.

Happy decorating!

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