This post is part of Cindy’s Hidden Art of Homemaking Book Club for chapter 7 on flower arranging.
This chapter is surprisingly varied and passionate for what one might expect to be a brief, boring chapter. I do hope others in the book club take up some of the topics covered, and I encourage you to click on the link above to find those posts.
I am going to stick to the main point, because it’s one of those things I’d like to do, don’t do, and about which I had sudden inspiration while reading the chapter. I will share my practical solution to actually accomplishing the addition of a touch of personality and fleeting beauty, without a flower budget, a cutting garden, or a degree in artistic design.
I believe strongly that the suppressing of hidden artistic talents or appreciation has the effect of warping us as personalities. So I feel that this beautifying of meal tables and trays with hidden artistic and original ideas is a very simple area indeed in which to start fulfilling one’s own needs, through the freedom of expression, and adding another dimension to the day.
The timing of this chapter is poignant, because my birthday was Saturday. Every year since we started courting at 18, my husband has given me a bouquet of red roses, with roses equal to my age. Several years ago I told him I’d be happy to stay 24 until I’m 36, but he will not have it. He has kept his word, given to me 13 years ago.
I do love the roses. Deep red, formal, perfect. Early June always finds me planning and tweaking my systems, so I have a large, lovely, aromatic backdrop as I type, list, and scheme. And I am reminded how much I do like the touch of flowers.
[Communication] is also helped by atmosphere, and the atmosphere is helped by the things which are arranged with love and with an expression of creativity in a visible form.
My roses will last a few more days, and then I will miss having that special something there as I think and plan and I will be inspired again to try my hand at keeping flowers in the house.
I must add one more sentence to this chapter: please try something in this area today. The only way to start, is to start.
So, I did.
I missed the daffodils and the lilacs this year. Several times I thought, “I should go cut a few sprigs for the table.” And I never did.
So, I took my scissors and I set a stopwatch-timer. It took me 5 minutes and 47 seconds to get the scissors, go out the front door, over to the side yard, select 5 roses to cut, make it back in, and stick them in a vase. Five or six minutes. Not long. Worth every second. That five minutes yielded me a rose on the dining table, on my kitchen window, and – because I’m in there a lot this week due to potty training – the bathroom.
While reading the chapter, I started narrating to myself my difficulties in actually pulling off centerpieces or freshly cut flowers. One big one is that it seems when I do go to the trouble (ok, that probably shows my attitude about it there; it’s more of a “should” than a delight) of putting together a centerpiece, it gets messed with by little hands, it gets in the way of school time, or it has to be moved for a game or project. Our table sees so much varied activity, that a centerpiece seems both fussy and in the way.
I don’t know if it was one of the sketches or a certain phrasing, but all the sudden I saw in my mind’s eye the solution to this trouble: a small tray. If I create a centerpiece on a small tray, it solves almost all my complaints:
- It can easily and quickly be moved over to the top of the piano when it’s in someone’s way. Even the children could move it.
- It limits the size and creates a “canvas” that is easier to conceive than the entire table (our table is long).
- It can be kept simple but still look special because the tray sets it apart and says “This is a centerpiece” rather than “This is more junk on the table to clear.”
- It can easily be lifted or moved when cleaning the table, and without messing it up, unlike last time I tried a centerpiece, when the line of candles drove me crazy because they were never in a line.
This tray still has a sticker from the local thrift store that says 75c. The vase, also, was 50c.
Small, simple, special. This I can do without scouring Martha Stewart magazines and taking a class in bouquet creation.