Tag Archive | Christmas

Relaaaaax

via Daily Prompt: Relax

I don’t celebrate Christmas, however I love, love Christmas lights! This regular sized bulb was located in the normal bulb shelves, not by the decorations*, and for only $5. Score! I do tend to zone out looking at it. Relaaaax 😎

*So that means I can keep it lit all year?!?

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Evergreen Winter Seasonal Pots 2016

It’s that time again!! Wiiiinter pots!!

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We pre-fab these at the office and the crews deliver these to the client’s homes. You can skip many of the next steps if you already have a prepared pot of soil. We make them this way so we don’t have to stand outside and do it! I think this almost falls into that category of, ‘Lazy man works the hardest!’ Ha!

We use nursery pots that closely fit the size of our client’s containers. Cut a plastic sheet to fit over the bottom holes. This slows or stops the water from draining and helps freeze the display in place. Next, add florist foam to the middle for stability of the larger ‘thriller’ items, as these could be rather large birch poles. Then fill the rest of the pot with a 50/50 soil/sand mixture. Be sure to really stuff that soil into the pot. The better packed soil helps hold the display in place from precipitation, the weight of snow and wind.

The design is the standard, Thriller, Filler & Spiller! The Thriller is that one large sprig/evergreen, center piece, or for this season, mostly sticks. Filler are those mid-range sized pieces of evergreen, or other material that is generally wider and less tall that the thriller material. Spiller is just that, floppy evergreen, weaker-stemmed items that hang over the edge of the pot.

A few often overlooked hints and tips:

  • Fresh cut ALL of your greens right before sticking into the pot. It does make a huge difference as to how long the greens will stay green and especially how long the holly berries will stay on the branches.
  • After you have created your masterpiece, wet the display down well. It will freeze and hold all the stuff in place. It will also give some moisture to the cuttings.
  • Before using hydrangea, pre-treat them to a blast of clear spray paint to help them keep their form.
  • If your display becomes covered in snow, be sure to clear it by hitting the branches in an UPWARD motion. If you push too hard on them downward, they may break. A broom does a great job.

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© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Another DIY – Evergreen Holiday Pot in Bucket

After making my gold / brown pot for my front door, my husband loved it so much, he wanted me to make one for his boss. Oakey-dokey! I can do that!!

If you’ve already read my DYI post for my last pot, most of this post is going to be plagiarized from that one… If you don’t want to read how to put this together, just look at the photos =-)

Instead of me using a liner for his pot, as I did not know if he had an existing pot to use, I used a shiny steel bucket. This time I did not have any soil, so I filled the bottom with a few rocks and cut the foam to fit in the bucket. This serves three purposes, better water collection for the greens at first, then for it to freeze the greens in place with little expansion, and lastly, a heavy base so the design won’t fall over in the wind and snow.

First, place your sticks (birch poles here), or the largest diameter things first. You’ll know right away if your foam is going to hold, nothing like making your whole design, and then placing your sticks and busting the foam!! Arrrg! >:-O Yes, I have learned the hard way!

Think about where your pot will be displayed. Will they be on the sides of your door? On top of a pier? On top of your mailbox? Or on just one side of the door, like this one. I set my sticks a bit to one side (the back) of my pot, so more bling can be added to the front and sides. If you’re pot will be able to be viewed from all angles, I’d center them. If you’re having one on either side of your door, I would mirror-image the bling on 3 sides of the pot.

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I like to get a ring around the bottom next, as you can be sure that there is a sufficient amount of greens around the bottom. Again, think of where your pot will be displayed. This one will be on the ground, so it will be viewed by looking down on it. Some folks have piers or taller areas where their pots are going, these pots will need to have a nice lower row, as this is what you may see when viewing up at it. I’m using Scott’s Pine for my bottom. I love this material, as it already has pine cones attached! Don’t worry if it sticks up a bit, as you add more to the center, it will flatten out.

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My next filler is a variegated boxwood. I love the variety of colors it brings to the mix. I’m not a huge fan of a straight green pot, although I can appreciate the simplicity. Don’t fill it to the brim, there needs to be room for other ingredients, and you can always add more boxwood later.

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Next I added some magnolia. It will take up a lot of space, which is always good as you will save on materials because of it. After that comes the eucalyptus and dried hydrangea. I usually harvest these (for free!) from the large limelight we have in the yard at work. If your display will be out in the elements, I would give them a quick spray of clear enamel. This will stick them together and help stop the wind and snow from taking their toll. I also used grape vine balls sprayed lightly with white paint, for some natural-looking balls to bring together the round, flashy ornaments that are the next step.

imageAnd now for the fun part…. the bling! The large balls were ornaments that I removed the hanger from and stuck a stick in the hole. You may need to use hot glue to steady it on the stick. The small ones came in a one-piece clump, which I cut apart. I then added the little silver glitter sticks. Voilà!

I chose to go with a silver / white theme here, as it can stay out past Christmas without looking too tacky. If I had to total my materials here, I’d guess-ta-mate it would be about $50.00 without the pot. Right now, Hobby Lobby has all their Christmas stuff on sale for 50% off! I was also able to pick-up the white/mirrored ornaments at the dollar store, SCORE!!

Happy Creating!!

 

 

 

 

 


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

5 Steps to a Fabulous, Blingy Winter Container

I have been bangin’ out winter pots for our clients all week for delivery before Thanksgiving. I will have a post on all of those soon, as they have not been delivered to the clients yet, and they look funny not in their pots! However, if you’re Jonesing for some to look at, you can visit these past posts: 20152014 & 2013.

Instead of me using a liner for my personal pot, I chose the pot I would be displaying my creation in and filled it with 3 floral foams and a 50/50 mixture of topsoil and sand. This serves three purposes, better water collection for the greens at first, then for it to freeze the greens in place with little expansion, and lastly, a heavy base so the design won’t fall over in the wind and snow.

First, place your sticks (birch poles here), or the largest diameter things first. You’ll know right away if your foam is going to hold, nothing like making your whole design, and then placing your sticks and busting the foam!! Arrrg! >:-O Yes, I have learned the hard way!

Think about where your pot will be displayed. Will they be on the sides of your door? On top of a pier? On top of your mailbox? Or in a corner, like mine. I set my sticks a bit to one side (the back) of my pot, so more bling can be added to the front. If you’re pot will be able to be viewed from all angles, I’d center them. If you’re having one on either side of your door, I would mirror-image the bling on 3 sides of the pot.

image     image

I like to get a ring around the bottom next, as you can be sure that there is a sufficient amount of greens around the bottom. Again, think of where your pot will be displayed. Mine is only going one foot off the ground, so it will be viewed by looking down on it. Some folks have piers or taller areas where their pots are going, these pots will need to have a nice lower row, as this is what you may see when viewing up at it. I’m using Scott’s Pine for my bottom. I love this material, as it already has pine cones attached! Don’t worry if it sticks up a bit, as you add more to the center, it will flatten out.

image     image

My next filler is a variegated boxwood. I love the variety of colors it brings to the mix. I’m not a huge fan of a straight green pot, although I can appreciate the simplicity. Don’t fill it to the brim, there needs to be room for other ingredients, and you can always add more boxwood later.

image     image

Next I added some magnolia. It will take up a lot of space, which is always good as you will save on materials because of it. After that comes the dried hydrangea flowers. I usually harvest these (for free!) from the large limelight we have in the yard at work. If your display will be out in the elements, I would give them a quick spray of clear enamel. This will stick them together and help stop the wind and snow from taking their toll. I also used grape vine balls for some natural-looking balls to bring together the round, flashy ornaments that are the next step. As you can see, I always have Oreo there offering to help me.

image     image

And now for the fun part…. the bling! The large balls were ornaments that I removed the hanger from and stuck a stick in the hole. You may need to use hot glue to steady it on the stick. The small ones came in a one-piece clump, which I cut apart. I then added the little curly-q glitter sticks and gold berry sprigs. Voilà!

I chose to go with a gold / brown theme here, as it can stay out past Christmas without looking tacky. If I had to total my materials here, I’d guess-ta-mate it would be about $55.00 without the pot. Right now, Hobby Lobby has all their Christmas stuff on sale for 50% off!

Happy Creating!!


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

A Plumber’s Christmas Tree

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While at the local hardware store, on my way to the bird food, I noticed a box labeled, “Redneck Christmas Tree”. The verbiage is not what caught my attention, it was the plunger that made-up the trunk. This was no Redneck tree, this was a PLUMBER’S TREE!

As my husband’s company had just recently moved to a new location, I though this would be a fun addition to the office. We decorated it with typical plumber’s equipment and garnished with toilet paper. The tree top angel was represented in the company colors and made from pipe cleaners… Pipe cleaners… get it 😉

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I know I recently wrote a bah humbug post. I am not heartless tho!!

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Merry Dang Christmas or “Enjoy Your Time Off!”

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This was a gingerbread house contest entry sponsored by the Girl Scouts of America. This girl sure has a great imagination!!

It’s getting closer to Christmas and I’ve actually hardly noticed! I have been counting down the days until my two week holiday shut-down at work (18th), however not Christmas. I’ve stopped celebrating Christmas and generally ditched my Christian status about 8 years ago. I’ve stopped decorating, buying a tree and garnishing my nails with holiday scenes. My Catholic husband doesn’t seem to care, as he surely doesn’t feel like climbing on the roof to hang lights and right back up to remove them.

I enjoy not having the pressure to exchange gifts or make relatives happy. My father spends most of his winter time in Hawaii and I see my brother often enough for him to spend the holidays with his fiance’s family. He is also a Christmas-season baby like myself, so we’ll hook-up for some pub crawling the weekend after. The lack of pressure also really helps my mental ups and downs.

I have two small glitches to my plan of complete Christmasness… two nephews. I’ll play along for their sake while they are kids, although at 18, they will become adults and no auto-presenting will occur.

This doesn’t mean I’m not generous with my money or time. Although I do give regularly to my favorite charities*, I tend to give a bit to other causes this time of the year. I also love spending time to make wreaths and door swags for the local gardening club, workdays at Volo Bog and organizing toys for the needy.

Anyway, it won’t be long before it is inappropriate to say Merry Christmas. ‘Happy Holidays‘ has been in use for a good 20 years to my recollection, and ‘Merry Christmas’ only first uttered around 1565. The new phrase is to prevent any offense to non-Christians. Recently, I’ve just chose to say, ‘Enjoy your time off!’ As you may not get these religious holidays off in the future, either. Change is inevitable. There were many religions before Christian and there will be many more after it. So…

Enjoy your time off!!!

*
Volo Bog
Save a Pet
World Wildlife Federation
The Nature Conservancy

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Careful About Your Christmas Gift Decisions Boys…

On this holiest of holy days for shoppers, please remember to think through your gift choices. Especially you guys out there. Before you go shopping for the perfect vacuum… please watch the video.

 

=-) Ilex Farrell