August 16, 2011

Myrtles, Milk Glass, and Martha

Martha Stewart's "Living" magazine is the only one I subscribe to that I never tear the pages out and I never throw it away.  To me, it has timeless and great ideas. 

 One idea that I saw that was "do-able" for me was this arrangement. 

Martha ( I know it's not really Martha herself coming up with these ideas and executing them but we'll just pretend) used lilacs in her arrangement.

 It is too hot down in the deep South to grow lilacs but we do have an abundance of crepe myrtles which have a similar shaped flower.

Here is my attempt to copy Martha's lilac arrangement.
Martha's holder looks like it is made with a milk glass vase and bowl.
I think she has a huge collection of milk glass but I have none.

Actually, I don't really know what "milk glass" is.
If it is glass and it is white, I assume it is milk glass but I thought I would look it up to educate myself a little on that subject.
Here's what I found out:
Milk Glass was first made in Venice in the 16th century.  The Venetians made the glass opaque or translucent in several different colors including white.  The white color is achieved through the addition of tin oxide or bone ash.  The name "milk glass" is a relatively recent name for the glass which is blown or pressed into a wide variety of shapes.

I can't blow or press glass and I don't have tin oxide or bone ash
so I went the cheap route and found a plastic vase and a glass bowl at the Dollar Tree that I thought would be compatable in size for this project.
I just love these little plastic vases in the floral section at Dollar Tree. 
They look so much like cut crystal.

Here's a look also at the glass bowl before it is painted.

To try to replicate the milk glass look, the bowl and vase got spray painted.

I used white appliance spray paint from Wal-Mart.  It was about $4/can...I thought it would probably hold up better to the water the vase and bowl would encounter.  Wal-Mart also has a white gloss spray paint for $1/can that would work also if you are on a tighter budget for this project.

After being spray painted

Martha's instructions said to use floral clay to secure the vase in the bowl. 
The floral clay came from Michael's in the floral section.  It is about $1.50 per pack.  To use floral clay you pinch off a small amount, make a roll and stick it under the edge of the vase before adding foam or water to the bowl.  I personally thought that the foam held the vase in place enough that you would not really need the floral clay.

You will need the floral foam made for fresh flowers. The floral foam comes in different shapes but the most common is this "brick" shape.
You can find floral foam at any major craft store. This usually comes in a pack of 3 or 4. Each brick comes out to about $1 each if you use a store coupon. "Oasis" is a specific brand name of this type foam but lots of people call all fresh floral foam by that name...kinda like "Kleenex" or "Band-Aid" or "Vaseline" are used.  Be sure you do not get the foam that says it is for silk or dried flowers

  One "brick" will be enough for 3 of these arrangements.   Cut the foam into 10 chunks.  Use 3 per arrangement and split the last one into 3 pieces to go into the vases.
The foam cuts very easily even with a regular dinner knife.

Soak the foam according to the package directions.
This is the foam just seconds after being dropped in the water.  Be sure your water container is deep enough to completely cover the foam after it sinks down into the water.  I like to leave it in the water at least 5 minutes to make sure it gets soaked to its center.

After the foam is soaked all the way through, put 3 of the larger chunks into each bowl.
Cut some of the flowers' stems to about 2".
Push the short stems into the foam in the bowl.
If needed, angle the flowers to get good coverage and to have them look nice around the edge of the bowl.
You may need to add small pieces of flowers around the larger flowers in the bowl to completely cover up the foam so that it does not show.  The foam in the vase helps to hold the longer stems upright. 

Leave longer stems on some of the flowers to put in the vase part of the arrangement.  It will help to have water in the vase and the bowl so the foam can continue to soak up water as needed.

Since this arrangement is not very big, I made three of them for more impact with the few crepe myrtle flowers still blooming in the yard.

Just for fun, I wanted to see if this vase/bowl set up would work with other types of flowers.  I had a few daisies I tried it with.
I thought it looked cute.  You would need to use greenery to cover up the foam in the bowl.

So, I'm doing the best I can with what I got but
here's Martha's original magazine photo:

And here is my copy cat version:
Martha has her wine and lilacs, I have my mint julep and crepe myrtles. 

I am linking this post up to
"Debbie Doos Blabbing and Blogging" Magazine Copy Cat Challenge


  1. Oh my this is just so great! I actually like yours better!

  2. What a great idea it looks fantastic in white love what you have done

  3. Yours looks gorgeous! I just may have to copy yours and Martha's idea. Thanks for sharing.

    Have a wonderful day,

  4. Very pretty - the daisy one is very cute. I'm going to file this one away.

  5. Hey Mis Kitty,

    I love this!!!!!!

    janet xox

  6. Gayle, this is so funny that you posted this. Just a few days ago, me and my little girl went outside and cut a few branches from a blooming crepe myrtle. I was thinking to myself then how much it looked like lilacs. But I just stuck our in a glass vase. This is such a better idea!! And I do have a bunch of milk glass, although what you did with the stuff from the dollar store looks pretty darn good!!!


  7. I love your arrangement with the crepe myrtle. I like the arrangement with the daisies too. I'll have to try it next spring when the lilacs are blooming.

  8. Wow, such gorgeous and creative ideas. Love how pretty everything looks. Thanks for the tutorial. Thanks also for joining TTT. Hugs, Marty

  9. I love the crepe myrtle. I actually wasn't sure what it was called before - just knew when we went to Alabama to visit hubby's aunt in the summer it was gorgeous. I think your paint trick came out looking a LOT like milk glass. If you're interested in having milk glass I always see it at Goodwill and local thrift stores around here. You should check down there!

  10. Gotta love your "milk glass". Quite ingenious! Bet "Martha" didn't think of that.

    We had an abundance of Crepe Myrtle when I lived in Texas. Only problem is that it lacked the fragrance of the lilacs... but it bloomed all summer!

    Thanks for coming to the Bunny Hop this week.

    xoxo Bunny Jean

  11. How beautiful!!! These are truly amazing and I will have to remember this great idea. Thanx for sharing!

  12. I like your better then Martha...great work!

  13. Just adorable, Miss Kitty!

    I found your cute new post via Bunny Jean's Bunny Hop Linky party again. :) Yeah, stillll smiling from the other day.

    Lovin' those KopyKats
    ~Suzanne in IL

  14. I think that is the coolest way to display flowers that I've ever seen. Seriously. Thanks for Kopying it. :)

  15. Crepe myrtles, milk glass and Martha---great combination, beautiful arrangements!

  16. soooo clever!!!...looks great!..Mariaelena

  17. Yours looks gorgeous. Better than Martha's. When I host my next magazine copy cat challenge this is a sure winner!

  18. So beautiful, I love the tiered layered affect! I do have lilacs here in the high dessert, but your arrangement is just gorgeous, I love the colors! Thanks for showing off!


  19. beautiful I love milk glass and lilac was something I would take my teacher when I was a little girl of course my display was no were near the beauty of yours come see me at

  20. These are gorgeous flower arrangements! I LOVE the multiple layers and have never seen anything like this. Thank you so much for linking up at Savvy HomeMade Monday. We are partying again and I hope you will stop by! :)

  21. Ohhh this is so so so pretty! I am going to have to show my friend this she loves floral arrangements!
    p.s. I know I just commented saying I couldn't find the "follow" button---don't worry I figured it out LOL! Your blog is just great!
    Jaime from Crafty Scrappy Happy

  22. You know I love this project! It is just so pretty. Thanks for joining in on the fun! ENJOY!~~

  23. I so agree with you about Martha's magazines. I have just had a big throw out of magazines and didn't throw any of her Living issues away. I have some from several years ago that I still refer to!

    Great post and great copy!

    Best wishes,

  24. I love how your version turned out! How clever to spray paint the plastic really looks great!

  25. I think your version is awesome!!! I would never have thought to spray paint to get the look of milk glass - I love it!!!

  26. I am always interested in floral arrangements, so I remember that lilac arrangement. I think your crepe myrtyles look as good or better!

  27. I will definitely be using this idea. We have an abundance of myrtles here for most of the summer in a variety of colors. They look wonderful that way, and I think your spray painted "milk glass" is pretty inspirational too.

  28. Miss Kitty...I'm blown away! took inexpensive items from the Dollar Store and turned it into something absolutely out of this world fabulous...AWESOME copy cat!
    I want to copy you, and making several was eye-popping genius.

  29. Your's is even prettier than Martha's. (Sorry Martha). Great job.

  30. You did a wonderful job! Wonderful!!! xo Diana

  31. Wow, These are beautiful! I love the shot with all three on the table. Great job, Gayle.

  32. absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I love it!


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