Entrance Hall Arrangement, December 2013

FOR ME, December is all about drinking decorating.  The Christmas tree is set up (pictures soon!), the parlor mantel is  dressed for success, the dining room features a pair of homemade boxwood trees, and now, thanks to floral-designer Erin Brady, a big bouquet lights up the entrance hall table. Here’s an intimate look at this pine-scented poetry:

The “vase” for Erin’s arrangement is my big cast-iron urn. The urn is lined with a plastic bucket (to make it water-tight). To create a “pin cushion” for stems, Erin inserted blocks of floral foam in the bucket. Floral-tape holds the foam firmly in place.

I should probably mention that when Erin arrived here, she was wearing only a skimpy black cocktail dress. What a shocking choice of attire. For the temperature outside was well-below freezing, and, quite naturally,  I insisted she do all of her clipping- and sticking-business on the front porch. You know, in order to avoid making a mess in the house.

Poor Erin! I could hear her teeth clattering even as I sat in my warm kitchen, sipping a rum-laced eggnog.

But even with frost-bitten fingers, Erin managed to produce her usual magnificence.*

*Erin insisted, against my objections, on working outside. And she was wearing a down-jacket. What she was wearing beneath the jacket I haven’t a clue, because she never removed her cloak. But I’ll wager it was a black cocktail dress.

The arrangement is composed of five (yes, just five!) components:

Cascading over the edge of the urn are boughs of fragrant white pine.

Boughs of lacy cedar seem to echo the lace curtains beyond…

While branches of short-needled pine produce a scented silhouette.

Erin added seeded eucalyptus (available at certain flower shops in December) for the color and texture it provides…

And long stems of holly, because…well, because we have to have holly in winter arrangements, okay? To my eyes, the berries positively glow in this symphony of green.

How long will the beauty last? Well, in cool temperatures and with regular watering, the greens and berries will stay fresh and fragrant until the New Year.

And that’s long enough!

In the comments field below, I hope you’ll let me know how your own holiday decorations are coming along. As always, I love to hear from you.

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  1. Erin Brady says:

    Yes, I was wearing a black cocktail dress…. Don’t all florists wear one while arranging? 🙂

  2. Well. Just as I suspected.

  3. We have made six wreathes so far. We are planning to make small table center pieces and possibly some boxwood trees next week. I am very excited that I finally have enough greens in my yard to make all these arrangements!

  4. I made two wreaths so far, but donated both of them to the Historical Society’s Gallery of Wreaths, so I guess I’d better get busy and make some more…. And yes, I have some seeded Eucalyptus on hand to use for them! (Along with winterberry and green hypernicum). Am trying to fit decorating in between rehearsals for our annual Lessons & Carols on the 22nd. So it is being done in fits and starts. But living room and dining room mantels, and the entire kitchen and family room, are on the slate for the next couple of nights…. I love Christmas!

  5. Kevin, I thought you were in charge of decorating here! Oh dear. Now what will I do. (The black cocktail dress and the down coat were a perfect image–as lovely as the arrangement she made.)

  6. Beautiful arrangement!! Such creative people, love the post Kevin.

  7. Not crazy about the robin egg blue walls, but absolutely love everything else!

  8. Cary Bradley says:

    Simply stunning! I am seeing some lavender colored flowers toward the center, looks like lilac? Am I hallucinating?

  9. Amy – The table is in an alcove in the entrance hall. At certain times of the day, the paint color on the wainscot looks very blue. Compare here: Entrance Hall, Before & After Pix. My January goal: apply gray-green paint to the alcove wainscot!

    Hi Cary – So glad you like the arrangement. The seeded eucalyptus has a lavender hue when viewed (or photographed) from a distance.

  10. I was planning on adding a sprig of beauty bush with purple berries, but with the latest cold snap, the birds ate them all. Perhaps that’s a better use for the berries, than a floral arrangement for my front room.

  11. Barbara Harding says:

    I just LOVE, LOVE everything Erin does. Your home looks beautiful! Merry Christmas!

  12. Breath-taking. That is all.

  13. I wonder if my flower arranging skills would improve if I, too, wore a black cocktail dress whilst arranging? I’ll have to try that just as soon as I get a black cocktail dress.

    The arrangement is divine! If I only had space for such a thing in my home. But I do enjoy seeing what you do with your home, Kevin. I will have to live vicariousy through you and your mad decorating skilz.

  14. Beverly, zone 6, eastern PA says:

    That “short needled pine” looks a lot like my Spruce tree branches. Could it be a Spruce? A Norway, or maybe Colorado Spruce?

    What a lovely production, start to finish, always inspiring.

  15. You always Wow us!

    Erin is so talented and you have an exquisite entrance hall.

    Thank you for sharing.

  16. That arrangement is drop dead gorgeous! No number of little black dresses and/or down coats would magically bestow her talent upon me!
    As always, thanks tons for sharing the beauty. Stay safe and warm! Merry Christmas!

  17. I love your Christmas arrangements Kevin. Merry Christmas!

  18. Love your arrangement! Thanks for sharing. I’ve been designing and producing Horse Head Christmas wreaths to sell as part of my annual art show & sale. Made from mulberry canes, cedar and weeping cypress boughs all gathered from my gardens at Swept Away Farm. If you visit my website,worthyartstudio.com you’ll be able to see a sample. Merry Christmas!

  19. Helen – Your horse head-shaped wreaths look terrific! Good luck with your art show.

  20. Kevin, my children think I’m a loon because I refer to you as my best friend that I’ve never met! Reading your entries always make me feel as though I’m sitting and chatting with you. Thank you for bringing me such joy!

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