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Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

Filtering by Tag: Roses

Grocery Store Flowers Made Fabulous: Rose Cluster

Marc J. Sievers


I absolutely love having fresh flowers at home. What I do not love is breaking the bank for a beautiful arrangement! It is entirely possible to assemble gorgeous floral moments with blooms from your favorite grocery store, and I want to show you how to make a classic rose cluster using roses that I bought from my neighborhood grocer!

For this cluster, I chose a similar color palette and three colors of roses: Pale pink with lime green, ivory, and a soft pink/peach. One of the varieties was a spray rose to add a different size and texture. All you need are flower shears, green floral wire, and a simple glass cylinder (my go-to vessel - they are easy to find, blend into any table setting, and are small enough to arrange multiples down the center of a table, place on a side table, etc.).

This is the perfect time to be creative! If you prefer a monochromatic story, as I have shown here, select blooms that are in a similar color palette. For a more daring arrangement, shake it up a bit and choose a variety of hues for an eclectic centerpiece. Happy arranging!

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A Few Simple Tips to Arrange the Cluster

  • For a table setting, I think flowers should not be taller than 8-10 inches.  Measure your arrangement using my technique in the video. 

  • Cut stems at a diagonal when arranging.  I like to change the water and re-cut the stems daily to ensure my flowers stay fresh.

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The City of Lights - Paris!

Marc J. Sievers

The City of Lights – Paris, France – in my opinion should be called “The City of Inspiration”!  Having just spent eight glorious days there eating, shopping, and of course enjoying some fabulous French wines, I brought home a million (and one!) food, décor, and style ideas.  The weather was mostly sunny, the air was filled with smells of freshly baked bread, and the gardens and trees were just starting to get their Spring buds—it was the perfect backdrop for my first trip with my husband Ryan to celebrate our third wedding anniversary with great friends. 

Since I have been home (for about 8 grueling American days) I have been going through the almost 1,200 photos that I took during my trip — everything from street vendors, patisseries, bistros, flowers and of course the Eiffel Tower and Versailles.  In the coming months, sprinkled amongst my regular posts, I will be sharing Paris-inspired posts, each filled with original recipes, décor ideas, and style concepts that will take you on a virtual vacation and impart some Parisian flair into your everyday living.  Grab your beret!  Our first stop is Ralph’s!

Ralph’s is Ralph Lauren’s second restaurant—the first was RL in Chicago—which opened in 2010 in the romantic Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood in Paris.  It was also the backdrop to our anniversary dinner!  RL in Chicago is our “go-to” restaurant whether we are grabbing a quick lunch, aperitif, or a cozy dinner, so the only place we could imagine creating a lasting memory for our anniversary dinner on our first trip to Paris was Ralph’s.  The moment we stepped out of the taxi (at a very un-Parisian early 7:00pm) we knew we were in for a stunningly beautiful evening.  As we walked through the heavy double outer doors, through the stone vestibule, and into the swoon-worthy inner courtyard, I couldn’t help but to stop and peak through the windows on the world-famous designer’s Paris flagship boutique.

The particular window I peek through first was the jewelry salon, where sitting atop a fireplace mantle were two ornate Chinese ginger jars filled with dozens of red roses.  They took my breath away.  These two simple components—materialized on a truly grand scale—were somehow going to come back to Chicago with me!  For months I had been struggling with just how to finish the sideboard in my dining room—no longer!  As I tucked that idea into the back of my mind, walked through the courtyard, and stepped into the “magazine worthy” restaurant, the simple and elegant theme of the red roses continued at the bar, on every table with small clusters in simple glass vases, and even fifteen feet in the air by way of towering mantle pieces crowned with velvety red roses.  I felt as though I was in a chic and fabulous dream!  The rest of the evening was filled with champagne, laughter with close friends, scrumptious food, and lasting memories that I will cherish for years to come.

Inspiration is about seeing something that impresses you in a way that you want to create your own interpretation of it and adapt into your own style, scale, and budget. Inspiration is about being inspired—motivated by something, based on a particular example, feeling, or flavor, and is not about copying or duplicating. Inspiration comes in many forms and from countless sources and well-executed inspirational experience will incorporate details you love and want to pay homage to. - MJS

TIP: When arranging small clusters of roses, arrange them at least 3 days before your soirée. This will allow each bloom to open up and become more full.  Change the water everyday and re-cut each stem ¼ inch to ensure the flowers stay fresh and drink as much water as possible.  

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Flowers: Budget-Friendly Blooms

Marc J. Sievers

To me, there is nothing more uplifting than a house full of flowers!  They add a touch of warmth and natural beauty to any space and also make a house feel like a lived-in home.  As I sit here typing this post, the weather has changed 269 times today: sunny, rainy, partly sunny and mist, grey, grey and rainy… well you get the picture.  Not only did I need extra cups of my Earl Grey tea today (with cream, honey, and lavender sugar), I also needed a pop of color to make my apartment feel alive!

Instead of shopping at a high-end florist for my weekly blooms (though I do get inspired there, too), my go-to “supplier” is my local grocery store.  Lately the store’s floral department has been bursting with flowers in all shapes, sizes, and colors.  With a little time (mere minutes really!), a few supplies, and about $15.00 you can outfit your home with custom flower arrangements done to the perfect scale for any room in which you want a little extra pizazz!

These beautiful yellow roses, tulips, and mums were left over from my coffee table arrangement. I decided to use my nan’s vase for added color and contrast.

The “filler” greens from the bouquet of roses look completely chic in a simple glass bottle set atop a silver tray and other bobbles.

The most universal flower arrangement that can be used in any space are the low-lying tight flower clusters that you see in design magazines, high-end boutiques, hotels, and chic restaurants (also currently making an appearance on my coffee table!).  This type of arrangement is made by clustering flowers of the same color palette (or different, whatever fits your decor) in a simple glass vase.  The key: a floral grid to hold each bloom in place.  The grids are a simple “add on” to any vessel that can hold water, therefore making anything from a teacup, to silver bowl, to decoupaged coffee can a chic vase.

The pictures below outline how to create a simple floral grid using thin floral tape from your local craft store:

Start by taking strips of floral tape and adhering them in straight rows (leaving about 1/4″-inch). For larger stemmed flowers, allow more space between each row.

Start by taking strips of floral tape and adhering them in straight rows (leaving about 1/4″-inch). For larger stemmed flowers, allow more space between each row.

Next, repeat the same process in the opposite direction.

Next, repeat the same process in the opposite direction.

Lastly, trim the excess floral tape with a sharp knife or razor blade.

Lastly, trim the excess floral tape with a sharp knife or razor blade.

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