Thursday, March 3, 2011

Why I Love Little Vases--And Why You Should Too!

You may have heard decorators say that using a few larger accessories will create more visual impact and a less cluttered appearance than using lots of little, tiny accessories. While I agree with this rule in general (though I've found that there are approximately 872.5 exceptions to every decorating rule), I do have a special place in my heart for little, tiny vases. There are two reasons why I love little vases, and why you should too:

1. The first reason--and the one that is most relevant in the gardening "off-season"--is that smaller vases come in handy for extending the "life" of cut flowers from the florist. Here is a great "before and after" example:

I received a cheerful bouquet as a gift. Just one week later, the once-perky arrangement looked downright frumpy. (Admittedly the murky water didn't help any.)

My favorite solution? Discard the frumpified blooms, trim the stems of the salvageable blossoms, and create a new, smaller arrangement in a little vase:

You can keep doing this--cutting the stems and creating ever-smaller arrangements--until you end up with a single bloom in a bud vase.

2. If you have a garden--or even just a few pots of annuals on a balcony--little vases are a must-have item to keep in your decorating "arsenal". As a gardener, I love bringing cut flowers inside and passing along little nosegays to friends and neighbors. Little vases allow me to incorporate the humbler--hardier-- flowers and herbs that survive in my garden in spite of my benign neglect. My fresh bouquets tend to include flowers that most people wouldn't even consider to be "cutting flowers": shorter-stemmed varieties of marigolds and zinnias, lavender, azaleas, miniature roses, nasturtiums, verbena, lantana, and even the spiky purple flowers from the butterfly bush and the little white blooms of basil that has gone to seed.

If your vase collection is limited to larger vases designed to hold big, showy arrangements from the florist, you're missing lots of tiny opportunities to bring nature's beauty indoors. Incidentally, I use the term "vase" loosely. Even though I own some pretty Waterford crystal vases that I received as gifts, I also get lots of use from the other "vases" in my collection: little spice jars, juice glasses (as seen in the "after" photo at the top of this post), jam and jelly jars, mason jars, and even "topless" salt and pepper shakers (ooh, the scandal)! With spring knocking on our door, this is a great time to start rescuing little jars and bottles from the recycling bin and putting them to use!

You may be wondering where to put all of these lovely little-vase bouquets. I find that nosegays are right at home beside the kitchen sink, next to the bathroom or powder room sink, or next to the clock on a nightstand. Their smaller scale also makes them well-suited for the breakfast table, where no one has to struggle to talk over or around them. I wouldn't recommend attempting to use them on a fireplace mantel, as they'll be lost up there...unless you happen to own a miniature fireplace!

I'll leave you with a tiny vase link. White Forest Pottery on Etsy sells these tiny wildflower vases for $10 apiece. I think that they look pretty en masse, and as the mother of a toddler-botanist, I was charmed by the fact that this Etsy seller pointed out that these little vases are great for displaying childrens' "prized dandelions".

Happy almost-spring!

This post has been linked to Tutorials and Tips Tuesday at The Stories of A to Z.