Full of spring flowers, bursting with bright colors and stuffed into a beautiful, big handwoven wicker egg basket! This is the consummate table decoration for Easter. It is also a big project so you should get started right away to have it ready for the big Sunday events at your home. The basket decoration is not hard to make in and of itself, it’s the expedition you will embark on first that takes the time and money. You will have to locate the precious flowers and plants that go into making this gorgeous creation. I have not included a picture of the final product because the true product will depend on you. I made one for myself following this recipe and found that it looked nothing like the original I had seen. You should not compare your project with anyone else’s because whatever you come up with will be fine. It will be yours.
The heart of this project are the beautiful flowers you will use in making it. Many can be found in the grocery store or florist and used fresh. Others will have to be used dried and are found at craft stores. Some will grow wild in your area and you can just go out and pick them. Perhaps you have flowers in your garden. If you have trouble finding one specific kind on the list, feel free to substitute to your liking. I have included vivid photos of the flowers that are called for in the ingredients list and a photo of the type of egg basket I used. You are free to use any kind you feel like using. I did not use the same type of basket that the original designer of this arrangement used. If you would like to see the original basket by the designer, you can find it in the book, Nature Crafts and you can see it and buy it HERE.
Here is your shopping list:
Block of Floral Foam
9 stems Pink Larkspur
3 stems of Tesia
7 stems of Silver Queen Artemisia
3 stems of Pink Daylilies
4 stems of Queen Anne’s Lace
2 stems of Cockscomb
3 stems of Miniature Carnations
3 stems of Begonias
3 stems of Pink Asters
1 galax leaf
In trying to find all the materials, I have some suggestions that might help. Tesia is also called Nelsons Sedge or Bractspur, depending on what part of the country it is grown in. It is common in the midwest and can be bought at some craft stores. Otherwise, they can be special ordered on the internet. Use dried stalks as shown. Silver Queen Artemisia is also called Wormwood, Silver Sage, Silver Mound, Sagebrush and Mugwort. You can buy it dried at crafts stores and by whichever name it is called. Artemisia is a popular floral component in many gardens so check with the local nurseries for fresh plants that you can then trim and dry. Most of the other floral products are available in most floral sections of craft stores, online at major sites like eBay or Amazon or at your local florist or herb shop. Once you have gathered all of your materials, it will only take you an hour or so to finish the project.
First of all, you need to prepare your materials. Start by trimming two stems of the Pink Larkspur to 18 inches. Trim two more to 16 inches. Trim two more to 14 inches and then trim the last four to 4 inches. Set them aside. Trim one stem of Tesia to 18 inches and the last two to 14 inches. Set them aside. Take up the seven stems of Artemesia and trim one to 16 inches, three to 14 inches and then the last three to 4 inches. Set these aside, as well, making sure not to mix up your flowers or lose petals. Now, take up your three Daylilies and trim one to 16 inches, one to 12 inches and the last one to 5 inches. Set them aside with the other flowers. Next, you will trim the Queen Anne’s Lce and be careful not to lose too many petals. This stuff is flimsy and can drop petals if you shake it too much. You should have four stems. Trim two stems to 12 inches and then the other two stems to 4 inches. Trim both stems of Cockscomb to 4 inches. Trim two of the miniature Carnations to 12 inches and the other stem to 5 inches. Trim your Begonias to 4 inches. And last but not least, trim one Pink Aster to 14 inches and the other two to 5 inches. You are done preparing your flowers and plants. Set them aside and make sure they remain separate. You are ready to put the basket together.
Start by trimming the floral foam to fit snugly into the basket. You must do this with the serrated knife. If you try to use a smooth blade you will not be able to do it without breaking the foam up randomly. You want to control the sizes and make sure the blocks are large and that you do not end up needing to use lots of smaller peices. No more than 3 pieces of foam is ideal. Soak the foam pieces in water until wet and then blot with a towel so that it is moist but not soaking wet. You want to extend the life of your fresh flowers by wetting the foam but you do not want standing water under the foam. Cut the plastic liner to fit and place it in the bottom of the basket, trying to cover most of the inside of the basket. Then place the foam pieces on top of the liner, fitting them carefully so that they cover the bottom of the basket on top of the liner.
You will aim to create a triangular effect to the decoration, with the tallest stems in the center of the basket and the shorter ones along the outside. Start the design by inserting the longest Larkspur stem and the longest Tesia stem into the very center of the basket. Push the stems into the foam so that they are steady and stand on their own. Create a triangular line from the center to the sides of the basket by inserting the remaining lengths of the Larkspur and Tesia in order, from the tallest to the shortest. This would be the two 18 inch stems in the center, side by side and down each side from the center, next the 16 inch stems, one on each side, followed by the 14 inch stems and then the 4 inch stems, in a line from the center to the sides of the basket. Fill in the Tesia in the same line, in the spaces in between, in the same manner. Start with the 18 inch Tesia in the center and then the two 14 inch stems on either side. These should fit in between the stems of Larkspur. Now you have your basic triangle on which the entire arrangement will be built.
Now you will fill in the sides of the basket with the Silver Queen. Starting in the center, plug in the 16 inch stem of Artemisia and then follow this with two 14 inch stems on either side, followed by two 4 inch stems. Repeat this in the other direction, creating a + pattern with the Artemisia. Now that you have the skeleton of the design complete, you can start filling in the corners and edges with the other flowers. Begin at the center with the Pink Daylilies and the Queen Anne’s Lace, plugging in the longest stems close to the center and the shorter stems around the outside. Then you can fill in the remaining spaces with the Cockscomb, Miniature Carnations, Begonias and Pink Asters. Just fill them in as you see fit; keep checking with the pattern and change up when necessary. You want it to be pleasing to your eye. To top off the decoration, position the Galex Leaf at the center bottom of the basket and then drape it over the side, like a napkin. This gives a center feild of focus for the decoration and helps to accent the triangular shape.
This design was created by Cynthia Gillooley, a floral designer at BB Barnes.