Craft A Winter White Flower Arrangement

With a variety of blooms, this delicate and beautiful bouquet is perfect for the chilly months.

Make a statement in your foyer with an impressive arrangement of winter flowers.

It may be winter outside, but you can still enjoy the beauty and fragrance of fresh flowers indoors. This bouquet, designed by Janice Morrow, is made up from blooms and greens that are available even in the coldest months of the year. Our all-white selection reflects the snowy weather that some people dream about (and others dream about being over!), but you can bring in whatever colors keep you happy and cheerful during the cold season.

What You’ll Need:

  • Ironstone urn or other container
  • Wet floral foam
  • Clippers or scissors
  • Flowers: (As shown from left to right) Wax flowers, Gerber daisies, chamomile, stock, feather eucalyptus, mini carnations, spider mums, silver dollar eucalyptus, hydrangea (not shown), amaranth (not shown)

Types of flowers used in arrangement

What You’ll Do:

  1. Clean your urn and cut the floral foam to fit inside. Add water, about 2/3rds full.
  2. Begin by inserting long pieces of eucalyptus into the foam,  so they drape down over the edge of the urn.
  3. Add several stems of hydrangea to fill in the middle area.
  4. Start adding your large focus flowers (daisies and mums), spacing them randomly around the arrangement. Cut the stems long, to give the arrangement plenty of height and fullness.
  5. Fill spaces with the smaller flowers and additional greens, until you reach the desired fullness.
  6. As a signature touch, Janice adds a spring of amaranth trailing over the side of the urn.

This is a casual arrangement, so don’t worry about symmetry or other formal design structures. The secret to beautiful floral displays, according to Janice, is to be fearless. Follow your instincts, and don’t be afraid to add more!

For more of Janice’s flower arrangements, visit her Instagram account, @figandtwigs.



Royal Icing Basics

Master this traditional (and simple) icing technique and have incredible holiday cookies every time.

Royal Icing Technique
Water down the same recipe used for the outline to “flood” the inside of the design.

Seen around pretty much every holiday, royal iced cookies are particularly popular at Christmastime. From delicate intricacies to creative versatility, the art of royal icing is easy to pick up and rather difficult to perfect. This hard-drying icing is one recipe used in two different stages to create amazing and delicious edible cookie art.

Basic Royal Icing

Prep: 2 minutes
Makes 1 cup

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon water
Food coloring (optional)

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix until icing is thick and smooth.
  2. Stir in food coloring, adding small amounts at a time to make your perfect shade.
  3. Adjust the consistency with small amounts of water to thin or powdered sugar to thicken.

Royal Icing Holiday Cookies
These vintage knit patterns are anything but “ugly Christmas sweater.”

To Decorate Baked Cookies

1. Mix up a thick batch of icing (recipe follows), making an easily piped icing to outline the design of your cookie. Let it set completely.

2. Gradually add water to the thick icing until it is a more liquid consistency. Using a spoon, “flood” the inside of the outline with the icing.

3. From here, you can add swirls of color to the wet icing, or let the icing set completely before piping designs on top with colored thick icing.

4. Royal icing works well with sprinkles of all types as well, so get creative and let your cookies shine!



Christmas Craft: French Book Paper Wreath

Mix recycled and new items to create a stunning, well-read wreath.


French Book Paper Wreath

Designing with paper has been a longtime passion of mine. Recently I wanted something to go with my Country French theme. Using a vintage, unbound book, I created a wreath that looks great anywhere in my home, and I can update it with different embellishments each year.

This French Book Paper Wreath is such an easy project, you can’t make a mistake.


You will need:

1 antique or vintage book or sheet music (I use books that are unbound)
1 wreath form
Hot glue gun
Glue sticks


Instructions for wreath:

  1. Remove pages from the book.

French Book Paper Wreath Creation Step one

2. Roll each page as shown in (a).


French Book Paper Wreath Creation Step Two

3. Scrunch in the edge of the page with your hands as shown in (b).

4. Place glue on the scrunched-up bottom of each roll and glue onto the base.


French Book Paper Wreath Creation Step 3,4,5


5. Cover the form with glued, rolled pages until the base is completely covered.


Instructions for banner:

  1. Cut to any shape you wish. I spelled out “Joyeux Noël” in a banner shape on my
    computer and then used antique sheet music cut to size in my printer to print it
  2. Glue edges and add glitter to the banner.
  3. Punch holes on each side with a hole punch. Thread ribbon through holes and tie in a bow.
  4. Alternately, you can attach ribbon with glue and make a pretty bow.
  5. Glue the banner to the wreath with hot glue.


Holiday Getaway: The Charlotte Inn

The Charlotte Inn is not for everybody—and that’s exactly the way owner/innkeeper Gery Conover wants it. There are no computers, no children, no large groups, no t-shirts or hats, and no cell phones allowed on the premises (except in guest rooms). The owner says guests are more than happy to abide by the strict house rules to experience a truly restful getaway from their busy schedules.

“We don’t even have a computer at the reception desk, so when someone makes a reservation it is taken the old-fashioned way: written by hand, not by computer,” the innkeeper says. “We have the international symbol for ‘no cell phones’ posted on the front door, and if someone forgets the policy we gently remind them. We do not book parties of three or more couples; and at our restaurant, a party of 10 must sit at different tables so as not to be disruptive to other guests,” he explains. “But people keep coming back; some of our guests have been coming for 30 years. They tell us that it was exactly the kind of vacation they needed.”

The turn-of-the-century sensibility is fitting for the Edgartown, Massachusetts, inn as it was built by a sea merchant in 1864 as his private home and later became an inn in the 1920s. The Italian Romanesque-style architecture’s decor is a rich blend of traditional England and New England ambience.

“The inn’s decorating style is English Edwardian, from 1880 to 1900,” Gery explains. “Ninety percent of the antiques are English Edwardian. There is lots of wallpaper with red and green accents—predominantly jewel tones.” Original oil paintings, watercolors and English prints grace the walls. To achieve an authentic period look, Gery purchased most of the rooms’ furnishings in England—London and the Cotswolds countryside—as well as in New York, Philadelphia and Boston. He is particularly fond of the stately front desk in the reception area, which welcomes guests by instantly setting the tone for their visit. “It was a barrister’s desk from Edinburgh, Scotland, built in the early 1800s. I bought it from an antiques dealers in New York. We had to open the wall to accommodate the desk. I’ve had it for about 25 years,” he says.

To lighten up—both figuratively and literally—the rich colors and furnishings, Gery added accessories you might find in a classic New England home to give each room a lived-in attitude: a small letter box looks charming on a narrow wall, white wicker chairs invite guests to relax on the porch while brown wicker baskets and vintage suitcases are casually stacked against gleaming wood wainscot paneling, vintage egg cartons are displayed in a wire basket and a pair of old ice skates are hung from a chairback.

As a guest of the inn (which is not considered a bed-and-breakfast, as lunch is served as well), you have a choice of four buildings in which to stay: the Italianate main building, which sports a library, two living rooms and the main dining room; a clapboard summer house built in 1840 with eight guest rooms upstairs; a coach house, which houses the tack room and antique cars along with a guest suite; and the carriage house, with a suite on the second floor and two rooms on the first floor.

Gery has a passion for gardening, which is evident in the lush landscaping. “The gardens have lots of English boxwood, holly trees, ivy and summer flowers; they are very colorful in a subtle way,” he says. “There are lots of garden accessories: antique urns, fountains (including a three-tier Victorian fountain) and birdbaths. There’s a fish pond, lots of brick walks, wisteria and sitting areas for guests to enjoy the view,” he says.

The Charlotte Inn has received numerous awards and accolades from such notable travel sources as Fodor’s, the Tatler Travel Guide (which named it one of the top 101 hotels in the world in 2012) and The Boston Herald.