Guest Room

Fun with Fall Flowers

By Charlotte on November 9, 2011 6:32 AM

After a long, hot summer here in Texas, we're ready for fall. With cool days and warm colors -- oranges, yellows, browns and magentas -- on the horizon, we asked award-winning interior designer and floral expert Annie Vanderwarker for help using flowers to welcome the season.

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Flowers-350.jpgTop Picks for Autumn Arrangements

Since most gardens are in decline, start with the flowers at your local grocery store. Calla lilies, roses, mums, any flower works as long as it is in the fall color range. I like combining mums with spray roses in autumn colors like reds, corals and oranges. Just be sure to clean the mum stems well of any leaves that might be near the water because they get slimy and stinky very quickly. Mums also mix well with squashes and gourds in yellow, orange and rust tones.


You can even work with cabbages; there all many flowering ones that easily lend themselves to great arrangements. Try drying some hydrangea; the resulting faded tan blossom will add textural interest. Or use hypericum berries to add spots of color. These grocery store finds come in green, coral and red.

Annie Vanderwarker-203.jpg


Autumn's also a great time for dried arrangements. Take a walk through the woods and gather grasses, seed heads, tree seeds, tree bark and fall foliage. Use glycerin to preserve your fall leaves and they'll retain their rich colors. A fall palette of browns and tans can be very attractive.




Award-winning interior design

and FearlessFlowers creator Annie Vanderwarker 



Dive in to Design

Wondering how to put it all together? Take color cues and ideas from the holidays; then dive in fearlessly. You'll be surprised how easy it is to make cool designs like the turkey centerpiece shown in this video.



For this project, you'll need:

·         Oasis floral foam soaked in water

·         A large turkey-shaped gourd

·         Branches of fall-colored leaves (flatten the foliage by placing it under something heavy like a bag of dog food)

·         Mums

·         Goldenrod

·         Rose hips

·         Wire

·         Floral glue

It should be easy to find a turkey-shaped gourd. However, if it becomes a problem, buy two smaller gourds (one round and one oblong) and skewer them together to create a similar shape.


Use a pumpkin carving knife to cut a hole in your "bird's" back. Make the opening about as deep as the block of florist foam. Shape the pre-soaked foam to fit the space and stuff it into the gourd.


Thumbnail image for Turkey Arrangement-350.jpgCut slits at the back of the gourd, for inserting the leaf-filled branches that will serve as the bird's tail feathers.


Begin building your arrangement by inserting goldenrod "wings" on each side of the floral foam. Then cover the foam with mums. Use a skewer to poke holes if the flower stems seem soft. Mix in some rose hips to make the design more festive.


Now, you're ready to add the tail feathers. Take a screw driver and enlarge the slits you cut earlier, making them big enough to hold the branches of leaves.


For the final touch, create your turkey's waddle. Remove the stems from two mums. Thread a small piece of wire through each blossom to fasten them together, back-to-back. Then use floral glue to attach them to the gourd.  You can also give your turkey some feet by using a little glue to affix leaves under the gourd.


Kids of all ages will enjoy this fun Thanksgiving arrangement!


So let fall be your inspiration. If you adapt to the season with its more muted colors and interesting textures, you'll achieve amazing results.



Annie Vanderwarker's floral design website, FearlessFlowers,offers an ever-expanding library of how-to resources for flower arrangers of all skill levels and interests. Finding that many hesitated when it came to floral design, Annie created the site to encourage others to dive in fearlessly.

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Guest Room

Diabetes-Friendly Chicken Burrito Bowl

ChickenBurritoBowlEverydayDiabetes 600.jpg

By Laura Cipullo and Lisa Mikus, authors of Everyday Diabetes Meals
Image credit: Colin Erricson

Prepare your own Mexican quick fix with this Chipotle-inspired bowl. Carbs are moderated by filling the bowl with beans, extra veggies and chicken. No need for rice, since the beans count as carbs.


If you love tomatoes, increase the quantity to 1/2 cup, but note that the carbohydrates will also increase.

If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

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Windy City

It's been almost 18 years since Alison Krauss gave us a solo album, but the wait is over with Windy City. The release (her fifth solo studio album) features ten covers of classic songs (and some bonus tracks) she picked with producer Buddy Cannon.

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