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Old-fashioned bouquets

Small and simple, they make great gifts for any occasion

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1. Gather flowers. Select a focal point (a rose, for instance), then choose complementary blooms, foliage, and herbs to surround it.

2. Recut stems under water and strip off lower leaves; place stems in about 6 inches of water in a bucket. Let them sit in a cool place for several hours.

3. Surround the central flower with sprigs of smaller flowers, foliage, and herbs.   Add more materials until the bouquet measures about 4 to 6 inches in diameter.

4. Bind the stems together with a rubber band, then cut the stems to 3 or 4 inches long.

5. If using a napkin: On a table, fold two opposite corners of the napkin together to make a triangle, its tip pointed up. Lay the bouquet in its center, with the flower tops just below the tip. Bring the napkin's left corner loosely across the bouquet toward the top edges, then roll the bouquet and napkin toward the free corner, forming a loose cone around the bouquet. Arrange the corners outward and gather the napkin's bottom snugly around stems.

If using doilies: Place two paper doilies together; using scissors, make two 1 ½-inch cuts to form an X in the center of the doilies. Insert the flower stems through the X and fan out the doilies beneath the blooms.

6. Wrap the stems with florists' tape, starting at the top and catching the napkin or doilies' edges in the first few wraps. Stretch the tape taut and overlap its edges as you go.

7. Wrap the stems with 1-inch-wide ribbon. Cut the ends to shorten as needed and secure with decorative pins.

8. Tie the thin ribbon around the wrapped stems.


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