This may seem like a non-sequitur, but bear with me. From time to time I get a bouquet of flowers from someone, usually purchased from a supermarket or one of those phone-order places. The flowers are beautiful, but once they die, I'm left with a cheap, dirty glass vase. I usually throw them out or give them away, and if the bric-a-brac shelves at my local thrift stores are any indication, many other people do the same thing.
I was at the thrift store on July 2nd hunting for something completely different when a ruby red vase caught my eye. Surely it was one of the cheap flower-store ones, but the color was dark and luscious. In a moment of acute inspiration, I hunted around until I found a dark blue vase and a clear glass one with roughly the same classic shape, kind of like a fluted hourglass.
While I was waiting in line for the cashier, a man next to me saw how tightly I was clutching the vases and said, "You're really excited about those things, aren't you?" I told him I was, but the truth is I am known for being a little clumsy. I was terrified I was going to drop one of the vases and scatter my DIY dreams on the linoleum.
When I'm pairing dissimilar things, I usually try to find one quality that ties them all together. For my three vases this was the shape.
Also, I was careful to choose three different heights. If two of the vases were the same size, and one was a lot smaller, my collection would look uneven.
When I got home, I carefully placed a tea light inside each vase. I didn't keep them burning for very long because these vases were obviously not designed for heat. But they gave the living room a warm patriotic glow.
The red one is still my favorite of the bunch. I'm keeping an eye out for a dark green one so I can recycle this idea come Christmastime.