Friday, April 27, 2012

Pottery Barn Knock-Off - Faux Spring Flowers

Spring has been in the air since February here in Southern California. That's when the cherry blossoms came and went, and when my seasonal allergies started. But even someone like me who has a love-hate relationship with the first seasonal blooms can appreciate their beauty. What better way to enjoy seemingly perpetual spring than to bring a little of it indoors?

I mentioned in the last post how I work near a shopping district that is full of fashion temptation. Well, that goes for home fashions as well. Restoration Hardware, Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn are all within lunch-break walking distance. And what a temptress Pottery Barn is. There's even a "Friends" episode about it ("The One with the Apothecary Table").

Since February I've been admiring Pottery Barn's faux foliage display. Healthy bunches of blossoms and bright green leaves, simply bursting out of the most adorable vintage French milk pails or what-have-you. The white cherry and the white dogwood were my favorites.

And if I could only take them home with me they'd brighten my home without making me drippy and sneezy. They even showed up in a little catalog mailer at the office to tempt me more. Also featured in the little catalog was the price: about $50 per branch! Even cheaper versions at the craft store were $9, which was steep if I wanted more than one.

Obviously, this blog is about a girl on a budget, so I had to find a way to get my flowers for cheap. Time for an adventure in Pottery Barn knock-off DIY.

Finding the bare branches was easy. I simply walked outside with an old pair of scissors and lopped some nicely shaped branches off the hibiscus bush in the front yard and the oak tree out back.

I let the branches dry out over night. I find them easier to work with when they're a bit stiffer. Also, I was concerned that moisture might affect the effectiveness of the hot glue later on.

Finding flowers was harder, but not by much. One of my favorite thrift stores sells crafting materials, and usually for absurdly cheap. I quickly found a huge bouquet of all kinds of flowers for less than a dollar.

For the dogwood knock-off I actually took apart a white hydrangea.

The white cherry blossoms were a little trickier. I ended up picking and choosing from what was left of the white flowers from my thrift store bouquet. I gathered small leaves from wherever I could. I even trimmed a few larger leaves down to size with fabric scissors.

With both sets of branches, I laid out the flowers and leaves around the bare branch to get an idea of where I wanted everything before I started glueing.

I attached the flowers with beads of hot glue. I used as little glue as possible, to minimize it's appearance in the final product. My branches do kind of have a front and a back as a result, though it isn't obvious. Most of the flowers face the same direction.

The three completed "dogwood" branches found a home in the vase with my lighted twigs in the corner of the living room.

The cherry blossoms got to take advantage of another Pottery-Barn-like touch with a used mason jar as a vase. I used small river stones I found in the front yard to anchor the branch in the jar.

In my thrift store searching I even found a wreath of white blossoms that some crafty stranger had twisted into shape. I simply hooked it into my existing grapevine wreath over the fireplace. It had the effect of unifying the whole spring blossom look in the living room.

Botanically speaking, my imitations aren't as realistic as the Pottery Barn ones. However, they're better than the PB ones in one major detail - the real branches. After completing this process I examined some of the Pottery Barn branches in person, and found their shiny plastic finish distractingly fake.

Of course, the other major advantage over the Pottery Barn inspiration is the price. With a bouquet of source flowers at less than a dollar, branches from the front yard, and a few dozen drops of hot glue, this project actually cost me only a few cents per blossom-filled branch! That's less than 10% of the price of the inspiration. How insane is that?

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