Little Vases

I love the green apple Australian licorice at Cost Plus World Market. Every time I’m in the store, I find myself sneaking bites from my cart as I wander around the aisles. On one of these licorice-shopping sprees, I am happy to say that I stumbled upon another favorite thing at the World Market: inexpensive little vases.

These tiny gems are only about 3.5 to 4 inches tall, and are so reasonably priced that I almost choked — $1.99 a piece — can you believe it? Eager to start experimenting, I filled my basket with as many vases as it would hold in every style they had, grabbed another bag of licorice for the road, and headed home to have some fun with flowers.

The ease and enjoyment of a small vase is that with just a flower or two you can add a touch of natural beauty and thoughtfulness to a guest bath, a bedside table, entry area, your desk, or even a closet. Just having one or two stems in a vase allows the stunning intricacies of the bloom to shine. You can always find a place for a little vase filled with lovely flowers. I even use them to individually store my herbs in water when I cook. They look so pretty and lush all lined up on the counter, and if I find myself in a time crunch (and who doesn’t?), I literally just move the vases of herbs from the prepping area to the table. And “presto!” an organic table-scape emerges. Actually it’s quite fabulous since the nature of the food and the arrangements are coming from the same place.

There are practically infinite uses for these tiny vases. Often, if one of my girls or my husband is having a bad day, I’ll go out to the garden, clip a rose or flower, put it in one of my little vases, and place it somewhere that they will see later. The first time I did this for my elder daughter, I was shocked at how delighted she was (score one for Mom!). It’s such a simple way to show that you care, and something that even a four- or six-year-old can appreciate.

Valerie’s tips for using small vases:

When using a small vase, try not to use more than one type of flower per vase.

If you stuff them too full, they will topple over.

For a long table, consider using one color with a different flower variety designated to each vase. In my photo, I used flowers exclusively from my garden: white dahlias, lisianthus, Zephyr Lily, Queen Anne’s lace, roses, and cilantro flowers.

Get your kids involved. Give them their own basket and scissors, tell them the colors you want and how long the stems should be when they’re cut. I was surprised at how good my girls were at this task, and it was great to watch them choose varieties that I would normally overlook.Remember to remove any low leaves or shoots from the bottom of the stem.

Some of my favorite spots for small vases: on a tray in the bathroom, perched on “the can,” by the sink in the bath or kitchen, as a morning surprise on my girls’ nightstands, tucked on a bookcase shelf next to a special photo, next to my laptop as inspiration, on a tray with coffee and all the fixings for a special morning with a friend, to gussy up the chopped veggies I put out for the kids pre-dinner … the spots are endless.

Pink Dahlias