Uses for vintage bottles

I recently asked for creative floral arrangements here, and I was thrilled when my friend Cathy, an AMAZING entertainer, responded. Invites to her dinner parties are coveted spots. She’s an incredible cook, but her skill set encompasses way more than the kitchen. She creates an atmosphere and a theme for each party with the creative decor and incredible food. Check out her recipes at Word of Mouth.


Here, she hosted a graduation party for her niece, who finished medical school. Cathy decorated the table with vintage medicine bottles (from ebay), filling some with a few fresh blooms.

I imagine making my own “Poison” labels and wrapping vintage medicine bottles for a Halloween party or creating “Love Potion” labels for a Valentines’ party centerpieces.

Every Day with Rachael Ray Bathtub Gin

For Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine, I created a Great Gatsby-inspired party. Instead of traditional party favors, I filled small bottles with bathtub gin (pictured above) and gave guests their nightcaps to go. You can download the bathtub gin labels here.

Bathtub gin was created in people’s homes during Prohibition when people steeped grain alcohol with juniper berries and water. Combine equal parts water and a strong grain vodka in a 750 ml sealable container. Add 0.35 ounces of dried juniper berries and 0.07 ounces lemon or orange peel as well as a little cardamom, cloves or nutmeg. Store in a cool dark place for up to a week, shaking the elixir thoroughly once a day. Before putting it in take-home jars, send the entire mixture through a strainer and then a water filter.

Tell me how you’ve decorated with small vintage bottles. I’d love to see photos.

Arranging flowers with what you’ve got

Peonies are one of my favorite flowers. They bloom big, come in stunning shades of pink, white and purple and look stunning in a bud vase alone or grouped en masse.

Here in Lausanne, the sun refuses to shine with any regularity, but summer’s showing signs of her arrival with peony blooms all over the city–in parks, gardens and at outdoor markets. I couldn’t resist buying a bunch today even though I lack a single vase at home. Luckily, my kitchen’s equipped with the basics, so I disected my bouquet and decorated my kitchen, my bedroom and my bathroom with the huge, wonderfully fragrant flowers.

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I peeled the top foil off a pretty wine bottle, snipped the end of two stems on an angle and slid them inside the bottle. I cut a third stem really short and stuck it in a white teacup, but the scale was way off when I put the two vessels side by side on my kitchen table. To add a bit of height to this centerpiece, I put the mug on a makeshift pedestal–a wine glass turned upside down.

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I chopped two stems and tucked them into a pretty cross-cut juice glass on my nightstand.

Bathroom peonies

I sliced all but a very small portion of this final stem off, floated the oversize perennial in a dessert dish and placed it on a shelf in the loo.

What creative vessels have you arranged flowers in?

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