Debra Prinzing

Get the Email Newsletter!

Footed glass, circa 1978

Sunday, July 14th, 2013
Side view of vases

It’s easy to find these not-quite-vintage and not quite-retro, but definitely collectible footed glass vases. I snagged the frosted pink one on eBay for $4.99 and found the green embossed one at my local Goodwill store for even less!

These vases have been identified as FTD florist vases, dated to 1978. The pattern is called “oak leaf” and I’ve found the two colors shown above as well as an amber-gold and milk-glass white, all with the raised embossed leaf pattern.

2 Vases

Getting ready by choosing flower frogs to fit inside the two vases.

The first time I used this charming green footed bowl in a demonstration, someone guessed it was Depression glass. There is that pressed-glass quality to these containers, but they’re newer. I like to think FTD was producing them in the U.S.A. and shipping them to mom-and-pop flower shops around the country at a time when those florists were still using predominantly American-grown flowers. The vases are so much more interesting and well made than most of the (probably) made-in-China stuff you see coming out of floral wire services these days. Keep your eyes out at the thrift store or surf on eBay, where I’ve found at least six or seven listings for idential and similar vessels.

I’ve written before about how much I love footed anything for floral arranging. Here is a recent post where I wax eloquently about footed vessels. Today, it was time to play with some flowers and see what I could create. By the way, here are the dimensions on these bowls: overall height, 5-1/2 inches; diameter, 5-1/4 inches; depth of bowl, 2-1/2 inches.

The shallow bowl does require some kind of device to stabilize stems. Back in the day, those 1978 florists were probably blithely cutting up chunks of foam to stick inside. But today we all know how unsafe it is to handle or use florist’s foam for its toxic attributes (formaldehyde being the active ingredient). So out came the metal frogs, as you can see in my bouquets below. Alternately, I could have shaped a section of chicken wire to fit inside, securing it with floral tape. Both methods are quite easy and eco!

Here is my first of two arrangements, using the green vase: 

Green Vase and Frog

Step One: Insert maroon dahlias into metal frog. Notice how I’ve cut the stems short so that the flower head snugs close to the rim of the vase. 

Magenta and Fuchsia

Step Two: After seven dahlias are arranged evenly throughout the opening, I added five lush fuchsia cockscomb celosias inbetween the darker flowers. 

Adding Alliums

Step Three: Insert four drumstick alliums for graphic punctuation. 

Adding Queen Anne's Lace

Step Four: Add Queen Anne’s Lace stems so they hover above the darker base of flowers. 

Green Final

Step Five: Finish off the bouquet with a few stems of gooseneck loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides), a quirky accent that repeats the white from the QA Lace and brings a new texture into the design.

Here how I filled the pale pink frosted vase: 

Pink Vase Starting Off

Getting started. If you compare this photo with the one at the top of this post you’ll see that I switched the frog. The original pin frog I planned on using wasn’t allowing me to insert stems at an angle or sideways, so I replaced it with a metal cage-style frog. 

Pink Final

This bouquet came together in much the same way as the first one, so I didn’t photograph all the steps in detail. Notice that I started with a cluster of unopened hydrangea heads, which created a “base” that supports the three ‘Cafe au Lait’ dahlias, making them more prominent. Other ingredients include Queen Anne’s Lace, Scabiosa buds, and the gooseneck loosetrife. Even though similar ingredients are repeated from the first bouquet, this color palette gives it a totally different look and feel. 

Pink Detail

A final grace note, showcasing the delicate beauty of the dahlia and Queen Anne’s Lace.









Floral urns that earn my admiration

Friday, April 5th, 2013
Two types of Vivian's delicious anemones

Two types of Vivian’s delicious anemones

With the arrival of spring here in Seattle, we flower lovers have lots to celebrate! That’s because the wistful beauty coming from our local flower fields, meadows and farms are simply sublime.

When I stepped inside the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market two days ago, I was stopped in my tracks. The botanical abundance in each stall made me catch my breath with happiness~ A new season is upon us – hurrah!!!

I brought home arm-loads of goodies, enough to make three lovely arrangements of three different sizes. The common threads are these blooms, including some clipped from my own garden. and the style of vase. I cannot resist a footed urn!

  •  Three bunches of anemones, including 2 clusers of a luscious, velvety maroon variety and one bunch of the coveted black-centered/white petaled variety, grown by Vivian Larson of Everyday Flowers in Stanwood, Washington.
  • One bunch of the *first-of-the-season* snowball viburnum, grown by Patrick Zweifel of Oregon Coastal Flowers in Tillamook, Oregon
  • One bunch of the *first-of-the-season* bridal wreath spirea, grown by Charles and Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co. in Eugene, Oregon
  • One bunch of Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’ and one bunch of garden hellebores, grown by Dennis Westphall and Diane Szukovathy of Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington
  • From my garden: salmon pink tulips, grape hyacinths, delicate and pale-yellow flowers from epimedium (a ground-cover) and camellia foliage.
More yummy flower details

Hellebores play so nicely with snowball viburnums, anemones and more.

As noted above, my vase(s) of choice are footed urns or bowls. All three used here are vintage and quite dear to me.

I hope that seeing how I used them inspires you to snatch up a footed vase or bowl, an urn or anything with a pedestal base – they are indeed the superior vessels for showcasing flowers. If you frequent vintage sites online, flea markets or garage sales . . . maybe you’ll be just as lucky as I have been. I’ve used vintage metal flower frogs inside each. The frogs are like half-dome cages and because they are metal, they’re heavy enough to just sink to the bottom of the vessel (no tape or stickum required).

Constance Spry wrote about one of her favorite vases — a footed marble bowl — in her 1933 book Flower Decoration. I can only imagine how pricey one of these vases would be today! Here’s what she had to say:

“This vase is beautiful to look at whether empty or filled with flowers. It is so heavy that it is not disturbed by the heaviest branches of fruit or blossom, and its soft, pale-brown colour enhances whatever one chooses to put in it.”

Here are the designs that gave me so much pleasure:

Bouquet One

Green Floraline Pedestal Bowl

A Green Floraline Pedestal Bowl, featuring snowball viburnum, hellebores, anemones, Anthriscus foliage and bridal wreath spirea.

After I created and photographed this arrangement, I decided to see how it looked WITHOUT those spikey branches. So here’s version 2 of the same bouquet:


Green Pedestal Bowl and Turquoise Bud Vase

The spirea moved into the teal blue Haegar (vintage) bud vase, while the green Floraline footed bowl contains the remaining blooms.

Bouquet Two

Olive Glass Urn

With hellebores, white and burgundy anemones, salmon pink tulips, Anthriscus foliage, camellia foliage and bridal wreath spirea.

 Bouquet Three

Bronze Flea Market Pedestal Bowl

With Anthriscus foliage, hellebores, epimedium flowers, grape hyacinth, anemones and bridal wreath spirea.