Ah, Autumn – the season that brings us crisp golden leaves, conkers and the arrival of peak party season. I love the shift of summer into Autumn as it means cosy candle-lit evenings and preparing for the festive season ahead. Before the twinkling lights of Christmas arrive we have this wonderful in-between period.
I’ve never been one to celebrate Halloween, just the thought of fancy dress makes my skin crawl. As a child, the idea of knocking on a strangers house to ask for fancy filled me with dread as it went against everything you are taught as a child; Do not talk to strangers and do not take sweeties from them. I think the only interest I really showed in Halloween was pumpkin carving – the chance to be creative in a way that didn’t put me in a vulnerable position! Sure, it was fun for a while carving silly faces and fictional characters, but as you grow older you find amusement in different ways and Halloween just became any other day.
Recently, I was invited to attend an Autumnal Tablescaping workshop hosted by Philipa Craddock at The White Company’s Marylebone store – now this sparked my interest…
Philipa Craddock is heralded as “a genius in the world of floristry” by The Independent, “Queen of London florists” by British Vogue and “a floral mastermind” by Tatler. The company are preferred supplier to the V&A, Kensington Palace, Banqueting House, Hampton Court Palace and the One Events venues. And clients clients include (amongst others) Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Jo Malone, Tatler, Hermes, British Vogue, Lancome, The White Company and Fortnum & Mason.
The White Company of course, needs no introduction. The luxury lifestyle destination for your home ensures that even the simplest of items such as bathroom towels, plates and even your mugs are a beautiful addition to your home.
I thought I’d share with you what I learnt at the workshop as I found it incredibly therapeutic, creative and has inspired me to look into a floristry course in the near future! The centerpieces we made that evening were incredibly elegant and perfect for a subtle salute to Halloween in a really sophisticated manner. I hope you find it just as fun and end up with some beautiful pieces to place around your home!
- Small white pumpkins (or sometimes known as Gourd’s)
- Small sharp carving knife
- A teaspoon (to scoop out the flesh and seeds inside)
- Sheets of cellophane
- Blocks of ‘Oasis’
- Kitchen towel
- Seasonal flowers and foliage
Take your pumpkins and carve a hole in the top around 2 inches. Remove the stem, which you would normally keep as the ‘lid’ on a traditional Halloween pumpkin.
Using your teaspoon, scoop out the flesh and pips inside and pop onto some kitchen roll to save creating too much mess!
Place a sheet of cellophane across the top of your pumpkin and push down into the hole, so that is looks like a firework shooting out. Don’t worry about the excess for now – we can trim this soon. Use your fingers to push into the hole and try to push to completely cover the walls inside the pumpkin.
Take your block of water soaked oasis and cut off enough to fit into the pumpkin opening. You will find it easier if you cut the oasis slightly larger as you want a couple of centimetres of it to pop out at the top. Have a play around as it may take you a few attempts to get the right amount.
TOP TIP: Never press the oasis down into the water. You can rush the soaking process and create dry spots inside the block of foam which will affect your arrangements longevity. Let it sink on its own until fully submerged.
Take your scissors and trim the excess cellophane down to size. I found it easy to bunch it all together and cut directly across it in one clean cut. Don’t cut everything poking out of the pumpkin off, as you will be covering it up with beautiful flowers and foliage next!
Here’s where the fun really begins! Take a few stems of your seasonal foliage and carefully trim sprigs to size so that they don’t over power your pumpkin. Pop them into the oasis and stand back and examine the placement. I personally love the wild and overgrown look in floral displays, so don’t over think about it too much. Do what feels right for your personal taste.
Build up the foliage in a circular motion and begin to layer up with flowers. Some great recommendations on what to use:
- Eucalyptus (There are many different varieties), Seeded Eucalyptus is great for a wild hanging look.
- White winterberries
- Blue Thistle
- Black Dahlia
- Hypericum berries
- Poppy seed heads
Step back and admire your wonderful little creation. Decide where you want to place them around your home and get instagramming! These little autumn creations also make great gifts to take to dinner parties too.
I hope you found this tutorial easy to follow? Please do let me know how you get on by tweeting me or tagging me in your pictures on Instagram. I’d love to see your creations! You can find out more about Philipa Craddock by visiting her website here, or checking out the store-in-store in Selfridges London. Thank you to the wonderful Jemimah and Izzi from the Philippa Craddock team for your passionate workshop and to the PR & Events team at The White Company for hosting me.