Miss A Columnist

After finally getting her Interior Design degree from the Corcoran, Joyce Frank decided to spread her wings creatively launching J A Frank Design LLC, where she does set dressing, display, property staging and photo styling. Her passion is architecture and she enjoys traveling both domestically and international to see historic and modern buildings. Joyce also works on designing jewelry, mosaics and painted furniture. Joyce will highlight historic homes, interior design, seasonal decorations, antiquing, and design for Miss A.

If you have something design-related that you would like profiled, please email her at joycefrank@jafrankdesign.com.

Holiday Topiaries

holiday topiary 1

I love topiaries for décor for interiors. Just a simple ball of boxwood atop a white footed urn can create the beginning element for an accent table, mantelpiece or centerpiece. Live ivy, boxwood, or rosemary topiaries are really a nice touch for a kitchen window sill, but holiday topiary 2when the holidays come around; it’s time to go all out.



Professionally designed topiaries are availble at Foxglove Florist in Alexandria, VA, and are visually dramatic with their use of color and proportion, a perfect focal point for your entryway or foyer.



Otherwise, it’s not too difficult to create your own. I really enjoy making my topiaries. Most craft stores offer a small selection of Styrofoam forms in the shapes of single and double stacked balls and cones. These forms are available with or without a stem and base. With the help of a glue gun and a free afternoon, you can put one together. I always look for an interesting container to use as my base, something similar to a footed urn, which will give it a bit of elegance.

 Holiday topiary 3First, using a form with a stem and foam Styrofoam base, trim the base to fit securely into the container (I use a butter knife to do this).holiday topiary 4 Once you are happy with the fit, take the base out of the container and place a lot of hot glue into the bottom and around the sides of the container. Then place the topiary base back into the container, push it down and hold until the hot glue has dried.



Next, decide what materials you are going to use to cover your topiary form. I suggest using one type of material for the first time you make a topiary (such as layered lemon leaves, strips of ribbon, artificial pears, apples, or lemons, etc.). . . something with a bit of sparkle is nice for the holidays. If you choose to use an artificial element such as pears, purchase about 25 small uniform pear shapes with “picks” on the end to secure your pear into the form. I use a metal skewer to punch a small hole into the Styrofoam, as it can be pretty tough. You will probably have to trim down the pear ‘s pick length to 1 inch so it will fit into the form. Once you have made the first hole, use some hot glue on the end of the pear’s pick and then put it holiday topiary 5into the hole. Hold it into place for a minute until the hot glue has dried. Fill up the form with the pears using a random pattern. Make sure that you place the pears very close together, careful not to leave any of the Styrofoam form exposed. Place one directly on the top to finish the form.



Once you have finished covering the form, you will want to complete the look by covering the top of the base of the form where it is secured into the container. A piece of velvet or moss glued down will cover the base nicely. Now you are left with the unfinished stem. If this is your first try at making a topiary, I would just tie a coordinated colored ribbon around the stem, cutting the end of the ribbon at an angle. . .very easy and it looks very elegant. A tip on choosing the colors for these last two steps: I like the idea of a “monochromatic” look – all tones of one color. If green pears were your choice, choose a pear green colored velvet and ribbon to complete your look. Good luck!

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