I admit that some of the projects I do can require an investment of a few hours or sometimes even a few days. But, recently, when putting together an impromptu brunch, I needed a quick and easy (and inexpensive) way to brighten up an otherwise rainy day.
On a quick trip to the grocery store, on a low, dusty shelf in the paper products aisle, I found a box of colorful cocktail parasols. On the way home I stopped at the local craft store and picked up two styrofoam standard (on sale because they stems were marred). Finally, a neighbor offered to loan me two clay flower pots.
All told I spent 25 minutes making these cheery centerpieces (and ten of those minutes were spent photographing the process for this post). Those few, hurried minutes brightened the entire day for me and my guests.
Two styrofoam standards (overall height 18 inches with 6 inch diameter globes) and a box of paper parasols are all you need to begin this project.
It can prove difficult to keep each of the parasols fully open so I recommend inserting them in a partially-open position, as I did, above. The finished piece will look wonderfully textured and dimensional.
I began by inserting all of the orange and pink parasols first, spacing them out across the globes in a regular a pattern. I then went back and inserted the green and blue parasols to “fill in” areas where the styrofoam showed through.
To finish the stem of the standard, and to hide the marred surface that was the reason they were on sale, I wrapped it with a length of ribbon, pinning the ends of it to the styrofoam at the top and bottom.
To disguise the green styrofoam base, I place it in a clay pot and covered it with a handful of uncooked brown rice.
The finished pieces atop a sideboard add a sense of fun and whimsical color to an otherwise formal setting. Unlike real topiaries, which would have cost a mint, these cost only about $15 total and they can be used and reused again and again.