Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The quest for a better vase.

Most of us own exactly one vase. Perhaps it was an ill-fated wedding gift, or a leftover from Valentine's Days gone by. Wherever it came from, the vase is gathering dust in some undisclosed corner of your house. Which is where it will stay when you finally have a floral arrangement to display.

Moments like that pushed me over the edge, in regards to vases. Not only does it make me anxious trying to determine the right pronunciation, but vases don't seem to be relevant to modern life as we know it, unless your lifestyle dictates the obsessive purchase of fresh blooms. But for most of us, re-purposing other things will do. Besides, it's much more charming and fresh to use something ordinary in an unexpected way.

My favorite non-vase is an empty bottle of fancy booze, particularly Lindeman's Lambic Ale. The wine bottle-like shape is made of a heavy green glass, with an old-fashioned, yet distinctly European label. Use a Lindeman's bottle to display a single daffodill, tulip, or lily. Most larger area liquor stores (like Canal's in Marlton) carry Lindeman's Lambic Ale for around $7.99-8.99.

This isn't going to win me points in the creativity category, but pottery also functions well as a vase (imagine that). Just think of this double-use when trying to justify the cost of a much-needed Jonathan Adler pottery piece.

For those with a minimalistic bent, put something sparse in one of these skinny zombie tumblers from CB2 (which is owned by Crate and Barrel). Group them, single-file, down the length of a rectangular dining room table, or across a mantle.

Domino Magazine suggests using tomato cans, a practice I support, even if I have no use for canned tomatoes in my daily life. It's an adorable look that doesn't appear as if you're trying too hard, and would make a pleasant display along a windowsill. Carnations would look darling. You're not limited to tomato cans, either- I think both the miniature and quart-sized milk cartons, opened as if you were using them, stuffed with flowers, would be very endearing.

Floating just the heads of roses in a teacup is a bit twee, but seems to be popular. I think the way to make this combination more glamorous would be to use plain white teacups, and to group them in a square formation on a low-set coffee table.