Uppity At Home: DIY Lily Bouquet

EVERY LILY HAS ITS THORNS ... ER, ANTHERS

DIY Lily Bouquet - The Uppity Puppy

One of our favorite luxuries is keeping fresh flowers in the house. (I attribute this Uppity indulgence to the inspiration from very un-uppity First Lady Laura Bush's decorating talents, whose signature pink and salmon-colored roses consistently brought a fresh, uplifting contrast to the clean, classic cream palette of the Oval Office.) 

Flowers freshen the space and brighten the spirit, so we make an effort to keep seasonal blooms around. And it goes without saying that one of our favorites is the stunning and fragrant namesake Lily. But while every rose may have its thorns, it turns out that every lily has its ... anthers? Anthers are the pollen-covered "antennas" that not only help the lily reproduce, but scatter a reddish-orange mess everywhere that stains anything it touches. I've seen many a white tablecloth be sacrificed to the Stargazer lily gods, whose appetites for fine linen are never satiated. But we have a solution to the decorating dilemma, so before you put away the Porthault, here's how we made our latest lily bouquet long-lasting and anther-free:

MATERIALS

2-3 lily stems ($3.99 at our local Publix)

ornamental ginger bouquet ($6.99 at Whole Foods)

urn or water vase (8-12 in. tall is best) 

kitchen shears

sewing scissors

paper towel

DIRECTIONS

Hold your lilies upside down over the trash can. Using your sewing scissors, snip off the lily's anthers. With your kitchen shears, trim off a few inches of each stem at an angle (technically, this should be done with a sharp knife to avoid crushing the stems, but I'd cut myself and so whatever). Add water and flower food (or substitute 1/2 tsp. of sugar) to your vase and arrange your stems. If your lilies have not yet bloomed, you can snip the anthers and catch them in a paper towel after the flower opens. Snipping the anthers will also prolong the life of the flowers because it intercepts the pollination process and preserves the flower in a "youthful" stage.  

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For us, the lily's staining power is our foremost concern, but as an inter-species gesture of goodwill, we do want to point out that all parts of the flower are highly toxic to cats and therefore should probably be avoided entirely (unlike cats, dogs are not susceptible to serious lily poisoning, but all plant parts should still be kept out of paw's reach). 

Sorry, Aubrey ... no lilies for you! 


PART 2 - It's Handled: A Practical Guide To Pet Stain Removal

SAY FAREWELL TO SCANDALOUS PET STAINS

Last week we shared the first half of our attempt at crime scene cleanup, Pawlivia Pope-style.

Based on the method found at One Good Thing by Jillee, our recipe for canine crisis management requires only a few materials: baking soda, white vinegar, a plastic colander, a vacuum, and our very own secret ingredient ... to be revealed! 

We left off at step five, which requires a 48-hour wait before the evidence can be removed once and for all. To close the file on this scandalous stain, we returned to the scene of the crime to finish the job. See what happened next: 

A few hints:

  • Make sure that the baking soda is completely dry before vacuuming. The vinegar loosens the stain, but the baking soda is the element that will lift it up and out of the carpet. When the vinegar/stain mixture is fully absorbed, the vinegar will begin to evaporate, leaving the stain trapped in the baking soda. If the baking soda is not dry, you may need to wait a bit longer before vacuuming. 
  • Use the nozzle attachment on your vacuum to remove the top layer of the baking soda. Vacuuming right over the area spreads the baking soda around (remember, it contains the leftover stain and odor, too!) and can embed it further into the carpet. Once you remove the bulk of the baking soda with the attachment, you can deep clean the area in the upright mode. It may take a few strokes in different directions to lift all the residue.
  • Finally, we thoroughly sprayed the rug with the lightly-scented Febreze Pet Odor Eliminator. It neutralized any remaining vinegar or urine odor and hopefully will help prevent repeat offenses from occurring in the area.  

And with that, Pawlivia Pope and Associates declares this canine crisis HANDLED!  Have you tried this? Let us know how it goes!

It's Handled: A Practical Guide To Pet Stain Removal

JUST CALL US "PAWLIVIA POPE AND ASSOCIATES"

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Two nights ago, the entire Uppity Household went to bed a "wee" bit earlier than usual.  We awoke the next morning to discover a potential crime scene in our bedroom. On the corner of my brand new ivory rug was a faint, lemon-colored spot, approximately six inches long by three inches wide. With no witnesses to the act, and the circumstances suspiciously pointing to a certain individual (we won't name names, so don't even try), it was time to engage the ultimate canine crisis management: Lily and I had no choice but to channel our inner Paw-livia Pope and destroy the evidence.

We found this stain-erasing recipe from the One Good Thing by Jillee blog, so we decided to take matters into our own paws, and trust us . . . It's handled. Read on: 

1. Gather your two stain-erasing ingredients. All you need is baking soda and plain white vinegar.

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2. Apply the vinegar directly to the spot. Pour enough vinegar on the spot so to thoroughly soak the entire area and slightly past the edges. Be aware that this will be a little smelly, but (spoiler alert!) it's worth the aroma. UPPITY HINT: We were working with an area rug (while it appears that Jillee was dealing with wall-to-wall carpet in her blog post). To protect our hardwood floors, we placed a small towel on top of saran wrap under the rug to absorb any vinegar that might soak through. 

3. Generously apply baking soda on top of the wet vinegar, ensuring that the area is fully covered. This is key: do not reverse the vinegar-baking soda steps! (We are NO chemists, but remember those gradeschool volcano projects? Applying the baking soda before the vinegar will bring back those memories right there on your rug and will not be effective in removing the stain.) It's ok to be heavy-handed with the baking soda, because it will be the element that absorbs the vinegar and pulls the stain residue from the carpet. 

4. Cover the area to keep inquisitive visitors away (and to avoid stepping in it). Jillee's blog suggested using a dinner plate to cover the spot, but we opted for a large plastic colander instead. The colander encourages more air circulation to pull the vinegar (and the stain!) up and out of the carpet and into the baking soda. NOTE: Knowing our family, I expected at least one or two late-night confrontations with the object (which was in our path toward the bathroom), so in the interest of sparing ourselves from as much pain (and profanity!) as possible, a plastic cover was a much safer choice for us and Lily.

5. And now, we WAIT. Paws off for at least 48 hours while the formula does its work. The baking soda must be completely dry before the next step.

Find out on Monday how our canine crisis management tactics went!  Oh, and if you need anything in the meantime, we'll be at home with a big glass of red and some ... pupcorn...