Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dixie Carter!

Did the title get your attention? Ms. Dixie and I smiled for the cameras at the 2007 Tennessee Arts Commission’s Governor’s Award in the Arts reception held in Nashville at the beautiful Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The West Tennessee town of Huntingdon was receiving an award for creating the Dixie Carter Performing Arts and Academic Enrichment Center (“The Dixie,” home of the Hal Holbrook Theater).

Did you know that the first season of Designing Women has just (finally!) been released on DVD? Season 2 is coming soon. Could anyone who watched the show ever forget Dixie Carter as Julia Sugarbaker delivering her signature line, ending with “… the night the lights went out in Geor-JUH!”? Anyway, she’s absolutely lovely, charming, and gracious in person.

My friend Judy and I posed next to one of the over-the-top, and undoubtedly NOT inexpensive, floral displays used that evening. Judy and Ms. Dixie were school chums at Huntingdon High School and have remained friends through the years.

There is a point to all this – an affordable way to create colorful, festive, and dramatic flower arrangements for a reception, an entry hall table, or a dining room sideboard. I’ve done this several times using clear glass vases I purchased when they were 50% off at Hobby Lobby. The 30” vases in various shapes were on sale in the $15 to $20 range. They’re also great for tall arrangements of gladiolus, forsythia, etc.
This look starts with partially filling the vases with water tinted with food coloring (in whatever shade suits your fancy). I used round black take-out containers to hold two blocks of floral foam (oasis) that I’d cut into rounded shapes and soaked in water. You could use whatever kind of plate or shallow bowl you think will be least visually obtrusive.
Next, cut the stems really short and cover the oasis with blooms. I used daffodils from the garden (the price was right, and they’re so cheerful and fresh-looking). The picture was taken on Day 2, when the arrangements were to have been used for a second event. I learned quickly that daffodils don’t hold up as well as some other types of flowers. I made an emergency trip to the supermarket for a mixed bouquet of yellow and white flowers to fill in where many of the daffodils had drooped.
I’ve done this technique since then using mums, carnations, and gerber daisies. They hold up MUCH better and are still relatively inexpensive.
The “sticks” at the top add height and drama. You could also use corkscrew willow or branches of Spring trees when they’re in bloom. I recycled some of the ones in the photo by spray painting them gold to use atop my Christmas tree.
I hope you’ll comment and tell me about famous friends, flower arranging triumphs … or near-disasters, or even which episode of Designing Women is your all-time favorite!


  1. What a great pic! How neat to get to meet Dixie! I bet she was delightful! I once met Kenny Rogers at the premier of Steel Magnolias. It premiered at Phipps Plaza here in Atlanta and he was waiting in the crowd just like the rest of us. He gave me a kiss on my cheek. :-) Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, and Olympia Dukakis all passed within about 5 inches of me as we stood in our tuxes and evening gowns waiting to go into the theater for the premier. Dolly Parton was the only one not present that night. :-) I was just thinking Bill, you might want to link this to this weeks Metamorphosis Monday...Mr. Linky just went up. It's kind of a Metamorphosis with your great description of how to make your own arrangements. :-) Susan

  2. Thank you, Susan, for all your encouragement and support! How exciting that you were at the premier of Steel Magnolias!!! Would you believe I rented the movie this week??? I hadn't seen it since its initial release, and I think it's held up remarkably well.

    I'll check out Metamorphosis Monday. Thank you again.

  3. Bill--How lucky for you to meet Dixie Carter! I have always loved her and was a real fan of Designing Women! I have never thought of tinting the water in the flowers--great idea! I enjoyed my first visit to your blog!

  4. I wish I could make centerpieces like that! I've always loved that actress. And her accent, how lovely!

  5. Hi, Bill, so nice to meet you and welcome to blogging! You've just opened up a whole new world for yourself, as you will discover. There are lots of fun people out there in blogland to meet. And I see you have a love of old dishes & tableware and antiques too. You will definitely find lots of us who love all of that too. Myself, I'm a yardsale-aholic from the word GO! You'll have to check out my serves 16 silverplate flatware I found last weekend at a yardsale for $100. Gorgeous stuff!

    Oh, and I have to comment on Dixie! Loved that show, never missed an episode when it was on. Those girls could really have some fun & Dixie could tell the best stories of all of them. When Dixie told you off, you knew you were TOLD but good. Wish they still made shows that good now!

  6. Bill, Dixie Carter is one of my favorite actresses, and she is also a Delta Delta Delta as are my sisters, four of my cousins, one of my nieces, my aunt, and me! LOL!

    Seriously, she is one of my favorites, and I saw Hal Holbrook once doing Twain! Oh, he was fabulous!

    I love the arrangements, too. Very beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing...


    Sheila :-)

  7. Bill .. I wanted to drop by and thank you for the sweet wonderful comments you left for my Tablescape & Foodie post this week. I really wanted to come back by your blog after seeing your addtion this week..I didn't dare do it though, until I had more time. In other words..I wanted to snoop through all your drawers *pages* slowly and take it all in like the true southern gal I am. I couldn't pass up on commenting on this one post in particular.. I am a lover of Designing Women. I think I've seen every episode made. I have so many that I consider my favorite.. but the one that stands out the most.. mainly because I wrote it down and memorized it.. was Dash Goff the Writer. Remember this:

    A letter that Julia read from Dash Goff:
    Yesterday, in my mind's eye, I saw four women standing on a veranda in white, gauzy dresses and straw-colored hats. They were having a conversation. And it was hot. Their hankies tucked in cleavages where eternal trickles of perspiration run from the female breastbone to exotic vacation spots that southern men often dream about. They were sweet-smelling, coy, cunning, voluptuous, voracious, delicious, pernicious, vexing and sexing... these earth sister rebel mothers... these arousers and carousers. And I was filled with a longing to join them. But like a whim of Scarlett's, they turned suddenly and went inside, shutting me out with a bolt of a latch. And I was left only to pick up an abandoned handkerchief and savor the perfumed shadows of these women... these southern women. This Suzanne. This Julia. This Mary Jo and Charlene. Thanks for the comfort, Dash Goff... the writer. Of course I always add in my name lol.
    I loved that.. to this day I still do. It perfectly describes all the southern women in my life.. and the southern woman I hope my husband sees when he thinks and looks at me.
    As for my favorite lady.. well she's standing right there beside you.. what an honor. Dixie Carter.. Pure Grace. Her character Julia.. oh mercy to many favorite episodes of her.. The Suck Pearls, Jimmy Carter banquet, Never Eaten Dirt, and of course The Night the Lights Went out In Georgia Marjorie episode.
    Goodness what a flashback moment. I really have enjoyed my stalking of your blog tonight.. So glad you decided to jump in the pond with us all here... and I wish you the greatest luck with your blog. I look forward to learning more of you and from you in the future.
    Have a great weekend!

  8. How exciting for you!! Beautiful arrangements!! You are so talented!!