Christmas Carols Blog Tour.
Thank you, Eva, for your kind offer to help me celebrate the release of my new book Christmas Carols, published by Liquid Silver Books on the 10th of August.
I know readers might think it a little odd to be thinking about Christmas in August but in Victorian England, where my story is set, people were used to starting their Christmas preparations early. One of the things that people in the Victorian era spent time making was dried flowers. All manner of spring and summer blooms were dried to be used later in the year for flower arrangements.
A method for drying roses for dried flower arrangements.
You can use cut roses for this method, perhaps ones you have enjoyed in a vase. When they start to look a little tired you can dry them for future use.
Tidy and trim your roses cutting off any rusty leaves and pulling off any floppy petals.
Turn the stem upside down and tie a long string, about a foot to the end of the stem without the flower. This helps the roses stand straight when dried.
Tie each rose individually if you want individual dried flowers or you can make a bunch. If you decide to make a bunch make sure the string is long enough to go around each stem to secure it in place.
When you have tied the flowers hang them head down to dry. They must be dried in a dry atmosphere a steamy bathroom or kitchen isn’t ideal. The flowers take a couple of weeks to dry. They will retain traces of their fragrance and a delicate shade of their original color.
When you have as many as you wish for make your arrangement using dry floristry foam or wire. You can use a glue gun to fix the flowers in place on wood plaques or shells and decorate with ribbons, a fun project and you can create a lovely table center or gift for a friend.
This little taster from Christmas Carols show just how useful dried flowers might have been for Alice.
He sneezed and sniffed. “Please tell me, madam, is your presence always announced with flowers? I can smell lilies.”
“No, and yes, sir. I’m just placing this arrangement back where it belongs. Someone had moved them.”
“I know. I asked Oswald to remove them before the recital last night.”
She set the flowers down. “I don’t understand, sir.”
He took off his hat. Several strands of his fair hair stood up. The dog sat at his side. “The matter is quite simple, ma’am. I have an aversion to lilies. They have a debilitating effect.”
“Well, all flowers to be truthful, but lilies more than most. I must ask you to refrain from using them in the displays you place anywhere near my seat at the organ.”
“If you’d be so kind could you remove them at once?” He sneezed again.
“I’ve never heard the like.”
An expression that might have been a smile rose on his face. “I’m sure I am not the only individual to suffer from the symptoms they induce.”
“Of course I’ll take them away, Mr. Grafton. May I ask, are there any flowers that don’t affect you?”
He pursed his lips and tapped one finger against the walking cane in his hand. Several seconds passed until he spoke. “Daisies, I believe they cause no reaction at all.”
“I can’t possibly acquire daisies this time of year!”
“Then perhaps you can turn your thoughts to using something else in your displays?”
Heat flooded her cheeks. She bent and picked up the arrangement and hurried away to put it back on the pedestal in the gloomy alcove. Setting the flowers in place, she gently twisted one or two to enhance their position, and all the time she bit at her lip. There seemed little choice but to modify her plans for roses and lilies during Advent. Daisies were quite out of the question, even the tall ox-eye form would be impossible to obtain from the market wholesaler in winter. No one she knew of grew daisies in their hot house.
She made her way back to the pew where she’d left her sketchbook. All flowers except daisies. His complaint made her task no pleasure.
The sounds from the organ as he played did nothing to soothe her mind. She sat and opened the note pad, staring at the designs she had begun. Three evenings this week she’d made drawings. Now none of them might be suitable.
Grace, simplicity and elegance, those words always summed up her efforts when creating arrangements for the church. She sucked at the end of her pencil, her chin on her palm, while she stared into the dim corner for the whole length of the beautiful piece he played, whatever it might be named.
If she didn’t order flowers each week from the wholesaler she may well lose the generous discount the trader had offered, knowing the work she did was for the church. If that happened the price of the displays would increase, and perhaps the committee might come to the decision they no longer needed her services.
Stephen Grafton, the blind organist at Holy Trinity Church, is gaining a reputation for his fine playing and compositions. Alice Broadbrace’s initial venture back into society after years in deep mourning brings her to the notice of the talented organist, and he offers her the opportunity to sing a solo carol to his accompaniment. His courage convinces her to find her own, while her charm entices him into thoughts of romance. A difficult walk in a snow storm is only the beginning of Stephen and Alice’s journey to happiness. Enjoy this sweet Victorian tale of talent and love blossoming.
Thanks for reading
Find Daisy Banks here
Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/1NWh8gi
Daisy Banks is the author of
Soon to be available with Liquid Silver Books Serving the Serpent
Marked for Magic
A Perfect Match
A Gentleman’s Folly
Your Heart My Soul
A Matter of Some Scandal
Daisy’s books are available here
Daisy Banks writes a regular monthly story in the Sexy to Go compilations.