Reuse Discarded Silk Flowers

When my kids were little, money was sparse, and we lived way out in the backwoods. There was little, if any, activities we could afford. We did discover one, however, that may sound a little morbid at first, but is actually wonderful.


We visited cemeteries. We never removed floral arrangements from a gravesite, and if we could pick up and restore one to its proper place, we did. But at the back or in the woods around the perimeter of most cemeteries, there are usually piles of discarded silk flowers. Many are still beautiful when brought home, washed in the bathtub with some regular washing powder and bleach, and dried.

If one is especially pleasing in shape, but faded, there are sprays sold at craft shops to "paint" them colorful again. We disassembled the arrangements first, washed them, and reused cleaned containers, or yard sale vases; perhaps using a jelly jar with a cute grosgrain ribbon, to re-arrange them into beauty again.

Maybe a card, pair of socks, pocket comb, a box of bath powder or similar dollar-store item was added.

Then we would make a trip to our local nursing homes, assisted living houses, battered women's shelter, or the like, and my children learned to give from the heart, and received such gratitude in return.


It was like an Easter-egg hunt in the bushes, a recycling project and art class at home. We also has a Sunday school lesson in the faces who smiled back at us as we shared all we had, and let a "forgotten" person know they were special. And I now have some really special, loving, giving adult children.

By Gloria Hayes

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September 22, 20090 found this helpful

Thank you for your beautiful thoughts :)

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September 23, 20090 found this helpful

I don't think it's morbid at all and it's wonderful that you and your children clean and pretty them up and take them to others to share them and it brightens everyone's days!

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September 23, 20090 found this helpful

Those flowers are all steeped in love and kindness. It is great to give them a new purpose. How kind and sweet of you to think of that for those older souls in the nursing home.

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September 23, 20090 found this helpful

I agree with's not morbid. We live too much in a discard-able society, which is why we now must rediscover the color of green and try and undo what we have done to our budgets, landfills, homes, and communities.


I know that smiles on seniors faces, teaching your kids to be thrifty and creative at the same time, and salvaging these flowers are better than letting them fill up the local dumps. I hope you win this month cos' you sure have my vote!
Sandi/Poor But Proud

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September 23, 20090 found this helpful

This makes my eyes very watery. It is so wonderful.

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September 24, 20090 found this helpful

When I started to read your article, I assumed you were going to describe how you used these flowers for your home or make something to sell. I was truly touched by the beauty of your heart. God bless.

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December 7, 20090 found this helpful

Wow, your post really brought back memories! I thought my family were the only ones who recycled ribbons and flowers from cast off cemetery arrangements.


Once, my cousin cleaned and ironed the silk ribbons and made decorative pillows for us. Thank you for your post.

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