Start with a clear glass vase. I found this one at Hobby Lobby for $9.99. Occasionally they put all their glassware on sale, which is great if you need a bunch of them. I chose this specific vase because it's not too tall and has a slight indentation at the neck, which makes it ideal for adding ribbons, raffia, or string to dress it up.
The first step is to create a little paper "nest" with some shredded craft paper. You can find natural, premade basket filler in the gift wrapping sections of most craft stores. However, I made my own using my stash of brown paper bags and a paper shredder. Be sure to use plain bags with nothing printed on them. Cut them into rectangles that will easily feed into your shredder. Grab a handful and add it to the bottom of your vase.
Next, add string or raffia to the neck and tie on a rustic-looking key. Last fall I was fortunate enough to find these large decorative keys on sale at Michaels for only 69 cents and I bought one of each style. My little collection wasn't enough for ten centerpieces though, so I went out in search of more keys. I had a little trouble finding them at a reasonable price. Hobby Lobby had a pack of 6 or 7 keys, with words such as "Memories" on them, in the scrapbooking section for around $10. I also found some in the jewelry section of Michaels, but they were between $4 and $8 per key. Yikes!! You may have better luck finding them online.
I thought about adding a tag with the word "Courage" on it to represent the Courage Keys, which will be given out to every registered MOPS member this year. Maybe if I have more time I'll add that later...
Next, fill the vase up with some crumpled paper. This helps hide the stems of the feathers and makes the vases look full. It also adds more texture and dimension. I wanted to incorporate the idea of being brave enough to share our stories with each other, so I tore these pages out of books. Yes, I know...book lover's everywhere are cringing right now. I admit, it was really hard for me to destroy a perfectly good book. It's not like I'm burning it though, just repurposing it. Besides, one book was sufficient. If it makes you feel better, use a book that is already damaged. I sent my husband on an errand to find one that was Christian based, because it would be pretty embarrassing if someone found a swear word or something overly provocative peeking through the glass. Our library routinely gets rid of overstock by putting books on sale for 50 cents to a dollar per book. Loosely crumple the pages and stuff them around the perimeter of the vase, leaving a little space in the middle for your feathers.
Add your feathers. I'm not gonna to lie. The feathers were pretty pricey. The turquoise blue ostrich feathers were $3.99 each! The peacock feathers were $1.99 each and the pheasant clusters were $2.99 I think. One feather didn't quite do it. It looked awfully lonely and sparse. This grouping seemed to be the right mix, plus I absolutely adore the combination of brown and turquoise. I used some string to tie the stems together. This helps them stand up a little straighter, makes for a tighter cluster, and will make it quicker to disassemble again for easy storage.
You may be able to cut costs by finding a local supplier for the feathers or buying them bulk online. You could also use fewer feathers and just add more flowers. However, our MOPS group has used so many fake flowers for centerpieces over the past few years that I just wanted to go in a different direction.
The final step is a burlap flower. Yes, *gasp* it's another fake flower. I went with a burlap one though, which is not the typical go-to flower and it adds some rustic charm. When I saw these at Hobby Lobby, I fell in love with them. They had several different kinds of burlap flowers, so it was hard to choose just one. There are tons of tutorials out there for making these yourself, and I was very tempted to give it a try. However, I was pressed for time. I still had to make 70 key chains too, so I opted to buy the burlap flowers instead. They were $2.49 per flower.
And voila...you're done! The total cost is between $14 and $24, depending on how shopper-savvy you are. You can save a lot by using 40% off coupons and waiting until specific items go on sale.
We used teal green or turquoise blue plastic table cloths with a square of burlap cloth under the vases. It would also be pretty layered with another cream-colored placemat, (as pictured). Since the ostrich feathers come in a wide variety of colors, you could use a different colored feather, along with a matching table cloth, to distinguish the tables from one another.
If you find a good source for any of the supplies I mentioned, feel free to share it by commenting below. I hope this inspires you to create something beautiful today!