Little Vases


   In the great and ongoing project of organizing my photos, I realized how many pictures I’ve taken of little vases and what a difference they’ve made around our house!  So I thought maybe you’d enjoy a day of flowers, girlfriends . . . This bud’s for you! 

I look for vases pretty much the same places I look for old quilts: in yard sales, flea markets, and antique stores.   Little vases can be tucked into small spots, bathroom window sills, bedside tables, or cupboard shelves — this turquoise one is on the sideboard in our dining room.  A little vase doesn’t require an armful of flowers.  Just a couple of blooms from the garden and voila!  I’ve done something to make the day better!

This guy lives on the shelf over my kitchen sink.  At night he cavorts with the Beatrix Potter people. 

We dug a hole in the backyard to plant a new dogwood tree this spring, and found this bottle in it!  Joe brought it in to me.  I was so happy.  Hello, I said in vase language (which I speak fluently), Welcome back.

Off they go to the bathroom, next to my reading chair, to Joe’s-side-of-the- bed . . .

This is the best spot on earth for a human to put her nose. 

Was making a tray for tea, needed little spot o’ color in the middle . . . it’s just a plain old glass jar with something that grows wild from over by the side of the barn. 

Made this rose bouquet for the coffee table.  There’s mint in it.  So when someone smells a rose, they get a double whammy. Even innocent flower-lovers are my victims. 

My stove has a shelf.  It’s my ever-changing seasonal stove-top scene that this little bouquet is the centerpiece of.

This bird vase is one of a pair I rescued years ago at an estate sale, hiding on a top shelf in the dark corner of a pantry in a very old house.  My eye caught the white gleam, and I went, oh yes, come on down.  Now they welcome guests at almost every dinner party we have.

 This mini Grecian urn does duty year-round.  For $3, this little vase has given more joy than any expensive fancy cut-glass vase could ever do. ♥ 

Old creamers and sugar bowls make wonderful little vases too.   Would you like to see my vase cupboard?  It’s right next to the kitchen sink; I knew when I grew up I would have a vase cupboard.  None of these little vessels were expensive, but all of them have some personality trait that drew me in, like the yellow fish on the top shelf…he’s silly and he looks very good filled with flowers in the guest bathroom.

 I’ve been stalking vases since I was in my early twenties, which means I’ve had plenty of time to pull this together.  Was I supposed to look at the tiny one on the bottom shelf with the duck on it and say,

oh no, stay where you are, I have enough now?  No.  I rescue them, give them a good scrubbing, and make them feel useful again.  I’m a green recycler of all old things. This just goes to show what a dedicated hunter-gatherer can do in her spare time. ♥  Like in the quote below, I am “glad to the wood.”

 We felt that all things were like us people, down to the small animals like the mouse, and things like wood.  The wood is glad to the person who is using it, and the person is glad to the wood for being there to be used.    Native American brilliant person, Joe Friday.

93 Responses to Little Vases

  1. Donna Hamilton says:

    I love little vases also and pick them up at flea markets and yard sales when I see one that just calls my name. I like to use them to brighten my office with wildflowers or roses, just about anything, sometimes weeds! But my favorite thing about little vases is brightening someone else’s day with a small bouquet of flowers. The only thing I ask of the recipient of these little bouquets is that they do the same for someone else and keep passing that little vase along to other people. Occasionally, a little vase will find its way home.

  2. Pat Reitz says:

    Thank heavens – I thought it was just me! I have so many vases (stored in an
    old dry sink), that I told my daughter to not let me buy any more when we go
    on our flea market adventures! (I still find them calling to me though!)

  3. Karen P says:

    I have a “technical” flower-picking question….something that I always worry about concerning bringing flowers inside from the garden. Do you ever worry about bringing bugs into the house? I’ve brought flowers in to put in vases in the past only to find little “gnatty-flies” crawling on the wall or counter. UGH! So, I don’t often pick flowers to bring in…sad! I bought the cutest little square white jar (old Avon jar that must have had scented cream in it….dreamy little scent!) flowers on it and did pick a little mini bouquet and have it by my computer right now. Cheery! xoxo….kp

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t often get bugs with my flowers, but every so often one slips by, you can try shaking the bouquet out before you bring it in. Flowers are so nice to have, I think it’s worth it for a little bug now and then.

  4. SusanP says:

    Susan, my grandmother collected ‘little pitchers’ … she traveled with my sweet grandad for his work, and bought these little pitchers, about the same size as your little vases. She had them all displayed on a curio cabinet which I found quite interesting when I was growing up…after she died I discovered a little tiny black binder that had all of the pitchers cataloged, each one had a little numbered sticker on the bottom. Many of them now sit on my curio shelves, a reminder of her and times gone by. I’m sure they were an inexpensive way to chronicle her travels in the 1920’s and 30’s ~

  5. PJ Decker says:

    I love your site. This is the first time I’ve visited but there will be many more.
    It’s just a “heartfelt home” place. I also have a collection of litte vases and bud vases. Glad to hear so many others collect them. I also love old lamps!

  6. Rosemarie says:

    I, also, have been collecting vases for a long time. Nothing brightens up a space like flowers and, surprisingly, it does not have to be a large fancy arrangement to be your finishing touch. A small vase of common flowers is a pleasing little gift to the eye and nose and senses in general. I love everything Susan Branch!!! Thank you so much for bringing happiness to my heart on many occasions when the pick up was greatly appreciated. By the way, your harvest stew has become a mainstay in my home and I make it often throughout the autumn and winter.

  7. Debi Said says:

    Susan my soul sister = vases are vessels for love, and you are in the vase that holds my heart!!! The other perfect vase is a teacup or teapot or even a little lonely salt or pepper that lost her partner thru the years. I am a lover of tiny stuff, so I kinda collect with that in mind. The other treasure is plates, collecting them, like vases, to put sweets on and pass around. I love Donna Hamilton’s “pass it on” rule, it will come back ten thousand fold.

  8. Linda Wattier says:

    Susan, Thanks for sharing all your vases. I love collecting little pitchers. I did buy my first vase this summer at an antique store.(Love those places.) The vase is a little girl with pigtails and she is holding her doll. I have it on my desk with pencils and markers etc. in it. You have given me so much inspiration.

  9. shelly matter says:

    Love them all! Imagine my delight when on ebay I found a tiny little green ivy susan branch vase!!! It is on my scrapbook cubby shelf year round cuz i love her! Thanks so much for being you! xo

  10. jennifer says:

    Don’t you wish you could hear the stories of old that these little gems could tell?
    Like you, I adore to collect old lovely things and wonder what kind of life they have had. What conversations they’ve heard, who were the souls that loved them, who made them? I wonder, I wonder. One of my favorite collections is a large group of cordials that I have. Now don’t you know there must have been some good conversations to listen in on with those!! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I have an old pink transferware bowl, maybe my favorite of all the dishes I have. It’s old, with nothing written on the bottom, no pattern or maker, and I thought, “maybe this belonged to Abigail Adams.” 🙂 Yes, I do wonder!

      • Judy Young says:

        Can we see a photo of your favorite transferware bowl???

        • sbranch says:

          OK, I’ll have to remember to do that, although it will be hard to choose, because I’ve rarely met any transferware that isn’t my favorite!

          • Judy Young says:

            I meant the old pink transferware bowl that you referred to in responses here, saying it may be your favorite dish of all the ones you have. Love pink transferware. Also, could you do a post on “collections” in general, especially to do with the domestic arts. We are so inspired by you!

  11. mary beth says:

    I use my collection of shot glasses for smaller flowers: pansies, small rose buds etc. Very cute. God Bless You Susan.

  12. Michelle says:

    What a sweet collection. I have a few and would love more. Your pastel ones are so lovely and the white bird one is so pretty! I can see why you could not pass up the little one with the adorable duck!

  13. Annie says:

    These are so cute. I love and collect old planters and vases. I have them in all shapes and pastel colors. I used them on the tables at our son’s rehearsal dinner last month….filled with lovely pansies of all colors. I just discovered this blog site and I am enjoying it so much. Blessings to you!

  14. Lauri says:

    Gosh, I thought I was the only one with a vase addiction! I’ve mainly collected what I call white ware, but its the inexpensive pressed kind. Two dollars is my limit ! I built a narrow (4″) set of 7 shelves, on the stair wall to the basement and they are full . Of course the edges of the shelves had to have a happy scallop! The wall behind is a beautiful blue-green color that sets that white off just right. I also set the vases around with tea lights inside , the kind with the metal bottom, so I don’t have to worry when they burn out.What a beautiful , soft glow. Sometimes I line the drive or steps with them! I love my sweet mother in laws saying “Flowers first, food if there’s money left over!”

    • sbranch says:

      Oh noo, you are not the only one!! I’m like you, need to find a deal! Like 50 cents and $1.00 🙂 Yard sales are great for vases! Flowers first!

  15. judi says:

    You little stinker….you pulled me in again:) I was just happily reading your blog and then followed this link. It reminded me that I USED to gather little flowers and put them in my small vases around the house. Well, that was my “up north” life. In FL it is so darn hot you kinda stay in alot. Early morn is the only bearable time. Well, I am a blue glass collector and have many other sweet sweet little clear, etc. vessels that I use soooo, this morning I did go out to my much neglected garden in the back yard to gather a few flowers and……4 hours later….after changing into a bathing suit (clothes + were sopped) and with the hose running weeded and trimed and did bring my little treasures in. A few almost neon orange sprightly flowers – that look fabulous in the dark blue vases, three little pink just opened roses, a fuschia flower that has a party of little yellow flowers in a circle in the middle and some yellow trumpet (small) flowers. Also, a bunch of pink frangapanni’s. My spelling is not good on these, forgive me, no spellcheck. After a shower outside (with suit on:) and now just made blueberry freezer jam and have downed 1 huge bottle of sport drink, and 4 glasses of ice tea. Think I’ll lay now and let the fan blow on me. I really had other projects for today…ha, foolish preparation – just seized the pleasure – thanks to YOU:) Hugs

  16. elaine says:

    Oh, to have room for a vase cupboard. I sit them around with anything but flowers stuck in them. Will have to pay more attention at flea markets and yard sales. I’m sure I need to rescue more of them. Will find a place for them. I love, love, love everything about your house, especially the kitchen. It just smells like H-O-M-E! Love it all!!

  17. Sherry Winchester says:

    I have an area in the basement that holds old vases…also one in my kitchen. I have more old vases than space, I’m afraid! When in a pinch for a good photograph of something, out comes a vase or two…..and a few sprigs of something beautiful.

  18. Gill says:

    I keep my vases on the top shelf in my pantry, with a few tiny favourites on the shelf over the sink in the kitchen. Those are the ones for the dear little handfuls of wild flowers the children bring me in the Spring. I must admit to being a gatherer of vases; just yesterday I found a well-loved pewter urn and a tiny black 1950s cream jug in the thrift shop.
    Our weather has warmed up suddenly too and I threw open all my doors and windows for a while and went out to see what was happening in the garden. The forsythia is absolutely covered with buds! Only a couple of months to wait….Spring really doesn’t arrive here until May. But I am off to England next weekend and will get a little breath of Spring then! Happy days!

  19. Cyndi in NC says:

    You have some really interesting things in your vase cabinet. Some I know, like the small Fiesta jug, others I’ve seen in peoples homes, and some are new to me. I’m a vintage glass collector and while I might not buy everything I see, although I’d like to, I sure do love to look at it all.

  20. phyllis davidson says:

    little vases….what a fun hour to spend with you and all the girlfriends…..i collect old perfume bottles……some so small they only hold one flower… johnny jump-up….or one small daisy…..four or five of these in a collection indeed, make one smile……thank you for all your inspirations……peace and joy to all……phylicia

    • sbranch says:

      I have a collection of perfume bottles too … I should put them on the blog someday … tiny little things that I never meant to collect, they just came and they stayed!

  21. Glendell "Sam" Campen says:

    Ha! Once again, you’ve channeled ME when you used the word “rescue” to describe your penchant for vases. I, too, rescue old dishes of all shapes, sizes, colors, patterns–whatever appeals to my sense of charming. I am rescuing them from someone who might not be appreciative enough! I have totes and cabinets and shelves full of precious pieces. Most of my finds are acquired at auctions.

  22. Beth K. says:

    Thanks for your lovely post today…a breath of spring-fresh air for a winter day! Then I followed the link here. I’m a vase collector, too and today you inspired me to use them more. I think I’ll look in the attic tomorrow for some faux ones to use until we have real ones in the yard again!

  23. Joan Lesmeister says:

    So charming, a lovely blog, beautiful flowers in wonderful vases, thank you! Your 1st quote reminds me of a day at work, I had taken my skillfully arranged bouquet of flowers & set it on the counter above my desk, to share with all. A fellow worker came by ( who was very proud of her creative abilities, as she should be), & asked if she could rearrange my bouquet, because, you see, she does the bouquets for church! I sweetly smiled & said, yes. After she left, I rearranged it, back my very own creative way! I often wondered if she noticed! xoxo

  24. Rose C. Moriarty says:

    Love your blogs! Always anxious to receive the newest one. Thank you for them. Cherish my purchases from you!

  25. Susan Hann says:

    I also collect mini pitchers and vases. My favorite is a clear glass creamer (remember when they used to come with your cup of coffee at a diner?) This was in the days before artificial cream packages. I’ve had it for years and when I first got it (I was a kid) I would put dandelions in it. My granddaughter now picks dandelions for me and I still use the little glass creamer to keep them in.

  26. evangeline says:

    I adore “little” vases, jars, etc. Putting some “live” flowers and or greenery…anything that calls to me …twigs even are adorable. Thankyou..was so refreshing to read and be given HOPE for….Tomorrow I will be getting my vases out to put some “sunshine” around our home….stay warm…appreciate your kindness

  27. You think of the most amazing things to capture in photos. I’m going to go get my camera right now and tour my house. Thanks for the inspiration. Again.

  28. Jennie says:

    I just found you and your delightful website thru Victoria magazine. I am going to buy A Fine Romance when I obtain some $$. Can’t wait! Just in time for vacation. Also, I think there’s a little duck vase at the antique store calling my name….

  29. Lynndelee Sharpton says:

    I love all your little arrangements. My goal for my garden is to have something blooming all year round. Luckily I live in California, so it’s possible even in winter to have bloomers. I love little vases too, sometimes I use the small old canning jars, that have the glass lids and metal closures. I’ve used these at many parties, they work very well.
    Love all your postings!

  30. Holly Riordan says:

    please send me your postings…I love your blogs

  31. Sweet Sue says:

    Good Morning Susan!
    Today I read your blog on “Little Vases” and really enjoyed being able to view all your vases on your special vase shelf yet even more found joy and delight in what you have done with your vases throughout your home. I used to always think that purchasing fresh flowers was a waste of monies as ….they never lived too long after being purchased, no one was usually home during the day to enjoy them and just where was I going to place a vase of flowers? Well, that was before I discovered the flower mart so to speak at Trader Joe’s where the flowers are beautiful, fresh and very reasonably priced. Now after reading this blog and seeing the variety of vases that really are out there or items that can be used as vases the possibilities are endless. I am going to start including “little vases” on my list when thrift store shopping or antique shoppping and get them to give as gifts with flowers for others and to place throughout my home in places I would formerly not have thought of for placing flowers ….like the bathroom, the laundry room, my desk at work, etc.
    Hey, if you have Vanna help you with a give-away close to Easter how about that little bunny vase I spotted on your vase shelf? Huh? Or the red robin vase that is so spring time ish and that fun yellow fish vase?
    I am really beginning to believe that the creativity God has given you for beautiful and charming use of and arranging of such things as little vases is contagious and rubs off on others. Thanks!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes Sue, those little vases are a spot of light around the house. And it doesn’t take a lot to make it happen, just one or two flowers does a whole lot for lifting of mood.:-)

      • Sweet Sue says:

        My, oh my the little vases I ordered from you came yesterday on my birthday! They are all so pretty and each one a different unique shape! I can hardly wait to start using them along with the sea glass that I got! And hats off once again to the crew in SLO/Arroyo Grande! Everyone thing was packed so carefully with a little floral sticker on the outside of the box that said “Happy Day” and indeed it was! Thank you, thank you, thank you! 🙂

  32. Sweet Sue says:

    Bless you Susan and thanks again for the “Little Vases” blog and actual vases which I purchased from your online store.

    Just had to let you know how much I have enjoyed using them. I have been getting flowers from nearby “Trader Joes” when I go shopping and then cutting, trimming and arranging them in my “Little Vases”. They are in the dining room, living room, bathroom and even the bedroom. They are such joy-bringers and sweet fragrancers.
    So glad I looked through this blog and decided to have little vases of flowers in my home as well!:-)
    I have now read through all the blogs you have posted under the heading across the top of your webpage and have enjoyed them all. It gives one more of an idea of where your heart is at and who you are yet also provides countless jump-off points for creativity of one’s own as ideas comes to mind while reading. It is also like a travel log of your part of the East Coast which is delightful and a plethora of taste good as well as good for you recipes. And the online shopping page not only provides the latest and greatest yet also the old and the best along with screensavers, stationary, bookmarks and so much more to share freely with others. Thanks again!

  33. Ann McKenna says:

    I, along with all those who have commented above, also love little vases! I have a vase cupboard in my house, too, and I fill them with sweet little flowers from my yard from Spring through Fall! I plan to buy your set in the future also. So glad to read how many girlfriends feel the same way cuz I’m the only person I know who is so “little vase and little flower” CRAZY!!! Love them!!!!!!!!!

  34. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Susan, my husband says, no more vases, lol, but he always loves my arrangements. My favourite is a little Scottie dog standing on his hind legs. He sits on my counter and always has a bloom or two in it. In fact, our lawn is covered with those tiny blue flowers and I shall go out and pick some for the breakfast table. I always tuck a glass jar filled with water to fill with wildflowers, into our picnic hamper and it’s the first thing I set on the table after the vintage tablecloth. I found a pair of salt/pepper shakers like your little floral ones. No matter that one of the leaves was chipped – home they came with me. So sweet! Off to make breakfast. Enjoy your Sunday.

  35. Patricia Grissom says:

    Dear Kindred Spirit,
    How sweet it is to sashay through your garden and tender vases. Merci for always sharing your treasures and quotes. Tea cups are ooh longing for attention in the way of being admired.
    We are dreaming of our secret garden as this is our second Spring in our home sweet home. It is dazzling the mere bones of it and with anticipation as Carol King would sing keeps us wait waiting! Time will fill in the nooks and crevices and I loved saving a lady bug from our bird bath the other day.
    Before I remember, Laura Childs writes tea mysteries with recipes and all the Southern charm to add to the drawl of a lollop. Have fun writing.


  36. janice myers says:

    so excited to find your website – I also love vases, even small ones – I have come to see the world , and life, as a gift every day, since I am a 3 yr. breast cancer survivor – I treasure all the beauties in each day, thanks for your beautiful website, it is so uplifting :))

  37. Annie Littlewolf says:

    Just love your vases! I find ways to make vases of just about anything. Thimbles are good for little clover buds that my granddaughter finds for me. I collect antique demitasse cups which I gather in my hutch and now they are sort of stacked doubled up on top of each other – oh my! Should I stop? Naw! I’ll surely run out of good ones one day…..or not. Oh well. I love garage sales, flea markets, antique stores and milk glass (got that from Stillmeadow) – by the way, I was going through stacks of books in our library and located my original copy of Stillmeadow! YAY! I thought I had somehow lost it! oh no! I also have one of her cookbooks and now am greatly relieved to find Stillmeadow again. Have had a rough two years because my husband was diagnosed two years ago with advanced stage cancer and is now starting his third year of chemotherapy. This is not the “regular” kind of cancer that just gets some radiation and is done with. Pretty serious and it is hard on him, which is hard on me, trying to take care of him. He is very stoic and today was his chemo. He gets it once a month and dreads it the week ahead due to side effects. So the side effects last about 10 days and with dreading it a week in advance, it eats up about half a month each month. Blech.
    So I take all the goodness I can right now. Made praline cookies this morning to send to our daughter and grandchildren. Saved a dozen for us (well, my hubbie – I’m trying to LOSE weight), and what happened — the container fell over when I was filling the canisters! Right on the floor! Luckily the dogs slept through it, and I was able to gather the cookies up and toss them in the trash. WHEW! But, no cookies for us. Boo hoo. Tomorrow is another day though. Thinking maybe brownies? Got to run to the store.
    I’m reading Cold Comfort Farm right now and am reading it in bed, but it is hard because I’m laughing so much and don’t want to wake up my hubby! Maybe I’ll read Greenwillow instead.
    Tomorrow I’ll pick up new flowers at the store when I get the chocolate for brownies. My daisies on the dining room table are doing fine still. They are in a French country pitcher and look great. I love fresh flowers and people think that they are just too expensive – but they aren’t. Daisies are pretty cheap and they last if you just treat them right. Use fresh water, keep it fresh, cut the stems right, pluck off the dead flowers, and you know!
    Well, time for bed.
    Goodnight all! Sweet dreams!

  38. Marlene Highet says:

    Hi Susan,
    I loved looking at your little vases as I too just love them. I have a nice little collection and especially look for tiny cream jugs. Like you too, I like miniature bottles, in fact any tiny object that can be used as a vase. I used to grow wildflowers in fence planter boxes and they grew to a tiny size as I planted the seeds close together. They were absolutely perfect for my little vases. Reading the above comments, it’s wonderful to know so many people love all these little treasures. I love everything you do, you just make my day whenever I visit! 🙂

  39. Kathy Kredit says:

    I have a stove like yours. Mine is decorated with a couple of ‘fake’ pies, various vintage items. But I sure like the idea of changing it with the seasons, holidays, etc. Wish you would share some ideas.
    You are absolutely an inspiration to this 60 year old girl, starting her life over after a marriage ended after 35+ years.
    Happy New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      So many thoughts go through my mind, But all I can say is every day it gets a little easier, until one day you’re on the other side. xoxo

  40. Annie Raymond says:

    I love your little vases! I’ve had little vases filled with flowers from my garden for years. I also want to say how much I love your new book! I read it in two days, wonderful.

  41. Sharon says:

    I collect miniature perfume bottles and the empty ones make perfect vases for tiny flowers such as Verbena. I think of myself as a micro-florist.

  42. Jerry says:

    Thank you for the post. Those vases are really beautiful, I wish I had time for you to have a discusses some of those vases as I am really fond of vases and particularly collecting them.

  43. Lynn Cunningham says:

    You have the most wonderful sense of whimsy, and find beauty all around you. I think it’s you, and not the things displayed, that contain the magic. Through your eyes, we can all see the beauty, too. <3 I find solace in your lovely pictures and words.

  44. Beth Ballard says:

    Your “tiny vase” collection reminded me of a gift I received a few months ago, a box of three tiny crystal vases, each embossed with a different design. Not knowing what to do with them, I stashed the box away on a closet shelf, out of sight! Now I’m inspired to bring them to the light! Living out in the country in Texas (now in the midst of drought conditions), there are not many seasonal flowers – the calves ate my pansies! – but on my daily walks, I have seen some some weeds that look like tiny daises, and by next month, there will be some tiny purple blossoms on some type of spring weed. I can’t wait to adorn the little vases and send pictures to the friend who so thoughtfully gave me this gift! I will make a tiny bouquet for her, as well!

  45. Hiwa says:

    Very wonderful use of the old bottles

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