Christmas finds people fussing with flowers and greens who normally would just plunk them in a vase and call it done. But suddenly they're agonizing over wreaths and garlands, struggling with swags and topiaries and wondering why their efforts don't look like the pictures in the magazines.
The answer is in the mechanics -- the technical term for all the pinholders, wreath forms, floral foams, wires, vials and frogs that discreetly hold arrangements together.
They're the most important part of the design, says Carroll Swarm, author of the new book "Designing for Christmas" (paperback, $14.95), published by Prospect Hill Press of Baltimore. "If you know how to use the mechanics," she says, "you can create just about anything."