While busily working on party fare, one sister turns to the other and says, "We need to create height on the candy shoppe table. I think I need a tree branch, an old dead, dried one. Do you happen know where we could get our hands on one?"
"What??? What are you going to do with that?" Older sister excitedly explains her plans to middle sister. With a bewildered and hesitant look on her face, middle sister agrees to send her son on a little hiking trip to the mountains in search of the perfect branch.
Several similar conversations later and still, no branch.
While sitting in her car at a stop light on a busy highway, middle sister gazes outside to find what looks like part of a branch sticking unobtrusively from the hedges alongside the road. She quickly finds a parking spot and runs to the location.
In a very busy intersection with many curious onlookers, the good middle sister removes the branch that is wedged into the bushes. Embarrassed and bleeding after being poked by it's many thorns, middle sister quickly telephones her older sister with the good news. "I found a branch! I found a branch! I think this is exactly what you are looking for. It's dead and dried and it leans to one side just like you described. I think it's just perfect!"
And it was.
Tiny clusters of red paper flowers...
with faceted beaded centers.
Chartreuse green leaves on delicate branches...
surrounded by sweet ladybugs.
It turned out exactly the way I had envisioned it would.