Create a festive look in no time for less than $12.

This time of year, you can't deny that fall is in the air and on the aisles of your local supermarket. One pass through the produce section reveals a cornucopia of colorful gourds and festive ornamental corn. But how many times have you purchased those bright bundles of maize and not known what to do with them, other than hang them on the front door? Well, here is a fresh idea that is pretty enough for a dinner party, portable enough to adorn a tailgate table, and simple enough to make and take as a hostess gift when wine just seems too obvious.

1. Cut orange juice or milk carton in half with a sharp knife.

2. Glue corn husks to carton with a glue gun, starting at the top so that half of the husk extends past the edge of the cartoon. Add a second row so that husks overlap the top row. Repeat as needed to cover carton.

3. Add water until carton is a little more than half full.

4. Arrange flowers. Cut the stems of one bunch so that flowers are just taller than corn husks. Place in carton around edges. Next, cut stems of the second bunch so that flowers are a little taller than the first bunch. Insert into center of carton.

5. Wrap the middle of the florist wire around the base of the corn, where the husk begins. Twist several times to secure. Wrap remaining wire around carton, and twist to secure.

6. Cover wire with raffia, and tie in a knot so that it is centered over corn.

Depending on the flowers you choose, your arrangement should last about a week. Want something that lasts longer? Click here for more colorful autumn houseplants.

This article is from our 2005 Weekend Living special issue.