No matter how basic the accommodations or how gloomy the weather, a vase of fresh flowers has a way of brightening the ambiance. With this in mind, I was delighted to discover the Miracle Vase, my new must-pack travel accessory.
Made of watertight PVC, this flat rectangular plastic pouch morphs into a plump full-fledged vase when you pry apart the opening at the top and pour in warm water. The warm water softens the PVC, making it malleable and flexible. Slide your hand inside and you can mold the container into a variety of shapes — perhaps pinching in the neck, for a more curvaceous outline, or folding over the lip for a fancy flourish. The bottom of the vase is internally reinforced so that it expands and flattens into a sturdy flared base.
When you've got the shape you want, empty the warm water, fill with cold water, and the vase will harden in that shape. Then just add flowers. Little fallen branches with pine cones or a cluster of leaves also look great.
After use, empty the vases, refill with warm water, and flatten for storage.
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Miracle Vases, in blue, pink, green, purple or clear, are available in large (13 1/2 inches high by 6 3/4 inches wide), medium (8 inches by 4 1/4 inches) or small (4 1/2 inches by 3 inches). I like the economical mixed-color sets.
Miracle Vase 8-piece set with four large and four medium vases is $23.59; set of 10 small vases is $9.43; at www.miraclevase.com.