Vase Roundup

i love finding beautiful, affordable vases. here are a few i've seen lately that i think are great. i love using vases at home that have different colors, shapes and textures that look great even when empty...although who would ever let that happen!

glass bubble collection from West Elm

clear and opal collection from West Elm

salong collection from Ikea

laboratory flower vases from Urban Outfitters

rose of sharon vase from Anthropologie


Wedding Wedensday: Choosing a bouquet

i'll be starting a new series called Wedding Wednesday for all things wedding related. we'll discuss how to choose flowers for your wedding, decor options ranging from candlelight to escort card table designs and discussions of all the other do's and don'ts when it comes to creating the perfect look for your wedding. i'm not sure i believe that there are any "don'ts"... it's more about doing what you want rather than what you think you should do.

today the focus is bouquets. there are so many options and i've talked about them before here, here and here.

but how do you choose??? is it by season, color, budget? do you match your bouquet to the rest of the design of the wedding? should you and your attendants carry the same thing or different colors?

here's my answer...you can do anything you want. helpful right? seriously, you should choose your bouquet with the same intentions that you chose everything else that you will be "wearing". your bouquet (maybe more than any of the other flowers) will be in most of the pictures from the day so you should love it...you should work with your designer to choose a design, color and feeling that will truly represent your wedding style.

sometimes a client will come to me with a picture of exactly what they want or at least what they think they want. some may end up with that bouquet while for others its a process of discovering that often what they thought was perfect is in reality perfect for someone else.

this goes back to choosing a designer who can understand you and your style.

here are a few things to keep in mind when designing your bouquet:
  • consider the dresses, suits, the shapes, style, fabric and the embellishments. do you want to enhance these things or carry something that will be simple and subtle in comparison?
  • do you want something feminine & romantic or sleek & modern?
  • think about what size you want the bouquet to be, over sized full & lush or something smaller like a petite nosegay.
  • is there any flower that you MUST have included in the bouquet? then you need to think about season...i can't tell you how many dreams i've crushed when i had to tell them that peonies are not available in the fall.
  • you do not need to match your decor or the attendants. everything can coordinate but certainly doesn't need to be the same. this is especially true if the ceremony and reception are at separate venues.
keep these things in mind and you are sure to design a bouquet that you love and while you're at it enjoy the process, choosing the flowers should be fun!!


How-To Tuesday: Flower care, keeping cut flowers fresh

before i began working with flowers i was just as confused as anyone on how to make my flowers last the longest and how i could possibly avoid that stinky smell that often comes with emptying a week (or two) old vase of flowers...there is nothing quite like it. well there are a few things that come close but i'm won't go there.

you've probably heard of all of the "tricks", an aspirin, a penny, vinegar and of course the packet of white powder that comes with some fresh cut flowers. ever wonder why these work? the goal of all of these things is to reduce the bacteria growth in the water, here's how:
  • copper is a natural fungicide and therefore helps prevent the growth of too many yeasts or funghi.
  • aspirin is also an acid which will kill bacteria overgrowth.
  • lemon juice or vinegar also work as a natural bacteria killer (you only need one or two tablespoons).
the truth is while all of these things work, the best thing to do is completely change the water and give the stems a fresh cut. even better you would wash the vase too. sometimes it can be difficult to change the water in a more complicated arrangement so in this case simply let the water overflow and flush out the old water, this is still better than not changing the water at all.

a note on water temperature, keep it lukewarm to cool. this is best for most stem types but i will get more specific about this soon.

if you do any one or a combination of this tricks you will be able to enjoy your flowers for a few more "stink-free" days.


Brooklyn Bride: Modern Tablescape Challenge

i knew i wanted to enter the tablescape challenge over at brooklyn bride the minute i saw the post. i worked with sara wasilausky who photographed the table and helped me with the design. we had a great time since there were no requirements other than it needed to be modern. it's such a great feeling to have the freedom to design something with only one prerequisite. of course we kept it within reason in terms of budget and realistic so that someone else could actually recreate something similar themselves. in the end we tried a few different ideas and this was the one that worked for submission.

i'll share some of our other ideas in the coming days along with a behind the scenes look at the process.


Spring Wedding Flowers

having a spring wedding? most likely you've already chosen the flowers you will be using but if not here are some great options.
  • tulips - there are endless varieties of tulips and sometimes i feel like they are constantly growing new ones. don't think about your average single tulips (meaning single layer of petals) that you find at the grocery store or deli. consider special varieties of fringe, pencil, double or parrot varieties.
  • hyacinth - they are known for the fragrance and often considered an Easter flower but can be so beautiful when using one type of flower in an arrangement.
  • cherry blossom branches - oh, how everyone loves cherry blossom!!! it's a crushing blow to brides when i have to tell them that the only time that they can get cherry is for a few weeks every spring. the white cherry starts and ends earlier than the pink which is usually available from late March until early to mid-May. The timing can fluctuate a bit based on weather and market region.
  • peonies - another all time favorite of brides everywhere! the timing of peonies is greatly dependent on season but you will find that if budget is not a concern the season for peonies is greatly increased. with importing from all of over the world commonplace in larger markets you will be able to have peonies in January from places like New Zealand since our seasons are opposite. locally peonies start slowly in mid to late March and last well into June (sometimes July depending on the weather).
any of these options are the perfect addition to a Spring wedding but keep in mind there are many more options to choose from and to combine these flowers with...lilacs, viburnum and hydrangea are just a few. here are some great examples of designs using a mix of spring flowers.

purple hyacinth with calethea leaves

white peonies, blue hydrangea and lemon lime cymbidium orchids

purple lilac, sarah bernard peonies and amnesia roses


My toolbox: Tools for creating a flower arrangement

Whenever I teach a floral design class one of the first questions I'm asked is what tools to use for designing flowers at home and where to get them.
Let's start with the what. Truth be told a paring knife you would find in most kitchens is perfect for cutting flowers...the trick is learning how to cut them (we'll talk more about that in the coming weeks.) Scissors can sometimes be okay and I stress sometimes. They can do more harm then good in lengthening the life span of your flowers. There are plenty other great uses for them that's why I've still included them here.

Here's a glimpse what I use everyday...and if you could see them a little closer up you would see all the wear and tear on those clippers!!! One thick branch or occasional snip of wire (not a good idea) and they are never quite the same. Anyway, the clippers or pruners are the best, easy to use and totally functional. They can be used on any stem type and the learning curve to create a good cut is small. This particular brand, ARS can be a little hard to find but I get mine here. There are other great options by Felco.
The orange handled scissors are Fiskars and are mostly used for ribbons and fabric. (I refer to them solely as my orange handled scissors because that is what my mother would call them when she was yelling after her 5 children wondering who was using them on something other than fabric!!! She was a passionate woman...especially when it came to her sewing.)
The knives are key to any great floral designers toolbox and I would say are the most often used tool by professionals. I still remember learning to use a knife properly...it does take some getting used to but the cut of a knife is superior to any other cut and will definitely work on soft delicate stems but is key to cutting hard woody stems to make sure that the flowers get enough to drink. More to come on this...
The final tool in the box are the Claus scissors. These are a super multi-purpose tool and they have an endless amount of uses and the great news is that unlike the "orange handled scissors" they won't damage easily. While I bought my in the flower market I did a quick search online and found them on ShopScissors.com and they actually have some great options for everything I've talked about.
Those are the basics. I'll talk more about the uses of everything in the weeks to come but in the meantime you can build the perfect toolbox and start creating.

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