» July 2012 «


Pink & Burgundy Altar Arrangement


I feel like I say this every week but yesterday’s farm flowers were gorgeous! Seriously. Kristin took eight buckets of flowers to a wedding in Virginia. You would think with eight buckets gone we wouldn’t have many left to work with but that was not the case. Instead, we (Linda and I) made a record amount of market bouquets–a grand total of 50 (trust me, that’s a lot).

Linda asked if I wanted to make an arrangement for the altar on Sunday and I, of course, jumped on board immediately. It was really hard to not make something beautiful with the array of flowers we had to work with.

pink & burgundy altar arrangement

This pink and burgundy arrangement is my finished product and I must say, I love it! Pitcher arrangements like these are perfect for a country wedding or for simply taking to church on Sunday to share with others.

Here’s how this pitcher arrangement came to be:

First I started with the large limelight hydrangea. I cut them down to size and angled one toward each side of the pitcher and one smaller one a bit higher in the back to provide a “back” to the bouquet (a place where the eye will stop looking).

Next, I added several bunches of dark pink lisianthus buds. These pop against the creamy-white hydrangeas and serve as a great filler since the mouth of my pitcher is so wide.

Then I added two stems of lilies, one low and one higher, each angled a separate direction.I also added a pink and white gladiola semi-centered. The lisianthus serve as support for keeping the lilies and gladiola securely in place.

Finally I filled in the gaps. Down low I added trailing amaranthus (that’s the pretty burgundy spilling over the edge), I also added bits of white and green filler (poke weed, grasses), a couple green/cream lisianthus and hot pink dianthus.

pink & burgundy altar arrangement

Arrangements like these are fairly simple to create if you stick to a specific order when combining your flowers–heavy bulky stems first, delicate flowers next supported by the larger flowers, then smaller pops of color, collar greenery and delicate accents.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini-flower-arrangement lesson. Try your own pitcher arrangement at home, all it takes is a few stems from your own backyard.


Ribbon Braid Bouquet DIY


Wedding bouquets are by far my favorite flower piece to arrange. There are multiple factors to consider when planning a bridal bouquet. Many brides put all their creativity and thought into the flower type and completely forget to adorn the bouquet handle. Adding a bit of glam to the bouquet handle is simple and can make a huge impact. One of my favorite handle wrap techniques is the classic braid adorned with pearl corsage pins. This is the braid technique I used on last week’s bridal brooch bouquet? This simple classic braid is simple, elegant and fail-safe.

bridal brooch bouquet

Preparation:

Arrange your flowers and tie with a rubber band close to the neck. Cover the rubber band with green floral tape, then proceed down the stems as far as you want your braid to run. Leave at least 1 inch of the stems exposed at the bottom. If you want to cover the entire bottom of the stems as well, you need to wait until the day of or find some really great ribbon that won’t fall out of place after being soaked in water all night.

Choose your ribbon, a medium width is best. Place your bouquet on it’s side with the “front” facing you (the side that will not face the bride). If you are braiding up the majority of the stems, use 1 entire roll of ribbon. You may end up cutting some off at the end but it is better than running short and this technique uses much more ribbon than you might think.

brooch bouquet and braid

The Braid:

Step #1: Starting at the bottom of your stems, wrap the ribbon around the back of the stem bundle and even up the two sides of ribbon. Hold the ribbons up toward you and taut.

Step #2: Cross the ribbons, one in front of the other two times. You are basically switching the ribbon from your left hand to your right and back again. You should have a twisted tangle of ribbon now. Now pull the ribbons to their separate sides, this should move something resembling a knot down toward the stems.

Step #3: Cross your ribbons around the back of the stems to switch their sides. Repeat the crossing in front by once again crossing the two strands around each other twice then pulling the strands away from each other to move the knot down.

Step #4: As you tighten each “knot,” try to keep them in line with one another and make sure you are overlapping the ribbon all the way up the stems so there are no gaps.

Step #5: Continue to braid your ribbon to the neck of the flowers and finish the braid by either tying a knot or a bow. If you have extra ribbon, measure the strands to the end of your bouquet stems and cut each at an angle.

Step #6: Using short corsage pins, place one at the base of each knot to dress up your braid. Push the pins in and up so they don’t poke out the other side of the stem bundle and stab the bride.

bridesmaid ribbon mini braidWhile the bride may enjoy having a full braid that covers the entire length of the stems, bridesmaids often opt for the mini-braid which covers only a portion of the bouquet handle. This technique (seen in the picture at right) follows the same steps but it is only necessary to wrap a small portion of the stem with floral tape–just enough to cover the rubber band.

I hope these pictures are helpful. Ribbon braiding really is a very simple and quick process. As always, please let me know if you have any questions.


Silver & Gold Brooch Bouquet


Remember those beautiful brooches I mentioned in my sneak peak bridal bouquet post last week? Well, I have finally managed to pull all of that gorgeous jewelry together into one stunning bridal brooch bouquet.

bridal brooch bouquet

This being my first attempt at a brooch bouquet, I am quite pleased with the finished product. I cannot take all of the credit however, the lovely bride did an absolutely fantastic job of picking out all of the brooches for her bouquet. At first, I wasn’t sure how it was all going to come together as she had a wide array of metals and gemstones included in the mix, but her creative instincts paid off and the jewelry came together beautifully.

The hardest part of this bouquet (which I didn’t have to do) would definitely be the wiring of the brooches. In order to make one of these bouquets you need to take floral wire or some other sturdy wire and loop it around the clasps on each individual brooch. The tricky part is wiring the brooches well enough that they will remain upright and sturdy. The more time you take to wire the brooches carefully, the easier it will be to assemble your bouquet. You may also want to use hot glue underneath the brooch where you attach the wire to help secure the wire more sturdily to the clasp.

Take three strong hydrangeas. We used fake ones which I highly recommend if you are making a full bouquet like the one pictured. This bouquet is very heavy so you will need the heavy weight of fake flowers to support all of the brooches. If you prefer a bouquet with intermittent brooches, you can use live hydrangea and add other live flowers into the mix to help fill holes and support the jewelry.

Cut your fake hydrangea stems the length that you want your bouquet to be. I use a large mason jar as my guide, placing the flowers inside you want the bottom edge of the flowers to rest gently on the top edge of the jar (or whatever vase you will use at the reception).

brooch bouquet

Wrap your hydrangea stems together with floral tape (no need to wrap all the way down, just secure them together).

Now comes the fun part. Poke each of your wired brooches through the tops of the hydrangea petals until they rest gently on top of your flowers. Continue to add brooches one by one until you have covered the tops and sides of your hydrangeas.

Once all the brooches are in place, carefully wrap all wire stems together using floral tape. At this point, the bouquet is very heavy so you may want to ask a friend to hold it as you wrap.

bridalbroochbraid

Once the stems are wrapped all the way to the bottom. Grab your ribbon and cover the floral tape with whichever ribbon wrap style you prefer. I will post a tutorial for the classic braid shown in these pictures next Friday.

I hope you’ve found these instructions helpful. As always let me know if you have any questions or if I need to clarify any steps.


Sunday Morning Inspiration


“And while it takes courage to achieve greatness, it takes more courage to find fulfillment in being ordinary. For the joys that last have little relationship to achievement, to standing one step higher on the victory platform. What is the adventure in being ordinary? It is daring to love just for the pleasure of giving it away. It is venturing to give new life and to nurture it to maturity. It is working hard for the pure joy of being tired at the end of the day. It is caring and sharing and giving and loving…”
-Marilyn Thomsen

blueberry pancakes

It is a beautiful Sunday morning here in East Tennessee. Here’s wishing you a fabulous day filled with many ordinary adventures.


Bridal Brooch Bouquet Sneak Peek


For today’s floral post I thought I would share a sneak peak into my latest wedding project. One of our bride’s asked if we could arrange her bouquet, no surprise there. The catch? Not a flower bouquet.

brooch bouquet

Have you seen these beautiful heirloom brooch bouquets? There are many varieties of brooch bouquets and personally, I think they are absolutely exquisite.

brooch bouquet

I really can’t express how excited I am to put this bouquet together. I’ll be posting the finished pictures on the blog very very soon so stay tuned.

brooch bouquet

These are just a few of the wonderful brooches I get to work with. Don’t you wish this was your job?

brooch bouquet


Pink Yarn & Raffia Gift Wrap


Today’s simple gift wrap technique was inspired by the hoards of leftover yarn currently taking over my craft room. To make your own pink yarn & raffia gift wrap you will need yarn, double sided tape and a piece of pink raffia (makes sense).

pink yarn gift wrap

Simply adhere tape to the top of your gift box/lid. Cut strips of yarn to fit across the top, align side by side until the top is covered. Place lid on box and secure with raffia bow.

pink yarn gift wrap

It’s that simple. This pink yarn & raffia box took about 10 minutes to throw together. Don’t dismiss that leftover yarn the next time you are looking for a easy way to dress up your gift wrap.


Wood Panel Wall Art


wood panel wall artThe last few months I have noticed a plethora of wooden-variety signs and art making their debut on the pages of Pinterest. I have struggled to come up with an idea that could turn the hundreds of extremely creative ideas into one project that I can truly call my own–my idea, my style, my brain child. Although I am one of the biggest supporters of Pinterest, I find it becomes more & more difficult to be original after seeing the incredible ideas submitted by users. Really, I just want to make exact replicas of most of the projects I see, but no, I push on and try to make each project my own. I think I did just that with this plywood art.

I received this beautiful Monet print from my friend Kristin after her recent excursion to D.C. with her junior high students (isn’t she sweet). I struggled with the many ways to really make the print stand out on the vast expanse of white wall currently found in our apartment. Originally I started this project thinking I would just paint a cute saying of some sort on the boards but luckily the print came to mind and the finished result makes me happy.

Wood Panel Art

Materials:

2-8ft 1x4in boards
1-4ft 1×1-1/2in board
1 bag of 2in screws
1 small jar of wood stain
3 colors of paint (mine were gray and blue and yellow)
1 canvas frame
1 print
60-grit sandpaper

Instructions:

Cut the two 1x4in boards into three-2 1/2ft long pieces and sand.

After sanding, stain two of the boards with wood stain. Set aside.

Next, get your other two paint colors ready. Dip your brush into the paint and then swirl around in a cup of water so the paint is extremely watery. You want to use your paint sort of like a watercolor and let the watery tint soak into the board. So, to reiterate, you aren’t really “painting” the board but more “tinting” the board. Got it?

painted wood panels

Allow the boards to dry. Meanwhile, take your 1×1-1/2in board and cut two pieces long enough to fit horizontally across the back of your boards (20in each). This is what you will screw your 2-1/2ft pieces into.

Take your canvas frame and paint it using your third color (mine was bright yellow to accent the yellow sunflowers). Let dry.

Come back to your stained and painted boards and begin to sand the edges and tops until you achieve the desired amount of weathering.

Now it is time to assemble. Turn your boards over so the front is facedown. Stagger the boards and place the 1×1-1/2in boards across the back horizontally, one toward the top and one toward the bottom (see picture). Screw the boards to the blocks.

wood panel wall art

Once all the boards are secure, turn the pallet over and glue your print to the center with craft glue.

Last of all, take the painted frame and using wood glue, attach the frame around your print.

This project took about 6 hours for me to make. The longest part is sanding and drying time, but overall it is fairly simple to throw together.


Succulent Boutonniere How To


I am constantly writing to you about buying flowers locally and arranging them yourself for special events or weddings but what about those specialty pieces like corsages and boutonnieres? Can you also make these yourself? The answer is “yes & yes” and I’m ready to show you how.

blue gray boutonniere how to

This little boutonniere is incredibly simple to make and uses items that are hardy enough to remain upright even when out of water overnight. When we make boutonnieres for weddings on the farm, they are usually assembled the afternoon prior to the wedding, at the same time we arrange centerpieces and bouquets. If you know what to use, this is not too far ahead of the event to assemble the boutonniere. Once you have finished assembling all your bouts, simply store in the refrigerator until the big event.

When choosing stems for your bout, be sure to choose ones that are hardy. This bout uses Ivy as the backing, dusty miller, blue thistle, dianthus and a small succulent.

Assembly:

Step 1: Find a flat surface and lay out one leaf of Ivy. Lay one leaf of Dusty Miller on top.

Step 2: Now add a small piece of blue thistle on top of the Dusty Miller and slightly left of center.

blue gray boutonniere how to

Step 3: Lay the Dianthus to the right of the thistle.

blue gray boutonniere how to

Step 4: Push the succulent up under the Dianthus and slightly to the right of center. You should position the succulent so that it is sort of supporting the Dianthus, that way, even if it decides to wilt it will be supported and go unnoticed.

blue gray boutonniere how to

Step 5: Now you want to add a smaller Ivy leaf to the front of the bout, right underneath the succulent giving it a sort of clam-like appearance (sorry I forgot this picture, but look at the finished product up top and you will see what I mean).

Step 6: Pinch the stems together right underneath the heads of the stems and cut the stems and varying lengths. This is helpful for those of you who want to cover the stems with ribbon, it makes a gradual thickening as you up the stems toward the flowers.

blue gray boutonniere how to

Step 7: While holding the stems tightly with one hand, grab your roll of florist tape and begin to wrap the stems at the neck of the bout. If you just want a simple bout without ribbon, continue to wrap the stems all the way down with the florist tape (ribbon wrap tutorial to come).

blue gray boutonniere how to

There you have it, one very simple boutonniere crash course. Don’t forget to be creative with your materials–there are an endless possibilities when making your bout. One of my all-time favorite items to use is dried wheat or barley for a vintage look.

blue gray boutonniere how to