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Purple & Orange Wedding


Today was my last farm day for the year. I’m always sad when summer comes to an end but with Fall just around the corner the workload at the farm dwindles down and really, it’s just in time for me to head back to classes. After seven years and three degree changes I am finally beginning my last year. Hooray! Next week I will head back to class and will also be starting a new job. Such a busy month. I am so excited to get started with the year and finish up this chapter of my life but right now, feeling sad to say goodbye to summer and all the beauty to be found out on the farm.

Today Linda and I worked on a rather unique wedding. The bride wanted purple and orange–not a request we are used to getting, however, the bouquets were both fun and beautiful. The groom’s boutonniere was purple and the groomsmen had orange. Like many of us, the happy couple also enjoy a good tasting beer and thought it would be fun to include hops in their bouts. Once again, so fun!

purple & orange wedding

purple & orange wedding

purple & orange wedding

purple & orange wedding

I hope you’ve enjoyed these pictures and found a little bit of inspiration. I never would have thought to use purple and orange for wedding colors but after putting these together, I’m a believer! I so loved arranging this fun wedding and wish the happy couple all the best.


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.


Farmer’s Market Flower Bouquets


Today was another glorious Friday out at Aunt Willie’s Wildflowers. With no weddings on the books this weekend, we were able to devote ourselves fully to the task of arranging bucket upon bucket of market bouquets for the Kingsport Farmer’s Market. Linda’s customers will be SO happy.

Beautiful flowers to work with, beautiful weather to work in, beautiful scenery surrounding our work space, all in all a fantastic way to end the week. Here are a few photos of the flowers we had to work with this week.

farmer's market cut flower bouquet

farmer's market cut flower bouquet

farmer's market cut flower bouquet

farmer's market cut flower bouquet


Coral Peony Bridal Bouquet


A few weeks ago I had the privilege of helping Linda with flower arrangements for a vintage wedding. If you haven’t figured it out before, it seems the go-to flower for vintage is the beautiful peony. And really, who would argue with that choice? The peony is absolutely exquisite in all colors but this coral color is by far my favorite. I could look at it for hours. Really? Not even kidding.

Here’s another look, in case you too, can’t stop staring.

Alrighty then, tearing eyes away, closing mouth, moving on…

The bridal bouquet was made mainly with white and coral peonies, white stock, yellow, white & peach ranunculus, chartreuse-colored physocarpis, and bells of Ireland.

Bouquets are different than arrangements in styling order. With arrangements you typically want to start by placing your filler since that will take up more of the vase space. With bouquets however, filler is much more scarce so you actually begin with your flowers, and usually the bulkier flowers first to provide support to the smaller stems.

So, can you guess which flower we start with here? That’s right, the peonies! Group a few peonies in the middle, then add a white stock in between each peony. Then add a few Bells of Ireland stems around the edges of the peonies and stocks, follow with an outer layer of peonies in the open spaces.

As you move toward the outer edges of your bouquet, make sure you are continuing to push the outer edges upward instead of letting them fall low. With bridal and bridesmaid bouquets you want to see all of the flowers at the top, not lose them down underneath at the spot where you would hold the bouquet, make sense?

Alright, now all that’s left is filling in the spaces and adding a few pops of color and filler. This bouquet has Phisocarpus leaves placed sporadically throughout for a bit of added filler and little peach, white, and yellow Ranunculus for added color. Hold the bouquet lower on the stems as you add flowers. This allows the bouquet to sit loosely giving you plenty of wiggle room for adding stems in last minute or even pulling a few out.

And of course, if you like the look, add Hosta leaves around the very bottom to create a collar. This gives the eye an end point and keeps the focus on the flowers above the collar instead of trailing off into nothingness.


Baby Shower Flowers + Painted Jars


Occasion: Baby Shower with Unknown Baby Gender

Use this bouquet as inspiration for a baby shower with an unknown baby gender.

Stems:

pink/burgundy dianthus
burgundy ranunculi
yellow ranunculi
yellow stock
blue baptisia

Arranging:

Begin with the dianthus as they are both sturdy and full so they will take up much of the empty space allowing you to strategically place the more delicate stems.

Next, add your contrasting colors, I put in two stems of yellow stock, one for height and color and a second to make the bouquet even. Accent the stock with yellow ranunculi spread throughout the arrangement in lower areas.

Fill any holes with the burgundy ranunculi. Pairing different flowers of similar colors in one bouquet gives the arrangement texture and dimension. Finally, add the tall stem(s) of baptisia. More stems of baptisia will give you a more obvious boy/girl theme or you can find another bluish flower to add to the mix like ageratum.

paintedballjar

Centerpiece:

Take four ball jars (or a variety of used jars from your pantry) and paint the inside of each with a different pastel shade: yellow, blue, pink, green, etc. If you don’t have any pastel paints on hand, just mix each color with white until you reach the desired shade.

The first coat does a good job of filling in all white/clear space on the jar, however, if placed in the light it shows the stroke lines of your brush. I tried using a normal painter’s brush as well as one of those Styrofoam tipped brushes, but the regular brush worked much better. Wait 20 minutes for the first coat to dry before painting a second coat that hides the original brush strokes.

Make arrangements to place in your painted jars from the flowers listed above. Add three hosta leaves around the jar rims to form a collar. Group the jars in the center of the table for a beautiful bold centerpiece.

Painting the jars took about 30 minutes total so don’t be deterred by the extra effort of painting clear jars instead of buying colored vases/jars. Trust me, the extra time is well worth your efforts and will not go unnoticed.


Mother’s Day + Small Tribute


Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. Today is one of my favorite days because I love my mother so very much and I love having an entire day set aside for the sole purpose of honoring and celebrating her life, the sacrifices she has made and the person she is today.

My mom was recently offered a job in the Chicago area, a career opportunity of a lifetime for her. After much deliberation and conversation with my father, they decided she should take advantage of this opportunity, even though it means leaving my dad back home in Oregon until he can retire.

While this decision may sound crazy to most, and at times to our little family as well, I couldn’t be more proud of my mom. None of the decisions she and my father had to make regarding this position were easy. Moving across the U.S. to live alone, leaving the home you’ve poured so much time and effort into in exchange for a small apartment, trading the beautiful greenery and mountain settings of Oregon for the “concrete jungle” of a big city, and of course leaving behind all those you love most to pursue a dream that may or may not pan out…

I know many of you understand what it takes to make difficult decisions like these so you understand what must have gone into making the final decision to move. Despite all the so-called-craziness of this move, I am so proud that my mom took the job. She recognized the rut she was in, the day-in-day-out dead end job (you know the kind), and she took a chance. A very big chance. Decisions like these are the ones that make me respect my mother. Of course, no parent is ever perfect but it is always in the critical moments that I truly appreciate the example she sets.

My mother didn’t just tell my sister and I to follow our dreams and shoot for the stars, she didn’t just tell us to hold our heads high and put forth our best effort, she didn’t just tell us how to be strong confident women–she showed us. She showed us all these things when we were young and she continues to show us still today.

I am so proud of my mom and so grateful for her presence in my life, a gift not all can claim. I am grateful for the example she has set for me throughout the years, the encouragement she gives through every endeavor I undertake, the pride she takes in her family and in her work, her adventurous spirit and her persistent attitude. I am grateful that my mom has taught me to be confident in who I am, be proud of where I come from and to never give up on my dreams.

Thank you mom for all you do and all you have done for our family throughout the years. You do not go unnoticed. We love you more and more each and every day.