currently crushing on… the ombré effect

flower bannerI am not a trend setter. In fact, by the time I’ve managed to clamber onto the wagon, everyone else has bailed. I’m left in the dust only to see them ride off, whooshing past me, waving from the newer, sexier wagon. Sigh.

When the ombré trend started I was completely uninterested. I don’t fuss with my hair and when it comes to fashion I’m conservative and wear mostly black. And I certainly don’t wear shades that fade from one color to another. It’s not symmetrical. But slowly ombré has managed to creep it’s way into everything… cakes, nails, shoes… everywhere but into my closet.

Flash back to about a month ago when I was walking with my dog, Lucille, and came face to flower (it’s really tall) with a fire poker or torch lily.

fire poker

It was bright and cheerful so I snapped a picture and for about a week and a half, I specifically routed our daily afternoon walks by the patch of fire pokers. I admired their lovely colors, gently flowing from soft pale yellow to orange to almost a burnt red. I had to admit it to myself: I, naysayer of ombré, was totally agog for this nature produced ombré flower.

So I set out to do what anyone who is passionate about flowers would do. I scouted the local flower shops to create an ombré inspired centerpiece. I bounced between four different flower shops, took pictures and returned home to review the flowers and piece together the ombré effect. Initially, I wanted to transition from the faintest cream to the loveliest spring green but I couldn’t find the right flowers/greenery. The color trends at the local shops were purples and pinks. How typical, right? I was slightly disappointed but reasoned with myself that inspiration can not be forced. Putting my disappointment aside I set off to the market to pick up ingredients for the evening dinner and stumbled across these little gems…

end of hueThey were perfect! Just the right hue of deep purple to complement an ombré of pinks or purples and they were anything but the norm. Feeling renewed joy in my project I practically ran to the flower shops the following day and rounded up a glorious assortment of flowers.

Here is what I ended up with: ranunculus (with the just a flirt of color), fancy liliac, snap dragon, stock, allium globemaster, liliac, alstromeria, and deep purple baby artichokes.

in a row

Prep containers. Start snipping stems. Test height as you go.

Work

Sometimes the pictures say it all…

table ombre

flowers in caddy

Bonus on the containers: They are actually part of a wine cup caddy set. When you are not displaying fabulous flowers you can pack a picnic with a bottle of wine and tote this marvelous drinker set. I bought mine at Butter Home.

ombre in grass

As I write this post my original inspiration is fading away until next season… the patch of fire pokers is drying up and it’s looking a bit blah. I miss it already.fire poker end season

Surprisingly, while I was (shopping but not really shopping) on the J.Crew website, I noticed they have an ombré cashmere sweater that you can pre-order… so maybe the ombré trend isn’t as fleeting as I originally thought.

Does that mean that ombré will soon be in my closet? Likely not. But I’m thrilled to have it on my kitchen table as a centerpiece. So, what’s next for the oh-so-trendy? I hear cropped shirts are all the rage (again). But that is so not happening. Maybe I’ll rock a high-low!

Have a fabulously trendy weekend and keep on crushing on! XXOO, Em

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say “i do” to DIY wedding flowers

bouquet1Yep, we made that and so can you. Isn’t it so romantic? Wedding season is upon us and I can’t wait.

If you’ve ever thought about arranging your own wedding flowers but are intimidated by what seems to be an enormous task (on top of the entire task of planning a wedding) we want to assure you that with enlisting help (hello bridesmaids!) and having realistic expectations (we’ll help you with that), you can create your own bridal flowers.

flowersWe recently had the opportunity to chat with Muriel-Marguerite Foucher of Paris Eastside at one of her recent wine tastings. The three of us discussed the idea of joining forces to teach monthly DIY flower arranging classes. We all love arranging flowers and Muriel has the perfect space to teach classes. It seemed like a natural fit.

While discussing the flowers for the bouquets Bee asked, “Well, what exactly are you looking for?” I didn’t have a good answer. I told her that I would know it when I saw it. Every bouquet starts with inspiration somewhere… you just have to find it.

So we walked over to Pike Place Flowers, the little flower shop near the market. Eureka! I found roses that were pale pink with a lavender, silver hue. So soft, almost antique-y and with an enchanting perfume. This flower was spotlight worthy. I had found my star, my inspiration. Now I needed the rest of the bouquet.

roses

On the way home I picked off a bit of white heather, from a large shrubbery. It had the most lovely drape to it and I couldn’t resist. I had been looking for seeded eucalyptus but couldn’t find any at the flower shops. This would have to do. The goodies: loose flowersBee was pretty excited but also a little nervous about arranging her own bouquet. I decided to take her under my wing as my first student and gave her pointers as we went along. I think her final project deserves an A+.
bouquet2

conversation level bouquet

If this looks like something that you’d like to learn how to make, join us as we team up with Muriel at Paris Eastside for a two-hour class on April 6th. You will learn fundamental techniques, including how to make floral foam arrangements and hand-held bouquets while staying on a budget. We will also provide you with local sources for purchasing flowers as well as tips and tricks to care for your bouquets. This is your opportunity to learn and brainstorm with the pros in a fun and friendly environment! At the end of the class, you’ll come back home with a simple yet professional and elegant conversation-level arrangement and a bridal bouquet. Bring your friends and make it a girls’ day out — and don’t forget your bridesmaids so they can support you and help you prep for your big day. Check Paris Eastside for registration and other details.

bouquet3We hope to see you on Saturday, April 6th @ 11am! Happy wedding planning!

XOXO, Em

sprucing up your bouquet

wilting 1

This is what my Valentine’s Day bouquet looks like after daily water changes and fresh cuts. Despite my efforts, the tulips are gonzo. Most of the flowers are still lovely but the arrangement is looking a bit haggard, no? It needs some serious sprucing. And while I’m at it… I’m going to rearrange the bouquet into mini bouquets. I have a bunch of glassybabys that are so darn cute and flowers make them even cuter.

In Monday’s post, I mentioned that it’s really important to separate the flowers and truly see what you are working with. The lemon leaf, lilies, roses, alstroemeria, and hyacinths are all in pretty good shape. I also picked up a bunch of wax-flower at the market because I think it will add a softness to the mini bouquets and I love the lemony smell.

loose flowers1

Let’s get started! Pick out your new containers. Don’t have glassybabys? Mini jam jars work great or reuse glass cream or milk jars. Your containers need not match! Fill up your petite containers with fresh, cold water. Cut your greens to fill the new containers. If you remember anything from this post remember this… once you cut your flowers the length is gone. It will not come back. I usually cut each stem a bit at a time until I have the length just right. Follow along with the wax flower (also called chamelaucium) and then alstro, roses, hyacinths and lilies. Pretty simple, huh?

Collage1

Collage2

How darling are these? Perfect for the dinner table or on the nightstand. Line them up or separate them around the flat.

Collage3Enjoy your mini bouquets!

XOXO, Em

arranging loose flowers

Collage_FlowersBee and I have often joked about how we would love for our husbands to bring home flowers on randoms days – not just on the “required” days… ie. Valentine’s Day or anniversary, etc. A spontaneously gifted bouquet seems more meaningful than a bouquet on a commercial holiday.

Flash back to 7 years ago when my husband and I were in the early stages of our courtship… I told him that I didn’t need flowers on Valentine’s Day and that it was silly to spend a bunch of money on a “canned” bouquet. Of all the times for him to listen to me! I was crushed but I learned an important lesson about myself. I do want flowers on Valentine’s Day because I love flowers and I love to be loved. Yes, I want them randomly as tokens of my husband’s affection. But let’s be honest here – I’m a romantic and I want flowers. Period.

edited flowers5_againThis year, since my husband and I traveled for the President’s Day weekend holiday, he surprised me with an early Valentine’s Day loose flower bouquet. Not only do I love flowers but I find great joy in arrange them myself. It’s my chance to be creative with a gift I’ve been given.

Full discloser: I worked in a flower shop for years. One thing I noticed about the clientele was that people were hesitant to give/receive flowers in the form of a loose floral bouquet. Me? I have plenty of containers and would much rather spend the money on the flowers. But I thought about this objectively. Perhaps people are overwhelmed to receive a whole bouquet…. they aren’t sure what to do with it. My advice? As with most things in life, take it step-by-step.

First, open the bouquet and separate everything. It might seem silly but you need to get to know what you are working with. These should be on a large work surface – all separated. Truly see it. My bouquet consists of: lemon leaf, lilies, roses, alstroemeria, tulips and hyacinths. Fill a container with fresh water and add your greens. These are your base. Work in the roses, one at a time. Then, the alstro (again one at a time), then the lilies, then the tulips, then the hyacinths. Remember to give each stem a fresh cut as you go and work the arrangement from all sides.

Now, our hard work is showcased in a lovely flower arrangement. As the days pass, remember to change the water and give your flowers a fresh cut. Eventually, your bouquet will begin to wilt. Check back with us on Thursday and I’ll show you how to spruce up your arrangement. For now, enjoy your work of art!

edited flowers3_again

Have a great week!

XOXO, Em