Purchasing your bridal bouquet can be quite expensive. Why not make one yourself? There are many local options available for the bride that’s willing to take a risk. Allow yourself to be open to the possibilities. Here are a few ideas:

"hot-pink-roses-cropped"

These bouquets of fuschia and pink roses were available in a local Wholefoods market. A $12.00 -$15.00 purchase has the beginnings of a lovely wedding bouquet.

"pink-roses-cropped"

I just love the texture of these roses!

"rose-bouquets-Fairway-cropped"

These beautiful rose bouquets were available in a local Fairway Market. One of these bouquets or even a combination of the three could create a bouquet masterpiece.

"blue-and-pink-hydrangeas-cropped"

For your “something blue”, why not consider these gorgeous blue hydrangeas? Combined with the pink variety, you’ll have yourself a stunning colorful bouquet! Perfect for the spring or summer bride on a budget.

"sunflower-bouquets-Fairway-cropped"

This bouquet of sunflowers screams happiness! You can’t help but smile. What better choice for a summer DIY bride?

Whichever flowers you choose to select for your bridal bouquet, be sure to make them your own. Customize your bouquet with a colorful ribbon, vintage brooch or even a strand of pearls. The possibilities are endless and it can be done within the strictest of budgets.

Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile! :)

Bouquets are lovely in their own right. The flowers chosen can evoke a particular mood, demonstrate a specific meaning, or reflect the holder’s style.

"Three rose bouquets windowsill"

French braiding a bouquet handle can not only serve to protect the holder from the stems’ possible thorns and/or other uneven surfaces, but it can give a bouquet that extra panache and flair!

"French-braided-brooch-bouquet-horiz"

Add your personal touch of style to your bouquet with this easy method.

1) Hand-tie your bouquet with wire, floral wrap or even a simple rubberband will do.

2) Measure 5 to 8 yards of ribbon, (wrap the length around the bouquet before cutting to ensure that you have enough ribbon). The ribbon can be 5/8 inch to 2 inches in width.

3) Start at the bottom of the bouquet and begin to wrap the stems. As you bring the 2 ends of the ribbon to the front, crisscross the ribbon, alternately switching the ends to the other hand.

4) Bring the ribbon around the back after each crisscross in the front, keeping the left side under the right side. Repeat this as you move up the stems. Slide the ribbon down the stems as you go so that the braids are closer together.

5) Finish by tying a knot, then a bow over the knot. You can spiral-wrap the stems first with one color and then overwrap the ribbon with the French braiding technique using a ribbon of a different color. By making widely spaced braids, you can let the bottom layer show through creating a beautiful look of contrast.

"french braided brooch bouquet combo"

There are many bouquet adornments to choose from. In addition to the French braided ribbon handles in the bouquets above, you may have noticed the lovely vintage brooches. We’ll explore more of these beauties in an upcoming post. Stay tuned.

Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile!

Color can bring life and dramatic impact to any floral design. Here are a few images of a very colorful and vibrant bouquet that I shot at a wedding a few years ago. It was designed by Keyth, Managing Floral Designer and Consultant of Lovin’ Oven Floral Designs and still remains one of my all-time favorite wedding bouquets!  It contains coral roses, fuschia calla lilies, yellow-spotted orchids, reddish-orange glorious irises and fuschia sweet peas with a white, french-braided, ribbon handle. The colors and textures create a very dramatic statement.

"Tropical Bouquet Bodice"

"Tropical Bouquet Bodice Combo"

Here are a few definitions to keep in mind to help you maintain color harmony:

1) Hue: This is color in its purest form. The true color.

2) Tint: Adding white to a hue. For example adding white and red to create pink.

3) Tone: Adding gray to a hue.

4) Shade: Adding black to a hue.

5) Monochromatic Color Harmony: A color harmony made up of tints, tones and shades of the same hue.

6) Analogous Color Harmony: A color harmony created by using three  to six colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. It uses a range of colors forming a 90 degree angle on the color wheel including one primary color.

7) Complementary Color Harmony: One of the most dramatic color harmonies created by using colors opposite each other on the color wheel. For example red and green, purple and blue.

8) Triadic Color Harmony: Three colors that are equidistant from each other on the color wheel. The three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue are a color triad.

You can learn the basic concepts of the color wheel with tips from HGTV.com.

Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile!

I recently learned two different bouquet-making techniques in my floral arranging class. The first technique is called Binding or Bundling. This is the process of physically fastening three or more stems together. The bunches formed by using this technique are restricted and supported by the substance binding them together, for example a piece of ribbon.

I created the bouquet below by using the binding or bundling technique.

"Fall Bouquet Combo 2"

"Fall Bouquet Close"

Here’s how I created this bouquet:

1) First, I separated out the different groups of flowers that I was going to be using, keeping like stems together.

2) Then, by holding the flowers in my left hand, I fed the bouquet with my right hand.

3) I continued doing this in a counter clockwise direction.

4) By keeping the stems all in the same direction, I started to get a round form.

5) I used ferns to collar the base of my bouquet.

6) Next, I secured my bouquet with a jay cord, (a piece of string covered with wax). You can use floral design tape, a piece of ribbon or even something as simple as a rubber band to secure the stems.

7) Finally, I wrapped the jay cord tightly around the stems 3-4 times, securing the cord with a knot. Voila — the bouquet was completed.

The second bouquet-making technique is called the Lacing Bouquet Design method. In this type of design, the stems of the bouquet appear in a crisscross fashion.

"Crisscross Bouquet Sample"

Here’s how to create a bouquet using the Lacing Bouquet Design method:

1) Start at the bottom of the stem with the foliage.

2) Move your hand up the stem, holding the stem at an angle. From one side, go directly opposite with the next stem.

3) Create a crisscross pattern as you go along.

4) Turn in a clockwise direction.

5) You’ll start to get a round form.

6) Again, you can use ferns to collar the base of your bouquet.

7) Finally, secure your bouquet by wrapping a jay cord, ribbon, or other fastener tightly around the stems 3-4 times. Tie yourself a knot, and your bouquet is finished.

I hope that you’ll find this information helpful and that it may even inspire you to give it a try. Happy bouquet-making!

Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile!

Hi everyone! Here’s the latest chapter from my floral arranging adventures.

Professional floral arrangements come in many shapes and sizes. There is always a plan for the design and this concept shines through in the final shape of the arrangement. Without a plan, the finished product is a mishmash, rather than a controlled design.

There are 11 basic arrangement shapes that professional floral artists should be qualified to create. They are:

1) Symmetrical: When creating a symmetrical design, there must be equal visual balance apparent on either side of the central axis. If there were an imaginary line running from top to bottom through the center of the design, it would visually divide this type of arrangement into two equally balanced parts.

2) Round: All of the flowers and greens in this arrangement fall within the circumference of a circle, thus creating a round shaped design.

3) Asymmetrical: In an asymmetrical design, the central axis moves to the right or left of center. This type of arrangement resembles a right angle. The height of the design meets with the length to form a right angle.

4) Fan: In a fan design, the flowers are placed to form a semicircular shape, with all of the stems flowing into a central focal axis.

5) Oval: The typical oval arrangement is made with a primary flower to define the oval shape and other flowers and greens are used as fillers.

6) Vertical: This distinctive design shape emphasizes height. All of the materials used should be contained within the width of the container.

7) Horizontal: The horizontal line creates a pleasing arc shape, therefore it’s important to keep the arrangement low and ideally quite narrow to reinforce the horizontal impact of the composition.

8) Parallel Systems: A parallel systems arrangement is created by using two or more vertical designs in the same composition. There should be “air” between each parallel grouping of flowers. Sometimes the vertical groupings blend together, but usually the stems are separated into 2-3 zones.

9) Hogarth Curve: The interesting shape of this arrangement forms an “s” curve. A taller, cylindrical container is ideal for the Hogarth curve as it displays the full beauty of its shape. One important technique in creating the Hogarth is to extend the arrangement foam above the container, so that flowers can be inserted properly for the bottom part of the “s” curve.

10) Crescent: The crescent is one of the most difficult shapes to construct because it requires that flowers and greens are carefully shaped to form the crescent curve. Sometimes, materials can be shaped naturally into a crescent line, other times wiring is necessary. Branches, twigs, and bare grass are sometimes used in these arrangements.

11) Rectangular: This is a contemporary arrangement shape. The rectangular design is properly constructed when all flowers and materials fall within the line of an imaginary rectangle. It’s sometimes used in landscaping designs.

Once these basic forms have been mastered, modifications and creative license can be taken to create more contemporary designs.

Here is a bouquet that I created in our latest class. I’ll be describing how to make a bouquet in a future post. Check back soon to learn 2 different bouquet-making techniques.

"Fall Bouq Combo"

"Fall Bouquet Close"

Hope you enjoyed this newest lesson. Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile!

Each week my instructor amazes me! His passion for floral design shines through and this latest lesson was no exception.

This past week we discussed the secondary design principles. These principles are an important consideration when creating your design. Each principle is related to one of the primary principles of design. The secondary principles are:

1) Scale: The size relationship of the composition to its placement. If you’re decorating a large area, you’ll want to create a large design to complement it. If it’s a small space, you’d want to create a small design that doesn’t overpower that space. Everything in the design should fit together.

2) Transition: This is the way that we relate one material to another within a design. We can graduate in size, shape, or color, (sequencing). Material is placed from smallest to largest, lightest to darkest.

3) Tension: Tension provides contrast. We can provide contrast through the use of color and through the shape of the flowers in our arrangement. It elevates a design to the unexpected, and provides an imminent release of energy. It’s slightly contrary to what we’re expecting.

4) Repetition: The repeating of like elements within a composition. This includes:  line, form, color, space, texture, pattern, or size.

5) Opposition: Most often seen in the design lines. We create contrast by creating tension because lines, colors or textures within our design are the opposite of what we expect. Opposites attract because their differences provide us with the highest form of interest. Opposition allows us to add excitement and a breath of fresh air to a design by mixing in contrast.

6) Depth and Emphasis: We can create depth in a design by placing elements at various heights in our composition. This will add interest and give the appearance of fullness, as well as more dimension. By adding interest, depth provides emphasis. It brings the inside of a creation into visual focus. Depth adds visual volume to the design. Textural materials are often used to add this dimensional element.

7) Dominance, Focal Area: This is an area within a design where added emphasis or visual weight commands attention. In a focal area, more than one element, or multiples of a single element can be used. It’s the dominant feature within your arrangement. An example would be a single red rose, like the one pictured below.

"Week4-Centerpiece-Combo"

My latest creation is a Biedermeier arrangement which is a very compact arrangement using flower bulbs with very uniform sizes arranged in tight concentric circles from the center outward. From the top it’s viewed like a target and from the side it looks like a top. Accents are hardly used, sometimes using two or more colors as an option.

In addition to the rows of pink carnations and yellow-orange daisies, I’ve used fruit and vegetables within this centerpiece including:  5 orange slices along the outer rim, 6 brussels sprouts and 5 grape tomatoes. It’s very organic and quite striking!  Don’t you think?

"Week4-Centerpiece-Horizontal"

Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile!

Another great class last week! The topic of discussion was design principles. There are 7 essential design principles.

1) Composition: The organization or grouping of different elements used to create a unified whole.

2) Unity: The relationship of the individual parts to each other which produces a single, cohesive unit.

3) Proportion: The comparative size relationship between ingredients within a design. This relationship can be measured in the quantity of flowers, length of the stems, or amount of materials used in a design. The container being used sets the proportions for most designs. The standard rule is 1 ½ to 2 times the height of the container. The setting in which the arrangement will appear determines the scale of the design.

4) Dominance: The visual organization within a design that emphasizes one or more aspects. When one element is emphasized, the others become secondary. The focal point, which we mentioned in a previous post, is an example of one area that’s dominant.

5) Balance: A design is balanced when the placement of the components conveys both physical and visual stability.

  • Physical Stability – The actual placement of the main stems to establish the structure of the design. Poor stem placement in an arrangement may cause leaning and tipping due to the inadequate physical balance.
  • Visual Stability – Using color and material placement in sequence will create visual stability in an arrangement. Darker colors appear to be heavier and are used at the base of a design; lighter colors appear more lightweight and are used at the top of a design.
  • Asymmetrical Balance – When an unequal visual weight appears on either side of an imaginary center line, we have asymmetrical balance.
  • Open Balance – is a phrase used when neither symmetrical nor asymmetrical characteristics can be applied to a design. Some examples include: parallel systems, and new wave. They’re considered open balance because it’s difficult to apply traditional balance fundamentals.

6) Harmony: Harmony is the pleasing aesthetic quality created by the careful selection of parts for a composition. It can be expressed in two ways: either through similar materials or contrasting components which are distinctively different. It’s usually achieved through the use of color, but also through texture, shape, or size of the materials.

7) Rhythm: The filling of a motif or formal element at regular or irregular intervals. It can be expressed in line, form, color, spacing between flowers, or the simple repeating of curves in planes within a composition. An example could be 12 pink tulips wrapped in cellophane.

Our latest assignment was creating an asymmetrical arrangement. Here is a peek at my interpretation:

"Week3-Centerpiece"

An “L-shape” is formed with the fern and yellow daisy in the front. Hmm, I guess it would have been better to have taken a photo with a sideview so that you could see the true “L-shape” of the centerpiece, huh? Lesson learned. (chuckle)

"Week3-Centerpiece-Horizontal"

Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile!

We had another wonderful class last week! We started discussing the elements of floral design. There are five key components to every floral design:

1) Line: This is the framework of your design. It creates the primary foundation and provides a visual path for the eye to follow.

2) Form: This is the external appearance of your design creating its composition. A well-designed arrangement is three dimensional with length, width, and depth. In general, designs can be round, oval, rectangular or triangular in shape. An exception to this rule is another form of design which uses an S-shaped, curved line known as the Hogarth line, named after William Hogarth, an 18th century English painter, satirist, and writer.

3) Space: This is the three dimensional area in and around your design. There are three types of space:

  • Positive – This is the area within your floral composition occupied by material. The flowers in your design occupy a definite amount of positive space.
  • Negative – This is the empty area in between your flowers.
  • Voids – These are connecting spaces within your design such as stems.

The focal area is the visual point in your design that your eye is drawn to. It’s the highlight and focus of your design.

4) Texture: This is the visible surface structure of the materials you’re using in the composition of your design. Each material has a unique characteristic. Some examples are:  leaves, blossoms, dried materials, and other accessories used in your design to provide visual interest. Texture can be fine or course, smooth or rough, bright or dull. You can create tension in your design by using contrasting elements.

5) Color: Color plays a pivotal role in each arrangement. It can create a dramatic effect on the viewer. When colors are combined properly, the results can be breathtaking! Color gives your design personality and makes a statement. There are two different types of color schemes:

  • Primary Colors – These colors are bright, cheerful, and energetic, for example, reds and yellows.
  • Receding Colors – These colors are relaxing, soothing, and calming, for example, purples and blues.

When we create a design, we want to place the darker-colored flowers on the inside of our arrangement  because our eye is naturally drawn to them.

Here is my second creation using a mix of light and dark-colored flowers. Our assignment was to create a triangular-shaped design. How did I do?

"Week 2 Centerpiece Combo"

"Week 2 Centerpiece Horizontal"

More floral goodness soon. Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile!

Or better yet, where do all the flowers come from? Our instructor gave us a brief, floral history lesson last week. Where do all the flowers that we buy come from? Every day in the flower market in Aalsmeer, Holland between 5:30a.m. and 11:00a.m. hundreds of different types of flowers are auctioned, each of which has a multitude of varieties. For example, there are 300 kinds of gerberas, over 500 types of chrysanthemums and 400 different varieties of roses. In addition, most flowers are available in different quality classes and stem lengths. Hundreds of importers from all over the world are represented and approximately 21 million flowers and plants are traded. Wow, that’s a lot of flowers! You can learn more about the auction in Aalsmeer here.

If our instructor places an order with his buyer in Holland by 11:00a.m. eastern standard time, his order is fulfilled and delivered to his floral shop the very next day. The flowers are flown from Aalsmeer, Holland to John F. Kennedy airport in New York and trucked to their various floral shop destinations.

A large percentage of the flowers that we buy come from Holland, but some flowers are imported from South America and flown into Miami. Then they’re trucked up to New York. Others are trucked across the United States from California to New York. Wherever their point of origin may have been, it doesn’t matter to me. I love them all! There’s nothing like the scent of fresh flowers.

In honor of the national flower of the Netherlands, the tulip, I present for your viewing pleasure a few images of some red, striped tulips. I purchased these at a local Trader Joe’s supermarket. Shhhh!!! Don’t tell my instructor. He’ll have a fit!

"Red, Striped Tulips"

"Red-striped Tulips"

Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile!

I had the pleasure of taking the first of 6 floral arranging classes last week. It was a blast! Each week we’ll be creating a new centerpiece. At the end of each class, we’re able to take the finished product home with us. It’s great to have fresh flowers in the house!

Here are a few photos of my first “creation”.

"Centerpiece Close"

"Centerpiece-Horizontal"

I thought that I’d share a few helpful tips that I picked up from our first lesson.

It’s important to keep your containers and tools clean. Our instructor highly recommended using Clorox with hot water. Clear, glass vases are the top choice so that you can see when the water is starting to get a little cloudy and needs changing.

Before placing your flowers in a vase you’ll want to follow these simple steps:

1) Remove any broken stems and/or petals.
2) Remove ferns that will fall below the water level of the vase.
3) Using pruning shears, cut the stems on an angle under warm water.
4) Add fresh flower food to your vase.

If you don’t have flower food, you can make a homemade batch like so:

– 1 teaspoon of sugar
– 1 teaspoon of vinegar
– 1 quart of water

5) Add your flowers to your vase.
6) Arrange as you like.

More tips and floral loveliness soon. Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile!