Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Epic Love

My friends “M & J” had known of each other for years, but had never really “met” till two and a half years ago when a mutual high school friend of theirs formally introduced them. Well, guess what? They ended up getting hitched!

I got a text message from the bride-to-be about 6 months ago, asking if I’d be a bridesmaid in her wedding, and also if I’d do the flowers for the bridal party. I said “yes” to both accounts, and we started to brainstorm about colors and textures for her arrangements. She was going with a Spanish theme and her colors were red and black. Don’t worry; it wasn’t a goth wedding…

On a crisp Saturday morning in May, the lovebirds met me at the SF Flower market where we walked around pricing flowers and getting a feel for the textures that “M” had in mind for her arrangements. After a couple of hours we had the floral list: Red Roses (Freedom), Red Freesia, Black Schwartz Calla lilies, and Red Aranda Orchids. This selection would give us great rich colors, and really soft/lush textures.

Once we were set on the floral palette, I got to designing and decided that the bridal bouquet would be the main focus with the most color and texture; the groom’s and fathers’ boutonni√®res would be constructed of one Calla Lily with a fiddle stick accent; the mother’s corsages would be one Red Rose bloom with some accent greenery; and finally the bridesmaids would have simple bouquets of red roses.

About two weeks before the wedding, I got a text from “M” asking if there was anything I could do to help make the fountain in the courtyard where their ceremony was being held look pretty. She sent along a photo of what the Spanish-style fountain looked like and a photo of a decorated fountain she had seen somewhere else. After consulting with my CIO (Chief Inspiration Office – AKA: Mom), it seemed like the best course of action was going to be green garland with white floral accents. We had a vendor at the flower market hand make some fresh green garland for us at 3 dollars a linear foot and we bought some white Freesia that we assembled in bundles and attached to the garland as accent:

Let’s get down to numbers! “M&J” had a firm original budget of $500.00 set which I was able to meet in raw materials cost for all bridal party flowers, in addition to rose petals for her aisle and all the tables. After “M” decided on a few frills for the fountain, we had to add on another $120.00 for a grand total of $620.00! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is possible to do wedding flowers for under $1000.00 and also have them look great!

I wish my dear friends “M & J” the best in their “Epic Love” and hope that it leads them onto an even more “Epic Life”! Love you both! Congratulations!!!!

Tip: Brides-to-be; make sure you have a tossing bouquet that is separate from the bouquet you walk with down the aisle. This way you can dry/preserve your original bouquet as a keepsake from your special day.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hydrangea Mania!

Every summer my lovely mom comes to visit, and as part of this ritual she has a mini high school reunion with friends that live in and around the Bay Area. Aside from loving to entertain, I get a kick out of seeing/meeting the posse that my mom used to hang out with, and listening to their mischievous stories.

This year she decided to have an early morning brunch. After crafting our menu of, Smoked Salmon/Rye Bread log, Wild rice and Mushroom Frittata, Asparagus and Leek Quiche, Berry Cobbler, and Fruit Salad we set out to buy flowers for the table. Every time we passed by a stand that sold flowers mom would say “Hydrangeas, I love Hydrangeas.” So it’s pretty easy to guess that this week’s flowers are… yep, you guessed it. Hydrangeas!

I decided that this week I’m going to buy flowers from a flower vendor that is a San Francisco landmark; Imagnin Flowers (corner of Geary and Stockton across from Union Square- Right next to Macy’s). Their Hydrangeas were $8.00 a bunch, and because it was the end of the day, the owner cut me a deal, and gave me 4 bunches for $16.00, and a lovely $4.00 bunch of gorgeous green lemon leaves!

Grand Total:$20.00 (no tax!)

Sometimes creating an arrangement with one type of flower (monoculture) gives a bigger impact, especially if a lot of other things are happening adjacent to the arrangement; in our case, food!

FYI: Next week I’ll be covering a wedding that I’m designing flowers for in Sacramento… Get ready for some luscious red arrangements!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Color Purple

No, No, not the movie. The Color purple is the favorite color of the birthday lady that I was commissioned to do a surprise bouquet for. Since its summer time, purple flowers are all over the place, and in fact I had so many species to choose from, I didn’t know which to pick!!!! I finally settled on some really pretty and fragrant purple Butterfly Bush flowers (Buddleia ‘Purple Emperor’), deep purple (almost black) Schwartz Mini Calla Lilies, variegated cream and purple Mini Calla Lilies, and white Hydrangeas.

Tools: White floral mesh, purple and white wired ribbon, scissors, rubber bands.

I decided that the bouquet is going to be round and plump, so I started by placing flowers from the inside out making sure that I distributed the different flowers evenly to get a good array of textures and tones. I also made sure that I kept all the flower stems at their original length until I was ready to trim them for their final length.

Once the bouquet was complete, I secured the stems together with a rubber band then proceed to wrap them in white floral mesh, and topped off the arrangement with a striped white and purple bow.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

'Friendliest Flower'

Trivia: What movie is the following Quote from? (The winner gets a free floral arrangement…granted that you live within driving distance. Sorry to my overseas fans ;))

-“I love daisies.”
-“You told me.”
-“They're so friendly. Don't you think daisies are the friendliest flower?

This week’s shopping venture was the infamous Costco, where you can sample processed foods galore, buy a couch, and also do weekly grocery shopping to feed a whole nation! I had always noticed that they sell flowers at Costco but had never actually bought any there and really wanted to see what my $20.00 budget could buy me, and what variety I had to pick from. The variety was pretty generic and consisted of Roses, Sunflowers, Iris, and Daisies. Since it was a gorgeous summer day outside, I decided to go with the “friendliest flowers”; Bright orange Gerber Daisies, and white Marguerite Daisies.

Price: $18.67 (Score! Under budget by $1.33)

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been saving tomato sauce cans. They’re the perfect size for flowers, and have a lot of potential on how to “dress” them up. I had some left over silver wrapping paper from last year’s Christmas festivities, and a piece of left over Green natural fiber wrapping paper from another craft project that I had worked on. A pair of scissors, and a couple of pieces of tape later, I had my nifty little vases ready for their flowers:

As I was rummaging through my craft box, I found some silver wire that would be perfect as an accent to piece for the arrangements. I grabbed the closest pen in sight, and started to wrap the wire around it to create a coil:

Once the coils were ready, it was time to play with the flowers, and bring the arrangements to life:

Phantom delivery time!

Tip: Gerber Daisies tend to have softer stems and a heavy flower head that tend to droop after a couple of days. A way to reinforce them is to wrap the stems with silver wire to prevent them from drooping.