Maple Leaf Roses

This weekend, we went up the shore to Duluth, to enjoy the fall colours. Managed to not take any photos of anything, somehow… but we DID collect some leaves. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making maple leaf roses for the past couple years, ever since seeing them popping up on Pinterest. October is usually my busiest time of year, but with my elbow injury preventing me from sewing… I finally had some free time.

These came together pretty quickly once I figured out what I was doing. All told, it took about 1 hour from the time I first sat down. I soaked the leaves overnight, let them dry to the touch in between paper towels, and then went to it. I folded and wrapped them around lengths of florist wire, using floral tape. Once they were all done, I soaked them with some serious hairspray, and let that dry.

I love how they turned out – a gorgeous bit of fall colours right in my living room! These would be so pretty as wedding bouquets or centerpieces – they did lose some of their vibrancy overnight, though. Thankfully, my husband took these beautiful photos while it was still bright and fresh!

What do you guys think? Any plans to make a set yourself?










More Silk Florals

When preparing to post my How to make silk flower pomanders tutorial the other day, I was disappointed to find out that we had apparently lost photos of my more recent Twin Cities Pride Festival floral designs. Between a move, a tornado, and the folders on one of our servers getting jumbled… somehow the photos got misplaced.

My husband noticed how bummed I was about it – I really loved the more recent florals. As many of them had been stolen from the site that year, the photos being gone just seemed even more tragic. He scoured the various computers and flash drives here, and finally found them! So, even though it’s a bit belated, I want to share the photos with you, as another example of what can be done with silk floral pomanders as outdoor wedding decor.

This set of floral designs was done as a rush job. It’s kind of a funny story, even if that was NOT the case when it happened.

I arrived at the festival to set up, and we found out that the previous commitment ceremonies coordinator had accidentally THROWN OUT the florals I’d donated a couple years before, after the previous year’s festival!

So, with only a day to not only set up, but now also redo the entire floral design scheme for the ceremonies area, the festival armed me with a credit card, and I raced to a local silk floral wholesalers. With NO idea what would be available when I arrived, I had to cobble together a color scheme on the spot! I found several varieties of silk flowers in colors that worked well together – mostly hydrangeas, roses, and ivy – picked out my whole order, and rushed home for a LONG day of floral arranging.

With the help of my friend Susi, we managed to turn out the entire thing in record time, and were able to set up at the ceremonies site that very afternoon. Whew – what an adventure! Given what all was involved with the creation of this floral set, I’m doubly happy that the photos were eventually found! I love how they’re very pretty, almost serene looking… but *I* know the panic that went behind them. It makes for an interesting contrast of emotion for me!

These florals were all done using the same techniques as described in my earlier tutorial, with minor variations in technique:

– The pomander hung across the aisle had a very long ribbon run all the way through it.

– The domed arrangement with the draping behind it was done on one half of a larger styrofoam ball. I had cut it in half and poked two holes in it, from the center of the dome, through to the center of the flat side. I folded a long ribbon in half, feeding one end through each of the two holes and out the back. I then decorated the domed half of the ball, and used the ribbon ends to affix it to the pipes in the tent.

There are just so many things that you can do with these techniques, and I can’t recommend it highly enough… especially for outdoor weddings. It’s great to be able to get the design work done well ahead of your event. Trust me, I know this from experience! LOL





How to Make Silk Flower Pomanders

2.5 years ago, I posted my first wedding floral design tutorial, planning to make it a regular thing. With floral design being one of my earlier ADD career incarnations, I’ve got about 15 years experience (off and on for a decade of that) – a lot of floral knowledge! – kicking around in the back of my head, ready to share. Procrastination took over, though… so here’s my second floral tutorial. Better late than never, right?

For the past few years, June really makes me think of weddings. Not because June is the stereotypical “Wedding Month” (August was always FAR busier, for me!), but because it’s Pride month. While weddings happen all year, and can / do happen every day of the year… the sea of rainbow really had a way of making me stop to think about weddings, marriage, and happiness. When you’ve been in the wedding industry for 15 years, it’s easy to lose sight of some things.

For instance, it’s easy to take weddings – and marriage – for granted, when you’re one of the many for whom it’s available. I’ve never had to consider the idea that I wouldn’t legally be able to marry my husband, that there’s any chance of being denied any of the legal benefits to being married, etc. Hell, even before that… we didn’t need to worry that our falling in love, dating, or getting engaged could result in any sort of fallout with family, or provoke hatred and violence from strangers. No one sees our marriage as a “threat” to their own, no one campaigned against our rights to marry, etc. We didn’t have to fight for it.

As a Canadian immigrant living in the USA, I still haven’t wrapped my head around why gay marriage is even an issue. If anyone’s marriage is threatened by someone else’s ability to marry – regardless of anyone’s plumbing – perhaps it’s *their* marriage that needs to be examined. You know, NOT the marriage of the happy couple who wants nothing more than the right to be together. UGH. I’ve ranted about it before, so I’ll cut the tangent short, here.

As you may know, I was a sponsor of the Twin Cities Pride Festival for a few years, providing all of the floral design for their commitment ceremonies area. The year I moved to MN, we went to the Pride Festival, and were shocked to see that the ceremonies area consisted of a single, unadorned garden trellis – no flowers to speak of! I signed up for the following year, and created many floral arrangements for the site.

To this day, I still receive compliments about the designs – especially the pomanders pictured to the right and below. Yes, the silk flowers were very cheap and not the most realistic… but the color and visual impact that they brought to the site completely transformed the entire look and feel of the ceremonies site!

(Don’t judge! We needed durability, first and foremost, as these flowers would be outside – through various weather conditions- for several days. Then they would be packed away for a year, and brought out to decorate the following year.. lather, rinse, repeat. Nicer flowers would NOT hold up!)

Anyway.

In honor of Pride weekend, I’d like to show you how to make them. Pomanders are a great way to decorate wedding ceremonies and receptions: Put them in trees, suspend them from garden hooks, or hang them off the corner of chairs or church pews. As a DIY thing, they’re a great way to save money on decor, and can be made WAY ahead of time – so they’re great for pre-wedding time management.

Happy Pride Week / Month, everyone!

DIY Wedding Pomanders

Materials:

Styrofoam balls – I used 3″, you can use larger if needed.
Chopstick or BBQ skewer
Ribbon (Preferably satin type, 1/2″ – 1 1/2″ wide)
Silk flowers – MANY*
Silk greenery or accent flowers (such as baby’s breath), if desired
Pins (I like beading pins. Perfect length + bit larger head)
Decorative accents, optional**

* Flowers: I like to buy stems with many small flowers attached – ideally the kinds where the flower heads are easily pulled off. It’ll require a LOT – the small pomander pictured took about 50 smallish flower heads! (1.5″ – 2″ in diameter, when pressed flat)

** Decorative accents: Depending on the look you’re going through, there are SO many options for what you can do to really customize these. Metallic airbrush accents, spray glitter, stick-on rhinestones, sprays of wired beads, etc. I’ve seen steampunk bouquets with gears glued on, and I’ve seen pieces of Lego successfully use in a wedding bouquet. Have fun with it!

Alternatively, you can use larger flowers (such as the silk roses pictured above). Cut the stems to 1.5″ – 2″ long instead of pulling the flower heads off the stems.

Using a chopstick (preferred) or metal grilling skewer, puncture a hole right through the middle of a styrofoam ball.

Cut a length of ribbon. You’ll want it big enough not only for the loop, but for the ribbon through/under the styrofoam ball as well. As an example, if I want a 12″ drop (IE: the ball sits 12″ below whatever it’s being hung from), I’d allow 24″ for the loop, 6″ for the two ends to pass through the 3″ ball, and then another 6″ or so for knotting, etc… meaning a 36″ length.

Fold the ribbon in half, “good” side out.

If using a chopstick, fold the two edges of ribbon over the end of the chopstick by 2″, and push through the styrofoam ball, before knotting them together on the other side.

If using a (sharper, pointier) skewer, knot the two ends of the ribbon together (small, tight knot). Use the skewer to GENTLY push the knot through the styrofoam ball.

Carefully pull the knot out of the other side and knot another time or two – you’ll want the knot to hold the ball on securely, and pushing the knot through – rather than un-knotted ribbon – has a tendency to leave a fairly wide hole.

Start affixing flowers to the styrofoam ball. I like to push the ~1/4″ rubber/plastic nub on the back of the flower into the styrofoam, then secure with a pin. I push the pin through the flower somewhere near(ish) to the center of the flower, but not through the hole in the very center of it.

If you’re using larger flowers with the small pieces of stem attached, just push the stems into the styrofoam.

If your flower type has several layers of petals, try to push it through a spot where most of the layers overlap – it’ll be more secure that way. On this type of flower, I made sure to catch the pin through part of the plastic center, so that it’ll remain on the ball. If I had pinned it just through the petals, there’s a good chance that the center would eventually fall out.

Continue attaching flowers over the entire surface of the ball. Be sure to lift petals of an already-affixed flower to be able to place the next flower fairly close to it – you don’t want any styrofoam showing between the individual flowers.

Once your ball is completely covered with flowers, attach your decorative accents, if using.

If you would like to attach a decorative bow, tie one in a length of ribbon, then push a pin through it.

Pin the bow to either the very bottom of the pomander (hold it up by the loop to see where the very bottom actually is!), or to the top, near the loop.

Your pomander is complete, and ready to bring some color and visual interest to your celebration! Now… make a bunch more.

To do a pomander set like the one on the right, feed one end of a ribbon through the ball, rather than two ends. Knot and proceed as described. Once you have two pomanders ready, tie the ribbon length from each together in a pretty bow. This style is especially great for hanging from trees, as pictured.

Like what you see? We added a second post, More Silk Florals with updated photos of some faux floral decor we’d done for another year of Twin Cities Pride!

Wedding Trends: Not Quite What You May Think

Fell out of bed this morning, checked my email – and there was a brightly colored bit from an industry publication.

Now, I may not be directly in the wedding industry anymore, but I’m still on a lot of mailing lists – too lazy to get myself removed. Plus, sometimes there are nuggets of entertainment in there. The wedding industry, when watched as a former member, is probably something akin to the sleeziest reality show out there. You know it’s gross, lowest-common-denominator at times, and that a lot of the characters are just loathesome… but it appeals to some twisted voyeuristic (schadenfreude?) section of the brain. I do enjoy when friends behind those “enemy lines” keep me up to date on the current gossip in the local industry, LOL.

Anyway.

This particular publication was loudly declaring that “vintage big-top circus” is going to be HUGE as a wedding theme this year. I wish I could include the photo that’s attached to the article, but I’d rather not get DMCA’d over it. Let me describe: (more…)

Gorgeous Harry Potter Themed Wedding

I have a unique wedding that is SO gorgeous and well done … it really needs very little commentary. So, let me get the acknowledgements out of the way.

Christine and Andy met because of Harry Potter – through an online forum – and decided to theme their wedding around the series.

The gorgeous photography was done by Geoff White Photographers. In addition to their website, you can catch them on Facebook, Twitter, and on their blog.

Enjoy!


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Real Wedding Inspiration – Halloween Wedding

Now that it’s mid October, Twitter and the wedding blogs are lighting up with mentions of Halloween weddings. I’d like to take this opportunity to share my favorite Halloween wedding with you.

Now, it’s no secret that I’m being extremely selective about the projects I take on, and the people I’ll work with. Life’s just too short, you know? Aside from that, Halloween is the hardest weekend to get a booking with us, as we’re always booked to do an event in Chicago that weekend – they book us a year in advance. Ansley’s initial email to me was such a stand out, I couldn’t help but be intrigued – and bend over backward to make it work for her! Let me share:

Good afternoon,

My name is Ansley — I am getting married on October 30th of this year. After scouring the internet in the daunting task of researching wedding cakes, I fell in love with what you do. Everything else I’ve seen looks mundane and unimpressive in comparison to what I’ve viewed on your site. We are an “alternative” couple (I’ll swallow my pride a minute and admit that’s a somewhat politically correct way of calling us “goths”) and have concerns about how that effects our relations with vendors. Everyone we work with seems to assume that our Halloween wedding means skulls, plastic bats and ghosts.

Not so– we are classy and elegant, not campy. What I’ve seen on your website surely demonstrates not only your talent but that you understand that even “odd” is still art. I’d love to set up some sort of consultation with you, though I’m not sure how it is done as I’m new to this whole wedding thing and all of the chaos it entails!

Thank you for your time,

Ansley

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how it’s done. Polite, coherent, complimentary, eloquent, AND expressing a desire for something different? I was in love with this wedding – and clients! – before I met them!

The wedding was to be “Simple, elegant and most importantly, black”, taking the bulk of its visual inspiration from the Nine Inch Nails music video for “The Perfect Drug”. The wedding and reception were held at the The James J. Hill Reference Library in Downtown Saint Paul… an absolutely gorgeous, unique venue.

If this is starting to sound familiar at all, you may have seen our blog entry about the cake she ordered, “Glam Goth Wedding Cake“. If you haven’t – or want a refresher – be sure to click that link to view her cake photos!


James J. Hill reference Library, during setup.

Anyway, long story short, we juggled to make the logistics work out, and Ansley was a dream to work with. Absolutely one of my favorite brides ever! The cake was delivered, and I anxiously awaited photos of the event. I swear, nothing could have prepared me for the finished product! Ansley looked absolutely amazing in gorgeous black and blue gown, the black candelabra were a perfect compliment to the super high ceilings in the library… sigh. Must have been the perfect wedding to attend! Let me share the photos, courtesy of the bride, groom, their guests, and photographer – M. Doucet:

As always.. I LOVE when brides go their own way with their weddings. This was just amazing, and I’m sure her guests will be talking about the experience for years to come! Also, I’m sure her vendors will be, as well! Love it!

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Far-flung awesomeness of the PUMPKIN variety!

You may remember the subject of today’s blog entry from my Valentine’s Day blog entry. Well, I have a really cool update. Also, I SWEAR I make this wedding related by the end of this entry!

From time to time, I blog about stuff that I find cool. It may be what someone did for their Save the Date, it may be a cool product, or an awesomely talented artist. I don’t get asked for those blog entries, I don’t get paid for them. I just blog it because I find it cool, and – assuming you find *me* interesting enough to read my blog – I figure you’ll find it cool too! “Birds of a Feather” and all… 🙂

Alex, the ridiculously gifted artist behind The Pumpkin Geek is one of those insanely talented people I tend to “meet” on Twitter. I can’t remember how I came to follow him, but once I saw his work, I was an immediate fan! If you haven’t seen what he does, be sure to peruse his site – he carves the most intricate, geeky Jack o’Lanterns ever! They’re all from fake pumpkins, so you can treasure the art indefinitely!

Where I’m usually lucky to receive a “hey, thanks!” email (which I totally appreciate!), Alex shocked the SHIT out of me by mailing me a custom carved mini pumpkin – featuring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine – to thank me for the blog!

If you know me at all, you know that I shrieked like a little girl when I found out. I have a big crazy thing for Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Not so much a crush as.. hrm. I don’t know. I find the character oddly relatable in some ways, and inspiring in other ways. That, and seriously.. I’d kill for Hugh Jackman’s delts. I have a BIG poster of him downstairs in my gym for exactly that reason! (more…)

“You know what would be awesome…?” #4

So I was on Twitter today, minding my own business.

Well, that’s a bit inaccurate, isn’t it? The nature of Twitter and all… more like “I was on Twitter, reading about EVERYONE’S business”… anyway, I digress. I certainly wasn’t thinking I was gonna be gobsmacked by something so insanely craptacular, it would result in a blog post!

… and even less so, that it would result in a new “You know what would be awesome…?” post! Anyway. Digress…. again.

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