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!

High End Wedding Cakes and Fresh Floral Design CAN go Hand in Hand!

Last summer, Celebration Generation teamed up with local floral designer Jean Cowles, of Violet’s Flowers to create a series of high end fondant wedding cakes that incorporated fresh florals in the design. The following article and photos were developed into an 8 page article for a floral industry magazine, Flowers &. The article, while written for the benefit of floral designers specifically, could easily be of benefit to brides, floral designers, and cake designers alike.

I realized that I haven’t blogged about wedding stuff in awhile, seemed like a good time to dig this out of the ol’ archives to post 🙂

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Gorgeous Wedding Bouquet with… Lego? Awesome.

VERY short and sweet blog entry today!

I just saw a blog entry that Ariela at RBK Creations just posted. Fell in love, had to share!

You may recall RBK Creations from our blog entry, “Far-flung Awesomeness of the Floral & Photography Varieties“. If not, here’s the basic scoop: Met her on Twitter, she’s located in Texas, and she makes the most ridiculously awesome fabric and button wedding florals. Love them! (No, this is not a paid ad or anything!)

Of all the bouquet styles she does, my favorites are the felt ones, especially when there are bright colors involved. I’m a sucker for teal & purple… so when I saw those two colors, in my favorite style.. WITH LEGOS.. I had to post! Isn’t it awesome? Here’s some contact info if you want to revel in her awesomeness more closely – like with your own set!

Website: www.rbkcreations.com
Twitter: @RBKCreations
Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/reallybadkitty
Facebook: www.facebook.com/RBKCreations

Far-flung Awesomeness of the Floral & Photography Varieties!

I haven’t been shy about my love for Twitter. It’s been great personally AND professionally. I’ve met a ton of awesome people… some virtually, some in person. Great stuff!

A few months ago, I started a collaboration with one of my twitter buds, @RBKCreations, who makes the most amazing bouquets out of felt, fabric, and buttons! I’m a huge fan of incorporating fun, unique touches in weddings, really personalizing them – and these bouquets really speak to me. Well, more like scream “WANT!!!” to me :). Absolutely adore her work.

The fruits of that venture will be blogged about in the next month or two. Her bouquets are such a unique art, I can’t resist giving you guys a sneak peek!

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Craft: Shower / Reception Heart Arrangements

When I got married, I was a seasoned and highly efficient event floral designer. Of course I was going to do my own arrangements! Hiring out wasn’t even a consideration – I’m very Type A, I knew exactly what I wanted, etc.

Even with my experience… if I had my time back, I definitely would have hired out, just to minimize that bit of extra stress the day of/day before. Would have liked to be enjoying time with the girls the morning of, not running a hot shower in the hotel room to coax some stubborn lilies open! I always recommend to hire a professional floral designer for your wedding.

Sometimes though, it’s just not in the budget, or not what the bride wants to do, for whatever reason. That’s fine.. but definitely requires some planning ahead! Try to design arrangements that will last several days, and pick sturdy flowers that don’t require a lot of special care.

Here is a cute, cost efficient floral arrangement that can be made several days ahead of your wedding! You can use these on each table (and the individual arrangements can double as guest favors!), or just on “special” tables.. the guest book table, etc. The instructions are for the arrangement as pictured – you can use less containers, and do a smaller heart if you’d like!

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Vendor Spotlight – Violet’s Flowers

You know, I’ve always thought it would be a good idea to have a vendor spotlight on my blog. There are just SO many vendors out there, it’s impossible to meet them all.. and some vendors are just so awesome, they deserve a spotlight!

This vendor spotlight is going to be a bit difficult to write without sounding like a total dork. Ideally, I’d like to give completely unbiased reviews on excellent vendors – but this spotlight is not only on a great vendor, it’s about one of my favorite people in the world.

Ladies and Gentleman, it’s my honor to introduce you to the work of Jean Cowles, from Violet’s Flowers!

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The Amazing Glowing Cake!

A big highlight of this past week was getting together with Jean Cowles of Violet’s Flowers for some design fun. Her motto starts with “Sassy Flowers”.. sassy is right! She’s one of the most ridiculously fun people in the local wedding industry, and I had very much been looking forward to this.

I’ll be blogging about the outcome of this design collaboration in a few months, but wanted to give you guys a sneak peak at something we came up with – the Amazing Glowing Wedding Cake!

In addition to the lush beauty of the Tulips, peonies, astilbe, sweet peas, freesia, and more that burst out from between each layer (and form a beautiful topper), the cake itself was designed in such a way as to accommodate many small LED lights, which gave the whole thing an ethereal glow. Teaser pic below!


Wouldn’t this look amazing at any reception hall.. after the lights are dimmed slightly for dinner and dancing, the cake would still be a gorgeous, attention grabbing centerpiece! Love it!

Thanks again to Jean for working with me on this project. I had a blast, and it was great to work with such talent! I love her eye for design and color, and would highly recommend her to anyone looking for unique and fun wedding flowers!