I’m ridiculously excited about today’s post. I’m not one for going overboard on Valentine’s day. I could care less about a red rose, and much less over boxes of chocolate (although in my pregnant state I’ll eat anything with the ingredient: sugar). I’m most excited about today’s post because, 1) the main ingredient is my favorite flower of all time, and 2) it’s the second installment of a fun new series we started called Flower Workshop!
A couple weeks ago I introduced you to my super talented florist friend of mine, Amanda Luu. We’ve collaborated on a flower workshop series (her brill idea, let’s be honest), with the goal to make floral education reachable, fun, and exciting! Today marks the first holiday-esque arrangement of the series. I’ll let Amanda take it away from here….
… You’re walking up the final dozen steps to your loft. You smell something delicious. Ooh yeah, that’s definitely butter.
You open the door, and your guy trades your coat and bag for a chilled glass of rosé. He dashes back to the stove, stirring something luxurious.
A graceful arrangement adorns the table, and a soft light flickers from within the milky votives. The table is set, and we’re using real napkins tonight.
After an incredible meal (watercress & pistachio salad, mushroom risotto, meyer lemon tart), he slides you a scroll. It’s a love letter, calligraphed. In Italian. He recites his admissions of love (this part is also in Italian) and then presents you with a small box. How did he know you’ve been eyeing the rose gold lace ring by Grace Lee? Does this mean he actually looks at your Strong Hints board? He motions to the tart and sweetly asks, “Would you like another slice?”
Why yes, yes I would.
A girl can dream, right? To the women out there who have this whole doting partner thing figured out — please teach me your ways? For all the others, treat yourself and treat the amazing women in your life to something pretty — like this little arrangement. The best part? You could probably make this with ingredients from your backyard! I would love to see what you put together!
Before we get started, you need to know: flowers get crazy expensive around Valentine’s Day. These are my tips for feeling less of that hurt this holiday.
Skip the roses.
Farmers will “save up” roses for Valentine’s Day to meet the huge demand for these flowers, so not only will they be pricier than usual, they may also be of lower quality.
Age your flowers.
This seems counter-intuitive (wouldn’t you want to rush flowers out the door asap?), but many flowers need a day or two to open up. You’ll find that your ranunculus will almost double in size, which means you won’t need so many stems. As a bonus, you also get different tones and shapes to play with once the buds open up.
Clip from your garden.
Or do a bit of side-of-the-freeway foraging. Anything that catches your eye can go into an arrangement! With some experimenting, you’ll figure out what lasts as a cut flower or green (hint: not bougainvillea, and probably not camellia). I keep tabs on what’s growing around me during our afternoon walks, and I play nice with our neighbor in case he decides to prune his magnolia tree…
What You’ll Need:
- a small round vase with a narrow mouth
- strong shears or clippers
- floral frog or floral foam (optional)
- 1 branch flowering almond, cherry, or plum
- 7 stems of golden rod / solidago
- 2 stems of jasmine vine
- 4 stems of deeper ranunculus, aged
- 6 stems of peachy pink ranunculus, aged
- 2 stems of white ranunculus, aged
- a few wiggly stems of ranunculus buds
STEP ONE: Build an asymmetric but balanced-feeling shape with the flowering branch and jasmine vine. Let the curve of the ingredients dictate where you place them.
STEP TWO: Fan the solidago stems, keeping the bottoms of the leaves close to the mouth of the vase. This helps to create a fullness around the center of the arrangement, and it also hides some of the stem mechanic.
STEP THREE: Add your richer colored ranunculus stems first, to the high left side of the arrangement. Angle them so you get interesting views of each flower.
STEP FOUR: Move the color down and around with the peachy-pink stems of ranunculus, and then add the white ranunculus. Voila! Ombre magic.
STEP FIVE: Add those last few wispy stems of ranunculus. Because the buds aren’t fully open, they add just the right serving size of color. Since they tend to look best growing up and out of an arrangement, here’s a great chance to showcase their sculptural stems!
Gorgeous right?! I love ranunculus so much I almost planned my wedding around their bloom season. Now, want to see something fun? Here’s a GIF of the entire arrangement!
Thoughts? Do you think floral arranging is in your near future? How cool would it be to make a simple arrangement like this and give it to your BFF? Or your favorite coworker? Or your neighbor? Or your mom? Or…?
Copper is trending hard right now. We’ve been easing into this trend by calling this beautiful metallic “rose gold”, which in fact is a metallic not as harsh as true copper, but soft and easy to swallow. The other night I started thinking (read: stressing out while eating a pint of ice cream) about this shift in our favorite metallic hue. Will copper replace our love for gold? I mean, I do sport a rose gold bracelet watch and not a gold one. Is this a sign that I’m moving on? Did I fall out of love for one metallic and not even know it? Is this what sad love songs are all about?
I don’t *think* I’ve fallen out of love with gold. I wear a crap ton of gold jewelry on a daily basis so either I’m too cheap to buy new jewelry or I am rocking my mixed metallic accessories like I just don’t care.
I love all these images with copper accents in the home. I can’t tell if the plant stand above is gold with a filter on the photograph, or rose gold. Either way, I would love it in either metallic. Gold, I am still in love with you.
I just might be cheating on you with copper. Ha!
Then I started thinking of easy ways to incorporate copper in your own home, which led me down the rabbit hole I love so much: online “window” shopping. I even have a Pinterest board for it. You should follow that board of mine, sometimes it’s good.
And what about the kitchen? There are plenty of classic copper accessories for your kitchen. I dream of these in my own home paired with dark cabinetry and contrasting white Carrera marble counter tops (literally drooling right now). Ain’t gonna lie, if that kitchen mixer came in brass, I’d do some terrible things to get my hands on it. Kitchenaid – are you reading this? We need a gold/brass mixer, STAT. STAT means now.
I actually own those Moscow mule mugs, they’re beautiful! but a pain in the rear to clean. I told my husband they’re reserved for our viewing pleasure only
So tell me, will copper replace your love for gold?
// ONE It’s probably a faux pas for mixing metals in a Friday faves post, but i don’t care! This pendant light is oh so fab, and not too bad on the wallet I must admit! // TWO Still not sure if I can embrace the color of the year, but maybe in a hot pink shade of velvet I’d cave. What about you? // THREE I’m trying to find a reason to buy this stool, please help me find one! // FOUR oh my lucite! How gorgeous is this acrylic console table? Too bad it’s soooo expensive // FIVE has copper caught your attention yet? I remember being in London this past summer and reading about the copper rage in Europe. I’m so happy to see it’s catching on here! I’m absolutely adoring this line of copper desk accessories, at Anthro EU of course
Have a fantastic weekend friends!
So! I’m over half-way through my pregnancy, which naturally means I’m already dreaming and scheming plans for our boy nursery. We don’t have a place locked down yet, that won’t happen until March/April-ish if all goes according to plan. It is a bummer I can’t start playing with some of the nursery items we’ve started acquiring, like our crib. It kills me that it’s sitting in its box. I’ve got to be patient though, every day is one day closer to our next move, and every day is one step closer to baby.
As I sit here in patience training, I’ve started collecting art options for our upcoming baby boy nursery. I want a calm, modern, and somewhat neutral space for our nursery. I anticipate loads of primary colored toys and such, so I think if I create a calm and soothing base it will help counter the loudness of toys that will soon be littered around our home.
My first option for nursery art are some subtle and interesting beach scenes.
I’m drawn to the calmness of the clouds and the simpleness of the ocean in these photos, not to mention the colorful lounge chairs and darling umbrellas. I always worry about decorating with beach scene art since it can go wrong very fast – think photos of seashells framed in a 90′s white washed pink wood frames.
My next idea is to spin off from the typical zoo animal nursery art. I’m obsessed with this image from the Bangladesh zoo, and what nursery is complete without a print from The Animal Print Shop? And how about that meerkat print? Perfect for our little meerkat
Another idea I’m considering is a collage of vintage/nostalgic photographs like these hot air balloons and that old school ferris wheel. What I love most about these photographs are the colors, which without the vintage filters would be somewhat loud and probably too overbearing, but the vintage filters really calm things down.
I like how all these options so far are soothing, interesting, playful, yet a little mature. Art that is different and subtle, the type of art our son could grow with.
I’m incredibly cruel and teased you with peeks of a metallic zebra rug that I DIY’d when helping my girlfriend redesign her home office, back in August! I feel bad for holding out so long, but I originally had wanted to make a few more and host a giveaway (which I still might do), but time got away from me. So, today I’ll share the tutorial so you can make your own!
I was quite fond of the faux zebra rugs crafted from drop cloths that hit the DIY stages a while ago. I thought about making my own but decided against it since I figured they would dirty easily, not to mention drop cloth fabric isn’t heavy and wouldn’t lay flat like a true rug would.
When deciding to make this rug I knew the only way for it to be a success if it met these two criteria: heavy in weight and easy to clean. The perfect medium hit me as I was browsing the fabric store – vinyl! It was perfect, a fabric that is wipe-able, durable, and heavy enough to lay flat like a true rug. The quality of vinyl these days is very impressive. For this rug in particular I chose some vinyl with the color and texture of linen, but I’ve also made one for myself from smooth white vinyl, so any vinyl of your fancy would work perfectly!
- 2 yards of Kraft paper
- 2 yards of upholstery width vinyl (54″ wide)
- 2 Krylon gold leaf pens
STEP 1 Sketch out the outline of your zebra rug on your Kraft paper. You really only need to do this for one side of the rug since you can flip over and use for the other side. I used this image when sketching out my zebra rug, as well as for the stripes.
STEP 2 Flip your vinyl over wrong side up, lay your Kraft paper stencil down and trace the zebra outline. Flip the Kraft stencil over to the opposite side of the vinyl and trace. Then, cut out the zebra form.
STEP 3 Flip your vinyl right side up. Lay your zebra stencil on top of the vinyl and begin drawing the outlines of the zebra’s stripes with the gold leaf pen on the opposite side, mirroring the stencil. You can fill in the stripes as you go, or outline first then fill in after. I worked a hybrid method as I drew the stripes.
Don’t worry one bit about being perfect, the great thing about zebra stripes is they are unpredictable and weird, so you really can’t mess up.
STEP 4 Now that you have the left side complete, remove the Kraft stencil and freehand the stripes on the right side.
The gold leaf pen dries quickly and is permanent as far as I’ve experienced, but if you want you can seal the rug by spraying a coat of clear acrylic spray paint as a protectant.
The options are endless for this rug! If gold isn’t your thing, try a black Sharpie or a Montana Cans paint pens, which comes in all colors of the rainbow including gold and copper (and are CRAZY permanent, ask my husband what happened to our brand new sheets when I accidentally shook the pen too hard. Oops!)
And there you have it! Who would have thought the secret to a killer faux zebra rug is vinyl?
// ONE Everything in the Nate Berkus line is so terribly tempting, and this black and white throw blanket at Target is calling my name. I just might have to swing buy on my way home and buy it. Wouldn’t it look perfect in my factitious (yet soon to be real!) nursery? I think so too. // TWO If you’re anything like me and love to rock the bling-iest of bling on your wrist and neck, you need this deco bracelet. Scratch that, I need this deco bracelet // THREE dang it, why weren’t these gold foil numbers available when I needed them for my wedding? Oh, and good news, these are a billion times cheaper than anything at Paper Source // FOUR remember our obsession with brushstroke art? West Elm is inspiring us again with these brushstroke pillows, although I anticipate more DIY Fails with brushstroke art pillows. Let’s save ourselves the embarrassment and buy these beauties // FIVE I need this adorable leather handled basket to corral those cute West Elm pillows
Have a fantastic weekend everyone! I’ll be soaking up even MORE Cali sun in San Diego this weekend, visiting some girlfriends and getting a solid dose of babies. So exciting, my list of pregnant friends are already popping!
PS: Did you notice I posted 5 times this week?? Nuts! And remember that gold zebra rug I’ve been teasing you with for like 6 months? I might just have the tutorial for you next week!
Of baby boy clothes, that is! How adorable is this polar bear sweater one piece? It’s so cute I’m inclined to get it in every size so our little meerkat grows with it.
And how about this old man outfit? Will people judge me if I dress the little man in the same clothes my grandpa wears? Probably, but I think little boys dressed as grandpas are the cutest. (similar button up here, cords here)
The third outfit for today is this totally preppy plaid button-up and slouchy denim number. Man, this little meerkat is going to be so handsome, I’ll be batting all the ladies off of him. And these little boat shoes, gah, so stinkin cute.
Of course we’re collecting newborn onesies with mittens and all that jazz, but my goodness is it fun to shop for little man clothes.
I don’t know what the heck happened but I think I deleted some of the photos from my gender reveal party. I didn’t actually take that many myself, since the party was thrown for my husband and I (more on that in a sec). Sometimes I’m just the worst blogger! Who deletes such important photos?! Dummies, that’s who.
*sorry for the poor iPhone quality of some of the photos
WELL, I was able to find some pics of the goodies at the party. First, let me share with you what we did for our gender reveal. Our good friends (who are also pregnant!) really wanted to help us throw a gender reveal party. Initially the plans were to throw it for the guests, but after more thought and planning, it turned into a party for us! Instead of finding out the gender at the ultrasound appointment, my husband and I were going to find out the gender IN FRONT OF EVERYONE! It was frightening and exhilarating, super scary, like walking down the aisle and everyone in the chapel is staring AT YOU type of scary.
So, how did we do it? Well, our friends planned the whole thing. They put together a his and hers drink, his being a white Russian, and hers being non-alcoholic sparkling lemonade – YUM. We had gender colored desserts from pink and blue dyed cookies, to lifesaver pacifiers, to gender neutral cupcakes, and gender colored personal Jello cups.
We had a voting booth where people could vote what they guessed the gender would be. We gave away a prize for one random winner that included some of our favorite things – a Disney movie (my husbands pick), some gold rimmed shot glasses, a few classic Christmas music albums and a bottle of bubbly.
Our friends brought a 3′ flocked Christmas tree decorated with only a strand of pink lights and a strand of blue lights. They were so creative and hunted down these lights with the requirement that the cord must be white. Apparently pink are impossible to find, who would have known!
The reveal was perfect, they handed us a wrapped box full of gender specific ornaments, which we unwrapped while they unplugged the opposite gender’s lights. It was such a blur of excitement, everyone cheered and hugged and laughed and cried. I don’t think I’ve ever been hugged more by my father-in-law, he’s beyond thrilled that we get to pass down his rare Italian last name.
I can’t tell you how special it was to learn the gender in front of our close family and friends. It was a huge celebration, something that at first I was worried would be weird and awkward, but now I wouldn’t have done it any other way. My husband’s traditional Italian family had no concept of what this “gender reveal” party was, but it turns out they had the time of their lives. The next day all his parents could say was “that was such an original idea!” or “that was so creative!”. Little do they know the internet (read: Pinterest) is full of this sort of thing LOL.
Anyway, as you might have guessed, we’re having a boy! We had no preference, we only want a healthy baby, but it feels so special to know that our son is in my belly. Plus, now I can plan.
*We all have friends with varying talents, from the artist to the fashionista, the businessman to the musician, from the homemaker to the florist. This new series is designed to benefit those with a black thumb, a bit of floral education for every month, season, holiday or special occasion. It was time I tapped into the talents of my good friend, Amanda Luu. She’s here to share her thoughts about flowers, how to live with them, how to pair them, how to make them last, and most importantly, how to nurture that green thumb of yours. Not to fear, it can be done!
An interview with a florist: Amanda Luu
If we were speed dating – what would you tell me about yourself?
My name is Amanda. In no particular order: I’m an impulsive strategist, impressive coffee drinker, and improbable floral designer. I live in a loft (read: small box) with my boyfriend and our two ficuses. In a previous life, I used to spreadsheet like a boss.
*tip: burn the ends of your poppies to make them last longer!
Why flowers? How did you get into the business?
What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve experienced so far about the floral industry?
Tell us, what’s your favorite flower?
Hello! Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I find it’s definitely easier to swallow a Monday when it’s a holiday. My commute this morning was a breeze
I wanted to share some of the projects I’m currently working on. The most exciting of them all is this 6′ campaign dresser I bought off Craigslist for next to nothing. I still can’t believe I fit the entire thing in my car! My husband and I decided to upgrade our commuter vehicle to a Kia Soul after having rented one during our trip to Chicago last spring. We fit SO MUCH in that little car, 8 giant suitcases and 4 adult human bodies. I was beyond impressed. I’ve packed my car to the brim a few times, but this dresser is quite an impressive feat.
So, what will we do with the dresser? I envision it landing in our nursery, but my husband thinks it’s for our bedroom. We’re planning to move to our own place in April, so for the time being we can use it in our bedroom, although in my opinion it would make for the most perfect dresser/changing table.
Next, I’m in the process of re-upholstering a pair of mid-century swivel chairs. They are currently upholstered in a gross vinyl that also smells mid-century. I’m thinking they’ll look adorable in velvet.
The third project I’m working on is almost complete. The adhesive I used needs extra time to cure, so it’s just sitting and hardening in my garage right now. This project was fun one.
My husband’s on a work trip in India for the next 9 days, which means I’ll be occupying myself with these projects to pass the time. He left on Saturday and I already miss him, so I’m hoping if I keep myself busy the week will go by fast.
So, how about you? Are you working on any fun projects? Is your husband away on travel too? What do you do to pass the time?