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It’s been a week since I packed and shipped this pink blush crepe paper bouquet out to Marilyn.

When Marilyn first approached me about the possibility of me making her a crepe paper bouquet for her wedding vow renewals in August, my availability had just opened up. Originally, I had been in discussions to make bouquets for a friend for her wedding in August, but shortly before I left for New York, she had changed her mind and decided not to proceed with what we had discussed. I was a bit disappointed as I had been excited to make the bouquet we had talked about, but at the same time, relieved that she told me before I put anymore effort into it. In hindsight, what at the time was a disappointment was in a way a blessing in disguise. If I had ended up making my friend’s bouquets, I would have had to turn Marilyn’s request down. Funny how life works out.

Today, I could not imagine myself having not made Marilyn’s pink blush crepe paper bouquet. The process has taught me so many things.

I have come to realize that Marilyn is my ideal client. She loves my work and style and therefore, fully trusts me to make her a bouquet that she will love. She appreciates the art of paper flowers so I know that she will cherish her bouquet forever. She herself makes paper flowers so she understands the labour-intensiveness of the art and how that is reflected in the cost. And most importantly, she is a generous and kind soul.

Also through the process, I’ve been able to push myself to work with forms that I had previously admired from afar. I made paper flowers that I had not made before, for example, the wild roses, or with paper flowers that I have since improved upon, like the sweet peas and spray roses. I used colours that I hadn’t used before, like the english rose fine crepe which has a dusty tone to it.

There were a few times during the process that I doubted myself and thought that the colours would never work. I made a bunch of cafe au lait dahlias thinking I would use at least one or two as focus flowers, and then decided they didn’t fit. I even made ferns which didn’t make it to the final cut. I pushed on and slowly, everything came together as I had envisioned it.

Some of you have asked me about my process for this pink blush crepe paper bouquet. I started with a vague idea of the colour scheme being blush and pink. The actual colours within the scheme is always determined by the colours of my crepe paper, and none of my crepe paper came in blush or in the various pinks that I wanted, so I had to be creative.

I used white and off-white crepe paper and paint on the light pinks to get a light pink glow in the blush peonies. I did something similar for the blush garden roses, except I used petals cut from white crepe partially dyed with pink food colouring, and alternated those petals with white and off-white coloured petals. To ensure the peony kept its shape, I used both 60 grams and fine crepe for the centre petals, and relied on the 180 grams crepe paper for the outer petals.

For the pink Juliet Roses, I didn’t have a peach coloured crepe in 180 grams (I had to use the 180 grams to create the rigid cup around the centre petals; I could not achieve a deep enough cup with the double-sided peach/white crepe), so I used the Orange Tint Pan Pastel to paint the inside of the cupped petals to achieve that peach glow. For the centre petals, I mixed different fine crepe pinks to obtain the illusion of a peach coloured centre.

With the spray roses, I bleached the english rose fine crepe and used different sections of the paper for different petals to give the spray roses colour texture. I finished the petal edges with a brush of Pearlescent Red Pan Pastel to create dimension.

I attached leaves to every flower stem, not necessarily because I wanted to finish each flower with leaves, but because it adds greenery directly beside the flower, creating a base of green and hiding the stems. It also creates depth behind the flowers. Each leaf was brushed with Permanent Red Extra Dark Pan Pastel for detailing.

I’ve found that my arrangements work best with dark greenery because it creates shadows and darkness – depth – where it may not exist. I only use light greenery for highlights or to create lightness.

This bouquet is wider at the front and narrower at the sides, so it has a back and a front. The front has all the beautiful flowers. The back has less flowers and only flowers that can hold their shape if the bouquet was laid on top of it. I love this form for how it looks, but I also love this form 2 reasons: one, because I can devote all my time on making one side beautiful and perfect, and two, there’s no point of having my customer pay for my time and effort to make a back that no one will see but the bride.

The tricky thing about this particular bouquet was its size. It only has 55-60 stems, yet it just looked bigger and bigger because I kept on placing so many beautiful flowers in the front!  I really couldn’t put many flowers in the back because it would have made the bouquet too bulky, and Marilyn would have had to hold the bouquet out and away from her body. This type of bouquet is meant to be held close to the body. I ended up placing peonies facing upwards rather than towards her to suggest there are flowers in the back.

I went with a neutral cream coloured ribbon for Marilyn’s pink blush crepe paper bouquet. It’s made of polyester (so I had to use a lighter to melt the ends to keep them from fraying), however, it looks like linen. I think it will look good with Marilyn’s champagne coloured gown. Oh how I wish I had access to all of those fancy silk ribbons that come in muted, natural colours!

I drew inspiration from the pink blush crepe paper bouquet when I made Marilyn’s daughter’s maid of honour bouquet. It’s 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the bridal bouquet with 30 or so stems and included almost all of the same flowers. It’s more of a loosely held bouquet, and it has no front and back, although I prefer the side with the wild rose and Juliet Rose.

I also used similar flowers from the pink blush crepe paper bouquet for the mothers’ corsages and the groom and groomsmen boutonnieres. Those were really fun to make as once I made one, I knew how to make the other ones.

If you got through all of that – YOU’RE AMAZING!! I hope it helps you with your own process or at least help you think about your own process.

Until the next bouquet,

~ Jessie

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  • Alice CheAugust 9, 2017 - 4:41 pm

    I am so obsessed with these bouquets Jessie! The flowers are all so beautiful and your arrangement is perfection. You’ve inspired me to finally invest in Pan Pastels and I’m going to have to go get some food dye too 😉 Thank you for sharing your thought process behind everything! ReplyCancel

    • JessieAugust 9, 2017 - 9:48 pm

      Alice – Oh your words make me smile!! Sometimes when I make these bouquets, all I think of is how to make it look beautiful, so in a way, the bouquets actually reflect a lot more of ME than they do my customers. So I’m extremely flattered and outrageously happy when others see the beauty in them as I do. Beauty should be shared! As should the process of getting there, so there can be more beauty in this world. I’m glad that you found my post helpful – at times I wonder if it’s too self-indulgent – and inspires you to try new techniques. BTW I just checked out your website, and you’ve got a great eye. What beautiful photos you take! I’m always trying to improve on my photography LOL, so perhaps we can trade tips. A heartful THANK YOU for following. =)ReplyCancel

Hello my friends!

I am collaborating with The Paper Place again for another workshop (or 2) this summer. This time, I will be teaching how to make an anemone paper flower using 180 gram florist crepe.

I was never a big fan of these black-eyed flowers until I made them for a bouquet. Now I am soooo enamoured with anemones! They are so fun to make once you get the hang of it. Come to think of it, I like any crepe paper flower that I can make a ton of in just a few hours! It also helps that anemones make any arrangement/bouquet look sophisticated.

The Paper Place just started making the heavier 180 gram crepe paper available for purchase a few months ago (online and in-store). So for anyone who is not familiar with this type of paper, or you’re thinking to yourself – what would I do with this paper that is so gorgeous in colour and texture??? –  it’s a perfect time to learn!

The crepe paper anemone workshop will run at The Paper Place (887 Queen St. West, Toronto, Ontario), on August 15th from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Cost is $45.00 + HST*, plus $10 + HST material fee, per person. The crepe paper anemone workshop runs for about 2-2.5 hours, so there will be enough time for me to teach you how to make one anemone paper flower and make one (or two) at the workshop, with enough materials for you to make more at home. Templates will be provided.  You can go into the store to register or register by phone by calling 416-703-0089.

*For disclosure purposes, a portion of the cost per person is my instructor fee.

If you can’t make this anemone paper flower workshop, there’s no need to despair! If there is enough interest, we will run this workshop again in the future, so please let The Paper Place know even if you can’t make it! Also, we are planning on another paper flower workshop in mid-September where I’ll be teaching a different flower.

Hope to see you there!

Jessie

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  • Brooke FordJuly 30, 2017 - 4:30 pm

    Since the Anemone workshop has already been held, will you be posting a “how to” on these beautiful flowers?ReplyCancel

    • JessieJuly 30, 2017 - 10:47 pm

      Hi Brooke – The workshop will be held on August 15th, which is in about 2 weeks. I haven’t decided if I will post a “how to” for these anemones yet – I have a lot I want to do!ReplyCancel

For the last several weeks, I have been working on a garden wildflower paper flower bouquet for a special client, Linda, of Facci Designs. She has been an enthusiastic supporter of my work from day one, so when she commissioned me to create a bouquet, I was eager to impress her.

We talked about what she intended the bouquet to be used for (a year-round arrangement for her Airbnb cottage in Woodstock, New York), where she wanted to put it (on the fire mantel), what flowers she wanted in the bouquet (flowers from her garden or flowers that she liked), and the colour theme (she liked my “Study in Purple” post on Instagram of a purple ombre bouquet). In the end, she left most if not all of the decisions regarding flowers and colours and size to me, and I had pretty much free reign in the design of the bouquet. Such luxury! I love it when my clients know my work + style and completely trust me to make a bouquet or arrangement of their dreams.

For this particular bouquet, I envisioned flowers that looked like they were freshly picked from Linda’s garden. I wanted this garden wildflower paper flower bouquet to look loose, wild, natural and whimsical. I am really inspired by the new floral arrangement styles of Sara Winward, Alicia & Adam Rico of Bows and Arrows, and Ariella Chezar, so I took what I loved from their styles and tried to apply them to Linda’s bouquet. This was the perfect bouquet to experiment with this floral style.

Here’s the recipe for this garden wildflower paper flower bouquet:

  • 6 white cosmos
  • 6 light purple cosmos
  • 6 pink cosmos
  • 7 chocolate cosmos
  • 9 Mardi Gras plum shade hellebores
  • 2 white double-petal peonies
  • 2 purple hydrangeas
  • 4 burgundy dahlias
  • 9 white anemones
  • 2 lilacs
  • 6 blue-purple clematis with vines
  • 4 hosta leaves
  • 3 green ferns and 2 burgundy ferns
  • 5 boston ferns
  • 4 lilac leaf stems

…Clearly, I have a weakness for using a lot of flowers and foliage in my bouquets!

For this bouquet, I used a 1L mason/ball jar as the vase. I have been using mason jars as bases because it’s a DIY vase that anyone can buy inexpensively. I either use a small (500 mL) or large (1L) jar. I find that size of the vase naturally dictates how many stems I might need to make the bouquet look “full”.

I usually start off with a general idea of what type of flowers and colours I want to use and then I mix and match colour with flower. I start by making the focus flowers, or the larger flowers, and placing each flower into the vase I am using and building from there. Once I think I am about 50% complete, I take what I have apart and re-arrange the stems, looking for spots in the arrangement for where transition pieces are required. Sometimes, I won’t know what transition pieces I want to use from the start, so it’s at this point that I’ll look for inspiration and brainstorm. Lately, I’ve often turned to hellebores because they come in so many different shades of purple and even green. Transition pieces normally require me to dye or paint the crepe paper, so there might be additional experimenting at this point. At 80% complete, I rearrange the bouquet once again, and at this point, I’m usually still making transition pieces or foliage and looking at what else I am missing from the bouquet. I pretty much keep building the bouquet until I’m satisfied with how the flowers looks beside each other.

There a several flowers in this garden wildflower paper flower bouquet that I’ve never made before, and even the hellebores in this bouquet are improvements from the previous hellebores I’ve made. It was really nice not working with garden roses and peonies this time around; even though I love garden roses and peonies (*sigh* sooo gorgeous), as a creative person, I like variety and trying new forms. This time, I really fell in love with the cosmos – oh how they dance above the bouquet! And I truly grew to love the Queen of the Vine – the clematis – after I had put them in the arrangement and realized they were the star of the bouquet.

The garden wildflower paper flower bouquet took me about 6 weeks to complete. There were many days when I wouldn’t touch my scissors. I often worked during Baby T’s nap times, during his wake hours when he was able to play by himself, during the hours when I was able to drop him off with my parents for the day once a week, and more often than not, burning the midnight oil. I loved every minute of it though! I find making flowers and arranging them so therapeutic that I enjoy working late at night when it’s quiet. Actually, I’m a bit of a night owl as I get more and more efficient the deeper into the night I work.

I had a hard deadline of June 2nd. That was the day we were flying off to NYC to deliver the bouquet to Linda (and go on a mini vacation – the first flight for Baby T!), so I also had to shoot all my photos before June 2nd. Luckily, June 1st was a sunny day, so I was able to shoot my photos, take the bouquet apart, spray each stem with UV-protection spray, and prepare them for packaging….Packaging was an entirely different challenge! I originally packed it in one large box and had paper cones constructed for some of the flowers to protect their blooms, but then realized that if I put the box into our luggage, I couldn’t fit anything else in there, so I ended up repacking the stems into two separate boxes, ditched the cone-head protectors, and just prayed that nothing would get squished. Oh and we ended up hand carrying the boxes too.

A word about the photography: This is the first time that I used a dark background for my flowers, and I absolute love it! I decided to go dark because white flowers are always so difficult to shoot – it’s so easy to over-expose the white while trying to get a decent, clear, shot of the darker flowers. Still, I found it difficult to get everything in focus because I wasn’t shooting under full light and did not use a bouncer. I’m going to continue to experiment with the dark background and hopefully improve on my photography, so bear with me!

Some of you have been asking for tutorials – I’m really really hoping to post one very soon. I do want to post a tutorial on a flower that hasn’t really gotten enough spotlight yet though, and one that I haven’t taught at a workshop yet.

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Jessie

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  • ChristieJune 8, 2017 - 4:23 pm

    Gorgeous work Jessie! I really love how wild and natural this bouquet looks.  It’s unbelievably real looking.  I’m so glad you were able to safely deliver it to your client and wow I’m astonished that you spray each stem with UV-protection spray!  Great work and I really love the dark background along with your bright white back drops too 🙂 ReplyCancel

    • JessieJune 9, 2017 - 12:44 am

      Thank you so much Christie!! Your approval means so much to me, especially since you mentored me from the very beginning. I do what I can to make sure my work remains as original-looking for as long as possible, so I do take the extra step and expense of spraying them. Thanks for noticing my backdrops – it often takes me hours to shoot my photos and edit them and some days I wonder if it even matters if I change up my back drops or style because no one will really notice the difference. I guess for detail oriented individuals like yourself, it does matter! =)ReplyCancel

    • JessieJune 9, 2017 - 12:47 am

      Again, thank you Christie!ReplyCancel

  • Marilyn CalvoJuly 21, 2017 - 10:04 am

    Jessie, I am so attracted to your work expecially this wildflower bouquet.  I love the colors you chose and all the different flowers in the bouquet complement each other so beautifully.  After exploring your entire website a couple of months ago, my intuition said you would be the perfect person to make my bridal bouquet.  I can’t wait to see it.ReplyCancel

    • JessieJuly 23, 2017 - 12:20 pm

      You’re such a sweetheart Marilyn! I can’t wait to show you your bridal bouquet too. I’ve kept it true to my style, so hopefully you will love it as much as I do =)ReplyCancel

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