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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

A week ago today, I had the pleasure of giving a small private paper flower lesson as part of a bachelorette party for a special bride, Diana.This was my first time hosting a private lesson at my studio/condo, but now that I’ve done it once, I can imagine doing more of these private lessons for bridal showers or Mother’s Day too.

Diana and I had previously spoken about incorporating paper flowers into her wedding. A few months ago, she and her fiance, Kenny, had visited my small studio space/condo where she had an opportunity to see examples of my work. From our discussion, I knew that her favourite paper flower was the cream/pink closed bloom ranunculus that I had made with fine crepe paper as it fit perfectly into her wedding colours of mint and pink. As a result, when her Maid of Honour approached me about a private lesson for the bridal party for Diana’s bachelorette, I knew exactly which paper flower to teach.

Diana had no idea of what she would be doing at the bachelorette, so it was a nice surprise for her when I opened my door for her and her party. We were going to have a paper flower workshop bachelorette party! Good thing she was crafty!

We used 180 gram crepe paper instead of the fine crepe (you can now purchase the 180 gram crepe paper AND fine crepe paper from The Paper Place), as I find that the heavier florist crepe is way easier to work with, especially for beginners. We worked with templates and a pre-glued styrofoam ball. After 2.5 hours, each student was able to complete one ranunculus. Along with my pre-made ranunculuses, I put together a small bouquet for Diana with a dusty rose ribbon so she could parade around town with it.

I should also point out although I only taught the closed bloom ranunculus I had 2 blooming ranunculuses (the somewhat flatter-looking flowers) on display as well.

(I apologize for the dreadfully dull and unfocused photos! It was a cloudy day and I was trying to take some quick photos while giving instructions at the same time.)
Now, off to bed!

~ Jessie

 

 

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Good afternoon my friends!

After a windy Saturday instructing a workshop at the Aurora Cultural Centre, I’m back with more peony-talk. If you made it to the workshop – a big THANK YOU for attending! I’m so sorry that the workshop ran over time (I think I heard some growling stomachs), but I hope you went home happy with your beautiful peony and were able to make many more flowers with your extra materials and instructional handout. If you did not make it to the workshop – don’t worry – there will be another workshop in the near future!

I went through this demonstration so quickly at the end of the workshop that I decided I needed to post these instructions up on my blog too.

One of the many useful tips I picked up going through my floral arrangement books is using a basic grid to support flower stems. Since then, I’ve been using it for my paper flowers and my go-to clear vase, the mason jar.

I find that using the grid is very helpful in the context of arranging paper flower in clear containers when you would not be able to use floral foam. A simple grid can aid in positioning the stems and restrict the movement of the stems within the arrangement, or can be used to tighten up an arrangement if the container’s mouth is too wide for the number of stems you have. It is a very effective way of preventing the blooms from squishing each other, and particularly effective for spacing out delicate paper blooms.

Here are 2 photos demonstrating how effective the grid can be for an arrangement: On the left is an arrangement of 4 peony blooms in a mason jar without a grid, and on the right is one with a grid. You can see that the blooms on the arrangement on the left looks a bit droopy and sad while the blooms on the right has flowers that appear perkier as they are placed together in the centre square of the grid to tighten the arrangement.

At left: An arrangement of 4 peony paper blooms in a mason jar without a grid. At right: With a grid.

I use a white floral tape from Lia Griffith (also can be purchased here) as it’s super sticky and almost translucent when stretched, and I always have it on hand to use for making paper flowers. That said, I would recommend you use clear floral tape if you can find it – it’s made of a tougher material (plastic) so it supports heavy stems better than the floral tape. Try to use tape with a width of about 1/4″.

For the purposes of this demonstration, I’m using green floral tape to make it easier to see in these photographs.

All I do is this:

I take a long strip of tape and wrap it around the rim of the mason jar once, overlapping the ends. I stretch the tape to activate the glue in the tape and make it sticky.

Using shorter strips of tape, I stick them parallel to each other from front to back, and then parallel to each other from left to right, creating cross-sections. I make sure to press strips of tape onto the rim of the mason jar and onto the strip of floral tape around the jar mouth so that the strips stick to each other.

I vary the spacing between the strips of tape depending on the size of the container. For a mason jar, I’ve found that a simple grid with 2 parallel lines going front-back, and 2 parallel lines going left-right, is sufficient for most arrangements. For arrangements where I am more particular of where the stems go or if there are a large number of blooms, I make a grid with more squares in the grid. To achieve this, I normally use chicken wire as its a stiffer material.

I secure the grid by wrapping with a second strip of tape around the mason jar again. Then, I take a utility knife and cut off the pieces of floral tape that are visible and hanging down the side of the mason jar.

To finish, I screw the mason jar lid (without the middle round) around the top to further secure the floral grid. I also like showing the bit of metal on the container.

I hope this short demonstration is helpful and improves your paper floral arranging!

Happy Thursday my friends 🙂

~ Jessie

 

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  • Marilyn CalvoMay 22, 2017 - 12:47 am

    Thank you so much.  I am trying to make my centerpieces for my vow renewal and I will try this technique.ReplyCancel

    • JessieJune 7, 2017 - 2:52 pm

      Perfect! Let me know if it works for you Marilyn.ReplyCancel

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