This year has started really slow for me. Everyone in my household came down with the stomach flu, which delayed work on my home studio. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so sick that I’ve been bedridden for 36 hours straight. It was also the very first time that my husband and I were both sick at the same time, lying in bed together (and not in a good way LOL). Not surprisingly, Tristan was Patient Zero as he had vomited and had diarrhea just before it hit us. Last weekend, we finally finished painting 3 of the 4 walls in the studio room and had enough time to put together an old Pax wardrobe for storage. Poor Tristan was just sitting in his highchair for 2 hours straight, playing with cups and eventually, just sucking his thumb and watching us. I like to believe we are teaching him patience! Hopefully this weekend we can clear the other half of the room, finish putting together some bookcases for my papers, and then clean off the grime off the floor.
In the meantime, I’ve tried to continue to be present online.
You all know how I feel about Lia and Lia’s paper! I was so honoured to have been asked to appear in the series, along with all those wonderful artists like Jennifer Tran (@_papetal_), Quyhn Nguyen (@pinkandposey), Amity Beane (@florabeane), Tiffany Holloway (@nectar.hollow), Margie Keates (@thelovelyave), Suzonne Stirling (@suzonnestirling), Lucia Balcazar (@luciabalcazar), Susan Beech (@apetalunfolds), and Meredith and Cherie Eastburn (@amaranthuspaperflora). I started off my paper flower journey with Lia’s tutorials so I feel like I’ve finally come full circle.
I’ve also become more involved with The Paper Florist group on Facebook. We have a Maker’s Meeting mid-month where we come together (live!) and discuss our monthly flower and a topic of interest – everyone is welcome to join! On alternating Tuesdays, we have a Facebook Live Tuesdays session on a topic of interest related to paper flowers and the business of paper flowers. You can tune in on alternating Tuesdays at 1 pm to hear Amity, Quyhn, and/or I talk and answer viewer questions.
Last year, Amity and Quyhn came up with the idea for an online community of paper floral artists, and called it The Paper Florists Collective. This year, Amity, Quyhn, and myself will be working on this project to make it come to life. We truly believe that every one of us can elevate our art by sharing our experiences and knowledge, connecting with others, and encouraging each other on. Eventually we hope to have an online directory of paper florists and a paper florist conference, amongst our other goals. If you’re a paper flower maker, make sure you join our community!
I admit, I’m still trying to consistently post on Instagram, at least once a week. Blogging, not so good. Pinterest, I’ve totally been neglecting. I definitely have some catching up to do!
How do you use paper flowers in your wedding? Like this!
A few months ago, after I finished my Purple & Pink Crepe Paper Flower Bouquet, I was approached by 100 Layer Cake asking me if I wanted my next bouquet to be featured on their site. Of course I said “YES”!!! I’ve been a fan of the blog since before my wedding, so I was more than giddy when I realized what they were asking. I felt sooooo incredibly lucky that they even noticed my work. The paper flower community is so small, but I’m even smaller! After immediately replying “yes” and indicating that I’ll send them something mid- to late- October, I had a fleeting moment of panic that my future bouquet wouldn’t be good enough. Fleeting because I didn’t have time to really dwell on it for too long. I was on my way to finishing oversized flowers for a local wedding and then starting to plan that bouquet (along with bridesmaid bouquets) to meet the shipping deadline.
So I pushed the feature opportunity to the back of my mind. And thank goodness I did! With less pressure, I was able to really focus on creating the bouquet for my bride, Heather, rather than for a feature. This last bouquet of this year is arguably my best to date. It is a culmination of everything I’ve learned about paper flowers this year.
Photo by Nicole Berrett Photography
You can read the 100 Layer Cake feature here. It ended up being a feature on how to use paper flowers in your wedding, with my Orange, Pink & Burgundy Autumn Crepe Paper Bouquet and other paper flowers as inspirational examples. I’ve included some tips on how to use paper flowers in your wedding and also a long overdue paper flower tutorial for chocolate cosmos! So even if you don’t want to read my long essay (which they’ve summarized quite nicely), it might be worth checking out the feature for the tutorial if you’re hungry for some chocolate.
Photo by Nicole Berrett Photography
Heather’s photographer, Nicole of Nicole Berrett Photography, was kind enough to share some of her photos of Heather with the bouquet for the feature. Doesn’t Heather look amazingly gorgeous? Nicole truly captured Heather’s beauty and spirit. And oh yeah, my bouquet. It’s the best I’ve seen so far. By comparison, Nicole’s photos make my photos look so amateur!
Photo by Nicole Berrett Photography
If you do want to read my long synopsis about this bouquet, you can read it below. Forgive me for the length by the bouquet had so much in it!
This “Autumn Bouquet” as I call it was made for an October wedding in Texas. My lovely client, Heather, wanted to look and feel beautiful, fun, quirky, and relaxed on her wedding day. She had airbrushed the bottom of her lace wedding dress orange ombre, so I wanted to make sure she glowed down the aisle!
Heather loved Icelandic poppies, so I knew I wanted to use Icelandic poppies as focus flowers. I was aware that they could bloom in the cooler fall months in Texas, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to use them. They also come in various shades of orange, which fit Heather’s wedding colour scheme of orange, pink and burgundy perfectly. I also used lighter-coloured poppies and peach coloured garden roses to lightened the colour of the entire bouquet. I let the poppies shoot out of the bouquet as they would in nature, with their thick and unruly stems rising outwards in all direction like wild children; wild but controlled because I didn’t want them to obstruct Heather’s face or her beautiful lace bodice. Creamsicle-coloured parrot tulips add an additional hit of orange and fun. Even though they are not technically fall flowers, I snuck these in because with their long stems, they fit so naturally beside the poppies. Besides, their fluffy petals emulate those of peonies, which was another flower that Heather liked. I placed the parrot tulips so their heads drooped a bit, similar to what real parrot tulips would look like in a vase a few hours after being cut. I mixed in ruffled ranunculuses in various shades of orange and scattered some yellow-orange rose hips around to incorporate different textures and shades.
I was mindful of the fact that placing orange and pink flowers next to each other would create a polkadot effect (which I generally loath). My solution was to split the bouquet composition in half, with one side predominantly orange and the other side predominately pink and burgundy, and a set of transitional flowers to blend the two sides seamlessly.
For the pink and burgundy side, I brought burgundy into the arrangement by using smokebush foliage. Since the dark foliage is placed under the flowers, it created depth within the arrangement. I wanted to avoid using too many burgundy flowers because I’ve found that the details of a burgundy flower are often difficult to capture on camera when the rest of the bouquet has lighter or brighter coloured flowers. Instead, I focused on using a variety of pink flowers that would pop against the dark burgundy backdrop: garden roses, dahlias, ranunculuses, and spray roses in various sizes. Heather had sent me an inspirational photo of a garland with flowers facing towards the ground, and this inspired me to angle the spray roses to shoot out of the bottom right side of the bouquet. This placement mirrors the Icelandic poppies that are rising out of the opposite side of the bouquet, creating symmetry and balance. Ranunculuses and chocolate cosmos are arranged to lightly danced on top of the other flowers, accentuating the negative space between the blooms.
In the middle of the bouquet, I’ve placed four distant drums roses. With their two-toned petals of peach and mauve, they seamlessly draw your eye from one side of the bouquet to the other side. I applied a sepia spray to them to desaturate their colour, and to create a contrast to the highly saturated colours of the other blooms. I’ve thrown in some purple rose buds and anemones, taking inspiration from the mauve colour of the distant drums.
To physically and visually bind the flowers together, green foliage was sprayed with burgundy and gold foliage coloured with muted browns and oranges to simulate the changing colour of the leaves. The bouquet is, in essence, a reflection of the changing seasons. I love when I get to the stage where I’m adding foliage because it just elevates the lushness of the bouquet. They’re also a crucial structural element in my designs, since I use them to prop up and support my flower stems from moving around.
I tied a cotton ribbon at the base of the bouquet to finish. I actually ended up making these ribbons out of strips of tea-dyed cotton because I couldn’t find any reasonably priced ribbon that I though would suit this bouquet. Heather’s wedding took place at an old cotton mill, so it was a perfect coincidence that I ended up using cotton fabric.
This is the most intricate bouquets that I have made to date. With approximately 50 paper flowers and about the equivalent number of foliage, it took about 5 weeks to complete. Granted, I didn’t work on it every day (and when I did work on it, it was only about 4-5 hours per day), but I sure thought about it every day.
I also made 5 bridesmaids bouquets for Heather. I took the main flowers from the bridal bouquet and distributed them amongst the five bouquets, which were 1/3 of the size. They turned out colourful and true to the spirit of the bridal bouquet.
Since my last blog post, I’ve finished 2 additional weddings, bought a new home, packed & moved, sold my old place, disclocated my ankle, and temporarily moved in with my parents while my husband is on away on a work trip. It’s been just go go go and in the last week, surreal. I’ve had countless ankle injuries in my short 34 years of life (most were sustained when I was playing competitive soccer as a teen), and the loose ankle and ligaments have caught up to me. I mean, a ball was kicked onto my foot and my foot flew to the left of my ankle shin. Gross? Yeah. Broken? Nope. Still messed up? Totally. Even the paramedics thought I had broken my foot because of how it looked. The fortunate thing is that I didn’t break anything, yet it doesn’t mean my ankle is any less damaged. Anyhoo, so I’ve been stuck sitting a lot.I don’t have my crepe paper or scissors with me (they’re still in boxes after the move) so it’s turned into a mini-break for me. I’ve been catching up on my emails, calls, and sleep. And thinking. Thinking about how I might have to retire from playing soccer. Thinking about how I am going to possibly take Baby T with me to my friend’s baby shower without help. And generally thinking about how it sucks to be so dependent on others.
Before my ankle incident, I did send off some emails. A few days ago this Wednesday, the result of the first email appeared in a blog post on Work It Social. Work It Social is a Toronto-based digital marketing agency and they’ve been featuring local brands on their Work It Wednesday blog posts. If you’re interested, you can read my little feature here. I actually had a lot of fun answering all those questions and I really had to do a lot of reflection.
I’m hoping that I’ll be back on my feet and creating paper flowers and new content soon, hopefully when Warren returns from his work trip. I hope. In any event, I’ll post again once my other feature – which is about this beauty at the top – appears in the upcoming weeks. The photos I have of this bouquet are just GLORIOUS!! Can’t wait!