@ 10/11/15 – 21:43:15
@ 10/11/15 – 18:34:28
Hi, it seems this platform is closing mid december, as i have been here posting since 2005 (phew) im hoping to upload to somewhere else so i can continue, if anyone has any ideas of how i do this please let me know, email@example.com is ho to contact me.
I will try and work out how to export all the data to keep it safe, I know a lot of you are subscribers and often frequent the blog, I was just about to upload my new entry when i saw the announcement.
Any further developments i will update you, in the meantime, my email address is above, thanks Evie
@ 24/08/15 – 20:43:47
This workshop shows a modern design, no ribbon edging goes on contemporary designs, in this case the entire shape is covered 'based' with gypsophila or gyp for short.
The spray is made from roses and cordyline leaves, cut, looped and wired to add a modern sculpted design to the spray. Ok so you need th usual tools, some wire, florist scissors, anchor tape called sometimes 'pot tape', piece of foam to cut down to make the bump for the spray, or a bought screw in bump, either is fine, and a reel of thin green coated wire. The heart shaped foam of course, this is the open heart design.
First bevel the foam as per usual, smooth over with your hand until smooth and domed, no edges, always looks much better and easier to work with as followers of this blog know.
Then using either your screw in bump or a piece of prepared foam is taped tightly (notice the indentation in the foam its got to be tightly secured) onto the frame, top left curve looks best in my opinion. Dont tape across the middle as you may need that middle space for a focal flower.
Start cutting pieces of the gyp, hold by the stems and insert by the bump to start off the covering of the foam, once you have begun from there on you can keep cutting bunches of several stems and holding close together, angle into the foam and then bind across the stems with the reel wire, continue by adding the next bunch so the flowers go over the previous stems, repeat like that.
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Once you are happy with the result, the foam is covered, the gyp should look so pretty, make sure all the foam is covered, go over it again if you need to, make sure it looks plentiful not sparse.
Now you just have the spray to do. I used Avalanche roses in this. You can cut the cordyline leaves just like a fabric, so you can use just one long leaf and cut as shown, to make more than the 1 natural point of the leaf if you wish, I also curled and pinned portions of the leaf to make nice folds to accent the roses, you can experiment with leaves and come up with all sorts of ideas.
Spray lightly with a fine mist to keep fresh, hope you liked this design. Dont forget all the pictures have links to my online store, thanks
@ 03/04/15 – 15:57:10
Happy Easter Weekend to all my readers and followers.
Here is a lovely table centre design for your Easter Dinner table. Easy to make and great fun for kids to do as well.
First, get any discarded pot from the garden or even a washed out glass jar if you like. You then need to cover it in moss. I have used reindeer moss but any normal garden moss will work. You need to bind it on with green floristry binding wire on a reel, just hold the end and add a bunch of moss, then go around the jar or pot with the wire, add more moss, repeat until covered, then twist the ends of the wire securely. The wire will not be visible in the moss.
Next you need to gather some nicely branching twigs, nicer if they have some buds of green, either from the garden or go for a walk and gather some up. A cylinder of dry oasis is then place into the pot – wedge with other cut offs of oasis or paper scrunched up if it isn’t a tight fit. Now insert the twigs or branch into the oasis so its nice and firm. Grab a bunch of moss and cover the oasis foam completely, so now it looks like a grassy bank with a dried up tree growing up from it. I added a textured fabric bow by using a stubb wire around the middle and spiking into the foam
If you are a ‘crafty person’ and have blown and painted eggs for easter then you can hang those on with thin ribbons, or buy some already done, these ones I found I had from last year and are actually not real ones but same effect. Kids love blowing and painting eggs so it’s a great way to keep them occupied too.
Anyway, hope you like the end result, it really is a quick and easy way to affordably dress your Easter table.
@ 23/02/15 – 00:01:24
How to make this eye catching Chinese New Year theme arrangement, step by step.
This oriental theme arrangement was made by me yesterday to go on a restaurant counter. A few months ago I came across a strange boat shaped tropical dried piece of material, im not sure if it is part of a massive seed pod or not but the boat shape intrigued me so I put it away until something inspiring came along. Today was such a day. Its always great to pick up strange things in wholesalers or charity sales for using in arrangements.
This completed design is almost representative of a chinese boat, it is made with some flexible red wood caging, bound by crinkle wire in gold, red gerbera, budding blossom twigs, moss and lotus seed heads. Here is the result to show you the design completed and then we can go through how to achieve it.
It is quite a large design so the front shows in one and the back in the other, to get it all clear in one picture makes it too far away sorry.
Using odd shaped containers like this (well lets call it a seed pod?) you need to be creative about what to use to hold the wet foam for the flowers to go into. For this I cut off the base of a milk carton of plastic, made some foam to fit tight in it and taped it to the centre of gravity of the curved seed pod shell base.
I then made a carefully constructed neat shape of curves interacting with each other and ending with a caged square construction at the twig ends, this is called 'caging', the gold crinkle wire is used to bind any cross over points and to hold the curves in place. Keep it neat but the shape is down to your own tastes really. It provides visual balance to the design, to counter balance the high sweeping curve of the front of the seed pod and to be easy on the eye in keeping with the chinese theme.
To hide the foam and the tape, which goes tightly right round the pod base, its a good idea to make some pins by bending stub wire into U shapes and cutting them into pins and attach some moss to the foam in any places it might be seen, it adds texture and a feature to the overall design as well as hiding the tapes holding the milk carton container with the floristry foam in it. To add my gerbera I used a ball tip pen to push into the moss covered foam to make a hole for the flower stems. The lotus seed heads can be double leg mount wired so they can also be put into the foam securely. These pictures show these steps, they also show the gerbera wired properly as covered in previous workshops, by coiling wire covered with stemtex around the calex and down the stem. See Wiring Gerbera in the previous articles for full details.
The pretty pink blossom twigs just form a staggered line over the 'prow'of the boat so as not to confine the materials to the size of the container pod. I hope you like this design. It was such fun to make, and I wish you all, wherever you are, a Happy New Chinese New Year ! or “Gung Hey Fat Choy” lets hope its a good one.
@ 01/02/15 – 12:50:19
Valentine's Day Design idea
February 14th is Valentine's day and each year I make up a design that can be an alternative to the dozen red roses gift some lucky ladies get given. This design is in silk but can be made in fresh flowers in the same way, I made this in silk as I am raising some money for a little local school so it is something that can be made well in advance and be raffled.
If you use silk materials always use the best you can because the difference between cheap silk flowers and the better ones is significantly different, these are very lifelike. Its something that can also be adapted for an every day gift using a different coloured rose and theme for Mother's Day or a birthday gift. Be sure the vase is a good weight so it doesn't topple over if its a bit lightweight just add some sand or coloured gravel, its easy to find in aquatic shops. I didnt need it as this vase has a nice heavy base.
You need a slim glass vase, make sure though that the stems will fit, some slim vases are very small in the neck and silks can be thick stemmed especially the orchid so make sure of that. I used some red netting to go around the vase as without some eye catching decor at the base, the item would be visually unbalanced. I also used a piece of thin organza ribbon and some heart shaped ribbon sliders just to secure the net.
Hold the orchid stem in the hand at arms length when placing the roses in a staggered line through the orchid. By looking at arms length you get a better picture of how it looks. Dont try and make it by placing them directly in the vase, this is something that only works well if it is arranged In The Hand first. Then keeping your hand tight around the stems holding the placements steady, hold the bunch against the vase so that the first flower is just at the rim of the vase, then you will know how much to cut off the stems. I do this by placing the vase at the edge of a work bench or table, then holing the bunch in front and to the side so that i can hold the bunch against the vase to judge where to cut the stems.
The netting is very self-curling so you dont need to do a lot to get a nice swirl on its own without much effort. I took a rectangular piece just about 30cm 12inches wide and put it around the vase, allowing it to 'do its own thing' really, just kept in place by the ribbon with the threaded heart sliders.
As always, items can be purchased from me either at my online store or send me a message for what you need, each picture has a link to my store embedded in it, any donations made to the blog are gratefully received and will be passed to the school for playground toys.
Thanks for reading!
@ 04/10/14 – 17:24:06
Simplicity is often sometimes very effective in floral decorations. Not only that but the simpicity helps a novice to achieve something special easily which builds confidence in their skills. If you have always wanted to make something for the Christmas table, or for a wedding table decoration, christening or just for the home, but the complexity and skills needed have put you off, then this will be the design for you. Its very long lasting too as gyp lasts ages. This i what we are making here.
For this design, you need a round goldfish bowl, this one I used is 17.5cm high approx. You only need white Gypsophelia for the flowers, thats all. So no big expense with flowers for this great effect. 3 waterproof lights are needed for the illumnation that makes this design so eye catching, and a large floating candle, this one i used is 4inches across, 10cm. I sell these but you can also use the smaller ones but it would need to be 3 in a group if using small ones. Crystal Accent gel is often used in this blog as you may know, this is crystals that absorb water and then become chunks of clear gel that resemble crushed ice. The one used here is clear.
Ok, lets begin then. The first thing to do is to mix the crystals with water and stir occasionally while leaving it to absorb the water this takes an hour or so thats why we do this first. Make sure your glass bowl is clean and has no fingermarks on it. Plump up the Crystal Accents with a fork so it resembles ice crystals and spoon it into the goldfish bowl try not to get it smeared over the glass sides keep it nice and tidy. Then twist shut the lights and bury them into the crystals evenly spaced in a triangle, hide them with the crystal gel. At a later stage you can easily take them out to turn them off so they can be turned on again if you wish.
Place your candle, on top of the triangle of light. This is the floating type as its a nice rounded shape on the base nd sits easily on top of the crystals and lights, but any candle could be used really. Then taking the gypsophilia, cut small branches of it with short stems and place them all around the side sow they look like a lace collar or snowflakes, its a delicate look and stunning with the light and the icy look of the crystals.
I hope you give this a try. It really is so simple to make. The camera does not really do it justice but in a dimly lit room this really gives a lovely ambience for very little effort and lasts ages. Enjoy!
Dont forget that you can reach my ebay store by clicking on any image. Thanks for reading and see you soon.
@ 26/07/14 – 20:54:22
Hi there, today I am going to show you a little project that is fun and useful to try. This is useful for three reasons really, firstly, its a good practise to always do something eye catching to keep your customers interested, secondly, when using exotic flowers in an arrangement it is complimentary to have an equally exotic backdrop or foliage addition to keep the theme, and finally there is an added bonus. This time of year it is useful to make things that can be dried and sprayed for setting aside for Christmas.
Plaiting and weaving all kinds of palm leaf foliage in different ways makes for some interesting, unique design pieces to use. Palm leaves try well in a dry room and are easy to spray with floral spray paint, silver, gold, burgundy etc. Metallics look best.
Ok, now these following pictures probably show far easier than words. There is no set design, just go wild, but you will need a little patience Different results will be obtained depending on which end you begin with, in this instance I wanted the frond ends left in the final design so I began from the stalk end. Keep the weaving close and tight, some will go parallel to the stem to begin with and some across, enough said, take a look.
To finish off I used some of the fronds to wrap around the end of my weaving and tucked the ends in, a tiny drop of floral glue will hold it if its not holding itself. Leafshine spray to set off features and my little plaited palm was ready. This can look so nice just as they are placed along the centre of a dinner table with some singapore orchid running through them, even slices of citrus fruits, all you need is imagination. Im going to make several random designs, just going wherever they take me really and then will hang them to dry out ready to be sprayed and used at Christmas.
I do sell floristry sundries worldwide from my ebay store but cannot send the leafshine or the paint outside the UK as they are not safe on aircraft due to being in cans. Do click on any of the pictures to go to the store to have a look around.
Lots more to come so check back now and again. Thanks for reading, have fun.
@ 12/04/14 – 19:00:13
RAF Funeral Tribute
Its always good to have a challenge if you have a creative mind, and funeral tributes are often a great way to really be creative and make something truly special.
In this tutorial, we will take a look at the use of the design board. This is a blank piece of floristry foam on a hard waterproof polymer base, which can be cut into any shape you want. In this tutorial Im making a tribute that needs the combination of a posy pad and a rectangle design board. This is the end result, and below I will go through how this was constructed.
You will need to prepare some Laurel leaves in advance by spraying them with brilliant gold oasis spray and allow to dry, this is best done by getting a cardboard box and placing the leaves in the bottom flat and neat and sweeping the spray over the leaves. You also need to spray some double crysanthemums red and blue. I ususally cut the stems to about an inch and a half or 3/4cm and insert them into a block of soaked oasis then placed in the base of another cardboard box to contain the spray. Leave to dry.
Design boards come in all sizes, this one is a rectangle as it wil form the base for the wings, keeping the plastic cover on the foam board, draw the shape you want to cut out using a marker pen. Then, using a sharp floristry knife, cut along the drawn lines. I used newspaper on top of the foam to trace the wing shape to make it easier to see in a picture but drawn direct on the cellophane is fine. I made sure by careful measuring, that the middle was exact and then placed the posy pad foam shape directly in the middle. I then drew around this circle and cut with the knife around it. The idea is that the posy pad sits into a carved out hole the same size. This means that the design has a nice 3D effect, the posy pad being slightly raised up due to its base sitting on the base of the design board rather than the foam. It sits in nicely and is easy to fix, which will come to in a moment.
As you will see from the next images, the base of the design board has been scraped out to leave the hard base in the areas around the wings and the hole for the posy pad to be recessed into. The base can now be fixed in place by using the long mossing pins, they are like a U shaped steel pin 40mm long so it goes through the base and into the hard base of the posy pad without leaving any nasty sharp protruding pins on the reverse side. You have to be kind to the funeral directors who have to pick items up
Looking at the last image you can see that I have pinned moss to the hard exposed base on the top left and right of the board where the wings have been cut out, just the foam is cut out, the base is left behind, scrape with any kitchen tools to get it all off the base, spoons, egg slicers anything really to scoop off the foam. Mossing pins of a shorter length 2 or 3cm have been used to pin the moss so that, once again consideration is paid to the avoidance of having anything sharp protruding through as this time the pins are used from the top to the bottom. When pinning the posy pad into the space made for it, we use them from the bottom to the top leaving the curve of the U pin on the underside. I hope im explaining this ok for you. Pour cold water from a jug to soak the oasis, stand and drain well.
The next task is to pin on the gold leaves. Now this is very important. You dont want the pins to show, so... you start from the bottom of the wings not the top, this way, as you pin each one across the vein to the foam, the next one will cover the pin because it is pinned halfway across the one below it. Each consecutive leaf pin is covered as you work up the layers. When you get to the top, curl the leaf and pin within the curl to hide the last pin.
Finally, use the dried sprayed flowers to create the RAF roundall in the posy pad. Finish with some kind of fabric edging, I used some royal blue jute ribbon pinned around the edge and finished with a bow, this helps finish it off and hide any visible pins or irregularities at the top of the wings.
Hope you enjoyed this workshop and please dont hesitate to visit my floristry store, any picture clicks to the store, have creative fun !
@ 18/02/14 – 12:43:15
Hi my name is Helen and I am a guest on Eve's blog today!
I just wanted to share something a little crafty which I am currently working on at the moment....
It all started when I was preparing for my Big Fat Greek wedding back in 2005! LOL
One of the many traditions that go with a Greek Orthodox Wedding ceremony is that the bride and groom are 'crowned'. For this part of the ceremony it is tradition that the couple provide their own stephana/ wedding crowns for the service.
I wanted mine to have a personal touch to them so I designed and made my own stephana/ wedding crowns. Here is a photo of the crowns I made.
During the 'crowning' ceremony, the priest holds the crowns/stephana over the heads of the bride and groom and recites a verse from the bible and blesses them, whilst swapping them from head to head three times.
After the ceremony, the couple keep their stephana/crowns in a special box (known as a stephanothiki) which is traditionally hung on the wall above the marital bed.
I have designed and made many more stephana/wedding crawns since my own wedding. I love working with Swarovski crystals and fresh water pearls as they have a real sparkle to them :-)
I also sell them through my online shop- click here for my online shop Here are a few more stephana/ wedding crowns that I have created.
@ 23/11/13 – 16:43:11
This workshop tutorial is in response to a request for advice on making wire decorations for a snowflake wedding cake, however, these delicate wire decorations can be adapted for so many uses. They enhance your floral decorations tree decorations or even add them to the gift tag for an extra special Christmas blingy pazzaz!
Once you get the hang of working with the bullion crinkle wire you can then go on to more elaborate designs. For this tutorial I have kept it simple so you can practise the technique. Once you master the basics and the dexterity needed by trying simple shapes you can go on to more of your own designs. the great thing is that every design will be unique. Clicking on pictures will lead to my store if you need to buy the wire or other products.
Ok, so here is a picture of a very simple snowflake made from silver bullion wire and using thin silver wire (floristry stub wire 38g width) (the type for stitching leaves).
To start, you need scissors, the floristry kind are best with the little serated wire cutting part in the blades. Some floristry bullion wire in your chosen colours, for the snowflake or more structured designs you need the thin silver stub wires. Oh, and your imagination of course
First you take a wire and bend into a hairpin shape, start to bind the crinkle wire round it pinching it so it lies flat and stays in place, press flat between your fingers to flatten it to the stub wire which is like your framework for each arm of the snowflake. Dont worry about the ends as these will later be bent too to make the little arms of the snowflake so for now just concentrate on making 5 arms woven with the silver crinkle wire. As you add each arm keep winding around and across the place they meet to secure them. Dont panic at this point as it may seem fiddly but it is no rush, just get used to the feel of it and the tension you need to keep the hairpin from closing up but keeping the wire in place, dont forget, this is wire so can be bent about later to finalise where the little and big arms are to be. Dont worry about neatness it can all be tidied up at the end if need be.
At this point, depending on what you made it for, you can add more arms, more detail, add a hanging ribbon or make several of different sies for a pretty group. The whole process need you to KEEP the wire on the reel, dont try and do it using the wire cut it wont work out well. This is so pretty added to a christmas cake or wedding cake with icing. Mine will go onto floristry arrangement, or added onto the vase of flowers made for gifts or on the tree. They can be made in advance of course and used even to add to home made cards. Something so rewarding to make and play around with.
First unwind a whole messy bundle of the wire, keep reel attached. Begin to fold and knead the wire into a flat gathered together kind of fabric. Fold it and pull it apart again then fold it like making puff pastry i guess. Then start to make a shape, dont worry about straggly bits they can be folded over on itself to make the edges tidy. Folded onto itself and moulded like this makes it surprisingly strong and firm. Tidy edges as you go, use the reel with some tension to wind around the shape to add strength and define the shape. Just persevere if it seems difficult, make sure you have enough wire unwound, add more if it seems too thin a filigree. This is what it is really, a filigree of wire. Once you are happy with your shape you can cut the reel off but LEAVE a good few cm or inches to weave the end through the shape further re-enforcing any straggly bits. Bend it, mould it and dont be afraid of it. Pinch the end so the heart tail is nice and defined, add your own flair to the heart shape.
Have fun and hope you found this interesting. I will have to find someone to film for me as this would be so much easier in video mode.
Thanks for following. Please visit my ebay store and ask if you need something you cant find.
Click for my store online
@ 01/10/13 – 23:07:03
Its come to the end of summer and quite often the hanging baskets are looking a bit sorry for themselves now. This summer was quite hot and dry and I had several requests to make hanging baskets from silk flowers and foliage, due to the high maintenance of watering them in dry weather.
As I made these in conical hanging baskets, I placed each one into a Large planter to hold it in place while I made them as the cone couldn't be stood up of course. To keep the chains out of the way, I threaded the hook with string and tied it to a hook in the workshop, I suggest you do the same for ease of access. This is one finished.
In this workshop, they are quite big as they were needed that way, but they can be made in all sizes. I used the woven stick cone shape basket with chains that can be found in good garden centers. Things you need to remember when planning your artificial basket.
1. Remember to weigh them down inside by adding a terracotta pot or stones, the weight of natural earth is not going to factor into these so add weight for stability.
2. Only use the type of foliage and flowers that can have a hanging profile around the edges or you will not see the flowers and more importantly, they will not look natural.
3. Make holes in any plastic liners to allow rain to drain. In natural baskets you want the rain to water the earth in the basket, in this case we want it to drain off.
In the ones I show here, I dont cover the top of the foam with moss, this is because the moss would be unseen from a viewing point of view once it is in place and with the amount of foliages I use, its not necessary. The use of moss pinned onto dry foam in arrangements is to look nice and also to cover any possible gaps, neither which apply here.
AT THE MOMENT It wont allow me to upload the other pictures showing the steps to make these. I will try and do it tomorrow they may be too big.
You need to place dry foam oasis blocks into the weighted down basket, cutting them into wedges to fit the sides mainly for minimum movement. I tied a mesh of string across the top of the foam filled baskets and anchoring it into the basket weave, this was to hold it all in place while I worked with the materials. A lot of hanging plants are not available as silk flowers so buy the silk plants and cut them down. You can add cut stems of silk flowers by placing them parallel to what you need to lengthen and taping tight with stemtex tape. Make use of the fact that the stems are wire inside the plastic coating so you can make realistic bending and hanging creations from what you have. Ivy is especially useful and if using a garland of silk ivy, thread floristry wire into hairpins at regular lengths so you can pin it up into the foam making nice garlanding swags of ivy. Let some hang low too. Geraniums are great for a splash of authentic colour, dont use roses or other flowers that are never in hanging baskets or it will not look 'right'. In the end though, its down to personal choice.
I will come back to edit and hopefully upload the pictures.
@ 05/07/13 – 01:02:05
Once you have experience using wires decoratively in floristry, you can make some really nice wire sculptures and decorative wall hangings using floristry wire and string lights. The aluminium 2mm thick wire I have used making this wall hanging heart, comes in so many colours there will definately be one to match any theme. Soft enough to bend with your hands but strong enough to hold its shape. This is what Im going to show you how to make.
The bottom of the heart is where the wires to the battery pack for the lights hangs down, its easily hidden by using some organza ribbon tied in a bow and left hanging. This one was made for my little grandaughter's room to give some illumination in the night.
This is how its done. Take the wire, which is normally a 10m coil and start to roughly make the shape of the heart, just the basics so you can get the size you want and the rough shape.
At this stage you can check its the size you need,cut off the unused wire and coil the ends together. It doesn't have to be neat at this point as there is a lot to do yet. Next take a reel of beaded wire, the colour is a matter of personal taste but it should compliment the colour of the wire, same with the lights. What I did was used the wired bead strand to secure the wire of the lights to the heart shape. So lay the lights out next to the heart so you can see how close or far apart the lights need to be to make them fairly evenly distributed along the heart wire. Then bind the wired beads tightly around both the lights' wire and the heart shape wire. You do have a bit of control here as to which way the lights face and how close together they are as you can bend wire back on itself to make the lights closer or leave at their natural length if you have less lights. They come in packs of 10 or 20, I used 20 for this heart.
I had the lights turned on while making it as i found it easier to make sure they were where I wanted them to be. Its a really quite simple project but the end result is sure to bring gasps of surprise when people realise you made this yourself !
I do hope you give this a try. You can make the shape anything you want, this is a great craft to make for christmas too, use silver and white and a snowflake shape, or a tree, or star. It seems crazy to talk of christmas now in July but if you did want to make some as gifts or to sell, now is a good time to start getting some made.
Hope you visit my ebay store where I sell the wire, the beaded wire and lights and ship worldwide. Anything you cant find just let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org or click on any picture to go to my store.
Happy Wire Crafting!
@ 15/06/13 – 16:52:12
Request for a planted Goldfish Bowl Arrangement
Perfect Father's Day Gift
This article is done as a request to a lady who wanted to know what else could be done with the goldfish vases I sell apart from flower arrangements or illuminated gel crystals. This is a simple but decorative long lasting option. Its great for a reception area, waiting room or hallway, where the need for a low maintenance alternative to flowers is needed. Its also a brilliant idea for a Father's Day gift for a man who loves plants or gardening. Its like a mini indoor garden. These succulents I used are slow growing but decorative, need little rich soil, preferring a more grit and gravel desert style growing medium. I added some shells and pea gravel for interest. Hope this inspires you to create your own style, the possibilities are endless.
Clicking on a picture in this blog will take you to the store on ebay where lots of beautiful decorative and functional floristry and craft goods are available to be sent worldwide. Ask if you need anything specific and I will source it for you.
Father's Day in the UK is tomorrow, June 16th.
@ 14/04/13 – 10:04:56
Illuminated pink and white arrangement
This workshop is how to make the illuminated pink and white design shown here, I made this for a young girl’s 18th birthday party as it is young and fun looking. The design in in a white painted zinc trough so that it can sit on a ledge at eye level as a centre piece to the buffet table below.
Always take into consideration where the design is going to be displayed when choosing what kind of dish to use. I know it may seem obvious to some.
So, what has been used here is as follows:
White zinc trough
Wet Oasis foam block
Twigs gathered yourself, thin delicate ones best for this
Campanula (Canterbury Bells) in palest lilac
Philadendron leaves , mini
Leafshine, stubb wires for securing moss and twigs, a few diamante headed pins for decoration,
A box of 20 flora lights in soft white (these come with a battery pack)
Soak the oasis by allowing it to float in a basin of water, always do it this way so you know the whole block is penetrated by water . Place in the trough, no need to tape it in as the trough is deep. Then start to lay the twigs across the foam horizontally and much wider than the trough for a nice wide ‘nest’ don’t worry if it looks messy at this stage. Some twigs can then be inserted to form a backdrop. Secure the twigs by bending stubb wire into U shapes, at least guage 70/90.
Then, tuck the moss (I have used beige) under and inbetween the twigs around the outer edge to hid the foam and allow a hiding place for the lights and wires.
To add a little glam I have cut down a few diamante headed steel pins to insert into the middle of the pink Gerberas before placing them into the foam. Add the Canterbury Bells so that they droop their heads away from the middle of the design to emphasise the wide form of the arrangement. Let some droop over the edge so its all got a nice solid visaul balance and brings it all together.
Carefully wind the lights through the design, if possible hide the wires as best you can or you can also use little strips of clear tape to keep them close to a twig stem, use the U wires and moss too to help secure the lights, the battery pack should be placed at the back out of sight resting on the moss but easily accessible so you can turn them on or off of course. Strangely, for those who follow the blog, I add the philodendron leaves later on and not at the beginning as would notmally be the case and this is due to the wires. If you put them in first then it just makes doing the lights more difficult and also adding them later helps hide wires better too. The leaves should be sprayed lightly with Leafshine (found listed in my store)- to add a gloss to them which the lights will catch. Make them also follow outwards from the middle and predominantly downwards, like the Canterbury bells.
The end result should look wild, pretty and interesting, but not just thrown together. The importance of Dominance, Visual Balance and Scale all still apply.
Enjoy and have fun!
My online store link
@ 01/03/13 – 01:01:56
Carving a design from a designboard
Sometimes you may be asked to make a funeral tribute that is unique and personal and there will not be a pre made shape you can use. I find these kind of jobs really good fun as they allow some real original creativity. What I was asked to make was the Masonic Geometric design of the Square and Compasses. I bought a square design board which is basically a floral foam layer ontop of a layer of waterproof polymer base. The same as a normal floral foam shape but in a large design sheet that you can carve and cut from into whatever you like.
This is what I decided to end up with. Those of you who are familiar with this symbolic design know that the compass points are not normally behind the square (set square that is) but it just worked better this way due to the materials I was using and a little poetic justice is allowed
I have used the design board
Double chrysanthemums for the basing
Aspidistra leaves for the compass
Stub wire for attaching the leaves
Oasis Spray paint in Silver medal for the background after carving. Creates a 3D masonry look.
So a minimal amount of materials really.
When you buy a Designboard, it comes with a cellophane cover on it. What you can do is draw out your design with a marker pen onto the cellophane and make sure it all fits well and works well before you commit to cutting anywhere. So I drew out the geometric design onto the cellophane and then (pinned it in place much as you would fabric pattern) and then cut along my design lines. Any part of the foam that I wanted to cut out from 'inside' the shapes I had to do with a spoon first to scoop out the foam. Basically I cut the foam back to the base board so it made a kind of 3D effect. Making the design stand out nicely. Scrape all the residue foam off right back to the polymer board and then I sprayed it with Oasis floral spray in silver, this combined with the rough green surface gave the background a really realistic masonry style background. Take a look at what I have just said in pictures.
So, the basis for the design is done, thats the hardest part really. Now I decided to use the chrysanthemum basing to define the setsquare part and the aspidistra leaves to make the compasses. I decided not to use flowers on all of it otherwise the design becomes harder to define. The long shiny leaves are similar to fabric and nice and stiff too so easy to make them into the compasses and also to cut and place onto the central hub at the top using bent hairpin stub wires to 'stitch it' into place.
Pour jugs of water over the raised foam once the background paint is dry, just a minute or two. Take it slowly to make sure the water seeps deep into the foam, stand it up to drain the excess. Start the basing as you normally do with the more open defining the line and smaller to the edges until the whole of the V is covered. Cut, trim, place and pin the pieces of aspidistra leaf to cover neatly and finally, I made a hole in the leaf patches at the top to insert a single chrysanthemum. Card and stick placed as well for the people to write on of course.
@ 07/02/13 – 20:44:09
This design uses:
A large rustic dish/plate 40cm diameter, its made from birch.
Some beige sphagnum moss
LED lights with a battery pack in pink.
Approx 10 blades of steel grass
A small soft toy feature. Optional of course.
Scissors and some floristry stub wires for securing the grass and roses to the twigs.
The box of chocolates is placed with its lid at the back of it to allow a slight tilt, it also provides a cavity into which the battery pack will be placed out of sight. The beige sphagnum moss is then put around the chocolate box and in the lid so that the lights can be threaded through, what you want is for the wires to be able to be covered by the moss with the lights peeking through. Here you can see how this stage looks.
Now take your steel grass and tie the ends tightly with string or ribbon if you prefer. Graduate the strands as you loop them in their group then attach to the twigs with floristry wires, make sure this is very secure and only secure once the group of swagged grass is the way you want it to look. Dont rush, pull some strands through as you gather them so they have spaces between them in a nice swag. The roses, in this case artificial for demonstration purposes, but you may want to use them fresh, are then attached from the back of the twig plate round to the front. Stagger them so they create 'steps' through the design no 2 heads at the same distance. The stems can be attached to the twigs again with the floristry stub wires at stages to create a gently curve. Its easier done with the artificial ones due to the wired stems but with careful weaving of the real stems through the grass and attaching the stems to the twigs the same thing can be achieved. Note, there isnt an option to use any kind of floristry foam for real roses in this design so stem tubes with watertight lids can be used if needed. I sell these in my store which you can find by clicking on ANY of the pictures here.
As you can see from the first picture of the completed design, a valentine theme soft toy or whatever else you may want to add, or a card, can then be placed. Hope you have found this useful.
Please keep checking back, something for Mother's Day will be coming soon.
@ 19/12/12 – 00:41:35
What you need sometimes is a little illumination without the worry of candles or where to plug lights in, well, with this idea, its not a problem at all. This Tree Arrangement workshop incorporates a hidden battery compartment in the base of the dry foam cone. You can still change batteries or turn it off or on without a problem. This suits the dinner table, function table at the christmas party, a shelf or coffee table and is very simple to make.
You need a dry foam cone, the one I have used is by Oasis, its 12 x 32cm just the right size although you can get larger ones. These will be listed in my store later on. You need some sphagnum moss, around 200g of it, I used the fir green although it comes in other colours too, colour enhanced. I used some battery lights in white. For pinning on the lights and moss you need some stub wire, made into hairpins. Other decorations as per your own taste. I have used, diamante red, clear diamante corsage pins, a reel of gold balls on wire to bind and a red coil wire.
Ok, lets begin. Take the cone and carefully cut out a rectangle actually in the base of the cone. You can mark the size with a knife then scoop it out with a spoon. Be careful with this part as its important the base cavity hold the battery case nice and tight, place the battery case in the cavity so the base will still stand up, so flush to the base and make sure its the right way round so you can still access the little on/off switch.
Next, take some floristry stub wires, I have used .70 guage. Make the wire bend like a hairpin shape then cut to make your pins. These are to secure the cable and moss. It also hides the light wires. Begin at the base by hiding the first short length of wire before the first light and secure with a hairpin and some moss.
Carry on until the whole cone is covered. After the first few lights - go to the last light you have so you can secure it to the top of the tree, then go back and distribute the lights in between the first ones and the top one as evenly as you can. My tree has 20 lights. Once the moss covers the cone and wires, check its all covered nicely, add more pins, trim straggly bits off with scissors and then step back and make sure its ok to continue with your own choice of decorations. As I said before, I used a reel of pearly beads on wire in gold as they really look like baubles. Corsage pins too look nice. The rest is totally down to your own creativity.
Some other ideas are to cover the base in cinnamon sticks then the moss so it looks like a tree trunk design at the base. Or miss out the moss altogether and pin slices of dried orange to the cone then finish with lights or beads, sequins etc. I just added a couple of pictures of what I mean if you want some inspiration. The moss also comes in Beige, Darker Green and a kind of mauve. Have fun!
In case I dont get back before Christmas, I wish you all, my readers and customers, a happy, peaceful holiday.
@ 18/11/12 – 17:48:02
If you have been following this instructional blog or if you have no idea what to buy someone who is into floristry or maybe a student, I have made up some gift ideas which might interest you.
Take a look at the store as I have made up 2 basket gifts with 2 colour schemes available at present.
FREE postage to the UK
@ 12/11/12 – 01:58:04
Sometimes just a small and relatively simple table arrangement is all you need. I made this for someone who has a black and white theme. This one can be adapted to be for Christmas if you change the ribbon bow for a silver one, you could also change the rose to a red one with a red ribbon if you are more into the traditional colours, for this year I will be using White, Silver and Green indoors but of course personal choice is varied.
Also, instead of the moss I have used, the crystal gel can be used into which a waterproof light is buried if you want something illuminated, this workshop will help inspire you to be creative !
What you need for this is a small 8 or 10cm glass cube (I sell these in my store, any picture will take you there if you click on it) A couple of White or other colour roses, not too large unless the cube is larger. Some Silver Ting Ting, which is the twisted split wood. Some sphagnum moss, a couple of wires bent into hairpins to keep the moss in place. A small terracotta pot that fits into the cube, if you dont have one then the top of a paint can or deodorant can will do. A piece of oasis wet foam. Some ribbon of your theme colour.
Im sorry these pictures are out of order and I cant change it but what I did is to put the terracotta pot into the cube and stuff the gaps with the moss so that all you can see through the glass is the moss. Then using a sharp knife cut a pice or oasis wet foam into pieces that will fit into the pot, pour on a little water, only enough to soak into the foam no more or the moss will end up wet too. Then pack in more moss to the top. Place the first rose into the foam to the desired height then add a smaller and more open rose down lower and to the right slightly. Cut the ting ting to a height just a bit higher than the roses and coiling nicely around them to integrate them into the design nicely. Make your bow and bind it will a stub wire so that you have something to anchor it into the foam with. Place more moss onto the surface around the rose stems and if necessary use hairpin wires to just pin it down in place. Finally add your bow low down to the surface of the moss and to the left slightly so that the overall design has a nice visual balance to it.
Its nice to learn to make quick arrangements like these especially if you have a lot of them to make, maybe for a restaurant or for party tables. No fuss just simple and appealing. these also make really nice gifts to take if going to someone's home for dinner. They dont take up loads of room so even the 'busiest' of dining tables can probably accommodate this type of design without making the table cramped and crowded.
Other ideas to what I have used can be, wood chips, pebbles, candle in the middle, holly sprigs etc lots of variations for you to think about and experiment with.
Thanks for reading and do visit my store online for all your florstry and craft requirements, I send worldwide and of course, send me a message if you cant find what you need. My Online Store
@ 16/09/12 – 23:58:57
Hi there, this design is going to show how to add some ribbon streamers to highlight the card on a based heart design. As you probably know, 'based' means close placed double chrysanthemums as the 'base' for the design. What I have used is a Naylor Base (the hard plastic base foam) 13" heart, but this can be substituted for the hard 'poly' based shape instead. I used this as it was requested by the customer. The Naylor Base has a handle on it and this was requested due to the customer wanting to hang the design rather than have it lie flat.
Other flowers and foliages are: Veronica White (the spear shaped flowers), Pink roses and Bupleurum. Dont forget to vary your shapes when choosing flowers for a spray. Less is sometimes more if you take care with your choices, in this only 2 flowers, 1 foliage, used but because there is enough interest in the textures, colours and shape variations, its enough. There is nothing worse in a spray than lots of blobs and rounds all shoved in to make it look 'full' when in fact all it looks is confusing and crowded on the eye. Veronic has a lovley natural curve to it as it hangs from its stem, it comes in lilac as well as white and the spear shape is so very useful when looking for something to compliment the 'rounded' shapes of so many flowers. Bupleurum is a lovely foliage to use because it has such a fresh lime green shade that lifts a design and looks modern and pretty, in fact its a flower technically !
Ok, lets do a quick recap on the ribbon edging. Use a colour that will compliment the flowers you will use, in this case, the design is for a lady, the lilac ribbon edging sets off the pink roses nicely. The main thing is to maintain a regular size to the pleats. At the beginning of this blog are earlier posts showing ribbon edging but use this post just as a recap. Other fabric can be used of course, sisal, organza etc, but the traditional waterproof floristry ribbon is used here. Take your stapler and begin turning the ribbon back and forth into pleats, securing with a staple at the folds. Dont crease the pleats! It looks horrible if they have hard creases, just let the ribbon flow in its figure of 8 look way, much nicer. Always leave a few inches of ribbon before you start in case you need to make a corner or in this case, the V of the heart, so keep pleating until its enough to go around the edge. Start to pin it to the foam using either dressmaking pins or, as in this case, german pins.or (mossing pins).
Ribbon edging is something to practise, keep the pleats nice and uniform in size. Pin the ribbon edging by placing it pleat side against the foam. I know some tutors will say to pin it lying downwards but try it this way its a nicer look and the basing placed near to the ribbon pinned edge, holds the ribbon down snugly so it really looks nice and tidy.
The 2nd to last picture is showing the place where the 2 ends meet at the V of the heart. Lift the ribbon up while holding the 2 pieces together edge against edge and staple along a 45' slant so that when you put it down again, its a subtle V shape. Trim off excess close to the staple line on this V. The last picture above is showing the first line of basing (double chrysanths) snug along the ribbon edge line holding down the ribbon pleats. The chrysanthemums should be cut at a 45' angle so as to make a nice clean insertion into the foam. Cut stems to about 2.5cm 1" approx and although you dont want them to overlap they must not show foam inbetween so what I do is gently lift the edge of the neighbouring petals before placing the next flower head so they sit snugly together but not crowded. Its a fine line but easy with practise. As is everything
A screw in pre soaked oasis foam bump is the easiest way to make a raised area for the spray, but you can tape and pin secure a cylinder of oasis foam instead, champfer the edges and smooth with the palm to make it round for a better profile. In this I have used a 'screw in bump'. Complete the basing in a nice uniform way. Prepare your flowers for the spray. The foliage or bupleurum in this case, is put in place to get the outline and shape of the spray, then add the roses having cut the ends at the 45' - sharp insertion is secure insertion. Remember the 1/3rd 2/3rds rule for balance and proportion in relation to the size of the spray to the size of the shape its on. Also, odd numbers are better for the focal flowers, ie 5,7,9 etc then follow with the beautiful Veronica to accentuate the shape of the spray.
Here is a little design tip regarding the placement of the card. Take a length of the ribbon and split it into a few streamers, not more than 3 really. See the streamers in the last of the pictures above, how it comes out of the spray then into the basing where the card is on its stick, then out again into 3 little tails. Sorry its a little small but hope you can see what Im referring to. you tie a knot into the ends after placing them on top of each other, so the streamer ends are stacked like cards. Place a german pin, or mossing pin as they are also known, through where the knot is and then push the pin with the ends of the streamers attached to it into the middle of the spray. So now you have the 3 streamers in your hand coming from the flowers spray, manipulate them so they are staggered in length slightly, ie the bottom one is close to the basing, the one above slightly longer and the top one slightly longer still. Then pinch together at the point you want the card to be. This staggering gives the streamers an intentional curve showing each of them but in a tidy manner.
Another german pin holds the streamers into the basing again, place your card and stick where the streamers appear to go in and out again, then trim the ends in a staggered length fashion with a nice tidy / diagonal cut with sharp scissors. Give the whole design a very fine mist spray of cool water to keep fresh until it is delivered. May I add here that the cards should always be inside a cellophane envelope to protect from the weather. If you didnt use one then remove the card before you spray.
Hope you found this helpful and of use. As always, I invite you to check out my ebay store for seasonal floristry related items and gifts. Do ask if you cant see what you need, I probably have it or can get it for you. I do reply to floristry questions sent to me via here or the ebay store so dont be shy x
@ 21/07/12 – 20:59:46
Its been suggested by someone who bought several of my candelabras, to show how it can be a simple task to jazz them up a bit if you want to. The ones I have demonstrated on here are for sale in the ebay store, they come in a shabby chic ivory with a drop crystal on each arm that can be replaced or taken off. They can of course, also be sprayed any colour using the Oasis spray paint I also sell.
The first quick tip is to just add some diamante wide ribbon trim to the part that holds the candle. Im
All you do is wrap the trim around to check how much you need, cut it exactly without an overlap so it looks seamless, then put a dab of hotglue from a glue gun where the ends will meet to secure it to the candelabra. Simple but adds a little glamour, especially if the event or wedding has diamante in the theme as so many do at the moment.
Ive used rosebuds that have a wired stem so they can be wound around secured with a tiny blob of glue, and then the wire hidden by the ivy trails which are silk. I have used a lime coloured candle so you can see what is done more clearly.
Literally there are probably hundreds of ways to quickly adapt candelabras to match your theme, organza bows, hanging crystals, glass shapes like hearts on ribbons hanging, so many ways if you dont just want them as they are. Enjoy...hope to see you in my store
@ 24/05/12 – 22:00:41
Hi there, today's workshop will show you how to add some pretty wired pearly beads to a loose bq of roses. This can of course also be done with Diamante wires for a sparkle effect. Not every rose need to be adapted, maybe 1 in 3 but that is personal choice.
If you are intending to make these for a buttonhole or a corsage, then dont wind the silver wire around the stem, just tape it in parallel so its not seen in the tape. This way, lightly coiling, is fine in a bq where the stems are not on show and its quicker to do in advance if there are a lot to do.
You will need some roses that have been prepared, ie they have had their stems cut at a 45' angle for optimum water drinking, and any of the outer tough petals carefully removed, stems de-thorned. You need a bunch of wired pearls or wired diamante, some floristry tape, either stemtex or parafilm in green, scissors and string or a ribbon if wanted.
You place the pearls at the height you want them to be and take the wire under one of the petals down to the stem and coil to hold in place. Then take a couple of inches (5cm) of tape and secure neatly the stem and the wire together. Carry this on to the roses. How many you do is personal choice really, either just a few or all its up to the look you want really. If this is being done for buttonholes or a corsage, as I say, just tape with the wire parallel so the stem isnt bumped by coiling and tape all the way. Its not necessary to tape all the way for this BQ, only enough to hide the wire and secure it.
Pretty and stylish I think
All floristry items are available in my store, clicking any picture will take you there. If you need something not listed do please ask.
See you soon!
Click here for my store
@ 06/03/12 – 01:24:51
Since Kate and William's wedding, you may have noticed all the 'nude' and pastel creamy colours in fashion. Currently mixtures of coral, cream and peaches in fashion have been reflected in rose colour trends. So beautiful. Well Mother's Day happens later this month so even if you dont have a reason to experiment with wedding roses and colour, maybe this will inspire an idea for colour combinations for a BQ or arrangement using these dreamy colours. To break up the roses and add a little contrasting texture, I've also used Wax Flower in between. Wax Flower also adds a little citrus scent. Its noticeable when you cut the stems. Its also a very nice alternative to foliage.
Ok so what Im going to use are these. Cream, Coral and Peach roses - these ones.
The style for roses at the moment is to be open, soft and loose, not tight a buddy. A kind of dreamy floaty look, elegant and stylish. First of all, as usual, a little preparation is required. On the outside of the rose there will probably be the harder petal that needs to be removed. This was what protected it as a bud and is sometimes a little scruffy and green tinged. To remove it just gently pull it from the calyx. Clean the stems of leaves and thorns and cut the rose stems at a 45 degree angle to ensure a larger surface area for drinking water.
Start to arrange the roses and branches of the wax flower in your hand, spiral the stems as covered before in the hand tied workshop. Dont cross the stems, they lie next to each other but at an angle, if you havent read the workshop please look back at it, spiralling stems is essential to make an aqua bq as it needs to stand up on its stem legs. Also if making a hand tied bq, spiralling stems is the only way to make the arrangement look 'right' in balance and display. Start small, then add to it in your hand, sometimes its good to have a mirror nearby so you can see it from the top, which can be hard to do with long stems. Keep the rose heads the same height, the wax flower can protrude for a natural loose look. As you do this, you can adjust roses that drop too low, or stand too proud by using the stem below your hand. Keep your 'holding' hand still, this is the binding point when you have finished, so keep a grip, just open the fingers slightly when adding each new stem in its place.
Tie with string when you have added all your flowers. This should be done without letting go!! The hand in which you arranged them must stay tight, with the other hand loop string around and tie very tightly. Did I mention you need 3 hands for floristry? I use my teeth, seriously, dont let go. Tie tight.
Stand in a bucket of deep cold water when you have done it. I think these colours are so beautiful together. If you want to visit my ebay store for sundries and lovely things for crafts, its here.
@ 30/01/12 – 00:22:22
I will be posting several Valentine's Day themed workshops on here, this one is a very quick and simple. design.
You need a slim stem vase - the one I have used here is a 40cm tall lily vase, you will find them in my store as well as water pearls. Water pearls Ive used previously on this blog, you simply add water, stir, and then leave for a few hours so that they plump up. These ones are like peas in shape and size but I also sell cube shapes and a type that looks like crushed ice.
You need silk roses, Ive used just 1 full open headed rose and a bud. Normally its best to use odd numbers but in this limited modern style it works to just have 2, also with some silk foliage you are very limited to the width of the vase for stem allowance.
Ive used some cutoffs from a large stem of silk ivy, some silk rose leaves, a small sprig of dark almost black/green and the normal green. Its more interesting on the eye to vary foliage colours and shapes but dont overdo it.
Basically, once the water pearls have plumped up, spoon them into the vase to within about 2" of the top (5cm) due to the fact that when you put the stems in, they will move up, and believe me, you dont want these rolling about on the floor due to spilling over the top, they are a nightmare to pick up, being so slippery and smooth. Then arrange the flowers and foliage in your hand so you can see how you want them to look in place, remember to use the bud to the top with the full open one to the lowest point, this helps give the design 'visual balance' or in other words, the 'focal point'.
Ive shown the back of the vase so you can see the stems have been kept to the back to minimise their presence. Water pearls last for ages, even after a week or so, if they start to look like they are getting smaller, mist them will some water or pour a little into the vase and they plump up again!
These are great for gifts and simple and quick enough to make to sell as a lasting gift.
Check back soon, as I have another couple of workshops to blog for Valentine's Day.
I sell worldwide from my store so take a look if you like. My ebay store
@ 04/12/11 – 18:36:27
Hi there, I thought Id show you how to make a very simple candle holder arranged in a glass cube using cinnamon sticks as a feature for the container. Although Ive used a glass cube, you can also be very creative and use the same techniques using any plastic tub, ie the type fabric cubes come in, or a square plastic coleslaw container, using the same technique, as the container will not be visible in this design. This will give you the opportunity to make something very simple but pretty and unique out of recyclable material which is always a great way to do things.
Ok, well you will need some cinnamon sticks of course, Ive used 8cm 3 inch ones as they happen to be the same size as my little glass cube. You need scissors, a small amount of finland moss, sphagnum moss as its also known, though garden moss can be used too. Some wires, double sided tape and some tape for the candle, Ive used the oasis clear pot tape. You will also need a piece of oasis dry foam to insert into the cube to hold the candle although sand can also be used.
This design and in particular the technique used, can be so very versatile in using up containers that may have chips or marks because you totally cover the visible outside of the container.
Right then, first of all, apply the sticky double sided tape to the outside of the container, only do 2 sides at once otherwise you wont be able to lay in on a table to continue.
As you can see in the pictures, once you have the tape secured to the sides of the cube or container, you carefully start to stick the cinnamon sticks to the tape and hold secure for a few seconds, I should add here that there is often dust on the cinnamon - its a bark - so wipe them first or they may not stick well. Once they are in place, see how attractive this looks !! I just love the rustic look of this.
Next, take a pice of dry oasis foam, cut to fit - not so its shows above the rim, but nice and snug. If you dont have foam then sand will be ok, this foam is basically something to hold the candle in place and to pin the moss to.
Now we need to give some anchor support for the candle, this is important as candles always need to be secure in a design. I use floristry wire that ive bent into hairpins, but you can also use wooden toothpics. Ive then secured the wire pins to the candle as you can see, using a clear oasis pot tape. If you use a different tape then be sure it is covered from view by the moss. In the pictures, you can see I have not obscured the top of the pins in the final picture but that is so you can see how it all fits together and not be guessing. Im just so good to you.
Can you see how it can be adapted by using ivy leaves, bean pods, pressed flowers, in fact anything can be used to make a variation of this design for a container to hold a candle for a table setting, or even for making an arrangement in.
Please drop by the ebay store if you want to buy your floristry sundries and decorative craft items, any of the pictures above are a link to go there, shipping is worldwide and a friendly service guaranteed.Click here for the store
@ 05/10/11 – 17:53:17
Quick Tutorial: how to add a sparkling wired diamante to a rose head. Excellent for wedding bqs or buttonholes, classy and elegant as long as you just add one and dont go overboard. Im often asked to demonstrate this so thought it may be of use to readers of my blog. This is the result to aim for:
Clicking on a picture will take you to my store where all manner of floristry items are available for sale by post worldwide.
Unravel the diamante bunch so that you have one individually wired diamante head, cut the wire end on an angle so it is nice and sharp.
Step 2. insert the cut wired end into the centre of the rose head, dont crush the petals with your hand though, when it protrudes near the base, gently pull it downward to the stem until the diamante sits snug in the middle of the petals, not protruding too much but not hidden or there isnt any point so take care its right where you want it to be.
Bring the wire close to the rose stem and tape it securely as high as you can so the minimal amount of wire is visible, it wont be seen as long as you tape high up under the sepals. Those are the little leaf structures that are what is left of the protective cover the rose had when it was in bud. Tightly bind the tape in a spiral downward movement for a couple of inches and then cut and add pressure so the tape remains in place. These tapes are designed to adhere to themselves so it wont unravel.
Thats all you have to do, easy isnt it? If making buttonholes then make sure the tape goes down and over the cut for the length you want, the tape will ensure the rose stem retains moisture for the day of the wedding, if making these for a bq, then just leave the length and carry on with the other roses until they are all done, then put in very cold water until you are ready to assemble the bq.
Thanks for reading and hope you found it useful.
Please feel free to browse my online store.
Click on a picture to go there.
@ 02/07/11 – 16:07:23
Making an unusual Tribute - Step by step
This workshop will show the detailed steps taken to make an unusual Funeral Tribute for artist, John Reay. Design sheets are made in such a variety of shapes ready made - but you can buy them blank and carve your own shape if you dont find one to suit. This was made using a large Artist Palette Oasis foam Shape. All items apart from the fresh flowers can be bought from my store atClick Here to visit E-Jay Trading
First of all, as with all my items, prepare the oasis foam by nevelling the edges of the shape and the inner hole so that the foam has a more 3D look using a sharp floristry knife (or small unserrated knife)
Start with filling in the whole surface with double white Chrysanthemums for what we call the 'basing' of the design. Dont just do it randomly though, try and follow a pattern, ie I start by going around the edges and coming into the centre in each circle of the shape, this makes a nicer effect when its done. Dont forget, as always, make sure to gently lift the petals of the previous flower head so the next sits right up close though not too squashed together, they must all face directly upwards and all as neat as you can. Smaller heads can be used to the edges as you dont want the surface to look uneven. All the surface must be very similarly sized heads. I know this means buying a lot but its the effect we need.
See how the pattern emerges once the whole surface is carefully covered or 'based' as we say in the trade. Ok, now I dont want this to be white as its to depict the artist's palette, so i used the Oasis Brown floristry spray paint over the whole surface. Once done lightly, allow a few minutes to dry, then do it again at a slightly different angle, then again if need be, see, the problem is that the petals have an underside too and sometimes they show up as white, so you need to be patient and try and get all the angles. Dont hold it too close though or it will be too heavy and sticky, allow a good amount of time to do it carefully, sweeping strokes of the can at different angles and it will be fine.
Can I just say that I made this for my uncle John Reay, who died far too early and tragically early this year and was a collected artist from Lowestoft in England. Truly missed.
Well - the next step is to add the colours, or blobs of paint you will find on an artist's palette, sometimes smears sometimes blobs its up to you how you shape them. Looking back I think I should have put the colours in a better order as in mixing order, but I didnt think of it at the time. You will be able to do that as ive now mentioned it
Find flowers you can group together for this. Add them to the board around the edge. I used some silk Nigella (love in a mist) as there were no suitable blue flowers at the time i made this, so thats the only thing flower-wise that isnt real. They did need wiring as you can see.
Then I grouped some brushes, bound with wire, and inserted them into the middle of the design just for a little effect.
So all that is needed is the message card now, and I supported this by using the metal frame that comes in the pack when you buy a frame shape like this.
As the paint contracts and dries the flowers, you can see some little white bits of chrysanthemum, I did go over these carefully but you can never obliterate them entirely, it doesnt really matter to be honest as long as its not too much.
Finished item. Thanks for reading, hope its been useful, dont forget to come by my store and have a browse, thanks.Here
@ 13/02/11 – 21:56:54
Step by Step Workshop for Valentine Arrangements with silk roses, glass vase and soft toy.
Today I have been making 2 arrangements to specific requirements. What they wanted was a soft toy, silk roses and something that could be kept and used later on.
The most popular item in my ebay store, CLICK TO VISIT STORE is the goldfish style vase so I thought I would use those as the recipient would then have a really nice item to make use of.
This can of course be adapted to suit any occasion, ie change the red theme for pastel colours for Mother's Day or to pink for a new baby girl gift etc etc.
This is the result, and Im going to take you through the steps to make it.These are pre-gift wrap pictures as its easier to see like this at this stage. Its good to practise making more than one item the same as its often the case that you will need to make several -maybe many- items all the same, ie weddings. So often people who are just learning floristry can make a perfectly nice arrangement, but be daunted by the idea of making 10, 20 or so exactly the same as with table arrangements, so its good practise to be able to work in a disciplined way knowing what steps you took to end up with your end result.
Ok lets get on with making these then. First of all you need a base, just find a cardboard box nice strong and flat card or something similar, and cut out a square that will be just right to sit under your vase or whatever container you are using, and then cover it in red tissue. (or whatever colour scheme you are using)
Next I decided to use some white raffia to put inside the vases, so taking the raffia bundle by the tied end, just cut off a chunk from that end and then pull it out, this is the easiest way to use raffia,
Take the raffia you have cut off and then just swirl it inside the vase, it doesnt have to be neat, in fact a bit untidy is best as this is all that will be holding the rose stems in place and the teddy.
Now onto the roses, i chose a very very full open rose for the bottom placement (remember the rule from previous workshops? Larger fuller flowers to the focal area and buddier more closed flowers towards the edges of the arrangement for visual balance) and chose a slightly less full rose next upward, then 3 rose bud roses staggered towards the top. Place the roses in your hand until you have them in the right places, bind together with red binding wire (in this case crinkle wire), cut down the stems so they are the same, take off any leaves below the binding point and place to one side.
The small soft toy I chose had a heart with I love you and a rose on wire, so i wound the wired end under the arm and to the back so it wont show, and then the teddy is placed sitting in among the raffia in the vase, take a look.
In the 4th pic above you can see the very large first rose of the bunch that will make the main display, Ive placed the tied group of roses in behind the teddy with the stems in the raffia and it is surprisingly stable, however if you find that the stems wont stay close in their nice neat formation then take a cut off piece orf the red wire, and thread through and round the stems halfway up but hidden behind the leaves and bind tightly, this is shown in the next picture, it helps keep the neat group together and stop the stems moving apart spoiling the effect.
So, by having specific steps its easy to recreate duplicate arrangment and both being made it was time to add cellophane and embellishments, I added a small glass red heart on a velvet ribbon to tbe final gift wrapped item just for a little extra interest and you will see that at the end. I know ive been over the cellophane wrapping of items before so wont go into that in detail again, but its very easy with the vase sitting on the base we made with the cardboard, to make a nice neat look, much better than if the base had been left out.
Basically, pull out a lrge length of cellophane, sit the base in the middle then place the arrangement on the base, then pull up the cello from the back and the front and 'concertina' it together to meet at the exact top centre and secure with some sticky tape, then ive made a simple bow with a length of red wire edged organza ribbon, securing the middle with some of the red wire, and securing it around the gathered cellophane at the top, the sides are then neatly tugged to the back and secured with some tape where it wont be seen, its essential the cello is neat, if you cant get it to be nice and neat then its best leaving it off to be honest, scrunched up untidy cellophane is unsightly. The final finishing touch is that i put the little glass hanging heart over the top so it hung down on its little velvet ribbon.
I hope you have found this useful, im always glad to get your comments and dont forget that you can of course adapt this for the coming Mother's day in March or use the techniques and ideas in some way.
I have some funeral items to make soon so will blog those shortly. If you visit my store do say 'hi' and ask if you cant find what you need as i have much more than i have in the store so just ask. Take care for now.
@ 16/10/10 – 11:33:59
Hi there, in this workshop I will show you how to put together a lovely gift for someone expecting a baby, in this case a boy but of course colours can be adapted. Baby shower parties have been imported to the UK from over the pond and I was recently asked to make something for a neighbour to take to one such party. The items inside were the gifts she had bought and wanted them presented in some way. So this is what I made.
Basic Required Materials:
A basket with a handle choose one that will suit the items going inside and by this i mean in respect to size. If your basket is too big then the gifts inside will look too few and if too small then the finished item will look squashed and crowded up, so try and bear that in mind when choosing.
Scissors and stubb wire
Ribbon enough for 2 bows Im using wire edged organza in both pale green and baby blue just to add a bit of interest its good to use 2 colours, a bit more interesting than just blue I thought.
If making this for a girl, I suggest baby pink and cerise, or lilac. If the baby's sex isnt known then lemon, ivory, soft silver, lime. Sorry for those im stating the obvious too but many people get stuck on colours.
netting offcut, tissue or raffia to place in the basket
clear cellophane enough for the basket to sit on and have enough front and back to pull up and meet together about 10" 25cm above the handle. The reason will be clear and depend on the size of your basket.
A Teddy and the gifts for inside
Place the Teddy so he is sitting 'around' one of the handles, as if holding the basket and thats where we are going to wire him to. Take a stubb wire (the length depends on the size of your basket and teddy but long enough to go around one of his arms and the handle.) Make sure you twist the two ends together quite securely then turn the sharp end of the wire back on itself for safety reasons. Then another wire to go through the weave of the basket near one of the legs and do the same to secure the teddy in a sitting position cradling the basket. See the following pics to see what i did.
Now for the bows. For the basket gift we need 2 double colour bows. One will be made with a wired middle so it can be attached to the weave of the basket and the other with a ribbon middle tie so it can be tied around the cellophane canopy of the completed basket at the top. First of all as with all wire edged ribbons, fold in the edge a couple of times to trap the cut wire ends safely.
Once the double bow is made and the stubb wire is tightly twisted around the middle of it then it is anchored to the opposite handle to the bear, twist the wire ends back on themselves and make sure its not wobbly, nothing worse than wobbly bows! I then placed a scrunched up offcut of ivory netting fabric called 'polynet' which is a good basket filler for the items to sit on inside the basket. You can use raffia, tissue, sisal or other fabric you have to hand but i find that due to the 'springy' nature of the netting, its ideal for placing items onto in baskets and hampers. Make the second double bow as before but this time tie the middle with some long lengths of ribbon as you will need this to tie to the top once its wrapped in cello. Its then time to start arranging the baby gifts inside the basket. Once you are happy with the look of it, take the length of cellophane, place it on a table or workbench clear from any debris as cello will pick up and attach itself to small bits and pieces, and sit the basket in the middle with an equal amount of cello front and back, you need to gather up the cello from behind and in front of the basket to meet at the top with around 10 inches spare, then gently concertina from each side so you have a nicely gathered bunch of cello above the handles, make sure its nice and tight and close to the handle secure with sellotape.
Once secured then tie the second bow around the cellophane close to the handles, take the end ties back round the front and tied under the bow loops - never end up with a big knot at the back it looks horrible so always bring the ends of the ties back to the front and tie under the loops so its not seen. Im sorry there are not more pics of the cellophane being used but due to the total transparency of it the pics i took just didnt help at all, hope you can follow what i did, its easier to see the finished result below - then read back and it may be clearer to understand. Once the top is tied, look at the base and tuck the open corners of sellophane tidily to the back and secure with a small piece of sticky tape.
You can of course tie a balloon to this gift, add a card and adapt it in any way you wish, I only use clear cellophane with these type of gifts as i think a pattern makes it all look too 'busy' but of course thats just personal preference. Anyway, hope you get the chance to make one of these or similar at some point, they are a very nice way to present gifts, dont forget to mention the wires though will you ! Take care.
Do visit my ebay store for floristry sundries, click here.
@ 26/08/10 – 19:24:37
Hi again, Id like to show you the steps used to make a tall silk arrangement in a pot. If you look around at car boot sales and second hand shops there are so many containers that can be used for arrangements. This is a tall ceramic pot and lends itself well to being the container for a lovely selection of silk delphinium and spider chrysants. The traditional ratio is that the arrangement be 1/3 : 2/3 inother words, the height of an arrangement should be around 2 thirds higher than the height of the pot. This is as I say, the traditional ratio, all that matters is that the pot is big enough to make sure there is actual, and visual balance in the completed design.
If your container is too light then add sand first, then the oasis. Put a piece of dry foam oasis into the pot make sure its a tight fit, better to force in a piece too big than put in a small piece that wobbles. In this design there is not need to tape the oasis to the pot as im using tall stems that will go right down into the foam. Any of you who think the oasis looks green like wet oasis, thats because it been sprayed green by me, not for this arrangement, but its a spare piece id saved from another project.
Prepare the delphinium by checking no heads are missing, and measure where you want to cut the stems, hold next to the pot, decide how long you want the longest (and furthest back) stem to be and then cut.
Always keep in mind that the arrangement needs to look good from the front and the sides, check for gaps or imbalance and correct it - one way is to manipulate the leaves, bend them down and curve them to make a nice natural look to the leaves, they are normally also back wired and that makes manipulating them easy, take a look at the next pictures, im moving the leaves into a nicer natural shape and then preparing to place the spider chrysant heads which are on a bunch so need cutting into separate flowers. These have a nice big flower so a good deep to the pot placement low down helps give gravity and a focal point to the design
Below: manipulate the wired leaves gently pull down in a curve so they look natural, also helps hide gaps, above all else, dont keep adding material to fill gaps, use what you have and then it will look uncrowded. There is nothing worse that a silk arrangement crammed with flowers haphazardly. Careful placements is the key to a nice clean look.
Below: Cut down the stems of the silks if on a bunch as these were. Keep leaves always, yu may need them for another project so dont waste them!
Below: See how from the side there can be gaps? Manipulate the leaves and push the focal flowers into the pot closer to make it look nice from all angles.
Keep your focal flower (in this case the spider chrysant, low and close to the pot for a good focal point giving gravity to the design)
Hope you have gained something from this workshop, simple designs, careful placements of your materials and visual balance or gravity to the overall design is paramount. More soon, take care.
Dont forget to check out my ebay store for floristry sundries, and do ask if you cant find what you need.
@ 26/06/10 – 12:05:27
Step by step instructions for the making of a based ribbon edged Anchor Tribute
This tribute is ideal for someone who had a boat or was in the navy and shows a nice personal touch to a floral tribute which will stand out from the usual wreaths and sprays.
You will need:
An Anchor Shaped Oasis Frame
A Screw in 'bump' for the floral spray
Some waterproof floristry ribbon in white and navy blue
Scissors and knife
Mossing pins to attach the ribbon edging
White Double Chrysanthemums for the basing
Blue and white flowers for the spray
In this design the screw in 'bump' has been placed in the middle of the cross arms of the anchor, some people place it in the middle of the bottom curve but i prefer it as i have placed it above.
The next step is as always in these tutorials, to champfer the edges of the foam with your knife as tributes always look better when this small act of preparation is done, then smooth the oasis over with the palm of your hand so that instead of the 90' edges it had when you bought it, the anchor now has a nice 3D effect rounded edge to its shape.
If you need to find a source to buy items for these workshops you can click the pictures above to go to my online store.
Now prepare the ribbon edging:
See above and you can see the two ribbons, white and navy plue, placed one beneath the other, the white on the bottom as a thin 'pinstripe' of white that will show under the navy blue. This is a nice little design touch that will look very good with the maritime theme of the tribute.
These little added touches always make your work stand out and if you are a student doing assessments, it will add marks to your work if you add little design features. Making the pleats like this with a double ribbon isnt difficult but you must at all times ensure that the edging of white is constant in width so a little more care and time is needed.
I have shown the pictures in large size so you can see how the ribbon edging is done, although this has been covered on many other of the entries on this blog, i know a lot of you will be new to the site. DONT pinch the folds, they dont look nice with flat pressed folds, keep them nice and even, say 3cm wide or just over an inch looks best, large or irregular pleats look horrible, if its going wrong undo it and start again, keep the white strip of the white ribbon beneath the navy nice and even. Staple each fold to keep in place, keep measuring the length of ribbon along the edge of the anchor so you know when to stop for each side, leave a longish piece at the end of each pleated length, you need about 3inches (8cm or so) of flat ribbon to make the points. Those of you who have been following the workshops will know this of course.
Ok, so attach the ribbon edging navy side to the anchor foam, with the mossing pins, or sometimes known as German pins. The pins go right into the hard bottom part of the foam not the softer top half which will absorb the water. It may look to some of you that this is being attached the wrong way, its not, if its attached this way then when the double chrysant basing is inserted it will push down on the blue side of the ribbon edging and make it all look nice and snug, see in the 3rd pic above how im pushing slightly down on the ribbon edge? Thats what effect the basing will have when its put into the foam.
You will see the end of the ribbon edging has a piece left flat as was mentioned earlier, leave a length free so that these can form the points of the anchor shape. You also need to make some single pleat ends for the arms of the cross section, so that you can make nice square edges, all will be revealed below in the following pictures. The ends are placed navy to navy side, then stapled from underneath carefully ensuring the end result is a nice point, before stpling pinch with one hadn then look and see where the staples have to go, they will have to go right where you are holding the point together underneath.
In picture 2 see the staples underneath? Trim off the excess with scissors carefully close to the staples.
So, the final resulting anchor all finished in ribbon, ship shape and bristol fashion as they used to say! Ready for the flowers.
Lastly add the chrysanthemum basing, cut the flower stems down to about 1.5inches and place them neatly and very close but not crushing each other, make sure the 'eye' of the chrysanthemums all follow in an orderly line along the main shape of the anchor otherwise it will look wonky, keep them nicely in line with each other to accentuate the shape. Larger ones along the focal lines and then smaller ones to the edges.
Add the folage to make the shape for the spray of flowers, so inserting into the 'bump' and making sure the stems are angled so that the foliage touches the basing, you dont want it to look like its hovering on top!, begin to make the outline for the spray. Im using soft ruscus trails that have been lightly sprayed with leaf shine gloss. Graduate from long trails along the arms of the anchor, to shorter pieces towards the 'bump' once the flowers are in you can then add sprigs of foliage to make sure the oasis is all covered and not showing. Then add the flowers, Ive used Blue Delphinium and white guernsey roses added in graded length steps - longer to the edges and shorter to the centre, and lime green stallion chrysanthemums. Here is a closeup of the flowers.
One final step is to look at the finished design and make sure the ribbon edging is still visible, all that work shouldnt be hidden. See in the last picture the white basing looks like its covering the ribbon edging? Ok, just go along and gently pull out individual petals that are covering the blue and then you will see the effect nicely, dont overdo it though, just make sure the blue shows through.
Another variation includes adding coiled rope around the anchor, either the natural jute type or the golden braided type, instead of flowers if preferred. This was made for my Great Uncle and flowers were wanted to thats the version ive shown here.
Hope you have enjoyed this blog entry. As usual, please take a look at my ebay store where a good range of floristry items is available and if you cant find what you need just send me a message, thanks.
Click the picture to go to my store
@ 08/01/10 – 22:22:38
Made for a Diamond Wedding Anniversay Gift
Id like to share the main points in making something like this which I made recently. The aim was to make a stunning modern design with illumination effects and sparkling in a Diamond theme for the occasion.
This is the design in its completion.
It is an advanced design as there is a lot of preparation needed, the actual putting it all together isnt really a time consuming thing, its the prep thats important. What you need are some White Gerbera for the focal flowers. You need some Philadendron leaves or something similar. White sprayed twigs. Sticky Dot adhesive. A tall glas cylinder and a glass mirror circular plate, or it can be done using a mirror tile actually. A bunch of gypsophelia the little white flowers i have used to accent the Gerbera. Some silver crinkle wire. A few strands of bear grass and some tiny beads to thread onto them. A few table diamonds to scatter onto the glass mirror once its all constructed. Optional stick on diamante for the philadendron leaves. A set of tiny LED lights with battery pack, these are tiny but bright lights that we use inside wedding bouquets or designs, you can email me if you cant find what you need i sell it all. A diamante headed pin, one for each Gerbera head, and oh...nearly forgot the water pearls, clear ones. These start out like tiny seeds and when you add water and leave for a few hours they swell up into perfect solid water pearls that reflect light so well and thats just what we need for this BLING effect design.
Ok Lets Prepare.
Make sure the Gerbera have been in a deep bucket of water with the ends cut for a few hours prior to use, we want the stems nice and strong and the cold water will do this.
Next prepare the water pearls, they take a few hours to totally hydrate you see. They look like this once ready.
Right, now take the diamante pins and cut down the metal stalk to about 1.5cm only. This is going to be inserted into the actual middle of the Gerbera Flower Head, take care to ensure it is directly into the stem from the front, just ease the stem as you insert it into the heads.
Take the Gerbera and as you have seen in detail earlier in the workshops, tape some 90guage wires with stemtex support wire the gerbera heads so you can gently manipulate the direction of their heads. You want to aim for a tight group of Gerbera with no spaces between the heads for an all round design. Take a look at these pictures for each stage.
In the last of the above pictures you can see I have bound the stems with some white organza ribbon to hold them into the column with close fitting heads. Put these in water until later on.
Now we take the mirror plate and the glass cylinder and using glue dot adhesive I placed the cylinder onto the mirror to one side so that the mirror plate will be used to its maximum advantage as a reflection plate for the whole design once completed. This is a clever use of mirrors to make a design look so much fuller than it is and also creates the glistening illumination illusion im looking for.
Adding the Gerbera to the glassware
By using the silver crinkle wire to hook and bind the gypsophelia to the cylinder and secure with glue dots to keep in place, cut the gyp into nice looking little bunches, hold against the glass and see how best to use the way the tiny flowers fall before gluing in place, these dont need to have the stems in water. Can I mention here that the glue dots will not be strong enough to support the glassware, when moving it you will have to support above and below. Ok now the gyp pictures below help show how the little bunches have been arranged, up the cylinder and on the mirror plate. I have used some glue dots to stick a table diamond over the glue dots in places where they might show. Take a look, sometimes its easier than words to see the method.
Now take the strands of beargrass, and cut a nice neat angled end to them as you have to now thread some tiny bead crystals to them, thread and then pull the beargrass through til it feels tight and try and stagger the beads so that their weight allows a graceful bend and movement to the grass.
Take the battery lights and put in the batteries (bet you guessed that bit :_)
the case of the batteries will be hidden by one of the philodendron leaves dont worry! Now most of the preparation is done I think. Add the water pearls to the cylinder for an inch or so and then put in the bunch of gerbera and some of the lights, we need to disperse them evenly if possible, the bear grass group with the beads should be placed to the side so the beads hang nicely, the twigs are to the back and provide a backdrop and also a point of support for some of the lights, so basically place all the items into the cylinder and keep stepping back to see that the balance is right both visually and physically, the philadendron in my design are both inside and outside the design but you do what you want to do, it will be your own design. I also added stick on diamante to them but not needed really. Take a look at the pics.
So. even if you think this looks hard to make dont forget that its really just planning the design in stages, and then putting it altogether! If nothing else, I hope this blog entry has let you see complex designs, that you thought beyond your ability, as something you can break down into bite size bits that actually are not too complicated at all. It may inspire you to stretch your abilities and go wild! Oh yes, as a final little flourish I sprinked some table diamonds to the mirror plate - like this.
Hope you like it! Do visit my store online and email if you cant find something you need, I probably have it, All the best for the new year to all my readers x
CLICK HERE TO GO TO MY STORE
@ 23/09/09 – 10:25:53
How to make stunning illuminated table decorations on a budget
What Im going to show here today is a stunning arrangement without breaking the bank, which is very important to be able to do if you have to make a lot of exact arrangements for say, a wedding. Because caterers fill tables with so much cutlery glasses and condimants, table centres have to be able to avoid getting 'lost' on the tables so by nature have to make a statement. With impact comes price, and thats something that is uppermost in people's minds when planning an expensive event such as a wedding. With summer weddings where the venue is well lit this following arrangement wouldnt be so dynamic, this design to follow would suit the wedding thats in aututmn or winter at a venue with low soft lights for maximum impact.
The object therefore, is to create something with minimum flowers (for a tight budget) but maximum effect. Ok lets go.
What Im using is as follows: Im happy to supply the ingredients, except the flowers of course, from my online store, link will be at the end of the tutorial.
1 glass goldfish style bowl
1 tub of water expanding cube gel
1 stem of Oriental Lily in pink
1 submersible light in pink
Method: The day before you want to make these, you have to hydrate the cube gel, so get a jug of cold water and tip the tiny gel cubes in and leave them until the next day. They will go through all sorts of weird shapes prior to becoming cubes like ice cubes - if you like the strange star shape they make during the process then you can use them like that if you wish, I like to be patient and wait for the cube to come to fulness as this design looks just like flowers in illuminated ice cubes.
There is a link in the bowl picture so you check the price, if it expires contact me for an update link.
As you can see the tiny cubes really swell up into large cubes if left long enough so make sure this is done the day before or even longer, they last for ages so can be done in advance. Once full cubes then spoon them into the glass bowl.
Next I took one of the flora lights in a pale pink shade and buried it into the cubes and then added more cubes. These are especially designed to be waterproof and just use the cheap flat watch batteries so are usable again and again. They give a really stunning effect, like illuminated ice, but I must remind you that for the effect to be good the room needs to be soft light, these decorations are excellent at venue that dont allow candles on tables.
Only one more thing to do, take 2 lily flowers on about 3 inch stems, you should find on a stem of lily there will be at least 3 flower heads if not 5 and buds, now you can see how economical these are ! Other table centres would need lots of flowers to have any kind of impact so the savings are very worthwhile. Place the lily heads and a bud if you wish, into the gel, add about an inch of water and thats it. Take a look at the pictures, im sorry im no photographer and hard to take an illuminated design with limited skill but I hope you can see the beauty and simplicity of this design. Unfortunately the flash diminishes the illumination.
Just a quick note, if you refer to the articles about Lilies you will see the easy way to remove the pollen stamens from the lily heads without cutting them out which then looks ugly.
Trying to add items to my online store at the moment which is time consuming but will, once compl be at cheaper rates slightly than the ebay store which is found at
Reliable Plumbing and Heating company Im happy to recommend
@ 10/06/09 – 13:07:05
Step by Step How to make a Silk Arrangement for a Grave Stone
What you will need:
A Block of WET oasis Foam. (why wet will be explained)
A Black Oasis Tray for 1 block
Pot tape (anchor tape)
Silk foliage, Im using silk ficus and the rose leaves.
Silk flowers Im using red open and red bud roses.
The reason Im using a block of WET oasis foam is that the dry foam usually used for silk flowers is very lightweight and to ensure some weight to the arrangement Im using wet foam, this is to be placed onto a marble grave stone hearth so will be outside and when using silks to be placed outside its essential to add some weight to the arrangement so it cant be blown over, the beauty of it is that when it rains the foam will replenish its water and add weight again. As wind and rain often accompany each other I find this a good arrangement.
So, first of all as always, champfer off the edges of the foam or bevel the edges is another way to put it, just a sharp knife will do, this helps give more surface area and avoids horrible sharp edges to the oasis which have to be hidden of course. Soak the oasis foam by letting it FLOAT in a bucket of water, never just hold under the tap it doesnt absorb all the way through if you do that, I know these stems dont need to drink but we want a heavy block so we want the water absorbed properly just as if we were using it for fresh flowers.
Make sure that when you use the 'pot tape' or 'anchor tape', you really let it dig into the oasis and pull it right round the back and over to the top again so it sticks to itself, dont just cut it off at the back, its wont be strong enough, this is going out in the elements remember.
Start by placing a long pointed spray of your silk foliage at the very back of the oasis, use your tape measure if you have to stick to a specific size, sometimes there are words coming quite low down on a grave stone so make sure you know what dimensions to make the arrangement, it is possible to make this in the 'L' Shape or Asymmetrical design if you want to avoid covering words in the middle of a stone marker. Anyway now you have the height, in a way the foliage acts like the skeleton or framework for the whole design so its always the first thing to do. Now place your side pieces of foliage, angle them down with the stem goin in an 'upward' action so that the tips of the foliage rest on the surface of your worktop, this will make sure that the finished design sits well on the stone. There is nothing worse than an arrangement which seems to hover and not really rest down on its surface so do take care with that. For the filling in of the rest of the foliage, you have the luxury of being able to bend the stems (see 3rd pic) unlike with fresh flowers, so you can angle your stems for the best oasis coverage. Never try to insert a stem with a leaf that goes into the oasis, this makes a very untidy hole which will be lose and the stem may fall out so take off any leaves near the stem you insert. Keep it tidy. Graduate the placements of the foliage cutting the lengths down for the design to keep compact in the desired shape, not straggly - keep looking at it from all angles and if you have a stem too long or short take out and trim it if too long or use in a central position for a bit of recession if too short.
The completed foliage should look something like this.
Dont worry about the back yet, we will do it last once we know if we need the clippings of foliage to fill any gaps once the roses are in place. If we do need to use them all then a bow can be placed at the back instead. So at this stage we keep otions open.
Now begin by placing an open rose in the focal position, normally near the centre and the lower third, this helps give the eye a focus on the design and the visual weight and balance will be achieved, Larger, more open or deepest coloured flowers are how to achieve a 'focal point' in any design. More buddy smaller delicate flowers are always used at the edges, if you wonder why, then one day, try it the other way round and see what it looks like. Dont take my word for it if you dont already know this. The 'visual balance' will not work.
Ive put a white board up behind the arragnement so I can see whats going on, its always a good idea to have a plain board behind your designs - sometimes if there are shelves, books or other parafernalia going on behind the item you are making it can be hard to get a good clear view. In the 1st pic ive begun to place the roses, buds to the outside, larger heads towards the middle areas, in the 2nd pic im showing that I hae placed a small piece of silk foliage between 2 rose heads as no rose heads should touch really, each flower should have its own space, so if 2 heads seem too close or tough, either cut one down or move it, or if you like the postition of them just add some foliage inbetween so they become visually separate. Makes a lot of difference actually.
Now that i know I have used all I need of the foliage, including the cut down stems of rose leaves of course, always make use of everything!! now I can look at the back. Start to fill in the visible oasis with the pieces of left over foliage, keep it short, its to go against a grave stone - this is one time when you really need to know where an item is being placed when your customer, or recipient gets it. Always ask where an item is going. In this case I know for a fact that the back isnt going to be on view so no items of interest need to go there. This may well be a totally different matter if it were to be going on a pedestal so always ask.
Check for gaps and complete the back.
Here is a side view of the finished arrangement. Not overcrowded but not skimpy, its always good to know when to stop. So many silk arragements end up crammed and unnatural, carefully placed items give a nicer result that just cramming them in, better for costing too of course.
@ 03/04/09 – 00:36:54
Wires, guages and uses
I thought that Id do an article about wires. I often get questions from students who are confused about which wire to use for which flower material or project and so I hope this will help those of you to whom that applies. As a floristry teacher and assessor I must say that its the one subject that students can get very worried about so lets take a look at the options.
Firstly, stub wire which is flat lengths of wire not the type on a reel, is used for one or several of the following reasons:
a) to add length to stems
b) to enable the stem to be anchored or attached to something else
c) to strengthen the stem to avoid breakage, ie support
d) to control the stem or material to be wired. ie to bend and shape.
The basics, with regard to what weight or guage wire to use, is to remember that we dont want to add excessive weight but do want the added strength and support. Natural flowers have a kind of 'bounce' and flowers overwired will lose that and not look natural so the wire should tread that thin line between allowing the natural bounce when you flex the stem but enough support to make it worthwhile. To add to the confusion the weight of wires is often given in 2 different codes, the easiest is when its done in the actual metric size as its easier to visualise, ie 1.25mm is exactly that, its 1.25mm in width which seems very thin but is in fact one of the strongest of the wires, its also known as 18swg. Lets look at the list.
1.25mm = 18swg it is for supporting or mounting the heaviest materials such as the thick tropical flowers, pine and woody stemmed materials, it is commonly green lacquered but also available in the natural steel colour uncoated wire.
1.00mm = 19swg also for heavy materials, twigs, pinecones etc also in the lacquered green at various lengths most commonly 7inch and 12 inch 180mm and 310mm lengths.
0.90mm = 20swg used for a firm support for example, Gerbera, stralitzia, freen coated and mostly used in the above mentioned lengths.
0.71mm = 22swg used for support wiring carnations and other semi-woody stems that are perhaps brittle without support, roses in buttonholes for example.
0.56mm = 24swg slightly more delicate stems, like spray rose or spray carnations.
0.46mm = 26swg finer and lighter and for fressia, soft fleshy stemmed materials that need support and length but not too much weight, useful also for singapore orchid and similar.
0.38mm = 28swg used for support and achoring on leaves, ie ivy, camelia and also the delicate buddy branchlets of delicate flowers like the dendrobium orchid and sprigs of herbs. Usually silver and you,ll see its what i sue for striching ivy leaves in past workshops.
Thinner than the above is usully in reels:
32mm = 30swg 28mm = 32swg and is for bridal work to bind together the 'ingrediants' for your corsages and buttonholes, its usually green but also comes in silver
Remember that you do need to be firm, but not too tight with the wire or it cuts through delicate stems like cheese wire, practise is the only real way to get confident but do persevere.
Wires are always taped with either stemtex tape the stretchy self adhesive crepe type tape, or parafilm which is a more shiny thin plastic tape also used for grafting. Personally I prefer the stemtex as it helps stop items slipping when binding and is a better natural look but its all just down to preference really.
All wires available in the store just ask me if you need something and cant find it, im found at:
email@example.com and at my store at http://stores.ebay.co.uk/E-Jay-Trading
Im happy to help anytime, and if you are a student or beginner needing something covered on the blog send an email to the above email address with BLOG in the subject line.
@ 24/01/09 – 13:36:56
Tulips are one of my favourite spring flowers, they add such a smooth waxy texture to arrangements and designs. The foliage too is so versatile and a useful matt finish when you want to get away from the usual gloss greens that most leaves are.
Jut a few quick tips then about Tulips. I may have touched on these before in previous workshops but as there is an awful lot on this blog now, I thought it a good seasonal idea to go through some of the main tips:
First of all, if you often get put off from using tulips due to the fact that they can so quickly 'blow open' in a warm room then this tip is for you!! To maintain the closed flowers shape all you need to do is take a needle or a floristry wire and put it right through the stem just below the flower head. See the picture of me doing this.
For some reason this tiny hole stops the tulips from opening up too fast so you can keep the lovely tulip shape for longer, sometimes it keeps them in their shape until they perish.
So, what else can be useful to know? Well I always like the fact that the leaves are matt green and a lovely waxy texture so its a shame not to utilise them in arrangements where the other foliages may be dark glossy green, so the tulip leaves offer a nice contrast next to them. So take the surplus leaves and curl them over your finger. Take a floristry wire, not too thin or it will cut through like cheese wire, but not too thick as you need to be able to bind with it, so I suggest a 70guage. Take the wire and make it into a hairpin shape, basically bend it in half. Take the now bent wire and place it along the ends of the curled leaf, ie the tip and stalk which are now together. Lie the wire parallel and then take one of the ends of wire and carefully but with a fast definate motion bind it around the stem of the leaf and the other half of the hairpin. If you end up cutting through with the wire, take it off and try a stronger wire, or a little less strength. You now have a curled tulip leaf on a wire that can be inserted into foam for your arrangements. Here are the pictures. Dont forget to vivist my store online, the link is below, you can find all manner of floristry sundries and much more, anything you need but cant find there, do please email me as i have much more than i have listed so its worth asking. Thanks and please check back for more floristry tips and tricks.
Oh....I nearly forgot. When you use tulips in arrangements, remember that a unique feature of tulips is that they do continue to grow !! They must be placed lower than you want them to be - for example, if using in a funeral spray, make sure they are slightly lower than the other flowers to begin with otherwise the next day when you deliver your item they will be taller than the rest and look wrong. Weird arent they? But lovely.
use this link to go there direct: my store
@ 09/11/08 – 23:20:56
The Oasis Foam Double Heart Tribute
This design can prove a little tricky and some people buying it from me have asked to put up a workshop showing some of the tips for making it a success. It can be a challenge sometimes to keep an oasis shape clear and defined once the flowers are placed. Mainly shapes can get so bulked out that the original design shape is less obvious. Not a good thing.
Revision points from previous workshops on Oasis Shape Basing:
1 Re-capping Always bevel the edges of the Oasis shape. We have covered this before in pictures so i wont elaborate too much, but for those new here, its cutting at a 45' angle along the oasis foam shape's edges. Then brush along with the hand to smooth the cut away edges. This reduces the mass area of foam, allows the shape to be clear cut and defined, reduces the amount of bulking when you place the basing flowers and also reduces the 'boxy' squared look of the shape.
To remind you here are some pictures of beveling the edges of a cushion and smoothing over the cut off edges.
2 Re-capping Remember we covered the ribbon edging before? Keep it even and neat no more than an inch or 2.5cm per pleat, and pin it to the base in an upward angle. Lots of times your tutor may show the other way, pinning it with the pleats down, if so then best do as she says in class, (I dont want to get anyone in trouble, but..when teaching I show the dutch way of pinning it on pleats upwards as this enables the basing to really 'nestle' well into the ribbon edging and although at first glance, it way seem that the base of the foam will show, it doesnt because you place the basing very close to the edge of the foam by holding the ribbon back then letting it go which enables the basing to really sit well against the ribbon. If you pin it with the pleats downwards, then you have much more of a job to cover the staples of the pleats, and, you will not get the 'nestling look'.
Right then, lets get back to this double heart.
Having bevelled the edges and making your ribbon pleated edging, pin to the heart so as to define the fact that this is 2 hearts interconnected. This may seem obvious but once you start using these more complex shapes it can be easier said than done! Take a look at the following picture and you'll see that not all the edges have been ribbon edged.
There is a link to my store in the picture, click the image to go there if you need to buy oasis foam, ribbon, pins and hundreds of other items, but dont forget to come back!
Its personal choice really but it can be enough to outline the actual outer edges of the 2 hearts rather than all the in and out edges which might get confusing once made up as to what the shape actually is. There is a screw in bump ready in place for the spray.
Next, take the most open and largest of your basing (basing is double chrysanthemums) and keeping to the center of the line of the design, place them carefully and close to each other to form the beginnning of the basing.
Do each heart as a heart in its own right.
Next taking the slightly smaller basing flower heads, gently hold the ribbon edging back from the foam and place a line of basing close to each other and to the edge near the ribbon.
See how the basing flower heads 'nestle' nicely against the ribbon edging? As an experiment sometime, do it the other way with the ribbon edging pinned on downwards and you will see the difference! This way is much better as a result. If your tutor does teach the other way, well unfortunately it depends how open she is to new techniques but maybe suggest it to her on the quiet and see if she minds you doing it this way. I was Dutch council of Holland trained so biased towards this technique.
Remember the 2 thirds 1 third rule. The spray shouldnt be more than a third of the whole design area. Scale and proportion, 2 of the principles of design play a big part in the composition of the spray. Also, recession. Recession is having some of the flower heads 'recessed' deeper into the design. In this spray there are tiny rose buds placed deep into the spray. Basically we dont want all the flower heads to be at the same height, some need to be recessed, just as in real life in a flower bed, it adds interest to the design.
The Focal flowers provide 'dominance' as a place that the eye will return to when looking at the design. Roses, Gerbera, larger headed flowers create dominance and are referred to as the 'focal flowers'.
What to check for before you can consider this design complete.
Take a good critical look at your work before handing ot over to the customer. ARE there any gaps? Its easy to miss patches of green oasis peeping out in the spray so take a good look, here is what im talking about.
Also, take a look at the design from an eye level view. Why? well this item may well be placed on top of a coffin and the view of it may be from an eye level point of view, so check for gaps, loose flowers and that interest is seen from that angle.
Once happy, spray the whole design with water and keep in a cool place.
Do please visit my ebay store.Visit My eBay Shop: E-Jay Trading
@ 17/09/08 – 10:51:54
REVAMP YOUR HOUSEPLANTS
Take a look at this picture, anything look familiar? Yes, those unsightly brown crispy ends make houseplants look so tatty and ugly. Most people will either cut all the offending leaves off, leaving the plant looking like its been used to train Edward Scissorhands or dump the plant if its too unsightly. I bought this at a massive discount due to the brown leaf damage and as you will see below, it can soon be revamped to its intended glory! Even those horrible water stains will be gone with some leafshine spray.
Visit My eBay Shop: E-Jay Trading
Well have a go at this instead! Take a pair of non serrated floristry scissors and carefully trim off the brown tips by following the exact shape outline of the leaf. Just follow the outside edge carefully to re-create the leaf shape and tip. Like this.
In the final picture, look at the difference now! No unsightly brown leaf damage and glossy healthy leaves due to a light spray of floristry leafshine.
this method is also suitable for Cheeseplants which suffer from the same problem. always remember the climate your houseplant has as its natural habitat. These plants come from a humid damp environment with dappled light, so..make sure they never dry out and mist them occasionally so they feel right at home. Only feed them a weak solution of food in their water not all at once seasonally, they dnt like it.
So, next time you see a sale on at your garden centre, grab a bargain and within a few minutes you'll have a luscious plant for a bargain sum. You can buy Leafshine in my online store at ebay, see how it defines those stripes and adds a healthy look. Im working on my website to add products and it will be live soon at www.e-jaytrading.com and will have even more products than my ebay store, ebay link above and here Visit My eBay Shop: E-Jay Trading
@ 06/07/08 – 23:29:03
My son's school held its first Prom this year, to those of you in the USA its no big news! But here in England its a new custom and I must say, it was a really good event. I decided to make my son's girlfriend a wrist corsage for him to give her as that way she could keep it as a keepsake of the night. I also decided to make Tom a matching buttonhole for his evening suit. Here is a workshop giving the steps to take to make something similar yourselves. Ive used the corsage magnets rather than pins for the buttonhole, as it prevents any damage by pins. I sell these of course in the store and they have been very popular, they are a brilliant idea. There will be a link to them later on in this article.
Here they are, Tom and Chelsey, and guess what!! They got to be Prom King and Queen!!
For the Wrist Corsage
You'll need some silk flowers that co-ordinate with the dress of course. Notice i didnt say 'match', and there is a reason for that. Lots of people think accessories have to match but in reality a dead match can either be impossible or boring even. Take a look at my colour theory article from the archive and you'll see all the possibilities, be adventurous. Also, in bridal floristry, too much of the same colour can look bland in photographs. Go for a contrast but add something ie ribbon, beads, etc to actually 'match' so that the design looks like it belongs to the occasion but doesnt have to be exactly the same.
To make the look unified, I used a sprig cut from a bunch of black Nerine silk flowers, some pale blue 'Love in a Mist' or Nigella to give its proper name, and some silk rose buds in ivory. This was to co-ordinate with a beautiful Turquoise Prom dress and also went well with the Dinner Suit because of the black included.
Method of making up the Corsage
Ok so you know what you need, now to make the corsage. The good thing about silks is that you can make this well in advance, so for napkin rings, corsages, bridal flowers etc its a real bonus, and, of course, they can be kept forever so buy the best quality silks you can afford.
First you need to cut the pieces you want to use to the right length, so find the flower you want to be the focal flower, thats a way of saying, the flower to be the central point and focus of the design. This will be the largest of your selection. Then place something longer and more delicate behind it and adjust the length ratio in your hand so that they touch but dont overlap, let each flower have its own space but keep it close. Add other pieces of silk, in this case the black nerine and ivory rose bud, to the side of the first 2 placements and just move them around and experiment with the 'look' before you cut and commit yourself. Once you think they look good in the position you have, cut the stems so they are the same. See picture. See how I have bent the stem of the focal flower, the blue Nigella? Thats because when i bind and tape them, I want the focal flower to stand proud and upward from the wrist, I dont want them all flat, and hey, they have wire in them so use it!
Add diamante - in this case turquoise - if using them
Add what you like - make sure the lengths are staggered and not bunched up but...Know when to stop! Dont get carried away and make something too big fussy or heavy.
Now we need to secure what we've done so far, so taking a 56 guague long wire bent into a hairpin with one end longer than the other, hold it parallel to the stems and taking the longer end of the wire, pull and bind it firmly and quickly around the stems and the other wire.
Then, tape with stemtex tape or parafilm whichever you prefer. (Stemtex is the crepe type self sticking tape and parafilm is the thin plastic tape also self sealing, the former gives a matt finish, the latter a gloss finish.) In this instance Ive used stemtex and in a pale green colour so it shows up easier in these photos. All tapes and wires can be purchased in my store and the link will be at the end of the article, worldwide shipping. Cut the wire to an appropriate length, this varies according to the design and the size of the wrist its going on to so its pointless me being specific here. Now Tape over all wire to conceal it and tape down and across the raw wire at the end of course, cant have wire catching on the material. So now you have something like this.
Made Corsage Front View. Made Corsage Back view.
Now to wear this, the traditional way is to add ribbon to tie to the wrist so thats what ive done. The new skill saving method is to use a ready made corsage band with a metal clip which holds the design to the band.I may as well show you the first way. Take a length of co-ordinating silk ribbon and make a double bow, there is a workshop on the blog going into this in depth so wont repeat myself, but its a kind of figure of 8 from loops, see pictures. Tie another piece of ribbon around it and then around the corsage neatly just below the silk flowers. Then because it will swing around if you dont..you need to add a loop of ribbon to the middle of the corsage too for security on the wrist. At the back of the design connect the ribbons from the bow and the middle and this will then tie into a bow on the wrist.
DONT LAUGH at the next picture! ok you can Im afraid a rather hairy teenage boys arm is the wearer in this picture, his was the only arm available at the point of completion, cant get the staff! I include it only because the next one of it on the TRUE wearers arm isnt so close up.
For the matching Buttonhole
Always use the same material used in the corsage, this looks so unified, in my opinion much better than just an ivory rose. So here Ive used less of each of the Nerine, Rose buds and Nigella. No ribbon in the buttonhole.
Method of making up the buttonhole
As before, select the longer part of the buttonhole from less obvious flowers, no full open flowers. Thats for the focal point. This gives visual and actual balance. In this case ive used a bud of Nigella (Love in a mist) as the topmost point, nestling close by but at shorter length, the Black Nerine, Ivory Rosebud and Nigella. Cut as before to give the same stem length and bind securely as with the corsage.
Now its secure, time to add the magnet. They have 2 parts, the thinner part is taped in with the stemtex (or parafilm) and thicker part will be placed behind the lapel. These are incredibly strong magnets and a brilliant idea as no damage to the fabric ensues. Make sure the cut ends of the wires are carefully covered with tape so they dont snag material.
See how the magnet holds the buttonhole in place. The other part goes behind the lapel.
All the year of 2008 looked so good and it was nice to add a personal touch by making these flowers. The beautiful dress was made by Chelsey's grandmother. Hope you have the chance to do the same or use this workshop to make flowers for a wedding or special event as they apply to so many occasions.
Say hi if you visit my ebay store! Im always happy to answer any questions regarding your projects. Here is the link to the store. You'll find the magnets there and all kinds of things nice. Ask if you need any help.
@ 18/05/08 – 17:21:27
IN THIS WORKSHOP I WILL SHOW YOU THE STEPS TO FOLLOW TO MAKE AN OPEN (NOT SOLID) BASED HEART TRIBUTE.THE END RESULT WILL BE LIKE THIS:
YOU WILL NEED:
AN OASIS OPEN HEART FRAME LIKE THIS ONE IN MY STORE
Open Heart Frame Link
WATERPROOF RIBBON FOR THE EDGINGRibbon example link
MOSSING PINS, aka GERMAN PINSMossing Pins Link
SCISSORSFloristry Scissors Link
LE BUMP OASIS FOR THE SPRAYBump for spray Link
Fresh Flowers for the Spray, here i used mainly tulips.
Double Chrysanths for the basing, White is normally used, you need about 25 stems
Foliage for the spray, small leafed eucalyptus parvifolia, or soft ruscus is ideal.
Ok lets start then.
Firstly its important to bevel the edges whenever you use oasis as shown in all the other workshops, this allows a better defined shape, also it cuts down on the bulk of oasis foam you have to cover. So makes it both better on the eye and more economical. This is done in its dry state, and after you've cut off the 90' edges all round the shape smooth it over with your hand and it will look nice and rounded. Details are in most of the previous workshops.
In the following picture i have left the bevelled edge visible so you can see how much ive chopped off the edges, and the first stage of the outer ribbon edging is attached. The 'bump' for the spray is screwed into the top left of the heart ready to hold the spray. As before, there is a workshop showing the ribbon edge making skill. Ribbon edging is pinned to the frame by placing it upwards, not downwards as you may first of all think it should be. This sllows the chrysanths to really fit snuggly to the ribbon edge. Use german pins, also known as mossing pins, to pin the ribbon edging to the hard part of the oasis frame, its much easier to use ribbon edging on these type of oasis shapes rather than the other type known as 'naylor' base. That type has a hard plastic base and its impossible to pin ribbon to it. The hard base of the type i use here is waterproof and very solid so no worry about it not being tough enough. Im often asked if this type is strong enough to use and i assure you it is, and made for this purpose.
Just a quick note about using 'le bump', this is a caged piece of foam with a screw in the bottom that is easy to fit into the oasis, in other workshops ive shown how you can also cut down a piece of foam and tape and pin it to the shape if you are trying to cut costs.
Also take a look at this closeup of the ribbon edging, this shows the upward angle to pin it, ie towards the top of the shape, not down. Here Im putting the ribbon edging to the inside of the open heart. Previous workshops show the way to make the point so i dont want to repeat myself in case you get bored.
Make sure you get a nice point at the base.
So now you have the heart ribboned inside and outside and have screwed in the bump it should look like this.
Its time to soak the heart. Dont overdo it though, it shouldnt be too heavy. I use a garden hose for this but you can also use a jug or bottle. The foam easily absorbs the water and isnt very thick so it should only take a couple of pints evenly poured over it to be sufficient.
Right then, on to the basing. Basing is the term for the design being filled with closely placed double chrysanths. Cut the stems always at a 45' angle. 2 reasons;- the engle gives a larger surface area for the stem to drink water, but also, its easier to insert a sharp edge into the oasis with the least pressure, some times of the year, chrysanth stems are fragile and break easily when inserting them and must be wired which is a real pain, so a nice sharp point is the best way. Start by cutting off the flower heads with short stems, cut them about 2.5cm - the flower head should sit on the surface of the oasis, right flat to the surface. Grade the flowers so that you have the bigger more open ones to use along the central line of the shape, and the smaller ones to be used along the sides. This make the job look so much more professional and neat.
Using the largest most open flower heads, insert them close together so they touch in a central line along the heart shape, see the picture below.
Here you can see the flower heads are close, no oasis can be seen between them, its a good trick to slightly lift the petals of the previous flower before inserting the next so they butt up really close but dont make them look crushed, each flower head should be seen in full. The oasis along each side is visible at this stage, this is wehre you will repeat the procedure with slighlty smaller flower heads until the whole heart is completely filled. Now you will see why the ribbon edging has been pinned on in an upward way, the ribbon fits like a collar close to the flower heads and is slightly bent back and down by the flowers which opens out the ribbon slightly so you cant see the pinned edge. I bet you were wondering about that!
In this picture you cans ee the open heart, ribbon edged inside and out, the bump in place for the spray flowers and the basing all completed.
So, at this stage, you can store the heart for competion nearer the day its needed or continue with the spray, if you are making this in advance, lightly spray with water and keep in a cool place. If making the spray then you can look back in the workshops for in depth details but for now what you do is cut your pieces of foliage so it will make steps. Some long for the edges and shorter pieces towards the middle of the spray and for the sides. If you look you will see that the spray should never be larger than a third of the overall design otherwise its out of proportion to the eye and will look odd. So place the first pieces of foliage into the bump close to the basing and begin to give the design some shape. I use longer pieces to contour the heart shape, make the pieces of foliage always follow the shape of the foam so it enhances the shape. Work in stages of shorter length to the middle and edges, some pieces should be inserted close to the oasis, dont overdo the floliage at this point or you wont have room for the flowers. Foliage or 'greening'up as its called, is basically to give the spray a 'form' or 'shape' either crescent, diamond or line so that the spray has substance.
Then follow with your chosen flowers, follow the shape of the foliage, cut the stems at 45' dont forget that! And...know when to stop. Its easy to have spare flowers and just keep 'bunging' them in but try to make each flower count and use odd numbers of the focal flowers, dont overcram it. Once you are pleased with it, look at it from all angles and fill in any showing oasis with timy pieces of foliage. Spray lighlty and keep in a cool place.
Here is a close look at the spray ive made here. Not the size. Note the fact that it doesnt flood out over the design shape too much, keep it in proportion and enhance the oasis shape, dont complete with it.
Next time I will show you how to use the same frame, but make it look totally different by basing the shape with leaves for a very modern design. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it. Hope you can take a look at my ebay store for all kinds of floristry and craft items. No matter where you are or what level of skill you have, im happy to help.
Visit My eBay Shop: E-Jay Trading
@ 16/05/08 – 10:59:34
@ 17/03/08 – 23:47:38
The Smithers Oasis Company make so many shapes now - not just the usual hearts, pillows etc. It may be that you are asked to make the Hindu Symbol 'AUM' which is one of the new shapes available.
In the Hindu faith it is the sacred sanskrit word symbol for God.
First you need the oasis shape. You can, of course, find this for sale in my ebay store, there will be a link to it by clicking on the picture if you are interested.
Usually i bevell the edges of oasis but as im going to pin abaca ribbon along the edge i have left it squared off. Abaca edging is very well suited to these types of oasis shapes as it doesnt distract the eye from the shape and gives a tidy finish. Abaca is a natural fibrous product which i sell in ribbon form which is perfect for pinning to oasis among other things. To see a listing for the abaca for sale, click on the picture below. Its also excellent edging for wedding cakes, but I digress
Next using white double chrysanths, the outline of the Aum is 'based' (this means closely placed flowers without a space between on short stems inserted into the foam,) with a space left along the middle of the outline for some red roses.
So thats all there is to making the Aum shape. Please visit my store online for a look at some of my items - there are hundreds at the moment so make a cup of tea or pour the wine first! Bye for now.
Click here to visit my store
@ 03/02/08 – 19:17:41
Make something different for Valentine's day design
When thinking of Valentine's day the first thing we think about is the traditional red rose or a dozen red roses isnt it? Well here is a simple idea - most of which can be made in advance with just the flowers to add. Any red flower can represent the valentine's day sentiment.
Its quite easy to gather up some willow at the moment from beneath willow trees as we've had so much wind and these thin flexible long branches can easily be wound into a circle or wooden wreath. Vine is also easy to cut as the long trails are equally good. Or, buy one from a garden centre already made. If you dont fancy braving the elements collecting willow then this is the type of thing you need.
The picture shows ivy vine stripped of leaves and bound here and there with binding wire, very easy to make or buy ready made.
Next you need to buy some glass lipped test tubes. I sell these so you can check the ebay store, (link to follow)- the lip is essential because this is the place to wind the wire that will attach it to the vine or willow.
Wind binding wire around the test tube below the lipped edge and wind onto the willow or vine wreath with a slightly upward angle so that the water you will be putting in them will not spill out!
Leaves or moss can hide the test tubes if you wish, or ribbon can be threaded through the willow, this can be made in advance to this point ready for the day you add the red flowers to the test tubes, roses, gerbera, gloriosa orchid, anemones are some suggestions.
Just to say that for Easter this idea is fabulous with white and yellow flowers!! Please visit my ebay store for all manner of floristry supplies and please ask if you cant see what you need as i have a vast variety of items.
CLICK HERE TO GO TO MY STORE
@ 30/12/07 – 21:58:46
Im often asked for ideas for flowers to use at this time of year. Nowadays with modern technology an awful lot of choice is available which might not have been before, daffodils were available from early November this year! However, I think its still best to keep as seasonal as possible when choosing flowers, just personal taste I guess.
Some of my suggestions are as follows: Of course your own colour theme may exclude the use of some of them.
ERYGIUM Blue Thistle (non prickly) is a beautiful soft frondy addition to winter bouquets and arrangements, it can also be lightly sprayed with silver to catch the light - very frosty wintry looking.
DOGWOOD Shiny vibrant red stems of woody twigs look fabulous in winter arangements.
Dogwood is quite flexible and can be used to weave smaller flowers through it or support for gerbera or lillies.
Winter flower arrangements and weddings wouldnt be complete without berries of some sort.
HYPERICUM The Berry of St.John's Wort is fabulous because of the different colours the berries can be, lime, peach, pink and burgundy. Of course, they can also be sprayed to fit your theme.
As seen in previous workshops on here, these can be threaded onto grasses and made into loops as well. Very pretty in corsages and buttonholes to compliment their use in the main flowers. They are also on very long stems so excellent for using in large pedestal arrangements.I always use leaf shine on the berries as it adds to the natural gloss. Available in my ebay store. A link to which will be at the end of this entry.
EUCALYPTUS SILVER DOLLAR FOLIAGE
This type of Eucalyptus is so good for winter as its a kind of frosted green, and matte not shiny so a good choice to give interest to arrangements and flowers adding texture. Using textures is so important to making floristry interesting, the smooth shine of the berries next to the matte Eucalyptus and the spiky Erygium, for example, is very pleasing to the eye.
NEVER USE LEAF SHINE ON THE MATTE FOLIAGES! FOR OBVIOUS REASONS.
MOLUCCELLAKnown as Bells of Ireland. Another favourite of mine. Its used as a foliage AND flower as it is actually both. The smell is wonderful, and used in cosmetics and soap, buy some just to smell the fragrance! Lime veined leaves on a long stem so also good for pedestals and top table long low arrangements, but take care! The stems have long needles hidden under the 'bells'. Can be cut down for smaller lengths and cut just above a bell cluster so the cut end cant be seen, very decorative
WHITE TULIPSAdds a WAXY texture and a purity to the designs - always pierce the stem just below the head with a pin all the way through to avoid the tulips blowing open too soon, this will hold them in bud. Adds a promise of spring to Winter Weddings.
AVALANCHE ROSE, PURE WHITE ROSE FAVOURITE
WHITE PEONY These are available from around February, adds a luxurious big focal flower where impact is required, ie pedestals, top tables, and of course in wedding bouquets. Stunning in White, but also available in pink from pale to cerise.WHITE RUNUNCULUS -IN VASEa smaller version of the peony, ie in bridesmaid bouquets, its good to use Rununculus, they look very similar and are so pretty, they also come in the same colours as peonies so i use them in smaller arrangements if using Peony in larger ones, to keep the arrangements matching if you know what i mean.
ORCHIDStp://www.blog.co.uk/media/photo/white_dendrobium/2245077" title="white dendrobium">
TOP - Dendrobium (Singapore Orchid) MIDDLE - Cymbidium BOTTOM - Phalaenopsis (Butterfly Orchid) The Dendrobium is the most delicate, the Cymbidium is cut into single flowers for corsages etc, and the Butterfly is a large very easily spoiled orchid so only use if you have experience with them.
WHITE LILLIES, THE LONGI LILY, Like a Trumpet in shape and comes with 2 or 3 flowers per long stem. Perfect for pedestals because of the length, allow a good few days to open so buy in advance. Always remove the stamen as shown in the lily workshop because the pollen stains permanently.
THE CALLA LILY, the smaller ones are called ZANTEDECHIA A very elegant lily, single flower per stem, thisk stem though so if making a bouquet its best to buy the smaller ones or have just a few in an over arm style. The thick fleshy stems can be warmed by the hand and gently curved if need be, these look lovely with twig frames and if left out of water the stems are flexible enough to weave with, they are fine out of water.
ORIENTAL LILY, TIGER LILY, Below - Very versatile, a little quicker to open than the Longi, but still need to be bought in advance, multi headed, sometimes speckle throated, long stem lillies.
The White Gerbera here has a chocolate middle but they do come with white too, they are a good focal flower but if using them, avoid other round flowers, go for points or trails otherwise they will compete visually for attention and can look clumsy. They must be supported as in the wiring workshop, give them a good long drink in cold water prior to use, they tend to droop quicker than other flowers if in a mixed bunch, but there is a tablet form of conditioner just developed which is available from my store on ebay.
WHITE SPIDER CHRYSANTHEMUM
These are very economical and hardy flowers, their petals are ragged and give a nice texture - they are sometimes called spyder with a 'y'. The lime green version is also quite dramatic. A good snowflake effect winter flower for impact.
Hope you found this article of use when choosing materials for winter weddings and arrangements, its obviously just a few of the many flowers and foliages available but might give you food for thought. Please visit my ebay store for floristry tools and sundries at E-Jay Trading. Ebay Store.CLICK HERE FOR A VISIT TO MY ONLINE STORE
@ 13/11/07 – 21:36:41
MAKE A COCKTAIL ! PLANT INTO A MARTINI GLASS - OR EVEN AN ARRANGEMENT
I recently bought a Martini glass style vase as a sample to show a prospective wedding customer and as it sat on my table, I remembered I hadnt bought myself a new pot for some Money Plant cuttings Id taken. Thinking of the cuttings and seeing the Martini glass I wondered what it might look like to make a kind of 'cocktail' planted design, with visible layers in the glass!! So this is what I did. Hope you like it. It also occurred to me that to make an arrangement of candles and holly in the glass might look nice for Christmas too. Especially when the dinner table is often pretty full at Christmas, the tall glass makes the arrangement out of the way and its quite stable if you use pebbles in the base as I have done.
This is the cocktail then....
First steps are to pour some pebbles or stones or glass beads into the base, whatever you like really, and then to add topsoil or compost on top of the stones.
Next, place the cuttings, in this case money plant, but I think I may add ivy so it has a flow to it, add some sphagnum moss (reindeer moss) and keep it in place by a few hairpin wire pins, then Ive placed a ring of opaque glass chunks around the edge. Personally I think it looks like a Christmas pudding
If you plan to make an arrangement instead, hide the oasis foam with the pebbles or stones. I think one of these as a Christmas arrangement would be great using holly, berries, cones, and a chapel candle in the middle, dont you?
But for now, its just the 'cuttings martini'cocktail.
To finish it off Ive placed some large beach stones to the base of the vase. Voila!
Please visit my ebay store where there are hundres of items for sale and auction for those of you who like to make things yourself.
CLICK HERE FOR A VISIT TO MY ONLINE STORE
@ 26/09/07 – 14:38:01
Bride's Handtied Design - Loose in style for a country look.
People have begun to realise that if you are wearing ivory or white for your wedding, a bright mix of colour for the flowers can be so striking in the photographs of the wedding. Ivory and White flowers have been the fashion for a long time and of course are timeless classics, however, just lately brides have been looking for some individuality and colour.
Here Im going to show the bq I recently made for a small wedding that was big on colour. The bride wanted a loose (as opposed to a packed) style bouquet, a 'messy' muddle of colours that would look like an old fashioned country garden.
Firstly here is a picture of the flowers opted for. They were chosen for the colours, yes, but also for the variety in shape and form, bright advancing colours (Lime) contrasting with dark receding colours (purples) take a look.
Roses Cerise edged californian
Wax flower Pink
Monkshood (aconitum) Purple
Lisianthus (eustoma) Ivory
Hard ruscus leaves
Blupleurum is used here as a foliage but is in fact a lime flower of the euphorbia family. I use it as a contrast to the deep dark purples in the chosen flowers.
First of all strip off all the foliage that will be below the binding point, this is the point at which you will tie all the stems together. The next pictures show the hard ruscus prepared, stems stripped and leafshine applied to the leaves, a fine mist is all they need to be glossy and luxurious looking. Then you'll see the Monkshood stems stripped to the same point on the stems.
Do the same with the Lisianthus, Roses (strip of all thorns!) Wax flower branches and blupleurum bracts, as in previous workshops for handtied designs, make sure you add to the design in a spiralling way, all stems in the same direction, none crossing over each other. As you add stems, check the lengths as they often slip and slide down as you ope your hand to take another stem into your grip, so check and tug them back to the desired length. It helps to make these designs infront of a mirror so you can see whats happening and see where colour needs adjusting so that the textures and colour spacings are even. If you cant make it in front of a mirror, try standing infront of a window for the reflection.
Once all that you need has been added, and remember, try and know when to stop!! its easy to get carried away and keep adding - remember that the size of the bride is imperative to the whole look - a massive bouquet on a very slightly built bride will emphasise her size and vice versa of course. Anyway, once its all together and your hand is aching from the vice like grip because its just perfect and you daren't let anything slip! tie tightly with jute string. Ah maybe i should add that its a good idea to have the piece of jute string cut and ready to hand. I dont use ribbon like a lot of florists to at this stage because it slips, use string and dont let go even after you have knotted it, tie again below the first string and pull very tightly, knot it and then let go and hold your breath. Trim the ends to about 5 inches, make sure the stems are clean and free from stem debris. You might find the first string you tied around the stems is now loose, tie again before removing it, safety is paramount, if anything breaks you have to start all over again.
These pictures show an organza bow being tied around the stems, I've used a sheer lilac wire edged organza. Always fold up ends on wire edged ribbon in case the wire ends snag the dress. also, to avoid a slipping bow, I always advise that you use the ends to tie above the bow, and then below the bow before securing with a double knot underneath the bow. Never tie or knot ribbon a the back it looks unsighlty, the knot shouldnt be visible. By tying the ribbon above and below the bow it helps make sure it stays in place. Here are some shots of the finished country garden look, bride's hand tied bouquet.
There will be another posting shortly with the wrist corsages to match the bouquet. And..hopefully a picture of the bride holding this bq so you can see how well colours like this show up against wedding dresses.
Wire edged Organza ribbon is available in my ebay store in a wide range of colours, from 2m lengths at just £1.30 to whole 20m reels for £10 which is a great price for the quality. Please check my ebay store and do ask if you cant find what you need.
CLICK HERE TO SEE MY STORE or contact me on
@ 03/08/07 – 15:42:34
Leafshine Spray is one 'tool' Id never be without.es your foliage a healthy glossy professional look which makes all the difference to presentation. So, if you are making items for a wedding, church, celebration or corporate event and want to give it the best 'look' for pennies, then invest in some Leafshine Spray.
At the moment I have access to extra special large cans for just £8.59 !! Use it to gloss up your foliages but not any which have fine hairy surfaces.
Notice the difference by looking at the greened-up wreath below. Here is a Funeral Wreath I had to make yesterday and this picture shows the difference before and after a light spray of Leafshine. This is now ready to add the flowers.
Its also fantastic to spray onto ivy leaves prior to using in your corsage and buttonhole work, loks so professional and well 'dressed'. Below the pictures is a link to my store where you will find it for sale should you wish to try it for yourself. Stand out from the crowd and use a professional touch in your floristry!
Before and After
@ 27/07/07 – 14:06:22
FLOWERS ON A BUDGET - HELPFUL IDEAS 1
Dont forget Veronica! This pretty pointed conical flower spear is extremely economical to use amongst your primary flowers. The price can be as little as 30p a stem and they come in white, purple and pale pink. They add a lovely movement to any arrangement or bouquet and the spear shape is perfect for defining direction and form to the design. Next time you're tempted to opt for gypsophelia or other common 'filler' flower, consider the pretty Veronica instead. Here are some pictures of Veronica in white.
@ 15/06/07 – 11:22:33
If you are making buttonholes or corsages and wish to add loops of wire edged organza - here is a simple method I use.
First of all take a length of wire edged organza in a suitable colour for the design you are adding it to, sometimes going for a striking contrast is more interesting than using a colour similar to the flowers, (see colour wheel workshop) but thats personal taste.
Fold the ribbon over your finger bringing the two cut ends together. Take a green coated wire ie 46/56guage, and bend it into a hairpin, place the edge of the ribbon loop onto the bent part of the wire and use one of the lengths of the wire to tightly bind around the ribbon and the other end of the wire. Very similar to the leg mount wire you use on some flower stems. Now that the ribbon is wired securely, it must be taped either with stemtex, a stretchy crepe type wiring tape or parafilm tape, the stretchy smooth plastic type tape. The wired bow loop can now be incorporated easily into your corsage or buttonhole as if it were one of the flowers.
This method of wiring ribbon loops is also used when you want to add organza or raffia to an arrangement in oasis, ie in wedding table arrangements. There is nothing better than having an element of design that runs through the whole wedding, it helps to 'gel' everything together if the organza loops in corsages, match those in the arrangements, helps make the whole look co-ordinated.
All types of floristry wire, floristry tapes, organza ribbon and other sundries and tools for the floristare available in my ebay store: E-Jay Trading. Here is a link to take you there! Please ask if you cant see what you need, I'll re-list it no problem.