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Blue and White Paper Flower Bouquet Re-Creation

It's not every day that I'm tempted to re-create a real flower bouquet.  When Katie first approached me of that possibility, I was both excited and hesitant. The bouquet was so pretty and sweet; it was simple and modest in size. The challenge presented itself immediately with the textures of berries, petals, and small details. Fine, I was up to the challenge. But with a real bouquet to compare to, would my work do it justice? Or will my interpretation just be another paper flower bouquet?Despite my doubts, I actually had a TON of fun making this bouquet. Why didn't anyone tell me that re-creating bouquets is so much easier and faster than creating a new bouquet? And yet, still so darn satisfying. I was able to make my list of flowers, pump them out (often before the TV - hey it's the World Cup, it only takes place every 4 years), and then assemble. I didn't have to worry about whether or not the colours coordinated (other than the initial planning of how to achieve the colours to likeness). Or whether or not there was enough texture, or enough focal flowers, or if it matched my bride's dress. Nope. Not my design, not my problem. What I normally find as the most difficult part of making a bouquet - the designing/planning - wasn't here in this bouquet. And man did I enjoy that!So, the breakdown of this bouquet was pretty straightforward:

  • 6 white standard roses
  • 4-5 white hypericum berries
  • 8 bunches of small white flowers
  • 6 bunches of hydrangea
  • pittosporum variegated foliage

Here are photos of the original bouquet by Luda Flower Salon and photographed by Allicia of Alabaster Jar Photography. Since I'm in love with doublette crepe paper these days, that's what I used for the white standard roses. Standard roses are so tricky to make; It's always challenging to get the placement of the petals just at the right angle. We think we know what they look like, and we see them all the time! But, they're not what we think they look like. That's why I like making open roses ;)For the hypericum berries, I took a trick I learned from Quynh of Pink & Posey (If you don't follow Quynh, you absolutely must. She's one of the most sunny and friendly and warm person I have ever known. Her work is always so colourful and feminine. I love talking with her about techniques and materials). Previously, I had tried using polymer clay to make berries. It worked great and was very easy to work with. I could bake it in the oven and it would be dry in a half-hour.  The only thing I didn't like was that it was so heavy. So I tried Crayola Modeling Magic clay. It's made for children, so you know it's fairly safe. It's very easy to clean up and it air dries overnight. I rolled it into a small ball, poked a stem wire through the centre leaving a bit of the wire sticking out, and used a toothpick to create the quarters. I finished by gluing petals along the base of the berries, and colouring the tip of the stem a dark brown with a burnt sienna Pan Pastel.I've never made blue hydrangeas, and these ones in the real flower bouquet just blew me away. They're so pretty!! I love lace-y and fluttering fabrics, and the hydrangeas remind me of them. To achieve the blue, I used this beautiful ultramarine blue tint and highlighted the petals with this ultramarine blue shade. I had originally tried to use alcohol inks to achieve the blue, but it was really hard to control the shading, lightness, and darkness. I found pastels so much easier to achieve the gradation. I cut my strips of crepe paper first, then applied the pastels. To prevent the dust of the pastels from blowing onto my face and getting all over my fingers, I sprayed the strips with Krylon UV-Resistent Clear Coating. Afterwards, I cut the petals out and assembled the flowers.Originally, the real flower bouquet had baby's breath flowers. I had told Katie that it wasn't going to be possible for me to make baby's breath and I suggested little white flowers. I'm so happy that I didn't attempt the baby's breathe. At this moment, I can't figure out a way to make baby's breath without it looking like paper or looking messy and lumpy. I really like the way the small white flowers came out - they're delicate and clean. They were tedious and time consuming, yet the results were worth it.I've experimented with different types of variegated foliage in the past for my other bouquets. This time was the first time I used the Italian florist crepe and I found it bled really easily. I've had a lot of questions about how I achieve the variegated edging. I simply use white acrylic paint you can find at any craft store. I used a small paint brush to apply it on the edges after I had put together that leaf. You might be tempted to water it down so it's easier to apply, but don't - the liquid will soak into the crepe paper and it will bleed on the other side. Here I used Ivy Green 180 g, and it will bleed blue on the other side. The white acrylic paint dries white tinged with yellow/green whether or not it is watered down. I was fine with this because the edging on pittosporum is not pale white. If you want a more white edge, I've had some success with gouache paint, which is a watercolour paint and comes thicker. Or try using the Chinese crepe paper instead, which doesn't bleed as easily. The other alternative is using an opaque whitener like Copic Opaque White  (which is discontinued in Canada) or Jacquard Super Opaque. These two whiteners are on my list to try.My final comment about this bouquet is it's shape. It's a posey; the flowers are arranged so that there's a fairly round top, with the 6 roses protruding outwards and upwards. The part I love is the foliage. The way the foliage is placed under and around the bouquet changed it shape so it looks less round, and looks more natural and hand-held. At least that's how I interpreted the photos of the real flower bouquet.~ Jessie 

***DISCLOSURE: Just to let you know, sometimes my blog posts contain affiliate marketing links. If you make purchases via the links I've provided, I receive a small commission which costs you nothing, but do help to support my website/maintenance and fees. . You can read my full Disclosure statement here. Thank you for your support!*** 

Peach Small Garden Bouquets

Happy Thursday Day!It's been a little more than a week since my ankle surgery. Before I went under the knife last Tuesday, I finished three beautiful peach small garden bouquets.I am normally approached to make large bridal bouquets, like this and this. If I make small bouquets, it's usually for the maid of honour and/or bridesmaids, and always as part of a set of bridal bouquets. My brides, while they're quite happy to pay a bit more for their bouquet, understandably tend to be on a budget when it comes to their fairly large bridal party, so I'm often restricted by how intricate I can make the smaller bouquets.This time, my bride, Jessica, approached me to make small bouquets to gift to her mother and her fiance's mother on their wedding day.  She had a  reasonable budget which wasn't nearly as tight as some of my other brides. I was quite satisfied that with her budget, I would be able to deliver her something that was more intricate than some of my past bridesmaid bouquets. Jessica was super easy to work with.  She made her own felt flower bouquet in her wedding colours of light peach, light pink, and cream. The mother's bouquets wouldn't go down the aisle, so they didn't have to coordinate with her bouquet. So we spoke about taking colours from her bouquet as a jumping point. She especially loved my Orange and Pink bouquet that was featured on 100 Layer Cake  with the bright/ bold colours. We decided that we would incorporate some bright/bold peaches and/or pinks and work with lighter versions of those colours as well.A few weeks after she approached me for the order, her fiance contacted me to ask me to make a 3rd bouquet for Jessica. He wanted it to be a surprise, so that arrangement was made between us. I thought it was so sweet for him to think of that! Since I already spoke to Jessica about her ideal bouquets for the mothers, I knew what her preferences were.My small, but intricate bouquets, have about a 10"-12" diameter. When I was envisioning these bouquets, I knew I would not be able to use large peonies or large dahlias or any large flower really. If I used only one, it would throw off the scale of the bouquet and look unbalanced. If I used only large flowers, it would make the bouquet look very sparse and emphasize how small the bouquets were. So I knew that I had to keep the flowers small in order to make the bouquets look fuller which meant I had to work with "accent" flowers, or flowers that are usually added to create accents and interest, versus traditional focal flowers that are larger and say "look at me!". Perfect. I love accent flowers. I'm often drawn more to accent flowers than focal flowers. And the ranunculus is my favourite accent flower.Ranunculuses come in various colours and shapes, so it's really a perfect flower to use in practically every arrangement. They have thick stems and their stems can point straight up or bend and droop.  Here, I've used them as the focal/main flowers. I've made a variety of ranunculuses in different sizes, colours, and with different petal placements. I've placed them in the bouquet on different levels, some deeper into the bouquet, and some higher up. Most are turned away from directly facing out; they're faces look down or up or sideways.I made ranunculus buds to create further variation in sizes and to also throw in slightly different colours in smaller doses. I love that I can use the buds to create dimension by merely placing them so they extend above the the bloomed ranunculuses. They emphasize the different planes or layers. I really had a fun time making them. Their construction is completely different from the full blooms, and in fact, forced me to use new techniques to achieve that flat round shape that the buds are known for.My favourite and the most challenging part of the process was manipulating the colours of each bloom so they look cohesive when together with the other flowers.That way, I don't need to determine which flower would go in which bouquet ahead of time; I knew that as long as all of the flowers and foliage I made looked good together, it didn't matter too much which ones went together.As you know, I'm really particular about colour and I never use the crepe colours right "out from the tube" so to speak. For these bouquets, I used a variety of Pan Pastels, especially the Pan Pastel in Orange, Winsor & Newton Inks in Deep Red, and Ranger Alcohol Inks in Coral, applied to a variety of peach, orange, and red crepe papers in different weights. In my experience, I've found that if I use one crepe paper colour and apply a colour variation to it, I can get 2 flowers with 2 different colourings that would sit adjacent to each other on the colour wheel. Similarly, if I apply another colour variation to that crepe paper colour, I'll get a 3rd variation that will always look when placed beside the other two. However, it's easier said then done.Some of you have asked me how I made the stems of the ranunculuses so thick; like many paper florists, I used a clear vinyl tubing. You can buy the tubing from the plumbing section of the hardware store (I bought mine at Rona), or cheaper online. You want to get the tubing with smallest outer diameter as possible like this one with a 1/4" outer diameter.  What I do is I cut the correct length and slip it over the stem wire, glue it onto the bottom of the flower with hot glue, and cover it with green floral tape or crepe paper. It allows me to increase the size of the flower stem without losing the ability to bend the stem in any direction or angle. I use this technique for my poppies as well. For the ranucs, I added an additional step though; after cutting the correct length, I cut the tube lengthwise  and cut off a sliver about 1/2 cm to further reduce the diameter of the tubing. I then taped it back together before slipping it over the stem wire.I made sweet peas to add a little bit of textural interest and ruffles. They're made with doublette crepe in white/peach and some which had been dip dyed. I used white/peach that had been wet with water to let the inks run and blend together. I finished the sweet peas by spraying them gently with a Design Master TintIt spray in Sepia (I got mine at Michaels). The sepia makes them look less "sweet", and their addition to the arrangement "grounds" it.I usually make my foliage last because I find that they need to compliment the flowers, so I design them only after I have a clear idea of what type of movement would look good with the flowers I've made. To find inspiration, I foraged through my brother's backyard and cut different types of greens that I thought had interesting shapes or colour. There was one shrub that grew low and had variegated leaves. I liked how the leaves were fairly small, and one branch held several smaller stems. So I recreated it in paper. I love how it looks in the bouquet. I'm able to move one branch in one direction and another in a different direction if I want. I place it in the my arrangement and let it's placement tell me where to put the next flower. I strive to make foliage that bounce when you walk with it so I use very thin gauge stem wire to emulate the strong but flexible stems of the real plant.The other foliages are coral bells (inspired by the ones I am growing in my garden), ferns, a vine, a branch, and a garlic mustard plant. I made these ferns last year when I was making Marilyn's bouquet. I remember I made them while I was at the cottage, and didn't even end up using them for her bouquet. Their limey sourness were perfect for this bouquet. The branch and vine are my staple and my signature; I would add them to everyone of my bouquets if I could! They're delicate and whimsical. I can't even describe how I make them; I just do. After I make them, I bend them in random directions until I like how they look. Then I use them in the bouquet and let them tell me where to put them. I knew I needed flowers that would peek up and between the flowers. The garlic mustard plant provided the perfect little white flowers that float about and between the ranunculuses. I also recreated these from real ones found in my brother's backyard, however, added a variegated edge because I wanted it to create more visual interest. Too bad the real thing is a very invasive specie and most people would rather rid of them than see them recreated.I also added green fritilleria to Jessica's bouquet. I really love how they add another touch of the garden to her bouquet. They're really time consuming to make and I'm not completely happy with them, although I really like the colouring I achieved with the alcohol ink on doublette. I'm going to try to make them again and see if I can make them look even more delicate.Here's the final flower count and recipe for Jessica's bouquet:

  • 3 light peach ranunculus
  • 2 honeysuckle coloured ranunculus
  • 2 coral ranunculus
  • 1 orange and red ranunculus
  • 1 orange ranunculus
  • 1 red ranuculus
  • 2 coral ranunculus buds
  • 1 light coral ranunculus bud
  • 6 muddy peach sweet peas
  • 2 green fritilleria
  • 2 green coral bells and 1 lime coral bell
  • 4 garlic mustard plants
  • 2 lime ferns
  • 1 vine
  • 1 branch
  • 3 variegated foliage

The Mother's bouquets are slightly more simple, without the fritilleria and the orange ranunculus. I wish you guys could see how the foliage and the buds bounce and move when I walked with it. I took a few videos of them, but I really should have taken videos of them in my hands - DUH!. I also took the videos on portrait view, which is a newbie no-no. Ah we live and learn. really loved making these bouquets, especially when I began putting them together. They were a challenge to make because they're small, so they have less real estate in which to make it look cohesive and full. I've seen too many (and made too many) small bouquets that look too sparse, too round, and where you can literally count how many flowers on in the bouquet. I don't want you to be able to count; I want you to see the entire bouquet as one construct, and to wonder, how did she do that?Thanks for reading,Jessie***DISCLOSURE: Just to let you know, sometimes my blog posts contain affiliate marketing links. If you make purchases via the links I've provided, I receive a small commission which costs you nothing, but do help to support my website/maintenance and fees. . You can read my full Disclosure statement here. Thank you for your support!***

Distant Drums Rose Online Course

 When I first started making paper flowers, The Paper Place gave me my first teaching opportunity. I taught my first workshop at their store in the summer of 2016. Since then, I've taught a few more classes there. I love doing workshops because it keeps me in touch with my followers and I get to meet them in person! I also meet wonderful people who I would never have met had it not been for the workshops.I wish everyone could attend my workshops and I could meet everyone face-to-face! But the reality is that it's just not possible.So I asked myself - what if I made my workshops available online? Then more of YOU GUYS would be able to attend (albeit virtually) and I can teach more people. Besides, I'm already teaching the flower. I'm already preparing the step-by-step handouts and templates. I'm also already making a bunch of the workshop flowers...I might as well shoot myself on video doing it.Easier said than done. I've had this idea in my mind for some time now. I needed a little push.Then, another idea popped into my head. What about making the online course available to my workshop students so they could go home and watch and re-watch me teach them how to make the flower? I could coincide the online course going live with the actual in-person workshop!So after months of anticipation, I'm going to launch my FIRST Distant Drums Rose online course. I'll be teaching the flower at the Aurora Cultural Centre on Saturday, and I'm aiming to have this course live so that my students can have immediate access to it when they return home after the workshop.If you don't know what my Distant Drums roses look like, it's those peachy-mauve flowers at the top of this post. They're one of my most favourite flowers to make. It's also one of my breakthrough flowers. When I was designing and constructing this flower, I learned new skills and techniques that I now use in my other roses and flowers. I want to pass those skills and techniques along to you through my online workshop.I'm planning on launching the course [this Saturday April 28]--- SCRATCH THAT ----- This Friday April 27th!!But I'll give you a sneak preview of what you will be learning if you enrol in my Distant Drums Rose online course:'ll summarize what you'll learn in the course here. You will:

  • Learn my basic formula or creating an ultra-realistic floribunda rose
  • Receive my unique templates for this rose
  • Learn my secret of making the petals in the centre swirls open naturally
  • Learn how I create texture in a flower
  • Learn how I assemble the flower so the petals look naturally placed
  • Learn how I make a proper leaf stem for a rose

You will also learn some specific skills and techniques, like these:

  • To make a fringed stamen
  • To colour your stamen with a common seasoning
  • To reduce bulk on the stems
  • To manipulate petals so they look natural
  • To tint the petals

This Distant Drums Rose online course is suited pretty much to anyone with any level of experience because the great thing is that you can learn at your own pace. You can watch and re-watch how I make the flower until you've mastered it. I love watching other paper florists do their thing. Not once have I left without learning something from them!I'll leave it at that for now.~ Jessie