Summertime cookin

This week I've gotten to spend more time with Greg than as of late, and it's been really nice.  I cooked dinner for the first time in weeks on Tuesday.  Tonight I was just going to do a simple dinner for myself, but our Greenhearts CSA box will be by our door when I get home and it would be a pity not to do something better with all of those veggies.  The contents of this week's box are: Blueberries, Strawberries, Pluots, Sweet BiColor corn, Cucumbers, Zucchini, Nantes Carrots, Yellow potatoes, Broccoli, Butter Lettuce, Red Swiss Chard, and assorted bunched Onions.  Hmm.  Maybe I'll do a Rotisserie Chicken, corn, grilled onions, and a salad.  

 See the fluffy white caterpillar at 7 o'clock?

See the fluffy white caterpillar at 7 o'clock?

I'm excited about some new product offerings coming to The Little Petunia's Online Shop soon.  We're going to be about more than just flowers.  Antique Rose body oils, bath soaks, and wooden wick candles are coming.  Collector's piece ceramic and blown glass vases are coming.  Vintage workwear too.  

The girls (and dudes) shopping the flower mart or working the farmer's market in the wee hours of the morning don a utilitarian, well-worn wardrobe that is pretty f'ing cool.  Launching early Fall will be our collection of quality, fairly-priced vintage pieces inspired by our hardworking flower folk friends.

Hope you are having a great week.  I'm off to make dinner!

xoXO

TLP

 

WARM DAYS

It's been so warm this week in San Francisco.  When I get home from work, I immediately walk to our back sliding glass door and roll it open to let in the fresh air and check out our dried up backyard.  The grass has gotten crunchy, but our succulents are happy and sending up flowers.

I often fantasize about spending evenings getting pruny under the starts in an imaginary hot-tub on our backdeck.  Being that we have neighbors on top of us in all directions, I'm not sure we could get away with it.  A girl can dream though.  A few days ago 3 porch farm in Georgia posted this pic below and I immediately filed it away in my "future" backyard file.

 3 Porch Farm (in Georgia!)

3 Porch Farm (in Georgia!)

These warm days also create a few logistical challenges for a florist, whose livelihood depends on keeping cut flowers fresh and perky.  Heat can destroy a vased arrangement pretty quickly.  Some of the ways this has worked into my day-to-day and future plans are as follows:

COOLER - We don't need one at our South San Francisco Studio (cool mornings and nights and buying-to-order keep our flowers freshhh).  If I were to build a cooler, I'd use a coolbot, insulation, and washable walls to make for easy cleaning.

SHIPPING - I pack our overnight deliveries with ice packs and wrap the stems in hydrating mesh.  Here's a first for me - last week I CHECKED 160 steps of Zoe's coral Chantilly Snapdragons with my luggage on a plane to Ohio.  I wrapped them in ecofresh, swaddled them in newspaper and sealed them in a long cardboard box and just about every stem turned out to be useable (!)

REFRIGERATED TRUCK - Something I dream about.  There are places that will retrofit your truck or van to be refrigerated.  I recently learned that a trick for keeping flowers cool onsite at a desert locale is to rent a refrigerated truck, build Ikea shelves in it on site, and let it run overnight (the refrigeration can run with the truck parked).  This tip gleaned from Katie learned from Kristen (of Moon Canyon).

BOUTONNIERES - Honestly, these are becoming the bane of my existence.  Not because they've been an utter failure, but because these wee little guys are a bit time consuming and the thing I stress most about getting wilty.  I try to make these the DAY of an event, because I like to wire most of the flowers which makes them sturdier, but also means they won't take up any more water after you've tied them off with pretty ribbon.

And now cool cats (that's all I've got in as far as segues go!), a quick photo recap from my workshop with Lennie at her B-Side Farm last week.  It was a blast!  All pictures taken by the amiable Roger Elliott of Sonoma based Roger Elliott Photography.

 Roger Elli ott Photography

Roger Elliott Photography

WALLPAPER

Yesterday was the longest day of the year plus a full Strawberry moon and I was lucky enough to make it to Mark Morkford's vinyasa class after work.  After his classes, you are sent back off into the world sweaty and flushed of any heavy energy you may have walked in with.

The weather in SF has been beautiful this week. With 4 weddings and a fun launch event under our belt already this summer, I'm ready for the wee break coming up ahead...to spend time in the garden with Susan and to enjoy SUMMER time things with Greg and our friend Anna who is coming out to visit.

Downtime from weddings also means I'll have time to work on a new photo series.  I've got two in the works for July, one of which is going to be living wallpapers, inspired by retro prints.  I LOVE 70's florals and this is a great excuse to go digging through images to find palettes and patterns that I will be reinterpreting with real live flowers.

Spring

As I've ruminated on a plenty, the way the seasons bleed into one another in San Francisco often conjures up a nostalgia in me for the extremes of East Coast weather where I grew up.

One indicator that the seasons are actually changing in CA is the price of certain covetable local flowers that are only available for very short bursts of time.  The other week I snatched up two bunches of LIlly of the Valley at the flower market for $10 a bunch (wholesale).  These were grown in Portland and would only be available for a week I was told.  Usually one wee little bunch of fragrant Lilly of the Valley (imported from Italy) is $32 a bunch wholesale. 

Lilly of the Valley is a very sentimental flower for many, including me.  I grew up in a subarb of Philadelphia in a little white cape cod on 2 1/2 acres.  I spent most of my childhood running around outside, playing in forts which were really hollow little coves under the branches and shrubbery along the perimiter of our yard and throughout our neighborhood.  When you walked from our patio down to our backyard there were small terraced slopes (landscaped by the previous owner) and one of these slopes was blanketed in perennial Lilly of the Valley.  If you've ever sniffed this flower, I need say no more about it's innocent, intoxicating fragrance.  I've spent years looking for a perfume with light notes of Lilly of the Valley.  When I was living in New York I found a Calypso scent that was perfect but I was too poor at the time to afford it.

Now that we are well along into May, peonies are one of the treasures to be snatched up.  An interesting thing about them, other than if you ask anyone they will most likely tell you peonies are their favorite flower (except for my mom, who told me that she doesn't usually love peonies.  This was while skyping on Mother's Day, after I had sent her a big bouquet chock full of them.  She liked the ones I sent though because they smelled so goooood.) is that each specific variety also has a very specific bloom time.  Grower's refer to them in +'s or minuses from a baseline date of mid May.

The economics of the floral trade - supply and demand - blended with my feelings on sustainability and perceived value by the consumer, all make for an interesting business environment.  There is no doubt that the fact that you can get a bundle of peonies for $5.00 at Trader Joes's a few weeks out of the year tickles our fancy.  Let me tell you - buy them with abandon at that price!  Because in reality, the primo, fat, fragrant, regionally grown ones I'm sourcing are $3.25-$6.00 a stem wholesale.  Which brings us to the florist's challenge - How to delight customers with the most exquisite blooms while also giving them something they feel is worth the price.  In the case of peonies, one or two in an arrangement really provide the wow factor and the rest of the beautiful flowers in it will have to fill in the margin gap.  So at the end of the day you walk home with a really lovely arrangement that you feel you paid a fair price for.

I'm gearing up for three wedding over the next 3 weeks, plus the exciting addition of my Summer intern, Susan!  No doubt floral economics will be coming into play as I'm putting together my flower buys.  I totally believe in transparency on costs and pricing, so questions from afar are always welcome. 

Hope your week is going along swimmingly.  And, hey, it's almost Friday!  Woot woot.

xoXO,

TLP.

 

 

ON TIME

I've been thinking a lot lately about time.  About how we parcel it up and how to spend it efficiently enough to create room for true down time with your loved ones.

The Little Petunia is not a normal flower shop with normal hours.  We shop the market, process flowers, and have arrangements ready to be delivered all before the peak morning rush hour.  Our delivery people are jills of all trades - designers, farmers, and professional gardeners, all of whom are balancing multiple jobs in addition to their responsibilities at home.

In my struggle to figure out how to get everything done on time, I am puzzled by how somebody could still manage to get it all done, say, once she has a kid.  Naturally, this pondering turned into an afternoon spent putzing around on the internet (wasting time!), researching articles on Time Management.  I found an interesting one from Entrepreneur, wherein the authors suggest that rather than "self-sabatoging" your day by thinking of it in terms of hours and minutes,  you should instead plan it out by thoughts, conversations, and actions.  Hmm.

They go on to list out 10 ways to implement this thinking into your days.  And these steps all seem to hinge on one essential skill - DISCIPLINE.  

When I think of all of the extraordinarily productive women in my life, I think....uh huh, they are also all very disciplined.

So is discipline something you can cultivate?  One of the monthlies that I subscribe to, Growing for Market, always highlights a SYSTEM developed by a farmer (out of necessity) to cut waste and efficiently execute a large task carried out by several people.  Seems to me like discipline becomes somewhat of a necessity as your job and your family responsibilities grow and become more complex.

So, needless to say, I think I've found my professional and personal focus for this Spring and Summer, and that is to be more disciplined.  It doesn't really sound fun, but I am kind of excited to try out the steps in this article.  I'll be sure to let you know if they are truly earth shattering!

Hope you are having a lovely Sunday, be it a relaxing or a productive one. 

xoXO,

TLP

Deliveries

For the past several months I've been working with Hannah from Little Paper Press in SF and Kate Blairstone up in Portland on packaging for The Little Petunia's daily deliveries.  

I'm pretty pleased with what we've come up with!  Since I take a lot of care in what flowers we use and who we buy them from, I've incorporated that into library-card packaging that accompanies every floral delivery.  When you buy flowers from us, you receive a beautifully presented list of ingredients and their origins.  That way you can totally show off when someone asks you what that crazy furry flower in your bouquet is.  So cool, right?

For our bouquets I decided on on Smokey Grey Tissue and Recycled paper, Tied off with a ribbon.  Underneath all that wrapping is a hydrating mesh pouch that keeps your flowers happy until you're able to get them home and into water.

For our vased arrangements, I've been working with ceramicist Amanda Wright up in St. Helena on some beautiful vessels.  Our first run is a simple, classic tumbler in matte black, natural, and stone.  The next run is a speckled cylindrical footed compote.  I'm in LOVE with her Servitude line of vases (full disclosure - they are aspirationally priced), which have a very punk feeling to them.  Think matte black and white adorned with chains, straps, and buckles, all cast in ceramic. 

If you haven't heard, The Little Petunia is now delivering to San Francisco 7 days a week (!), and customers have up until 8PM the night before to order for next day delivery.  We've also been shipping wreaths nationally, with new styles in the works for this summer.  I have big plans for some beautiful dried emerald lotus leaves sitting on my shelf.  

That's my update for the week.  I have clearly not been great about posting once a week (oy!), but I promise I will try.  Greg and I are off to Germany next week to visit my sister and her husband.  It'll be my first time in Europe - so exciting!

Hope your weekend is off to a wonderful start!

xoXO,

TLP

On Inspiration 1

Hello friends!  I am excited to announce a new blog series I'm lanching this month called 'On Inspiration'

I've solicited the wisdom and perspective of some of the most talented, creative people I know and am using this here little blog as a platform to share their insights with you.  First up, my bud and my studio mate, Katie Chirgotis of Eothen Floral.  

I first met Katie in April of 2014.  To know her is to know a gentle, powerful energy with strong ties to the natural world.  I laugh as I write this, but she is one of those glowing people that when you have a second of downtime with her you ask things like:  What's your skincare routine?  Have a good salad dressing recipe?  What do you think of this new dance move I've been doing lately?  Goofy but oh-so put together, Katie is also a fiercely talented floral designer.  Her aesthetic is wild and enchanting.  Katie's attention to clean lines and negative space have the effect of drawing the eye to the unfurling petals of a single exquisite bloom or to the unexpected reach of a solo squirrely stem.

 Eothen

Eothen

 Eothen

Eothen

I am so grateful to know her and am thrilled to share her voice with you, so without further ado, meet Katie!

TLP:  Hey girl!  I've been really into exploring sources of inspiration outside of what lives in my phone lately.  What sources (outside of Instagram and Pinterest) do you look to for Inspiration?

KC:  

Museums, particularly modern art and textiles.

Botanical gardens.

Travel! Always a thrill to see species of plants in their native habitats, and how humans and non-human animals interact with them.

 

What is your creative process like?  Do you plan out exactly how something is going to look before you design it or do you start with an idea and let it take on a life of its own?

More often than not I have direction to keep in mind from my client. Which I love, a totally blank canvas can be intimidating. 

If I'm making something for myself, it's often based on an emotion or a movement I want to evoke. There's usually a slapdash soundtrack to go with it - I love hearing music and thinking about a particular palette and vice-versa.

 

What are your thoughts on following Industry trends?  Do you actively stay on top of what your peers and industry leaders are putting out there or do you try to limit how much you are influenced by what everyone else is doing?

It's really, really difficult to not see what else is going on out there and feel all the feelings. Pride-in and envy-of my colleagues are never far from each other. In the design field, I think it's incredibly important to forge your own path and just start to feel out what FEELS GOOD, while also being mindful of what your clients want and what's going to continue to advance your business. It's a complicated, murky topic I tend to turn over in my mind on a daily basis.

 

Are there certain themes, subjects, ingredients, color palettes that you tend to go back to over and over again?

I got one for all of them, I am a creature of habit.

THEMES - the balance of masculine and feminine, prettiness and edginess

SUBJECTS - concentric circles and isosceles triangles

INGREDIENTS - a rad branch will fix anything

PALETTES - if I could work with all my growers to create nude blooms, I would. I also have a lustful attraction to rusts and weird reds.

 

 Eothen

Eothen

What are you into right now?  How is it manifesting in your current work?

This may be a bit of a cop-out because...I'm distracted from my current work. I'm in the process of planting out my studio garden, and it's really difficult to be inside the studio when all I want to do is be out in the dirt! I've been investing in perennials, researching what they require and how they'll continue to grow and evolve as the garden matures. I've been gobbling up gardening books and magazines, it's like the homework I always wanted.

 

Since social media and the online world are a part of most of our every day lives, are there any interesting feeds or online resources that people should know about?

Feeds I love:

@tuamarika

@greymagazine

@kateloveshorses

@kvnbnntt

Yes!  Can't wait to check them out.  Also - I'm going to take that gardening enthusiasm as a hint and get my bum into gear and finish prepping my share of our beds for those early summer flowers.  Smell ya later!

 

Well, hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about Katie ( @eothen_) and her design philosophy.  If you'd like to join this fun, informal exploration of inspiration and one's individual creative voice, leave a comment below!  Until next week....

xoXO, 

TLP

We're Hiring

Ladies and Germs!  We are looking for a Spring/Summer Apprentice.  Interested?  Email hello@thelittlepetunia with a bit about yourself!

Spring/Summer Apprentice

Apprentice will be immersed in the day to day workings of The Little Petunia, working alongside of Stephanie in the studio.  This individual will receive hands-on experience in processing flowers, coordinating deliveries, and getting the studio in order.  You will meet our farmers, help out in the garden, and assist in the multitude of fun (and not so fun) tasks that come with running a small business.  This position is 10 hours a week for 3 months, with the likely potential of turning into an assistant position upon completion.  

Days of the week:  Fri and Sat.  Friday mornings will be early!

Expected breakout of duties: 70% grit (packing deliveries, washing buckets, sweeping the studio), 10% clerical, 20% creative.

No experience required.

Events on the Horizon

I'm excited to share a few Little Petunia workshop events that we've got in the cooker for this Spring/Summer/Fall!

  • Spring Wreath Workshop, Sun April 10th
  • Wild // Refined Floral Arranging, Sun June 12th
  • Old World Roses - a design intensive and historical exploration of roses dating back to biblical times.  AUG, date TBD.
  • Fall Floral Palette reimagined, Sun Oct. 2nd.
  • Essential Oil make and take social + Floral Design with potent botanicals.  FRI 6-9, date TBD.

I am fleshing out the details and working on these ticket listings (a new workshop page to the website will be coming this week).  I am ALWAYS open to requests for types of workshops so please feel free to send me a note at hello@thelittlepetunia.com.

Hope you are having a lovely week!

xoXO

TLP

how to pull off a styled shoot with two people & $140

It's raining!  I'm sitting in my apartment looking out my sliding glass doors and watching my overgrown, green garden soak up the rain, which looks as though it'll be lasting for several days.  I've already done my dance workout video (ha!) and tidied up the apartment this morning, so now I'm digging into Wedding Planning.  The Little Petunia has 3 weddings planned for 3 lovely couples this Spring/Summer.

While Weddings are a big part of what we do, they are just one slice of our juicy floral pie.  The Little Petunia's Planned Business Mix for 2016 looks something like this:  Weddings (35%),  Local Deliveries (35%), National Shipping (15%), and Styling (15%).

Weddings are a fun 'birthing' process, from the initial meeting to the detailed final plan, all culminating in an adrenaline fueled final 8 hours when installation takes place.  Local deliveries are lovely quick bursts, that are here and gone within a day or two.  National deliveries involve a little more breath-holding between sending off our flowers or wreaths and confirming they've arrived safe and sound in the hands of their recipients.

Styling, while not yet a money-making endeavor for us, is something I squeeze in once a month as a fun, creative outlet.  For each shoot I try to create a setting loosely centered on a character and an underlying narrative.  As I do more and more of these projects I'm finding, surprisingly, that they can be pulled off with pretty minimal resources.  Does spending an afternoon playing dress up, listening to music, and draping your friends in flowers sounds like fun to you?  If yes, keep reading to learn how I put together my February shoot with just $140 and the help of a friend.  I should note here that  I HIGHLY respect photographers and their craft.  I know zilch about photography.  But for a creative on a budget who wants to regularly produce new content, there are ways to go about it on your own.

  • First buy some flowers.  For my February shoot I bought an assortment of seasonal flowers and Branches- some from Carra and some from the Flower market.  I had two palettes - (1) pale whites and greys and (2) juicy reds and berry tones.  Total floral spend came to $75.
  • Next, secure a location with some good natural lighting.  For me it was the studio during late morning/early afternoon.
  • Have an I-phone.  Download VSCO cam (it's free), an app you can use to take and edit your photos.
  • Buy (or borrow) a backdrop, backdrop frame, and a drop cloth or two.  I got my canvas drop cloth from a hardware store and ordered a muslin backdrop ($17) and backdrop support stand kit ($42) from Jet.com.
  • Get a ladder.
  • Find a friend with a unique look - good bone structure, striking hair.....For me, that was my friend Zoe.
  • Raid your closet/home or that of a friend for clothing with movement and texture.  Secure vases or interesting bottles + a table or two of varying heights.

Now that you've got the goods and the venue, it's time to set the scene.  For me, that meant putting on a good spotify playlist and asking Zoe what outfit she wanted to wear first.  From there I arranged flowers in my first palette and then set up a little 'kitchen table' scene.  We had 3 different setups throughout the 2 1/2 hour shoot and you'll notice the pictures seemed to get better as the day went on.  Important note - it's not about the flowers.  The flowers are there to enhance the scene, but really, its about telling a story through a picture.  The character you've created is your subject.

IMG_1976.JPG

For the first story Zoe put on her faux fur coat and it kind of happened from there.  Neither of us really knows how to light a cigarette, but the scene I wanted to set was a girl just getting home from work....

IMG_1974.JPG

The second story was centered around Zoe's leather jacket and a spicy bouquet I made, inspired by her fiery personality.

In the third story we were channeling a blend of old hollywood glamour and botanical alchemy.  The idea was that the essence of the flowers surrounding Zoe combined with a potent syrup (that's rose in the crystal decanter) wooed her into a trancelike sleep while she was brushing her hair.  I hopped up on the ladder to take these pictures.  I really did not mess much with these during editing.  The lighting worked out really well for these.

And there you have it!  Have I inspired you to do a shoot of your own?  Use the hashtag #webelieveinplayingdressup when sharing your pictures and I'll repost my favorites on The Little Petunia's Instagram feed.  You might be surprised by what happens when you give yourself the freedom to create just for the sake of creating.

xoXO

TLP

winesburg, ohio

Every night when Greg and I go to bed, I plop my head down on my pillow, ready to conk out,  while he flips open his i pad to read whatever book he's on.  I don't know if I can remember the last fiction book I read, but lately I've felt a marked pull towards reading again.

When I was in the First Grade I started bringing chapter books out to read on the playground.  I fell in love with Judy Bloom and Roald Dahl early on, and would hide in a big truck tire during recess so that I had a quiet place to read.  Once, in the 2nd Grade, I somehow misplaced my copy of The Witches.  I was convinced it must have been stolen and requested that a schoolwide announcement be made over the intercom asking that my book be returned to the Administration Office (no questions asked).  My dogeared copy was never turned in, but it was quickly replaced.

The last novel that moved me as an adult was Joan Dideon's Run River.  After reading that beautiful book I read several others of hers, searching for a similar rush.  That was almost 9 years ago when I was living in Crown Heights with my sister, in an apartment without a TV.

My sister worked in publishing in New York for a while before she went on to travel the world getting her PHD in literature and language studies.  She's got a lot of great books piled up at our mom's house in PA and the last time I was home I picked up Winesburg Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson.  A note scrawled on the inside cover from one of her friends reads:

Nicole,

This book is dark and bittersweet - the way that you like it.  It's all characters and just now reminded me of your own stories.  So take this copy.

I'm only through the first few chapters but already I love it.  Each chapter is a snippet about a different person living in one rural midwestern town in the early 1900s.  In one of them there is vivid imagery of the 'leftover' apples in the town's orchards that I loved:

"The story of Doctor Reefy and his courtship of the tall dark girl who became his wife...is a very curious story.  It is delicious, like the twisted little apples that grow in the orchards of Winesburg.  In the fall one walks in the orchards and the ground is hard with frost underfoot.  The apples have been taken from the trees by the pickers.  They have been put in barrels and shipped to the cities where they will be eaten in apartments that are filled with books, magazines, furniture, and people.  On the trees are only the few gnarled apples that the pickers have rejected.  They look like the knuckles of Doctor Reefy's hands.  One nibbles at them and they are delicious.  Into a little round place at the side of the apple has been gathered all of its sweetness.  One runs from tree to tree over the frosted ground picking the gnarled, twisted apples and filling his pockets with them.  Only the few know the sweetness of the twisted apples."

I am a vigilant subscriber of the idea that the imperfect,overlooked specimens of nature can be a beautifully kept secret with a sweetness unlike any other, and after reading this was inspired to capture that ganarled, concentrated sweetness in an arrangement.

So, at the market I picked up gnarly fig branches and dusty grey centered anemones.  And then Carra brought down a special delivery of tangled plum blossom, apple blossom, and variegated jasmine vines from Mendocino county.

Hopefully this reading (fiction) thing sticks!  It makes for some fun flowers.

xoXO

TLP

Greening up the Apartment

Here's a little secret for you.  I kill a lot of houseplants.

Lennie and Carra try to make me feel better about it, telling me that it's different when you're not watering, feeding, and weeding your plants every day like its your job.  But that doesn't change the fact that I would really like to live in a space that is overflowing with greenery.  So maybe I could try a little harder.

There are several spots in the apartment and outside that I would like to tackle.  I started to list them out here and realized I was basically describing every bare space in our glorified studio apartment.

This past weekend I stumbled upon images of a plant shop in the Lower East Side, Green Fingers, that got me motivated to actually do something about this project.

Elements I want to incorporate:

  • Terracotta pots.  Lots of them.
  • Shades of green paint (outside).
  • Branches with Lichen + Air Plants
 Interior of Green Fingers, from  @hey__judes

Interior of Green Fingers, from @hey__judes

It'll probably take a few weekends to amass the plants, pots, and wall hanging accouterments I'll need to get this going, but I'm excited to get started.  I'll post pics as soon as I have something to show for myself!

xoXO

TLP

Wreather Madness

Yesterday I had the pleasure of teaching a foraged wreath making workshop as part of the Ogaard Offsite Series at West Coast Craft.  WCC is a really fun, curated weekend event featuring uber talented makers of all kinds - woodworkers, ceramicists, apparel designers, jewelry makers, weavers, and the like.  I've always had fun walking through the show as a customer, so I was over the moon about the opportunity to teach there this weekend.

When it came down to materials sourcing, my girl Carra pulled through in a big way.  We laid out Bay, Magnolia, Olive, Pyracanthus, Persimmon, and lots of other dried goodies for students to choose from.

We all started with a honeysuckle vine base, layering on an assortment of interesting branches and textures from there.  Everyone's wreath turned out so differently.  It was an absolute blast and a great official kickoff to wreath making season.

IMG_1164.jpg

Each student went home with their own handmade wreath made of materials foraged in Sebastopol and Soquel.  

My project for this week is to pull together inspiration for new wreaths to add to the webshop!  What do you think?

 Bklynbride.com, Jessica Niello, Aesme Studio, JoFlowers.

Bklynbride.com, Jessica Niello, Aesme Studio, JoFlowers.

It really feels like fall this year in SF.  The days are shorter, the leaves are turning (a bit) and the air is brisk.  Can't get enough of it!

XO

TLP

A Guide to Vases

One of the fun parts of planning an event is deciding what your tablescape will look like.  From elegant to rustic, a vase exists for every price point.  For my own wedding, which I guess would fall into the 'rustic' category, I had all of my family members hoard ridged tomato sauce cans which I then transformed with shiny off-white spraypaint.  The end result was a fresh looking, repurposed vessel that was super easy to arrange in.  

Given that there is a limitless range of vessel options for your event, I've grouped some here for you to get the wheels turning on creative alternatives to a basic glass jar.

BOSTON ROUND GLASS AMBER BOTTLES

I love the old school apothecary feel of Boston Glass.  Paired with fern fronds or tropical foliage, these bottles toe the line of clean and earthy.  They are super affordable and come in a range of sizes.  Good places to check out:  Amazon and Uline.

STONEWARE TUMBLERS

While these Helen Levi Stoneware Tumblers may be on the pricier end of the spectrum ($44 each), mix and matched with concrete, black, or clear vessels, they could make for a really beautiful centerpiece option.  I am personally a little obsessed with them.  Just think, you could buy a set of 8 to use for smaller centerpieces and then take them home to complement your new dinnerware set.  Even better - Register for these for your wedding shower and have a loved one splurge on them for you!

RECTANGULAR BRASS TRAYS

I love these brass trays from Terrain.  They are clean and modern, but could totally be softened up - in my mind - in one of two ways.  Fill them with a lush and airy composition of greenery - ferns, pale green hellebores, and sheet moss tucked low in between the stems (Do I smell a how-to?).  OR you could go more whimsical and fill these planters with cottage garden flowers - columbine, Larkspur, climbing roses, and gomphrena.  Neutral or girly, I think these classic trays are the bees knees.

GOLD GEOMETRIC

Just because an object's intended purpose may not have been to hold water (or flowers for that matter), it could still be the perfect piece for your tables.  Take this pencil holder from Anthropologie.  I could envision doing one of two things with this.  You could do bright, 'pop' flowers in it by nestling a glass vial that fits the width of the triangle and filling with water.  Or you could skip the water all together and stick with a neutral, textural palette and fill it with fluffy grasses or feathers.

CUT GLASS TERRARIUMS

Another fun alternative (or complement) to traditional floral arrangements is a terrarium vessel like this one from Save-on-Crafts.  Tuck a grayish white or sage green tillandsia (air plant) in here and balance the weighty low vessel with either trailing vines along the center of the table or skinny, taller vases containing single stems.  Sleek brass candle sticks or straight edged stemware would also work well as part of this idea.

FOOTED BOWLS

Footed bowls, urns, compotes, pedestal vases - all of these have shown up again and again on the most beautifully designed wedding tables as of late.  With good reason.  They're elevated enough so that you can achieve a beautiful draping affect with flowers and foliage.  They're relatively low and wide, meaning you get maximum impact without obstructing the view between guests.  And they come in a wide range of materials - terra-cotta, copper, nickel, or glass.  These Campo de' Fiori Venetian Aged Terra Cotta bowls are currently the cadillac of sorts amongst wedding designers.  They are a bit of an investment, and you either need to use a liner or brush caulk inside to water proof them, but they are absolutely timeless and would look just right in your garden after your wedding day has long past.  

While all of these options are a great start for covering a range of 'looks', dare I forget to mention another obvious resource for centerpiece vessels.  Flea markets, garage sales, florist studio sales (yes, these exist!), ebay, and craigslist could hold a treasure trove of objects perfect for your flower arrangements.  Word to the wise - if you are going to go this route, give yourself plenty of time (at least 9 months) to amass your collection.  While you're at it, recruit family members to join in on the vase hunting with you.  Often you can get lucky and find someone who is selling an entire lot of "like" items.

Vases are a subject that never gets boring, as trends are always changing and creatives keep thinking up new ways to showcase cut flowers and plants.  Have fun shopping and let me know what ingenious vase hacks you come up with!

Xo

TLP