The Market Workshop

You guys, I'm beyond excited to launch a new flower arranging class called the Market Workshop! My heart behind this class is to empower anyone and everyone to confidently walk into the grocery store or market with tools on how to pick out the best flowers with the longest vase-life, how to pair blooms and greenery together, and then take them home and enjoy the design process.  The run-down of the class and a link to register is on my "Learning" page, so head over to sign up!  There are limited seats for the class, but this will be an ongoing class that I will offer, so if you miss this one, there will be more.

Images by Meredith Teasley

An updated website!

Well, I couldn't be more excited to launch a new website today!  It has been a long time coming and I just can't wait for you to be able to look through the pages.  I've been terrible at updating my blog, so finally there are images available of the more recent events I've worked on over the past few years.  

On the "Learning" page, I will soon be updating folks on upcoming flower arranging classes that I will be leading either on my own or with my friend, Jessica Sloane.  I will also post tips about flower care and arranging flowers for your own home or loved one.  

I have to send some love to my friend, and talented photographer, Meredith Teasley, who took all of the pictures on the website of me smiling and arranging flowers.  I am not used to having my picture taken, but she made it fun and super laid back!  Thank you, friend!!  

With that, here's a smiley (excited) one to go on!  :-)

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Holiday Flower Class

Back in November, my friend Jessica Sloane and I taught a flower arranging class together.  Jessica is a stylist and event designer, and we've worked on a lot of weddings together over the past two years. This was a really fun extension of what we normally do.  We had a great time with a wonderful group of ladies who created the most beautiful floral centerpieces for their holiday tables.  Our stunning host home was designed and built by Amy Jacobs of Gather and Build.  If you need a home designer, do not look any further!  These beautiful images from the classwere captured by Zipporah of Zipporah Photography

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We hope to teach more classes like this in the future, so be on the look-out for more in the new year!

An update and a wedding.

When I've been away from this blog, it is always so hard to know what to write about and what images to show first.  I may just ramble for a minute...  

We were really busy this spring with some beautiful events and I can't wait to share images from some of them. Now, things are slowing down for the summer and I'm so glad because my house is loud with kids home for summer break.  It is a violent shifting of gears and I am continually coming to terms with the fact that I am not a great multi-tasker.  When my mind is full of creative flower-arranging, email answering, and quote-making thoughts, it is hard to be a fully present mom.  I'm always trying to figure out how to do it better, but for now, I'm just glad for the break so that we can have slow mornings and go to the pool.  

On another note, I'm so very excited to be on the preferred vendor list for Tennessee on the most beautiful wedding site, Once Wed!  I feel so honored and humbled to be listed next to some of the vendors in the industry that I admire the most. 

The images below are from a wedding I worked on this past November.  I know, it's Spring, but I don't have those pictures yet.  Coming soon!  

This wedding was a blast to work on because Sarah, the bride, is a porcelain artist living and working in Brooklyn, and she made all of the vessels that we used for the flowers.  They were absolutely stunning and I was a nervous wreck trying not to break anything!  The event was a lovely mash-up of rustic/Southern meets modern/organic style.  










Vessels and mobiles:  hand-crafted by the bride, Sarah Cihat
Flowers:  Melissa Broadwell-Vintage Florals
Venue:  The Wrens Nest
Event Styling:  Jessica Sloane
Photography:  Austin Gros

Styled shoot with Sara Harper

It has been raining for a week and I'm longing for some sunshine.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of a good rainy, on the couch with a magazine and cup of tea kind of day...but only if I'm alone...and this is not an option in my life at the moment.  And let's face it, we really only like one rainy day to be lazy. After that, we get itchy and wiggly, and wanting to get out of the house restless.  Right?!  Well, at least, that's how I feel about it.

All of this rain has reminded me of a styled shoot that my photographer friend, Sara Harper, and I put together a couple years ago.  We rented a table, made a cake and a chocolate torte, I put flowers together and collected china from all over my house...and then it rained.  Then the rain stopped and the sun came out with only about 45 minutes left of perfect sunset sunlight.  Roller coaster!  My friend, Katie, came over to help style the shoot and we got to work.  There was a flurry of handkerchiefs, ranunculus, flowered teacups, silverware, the click click clicking of Sara's camera, and it couldn't have been more fun.

And listen, I know the hot colors for the year are coral and mint, and I love those colors...but I also think you can't go wrong with red, turquoise, and a little hot pink!


David Austin garden roses-perfection

Queen Anne's lace 



  


Styled shoot with Crystal Martel

This styled shoot was put together by my photographer friend, Crystal Martel.  What a beautiful job she did.  I think the images are breathtaking.  Enjoy!  


The bouquet was filled with eucalyptus, peonies, scabiosa, protea, succulents, queen anne's lace, and styled in a very freeform, natural arrangement.  The headpiece was a simple vine of eucalyptus with scabiosa pods and a sweet little succulent.




Wedding-Belle Meade Plantation

Amanda and Nate were married last August at Belle Meade Plantation.  I love this place.  It has the perfect combination of southern class and rustic charm with beautiful gardens, a mansion, and a carriage house.  

And, I can't say enough about how amazing Amanda and her mother were to work with.  They put a lot of work into planning the whole thing and it turned out beautifully.  There's more about the wedding and all the details on a feature from Ashley's Bride Guide in March.  

Here are some images from the wedding, by Shuffield Photography.  
garden roses, dahlias, privot
Amanda's bouquet was filled with garden roses, spray roses, dahlias, privot, and fall grasses.



Garden roses, dahlias, hydrangea
Bridesmaid bouquets were filled with ivory hydrangea, varying orange roses, dahlias, and fall grasses.  












 

Rustic arbor, Jackson vine, roses
Amanda's uncle built this gorgeous arbor for the ceremony, and we draped it with Jackson vine, grasses, and roses.






























Beautiful, sweet couple!  Happy belated anniversary, you two!  

Every Last Detail blog feature!

I'm always excited to work on a style shoot.  This one, featured today on Every Last Detail, with Twila's Photography and Creative Designs and Events is classic and chic.  The fresh mint and pink color combo with gold accents would be perfect for a winter or spring wedding.  Gold has officially made a comeback and I love it! 

For the flower arrangements, I used pale pink spray roses, dahlias, and scabiosa pods.  The result was a romantic, lush bouquet.  I don't usually paint flowers, but these pods were made for a little gold glitter, don't you think?!  





For the bride's bouquet, the same flowers were used with the addition of white scabiosa-the dark centers have just a hint of gold in them and provided the perfect contrast.  


Check out the post today for more beautiful images and inspiration! 


Unruly beauty

There are moments in life that can only be fully expressed in creation.  For me, these moments can happen after a vulnerable conversation, or during a busy day full of duty, or after a rich, real conversation with a friend or loved one.  


Yesterday, I was texting with a close friend-we are both moms and many times it is hard to talk on the phone with kids at our ankles...so we text.  She was telling me about her hard week and I was telling her about mine..and we were wishing that we were drinking pumpkin pie lattes together instead of working all the way out, into and past, the margins in our worlds.  


I love my work, but there are weeks when life and work get all messy, tangled, and unruly in the mix of family, church, and married life.  What happened this week was unexpected, though.  In the messy and unruly, there were sweet, beautiful moments of encouragement and truth.  In a study, in church and in our community group, we talked about holding fast to truth.  I can't get the image out of my head.  The storm may be blowing, circling around, but my hands are gripped tight to truth and I'm standing..maybe not very strong, but I'm standing!  


So in the rich, connecting moment that I had over a text yesterday, I felt thankful and inspired.  I needed to get my hands on something.  With scissors and a water-filled jar in hand, I traipsed through our yard and plucked some of the last blooms of the summer.  


I'm so thankful for the people in my life who point me directly to Truth.  I can't get away from it no matter how far I wander, and I'm deeply grateful.  

First Friday DIY: Buying flowers

Flowers are on your grocery list, so on your way to the produce section, you pass by the fresh flower stand.  Neon green and blue daisies.  Pretty sure that's not natural, so you pass over those and see bunches of roses for $19.99.  Too expensive.  The next option might be bouquets of mixed flowers..a lily, a couple roses, daisies, alstromeria (tiger lilies), and some greenery.  That will have to do since it looks fairly fresh and it's around fifteen bucks.  $15 is OK for a mixed flower bunch, but do you really like the mixture?  And I bet you'd love to spend less if you could.

I asked folks on Facebook last week what they'd like to learn in my next DIY post.  Here's a response from my friend Jenny:  

Where can you find fresh flower steals? I love displaying sweet arrangements around the house, but find it to be costly!

So this week, thanks to Jenny, I'm going to tell you all I know about buying fresh flowers and where to get some great "steals".  

My #1 choice for buying flowers is Import Flowers.  It's a wholesale flower shop here in Nashville and they are open to the public.  OPEN TO THE PUBLIC...you don't need any special forms and you don't have to be a florist to buy from them!!  It can be a bit intimidating walking in for the first time, but you will soon be met by the wonderfully helpful staff, and someone will show you around.  If you are on a budget, you can buy bunches of daisies for under $5.  When tulips are in season, you can choose from a variety of colors for $10.  Roses are sold in 25 stem bunches which end up being just over a dollar a stem (depending on the variety).  It turns out to be cheaper than that dozen at the grocery for $20 and you get more!  Import also has the largest variety of flowers in town.  From every seasonal flower imaginable to tropical flowers, hydrangea, garden roses, and greenery, you can find just about anything you are looking for.  

My #2 choice is Trader Joe's.  When certain flowers are in season, you can't beat the prices.  Tulips, ranunculus, sunflowers, and daisies are always great choices and you can easily spend less than $15.  That should leave some room in your budget for dark chocolate covered almonds, that chocolate bar with caramel and sea salt, or those chocolate covered pretzels with peanut butter inside!!  Yum!  Chocolate and flowers...2 very happy things!   
  
Fall bouquets from Trader Joe's

























#3 choice is Fresh Market or Whole Foods for many of the same reasons as Trader Joe's.  They also have a wonderful assortment of potted orchids if you need to pick up a quick, but lovely gift.  

#4 is my local Kroger grocery store.  If I'm in a pinch, I'll run up the street and buy a bunch of roses, spray roses, or whatever looks fresh.  

Okay, let's talk about how to tell what's fresh.  I'm going to be basic here in order to leave room for future posts!

1.  You want to see healthy-looking foliage on the stems of the flowers.  One of the first things I learned while working at Import Flowers years ago was that if the leaves on the flowers are turning brown or yellow, they are too old to sell.  Most of the time, the bunches will be in a clear cellophane wrap, so don't be afraid to pull it down to check out the stems.  It's kind of like looking for fresh lettuce and greens in the produce section...you want firm, green leaves...no slime!  

Healthy rose leaves.  

2.  If you are buying roses, look for buds that are firm with smooth petals.  Older roses will feel very loose, like the petals are about to fall off.  The petals will also look wrinkly.  It's OK to see outside petals that are a bit beat-up.  This is a protective layer of petals.  When you arrange your flowers, just pull those off.  As a general rule, most flowers should be firm ...this means they're fresh and fully hydrated.  


Beautiful ivory spray roses.  

3.  If you do decide to buy a mixed bunch of flowers, don't feel like you have to put every single flower in one vase!  If there's one tall flower that doesn't look right in the arrangement, find a bud vase to put it in and stick it by your sink.  

*On a side note...if you'd like to learn more about arranging flowers, get a group of friends together and I'll come show you how to do it!  I've done several DIY flower arranging classes, and it's a blast!  Here's a post from a my friend, Tobi, who co-hosted my first DIY class...check out the pictures!  

4.  If you love daisies and want them to last up to 2 weeks, choose the one's with green centers.  As the daisy ages, the center will turn yellow!  

These centers are somewhere in between...yellow with a bit of green. 

5.  Have fun and don't be afraid to mix it up!  I'm usually drawn to lush, single-flower arrangements with roses and/or hydrangea, but lately I've been playing around with more texture and color.  Choose the flowers you are drawn to, pick out your favorite vase, or several small jars or bud vases, and have fun flowering your house!  

Finished product from a DIY class!  

Outlet



In the craziness of life, I'm thankful for a creative outlet.  It feeds my soul to sit, quiet my mind, look at an empty vessel, full buckets at my feet, and create.   The ruffled, soft beauty of ranunculus, the dahlia with it's sophisticated, sideways glance, and the fragrance of the garden rose all pointing to something outside of myself...a big and personal God who is in control of the most minute detail, even the flowers of the field.  If this life were left to me, it would be as messy as the left-over flowers look in an old bucket, stinky with fermenting flower-water.

No kidding.  







Practicing again with left-over blooms.  Ranunculus, dahlias, garden roses, and stock.  I found the embroidery hoops at a tag sale and picked them up hoping to do something creative with them.  This will do for now.  I kind of like them on the wall...maybe they'll stay!    


Practice


When I was 4, I started playing the violin.  My parents put me in private lessons, mom worked with me (ticka- ticka, stop-stop, for anyone out there that knows the Suzuki method), I played in orchestras, and put on recitals all through high school.  I enjoyed it, and I was a good player, but not great compared to others who actually spent real time practicing.  

I've never been good at practicing. 

Somehow, I got away with winging it, using last minute moments to turn on the creativity and conjure up the skills I'd been taught all those years.  

I still do this, but a change is in order.  Now that my oldest daughter is taking piano lessons, I am trying to instill in her the discipline of practice.  

I don't know if practice makes perfect, but it sure does make better!  

Soooo, since floral design is my job and I do actually enjoy it, I am going to practice...in between events and carpools...and hope to get better.  



The flowers here are extras I had after doing some mock-ups for an upcoming wedding.  Peony, roses, hydrangea, some craspedia from the house, and caladium leaves from the yard.  I'm trying a different style here...a little more free-form, yet placing emphasis on individual blooms.  Looking at each bloom to inspire what pairs up the best helps to bring out the natural color scheme, I think.     
   



When you really love doing something, practicing can actually be fun!  How about that!!! 





Inspiration

It's summer, which means school is out, the kids are home, and it's a new kind of busy around here. We're going to the pool, grilling out, and we're together..ALL THE TIME (feel free to use a sing-songy voice here)!  It's crazy, fun, hard, exhausting, and hilarious all at the same time.  I'm not gonna lie, though, it's a hard adjustment when we're all home for summer vacation.

Summer break also means that I have get to do grocery shopping with the kids, which is always very interesting.  It's like this...one kid is in the cart, two are running down the aisles, and I'm cramming groceries in as quickly as possible.  I'm usually whisper-shouting at my kids to stop this or that,  saying "no we can't get that," or running back 10 aisles to the restroom.  Hilarious.

Inspiration?  Forget it.

But it happened.  In Publix.  Blessed Publix with free cookies and wide aisles.


 
























Walking through the produce section, I spotted a bin full of potted flowers.  It was a random mix of blooms, but what caught my eye was an enormous Ornithogalum or "Star of Bethlehem" plant.  The plant was in full bloom, so I grabbed it up and put it in the cart thinking the blooms would make a really pretty bridal bouquet. As soon as we got home and settled, I began cutting the stems and making a bouquet. I used some foliage from my "coral bells" plant to bring out the earthy tones in the center of the blooms. It turned out nicely. The best thing about the whole experience was simply the feeling of being inspired and creative on a day that felt far from anything like that.

Thank you, Publix.  Thank you, flowers.  Thank you, God!


 

For Vintage Florals, wedding season is finally starting up. The spring season was slow, but I found it to be an unexpected gift. I needed to do family things, clean my house, get organized, bake cookies, and step back from flowers a bit. The break was good, and now I'm ready to get back to it. We have a couple weddings a month through the end of the year, which is a good pace here. I'll post pictures along the way!

 

Have a fun summer!  :)

A Grateful Heart

It's been while since I've posted anything because the fall gets SO busy around here. With weddings happening on weekends and my 3 kids running around with all of their activities, it can seem like a whirlwind at times! We've had a great year, though, and I'm thankful. I thought I'd dedicate this post to all of the wonderful brides and families that I was honored to work with this year. I'm also thankful for the many vendors and wedding planners that made the events come together so beautifully. I have cherished the connections that we've made. It has been a joy to work with so many lovely people.

I'm also looking forward to meeting all of you new brides in 2012! I can't wait to dream with you and hear your stories. While I love beauty and am truly inspired by pretty things, sometimes the way things "look" can drive the decision making in this industry. I hope that it can be more than that. A wedding is one of the most important events of a person's life, and I hope that we can all focus on making weddings beautiful not just for the "wow" factor, but most importantly, to help make a lasting memory for the special couple and their families.


I'm thankful for the opportunity to make things meaningful and pretty. What a fun job! I'm so grateful.