Floral Styling Class for Fall Decoration Ideas
On Location at The South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes
By Kit Wertz
A few months ago, we were contacted by the South Coast Botanic Garden to create a new concept for a floral class workshop. After a couple of years of teaching at the garden in the classrooms, we felt it would be nice to take the class out into the garden and came up with our on-location styling workshops.
On September 30th, we held our first hands-on floral styling workshops using a fall theme. In the class, we taught students how to design and attach a floral spray to the existing gazebo on the lower meadow where they hold many weddings and special events. All the students had a hand in making the floral spray using red roses, hypericum berries, leucadendron and ruscus.
After the floral spray and some tips on attaching hanging floral vase aisle decorations to chairs, we walked to the front of the garden entrance where students helped us install two seasonally themed seating areas where patrons of the garden could come throughout autumn to take family photos for holiday cards.
Flower Duet styled the garden theme with hay bales, plants and succulent pumpkins. Kit made custom pillows for the hay bale “sofas” in which Casey created the backrests using some plywood, paint and brackets (and a drill). This is where the degree in McGyverolgy is a necessity.
The students had a great time, despite the bright hot morning sun and we look forward to seeing some great family photos taken in the seating areas throughout the season.
Flower Duet will continue its “Floral Styling Workshops” on location The South Coast Botanic Garden throughout the year. Stay tuned for more dates to come!
Natural Color Dye with Rose Petals – Step-by-Step Tutorial
Or…What to do with Leftover Petals from 200 Roses
By Kit Wertz
In mid-September, we provided rose petals for this gorgeous photo shoot for the Joanna August Collection (see article below) and I took home the petals and could not part with them before trying out a new craft: natural dye making.
A few summers ago, I checked out a book from the library on natural dyes (The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes) using items like rose petals, coffee grounds and carrot peels. I brought it to Virginia when visiting my parents, but did not have a chance to try out any of the fun recipes.
So, we thought, we’d have plenty of rose petals to try our hand at an ancient practice of dying natural fibers with plants.
Here is the basic recipe we followed:
- 8 cups water
- 2 cups white distilled vinegar
- 8 cups red rose petals
Bring mix to a boil, reduce to a simmer for an hour.
- 8 cups water
- 2 cups white distilled vinegar
Add Silk, cotton or wool in the amount of about 500 square inches (1 yard of a 12-inch wide scarf or 1 cotton t-shirt) and simmer for an hour while you are making the plant dye. Be sure if the fabric is new, to wash and dry it before dying it to remove any chemicals or excess soap that will make the dye resist color.
When the plant dye is ready, squeeze out the fabric and place it into the plant dye. Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour. Leave in the pot overnight to set the color.
Wash any naturally plant dyed materials separately from any other normal laundry. Line dry.
Step-by-Step Photo Instructions for natural plant dyes:
Pick a piece of fabric that is all cotton, wool or silk.
Step 1a: Add petals to water and vinegar. Simmer for an hour.
Step 1b: In a separate pot on the stove, simmer fabric in water and vinegar for an hour.
Step 2: Remove the petals from the dye bath. Squeeze out the excess water from the petals and keep that colorful liquid in the dye bath. Discard the petals.
Step 3: Before adding the fabric to the dye bath, squeeze excess water out the fabric. Simmer the fabric in the dye bath for at least an hour. Allow to soak overnight to really set the color.
NOTE: I put a lid into the pot to keep the fabric under the surface of the dye bath to ensure even coloring.
Step 4: Allow the fabric to soak in the dye bath overnight to really set the color.
Step 5: Rinse fabric, let dry.
CAUTION WHEN DYING FABRICS:
- Use rubber gloves to avoid staining your hands and tongs when moving fabric around in the dye bath.
- Water is hot during all steps. Do not do this project with small children around.
- This process is a little bit smelly due to the vinegar – so keep windows open and fans on.
- The color will fade after it’s washed.
- Make sure you launder & tumble dry all items that have been “naturally dyed” separately from other items as the color will wash out over time.
- Don’t drink the dye water. The petals from flowers purchased at most flower markets and grocery stores have chemicals on them. If you want to make your own rosewater, be sure to buy certified organic plants from a resource such as Whole Foods.
Learn more from this great book (see book review below): The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes: Personalize Your Craft with Organic Colors from Acorns, Blackberries, Coffee, and Other Everyday Ingredients.
Photo Styling for Green Wedding Shoes – A Look Behind the Scenes
We were asked to team up for a photo shoot of the gorgeous Joanna August bridesmaid dress collection to be featured on Green Wedding Shoes, a popular wedding industry blog. We had a full-day at The Colony House in Anaheim with three beautiful models, the talented artistry of hair and make up artist, Kacee Geoffrey and wonderful photography work by Krista Mason.
Here are some photos to let you know what goes on behind the scenes at a styled shoot.
PopSugar & Hostess with the Mostess Feature Flower Duet’s Work
Pop Sugar featured an article on Creative Wedding Banner Ideas and this photo made the cut. We worked with The Events Boutique, Jeannie Mutrais Photography, Party Pieces by Perry and PersonefePapers for this styled wedding show.
Flower Duet was also in a feature slideshow on Weddings with Vineyard inspiration. Last wedding season, we had many weddings which featured recycled wine bottles as vases, corks as table numbers and place card holders as well as wedding decor. Check out all the inspiration in the article: 15 Pretty Vineyard Wedding Details
Venue Focus: Wedding Flowers at Vibiana in Downtown Los Angeles
By Flower Duet
We created flowers for a wedding at Vibiana last month working with the lovely event planning team from Nicole Alexandra Designs. It was an intriguing evening with the ceremony and reception in the same location. This situation calls for a “flip” of the location. After the ceremony, guests are directed to an outside cocktail area where they were entertained by a live band, cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres. Inside, the wedding vendors and venue staff were busy moving flowers, tables, chairs and creating lighting and setting up place cards! Here are a few snapshots of “Pre-Flip and Post-Flip!” Enjoy!
Pre-Flip at Vibiana
Post-Flip at Vibiana
Flower Tool: Our “Kit” for On-Site Floral Installations
Each time we deliver flowers to a venue, we carry with us a Flower Kit full of helpful extras like boutonniere pins, floral tape, wire and ribbon. When we are creating an arch display, we make sure we have a plethora of zip ties in all colors and sizes. We carry extra floral shears, vases, duct tape and more. Here is a fairly comprehensive list of what we carry in our “Floral Tool Kit” and why we carry each item.
Band Aids – Thorns, cutters, and wire can take a toll on fingers. It’s good to have lots of band aids on hand. We’ve saved a few wedding planners, too!
Basic Votive Holders & extra tea lights – Great for extra tiny vases in case a cocktail arrangement is needed on-the-fly.
Boutonniere Pins – They break or get lost. It’s great to have lots on hand. Also good for securing ribbons or fabric when draping arches and tables.
Broom – Essential for on-site cleanup.
Clear Tape – Great for many tasks.
Clear Vases in Various Sizes – Since we also have extra flowers to put into floral sprays on site or repair any breakage on the way to a venue, we are sometimes tasked with an “extra” arrangement on site. It’s nice to have a vase to accommodate the last-minute additions requested by a bride or groom.
Corsage Pins – Again…always a good idea to have extra in case that distant Aunt really did make it in time for the wedding after all!
Digital Camera – Document your work with a good camera other than your cell phone. Also helps to look at a photo of a floral design to show you if you are missing any flowers or if the design is a little off kilter. It’s easier to see this inside a frame as opposed to real life.
Drop Cloth – In case you have to add some flowers on site, it’s a good idea to keep the carpet or floors clean around your ad-hoc work area with your own drop cloth. We use disposable plastic that can just be wrapped up and taken with us back to the studio to be disposed of. We never throw our trash away on site (most venues don’t allow it).
Duct tape – Sometimes things break and it’s good to have strong tape to fix it.
Dust Pan – Great for clean ups in case a vase breaks or to pick up leaves.
Extra Candles – Sometimes a few tables are forgotten on the checklist and candles can fill in quite nicely for flowers.
Extra Flowers – Essential for every job…both big and small. I once delivered two bouquets and a centerpiece for an intimate backyard wedding. When I arrived, the cake lady had just delivered the very plain wedding cake and asked me if I could decorate it. I had just enough extra with me to make a pretty composition.
Floral adhesive – Great for attaching flowers to arch displays, making corsages, and more. Dries fast and works really well in many situations.
Floral Cutters – Bring one for each member of your team and an old pair you don’t mind leaving behind with the wedding planner just in case.
Floral Tape (Floratape Brand) – The dry non-sticky green kind of tape. Great for making boutonnieres, corsages, posies and bouquets.
Kleenex – Self-explanatory.
Ladders – Be sure to know how tall a ladder you’ll need before you go. Most likely, you’ll need two ladders and that venues do not provide a ladder vendors. Don’t use a ceremony chair…just bring the ladder.
Petals – For the flower girl, aisle, cocktail tables, cake table, sweetheart table, etc….
Ribbon in color themes – Ribbons are your friend. Buy it often. Bring it always. It’s great for making corsages on the fly.
Sandbags – Keep that arch upright by making sure it does not come down in the wind. Carry sandbags with you in your delivery vehicle.
S-hooks – Work great for attaching garlands, sprays, and more.
Scissors – Always save a pair of sharp scissors that is only used to cut ribbon and nothing else.
Staples & Staple gun – Chances are, you won’t use this unless you have your own structure to attach fabric to. Most venues won’t let you put nails or staples into their structures. Use zip ties instead.
Towels – Great for wiping up spills.
Trash bag or container – We always need some type of container to place cuttings. Bring your own. Take it with you.
Twine – Great all around tool.
Wire – Bring floral wire in paddle and straight forms for garlands and all other wire work.
Wire Cutters – Great for cutting wire on site.
Zip Ties – Next to our cutters, these are the most essential tools to bring with you on site. We use zip ties to attach floral sprays, gather fabric, and secure just about anything!
This is a pretty good list to start with, but we do add more custom items to our kit for each job we do. Since we are a custom design florist company and have a new job each time we head out of our studio, we have a custom “floral kit” with us every day.
What do you have in your “kit?” Leave us a comment!
Book Review: The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes
If you buy this book by Sasha Durek or even just check it out of your local library, you’ll be making your own fabric dyes within a day. You would be amazed at all the ingredients you have in your own pantry (coffee grinds make brown and onion skins make orange).
By just using a few simple fixatives such as vinegar, you can create your own dyes on your stove and color cotton, wool or silk using wonderful muted colors of nature.
In the tutorial above, I created a natural dye out of leftover rose petals. I dyed a cotton napkin that was once a muted yellow but had faded over the years. Since I was dying with plant materials, I used the vinegar fixative. If I had been using berries as my coloring agent, I would use salt as my fixative.
I was able to naturally dye my napkin in just a few hours, but let it soak overnight to really give it a rich vibrant look. It was a fun fall project that was perfect for a cool October morning. Enjoy the book and my tutorial. Find this book at your local library or on Amazon.com.