Newsletter December 2013

Ideas to Add Bling to Wedding Flowers: From Brooches to Crystal Garlands

by Kit Wertz

Bling Peonies

Photo by Blue 22 Photography.

Bling It On!

We’ve been asked to add a little “bling” to many floral designs by our wedding clients this past year. Just what is bling, you may ask? According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word “bling-bling” means “flashy jewelry worn especially as an indication of wealth; broadly : expensive and ostentatious possessions.” The term was popularized by hip hop artists and rappers in the early 1990s, but hit mainstream culture in 1999 when the song “Bling Bling” by rap artist B.G. featuring the Cash Money Millionaires cracked the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100.

Since then, we’ve taken it to mean to add a little flash to flowers. So, here are just a few of many ideas on how to add some “bling” to flowers during the 2014 wedding season and beyond.

Bling It with Brooches

Bling Bouquet

Add brooches to your bouquet for a luxurious look. This can be tricky to add to a bouquet, we can show you how to do this in our January 22nd wedding workshop at our floral design studio.


Bling Bouquet
Bling Bouquet
It’s simple to insert Diamante pins into a finshed bouquet to add a shiny accent to a beautiful flower. Genly push the pin so that it just sits on the flower.
Bling bottom stems
For this hand-tied bouquet, we wrapped up the bottom of the stems using white floral tape and then inserted the crystal wedding brooch into the bottom of the bouquet. We secure it with some very long corsage pins. Now, the bride has a permanent memento from her bouquet!


Bling stem-wrap
Here was a another way to incorporate a pearl and crystal wedding brooch into a bridal bouquet. Instead of adding a line of pixie pins down the length of the stems, we added this lovely brooch. Again, another nice way for the bride to always remember her special day.

Bling It with Garland

Bling Wishing Tree
Add crystal garlands to a wishing tree for a high-end look.

Bling Peonies closeup
Pink Peonies get even better with a little drapey crystal garland.


Bling Tree
Tall metal trees are accented with hydrangea, roses, seeded eucalyptus and chains of crystal garlands that suspend small votives for an elegant evening wedding reception.

How to Bling Garland into a floral design

An easy way to pop in your crystal garlands once you’ve set up your tall centerpieces at your event site is to have your garland prepared in advance.

Bling String Picked
Take a long strand of crystal garland and add two floral picks in two places along the strand. This will allow you to pop the pick in the floral foam in your design and let it drape.


Bling It with Rhinestones and Glitter

Bling Card Cage
Adding sparkly fern leaves to an arrangement catches the eye.
Bling Votives
Rhinestone votives can be pricey so you can make your own using some rhinestone “tape.”
Bling Cylinder 1
Take a plain cylinder vase.

Bling Cylinder 2
Add clear double-sided tape or use uGlu dots.

Bling Cylinder 3
Measure the rhinestone tape and carefull attach to the top of the vase keeping it even as you go around the vase.

Bling It with Wire and Wrap

Bling Wire
Use metallic wire and floral tape to add more bling action to centerpieces, bouquets and boutonnieres. Come to our wedding workshop on January 22, 2014 to learn how to add bling to corsages, boutonnieres and more!


Holiday Cocktails Featuring Trees, Flowers and Herbs

by Kit Wertz

Douglas Fir Cocktail

Pictured above is my version of a Douglas Fir Eau-de-vie cocktail. Recipe follows.

This month, I wanted to feature more than just a book review for Amy Stewart’s book, The Drunken Botanist and that’s because I fell in love with the whole idea of this cocktail. Before I even tried to make it, I imagined how refreshing it would taste and how I could serve a tray of these at my next holiday party. Here is this recipe and a few more adpated from her book so you can have a refreshing and fun holiday party, too.
The Douglas Expedition

1 oz dry gin

1 oz Douglas Fir Eau-de-vie

1/2 oz elderflower cordial

Juice of 1 lemon wedge

Shake all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and pour into a cocktail glass.


Hard Cider Cocktails

Hard ciders made from apples and pears are making a comeback in America. At one time, it was the most popular drink in this country and was even brewed by our founding father Thomas Jefferson. Sales are up over 65 percent from last year. Its resurgence is in part due to its gluten-free properties (most beer has gluten) and also the rise in microbreweries has spawned a rise in cider breweries. Here is a recipe for a hard cider cocktail adapted from Amy Stewart’s book, The Drunken Botanist

Founding Father’s Cider

2 parts Newton’s Folly Draft Cider

1-2 Sliced Apples

Frozen Raspberries or Strawberries

Ginger Beer or Ginger Ale

Cider Cocktail Ingredients

Apples in Hard Cider

Add the sliced apples to the hard cider in a pitcher and place in the fridge for 3-6 hours.
Cider Ginger Cocktail

Remove the apples from the cider. Fill highball glass with frozen berries and ice, fill glass with 2/3 apple infused cider. Top glass with ginger beer or cider.

Make Your Own Cocktail Mixers

Simple syrups abound in many cocktail recipes, so it’s best to make your own from one cup sugar and one cup water. Simmer this mixture in a saucepan on a stove over low heat until all the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool. Once it’s cool, it’s ready to add to a cocktail recipe.

For an added twist, you can infuse fresh flowers, herbs, fruit or spices into the sugar and water mix while it’s simmering. This will give the syrup a little kick of flavor and some slight coloring. I made a simple syrup infused with some tips from The Drunken Botanist.

Flower, Herb or Spice Infused Simple Syrup

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup herbs, flowers, fruit or spices

1 oz vodka (for preservative and is optional)

  • Buy organic herbs and flowers or grow your own.
  • I used sage for my syrup, but you could use rosemary, lavender, mint, basil, calendula flower, or marigolds.
  • After the mixture has cooled, strain it through a fine mesh strainer.
  • Pour into a bottle and add 1 ounce vodka to help keep it fresh.
  • Syrup will keep well in the fridge for 2-3 weeks but is better in the freezer.

 Cocktail essentials
My own sage infused simple syrup will be a fun staple in my holiday cocktails. Also handy to have on hand are natural maraschino cherries (Amy talks about the interesting history of these cherries in her book) and lots of Meyer lemons.

Cocktail Sage Leaves
Here are the sage leaves I prepared for the syrup. Before I put them in the pot with the sugar and water, I gave them a little “spank.” In her book, Amy talks about how to “spank your herbs” in order to release the essential oils.

Cocktail Sage with Sugar
Sugar and sage are mixed in the saucepan before I added the water and started simmering away.

Cocktail Simple Syrup Infused with Sage
When simmering the syrup, keep the bubbles small on the perimeter of the pan.

Sage Cocktail Recipe

1 1/2 oz vodka

3/4 oz Meyer lemon juice

3/4 oz sage-infused simple syrup

dry sparkling wine like Prosecco

Sage leaf for garnish

Shake the vodka, lemon juice and simple syrup in cocktail shaker over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with Prosecco and garnish with a sage leaf.

Cocktail Flowers

There is a number of fresh flowers that go well with cocktails. Be sure to always buy organic flowers that are meant to be eaten. Or, you can grow your own without a risk of pesticides. If you want to make flower ice cubes, use distilled water to make a clear cube so you can see the blossom inside the cube!

Borage – Traditional Pimm’s Cup garnish

Calendula – Infused for their bright orange color in the petals.

Elderflower – Used for a liqueur like St. Germain. Good in Champagne cocktails.

Honeysuckle – Yummy frangrance…I used to eat the nectar right off the bush during recess in elementary school.

Jasmine – Very fragrant flowers.

Lavender – Use English lavender in syrup infusions.

Marigold – Sharp spicy flavor.

Nasturtium – Peppery flowers.

Rose – Use hybrid tea rose for infusions.

Sichuan Button – Yellow garnish.

Viola – Good for garnishing drinks.


Floral Design Color Theory Using College Football Team Colors

by Flower Duet
During a lot of our floral design classses, we are asked how to know what color flowers go together. We talk about the color wheel and complementary colors versus analagous colors. We talk about looking at nature for tips and guidance. For example, the purple iris has a yellow and white accent when it opens which is a perfect color combination for any floral design.

Then, we talk football! If you are looking for some hints on what type of flower arrangment to make for a guy friend (and yes, they do like fresh flowers, too), just find out what his favorite sports team is and make a design with those colors.

UCLA and USC just faced off over this past weekend in their long-time rivalry. Their school colors make great floral design combinations.

USC – USC Cardinal and USC Gold

USC Flowers
USC logo
Kit’s husband is a big fan of USC, despite the tough season they are having this year. Yellow spray roses and Euphorbia are accented by dark red Leucadendron.



UCLA – UCLA Deep Sky Blue and Sun Gold

UCLA Flowers
UCLA logo
Our mom went to UCLA, so we will forever be Bruins fans. Here we have some light blue Delphinium and yellow Billy Balls to show her team colors.



James Madison University – Purple and Gold

JMU Flowers
JMU logo
Kit’s alma mater is James Madison University (the marching band just appeared in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade). Their colors are purple and gold – just like our beloved LA Lakers! The iris is a great flower all by itself to celebrate team spirit.



Ohio University – Hunter Green and White

Ohio Flowers
JMU logo

Casey’s alma mater is Ohio University (they also have a great marching band). Check out the Variegated Pittosporum – a perfect foundation for a green and white floral design. Just add any type of white flower and you have a gorgeous combination.


Book Review & Gift Idea: The Drunken Botanist

Druken Botanist
One of our favorite authors, Amy Stewart, has written a thorough history of the origins of our favorite distilled drinks from Tequila, to Bourbon to Vodka and she includes recipes, too! From “Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley, tequila from agave, rum from sugarcane, bourbon from corn.” Thirsty yet? In The Drunken Botanist, Amy Stewart explores the dizzying array of herbs, flowers, trees, fruits, and fungi that humans have, through ingenuity, inspiration, and sheer desperation, contrived to transform into alcohol over the centuries.

The Drunken Botanist combines mixology with biology, chemistry, history, etymology to offer more than fifty drink recipes and tips on how to grow some of the ingredients in your own backyard.






Floral Design Tool & Gift Idea: Hand-Made Aprons

Being creative is messy, so it’s a good idea to wear an apron when working with glue, flowers, branches and the like. Aprons are also a great gift idea. Our Mom, Christine Coleman, is the designer and creator of these beutiful hand-made aprons. They are reversible and come in many different prints using vintage fabrics that are not available anywhere.

Apron Kit
Why Wear These Aprons?

Wearing an apron while you are creating floral designs or setting up for an event is a smart idea.

  • These aprons have pockets which are perfect to carry tools like cutters and zip ties. The pockets are also handy for stashing stray petals that fall under the arch when you just finished decorating it for a wedding ceremony!
  • These aprons are reversbible. You get two aprons in one so that if one side get’s dirty, you can just flip it! Or, if one side goes better with the theme of your dinner party or floral event, just wear that side.
  • These aprons keep you clean and make you look official. When you are wearing an apron, be ready for everyone to ask you questions since they’ll think you are in charge (which of course, you will be).

Apron Casey

Where to Purchase

Apron Mom

Our Very Talented Mom!

These can be purchased online at These aprons are excellent choices because they are reversible and are made of premium 100% cotton fabric. All of them have been pre-washed which means there is little shrinkage. All also feature extra long ties for a perfect fit every time. These wonderful aprons are actually made by our mom, Christine Coleman, and we each have several that we use for cooking and floral design.

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