2 Amazing Books For Flower Enthusiasts

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Raise your hand if you are a flower enthusiast! If not, raise your hand if you know someone who is a flower enthusiast! I would bet my soul that  99% of readers have raised their hands in their imagination, because if you are here is because you like beautiful things and, if you like beautiful things, you like flowers. That is a F-A-C-T. 100% guaranteed.

For the other 1% of the Jest Cafe population, if you don’t know a flower enthusiast, now you do, because I AM ONE and you have met me through the cyber world of blogging!!! – that crowded world where people post things that they like in the hope of attracting readers and maybe an income some day.

Ok, let’s cut to the chase, flowers are perfect and some books about flowers are too, for example, the ones I found at a flower store the other day: Styling Nature by Lewis Miller and In Bloom by Ngoc Minh Ngo.

2-amazing-flower-books-10Girls and boys! These two books are gorgeous in every possible way imaginable and would make an amazing Holiday gift. They are beautiful coffee table books filled with great images and content. Let’s take a closer look.

Styling Nature: A Masterful Approach to Floral Arrangements by Lewis Miller – $28.46

This one is my favorite one of the two. It is a big book with incredible flower arrangements. Miller makes eye candy with the fantastic images this book has (photos by Don Freeman) while giving us tips on how to get the look. He is a real pro but, even if I can only dream of achieving his expertise, I find a lot of delight in savoring this world of possibilities. They serve as  inspiration for my smaller and incompetent arrangements created with my very limited skill set.

This book is a visual festival:

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The second book is:

In Bloom: Creating and Living With Flowers by Ngoc Minh Ngo – $32.80

This one focuses on the beauty of flowers and how it inspires people and their line of work. From flower sculptures to pottery, this reading has pretty images from artists around the world who find inspiration in blooms (hence the book name. Wink. Wink).

Each chapter focuses on an important artist that incorporates floral designs into their interiors and art. A beautiful read, indeed, but more than anything else, a beautiful trip through wonderful photography.
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Hope you liked them!

Also, a post about a fantastic flower arrangement book, a flower workshop, and the Flower Market in Downtown LA.

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An Afternoon Doing Flower Arrangements

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My mom is visiting from Chile this week. She likes flowers, so I took her to the Flower Market in DTLA, obviously. What a gem that place is. One of the reasons I love this city so much.

The idea was to buy flowers and spend the afternoon creating flower arrangements. If you follow this blog, you know that I have been trying to improve my flower arrangement skills in the last year (you can find proof here and here). This time, I wanted to do something special.

Choosing the right flowers for the arrangement is a very important first step. We chose the color scheme and the right flower sizes for the bouquet we wanted to do. My mom went big and bright. I went small and dark. In retrospect, I wonder if these choices have hidden psychoanalytic meaning.

If you like flowers, you know it is dahlias season right now, and who doesn’t love dahlias aside from a heartless and sad soul. We went for dahlias and many other flowers at the market. It was beautiful to see. (Remember to bring buckets with water to take your flowers back home, so they last longer.)

We also bought flower vases. My mom wants to take some to Chile and you can find a wonderful variety at the market. She bought 10. You might be wondering how is she going to take all of them back home. I am wondering the same.

We spend the afternoon arranging flowers and listening to music. It was so nice and relaxing. A beautiful day. My mom loved the “activity,” so I recommend doing this if you have visitors and want to do something outside of the tourist circle monster trap.

Next week, I will share some tips and tricks to do better flower arrangements. It is not as hard as it looks.

If you are going to the Flower Market, DTLA:

  • There is parking on the second and third floor of the Flower Market, entrance is on Maple Ave, between 7th and 8th Street.
  • Some of my favorite vendors close at 9 am, so be there early!
  • You can rent carts at the parking lot for $1.
  • Bring buckets with water for your flowers. If you don’t, your arrangements will last a lot less. I have proof.

jestcafe.com-flowerdaywithmom20jestcafe.com-flowerdaywithmom19jestcafe.com-flowerdaywithmom14jestcafe.com-flowerdaywithmom5jestcafe.com-flowerdaywithmom21jestcafe.com-flowerdaywithmom12 Hi there, Mami!jestcafe.com-flowerdaywithmom17jestcafe.com-flowerdaywithmom13jestcafe.com-flowerdaywithmom15 jestcafe.com-flowerdaywithmom8jestcafe.com-flowerdaywithmom10 jestcafe.com-flowerdaywithmom11jestcafe.com-flowerdaywithmom6jestcafe.com-flowerdaywithmom4This is the arrangement my mom did. Her way of doing it was to place her main flowers in the middle and then add fillers as she felt like. jestcafe.com-flowerdaywithmom2jestcafe.com-flowerdaywithmom3

This is the one I did.

Hope you like them. Have a fun day!

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Lavender Wreath DIY

jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath1In preparation for our Easter brunch, I tried doing a lavender wreath to use as decoration.

Difficulty (1-5): 3  Time: 45 mins  Cost: $50 (EXPENSIVE!!)

Materials:

  • Dry lavender I used 5 bunches like the one you see below. Each one of them was $9 at the Flowers Market, DTLA! Fresh lavender is even more expensive ($6 a small bunch with 6-8 flowers), so I didn’t try that.
  • 12″ wire wreath
  • Floral wire – I used 22 gauge, but other thickness would work too.
  • Wire cutter
  • Pruning scissors

jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath2 jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath12jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath7Instructions:

1) Choose a place to start on the metal wreath and do a little knot with your floral wire.

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2) Cut the lavender as you go. Eventually, I realized that the shortest you cut the lavender the better. I did not want branches to show, so there was no need to have long branches just using up space. 3″ of the green branches worked best for me. Here is an example:

jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath9I started with longer branches, as you can see in the picture below. That was a big mistake. They were hard to cover and my wreath had a weird shape by the end. I had to re-do the beginning of it. There is a photo of it later on this post. jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath17jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath15 3) Wrap floral wire around the branches to attach the lavender to the wire wreath. 2-3 times is enough. jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath14 jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath134) Keep on adding branches on top as you go. TIP: You don’t want the wire wreath to show. The best technique to avoid this is to spread each bunch of lavender from the inside to the outside of the wreath so they cover all the space you need to cover, as you see in the pictures below. A dry lavender wreath is NOT forgiving, and it is difficult to fix this kind of mistakes once they are done. Unlike the Holiday wreath I did a couple of months ago, it is nearly impossible to go back and “add” branches of lavender to hide the wire because lavender breaks, so, make sure you are covering everything you need to as you go. Today’s lesson is to SPREAD THE LAVENDER.jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath11 jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath105) The end of the lavender wreath is the most difficult part. Cut your branches short and stick them in there somehow. It is possible!jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath8jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath5 jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath6 OK. First I will show you my FAILED version. I added Víctor to the mix so the photo doesn’t look totally horrible. Ready? Here it is:

jestcafe.com-lavenderwreath20You see how the first branches I did are much longer than the others and they look out of place. Something similar happened to me when I did the Holiday wreath, so I had to go back, took out the floral wire, and did that section over again.

Here is the final result. I was planning to do more wreaths, but after learning how much they cost, I decided against it. At least the one I did will last for a very long time. Cute, isn’t?

Hope you like it!jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath4 jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath3 jestcafe.com-lavender-wreath1

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Do It Like A Florist – Ariella Chezar

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When we were preparing for our flower arrangement workshop a couple of months ago, I went to Amazon and found “The Flower Workshop” book by Ariella Chezar, and I went nuts. It looked divine. (I know divine is a cheesy word, but there is only so many times you can you use words like amazing, awesome, great, and wonderful in a blog before you start to sound brainless).

I pressed the BUY IMMEDIATELY button, and then proceeded to wait next to my door for the flower bible to arrive… but days went by and nothing happened. I started to freak out and signed in to Amazon again only to find that the book was available for PRE ORDERS ONLY!! Can you believe it? Has this ever happened to you???? I felt deceived and angry, so I closed the computer, ate some candy and went on with my life.

The flower arrangement workshop we did for our friends came and went, and days later, without trumpets nor drums, a box from Amazon arrived. I opened it (…be still my heart… ) and found the best book about flower arrangements that I have ever seen in my whole entire existence. Here are a couple of pictures because this is so cute!

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Every page of this book is amazing, awesome, great, wonderful and divine!!! The only problem is that now I HAVE to replicate every single one of these arrangements, and talent is not on my side.

With this in mind, and a lot of wishful thinking, I went to the flower market in DTLA last Saturday. I took Víctor with me. Big mistake. Children and flower shopping don’t go together without a high dose of stress, so I had to hurry and buy whatever flowers looked good with the hope that I could make them work later.

Once at my place, I got some vases, a pair of clippers, and sat in our outdoor room to do arrangements all afternoon while listening to music. Dream. (This also happens to be my father’s favorite activity, so I thought a lot about him while doing this.)

The results looked nothing like what Ariella did in her book. I did not try to replicate any of her arrangements, but went with the flow and did what looked good to me. Also, I wasn’t thinking about doing a post about this, so I didn’t take photos of the whole process. If you are a blogger, you know it is nice not have to capture photos of everything you do sometimes.

At the end of the day I had three flower arrangements. The first arrangement was the one that took me the longest. Here it is:

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It turned out kind of cute. Organic, with flow, and nice colors.

Flower ingredients:

  • 4 yellow and pink dahlias.
  • 5 white and pink alstroemeria
  • 8 short yellow acacia tree
  • 1 pink snapdragon flower
  • 30 purple Astrantia flower
  • 2 White wax flower branches

Here is the second arrangement:

jestcafe.com-flower-arrangements44jestcafe.com-flower-arrangements40jestcafe.com-flower-arrangements48 jestcafe.com-flower-arrangements45 jestcafe.com-flower-arrangements43 jestcafe.com-flower-arrangements42 jestcafe.com-flower-arrangements41 jestcafe.com-flower-arrangements47Kind of unusual, but I really liked it.

For this arrangement I used:

  • 10 Cherry blossoms branches
  • 40 pink carnations

And here is the third arrangement, or, what I like to call the “leftover” arrangement, where you use any flowers you have left, and don’t worry about the consequences:

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For this arrangement I used:

  • 7 pink Snapdragons
  • 4 white wax flowers branches

Lessons learned:

-To do a full arrangement you need a LOT of flowers. Don’t underestimate the number of flowers you will need if you want to go big.

-It is very important to look at the shape of the flowers when you are buying them. Make sure you don’t only get flowers that go straight up. You need flowers or branches that fall too.

– Start with the bigger flowers that are the center of your piece.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It gives great tips, it has beautiful pictures and it is a pleasure to look at. Also, it inspired me to do all these arrangements. In little words, it made me very, very happy. The only thing I wish it had is more step by step instructions for the arrangements.

(This post is not sponsored, though I wish it were. :))

 

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That Flower Arrangement Workshop

jestcafe.com-flowerarrangement-workshop-48 As I mentioned before in this post, I decided to start doing DIY workshops for friends. The wreath-making party we did last December was so much fun that I wanted to repeat it, so my friend Charlene and I decided to do a flower arrangement workshop and it was perfect. jestcafe.com-flowerarrangement-workshop47 We met the weekend before to go to the flower market in DTLA to see what was in season. We bought a lot of flowers and created this arrangement:
jestcafe.com-flowerarrangement-workshop-49Cute, don’t you think?

The idea was to try and copy it, while giving tips in the process.

We invited 10 friends to the workshop and got the flowers, clippers, vases, and wet foam blocks. At the end of the day, each one of us took their own arrangement home.

Everybody contributed some money and brought food to the gathering. I went to the flower market the day before to get all the flower supplies. On Sunday we set up and everybody came over at 11 am for brunch and DIY fun. It was amazing!
jestcafe.com-flowerarrangementworkshop1jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop9jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop10Ranunculus galore!jestcafe.com-flowerarrangementworkshop5 jestcafe.com-flowerarrangementworkshop4jestcafe.com-flowerarrangementworkshop7jestcafe.com-flower-arrangement-workshop47These two rascals getting into those foam blocks before the workshop started:jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop8 jestcafe.com-flowerarrangementworkshop6 jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop11jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop16 jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop15 My beautiful friend Charlene taught the workshop. She has a special gift for finding beauty in everything she does:
jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop14jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop13 We wanted to use edibles in the arrangement, so we bought kumquats. For flowers, we got pincushions ranunculus and anemones. We found that 2-3 pincushions, 5 ranunculus and 2 anemones was enough for a frontal arrangement. Everybody ended up using more flowers because they decided to do centerpieces that could be viewed from all sides, this meant that a lot of people ended up cutting greens and flowers from my garden to be able to fill up the whole vase! That was probably the best part: foraging for beauty. Here are more pictures:jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop12jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop17jestcafe.com-flowerarrangementworkshop2jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop18 jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop20jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop19 jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop21jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop26 jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop25 jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop37jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop24 jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop23 jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop22jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop27 jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop31 jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop30 jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop28jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop29
jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop32jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop34 jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop33It is unusual to have these kind of meetings for friends. I think that is the reason why everybody was so happy to participate in this workshop. It is nice to do something different that is DIY related, don’t you think?

Originally, we wanted everybody to do asymmetrical and organic arrangements, but, in the end, everybody took their own creative path and followed their own vision. Here are the results:jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop35jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop43jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop38 jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop46 jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop44jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop45 jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop42 jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop41 jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop40 jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop39 jestcafe.com-flowerworkshop36The end.

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