Studio Space

Last September my husband scored himself an incredible career opportunity.  It was a huge transition for our family, but one that would turn out to be a good one.  Part of the transition was that he would be working from home instead of the office he previously occupied.  This was great because frankly not having to pay for child care was a huge cost savings to us.  The problem with it was that our house is only a 3 bedroom and the space he would be moving into was previously my home office/ craft room.  Not having a place to put all of my hoards of stuff (craft, scrapbook, garden, etc) was a wee bit stressful on me.  However, we had a plan to give me a space.  It was one of those puzzle piece types of projects.  Step one: tear down old shed (eww).  Step two: build new shed.  Three move the majority of the stuff from garage into new shed.  Four move all of my stuff from the home office to new shed (temporarily).  Five: build a wall in the garage to separate it into two spaces, front and back.

We started step five in February when my dad came to assist us.  He framed the wall and hung a few pieces of drywall.  I then had to frame in a window, finish drywalling, mudding taping sanding, paint, move doors.  It took weeks.  WEEEEKS.  I refinished my kitchen in 9 days.  This took weeks.  I never want to see drywall mud again.

I was done with the project and out of money so I filled the room with my stuff and there it has sat since late March.  I didn’t get to replacing the light fixture, finishing the floor, door & window trim, baseboards, door sweeps.  Those finishy bits that take for ever, but make the room feel finished.

We are having a resurgence of June-uary so I thought I’d tackle a few projects.  What a huge difference a little finish work makes.


Granted this is only one wall.  The other walls aren’t very exciting.  I finished the window and door trims.  I went with a wide unfinished pine stock for all of the trim.


I also added a cute pennant border and made a sweet roman shade complete with pom pom trim.


There’s a space under the window sill for ribbons and tapes.


The fabric on the back of the chair gets put over the door window with small magnets, but the window lets in so much natural light I like it without.  The shade is mostly if we use it as a guest room.


I found a few little jars at the craft store for a screaming deal and they called my name.


The biggest challenge was the light fixture.  It ranked right up there with the dining room fixture.  It is a bird cage with a keyless socket.  How difficult could that be?  Hours of one person on a ladder while the other held the cage up so we could adjust and readjust the bracket holding the ceiling cap.  But it’s done and gives the room a finished look bathed in a soft romantic warm light rather than a harsh fluorescent tube.

I love the room.  I want to spend more time in here.  I still have plans for the floor and baseboard trim.  We will also be adding a murphy bed at some point and then I think it will be done.  For now it makes me happy.

Seasonal Flower Alliance: 6.12.14

This week I have been so busy I did not get the opportunity to photograph the arrangement for my own table.  It was another sweet pink creation.  The only arrangement I did photograph was one that went to one of my “customers.”  I snapped a quick cell phone pic for Instagram.  Therefore it is becoming my arrangement for this Thursday.

While out cutting blooms for my weekly arrangements I found that I had enough of a single color scheme to make monochromatic designs this week.  One was a soft purple, another was deep reds and the last a bright sunny yellow & orange.

I had a number of Canary Yellow Zinnias open and as luck would have it, by the grace of seed variation one came out orange.

IMG_3660I didn’t pinch all of my zinnias so they are sending up early first blooms.  It throws off timing a bit, but I’m loving the cheerful colors.

IMG_3661Besides, they look fabulous with the sunny iceland poppies.


For foliage I added a few snips off of the Witch Hazel shrub and the additional blooms are from a large flowering coreopsis that was grown from a seed mix.  I threw the seed mix out to quickly fill in a space last year and there were a few things I kept.

While I don’t love the photos, I love the arrangement.  It reminds me of the Summer to come.


Seasonal Flower Alliance: 6.5.14

For Christmas my sister-in-law purchased a living social deal for me to do a blow your own glass experience.  Glass blowing is part of the culture here in the Tacoma/Seattle area.  I laugh when I travel at people who ohh and ahh over the Chihully art in hotels and casinos.  To Tacomites, meh… just another piece of blown glass.  Drive down 705 and you’ll see that.  However, getting to blow your own glass… now that’s fun.  That’s different.

The Spring is a very busy time for me and I hadn’t gotten around to scheduling my time with Rainier Glass Studio.  I also noticed it expired the Tuesday after Mother’s Day.  My husband, being the awesome guy he is called and got me in Mother’s Day afternoon.  Talk about a fabulous day and great experience.

I picked up my finished piece on Sunday and couldn’t wait to make an arrangement in it.  It took some working to figure out how to place flowers in a low wide bowl like this, but I figured out the trick was chicken wire.


The pallet is still what I’ve been showing this week.  It is amazing how the same blooms can make such different arrangements.


I added nine bark blooms to this one to change it up a bit.  I still haven’t figured out how to make those last without wilting.


The Sarah Bernhardt peonies are going strong this week and I couldn’t believe how big some of them were.  Especially the ones I disbudded earlier in the Spring.


I’m still in love with stocks.  The fragrance is outstanding.


I’ve also yet to figure out how to capture the true color of this Sweet William.  It is an amazing shade of deep fuchsia and this photo does not do it justice.


The bowl I created is not lopsided at all.  Most of my blown glass bowls have a slumped side on them, but this one does not.  I selected lime green and lavender for my colors and went with more lime than lavender.


In fact, you can’t really see the lavender unless you know what you’re looking for.  I love it because it is unpredictable for me.


I also had a few of these little friends poke their heads out this week.  It is far too early for Zinnias, but I hadn’t cut back many of them and let them go to bloom before I did.  I’ve either shot myself in the foot or just cut the earliest Zinnia I’ve ever grown from seed.  In any case I think the Envy green bud goes well with my glass bowl.

After I made the arrangements for my friends on Monday and after I made my arrangement for the Seasonal Flower Alliance I still had leftover blooms in the buckets.  I tried my hand tied bouquet skills.  I’m still very short on fillers and light textured items, but it was fun to make an arrangement in hand rather than arranging it in a vase.


Of course when I was done I put it into a vase…


I’m still working with sweet william.  Oh how I wish the mix would have come out more diverse than mostly salmon and pink.


One bed of stocks opened up this week as well.  I’ve learned that I am going to plant all doubles next year.  I like the singles, but there is more impact from the doubles and they smell better.


I also need to work on balancing the shorter flowers with the taller ones like foxglove.  This would have been a very sweet little arrangement without the foxglove.  For now it sits in my living room adding another view of cheer.


This week I was able to cut buckets and buckets of blooms.  I didn’t cut every last one, but it was enough to make at least 5 arrangements.  I’ve gotten to the point where I have more blooms than I know what to do with.  A few of my girlfriends said they loved the photos I’ve posted on Instagram/Facebook and they wanted in on the action.  Since I don’t fancy myself a true flower farmer or florist yet I cut the ladies a killer deal.  Besides they’re my friends.



This way I get to share my excess blooms and make a little cash on the side.  I won’t get rich my any stretch of the imagination, but it might pay for the water I’ll use over the summer.


As soon as I can find a better source for foliage filler I can take on more “clients.”  I have a large amount of flowers, but my filler selections are a little less abundant.

The deal is that I’ll deliver a fresh bouquet of blooms to their doorstep each Monday (my day off from my day job) and the following week they’ll leave the clean vase and the payment for the previous week on the doorstep.  Fresh flowers each week for a super cheap price.  Why yes!


They’re perfect for the living room or dining room table.  It is my firm belief that everyone should have fresh cut blooms in their house at any given moment.  I believe that flowers are for giving to friends and loved ones.  I believe that flowers are for celebrations, and just because it’s Tuesday doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate.

Seasonal Flower Alliance: 5.29.14

This week I finally had enough of a similar color scheme to make something that resembled an actual arrangement.


As I mentioned earlier this week many of my peonies opened over the holiday weekend and rain was in the forecast.  I wanted to save them so I committed the cardinal sin and cut every last bloom off of my Coral Charm (could be sunset) Peony.



In addition, the Sweet William I planted last year as a mix is finally starting to open more steadily.  I had no clue what color it would be and as luck would have it they are shades of salmon, coral and dark pink.


Victoria Louise Poppy is continuing to bloom and there were a few Festiva Maxima Peonies along with Karl Rosenfield.



As an added bonus I have a random rose that grows up into the Mexican Orange bush.  It is from a bit of root that was left in the ground.  There are 2-4 of these roses around.  The single hot pink flowers are sweet little unexpected touches.

IMGP2089For greens I used the last of the Solomon Seal foliage, a few new Sword Fern fronds and gave Raspberry stems a go.  The Raspberries were a little too green and wilted right away.  I’ll have to work on vase life with those since I have them in abundance and they make a nice Spring green filler.  I loved this arrangement.  It has been one of my favorites.  I’m hoping from here on out finding blooms will be this easy.


Bright and colorful

We went away for the long weekend and should I ever become an actual flower farmer that will not be the case again.  I thought the rain would topple all of my foxglove, but most of them were still standing.  However, nearly every last peony decided to open over the weekend.  The coming week’s weather forecast shows it may rain and open peonies + rain = a mess.  I have so many peony bushes, but only a few are in bloom (most are far too young).  Those that are in bloom are spectacular so I ran around the garden and cut all of the open flowers.  It is still killing me to cut the flowers out of my garden to use as cuts, but the garden still looks spectacular.

I used the majority of the blooms in the arrangement I’ll show on Thursday (I do my Seasonal Flower Alliance arrangements on Mondays), but there were a few Festiva Maximas to use in a second arrangement.  I have a Delphinium that is tucked up under the Box Elder behind a Butterfly Bush and under some Daylilies.  Needless to say it is in a shady location.  As a result it creates 7′ tall stems that are very open.  I love it.


I combined those with the Sweet William that is really starting to take off and a few Iceland Poppies.  I can’t remember which variety this is, but I always thought it was too fragile of a stem.  That is not the case!  As soon as the bloom opens the stem becomes perfect for cutting.


I did many of my seeds as mixes for a number of reasons.  The biggest is space.  I don’t have a large amount of space and I wanted to try as many different flowers as possible so I elected to go with a mix rather than individual varieties.  It makes designing a bit more difficult (as evidenced by this hodgepodge mess), but it is an exciting challenge.  Besides, you get a bloom that is rather unexpected.  I find this two tone poppy bloom quite intriguing.


The creamy white looks like it was gently dipped in yellow water color.  I love surprises and I think that’s why I love flowers so much.  There’s a surprise around every color.

Seasonal Flower Alliance: 5.22.14

Late last week the Foxglove started to open.  I planted 2 new varieties last year.  They are an heirloom white and an heirloom apricot.  I believe the apricot is called ‘Apricot Beauty,’ but I’ve since lost the name of the white one.  I also have the standard purple foxglove in the garden, but it’s so commonplace that I’m quite bored with it.

My arranging day {Monday} was a sick day for me, but I couldn’t stand being confined to the couch on a nice sunny afternoon so I ventured out and picked a bucket full of random blooms.


The peony that was in last week’s arrangement was also blooming.  For some strange reason this particular peony blooms 1/2 dark pink and 1/2 light pink.  I don’t believe it is a fade because the buds are different colors and I am certain that there is only 1 root in the ground.  I just consider it a bonus.

I also cut a few Iris stems, a coral pink oriental poppy, Spring blooming anemone, a light pink peony bud and the first of the sweet william.  For foliage I chose sweet cicely, but decided against it in the long run and opted for epimedium instead.


I wanted a vase that would hold the weight and height of the foxglove {which was difficult} so I pulled out the biggest one I have.


The arrangement ended up being a cornucopia of colors and textures.  I can’t wait until I get multiples of stems to use.  Right now I’m dealing with first year perennials or things that are just starting to bloom.


I’m trying my best to treat the garden as if it were a true production garden, but with perennials that’s so tough to do.  I have no problem cutting annuals way back because they’ll bloom again, but with perennials you only get one shot.


I must say it has been fun having a fresh arrangement in the house each week though.


I get to admire the beauty both inside and out.

The sweet william started to peek through this week and with the amount of it growing in the garden it feels like the first “production plant” I have on hand.  (never mind the spit bugs)


The ‘Apricot Beauty’ Foxglove has stolen my heart and as soon as I have more land to plant more varieties of things I feel I may go hog wild with the foxglove.



Tiny Arrangement

We visited a large Seattle area garden center a few weeks back and while shopping in the small container department I spotted this tiny little urn.  I’m always on the lookout for something I can put an arrangement in and this little gem seemed like a fun challenge.  My intent was to use it for a Seasonal Flower Alliance arrangement that week, but Lilacs were still in bloom then and I felt they would overwhelm the little dish.


The dish stands all of {maybe} 3″ tall and 4 ” across.

Most of my current garden blooms are tall (stay tuned for tomorrow’s post).  I started off picking a few Forget-Me-Not blossoms and added Sage blossoms and leaves.  The Salal is Spring green with new growth and full of flowers as well so that was a good anchor.  I disbudded one of the Sarah Bernhardt Peonies and they may or may not open, but I like the texture.  I needed more so I added a few stems of the last of the bleeding heart and a single stem off of one of the new White Rose Jasmine.  That one stem is making the house smell divine.  I took the arrangement outside to photograph it, but it didn’t feel quite right.  So I snipped a few twigs off of the Japanese Maple in the back yard and popped them in.  It filled it out nicely and added a wee bit of light airiness.


It is the perfect size for the dining room table and just as sweet as can be.  I like the combination of all of the Spring green colors.

I’m also thrilled at how nice the Salal blossoms look.  Salal seems like such an old stand-by when it comes to greenery that I take it for granted.


It is quite the little workhorse in the garden.


A single flower: 5.19.14

Over the past year I have spent so much time looking at and working with flowers in conjunction with others.  How do these colors work together?  How does this texture compliment another?  Many years ago I was handed my first 35mm camera and I began shooting individual flowers and leaves.  It was and still is my passion.  Just look at my cut flowers section.

Last year I visited Sky Nursery and it just so happens they have a rare plant section.  I picked up a Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsis) while I was there.  I didn’t really think about it when I plunked it in the ground, but I’ve watched it and it not only survived the Winter… it thrived.  I’ve wanted this plant since I saw it smack dab in the middle of The Garden Color Book.  To see it thriving was quite exciting.  It was even more thrilling when it showed signs of flowering.

This weekend the first flower opened.


I believe this is one of the most beautiful single flowers I’ve ever seen.  The simplicity of it is stunning.  It is soft, yet vibrant.  The petals look as if they are formed from translucent tissue paper.  Now this photo is a simple and quick snap from my phone.  I haven’t had a chance to go out and photograph it with a proper camera.  It is truly amazing.

Is this a good cut flower?  I have no clue, but I also have no intention of cutting it.  I do intend to let it go to seed so I can make an attempt to propagate it.

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