Spring has sprung (hopefully) and nothing makes your home feel “spring fresh” more than a fresh flower arrangement. Recently I had a coffee meeting with Rachel Christy, owner of Alaska Blooms Peony Farms, and she pointed out that I’m a DIY bride’s florist. Indeed, many of the brides who hire me order the main floral pieces from me and then save money by creating centerpieces themselves. Since I’m a business of one person, I am completely fine with this arrangement. When a bride orders centerpieces I usually hire an assistant.
During a phone consultation with a Kentucky bride, she told me my floral business reminds her of small-batch whiskey makers. These are folks in Kentucky who make whiskey on the side of their normal jobs that are different from the standard whiskeys. I love that comparison.
Anyway, since Mother’s Day is the next floral holiday on the calendar (and often the busiest day for florists) I thought I would share a step-by-step tutorial on how you can make your own flower arrangement. Whether you’re a son, a daughter or a DIY bride, this should be helpful for anyone who is looking to be florally frugal.
If you’re in Anchorage, you can purchase beautiful greenery by the stem at Alaska Wholesale Flower Market. They range from $1.89-2.99 a stem. They also have gorgeous blooms there, but in an effort to save money I purchased grocery store flowers using a buy one, get one half off coupon.
In Alaska, winter solstice is kind of a big deal. It’s the shortest day of the year. In Anchorage we had a little under five and a half hours. It becomes part of the daily winter grind. The sun doesn’t rise until well after you arrive at work and it’s already set when you drive home for the day.
After December 21 we will gradually gain more daylight. It’s a celebratory time for Alaskans.
Recently a friend of mine got married and decided to have her reception around solstice time. When I was hired to make some centerpieces for her I was thrilled to create more wintery pieces.
Purple and lavender carnations, white chrysanthemums, eucalyptus and spruce sprigs were all I needed to bring some winter cheer to her reception.
The couple loves Italy so it was fitting that many of the bud vases were little limoncello glasses.
Last-minute weddings are sometimes the best. When my high school friend Amy called me last week to ask if I’d make her bridal bouquet for her wedding this week, I couldn’t say no.
Amy asked for plum and white colors. Alaska Wholesale Flower Market had the most precious Moody Blues roses and deep purple mini carnations. Amy was sold.
I love presenting the corsages and bouts in a pretty way. My first step is to use grocery store doughnut boxes. They have the clear window on the top so you can peek inside and they are big enough to hold several boutonnieres at once. I happened to have some purple tissue paper that was perfect for this occasion.
I had a few leftovers so I made myself a little flower crown. I was able to stop by the reception in the evening and ran into all my old friends. It was a fun reunion. And, of course, I had Ivan model my crown.
Anchorage may be the biggest city in Alaska, but nearly every day I think of it as a small town. Kevin Bacon has nothing on Anchorage — we’re all about two degrees separated.
I recently reconnected with high school mate Peter Luchsinger of Pal Photography. When I told him I was a florist on the side he asked if I would contribute two bridal bouquets to a promotional photo shoot at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood.
Without a bride providing me style guidance I was giddy with the prospect of having complete creative control. This proved to be a challenge as I had so many ideas — I have to hand it to brides. I forgot how tough it is to make a design decision!
I ended up with a soft palette of cream, pink, white, peach, sage green and deep burgundy.
I love how small Alaska is even though it’s the largest state. When groom Lee told me he was from Unalakleet I was positive he would know our old family friends from there. Turns out Lee is their nephew. After making a couple of other personal revelations I felt an instant connection to this couple.
Chelsea and Lee wanted winter wedding themes without it looking like the Queen of Hearts. With burgundy, white and gold as their theme colors I knew I could provide them with festive florals on a budget.
Carnations get a bad rap. I love their ruffles and color versatility. They are excellent filler without making an arrangement look cheap. Thankfully Chelsea likes carnations because there aren’t many burgundy blooms available in Alaska in November.
A touch of gold ribbon with these dainty boutonnières was an elegant choice. Made with white and red spray roses, white statice, mini myrtle, white wax flower, eucalyptus and some natural feathers.
Flower crowns are my thing. I love making them and I certainly love wearing them. After months of working with Meringue Studio Boudoir and having a couple of booths set up with the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, I’ve had lots of people ask me if I have a tutorial for my flower crowns.
Check all three of our sites this week for costume ideas, décor, music mixes and more.
My flower crowns are no trade secret (although you do have to have a florist business license to acquire the light green floral tape). I’ve been held up by simple technological difficulties (I don’t have a tripod that allows for bird’s eye view).
I asked my husband to figure it out. Five minutes and some duct tape later, he had rigged up a suitable bird’s eye camera. Thanks to The Alaska Life for the free selfie stick — I finally found a non-silly way to use it ;).
Whether you’re dressing up yourself or your little girl this Halloween, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have a fresh flower crown to compliment your fairy costume.
Flowers and greens (in this tutorial I used chrysanthemums, alstroemeria, eucalyptus, and saladago)
Measure your wire around your head and cut the wire with four inches extra length.
Tear off pieces of floral tape about six inches long. You’ll need several, but I usually tear off five at a time.
In this time lapse video I show you how I construct a partial crown, which is worn off to the side. I usually start in the middle of the wire and work my way toward the edge. If you want a full flower crown, start about three inches from one end and work your way toward the other end.
Prepare your flowers and greens by leaving two inches of stem remaining. Trim away any excess leaves or buds.
Starting at the middle of the crown, lay a green against the wire and tightly wrap the tape around it, working your way down the stem. Add a new flower to the wire and position it to cover the first wrapped stem. Tightly wrap this stem with the floral tape.
Work your way down the wire, positioning the flowers and greens in a herringbone fashion. I usually wrap a green tilting toward the left, then a flower tilting toward the right, a flower tilting toward the left and a green tilting toward the right.
Use your best judgment to nestle greens and flowers together. Pay attention to the natural curve of each flower and place them so they are featured in a pleasing way.
When you have about three inches remaining on the wire, stop adding more flowers. Wrap the ends of the wire around each other so it fits your head well.
Store in the fridge whenever you’re not wearing it. It should last for a few days.
Here is a one-minute time lapse of my making a flower crown. Pretty neat! View the long version here.
When I was asked to pick up a last minute wedding gig this week, I was more than thrilled to accept. A chance to work with white peonies and garden roses? Yes, please!
Bride Emily wanted a forest look to her arrangements, so I did the sensible thing and I foraged from the forest. I gathered dwarf hemlock from Glenn Alps, which I incorporated into the woodland fairy-like crowns, the delicate boutonnières and corsages and the perfectly-sized bridal bouquet.
Wild geranium, wood ferns and forget-me-nots mixed perfectly with the centerpieces of queen Anne’s lace, veronica and lisianthus.
Emily’s biggest desire was to have a big bridal flower crown of peonies and garden roses. When a fully bloomed peony is the size of a large grapefruit, a large crown is LARGE. My first draft was a little too big, I could barely hold my head up. After I downsized, I made Emily a smaller crown in case the original was too gigantic.
Last fall I attended a networking getaway in Homer hosted by The Boardroom called End of Summer Camp. It was a weekend full of meeting and making new friends. During that time I met Crystal and Carrie, owners of Toast of the Town event planning. I told them I was a flower lady and they said they would keep me in mind for future events.
Six months later they set me up with Charlee, a whimsical bride who wanted her flowers colorful, unkempt and carefree — just my style!
I had so much fun putting together the florals for Charlee and her fiancé Marc. I got to work with nearly a dozen different types of flowers from the most fragrant mauve garden roses to my favorite accent flower, craspedia.
I got to do something new, which I’m calling “hair flair.” Charlee had wanted hair combs with fresh flowers for the bridesmaids, but after a hair trial with another bride I discovered that the plastic combs I was using were not easy to work with. What I decided to do was make teeny flower bouquets with wire and floral tape to be pinned into the bridesmaids’ hair.
My niece and I made about 35 pieces of hair flair so the bridesmaids could pick and choose the flowers they liked best for their hairstyle. It was a lot of fun.
I delivered the flowers to Glory View Farm in Wasilla where Crystal and Carrie were setting up the most magical hootenanny.
Congratulations to Marc and Charlee and I wish them all the best!
I’ve been pretty intimidated by the vast creativity on Etsy that I’ve been hesitant to open up shop. It’s a humble start — so far just custom-made flower crowns — but I hope you’ll take a look! Thanks to my friend Kate for being my model today.
Last year my knitting friend Lina asked if I would design the flowers for her wedding. When she described the colors she wanted there was no way I could say no. She envisioned a wild, rainbow bouquet.
I created a slightly unkempt bouquet of peonies (from her own garden), Japanese asters, mini sunflowers, green trick dianthus, bupleurum, gerber daisies, spray roses, wild daisies, wild grass cattails and wild yarrow.
Lina had saved pussy willow branches from the spring, which I used on the boutonnières.
Billy balls are the perfect accompaniment to fuchsia spray roses and iridescent fuchsia ribbon gave everything a polished look with great pops of color.
Because the bride selected so many types of flowers I was left with an excess of product. I decided to make flower crowns for her daughter and niece who were flower girls. My mother models it here.
I had yet even more product, including a full peony (no way I was wasting that!) so I created a draping arrangement in an antique orange vase, which I left on the dining table in the wedding party’s bed and breakfast.
Pink, fuchsia, orange, green, purple and yellow — a magical array of color for a perfect summer day.