floral design

URBN Freelance Flowers

On Sunday night, I was texted by my boss at the shop.  She had heard of a freelance floral gig for the next day.  Monday happens to be my day off, and I was really excited that she had heard of an opportunity that would work for my schedule.

Freelancing is a really good opportunity to interact with other folks in the floral design field who are interested in collaborating and working on projects.  It's also a great way to build contacts and meet people who need florists from time to time, who might call you again.

The freelance position was to design and create several floral designs to accent the different vignettes in an URBN department store, including the brands Anthropologie, Terrain, and BHLDN.

Yes, I said an URBN department store.




The warehouse was at the Navy Yard here in Philly, where the URBN headquarters is located.  In this particular warehouse, the interior was transformed into a fusion of the three aforementioned brands.  The exterior was set up largely for Terrain, and the patio was decorated for a dinner for investors.  On Tuesday, investors in the project were to have dinner, and see what the store looked like in person.

From what I gather, this was the "pilot" for the department store.  The current freestanding BHLDN stores in Chicago, Houston, and other locations, will still exist, but there won't be any new freestanding BHLDN stores.  They'll be incorporated as a boutique section in Anthropologie stores.  The Terrain component included kitchenware and functional items for entertaining.


There was also a blow-dry bar.


Perfume counter.  Such loveliness.




The above arrangement (and two little ones on the left) were in the BHLDN loft.  This was my favorite to make for sure.


Can Chris and I get married every year?  I'd love to stockpile these beauties.




Confession: I touched everything.  I love the feel of really fine and luscious fancy fabric, 
so naturally, my hands were on everything.  I couldn't help it.  
And each dress was silkier and more ethereal than the next.



The quality of the above photos isn't the best.  In the shoe department, the lighting was a little trickier to use well.  
But the large, sprawling setup of bud vases was very fun to work with.



In the Terrain section, we went for a farm stand kind of feeling, using tons of bouquets in the galvanized tin buckets, with mini arrangements in the green glass goblets at the top.

I completely loved working my first freelance opportunity.  How could I not enjoy it, in such a beautiful setting?  The folks that I was working with were kind and had a clear vision, and didn't mind the questions that I asked throughout the day.  I really strive to complete the vision that a bride or a designer has for their space, and I think that I worked really well with the team at Building 17 on Monday.  

Here's to hoping that this becomes a regular occurrence!

Love and light,

Alyssa

Red Charm Peony Love

Before I go into the details of one of my most recent creations, I need to just tell you all that gardening and working outside is good for the soul.  Yesterday was my first day volunteering at a local flower farm, and while I did get to harvest (bunches upon bunches) of forget-me-not, I also helped to prep two huge planting beds.  That is hard work, guys!  My body is feeling it today.  But, I did get paid in flowers for volunteering!  I honestly did not expect any type of compensation, because that's basically the idea behind being a volunteer.  But snapdragons, Queen Anne's lace, and feverfew will be fine any time with me.  

Onto some floral gorgeousness!  I suppose we can call this the Bouquet of the Month for June.  I know I said that the monthly bouquet series was kind of over.  I just happened to make this in June.  So either way, here it is!  


We have Italian ruscus, red charm peonies, spray roses, and scabiosa pods.



Initially, I had made the bouquet with maidenhair fern also.  The maidenhair fern is so beautiful - delicate and feminine, and it falls in such a pretty way.  However, it is a pain to keep alive in any type of heat or sunlight!  The image below was one of the first ones I took of the bouquet, but then decided to take the fern out.  I think I like it without the maidenhair more, but it's pretty both ways.  What do you think?


This is one of my favorite bouquets to date.  Those red charm peonies are too lovely.  I just want a huge armful of them so I can hug them and smell them.  That's not weird at all - we're talking about peonies here!

Have a great Thursday, everyone!  What type of peony do you like better: the sought-after coral charm, or the red charm?  Maybe neither: light pink, dark pink, or white?  

I think I'll just take 'em all.

Love and light,

Alyssa

Love 'N Fresh Flowers Flower Child Workshop Recap

Right outside of Philadelphia, there is a sweet little flower farm off of a dirt road.  I don't live too far from this place, but I only just visited it on Saturday for a flower crown workshop.  The place?  The flower farm where Jennie Love of Love 'N Fresh Flowers makes beautiful creations.

What do you do at a flower crown workshop?  You make flower crowns!  You also get to wander the property, look at some pretty flowers that are still in the early stages of growing, and check in with some cute ducks.


Jennie has the sweetest little workshop at the flower farm!  I am totally jealous of the work space, and also that it is in such a nice, undisturbed area of northeast Philly.


My flower crown was mostly white ranunculus and grape hyacinth, but we had so many different options!  There were hellebores, tulips, anemones, lamb's ear, daffodils, and many more things to cut right out of the ground.


The cool thing was that everyone made such different creations, despite being given access to the same materials!   This is where designing can be so fun and diverse.  Nobody's crown looked just the same as anyone else's, but everyone's crown was beautiful!

Did I mention yet that there were delicious snacks to munch on throughout the workshop?  Brie and crackers and sparkling water and white wine?  Yes please!


All of the attendees were so sweet and joyful to be around for the afternoon.  We all had a great time and enjoyed learning together.  See what I mean by all of the crowns being completely different?  So awesome!


Like I said, mostly white ranunculus and grape hyacinth were in my crown.  I couldn't decide between the natural linen ribbon or the blue silk ribbon, so I used both!  I love how they look together.  I also used two large pink ranunculus as a focal point on one side of my crown, and I love how they turned out.


The master herself, Jennie!  She was so sweet, encouraging, and hospitable the entire time we were there, and I think that shows a lot about how much she seems to love teaching others.  I think it's a big deal to make students feel supported and validated while they're learning, and even though there are bigger risks than flower crown making (or are there?), we were all laughing and complimenting each other the entire time.  Great learning environment for sure!  I came away with a pretty crown and lots of valuable hands on experience.  I also have several notes that will be beneficial to my work in the future.

Interested in taking a workshop with Jennie?  Check out her schedule on her website!

What flowers would you want to wear in your crown?

Love and light,

Alyssa

Monthly Bouquet - March


Happy March, readers!

In one of my last posts, I spoke a bit about how February was sort of an off month for me.  Only having 28 days as opposed to 30 or 31 really seemed to make a difference this year.  I've come out of February with the desire to have a more clear focus and to keep my eye on the prize.  The prize?  Becoming my own boss and a successful business owner, that's the prize!


The floral goodness in the photos of this post were purchased at The Argyle Bouquet in Ardmore, PA.
Beautiful blue hydrangea, white ranunculus (with maroon edges - so gorgeous!), queen protea, brunia, and fern.  I also picked up some dusty miller from Whole Foods to add in as well.




 I have some pretty amazing events coming up in the near future.  I'm excited for some growth, personally and professionally.

Countdown to Making Things Happen Intensive: 27 days
Countdown to Trouvaille Workshop: 41 days
Countdown to Floral Intensive I and II at Longwood Gardens: 87 days


I recently made contact with one of Chris' friends from work who has their own photography business.  We are getting into plans of creating a styled shoot together in the near future.  I've never done anything like this before, so I'm actually kind of nervous, but she seems like a really kind person who would be wonderful to work with.  In our conversation this morning, we talked about a potential location, and I am planning on creating and adding to an inspiration board for the shoot today and tomorrow.  More to come on this soon!


For the rest of the day, I'll be busy getting work done, going out to purchase the next Martha Stewart Weddings issue, and cleaning up around the apartment.  Of course, lots of that time will be spent petting my sweet cat and finding a new book to fall into.  Enjoy the rest of your day, loves!

Love and light,

Alyssa


Engagement Arrangement

The wintery weather in the Philadelphia area had prevented me from going to work for another few days this week, but I hardly mind.  Playing with flowers is giving me more joy than driving in the gross icy rain.  But that's a given.

The bouquet below is a gift to a work friend of mine who was proposed to over the weekend.  She was given a beautiful ring from her man, and I know that they will have not only a beautiful wedding, but a beautiful marriage.  She is just the sweetest person and I can't wait to see her as a bride!


We have roses, silver brunia (one of my favorite winter greens), ranculus white wax flower, and a red filler flower whose name I cannot recall at the moment.






Love and light,

Alyssa






Ordering For Valentine's Day

If you are interested in placing an order for any floral necessities for Valentine's Day and the weekend of the holiday, orders must be received by Sunday, February 9th.  I would love to work with you in creating a special gift for someone dear to you.  Please contact me for rates and arrangement possibilities.  They might just be endless, who knows?

Love and light,

Alyssa

Valentine's Day Arrangement

Making an arrangement for Valentine's day was a fun activity that I did this past weekend.  Luckily, the lobby of my apartment building has neutral decor, and photographing it was a snap.  Showing off all of those pretty blooms is no small task!


The white ranculus are from Trader Joe's in Ardmore, and the rest of the flowers and foliage came from The Argyle Bouquet at the Ardmore Farmer's Market.  Flowers involved in this arrangement are garden roses, bells of Ireland, thistle, white wax flower, and silver brunia.  






Those garden roses smell as beautiful and lush as they look.  Wish I could make myself a pillow and blanket of them!  The ranculus are still opening, and I love how their petal pattern looks next to the distinct difference in the garden roses.


I was playing with the leftover scraps and made a cute little boutonniere from a fallen thistle and discarded wax flowers and silver brunia clippings.  

If you need an arrangement or bouquet for the upcoming holiday, I must know by Sunday, February 9.  I would love to help you surprise someone dear to you with pretty florals.  

Love and light,

Alyssa

Flower Potluck: Amy Merrick and Kinfolk Magazine

Happy Sunday, sweethearts!

In lieu of posting a current project, I'll be keeping you in a bit of suspense.  A friend of mine just got engaged, and I have something special made for her, involving some garden roses, ranculus, silver brunia, and much more.  Stay tuned this week for some photos. 

In the mean time, I want to take you back to last year.  I was flipping through old issues of Kinfolk magazine that I have in the big stack of reading material near by bed, and I happened upon an article about hosting a flower potluck.  What is a flower potluck?  Look no farther than the photo below.


There is another article on Kinfolk's website, detailing the process of hosting a flower potluck.  You can find it here.  Amy Merrick is a huge inspiration to me in the floral design arena.  She is incredibly talented and her Instagram feed is a constant source of enchantment.  Check her out for some floral goodness.

I think I will be hosting a flower potluck in the near future.  It would do my heart well to share my love of beautiful blooms with curious friends.

Love and light,

Alyssa

Monthly Bouquet - January

I am fortunate to be able to obtain flowers from some really affordable grocery stores in the area.  Trader Joe's and Whole Foods rarely disappoint.  I obtained the white anemones from Whole Foods, and the stock and eucalyptus came from Trader Joe's (as did some really delicious chocolate croissants!).  There happens to be a farmer's market in Ardmore's Suburban Square where Argyle Bouquet is conveniently located.  They had many beautiful blooms, including some whimsical protea and orchids.  Argyle Bouquet is where I purchased the green dianthus, hypericum berries, and thistles.

Since winter is still raging outdoors and I'm not here to bore you, I was thinking that a bookstore would be an interesting location to take the bouquet on an adventure.  I'd love to style a wedding around a bookstore/library theme - I'm already imagining the check-out card place cards and the book centerpieces with some whimsical florals sprinkled throughout.  However, the cold weather outside has really deterred me from leaving my apartment, so the lobby will have to do.  It's not too shabby though!  Glad there's lots of natural light somewhere at my little home base.




The lace and leather cord wrap was a new idea for me to try, and I really like how it turned out.  The light colors in this bouquet are calm and ladylike, and the eucalyptus adds an unexpected texture, along with the thistle.  Love.





I also made a little boutonniere from some of the greens and an anemone.  Would it be too odd to wear a bout each day at work, just to have a little garden on my blouse?  I think not.


And there you have it.  January's bouquet.  I'm basically in love with it.  I wish I knew a bride that needed it today so I could see just how lovely it would look being held by someone in a wedding gown.


Love and light,

Alyssa




Southern Blooms Feature from Southern Weddings Magazine

Bouquets and blooms are my love language.  Sometimes I just can't help but want to squeeze a flower arrangement in a big hug because I just love flowers that much.  Imagine my delight when Southern Weddings magazine showcased a feature from their Volume 6 issue as digital content on their website.  The feature, titled "Southern Blooms" showcases bouquets that are floral representations of several southern states.  For example, the bouquet that represents Alabama holds pink peonies, azaleas, and sweet pea.  They are each unique and gorgeous in their own way.  I'll bet that residents of the states represented felt appreciated and excited about their state's bouquet!  This makes me think about Pennsylvania, and what I would put in its' bouquet.

My favorite from the feature is definitely Tennessee, followed closely by West Virginia.




I already have ideas for a Pennsylvania bouquet. Keep your eyes peeled for that one, folks!

Love and light,
Alyssa

Workshops and Classes - Love'n Fresh Flowers

Having the day off from work today was a welcome treat.  Granted, I still made lots of things disappear from my to-do list, but I didn't have to drive anywhere at 6am.  That was a plus!

I wanted to write a quick post to share my excitement about a series of floral design classes that I learned about this morning.

If you have not yet heard of Love'n Fresh Flowers, click quickly to the website!  Run by the fantastically talented Jennie Love, flowers are farmed in the urban setting of Philadelphia, not even 15 minutes from my apartment!  All locally, organically grown, Love'n Fresh Flowers does a wonderful amount of weddings and events each year, with stunning floral creations.

I learned today via Instagram that a workshop and class schedule has been posted on the Love'n Fresh Flowers website.  The image below is a screenshot of the Bigcartel page upon which you can enroll.



I am hoping to attend at least the Floral Fundamentals Workshop called Flower Child.  The class description makes me feel so eager to attend.  Words such as "flower crown" and "wildflower comb" queue up some gorgeous and lush images in my head.  It's sure to be a treat of a class!



Love and light,

Alyssa

Flower Leftovers


 Happy Sunday, readers!


The flowers above are leftovers from my New Year's bouquet adventure.  This image was taken after Philadelphia received a great deal of snow, and we were plunged into extreme low temperatures.  These beauties only endured the polar votes for about 10 minutes.  Boots from LL Bean are always a good idea in extreme weather.

The white roses, winter greenery, and limonium misty blue were wrapped with a vintage handkerchief that I found at a cute antique store in Wayne, PA.  It adds a practical and homey touch to a simple and elegant bouquet.

Love and light,

Alyssa


Monthly Bouquet Project

Happy Sunday to all of you sweet readers out there!

I wanted to give a little bit of information about an upcoming project that I had mentioned a while ago.  The idea comes from my desire to continually create better and more unique floral arrangements, as I grow in skill and technique in the art of floral design.  I want to improve constantly as I work, and part of that comes from having fun and playing, and trying new things.

Each month this year, I will be setting aside time on a weekend (or day off of work!) and creating a bouquet.  The idea is that each month, I have new flowers to work with.  I need to try working with flowers that I haven't yet used.  I need to set aside productive, purposeful time to try my hand at something not yet attempted.  I'll be buying local at times, but at other times, I'll be ordering from wholesalers to get a feel for blooms that cannot be found locally.

January is still open, and I have a few ideas already.  I'm also open to challenges in the comments of this post.  Is there a flower you think I should work with, during a certain month?  Tell me.

Perhaps at some point, I'll be donating or gifting the flowers to local businesses to display in their store.  This would be an awesome opportunity for me, and I'd love to brighten someone's day at the same time.  Shops or people that are interested in a free bouquet and some business cards?  Contact me!

I'm ready to learn and create.  I hope that you'll enjoy what I make.

Love and light,

Alyssa

New Year's Bouquet

I want to wish you all a very happy new year!  Last night, Chris and I rang in the new year by having a pajama party for two, with nature documentaries and homemade pizza.  I'm a huge homebody, so it was just perfect for the two of us.  Today, we are relaxing around the apartment together, him playing guitar and researching computer circuitry, and me working through Lara Casey's Powersheets.  I want to be ready to make changes in my life, but I do enjoy having a plan.

Yesterday, I went out and purchased some beautiful blooms to continue practicing my bouquet making skills.  I bought white roses, baby's breath, hydrangeas, limonium misty blue, and some greens, and I started bunching things together this morning.  Chris and I went to a nearby park to stroll in the cold air and to take some photos.







I love the different textures that were pushed together in this bouquet.  Texture is a major aspect of any arrangement or bouquet that I make, and I want to play more with texture in this new year.


Sometimes bouquets like to just sit and relax on rock walls.
  

I am learning while constructing bouquets, but I am learning from the photographs of my creations as well.  Sometimes a photograph will show us something that we did not even consider when simply looking at something.  Perspective is everything, and I can clearly see some good things along with areas to improve on when I look through the many photos we took of the bouquet.

Stay tuned for some exciting news about a monthly project that I will be starting!  I am ready for 2014 to teach me in so many ways.

Love and Light,

Alyssa

Choosing a Florist

When choosing a florist for an event, it is possible to pick a great vendor in several different ways.  Personally, my best advice for choosing a florist is by word of mouth recommendation from trusted friends and family members.  As Chris and I were looking for a florist for our upcoming wedding, we asked around to trusted friends and family for florist recommendations, and we also scoured the internet heavily to supplement our search.

Before even speaking with a florist, it is a wise idea to have a compilation of several photos or images of floral ideas to discuss at such a meeting.  Using websites such as Flickr and Pinterest, along with wedding blogs and wedding websites can make finding inspiration for your event flowers an easy task.  If you know that you want to have certain colors of flowers in the arrangements and bouquets at your wedding, you can begin to have sample ideas to show your prospective florist.  That way, they can begin to discern the direction in which they should take your ideas.  Keeping notes early will save you the trouble of scrambling to gather ideas right before meeting with florists.

If you have swatches of fabric from bridesmaid dresses, this is another helpful item to bring to a meeting with a florist.  The same goes for pictures of your dress, venue, and other decorations that you are hoping to include on the special day.

Having a firm grasp on your wedding budget is essential to ensuring that you are making a good choice with a florist as well.  If you are able to discuss a budget with the florist, then there will be a clearer picture of what floral services they can provide for you, depending on the flowers and quantity of pieces you need made.

Be prepared to wait at least one week after meeting with a florist to receive an estimated cost for their services.  Following up with all florists you interview is good manners and allows the florist to book another client in your stead.  Good manners and transparency matter in hiring vendors!

Some good questions to ask your florist:

  • How many event/wedding clients do you serve per day?  Per month?
  • Are the flowers I want in season at the time that I want them?  Is there a similar alternative to what I want if they are not in season?
  • What is your contract policy?
  • What is the amount due for a deposit on services?
  • Is there a delivery fee for transport of florals to the event site?

And always, trust your gut when it comes to choosing any professional to work with!  If you feel that you are receiving top notch service from the vendor, and that the vendor is ready to work with you in a positive manner, then this is a good indicator of the vigor with which they will approach your event.  A good rapport is crucial to a positive working relationship.

My goal is to bring a positive and stress-free experience to any client that I am fortunate to take on.  I am ready to work hard to make your event beautiful and fun, and I cannot wait to work with you to make the beauty happen!

Love and Light,

Alyssa

Summer Floral Immersion: Basic I and II

Florals are a design element for which I have had a long time love.  I have always thought that fresh flowers are an instant way to brighten a room and make a living space feel more welcoming.  The best grocery store flowers I've ever found have consistently been from Trader Joe's.  They always have a vast selection of seasonal blooms as well as locally grown New Jersey flowers during the summer months.  Their flowers are also extremely affordable - a large beautiful mixed bouquet costs less than $10.  Can't be beat!

The local florist in my area of Philadelphia also has a large array of flowers that customers are allowed to hand select when purchasing from the shop.  I've frequented this shop many times and am always welcomed to choose any bloom I desire.

In order to better hone my existing floral arranging skills and learn more about such methods, I will be attending a floral design class at Longwood Gardens in May of 2014.  I will be enrolling in the Summer Floral Immerson: Basic I and II class.  It is a four day class, with 10 hours of instruction in each day.  According to the course selection guide for Longwood's continuing education programs, many areas of floral design will be covered, including materials and instruments, blooms and usage, and sustainable design strategies.

The four day course will definitely be a thorough and fulfilling learning experience, one that I have long awaited.  I attempted to enroll in floral design classes over the summer this year, but Longwood's courses fill up very quickly, given the clout of their continuing education certifications and the prestige of the Gardens themselves.  Registration begins November 11, and you'd better believe that my alarm will be on to remind me to register for such a great opportunity.

Take a peek at their course selection guide, and see if anything peaks your interest!

Love and Light,

Alyssa