Sunny Forecast

The topic of yellow came up again but this time it was in class. The professor wanted us to work with canary hues on Thursday because yellow is projected to be the "it" color for 2009. This remains to be seen...I just so happened to make a gift bouquet Friday morning and decided to combine all of my recent photos and others from the net into a sunny inspiration suite. Enjoy!

Ready, Set, Compete!

Every year just as Spring arrives in the Bay Area the deYoung Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco has an exhibit/fundraiser called Bouquets to Art. In the last 25 years it has grown into a very grand affair that includes most of the top local names in floral and event design. The idea is simple: Florists are invited to pick out a work of art or series in the museum and create (mostly from organic materials and flowers) a showpiece or collection that reflects their interpretation of the art piece(s) they have chosen. The result is monumental: Some of the works defy gravity and logic. Others can be so massive they seem impossible, or so perfectly complimentary to the art piece that one wishes they were up year round. Genius! I love the idea of merging mediums in one beautiful gala! Especially when one of the mediums is floral in nature. I have read one woman's account as" heaven on earth for lovers of flowers and fine art".

This brings me to my next announcement. For the first time ever in 25 years, there will be a competition that takes place during the preview party and is inspired by the latest exhibit of Yves Saint Laurent in the museum. The competition is only open to students of flowers and fashion, and as such we will be crafting clothing and accessories completely from flowers. Then our work will be displayed at the preview gala!

I am so excited about the prospect of being any part of the 25th anniversary Bouquets to Art and I must stop right now and say thank you in advance to one of the masters Jenny T. who I will have the privilege of learning from again this semester. She believes in me and is so naturally good at teaching and designing! (Most people in the field are good at either one or the other but rarely both). Jenny was one of the floral designers shown in the 2007 exhibit and worked tirelessly to create some very perfect and jaw-dropping displays. My boss Nancy will also have 3 pieces at the museum. She's a veteran of Bouquets to Art. I can't wait to see what she does!

I found a photo online of one of Jenny's pieces in 2007. I am so proud I have to share! Robin Lew has this and many other wonderful pics on the following website:
Let's start the countdown to the Bouquets to Art and YSL competition March 16th, 2009!

Got Grunge?

Fashion is a strange force. We are helpless against its powers of persuasion. The 80's are back in a big way and it's not odd at all right now that I am dressed like Debbie Gibson (leggings and a long pink sweater) when I go out to meet clients. I didn't even dress like Debbie Gibson in 1987!

The inspiration board above is my ode to salmon and grapefruit, just some of the 80's comeback colors for 2009 brides. I am enjoying teal too, but haven't had a chance to work with it this year.
(Since this board is purely for inspiration, not all of the photos are my own)

The super 80's fad leaves one question: When this phase is over and we are all burning our skinny jeans, what is left? My mentor Nancy had suggested Grunge one day. I gasped, "How can you interpret that into a wedding?" and here is the answer. It is a photo from a Wedding show in San Francisco that was held at the Four Seasons. The show was amazing! Wayne and I had so much fun & met so many great vendors, so when I saw this table I was speechless. It's a grunge wedding table! WOW! This post is for all of you who did grunge the first time. Enjoy the "unplugged" acoustic styled table that is all but missing flannel chair covers. I am amazed at the creativity and yet baffled by what is to come. Will we all be wearing grunge again? Too soon to tell... or is it?


In October I made some really fun moss elephants for a bride in Orange County. This is yet to be published on the web site in great detail because I don't have the photographer's pictures, but here is a peek at the Indian good luck charms before they went on their 6 hour trip south with my friends Aditya and Kiren (Indian Autumn).
I enjoy making sculptures for all occasions and have some giant floral mushrooms in the works for March 8th. Stay tuned for more information about the Mad Hatter Tea Party for over 450 people....


Three (legged) Cheers!

I am not an extreme person when it comes to politics. This doesn't shock any reader that knows me well. I am, however, an extreme animal loving person and hearing Obama had taken photos with a three legged puppy makes me happy! I just so happen to be the 5 year long "mommy" of a tri-pawed animal myself. He is a cat named Rabbit. My husband and I adopted Rabbit in Memphis from an emergency vet who had performed a mercy amputation instead of euthanizing him.
What a character out dear Rabbit is! He is like lightening when he streaks up and down the stairs and he twirls his little "rabbit tail" when curious or about to do something naughty. In certain respects I am envious of our little kitty because he can sleep with ease on his non-existent shoulder without feeling that awkward hump under his back. And yet sometimes I look at his missing appendage with deep thought about my own daily life if I were to suddenly lose even a hand. It amazes me how normal our Rabbit is. Most people who meet him don't even notice the missing leg and tail because his body is contoured like an MC Escher painting that draws no attention to where his legs begin and end.

If you would like to read more about Obama and Baby or the Tri-Pawed dog community (yes, there is one) click here!

Hello Yellow!

I have been thumbing through my recent Pottery Barn and CB2 Catalogues to find a return to yellows for this spring. The photographs above are of my own experiments with canary and green. I mixed mini cymbidium orchids, callas, roses, spider mums, new hydrangea, and "super green" roses for this eye catching inspiration board.
For 2009 I am really thinking about butter yellow. It seems to act as a neutral and blend well with the likes of grey, country blue, pink, and countless others. I can't wait to blend some light yellow tinted narcissus into a spring arrangement. They are one of my very favorite flowers; fussy to use, but well worth the effort!

I love all yellows, as does my boss and most influential mentor, Nancy. I have had conversations in the past with her about the kind of bride that pulls off a true yellow wedding. It made me want to be that brassy kind of woman. I have seen the most stunning photographs come from a color scheme of black, yellow, and white. Sometimes yellow and black are best reserved for bumble bees, but my Nancy made it her usual elegant style and reigned in those bold tones & flowers for a beautiful finish. That's what separates the amateur from the pro.

For me, working with Nancy has been such an amazing experience that may be best placed on it's own separate special page (later this week I may just do that). In the mean time I will summarize her influence on me as something I didn't know I needed and now I don't know what I would do without.

"OMG!" The Runaway Bouquet

Every wedding has a story or two that is more memorable than the prescious details painstakingly arranged months, maybe years ahead of time. My toss bouquet is one such story. I offer you a tale of hilarity, timing, and accuracy - the likes of which I could not reenact if I tried 100 times.

The Toss:
Being a hard core DIY Bride, I decided that I would fashion my own toss bouquet the night before I was married. What else is a bride to do at 4am the night before her wedding? The big day arrived and most everything was perfect: the weather, the guests, the venues. They were all cooperating in full. That is - until the toss. You see, for the reception my husband and I picked a very swanky, upscale, and modern club in Memphis with these peculiar low hanging ceiling tiles. I turned around to fling my bouquet into the waiting hands of all the singe ladies and when it left my hands..... silence. I turned around to look at the winning recipient only to see every face in the room aimed at the roof, eyes wide, mouth wider. To my disbelief and great aim, I had wedged those flowers into the ceiling tile! The most persistent bridesmaid with the help of her brother, climbed up a chair and plucked the bouquet from the sky.

It was a moment I will never forget. And so future brides, you can plan everything to the tiniest detail but it is the silly and strange stories of your big day you will remember the most fondly. May this also be a reminder to pick a photographer that is good at photo journalistic style as well as trustworthy enough not to miss a thing. I thank Frozen Zen Photography for catching these priceless moments without blinking!

Today's Showers

It's a bit rainy outside and as I look out the windows I am reminded of the "showers" I have decorated or attended in the past. Of course I am speaking of bridal and baby showers. The term used to conjure up scary images of lacy decorations and , gasp, shower games! Now it seems in modern days that showers, like weddings, can be decorated and given in any imaginable theme or location.

Take, for example, my cousin. Her baby shower was more like a girl's spa weekend where we all went to a resort near her home and had massages. She had the pregnancy massage with special pillows so that she could actually lay on her stomach for the first time in months! It was a great gift and all of us attendees got to benefit from each other's company and a massage! Later there was a dressy dinner and then dessert back at the resort. This was the brain child of my aunt, who is a party guru. Every family has that amazing person who gets everyone together for the holidays and special events and my aunt is that and much more. I visited her one summer for my cousin's graduation and learned how to make a hollowed out watermelon sculpture to fill with melon balls and assorted fruit. It is also the first time I had ever seen edible flowers on passed hors d'oeuvres. Outstanding!!!

Presently I am seeing a shift in showers and I am loving it! There may be a game or two, but the focus is more on beautiful decorations, fun with gifts, and fabulous foods. Suzan L. hosted a garden themed shower this summer for which I had the privilege of arranging flowers. It boasted the perfect spread of summer ripe edibles and a signature daytime cocktail! The shower was for a bride and dear friend of mine as well as someone who is featured on the HH website. It was a total success and so enjoyable to plan with the hostess.

Currently, a shower is in the works for Susan herself who is expecting her first baby girl. My mind is already humming with ideas and dream themes. What will it be? Pastel Chic? Chartreuse Charm? Vintage Tea? Buttery Yellows? The possibilities are endless and that is why I will always jump at the chance to create a memorable shower with as many flowers as the host will let in the door (or let me hang on the door)!

Contemporary Christmas

When looking for inspiration one of my favorite online communities to consult is called Ubloom. It is not a secret society but rather a welcoming place for professionals and hobbyists alike. I enjoy watching the JTV webisodes hosted by J. Schwanke who is a great resource for step-by-step instruction on arrangements. I also love to learn from the pros around the country. One such featured designer was Beth O'Reily, AIFD. She won a ubloom contest with her amazing Calla Lily Tower. I knew once I saw the tower that I had to try it! My friend Karina was gracious enough to trust my experiments on her Christmas party this year and the results were stunning. Her mantle looked so vivid and contemporary that one of her guests was tapping the tulips to check if they were real while another commented, "Did you get those at Pottery Barn?". I love the store myself so I take that as a compliment. There are some houses that are open and accepting of decoration, much like a square box always makes a beautiful wrapped present. Karina's house is a dream to fill with flowers every time!

For the Girls

In honor of all my family and friends who are expecting baby girls or have recently had a baby girl, I give you the pinkest and fluffiest wreath I have ever made. Every time I see it I am reminded of the sweetest little princess who shared her very first birthday party with her mother. I will never forget the pretty rosy dress she donned as she toddled her way to the cake table and covered her precious cheeks with bubble gum icing. This very circle of flowers hung on the front door that day and I am honored that my work will forever be a part of that special moment in their lives.
In these fashion-forward times, blush hues may be considered in and out but even my most pink-a-phobe friend finally admitted that this baby color suits her new daughter very well.

So I say to my dear mothers to be, embrace the world of cotton candy baby clothes for those of us with boys, who instead have to buy manly hues to please their manly daddies!

The Sweetest Thing

My first inspiration board for the year originated with a box of Godiva chocolates that my Aunt snuck into my suitcase on a recent trip. The quinticential gold box was the fondation of my Cocoa & Candy project, which also served as my final exam in class this Winter. Later I donated the flowers and candy to the Senior Center of Santa Clara. It is a magnificent facility if you ever get the chance to visit! Even though candy buffets have been done in the past, there is just something about those regal apothecary jars that I cannot resist! Here is a sneak peek from the soon to be chocolate page in my website. Chocolate and Champagne - The Sweet Life!

A New Day in a New Year

Today I write my first entry in The Petal Press; a blog that encompasses all of the behind the scenes and after hours thoughts, photos, and ideas from Haute Horticulture and life as a budding floral designer.

My husband, Wayne, worked his usual programming magic and produced a beautiful haven for all things good to come in 2009.

Why The Petal Press? It is a name that stems from the flower presses I used as a child to make permanent keepsakes out of spring flowers. It is also homage to the flower press I used for the single Dogwood bloom I plucked from the trees in the front of St. Peter church and placed in my bouquet on our wedding day. Lastly it is "press" for release of my pictures and stories as well as advice and thoughts for anyone engaged, interested in working in floristry, or simply a flower lover.

I am a wife, mother, student, apprentice to a well known designer in San Francisco, and I own a business in the Bay Area. Join me on my adventures in weddings, events, school, and life!

My sincere wish is to entertain as well as inform; but at the very least I hope you enjoy my photographs!