Monday, 1 November 2010

Practise makes perfect... or almost perfect!

Just a few pictures of things I've been testing out at home - it's fun playing with flowers and I'm officially obsessed! Everywhere I go, I'm looking at what I could do with flowers and foliage, I see containers I could use or ideas I store away in a little compartment in my mind for future use!

My daughter helped with with the last arrangement as it was for Hallowe'en :-)

That's it for now - back to college on 9th November and am looking forward to more inspirational learning!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Last lesson, candle decoration and orders flooding in!

Quick post this week as I'm a busy little bee!

It was the last college lesson on Tuesday and I made this, which I think speaks for itself somewhat...

I think it was the hardest thing we've done so far, but also think it's the best!

I've got lots of orders for Christmas arrangements and have had to say "no more" as I can't take too much on at this stage (working full time and being a parent makes sure of that!) but I'm very excited and also hoping I don't let people down!

Mandy has invited us all to spend time in her shop on 12th December to learn how to make wreaths - I am so looking forward to that and think it's a lovely and kind gesture!

Here's to the fuschia! Ha.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Penultimate night at college

I cannot believe I've had four out of five lessons already. Time really does fly when you're having fun doesn't it!

Last night, we made a vase arrangement. I kept mine simple using a clear vase, clear water, light pink gladioli and some interesting twirly twigs which I threaded slightly between the buds of the flowers.

I love the fact that vase arrangements can be so interesting - it never crossed my mind before to do anything more than place flowers in a vase - never again will I do that! The possibilities to make it more beautiful and interesting are endless!

After this, Mandy demonstrated how to do a front facing arrangement and then we all had a go. This was, as I suspected, quite tricky. I had the general idea right of grouping types of foliage and flowers but needed some guidance on placement at times. I am SO happy with how it's turned out and this is something I will really enjoy practising. I can relate to forming a structure, which is basically what this is, and think I can put my creativity to really good use.

This week I've been asked to make various things for different people for a variety of reasons and am looking forward to rising to the challenge!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

I need four arms to do hand tied bouquets.

After last week's lesson I was so excited, and had some flowers left, that I made some more arrangements on my own at home, and experimented a little with design on one of them.

Tonight's lesson was, yet again, excellent!

We made hand tied bouquets. I used white lilies, bright pink gerbera, light pink crysanthemums, white alstromeria, eucalyptus leaves and bear grass.

It was very difficult holding all the stems whilst adding more and more flowers, and twisting, but I'm sure as I do more and gain strength in my arms I will improve. The hardest part was tying the stems together, at the same time ensuring that none of them moved and that they were tightly enough packed together.

Then the test... I held it upside down. RESULT!!!! Test number two - does it stand up? With a bit of wiggling of the bottom, yes. The bottom of the stems of course! Haha.

I then dressed the bouquet in paper and sellophane and added water.

Results below - I am very pleased :-)

Next week we're making a vase arrangement and then a front facing arrangement (for a hallway or suchlike).

In the meantime, I have yet again got lots of flowers and foliage left over and will ensure they are put to good use :-)

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Second college class and I could be a pro already! Ha!

Second college class tonight and the above is the result. I am SO pleased with it! The tutor said to the lady next to me and to me "if that was made in my shop I'd let it go out the door" - I'm absolutely gobsmacked that she said that and could have cried with happiness! Maybe it was just a confidence boost from her to us, but I like to think she was telling the truth (she seems the honest sort ;-) ) and am really chuffed!!!

Inside this basket are lilies, crysanthemums, carnations, gypsophila and foliage including eucalyptus and skimmia. There's also some really lovely purple foliage I found that I don't know the name of but it's beautiful and smells divine.

I just need to gain confidence that what I am doing is right - I am still very tentative and I need to be more bold with my flower placement (or stuffing as our wonderful tutor calls it hehe) decisions.

Next week we're doing a hand tied bouquet - that's going to be very tough but I am looking forward to it a lot!

I am loving this challenge and just want more more MORE!

Saturday, 25 September 2010


Today, I shopped.

I love to shop. A lot.

Usually, shoes and clothes are my money magnet... but today it was the flower arranging section in Hobbycraft (in Eye, Peterborough).

Oh my goodness, I could have spent the entire day (and an awful lot of money) in there.

As it was, I had a budget of £50 and managed to get floristry scissors, knife, trays, tape, a vase, stones to go in the vase (I've got an idea of something to try - hopefully it will look as good as my imagination thinks it will!) and lots of oasis for just £40!

I also got a book of flower arrangement ideas for £2.99 in the shop next door - I do love a bargain!

When I got home my neighbour came out for a natter (she's lovely - gave my daughter a birthday gift even though we barely know her, aww) and we got chatting about the flower arranging - she told me that when I'm a bit more accomplished she'd like me to make her an arrangement and that she'll tell her friends about me too! How lovely and kind of her!

I'm going shopping tomorrow for flowers to take to college but might buy a few extra to practice on at home!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

The background, the decision and the first creation.

Floristry is something I've dreamed of exploring for many years, however I've never even pushed myself to try arranging flowers.

I was always preoccupied with something else - mostly something "sensible" and "mature" and "the done thing", and my dream laid dormant at the back of my mind. At 18 I met a man, got engaged and moved in with him, married at 22 and had a beautiful baby girl at the age of 25. We later split up and divorced, and I am now a single parent who works full time in administration. I don't have time for anything else, right? I can't possibly be selfish and do something I love to do - I need to remain in a steady job and wait until my daughter is older and independant before I make drastic changes. Right?

This attitude all changed recently when, as my 32nd birthday came and went, after years of working in an office setting, I decided once and for all that I was well and truly fed up with it and that I needed to embark on following my dream. Why at 32? I have no idea. One "normally" has this kind of epiphany when they hit a "milestone" birthday, but at 30 my life, not to mention my mindset, was quite different - the past has, however, made me the person I am today. Clichéd perhaps, but the absolute truth. At 32, I am finally realising that I need to make the most of my life  - why do we realise these things when we are so many years into adulthood? It makes no sense to me. I should have learned from others - oh but we humans never do this do we? We always have to learn the hard way, and waste precious time in the process.

Ah, I digress. Back on topic.

I had no idea how or where to start. I telephoned all the local florists asking if they would consider allowing me to volunteer in their shop. One sounded like a hopeful prospect and I sent in my CV, only to hear absolutely nothing from her. One of the florists I spoke with was a total delight and I found myself being incredibly disappointed that she couldn't accommodate me for some volunteer work. Back to the drawing board I went.

Over the space of a few weeks, I researched flower arranging and floristry courses. Most were full time courses therefore not an option for me. I absolutely want this to be my new life, but I still need to cling onto a slight amount of sensibility and remain employed elsewhere - there are bills to pay after all. I almost enrolled on a one day course with a local florist but the fact it cost £250 unfortunately swayed my decision towards the negative - it was not a payment I could justify - yet another disappointment.

I was about to give up, when a prospectus for Stamford College magically appeared on my doormat. I'm certain it was the Flower Fairies who placed it there. There it was. A course that is spread over five consecutive Tuesday evenings - Flower Arranging For Beginners. Twenty five whole UK Pounds was the cost. I excitedly enrolled, and my lovely Mum agreed to babysit for the whole five weeks. I will continue for a further five Tuesdays after this as I have also enrolled on the Intermediate Flower Arranging Course.

On Tuesday night, it was finally time for my first evening at college. On arrival, I realised that the tutor was none other than the delight of a florist I had spoken to on the 'phone only a few weeks prior. Does anyone else believe in fate, or is this coincidence?

It was a fabulous evening - our tutor demonstrated a simple small tray arrangement, and then we were let loose with actual flowers of our very own. 15 ladies all using their individual creativity - we were given the exact same amount of flowers and foliage, and we each produced something different to the next.

I looked at my creation and could have cried right there and then out of happiness and pride in myself. I could not stop smiling, and immediately after the class I wanted to go back and do more. I have brought my arrangement home, and every time I walk past I give it a little smile and look forward to the next time...

Tuesday evenings are the new "Me Time"!