Category Archives: Farmy Flowers

Valentine’s Day Craftiness Round-Up

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, guys! So it just feels right to do a little rodeo round-up of my previous Valentine’s Day projects–put them all in one easy spot for your viewing pleasure:

Cupid's Arrow Heart Wreath from Farmhouse38.com

I have a thing for heart-tipped arrows. You’ll see. Learn how to make this wreath here.

DIY painted rocks from Farmhouse38.com

A couple of rocks, a little paint, a little glitter…adorable porch decor (or bookends, or door stops). See how to make these and more painted rocks here.

Valentine's Candy Box Roses from Farmhouse38.com

I’m all about the flowers. Here’s a fun spin on the traditional red rose bouquet, using an up-cycled heart-shaped candy box. For the full tutorial, click here.

Cupid's Arrow Garland from Farmhouse38.com

To go along with the Cupid’s Arrow Wreath, how about a pretty little garland? Here‘s the tutorial.

Primitive Egg Wreath DIY from Farmhouse38.com

This was an Easter project, but because it’s got a little red heart on it, it makes the Valentine’s Day cut. I do what I want. See the tutorial here.

DIY Coffee Filter Peonies from Farmhouse38.com

Everlasting peonies! Oh, these are so fun to make! And if you really super-saturate those colors, they look darned near real. Learn how here.

DIY Primitive Heart Wreath by farmhouse38.com

I adore the simplicity of primitive wreaths. How’s about one for V-day? Here you go.

DIY cupid's arrow doormat from Farmhouse38.com

I love, love, love making my own doormats. They could not be easier. Well, they could be easier, but for the sake of this post, let’s just not split hairs. See the full tutorial here.

Sour Cherry Margaritas from Farmhouse38.com

And just in case craft hour happens to coincide with cocktail hour…a Valentinesy margarita recipe to get your creative process going. I’m just looking out for you guys.

A Quick, Lush Mason Jar Arrangement

A quick, lush mason jar arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

 

I think we can all agree that flowers in mason jars are pretty much the bee’s pajamas. The cat’s knees. Yah. You get what I mean. Sometimes, though, I see mason jar arrangements that are pretty sparse and vertical: too tall flowers being shoved in to what amounts to a pretty small container. There’s a better way…I’m gonna show you how to get a lush, mounded composition easily. The secret? You gotta make a bouquet (check out my bouquet-making tutorial here).

STEP 1: I selected a wide-mouthed quart-sized jar (courtesy of the Ball® Canning Heritage Green Collection). If you want to do a pint-sized arrangement, just scale it down accordingly. Start by filling whatever jar you choose 3/4 full of clean, cold water.

A quick, lush mason jar arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

Love them green jars!

STEP 2: Select and prep your ingredients. Have a wide variety of materials to choose from, and clean and strip the stems of all leaves, thorns, and misc buds and stems that might fall under the water line. If you like the look of leaves and buds in your arrangement, allow a few to remain attached close to the blooms.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.com

Strip your materials and return them to their buckets.

STEP 3: Begin assembling. Gather a few blooms in your hand to act as the ‘center’ of your arrangement.

How to make a hand tied bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.com

 

Randomly add other blooms and fillers working in a circular pattern around the center blossoms.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.com

Keep working until your bouquet is approximately a foot in diameter (for a pint-sized arrangement, work towards about a 6 inch diameter):

A quick, lush mason jar arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

 

Step 4: Clip your stems. Hold the bouquet in one hand, and in the other hand use good, sharp shears to cut the stems straight across. You want to cut them so they are just shorter than the height of the mason jar (which is about 6.5 inches for a quart jar–so cut the stems to 6 inches or shorter. For a pint-sized jar, cut stems to 4.5 inches or shorter). When you insert them, you want to flowers to be resting on the edge of the jar, you don’t want the stems to be holding the arrangement up away from the jar.

Optional Step 5: You can wrap a single strand of waterproof florist’s tape just above where your hand holds the bouquet. This will ensure the arrangement holds its exact shape. Be sure that the tape wraps around and adheres back onto itself.

Step 6: Carefully insert the stems into the mouth of the jar and drop the entire bouquet into place. If you don’t tape it, you can play with the blossoms a bit to make them fuller or correct any pieces that might have gone wonky.

A quick, lush mason jar arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

Step 7: Now, you can assess the entire composition and decide if you want to add a few more things, which I did. I added some geranium leaves after the fact. I do what I want.

A quick, lush mason jar arrangement from Farmhouse38.com

 

 

Don’t forget the old adage ‘The thriller, the filler, and the spiller’ as a general guideline for your composition. Choose anywhere from one to three ‘thrillers’ (something eye-catching and bold), anywhere from one to two ‘fillers’ (something less showy to fill the space between thrillers), and one to three ‘spillers’ (something drapey or spiky to create movement). You’ll notice I did no ‘spillers’ in this arrangement. None of these rules are set in stone. And I like to break my own rules.

Now go! Make some gorgeous centerpieces! I’ll wait here.

Boutonnières Made Simple

Boutonnières made simple by Farmhouse38.comSince we had the bouquet how-to, let’s round it out with a boutonnière tutorial. A tutonnière. Sorry. I’m awkward. Sorry.

Boutonnières really are a very simple thing to make–which is awesome, since bouquet-making tends to be fairly taxing on the old creative juices. The bits and pieces of scrap flowers and greens leftover from bouquet-making are the perfect things to make your bouts from. Don’t get too hung up on trying to make your bouts match your bouquets–they only need to reference each other with a few similar materials.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.com

When you strip away the leaves and misc. branches from your bouquet materials, be sure to keep them for use in other small arrangements, boutonnières, and flower crowns. I keep a mason jar with water handy to drop any useable bits into.

It is very important to select really strong, hardy materials for your bouts–as these flowers will be out of water the duration of the event, and are always subject to extensive hug-abuse. You want to pick materials that don’t wilt easy–in fact I highly recommend testing a piece of your prospective materials by leaving them out of water for several hours before you start assembling. Do they get super droopy and flimsy? Pick something that holds its shape better. Marigolds are great, so are roses, and so are a wealth of other flowers and greens.

Much like the bouquets, I would recommend assembling one day prior to the event.

To assemble a simple, single-bloom bout, you will need:

-One large, sturdy bloom (I used a marigold)

-One large, sturdy leaf (I used a scented geranium leaf)

-Light green floral tape

-Baker’s twine

-And don’t forget your boutonnière pins (they come in every color of the rainbow, so be sure to coordinate)

Cut your marigold and leaf so that the stems are about four inches long each (this is much longer than the finished size will be, but there is a method to my madness, I promise). Arrange them so that the blossom sits comfortably atop the leaf, and then wrap the stems tightly with floral tape. Make sure to stretch the floral tape a tiny bit first, this activates the stickiness of it.

Boutonnières Made Simple from Farmhouse38.com

Similar to the bouquet process, only put as much tape on the stems as can be covered by your decorative twine.

Now, tie your baker’s twine just above the top of the tape and wrap it solidly down the stems until it covers the bottom tape edge. Tie a knot, and cut off all loose ends. Take another piece of twine and tie a bow at the top.

Boutonnières made simple by Farmhouse38.com

 

The stems should still be too long. I usually keep them that way until the day of so that they can sit in a shallow bit of water and stay as fresh as possible.

Boutonnières made simple by Farmhouse38.com

Keep the bouts in water in a dark, cool place until they are ready to be cut a few hours prior to the event. They can be laid flat until they are ready to be pinned onto their victims. Don’t forget to label who gets what!

So there you have a very basic, but adorable boutonnière (and frankly, just doing a single bloom is even easier–don’t underestimate it!). But…well…what if you want to get a little more creative? Here’s some inspiration:

Boutonnières made simple by Farmhouse38.com

A sprig of succulent, a petite rose, and some hypericum berries make a nice little shot of color all finished with a wrap of copper wire.

Boutonnières made simple by Farmhouse38.com

Orangey-red gomphrena, yellow goldenrod, and lavender leaves wrapped in paper-covered wire.

Boutonnières made simple by Farmhouse38.com

Orchids are a fantastic choice for bouts, as they hold their shape out of water for a very long time. This cymbidium is pair with green hypericum berries and wrapped completely in raffia-covered wire.

Boutonnières made simple by Farmhouse38.com

More sturdy ingredients include fern shoots, spiky sea holly, and lemon leaf.

Boutonnières made simple by Farmhouse38.com

I’m a huge fan of using non-botanical materials in bouts and bouquets. It’s pretty great to know that they’re not going to wilt. Here we have some feathers tucked behind a bright zinnia, a sprig of eucalyptus, and a few sprigs of caspia. After the tape-wrapping, grey grosgrain ribbon was hot-glued in place, and topped off with a small steel star (also hot-glued into place). This is a good example of how a bout looks when you trim the stems flush with the wrap for a tidier look.

Boutonnières made simple by Farmhouse38.com

Here’s a great example of why labeling your boutonnieres on the day of is so important. Be sure to provide plenty of pins, and always make one or two extra bouts, just in case.

***Things to remember*** 

-Choose the sturdiest materials available to you. Incorporating non-botanicals is a fun way to make sure your bouts don’t droop.

-Keep your materials in water for as long as possible–often this means keeping the stems long and clipping them just before showtime.

-Experiment with added decorations; don’t be afraid to pull out the hot glue gun and glue fun things into the mix. Don’t be tied (see what I did there?) to only finishing off with ribbon: use wire, twine, beads, etc.

-MAKE EXTRAS!!! Accidents happen, and it’s nice to have replacements.

 

 

 

How to Make a Hand Tied Bouquet

The easy way to make your own hand tied bouquet from Farmhouse38.comWedding flowers–huzzah!! This is for all you DIY brides out there (I’m looking at YOU Garlic, My Soul).

But let me start by stressing a little bit of advice here stemming from (ha! See what I did there?!) my experience in the wedding floral business: it’s all well and good for the bride to intend to get her hands dirty with this kind of project, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE have several friends or family members on board to help you out. I have pre-wedding jitters about your flowers. Things get crazy in the hours leading up to a wedding.

Now that we have that one tiny little bit of ominous warning out of the way–on to the fun stuff! Flowers–YAY! You guys know I am a cheerleader of the Slow Flower movement (read what I wrote about it here); I am all about using what is local, seasonal, and fresh. Whether the materials are from your own garden, foraged (legally) from the wild, or purchased from your most local flower farmer, it’s all amazing in my opinion. Visit slowflowers.com to learn more about all this and to search for flower farms, farmer-florists, and locally-sourcing floral designers near you or your wedding venue. There is something truly magical about seasonal flowers.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.com

Garden and #CAgrown gorgeousness.

The best time to assemble flowers would be the morning of the event–but…ain’t nobody got time for that. So I recommend doing the flowers the day before. Store them in the coolest, darkest place you can find overnight, and make sure they are all in clean, fresh water.

Material selection is, of course, really important, and sometimes rather daunting, and so I have a few rules I like to stick to. Are you familiar with the container-gardening guideline: ‘The thriller, the filler, and the spiller’? No? Read about it here. This is a cute little reminder that for a fabulous container garden, you need a ‘thriller’ (some sort of eye-catching superstar), a filler (something that fills space around the ‘thriller’), and a spiller (something that hangs down or sticks out from the overall arrangement to add movement and interest). Yeah. I like to apply this rule to my bouquets and flower arrangements, too. It’s super helpful, because it reminds you to keep things simple. As little as three materials can look fabulous (frankly, just one material in abundance can look pretty amazeballs, too–but I digress). You don’t need 25 different flowers in your bouquet. In fact, I beg you, do not put 25 different flowers in your bouquet. You only need anywhere from three to five different materials to make a really great arrangement. I promise. For this bouquet, I bought some gorgeous marigolds and dahlias from a local farmers’ market (because all the flowers in my garden are so scorched right now from record-breaking temps combined with severe drought–GAH!!), and pulled some scented geranium leaves and amaranth from my yard. So that’s four different things–but because I used two different, vibrant colors of dahlias, I like to count those separately–so really, this is five materials. Makes perfect sense, right? In my head, at least.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.com

So if we are applying the ‘thriller, filler, spiller’ rule to this bouquet: I see the dahlias and marigolds as the thriller (so that’s THREE thrillers), the geranium leaves as the filler, and the draping amaranth as the spiller. Frankly, the little dahlia buds poking up from the bouquet are kind of ‘spillers’, too. But often they come along with the dahlia blooms and instead of stripping them away, I sometimes like to let them come to the party, too.

Don’t ever get hung up on ‘rules’, though. These are just helpful guidelines. You want that sixth material in your bouquet? You go girl. It’s gonna look awesome.

To make a bouquet, you will need:

-a healthy selection of sturdy, straight-stemmed flowers and greens of your choice (I used approx. 11 dahlias, 9 marigolds, five stems of geranium leaves, and three stems of draping amaranth).

-good, sharp scissors to cut stems with

-some sort of water-proof tape (I recommend this, but narrow duct tape would work just as well, too. I was out of both, so I used this, which works in a pinch, but I really don’t suggest it)

-ribbon or other such decorative material to ‘tie’ your bouquet with

-sharp ribbon-cutting scissors

-pearl-topped boutonniere pins (such as these)

-it’s also helpful to have another set of hands standing by, but not 100% necessary

Building a bouquet requires four fairly simple steps:

1) Clean and prep your materials

2) Assemble your bouquet

3) Tape your ‘handle’

4) Pin ‘handle’ ribbon

Now, let’s elaborate:

1) Clean and prep your materials

Whatever flowers and greens you wind up choosing, the very first step is that you must strip any leaves, thorns, or satellite stems from the main stem. You can do this with your fingers (not what I recommend if there are thorns), scissors, or with a stem-stripper. Cut the length of the stems, also. You want to leave them longer than what the eventual bouquet length will be, but you want them short enough that they are easy to handle as you assemble. I usually leave mine about 18″ long at this point.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.com

You want clean, straight stems. Strip all materials that are within the possibility of using, and set aside in their own bucket or basin of water. If a few tiny leaves miss the stripping process, it’s aw-rite.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.com

When you strip away the leaves, buds, and misc. branches, be sure to keep them for use in other small arrangements, boutonnieres, and flower crowns. I keep a mason jar with water handy to drop any useable bits into.

Before you begin, cut about three or four six-inch lengths of your waterproof tape and stick one end of each to the counter where they’ll be handy, but not in your way. Fill a quart-sized mason jar about one-quarter full of water (this will be for your bouquet to sit in when you are done).

2) Assemble your bouquet

Gather a few stems into your hand to start the bouquet. I like to start with some thriller. And I always start with an odd number–usually three or five. Hold the stems where the ‘handle’ of the bouquet would naturally fall.

How to make a hand tied bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.comAdd a few more thrillers working around that center cluster in a circular fashion. Add a few pieces of ‘filler’. Be random. Don’t work with an eye toward symmetry. The flowers won’t let you win that one. A good rule of thumb is to stick to clustering materials together in odd numbers–those always seem to appear more natural.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.com

Keep adding thrillers and fillers at random. If you’ve got some spiky spillers, pop those in here or there.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.com

 

***Helpful Hint***As you add materials, you may find that certain pieces back towards the center of the arrangement have slipped down. Never fear! Loosen your grip just slightly, and then gently push or pull the offending blossom into a better position (it’s best to try to grasp the blossom by the stem just under the bloom). You want the overall shape of the bouquet to be a natural mound.

Once you have the bouquet to about the size you want, add your ‘spillers’, if you have them. You want the drapey bits to fall here and there from the outside edges of the bouquet.

How to make a hand tied bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.com

3) Tape your ‘handle’

Now your bouquet should be more or less how you want it. Go ahead and grab a length of waterproof tape and wrap it around the ‘handle’ of the bouquet just above where your hand is holding it. Wrap that tape TIGHT. Cinch that sucker. Make sure that the tape wraps around and over itself to adhere it snugly.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.com

You can wrap tape as far down as you want the ‘handle’ of the bouquet to be. The idea is that whatever tape you put over the stems, you will cover it with some sort of ribbon or decorative material to hide the tape. So how much or how little you use depends on how much stem you want the bouquet to be showing. I like to see a lot of stem (seems more natural to me), so I don’t use much tape.

Now you basically have your bouquet assembled.

***Helpful Hint***If you’re looking at it and thinking you need to add a few more stems, go ahead. Just place them and then wrap with another layer of tape. Only do this once or twice–after that, it will start making things look wonky in the ‘handle’ area.

At this point, it’s a good idea to go ahead and cut your stems to the finished length you want them. Use good, sharp scissors or clippers and get a nice, even cut across all the ends.

4) Pin ‘handle’ ribbon

I chose to use ribbon for this, but you can get creative and use just about any sort of binding material: twine, rope, wire, raffia–almost anything you can dream up. Ribbon is the only material that requires this pinning step, anything else would just need to be tied or twisted.

Choose your ribbon and unravel a piece that is much longer than you assume you need (just how much depends on how much of the stems you want covered by the ribbon).

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.com

 

Start at the bottom of where you want your ribbon ‘handle’ to fall. Pin the ribbon end securely to the stems by inserting the pins at an up or down angle into the stems (obviously you want to avoid sticking them straight in or any other angle that might result in pins sticking out and turning your beautiful bouquet into a booby-trapped device of torture and pain).

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way by Farmhouse38.comNow you are ready to wrap the ribbon. First wrap down one rotation so that you are sure to cover the pins and ribbon edge, then proceed to slowly wrap the ribbon snugly up the stems. I like to overlap the ribbon on itself as little as possible in order to show more of the pattern–but that’s a personal preference. When you get just past the top of the tape, cut your ribbon (this is where it might be prudent to have an extra set of hands), fold the loose end into a point, and pin it with one pin.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.com

Be sure to slide all pins in completely–this photo shows it in process so that you can see the angle.

Now, you can call it a day, or you can choose to cut another length of ribbon and tie a bow around the top to hide that final pin.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.com

 

Place your finished bouquet in the quarter-filled mason jar you prepped earlier, taking care to not get water on any of the ribbon. The stems should be submerged so that the water level covers the ends and not much more. Make sure every stem end is underwater.

How to make a hand tied bridal bouquet the easy way from Farmhouse38.com

 

***Helpful Hint*** To prep for transportation, place a bunched up sheet of paper towel in the bottom of a mason jar and fill with enough water that the paper towel becomes super-saturated and there is a tiny bit of loose water above the soaked towel. Just a tiny bit. Insert your bouquet so that the bottom of the stems firmly touch the paper towel. This will give your bouquet the moisture it needs for a few hours on the day of, but will prevent water from sloshing up onto the ribbon during transport. HEADS UP: always remember to dry off the bottom of the bouquet whenever you remove it from the water–water stains on wedding dresses are no bueno!!

***Helpful Hint*** Have mason jars or vases quarter-filled with water sitting on the head table for all the bridesmaids and the bride to be able to place their bouquets in during the reception. This helps keep the bouquets fresh all night (and keeps them from getting smushed by laying them on the table), and actually serves as makeshift centerpieces for the head table.

And there you have it: your very own handmade bouquet!

For more information on where to find locally-grown flowers, please visit slowflowers.com.

Stay tuned for imminent tutes on boutonnieres, flower crowns, and simple mason jar arrangements to complete your wedding DIY!

 

 

 

 

 

All About the Flowers (of Garden to Table Feast)

Slow Flowers at Garden to Table Feast by Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.comI just wanted to take a moment and bask in the beautiful local flowers that we were so lucky to have for the Garden to Table Feast. So-prepare yourself- I’m gonna fill your feed with endless images (mostly captured by the lovely Amen Photography). I regret nothing!!! I had always planned to pull flowers and greens from my own garden for the event, but as it grew in size, I realized that I would need to source additional materials from elsewhere. And I wanted those ‘elsewhere’s to be as local as possible.

Slow Flowers at the Garden to Table Feast by Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Garden roses, leucadendron, alstroemeria, draping amaranthus, and grapevine.

In the heart of Los Angeles, local flowers have been a really tall order for me in the past. Sure, it’s easy to find flowers; walk into any local supermarket, or even home improvement centers, and it is sometimes astounding what a selection they have. But are they local? Most likely not. And the very point of the Garden to Table Feast was to choose the slowest materials and ingredients possible–not what was commercially (and in most cases, the most easily) available. Fortunately for us, the amazing California Cut Flower Commission  stepped in and reached out to several local flower farms on our behalf. Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers, Mellano & Company, and The Sun Valley Floral Farms all generously provided us with a wealth of bafflingly beautiful flowers and greens. I was blown away, and completely humbled.

Slow Flowers at Garden to Table Feast by Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Lovely yellow Alstroemeria from Mellano & Company, Craspedia (Billy Balls–love these!) and various mints from the Farmhouse38 garden.

Additionally, I decided to reach out to the one and only super-local grower I knew of: Silver Lake Farms. This is a remarkable little urban farm so snugged away inside Los Angeles that you would never know it was there (unless you knew it was there). I’d read about them so many times in the past (in the Urban Farm world, they’re kind of the stuff of legends), and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to see what they had up their sleeves. I wasn’t disappointed, in fact, I was beyond elated at the overflowing buckets I loaded into my car.

Slow Flowers at the Garden to Table Feast by Farmhouse38.com

My Silver Lake Farms haul: the best kind of cargo. Side note…my car needs to be washed. When you can see dog paw prints on the bumper…ya. Time for a wash.

Slow Flowers at the Garden to Table Feast by Farmhouse38.com

Silver Lake Farms is what my garden wants to be when it grows up.

Because I didn’t know what I was going to get from any of these places, my floral design strategy was pretty basic: mismatched, clear containers, and a riot of botanicals with no set color scheme. Perfect for a Garden to Table Feast, in my opinion.

Slow Flowers at the Garden to Table Feast by Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

A wide assortment of botanical materials and colors are unified by their intentional unintentionalness, and by the repetition of clear glass containers. Keeping the linens and place settings neutral also helps tie everything together.

Slow Flowers at the Garden to Table Feast by Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Gorgeous colors, with no rhyme or reason. Seasonal perfection.

Slow Flowers at the Garden to Table Feast by Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

A whole batch of loveliness from Silver Lake Farms; Sweet Pea, Monarda, and a bunch of other pretties that are beyond my realm of identification!

Slow Flowers at the Garden to Table Feast by Farmhouse38.com

Lilies, Queen Anne’s Lace, and some sort of amazing green balls (perhaps a type of leucadendron?) from Resendiz Brothers Protea Farm that I have no idea the name of-but am completely enthralled with.

Slow Flowers at the Garden to Table Feast by Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Slow Flowers at the Garden to Table Feast by Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Lilies, Queen Anne’s Lace, Monarda, and broccoli.

Slow Flowers at the Garden to Table Feast by Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Leucadendron, hydrangea, kale, and radishes.

Slow Flowers at the Garden to Table Feast by Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Garden roses, snap dragons, a couple of pincushions, lavender, white thistle, and sweet peas.

Slow Flowers at the Garden to Table Feast by Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Slow Flowers at the Garden to Table Feast by Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Flowers always kind of make the event, if you ask me (I’m probably a bit biased). But I have to say that having gorgeous flowers and knowing exactly where they came from takes it to a new level. I highly encourage you guys to go do some digging, find your local flower farms (they’re out there, I promise!), and buy from them. Check SlowFlowers.com and the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers for lists of farms and retailers. And when you do go to the local market, look for labeling like the CaGROWN sticker, or the new AmericanGrown labels, or simply ask your grocer where they get their flowers. If they don’t buy locally already, they’re never gonna start unless their customers speak up. Challenge accepted, am I right?!!

A Garden to Table Feast

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, event styling by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.comGarden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, event syling by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.comLast weekend, the summer solstice provided the perfect evening to collaborate on a wonderful summer party with a bunch of talented Southern California (and Western Nevada–holla, Reno!) bloggers. The idea was simple: let’s get together for a lovely dinner comprised of as many local ingredients as we could muster, and when possible, use ingredients straight from our own gardens. Set it all up under the mason-jar-lit grapefruit tree at Farmhouse38, shoo away the chickens, and keep the cocktails and Instagram rolling!

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, tablescape and floral styling by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.com

I just love a big ol’ farm table and mismatched chairs, don’t you? Flowers and candlelight never hurt, either! Not one bit.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, event styling by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Just passing through! Carry on! (BTW, please take note of Eloise, in the background, and the way she walks. I don’t think her legs bend. Makes me laugh every time.)

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, floral styling and tablescape by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.com

The flowers! I have a special place in my heart for the flowers (always). Much more on them later.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, tablescape and floral styling by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Southern California really delivered on the most perfect, temperate evening. The weather and light could not possibly have been better–and we could not have asked for a more talented, wonderful photographer in Ari Nordhagen of AmenPhotography.com. Find her on Facebook, and Instagram.

In addition to her mind-boggling design and illustration talents, Sarah of VerySarie.com must also be a little bit psychic because she somehow captured the exact essence of the evening in her gorgeous invites and menus.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, invitations by VerySarie.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

How perfect are these hand-lettered and gold-foiled invites from VerySarie.com?

Follow VerySarie.com on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Because many of us were meeting for the first time, we kept ourselves and our blogs straight with adorable handmade name tags courtesy of Amanda at LoveCreativeBlog.com.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, nametags by LoveCreativeBlog.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

We all kept referring to each other by blogs, but it was nice to put names to blogs to faces.

Follow LoveCreativeBlog on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Oh, haaaaay, chickens.

Sustenance for the evening was in the ever capable and creative hands of Jennie and Corelyn of Garlic, My Soul. They came up with and executed the most delicious menu of comfort foods and gorgeous slow produce.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, hand-lettered menus by VerySarie.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Darling menus designed by verysarie.com.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, food by GarlicMySoul.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Oh, the picture perfection of heirloom tomatoes!

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, Prosciutto Pear Bites by Garlicmysoul.com, photography by amenphotography.com

Insanely yummy prosciutto-wrapped pear bites by Garlic, My Soul.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, food by Garlicmysoul.com, photography by amenphotography.com

Zucchini Crudo: zucchini, onions, parsley, and feta in some sort of zesty dressing. Garlic, My Soul–you better be posting recipes!

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, food by Garlicmysoul.com, photography by amenphotography.com

So much gardeny goodness in this salad!

 

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, food by GarlicMySoul.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Our plates just had no hope of being big enough!

Find Garlic, My Soul on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, tablescape by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.com

What’s up, chicken?!

Did I mention the flowers?

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, tablescape by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Slow flowers for days!!!

You all know that I take my cocktails very, very seriously. Fortunately, so do the two brains behind BourbonandGoose.com, Marissa and Sam. They were charged with creating a custom cocktail for the drink, and well, they brought us two. Huzzah!

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, cocktails by BourbonandGoose.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Fresh produce, even for the drinks!

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, cocktails by BourbonandGoose.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Master drinksmith, Sam, of BourbonandGoose.com, hard at work keeping cocktails in everyone’s hands.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, cocktails by BourbonandGoose.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

On the left, we have the Violet Beauregard: homemade rosemary infused gin, blueberry puree, and sparkling water. On the right…well, I can’t remember what it’s called but it was darned good. Jalapeño jelly-infused tequila, and fresh watermelon and lime juices. Yum and yum. For awhile there, I had one in each hand.

Follow the adventures of BourbonandGoose.com on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Shiner beer is not exactly local, but it is exactly Texas. The Texan always insists there be Shiner. Gotta represent a local brewery with a little Golden Road, though!

Dessert came to us courtesy of the incredibly sweet tooth of Julianne at BeyondFrosting.com. Her individual Mimosa Cheesecakes (adorably presented in mason jars, no less) and fresh-baked berry pies were absolutely to die for. To. Die. For.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, dessert by BeyondFrosting.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

I heart cheesecake in a jar. So much. I ate it so much, too.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, fresh berry pies by BeyondFrosting.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Fresh berry pies are just too perfect for ringing in the summer. These were incredible.

Follow all the desserty fun at BeyondFrosting.com, and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

While you’re at it, check out YummyHealthyEasy.com. Jen is freaking fantastic. So is her site. She shares so many fabulous, fun recipes of all shapes and sizes. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

And then there were the flowers…of course, that was my little wheelhouse. The California Cut Flower Commission generously stepped in to help source materials from local farms (thank you to Mellano & Co., The Sun Valley Group, and Resendiz Brothers Proteas for their gorgeous, gorgeous flowers!). I also went to the most local flower farm I could think of: Silver Lake Farms, in the heart of Los Angeles for several lush buckets of straight-from-the-garden yumminess. Combined with flowers and greens from my own garden, we were dripping in stunning, local blooms. Stay tuned for a separate, more in-depth post about just the flowers!

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, tablescape by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Flowers and candlelight. Am I right?!

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Such a fabulous time!

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

White dog had to get in on the party.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

So did little brown dog.

So that everyone had a piece of the evening to bring home with them, Laura, of OliveandLove.com, sent us all away with yummy homemade brown sugar scrubs as favors. She’s kind of known for her scrubs.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, Brown Sugar Scrub by OliveandLove.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Find the recipes for these and so much more at OliveandLove.com.

Follow OliveandLove.com on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

The evening was just beyond fun, and I can’t wait to do it again next year! Many thanks to all of these amazing bloggers!

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, event styling by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.com

 

 

 

 

 

Slow Flower Bliss

 

Slow Flower Joy at Farmhouse38.com

I’m a big nerd when it comes to my love for locally-grown, organic flowers. I get overly excited. Like a terrier. ‘Slow Flowers’, a derivative of the Slow Food Movement, is a concept coined and tirelessly advocated by the remarkable Debra Prinzing (author of The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers, as well as, you guessed it, Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets from the Garden, Meadow and Farm ) to describe the on-going shift towards a more conscious floral consumerism. Just as people have become more aware of where and how their food is produced, they are starting to realize that the same principles should be applied to the cut flowers they buy (the ones sitting in a vase on the table right next to their local, organic food). We should strive to farm flowers in the same ethical manner; free of chemicals, free of excessive packaging, and free of incredibly long-distance travel that requires fuel, preservatives, refrigeration, and even more packaging. Furthermore, the slow flowers concept champions the organic flower farmers; those who dedicate their lives to responsibly producing those gorgeous blooms.

Slow Flower Joy at Farmhouse38.com

An arrangement pulled straight from the Farmhouse garden, including all sorts of roses, echinacea, hydrangea, and grapevine. Doesn’t get more local than that!

Ten plus years ago, when I was running my floral event company, the slow flower concept was completely unheard of. I used to get so angry, too–showing up in the wee hours of the morning to the Los Angeles Flowermart and paying top dollar for materials that had literally been flown in from Holland or Columbia that very morning because a bride needed *this exact shade of pink* tulips and roses. How crazy is this? It made me irate, actually. This is not to say that there weren’t locally-grown materials available there–in fact, I tried to buy those whenever I could. But the wedding industry, at the time, kind of drove this ‘anything is available any time of year’ mentality that meant materials were often shipped from the other hemisphere. It was this insipid ‘Yes-ism’ that went something like: “Oh, you want scarlet peonies? Well, they aren’t in season, but let me just call Australia”. I was guilty of this mindset… though, at the very least, it bothered the living daylights out of me.

I used to fantasize about having a huge piece of property where I could just grow the flowers myself (at the time, I lived in a teeny-tiny house on a teeny-tiny urban lot–even teeny-tinier than the one I live on now) and then create events exclusively with those materials. But that just wasn’t how it was done. You don’t get *this exact shade of pink* tulips all year round when you grow them and sell them locally (if you even ever get it at all). You get what is in season…which is always gorgeous, but might not match that Home Depot color card you brought to me and insisted I find the exact floral manifestation of (true story). Ultimately, I was so disgruntled with ‘how things were’, that I left the business all together. I wish I had had the gumption to dig my heels in then, but life was sending me in another direction.

Slow Flower Bliss from Farmhouse38.com

I heart tiny arrangements, especially in an upcycled jam jar. So simple to grab a few bits from the garden; black-eyed Susan, zinnia, oregano blooms, and rosemary.

It sent me to the Farmhouse, where we moved right after I closed down the flower company. Naturally, I was reeling a bit at that time. What was I supposed to do with my life now? I missed the flowers, and I missed the actual art of arranging. It’s rather cliché, but I also missed the ‘giving’ of flowers. So while we threw ourselves into the renovation of this old house, I also threw myself into designing an organic garden that would give me enough flowers to get my fix.

Slow Flower Bliss from Farmhouse38.com

Look for a tutorial on this simple arrangement coming soon!

For a few years, I busied myself with house projects and ‘playing’ in the garden. Oh…and I started a blog. 🙂 My foray into the world of social media brought with it a trickling awareness of change within the floral industry. I began stumbling across blogs and Instagram accounts of florist farmers such as Floret Flower Farm in Washington, and Saipua in New York. And, of course, I followed. I began to see florists dedicating themselves to using only local, responsibly-farmed flowers, such as Farmgirl Flowers in San Francisco. And places like Lila B. Flowers in San Francisco and Silverlake Farms in Los Angeles defying the odds (and, in the case of Silverlake Farms, changing the laws) to grow sustainable flowers and produce for sale and for floral design, in the heart of the city (cheers to that). Go follow all these wonderful companies (full list of links at bottom)–you won’t be sorry!

I started hearing (*seeing, *reading) Debra’s name a lot. When The 50 Mile Bouquet came out, I ate it up–almost literally–the images (photographed by David E. Perry) are downright yummy. Here is a fascinating glimpse into the stories of the farmers, florists, and designers that make American slow flowers their life (but first, might I suggest reading Amy Stewart‘s Flower Confidential so that you can see exactly what these farmers are up against with mainstream floriculture). Close on the heels of The 50 Mile Bouquet came Prinzing’s aptly-titled Slow Flowersa veritable user-manual for building 52 weeks of breathtaking seasonal arrangements. For anyone dabbling in the art of DIY floral-arranging, this book is chock-full of ‘recipes’ and tricks of the trade. My favorite trick of hers? Instead of using that green goblin of the floral trade, florist foam, use chicken wire inside your container to stabilize your materials. Brilliant. I may or may not have an excessive amount of chicken wire laying around.

Slow Flower Bliss from Farmhouse38.com

A few tiny garden roses, fuzzy celosia, oregano blooms, and mint leaves make a tiny, but fragrant, arrangement in a vintage porcelain jewelry box.

But it gets better. You may be thinking this is all good in theory, but not so easy in practice. If you’re like me, trapped in the middle of a huge city, you may (ironically) be a little stranded when it comes to accessing locally-grown flowers. You may naively get really excited and buy peonies from Trader Joe’s thinking they are locally-sourced and then, after the fact, find out that they actually came from Canada. I’m not naming names. (To be fair, both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods source local flowers when possible, but not exclusively.)

Ombre Peony Arrangement by Farmhouse38.com

They’re gorgeous…but they travelled too far to get here. Look away!!!

So what is one to do (especially if you aren’t able to have a cutting garden of your own)? There are more and more resources online for finding your local flower farmer. For starters, visit the brand new slowflowers.com. Prinzing‘s latest endeavor is an actual online directory of floral studios, flower shops, flower farms, and designers who use American-grown flowers, or as the case may be, grow the flowers themselves. This incredible list of vendors is growing every single day. FieldtoVase.com is a lovely spot on the interwebs created by the brains behind Farmgirl Flowers, Christina Stembel, as a hub for all things locally grown and floral. Here, you will not only find a list of incredible contributors and a growing list of resources, but you will find a delightful blog spotlighting industry creatives and the very latest news.

There are a number of organizations that you should check out, as well. The California Cut Flower Commission (ccfc.org) has some fabulous resources, information, and meet-your-farmer type highlight stories for California-grown flowers. The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG.org) is full of a wealth of industry links and information, but most importantly, you can search their website for local growers and flower shops by state. When you are shopping for flowers, look for the new American Grown stickers that make American flowers easily identifiable at your local market, or for the CA GROWN stickers that mark the abundance of blooms that come from the Golden State.

I simply can’t urge you enough to seek out flower vendors at your local farmers’ markets. This really is the best way to ‘know your farmer’ and support them, whether it be for flowers, produce, etc, etc. And if you’ve got the space and the will, grow yourself some pretties of your own. One of my favorite things is to purchase a local bouquet, bring it home, and add to it from my own garden. There’s my bliss. Right there.

I love that consumers are embracing slow flowers and the simple notion that seasonal is better. I adore reading stories about weddings designed with locally-sourced materials; brides and event designers actually choosing sustainability from the get-go, and in some cases, absolutely highlighting it. It warms the very cockles of my heart to see how times have changed and are changing still. Yeah. I said ‘cockles’. That’s how I roll.

Resources:

AmericanGrownFlowers.org— A brilliant initiative to ‘brand’ American grown flowers so that they are easily distinguishable to consumers. Love it. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest,  for all the latest news.

ASCFG.org–The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Find them also on Facebook.

CCFC.org–The California Cut Flower Commission, home of the CA GROWN movement. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

DebraPrinzing.com–A fantastic resource for slow flower enthusiasts; Debra highlights industry innovators in her podcasts and blog posts. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

FarmgirlFlowers.com–Follow along on Facebook ,Twitter, and Instagram. You won’t be sorry–this is one of my favorite feeds in each category–they post some gorgeous stuff!

FieldtoVase.com–Follow on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram for more local flower goodness!

FloretFlowers.com— Follow their wonderful blog, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram feeds. Their work, as well as their images, are absolutely stunning.

LilaBDesign.com— So much loveliness packed into just one website! Another wonderful blog, as well as beautiful Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram feeds.

Saipua.com–You’ll find information on their flowers, their farm, and their flower school here. Oh, and soap. They make that, too. Follow their adventures via their blog and their wonderful Instagram feed.

SilverlakeFarms.com–this one’s near and dear to me because they are, quite literally, near to me. Follow the happenings at this beautiful little urban farm on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

SlowFlowers.com–one stop shop for finding American-grown flowers, farms, and florists; follow along on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest slow flowers news.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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