Sweet Spencer brought home the fresh Pike Place Market flowers for Week Thirty-One of the Bouquet-a-Week Project and I marveled at their diversity of varieties and colors.
Pictured below in all their glory are deep-purple gladiolas, yellow and crimson dahlias, a single pale-yellow Asian lily, three giant sunflowers (!), and more than half a dozen zinnias, a flower that I hadn’t yet worked with during this summer season. And there were almost as many dried purple flowers as fresh ones.
There were so many gorgeous blossoms to play with during Week Thirty-One, I couldn’t resist laying them out in a long row along our granite dining-room counter.
And then “painting” them in the Vibrant mode of Waterlogue.
What’s more dramatic than the color combo of dark purple and bright yellow, rather like a clergyman’s robe?
The zinnias snapped to attention when I arranged them over colorful marbles in a clear round vase.
The single yellow lily and some of the dried purple flowers look splendid in my favorite tall pale-blue vase.
More dried purple flowers and one of the sunflowers play happily together in a bulbous white-and-blue-striped vase. I think I was channeling Vincent Van Gogh when I created this bouquet!
A single yellow dahlia and dried purple flowers rise gracefully in a shapely blue-glass vase.
One of the crimson dahlias and more dried purple flowers form an Ikebana-inspired design in my blue Buddha vase.
This striking trio of dahlias and dried purple flowers are the perfect way to conclude the line-up for Week Thirty-One of the Bouquet-a-Week Project.
By mid-week, several of the dahlias had died, so I rearranged two new bouquets. I call these “extras” and they bring me just as much joy as the original week’s bouquets.
Here is the first one and you may notice that the sunflower’s petals are drastically shortened from the original bloom. That’s because I went a little wild with the shears as I cut away the brown tips. Oh, well. The sunflower’s big eye looks even more dramatic this way!
And here is a “normal” (unshaven) sunflower with a backdrop of deep-purple gladiolas and a single crimson petunia for a dramatic note.
Here is the same arrangement photographed in dramatic evening light.
The Pike Place Market flowers for Week Thirty of the Bouquet-a-Week Project were more formal in feeling than past arrangements because I was expecting some important company that week and wanted to impress.
Nothing beats white Asian lilies and gladiolas along with an outlier–a single pink peony. Not sure how that got in there, but I was glad it did.
Week Twenty-Six in the Bouquet-a-Week Project brought a welcome change of pace because our long-time housekeepers surprised me with a dozen, deep-maroon dahlias. The flowers came freshly picked from the head housekeeper (and owner of the agency’s) garden near Fife.
The dahlias were delivered in a classic clear glass vase, the kind you get from the florist. I didn’t have the presence of mind to snap a photo, but here is the sort of vase I mean, painted using the Waterlogue app.
It was a pretty vase, but since I already had several like it, I let the housekeepers take theirs home and chose one from my collection instead.
Here is the first bouquet I created, which the way-too-kind ladies ooh-ed and aah-ed over. It reminds me of a nosegay and the kangaroo paw adds needed height.
Just for fun, after the housekeepers left, I transplanted the fistful of flowers into this antique cranberry-glass decanter. It looks beautiful backlighted in red and framed by a few sprigs of kangaroo paw and greenery.
The decanter used to sit proudly on the cocktail trolley in the dining room of our family home in suburban Philadelphia. During fancy dinner parties my parents used to throw, my father made a big deal about serving after-dinner Port (which he called “a nightcap”) from the heirloom decanter.
I also had some Asian lilies and a kangaroo-paw sprig left over from the prior week, and arranged them in a clear-glass cylinder over smooth, ebony stones to dramatic effect.
It’s amazing how a simple Champagne flute serves as the perfect vessel for a handful of Golden Arrow, stems carefully arranged in a criss-cross pattern.
A single cheerful sunflower and some purple dried flowers from Week Twenty-Five (more long-lived leftovers) take on the look of a Van Gogh painting when placed in my favorite blue Buddha vase. Warm summer sunlight!
The Bouquet-a-Week Project kicked off with a stupendous array of flowers in Week Twenty-Five. I was drawn to this beauty by the graceful lime gladiola, spiky kangaroo paws, single sunflower with its fuzzy brown eyeball, and yellow Asian lilies. Pale-pink peonies and white golden arrow formed a pleasing framework around the major blossoms.
And here is the Week Twenty-Five fresh bouquet “painted” using the Waterlogue app.
As I always do, I unfurled the fresh flowers from their white wrapping paper and divided the flowers into a loose pile. Then I cut the stems and stripped them of any small leaves that remained. Next I “arranged” the flowers in a glossy-black, bell-shaped vase filled with water that would hydrate the blossoms until I could create the smaller individual bouquets.
Here is that shot “painted” in Waterlogue. I liked it so much, I was tempted to call it a day, but that would defeat the purpose of the Bouquet-a-Week Project, which is to buy a fresh Pike Place Market bouquet or single blossoms for less that $20 per week, then design smaller arrangements.
The first major bouquet of Week Twenty-Five means a lot because of the cranberry-colored, cut-glass vase, which is a family heirloom. There used to be two of them and the pair sat on either side of our mantel in the house where I grew up in suburban Philadelphia.
Unfortunately, one got crushed when my parents moved from the family home in Pennsylvania to their retirement house in Austin, Texas. After my parents died, I inherited it.
For years, it has sat in our bookshelves looking forlorn and, frankly, rather forgotten. But, thanks to the Bouquet-a-Week Project, I pulled it down (very carefully!), dusted it off, and graced it with the gladiola, peonies, and kangaroo paw.
I imagined my mother looking down and smiling at her industrious daughter’s clever re-use of her beloved mantle-piece “objet d’art,” as she used to call it. She was an amazing woman, and you can read more about her (specifically, the words I spoke at her memorial) on the Five More Minutes With website.
My favorite robin’s-egg-blue narrow vase is well suited to the yellow irises and another sprig of kangaroo paw. Majestic!
More yellow lilies and kangaroo paw form a fitting foil in an Asian-inspired vase with a double opening.
A few days later, the peonies had faded so I took the remaining blossoms and created two “extra” bouquets. Taking this shot at night under a neon-pink back light using the “Bold” setting in the Waterlogue app resulted in this dramatic shot.
A small arrangement looks winsome in my pink Buddha vase.
My sweet husband brought home the Week Twenty-Four bouquet and it was a bounteous beauty, bursting with several different types of blossoms that I hadn’t worked with much before. These included a vivid blue hydrangea, one huge scarlet dahlia, and three daisies with fuzzy faces that seemed to smile at me from the perimeters of the bouquet. Here are the fresh flowers from the Pike Place Market for the Bouquet-a-Week Project, Week Twenty-Four, which cost $15.
The gorgeous glob of pink Stargazer lilies caught my eye first, and I knew they would pair dramatically with a single sprig of kangaroo paw.
Next I made a grab for all the purple-and-yellow irises and the single crimson lily. I like the way the lacy shapes of the irises contrast with the strong horizontal lines of the vase.
What to do with the single hydrangea? I thought my Asian-inspired celadon vase would form the perfect foil for such a singular bloom, especially when paired with pink sweet peas, two of the pink petunias, purple flowers, and a single spear of bear grass.
Here’s another design using a pink lily and a huge sunflower (left over from a prior bouquet) in my swooping robin’s-egg-blue vase, my ode to Vincent Van Gogh.
Sweet peas, that single crimson dahlia, and more purple flowers for contrast look fetching in a pink Buddha vase backlighted in fuchsia.
There rather droopy snapdragons and lively purple flowers look jaunty in a squatty, clear-emerald vase backlighted in green.
As I always do, I released the blossoms from their white butcher-paper wrapper, unwound the bouquet’s rubberband-bound plastic bags and moist newspaper, and placed the flowers back on the stretched-out butcher paper. I made sure the stems were cleared of small leaves and recut the ends, then stuck all the flowers in this shiny black vase so I could figure out exactly what I had.
I snapped a photo because I was so taken with the result of this impromptu bouquet. Glorious!
But I knew that I didn’t want to use all of the Week Twenty-Three flowers in one arrangement. So (rather sadly) began to design individual bouquets. Here is the first one of those.
The second one is an ode to the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh. BRIGHT COLORS!
My favorite colors came into play in the arrangement below, which includes a single intoxicatingly fragrant Stargazer Lily (rife with blossoms that I could hardly wait to watch bloom over the coming days), and selected greenery to create a fluffy frame.
The “Bold” setting of the Waterlogue app created this dramatic version of the same vase with only the greenery from the Week Twenty-Three bouquet.
My favorite small blue-glass vase forms a fitting contrast when planted with red sweet peas and purple flowers.
I love the romantic way the red and purple flowers drape in the two small bouquets below.
And here are the small bouquets from Week Twenty-Three. These miniature arrangements decorate the twin vanities in our bathroom and one sits next to the television in the bedroom.
I bought my Week Twenty bouquet for the Bouquet-a-Week Project from Erlinda, one of the long-time and most talented designers in the entire Pike Place Market. Here she is proudly displaying the flowers I chose.
I’ve known Erlinda for years and always appreciate the fresh and clean bouquets she crafts at Flower Garden in the Pike Place Market’s Main Arcade. You can find Flower Garden under the Market clock, just a few steps away from Pike Place Fish (which tourists often refer to as “the place where they throw the fish”).
I was drawn to this lush bouquet, rife with vibrant contrasting colors, because of several “new” varieties of flowers. I use the word “new” loosely here, simply because the names of the “new” flowers were hitherto unbeknownst to me. More on the “new” varieties that I discovered thanks to the PlantSnap app later on in this post.
Here is the fresh bouquet of Pike Place Market flowers that cost $15.
And here is the same bouquet “painted” in “Natural” mode using the Waterlogue app.
This was not only a visually opulent bouquet, but it smelled great, thanks to the peonies and one of the “new” flowers I discovered on PlantSnap called Golden Arrow (Plumeria Pudica).
Here is the first major bouquet I created using the single orange Asian lily and two of the graceful Kangaroo Paws (Anigozanthos) positioned so perfectly in an Asian-leaning vase lined with smooth black rocks. Although I had worked with the lacy red flowers for years, I never bothered to learn their name until now. Good to know!
Here is the same arrangement shot at night with ivory backlights. Magical!
I knew that the dark-pink peonies and snapdragons would look pretty in a Waterford cut-glass vase. I love using this vessel because it was a wedding gift when my husband and I married 36 years ago.
I really wanted to use this interesting art-glass vase in a muted burgundy color. Orange canna lilies and purple flowers and greenery are so dramatic.
My favorite blue Buddha vase backlighted in blue looks royal with the addition of White Golden Arrow and purple flowers.
A single Kangaroo Paw in an Asian celadon vase is the spirit of ikebana.
The three small vases for Week Twenty of the Bouquet-a-Week Project made use of a single pink peony, Golden arrow, purple flower, and a couple of lilies left over from Week Nineteen.
As always, I separated the blooms so that each variety was together. I made sure the stems were cleared of small leaves so the flowers would stay fresher for a longer period of time, then I cut the stems on the diagonal (to encourage them to slurp up the fresh water) to uniform lengths.
For my first major bouquet of Week Nineteen in the Bouquet-a-Week Project, I placed the lilies in a violet ceramic vase, chosen because it would form a third contrast with the flowers. Striking!
I knew the four pale-pink peonies would look lovely together and decided the dark-pink one would serve as an accent. I chose a vase I hadn’t use previously, a clear-amethyst one with a pleasing plump shape.
To separate and support the peony stems (and help them to fan out like a fluffy pompom), I used a fabulous new product I purchased at the EATS MORE pop-up store in the downtown Seattle Nordstrom flagship store.
Anywhere Vases by Fruitsuper are metal cutouts in round, square, and triangular shapes drilled with holes of the same shape (round with six round holes, square with four square holes, and the triangle with a single triangular hole). According to the website, the cutouts “turn vessels into vases.” Why didn’t I think of that!?!?
The Anywhere Vases cost $38, a veritable bargain when you consider how versatile they will be. I also liked that they are Made in the USA, according to the sensible cardboard packaging.
For one of my smaller bouquets, I went back to bold, contrasting colors when I chose to pair deep-purple sweet peas and shrubby yellow crest with a clear, royal-blue vase. The blue backlight really makes it sing!
These pale-pink charmers look so dainty in a clear cylindrical vase backlighted in pink. Now I know what they mean by “pretty in pink!”
A single crimson lily and greenery looks jaunty in a clear green-glass vase.
This vase below is another new find. . .actually a Rosé wine bottle with embossed flowers all around the base (hard to see on the photo, but they diffuse the pink backlight nicely). More dainty pink flowers and Shrubby Yellow Crest form the arrangement.
In case you want to enjoy a nice bottle of Rosé and a pretty vase afterwards, the wine is called Fleurs de Prairie 2017 and hails from Provence. Very appropriately, its name translates from the French as “wildflowers.”
And here are my three small bouquets from Week Nineteen of the Bouquet-a-Week Project. . .more sweet peas and yellow crest in gayly colored vases.
Week Eighteen of the Bouquet-a-Week Project began under a cloud since it also marked the date for my five-year routine colonoscopy procedure.
For anyone who has ever undergone this experience, you know that the preparation is worse than the actual procedure, which takes just half an hour and is performed under “twilight sedation,” which essentially means strong knock-out drugs.
Preparation begins about a week before you go into the hospital, when you are strongly advised to go off any vitamins or supplements that contain Vitamin E, fish oil, or anything else that keeps your blood from clotting. Alive and Ibuprofen are also verboten for the same reason; Tylenol is okay if needed.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. Three days before the procedure, you have to stop eating nuts, seeds, and popcorn. Fiber supplements are also off the table (or, more correctly, out of your system). Going off fiber supplements certainly wasn’t a problem, but the other three forbidden items were more problematic, especially since I practically live on nuts and nut butters.
Twenty-four hours before the big procedure, I had to stop eating solid foods entirely. So on Wednesday morning, the 13th of June (aptly named, since it was definitely not my lucky day) I ate my last bite of Dannon Oui Vanilla Yogurt. I had chosen this particular brand of yogurt since it comes in an old-timey glass cup (civilized!) and is especially thick and pleasant-tasting.
I ate the cool, creamy yogurt with a small spoon in tiny bites over 1 1/2 hours. I wanted to make my final tastes of solid food last as long as possible.
From then on, until 7:30 on Thursday morning (two hours before the procedure), I was allowed to consume only a clear liquid diet, things like bouillon, Popsicles, Jell-o, and fruit juices. Caveats included no milk or dairy products and no red or blue-hued liquids, since those colors could mimic blood, confuse the doctor, and negate the test results.
From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., I had to drink two (yes, two!) liters of what I rather derisively refer to as “the solution.”
Said “solution” is officially called Golytely or GaviLyte–a polyethylene glycol and sodium solution. You mix the fine white powder with four liters of water plus a packet of Crystal Light drink mix, shake well, and refrigerate.
“The solution” tastes strongly, and strangely, of salt, rather like diluted Thai fish sauce. The packet of Crystal Light is supposed to mask the bad taste. Trust me, it doesn’t.
From the first cup of “the solution,” the stomach begins to roil and rumble, rife with cramps and spasms. And then the bowel movements begin.
The more you drink, the more you go to the bathroom. And go, and go, and go.
I went to bed that night around 11:30, after my daily dose of the Trevor Noah show. But sleep came slowly as I focused on my turbulent tummy, deciding whether I needed to jump up and run to the bathroom one more time, or whether I could catch a few hours of shut-eye.
My alarm clock was set for 4:15 so I could stumble out of bed and begin drinking the final two liters of “the solution.” Strangely, although I was sleep-deprived and starving, I was almost looking forward to drinking the last two liters of “the solution,” more than ready to finish cleaning out my bowels and head to the hospital to undergo the actual procedure.
I wrote this blog while drinking the final two liters of “the solution.” My writing flowed quickly, as if an invisible hand was guiding my fingers over the keyboard. I stopped briefly every fifteen minutes to drink a cup of “the solution” until finally. . .mercifully. . .thankfully. . .the giant jug was empty and I could place it in the recycling bin. Victory!
My dear husband drove me to the hospital. I felt dizzy and had a splitting headache, a combination of low blood sugar and dehydration. I felt as though I had been reduced to a bag of blood and bones, a mind and body that just wanted to get “the procedure” over and done with.
I checked in without incident–thankfully all the paperwork was in order–and the receptionist encircled my left wrist with my patient ID. My husband got his marching orders as well, told to stay in the waiting room and monitor my progress on a color-coded overhead monitor using my secret patient number.
A male nurse prepped me for the procedure. I stripped down to my bra, put a cotton robe over my head, and arranged myself over the sheet-draped gurney with a warm blanket over my body.
The nurse inserted an IV drip into my arm and taped it down. My husband and I waited an hour, making small talk and gazing out the window, before I was wheeled into the operating room.
The doctor introduced herself and we discussed the impending procedure. The nurse attached the monitors and the anesthesiologist began the job of sending me off to dreamland.
The next thing I knew, I was being gently shaken awake by a nurse. I had survived. I was awake. I was alive.
My husband looked as relieved outwardly as I felt inwardly. Soon, the doctor arrived and informed us that my bowels looked normal and I didn’t have to have another colonoscopy for five more years. In addition to that most welcome news, she said I could go home and eat a simple meal.
The point of all of this way-too-graphic reporting on my colonoscopy is that the one bright spot during that otherwise horrible week was when my dear husband brought home a fresh Pike Place Market bouquet for me to play with.
The beautiful blossoms filled my senses and brightened my outlook. For at least a few hours, while arranging the beautiful blossoms, my mind was happy and free.
Afterwards, as I admired the resulting bouquets, I was relieved from the ugliness of sitting in the bathroom, drinking copious amounts of a gag-inducing liquid, and worrying about going to the hospital.
In short–flowers saved me.
Here is that beautiful bouquet–a medley of oranges and purples–that cost my husband all of $15.
And here is the bouquet “painted” in Waterlogue.
I knew that a handful of deep-pink peonies, and a single white one, would look scrumptious in one of my favorite vases.
I have never used this rustic clay vase, but orange Asiatic lilies and purple-and-yellow irises fit it perfectly.
This may be my favorite creation from Week Eighteen–pale-pink sweet peas, a single purple sweet pea, and a Perennial Cornflower. I have to admit I was unfamiliar with the latter, but figured out its correct name thanks to the amazing SnapPlant app. If you’re not familiar with this useful tool, you should be. Simply snap a photo of the plant in question and several possibilities pop up on your iPhone or iPad. Choose the correct one, then archive it in your Recent Snaps gallery for future reference.
An ikebana-inspired design using my favorite “jelly-bean” vase features deep-pink peonies and the above-mentioned Perennial Cornflowers.
More of the spiky blue cornflowers look gorgeous in a clear cylindrical vase with gray-glass decorative filler. The vase is lighted from behind with blue candle lights.
Here are three small bouquets I made using Shrubby Yellow Crest and irises. I love the color play between the yellow and deep purple flowers.
Week Thirteen was full of firsts–the first time I had worked with Asian lilies during this spring season and the first time I had used two new vases to create my floral bouquets.
It was also the first time I had blown my normal $20-a-week budget. But I couldn’t resist four Asian lilies that cost $4 apiece for a total of $16.
Then I needed a half dozen tulips for additional smaller bouquets. The hand-lettered paper sign above the flower farmer’s stand said that a dozen tulips cost $10, so I figured that if I got half a dozen, I’d just be $1 over budget.
But naughty me. I chose six “double” tulips. So when I handed the farmer a ten-spot, she thanked me and turned her attention back to a bouquet she had been arranging.
When questioned, she explained that the “double” tulips cost twice as much as “regular” tulips. In any case, I knew I would enjoy them and that they would photograph beautifully, then “Waterlogue” well.
Here are the ten stems I purchased that day.
And here are the fresh flowers “painted” in Waterlogue.
I got greedy and used all four Asian lilies in the first of two major bouquets I created during Week Thirteen. You’ll note that this is one of the new vases. . .an extremely tall bamboo rectangle with a clear glass cone hidden inside to keep the flowers watered. It worked perfectly with the four long-stemmed orange and pink Asian lilies that I set in opposing corners. Some tall red branches created a dramatic finishing touch.
Here is the other new vase that I admired in a Target advertisement and bought for $9.99. Hand-painted in China, each container is a bit different. I like the way the navy paint drips down through the white stripes. With the addition of three tulips, it almost has a Dutch-painterly, Vermeer-like vibe.
Here are the three smaller bouquets I designed during Week Thirteen using the remaining three “double” tulips in reddish-orange and bright yellow colors.
A few days later, after the Asian lilies had opened into their full glory, I reshot them in the bamboo vase.
Then I removed the bamboo exterior and pulled out the glass conical vase inside and rearranged three of the blossoms.
I positioned the remaining pale-pink lily, which was positively bursting with blooms, in my favorite robin’s-egg blue curving vase along with a trio of pussy willows and greenery. Here’s that gorgeous shot in Waterlogue.