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.
It was May Day, which also happened to be the official launch date of this website! My labor of love, which I had been working on since January, had finally come to fruition and I was ready to share it with the world.
At nine o’clock that morning, I had sent out a Constant Contact newsletter to my subscriber list that resulted in many congratulatory emails and positive feedback. Hooray!
To celebrate, I headed to the Pike Place Market for my weekly flower haul. Still under the spell of the monochromatic bouquets I had created during Week Eleven, I decided to try that concept again, but with darker-colored blossoms.
Once inside the Main Arcade, at the very first farmer’s stand, I spotted some deep-pink, almost purple peonies at the very first stall. The fluffy heads appealed not only because of their dense, lush petals, but because I hadn’t yet worked with peonies this spring.
I asked the flower farmer, a congenial man who aimed to please, for four of those blossoms, which cost $2.50 apiece. Next I spotted some dark-burgundy tulips with spiky petals that I knew would coordinate with the peonies and asked for six of those. Finally, some “parrot” tulips with red petals and green stripes caught my eye.
The tulips cost $10 a dozen, so I had reached the $20 maximum for my weekly flower budget.
The affable farmer, Eric Santos, insisted on creating a bouquet, even though I explained that I was heading right home to create my own designs. He wanted to trim the stems of the blossoms, but I told him to just leave them like they were. Here is the lovely bouquet he offered to me.
Here are the raw flowers from that celebratory Tuesday afternoon.
And here is that same jaw-dropping bouquet “painted” in Waterlogue.
The moment I saw it among my collection of vases, I knew I had found the perfect vessel to display the spiky burgundy tulips and greenery. Talk about color-coordinated!
The “parrot” tulips didn’t need much to highlight them, so I chose a clear glass vase and smooth black stones.
I saved the four peonies for Week Twelve’s smaller bouquets. Here is a dashing trio with a clear glass cylinder flanked by my beloved Buddha vases.
And here is the same photo with the addition of the fourth small bouquet (green vase). There was hardly enough room on the etagere to make them all fit!
I followed my now-predictable pattern of buying Pike Place Market flowers late on a Thursday afternoon. But this week I decided to follow the previous week’s initial idea of a monochromatic bouquet.
Bound and determined, I headed to the Market and spotted some gorgeous “parrot” tulips that were mainly white, but with green markings. On the other side of the flower farmer’s stand stood tall, pristine white tulips that I knew would pair perfectly with the parrot tulips.
Here are the raw tulips from Week Eleven.
And here are those same tulips “painted” in Waterlogue.
I busily set about figuring out the best vases for such pure and majestic blossoms and decided that stark black would form a fitting contrast.
Here is the first major bouquet I created during Week Eleven.
As an experiment, I took the same shot in the late afternoon on a sunny day, known to photographers as the “golden hour.” I was really pleased with the moody shadows that led to such a dramatic result.
Returning to brighter lighting, here is another major Week Eleven bouquet in an all-time favorite vase. The small stand is something new that I picked up for $1 (!) a few weekends ago at the annual Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival at Seattle Center. I’m sure you’ll be seeing the stand in many upcoming photos.
As an interesting contrast, here is the same bouquet, but with the two white tulips after the blooms were fully opened. I love this “fluffy” look (in which the tulips look more like magnolias) almost as much as the more austere tulips above. Both bouquets display the Japanese concept of minimalist flower arranging, called Ikebana.
But this was only the beginning. With so many beautiful blossoms at my disposal, it was now time to begin working on the smaller bouquets, starting with my lovely blue Buddha vase, a former sake bottle (!).
And here is a bouquet in my pink Buddha vase.
Another favorite vase, which curves so gracefully and makes any flower look sexy.
To finish off Week Eleven with a bang, here is a trio of smaller bouquets to enjoy.
Just before I went to the Pike Place Market on a Thursday afternoon, I read an article on flower arranging that really got me thinking. The article said that monochromatic flower bouquets are quite the rage, so I went to the Market with thoughts of choosing flowers all of the same color.
It was the first day the cruise ships were in port and the Market was packed with tourists ooh-ing and aah-ing the colorful displays of fruits and vegetables as well as the intrepid fishmongers tossing salmon skyward at Pike Place Fish under the Market clock.
I muscled my way through the mass of humanity, intent on purchasing flowers in a single color.
But, once I arrived, there were SO many gorgeous pre-made flower bouquets that I decided to shift course and choose one of those.
It was a very tough decision as the colors and variety were almost overwhelming. It was not only the beginning of the summer tourist season, but the beginning of the height of the flower season as well.
Here is the original $20 bouquet with raw flowers.
Here are the major bouquets I designed during Week Ten. This is a gorgeous vase that we received as a gift—it almost looks like something by Lalique with sculptured front and back panels and an embossed silver band around the base. It is also quite heavy and the tulips seemed to love their new home!
In the second major bouquet from Week Ten, I used a simple glass vase filled about a quarter of the way with clear glass marbles in the base. Ruffly daffodils and parrot tulips stand at attention, their stems interwoven in a graceful V.
The final major bouquet is a stunning contrast in black and deep pink with a single magnolia branch left over from Week Nine. The branch adds a graceful ikebana touch.
Here are photos of the smaller bouquets. The pink and blue Buddha vases on either side are among my favorite vessels!
The small red-and-clear-glass vase with the single tulip is so dramatic.
I went a bit wild in Week Nine, deciding to buy flowers early in the day and hoping to get to the Pike Place Market earlier than usual.
But the work gods didn’t cooperate, and I didn’t make it to the Market until close to 5 p.m. on a chilly Thursday afternoon when I wasn’t even sure many flower farmers would still be there.
But thank heavens, several hearty farmers were still creating bouquets and happily hawking their wares under the Market Clock.
I walked up and down the aisle in the Main Arcade, comparing and contrasting the pre-made bouquets. But, unlike in weeks past, nothing really caught my eye.
Instead, I spotted a white-plastic bucket jam-packed with spiky purple tulips and another that contained ruffly daffodils with tiny heads.
Upon closer inspection, I realized that the there were two or three small daffodils on each stem. Quickly, I asked for 10 of them, along with six of the purple tulips.
The rather unfriendly farmer (I think she wanted to go home–and who could blame her, it was cold and late, after all) handed me my flowers and asked for $11.
Right next to that farmer, I saw another woman with a bucket full of beautiful branches that I thought might be from a dogwood tree. But the delicate flowers were pale yellow, and I’d never seen a yellow dogwood. When I inquired, the farmer said they were branches from a magnolia tree, my late mother’s favorite. I asked for one branch, which cost all of $3.
I felt like a queen as I walked along First Avenue to our condo with two bouquets in hand that cost a grand total of $14. When I got home, I realized that, consciously or subconsciously, I had chosen blossoms in my husband’s and my favorite colors (yellow and purple, respectively).
Here are the raw flowers from that wild Week Nine.
And here are the flowers “painted” using the Waterlogue app.
Here is one of the major bouquets I created that week using only three of the spiky purple tulips and the magnolia blossom. To me, this bouquet is the essence of the principal of ikebana.
Here is the same bouquet, after one of the tulips had broken in the middle and (oh, so sadly) had to be pulled out and reused in a smaller bouquet. Since the base photo was taken at night, the background became all dark and moody, with intriguing shadows at the top.
This bouquet (which really isn’t so much a bouquet as the positioning of two of the purple tulips in a vase!) is so sexy. I love it when my tulips behave just as I want them.
Here are the same two tulips in a tall “vase” that was originally a water bottle (!). It isn’t nearly as sexy, but fun to see how different it is than the arrangement above.
And here are some of the smaller bouquets from Week Nine that make use of the gorgeous multi-headed daffodils and pussy willows (left over from a prior week).
Here is the vase that I most often use in our bedroom since shelf space is limited. I am a new convert to these double- and triple-headed daffodils and plan to seek them out next time I’m at the Market.
Have you ever had that experience where you walk by a storefront and realize that something just caught your eye? You think about it for a moment, then just know that you have to go back and find out more about the object in question.
That happened to me on a recent Sunday-afternoon stroll down First Avenue in downtown Seattle. We walk there often since it is part of our neighborhood, which is known as the “West Edge” because it is on the western edge of the city adjacent to Elliott Bay.
The store in question was Design Within Reach, a long-time favorite. We have purchased everything from flatware to bath towels and even our living-room sofa there over the years!
The object that caught my eye was a vase with a clear-glass bottom and a brass circle rising from the center. Various dried flowers stuck up from the holes in the brass circle forming a pleasing pattern.
Once inside, the salesperson informed me it was Design Within Reach’s brand-new “Ikebana Vase.” Imagine my delight to learn that a principal I often use in my flower arranging (ikebana) was now incorporated into an actual vase sold by one of my favorite retailers.
I learned that the vase comes in a large size (like the one in the window) and a smaller one. Knowing I would want to photograph the vase on our metal etagere (where I take many of my flower photos for posting on the Braiden Blossoms blog), I chose the smaller version because I knew it would fit better and be a better scale for the space.
According to the Design Within Reach website, the vase was designed in 2016 by a young Spaniard, Jaime Hayon. Ikebana is Japanese for “making flowers live,” and Mr. Hayon designed the vase to “honor your flowers from top to bottom.”
In other words, unlike more conventional vessels, the Ikebana Vase honors the whole flower and not just the crown.
The two drilled plates are made of stainless steel covered with brass. They will scratch and age and develop a rich patina over time.
The brass plates are designed for exact positioning of each blossom (in order to create precise arrangements).
I was sad when the salesperson informed me that there was no small vase I could take home with me that day. Rather, as has become customary with many retailers in the modern world, my merchandise would have to be ordered from the Design Within Reach warehouse in Kentucky.
The salesperson said the delivery would take five to seven business days. Disappointed, but excited to see the Ikebana Vase whenever it arrived, I put my new purchase out of my mind.
Several days later, on the Saturday before Easter, I got notice that a package had arrived at our condominium’s front desk. When I saw that the big box was from Design Within Reach, I got really excited and hurried to cut it open.
The Ikebana Vase itself came in a gorgeous robin’s-egg blue box, similar to those from Tiffany & Co. A good beginning!
The glass base was thick, well formed, and beautifully crystal clear. It reminded me of a giant camera lens. The brass circle insert where the flowers would stand was easy to put together and felt strong and solid as I carefully positioned it in the base of the vase.
Luckily, I had some fresh pink tulips on hand that I knew would work well in my new vase. Here is the photo of the fresh tulips in the new vase.
I could hardly wait to “paint” my original photo using my beloved Waterlogue app. Here is that image in Waterlogue’s Vibrant mode.
On a Thursday morning during Week Eight, I asked my darling husband to bring home a dozen tulips of his choosing from the Pike Place Market. This is always a dicey prospect as I have no idea what varieties and colors he’ll choose. But since we usually agree on similar aesthetics, I was ever hopeful.
As usual, he did a great job. When he rang the doorbell and thrust a butcher-paper-wrapped bouquet into my hands, I discovered 12 tightly closed tulips in six primary and pastel colors: pale-pink, orange-red, orange-red with a black center, purple “parrot” tulips (those with alluring ruffly petals), plain yellow, and plain-yellow “parrot” tulips. Here are the raw tulips from Week Eight:
And here are the tulips “painted” using the Waterlogue app.
For one of my major flower arrangements, I chose sea-glass decorative filler and an apple-blossom stalk left over from Week Seven.
Another major arrangement, made using my favorite Asian celadon vase, employed two of the left-over apple blossoms and two beguiling yellow tulips. I love how the flowers curve perfectly. Thanks, tulips!
In addition to the two major bouquets I created that week, I was able to design six smaller arrangements. I place these smaller bouquets on my desk, beside the double vanities in our bathroom, in our bedroom, and in our foyer.
Here are those “baby” bouquets, starting with a gorgeous purple tulip, greenery, and a single pussy-willow branch. Mea culpa: the greenery and pussy willow were left over from bouquets purchased two or three weeks ago. But the waxy leaves and branches seem to stay alive forever, so why not make use of them?
Here’s another simple, clear vase, but with one of the orange-red tulips and greenery.
The third variation features another orange-red tulip, but in an Asian-inspired black vase.
To finish with a bang, here are several of the smaller vases shot in groupings of three.
Week Seven started off with a bang when I went to the Pike Place Market and bought a pre-arranged bouquet for $20 from one of the long-time flower farmers who sets up her stand under the famous Market clock.
This bouquet really caught my eye, thanks to the apple blossoms and gorgeous pink camellia at its center. It also included four pale, ruffly daffodils and eight tulips in white and pale pink. My idea of heaven!
Here is a photo of the fresh blossoms.
And here is my favorite shot of the fresh blossoms after I “painted” them in the Waterlogue app.
I felt like a kid in a candy shop with such a bounty of fresh blossoms to play with. From 14 flowers and lots of greenery, I created three major bouquets and three smaller ones.
Here is my favorite among the major bouquets. It is the essence of ikebana, the Japanese art of minimalist flower arranging.
Here is another arrangement I am very proud of. I love how the tulips drape so effortlessly and sensuously across the curves of the clear-glass vase backlighted in a neon shade of backlight.
Here is the third major bouquet from Week Seven. The tulips were being very cooperative as they all stood up (fairly) straight and aligned perfectly. A rarity!
In addition to the three major bouquets, I was able to craft a trio of smaller arrangements from the big pre-made bouquet. I place these in our bathroom (one on each side of the double vanity) and another on the stand-up desk in my office.
This perfect single pink camellia reminds me of my mother, who used to raise camellias when I was growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. How she got these Southern-region flowers to survive there is beyond me. She also nurtured several young magnolia trees in our front yard until they towered over the dwarf Japanese Maple trees.
Three of the pale, lacy daffodils and some greenery fit perfectly with this green-glass vase that I got as a child when our family took a car trip from my hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Williamsburg, Virginia.
This single camellia looks gorgeous in my cobalt Buddha vase.
Week Six of the Bouquet-a-Week Project brought a new twist on the original theme. Instead of buying a pre-made bouquet from one of the flower farmers at the Pike Place Market, or hand-picking 15 or 20 tulips, I limited myself to just 12 blooms.
It was an intriguing challenge–how many bouquets and what sorts of arrangements would 12 tulips produce?
As I have done over the past few weeks, I purchased this week’s fresh tulips at Alm Hill Gardens.
This long-time Market farmer has deep roots (so to speak) in the region’s farm-to-table and Slow Flower movement, having farmed near Bellingham, Washington, (in the far northern part of the state) since the 1970s.
Here is the Waterlogued “painting” of the bevy of beautiful blossoms.
I divided the tulips by color and decided that the dramatic combination of red and yellow would form a harmonious whole with a glossy, Asian-leaning black vase. A single pussy-willow stem adds a touch of Spring in the first major bouquet of Week Six.
This was the second large bouquet I created during Week Six. If you look carefully, you will see two white tulips on either side. I love how the Waterlogue app blows then out, so you have to use your imagination to fill in the blanks and figure out what they might look like.
A single pink tulip and arching pussy-willow stems and bear grass make a simple, but elegant statement. These smaller bouquets are the ones that sit on my desk, in our bathroom, and in the bedroom.
I took a few of the cool “feathers” and some greenery left over from the Week Five bouquet and merged them with a single red tulip. A vivid turquoise Buddha vase contrasts nicely.
The drooping petal on the right side was imperfect, but I kind of liked it because it looked vaguely like an open mouth. Imperfection is an important concept in flower-arranging. At first (years ago), I tried to keep my tulips upright with all the usual tricks, such as placing a penny in the water.
But more recently, I have embraced drooping tulips and those that grow wildly toward the light, almost as if they are alive. This concept of imperfection, or Wabi-Sabi, is well-known in Japanese culture.
Another bright-blue vase with a more structured shape was the perfect “home” for a yellow tulip, red “feathers,” and some left-over tulip leaves. This is a cool new trick I have discovered these past six weeks. . .save the long, unblemished leaves you pull off the bases of your tulips and re-use them in your arrangements for instant–and free–greenery!
I bought this contemporary glass vase at a Christmas Market in Germany last year. It is the perfect size for a single bloom and a few pieces of greenery.