One of my personal favorite categories on the Braiden Blossoms website is one I call Floral Color Blocks, for lack of a more imaginative term. Floral Color Blocks are masses of flowers in rectangular shapes “painted” in the Waterlogue app. To me, they could almost be printed on paper and/or fabric and made into notecards and/or pillowcases. Hey, a girl can dream!
Sometimes I sit and stare at a Floral Color Block, allowing myself to fall into the colors and textures as though they were a soothing visual pillow.
So this week, Week Twenty-Two of the Bouquet-a-Week Project, instead of following my usual formula of purchasing a bouquet at the Pike Place Market and rearranging it using new combinations of flowers, vases, and decorative fillers, I present some of my favorite Floral Color Blocks.
I hope you enjoy these “visual pillows” as much as I do!
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been editing the photos from our recent cruise and really enjoying spending quality time with the 1,758 images I captured. I took 945 in the British Isles and 813 in Iceland, so there is plenty to work with! In that vein, during Week Twenty-One I wanted to take a break from the official Bouquet-a-Week Project concept (rearranging Pike Place Market bouquets) and instead share some of my favorite trip photos with you.
We spent a couple of days at the venerable Savoy Hotel in London before our cruise departed from Dover. The Savoy is within easy walking distance of Covent Garden, a photographer’s dream (the perfect place to snap trip photos!) thanks to numerous outdoor vendors, entertainers, restaurants, and happy visitors that frequent the place.
I took two floral-related shots, then “painted” them using the Waterlogue app.
The lobby of The Savoy boasts towering formal flower arrangement. They are simply breathtaking for the sheer number of blossoms and their unparalleled beauty. So veddy, veddy British!
Even if you aren’t staying in the hotel, it is worth a visit just to get a gander at The Savoy lobby’s bounteous bouquets, all of which offer intriguing possibilities for trip photos.
Below are several different images “painted” in the four modes of the Waterlogue app that I like to work in–Natural, Vibrant, Bold, and Color Bloom.
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.
In Week Seventeen of the Bouquet-a-Week Project, I returned to my tried-and-true formula of buying a prearranged Pike Place Market bouquet, then rearranging it using my own vases and decorative fillers.
This was a very special week since we had just returned from 21 days out of the office, during which we enjoyed a cruise from Dover, England, to Reykjavik, Iceland. It was an amazing journey during which I took hundreds of photos. I can’t wait to start editing and posting the best images on this website for you to enjoy!
We returned from our trip with renewed energy and vigor–refreshed, relaxed, and rarin’ to go.
I bought the Week Seventeen bouquet from one of my long-time favorite farmers who sells in the first section of the Market’s Main Arcade. I was drawn to this lush bouquet, rife with white, plus several different shades of pink peonies; sweet-pea sprigs vibrant purple-and-yellow irises; shrubbery yellow crest; fresh mint; and pretty greenery.
Here is the fresh bouquet of Pike Place Market flowers that cost $15.
And here is the same bouquet “painted” using the Waterlogue app in “Natural” mode.
This was not only a visually opulent bouquet, but it smelled great, too! The frilly peonies oozed a rich aroma, while the scent from the sweet peas was milder and less complex. The fresh mint sprigs provided a sharp top note. I didn’t know whether to arrange this bouquet or simply smell it!
This week, instead of posting Pike Place Market flowers “painted” using the Waterlogue app, we are taking a bit of a diversion to display what I refer to as “Color Blocks.” Color Blocks are portions of formal flower arrangements that I photograph, then “paint” in Waterlogue.
I find these formal flower arrangements at my health club, where I work out twice a week. But you can find similar formal flower arrangements in office and hotel lobbies, flower shops, and perhaps even in your own home (if you’re lucky!).
If the half-dozen images that follow resonate with you, you can find more in the Color Blocks section of this website.
Last week I announced that I would be taking a couple of weeks out of the office to refresh and rejuvenate. And, since I wouldn’t be around to buy fresh Pike Place Market flowers, I began to post some of my favorite “leftovers” (bouquets that didn’t make it into earlier posts) for you to enjoy.
So during Week Fifteen we’ll continue along that path with seven “leftover” bouquets featuring flowers I purchased at the Market, then “painted” in the Waterlogue app. I hope you enjoy them!
Here are several lively yellow and red tulips in a multi-stripe vase.
These draping pink and white tulips look ethereal in a clear curved vase.
This arrangement, with its dramatic lighting and black and white colors, reminds me of a Spanish flamenco dancer!
The big, bright faces of these peach tulips make me smile.
These ruffly pale daffodils look gorgeous framed in greenery and positioned in a green glass vase with a few sprigs of draping bear grass.
Two tulips and red “feathers” in a clear glass vase are fetching.
Here is a sparse, but eye-catching arrangement, in a contemporary glass vase I bought at a Christmas Market in Germany.
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.