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.
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.