Week Eighteen: Fresh Pike Place Market Flowers in Waterlogue

Week Eighteen: The Bouquet-a-Week Project

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.

Week Eighteen: Fresh Pike Place Market Flowers
Week Eighteen: Fresh Pike Place Market Flowers

And here is the bouquet “painted” in Waterlogue.

Week Eighteen: Fresh Pike Place Market Flowers in Waterlogue
Week Eighteen: Fresh Pike Place Market Flowers 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.

Week Eighteen: White and Deep Pink Peonies in a Purple Terracotta Vase
Week Eighteen: White and Deep Pink Peonies in a Purple Ceramic Vase

I have never used this rustic clay vase, but orange Asiatic lilies and purple-and-yellow irises fit it perfectly.

Week Eighteen: White and Deep-Pink Peonies in a Terracotta Vase
Week Eighteen: White and Deep-Pink Peonies in a Terracotta Vase

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.

Week Eighteen: Sweet Peas in a Clear Green Vase
Week Eighteen: Sweet Peas in a Clear Green Vase

An ikebana-inspired design using my favorite “jelly-bean” vase features deep-pink peonies and the above-mentioned Perennial Cornflowers.

Week Eighteen: Deep Pink Peonies and Perennial Cornflowers in the Jelly-Bean Vase
Week Eighteen: Deep Pink Peonies and Perennial Cornflowers in the Jelly-Bean Vase

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.

Week Eighteen: Spindly Periwinkle-Blue Flowers in a Back-Lighted Clear Vase
Week Eighteen: Spindly Periwinkle-Blue Cornflowers in a Back-Lighted Clear Vase

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 Eighteen: Three Small Bouquets
Week Eighteen: Three Small Bouquets
Week Seventeen: Fresh Pike Place Market Flowers in Waterlogue

The Bouquet-a-Week Project: Week Seventeen

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.

Week Seventeen: Fresh Pike Place Market Flowers
Week Seventeen: Fresh Pike Place Market Flowers

And here is the same bouquet “painted” using the Waterlogue app in “Natural” mode.

Week Seventeen: Fresh Pike Place Market Flowers in Waterlogue
Week Seventeen: Fresh Pike Place Market Flowers in Waterlogue

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!

But I knew that the irises and the shrubby yellow crest would look fabulous in my ikebana vase. I was unfamiliar with the yellow crest, but figured out what it was thanks to the wonderful PlantSnap plant identifier application).

Week Seventeen: Purple Irises and Shrubby Yellow Crest in My Ikebana Vase
Week Seventeen: Purple Irises and Shrubby Yellow Crest in My Ikebana Vase

Here is the same arrangement shot from a different angle.

Week Seventeen: Purple Irises and Shrubby Yellow Crest in My Ikebana Vase Version Two
Week Seventeen: Purple Irises and Shrubby Yellow Crest in My Ikebana Vase Version Two

Three of the peonies formed a fluffy contrast to the stark lines of this black lacquer vase.

Week Seventeen: White and Pink Peonies in a Black Lacquer Vase
Week Seventeen: White and Pink Peonies in a Black Lacquer Vase

This is the another side of the same arrangement.

Week Seventeen: Pale Pink and Dark Pink Peonies in a Black Lacquer Vase
Week Seventeen: Pale Pink and Dark Pink Peonies in a Black Lacquer Vase

And here is one more view. I can’t decide which one I prefer!

Week Seventeen: Dark Pink, Light Pink, and White Peonies in a Black Lacquer Vase
Week Seventeen: Dark Pink, Light Pink, and White Peonies in a Black Lacquer Vase

A neon-pink peony and an stark white one, plus a stalk of fresh mint, looks stunning in this celadon vase, which started life in an Asian grocery as a vessel for a funky Chinese wine.

Week Seventeen: A Single White and Pink Peony in Celadon Asian Vase
Week Seventeen: A Single White and Pink Peony in Celadon Asian Vase

Two medium-pink peonies and a mint stalk look jaunty in this turquoise Buddha vase.

Week Seventeen: Pink Peonies in a Clear Turquoise Vase
Week Seventeen: Pink Peonies in a Clear Turquoise Vase

Here are the three small vases that decorate the double vanities in our bathroom and the TV shelf in our bedroom. They are composed of sweet peas, shrubby yellow crest, and mint stalks.

Week Seventeen: Three Small Vases With Mint, Sweet Peas, and Shrubby Yellow Crest
Week Seventeen: Three Small Vases With Mint, Sweet Peas, and Shrubby Yellow Crest

A second collection of small-vase arrangements.

Week Seventeen: Three Small Vases With Mint, Sweet Peas, and Shrubby Yellow Crest Version Two
Week Seventeen: Three Small Vases With Mint, Sweet Peas, and Shrubby Yellow Crest Version Two

A single sweet-pea stalk and gorgeous greenery look stunning in this simple clear-green vase.

Week Seventeen: Single White Sweet Pea and Leaves in a Clear Green Vase
Week Seventeen: Single White Sweet Pea and Leaves in a Clear Green Vase

This is my new favorite vase, purchased during our cruise at The Jetty Gallery in Oban, Scotland, from the gallery’s knowledgeable owner, Annie Mackenzie.

The vase is tiny–just 1 7/8 inches tall–and exquisitely painted in pale gray. It looks stunning on this stand I bought at this spring’s Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival at Seattle Center.

Week Seventeen: Tiny Flowers and Leaves in Miniature Porcelain Vase
Week Seventeen: Tiny Flowers and Leaves in Miniature Porcelain Vase

Here is the same shot in the “Bold” mode of Waterlogue. I love how the flowers painted on the stand “pop” so beautifully.

Week Seventeen: Tiny Flowers and Leaves in Miniature Porcelain Vase Version Two
Week Seventeen: Tiny Flowers and Leaves in Miniature Porcelain Vase Version Two
Week Twelve: Four Small Bouquets

The Bouquet-a-Week Project: Week Twelve

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.

Week Twelve: Santos Farm Stand
Week Twelve: Santos Farm Stand

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.

Week Twelve: Eric Santos, Co-Owner of Santos Farm Stand in the Pike Place Market
Week Twelve: Eric Santos, Co-Owner of Santos Farm Stand in the Pike Place Market

Here are the raw flowers from that celebratory Tuesday afternoon.

Week Twelve: Fresh Pike Place Market Flowers
Week Twelve: Fresh Pike Place Market Flowers

And here is that same jaw-dropping bouquet “painted” in Waterlogue.

Week Twelve: Fresh Pike Place Market Tulips in Waterlogue
Week Twelve: Fresh Pike Place Market Tulips 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!

Week Twelve: Spiky Burgundy Tulips in a Burgundy and Black Vase
Week Twelve: Spiky Burgundy Tulips in a Burgundy and Black Vase

The “parrot” tulips didn’t need much to highlight them, so I chose a clear glass vase and smooth black stones.

Week Twelve: Six Burgundy and Green Parrot Tulips in a Clear Glass Vase
Week Twelve: Six Burgundy and Green Parrot Tulips in a Clear Glass Vase

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.

Week Twelve: Three Small Bouquets
Week Twelve: Three Small Bouquets

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!

Week Twelve: Four Small Bouquets
Week Twelve: Four Small Bouquets