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!