Archive for the ‘flowers’ Category
January 23, 2012 in flowers
A few years ago I bought a basic glass hyacinth bulb holder which I use every year, placing it on my mantlepiece. Since then I have collected a couple more and always love the way the roots grow in the water and the interesting patterns they form before the plant has flowered. The bulb simply sits in the neck of the water-filled vase, acting as a stopper so the water rarely needs topping up.
This year I bought a bag of bulbs at my local B&Q garden centre which contained many more bulbs than I had traditional vases for. I began thinking, what could I use as alternative vessels to sit the bulbs in? I love seeing the roots growing and it is important that the bulb rests on the water and not in it, so I scoured my cupboards and placed bulbs in the necks of milk bottles, on tea light candle holders, old jam jars and vintage glass and waited to see what would happen. I included one of my bulb root experiments in a shot for Heart Home magazine where I placed a bulb in the neck of a piece of chemistry equipment I had bought at my local car boot fair – a tall glass measuring cylinder where the numbers had long since rubbed off.
In these photos some of the bulbs had grown roots for a few weeks and others were freshly placed bulbs with no root growth at that time. I like clustering the vases together in a group for extra visual impact.
Most of the hyacinths bloomed, although I don’t really mind if they don’t as the visual patterns the roots create make me happy. My plants are usually a little stunted and not tall like the ones I would buy at the florists but I still think they are beautiful. I’m sure there is a way of making them grow taller but I haven’t discovered the technique yet.
After the first batch have flowered you can begin again, placing a new bulb in fresh water and plant the others in the garden for the following year. I have just started on my second batch and next year I might experiment with different flower types too and see what happens.
December 16, 2011 in diy craft projects, flowers, interior styling
Why not turn simple clear glass baubles into mini vases and display beautiful little clippings of flora and fauna?
Here is Part 2 of my recent collaboration with talented photographer Uli Schade. We removed the metal tops from these Paperchase baubles by gently squeezing and pulling them off then added some water and pushed in the pretty and appropriate, pale green Christmas Rose flower (Helleborus niger) and a little Spruce fir tree cutting. We added just a touch of water so as not to make the baubles too heavy and used tweezers to position the foliage and ensure the flower faced upwards.
Natural string is used as ties and little offcuts of orange ribbon from VV Rouleaux add a vibrant pop of colour. You can add more water as it dries out or replace the flowers if they deteriorate. When packing the baubles away, remove the metal hangers, tip the water away and use tweezers to remove the foliage. Then rinse, leave to dry then replace the top and pack away for another year.
Another simple idea to make your Christmas decorations something different this year.
Pop back for part 3 in the next few days.
November 23, 2011 in flowers
After the lovely comments on my Fluro Flora post I thought I would post a couple more images that I took while I was in the mood for experimenting with paint. As a contrast to the fluorescent I had also tried a powder blue, just a tester pot of emulsion I had in the shed. I picked a dead head of a climbing Hydrangea that grows up the fence in my garden and thought the blues would go well against the neutral browns of the dried flowers.
I played with scale again, using a miniature dolls house place setting with an old recipe book cover as a table. The book belonged to my husband’s grandmother and is called ‘Radiation Cooking’ which sounds rather worrying but it was first published in 1927 and is just recipes for oven cookers with automatic heat controllers which were the new fangled technology of the time.
November 13, 2011 in flowers, my london
This morning we hopped in the car and headed over to East London to one of my favourite places, Columbia Road, for the weekly flower market. I don’t think I’ve been since my daughter was born so it was a treat to visit. It was a beautifully crisp, sunny November morning perfect for wandering with the family, bantering with the market traders and looking in all the arty, handmade and vintage shops and stalls that line the road and the streets around it.
There are so many independent, creative, quirky shops over there it’s always a pleasure to visit. I bumped into lovely Emily Chalmers of Caravan, popped into Rob Ryan‘s shop, nipped round the corner to Ally Capellino, Luna & Curious and Leila’s Shop then on to SCP on Curtain Road.
Among my fresh, floral purchases I couldn’t resist a bunch of my favourite roses – Amnesia. I love its delicate, dusky pink with tones of green and brown coming through. Just gorgeous with a vintage but stylish feel.
Columbia Road flower market is every Sunday from 8am to 3pm, though get there early as it gets very busy.
I couldn’t resist taking a few photos when I got home. A perfect Sunday outing.
October 31, 2011 in flowers, news
I was playing around with scale and visual relationships between objects when I took this photo. I love that at first glance you think this is a full size pumpkin and the toy must be bigger, but then you realise it’s on a page from an old novel which means it must be small and it suddenly doesn’t make sense. What size is everything?
It’s a mini pumpkin, the size of an orange, and the horse is the size of your thumbnail!
Happy Halloween everyone!
October 25, 2011 in flowers
I use my camera for sketching ideas like I do with pencil and paper. Just playing and experimenting with objects and visuals that have popped into my head and thoughts for future ideas and projects in my work. These pictures were sparked off by my previous post where I had stitched fluorescent berries onto my embroidered design. It gave me the idea to play games with nature and add neon colour pops to real sprigs of berries and hydrangeas picked from the garden, just to see how it looked. I thought I would share my photo sketches with you as they are the beginning of ideas that will undoubtedly be developed and taken in new directions.
I don’t think I would want to do this to a whole bunch of bought flowers at home but the flowers and berries I used were straight from my small London garden – it is amazing what you can find once you start looking. A small sprig treated in this way would be perfect for a dinner party, with a small arrangement by each place setting, or on wedding tables as decoration. It adds an unusual little surprise and warrants closer inspection. I used acrylic paint and a small paintbrush to add the colour and glued pink leaves cut from felt. Painting is easiest on pale flowers like the white hydrangea but darker coloured flowers and berries work too, they just need a couple of coats of paint.
August 2, 2011 in flowers
I took these photos back in the Spring, just playing around with with my camera for half an hour and seeing how graphic it looked with the white against some of my monochrome prints and a little black vase. The little pop of yellow from the stamens giving it that added lift. I find I swing back to bold and graphic when i’ve been working on colourful, pretty things and need that contrast to balance things out.
The flower is a from a Clematis that I have grown up the front of our house over the last five years. Each flower is about 15cms/5 or 6 inches across and every Spring it looks amazing as dozens of the huge blooms come out and fill the wall next to my front door. It makes me happy to have that welcoming sight when I return home.
July 19, 2011 in diy craft projects, flowers
This is a very simple idea that can transform a simple vase into something unique and individual to you and your home. The great thing is it isn’t permanent and you can change it to suit your room and decor as you wish.
First step is to raid your fabric box. You could choose similar tones as I have here, or mix them up and go a little bonkers with your fabric choices with patterns and bright colours to match your flower arrangements. If you have any fabric leftovers from other projects then that can work well, matching your vase to a cushion in your lounge or a throw on your bed for instance. All the fabrics I used here are leftovers from other projects so match things I have all around the house which makes the vases versatile.
I then raided my kitchen cupboards and chose a variety of sizes of vase and I also used ordinary column drinking glasses which are perfect too. It works best if they have an even column or rectangular shape as they are easier to wrap (shaped or conical vases are trickier). They are all simple, classic glass vases that I have bought over the years from places like Ikea, Habitat and Sainsbury’s.
To wrap them, measure the height and circumference of your vase. I use a fabric tape measure for this, wrapping it around the vase or glass and adding 10mm – 20mm for the overlap. This will give you the dimensions you need to cut out a rectangular piece of fabric that will wrap around with a little bit of an overlap to help fix it on.
Place some double-sided sticky tape along each short edge of the fabric. Peel off the backing of one strip and stick this to the glass, then wrap the fabric around and stick the other end down back on to the fabric where it was first fixed.
If you like, wrap some string or ribbon around the middle and your new look vase is complete, just add water and flowers!
It works for all sizes of vase – as long as you have enough fabric!
I wrapped string around this one in a similar way to the candle gift idea I posted a couple of months ago.
All of the flowers and leaves in the photos above are just picked from my garden but you could easily choose a fabric to go with a wonderful bouquet of fresh flowers.
You have to be a little careful when filling and emptying the vases not to get the fabric too wet or get dirty flower water down them, but mine have remained really quite clean. If this does happen you can easily peel the fabric off and wash it or try a different fabric for a new look. The sticky residue from the tape can usually be scrubbed off with soapy water but if it won’t budge then a turps-based solvent or white spirit can help remove it if you want to return it to its original look.
It works for large vases too and can be a great way to hide unsightly stems.
A quick and simple idea that allows you to match your vases to your decor and that costs next to nothing!
June 15, 2011 in flowers, news
Although I have worked with lots of amazing photographers, I think this may be the first time I’ve seen one of my own photos in print! I was very flattered when The Sunday Telegraph contacted me to ask if they could use one of the photos from my recent Forget-me-not post.
Anne Cuthbertson wrote in her piece ‘A nostalgic return: remember forget-me-nots’:
“The forget-me-nots have been the biggest surprise [in her garden]. They were nowhere to be found when I moved in, but this spring, tiny blue flowers have been frolicking along the base of the greenhouse and the ancient yew and through the borders. I have always considered it a childhood flower – sweetly nostalgic but, like buttercups. an uncontrollable nuisance. But so stunning is the frothy baby-blue bank that I am converted.
“I am not alone. The interiors stylist Sania Pell posted the most beautiful “bloom in miniature” pictures of forget-me-nots on her blog (www.saniapell.com) recently. She writes “to me forget-me-not conjures up old-fashioned love letters and romantic messages”.
Anne went on to write “Forget-me-nots also made rare appearances at the Chelsea Flower Show… Eyeing the show gardens I realised my shabby garden had stumbled into chic.”
Big thank yous to Anne for mentioning me in her lovely article and also to Rona from Flowerona for pointing her in my direction.
To read my original Forget-me-not post click here.
P.S. The graphic floral mug in the photo is one that I hand painted at a ceramics cafe a few years ago.
June 12, 2011 in flowers, food
I seem to be obsessed with miniature plants and flowers at the moment and I photographed these little wild strawberries that I’ve been growing in my garden. Like my Forget-me-nots, these mini strawberry plants also came from my parents’ garden a few years ago. They grow happily everywhere, little off shoots creeping onto other bits of soil, the runners creating new plants where ever they touch.
My children love the little plants and tiny flowers and watch them closely from when they begin to flower in April and change from charming little flowers to these sweet little strawberries by May and June. They watch and learn about plants, without realising, and then harvest the tiny crop, eating them straight from the plant. When the children were really small they used to run out into the garden every morning and see if any had ripened overnight and nibble them up before the snails got to them. They are still intrigued by the mininess, the novelty of such a small version to the larger ones everybody knows.
This little vintage vase was given to me by my mother and is an absolute favourite of mine, I love the way it mimicks a little strawberry, it has a certain charm but also a graphic quality. The wonky plate it’s sitting on is one that I made by rolling out a handful of white, air-drying Das clay on a chopping board and then cutting the shape out with a sharp knife. I left it to dry and then sanded down the edges with an emery board to a smooth finish. The typed card in the background was bought at a most wonderful book shop in Notting Hill, Lutyens & Rubinstein.
The wild has been tamed in my tiny London garden with tiny strawberries loved by tiny children.
May 24, 2011 in flowers, interior styling
The fabulous annual Chelsea Flower Show starts today, but what I wanted to show here is that you don’t always need to buy lots of fancy flowers and that you can make something little from your garden look really quite sweet.
I picked and photographed these Forget-me-nots over the Easter weekend when they had just bloomed. These came from my tiny London garden but my plants were originally a donation from my parents’ garden in the countryside, where so many were growing that I was able dig up and transfer a few. I love that they are so commonly found and that tiny arrangements like these can be made really easily to display in your home. I love the soft blues with the little pop of yellow at their centre.
To me, the name Forget-me-not conjours up old fashioned love letters and romantic messages, so in this little shoot I wanted to reference this. I included some old typed envelopes, letters, a key and a note book that I bought at car boot sales. The little glass vase is a recent purchase from Designer’s Guild and is one from a set of six, the handmade saucer with blue flower print I bought a while back at The Hambledon shop in Winchester (I’ve been trying to remember who it is by, I should know but I just can’t think – does anyone know?) and the little bowl I bought at a Cockpit Arts open day one year.
I love that they are just perfect miniature blooms that without something to gauge their scale, could be much bigger. I couldn’t help adding a little bit of wrongness to this shot with the addition of the cowboy gun charm.
The Forget-me-not is a flower that grew in my parents’ garden prolifically. When I was little I would pick bunches of them and press them. It’s quite time consuming, placing each flower carefully on the card of the press, especially as they are so tiny, but worth it as they dry and keep really well. When they were ready a few weeks later, I would store them in an envelope to keep them flat. I would have a different envelope for each flower type and stick a flower to the outside for quick reference of what loveliness was inside.
The dried Forget-me-not flowers work beautifully stuck to swing tags for gifts or to cards and pictures.
I still press flowers from the garden, now with my little daughter as a helper (she loves it too). In fact I still have the press I had when I was little! It’s a lovely way to never forget the Forget-me-not.
May 16, 2011 in diy craft projects, flowers, interior styling
Here is a quick and simple idea to glamourise an ordinary clear glass vase.
My daughter and I had picked some flowers from the garden and I was looking for a vase to display them in. I had this old circular glass vase in the cupboard (I think it’s Ikea) and thought it would be perfect for this idea I had.
I simply tipped a bag of silver plastic sequins into the empty vase using a funnel and then topped the vase up with water. Some sequins floated and some sank and then I just popped in a bright red rose and voila, instant glam! If you want a more delicate look simply choose an appropriate bloom.
I was inspired by a couple of vintage mirror balls I bought from a flea market which, when the sun shines in to the room at a certain time of day, reflect little sparkles all around. If you try this idea at home, see if you can position it so that the sunlight can reflect off the sequins for an added sparkly effect.
Once the flower has faded you can use a sieve to catch the sequins when you tip the water away. Give them a rinse and leave to dry and you can use them again.
It’s a very simple idea that has a bit of eye-catching wow factor. So which way would you go – glamorous or delicate?