When Life Gives you Lavender, Make Lavender Lemonade!

This past spring, I had the great honor of witnessing and contributing to the marriage between two of my closest friends, who we met day 1 on the Pacific Crest Trail . Ashleigh and Mark had been dating for several years before they committed to hiking the PCT together. After hiking for quite some time with them and watching them be tested as a couple and individually, I had no doubt in my mind that they would not only make it the whole way to Canada, but their love would also last a lifetime. Little did we know, Mark had carried Ashleigh's engagement ring in his pocket the entire way from Mexico to Canada. He proposed at the end of the trail after walking 2,650 miles together. Like Mark and Ashleigh, my now husband and I also got engaged on the trail. Our shared memories and experiences on and off of the trail have bonded the 4 of us together forever. So needless to say, their wedding day was emotional and beautiful. Ashleigh's favorite color is purple and Mark is a chef, so I decided to create an all Lavender bouquet for her and a bundle of Herb de Provence boutonnière for him. Here is a photo of the newly weds downtown San Francisco. 

                                                                                                                                              Photography by This Love of Yours. 

                                                                                                                                              Photography by This Love of Yours

 I had some left over lavender from Ashleigh's bouquet, so I decided to not let it go to waste and make something delicious! I ended up making lavender lemonade and lavender honey butter.  If you want to add a little fun to your Lavender Lemonade, top it off with some Bubbles!

Local honey, Organic Lemons and Organically grown Lavender. 

Bouquets to Art

If you have never seen the exhibit "Bouquets to Art" at the De Young Museum, you must attend next year. This exhibit show cases some very talented designers from across the Bay Area. Each floral designer is to choose a permanent art piece in the De Young and use their interpretation of the piece through a floral design. I was inspired by all the pieces and the unique perspective that came through in the floral designs. 

Inspiration

It is important to me as a creator to feel inspired. With all this rain, I have been indoors a lot and felt the need to get out into nature. Yesterday, I went to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

 The rain had stopped, and the sun was peaking through the clouds. I wandered throughout the many trails and purposefully got lost. The ground was still damp, but it seemed like all the animals and flower had made their way out today to soak up some of the sun.

I came upon a huge field of wild white Calla Lilies. Some were in full bloom and the size of my head! Others were just beginning to bloom. I took it as a sign because just that morning I was speaking to one of my soon to be brides (and close friend) about her bouquet. I told her that I always pictured her in a simple bouquet of white Calla Lilies. She told me that they were her favorite flowers! So, I snapped some pictures for her and just took a moment to bask in their simple beauty.  

Although it is only January, it felt like Spring had Sprung in the park. There were such a variety of flowers. I was in my happy place. If you get the chance to walk around Golden Gate Park, now is a beautiful time of year. The trees and shrubs are so lush and spotted with the most magnificent colored flowers. I came away Feeling so inspired and ready to take on the wedding season! Here are some pictures I snapped during my adventure.

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Pumpkin Floral Arrangements

Halloween is here and I am hosting a Country Bumpkin Pumpkin Party! I wanted to create a fun yet sophisticated arrangement for decoration. I had tons of pumpkins for the pumpkin carving party and recently went to the Dahlia farm, so I decided to create an arrangement using the pumpkin as the vessel. This is a simple project and would be fun to do with the kids.

To get started, you will need one small pumpkin. I think these arrangements are best as a center piece on a dinner table. Try using a gourd for a thanksgiving centerpiece. You will also need floral foam. You can buy this from any craft store. One pumpkin carving knife. Moss to cover the floral foam, also found at any craft store. And most importantly, flowers! For a small pumpkin, you could use 3 large flowers and some small filler flowers. I used Dahlias and red sunflowers. 

First, you want soak one piece of floral foam in water so that it is completely submerged. Do not force the foam down, it will sink once it has absorbed all the water. This will take about 5 minutes. Next,  carve around the stem of your pumpkin. Be sure to cut a large enough circle to hold your floral foam and all your flowers. Clean out the inside of your pumpkin. Grab your foam from the water and place it inside of the hole in the top of the pumpkin. If it doesn't fit, just cut it down to size. You want only about an inch of foam sticking out of the top of your pumpkin. Next, you will need to soak and squeeze out the excess water from your moss. You will only need a fist full of moss to cover the foam. Place the moss over the foam and allow it to hang down the sides of the pumpkin. 

After all your foam is covered, decide where you want your flowers placed. Cut the stems of the flower at an angle leaving only about a 2 inch stem. Holding the stem at the end where it was cut, gently push the stem into the floral foam. Continue until all the moss is covered or until you have achieved your desired design. You can use any filler flower to fill in the gaps between the main flowers. In the end, it should look a little something like this...




Dahlia Farm

Being a florist in Sonoma County, I have access to some incredible flower farms. Last weekend, I did an event at Gloria Fererr Winery. If you have never been to Gloria Ferrer for bubbles, you must go! Beautiful views over looking the vineyards and some great Champagne.

So, for the arrangements, I needed some deep red and white Dahlias. I headed over to Petaluma to the Aztec Dahlia farm.  This place is beautiful and open to the public. I met with the grower there and she let me hand pick the Dahlias I wanted. It doesn't get much fresher than that! For fall arrangements, (although, it doesn't feel like fall out here in CA) consider mixing soft textures like Dahlias, with more rustic textured flowers like these purple sea hollies. 

Occidental, CA

One of the best parts of my job is having the opportunity to visit some incredible event spaces and exploring parts of the Bay Area I have never been to. This past wedding I designed flowers for was in the quaint town of Occidental, which runs down the Bohemian Highway.  Located just 13 miles inland from Bodega Bay, Occidental has a population of only about 1,200. However, for such a small town, we were surprised at all this area has to offer. The wedding reception was located at the historic, family run Union Hotel and Restaurant. It was a pleasure working with the staff here and we heard the food is great! Next time we are here, we will for sure grab a bite to eat. http://www.unionhoteloccidental.com

                                                                            Union Hotel, Occidental CA. Reception site. 

                                                                            Union Hotel, Occidental CA. Reception site. 

After setting up the flowers, we set out to explore the town. We stumbled upon the Boho Bungalow, owned by Faith Parker. This little shop has everything you could want, from jewelry to household goods. I picked up a a vintage inspired VW bus painting for my home. Faith was so welcoming and friendly and has great taste. http://www.thebohobungalow.com. Also a must visit when you come to Occidental. 

                                                                                                       Boho Bungalow, Occidental CA

                                                                                                       Boho Bungalow, Occidental CA

If you are in the mood for some wine tasting, head over to Boheme Wines located right on Main street. https://bohemewines.com/visit  There are tons of wineries located within 30 minutes of Occidental. 

                                                                            Vineyards in Occidental Valley. 

                                                                            Vineyards in Occidental Valley. 

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Fall Wedding at the Union Hotel and Ballroom. Photography by Melissa Babasin Photography and Floral design by yours truly, Petals. Flowers by Katie 

Mexican Themed Rehearsal Dinner

The bride and groom decided to hire a taco truck to cater their rehearsal dinner at the bride's parent's house in Sonoma, CA before the big night of their wedding. I thought it would be cute to incorporate their Mexican themed party into the flower arrangements. I decided to line the vases with lime circles. Not only did this add a fresh lime fragrance to the flowers, but it gave it that beautiful bright green pop of color. 

The Marianne's Room at the Cavalier

It's always fun when I get to provide flowers for a smaller more intimate event. These flowers were for a man's 35th Birthday party in the city. The setting was at the secret Marianne's Room in the  Cavalier Restaurant. If you haven't been to this gem of a place in San Francisco, you have to check it out! This speakeasy inspired room is decorated with dark woods and deep reds. I wanted to create something that would not only match the decor but come off as masculine as well. My original idea was to build the flower arrangements in cigar boxes (too small) or old wooden whiskey boxes (too big) so I settled on these dark wooden boxes. Another bonus to the cool locale was my customer. I love it when I am given full creative reign to create something that is fun and different. So, next time you need to dress up a room for an intimate dinner party, give me a call! 

No waste

I always find a way to use my "scraps" once I'm finished with a project. I try to let nothing go to waste. Here, I used left over Ranunculus buds and some filler foliage to fill my little bud vases. The simplest greens can brighten up any room. I often find that I create the most interesting arrangments when I have very little to work with. Next time you are out for a walk, search for some unique greens or small flowers. If you have a simple container at home, use it to house your new treasures. This is an easy, FREE creative project you are sure to have fun with.

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is such a  special day to show your mom how much you appreciate her. It is tradition in our family to spend Mother's Day outdoors. This year, we are taking my mom out to Point Reyes to enjoy an oyster picnic and maybe a little hike. I made this arrangement for my mother using Pink Peonies and Pink Roses. Both flowers smell terrific! I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day! 

Peony Season!

We are coming up on wedding season, and peonies are here! Peonies and Roses are the two most poplar flowers for bridal bouquets. Peonies begin blooming late April-early June. This pink Peony arrangement would make the perfect Mother's Day gift. 

Bouquets to Art

I love being inspired by fellow floral designers. Starting tomorrow April 14-19 you can catch the Bouquets to Art Exhibit at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. Follow the link below for more information.

https://deyoung.famsf.org/bouquets

Toxic Flowers

Many people are not aware that some common plants/flowers can actually be toxic for your pets and small children. Since getting my puppy and taking care of my nephew, I have been hyper sensitive to things in their environment that may be harmful to them. I was surprised to find out that Lilies, Tulip bulbs, and Amaryllis are among the most toxic plants. See a more detailed list here https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/17-poisonous-plants

VW bus tours

We had fun with this photo shoot in our VW bus today. My husband and I own VDub Tours and part of our services is offering wedding day transportation in our fully restored VW buses! The bride and groom can drive away from the ceremony in style and onto the reception with the photographer in hand so that they can snap some unique shots in some great locations before the party starts. These buses also offer great transportation for bachelor and bachelorette parties. We offer beer and wine tours! 






Spring has Sprung

On my morning walk today, I was so inspired by everything blooming. A beautiful Cherry blossom branch in a simple vase brings just the right touch of spring into your home. Or cut some wild yellow daffodils (see warning below) for your kitchen table. 

Blossoms in Blue Mason Jar 

Blossoms in Blue Mason Jar 

Yellow Daffodils. Warning! Daffodils can be toxic to children or animals if ingested and can cause an allergic reaction to those who are allergy prone.  

Yellow Daffodils. Warning! Daffodils can be toxic to children or animals if ingested and can cause an allergic reaction to those who are allergy prone.  

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Petals begins

It all began 10 years ago while working in a little flower shop in San Diego, CA. I remember thinking, "what a great way to make a living, being surrounded by smiling people and beautiful flowers, what could be better?" Fast forward to the Spring of 2013 when my husband and I decided to take a trip of a life time. We set out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, which begins at the Mexico/California border and ends at the Canadian/Washington border.  We quit our jobs, sold our cars, and started walking. Naturally, we had a lot of time to think while on the trail. I also had the great opportunity to observe the most beautiful and diverse flora and fauna. The trail inspired me to go after what I really enjoy doing in life. Many ideas were fostered between the two of us, but for me, what it came down to was finding a way to combine my passion of working with people, event planning and  flowers. I knew I had to get back to floral design . After our trip, I enrolled in a refresher course  at the American School of Flower Design in San Francisco and studied under the great Michael Gaffney. Choosing to create my own floral design business has been the best decision I could have made. I get to make people happy, be creative (Although Mr. Gaffney always says that floral design has little to do with creativity and much to do with patterns and formulas) and work at my own pace. The picture below was taken on the Pacific Crest Trail by my husband. We would often walk separately on the trail, so if we got to a junction, we would write out secret sign in the dirt, "XO" with an arrow pointing in the correct direction. This sign could not be more symbolic as to how we live our lives today. If you follow your heart, you will never be steered in the wrong direction.