Friday, 27 January 2012

Germinis and Jam Jars

I am definitely a fair weather gardener, which means that the tiny space at the back of our flat is looking pretty bleak and desperate in the depths of Winter. However, despite my lack of efforts, the shrubs continue to produce vibrant bright orange berries and I couldn't help but take some cuttings to play around with last week. 

Keeping with the 'just picked from the garden' theme, I also took some ivy and lavender, and paired these with some germini and roses to form a small posy which I thought looked perfect in a jam jar. A few of these groupings in different sized jars would be gorgeous on a window wedge or narrow shelf, or would  lend a relaxed feel to any table setting bringing a much needed splash of colour during these grey months.


Saturday, 7 January 2012

Keeping It Simple

It's been a bit quiet at The Pale Room blog over the last couple of months, but that's not too say that I haven't been thinking and dreaming about flowers since the last post. Not only I am back at my floristry course again since the new year which is focusing on Wedding Flowers (which I am loving...) but I am also working with White Creative again to build my new website. Really excited about what lies ahead and trying not to run before I can walk, but watch this space for the launch of in early March! 

In the meantime I recently saw this gorgeous display of amaryllis and red berries in beautiful silver vases. Sometimes, less is more.


Friday, 4 November 2011

Covent Garden Academy of Flowers

Last Wednesday evening I went along to a Wedding Flowers course at the Academy of Flowers in Covent Garden and had an inspirational evening! Situated in the newly redeveloped St. Martins Courtyard, the Academy of Flowers is surprisingly one of the only flower shops in the area. Since Covent Garden originally was a fruit, veg and flower market, it seems fitting that the Academy of Flowers has brought this old tradition back to life here.

The shop itself is delightful. Outside the old bicycle is a nod to bygone times and inside is a treasure trove of vases, cards, fragrance, stationery and candles and of course beautiful flowers and plants. The light and airy basement where the classes are held is spacious and modern and provides a well-designed, perfect setting for the flower school.

The evening started off with Gillian Wheeler, principal of the academy, demonstrating the skill of a hand tied bouquet. Working with roses, freesias, bouvardia and calla lilies we created very simple, elegant designs. The bouquets were relaxed in appearance, given the use of different shapes and varieties of flowers, and finished off with an ivory satin ribbon. 

Always hungry to learn something new, I was absolutely delighted when Gillian then began to show us a number of wiring techniques. We made a small corsage from some lisianthus, ivy leaves and wired hyacinths which smelled absolutely divine. Not sure my first attempts at wiring were very successful, but it was a valuable insight into how to get started and I've already had a few attempts at home since then.

The evening was very enjoyable and finished up with a glass of wine to compliment all our hard work. What more could you want?!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

A Design For Life

Over the last month I have been working with a very talented designer to develop a logo for The Pale Room.  I put together a short creative brief to try and encapsulate all of things that are important to me and that I want to reflect in this business - creativity, nurturing relationships, having fun and perhaps an element of romance as well.

A huge thanks to Jessica at White Creative Ltd for helping to bring my ideas to life. She interpreted exactly what I wanted and I am really excited to now have a fab logo and the beginning of a unique identity for my business. Welcome to....

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Just My Cup of Tea

I've always loved having flowers in the house and would buy bunches of lilies or gerbera or tulips from the supermarket regularly. But I think it was last year when I was actually planning my own wedding that my real interest in flowers was sparked. I loved pouring over beautiful images of bridal bouquets and centrepieces to find ideas for flowers for our Scottish highland wedding. The first thing I said to my other half as we sat back into the car after we visited our florists workshop to discuss our wedding was that I would love her job!

I think if I had been living closer to our wedding venue I would have had a go at creating my own bouquets, but as we were travelling up from London a couple of days before it just wasn't practical. I did want to have some input though, and so decided to decorate the drinks reception area myself, with the help of my trusted bridesmaids!

Anyone who knows me, will know that I absolutely love tea, along with that the whole notion of afternoon tea. This was the inspiration for decorating the receptions rooms which were actually cosy sitting rooms in the manor house we had our wedding in. I put my collection of teacups and saucers to use and put a single rose or two in each, and grouped them together in threes along the coffee tables, window ledges, and anywhere else there was space.

I've seen this idea used many times but the simplicity of it still brings a smile to my face.......

P.S. All credit goes to Suzanne Black for the gorgeous photographs!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Blissful Bank Holidays

There is nothing better than a bank holiday Monday, when you haven't gone away for the weekend. It feels like such a luxury to have an extra cheeky day off to indulge yourself in the kind of things that you wish you could do over a regular weekend but never find the time. Bank holidays are all about having a lie in, drinking copious amounts of tea, reading a book or magazine that you never get a chance to, or spending the time doing the things that make you content.

Myself and my other half are usually trekking over and back to Ireland or up and down to Edinburgh whenever we have a spare day off from the office, usually arriving home last thing in the evening before facing back into a week of work. Having a three day weekend in London means you get all your 'normal' tasks out of the way and still have 'me' time. 

I spent a lovely morning leafing through The Beginner's Guide to Floristry, a book I bought when I started my course to use as an additional source of information. It's a great book for basic techniques and has a wealth of background information on flower care and how to approach working with flowers. Inspired by my mornings reading I decided to head to the local supermarket to buy a few bunches and practise some of my skills that I picked up over the duration of my course. 

With plenty cups of tea, music on the stereo, the back doors thrown open and the sun and fresh air coming into the kitchen, I had a blissful afternoon preparing my flowers and planning how to use them. In the end I made a tall front facing vase arrangement for the willow, lisianthus and chrysanthemum blooms and then put together a small hand-tied bouquet of roses for my fish bowl vase, finishing it off with some ivy from the garden. 

If only all Mondays could be like this!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Long, Tall, Short or Small

Walking around London on a Monday morning the streets are lined with trucks delivering flower arrangements to offices, restaurants, bars and hotels up and down the city. Whether classic or contemporary, large or small, nothing is more welcoming than a beautiful, creative and interesting display of flowers when you walk in to a building or home.

I had my first lesson in tall vase arrangements a few weeks ago, using elegant long stems of willow, aspidistra, snapdragon, eucalyptus and anthirium. The arrangement is a front facing design, perfect for a console table or sideboard. The tricky bit was to ensure it remained balanced and would not fall forward with the weight of the flowers at the front of the display. 

We started with the tall stems of willow to give us our line about 2 times the height of the vase. The snapdragon's were next, followed by the eucalyptus leaves (including some at the back to provide balance). The aspidistra leaves were twisted and folded to form a base layer along the neck of the vase, and the anthirium provided the final focal point at the front of the display.  I love the contemporary shape of the anthirium and the willow together.

Unfortunately our flowers would have been too awkward to carry home on the tube so we re-used our flowers to make a long, low table arrangement. Starting with an oval shaped base, we created our outline using the aspidistra leaves and eucalyptus. Placing the snapdragon at either end aswell as dotting them through the centre is a great way to use colour to draw the eye along the length of the display and set the height. The smooth dome shape was determined by the addition of roses and we finished off by grouping the anthirium at opposite corners for impact. 

Once I got my flowers home I topped up the oasis with water. They lasted over two weeks and looked fab as the gorgeous roses opened up further filling out the space. Would I be able to do it again though, that's the question!