Curious Lola

Make a Votive Candle Luminary Out of Skeleton Leaves – Video

When Spring isn’t quite shining her light…. make your own with this diy votive candle luminary.

This Skeleton Leaf Votive will bring a fun and effortless touch to your parties– or your fairy shrine, it depends on what you’re doing I suppose! This lovely little votive is our last feature from our spring Moth Fairy photoshoot and in case you’ve missed it, we’ve had three other DIY projects from this shoot; a floral centerpiece, a floral frame, and a branch chandelier!

After waiting far too long for Spring to show up, our fairy’s guest finally arrives and better yet– with some sunshine and blooming flowers.

This project requires:

-leaf skeletons
-mod podge
-tall vase
-small balloons
-foam brush
-spray oil
-saran wrap
-spray dye or spray paint

Now its your turn to make some votives! Jump over to our Youtube Channel  for the full tutorial! Don’t forget to show us your creations!

DIY Floral Frame Video for Your Wedding or Event

This quick DIY floral frame is a reusable piece that will surprise and delight your clients and their guests.  I love this piece because it can be whimsical or romantic. It can be giant, or small and sweet. AAAAND my toddler can’t knock them off the table as he does with every other vase that enters my house.

For events, it will leave your guests blathering on about how clever you are.

Go ahead and watch our video if you’re wanting a more detailed version of this tutorial.

Lets get started!

Supplies needed:

  • frame
  • drill
  • measuring tape
  • (4) pipe straps
  • (4) test tubes or party shot glasses
  • screws
  • wood, fit to the size of the shortest side of frame
  • flowers
  • (2) screw eye hooks

All of these items can be found at Home Depot or your local hardware store. One note to add, when hanging this up we used the (2) screw eye hooks and some twine.

To begin, fit a pipe strap around a test tube and place it close to the center of your frame. Drill in two screws to each side. Continue to do this with the other 3 pipe straps and test tubes.

Next, we drill the piece of wood to the opposite side as a spacer so that the frame sits straight on the wall.

Finally, hang up your frame, fill the test tubes with water and throw in those flowers!

Thanks for building this DIY Floral Frame with us. I know it will wow at your next event.

As always, don’t forget to take a picture of your floral frame masterpiece and tag us on Facebook, Instagram (@lola.creative), and Pinterest (LolaCreativeCo)! Stay tuned for more DIY tutorials that we feature in our Subterranean Moth-Fairy photoshoot and SUBSCRIBE!

Here is how we used it in our recent photoshoot.

And this is pretty much how I feel right now if the rain doesn’t stop. Srrrrsly.

Design Secrets Revealed! Lola Workshops

Workshop banner

Need to refresh your design approach or looking to learn the floral design methods that have made Lola Creative stand out? Come jam with us at one of this spring’s Design + Floral Workshops! Registration is ON by clicking on the workshop you would like to attend.  You will be able to order them individually or as a package for more cost savings.

Bold Design Principles for Stand Out Events– Saturday March 7th 2pm to 4:15or Tuesday 10th 3:30 to 5:45pm

This is the core of how we see and our ongoing obsession. The Bold Design Principles Workshop is not your typical floral design theory class. It blends our knowledge of painting approach, sculpture, and landscape design, and melds it with some fascinating science about how the eye makes sense of information. You will leave knowing how to conceptualize any piece, what to focus on for various effects for different situations, and what not to (spoiler alert: IT’S NOT COLOR!!!). You will also get the chance to experiment making floral designs with these new principles in mind. (and you get to take them home). Feel like you never know where to start with your designs. Consider that done! This class is open to students of all experience levels. Click the main image to be transferred to the registration page.

The Gardenesque Bouquet– Saturday March 28th 10am-12:30pm

Lush, textured, and arranged like it was gathered from the side of a sun-swept mountain by a maiden in a flowey skirt; her unicorn’s mane floating with the wind….. sigh. Really though, if you are of the Northwest in reality or in spirit, you will want to know how to make this bouquet. In this hands-on class, we will use 100% local and responsibly grown flowers and foliage for a diverse, lush look. You will learn techniques to make a full look, how to choose plant material, design principles for bouquets, and tips to ensure your bouquet looks as great in photos as in person. This class is open to students of all experience levels. Click the main image to be transferred to the registration page.

The Romantic Compote Centerpiece– Thursday May 7th 2pm-4:30pm

Nothing exudes romance and luxury like an overflowing bowl of fresh flowers and trailing foliage. It’s also one of the most photographed look on wedding and floral blogs. Learn to make this essential piece with sustainable design methods and local, responsibly grown flowers and foliage. Learn techniques to include unexpected elements and live plants. You will take home your own creation. This class is open to students of all experience levels. Click the main image to be transferred to the registration page.

Advanced Designs with Sustainable Methods– Thursday, April 9th 10am-4pm

Thinking about marketing your floral endeavor as a green business but hesitant to make the leap? This advanced class will give you the know-how and confidence to build sculptural pieces without the use of flower foam and source responsibly without sacrificing wow-factor. This is a full day course and includes a local, organic lunch served by the chefs at 21 acres. The hands-on projects include flower walls, tall no-foam centerpieces, cascading bouquets with armatures, moss infrastructures, and a slew of methods and techniques to get your creative juices going. We will also go over green business topics that will include information about materials costs, sample markups, educating your clients, and transporting finished work. Students take home at least a bouquet.

This class is open to advanced students who either have experience in the floral trade or new students who have taken our Design Principles course. Click the main image to be transferred to the registration page.

All classes will take place at 21 Acres in Woodinville Wine Country, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable agriculture and building techniques. All class materials and tools are provided including 100% responsibly grown flowers and foliage. Students MUST pre-register for these workshops. Carpooling is encouraged.

I simply cannot WAIT to meet you,

Emily Ellen


How to Make a Wintery Holiday Centerpiece with Easy-to-Find Evergreens.

Short on holiday decor but have a lots of greenery?
For a lot of the materials here, you won’t need to look much further than your backyard. Follow these steps to turn your in season greenery into a holiday crowd pleaser. For more of these sort of tutorials and info on local workshops make sure you subscribe in the top right of the page!

01I picked up my greens from the Seattle Wholesale Grower’s Market– which to Seattleites, may as well be their backyard. They’ve got a wide variety of greens available that have all been grown locally. AND you don’t need a wholesale account to purchase on Fridays. It’s not important that you have the same greens, so long as you’ve got something in the same categories. Categories that I, ehem, have concocted after much experience, observation, and research….

  • Fluffy stuff: any foliage with a full, voluminous look, really a space filler but I don’t want to hurt its feelings. You’ll need 3-5 stems depending on the size of your dish. I am using an 8″ wide gold compote with elk heads (!!!:) !!!:)!!!) You can use all the same variety or multiple but I wouldn’t go more than 2. Here, I’m using some sort of Korean fir (or something), and Bay Leaf.
  • Armature Stuff: This can or doesn’t have to be pretty, since we don’t use foam, it’s a functional component to ensure all this heavy foliage has a nice tight structure to keep it in place. An armature is a term used in sculpture to give shape and support to a piece. You can think of them as bones. For my armature I’m using about 3 twigs cut down into smaller twigs of red huckleberry. You could use any small branch or even cut offs ends of the rest of the foliage.
  • Sprouty things: These can be graceful or spiky and are used in small quantities to give the arrangement a punch. It’s like a cherry on top. Too many sprouties and your arrangement can look muppet-like which is totally good in many instances but we’re going for something a little more traditional here. Here I’m using just one lovely ivy vine with a nice curvy shape to it, and one curvey branch of Pine. The ilex is the red berry, and while it is spikey, it’s acting more as an eye catcher.
  • Eye-catchers: These are bold elements that stand contrast more than anything else. You will want to severely limit these. I’ve used Ilex berry for my eye-catchers and though one branch has several twiggies, they are clumped in the same spot so the eye-catching is still only happening in one place. Just one ilex shown here.
  • Drapey stuff: Not always necessary but nice in this instance to cover the edge of the bowl. This is helpful especially to help camouflage my chicken wire cage. Drapey stuff is just that, something that is heavy enough to hang down or something with a graceful bend. I am using about 5 sprigs of cedar.
  • Other ingredients:
    • wide mouth container
    • chicken wire: approximately 10″X5″
    • wire cutters or tin snips
    • pruners or floral scissors
    • floral tape, waterproof tape, or if  your container has heads, you can use twine like me.
  • Time: I’d give it 45 minutes once you’ve got all your materials if this is new to you.



First make a chicken wire cage, or floral frog by bending your chicken wire into a bubble. Loop the sharp ends over the connection points so the wire doesn’t slip. Shape cage into container.


04Since this is a low dish, you will want to secure the cage in place from above. Typically I would use tape but since it can remove finishes, and I’ve got these great heads, I’m going to use twine. It’s not so important that the tape holds up during the entire process. It’s only there to get you started. As you go on, the stems themselves will hold everything up. 05

Next it’s time to make an armature. As mentioned before, this is a crucial step to ensure your heavy arrangement is supported. Don’t think too much about what the arrangement will look like at this point. This part will likely disappear into the arrangement. It’s got more functional value than aesthetic. Clip or pull off any little twiglets that will interfere with inserting your twig into the cage. Remove twiglets and cut the bottom so that the stem end touches the bottom of the container, and the first twiglet ‘Y’ rests right inside the opening for the chicken wire.




Remember, the point is to get a bunch of stems in place so your next step has a more secure support cage to be inserted into. More stems with less top growth are better than less stems with bushier top growth. So goodbye twiglets. We’re trying to jam up that base.



Go nuts with twigs. The friction of stem on container, and twig on twig will make your arrangement secure.



Next is the drapey stuff to cover the rim. Remove all the excess twiglets so what you are left with is clean and has its own clear shape. Cut the end and insert so the stem touches the bottom of the container.






This is the part when I got really into singing Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas’ and forgot that I was supposed to photograph the steps. Basically I am adding the fluffy stuff and playing with placement on the sprouty bits. I know where I want my eyecatcher to sit so I’m leaving that open.






Tuck in the eye- catcher. I left a spot for a fluffy piece of bay branch, too.



And finally my sprouty ivy is the cherry o top of this pile of twiggy goodness.


This bay is super yummy.

00Where you goin’ berry? Don’t you know it’s cold outside?

Stay tuned for upcoming how to’s. Be sure to subscribe to learn about upcoming events and workshops around the Seattle, Eastside, and Puget Sound. And do comment if there is something in particular you’d like to know more about. And have a very happy happy holiday.

Waterlilies a.k.a. Nemesis Jerklips var. “Drama Queen”

Possibly one of our greatest strengths, and biggest draws over here at Lola Event Floral & Design, is that we take on and work out some pretty challenging endeavors.

Original ideas with unclear approaches? We find one or three.

No information on where to find or get something unique? We find it… or make it.

You don’t think we can strap that to our pickup truck? Oh, we think we can.

You saw a waterlily arrangement at a Los Angeles event and want to do something similar for the Pacific Science Center King Tut Gala? You’ve heard they are difficult to work with? And you need them for not one night but two?- Puh-leez.  It’s a flower, we can figure it out. This thing is going to be Tut-tacular.


We’ve not worked with waterlilies before, and as it turns out, not a lot of people have. Apparently they are difficult. But, we figured, it has been done. No ambiguity there. So, if there is a solution, we are the ones to find it. And the lack of information out there was just fuel to the fire to jump into a floral experiment that can be shared.

For challenging tasks, we try to fail early and often to work out the unknowns. I, personally, love this process. It’s like little clues to a multi-dimensional puzzle that always comes together. THIS process, however, had me in a battle with a flower- a  flower I expected to figure out on Round 1: Waterlily, meet Human. But after Round 2: Waterlily Pamper and Coax, the flowers were given a new name “Jerklips”, though “Pond Scum” was also a contender. Round 3: Waterlily and Human Accord had me thinking we were going to be all right, but after the Final Round: Humans are Slaves to the Waterlily it was clear I was still being schooled by a swamp grower.

Here’s our story… (you can skip to the bottom if you don’t want the play by-play)


We would need about 100 white waterlilies. Two months before the event, we found a local grower. Done. Commence online and phone research. At this point we learn that waterlilies are pretty short-lived to begin with. We learn that they open up every day, and close up every evening usually by 4pm. They have about a 5 day life. They are cut on the first day of opening, shipped the second, so we’ve got a 2-3 day window. They are happiest in warm weather under direct sun. So the challenge is… get them happy enough to open and get them to stay open well after their natural inclination is to shut tight.

Photo taken in MAY by niiicedave from Flickr

Hmmm….warm and sunny,  tricky.

One month before we checked in on our supplier to see how our little lovelies were growing… They were NOT growing. What was an “Absolutely they will be ready” turned into a “No way they will be ready”.


Our new supplier was found in Texas where warmth and sun abounds. Texas Waterlilies is a privately owned aquatic plant grower and not only had more waterlilies than I would ever know what to do with, they also had a wealth of readily available knowledge, top-notch customer service, experience selling cut flowers to floral designers, patience, and a man named Dusty with a way of speech that a Texas man named Dusty should have. Finding these people was relief and happiness. I immediately ordered about 10 of their hardiest, toughest, awesomest waterlilies.

Round One: Waterlily, Meet Human

The lilies were shipped overnight and arrived around noon wrapped in wet newspaper and sealed in a plastic bag. The plastic bag was packed in bigger box with some extra padding. The day was what, we Seattleites, would call a sunny spring day. Probably around a high of 60 degrees F. We immediately cut the stems under water and put them out on a sunny ledge- half in flower solution the other half just in water. The tight buds nudged open just a little tiny bit. As the afternoon wore on, we switched them around to the warmest areas of the lot, finally landing on the hood of my pickup, the hottest spot I could find. Not a budge. We moved them to a hot plate- formerly used for my sweetie’s awesome buckwheat pancakes. (You owe me, waterlily!) Still nothing. N-O-T-H-I-N-G .”They must just be totally shocked”, I thought. “Poor little guys,” I thought.

This is how to NOT get waterlilies to open.

Oy, more research was needed. I floated the waterlilies in the shop and  frantically called Dusty, who was nice enough to return my call on a weekend. “Just get them above 80 and in the sun, ” he says.

photo by Jess Beemouse

(Riiiiiiight, 80.)

I also learned that the stems have to stay wet. (Oy, that shoulda been a given)

The next morning, I opened my shop (which gets pretty warm with the doors closed) and what did I find? Half open waterlilies in the dark. So apparently it’s more of a warmth thing. I can get warmth better than I can get sun. Day two I put them in warm water but it was too late. they were done. Time for Round Two.

Round Two: Waterlily, Pamper and Coax

Round two came like the first, but with some extras (thanks Dusty). This time they were kept in the sunniest place in the house since it was clear warmth is what we were after. I put a layer of plastic wrap over their water bath and I cranked up the heat. Fifty percent of them opened- a little. The others, nothing. And at 4pm they were all shut. They received the name Jerklips because they when they shut, they really do shut all the way, there is no visible sign that they intend to open again at all, ever. There is no communication to the human caretakers. Jerks.

Then something happened. On day two with the same conditions the lilies that were half-opened on day one were ready for business on day two. (the other half never opened). Good enough! They are absolutely glorious when they are open. We melted down some waxed and applied the wax at the base of the petals with a squeeze dropper.

We drove some over to our clients for a meeting so that they could determine for themselves if the level of openness was going to be sufficient. We found that even with wax, after 4pm they closed in a little- and sometimes wonkily. After 10pm they were just “okay”. We suggested an alternative flower, but our client was firm that it had to be waterlilies- MORE WAX!

Round 3: Waterlily and Human Accord

We chose to use only the white waterlilies for their color and because they stayed open the longest. We received the waterlilies and immediately put them in warm water inside a bath with plastic covering. The lilies had the rest of the day to relax in water before they were open enough to wax. Be prepared for them to close up after their day of rest. This is a horrifying time because they look like they will never open again. They will.

Day one Round three- Waterlilies will almost fully open.

The next morning (about 7am) we added more warm water to get the water temp back up. Around 11am, most of them were open and glorious! The duds (buds that don’t open) improved to 40% instead of half the shipment. This time we waxed more heavily, filling up large pools of wax, not only around the petals closest to the middle, but in every petal clear down to the base of the flower.

Day two, Round three- Lilies are ready for wax.

Sufficiently waxed.

Leave the pooled wax on the petals. Removing it will damage the petal- and you won’t see it in water.

Waxed and waiting! This photo was taken at 7:30 pm- still looking good. top right is the 6 minute wax time.

The entire waxing and wait time was about 8 minutes PER FLOWER! Since we would need about 120 lilies, that’s a lot of labor. We tested a 6 minute lily just to see if some time could be saved.

By the way, check out how much the flowers close just during the waxing process. Pre-wax is on the left and immediately post- wax is on the right.  And here is a cross-section of the stem. Be sure to cut the stems under water. I’m not fully sure how this plant works but you can tell by looking at the cross-section where the water is. If you see water pulled up into the quarters, that is good. If the capillaries are open and free of water, I’d keep cutting under water until you see water.In the photo below, the end closest to the camera is free of water while the other end has water trapped. Not totally sure, but I assume that is good.

Oh and be prepared to get wax EVERYWHERE!

For our needs, we wanted the waterlilies to last two nights, so we did not have to replace our 8 minute waterlily with another for the second event. Here is what the lilies looked like at midnight on day three! Not bad at all! As you can see on the right that the 6 minute waterlily did okay, but not as open and stunning as the others.We figured we could reduce some of the browning by fussing less with the extraneous wax.

day four- getting oogly. Definitely 3 days max!

Final Round: Humans are Slaves to the Waterlily

This event has taught me that, when you figure it out, don’t change ANYTHING. We ordered enough lilies for slightly less than the best case scenario. We needed 90-110 waterlilies and ordered 220 to account for the duds and have a few left over to change out any particularly frazzled lilies for night 2 of our event. The 80 degree worked so well, I wondered what would happen if we increased the temperature. Afterall, a Texas spring is in the 90s, not the 80s. I wondered if we got the temperature up to 90, if we would have more success with the buds that did not open. Long story short, that was a bad idea. The humans and the lilies sweated it out and we ended up with a lot of stressed out flowers and a greater fail rate than even round 2 had produced. Luckily, we set up the waterlily arrivals in two shipments to optimize the lilies preferred timeline. The second delivery we shifted back to the tried and true method with great results. We ended up still having to substitute some lilies on night two of our event with peonies.


Waterlilies, we appreciate your tenacity. Please know we are your friends.

In summary, here is our recipe for getting great waterlily cut flowers in our cool climate:

  1. Order about double the waterlilies that you will need. Texas Waterlilies was incredible to work with.
  2. Get waterlilies in  80 degree water bath as soon as you can. Indoors or if sunny and cool, under a plastic row cover or greenhouse .
  3. Cut stems underwater and remove floating bits.
  4. Use cups, or some other device to anchor the stems under water. The curved stems will want to curve up sometimes with the exposed end out of water. Ensure most of the stem stays moist.
  5. Cover bath with plastic and let rest until the following morning.
  6. The following morning, add warm water early (we did about 7am)  to get the water temperature back up to 80. We kept water temps between 80 and 85 and air temps between 70 and 80.
  7. Between 10 and 12, all the waterlilies that you will get will probably be open. We’ve had some luck opening lilies that are almost all the way open by transferring them to a new fresh warm water bath, with recut stems.
  8. Move waterlilies from water to a cup or class so that petals can dry out of the water. Keep stems in water- recut stems
  9. Prepare a hot plate and dropper. Keep a stash of droppers in a glass of hot water on the hot plate. The droppers get jammed and it’s faster to grab a new one than it is to unclog the dropper.
  10. With a dropper and melted wax, apply wax to the inside of the flower just under the very first little petals. Move outward and as wax dries, apply more to create thick pools. Tilt flower as needed to get wax in between the very bottom petals.
  11. We found that 8 minutes was optimal to get lilies to stay full and open the longest.
  12. Take care not to remove wax, touch the petals, or generally fuss with anything that is not the base of the petal. The petals bruise easily. Once dry, place back into water bath or keep in glasses for transport.

* We did not use floral solution after Round 2. We seemed to be getting the same effects without it but more experimentation would be useful here.

If you have some other experiences with waterlilies, we would LOVE to hear about them.


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