Curious Lola

Make Your Own Crown with Worbla

 

Hey beehive! As a creator of flowery, arty things, I often find myself stumbling upon new materials to work with.

Worbla just so happens to be one of those things that I saw and *could not* not buy. One thing I love about using different materials is that it constantly pushes the boundaries of what I think I am capable of and inspires the Queen Bee in me to be proud of the things I am able to make.

Both the flower crown here and the collar are made with a worbla base and covered in leaves and flowers. Raise your hand if you love leaves as scales. (I feel the wind of a thousand hands:)

Worbla is fantastic for many reasons, mainly:

  • Its non-toxic
  • You don’t have to be a super skilled crafts(wo)man to work with it. If you’ve ever dried your hair or stuck a sticker on something (not necessarily in that order) then you are good:)
  • The only tool needed is a heat gun
  • Scraps/mess-ups can be heated, molded back together and then used again!

 

For this styled shoot, we used this material to construct her crown and flared collar. We figured that this Queen Bee was going to be a force to be reckoned with so she had to bring something to the table that your average gardeny flower crown-wearing bohemian bee might not. I mean, the world can use a different flower crown. mmmmmm-iright?

Now that you’re feeling like you’re ready to push your flower crown boundaries, buzz on over to our Youtube Channel by clicking on the picture below and make your own with us!

Want to be a part of our busy bee circle? We are working up some sweet things for you! Add your e-mail below and gain access to my hour long floral demonstration where I explain the complete breakdown of centerpiece arrangements- all foam free. Oh, and you’ll also get updates on new DIY projects! Pretty sweet.

 

Hair and Makeup by Off White Makeup and Beauty

Dress by Laineemeg Bridal

Styling, flowers, stuff, and photography by Lola Creative

 

How to Make a Glorious Springtime Bouquet

“Don’t make things ugly.” This is really the only rule we have at Lola Creative, unless we’re going for ugly-pretty or ugly-scary/cool. But when it comes to bouquets for weddings, pretty-pretty is the minimum. What we really try for is more like, “HOLY HANDFUL OF DRIPPING EARTHLY MAGNIFICENCE!” – or something of that nature.

My first bouquets were barely pushing pretty-pretty. Mainly because I learned from the You Tube. My roses weren’t fully open, flower diversity was so-so, and the shape looked like my bouquet had been squeezed through my sweater sleeve. This changed while on a business trip to New York. I snuck out of my then ‘real’ job to take an intro bouquet class at the New York Botanical Garden. I learned a couple of simple tricks to get a full bouquet that looks like each flower could just continue on growing. We’ll go over that at our GARDENESQUE BOUQUET WORKSHOP. Register here.

But today we’ll just breeze over some terms for different types of flowers and how they are working in this bouquet, inspired by St. Patty’s Day.

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And here are the yummy, American and Lower Left Canadian flowers.

flower spreadOur flower classification is similar to others you may have seen but relate to their job in a bouquet.

Base: These are flowers we start out with, I typically start with three. Their main purpose is to support the other flowers ON TOP OF THEM and be a barrier for flowers around them that want to squeeze into the center. So don’t get too attached to them because you aren’t going to see very much of them. They are back up dancers. Now you could use them also as secondary, but I did not.

Focal: This is the one or two flowers to drool over and often the most expensive. We don’t want too many. These are typically near the middle and typically one is smack on top of my base flower so it has maximum room to stretch out and be fantastic.

Secondary: These are flowers to add color and build your bouquet out. They go all over the dang place. I typically choose one or two types.

Sprouties: These are flowers that are smaller and hover over the other flowers giving it some movement and lightness. For gardeney bouquets I use a lot of these and place them throughout. The stems need to be longer than your base and focal flowers. Sprouties can be flowers, pods, or small, delicate foliage.

Foliage: Here I use a few foliage to get a good garden variety. the rigidity and loveliness varies. For example, the box, which goes a bit unnoticed is rigid and will help keep flowers from squishing in and can help in supporting big floppy flowers. The delicate geranium is used a bit more like a feature because of its graceful arch.

Drapey bits: Not shown in the image above is drapey bits like the pieris, Placed near the outer ring or along the outside, they will make the profile of your bouquet look fab, add grace, and an elegant drippy quality.

Special bits: These are the pieces that I add last, after most everything is secured and I’ve had a chance to inspect the bouquet in a full length mirror. I then decide where these go to bring focus and character to where it needs it.

And THAT, flower friends, is the anatomy of a gardenesque bouquet. sign_up. for our bouquet workshop on March 28th to put all this good stuff to use and play with some of the lushest flowers and foliage our local farmers have to offer.

Wedding in the Woods

Moss fashions, faux antlers, and paper animals? Oh my!

Oh yes. We (Lola Event Floral & Design) recently participated in Weddings in Woodinville, an exclusive wedding show in which vendors are hand picked for awesomeness and asked to transform a space as if jaws dragging on floors were the main objective.

We were selected by Kelli at Shindig Events which is excellent since we go together like charred crust on a roasted sh’mallow. We were teamed up with Matthews Estate Winery, an expansive site with tons of options for amazing events, and Shane Macomber with Shane Macomber Photography.

Good thing we handed out napkins… to wipe the dirt off the jaws…. from the dragging, you know. And the drool off the leaves… and the tears of joy… and the anticipatory perspiration… and the… nevermind.

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Spanish moss, a cord of wood, and airy forest greenery! Um,I should mention that we rent these things.

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the Spanish moss from below. Magical.

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Rustic furniture, big ole clear tent, warmth, plates and glass by ABC rentals by Cort, linens by Creative Coverings, table design by Shindig, paper by Paper Fling, Flowers by Lola

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faux antler chandelier, yo. That’s actually what the bride is saying with her eyes… that and “Thanks for the warm shrug, yo.”

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Sometimes when there is so much awesome, you need some simplicity to balance it out.   WIW_ShaneMacomber_0054

Pinecone garland

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Smore deliciousery by Lady Yum. (and they were)

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I’m glad we pulled off this shrug just before the event started. Dresses here and below by Dress Theory, hair and makeup by Off White, and headpieces by Off White and Madprops.

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Fine, fine suit by Trillium

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Garden Rose, bouvardia, and freesia bouquet by Lola Event Floral & Design

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Our fine, fine, elk man made of papier mache,sticks, and paper products, in a fine, fine suit by Trillium tailor. Elk suits were out of stock so we had to squeeze him into a human suit.

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This photo is by Soper Photography

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Paper by Paper Fling.

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Eats provided by Foodz Catering.

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Super awesome lights provided by the Bunch Store.

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Sh’mallows roasting over a chalkboard fire.

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More yummies by lady yum. The red ones were mango Habanero. They blew my mind.

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.

(sigh)

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)

Pre-Experiment:

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”.

(sigh)

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.

(sigh)

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.

 

Earth, Water, Air, and Red.

Show and tell! Simple elements in a bright open space made for a bold statement for this summer wedding. The colors were red and white with black accents. We fused elements that hinted at the bride and groom’s Indian and Chinese heritage while still maintaining their modern style. The centerpieces were inspired by Chinese landscape design which aims to set up scenes and environments that are smaller scale, simplified versions of larger landscapes. Pond=lake, Large rock=mountain. You get the idea.

This event was held at Pravda Studios on Capitol Hill and was catered by Lisa Dupar Catering. Red Sparrow Photography kindly came by to shoot some pics of our lovely arrangements pre-event.

Intermingled driftwood branches! You really don’t need much else for a striking shape and focal point.

Have I mentioned how much I love Pravda Studios? The light in here is amazing.

We used local water-lily dahlias in lieu of more costly and less available lotus blossoms. Bamboo stands in and outside of the water basin and mimics the Seattle skyline. The bamboo is painted in red enamel.

Half of the tables had the bamboo and half included these shiny black stones. This is the mountain part.

We always have a hard time staying inside the container.

Each table had one black napkin. That was the groom’s idea.

Hooray!
Another great thing about these event arrangements? No waste- well, maybe the candles. Everything is either a reusable, or a compostable.

PS, check out Lola Floral in this season’s issue of Seattle Bride in the “Paper Parade” article.

 

 

 


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