I have a lot of secret dreams…a backyard with a lemon tree, meeting Dr. J (he’s still got it ), or someday having one of those huge library bookcases with a rolling ladder. But there’s one that trumps even those. And that’s being a Parisian florist. I’ve always dreamt of owning a tiny little shop filled to the brim with pretty flowers. I’d wear a cool uniform each day, munch on baguettes, and say “boooonjour” to all my neighbors as they strolled by. Unfortunately, I’m not (1) French or (2) a florist. But when my husband’s mom got wind of this dream, she surprised me with a few floral lessons (she’s really that sweet).
The main lesson I learned from my classes is that I don’t actually want to be a florist, American or French. I love flowers and arranging so much, but it’s not the career for me. I have a problem with thinking that everything I’m interested in has to become a job somehow. This can put a lot of pressure on the ol’ brain. But lately, I’ve been making a conscious effort to give myself a freaking break. It’s pretty cool when you can let yourself do something just for fun without worrying about being perfect at it. So today, I’m offering up a lesson in my new hobby. Hope you have as much fun making one of these as I did.
1. Choose three different flowers. I love to buy “filler” flowers – they’re oftentimes less expensive and can give your centerpiece the just-picked-from-a-fancy-field look, which I love. Most people think of Baby’s Breath when they think of filler floral, but there are so many others to choose from. They add pretty texture and can really fill out your arrangement, leaving you with more dough in your wallet for that one pricey, statement-flower.
2. Find something to hold your arrangement. These mason jars fit the vibe of the party I was making them for, but you can also get creative with your vases. I’ve been known to use an old pitcher or even a champagne glass. Cans, bottles, and pretty bowls are awesome too.
3. Choose your first flower and place it in the vase to measure your first cut. This will be your guide for your other flowers. I used to make the mistake of cutting everything down first and would get sad when my flowers barely touched the top of the vase. Measure first, then cut.
4. Trim your flowers with a great pair of scissors. It’s best to trim them as you go, so you can create the different levels in your arrangement.
5. After you have a few pieces of your first flower in place, start with your second. You should think of your arrangement as having three levels – an upper, middle, and lower deck. Start filling in the open spots in each level, doing your best to vary the height of each flower.
6. Remove most of the leaves from your more substantial flower. Just like some people, not all flowers look great totally naked – they need a little coverage. Try to remove all of the leaves that are lower than the water line and any additional ones that overpower your flower.
7. Start filling in your final, statement-flower. And don’t forget the lower deck! Choose some of your fuller flowers for this level – they will lead the viewer’s eye up the arrangement.
8. As you add some of your more voluptuous flowers on the lower deck, choose smaller buds for the top. After you’ve used all three flowers, do a little walk around the table and see what needs to be filled in. Your centerpiece should look great from any spot at the table, not just yours.
9. And voila! Your final centerpiece should be a stunner that doesn’t overwhelm the table. I made this one for the latest For Reals Meals, hosted by the men of Potluck Creative. You’ll get to see the whole lunch next week!
Thanks to the lovely Kate Bernot for being my hand model.
Meeting Dr. J, having a lemon tree…these are some of my dreams. What are yours? Share them in the comments!