basic flower arranging supplies + their uses

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As I’ve gotten more and more into flower arranging it’s only natural that friends and acquaintances alike start asking questions about the process. One of the more common topics is what types of supplies you need to get started. Which got me thinking that other people might be asking themselves the same thing. So, I’ve made an easy list of flower arranging tools and supplies for anyone interested in taking their grocery store bought flowers to the next level. In addition to the list, I’ll also show you how to use these newly acquired supplies.

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Name: Flower Frogs

Description: Ever wonder what those spiky, metal, round disks are that you see in antique and craft stores? They’re flower frogs! I was a little suspicious of them at first but now I’m a flower frog addict. Flower frogs can also be made of glass, plastic (I don’t recommend these), and come in flower cages too. They’re a green alternative to floral foam, which I won’t even discuss here.

Use: Place in the bottom of your vase or vessel and push flower stems into the spikes (or holes). The flower frog supports the centerpiece creating a sturdy base and a fuller look for your centerpiece.

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Name: Waterproof Floral Tape

Description: A common misconception for first time flower arrangers (myself included) is that all floral tape is the same. WRONG. There’s a big difference between the waterproof floral tape and the decorative floral tape, mainly that the waterproof tape actually works when you need tape for a centerpiece.

Use: My favorite use for the waterproof floral tape is creating a grid on the top of a wide vase or vessel to support the stems and create a sturdier arrangement. The flowers and greens in your arrangement cover the tape so your secret weapon won’t be exposed.

 

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Name: Floral Shears and/or Pruning Shears

Description: Extra-sharp, specially designed scissors that are better able to cut through the tough woody stems of some flowers. I use both Pruning Shears and Japanese Flower Scissors for different purposes described below. Bonus-You won’t ruin your kitchen shears or office scissors.

Use: You may have heard the tried-and-true tip to cut the stem of your flower at a 45 degree angle (it allows more water to be absorbed) and using super sharp floral scissors is the way to make these precise cut. I use the Japanese scissors for softer stems like those on tulips, mums, and daisies, and smaller fillers. Reserving the larger pruning scissors for flowers like peonies, hydrangea, and eucalyptus. 

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Name: Floral Wire

Description: Typically either dark green or covered in fabric, floral wire is a go to supply for any floral designer or wannabe designer.

Use(s): Pushed through a weak stem to hold a flower erect, scrunched in a ball for a makeshift flower frog, the base of your flower crown, wrapped around the handle of a bridal bouquet to hold it together, and wrapped around the base of your boutonnière to hold everything together. To name a few…

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Name: Vases or Vessels

Description: This is a pretty obvious one, but it might surprise you to know that before I started taking flower arranging more seriously I did not own a single vase. I would use pitchers, and mason jars, and teacups and things from my kitchen to hold flowers but not a vase. There is nothing wrong with this method and in fact it can really add to the arrangement but I also suggest collecting vases and vessels in assorted shapes and sizes to round out your collection.

Use: Low, wide-mouthed vases are great for creating full, wild arrangement. Tall cylindrical vases are perfect for holding blooming branches, tall grasses, and bushy flowers like hydrangeas. Small bud vases are ideal for informal groupings on windowsills or for intimate dinner parties (people can see and talk over them easily). There’s a vase for every arrangement. Tip- thrift stores are a great place to find them.

dreams of spring a bouquet story

dream of spring bouquet | via: bekuh b.

We're just now approaching the middle of winter, but I'm already dreaming of spring. Though I can't quite pull out the sandals yet, I can fill our home with the smell and look of spring thanks to early blooming flowers, mainly flowering bulbs. 

Flowers bring such warmth and light to my life, and their presence in our home helps keep the coldness of winter at bay. One of my favorite early bloomers are tulips. From my earliest days these flowers have been a favorite because of their saturated colors, delicate build, and sweet scent. They are the perfect feminine embodiment of the coming (eventually) season.

"your gaze grew flowers in the darkest parts of my heart” -pavana | via bekuh b.

The pink, dusty mauve, and white blooms only further the illusion of spring for me and add a bit of Parisian flair to our tiny north Philadelphia row home.  

In other news, I'll be making a lot more of these arrangements very soon. My friend Maddie is hosting a bra making workshop this weekend and guess who's providing the floral decor? -b.

homemade gravlax (+ recipe)

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I know that we're in the middle of diet season and all, and that half of you are probably on a cleanse but I just had to write this post. It's too important not to! I too am trying to get back to my fighting weight after the carb overload and sweets coma that seem to go hand in hand with the holiday season, but let's forget all of that for a minute and treat ourselves to something decadent and awesome.

If you eat smoked salmon with any regularity then chances are you've actually had gravlax at some point. The flavor and cosistency is nearly identical, except for the lack of smoky flavor in one and the absence of herbs (dill primary among them) in the other. After a little research I found that gravlax is really easy to make and so it has become my favorite salmony treat to put on bagels with schmear and in salads. 

Today I thought I'd share a simple gravlax recipe with you because, well, I'm addicted and could use some company in this addiction (wink):

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Homemade Gravlax Recipe

3-ish lbs Salmon Fillet (skin on) 

2/3 cup Sugar

1/3 cup Kosher Salt

2 big bunches of dill

2 Tbsp. Crushed black pepper

1/4 cup anise seeds, toasted

1. Cover the bottom of a plate with plastic wrap and cover with half the salt, anise seed, pepper and sugar combined, plus 1/3 of the dill chopped. 

2. Place the salmon flesh side down on the spice and salt mixture and cover the top with the remaining salt, anise seed, pepper and sugar mixture, plus another 1/3 of the chopped dill.

3. Fold the ends of the plastic wrap around the salmon fillet and wrap the entire thing in another layer of plastic wrap for protection. Put another plate on top with a weight (I used our stone mortar) to compress.

4. Refridgerate the fish for 48-72 hours, turning it every 12 hours and redistributing the salt and herbs with your fingers. The gravlax will be firm to the touch in the thickest part of the fish when it is finished or fully-cured.

5. Once cured discard the salty brine and spices and rinse the salmon under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.

6. On a freshly cleaned plate sprinkle the remaining 1/3 chopped dill and firmly press the fleshy side of the fish in the herbs.

7. Move the herbed fish to a cutting board, skin side up, and with a very sharp, narrow knife slice the gravlax diagonally, against the grain in thin slices. 

8. Serve as you wish. I like my gravlax on an everything bagel, with cream cheese, capers, and thinly sliced onion, but the skiy's the limit.

What's your favorite guilty pleasure during diet season? - b.