Sunday, August 11, 2019

Daily Vase Archives

Just a few from the past featuring yellow and orange flowers in teapots.

Please check out the beautiful pieces created in our Color Study Series:  1.Yellow and Orange

First up: #1. YellowandOrange

Nothing like a hot summer afternoon to set the mood to share the sunny colors used in our first Color Theory Series Workshop:

#1. YellowandOrange. 

This awesome group of arrangements shows the variations possible using the warmest colors in the color wheel. These are analogous colors (fancy name for side by side neighbors on the color wheel). 

What a fun group! Where did the time go??

I received an email from Pottery Barn this week issuing a decree that yellow is the trend color of fall. It was also the trend color of  spring 2019, in case you missed the memo. I did!

In the spring the yellow hues were pure and saturated. The fall brings a palette of light yellows tinted with white or brown. You can see examples of both spring and fall Yellow and Oranges in this beautiful work, but the seasonal flowers tell us that it is SUMMER.



Thursday, June 27, 2019

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Garden Valley Ranch Rose Workshop 2019

Can you tell how hot it was this day? This workshop was cancelled a number of weeks back due to the heavy rains. Now we were cooking- but only in an energetic/creative  state as the historic carriage house stayed blessedly cool in that blistering heatwave.

Enjoy the beautiful pieces here: 


Monday, June 24, 2019


Okay, this one is a bit of a ramble. We are going to Great Britain! This stream of consciousness takes us from baked goods to two quintessentially British estates to floral headgear.

"Oh dear, I'm afraid you're got a soggy bottom, but otherwise it's a lovely bake." If you have heard these nail biting words time and time again, you may have similarly gotten hooked on Great British Baking Show. It is a British baking competition for talented home bakers, who are challenged to bake increasingly difficult creations. The challengers who have not baked up to snuff sadly leave the camaraderie of their fellow baking family and must leave the big baking tent forever...

 I count myself as a recovering baker (nothing more complicated than pie crust...). All those years behind a mixing bowl and rolling pin don't jive well with a mainly gluten and sugar free lifestyle (I said mainly..). And I am not a fan of competitions where people are cast off the island. But this is mostly a feel good show in which the contestants compete, while gradually bonding over baking rounds.  

The increasingly complex baked goods require skill and artistry. The fruits of their labors are then presented to an entertaining duo of judges. How do they manage- oh the pressure! What a nice break from the "I can't take anymore" of the daily news.

Now about that big baking tent.....all the action takes place in a large white tent on the grounds of the beautiful estate in Welford Park in the Berkshires, North of London. After one particular episode, I suddenly remember another beautiful English estate- This one was discussed nearly 20 years years ago and then frankly,-forgotten. "Where did that photo album go, Jon"? It an old fashioned leather bound album, one of many that Jon's mother lovingly made. In it's pages lay a few photos of a mysterious family estate distantly connected through 12 generations in England- the one with the moat?

 Margret Ligon Mitguard, Jon's mother, made only one visit to Madresfield Court, in the Malvern Hills. Visiting the distant relatives was not a matter of giving a ring on the telly. One had to prove one's linage to a vetting committee to join the multitude of English/ American Ligon's at the ten year reunions. Since the reunion was some years away, she joined one of the frequent tours, a common way for some estates generate income for to keep those large expensive properties in the family. The photos Maggie took on her visit with a disposable Kodak camera are blurry and the grey skies made the estate look dark and foreboding. Maggie hoped to return for the next reunion. Sadly fate intervened and she passed away unexpectedly the following year.

Here is Madresfield Court on a more cheery day.


So It is with great pleasure that we will find ourselves for the first time entering the fine halls of Madresfield this September for another family tour, nearly 20 years later. It is a fitting sense of a circling back of Ligon DNA. Molecules briefly rejoined.

In preparation for the trip, I am looking into all things British including what I can only imagine as a very vibrant flower scene. This is the home of the cottage garden, floral decorator, Constance Spry and David Austen Roses. 
While checking out checking British floral designers,I stumbled upon one one who is fun and really inspiring. 

Meet Fiona Haser Bizony, owner of Electric Daisy Farm. Besides event work and workshops (-sadly I can't make one)  she and her family and team create calendars and prints.

They are awesome! There is a series of portraits of pets and owners bedecked with flower garnishes. Another series plays with men patiently bearing floral crowns flowers. There are a lot of people doing this kind of floral headgear work on both sides of the pond, so to speak; I think hers is really special. Cheerio!

 Check out more on her website.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

"Breath of Spring" at the Fairfax Backyard Farmer

We gathered together amidst the DIY equipment that Fairfax Backyard Farmer's offers in it's very pleasant storefront. It was inspirational to meet owner Jim Normandi and work in a space dedicated to the soul satisfying home crafts of bee keeping, sourdough fermenting, beer brewing, chicken raising and gardening, etc, etc...!

This workshop generated beautiful pieces.Your practice is showing!

Ode to Purple

Every year I must, must have Frittilarias- especially Frittiallaria Meleagris, it's checked pattern and subdued purple making it remarkably distinct.

Sadly at present the only source in the trade I've found is from Holland. I am not adverse to buying from Holland on occasion, but frittialaria varieties don't seem to travel very well and I often pass their rather bedraggled selves at the SF Flower Mart. Happily, there were some fine looking ones available before Easter. The delicate flowers, the leaves, the curving stems.... I indulged!

And every year, I must have scented lilacs (not all are)-and the Farmer's Market has a great selection.

The vase: paper collage done on a thrift store find.

So here are a few variations using the same flowers.
In my workshops I suggest the idea of reworking an arrangement to create another variation. It's hard to let go of something when you are very pleased with the result, but it's a great learning tool.


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Carizzo Plains, April 2019

"Come on, let's go a little further", Jon looked back at me. l glanced up the trail, headed straight up the mountain. It was mid-day, hot,and the light was harsh and jutted. A young couple just passed on the way down, warning of two rattlesnakes they had encountered in separate sightings up the mountain. Okay enough. "Nah, I'm turning back. I'll meet you back at the campsite" Though a steep- up hill is never a game changer for me and I'm not afraid of snakes, the idea of seeing a rattler and having to gracefully navigate away on a steep slope made me anxious to turn back. We had gotten into territory where the trail had become scree- uneven smallish stones that are more difficult to navigate when going downhill- for me anyway. 

On the downhill I always feeling like I am going to slip and go crashing down- out of control. My husband and friends who have hiked with me over the years know that I am like a nimble mountain goat going up a hill and have always been the slowest,and (hopefully) dearest grandma on the way down. It is a most peculiar phenomena, sometimes funny and sometimes just embarrassing. But if I were to come up with a less ego bruising reason, it was because I was after wildflowers and they were few and far between (p.s. Jon didn't abandon me. He scrambled ahead to see over the next hill and quickly rejoined me- and I was on my way down as fast as granny gear allowed!)

And that was something, because we had just driven into a wildflower storm, a "superbloom" in Carizzo Plains, a semi- arid grassland plain. It is located in the sparsely populated central valley of central California, east of San Luis Obispo and managed by the Bureau of Land Management. 

In very rare conditions of the right amount of rain, no rain, and the right temperatures timed correctly etc., etc. etc., this otherwise arid, mushroom colored landscape bursts into dense, carpeted flower bloom come spring and we had come to see for ourselves. We had found ourselves on the rare trail that presented no abundance of flowers. Hell, leave that one to the rattlesnakes.

The Easter Egg landscape was painted in variations of yellows and purples. Blue, orange and white showed up occasionally. Every altitude change, every tiny micro-climate brought surprises and variations of size. 
We found it an extraordinary, life time experience.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Bold &Dramatic Workshop at Studio 64

I love the way this group problem solved to create a suitable backdrop for these photographing these beautiful arrangements. We still needed a larger backdrop for these expansive compositions!

And- my a new lens will eventually deliver some nice sharp pictures-when I figure out how to use it properly. I used to shoot and print my own photos-geeze! I will persist.

Because I think documentation is important.
Important as a tool while working as it gives a third eye kind of perspective- and informative when looking back, long after the flowers are gone.  Good for seeing where you have been and where you want to go.