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Book Review: WREATHS: Fresh, Foraged & Dried Florals Arrangements by Katie Smyth & Terri Chandler

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell

Foraging flowers and foliage, is now a thing, we all delight at coming home with a handful of hedgerow discoveries, but how to make the most of our collection?

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I was sent a review copy of the book WREATHS: Fresh, Foraged & Dried Florals Arrangements by Katie Smyth & Terri Chandler. It gives a glimpse into the world of flower arrangers, Worm, packed with insider knowledge into how they achieve their original and contemporary approach to wreaths and flower installations. Exuberant and full of life, the can do flower company aims to bring the delight of natural foraged flowers to your home or venue.

With their characteristic enthusiasm they set out to demystify the art with a wealth of fresh new tips for constructing and building up original floral installations so they look their very best. Even if you are not into creating with flowers the book is a must for the beautiful images alone. Photographer Kristin Perers, creates serene moments of floral calm leaving us all wishing they were part of our lives.

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Liberated from more formal arrangements this book reflects the recent move away from monoculture flower arrangements towards a more seasonal approach, as often as possible, using foraged and farmed British flowers and foliage. People who know me will be aware I am always looking for new ways to bring the outside in and I love the crazy, mad, romantic almost Midsummers Night Dream vibe of Worm designs.

The detailed recipe for Meadow Ball, makes the concept approachable, I’m itching to sling a hook in the ceiling and get on with it. Another design I am keen to try is the Late Summer Chandelier, which uses a gnarled, ropey clematis vine as a base. The smell from the Giant Pine Wreath promises to deliver an intoxicating perfume, so that’s a must when the time comes round. And for sheer vibrancy the Autumnal Wreath would be the star at a Harvest or Thanksgiving celebration.

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Dip into the pages of this beautiful book, Wreaths, with its glorious images and all the tools and know how to develop your own instinctive floral style,  you will be ready to create a wreath to celebrate each seasonal event when it comes along. 

WREATHS: Fresh, Foraged & Dried Florals Arrangements by Katie Smyth & Terri Chandler (Quadrille, £14.99)

Photography: Kristin Perers

Worm London http://www.wormlondon.com

Kristin Perers http://kristinperers.com

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If you liked this book review then why not read my book review of Modern Lettering: A Guide to Modern Calligraphy and Hand Lettering by Rebecca Cahill Roots

Styling your Dartmouth Flower Urns

Interior, StylingAmanda Russell
   
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    Pedestal vases were inspired by the 30s to the 50s ceramics designs of the international household name, high society florist, Constance Spry. The most popular designs were copied and reproduced in the 50s for the thousands of housewives who read her books. To style an interior treat as a stand alone gorgeous sculptural statement piece, or fill with grasses, flowers, trails and twiggery.

Pedestal vases were inspired by the 30s to the 50s ceramics designs of the international household name, high society florist, Constance Spry. The most popular designs were copied and reproduced in the 50s for the thousands of housewives who read her books. To style an interior treat as a stand alone gorgeous sculptural statement piece, or fill with grasses, flowers, trails and twiggery.

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If you enjoyed reading this blog post, why not read my post on How to style your home using Sylvac Urns

Stamp your own floral lampshade

CraftsAmanda Russell

I love simple bold classic 60s florals and designed a print in a bright vibrant green for a large lampshade. This is a very simple way to create your own bespoke piece of designer homeware.

You will already have many of the things you need for this low-tech hand printing project and there are only a couple of specialize products you will need.

You will need:

  • Plain drum lampshade 
  • Dylon fabric paints in Green and Yellow from
  • Acrylic block
  • Tracing paper
  • Pencil
  • Rubber
  • Masking tape
  • Glue stick
  • Hobby foam sheet
  • Car wash sponge
  • Scissors
  • OHP pen (overhead projector pen)
  • Masking tape

Step by Step

  1. Measure the lampshade and draw a design to fit, then trace onto tracing paper. Use a permanent OHP pen to mark the center back of the acrylic block. Place the design under the acrylic block and trace onto the reverse side of the block with the OHP pen.
  2. To transfer the image onto the foam sheet, place the tracing paper design face down on foam, and then scribble over the back with a soft pencil.
  3. Cut out your design from the foam sheet using scissors and a craft knife. Stick the cut out pieces in position on the acrylic block using a glue stick.
  4. Place a line of masking tape around the top and bottom edges of the lampshade.
  5. Mix up your fabric-printing colour, I made a lime green by mixing the yellow with the green about half a pot for this design. For the fabric paint applicator cut a piece 3cm cubed from the car wash sponge. Dab one side of the foam in the fabric paint until it is evenly coated. Then dab the fabric paint onto the design block and print on paper to check colour.
  6. Start printing onto the lampshade, beginning at the seam, reloading the block with paint after each impression.

Tip

  • Transparent acrylic blocks take the headache out of positioning the block especially when printing repeat designs.

If you like this blog post why not read my post on Creating a Retro Tiled Coffee Table

The Flower Farmers Year : How to Grow and cut flowers for pleasure and profit by Georgie Newbery

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell

Everyone loves to give and be given flowers, and if they are British grown even better. Georgie Newbery runs Common Farm Flowers and she’s used her flower farming knowledge to create the beautiful book The Flower Farmer’s Year, jam packed with sumptuous photos of British home grown flowers. It’s certainly not just a coffee table book, it’s an extensive how to guide, giving the secrets from start to finish to help you successfully grow your own cut flowers. And if you get bitten by the bug  the know how to create a thriving artisanal floristry business.

Over the past 30 years British flower growing has all but evaporated, to be replaced by supermarket flowers flown in from all over the world, arriving with their huge environmental impact. Flower farmer, Georgie asks the question why import flowers when we are perfectly capable of growing our own British flowers without damage to the environment? Georgie is generous with her knowledge and with step-by-step instructions she shows us how we can have a year round cut flower patch outside the back door. Georgie makes cut flower growing doable for both amateurs and professionals while still paying their tithe to nature .

A visual treat the pictures are of generous and exuberant confections of British seasonal flowers and foliage, rare as hens’ teeth in the high street florist. The variety of British flowers is stunning, there are fragrant sweet peas and romantic Love in the Mist, delicate roses mixed with feverfew, grasses marigolds and cow parsley.

Readable and inspirational, the book’s packed with information including tips from top gardeners and specialist growers. The chapters are handily divided to cover different kinds of plants and unusually there’s even one on shrubs for cutting. To help make the dream a reality there’s a useful resources section with advice on where to get seeds and plants. But don’t think growing all these flowers will turn you into a basket toting Marie Antoinette. The chapter on cutting and conditioning flowers finds Georgie advising, to keep flowers at their very best, cut them straight into a deep bucket of water. 

This book would make wonderful gift for any gardener or flower lover. Whether you’re an amateur gardener or aspiring artisanal florist the book wont be read just once, with it’s wealth of invaluable information and beautiful pictures you’ll find yourself returning to Georgies blooming corner of Somerset again and again.

The Flower Farmer’s Year: How to grow cut flowers for pleasure and profit

By Georgie Newbery

Published by

If you like this book review check out my review of 'My Tiny Indoor Garden'