Wistful About Wisteria…..

If you follow my on  Twitter, you have been recently been buried under an avalanche of tweets with the hash tag #WalksWithScruffy.  Every afternoon, I take my adorable “design assistant” Scruffy for his afternoon walk in our neighborhood.  Thanks to the all the rain (and some hard work on part of our neighbors) everyone’s garden is on full tilt.  Walking through the neighborhood has become a visual treat as I am greeted by beautiful parrot tulips, roses, lush green ferns and my personal favorite wisteria.

Honestly, I can’t get enough of wisteria’s purple flowery vines of goodness.  Seeing a house covered in wisteria makes  me happy.  A fence encased by wisteria blooms makes me giddy.  And seriously, a pergola that is entwined and dripping with wisteria, makes me heart beat faster.  To put it bluntly, I love the hell out of wisteria right now…….

When I am see it, I am instantly calmed.  It whisks me away and makes me imagine warm Spring nights on the porch.  Tea drinking and leisurely dinners.  Women in flirty dresses and guys in crisp khakis…….

I can stare at these pictures all day, but alas I have work to do!  So tell me, do you have a favorite flower or plant that you can’t get enough of right now?  I think wisteria may slowly be edging out my love of succulents.  We shall see…..

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Flower Power…..

When I moved into my first apartment, one of the first things I did was buy a bouquet of flowers from the grocery store.  I didn’t have a vase to put them in nor a table to place them on, but that simple gesture made my small studio apartment feel like home.

Flash forward some 10 (cough ….12….) years later and my love affair with fresh flowers has only grown stronger.  I am incredibly lucky to have a fantastic grocery store with an amazing floral department in my neighborhood as well as live less than 10 minutes from the Oakland Flower Mart.  After living three years in our home, I still get a kick out of going to get fresh flowers.

As a rule, I try to limit myself to $20 every other week for flowers, usually focusing on purchasing flowers for the dining table or master bedroom.  However, this last visit I felt CRAZY….so I splurged and bought flowers for almost every room in the house.  Surprisingly, even with this splurge, I only spent $27.  Here are some of the “arrangement highlights”……

You all may recall this vase from the Cocktail Table Vignette I did a few weeks back using white spray roses.  This time around, I opted to go a bit more sculptural and simple with a bunch of mini calla lilies in deep purple.  I loved how they looked against the blue of the chairs and the silver of the vase.

I fell for the intense almost inky purple of these flowers.  Unfortunately, I am clueless on what they are called…if anyone knows, please leave a comment!   I was smitten with the contrast of the deep purple against the grey wall.  Additionally, I have been dying to use this vase I picked up several years ago on a trip to Hong Kong.

Using the clippings from the other arrangement, I made a mini arrangement for my bedside table.  I used the same small trophy I used here for my two different beside table vignettes.  I couldn’t let those beautiful flowers go to waste and this seemed like the perfect use for the clippings.

Lest you think I was on a purple kick (which I sorta was), I picked up a bouquet of orange short tulips for the unbelievable price of $1.99.  A quick survey of my vase collection yielded this quirky vignette in the guest bathroom.  The tulips are paired with a metal status I found in a junk shop in San Francisco and a sea shell I found years ago.  I love the odd combination of items and their reflection in the mirror.

Finally I created a quick and pretty arrangement for the master bathroom using purple iris and freesia in a bathroom tumbler.  I like using bathroom cups and tumblers for vases because they are (1) cheap & (2) come in a variety of shapes and colors.  When the iris bloom, they present this gorgeous purple and yellow flowers.  The white freesia blooms and lime green buds are a nice foil plus they bloom for considerably longer than the iris, so I can extend the arrangement’s life.  

So what are your favorite blooms to decorate with?  Shoot me a comment and tell me!

Learning the Language of Flowers…..

Around a year ago I bought what I would consider to be my first houseplant purely by mistake.  I initially bought 4 inch ferns for the terrarium project I dreamed up to decorate the living room.  The ferns were too big for the terrarium but perfect for two pots we happened to have in the garage.  Thus began my horticulture career…..

Since that time, I have nurtured several plants and flowers including this beautiful orchid currently residing on the living room console:

My $6.99 orchid from Home Depot is thriving....

I have since cast my net wider and tried my hand at pulling together simple flower arrangements for tablescapes I have put together.  However, my arrangements lack the sophisticated conversation that occurs between the florist, the flowers and the user.  I call this dialogue the “language of flowers” because in the capable hands of a great florist, flowers can tell a story.  As humans, we use flowers to convey sentiments ranging from joy to grief and humility to love – on many occasions, flowers “speak” the words/thoughts we can’t articulate.

So when the ladies at Studio Choo put out an announcement that they were looking for an intern in December, I jumped at the chance and fired off an email to them about why I wanted to join their team.  I mean come on now — the Studio Choo ladies (Jill & Alethea) are producing some of the most rockin’ arrangements in San Francisco at the moment.  Walk into the restaurant Defina and you will see their work.  If you read Design*Sponge, you have probably stared at their creations since they write a column for the blog.  And let us not forget that Sunset Magazine has a thing for these floral divas. But if this isn’t enough to sway you, then look at some of their work….

Photo Source: Studio Choo

Isn’t their work just simply awesome? Now do you understand why I want to be their intern?

Well as of Tuesday, I am one step closer to that goal.  I had the opportunity to meet Jill & Alethea in the shop to discuss a little more about why I thought I would be a good fit for them as an intern.  It was a really delightful conversation and the shop is adorable – tiny but adorable.  What struck me most about this dynamic duo is that they LOVE what they do.  They have worked their way up the food chain starting out working in a family member’s garage to their current store front.  They have endured no heat, no hot water, early mornings and sleepless nights to grow the business but each of them said in the end that they love the business and surprisingly each other since they consider each other best friends.

So to recap, interning at Studio Choo would mean (1)hands-on learning the biz from two rockin’ ladies who are (2) passionate about the floral business, (3) produce some stellar arrangements and (4) are pretty cool to boot.  And what sealed the deal for me was that they (on occasion) enjoy wine with lunch…….

Okay, I just confirmed my design crush on Studio Choo.  I should know by next week if I made the next round of interviews.

Wish me luck!