July 25, 2015

Flowers for a Summer Soiree!

When you're my cousin, and one of my best friends, and have too many things to celebrate all at once, you have a 2015 party! Why not?
100 Year Celebration of the House - yup!
My Aunt's 90th Birthday - of course!
25th Wedding Anniversary - you got it!
2 Graduations - one college and one prep school - definitely!
Sweet 16th Birthday - the cherry on top!
All this happened in the year of 2015!
And hence the party! 
(fyi - I erased the personal bits for my cousins' privacy, but you get the picture)
It was a great invite that on the back, detailed all the reasons to celebrate.
It was a pretty spectacular collection of events if I do say so myself!
So, of course, I offered to do some flowers for the big shindig (to which 35 people finally rsvp'd two days before the bash - what a shock to tell the caterers the number changed from 140 to 175 - yikes!)
Off I went to my happy place, the flower market! There, I grabbed three kinds of hydrangeas, sea star ferns, asters and allium, which ended up being everyone's favorites.
 These mini-green hydrangeas were perfect to add color and a little texture to the arrangement.
 These "antique green" hydrangeas were perfect for all their color variations.
How could I resist these "diamond blue" hydrangeas?
The sea star ferns were a perfect green for color, texture and just plain coolness.
This pretty little white asters just had to come with me for a little punch!
And I couldn't resist adding the Queen Anne's Lace that has decided to take over my garden this summer!
Ahhhh, but the star of the show was…Allium! Actually these are pods from hard neck garlic, and they start out all squiggly and then straighten ultimately bursting open, releasing seeds. The "allium sativum" has a bulb too. Seeds and bulbs in one plant, who knew?
I found these great clambuckets and wooden containers at the flower market. But you could easily find similar substitutions at a marine store and garden center.
 I also grabbed a box of "mood moss" to line the insides of my clambuckets. Isn't that a funny name for moss? I'm getting into the mood now!
 Because it came in clumps, I just smushed it around the edges, the more haphazard the better.
 And I didn't bother to cover the bottom since no one would see that anyway.
 I couldn't continue without a basket liner. If you can't find one to fit your container, try to find a bag, or use really big sheets of saran wrap. You want to keep the water-soaked insides from seeping out. You'll see what I mean soon...
I simply placed my liner into the clambucket - pretty tough, ha ha.
None of the arrangements would work without my trusty oasis!
 I always make sure when I soak oasis, that I pour water on the side with the holes up. I have no idea if it makes any difference, but to me, I feel like the water gets absorbed faster this way.
 Because who doesn't use their bread knife to work with flowers (?), I cut the block into shapes to fit my containers.
 Obviously, I still had room on the sides and I wanted it all snug to keep things anchored and moist.
So, I cut more with my bread knife and made these little pieces to slip in on the sides.
It's not pretty, but it does the job!
I figured out my "recipe" and then got going. I needed to make a total of 10 arrangements - phew!
I cut the sea star ferns into smaller pieces for all the arrangements. The ferns were the base of all my arrangements.
It looks like a mess here, but I promise…it gets pretty!
Because the heads of these hydrangeas were SO big, I only needed 3 per clambucket arrangement, and just placed them in the center all tight together.
Next up, the mini chartreuse hydrangeas - 3 per arrangement.
I kept the green hydrangeas clustered to one side of the arrangement, rather than mixing them around.
 It was time for the Queen Anne's Lace to be added - but I love it in this simple mini French bucket - ooh la la!
And I nestled it right next to the green hydrangeas.
 The asters, like the ferns, needed to get snipped into smaller groupings. These kinds of flowers are great for arrangements because you get so much bang for the buck.
From one stem alone, I got three groupings to add. 
I scattered these around in various places where there was a hole or just something was needed.
And then it was time for the crazy, squiggly allium. Or "hair" as I learned in my Christian Tortu master class
Having these goofy little things just swirl around added movement and fun, and people couldn't stop talking about them all night (in a good way, I promise!)
One down, 5 more clambuckets to go!
I mixed the colors so when they were placed around the party, it would be more visually interesting and pretty :)
Next up, the arrangements for the 4 high-top cocktail tables!
I love these containers that were hand-made in Thailand.
I soaked some more oasis and shoved it in more basket liners.
Then I started doing my thing with the sea star ferns. I went all around the edges with the oasis.
Since this was a smaller arrangement, I only needed 2 big hydrangeas and 1 small green one.
This was coming together quickly!
I made little bunches out of the asters again.
I also added the Queen Anne's lace and allium and this was party ready!
Just 3 more to go! When I have to make a lot of arrangements, I usually make a sample one and then bang out the rest, doing each stage on all of them, before moving on to the next. So here, I put in all the ferns, before moving on to the hydrangeas…
And tada! Here they are, all done!
Since I made these the day before the party, I placed them in my hall to keep them cooler until it was time.
I did the same with the bigger arrangements. I had flowers everywhere!
It was time to deliver and my cousins' gardens were impeccable! 
Seriously, there wasn't a loose leaf anywhere!
Even her cool ceramic fish from Fish in the Garden were ready for their close-up!
But first, a proper entrance through the garden,
and to admire this sweet fountain.
 It was warm enough to feel like we were in the Bahamas...
 …and it certainly looked like a fabulous party was soon afoot!
From the sushi table…
…to the amazingly well-stocked bar…
…and of course, the epic raw bar. We were ready!
Crazy Kim (she's really not crazy, I made her make this face and she was a sport!) brought wood for the fire pit.
What a GORGEOUS oceanside location for this shindig!
I spy Cape Cod!
Code flags were hung…
And the tables were set.
And soon the party van filled with guests arrived so it was time for me to skeedaddle and change into something more festive...
...making sure I didn't drink and drive that night. I wanted to have fun and she only lives down my street!
Here's to 2015 and whatever you have to celebrate!

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