Melissa (of Hooch & Home South) inspires me in many ways, but her latest post has moved me to pull out the old laptop and begin tapping away. It has been a long time since I’ve written anything . Does this require an explanation? I’m not sure! The short of it is that some minor health problems (for which I stopped drinking for a few months!) and a marathon of weddings this year has me trying to do a lot less. This is incredibly different for me. Today is a very lazy Sunday and I’ve already made brunch for my family, whipped up what will be some homemade vanilla extract once it finished extracting in a month, mounds of laundry and began an overnight infusion of garlic to combat what I believe to be a white fly attack in our garden. So many small projects are calling my name right now but I’ve missed you H & H. I’ve missed you a whole lot.
And what better way to say rekindle our love than by sending a bit of flower power into the world right now? As summer ends, we have limited time to enjoy end of the summer flowers and to sip the last of any whimsical cocktails we can find before giving ourselves over to the harsh warmth of brown liquors that come with sweaters and boots.
I was lucky enough to attend a flower crown workshop with Dan from the fabulous Floradelphia. I was already impressed by the work he had done at a friend’s wedding, so a trip to his studio was quite a treat! Before meeting Dan, I was of the mindset that flowers were generally a waste of money unless you were really trying to cheer someone up. Why spend even $15 on a bouquet that will only last a few days? Dan would whole heartedly disagree. He believes that flowers are not just about the way they look. He is even more interested in the way they make people feel. His passion was contagious and changed the way I think about flowers forever. Time has proven his so right! I now love coming home to a table with even a simple arrangement. And when crowning your head, they make you feel fabulous.
Making a flower crown is easy and the possibilities are endless. It is a beautifully short-lived project if done with real flowers, but you could always use dried flowers for a more permanent accessory. Make sure you check out Dan’s pro-tips before moving on to the cocktail!
“Flowers can be a transformational moment…I want people to feel something in that ephemeral moment” – Dan Fingerhut, Owner of Floradelphia
What you will need
- Cloth covered floral wire can be found at Michaels and obviously on an infinite amount of websites.
- Florist tape (pulling this tape activates its stickiness)
- A floral glue is optional and can get very messy very quickly
- Ribbon if you are trying to get fancy
How to do it
- Measure the size of your crown by wrapping the floral wire around the crown of your head. Before cutting the wire, double it to create a stronger crown with more surface area. Then twist it so that it stays together
- Begin by choosing a flower with more than one color, and then add more flowers that pick up on those colors (Dan says it’s “just like getting dressed”)
- Leave at least three inches of stem on each flower and arrange your flowers in the way most pleasing to you
- Cut long pieces of floral tape and stretch one end to make sticky
- Starting with your center flower, stretch and wrap floral tape around the stems to hold them into place
- Glue on any extras that can’t be wrapped to fill in space or take your crown to the next level – also to add foliage to the back to fill in space
- Wrap a ribbon around any exposed wire at the back of the head and leave trailing down your back if you are trying to get fance
- Try to impress your floral master (pictured in the background)
- Attempt to take selfie
Pro Tips from Dan:
- Always use sharp scissors when cutting flower stems (dull scissors will crush the steps and flowers won’t be able to drink)
- Always cut flower stems on the diagonal
- Make sure you don’t leave any leaves on stems that will be under water level
- Dirty vases can cause problems! Make sure to use a clean vase using vinegar
- Actually use the flower food that comes with the flowers (it contains flower calories and anti-bacterial stuff)
- Remove any dead leaves or flowers so they don’t steal calories from the rest of the flowers
- Change your water every two days and always add plant food (this can even just be sugar) to make your flowers last longer
I’ve been playing around with my own bouquets while at my mom’s house. Here I used mint, lavender and a number of other leafy beauties to decorate our table. I followed Dan’s advice about creating many levels and textures. Flowerless bouquets last a long time and can be magnificent in their own right!
An English Garden Cocktail
One of my favorite spots in Philadelphia is a The Dandelion. Steven Starr’s gastropub features wonderful drinks and very tasty yums, but one of my favorite things about this place is the decor and the ambiance. A few Saturdays ago, I found myself in the Dog Bar, a room in The Dandelion whose decor is dedicated to man’s best friend (even the curtains have dogs on them!). While shoveling their amazing curry deviled eggs into my snout, I sipped on a delightful cocktail called An English Garden that I was able to recreate last weekend.
- Pinot Grigio
- Beefeater Gin
- St. Germain
I would suggest playing around with the proportions a little more but here is what I came up with: Mix 1 oz of gin and 1 oz of St. Germain in a glass. Add 2-3 oz of Pinot Grigio. Add 3/4 oz of lemon juice. Add two slices of cucumber, a sprig of mint and two lemon slices. Fill glass with ice and stir.
Enjoy outside in your garden (or in may case, enjoy outside on your stoop because my tiny garden has been taken over by two tomato plants and it is no longer pleasant to sit out there – stay tuned for Julia versus the white flies in an upcoming post – the secret weapon arrives this week in the form of 150 ladybugs!)
And finally, a shout out to my mom! Who has also taught me about the importance of flowers and who looks adorable in them!