31st March 2014
I have to admit to hair being my last priority when it comes to getting ready. One reason for this is no doubt the crazy humidity in Hong Kong which turns your hair into a Fran Drescher style bouffant within a minute of leaving the house, which leads me to generally adopt the hair-in-a-bun-with-lethal-amounts-of-hairspray situation. Although 90% of the time this works for me (particularly when I’m just hanging in the studio), there are times when it’s nice to do something a little bit special, which is where this amazing floral headband Gemma and I created comes in. Surprisingly easy and not requiring all that many flowers, it’s the perfect accessory for a Spring picnic, or for when you’re hosting a party and have flowers on hand (or even better, for the day after when you need a little bit of sunshine in your life).
- A bunch of florals – Gemma suggests picking a few round full blooms like roses or ranunculus and and a few longer ones and then a few smaller finer flowers as filler. This will help you create lots of colour and texture in your piece.
- Floral wire
- Scissors (I love these bonsai ones)
- Bobby pins
1. Start by snipping your flowers down to about 5cm (2 inch) long stalks.
2. Do that for all of your flowers.
3. To begin, start by wiring together two flowers along the stalks.
4. Keep wiring them together, alternating the different flower types so that you have lots of texture, differing colours and no gaps.
5. Rather than creating a simple string of flowers, we started with one strand and then thickened the headpiece out by adding more flowers in width to create a more dramatic headpiece shape. Having said that, you can create whatever shape you want for this style.
6. To check whether the length is right as you start adding more, hold it up o your head to decide how many flowers to add – we decided to do mine on the one side of my head but you can all the way around if you like – it’s really up to you!
7. I then created a very simple up do using pins (kinda similar to this) and then pinned the headpiece in. So easy!
What I’ve learnt from Gemma is that floral wire can be used for soooo many fun projects, this is clearly just the beginning.
Stay tuned for more floral collaborations with Gemma and I (I love having her in the office because she always leaves so many nice florals!)
19th March 2014
When I lived in London Spring was, without a doubt, my favourite time of year. The air would change, you could literally smell the new season, and you would start to see flowering bulbs pushing through the grass (and know/hope that the days would get longer and your severe case of SAD might diminish). That real sense of seasonal change is something I miss a bit here in Hong Kong, where going from 60% humidity to 97% humidity pretty much only excites your sweat glands.
A couple of months ago Gemma (another ex-Londoner) and I were reminiscing about the glory of Springtime in a cold climate, and she told me it’s actually possible to grow Spring flowering blooms in Hong Kong. Prior to our little project I had no idea just how much of a science there is to growing bulbs at home, and was very interested as to how she did with with no garden and all but a few small pots. Full disclosure – it’s the cheat version of growing bulbs, but when she delivered them to our office – I wasn’t feeling picky!
For those brown thumbs out there (like me), flowering bulbs like these Hyacinths require a long period of chilling, usually around 11 – 14 weeks in the frozen ground, but because Hong Kong’s Winter are mild most of the time, Gemma bought pre-chilled bulbs at the flower markets. These had apparently been put in the fridge in a process called ‘forcing’, where they cool the bulb to simulate the Winter period and then warm – or plant if you live in a warm place like Hong Kong – to simulate Spring.
If you live in a cold climate and are organised enough, you can plant bulbs in the garden in Autumn and let the cooling period happen as nature intended, but we did it the easy (aka lazy) way!
- Bulbs (Gemma used pre-chilled hyacinth bulbs)
- Three small pots
1. Pre chilled bulbs should have roots sprouting as these things develop during the cooling period. Plant the bulb roots down in the soil with 2.5cm (1 in) of the sprouts sitting out of the soil.
2. Gemma then left hers in the warm kitchen until the leaves had fully grown, which took about 3 weeks. They should then look like the below once the (here’s some we prepared earlier):
How cute are the diptyque candles as pots?
3. Once she could see the bloom buds coming through, she put then in a sunny spot in her living room so the flowers would bloom. Apparently once the flowers come out it’s best to take them out of the sun so you get a while out of them. These hyacinths smell so good!
25th February 2014
Ever since I was little my mum, brother and I have played a game where on a morning walk we would sneak up and throw a ball of tiny Lantana flowers (it’s a pest that’s pretty much killing all the native plants in Australia so we didn’t feel that bad) over each others heads in a rain of floral confetti. It’s kind of fun to start with, but then you spend 15 minutes removing the flowers from your hair and you’re pretty much like ‘arrrrgh’. In all likelihood flower balling was dreamt up by my mother during a weekend bush walk with two screaming children in toe, but for some reason it’s stuck. I’m flower balling’s biggest fan! With Easter just around the corner, recently resident flower guru Gemma and I took an afternoon out to create a wholly different kind of flower ball. This type of decoration has been used for time eternal at weddings, but what Gemma showed me is that you don’t have to wack them on a stick as a banquet table centrepiece (if you don’t want to that is), in fact there’s hundreds of ways to make them so they integrate into a cute, modern home (sans monogrammed place settings).
- a few bunches of flowers (you’ll need more than you think)
- a round oasis
- floral sheers
- ribbon or twine
- a pin
1. Cut all your flowers so they have about 5cm (2 inch) of stalk. Remove any flowers than are looking at bit wilted or sad. We found that if you cut the stalks with a little point it’s a bit easier to get them into the ball.
2. Start working them into the oasis, pushing then down to the beginning of the flower and clustering them together so there’s no gaps. Make sure they’re all at the same height so your ball is nice and round.
3. Work the flowers all the way around. You can add some different coloured ones in if you like, we added a few white ones in so there was a bit of variation (oh and also we ran out of purple ones… doh!).
4. Pin your ribbon or twine into the flower bomb, we ended up needing a few pins for this one because the ball had become quite heavy. If your ball is too heavy to pin the ribbon on, you can loop thread it through close to the base of the oasis and tie it on.
5. Once you have done that, run the ball under the tap to fill the oasis with water. You will need to do this for a few minutes so it fills up with water. This is something you can do before you add the flowers, but Gemma and I found it easier to do it after.
A little but too pretty use for a game of netball, right?