I’m honoured to be hosting today’s Decorate With Flowers book blog tour today and welcome to Curate & Display if you’re stopping by for the first time. Today’s post is quite a long one, so get the kettle on and settle in with a biccy or two…
Here is a breathtakingly beautiful new book to inspire you, from the imaginings of two incredible stylists and close friends, Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring. There’s no end to the talents that these two women share-both designers, creative directors, authors (this is Holly’s third publication with Jacqui Small publishers) and mentors for bloggers everywhere, I admire them both very much. As one of Holly’s Blogging Your Way students I also had the pleasure of meeting her in person at the launch of her last book, Decorate Workshop and she’s just as exuberant in person as she is online!
When Holly mentioned last year that she was working on a new book and this time with Leslie, I had one of those silly, excited moments to myself. Leslie first landed on my radar when she started writing and shooting her Color Me Pretty column for Holly’s blog, Decor8. This was going to be good. There would be colour, pattern, a feast for the eyes and a craft element somewhere. I was right and I love it.
Decorate With Flowers is a vibrant and fresh foray into creative floral styling at home, without the need for expensive vases and the complicated terminology. The simplicity of this book is a joy, there’s no pressure to have a perfect selection of containers, rather to utilise what you have to hand to create something new with them. There are no hard and fast rules to this approach, dispelling the stuffiness that can accompany the more professional (and slightly scary) floristry books. With each turn of the page you can see the love that’s gone into the making-Leslie’s beautiful illustrations and photography, Holly’s signature styling and conversational narrative. It’s just too lovely.
We jump right into the basics-building a capsule tool kit, how to choose the best quality blooms, how to prep and keep them flowering for longer and what to consider when you’re putting an arrangement together. Then we look at three step-by-step arrangements, detailing how to approach a tied posy, medium arrangement with “sass” and a larger, blowsy creation. Start small, work your way up.
The book is divided into eight chapters based on a style theme and introduced with a moodboard -‘Market’ really caught my eye, drawing inspiration from visits to local flower markets around the world with pops of colour and texture. It reminded me of the last time I came to Utrecht with the flower stalls along the canal. Each project is created and styled within a real home, taking care to pull inspiration from the surroundings so that the flowers work as both complimentary features and subtle accents. My personal favourite was a playful little wreath which hangs on a corner of blogger Bri Emery’s bed. Cute and punchy!
All the projects are simple, stylish and easy to achieve with step-by step shots to help you along the way. I loved these Liberty print flower pots-if you’re familiar with Holly’s style you’ll know she loves a bit of Liberty print, so it was great to see she’d used it here.
So I had to try something out for myself because…well, how could I not? Flicking through, I fell head over heels for these gorgeous Graphic Stamped Bags. A simple white bag gives you carte blanche with your design and they hide the mechanics (because sometimes flowers just look better when you can’t see the stems). You choose what to print with-be it a stamp and ink or a simple graphic pattern using pens or paint. They look amazing on the table as a sociable display (you can see over the top whilst you talk over dinner!) and you don’t need to break into a sweat to make your own. Here’s Holly and Leslie’s beautiful creations for you to try your hand…
And here are mine. I already had an idea of the colour story in my head and I had a fruitful two minutes in my office whilst I pulled together some inspiration for a quick moodboard-I love the Imogen Heath Pink Rosa fabric with that sculptural honeycomb ball. Lots of texture. You can probably deduce that my story was of summer, warm sun, rich pinks and yellow against crisp white. And bees. Lots of bees.
The flowers were a mixture of supermarket staples (the chrysanthemums as the filler and spray roses) and specials from the florist-the beautiful pink and hot yellow ranunculus, my favourites. I set to work on some sketches for the stamps and carved up some lino board with a honeycomb and bee hive motif with metallic gold touches to complete them.
Arranging the flowers inside took a little bit of practice-choosing a glass with a wide neck really helped, then packing out with the filler flowers first before adding in the show-stoppers.
Congratulations ladies! I absolutely LOVE this book. It’s given me a new found confidence with flowers and made me realise that “flower arranging” isn’t as daunting as I thought it’d be as long as you enjoy it and create something from the heart. And I did.
Decorate With Flowers is out on official UK release on March 21st 2014 and you can pre-order your copy here. For all other release dates and exclusive content, please visit the Decorate With Flowers website.
1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 Tiffany Grant-Riley