Katsuko Thielke-Ikebana Instructor

Last week the SAIFD club at CSM hosted Katsuko Thielke at the general meeting.  Katsuko is an Ikebana instructor and floral designer with her own business.  Her specialty is manipulating leaves into braids or other shapes for her designs.  The things she did with flowers and leaves and even palm fronds was amazing.  Here are some photos of the designs she shared with us:

The structure for the design above was created using flax leaves.

Above is a design with a painted palm frond over a vase with tulips, lilies and babies breath.

This design was created by using bamboo shoots and tying the branches together and then spray painting them black and gold.

To avoid using tape or a flower frog, Katsuko used bamboo shoots and split them on the bottom to form a closepin-like shape.  She then tied the branches together to create a grid and stuck a bundle of tulips in the grid.

In this design, she french braided bear grass and slipped it over a cylinder-shaped container.

This design has bamboo tied together and also red dogwood branches tied into loops.

This was my favorite.  I love the orchids and the silver.  This is another design with spray painted palm fronds placed on a cylindrical vase.

To get the lines on this frond, she painted them black and then peeled parts of the frond off.

This design used willow branches coiled up and tied together.  This was another of my favorites.


Birthday party planning: Conclusion

After almost two months of planning, the big 40th birthday party for my now fiancé came and went.

In the final weeks, I spent most of my time with the smaller details.  My living room started filling up with boxes of decorations, friends and family started getting assignments and things quickly came together.

Now that the party has come and gone, I can say that the theme was Mardi Gras.  For food, we had red beans and rice with Po' Boy sandwiches.  We had smoked pork and ribs and a side salad.  We set up buffet tables and laid out plates with the food as well as floral decor:

The hall was decorated with Mardi Gras decorations bought at Oriental Trading and we had tables strewn with beads and feathered masks.  One table was designated for cards and gifts and another had picture albums of Roberts life.  There was a side room where I set up a slide show and a full sized cutout for people to take pictures with:

I didn't have many tables set up to eat at since I wanted people to walk around and socialize.  I didn't specify a dress code but encouraged people to dress up and have fun.  Several guests brought their own masks and beads and a few wore fancy dresses.

The cake done by my friend Allison at Cake Done Right, was fantastic.  Chocolate with vanilla icing.  Very delicious.  Thank you Allison!

Thanks to my friend Brenda at Botanicals by Brenda for her help with the flowers Friday morning!  For the buffet table, I found large three champagne glasses at Michaels for $38. I filled the bottom with colorful beads and two floral lights.  I then place aspidistra leaves inside to cover the foam.  The flowers used were yellow roses, purple snap dragons, blue gentian, and peacock feathers.  I place more beads around the design and place a feather mask inside:

For the gift table, I found three green candle holders of different sizes at Home Goods, one of my favorite places to shop.  The containers cost $15 all together.  I used purple tulips, red freesia and yellow roses in one of the containers and placed electric candles in the other two.  I put a feather accent in it just for fun:

For the photo table, I found three cubes of varying sizes in my collection of things and place curly willow inside as well as some beads.  I then put 3-4 tulips in each arrangement and secured it to curly willow coming out of the cube:

To save money on entertainment, I downloaded a bunch of Louis Armstrong and other jazz albums and connected an amp to my iPod.  Cost me $34 to have music play all night long.

The party was very successful and the birthday boy had a blast!  All in all, the party totaled around $1700 including food, floral and other decor.  Here are a few more pictures for you to enjoy!


Post Valentines Day Reflections

Well, I made it through my first Valentines Day as a designer.  It was pretty intense.  17 hours of work and at least 50 arrangements created.

The one thing that really stood out to me during the whole process was the lack of creativity in designs for this holiday. I put together a lot of pink or red carnations and pink or red roses, the smallest of which cost $45.  There was only one design that was fun and creative to make:

I created two of this particular design and had a lot of fun.  Otherwise, I did a lot of these and a lot of these.   Boring!

Here's a little secret for all you consumers out there:  when you see the pictures on these floral sites, you are only seeing a one sided image.  There are no flowers on the back side of those designs.  The challenge for designers like me, is making the designs look like that, but only using the amount of flowers required for the "recipe".  The only way to get it to look like the picture is to add flowers and eat the cost.  

So next year when you are ordering flowers for your Valentine, call the shop itself instead of using Teleflora or 1-800 flowers, and order "designers choice"  you'll get a lot more bang for your buck and be supporting the shop more.


What type of flowers should you get?

Here's a fun infograph on what type of flowers you should get someone for Valentines Day!  Remember to order your flowers early!


Romantic Gestures

Valentines Day is a week away and flower prices are through the roof.  The wholesale price for a single rose is $2 or more.  This Valentines Day, think about getting your sweet heart a bouquet with a message instead of expensive, traditional roses.  Here are some bouquet ideas for you:

The flower dedicated to St. Valentine is the crocus.  This flower asks the receiver to not abuse the senders love.  Mix it with a Jonquil and it will ask the receiver to return affection.

A bouquet of red tulips declares your love.  Tulips are in their prime season right now and make a lovely bouquet. 

A variegated tulip tells your sweet heart that he/she has beautiful eyes.

Red carnations speak of your deep love and affection.  Or go with white carnations that symbolize pure love.

For new couples, getting a bouquet of hyacinths or purple lilac symbolizes the emotions of a new love.

For the ladies, you can give your men an arrangement with anthurium to express your intense attraction or a sunflower bouquet which represents a feeling equal to the power of the sun.  

For flowers on the more sensual side give a bouquet of snapdragons which state "lets be impetuous" or sweet pea's which mean "lasting pleasures".  


Valentines Day Tips

With Valentines Day (or Singles Awareness Day) coming up quickly, I thought I'd share a few tips on how to save money on the outrageous prices of flowers:

Order your bouquets early.  It will help your local florist out who in turn will help you out by lowering the price.

Don't buy red roses.  Roses are not in season and are ridiculously expensive.  You will probably get better quality roses that will last longer if you buy bouquets in colors other than the traditional red.  Check out my blog tomorrow morning for a list of alternative flowers and there special romantic meanings.

Ask for domestically grown flowers.  Anything that needs to be imported will have a higher price.  This will mean that your roses will have a smaller head, but they will last longer and cost a lot less.

If you are in the Redwood City area on Valentines Day or the day before, come and order your flowers from Redwood City Florist.  I will be at the shop helping them out on the 13th and 14th!


Flower of the Month: February

The February birth flower is the violet.  Used for culinary and medicinal purposes as well as a potted plant, the violet symbolizes faithfulness, humility and chastity.

According to this site, there were a few different meanings depending on the color of the violet.  If it was violet it would mean "I'll always be true".  If it was a cream or white violet, it would mean "Lets take a chance".

Violets are primarily a potted plant.  If I was asked to put violets into a design, I'd probably do a vegetative garden design with cut flowers and potted plants.  Similar to this design: