We have a tiny piece of property, not much larger than a postage stamp. However, I was able to clip a few things and place them in some tumblers and call it good. Everything else I gathered from around the house and suddenly it was an event. The kids came over to help, full of questions and begging to be part of it. There’s the magic. I treated it as special, thus, it was. But keep reading for the fuller picture of what it was like to pull this together with both kids under foot and no time. It might make you feel better.
Here’s the deal. I set this up during quiet time at my house. Now before you go thinking that was a romantic notion of pure silence and obedient children, let me stop you right there. Lately, “Quiet Time” at our house is a combination of a litany of questions intermixed with thumping and announcements of potty and, if we’re playing outside, countless “mama, watch this!” requests. It’s also always a choice for me between cleaning up from homeschool or recovering the kitchen from the bomb that exploded there throughout the morning or prepping dinner or working or, wait for it… endless laundry. While the kids do stay relatively away from each other, I am still called on roughly every 2-7 minutes for something. This day is was to help my waterlogged son after there was a misfire with the garden hose. The day before that it was a misfire in said child’s pants. It’s always something and it’s aways. Therefore, when I say I set this up during quiet time, I’m saying, this isn’t a curated photoshoot with days and hours of thought. This isn’t professionally photographed. This is on a folding table sitting on a pile of rocks while kids are literally spraying each other with the hose and yelling about it and I’m dashing back and forth between them and the yard and the house and them and the table and the yard and the house.
My point is this: whatever you have, however it looks, if you apply your own touch of sacredness and make it special to you, it will be special to everyone else. This is not a post about being in plenty (though compared to most, we are in plenty just by being), but it is a post about making something out of what’s around you. My hope is to give you fresh eyes to see your yard and your home and maybe even give you something to look for on your daily sanity walks. However it serves you, I hope it helps in some way.
Get outside and pick something growing in the cracks. Or look at your fruit bowl and organize it in an ombre. Or have each person at the table wear a different hat. Or discuss around the table a road in your life you almost traveled but didn’t. We are planning to dye eggs with natural ingredients and make them our centerpiece, but we’ll see. We might just eat the eggs and pretend we dyed them. Whatever you do, have a Happy Easter friends. I pray that it’s special on so many levels.
Since we can’t meet face to face, and since the earth is burgeoning with new life, I’d like to share my floral design 101 tips to help you dress up the table a bit this Easter. Hope it helps!
Preparation:Recipe for flower food:
Sanitize your vessel with bleach water 1 tsp. sugar (feeds)
Cut all stems at a 45-degree angle 1 tsp. bleach (fights)
Strip leaves and off-shoots to keep them out of water 2 tsp. lemon or lime juice (fixes)
Feed your flowers 1 qt. water
The at-home Compote Arrangement:
Step one: Use sturdier foliage first to form a structure and give shape to the piece you’re envisioning. Consider its location and purpose. If it’s a long table, create an inverted triangle shape and exaggerate depending on the table length.
To begin your form, place the stems or branches coming out from the vessel approximately at 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, and 9 o’clock.
Be sure to start from the outside parameters first and work your way to the center. This will create a base layer. Once you create the general shape, you can add more textures. Just maintain that inverted triangle shape as you go.
Even when using foliage only, and no flowers, don’t give into the temptation to fill the center at the beginning. You’ll want to leave space for the blooms, or the foliage that will become your focal point.
Step two: Always work from large to small. Place your larger, juicier blooms first. I like to find a showstopper for each side and place them, usually rather low and off center in my arrangements. Partially because it’s at eye level on a dining table, and also, because it serves to anchor the eye.
Once you have your focal points established, then fill in with the others. Be sure to give each flower its own moment, and to place at different planes, with differing heights. This helps in giving them each a spotlight, as well as keeping them from crowding each other.
Lastly, add your wispy, whimsical, light blooms in clusters, as they would grow naturally outside. Try to avoid sporadic placement, which can lead to chaos. Imagine the vase as the ground, and the flowers growing up from it.
Welcome to our home! And to the studio where all the work happens. This photoshoot is intended to inspire parties, to share our little oasis in the world, and to celebrate all the beauty that is our life.
Much of what I gather for my work is pulled from all sorts of directions, though mostly always local. The goal is for it to be as local as our own back yard, but that will still take some time. We’ve been doing some planting to give life to our 100 year old home that failed to bring along with it any vegetation whatsoever. The plants are small, but we have big plans for them. Until then,I use my best resource…alliance with the neighbors. I often trade cookies or money for fresh clippings, and often build the best friendships as a result. The final mainstay of my flowers comes from the beauties gleaned from the Seattle Wholesale Grower’s Market. Always local, always interesting, and always peak of the season.
I get asked periodically about my workspace. It’s nothing glamourous. In fact, when I compare it to some of my colleagues, it’s almost embarrassing. But, I’ve learned that comparison is the thief of joy, so here it is. I’d like to introduce you to our basement. A studio basement that generates scores of weddings and events.
Here are the pros:
1. It’s underground, so I don’t need a cooler, even during heat waves.
2. It’s attached to the house, so once the cutting garden grows in, I truly get to work from home.
3. It’s not the kitchen, the living room, the laundry room, the detached garage, the Walmart parking lot, or the barn on someone’s property… It’s a dedicated workspace and it’s ours!
And with pros like that, why bother mentioning the cons?
When all the schedules align, we get to combine one of our highest priorities: Relationships, to some of our highest passions: food + sanctuary. Thus, enjoy a spot in the front row of what it’s like in the Johnson household.
This record player is a bonafide vintage goodie. It was the first thing my parents purchased together as a dating couple, and it was what spun all my childhood entertainment. Now it sings for us. And the records! Oh the records! My dad had impeccable musical taste and talent and I get to listen to all the records that seem to encapsulate part of my own history.
And now for setting the table. Now for the party. For the magic that happens when you love on people with food and serve them with your hands…
We gathered all the goodness from the end of the season… roasted grapes with olives, roasted carrots with lemon marmalade, peach and whiskey aperitifs, and cheese, all the cheese.
There is something perfect about the unstructured and the imperfect, and that is real life. So we embrace it in all of its beauty, and honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.
These two, Lonnie and Kaitlyn…they’re pretty amazing. They love each other… they love their people. They are collectors of good people. This was a wedding that dreams are made of. Nazra Knutsen planned the vision together with Lonnie and Kaitlyn. They all brought me on to carry out the floral aspect of their meticulously planned event. Never had a I met Nazra. Nor Lonnie. Kaitlyn was one quick and lovely cup of coffee 4 weeks before the wedding. Yet it all came together seamlessly. Seriously, it couldn’t have been more perfect.
The direction was retro. But in a sublime and irresistible way. I can’t sing enough praises about overall awesomeness of this wedding. Not to mention all the crazy love and camaraderie involved.
I can take zero credit for all the details. My only job for this one was the flowers. If I could work on every project from here on out with Nazra, the world would be a more beautiful place. Congratulations to you both Lonnie + Kaitlyn. Thanks for redeeming the 70s for me. xo
My husband is a childhood cancer survivor. 3 times. They told him he probably wouldn’t make it out alive. And if he did, fat chance he’d have anything to offer a wife. Further, goodbye to the dream of having a family. Well…
Here’s to beating odds and piles and piles of miracles, grace, and good gifts. We’re celebrating 9 years of marriage, our 3 year old joy named Caroline, and a brand new brother for her to teach life lessons.
Needless to say, we feel showered by life, by blessings, and by beauty. And we’re beyond speechless at the way Angela, our photographer, was able to capture both beauty and thousands of untold stories.
I am a floral and event designer who gets to treat my clients to dreamy backdrops all the time. But I’ve not had the occasion to execute something for myself. Something that resonates personally with me and with Ryan. Traipsing around, pregnant and in the rain, we foraged the greens from family property, south east of Seattle. The property my dying father purchased with hopes of a different walk into his sunset years. Now my mother and two brothers and their families live there. We wanted to create a backdrop that was meaningful. That symbolized life. That was as thoughtful as it was beautiful.
The wedding was inspired by their memories. Rachelle is from Union, and Phil, a native mid-westerner, has spent many visits falling in love with her and her family. Naturally, they needed to book either her parents’ property, orAlderbrook Resort. They chose the latter.
And so, we began brainstorming inspiration. What does Washington boast each and every Summer? BLACKBERRIES!!! The colors, the scents, the delicious versatility they offer…They are amazing.
The palette was informed by the berries… all the colors in all the stages of their growth. And then the beach. The sand. The golden crust of a cobbler. This was the most delicious wedding I’ve yet been a part of. Mostly because I am a huge fan of these miniature juicy explosions. Alas, I am a native to this gorgeous PNW, and spent many many hours during the hottest part of the summer, risking life, limbs, and clothes to fill my pail and try not to eat them all before turning them into jams and crisps.
The cake wasn’t a shabby addition to the sweet and tart goodness of those berries. The onsite baker followed through with a solid white, but well detailed with a subtle woodgrain finish to carry out the mid-summer lakeside, twilight effect. All was perfect… the only thing we didn’t include to tell the whole story was the mosquitos. It’s safe to say they weren’t missed.
Seattle has a knack for attracting cool people. One of the brightest discovered this and began offering quarterly “make-it” classes, where women get together and connect over food and creativity. I got the privilege of teaching at one of them a couple months ago, making floral arranging attainable, approachable, and above all, not intimidating.
A little known, but important fact: Flowers trigger happy emotions, heighten feelings of life satisfaction and affect social behavior in a positive manner. Bonus: the giving of flowers brings relational connection.
Cool. Now what?
Here’s the great news for today… You can join in on the happiness and subscribe right now!
We’re excited to announce our soft launch of WILD + GATHERED: Our recurring seasonal floral arrangement service tailored to the home and workplace. Sort of like the milkman delivery, only better… and prettier.
We know how difficult it is to find a thoughtful gift for the person who has everything. Equally challenging is the person who loves everything. Seriously, how could you go wrong with fresh, seasonal, local flowers delivered right to your door? While we officially launch on January 31st, we wanted to invite you to participate and share in some sneak peek exclusive bonuses.
The benefit to you:
1. You’ll be the first in the city to be involved in such brilliant gift giving.
2. The first 3 delivery fees are waived* (a $45 value).
3. Fresh flowers at your doorstep. A luxury that elevates your day-to-day. Starting like, tomorrow.
4. Save 10% by prepaying 6-month weekly or monthly subscription.
Click on the button below to get started and we’ll take care of all the details the semi-old fashioned way: email conversation.
Well hello there! Welcome to a tour of our latest experiment… A mother + daughter floral crown workshop. We were blessed with a very generous offer to host our first public event at the dreamy and flooded-with- light studio at the Bemis Building. As you can tell, light makes me smile.
We had some fun. All the mamas and all the daughters and a few good friends who just wanted to be in a beautiful space and get their hands on a beautiful medium. It was a flower free for all, and I’m not exactly sure who enjoyed it more… the littles or the bigs. Perhaps it’s not an issue of age. Perhaps we all equally love flowers in our souls. Like we were made for it, regardless how many years we’ve spun around the sun.
We didn’t just get to enjoy the flowers… and the light… we got to enjoy pour over coffee and fruited water and french macaroons. It was a perfect staycation. A perfect memory builder. A perfect way to appeal to the senses that don’t often get appealed to.
I really enjoy what I get to do and who I get to meet and the pleasure it is to share. Thank you for sharing with me, and please, let’s do it again!
I am constantly overwhelmed by the fact that I’m living in my “someday” and that it’s even better than I imagined. My “someday” has always been a vision for my life. But the details are always goals, and hardly attainable. For some little moments of time, those goals are achieved. And when they are, I have no decent way to express my gratitude or emotion. I don’t gain my identity in what I produce, or at least I know better than to do that, but it sure does feel beyond amazing to find myself in experiences that I never thought probable. To be aligned with BHLDN is one such goal… dream… aspiration. And here we are, featured for the second time as their exclusive floral magician. Please enjoy as you hang out with us at the party. Sort of. You are on a computer, need you be reminded. If you want the real thing, just ask. I’d love to be that person in your life. Enjoy!
Do you not know Andy? Oh man, world, meet Andy! Your life will only change for the better. This woman is amazing. Exemplary in friendship. Supportive in every way, but knows her own mind. We love Andy. You will love her too. She’s a doer. She shows up. She’s ready for everything. Always. You must meet.
Only an Anthropologie company would own a french balcony. Of course they have one. And of course they let me go crazy with it. There. I’ve done work across the globe. On European architecture. France and I are practically on a first name basis, except neither of us can pronounce each others’ names. Sigh.
This lovely lady was there too. This is Camille. She belongs to Andy. The flowers are for all the ages.