Floral Arrangement Basics (From a Novice)

A Basic Guide to Flower Arrangements | Sunflowers, Eucalyptus, Daisies | PepperDesignBlog.com

For as long as I can remember I have loved all things flowers. I love how they smell, how they brighten a home, how they lift your spirits immediately.

If I had to choose between buying a Starbucks coffee or a small bunch of daisies to bring home while shopping at the grocery store, I would almost always choose the daisies. And that’s saying a lot. Fresh flowers in the home are amazing.

I’ve coordinated and arranged flowers for several weddings, including my own (that was sort of a crazy budget idea but it ended up working out really well). Over the years I’ve sort of self-taught on the different varieties, and have experimented with how long they’ll last in water, in the fridge, poked into a bowl of succulents… I know all of the secret places to purchase in mass bulk or just as onesie twosies :).

All of that said, I’m just a hobbyist beginner. My baby florist skills need some serious work and I love to learn new tips and ideas.

My girlfriend and I recently hosted a ‘You Are My Sunshine’ baby shower for a friend and I made up a handful of centerpieces the morning of. I thought I’d share my thought process for assembling.

Choosing Your Flowers:

A Basic Guide to Flower Arrangements | PepperDesignBlog.com

Like choosing patterns, I almost always choose a large bloom (sunflowers, hydrangeas, zinnias, dahlias…), a medium bloom (such as peonies, daisies, alstromeria, tulips, roses – or a succulent/greenery with medium-sized leaves), a small bloom (godecia, small daisies, snap dragons, stock, also could be leaves) and then a very small something or other (baby’s breath, fern leaves, mimosa, genesta, astilbe). Variety is the spice of life.

When it comes to colors, I think you can go really any direction. The color wheel is nice to keep in mind (yellow pairs nicely with purple, red with green…), likewise choosing all ‘bright’ colors like pink, yellow and orange or all ‘deep’ colors like purple, burgundy and red are awesome.

For my example here I chose yellow as my main color and white and a variety of greens (and even deep burgundies) in the succulents as accents. Something dark, something light, something that really contrasts. Here’s a side shot of the very top floral arrangement.

A Basic Guide to Flower Arrangements | Sunflowers, Eucalyptus, Daisies | PepperDesignBlog.com


A Basic Guide to Flower Arrangements | Sunflowers, Eucalyptus, Daisies | PepperDesignBlog.com

I usually start with the bigger blooms or chunks (like a snip of an entire succulent branch) so that my heights are about right for these ‘structural’ pieces. I like a variety of height, and in general, for blooms to be about twice the size of the vase that they’re in (meaning if a vase is 6″, the bouquet will come out the top about 6″ for a total of 12″ in height). But that’s not a hard and fast rule.

Once the larger blooms are in, I group medium and smaller blooms/greenery together. I don’t like solos going on anywhere in the vase usually. I don’t think that the odd number rule really applies here (the design rule that groupings should be in 3, 5, 7). Pairings sometimes are perfectly acceptable. Miniature blooms, generally speaking, look best in a large group.

A Basic Guide to Flower Arrangements | Sunflowers, Eucalyptus, Daisies | PepperDesignBlog.com

For a backside shot, see three photos above.

I adore having something droop out of the vase. It could be a flower that tends to dip a little bit (like freesias) or a long piece of greenery. I chose eucalyptus for this centerpiece. One side should drip more than the other, one side should feel heavier with movement.

So here’s my final full vase. It’s not perfect. In hindsight I am really wishing I had done something to cover up the stems in the clear vase (usually a large banana leaf curled up in there or even twine wrapped around the outside would do it). I also don’t love how the miniature daisies are poking to the left instead of ‘spilling’, but I put a bunch of these together in about a half hour so it’s all good :).

A Basic Guide to Flower Arrangements | Sunflowers, Eucalyptus, Daisies | PepperDesignBlog.com

There’s a novice’s opinion on how to quickly assemble a floral centerpiece! Happy mid-week.

PS edible flowers and how to make felt flower hair clips.

Father’s Day 2015 in Mission Bay

Father's Day, 2015 | Mission Bay, San Diego | PepperDesignBlog.com

Hope that you had a special Father’s Day weekend with the guys in your life. We spent all day yesterday at the beach and soaked up some beautiful San Diego sunshine. I can’t think of a better way to spend a family day than on our Mission Bay – one of San Diego’s gems.

For those of you locals, how much do you love Fanuel Park? It’s a bit hidden in the Pacific Beach neighborhoods, but once found, it’s the perfect blend of park and ocean.

Father's Day, 2015 | Mission Bay, San Diego | PepperDesignBlog.com

We love hanging out by the beach, but even more so I dig bringing the kids to the bay of the water. This area of Mission Bay is just a few hundred yards from the actual ocean (the other side of a peninsula), but it’s so much quieter and calmer. The girls can play in the water, we can bring our paddle board down (even a sailboat), and you can even find a parking spot. Hallelujah.

Father's Day, 2015 | Mission Bay, San Diego | PepperDesignBlog.com

Father's Day, 2015 | Mission Bay, San Diego | PepperDesignBlog.com

Father's Day, 2015 | Mission Bay, San Diego | PepperDesignBlog.com

Father's Day, 2015 | Mission Bay, San Diego | PepperDesignBlog.com

Father's Day, 2015 | Mission Bay, San Diego | PepperDesignBlog.com

Father's Day, 2015 | Mission Bay, San Diego | PepperDesignBlog.com

We spent the day with my mom, dad and brother as well. A full family trip to the beach!

Father's Day, 2015 | Mission Bay, San Diego | PepperDesignBlog.com

Loved honoring Kevin and papa with amazing breakfast burritos from Kevin’s favorite spot, little special gifts like a custom t-shirt and coffee mug, and a day of having to do nothing but play. Hope that you had a great Father’s Day as well.

Master Bed & Bathroom Remodel: Week 17-18

I owe an update on our bathroom/bedroom remodel. It’s been a few weeks since I shared our progress and there has been a lot of great progress. Sharing just a glimpse today of what’s going on in there because most of the space has been covered up with rolled paper and plastic sheeting to protect the remodel while 80-year-old floors go through a makeover of their own.

Just as a quick reminder of where we’ve come from:

Master Bath/Bedroom Week 2 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Master Bath/Bedroom Week 8 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Master Bathroom, Week 14 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Master Bathroom, Week 17 | PepperDesignBlog.com

The rest of the tile is complete! Even the fixtures are in place and I’m over the moon on those. I’ll save that for a future update where we can really dive into all of that chrome.

If you check out the floors in the very first photo in the above sequence, you can see that big patches of wood were missing from the bedroom floors. The original bedroom’s tiny closet had walls and studs where flooring now is (imagine an outline of the closet) and the even tinier pocket bathroom had a tile floor.

Here’s how that looked from a birds-eye perspective:

Our Floor Plan: Before | PepperDesignBlog.com

We wanted the room to feel as if it had alway been a rectangular room without those two small space notches cut out.

First things first for our revived floors was to patch in oak. We hired professionals to take care of this job because it’s such a delicate one. Because we tore out hallway space (with wood) and made it bathroom space (with tile), we had plenty of original oak strips to reuse in this space.

Once patching was complete, sanding ensued. I was prepared for a sandstorm throughout the house, I had heard rumors that sawdust ends up everywhere. everywhere. Surprisingly it wasn’t so horrible (but maybe that’s because I’m already used to a lot of dust and dirt in the oddest parts of the house….).

They did a great job on patching, can you see the outline? Some of the newer (older) wood is glossier than the original.

Master Bathroom, Week 17 | PepperDesignBlog.com

(the closet is moving into this below wall area as we speak!)

Master Bathroom, Week 17 | PepperDesignBlog.com

While we had the flooring team in there, we pulled all of the furniture out of the girls’ room to sand, stain and seal their floors as well. Previous to us moving into our home many of the bedroom floors were covered with wall-to-wall carpeting. When the carpeting was pulled up, raw wood and large water stains became pretty noticeable (even stains from sealant seeping under carpeting from finished rooms from the last time these floors were sanded). The spots were noticeable enough to use large area rugs in most of those bedrooms. It made sense now to sand and stain and to get everything up to par.

Master Bathroom, Week 17 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Over the three day process the wood was sanded, stained with two coats of a water-based polyurethane and on the final day it was completely sealed. We can’t move heavy objects (or even the rug) back into the room for 7-10 days (surprise! says the sealant container), which means that the girls have been officially camping on the couch for two weeks. Some bad habits are being formed right now in this household :), one may or may not be everyone climbing into mom and dad’s bed in the guest room in the middle of the night… it’s getting a little snug.

Can’t wait to share the results of the finished floors once they’re photographable. Have a wonderful weekend and a great Father’s Day!

Full remodel progress tracked right over here.

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