Saturday, 30 June 2012

A warm welcome at Sonning Flowers


Apologies for lack of blogging this week. If you follow me on twitter (@tillyblueskies) you'll know that I started a new job at Sonning Flowers this week. It all happened rather quickly and its felt like a bit of a whirlwind, but I'm so happy I made the move.

The team are really lovely and super talented (National Wedding Industry's award winning Best Wedding Florists of 2012 don't cha know!) and the shop based in Reading town centre is a bright and airy space shared with a friendly little cafe.

They do all the usual gift bouquets, local deliveries, national and international orders along with contract, wedding and event work. And they run their own floristry school holding courses on flower arranging for the home, wedding floristry and even a course catering to those wishing to set up a floristry business themselves. 

At the moment they have a competition to win a place on one of the flower arrangements for the home courses. All you need to do is follow the link and enter your details for a chance to win. 




Here are just a few snaps from the shop, and some of the interesting vases, home decor and gifts that they we stock. I'll post more pictures of the shop, displays, flowers and our work soon, and once i've found my feet I'll be blogging for them too. 

So excited to be part of this team, I've been grinning from ear to ear as I walked into work this week. And that can't be bad can it?

Thursday, 28 June 2012

DIY - Little House Favours



Saw this DIY on Etsy a while ago and thought it was really sweet. If you want to add some home made touches to your wedding tables, you could make your own gift boxes for favours. 

For something a bit different, tweak the box pattern a touch as above and hey presto: itty bity houses or cottages. Decorate as you will. I love the red roof and door on these.






Stuffed with sweeties and a personal message they'd make great wedding favours. Line them up in a row and create your own Coronation Street, or decorate your mantlepiece with a few at Christmas time.  

Images and full instruction via Etsy

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Pets at Weddings - Bow Ties & Blooms




On your wedding day you want your nearest and dearest around you. Friends and family gather to celebrate with you and everyone loves to get involved, but often a part of the family gets overlooked. For many their pets are like family and although to some it might seem ludicrous, the animal lovers amongst you will understand some wanting their pets to be a part of their big day.

If you have a suitable venue, they're well behaved and you have family or ushers who can help out with doggy/pet duty, why not let them attend or even play a part in the arrangements. And if they're coming, they really ought to look the part.

I have a bit of a thing about animals in clothing, not head to paw in fancy dress or anything - although I did find some pics whilst researching this post, of dogs in full length satin bridesmaids dresses and white lace wedding gowns. Now that IS wrong however funny! - Go ahead and call me cruel, but it really tickles me to see a dog in sunglasses, or a cute little hat, so why not be event appropriate and get your doggy in a dickie bow?



(this fella is happy in his tie, even if he has come straight from work!)



And you could make the four legged critters a part of the wedding party by getting floral garlands made for them to wear round their necks, attach a ribbon collar with a single bloom, or give them a headdress of a floral crown.  I guess it depends on the dog as some will be more happy to wear flowers than others. Well they don't suit everyone I suppose ; ) 






These horses are quite happy with their floral wreaths and don't they look amazing? Is bringing a horse to your wedding a step too far? Not if you're a horsey type, but I imagine you may be better off bringing the wedding to the horse!






Suprisingly I couldn't dig up any evidence of cats at weddings. I think they're possibly too aloof to want a lot of attention and might have some objections about being tarted up in bow ties and flowers. That and the fact they'd probably just wander off and do their own thing. They're like that cats, don't you think?



I did however find this cute little bunny wedding guest. He had his own bunny carry bag decorated with flowers and treats just in case he got peckish. He didn't fancy the victoria sponge, he prefers carrot cake.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Ribbon & Wrap




It was Father's Day at the weekend, and I had a little gift to wrap for the old man. On this occasion, I'd bought a small box to present my offering in. Very simple and plain, it was the classic brown kraft paper type which I love - but it needed a bit of dressing up.

Digging into my craft supplies I found thick cotton ribbons in navy and white stripes, white with a contrast running stitch, and a similar style in a pale duck egg blue. Then I raided the paper stash. Mmm lots to choose from.



I liked the simplicity of the gift box so much I decided not to wrap the whole thing. Inspired by all things nautical lately I plumped for the sailing ships, I got busy with the scissors, layered it with a soft grey envelope and played around with ribbon. How cool, I thought, if it looked like the ship were sailing on a ribbon sea... 




Ahoy there!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Etsy Picks - Nautical But Nice


Well the sun is shining and the sky is blue - I don't know about you but if I wasn't working I'd be heading to the coast. Got me thinking how fab it would be to get married by the sea (weather permitting) and failing that how I could style a wedding with a marine theme.

I do love a nautical stripe, so am sure stripes would have to feature somehow.  Add a dash of red, a touch of navy and some decorating details inspired by a love of the sea and shore and you're off to a good start.

I had a snoop around on Etsy and gathered ideas like pebbles on a beach. From graphic design for save the dates and invitations, quirky holders for table numbers and place settings, accessories for the wedding party, to sailing boats, ships and shells to use as props for styling the venue there's tons of great stuff to be found.


I stashed my finds in a treasury called Tying the Nautical Knot where you can find all the supplier details. Pop on over. And check out my shop while you're there ; )

Monday, 18 June 2012

Simple - Succulents


I was pushing succulents and cacti this weekend for Fathers Day, but they're one of the more masculine things we sell, but they're not just for men.  Although they're probably not your first thought when it comes to flower arranging, they do actually make a very cute display.

If time, patience and fiddly flower arrangements are not your thing, then succulents are your friend.  Easy to handle and repot, unlike their prickly cacti cousins, succulents come in a range of subtle green/grey/lilac shades, are low maintenance and really long lasting.

There are lots of different types too - Echevaria, Sempre Vivum, and Crassula Argenteum are some of the most popular. Echevaria, one of my favourites, has large plump leaves that form a striking rosette shaped plant.

I like them in low wooden planters, zinc troughs, window boxes and vertical wall gardens, but they look fab in silver goblets, bowls and platters, and are fun in mismatched groups of pewter jugs and trophys.








Line em up or gather in clusters for a simple succulent display.


Images: magnetstreetfoundon8thdesignspongecountry livingruffledcatherinegratwicke

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Grand Opening of My Vintage Shop


You may have noticed that the blog took a slightly different turn this week. I had been getting into a pattern and trying to stick to a bit of a rough schedule, posting regularly on flowers and floristry with more detailed posts on ideas for simple vases, and a weekly focus on classic wedding flowers.

But this week I was pushed for time and dashed a few posts off rather quickly. You see, I've been pretty busy, working on lots of different projects behind the scenes as well as the usual floristry and interiors styling. One of the things that I've been working on is setting up a vintage shop.


I've been a lover of vintage since I was a young girl and remember sitting at my nan's dressing table eyeing up her jewellery box, and pawing through her wardrobe! As a teenager I started to frequent the local charity shops, back in the day when decent well made clothes were still donated to charity. Later I sharpened my elbows at the village hall jumble sales, and ventured up to London for the second hand stalls at Camden Lock, Kensington Market and Portabello in Notting Hill.


If I'm honest, I should admit that my choice of University was in part due to the sheer number of charity shops in Preston. That and the jolly friendly chap in a little shop called Rags behind the Adelphi. On my first visit to town I discovered his gem of a shop. After watching me rifle through his stock with glee, he presented me with a black felted bowler hat to keep. I left with the hat and a smile and was a regular customer there for years.


That was a long while ago now, but although I no longer have the bowler hat, my love of vintage has never left me. So recently I started collecting a few bits and bobs, things for the home mostly, charming cottagey treasures that are a little bit rustic and a little bit country and I've gathered them together in my Hedgerow Home.
Pop over and take a look.

Images via (apart from Hedgerow Home) from: W MagazineKensington Market Archive via Facebook, Vixen Vintage

Saturday, 16 June 2012

My Little Corner of the World




No flowers today, but wondered if you'd like to come on a little stroll around town? These photos were snapped in the neighbourhood on a quick lunch break, in between grabbing a sandwich and dashing to avoid a downpour.



There are some pretty buildings round these parts, if you take the time to to look. Exquisite architectural details, like those turn of the century leaded windows. Love the old advertising signs too. Malt bread anyone? Or straw?!



Most of all, I love this shops old tiled floor. This used to be a great haberdashery store back in the day. Now its an upmarket travel agents. I suppose crafts went out of fashion for a while - I blame the 80's and all those flashy loadsamoney types.

There's definitely a bit of a crafts revival going on now, and lots of interest in hand and home made goods. I'm hoping as a result that more habadashers will set up shop in town, cos I do love a bit of habadashery, don't you?

Friday, 15 June 2012

Gift Wrap - Bright Applique´



A visit to friend called for a little offering, and gave me an excuse, as if I needed one, to have some fun with gift wrapping.  I was tempted by the pretty packaging of this fudge by lovely sweetie brand Burnt Sugar. I'm hoping I get to sample this sea salt caramel variety later as it sounds yummy!

Being the lame-o slightly colour obsessive stylist that I am, I can't resist matching the wrapping to the gift - I just think it makes it more pretty when you unwrap the gift, if everything is co-ordinated (and yes my wardrobe is colour co-ordinated and I have been known to organise my bookshelves by colour too!)



I picked out a few bright greens and pinks, loved the spots and the striped sweet shop bags, but also loving this zany floral print wrap I picked up from a trip to Henley recently.


I wrapped the box in a bright jade green, as a base colour, and then had a look at what worked best with it for decoration. I liked the idea of using both the spots and the stripes to create a band of contrasting colour - but it didn't quite work because of the shape of the box. I would have been left with a lot of green on the top half, which looked too strong. 




Plan B then. Inspired by the bright floral wrapping paper, I decided to cut out individual flowers and create an applique´ design on the front of the box. This is a little gift wrap idea I've used for years and makes an expensive wrapping paper go much further. After a little play, I glued them in place with a glue stick, which is great because you can move the pieces around a bit before the glue sets, without making a mess of the paper.




Then, all that was needed was some cheerful ribbons to tie around the middle of the box to finish it off. I doubled on satin ribbon in clashing hot pink and orange combination. Rather than a traditional bow, I tied knot upon knot and used the ends splayed out instead of loops. Sweet.

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