Dried Flower Gifts: Creating Decorative Arrangements

Dried Flower Gifts: Creating Decorative Arrangements


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Dried Flower Gifts: Creating Decorative Arrangements by Stephanie Donaldson

Filled with ideas and projects for glorious dried flower arrangements, this is the perfect guide for beginners as well as the ultimate sourcebook for more experienced dried flower arrangers.

Lavishly illustrated with specially commissioned photographs and detailed step-by-step instructions, this book features more than twenty projects for exquisite gifts to create for family and friends. The collection includes scented garlands, flower pots, ribbon-tied pomanders, flower baskets, bouquets, and classic topiary trees in terracotta pots. An invaluable reference section at the back of the book provides information on how to grow flowers for drying and how to buy the best-quality dried flowers and other materials from florists and suppliers.

The author also explains how to dry and preserve flowers at home using desiccants and the microwave oven, and supplies ideas for prolonging the life of dried flowers. The book also provides a useful summary of the tools and equipment that are required to get started, while a helpful color chart serves as an instant reference for mixing and matching different types of flowers.

Other Details: 150 full-color illustrations 128 pages 9 1/4 x 9 1/4" Published 1994

flowers we know what to look for.

I have an aversion to dyed dried flowers and never use them. But avoiding dyed flowers does not mean that your palette will be limited. Flip through the pages of this book and you will see a rainbow of colour. Flowers that have been well dried and stored will have wonderful rich colours, often deeper than when they were freshly picked. True, they will fade with time, but this is a gradual process and most dried flower arrangements retain a good colour for one to two years provided that they are not displayed in direct sunlight.

Ideally, you should buy your dried flowers from a grower or a specialist shop which carries large stocks and has a quick turnover. Dried flowers are quite fragile and the more they are handled the more likely they are to be damaged. When you buy from a grower, the flowers will have been picked, dried and stored in optimum conditions. They will not have been thrown around in transit, displayed for some time and handled by customers, so you will have a far better chance of buying a bunch of flowers that is in peak condition. Similarly, a specialist shop will ensure that the flowers are properly handled and stored.

The best dried flowers are not cheap, but compared with fresh flowers they are very good value for money.

Getting Started

For those who have never tried dried flower arranging before, this is the exciting part. You have the book, the flowers and now you are ready to start. I should now propound my theories on colour and form, but I would like to tell you a story about myself instead.

In my late teens, I met a group of keen bridge players who persuaded me to join them. I played quite well and thoroughly enjoyed myself until one evening, when having trounced our opponents, my partner proceeded to explain to them why I had played my cards the way I did, what conventions I had followed and what my bid had told him. I was amazed because what he attributed to a sound understanding of the rules of bridge was in fact pure intuition.

Similarly, when it comes to colour and form, I feel what to do rather than follow any rules. The exciting part about doing it this way is that you will, in time, discover the rules for yourself, you will notice that certain colours used together are intensified, that some proportions work better than others and that rules are only other people's observations.

Observation is the key to all creativity. I am a careful observer of everything around me and would recommend that you develop this ability in yourself. There are so many inspirations in everyday life, some in the most surprising places--it may be the colour and texture of a tree trunk, a photograph in a magazine or a cleverly decorated shop window. Stop and look closer, see if you can put your finger on what it was that attracted you, and make a mental note.

For example, a few months ago I saw a wonderful Chinese film. The story takes place in rural China in the middle of winter with little colour in the landscape but the outsides of the peasants houses are hung with festoons of chillis and corn hung to dry under the eaves. The intensity of the reds and yellows against the drab countryside made an indelible impression on me and I have carried that image in my mind ever since.

So inspiration is all around us. We live in a world of colour, form and texture and, once you develop the habit of observation, you will find a never ending source of new ideas.

I called into one of my suppliers recently to pick up some materials for the projects in this book and, as usual, I wandered round looking at what was new. Two items caught my eye, a divided picture frame and a tiny woven basket. At that stage I had no idea what I would do with them, but I brought them home and put them on a shelf in my workroom. A few days later I was sent a sample of tiny yellow rosebuds and it occurred to me that they would look good in the picture frame alongside other flowers and some mosses, so I played around with the idea and found it worked. I shall buy more frames and experiment further. The little basket came in useful when I was icing a cake and felt too lazy to walk to the shops to buy decorations. Casting around for a substitute, the little basket came to hand, and filled with little roses and moss it makes a very pretty decoration and a charming keepsake.

Don't feel that you should restrict the use of dried flowers to 'arrangements', they have many other decorative uses within the home. A simple coolie lampshade is enlivened with an edging of dried flowers and a picture frame is transformed by mosses and shells.

For a special occasion such as a wedding, decorate a hat with a garland of dried flowers and make a brooch to match. Gifts look even better with a few dried flowers tucked into the ribbon.

When I first started working with dried flowers I, too, bought books and followed other people's ideas. As you work on the projects in this book you will gain confidence in your own abilities and by emulating my style you will work towards the point where your own begins to develop. If you are a beginner, choose an easy project like a lavender posy on page 20 or the Victorian rose pot on page 52 before moving on to something more ambitious.

I hope that this book will help open the door to your creativity and be a source of inspiration and enjoyment.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780789200051
Publisher: Abbeville Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 12/01/1994
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 9.29(w) x 9.79(h) x 0.63(d)

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