Friday, 27 April 2012

Flowers, Gowns & Shoes - My idea of heaven

Hello all.  It's been a bit quiet on the blog front this week as I've been catching up with lots of (essentially dull) paperwork! However, yesterday evening I had the pleasure of creating designs for the lovely Chloe of The White Room.  She contacted me recently to say that she was putting on a special event to showcase the new collection from the very fabulous Rachel Simpson and would I like to get involved and provide the flowers?  Seriously.  Flowers, gowns and shoes - three of my most favourite things in one gorgeous room - how could I resist?!

So, I did a bit of research into Rachel's exquisite bridal shoes.  Her business was officially founded in 2008 and since then she has specialised in stylish design which originates in elegant vintage ideas.  Her beautifully made shoes are from small factories as near to the UK as possible and her designs recently won an award for their understated loveliness.  Click on the link above to have a really good look at her fabulous, beautiful, yet comfortable designs.

Once I started sketching, I knew I wanted to design something which would fit the look and feel of Chloe's gorgeous boutique and compliment the elegant simplicity of Rachel's beautiful shoes.  As you regular readers will know, I have a bit of thing for seasonal flowers and so I decided my starting point just had to be bluebells. Chloe's 'boudoir' styling in her lovely surroundings is predominately white and grey and so I decided on a soft, dreamy palette of pale blues, creamy whites and soft purples, which would also work well with muted tones of Rachel's shoes.  I also love to work with scent too and so felt that was an important criteria for my buying list.

Decision made! All I needed was the flowers, which I ordered through my superb internet supplier. Sadly, when I collected them and got them home, they had all suffered from the cold and had to be returned.  My supplier was, I have to say, fantastic but my carefully thought out first choice was no longer available!  With a bit of improvisation and a very quick re-think, disaster was averted and, to be truthful, may possibly be an even better result than my planned design! We'll never know, but I'm a half-full kind of girl, so I'm thinking it was all for the good!

I'm glad to say that I popped into The White Room yesterday evening to take a few shots of the event and met Rachel who was incredibly warm and friendly.  Happily, both she and Chloe had had a really successful and busy evening and the flowers looked lovely surrounded by pretty, pretty shoes and soft candlelight. Aided by my daughter, Alice, I took a few shots with her fancy camera - I think they do go some way to capturing the ambience, but there's definitely room for photographic improvement!

Here they are:-

You just know you'd want to dance the night away in these lovely shoes - something tells me you'd be able to as well! 

A close-up of the materials used in the design above - gorgeous cabbagey 'Dolcetto' roses, creamy white wax flower, silvery-grey eucalyptus, scented stocks, delphinium, wheat and rose buds

Be your own kind of Beautiful - flowers, gowns and shoes!

A close-up of the design I made for Chloe's desk which also features wheat, tiny diadeem rosebuds and lavender for scent - along with the other materials mentioned above

I think I should have left the glass of champagne in this shot - it looks a bit stark!

 I just love the pretty ribbon tie on these adorable peep toes

Here's an idea of some of the range on display

The delicate soft tones of Rachel's shoes worked beautifully with the antique style roses

I designed a soft, flowing, delicate arrangement around this recently 'found' Wedgewood neo-classical vase.  Using just three of the roses as focal flowers, I wanted this piece to look stylish but understated.  

Rachel's attention to detail is wonderful - I just love the little embellishments which can be attached to her designs - my favourite is this sparkly little number

A final shot of that Dolcetto rose

It was such a pleasure to work with these gorgeous materials and for such a lovely event.  If you have a favourite design, it would be good to hear from you - leave me a comment below and I'll be sure to reply.

Coming up on the blog, it's celebration time as Campbell's Flowers reaches the grand old age of 6 months!

'til then, enjoy!

T x

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Of Cabbages and Kings - Wigs & Warpaint Catwalk Fundraiser

As you all know, its been a really exciting and action-packed few weeks for my lovely little fledgling business.  I'm having a fantastic time, knowing that I've made one of the best decisions ever to start up on my own and one avenue of my work has been to forge links with local businesses.  I feel really strongly that working with local businesses is pivotal to not only building a business, but also generating a happy and healthy atmosphere of reciprocal goodwill.  And it certainly seems to be working!

One such business I've been lucky enough to work with is the fabulously talented and multi-award winning Wigs and Warpaint.  They recently organised a fantastic catwalk evening which showcased the creativity of their senior stylists and students of their Lewis Flack Academy.  The senior stylists concentrated their not inconsiderable talents on achieving stunning Bridal looks, complete with make-up and gowns courtesy of The White Room.  The whole 'look' was finished with flowers from yours truly.

Chatting over the brief with Maria, she suggested using quite bright, spring-like colours and nothing too overtly 'bridal', something a bit 'avant guard'.  As my regular readers will know by now, there's nothing I love more than a creative challenge.  So I immediately decided on a bright yellow and lime green colour palette and used as many Spring-like materials as I could lay my hands on!  Here's what I came up with:-

Bouquet 1 - The Bob

When I met up with Maria and delivered the bouquets I likened them to hairstyles as a comparision of how 'challenging' they would be considered in the wonderful wedding world!

This bouquet was The Bob - stylish, chic, elegant and just different enough to make people notice!

I used blown (fully open) 'Shine' spray roses, brassica (ornamental cabbage), leucaspernum, 
 crespedia,  viburnum opulus and gorgeous pale green ranunculus

Another close-up showing all the lovely vibrant flower material - I decided, unusually for me, not to use foliage in this bouquet

I kept the stems quite long and finished them with green satin ribbon and two yellow satin co-ordinating bands

Bouquet 2 - The Crimp

This bouquet was designed with the Bo ho Bride in mind.  I wanted something soft, delicate, feminine and just ever-so-slightly over the top! A bit like the hairstyle.  

 To get the soft, waterfall effect I was looking for I added bear grass, pussy willow and these just beautiful, shooting weeping willow branches to the other materials.

I imagined this design to be carried in a very lackadaisical, offhand manner - almost trailing along or behind the catwalk model

A close-up of the lovely bright colours

Bouquet 3 - The Avant Guard

Some of you who follow me on facebook might have already seen this design, which got lots of really positive and lovely comments.  So, you might be thinking why 'The Avant Guard' then?  Well because, although this design is really pretty, it does push the boundaries.  Just like all those gorgeous cutting edge hairstyles in magazines we see, they're not for everyone.  This is a bridal bouquet and although lots of people love it, understandably, not everyone would want to carry it on their wedding day.  But I loved designing and making it!

I constructed the heart frame from birch twigs which had the most adorable tiny buds and catkins attached to them.  I decided on an asymmetric design and reinforced the right-hand side with woven bear grass.  I used lime green ranunculus, tiny spray roses, crespedia and pearls in the design

I thought the vintage opulence of the brooch acted as a great visual foil to the natural, rustic texture of the birch frame

And finally, here are a couple of shots from the catwalk show ...

I had so much fun designing and creating these bouquets and love working with the Wigs and Warpaint Team who are so warm, friendly and highly creative.  I'm sure there will be more collaborations in the future - if you have a favourite design, I'd love to know which one it is and why.

'til the next time, enjoy!

T x

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Wedding Flowers - Nothing more, nothing less

As those of you who frequent my facebook page will know, I met photographer Niel Stewart at the Leopold Hotel wedding fayre.  Although it was ultimately a very busy and successful day, it was a bit quiet to start with - which gave us plenty of time for chatting.

Niel is a really well-established photographer who has been running his incredibly successful business for many years now and so knows all the ins and outs of the wedding industry.  Apart from that, he's really funny with lots of stories and anecdotes to tell.  One of our conversations was about how fashionable it is to quite heavily style shots, especially editorial pieces.  I know I'm guilty of this as much as anyone - you only have to look at my love of shoes and flowers on facebook to see that!

However, the conversation led us to talking about how I'd noticed that in styled shoots a florist might have been involved (its the first thing I check out!), and clearly contributed quite a lot of time, money and creativity and yet can be very much at the bottom of the list in terms of hierarchy.  Niel said that this can sometimes be the case and suggested taking away one of my designs and photographing them in a really pared-down, simple but beautiful way.

The results are below and I couldn't be happier.  I feel Niel has captured the true simplicity and purity of my designs and allowed the natural beauty of the flowers themselves to shine through.  I can't promise that I won't pop the odd rose into the odd teacup every now and then, but this exquisite imagery is where my heart is.

 My little buttonhole looks so at home on this lovely fence

 Niel suggested photographing my bouquet on a dry-stone wall, which I think adds the perfect textural interest to this gorgeous shot.

The lovely soft grey of the wall just works beautifully with the pretty soft pinks

Who wouldn't want these delicate flowers on their gate? What a memorable entrance to a wedding this would make.

 Close-up shots showing just how clever Niel is!

Gorgeous candid shots of Niel's two adorable girls  - just so you know he can shoot people too! 

I hope you love these shots, please feel free to pop over to Niel's site to see more  Niel and I have a really exciting collaboration planned for the near future which I absolutely can't wait to bring you.  'Til then, I'll leave you with the cutest conversation Niel had with his eldest little girl, Daisy:

Niel:    "Daisy, do you like the flowers?"

Daisy: "Yes, but not as much as the lavender!" 

Apparently, she has a thing for lavender - and who doesn't?!

My thanks to Niel Stewart for permission to use his lovely photography

Tracey x

Friday, 20 April 2012

How to make a Wedding Candlestick Table Centre

You might have seen this tutorial recently as it featured on  Alison Tinlin's blog of Plans & Presents - wedding planner extraordinaire and all round lovely lady.  Anyway, if you didn't catch it, here's another chance to:-

Making these dramatic table centres couldn’t be simpler with my step-by-step guide, which will create high impact on your guest’s tables.

You will need:-

A candlestick and candle!
1 x 10” foam wreath ring
½ a block of oasis foam
Floristry wire

Flower and Foliage Material

½ a carrier bag of sencecio
½ a carrier bag of hebe
4-5 stems of eucalyptus cincerea

3 x Sweet Avalanche Roses
5 x Avalanche Roses
7 x Rose ‘Video!’
3 x stems of Eustoma (lisianthus) piccolo pink
3 x stems of Eustoma (lisanthus) piccolo yellow (cream)

Assemble all your materials on the workbench.  Place your candlestick on top of your half brick of oasis, using this as a guide cut your oasis to fit, so the candlestick will stand on top of it securely.

It should look like this!

And stand securely like this! This will ensure that the final design is raised up to the right height and not lost beneath all the foliage.

Next bevel the edge of your wreath ring

Do the same with the inner edge of the wreath ring and then smooth everything off by gently rubbing the oasis foam.  It comes off quite easily, so it’s best to do over a bin.  Also beware of getting the dusty particles near your eyes. Then thoroughly soak the wreath ring by placing it upside-down in a sink of water.

Next assemble all your foliage, its really good to use a number of different foliages with opposite textures for good visual interest – ie furry senecio, next to the hebe and smooth eucalyptus.  I've chosen all silvery blue foliages, but dark greens such as ivy would look just as good.

Making sure that all your stems are clean and free from stray leaves, and starting at the base of the wreath ring, push the foliage into the wreath ring at an angle so that the foliage points downwards – this will make sure that the base of the wreath ring is completely concealed.

Keep working round the design in groups of threes.  Don’t worry too much about filling the centre of the wreath ring as the beauty of the design is that the centre is concealed by the candlestick!
Continue until the wreath ring is covered with foliage

Place your focal flowers (biggest/most dominant flowers) into the foam at an equal distance apart – I’ve used Sweet Avalanche because they’re huge and just gorgeous and create great impact!

Continue working through the design by adding the other flower materials – in my case pink and cream lisianthus and Avalanche and Video! Roses.  It’s place them at angles, with some pointing up, some straight and some downwards – this creates a nice random look throughout the wreath.

Your design should look a bit like this.

And that's it!  Hope you enjoy making this design, let me know how you get on.  It's always lovely to hear your DIY stories and a pic or two wouldn't go amiss either!

Next up on the blog - some proper photography from Niel Stewart - unlike my poor attempts using my iPhone!

'til then, enjoy!

Tracey x

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

City of Steel - A Claire Pettibone Shoot Part 2

So here it is, at last, trumpets ... drum roll ... etc etc

This is part 2 of my part in the gorgeous collaboration which saw gowns designed by Claire Pettibone from Chloe of The White Room, Sheffield with the fabulous photography of Cat Hepple.  Part of our team was the amazingly talented, and I have to say incredibly friendly, Danni from, in charge of hair, and the lovely, vivacious Ashley of Ashley Tyrrell working her make-up magic.

The team was further extended by the two most incredible models, who were in fact both ballerinas and so could create beautiful lines and shapes with their bodies - particularly with their arms and hands.

Pretty, pretty make-up

Ballerina points

I just love the movement in this shot and the gorgeous 'Nora' from Claire Pettibone

So, so feminine

See what I mean about hands? Who else but a dancer can do this?!

I just love this gorgeous lip colour and the fabulous headdress from dc bouquets

The cornucopia I designed with gigantic 'Sweet Avalanche' roses, Ammi and Eucalyptus 

So much strength goes into making such a soft and graceful shape

I really adore this contemplative shot

A truly exquisite shot and even more so if you happen to know Sheffield and the sculpture next to the model

My pomander against the most gossamer-like of gowns

We all fell in love with this veil

Natural prettiness working really well with the floral embroidery in the gown

I love this shot and the way the model is smiling - so knowingly!

True grace

My favourite shot - to me it encapsulates the day: lovely model, gorgeous gown, pretty pretty hair and make-up ... and flowers!

I hope you've enjoyed these as much as I did - it was a very special day. I'd love to hear which is your favourite - leave me a comment and I'll be sure to reply.

My thanks to Cat Hepple for the use of these fabulous shots.