Sunday, July 26, 2009

Not "Just" Paper Flowers

Paper flowers. The name alone conjures up images of those huge crepe paper montrosities we constructed as kids. Rumpled and strangely colored, they bore absolutely no resemblance to a real flower!

So it was with some skepticism that I checked out the work of Jude Miller, a New Zealand native who makes 'paper flowers". I put that in quotes because, as you can see, these flowers are a world away from the flowers I mentioned above. You need to look very closely to realize that these are actually made of paper!

Jude's flowers are life-like, botanical sculptures, beautiful to behold, even more lovely to own! (She works only by commission). Studying a real flower for days, she then uses crepe paper, beads, wire, thread, and sometimes, Fimo clay to bring her subject to life.

Jude began making flowers in the 1990's, and quickly decided this was what she loved doing. Soon, her work was shown in Martha Stewart's Weddings, as well as being exhibited in the Royal Horticultural Society in London and New York.

So very lovely!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Paris Florists: Ooo-la-la!

There is nothing like a Paris florist. Words are inadequate to describe the feeling that a Paris flower shop evokes. What is it about flowers shops there, as opposed to, well, anywhere else? Here are my thoughts on it: First, Parisians take their flowers seriously. Look closely at this photo on the right and you will notice that the flower shop is right next door to the tobacco /lottery ticket shop. The French consider flowers to be among the everyday necessities things in life.

As they should be!

Parisian flower shops subscribe to the "more is better" theory. No sad displays of tired bouquets. Rather, masses of fresh flowers, masses of potted plants, masses of everything, all at your fingertips and enticing you from the street!

Parisian flower shops employ beautiful window displays to lure you in. And as in this photo, even a monochromatic display will beckon you.

This famous 1928 photo by Andre Kertesz shows an amputee selling small bouquets of lily of the valley to passerby in Paris. It is at once sad and hopeful, and a moving example of how important flowers are to everyday life.

One of the oldest florists in Paris is Au Nom de la Rose, where you will find absolutely everything to do with roses. Scents, foods, items for your home, beautiful gifts, and of course, fabulous roses to take home.

If you favor elegance, you would enjoy the offerings at Herve Gambs. Their designs are impeccable and deceiving in their simplicity.

Along with the great florists, there are the wonderful Marché aux Fleurs (Flower Markets), the most famous being: Place Louis Lépine, Place de la Madeleine, and the oldest, Ile de la Cité which dates to 1808. They are wonderful places to stroll, sniff, examine, and discover.

While I appreciate simplicity, for me, more is more! I love masses of flowers, especially a huge bouquet of all one flower. On every trip to Paris (or anywhere else, for that matter), flowers are one of the first purchases I make.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I Found Flowers on!

Do you know about It's an online co-op of artists of all kinds. If you make something that you're interested in selling, this is the place to be. You can find anything, jewelry, clothing, art, just to name a few of the thousands of things you can find here.

So I thought I would go to Etsy to see who shared my passion for flowers and jewelry, and I came out with several dozen selections!

So many creative people 'out there'! It was tough to narrow it down, but here are some of the most original and creative offerings I rooted out.

For instance, these fun earrings are very delicate and fragile looking but are actually cut out of leather!

This white rose necklace is made of fabric and ribbons. Very unique and pretty.

Embossed paper and beads combine in this green necklace to make a very original piece, so wearable! I can picture it with a fun summer dress...

If you are looking for something in particular, it will take some patience to find it, but I find that just browsing is the most fun, letting the ideas present themselves, rather than seeking them out!

Here's a necklace that's tough and pretty at the same time, and the addition of the Eiffel Tower charm is whimsical.

I'd love to hear what you have found on Etsy!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Window Dressing

A window box is the sort of thing you don't really give much thought to, until you come across one that makes you stop in your tracks. (Or as in my case, you are suddenly installing them on your home!) Some places seem to take a special interest in their's, and the contents spill out happily in bold colors, such as this one I found in the Old Quarter of Quebec City.

In my travels, I'm always drawn to windowboxes and I photograph them endlessly. Some of my favorites were found in the Czech Republic, where their riot of colors competed with the beautifully painted buildings.

In New England, our Yankee restraint often shows up in window boxes that are minimally composed, with just a few varieties of plants, such as the ever-present geranium and pansies, perhaps some grasses. The bold colors and simple composition are an especially nice contrast to the peeling paint here, found in Maine.

This riotous balcony box is in New Orleans. Could you tell? There, it's not about the flowers, silly! It's about telling a story. And this one certainly does, though I'm not sure exactly what it is. I love the riot of greenery, the dilapidated shutters, and the ornate wrought iron work, not to mention Mary who's hard at work!

Of course, there is no rule that a windowbox has to be flowers. It can be beautiful with 'just' greens, too, as in this pretty example from the plains of Alberta, Canada. Skillfully composed of Caladium and ferns, the few flowers present act as a foil rather than being the stars of the show.

In the Pacific Northwest, windowboxes have to be rain-lovers and not sulk when the sun doesn't appear for days. This one just jumps off the blue of this house.

And last but not least, something we don't see much of around here, a windowbox dusted with snow!

Love these orange shutters!