Yes, I'm doing a second blog post today. I need to get caught up and I've finally managed to carve out some time, so please bear with me.
I've been working on this custom order since February, and it's a pretty big one. Here are all the parts.
And here is the finished bouquet! I know it looks like a wedding bouquet, because of the wrapped handle, but it's not. Just a vase-ready arrangement.
The finished piece was 18 inches tall (including the handle) and about 14 inches wide. And weighed 2.5 pounds.
This order was a pretty difficult one for me. It started with my customer giving me a very specific set of flowers to make. Exact number, exact colors. And that made it hard for me to visualize the finished arrangement. So I didn't know how I was going to put it all together until closer to the end.
Every flower took longer than it was supposed to, mainly because of my baby (she screamed for almost a month straight), which means I had to extend beyond the time I'd allotted for it. That was a very depressing aspect for me since I had other projects I'd wanted to make to celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary and I wasn't able to do them. But I love how this bouquet turned out.
This brings me to my next announcement. I will no longer be taking custom orders. I have two more orders already on my schedule for this year, one of which I'm starting on this upcoming week, and then that's it. I've been mulling over this decision for a long time and it wasn't an easy one. On one hand, I love being able to make flowers for other people to enjoy, and custom work does bring me challenges and new flowers that I may not have considered before. But on the other hand, it's too difficult and stressful with my family situation. With three kids I am constantly having to worry about whether I'm going to meet a deadline, or if I'm even going to get time to work. And, it really doesn't pay well. No one wants to pay what the flowers are truly worth, so it ends up being a very large amount of work with very little reward. That's not something I can afford now that I have less time. If I'm going to spend time away from my family, then it needs to contribute financially to my family, and teaching allows me to do that. There are many more reasons, but I won't get into that here. The bottom line is that I will not be taking any more orders, but I will be devoting my time to personal projects, tutorials, videos, and books. I love teaching, so I am really looking forward to being able to put more time and effort into it.
I know there are many of you who have been waiting for a slot for custom work, and I'm sorry that I will not be able to accommodate you. That may change years down the road, but for now, this is where life has brought me.
Today is a good day, because I finally get to update my blog. Forgive me, I'm actually going to publish two blog posts today, since I'm trying to catch up.
For this post I thought it would be fun to share with you all the pictures I took during a study on some peach blossom branches I harvested from my own peach tree.
I took this shot from underneath my tree! Love those pink blossoms against that beautiful blue sky.
Here's another shot from under the tree, a little closer up.
Here are the branches that I studied. Some branches on the tree had many more blossoms on them, as you can see above, but they were higher up and I don't do ladders. I am not about to die just to collect some flowers. Nope.
Let's take a closer look at the branches so you can see the structure and texture.
The main branch stems are brown, but some (not all!) of the smaller off-shooting branches have greenish stems. Flowers form on all sides of the branch, and have a small stem of their own separating them from the branch. The flowers tend to form in clusters in multiple points along the branch. At this stage in the tree's life cycle, there are tiny tufts of leaves only at the branch tips, not anywhere else along the branch.
One thing I want to mention is that my blossoms never fully opened. I assume it's something to do with the climate because it's been happening to all my neighbors' peach trees too. The blossoms just kind poof open but don't fully expand. So, half opened they were 3/4" wide (1.9 cm) so I estimate that they'd open to a full inch wide (2.5 cm). They will also turn a slightly lighter pink once they open.
Tiny little blossoms all in a row!
Each blossom has 5 petals, approximately 1/2" long by 3/8" wide. (1.3 cm L, .95 cm W)
I tried to tape a couple petals down so we could get a flat view of the shape of the petals, but they still curled up on me.
But they are ovals, with a teeny tiny point at the bottom.
There are 5 sepals on each flower, which are a reddish-brown color, sometimes with green spots on them. You can see those more clearly on the bud pictures below. Each sepal is 1/4" wide and 1/4" long (.64 x .64 cm).
The stamen are tiny brown dots with a white stem. The inner row of stamen are 1/4" (.64 cm) long, but they grow to 1/2" (1.3 cm) long for the second (outer) row. There are approximately 10 each of the 1/4" and 1/2" stamen.
The pistil is all yellow and 1/2" long (1.3 cm), located directly in the center of the stamen.
Let's take a look at the buds! (If you look at the close up branch pictures above, you'll see that there are tinier buds that I didn't pull off to picture below. Those are mostly just sepals bunched up tightly.)
The largest buds are 1/2" wide and 3/4 to 1" long, including sepals (1.3 cm wide and 1.9-2.5 cm long). The smaller buds are 3/8" wide and 1/2 to 3/4" long (.9 cm wide and 1.3-1.9 cm long)
The leaves form in tufts of multiple leaves, the longest of which are 3/4" long (1.9 cm). These do open up and spread out a little as the branch ages, just as the blossoms would if mine opened fully.
One last picture before we go! All the tiny pieces.
I hope you guys enjoyed this flower study! I have been studying lots of flowers, though I won't publish all of them because some are being used to make patterns for my upcoming book.
Hello everyone! I am Lauren Harpster, the designer behind Lauren's Creations. I am a 28 year old wife, and a mother to three adorable little kids. I've been making French Beaded Flowers for six years now, and teaching French Beading through my website for about four years. I hope you'll join me on my blog so you, too, can Learn the Art of French Beading.
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