Thursday, July 22, 2010

Silent City

Every now and then,
I visit the stone houses inside the gates of Woodland Cemetery
 where quiet residents speak softly of long ago and far away.

I always pause in front of this lovely gravestone guardian
and wonder whose stone house she's guarding.
A cherished grandpa, a lovely mother, an infant daughter?

Her youthful face,
so beautiful with age and weather,
slips from the grasp of my camera.

I can't capture her mystery...
only the stone from which she's carved.

I read sweet epitaphs dedicated to beloved ones...

...admire old soldiers,

...grieve for young heroes,

...and regret the loss of lives cut short.

In a little while, the silence seems deafening and
I wish for the cacaphony of life again--
to sing songs,
listen to the news,
blog, chat and tweet,
 and hold a sweet boy
who smiles and gurgles with baby talk.
My sun is still shining.
I can still smell the flowers,
taste life's bread and wine,
and celebrate
glorious days of
family, friends, and health.

I leave the quiet ones to their rest...

...until I return another day
to admire, remember, and  circle the sleeping city once more.
+   +   +

Monday, July 5, 2010

Simple Flower Arranging

While working on magazine sets as a stylist,
I'm often asked for quick flower arrangements to soften a corner,
 naturalize the scene,
 or bring the photographer's composition more color.
Tulips, peonies and gerberas, hydrangeas and seeded eucalyptus are my favorite go-to flowers--
they're casual, amenable, full of grace--and easily inhabit a vase with little work on my part.

Here are few styling habits I practice--
perhaps you'll find them useful for flowers at your house.

+ To take the guesswork out of where to cut flower stems,
 place the vase near the edge of the counter where you're working
 (a sink and kitchen counter is a perfect place).
 Holding each stem next to the vase at the height you want it to be in the final arrangement,
 snip it near the bottom of the vase before placing it inside.

+ To make flower arranging easier and keep the vase water clean,
 strip the leaves from the portion of the stems that will fall below the waterline. 

+ Large-mouthed containers often need a device for keeping flowers evenly spaced.
 Make a lattice or grid across the top of the container from strips of floral tape.

+ A bud vase requires just a few distinctive stems.
 For pleasing balance, make the tallest element two-thirds higher than the vase.

+ To camouflage floral foam in a glass vase,
 line the container with moss or broad, flat foliage,
 such as tulip leaves before inserting the water-soaked foam.

+ To keep arrangements totally simple, I prefer using only one kind of flower per vase.
 Mixing flowers brings second-guessing and complexity.

Off set, I practice these habits at home.
Today's blog flowers were clipped from Kim's copious garden.
Thanks, Kim!!!