How to Arrange Flowers: Floral Arranging 101 with Chelsea Fuss

Monday, September 11, 2017



After a summer of roadside bouquet attempts (both large and small), I reached out to Chelsea Fuss, a floral designer I've admired for years, and asked about her floral design courses through Nicole's Classes.

The Floral Arranging 101 course is a hands-on, entry-level course that offers a solid foundation of floral design, with projects including a French hand-tied bouquet, an English garden arrangement, a wedding bouquet, boutonnieres, and a floral head wreath. I love that the skills Chelsea teaches will prepare you, if you wanted, to launch your own floral design business, and are also appropriate for the amateur floral designer like me.

The course is four weeks long, and there are several upcoming start dates for Floral Arranging 101! You still have time if you'd like to join while the wildflowers are still blooming on Midwestern roadsides. Chelsea also gives expert advice for foraging blooms and sourcing blooms in the middle of winter--advice I'll be returning to once the ground where I live is covered in winter.

I just finished the hand-tied bouquet, pictured above, re-watching Chelsea's step-by-step instructions and reaching into my bucket of blooms and greens cut from the garden and the wild flower-filled chicken pen. I always forget, when starting something new, that things take time and practice. A combination of intuition and learned skill, both of which can only be gained through actually doing the thing you want to learn, through repetition and failing--or not quite meeting the mark you've set for yourself--over and over again. I nearly cried while making this bouquet! And not just because I was pricking my fingers with the overly ambitious choice of a thistle! Perfectionism dies hard. The thing is, you can only improve after you've made something that you can then do better than the next time. I am looking forward to making many more of these lovely little hand-tied bouquets.

 

 

My participation in this class is generously sponsored by Chelsea Fuss, whose work and life has inspired me for years.

Martha Argerich

Monday, July 31, 2017


Listening to music is among the many things I do haphazardly. I've listened to classical music forever (WVIK) and have Mindy Heusel and Herb Trix's voices etched into my brain, lucky to have the same voices speaking through the radio since I was a kid, but the music itself is more of a blur. I have instrument preferences--piano, cello, guitar over the higher pitched strings--and I can name a few composers, but even after a lifetime of listening to classical radio, I can only name a few pieces. Granted, a title like Piano Sonata No. 18 in D Major, K 576:II Adagio doesn't exactly find a place to hang its hat very easily in a mind like mine. 

Never mind. Every once in a while a piece or a musician or a composer or a conductor will stand out and if I'm lucky, the name will stick. Lief Ove Andesnes playing Grieg, a Mexican conductor I saw perform at Wheaton College whose name I've now forgotten and cannot for the life of me find (bad luck!), and Martha Argerich, playing anything. Since her name came across my radar yesterday I've been listening nonstop. 

Here's a Martha Argerich Youtube playlist, in case you want to dive in too. 



How to Clear Your Head

Tuesday, July 25, 2017



  1. Go for a walk
  2. I think it was Jane Austen who recommends four miles to straighten out all of the jumbled things
  3. I say, make it four if you can, because marvellous things can happen in the time it takes to walk four miles
  4. But walk as far as you can with the time you have
  5. Outside, of course
  6. Without your phone, if possible
  7. Or, with your phone stowed in your pocket 
  8. (Or another pocket-like garment, ahem)
  9. Because to clear your head you need sound un-ordered, un-arranged, un-recorded
  10. You need the discordant sounds of other living things
  11. At all the constantly changing levels heard as you walk through space (and time)
  12. And at all the constantly changing distances, closer now, farther away now
  13. Hear, if you can, the insistent chirping of a goldfinch on a fence line, eager to catch your attention and draw it a very specific distance, a very specific radius
  14. And the cicadas 
  15. And bullfrogs
  16. And eventually crickets
  17. And coyotes
  18. Hear a not-so-distant highway, with its thrum of tires on pavement and diesel engines and that occasional car without a muffler that is not, in fact, me anymore
  19. Or hear other sounds, sounds of other people, very close
  20. Sounds I've now forgotten, or tucked away
  21. Other people's music is okay here, good even
  22. Breathe in deeply, if you remember to
  23. Smell the scorch of the sun on gravel, pavement, grass, field, whatever it is you're walking on
  24. Smell the rain
  25. Feel your nostril hairs freeze, if it is winter, as you breathe in that delicious, fresh cold air
  26. Smell the rising dew
  27. (Or evaporating dew--are you walking at dawn?)
  28. Smell the small and fragrant trail of hog manure dripped by a truck as you follow it (the trail, not the truck) down the road
  29. Or the steam from the sewer grates
  30. Look, if you can, at the horizon, focusing your eyes on shimmering trees, or whatever it is on your horizon
  31. Think, or don't think, about all the things rattling around in your head
  32. Mistakes, things said or unsaid
  33. Think about them if you want, because after a while they might flatten out and slip away
  34. Or crumble
  35. Or evaporate
  36. I am convinced that if you give anxiety enough nitrogen and oxygen (and maybe a little C02, and in summer in Iowa, H20) it will die 
  37. If nothing else, you might suddenly find yourself looking down, or up (you miss the most amazing things by not looking up) at something interesting 
  38. And when you look back up (or down) you find you've misplaced whatever it was you were thinking about 
  39. Which is fine
  40. When you turn around, or meet the halfway mark, notice a shift
  41. The "I am going home now," shift
  42. Or don't notice, because it might not be there
  43. Go home anyway 
  44. Notice that you feel better
  45. Because you will
  46. Especially if you've gone four miles
  47. But even if you've gone .5 miles
  48. Or just to the mailbox 






Tabs I Can't Close 67: Culture Shock, It's Right, Marimekko, Fibershed

Friday, July 21, 2017


"It’s right to do everything, because then you know how to do everything." Ramdane Touhami

"As the Brooklyn Museum exhibition makes clear, long before social media O’Keeffe knew her best angles and her best outfits—she sewed a number of them herself—engineering a public image of scintillating consistency." The Power of the Marimekko Dress

"wait! I sit bolt upright in my chair and re-examine my thinking. Am I so inculcated into this Protestant work ethic thing that I only value play and recreation for its ability to enhance my work? Is that the only way I can justify play? The only way I can enjoy it?"  Culture Shock

Fibershed.



© The Attic at Anderwood Maira Gall.