Flower Fridays: Nasturtium

Nasturtium flowersNasturtium is not exactly what you would call a wedding flower—their symbolism is victory in battle and conquest—not a sentiment I would want associated with my relationships. They get that meaning because nasturtium’s botanical name Tropaeolum majus is Latin for trophy, as in a war trophy. They are said to be so named because their round leaves resemble shields and their flowers blood-stained helmets. Nonetheless, they are lovely flowers and useful too. They were once called “Indian cresses” (nasturtium were introduced to Europe from the Americas known then as the “Indies”) because they produce an oil that is similar to that of watercress. So they are eatable—both flowers and leaves can be used in salads—and they make for a beautiful food presentation. You can even use unripe nasturtium seedpods as stand-ins for capers by pickling them.

Climbing nasturtiumI most often associate nasturtium flowers with window boxes. The flowers often make long trails over the edges of their planters, creating a beautiful spew of varying shades of reds, oranges and yellows. And because they are so hardy, you often find nasturtium outliving any of the other flowers and climbing over everything!

Lines to a Nasturtium by Anne Spencer

A lover muses

Flame-flower, Day-torch, Mauna Loa,
I saw a daring bee, today, pause, and soar,
Into your flaming heart;
Then did I hear crisp crinkled laughter
As the furies after tore him apart?
A bird, next, small and humming,
Looked into your startled depths and fled…
Surely, some dread sight, and dafter
Than human eyes as mine can see,
Set the stricken air waves drumming
In his flight.

Day-torch, Flame-flower, cool-hot Beauty,
I cannot see, I cannot hear your fluty
Voice lure your loving swain,
But I know one other to whom you are in beauty
Born in vain;
Hair like the setting sun,
Her eyes a rising star,
Motions gracious as reeds by Babylon, bar
All your competing;
Hands like, how like, brown lilies sweet,
Cloth of gold were fair enough to touch her feet…
Ah, how the senses flood at my repeating,
As once in her fire-lit heart I felt the furies
Beating, beating.

XOXO RachelYellow nasturtium and leaf

Magical Moment Mondays: Conversation with Friends

Friends!I was fortunate to have several of my closest friends staying with us over the holidays. What I loved most was sitting around the dining table after we finished our meal. Banter flowed about topics as far-reaching and varied as movies to aging. I basked in the experience, because whether the dialog was light and silly or deep and meaningful, the moments were magical because of the interaction and connection to each other that the conversation created.

Get with others you love and have a conversation. You will find that there is nothing so magical as the connection and fun of those moments while you talk with your friends.

A Song for New Year’s Eve by William Cullen Bryant

Stay yet, my friends, a moment stay—
Stay till the good old year,
So long companion of our way,
Shakes hands, and leaves us here.
Oh stay, oh stay,
One little hour, and then away.

My friendsThe year, whose hopes were high and strong,
Has now no hopes to wake;
Yet one hour more of jest and song
For his familiar sake.
Oh stay, oh stay,
One mirthful hour, and then away.

The kindly year, his liberal hands
Have lavished all his store.
And shall we turn from where he stands,
Because he gives no more?
Oh stay, oh stay,
One grateful hour, and then away.

Days brightly came and calmly went,
While yet he was our guest;
How cheerfully the week was spent!
How sweet the seventh day’s rest!
Oh stay, oh stay,
One golden hour, and then away.

Dear friends were with us, some who sleep
Beneath the coffin-lid:
What pleasant memories we keep
Of all they said and did!
Oh stay, oh stay,
One tender hour, and then away.

Even while we sing, he smiles his last,
And leaves our sphere behind.
The good old year is with the past;
Oh be the new as kind!
Oh stay, oh stay,
One parting strain, and then away.

With our friendXOXO Rachel

Brooch Bouquet DIY

My wedding anniversary brooch bouquetBecause I am in the wedding business I have a great excuse to read bridal magazines. When I got married twenty-five years ago, our wedding was beautiful but very small and informal—and planned in a week! I missed out on the bride magazine experience. But now that I am a wedding celebrant, I figure why not enjoy the spectacle of wedding style and design?

This summer I had another really good reason to read bridal magazines—my own 25th wedding anniversary celebration. My husband, Andy and I had a vow renewal ceremony officiated by a friend and fellow celebrant Alice Soloway. The ceremony was all that I wanted it to be—filled with lots of magical moments, smiles, and love. I planned the design over months of poring through magazine after magazine. My outfit was just what I envisioned for our hot summer backyard ceremony. The dress was an off-white lace covered sleeveless dress with a peephole and a pretty ribbon tied at the waist. Andy looked so handsome in his off-white linen pants and vest, light blue shirt and peach plaid bow tie. Oh, he was so adorable in his gray Chucks (i.e. Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers)! The final touch—a brooch bouquet for me and a matching brooch boutonniere for Andy.

Bouquet and boutonniere during ceremonyI had seen brooch bouquets in several magazines including the special issue by Country Decorating Ideas called Flea Market Style Weddings. I considered buying one online but then I had an idea. I have lots of brooches—some vintage, some not so old—so why not DIY? Inspired, I found some videos on how to make your own bouquet and based my version on the tutorial in Fancy Pants Weddings. It was a lot of work, required much patience and time, but it was well worth the effort. Here is an outline to help you create your own stunning brooch bouquet and matching boutonniere!

Gather brooches. How do I find them, you might ask?

  • I surprised everyone at my ceremony with the bouquet. When my good friend Vickie saw it she said that had she known, she would have gladly contributed one of her brooches to the cause. So with that in mind, let your close friends and family know that you are making a brooch bouquet and see what they will share with you.
  • Go to flea markets and search. I picked up four brooches at one show, each for under 5 dollars.
  • Look into your own jewelry box. Most of the pins in my bouquet came from my own box that was filled with pieces from my Aunt Ellie, my mom and gifts from friends from years past.
  • Stick to a theme like all silver or gold, all enameled in a particular color, or in my case pinks, peaches and silver.
  • I used about 16 brooches for my smaller bouquet—about the size a bridesmaid typically holds. For a larger bouquet figure you will need about 25. I have read that some use as many as 50 brooches but it is pretty heavy even with just 16!

Find one smaller brooch. I was fortunate that I found a brooch with matching clip on earrings so that I could turn one of the earrings into a boutonniere for my husband and put the other in my bouquet along with the larger brooch. Even if you can’t find a matching set, look for a small brooch or clip-on earring that fits your theme and you will be just fine.

Gather construction materials. Yes, this really is a construction project that requires wire, glue, fabric, ribbon and important tools like a wire cutter. Here is the detailed list that I used:Anubis helping

  • Wire cutter
  • Glue gun and clear clue sticks
  • Pliers
  • Scissors
  • Flower tape (I used white but green is fine because it will be covered).
  • 22 gauge wire (I used silver but you can also use green flower wire).
  • Small fabric leaves (for the boutonniere).
  • Fabric Hydrangeas in color of your choice (I used white). The size of the flower helps to determine the size and shape of your final bouquet so keep that in mind when you select one to use. You can also use two stems pulled together to make it larger.
  • 2 feet of 5-inch wide taffeta wired-ribbon in coordinated color (I used pale peach). Cut into two 1-foot pieces.
  • 2 feet of 1-inch satin ribbon in coordinated color (I used a darker peach).

Wire the brooches. Cut the wire into 24-inch lengths. You will need two for each brooch. Take one wire, fold in half and thread into one edge of the brooch. Using pliers, carefully twist the wire so that it is firmly attached to the brooch. Twist the wire the full 12 inches. Repeat using the second wire attached at the other edge of the brooch. Twist the two wires together in the middle so that the brooch stays upright and centered. You just created a “flower” stem!

Underside of twisted wire stems(Optional) Wrap each wired brooch stem with flower tape. I didn’t wrap each stem after I very carefully twisted the wire to look nice. If you prefer, wrap each stem with flower tape to cover the wire.

Place each flower stem into the fabric hydrangea. Hold the bouquet in one hand while you add each “flower stem”. This is no different from arranging a bouquet of flowers, but it is much heavier! The fabric of the hydrangea acts to fill in-between each brooch flower stem.

Cut bouquet to desired length. Using the wire-cutter, snip off the ends to about 7 or 8 inches in length.

Wrap bouquet stem with flower tape. To hold all the wires together as one handle, wrap tightly with flower tape. Put tape over the bottom on the stems as well so that you don’t have any wire showing.

Glue along seam of cuffCreate wide ribbon cuff. Holding one-foot length of the wired ribbon in one hand, pull the wire on one edge while you pleat the fabric until you create a complete circle. Twist the ends of the wire together and use glue to seal the fabric edge together.

Thread the bouquet into the ribbon cuff. Cinch the cuff in as needed depending on the width of your stems.

Wrap the bouquet handle with wide ribbon. Using the second piece of wired ribbon, wrap over where the ribbon cuff meets the handle and continue to wrap down until the entire handle is covered. Glue to seal.

Satin ribbon wrapped handleFinish with satin ribbon. Wrap as little or as much as you want of the bouquet stem with ribbon and tie in a pretty bow. You can add a dab of glue underneath to secure.

Make matching boutonniere. Wire a small earring or brooch with only one wire similar to how you wired each bouquet brooch. Place a fabric leaf and a flower bud snipped off from the hydrangea next to the stem and wrap together with flower tape. Wrap with matching satin ribbon and glue to seal.

Boutonniere wrapped in tapeViola! You now have a beautiful brooch bouquet and matching boutonniere that you made yourself!

Give yourself plenty of time to do this project. Unlike setting up a tent and DIY decorating with lanterns and lights, your brooch bouquet cannot be built in short order. Make it well in advance of your ceremony so that you can take your time and enjoy the DIY project.

Awaiting use...I love that I will always have my brooch bouquet from our vow renewal ceremony. It is so sparkly and pretty and a wonderful reminder of the day. I know that you will feel the same way about your DIY bouquet.

If you have your own brooch bouquet, share a photo of it with us below!!!

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Renewing our vowsXOXO Rachel