This winter I found a winter escape & early spring in San Fransisco, California. It's a west coast city that I had not been to before & I was really excited to explore a new place. The Bay area is also home to many leading designers in our industry & I wanted to check out the flower market as soon as I could. Late winter is one of my favourite times to shop for flowers because all of the spring bulbs are showing up & everything feels so vibrant.
After spending a couple of hours wandering up & down the rows of flowers I finally picked out a few favourites to take with me. With my flowers wrapped in newspapers (which I always love) & it was on to the Golden Gate Park. It was raining on & off all day but when I set my tools on an empty table under a canopy of trees then the sun came out at just the right moment.
I could spend hours playing around with different designs & it was so great to not have any pressure or time constraints. The blooms made a loose bouquet & I was content. Days like this one remind me of how much I love to play around with designs even in my free time. I am truly blessed to be able to make my living by doing what I love to do. Even on the busiest & overwhelming of day that is what I want to remember.
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California
Photography: Evelyn Barkey Photography
Supplies: Grocery Stores & Roadside Brush Piles
Dress: WesternGrace Apparel
Overalls: Hackwith Design
The desert is a place that has long been calling my name. There is just something about the vastness & monochromatic layers that speak to my soul. I was so excited to take a few days this winter to explore the desert areas of Arizona & California.
I spend the first few days freaking out about the amount & size of the cacti that were seemingly everywhere! Then as the days went on & we traveled further west I started to feel the calmness of our surrounding sinking in. I knew I wanted to do something different & challenging for our desert photoshoot. I decided to limit myself to a design made strictly from what I could find in two grocery stores en route to Joshua Tree. I had wanted to use fresh artichokes in a design for a while now & was thrilled to find two huge ones in one of the stores. I also purchased a couple of orchid plants, a few bunches of blooms & a bunch of kale. I decided I needed some branches to make an armature to support my artichokes so I found some piles of brush on the side of the road & picked out a few nice ones. It was a fun bouquet to make & the challenge helped me create something that I never would have made under different circumstances.
The other feature in this photoshoot was a little something that had been on my mind lately. I am always looking for more reasons & occasions to wear flowers so it was about time I made a flower necklace! I used wire & little twigs to create a bed to attach my blooms to & then tied a leather cord to go around my neck. Once again these are probably not the blooms I would have chosen from a whole market full of flowers but they were perfect for this day.
In the end it was a grand adventure & a wonderful place to get creative. Exploring always inspires me to try something new or try to see a different perspective. I am so thankful that I have the ability to have variety in my life. Thanks for taking the time to take a peak into this journey.
This photoshoot is all of my favourite things about autumn all wrapped up together. Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year but not my favourite when it comes to colours & flowers. Part of this might be that I'm not a big fan of mums & the sea of bronzey/yellows bore me. I do however love the pods & the foliages that pop up everywhere as the leaves start to turn. In northern Ontario we are blessed with both incredible colours & textures all around us.
When Evelyn first approached me about this shoot we started to brainstorm of way to capture the beautiful things while stepping out of the normal box. When it came to the flowers I wanted to introduce a hint of pink to expand the colours, add some evergreens to add some depth of texture & throw in some orchids to make it unique with some tropical flare. The masculine pods, delicate berries, romantic roses, deep dahlias & youthful ranunculus completed our experiment into a giant bouquet. And I'm not exaggerating when I say GIANT! My hands were sore after making it & then my arms were sore from holding it.
I was beyond happy when the photographers were just as excited as I was when they saw it. Katelin is the only person (besides me) who says that flowers make her want to cry. There is just something so joyous & heartbreaking about flowers. This was one of those pieces that somehow made me feel connected to the nature around me & something more beautiful than any of us.
I am so grateful for the encouragement of these ladies & that they care as much as I do. The models & everyone else involved was wonderful! It was one of the most laid back & fun shoots I've ever done. The sun set perfectly to end a photoshoot that was once in a lifetime & impossible to forget.
This was a fun one! My little sister, Hannah, was married just over a year when she voiced her desire for another photoshoot in her wedding dress. We had rain on her wedding day so she was not able to have all the photos taken that she originally wanted. She had lots of fabulous photos with other people but very few of just her in her dress. I thought the idea of a photoshoot without the stress & busy of the actual wedding day was a fabulous idea! Hannah's wedding photographer, Katelin Barkey, was also glad for a chance to do another & more relaxed bridal shoot.
I took a few flowers from the studio I was working with that day (Tanya List Design) & mixed them with foraged foliage around our lake home. It quickly become an oversized bouquet as I wanted to add as many of my finds as possible. I love mixing evergreens in all year round & really enjoyed searching for a blend of textures. Hannah asked if I could make her a cedar crown from a tree in our driveway & it turned out to be one of my favourites. To be able to make something for someone I care about is one of the best things in life & it's even better when you have creative freedom at the same time!
For me, photoshoots are always a fun & creative time to see how my designs fit in with other peoples' work. Now when you get to do a photoshoot with some of your favourite things in an amazing location with some of the best people... well that is just perfection! This shoot we did this past May in Muskoka was so much fun & I'm excited to share the photos with you.
We were inspired by the sunsets we often enjoy in this part of the world from the view of a dock on the water. The vibrant colours that are so common on hot summer nights were a challenge for me to translate into flowers. One thing I am always struck by is how the water flows with colours when the sunset reflects off the waves. I decided to carry this flowing motion into the greenery of the designs & used pops of different textures in classic sunset colours. The crescent form of the arrangement mimics the skyline over trees with ripples of the reflection trailing down. I used some of my favourite spring flowers with classic roses & a few whimsical tropical flowers that felt like summer to me.
Amy contrasted the warm colours of the flowers with classic blues in the decor to perfection. She also made a custom table that was a perfect size for a casual dockside event with all of the fixings. The whole scene was captivating in person & I think that translated into the photos. Danielle made beautiful custom signs & paper details of her incredible calligraphy. I am consistently amazed by her work! Katelin did an amazing job of catching all of those perfect moments & on film no less! She also found some fun & wild locations to highlight the beauty of our northern lakes & woods. Krystal, of Darling Bridal, brought so many lovely dresses that she had us swooning. It was like watching half a dozen grown women playing dress-up. It was difficult to choose just a couple but they were perfectly suited to our model & the rest of the shoot. We were so lucky to have the very talented Rhea, of The Hudson, to take care of all of the details. She was the feminine & finishing touch we needed.
For me, these photos of so many unique talents just warms my heart & makes me appreciate that we are all given our own gifts. There is no better way to encourage the people around you than giving them a space to let them shine.
As always & sunset obsessed,
Concept & Decor: Amy Marcelli Design
Photography: Katelin Barkey Photography
Dresses: Darling Bridal
Hair & Makeup: Rhea Robert of The Hudson Hair Salon and Spa
Calligraphy & Paper Goods: Danielle Aitken
I can't not say enough good things about this photoshoot. It was captured mid-summer in the beautiful cottage country of Ontario. I have been inspired by the colours & movement of our northern beaches my whole life. We have so many lakes & rivers, each with their own personality. Also can we talk about all that driftwood(also a life-long love affair of mine)!!! The shoreline is both a peaceful & an exciting place to be. This is always where I gravitate to when I need solitude or refreshment. I think that feeling flows throughout this entire shoot & it makes me so happy!
For this shoot we kept it simple with just a wild & natural bouquet. I used a mixture of local & seasonal flowers along with some international textures. The original plan was to keep it all in whites & greens but when I saw the pink protea I couldn't say no to that texture. This was also the first time I had a chance to work with a Silk & Willow product which I found added the perfect motion we wanted.
Once again, I feel incredibly blessed to be surrounded by such talented creatives & I'm flattered that they asked me to be a part of it. This shoot really connected my love for the place I call home & so many creative inspirations. It makes me want to use more wild supplies in the future & use this beautiful land to it's full potential.
Inspired & grateful,
Photography: Evelyn Barkey Photography
Dress: Darling Bridal
Hair + Make-up: Muskoka Aesthetics
Silk: Silk & Willow
Oh Summer! It's the time of year that we anxiously await here in the north. Summer feels like the best time of year to get outside & rejoice in the beauty around us. The Muskoka area is definitely a good place to find connection & capture a new beginning.
I love the easy & relaxed feel of this summer engagement shoot. The couple is clearly so happy together & they couldn't be in a more understated, beautiful setting than a northern field. I had so fun adding a little extra something to help celebrate with a flower crown to complete the Bride-To-Be's outfit. We went with a simple but elegant mix of lisianthus, roses, parvi, rosemary & other bits of herbs from my garden. Of course it started out as a small crown & grew into a life of it's own like everything I make seems to grow. The flower crown suited her perfectly & added just that little romantic boost.
I am a firm believer that every woman should wear flowers in her hair every chance she has!
Happy Summer Lovin!
P.S. Thanks to the incredible photographer for asking me to be a part of this.
Photography by Evelyn Barkey Photography
Attire by Belle's Boutique & Tigg's
In my world spring is a time to surround yourself with nature & refreshing colours. After a long winter I get so excited when things start coming into season & everything starts smelling fresh. These amazing photos take me back to that time this past year & reminds me of it's beauty.
This past May, my friend Katelin (of Katelin Barkey Photography) asked me to help her with some designs for a baby shower she was hosting. She gave me free range of creativity with the only instruction to make them seasonal & natural. The past few years I have really been struck by how important it is to really celebrate the exciting things in life & make memories that will stay with us. I can't think of a better thing to celebrate than the start of a new life or a better way to celebrate than surrounded by beauty & friends. I felt honoured to be a part of that & had so much fun making these designs.
I hope you have something in your life to celebrate & someone to do it with!
Oh houseplants! There is nothing better to make your house feel fresh & to bring a natural peace into any space. They purify your air & bring cheer in the dreary months. I grew up in a home with lots of plants & my grandmothers always had very interesting plants in their homes too. My first house plant was an ivy plant when I was about 8 years old. I tried to grow a vine 10 feet long & was devastated when it died. Even since then I have always had some kind of plants where ever I have lived.
Over the past few years I have enjoyed caring for plants that had once belonged to my Grandmas' when they were still with us. I have a Christmas Cactus that was a clipping from my Grandma Alta's original plant. My sister also has one & its so fun to have something that still feels very connected to her.
Some plants I keep for years & others I keep seasonally for as long as they thrive. I have tried a great many different types of plant & have found the ones that work for me. Don't be hard on yourself if you struggle from time to time. There are a few types that I can't seem to keep alive(like a cyclamen for example) & others that I can't seem to kill. I have had some awesome aloe plants the last few years that keep growing into giants so I give them away & start over with the babies.
I suggest trying a few different types & going with the ones that work for you & your lifestyle. Because I often travel I need plants that are hardy enough to go without water for more than a few days. Ideally I like to train mine to be watered about every two weeks but it takes a while to stretch that out & you have to keep an eye on them when they are new or when the length of daylight is changing.
Here are a few that are in my living space this season:
String Of Pearls - I first fell in love with this type at my friend Jesse's house. She has had one for the past few years & I wanted one after seeing hers! He is just so different than anything else! He is like a delicate succulent with wild hair. I had a special order one from a garden nursery but they are commonly found in bigger cities with more choices. I've only had him for a few weeks but so far I'm loving it!
Aloe Vera (left) & Christmas Cactus (right) - This Aloe plant was a baby shoot off one of my giants last summer. I love to have an aloe plant for it's look & it's many natural uses not to mention it is one of the best air purifiers! An Aloe is a great starter plant because it's easy to tell that it needs water when it starts to get thin. Just give it a drink to plump it up again & it's a quick recovery!
- This Christmas Cactus is not currently blooming but it does get bright hot pink blooms in the winter. I love just the way the foliage looks all year long. I also find it to be very hearty & loves a bright window. Another great one for a beginner! This one is actually a clipping from a clipping from my Grandmothers plant. It's around 3 years old & almost ready for a bigger pot.
Succulents - Who doesn't love a succulent? I joined that bandwagon a couple of years ago & haven't gotten off. This is more of a seasonal one for me because they seem to outgrow their pot or I end up using them in flower arrangements. Over the past few years I have had lots of succulents & they each seem to have so much personality. I also love giving them as a gift because I think they suit just about any living space or lifestyle.
Crispy Fern (on the left) - This one is hard to describe because you really have to feel it to know why I love it so much. It makes a crunching noise as you touch it & feels so like smooth plastic that most people don't realize it's real. Not only is it real but in fact it is one of the best air purifies in nature! It removes harmful particles from the air & replenishes the oxygen in your home. It's a great one if you have a low light situation or are just looking for some green eye candy.
Wishing you great luck on your plant adventuring!
At the beginning of May I had the wonderful opportunity to be a small part of Jordan & Danielle's wedding day. From the first time we spoke I was so excited as I heard all the details they were planning & the flowers they wanted. They were aiming for classic & simple bouquets with lots of texture & the feeling of a spring garden. I love that they chose coral as the pop of colour surrounded by soft, natural tones. No fuss or particulars just fresh & beautiful.
As the days were leading up to the big day I found myself really looking forward to it & not just because of the flowers but because they were so excited. Jordan & Danielle are two of the most charming & genuine individuals I've had the pleasure of working with. I instantly felt like I knew them & that wonderful things were ahead of them. These childhood sweethearts bubbled with joy just talking about their preparations. My favourite thing about this wedding is that as much as they wanted to celebrate their wedding they were much more focused on the start of their new life together. I feel that often the wedding can overshadow the actual marriage & new beginning. But not with these two! They simply paused for a moment to celebrate but then headed straight into this new adventure.
The icing on the cake for me is the stunning dress that shows how incredibly beautiful this bride is & the happiness on the faces of everyone there. When these amazing photos by Katie Nicolle Photography appeared in my inbox a few days ago I realized how blessed I was to be a part of it. A glowing couple in incredible photos at the start of a bright future before them. I can't think of any better!
Welcome to my muses & adventures in the world of flowers & design.