flower events to celebrate spring

It's been quite a week for flowers! They've been celebrated near and far in so many ways that spring must be around the corner. From elaborate floral displays at the de Young Museum's Bouquets to Art exhibit in San Francisco to a wide range of floral fun at the Canada Blooms Festival in Toronto, you can find botanical beauty in nearly each corner of the globe this month.

Find one near you:

I had the opportunity to experience the very special Bouquets to Art exhibit in San Francisco this week. This is the third year I've attended and what a treat it continues to be! Floral designers from the Bay Area and elsewhere are selected to choose their top three pieces from the de Young Museum's permanent collection. Three weeks before the exhibit opens, the designers are given their assignment and get to work crafting incredibly involved works of floral art inspired by their assigned piece. Some of the same artwork gets chosen each year, so it's fun to see the differences in interpretation from year to year. While some designs are literal representations, others are quite abstract. This year, I particularly loved the linear pieces--we're so accustomed to seeing flowers in their organic shapes, it's neat to see this different design orientation. Here are a few of my favorites:

10 Tips to Pick Your Wedding Flowers

Being flower-obsessed, I looked forward to planning my wedding flowers. As I started into the planning, though, I realized how many things there were to consider. I learned a lot along the way, so I thought I'd share it with you! Disclaimer: I'm not a wedding florist or floral designer, so some of this information might vary based on where you live and who you work with.

When you start considering your wedding details, flowers can be incorporated in a number of areas. They can make a big difference in the overall feel of your day, which is all the more reason to get clear on how you want to use them and how they should look.

Here are 10 tips to consider when making plans for your wedding flowers--I'll sprinkle in some photos from my wedding too ;) :

+ What's your budget? This is a big one, I know! The Knot estimates that couples spend an average of 8% of their budget on flowers. Obviously, each couples' priorities are different, so the following tips should help you narrow down what this could look like.

+ How do you want to use flowers? Here are some ways couples incorporate flowers into their day (click on each for ideas, and remember, these are only options!):

We decided to order flowers for everyone who walked down the aisle--our siblings (11 in total!) plus our parents and our officiant. It was pricey, so we decided to save money by creating our own table arrangements--keep reading to see what we did! Flowers: Gorgeous & Green Photo: Kristian Melom

We decided to order flowers for everyone who walked down the aisle--our siblings (11 in total!) plus our parents and our officiant. It was pricey, so we decided to save money by creating our own table arrangements--keep reading to see what we did! Flowers: Gorgeous & Green Photo: Kristian Melom

+ What are your wedding colors? Even if you have specific flowers in mind, it’s helpful to have a color palette so that your florist can incorporate other flowers within your aesthetic. Sometimes this can help lower the cost, especially if your favorite flower is pricey or hard to find.

+ What problem do the flowers solve? A neutral or dim venue might call for large, colorful flowers to brighten up the space; whereas, small, subdued arrangements will complement an already-ornate setting. An indoor summer wedding might benefit from large, wild arrangements to invoke the nature outside. And for a fancy affair, consider elevating the glam with tight, formal or elegant, cascading arrangements.

+ Are there flowers you don't want? Now, I'm a flower freak, but when my floral designer asked me this question, I knew that I didn’t want roses in my arrangements--I thought they looked too formal for my outdoor, garden wedding. She prompted me about spray or garden roses and I decided that they would work--to me, they had a more wild and loose feeling. I’m so glad she did because they were a beautiful addition to my bouquets. Roses can be a great option because they come in so many colors and varieties. Fragrance and meaning is another reason some couples exclude certain flowers from their arrangements.

+ What is your arrangement style? The way your flowers are arranged can convey a lot about your aesthetic--tight and formal, big and bold, colorful and fun, loose and ethereal, green and woodsy, cascading and romantic. Here's a visual guide to the most common bouquet shapes. 

For my bridal bouquet, I chose a cascading style with coral, peach, and succulent greens, including eucalyptus, dahlias, roses, and passion vine wrapped in natural burlap. Flowers: Gorgeous & Green Photo: Kristian Melom

For my bridal bouquet, I chose a cascading style with coral, peach, and succulent greens, including eucalyptus, dahlias, roses, and passion vine wrapped in natural burlap. Flowers: Gorgeous & Green Photo: Kristian Melom

+ How do you want them wrapped? For bouquets and boutonnières, you can choose how they are wrapped. Traditionally, bouquets are wrapped with ribbon and pearl pins down the stems, which leaves you to choose the ribbon color. There are so many other options, though, so it's worth spending a little time on this. Burlap-wrapped bouquets have become very popular and complement summer, boho-chic, and outdoor weddings. An option that I totally love is minimal, leaving the stems long and natural with a simple twine wrap--fyi, this option doesn't always work, especially if you have a large arrangement or varying stem lengths. Typically, the boutonnières will be wrapped to match the bouquets, but you can also make specific choices for them.

+ Are you open to what's in season? Using local, seasonal flowers is a sustainable option and can be more affordable. This can also be an easy way to leave many of the choices up to your florist--give her some parameters and she'll fill your floral needs with seasonal blooms. If you're interested in learning more about what's in season during your wedding in your location, there are lots of resources online. For my local California folks, Gorgeous & Green (my wedding flower designer!) and Farmgirl Flowers are great resources. If you want specific flowers and they're not in season, keep in mind that they can be pricey.

+ What containers do you want to hold your table arrangements? Many floral designers will provide options for containers, typically glass vases, but you can also get creative and DIY your own--think: jars, baskets, jugs, bottles, tubs, hanging pots. For my wedding, we collected nearly 100 glass bottles and jars for table arrangements. We wanted a natural, flower field look, so the organic arrangements in different containers worked well. You might even skip the traditional container altogether and go with table wreaths or garlands instead. $ Money-saving tip: Get bulk flowers at your local wholesale flower market and fill your own containers. Keep in mind that this will require extra hands and space to store the flowers the night before (ideally in a refrigerator).

We wanted casual centerpieces that were inexpensive and had a wild look. We collected dozens of different bottles and jars (check your local bar/restaurant!) and filled them with small collections of bulk flowers in our wedding colors--coral, peach, and succulent greens. Flowers: Gorgeous & Green Photo: Kristian Melom

We wanted casual centerpieces that were inexpensive and had a wild look. We collected dozens of different bottles and jars (check your local bar/restaurant!) and filled them with small collections of bulk flowers in our wedding colors--coral, peach, and succulent greens. Flowers: Gorgeous & Green Photo: Kristian Melom

+ Are you looking for alternatives to cut flowers? There are plenty of alternatives to cut flowers that can be affordable and complementary to your aesthetic. Living plants are a great option and can double as living mementos of your special day. A friend of mine had a tree at her wedding that guests hung messages on--the tree is now thriving in their yard. My husband and I planted the succulents from my bouquet and his boutonnière in a beautiful planter that lives on our front porch. You might even incorporate living plants into your wedding favors. Dried flowers are also an option that can replace many of the traditional flower uses. Lavender, thistle, hydrangea, flax, billy balls, sea oats, poppy pods, yarrow, and globe amaranth are some of my favorites. Be careful using dried flowers in bouquets and boutonnières as they can be very delicate. A final alternative to cut flowers is to go with fake flowers. There are some artists out there creating A-mazing floral representations in paper and felt. Here are some of my favorites: Fiber Florist (felt), The Cobra Lily (paper), Tiffanie Turner/Papel SF (paper). It looks like these paper flower-making ladies aren't taking custom orders right now, but Lia Griffith provides great options for DIY paper flowers.

Did I miss something? Feel free to add a tip in the comments!

there's still time to shop small!

The countdown is on -- only 3 days left to receive your order by Christmas! All orders received by 5pm PST on Monday 12/19 will ship out on Tuesday morning and arrive to you in time to gift.

Don't forget about our electronic gift certificates--they can be ordered right up until Christmas Eve!

open studio this weekend!

This Saturday, dozens of East Bay artists will open our studios for the festive and fun Gilman Art Walk, where you can shop from local makers and artists, enjoy a warm refreshment or two, and be in good company!

Visit IMPRESSED by nature's studio at Makers Workspace on Sixth Street in Berkeley (right next to Fieldwork Brewery). We will be donating 10% of all sales to the Oakland Fire Relief Fund.

Support your local artist community and come say hello on Saturday, 12-5pm. See below to map your walk.

I hope to see you there!

good karma is the new black friday

It's holiday time and we've got lots going on! Whether you're here in the Bay or 3,000 miles away, I hope you join us in celebrating this time of the year with online sales and special Good Karma giving!

Have you heard of the Good Karma Sale?

In 2013, The Wild Unknown began a movement to connect gift buying with charitable giving during the Black Friday weekend shopping frenzy. In a few short years, the movement has grown to involve over 300 brands, who are giving a portion of their sales to charities.

Here's how we are participating:

+ SAVE! 30% off all orders Fri 11/25 - Mon 11/28
+ GIVE! 5% of all sales between 11/25-12/31 will be donated to Earthjustice

A little about Earthjustice:

We are so proud to be supporting an organization that fights for our planet's rights. With more than one hundred attorneys across the USA, Earthjustice pursues three key goals to secure a just, flourishing world: the wild, healthy communities, and clean energy & a healthy climate. With your support this holiday season, we will help Earthjustice pursue nearly 400 active legal cases to protect our earth.  

Use code: GOODKARMA for 30% off your order between 11/25-11/28!

Bay Area Local? Click below for our holiday event schedule.

floral friday: geranium

common name: geranium
scientific name: Pelargonium hortorum

floral friday geranium

The common name 'geranium' is shared between hardy geraniums, a lesser known perennial plant, and pelargoniums, the more popular showy annual, pictured above. While red is the most common color, geraniums come in white, pink, and coral, plus there are plenty of other varieties that span from royal purple to pale pink with fuchsia stripes.

Unlike most plants, the leaves of the geranium plant are its fragrant feature. When cut or even slightly brushed, geraniums give off a distinct fresh scent, which is how I often identify these plants. Some rarer varieties' leaves have a pungent scent of chocolate mint, apple, or even citronella.

The red pigment of this variety's petals is so rich that it looks almost exactly the same when the petals are dry after pressing--that's not the case with the white, pink, or coral colored petals. You can even use the petals to 'paint'--it rubs off easily on paper and is a great, fun exploratory activity to do with kids!

{ week 5 } warm taupe + lush meadow

For the final Fall design reveal this week, I'm excited to share my favorite design of the season with you!

I've always adored queen anne's lace flowers--not only for their floral fractal structure, but also for their resilience. Popping up through cracks in the pavement and flourishing along busy thoroughfares, these flowers are high-class weeds. Lately, I've been enjoying using their smaller blooms to create more intricate jewelry designs and I love the romance that the little lacey florets add. When I created this necklace, I wanted to play with layers, so I created an elegant matinee neckline with flowers and Pantone's warm taupe beads, and then extended a delicate opera-length chain to create length. This is one of those designs that came to life easily and found a place in my heart quickly.

Find the complementary earrings to this necklace plus four white hydrangea designs below! 

One of the first leaves I ever pressed was from a jacaranda tree outside my San Francisco apartment. I love the fern-like look of the branch structure and it's fun to play with the length and number of leaves on each stem. Every season I like to include at least one leafy green design, so I was delighted to see Pantone's lush meadow and bring back jacaranda leaves in these new designs.

Thanks so much for following along with this 5-week Fall Design Launch! You can now view and shop all new designs online.

floral friday: nasturtium

common name: nasturtium
scientific name: Tropaeolum majus

nasturtium october floral friday

If you live in the Bay Area, you've probably noticed these brilliant yellow, orange, and red flowers growing rampantly along with their lily pad shaped leaves. Plant one seed and you will have nasturtium forever--the plant grows quickly and easily, producing many seeds that look almost like chickpeas. Both the flowers and leaves on this plant are edible, most often adding a peppery flavor plus that pop of color to salads! In fact, the name 'nasturtium' translates to mean "nose twist" for the peppery punch that it delivers when eaten. Here are some unique recipes for nasturtium:

nasturtium pesto

nasturtium hot sauce

stuffed nasturtium flowers

{ week 4 } dusty cedar + spicy mustard

In the spring of 2011, I rediscovered the art of flower pressing after being inspired by orange Peruvian lily petals (aka Alstroemeria) that had fallen from a bouquet onto my living room table. Those petals soon became the very first pair of earrings I made (pictured below) and was the start of IMPRESSED by nature. The special stripy, multi-colored petals that you see below are making a comeback for the first time since that spring in 2011!

I discovered the same pink and orange variety growing in a friend's Oakland garden in the spring of this year and knew it was time to bring them back. Plus, they perfectly align with two of Pantone's fall colors: spicy mustard and dusty cedar.

I chose to pair the necklace below with dusty rose glass seed beads as well as copper chevrons and matte metallic flax-colored glass beads. These minimal geometric beaded elements complement the organic stripes and highlight the many-colored petals.

Last Friday, I wrote about my favorite hydrangea variety--Expression. These two-toned floral beauties draw on Pantone's dusty cedar in the almost rusted highlights on otherwise green petals. In this season's designs, I wanted to pair these flowers with matte metallic flax beads as well as antiqued copper satellite chain. I noticed that when the chain lengths are lined up, they create a Gatsbyesque art deco look, which I think suits these starry wonders.

Next week is the final reveal of the new Fall/Winter collection, so come on back as we feature Pantone's lush meadow and warm taupe in eight designs.

floral friday: hydrangea expression

These hydrangeas are one of my most favorite of all flowers. My jaw literally dropped when I spotted them at the SF Flower Mart.

common name: hydrangea expression
scientific name: Hydrangea macrophylla (mophead)

red green hydrangea macrophylla expression floral friday

The scientific name, 'macrophylla,' literally meaning 'great-leaved,' identifies the leaves, while the common name, 'mophead,' identifies the large round clusters of flowers that stand up like heads among a sea of leaves. Whereas the traditional mophead flower has 4-5 petals, this particular variety, Expression, stands out among the rest for its multiple stacking blooms! In addition, the range in color is just spectacular. The red hue appears almost as if these green botanicals have rusted over time. I have seen others where the red appears more pink and even others where the base color is blue with hints of gold and green. I can't get enough of these!

Since my main work with these flowers is pressing them, I am particularly smitten with the way they form a multi-pointed star shape when all of the layers are pressed together. It's hard to keep them in stock, but I love creating designs using them. I even created my bridesmaids earrings with the blue green variety. 

{ week 3 } riverside + airy blue hydrangeas

This week I'm excited to share my inspiration for creating a set of cool blue hydrangea pieces.

Blue is one of the rarest colors in nature. I learned this from one of my favorite Radiolab podcast episodes called "Colors"--it is fascinating, take a listen here. This episode made me reconsider whether the sky is really blue or not, seriously. Listen.

For winter, I like to incorporate cool blue colors. Hydrangeas hold their blue beautifully, plus you'll see highlights of many other colors, such as green, purple, gold, and yellow. I was delighted to see Pantone's riverside and airy blue as part of the palette for Fall 2016 as these different blue tones appear in each of my new hydrangea designs.

This season I was particularly inspired by the undertones in the blue hydrangeas I collected from the SF Flower Mart in the spring. These hydrangeas are a special type called Expression and they feature 3-4 sets of blooms that grow vertically on top of one another, so when they are pressed, their numerous petals overlap to form a layered star. I loved the gold tones in these particular ones, so I paired them with flax-colored glass beads. Their bicone shape complements the almond-shaped hydrangea petals as well. 

I continued to pair these cool blues with warm metallic components in these two other designs, which incorporate matte copper glass teardrops:

This next design finds its inspiration from the changing seasons, which not only signal plants of all kinds to shed their petals and leaves, but also means rain is on its way. These earrings incorporate new apollo-style glass beads that from one angle display a milky white color and from another show a hint of metallic gold. You've got to see these in person!

Finally, these signature styles are back in stock:

Next Monday we will return to some warmer colors, including Pantone's dusty cedar and spicy mustard, with 6 more new designs for Fall/Winter!

floral friday: hellebore

I first discovered hellebores in the Pacific Northwest and was enamored by their leaf-like hardiness and unusual colors and patterns.

common name: hellebore
scientific name: Helleborus

hellebore ivory prince flower pacific northwest floral friday

Do you have a particularly cool, shady space in your garden? It's the perfect spot for a hellebore plant to thrive. Not only can these perennials withstand snow and various nibbling fauna, they also produce their astounding, resilient flowers that bloom for 6-8 weeks at a time!

Unlike most flowers' delicate petals, hellebore's are quite sturdy, almost leather-like as they are actually considered sepals, petal-like leaves. For this reason, they don't fall as petals would, but rather remain on the plant. Hellebores' actual petals are called "nectaries" and form a cup in the center for holding nectar. The sepals' color patterns are like nothing I've ever seen and come in such variety, from an unusual cinnamon cream to speckled violet on green--seriously, take a gander at the diversity. I think my favorite is the Rose Quartz variety, just wow.

I've included some hellebore pieces in the new Fall/Winter collection, take a look!

{ week 2 } bodacious wild roses + aurora red geraniums

It's been over a year since I incorporated jewel-tone roses into a new design, so when I discovered Sonoma-grown wild roses at the SF Flower Mart back in May, I just had to have them! Then they aligned with Pantone's new fall color, Bodacious--perfection.

For this season, I've created four designs using these bodacious beauties! Flax and dusty rose colored glass beads complement two of these designs, including the necklace below--one of my new faves.

Aurora red can be found in many places in the natural world--in the ripe tomato and the candy cane beet, in the spotted ladybug and, of course, the brilliant sky lights. In terms of pressed flowers, though, none maintains its brilliant red color quite like geraniums. Geranium red is both bright and deep, just like aurora red.

Next Monday, there will be six new cool blue designs to complement these firey reds. Check back!

floral friday: sunflower

Sunflowers are the quintessential flower of summer. Since it's officially come to an end, I figured it was the best time to get one last taste of summer!

common name: common sunflower
scientific name: Helianthus annuus

summer sunflower

While they closely resemble our Sun, sunflowers actually earned their name from their heliotropic behavior. As young blooms, they move their heads to track the sun's movement throughout the day, eventually resting toward the East as matured flowers.

Sunflowers are annual flowers that in the summer growing season. With over 30 diverse varieties, their heights can range from 2"-16" with a variety of colors from pale yellow to deep red. In addition to their widely consumed seeds, sunflowers have other edible parts as well. The sunchoke variety (also called Jerusalem artichoke) produces edible tubers that are delicious sliced and roasted or sautéed, but beware of planting these invasive plants in your garden beds! Interested in trying these tasty tubers? Here are some recipes.

Shop sunflower jewelry here!

{ week 1 } impressed by pantone's fall colors

Twice a year, I check in with Pantone to draw inspiration for my new pressed flower jewelry designs. This fall's selection of colors makes up a particularly stunning palette of warm earth and cool air tones.

When I'm getting started on a new season's collection, I consider Pantone's colors for my botanical selections as well as complementary beads and findings. I began drafting the fall/winter 2016 collection in early summer. It always feels a little strange envisioning the next season when the present one is just getting started. I suppose those of us in the fashion world are constantly straddling the present and the future.

This season's warm colors--dusty cedar and potter's clay--perfectly align with the earthy copper metal findings I use in all of my jewelry designs, so it will create a perfect foundational undertone.

Next I consult my collection of flowers and leaves to see if there are any connections. I don't have as much control over this part, so I tend to consider a few things in order to create a cohesive color story: 1) am I representing a balanced palette of earth and jewel tones? 2) can I use neutral botanicals with colorful components to highlight fall colors? 3) are their flowers or leaves that lend themselves to being worn with fall-colored clothing?

One of my favorite flower picks for this fall is hellebore. I first introduced it in 2012 and I am thrilled to bring it back. The variety I chose connects with a couple of fall swatches: dusty cedar and bodacious. The brand new hellebore jewelry designs (earrings shown below) are now available for purchase here!

Once I make my botanical selections, I move onto bead and chain components and begin considering: color, size, shape, and weight. This season I was especially inspired by the colors spicy mustard and warm taupe. I sourced matte metallic beads as well as copper chevron chain to complement the fall flowers. The brand new brown sunflower designs (necklace shown below) are now available for purchase here!

The final steps to completing the collection are always a bit different season to season. Ultimately, I end up paring it down based on an overall sense of the story that the collection tells when viewed together. I want to make sure there is a little of something for everyone--simple and ornate designs, neutral and bright tones, varying lengths and sizes, and beloved and brand new styles. Even when I've decide on the final selections, there's always a bit of hesitancy and adjusting before I'm convinced that they're right. I wonder, 'Will I ever like these new ones? Last season's were definitely better!' Now in my sixth season of creating collections this way, I realize that this step is a natural part of my creative process.

Over the next weeks, I will be sharing more about my inspiration behind the new fall collection and gradually releasing the designs for sale online. Stay tuned!

OH! And take a gander at my Fall-Inspired Pinterest Board for more Pantone beauty!