From block to frog….

Last week I was asked to do an epic funeral tribute. A 3D frog sat on a lily pad for a wonderful lady. I have previously done work before for the same family so they trusted me to do the tribute justice. In order to keep costs down for the family, and as I was asked to make the frog look realistic and not to look like Kermit, I decided I would design and make the frog base myself rather than buy in a ready made commercial base. The commercial bases are pretty pricey and I felt I could do just as good a job using an oasis mega brick, two normal sized oasis bricks and a piece of quarter inch ply wood.

The frog took just over two days to complete and I actually remembered to have a camera at hand to take photos along the way! I do normally wait a few weeks after a funeral to post any photos but ‘the frog’ became a massive talking point in the shop as it took up most of my work space counter. Many customers wanted to see the finished tribute after seeing it at various stages of its conception and customers have even popped back to the shop just to look at the photos. So its going out there for all to see and all to admire! Thank you once again to such a lovely family for having faith in me to do another epic tribute for them.

Mega bricks… one brick is 32cm x 45cm x 23cm compared to a normal size brick which is 11cm x 23cm x 8cm. Here is one mega brick with a small drinks can next to it to give you an idea of the size of brick I would be working with.

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My first focus was to sculpt the body. This would be the majority of the brick. I cut the end of the brick off at an angle to give the frog a more upright stance. The cut off was later used for legs. I cut a lot of the brick away with a craft knife but oasis is very easy to shape just by rubbing it away whilst it is dry. You can use bare hands, which I have done in the past, but on such a large piece I knew my hands would be in a right old mess by the end so I purchased some dimple palmed gardening gloves and these worked wonders!

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The next step was to fashion some big old back legs! I cut the wedge I had previously removed from the mega brick and again, using my hands, I shaped the oasis to look like legs. I was still not sure at this point how I was going to do webbed feet so for now I left the foot area large and square.

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Then it was onto the front legs. For each leg I used a normal size oasis brick. Again I fashioned these into legs using my hands. I wanted the front legs to provide some support for the body so had them slightly tucked under the body propping the body up.

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Most tribute designs sit on an oasis covered foam base but I knew when the frog was wet and covered in flowers it was going to be heavy. I didn’t feel the foam base was going to be able to take the weight whilst the tribute was moved around from place to place during the funeral. I decided to use a piece of quarter inch ply wood. I drew the rough lily pad shape I wanted and, with the help of my husband, cut the shape out using a jigsaw.

I roughly spray painted the outside of the lily pad green so that if any of the galex leaves (that were to be added later) came loose there would still be green visible rather than wood.

At this point the frog looked very large and rather chubby. I knew that once the flowers were on the frog would look even fatter so I slimmed it down all over. Oasis is very, very dusty when rubbed dry. It is advisable to wear a mask! I also had a hoover hose taped to the desk so it would hoover up the dust straight away. Once I was happy with the frog I glued it to the plywood base using a hot glue gun.

My initial plan was not to soak the whole frog but to surface spray it. Unfortunately the water was not penetrating the oasis as much as I would like and I was getting pushed for time. I slowly poured water over the frog and tested the oasis for dryness by pushing a small wire into the frog. Wet oasis has a different sound to that of dry oasis when something is pushed into it.

Once wet it was time for the flowers! I used feeling green spray chrysanthemums. These were already the perfect colour and would give a warty appearance to the frog. For the belly I used zembla lime spray chrysanthemums, slightly lighter and gave a smoother appearance. Once I started with the flowers I had almost covered the frogs body before I took a photo. (Its very easy to become absorbed in the work!)

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The frogs eye was left bare at first while I planned how I was going to do it. I didn’t think flowers would give a very realistic eye so I downloaded pictures of actual frogs eyes, printed them off and laminated them. By attaching a wire to the back of the laminate the eye could be fixed to the side of the frogs head rather easily.

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The webbed feet proved tricky and I ended up making the toes using the zembla lime spray chrysanthemums. Its very difficult to get flowers to look like webbed feet!!

Once the feet were done then it was time to work on the lily pad. I used galex leaves for this as they look like little lily pads. Using a glue gun I hot glued the leaves onto the ply wood, overlapping them so it would look like the frog was sat on a bed of lily leaves. As the family wanted message cards to go on the tribute and I didn’t want them pushed into the frog (I felt it would detract from the overall look) I made two little ‘bumps’ for the cards to go into.

And that was it! One 3D frog on a lily pad made from scratch by yours truly.

I love being given the opportunity to make designs like this. A question I often get asked is ‘Is it possible?’ as in.. is possible to make a frog, a chaffinch, a push button accordion? My answer is always ‘anything is possible!’

Judith x x x

 

 

 

 

 

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Small Business Saturday – a unique window…

J’s Bouquets takes great pride in our window displays whether that be our remembrance day window filled with poppies, our Halloween window filled with magic or our Christmas window filled with Christmassy loveliness. We always like to make an impression.

J’s Bouquets is extremely excited to be announcing that for Small Business Saturday on 1st December we are having THE most unique window ever! EVER!! We are having a live window which will feature local artist Pete Mattinson painting!

Pete will be working on some of his latest works and can be viewed from outside the shop! But don’t just stop there, come on in and chat to Pete. He will be happy to answer any questions. You can peruse Pete’s original artworks, his prints, his amazing sculpture titled ‘Eternal ocean’ and see his hand made dolls house. You can also commission Pete to paint for you so come along and see this fabulous window! Such a unique opportunity and all for Small Business Saturday.

Pete will be in the window from 9am until 6pm.

Don’t forget J’s Bouquets will be offering 10% off everything* in the shop and 10% off all weddings booked on Small Business Saturday (see previous posts for terms and conditions).

Pledge to shop small, shop local

Judith x x

*except any Pete Mattinson original artwork, prints, cards, sculptures or dolls houses

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Small Business Saturday – wedding offer…

As part of our Small Business Saturday offers we are excited to announce our wedding offer.

Are you getting married in 2019? If so J’s Bouquets are offering 10% off any wedding booked on Saturday 1st December. This offer will cover any wedding taking place in the 2019 season (1st January 2019 until 31st December 2019 subject to availability).

In order to qualify for the offer a £50.00 deposit is required on Small Business Saturday. This holds the date for you and the deposit is knocked off your final total along with a 10% discount!

J’s Bouquets has been busy with weddings this year and below are some photos I managed to take whilst setting up this seasons weddings…

 

The vintage wildflower look has been a beautiful trend this year and has seen the vintage milk churns be used over and over! I must remember to take my camera more when I am setting up weddings!!

Remember, if you want J’s Bouquets to do your wedding flower package in 2019 then just get your name in the diary and if you do that on Small Business Saturday you get a lovely 10% off!

Judith x x

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Small Business Saturday – exciting announcement…

As J’s Bouquets are celebrating Small Business Saturday on the 1st December we are announcing some exciting offers and events. Our first announcement was that we will  have extended opening hours on the 1st December. We will be open from 9am until 6pm to allow customers late evening shopping. (Please see previous blog post).

Our next announcement is that we will be offering 10% off every thing* in the shop. This will include all flowers, all gift items, memorials and Christmas items (subject to availability). The 10% flower offer only includes those flowers bought, paid for and taken on the Saturday 1st December. It does not extend to orders placed on the Saturday for a later date.

So pop in and support a local business and pledge to shop small, shop local!

Judith x x

 

*this excludes any Pete Mattinson original artwork, prints, cards, sculptures or dolls houses.

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Small Business Saturday…

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Saturday the 1st December – a date to remember. Small Business Saturday – a day to celebrate all small businesses across the UK.

In times when too many high street shops are closing, this year more than ever we need YOUR support. On Saturday 1st December make it your pledge to shop small, shop local.

Here at J’s Bouquets we are going all out and over the next couple of days we have some fabulous announcements to celebrate Small Business Saturday.

Our first announcement is that we will be extending our hours on Saturday 1st December. We will be open from 9am until 6pm to offer customers late evening shopping. As well as fresh flowers we have wonderful gift ideas.

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We have a range of stock from Annalise candles and gifts. These candles are all hand made by a small business. The fragrances are divine and I have to stop myself from using them myself! I have personally tested these candles and compared to some big firm candles they are fantastic value for money. They burn for hours, they are made from soya wax so they don’t burn down unevenly and leave unburnt wax around the edge. When the candle is extinguished and the wax cools all the wax remains level, there is never a ‘tunnel’ of wax left.

The candles come in 10 exquisite fragrances: Pomegranate pip, Prossecco blush, Black Amber lavender, Ice noir, Frankincense and bergamot, Sage and sea salt, Cardamon black pepper, Pink peony and blush suede, Vanilla cocoa and finally Lime basil zest.

These candles would make a great stocking filler or indeed a stand alone gift. Pop in and smell their fragrances, you won’t be disappointed.

 

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J’s Bouquets also have these unique wall clocks in stock. A great gift to remind anyone of the beautiful area we live in. With places such as Abersoch and Criccieth actually named on the clock, they too will not disappoint!

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These beautiful trunks are also being stocked at J’s Bouquets. With leather over straps and a metal clasp these trunks are really turning heads! Again these are ideal as a stand alone gift or they can be filled with smaller gifts.

So remember Small Business Saturday, and look out over the coming days for more exciting announcements as we celebrate shop small, shop local.

Judith x x

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Hearts and roses…

 

I love this design! Just love it! Its going in the gallery…

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Judith x x x

 

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February 14th…

The most romantic day of the year is nearly upon us, so get your orders in now to avoid disappointing your loved one this Valentines.

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Judith X X X

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Santes Dwynwen…

Dydd Santes Dwynwen hapus!

Happy Santes Dwynwen day!

St Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers!

We have some beautiful red roses in stock as well as other beautiful flowers so celebrate your love today and say it with flowers!

Judith x x x

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Roses on the move…

After a hectic few weeks I have finally managed to get my loved up window in ready for Santes Dwynwen tomorrow and Valentines day next month!

This window was inspired by a televised performance by Ed Sheeran. Although in this blog you can’t see it the roses in the center piece are rotating! (check out the facebook post to see it in action). With rose petals cascading from the ceiling and rose petals scattered on the floor it has turned out just how I imagined it in my head. Sometimes the ideas I have are quite far fetched so its always good to have one come to fruition without having to compromise on the way I wanted it to look.

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The order book is now open for both Santes Dwynwen and Valentines day.

Judith x x x

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One epic funeral…

Towards the end of last year I was asked to do sympathy tributes for a very well loved man. As the first orders came in I knew it was going to involve what I call ‘epic’ tributes. Over the next two days the orders for epic tributes stacked up and with 24 hours until the collection time for the funeral we took drastic measures! We closed the shop to all walk-ins to allow the time to be dedicated to the tributes that needed to be done. As well as closing the shop for the day I also had to work deep into the night and have a very early start the final morning in order to make sure that all the tributes were finished in time and finished to a high standard.

The tributes filled the floor of the shop and so although I tried to get photos of each tribute I found I did not have enough space to move them to allow a clean photo to be taken. The photos I have taken are good enough bearing in mind I was tippy toeing around the tributes. Some tributes I did not get a chance to take a picture of completed, I only put the letters on to the stands just before they left the shop.

So below are the tributes for the most epic funeral I have ever done! It pushed me to my absolute limit time wise but the sense of achievement when I had finally finished was immense. I pride myself on being a floral designer and these tributes were just that…floral designs!

I was asked to do a replica of the gentleman’s flat bed truck and his caravan. It was the gentleman’s actual flat bed truck that parked outside the shop on the morning to collect all the tributes and the tributes filled the back!

 

A  lying down white whippet x lurcher with tan patches on its eye and its back. Also a standing  white lurcher with black markings.  (and my foot!)

 

Lettered tributes of DAD, GRANDAD and SPECIAL HUSBAND. Some of the letters had red rose and white gypsophila sprigs on them. (In the photo not all of the letters are on their stands)

 

A David Brown 900 series tractor with a front loader and a black cob horse with black mane and tail and with a white star and white socks.

For the tractor design I brought in the expertise of my husband who knows his tractors! Where I was able to ask relevant questions regarding the horse design (horses are my hobby), I knew without being shown a photograph of the tractor I was clutching at straws. My husband joined the consultation and quickly established exactly which tractor design was required.

The mane and tail of the horse was made using black bear grass and, along with the other animal designs, had a googly eye!

 

A 3D push button accordion. I loved making this design but boy was it heavy when finished! I love the detail of the push buttons which appeared on the back of the design as well as the front

 

Closed hearts in white. One with a red rose sprig and blue ribbon outline and the other with a yellow rose sprig and a yellow ribbon outline.

 

A red rose heart and a yellow rose cross. The red rose heart was a whopper and along with the sash ribbon I used bear grass to give it some accents. The cross was outlined in yellow ribbon and featured smaller yellow roses going down the cross as well as being in the sprig.

 

A 3D chaffinch and a bird cage design with yellow roses and yellow freesias. The chaffinch was one of the most difficult tributes to do. I do think, however, that which ever tribute I was working on in the small hours when I was physically and mentally exhausted would have been tough to complete. I left the shop that night at silly o’clock and was not happy with the chaffinch design. Whilst I grabbed a few hours shuteye I planned how I would tweek the design to make it look like it should and reworked the design early the next morning. The 3D shape was difficult to work with and if I was to make this design again I would not bother ordering in a ready-made oasis base design, I would make one myself. I felt that the bird sat too close to the base it stood on and didn’t give me the room I needed for its tail to sit right in the design. When the chaffinch left the shop I was extremely happy with it but as a floral designer I constantly critique my own work and figure out what I would do in the future to make a design better. In this case making my own 3D bird base would have been better!

 

A large purple and white casket spray and individually wrapped red roses.

 

I want to thank the family for putting their trust in me for the second time last year and for not being afraid to show me a picture and ask ‘can you make this tribute for me?’

A big thank you must also go to my supplier who moved heaven and earth to get the flowers to me and who day in day out provide J’s Bouquets with top quality flowers.

Whenever I am busy, pushed for time and starting to think ‘I am never going to get it all done in time!’ I just look back on those crazy 24 hours and think ‘well if I managed to do all that I sure as hell can do this!’

Much love

Judith  x x x

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