National Floral Design Day

Take out the flowers. Today is Floral Design Day. This is a day where we appreciate flowers as a unique and creative art form. It started in 1995 and was created to mark the birthday of Carl Rittner, the founder of the Rittner School of Floral Design in Boston.

I had never heard of Carl Rittner, nor his Floral School. I guess it is more because, although I love flowers and flower gardens, I have never had the creative ability to arrange flowers into a stunning creative display. I love Cottage gardens with wild masses of colour and disorder, where the flowers and plants take care of themselves. I had a lovely cottage garden in New Zealand and I still miss it. It was a riot of colour which created a sense of peace and tranquillity to spend time in. The old cottage was built on the side of a hill in the middle of the city. Living there, you were able to forget that you lived in a city. Access was a huge problem, as there were sixty steps to get to the house through a small forest and if you wanted to continue down the hill, there were another sixty steps to the road below. It was a hassle when you brought the groceries home in the rain or dark. The garden was over four different levels of terracing which were not developed. It created a challenge but one I loved. I created mini garden rooms on each terrace area, with stone paths throughout where the flowers and plants overhang and opened to small ‘hidden’ areas where there was a garden seat or a fish pond. Each area had its own charm and design. The New Zealand weather made it easy to create such a garden.

New Zealand Cottage Garden

Living here in Northern Ireland has meant that I can no longer grow or have the garden that I had in New Zealand due to the difference in climate, but there is still the ability to create a beautiful garden in Northern Ireland. There are just different plants. What I love most about being here is the ability to visit and experience magnificent Stately homes and their equally magnificent gardens. There is nothing better than spending a warm (dry) summer’s day enjoying the beauty and peacefulness of beautiful large garden of a stately home. The gardeners from past centuries were true artists and designers, creating amazing masterpieces filled with sculpture and beauty, that have lasted throughout time so it can be enjoyed today, and for many more years.

Grand Estate Garden

So, I may not be a floral designer and have no intention of showing off my very poor ability to arrange an amazing floral design, but there are other ways we can show our appreciation today and that is by drawing a lovely floral design or even just basically picking a bunch of lovely wildflowers and putting them into an old china jug. I knew a lovely lady who had this amazing skill of flower arranging. She went to a floral class every week for many years. I admired her ability of taking some flowers and ‘weeds’ and put them together to create a masterpiece. Her work was inspiring and I was most honoured and humbled when she presented us with a festive arrangement every Christmas to grace the table over the Christmas period.

Christmas Decoration

Though my talent does not venture as far as floral design, I do have the ability to paint. For many years I loved using water colours and black ink to create some floral drawings, which now hang on my walls. It was a craft that I found relaxing and took me to many a peaceful place where I could spend hours being creative with paper and paint.

Water Colour and Ink

However, as the years passed, life got busy and business affairs took over. I found I was being creative in other ways and I just didn’t find the time to be creative with my painting. I missed it. But I still found a way to bring in floral designs into my sewing and embroidery creativity. I took it a step further and brought in colour and painting into my needlework designs which would back the passion of those watercolour floral paintings from years previous.

I get such a joy and pleasure from being creative with drawing up designs, colouring and embroidering them and incorporating them into my designs for sewing and quilting. It really enables you to bring in your own creativity and personality into these designs. For me it is the way I can be creative with flowers. Last year I designed a number of floral designs, some for planned workshops with community groups and some just ‘for no reason at all’. When planning my yearly structure this year I thought that releasing my Inktense/Redwork floral designs today, would be a great way to celebrate National Floral Design Day. We may not be floral designers, gardeners or painters, but I know that we all can colour in and sew. So why, not celebrate today and the start of Spring with these lovely cushions and set of floral mug rugs.

Cushions DUO

I chose Daisies and Blossoms for the cushion covers, because they are such cute and simple looking flowers and loved by (nearly) everyone. Daisies symbolise innocence, new beginnings and purity. Most of us have fond memories of when we were young (and maybe not so young) spending relaxing days in a field of daisies, where we created daisy chains to wear in our hair, seeing who could create the longest chain by threading a string of daisies threaded together by their stems or even pulling the petals off, one by one, to see if ‘he loves me, he loves me not’. I love a daisy chain, it brings forth so many memories of being young and innocent.

Daisy Chain

Blossoms bring to mind the start of spring as the bare branches of the hedgerows on country lanes start to bloom. The brief blossoming of Rowan, Wild Cherry and Hawthorn is a magical sight, thinly wrapped in ancient folklore. The sights of the emerging foliage, the scent of the blossoms reminds us that we have emerged safely from another long winter with the promise that the world is alive with new possibilities.

They are a great way to use up your scrapes of fabric. The front of the cushions has two Redwork panels which are joined together with 2 ½” squares. You can get totally scrappy and use up all those fabrics, or you can do what I have done, and cut squares from 7 different fabrics in a colour range. There is no need to use Inktense colouring if you have no pencils or just want to do it in Redwork.

The pattern does have instructions on how to do the Inktense colouring and is also fully supported with full colour diagrams and easy to follow instructions.

With the coming of Spring, there is nothing better than being able to relax in a peaceful and colourful garden, under the shade of a flowering Blossom tree, comfy in a chair surrounded with lovely handmade cushions reading a good book (or maybe doing some stitching) and a cool drink. To complete the scene, a set of handstitched mug rugs to grace the outdoor table is exactly what we need.

I have designed four floral designs full of colour for the mug rugs. I have to admit that these would be my favourite flowers and I loved drawing these up. Being able to colour and stitch them is the best part of the design as you can really bring to life these flowers. These are a quick design to make up and if you are not into Inktense colouring than these designs would look equally as stunning in Redwork, either in one colour or multicoloured. Why not make up a few sets, one to keep and a few to gift?                                                 

So, to celebrate National Floral Design Day, we don’t need to be a master Floral Designer. All we need to do is create some stunning floral creations in our own way – by sewing and stitching.