Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hobby Hoedown--Basic Floral Design Tips from J.Q. Rose

Every week I marvel at all the crafty authors here at the Hobby Hoedown. (Crafty is a good thing!) I don't have the skills some of the authors have to produce a finished project, but I can design floral arrangements. I chose my pen name, Rose, because my favorite flower is the rose. I cannot believe I have no photos of rose arrangements to share with you! 

I was a florist for twenty years and taught a few basic floral design workshops at our shop after hours. I really enjoyed sharing the joy of working with flowers with all the participants, so I thought I would bring you in to the inner circle of my favorite flower arranging tips.

I really enjoy picking flowers from my yard and "plunking" them into a vase.
Basic Fresh Floral Design Tips by J.Q. Rose 
  1. It’s very important to always cut the stems on a slant in order to allow more surface area for water to enter the stem. Allow the flowers to soak up the warm, not hot, not cold, water with dissolved preservative before beginning your design.
  2. Use a very sharp knife or scissors to cut the stems. Dull tools will crush the stem and not allow the flower to drink up the water.
  3. If you use wet foam for your arrangement, be sure to place the foam in a bucket of warm water with preservative dissolved in it. Then place the foam, cut to fit your container, into the water, but don’t hold it down in the bucket. Every inch of the foam needs to be wet. If you hold it down for a couple of minutes, water does not reach all parts of it and may leave air holes in the material. Your flower could dry out because the stem end is in air and not water. So leave it in to soak up all the water. You can tell when you pick it up if the block is full or not by the weight.
    Tulips for Mother's Day.
  4. If making a “plunk-it” arrangement in a vase, simply bring the vase to the edge of the counter, hold the flower bunch next to the vase, and determine how tall or short you want the arrangement to be.  Cut at the point where the flower stems are even with the top of the counter.  Then “plunk” the flowers in the vase immediately. Easy-peasy.
  5. Always give a fresh cut to the flower stem before placing it in the arrangement.
  6. When making a centerpiece, determine the width and length by placing a flower or greens at north, south, east, and west. Determine the height by placing a flower in the center. Just remember to start your arrangement with five flowers, then fill in.
  7. Don’t forget to use green foliages to make a lovely background for the flowers to showcase their colors.
    Mixed flowers--notice the different shapes-round carnations and pomps, and form flower lily.
  8. Include three shapes of flowers in mixed bouquets—a spike flower e.g. gladiola or snapdragon, round flower e.g. carnation or mum, and a form flower e.g. iris or rose.
  9. Usually, and I say usually because the rule is to place lighter colors at the top of an arrangement and darker colors at the base. But rules are made to be broken, so design your piece to please your eye.
  10. Leave space around each flower so you can see each one. Don’t cram them together so tightly that the viewer can’t appreciate each beautiful face.
  11. The most important rule is to make a bouquet that you will enjoy. 
  12. Really, how can you go wrong when working with brilliant colors, unique shapes, and pleasant fragrances? You can’t!

BACK OF THE COVER-- Coda to Murder  

Pastor Christine Hobbs has been in the pulpit business for over five years. She never imagined herself caring for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer. 

Detective Cole Stephens doesn't want the pretty pastor to get away with murdering the church music director. His investigative methods infuriate Christine as much as his deep brown eyes attract her.

Can they find the real killer and build a loving relationship based on trust?

# # #

One of the characters in Coda to Murder is Lacey. She happens to be a florist and Pastor Christine’s good friend. They are complete opposites. Pastor Christine is a tall, slender, dark-haired woman while Lacey is a petite, strawberry blonde.

The excerpt I share here will help you get to know Christine and Lacey. William is the church music director who was found dead in the church basement. Dutch is the custodian who found the body.


            Christine jumped when she heard the doorbell buzz followed by a loud, “Yoo, hoo!” The cat hopped off her lap, and Christine climbed out of the recliner. She rushed to unlock and open the kitchen door.  Lacey marched in with a bouquet of flowers and a brown paper bag.
            “Hey, Chris.  How ya’ doin’?”  Lacey placed the vase of red and yellow tulips on the kitchen counter. 
            “I heard about William. I am so sorry.”  Lacey wrapped her arms around Christine and hugged hard. 
            The tall pastor and the petite florist couldn’t have been more different in appearance.  Lacey’s blunt cut strawberry blonde hair and bright floral shirt and jeans contrasted with the minister’s black suit and shoulder length brown hair.  Because they were so alike in their life experiences, they became fast friends. They were nearly the same age, both single, both uncommitted, and both had marriages that ended badly.      
            She held out the brown bag.  “Here, I brought us some light beers.  I figured you needed some company.”  She smiled big, making Christine realize how much she loved her friend.
            “What a sweet kitty. Is this Mrs. Whitcomb’s cat? She’s beautiful.” Lacey bent down to pat the now friendly feline.
            “Yeah, that’s Bitsy. She wasn’t interested in coming home with me.” Christine watched as her friend easily stroked the cat. “Well, you certainly have a way with cats. It took me quite awhile before Bitsy would even look at me! Thank you so much for coming over. Have a seat.”
            They twisted off the beer caps and settled themselves on the big ugly couch for a warm heart-to-heart talk. Bitsy chose to stretch out on the back of the couch lounging between the two women. For a few minutes, the pastor could forget her responsibilities and just enjoy having a friend.  Lacey helped to fill the void Christine had felt after divorcing Brad, whom she thought would be her soul mate forever.
            “I heard Cole Stephens is the investigator on William’s case,” said Lacey.  “He’s gorgeous.”  She grinned a silly face at Christine and then sucked down more beer.
            “You’ve got to be kidding me.  I was so worried about Dutch, I didn’t even notice.”
            “Well, I’m sure you had your mind on a lot more than Cole Stephens.  Take my word for it, he’s a cutie,” Lacey said with a wink.
            Christine tried to picture Cole Stephens.  He was a tall, muscular man and handsome in his tie and sport coat.  She remembered his short-cropped hair.  Was it a flat-top, or was there some spiky hair sticking out?   Did he wear glasses or not?  Her memory of him was just too fuzzy.
            “I didn’t exactly have my man radar out this morning.” She tried to brush off more of the cat hair, dust, and food particles on her suit coat and slacks.
            “Well, I’m sure he’ll be talking to you some more if this investigation turns up foul play.”
            Christine sat straight up on the couch and faced her friend.  “Why would you even say something like that?  You know William probably just tripped down the steps.  Gosh, Lacey.  What a thing to say!”
            “I’m just sayin’…just wondering…I mean, really, Chris, nobody knows anything about William.  He may have had too much wine and fell down the steps, or he discovered a burglar in the church, or any of a dozen things.  Just sayin’…” Lacey quickly took another swig of the cold beer.
            Focusing intently on Christine’s eyes, she said, “Cole Stephens has a reputation for digging for the truth.  He won’t settle for any old explanation of William’s death.  You have to be prepared for the worst.”

BUY LINKS:                                                                     

Now available at MuseItUp Publishing-
Barnes and Noble and major online booksellers.

BIO- After writing feature articles in magazines, newspapers, and online magazines for over fifteen years, J.Q. Rose entered the world of fiction writing with her first published novella, Sunshine Boulevard, released by MuseItUp Publishing in 2011. Her latest mystery, Coda to Murder, was released in February. Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games, and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. Spending winters in Florida with her husband allows Janet the opportunity to enjoy the life of a snowbird. Summer finds her camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her four grandsons and granddaughter.

Connect with J.Q. Rose online at
J.Q. Rose blog
Author website
J. Q.  Rose Amazon Author Page


Roseanne Dowell said...

Love the sound of this book, there's no surprises in it, are there? (you know what I mean. LOL) Definitely on my to buy and read list. I loved the tips for the flowers. I worked at a craft shop doing flower arranging for a while. Loved it. Course I worked with artificial flowers.

Marsha said...

The book is a great read, Roseanne. You won't be sorry. Appreciate the tips on flower arranging, JQ. I didn't realize the technical term for what I do with flowers is called "plunking." LOL Nice to know.
Seriously, I'd never heard the distinction about the shapes of the flowers. I'll definitely remember this one. Like Roseanne, most of my experience is with artificial flowers. I think flower arranging is a lot like reading and writing. When you look at it you just know whether you like it or not. We all have different tastes in books,too. Fun post, JQ.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post and tips, JQ. Fabulous photos! My mum is also a wonderful flower arranger. Whenever she comes to my house and sees a bunch of flowers in a vase, she sighs deeply, shakes her head, pulls all the flowers out and starts again from scratch! Guess that means I don't have the same skills, but thanks to your tips I can hopefully get better!

margaret mendel said...

What a fun read. Lots of helpful information about floral arranging and a sneak look at your novel!!!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful floral arrangements. Thanks for sharing the tips.

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