A Happy Start

Happy New Year everyone. I hope you all had a fantastic holiday season! Our family usually goes on a winter trip - either on a road trip, skiing/snowboarding, or out of the country. This year we got so busy that it left little time to plan a trip, and we decided to "staycation" it. I have to admit, as much as I love to travel, I really enjoyed staying home this year. It gave me the opportunity to do all that I wanted. So, for a couple of days straight I made arrangements for myself, and it was wonderful! After all, what I love most about my job is the creative aspect - so I'm pretty much in heaven when left alone to create without the hassle of dealing with the business side of things.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

I had some leftover flowers from a photo shoot that I combined with some foraged goods from my garden (as well as our neighborhood). It was a pretty great mix to work with.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

Here's what came out of those lovely peonies.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

This is proof that you don't have to have a farm to create a farm arrangement. I am what you would call an "urban farmer". I live in an urban area 20 minutes outside of San Francisco and have managed to cultivate a lovely garden in my little backyard. With a little help from my garden and some locally grown flowers from the SF Flower Mart, I was able to create this arrangement.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

The first bouquet of 2015

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

These were the most ruffley narcissus I ever did see. And they had the sweetest aroma.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

I mixed the narcissus with some geranium, acacia, camellia, and privet from the garden. I love how different this arrangement turned out.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

A very soft palette. I love the color of these hydrangeas from the garden this time of year. I mixed them with some camellias and pansies from my garden.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

And here is the final result.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

This arrangement from yesterday included everything from my garden sans the ranunculus. Citrus blossoms, hellebore, viola, hydrangea, rose, and snow bush.

Credits:

Styling and design by Kiana Underwood Select photography by Nathan Underwood

True Friendship

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com Today's post is a little departure from the norm, but near to my heart. I can count the number of real friends I have in this world on one hand. One of my oldest and dearest friends, Joy, is an incredible writer. I'm often really touched by her blog entries, and one of my absolute favorites was this one that she wrote to her daughter. She has also just recently published an amazing journal on gratitude. We decided to collaborate on a blog post using the language of "words and flowers".

Flowers: Chrysanthemum is the flower of friendship, love and fidelity, and white ones in particular symbolize loyal love and truth. Carnations also symbolize love and friendship, so of course I had to incorporate them into my arrangement. I added a couple more to the mix - peony, which symbolizes good fortune, as well as the camellia, which so appropriately symbolizes an everlasting union.

So, I'll leave you with her beautiful passage on our friendship. I love you Joy!

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

Joy writes, "Friends are hard to come by. I've had people tell me that I would never make friends like I had in grade school. I've had others tell me the same about high school and college. There's a little truth to all of them, but the adage I really subscribe to is this - people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. There's a nice poem that elaborates, but the crux of it is this...sometimes you need something (material or otherwise), and by chance (or not, depending on your outlook) you'll meet someone who gives you just that thing, and then when the need is fulfilled, they disappear from your life forever and you have to move on. The lesson is learned.

Those are the ones who are in your life for a reason. There are others, the seasonal kind, who are in your life to help you grow, to learn from you, to share experiences. But it's only for a season. When the season changes, so do those relationships, and they likely fade away.

The ones that are the most treasured for me are the lifetime people - they teach you lifetime lessons. To forgive. To love, without judgment. To appreciate. To accept. To use what they have taught or shown you, and pay it forward. The overarching theme in these is love.

Two of my "lifers," my perennials, are Kiana and our friend Eric. When we were in college at UCSB, we used to go down to the cliffs by the beach after dinner, with our hot chocolates from the dining hall, sit on the steps, listen to the crashing waves while we discussed life's pressing matters.

Now, we are all busy, but none of us glorify it or use it as an excuse. We take the time to keep in touch via email or text, and even if it stretches to months in between, we only worry instead of finding fault, and then we just reach out to make sure the others are handling everyday life okay.

A few times a year, the stars and planets align and we get to spend some time together in the same city. Sometimes it's LA or Long Beach, sometimes Santa Barbara, and sometimes San Francisco. On a brief trip in August, I was lucky enough to spend 24 lovely hours with the two of them and Kiana's family and just a few weeks ago, the three of us explored the Queen Mary in Long Beach in all of its odd glory.

During these concentrated moments, we discussed life's pressing matters, listened to the waves crash on the beach at Half Moon Bay, sipped our Belgian beer and rosé, then hot tea and scones - like old times, only better.

It's never dull (thanks to "fog" delays and airport terminal closures from abandoned packages...not to mention random conversations involving tentacles), there are always good meals (homemade to-die-for Persian food and yummies from cool local joints), long walks and belly laughs, and sometimes mother nature will throw in a 6.0 earthquake for good measure. I'm good with the last one not repeating...but it's my hope that these get-togethers continue until we're old, gray, and moving more slowly than we are now, because like I said, friends are hard to come by."

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

Credits:

Styling and design by Kiana Underwood Photography by Nathan Underwood

Unique Vessels: Floral Bird Bath

In my opinion there is nothing more representative of spring than the combination of a bird bath and flowers. When I saw this beautiful bowl at Pottery Barn the other day, I knew that I wanted to create a garden centerpiece in it. The jasmine in my garden is currently in full bloom; not only is it beautiful, but every time I walk through my garden I am greeted with the most amazing aroma - one that brings me back to spring at my grandmother's home when I was a little girl. This arrangement would be perfect for a spring wedding, an easter centerpiece, or just a lovely table centerpiece for yourself to add some beauty to your kitchen or dining table!

I wanted to create a truly lush garden in this bird bath, so I used what was blooming in my garden (camellia and jasmine), and paired them with some other spring beauties from the San Francisco Flower Mart.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

A little spring floral guide! Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

For this arrangement I used a kenzan (pin frog) as the bird bath is very shallow and the stems would not have stayed inside the water on their own. Place the kenzan in the center of the bowl and begin arranging the flowers by pushing the stems between the pins. I started with the jasmine and camellia first and then added the geranium.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

Add the sweet peas and climbing rose. Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

Add the freesia. This spring freesia is quite something - it is bigger and lovelier than I have ever seen! Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

Add the parrot tulips. They add a beautiful grace to the arrangement hanging down from the bowl next to the jasmine. Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

Add the peonies in the front where they can show themselves off. Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

I arranged my flowers off to one side of the bowl so that the pretty bird wouldn't get completely lost in the arrangement. Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: N.R. Underwood / nruphoto.com

Credits:

Styling and design by Kiana Underwood Photography by N.R. Underwood Footed Bird Bath Serve Bowl available at Pottery Barn