Celebrating Women’s Day with local women leaders in Austin

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Fall Wedding Inspiration – Brides, Bunnies and Bearded Dragons

Whether it’s lavish or low key, outdoors or in, weddings should have one thing in common: they should be memorable. Brides and grooms trust us wedding vendors to help them achieve their vision of a perfect day. With the right vision, the teams you hire will be able to make your wedding the best and most memorable one you’ve ever attended. However, creating that vision can be daunting without the help of your vendors and stylists. When you find the right people for the job, your vision can become a beautiful memory for the rest of your life.

Here at Texas Blooms and Gifts, we started with a vision – a fun, unique photo shoot of fall and winter florals with an Austin feel. We wanted a chance to showcase what we have to offer to newly engaged couples, and we had to really think about what would make our photo shoot memorable. Much like so many brides and grooms, we had to find the right vendors to make our vision a reality- and we didn’t have to look very far!

Our first task was to find the perfect venue, an Austin original with indoor and outdoor spaces that would highlight the seasonal feel we wanted. So many options were out there, but Vintage Villas ended up being the obvious choice for us, with not one but three ceremony sites and an inspiring potential for floral installations. Wedding venues with indoor/outdoor options offer a great backup for fall and winter weddings, when the Texas weather can be unpredictable (remember when it dropped to forty degrees in October?).

Their indoor space is large and open, with neat circular chandeliers that we accented with greenery.

 

The outdoor spaces were just as gorgeous, featuring the popular vine-covered arbor in front of Lake Travis and a tall, proud agave standing over the skyline. Here, we used a vintage inspired couch and table from Marquee Event Rentals to create the most beautiful Austin background we’ve ever seen!

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Something most brides and grooms don’t have to do is to find a bride and groom, but this was another task we faced. The lovely couple are actually dancers from the Fred Astaire Dance Studio just around the corner from our shop!   The chemistry between these two had us all convinced they would be saying ‘I do’ any moment.  Because who doesn’t want to to dance like this, Fred Astaire has customized Wedding Dance Instruction Programs to give couples both the confidence and skills to show off their elegance, style – and maybe even a little personality on the dance floor.

Our sweet bride, Hannah, of course needed the perfect makeup and hair artist for our special day. When Livia at All Dolled Up agreed to come on board, we started to really feel our vision coming together! With her skills, Hannah became a jaw-dropping bride right before our eyes.

With killer hair and makeup, what else could make our bride more stunning? Oh yeah… a drop-dead gorgeous bridal gown! Choosing a bridal shop was probably the easiest decision out of the whole photo shoot. Our friends at Blush Bridal Lounge eagerly agreed to be a part of this adventure and even chose to debut a brand new gown for our shoot! Designed by Martina Liana, this soft and creamy dress fit perfectly in with our vision and definitely made the lasting impact we were hoping for.

Now that we had all of our essential ingredients for the perfect wedding, we still had to bring in an element to truly catch the attention of Austin brides and grooms and inspire them with something unique. We’ve seen dogs with flower crowns, and even burros with floral wreaths. But how to incorporate our fluffy companions in a new way? We found the answer in a local mobile petting zoo. We reached out to Tiny Tails To You and asked if we could hire a couple of cute creatures to model for us on our ‘wedding’ day, and I think we were all a little too excited when they agreed! Our dashing groom got to make friends with a handsome skink, while our bride cozied up with a bearded dragon. An adorable hedgehog posed with our couple and almost stole a kiss, and we even got to snuggle with a couple of sweet bunnies!

Of course, all of this would be for nothing if we couldn’t share it with our followers. Our vision and our work had to be captured perfectly in order to give the right impression. With such an amazing portfolio and reputation, Cloud Craft Studios was our top choice for photographing our special day!

We didn’t stop with photos, though – we also asked wedding videographer Coleman Jennings to join us and create a video to highlight all of the moving parts of our day. These two couldn’t have done a more incredible job making permanent memories of our vision coming to life. You can watch the finished video here:

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Lastly, our designers at Texas Blooms and Gifts put their brains and clippers together to create some of our most beautiful wedding florals to date. While the bridal bouquet serves as the heart and soul of wedding florals, installations and arbors are beginning to take precedence as the more impactful body of a wedding. Arches and arbors can transform any backdrop into a ceremony space, setting the scene and the mood all in one. Overhead installations are also very popular and add a fun and whimsical feel, like our greenery accents on the chandeliers in the great hall. We also wanted to utilize the indoor space for constructing a free-standing arch we could then attach florals to, which was one of our favorite creations out of the photoshoot. The bridal bouquets we built highlighted some of the richest colors found in fall and winter, with golden and burgundy amaranthus, mustard roses, and crimson lilies. We used different sized lanterns to accent ceremony spaces and add visual interest while also giving a touch of romance. Fresh fruit was even added into our table centerpieces for an earthy and organic feel.

Without a doubt, every element of this photo shoot was perfectly executed to make our vision a reality. We can’t wait to work with all of these vendors again in the future, possibly at a real wedding! We hope you enjoyed this look into our world and what we have to offer, and we encourage any engaged couples to contact us for questions or a consultation, and hopefully we can help you create your perfect vision. We are looking forward to all the challenges and adventures that await us in 2019!

 

By Grace McDonald

Austin, Texas

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Succulent Garden Care and Tutorial

Succulents have become a staple in the houseplant world over the past several decades, and have grown especially trendy in the last few years. These lovely low-water plants can be used to create gorgeous landscapes and gardens with a modern desert feel, and fit perfectly into the flora of Austin. They come in almost every imaginable shape and color, making them one of the most versatile and interesting types of plants for designing gardens and planters. The options for containers abound, from colorful talavera to sleek, modern ceramic – even hollowed driftwood can make a beautiful, organic planter. Succulents’ tolerance for drought and neglect make them one of the best easy-care plants for everyone, whether you’re a complete beginner or a tried-and-true green thumb.

The key to successfully caring for any plant is to understand and mimic their natural environment. Succulents are a type of Xerophyte, or a plant that has adapted to survive in a mostly dry climate. Mostly native to the Americas and parts of Africa, they grow in arid, semi-desert and desert environments. During a drought, succulents will use the water stored in their leaves, starting with the oldest leaves first. If you find dry, withered leaves around the bottom of your plant, don’t be alarmed. It may be a good time for a watering, but death won’t set in quickly from dehydration.

The most common killer of succulents tends to be overwatering. Succulents store water in their leaves in order to survive drought, but too much water will cause rot. Your succulents will get squishy, yellow or black leaves as they become waterlogged. Always allow the soil to dry out completely, and then wait a few days before watering. Succulents should always be planted in fast-draining cactus soil over a layer of pea gravel or rocks, especially if the container itself does not have a drainage hole.  Potting succulents directly in a glass or ceramic container poses an increased risk of water rot, so remember to always examine the bottom of the container to be sure that no moisture remains in the soil before watering. Adding rocks and gravel to the bottom of the container allows water to drain from the soil and pool around the rocks. As the soil dries out, this excess water will be drawn back up into the soil and prolong the time needed between waterings.

Succulents love a bright, sunny window, and will stretch towards the light as they grow. Every couple of weeks, try to give them a ¼ turn so that each side of the plant is getting a healthy dose of sunlight. When they aren’t getting enough sun, succulents will grow tall and skinny while putting off tiny, malnourished leaves. This is known as etiolation. If you find this happening to your succulents, try placing them closer to a source of light. If outdoors, don’t leave them in direct sunlight, or they can actually get sunburned! When shopping at some big-name retailers, you might occasionally see succulents that have been painted bright, artificial colors. While these colors might look catchy, the layer of paint on the succulents actually prevents the sun’s rays from reaching the leaves and stunts photosynthesis. These plants aren’t going to thrive in that condition, and nobody wants to buy a sick plant. You can find healthy, natural beauties in almost any color already, including red, orange, blue, and purple!

Lastly, we must touch on the subject of parasites. Any number of tiny vermin can come home with your new plants, so always be sure to examine the plants in your nursery before purchasing. The most common parasite we see attacking succulents are mealybugs. About the size of a sesame seed, the adults are covered in white fuzz and easy to spot. They suck the juices out of the leaves and stem of the plants, spread quickly, and are a pain to get rid of. The best tactic is to take a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol and dab at the parasites one by one. The alcohol will kill them instantly, but it will probably take several treatments to rid them completely because of infants and eggs that are too small to see. Keep infested plants in a quarantined area to keep the bugs from spreading, and only reunite them after you haven’t seen any signs of bugs for at least a week.

Now that we know how to take care of our succulent babies, let’s learn how to build the perfect home to help them thrive.

TUTORIAL

Our first step is to find the perfect container for our garden. We’ll walk through two examples of succulent gardens to explore different styles and possible designs. When selecting your ‘ingredients’, combine a few different colors of succulents to create your color palette. Use a variety of succulents with different heights, shapes, and textures to create visual interest.

For our first project, I’ve chosen a variety of succulents, a beautiful painted terracotta planter, and blue sea glass and glass beads.

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Cover the bottom of your container with pea gravel or rocks about ¾” deep for terracotta or concrete containers, and about 1” deep for glass or ceramic. Remove succulents from their pots and break up the soil around the roots, letting excess dirt fall into the container. If the roots are stiff, roll between the palms of your hands to loosen; don’t be afraid of breaking the fine ends of the roots a little bit, as it will encourage new root growth.

 

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Place your succulents one by one and add soil as you go. Once soil is all filled in, top with decorative rocks or moss. Rocks help will help stabilize the plants in their new soil, and also help prevent erosion from repetitive watering.

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Our beautiful garden is ready to be a part of your home!

Our second container will be a shallow glass cylinder for a contemporary and sophisticated feel. I’ve chose some larger succulents in some very eye-catching colors. Start the same way by adding a thick layer of pea gravel to the bottom of the container and placing your succulents one by one. Because the glass will retain water better than the terracotta, it’s safest to use some extra rocks. 20181026_142453.jpg 20181026_142932.jpg

Fill in with soil and top with pea gravel and glass beads. The clear glass container will make it easier to see the moisture in the bottom of the container. This piece is perfect for a coffee table or dining room centerpiece!

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By Grace McDonald

Austin, Texas

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