Tea Time – DIY Floral Tea Blend

Today I have something a little different for you guys! You all know I love tea, and I love flowers, so this nifty DIY floral tea bag project on the FTD By Design blog was right up my alley. This is a great way to make a custom tea blend that’s perfectly suited to your tastes. With Mother’s Day coming up here in North America, these would make a really unique gift!

The post has some great selections of food-safe dried flowers to work with. I actually had a harder time finding some of them than I anticipated, oddly enough. I’d suggest hitting up bulk food stores and organic speciality stores.I chose to start with a base of the wonderful organic sencha tea the lovely folks over at Tea Forte sent me, and added dried rosebuds and hibiscus blossoms. I remembered we had some dried lavender from our garden and decided to add a little of that too.

The DIY includes incredibly thorough instructions on how to make your own tea bags using items you probably already have at home, and offers some super cute printable tags. Personally, I’m in favour of loose tea, and prefer not to create more single-use waste, so I chose to print one of the adorable tags and package the tea in a mason jar. However, if you’re taking it to the office or offering it as gifts, the DIY bags would be a fantastic idea.

The tea blend I made was really nice, the florals didn’t overpower the earthiness of the green tea but they were definitely noticeable. It also turned a really pretty pink colour. I’m glad I made a bunch of it, and I can’t wait to steep myself another cup.

Thank you to FTD for sharing this tutorial. I hope you check it out and have fun as well!

By Any Other Name

This ikebana was a bit of an unplanned surprise. Alex, the great guy who runs my favourite local flower shop, occasionally holds little contests on their Facebook page. They had one on Monday, and whoever guessed the correct number of roses in this enormous bouquet would win a single rose. My father snagged it, so here we are!

I’m leaving for California in under a week, and I’m really trying to save all my money for that, so I decided to stay thrifty with this arrangement and use things I had in the house to complement it. The curly willow is leftover from previous ikebana, and the long green leaves were “borrowed” from a houseplant (Sorry mum!).

This is a really clean, simple piece that makes sure all the focus remains on the beautiful red rose, and I’m very pleased with it. It will give me something bright and lovely to look at until I leave for warmer pastures next Tuesday.

Climbing Clematis Ikebana

First things first, I’d like to apologise for the relative radio silence this week. There’s been an unfortunate confluence of events; injuries to both my hands combined with more insufferable heat and humidity make it very hard to do things like work with textiles or review tea. I’ve also been in a bit of a bad mood today, dealing with some tech issues. I decided it was time to slow down and focus on something that would improve my mental state and not exacerbate my hand injuries – time for ikebana!

I knew going into it that I wanted to feature this awesome Tawami aluminium vase by AlArt that I received recently, and I wanted to keep the arrangement very minimal so as not to compete with it. I knew our clematis was blooming, and then I remembered I still had some curly willow branches lying around that would work as an excellent structure to wrap them around. Clematis vines are very thin and fragile, and if I’d just put them in alone they would have flopped over and looked very sad indeed. It feels very organic and balances out the sharp, modern lines of the vase perfectly.

Putting this together was exactly what I needed. It made me stop and focus on something other than the issues that were frustrating me. For half an hour, all that mattered was the plant matter between my fingers. Ikebana can be  a wonderful form of meditation, where you have to slow down and “listen” to what the flowers have to say, and how they want to interact with each other and the vessel you’ve chosen. If you find yourself going at top speed constantly and find that traditional “sit down and think of nothing” mindfulness techniques don’t work well for you, I urge you to give something like this a try!

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Vibrant Poppy Ikebana

More beauties from our garden – this time it’s these stunning, vibrant poppy blossoms! Poppies hold a special place in this household, for multiple reasons. My mother’s name is Poppy, and my parents met in the Canadian Armed Forces, so the poppy also represents remembrance. There are poppy-themed items all over our house, I have poppies incorporated into one of my tattoos, and of course my mother planted some in our front garden.

I really wanted this piece to be a very simple and clean arrangement with no clutter. I went for a traditional format inspired by what I learned of the Sogetsu school style at the workshop I attended a few months back. A plain white vessel and black pedestal serve to anchor the whole thing while ensuring that all the focus remains on the blossoms themselves. And look, no screen today! Don’t worry though, it’ll definitely be back soon.

Sunny Balance Ikebana

Full confession – I actually made this arrangement back in November, using some more of my birthday bouquet, and then forgot to post it! It’s worked out well though, for multiple reasons. The weather here is cold and dreary and terrible, and seeing some bright sunny flowers is good for the soul. Also, I’ve been fighting off some really unpleasant ear infection/flu situation for nearly a month now and don’t have much energy to do anything right now, so finding these to share with you guys was a stroke of luck.

I wanted to work on “off-balance balance”, countering the airy reach of the branches and greens with a more mounded, solid-feeling arrangement of flowers. I am quite happy with the chaotic profusion of the flowers, how you can’t completely tell where one ends and the next begins. It’s a contrast to the sparse and open arrangements I’ve been gravitating towards recently and getting out of my comfort zone is never a bad thing!

I may be feeling miserable physically at the moment, but at least these pictures are bringing a little sunny happiness into my life.