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I’d like to introduce my charming Partyschool 101 newsletter that’s filled with gorgeous photos and adorable ideas just for you that I won’t be posting on my blog. Join me for 8 weeks as I teach you the abc’s of throwing a great party. Sign up for the exclusive access to my tips & tutorials in the right hand column with the rsvp button.

Make sure and check the box for “partyschool 101: a charming newsletter” in the sign-up form. Oh, and it doesn’t matter if you sign up after the rest of us have started, I’ll start sending you the summer series from the beginning so you won’t miss a thing. Check your in-box next week for the first issue!

I was in sunny California all last week doing some party photo shoots with the beautiful Sara Westbrook and the amazing Nicole Hill Gerulat. We put in long days and long nights and I didn’t have any time to post here. I wanted to put up more of the Mad Scientist Party, and I thought I’d be able to squeeze it in, but you know how it goes. (I’ll continue with that party this week). For some sneak peeks of what we did in California, check out Nicole’s blog. Or click here or here. We had so much fun and I can’t wait to show you more of these fun photos soon.

Do you ever see those cute flower bunches at Costco or at an outside market? What do you do with them once you get home? I usually take my bouquet and cut off the ends and put them in a vase. I fool myself into believing that they are “wild” and “naturally” arranged. That they look good like that. Um, no. They don’t. I recently took two different floral arranging classes from two completely opposite teachers. One from an extension program through a local university and one at the Art Weekend that I recently attended. The first teacher was an old school, east coast professor type and the other was a hip, self taught wedding florist. I liked them both. And I will admit that with taking just two basic classes, I feel confident that I can now turn a simple bunch of flowers into a decent arrangement. Don’t get me wrong, flower arranging is a total skill that takes time to master. And I’d always prefer to have a pro do it for me. But in the comfort of my own home, surrounded by my four adoring kids who basically think everything I do is genius (they’re still young, okay?) I definitely have enough confidence to make some centerpieces for us. This is a fun and relatively inexpensive hobby and I would recommend a class like these to anyone. Did you see that Jane Packer has classes in NYC? Good thing I know a cool brother with an apartment there… And sometimes Eddie Ross will post a floral arranging class taught by him. I love Eddie Ross. Oh, and p.s. telling a professional florist that you buy flowers at Costco and just trim the ends and then throw the whole thing into a random vase is like telling your photography teacher that you always shoot on auto. They look at you horror stricken. Horror stricken, like you just admitted to a horrible crime. So if you find yourself in a similar situation, keep that little bit of info to yourself.

Three things that I learned:

1. Don’t make your arrangements too tall or else people will move them off of the table. Both instructors mentioned this.
2. Choose your vase and THEN find flowers that will look good in it. Interesting, since I always do the opposite.
3. Put your greens in first in a nice even distribution. No, put your greens in last to fill in the holes. Some contradiction between the two teachers, so either way is fine, I say.
autumn flowers
spring flowersOkay, I totally arranged both of these centerpieces. (Keep in mind that I didn’t get to choose the flowers, they were provided at the classes, so don’t judge.) And my photography is improving too, right?

flower arranging book
I love beautiful flower arrangements. So one day when I was at the local bookstore I bought this book: Jane Packer’s Guide to Flower Arranging. I’d never heard of her, but this book is amazing and full of gorgeous photos. Jane makes every arrangement look so easy and effortless. A bit above my skill level, it isn’t too intimidating and it’s perfect to take your florist and say, “I want that one.” Bonus, now I know the difference between a hand tied and a wired bridal bouquet. She even has classes in NYC. I think I need to take one this spring…

I have such a fun weekend planned–all starting tomorrow! It’s packed full of so much craftiness. The amazing & super sweet photographer Nicole Hill Gerulat and her awesome crew are putting on The Art Weekend. I’m signed up for 5 classes: Floral Arranging, Photo 101, and Tabletop Photography on Thursday. And on Friday I’m taking Screenprinting and Bookbinding. Nicole has rounded up so many fabulous teachers that I wish I could take MORE classes.

Unfortunately Spark the Event is also this weekend. (Our fair state never has cool stuff like this. Why oh why did they both have to be the same weekend?) Anyway, I am overlapping classes a little bit on Friday so I’ll be hurrying back and forth between the two (luckily both events are in downtown Salt Lake City). Hosted by the darling & talented Rhonna Farrer, Margie Romney-Aslett, Jefra Linn, and Elizabeth Kartchner, Spark is going to be a once in a lifetime experience. They have rented out the historic monument site This Is The Place that is full of cool old buildings. It is Utah history to a tee. They are offering a bunch of mini classes on Friday. And on Saturday, there is a fabrics class, jewelry class, photography class, and a paper crafting/journaling class. I’m even making a weekend of it and staying in a hotel in the city to save on driving time. Anyone else going to one or both events?

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