Flowers Chic & Cheap by Carlos Mota is a fabulous new how-to book on decorating with flowers. As a gardener & lover of cut flowers & giving homegrown bouquets, I was really intrigued by the title. The cover, featuring a cute vintage, polka dot teapot with 2 peonies in it, hints at the many pretty, yet fun & carefree, decorating ideas that await you inside this book.
Elle Decor, is a man who displays impeccable taste, yet a very down-to-earth approach to decorating. For instance, in the introduction, he reminds readers not to overlook the humble soup can or beer bottle when choosing a vase for flowers. My thrifty side really appreciated his acknowledgment that expensive vases are not necessary, as we all have pretty & useful vessels already hanging around our homes!
Each arrangement idea is presented in a very clear & easy-to-follow fashion, kind of like a recipe. The basics on care & feeding for your cut flowers are covered, as well as discussion of decorating with other botanicals like branches and fruit (and even silk flowers), different flower combinations that work well together and tips for arranging them in various types of containers & situations, including lots of lovely table settings. The styling ideas covered in the book are fantastic, ranging from super simple, such as a grouping of herb branches in green beer bottles left after a party, to more dramatic (yet still quite easy to pull off) arrangements such as a gorgeous sunflower collection inspired by Van Gogh and a formal arrangement that looks like something out of a painting by the French master, Fragonard. That's the thing that I most love about this book: the reminder to look for beauty & inspiration all around us. Mota encourages us to find ideas for arrangements & color schemes in art that we love, favorite locales, and even the cherished items we've collected in our homes.
Several of Mota's arrangements are a new (to me, at least) take on bouquets, using water tubes & moss instead of the traditional vase full of water. One such unusual, yet surprisingly beautiful, container he uses is a hollowed-out egg. Don't know if I'll ever get around to trying that, but it is a really cool idea! I love Mota's "no rules, anything goes" attitude. Another unconventional container he favors: baby shoes. How cute would that be for a baby shower?! Those arrangements would truly be gifts that kept on giving.
Flowers Chic & Cheap has wonderful decorating ideas for every room of the house, every season & every occasion. It's a beautifully-photographed book that will make you want to liven up your home with flowers a lot more often. I know I plan to!
full disclosure: Crown Publishing sent me a review copy of this book. But that didn't influence my opinion; I honestly love it & highly recommend it! - Beth H