Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year = New Look!

It's been a long time coming, but it's finally time to launch my new website. I've been putting it off for almost 2 years, but with good reason, the last 2 years have been jam packed with orders, opportunities and projects. The time has finally come, now that I have had some down time to work on the website and launch. Here's a sneak peek of the splash page for the website. It's a flash based website and hopefully by end of January I will have the mobile version completed so that it can be viewed on smartphones and tablets that don't support flash. I will be announcing early next week when the actual site is live.

I really like the clean, simplified look of the website. As I continue to complete more orders and receive more professional images from clients and photographers, I will be posting those at a quicker pace. As always my blog is the best resource for the most current news on what's going on at DK Designs.

2012 will definitely be filled with lots of new opportunities. I'm branching out into more wholesale accounts to spread the reach of my products both in the US and abroad. 2011 proved to be another wonderful year, but at the same time I had to make a difficult choice about my future growth and creativity. I'm very excited about what is to come and thank you for continuing to follow my journey!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sorry for the lack of posts, but I've been busy getting ready for the holidays. This year we are hosting my family at the house which means lots of cleaning going on. Although I hate to clean, it's time to get organized and focused on ways to grow my business. Hopefully with cleaning out of the way this week, I'll have time next week to focus on my website.

I wanted to wish you all the happiest of holidays and a prosperous and healthy start to 2012! Thank you for all your support, friendships and business throughout 2011! I'm definitely looking forward to what 2012 has in store for DK Designs.

From our family to your's, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Wonderful Day of French Macarons and Panna Cotta

Some of you may think I am possibly starting a new venture in baking with all my posts about food and desserts. I highly doubt that I'm making a career change, but I'm certainly enjoying my love for baking these days. It's been a nice departure with the slow down of the wedding season to do things that I enjoy outside of work.
Yesterday, my friend and industry colleague, who I have been admiring for a LONG time offered to give me a private class to learn French macarons and panna cotta. While I've already been dabbling in panna cotta recipes, I still wanted to learn from someone who had more experience with it. My friend, Venus Wei of La Vie Douce Design is such a delightful person. She not only creates elaborate and delicious dessert bars for weddings and special events, she also does wedding and event design. She also teaches classes to those who are interested in French and European inspired desserts with an Asian flair. She has started offering classes in between her events and I have to say, she's a great instructor and not only provides a hands-on baking class, but an overall baking experience.

From the time you arrive she greets you with tea and samples of what you'll be making. I got to have some gourmet tea and French macarons. I got to try 3 different varieties, matcha with azuki bean buttercream, rose with rose water buttercream, and an Italian meringue method macaron with strawberry buttercream. So HEAVENLY!
The day started with creme fraiche panna cotta, followed by a decadent coffee panna cotta. We ran out of time so we didn't get to make the top layers of the two panna cottas, but even by themselves they were OH SO DELICIOUS!

The second part of the day was learning to make French meringue vs Italian meringue method macarons.I didn't know an Italian version existed. We made vanilla macarons but using both methods. While I love both, I think I like the chewier and fuller texture of the Italian version better. She showed me both methods and then I got to try the Italian version. While there are not a lot of ingredients, there's a lot of things that have to be perfect if you're going to come out with a perfect macaron. I left with lots of panna cotta and a dozen macarons to share with my family and friends to taste. :)
I think Venus' classes are VERY informative, lots of helpful tips, resources she uses, books she recommends, etc. She provides light refreshments and you get to go home with what you make. It truly is a baking experience and it's not just a 2 hour class. Her classes are at least 5 hours so you really learn a lot. If you are interested in her classes, be sure to check out her Facebook page for he class offerings. If you are interested in her dessert bars or event design services, definitely contact her. Her desserts are DIVINE in my opinion and artfully designed.

Thank you Venus for sharing your knowledge about French macarons and panna cotta. I'm very excited to use all the items I bought today to make these delectable desserts for my family for Christmas. Wish me luck!

Bridal Bouquet Replica - Pinks, Ivories and Whites

I finished another order today. This is the second to the last of 2 orders for 2011. My client wanted to replicate her bridal bouquet. It was a beautiful bouquet of ivory mums with greenish centers, stephanotis with pearls, light pink peonies, and pink dahlias with whitish green centers. She was so upset she couldn't save her bouquet that she asked me to recreate it for her.
I love the soft shades of pink against the light greens, ivories and whites. It's a really stunning bouquet. The client had a beachside wedding in San Diego and her colors were pinks, white, ivory, and Tiffany blue.
Very excited that I'm almost done with my orders so that next week I can prepare for Christmas with my family and focus some time on my website redesign.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Amazing Transformation - Hair and MUA, Headshot Session with Joli de Jackie!

In my previous post, I mentioned working with the very talented Joli de Jackie. Since that photoshoot, Jackie and I have been keeping in touch and she offered to do a make over for me and take new headshots. The first picture is that of Jackie. :)
She first did a loose updo with my hair flowers. Part of the reason why I also met with Jackie is she helped me with ideas to make my hair flowers more user-friendly. I really appreciated her feedback and direction and plan to start working on some new designs to make my hair flowers easier for hair stylists to use on their brides.
As I mentioned before, Jackie is well known in the Bay Area and in Los Angeles and has worked on several popular magazine shoots. I got to see her in action at our romantic, vintage inspired bridal fashion shoot that she had envisioned. I have to say to see her transform these already beautiful models was just AMAZING!I am not a make up person at all. I hardly ever wear it unless I am going to a special function and even then, I put as little as I can on.Jackie took before and after shots and I GASPED. Seriously an AMAZING transformation! She did everything from trimming my eyebrows to give me eyes a little lift, airbrushed foundation, false eyelashes and contouring of my features and hiding my pimple. WOW! I was so happy with my photos that she took and I HIGHLY recommend Jackie for your wedding or event. She is SUPER sweet and is an expert at what she does. She is a licensed esthetician as well.
So if you live in California, definitely check out Joli de Jackie, I promise you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Video Trailer from a Recent Romantic, Vintage Bridal Shoot

A Romantic Vintage Inspired Bridal Shoot from Viet Mac on Vimeo.

I had the great pleasure of being asked back in October to be part of a special photoshoot session with some very talented industry professionals. It's one of the first local productions I was able to attend. I was so fortunate that many of my flowers were used in all aspects of this photo shoot.

Here's a video trailer created by the very talented Viet Q. Mac. The photographer did an amazing job and hopefully soon I'll be able to share more of her images. Vivian Sachs is a great commercial, wedding and portrait photographer based in the Bay Area but travels worldwide.

The person who had this amazing idea is none other than Jolie de Jackie. She's such a talented make up artist and hair stylist. Her work is very well known in the Bay Area and in Los Angeles. Her artistry is always featured in M Magazine, Igigi, and more. I had the pleasure of having Jolie de Jackie give me a make over but more on that later. The stationery was created by Karla Randolph of The Card Lady, the beautiful gowns were designed by Sonthai Songi Gi, and many of the pieces used were from Acme Party Box Company. The photo shoot took place at Palacio Restaurant in Los Gatos, CA. Desserts were provided by Icing on the Cake in Los Gatos. Monica Cruz-Hernandez helped Jackie pull this wonderful shoot together and trucked in all the vintage furniture pieces and items provided by Acme Party Box Company.

All the flowers for the most part that you see in this shoot from the accents on the table displays, the centerpieces, hair flowers and bridal bouquets were all made out of clay! I really enjoyed working with these wonderfully talented professionals. Please click on the image and links to view this great video!

Baking makes for great food props...

I've been busy in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes that I've had my eye on of late. Between and, I'm in heaven. :) At any rate, as I mentioned before, baking is like relaxation therapy for me. Most of the goodies I make, I have been sharing with friends and family. I think all my friends on Facebook hate seeing my delicious pictures all the time.
I bought these great shooter glasses for a photo shoot and then used them for my friend's daughter's 5th birthday party for candies. I wanted to try panna cotta. My friend's cousin is in town so they tried it out. It gave me the confidence to see if I could do it too. Let's just say I'm in panna cotta heaven at the moment. It's my new favorite dessert.
In the last 2 weeks, I've tried honey panna cotta with coffee gelee, pumpkin panna cotta with cocoa whip, coconut vanilla panna cotta with pomegranate gelee, lychee panna cotta with strawberry gelee. Just those 4 my friend made. I decided to make coconut panna cotta with fresh strawberry gelee as my first attempt, it was so yummy! Although I didn't have the right demitasse spoons for the shooter glasses. I went to Cost Plus yesterday since I had a coupon and bought wider mouthed tasting glasses and tasting spoons! Definitely a good buy. I also made last night honey vanilla panna cotta with strawberry and blackberry gelees. Both were quite delicious!So with the fact that I have food props, I thought it would be a great way to showcase my one-use wooden, handstamped spoons! These would be awesome for holiday or special event parties where dessert bars are featured. I have to say, panna cotta is not difficult at all, just takes time. It's so light and refreshing. So these spoons are not just for ice cream themed parties, but any party where you have tasting type station. SO CUTE!
I'm back in the studio today trying to work on a bridal bouquet replica and I have a couple more items I need to focus on and then the big task for the month besides spending Christmas and New Year's with my family is to get my website done!

If you are interested in these eco-friendly, one-time use, disposable, hand-stamped spoons, visit my Etsy site.

Monday, November 28, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway at Southern Weddings Magazine!

I was fortunate to be asked to be part of the Southern Weddings Magazine blog's 12 days of Christmas Giveaway! Marissa asked if I would be willing to give away one of my gardenia hair flowers that was featured in their V2 issue. Of course, I said, "YES!"
So, on Cyber Monday the lovely ladies of SW have launched their 12 days of Christmas giveaway.

Click on the link or the images to hop on over to the SW blog and see what you have to do to win one of my gardenia hair flowers and a personalized monogrammed hankie from Marley Lilly! Good luck!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Break and New Items on Etsy...

{Parmesan No Knead Bread}

I took some much needed time off after completing two big print orders just before Thanksgiving. I have been really enjoying the art of baking the last several days. I was also fortunate enough to get my KitchenAid stand mixer back from Hawaii, which I had received as a wedding gift and never opened! Here are just a few of the things I made for friends and family the last few days. I guess I have found that my therapy and relaxation from making flowers and invitations is baking and cooking! It's been fun trying new recipes and sharing it with loved ones near and far.

{Pear and Macadamia Nut Bread}
{Rum Cake}
{Homemade Twix Bars}
{Cranberry, oatmeal cookies with white chocolate}
{Macadamia nut shortbread}Alas, after Thanksgiving it was back to working on my flower orders again. I have another big order to finish for my Australian retailer, but I had a chance to create some more pieces for my Etsy site. One is a floral arrangement using the left over flowers I had from that other Spring inspired arrangement and I paired it with an orange poppy and some orange spotted orchids.
The other listing is of some new wooden spoons with the word "cupcake" in a cute font. A client had asked if I could make it and I loved it so much I decided to add it to the shop.I am very thankful for another wonderful year of so many amazing opportunities, wonderful clients, new and old friendships, and most of all for my loving and supportive family. We had a great Thanksgiving dinner this year with our neighbors who have become like family to us, we ate SO MUCH food that I felt like my 4 months of daily exercise was lost on one night of deliciousness!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Custom Teapot Arrangements

A past bride and client of mine contacted me recently to see if I could make some special gifts for her to give to her loved ones. It is so nice to hear from my clients well after their wedding and to be asked to create more keepsake items.
Joyce asked if I could make her 4 teapots to give as gifts - 2 small and 2 large ones. The two large ones are for her mother and mother-in-law. The one for her mother consists of stargazer lilies, peonies and phaleanopsis orchids.
The one for her mother-in-law is orange ranunculus, pink roses and green cymbidium orchids.

She also ordered 2 mini teapots. She asked me to recreate one of my Etsy arrangements, but in miniature form. Love how it came out.The 2nd one is pinks and purples with deep pink ranunculus, light pink peonies and purple orchids.
Joyce also asked for a peony hair flower that she could wear out for special occasions.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pinks, Yellows and Shabby Chic!

I know it's officially Fall and we are nearing Thanskgiving, but my two favorite seasons are Spring and Summer. Plus today is a dreary and cloudy day, so I needed something bright to cheer me up. I had several flowers left from the photo shoot I worked on last month and I haven't had the time to decide what to do with them, until today.
I found some great buys at a local craft store as they were closing out these wonderful shabby chic style wooden vases that were blush pink/brown with the word "Spring" and a cute bird painted on them. I finally decided to use one of the two boxes I found. I just love how it turned out.
This lovely piece is 12x12x10" overall and it's so bright and cheery. Pinks and yellows, full of peonies, garden roses, English roses, ranunculus and tulips. It just makes me smile when I see this piece.

So click here if you're interested in purchasing this piece!

Custom arrangements to remember loved ones

Recently a client contacted me to see if I could create some custom arrangements. Initially it was to be put in a vase, but after meeting with her and her sister, we discussed what it was for. They had plans to place the ashes of their father and brother in a niche at the cemetery later this month and wanted 2 arrangements to be used to go on top the beautiful dark wood box style urns.
Although it's always hard for me to make flowers for such a somber thing as death, I thought it was very sweet that they wanted to hire me to make something that would be everlasting and beautiful to remember the lives of their father and brother at the cemetery.One arrangement is full of purples and blues with peonies, roses, some purple blossoms and hydrangeas. The second arrangement was oranges, yellows and purples with peonies, poppies, ranunculus, lilacs and small blossoms.

It's going to be a busy holiday week next week for me as I have a large holiday card and wedding invitation order to complete. Plus I have a custom order of 4 teapots to finish by the weekend. So much for slowing down a bit for the holidays.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Orange and Pink Tropical Wedding Invitations

It's been a while since I've worked on wedding invitations as the majority of my orders have been for the clay flowers. It was nice to get back into wedding stationery again.

My client asked initially for favors and then came back to order invitations. Her colors are orange and pink and she liked a previous design I had done. So we worked on it together and this is what we came up with.Because the orange and pink are so vibrant and deep in color I thought that adding a lighter, citrus orange pattern stock would compliment the piece nicely. We modified the label from what is show in the pictures but the bride and groom are quite happy with the end result.

My Thanksgiving holiday will be spent working on this and a corporate Christmas card order to fill.

Featured on Munaluchi Bride Magazine Blog!

Yesterday I received an inquiry from a potential client via Etsy on a coral rose and cherry blossom bouquet after she saw this inspiration board. Much to my surprise, I clicked on the link and my work was featured in this Coral and Teal inspired inspiration board. The Creative Director at Munaluchi Bride does a weekly series on "Etsy Addiction". I'm so honored to be part of this lovely coral and teal inspired board via this very elegant new bridal magazine targeted towards brides of color. Thank you Munaluchi for the feature!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Orange and Grey Color Combination - Favors and Boutonnieres

My client Erica, asked me once she saw my work if I'd be willing to do her wedding favors. She was having a ceramic tile made for her wedding favors and she wanted a gift box for her wedding guests. So she decided upon the hibiscus and peony flowers since she wanted the graduated sunset orange hue to her flowers. Her colors are sunset orange and grey. We had a slight miscommunication so her favor colors ended up being all shades of orange, but they still came out very beautiful.
She asked me to create the boutonnieres for her groom and groomsmen. She chose a white cymbidium orchid with hints of orange at the tips of the petals with a sunset orange throat. We paired it with coral orange roses and grass fillers. It was finished off with grey ribbon. The groomsmen had these beautiful, petite orange orchids that really have the sunset orange appeal. Love how these orchids turned out for sure. Again to make sure there was continuity, we used the same roses as was used in the groom's boutonniere.Erica and her fiance are getting married in Mexico so these colors are absolutely perfect for their locale! Best wishes Erica and Rohan! Hope you'll share photos upon your return!

More Items for my retailer...

As my Australian retailer prepares for the upcoming bridal expo in Melbourne in January, I was feverishly trying to finish all the items for her order. I just wanted to share pictures of the other items. I created everything from centerpieces, bouquet/boutonniere/corsage sets, cake toppers, hair flowers and favors.

This is the cake topper she requested I make for her faux cake she is having made by a local cake artist.

These two images are of the spotted orchid bouquet, boutonniere and corsage set.

Lots of hair flowers from garden roses, peonies, gardenias and orchids.
This is the matching corsage to the white ranunculus bouquet.
Lots of favor and gift box designs to give brides ideas of what is possible.

These are the orchid hair flower sets, but they are not only great as hair flowers, but can also be made as cake flowers too!

Hope you enjoyed the photos. One more blog post to share and then it's off to spend some quality time with my son...