Fans of last year's “The Flower Recipe Book” will be happy to hear that Studio Choo designers Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo have collaborated again on "The Wreath Recipe Book: Year-Round Wreaths, Swags, and Other Decorations to Make with Seasonal Branches" (Artisan Books, $24.95).
The third in a series of recipe-style do-it-yourself floral design books from Artisan, "The Wreath Recipe Book" follows the same compelling format as the previous books: ample instructional visuals, stunning photographs by Paige Green and simple step-by-step instructions for creating your own professional-quality floral displays at home.
And, like the recent spate of cookbooks with a focus on seasonal produce, the designers divide the projects by the four seasons of the year. Spring recipe ingredients include dogwood branches, lilacs, yellow forsythia, bright pink quince and viburnum. Summer materials include blackberry sprigs, furry kangaroo paw, leucadendron, cotoneaster and fragrant eucalyptus. Autumn brings magnolia, persimmons, privet sprigs and rosemary. And, while winter items may seem like standard holiday fare -- juniper, holly and pine sprigs -- the designers use them to create unexpected projects such as mobiles, wall hangings and colorful swags.
The projects are inspiring and never overwhelming. One of my favorite holiday designs, in fact, involved simply placing holly, redwood and ilex sprigs in a drilled log slice.
Floral designers have all sorts of tricks, of course, and the Studio Choo designers are happy to share them here. These wreaths aren’t just for the door. In fact, some projects aren't wreaths at all. The designers create delicate napkin holders made with a long twist of eucalyptus, kangaroo paw and yarrow, as well as striking swags composed of surprisingly few ingredients, garlands, place settings and tabletop centerpieces. The book also includes tips on wreathing tools, branch cutting techniques and attachment techniques.
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