My obsession with straw work started years ago when I found a beautiful, handmade straw flower at a flea market in Switzerland. I wanted to learn more about this amazing craft, and a recent trip to Mexico was the perfect place to explore my obsession with mixing palm leaves and straw.

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Ahh, sweet summer is here and with it the glorious arrival of a everyone’s favorite flower – the peony!


With its spectacular display of colors (think pink, red, yellow and white!), lush, unbridled petals, and a delicate, intoxicating fragrance, it’s no surprise that the peony has been a delighting the senses for thousands of years. In fact, written records from as far back as 8 their enchanting beauty. Is it any wonder then that the peony is known the world over as “queen of the flowers?”


Today, peonies are just as stunning as ever and, thanks to new and improved varieties they're even easier to grow. There are three main types of peonies to consider when planting. The most common and widely available is the herbaceous peony (Paeonia lactiflora). Herbaceous peonies grow to about three feet tall, die back to the ground each winter, then sends up vigorous sprouts each spring. The other is the tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa), a slow-growing woody-stemmed shrub that can reach up to six feet. The third is a hybrid of the two. A combination of all three makes for a spring garden that darn near looks like it jumped out of a painting.


As dazzling as peonies are, they’re surprisingly no-fuss and require very little attention (I’m talking to you, brown-thumbs!) They survive the harshest winters, are practically drought resistant, and aren't bothered by deer or rabbits. Though peonies fare best in cool climates, early-blooming varieties with low-chill requirements can thrive in even some parts of the deep South.



Lovely as decor on hats, bags, or pillows.

food coloring

  1. Twine the raffia around 2 or 3 fingers to create a small bundle, and tie thread around the middle.
  2. Cut the loops at each end, and pull the raffia apart a little to create a flower.
  3. To dye the flower, simply add a few drops of food coloring to water, and dip the tips of raffia into the dye. Let dry.
  4. Sew flowers where you want them using needle and thread.


Photography by Dietlind Wolf

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