August 22, 2010

Tussie-Mussies and Southern Living

I profess to being a romantic kind of girl, but not in a Victorian, doily-ish, fussy  or prudish kind of way.   I do, however, like Tussie-Mussies, the Victorian art of expressing yourself in the language of flowers (even that description is a little too saccharine for me) as described in this book by Geraldine Laufer.  But trust me, you don't need a book to create a little bouquet of fleurs (that communicate or not.)  Of course, you DO need  something green or flowery, anything, to pick, and then ....just your own hand (or better yet, a soft, pudgy, little-fingered hand of a 1-5 year old this one                                          

......or this one

both of whom very obviously have a good eye for color.  

One year, right before Mother's Day, I had my son's kindergarten class over to my P O T A G E R to make little tussie-mussies for their moms.  They picked their own beautifully rendered compositions of posies, then we tied them with ribbons  and put them in some water... before having a cup of tea with cookies.......and before they took them home as a little flowery surprise.  Do you know, I still have mothers mention it to me after low these many years   (sixteen to be exact, sigh).

More recently, I made a hand held tussie for SOUTHERN LIVING when we were shooting an article about cut flower arrangements.  My buddy, Bubba, at SL suggested I talk about my tussie-mussying in this blog, to remind you to look for the article in the September 2010 issue.  And that's all I'll say about that, so as not to ruin the suspense of seeing the article next month.  :)

Since I won't talk about that tussie-mussie (Tussie for short), let me show you and describe the one I picked on one of my walks in New Mexico last week (I am prone to doing that.......picking and plucking posies as I pleasantly plod along) 
as inspiration for a larger arrangement later.

This one started with a sweet pea picked from an old overgrown garden by an outbuilding at the ranch we were visiting.

then, I began to add flowers that were in the pink/lavender/white/chartreuse
color palette (my favorite color sway for spring.......weird that at the higher elevations, this palette goes into of the things I ADORE about
New Mexico and Colorado.......
all gathered in my hand (see my thumb; my veracity is very important to you, I know......) with more and more wonderful wildflowers and greenery

voila!  A lovely hand held bouquet.

I can still hear my son yelling at me:  "Mom! Quit taking a thousand pictures of
those flowers and let's go!"

So try some tussy-mussying yourself.... just don't do it with the naked ladies.  :)


  1. Cool, Linda! Love the shots and I'll definitely look for the article in SL.

    You might be interested in checking out my debut novel FORGET-HER-NOTS (HarperCollins, 2010). It's a new spin on garden magic. In it, my main character discovers that whenever she gives someone a flower or herb, whatever it means in the language of flowers comes true. It's lots of fun, and I've been getting lots of fan mail, especially from girls ages 11 to 15.

    Happy gardening,

    Amy (Brecount White)

  2. Sixteen years ago, my fabulous wedding florist (who is a friend to this day) suggested that my mom and YOURS carry Tussy Mussies. His suggestion was quickly vetoed by both of them. "Oh dear!", I believe was the comment from both of them. Craig Sole Designs, Overland Park, KS. You would adore him.


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