Florabeane Pure Romance Paper Flower Course is coming soon.

In this course you will learn all of the flowers and foliage in this picture.

Paper Ferns-Paper Parrot Tulips-Paper Irises

Paper Poppies-Paper-Ranunculus-Paper Peonies

We will use both alcohol inks and watercolor inks with a discussion on their differences.

The major materials will be the inks, white and green doublette, and 16g and 32g cloth-covered stem wire, along with glue, scissors, paper cutter, stapler, cookie sheet, brushes, inks, plastic paint knives, and alcohol and water.

There will be bonus lessons on creating a hand-held bouquet, and creating an arrangement.

If you are a subscriber: Studio Florabeane subscribers may enroll in the review course for free (access depends on meeting a few deadlines-some of you are calling it a February challenge!), or choose to enroll in the course at a discount as a benefit of your subscription. This offer ends January 31.

Email me if you are a subscriber who wants to meet deadlines with the free review course. Only choose this option if you can complete the construction of the bouquet by the end of February.

Click here if you are subscriber and simply want the course at a discount.

If you would like to become a subscriber to access this, click here for the annual subscription or click here for the monthly subscription. After you pay, you can come back and click your preference above.

Studio Florabeane Subscribers will have access starting February 1.

I've partnered with Paper Flower Supplies for this course. If you would like to know when supply kits and the course are available to the general public, click here. The course and the kits are sold separately for the convenience of those with lots of the supplies at hand.

Watercolor inks are not included with the kits. The colors, with links, will be listed soon.

Thank you for enjoying our pure romance. Below is our story as it unfolded.

The big orange iris reminds me of my handsome beau. He recently resigned his teaching gig to focus time and energy on, well, his passions and what motivates him!

When I first saw him, I mean the very first time, I was sitting in the high school office waiting for my first interview to be the new Spanish teacher in this tiny one-light town. I was wondering what in heck I would *ever* do here. And then he walked by, and he just glowed. His skin was tan and his hair was bleached from the sun and his whole being glowed. He had a slight scowl and he walked away from me.

Something about that encounter? When offered a contract I wanted to work there. It took several years for us to finally bloom on this hill together, but here we are, and gut instincts aren’t wrong.

By the way, he was glowing because it was very hot out and he had just come in from coaching. And he was glowering because the person he was looking for wasn’t in the office. And he doesn’t remember seeing me. But oh, I’ll never forget seeing him.

When I moved to town, in 2007, it was early fall. Within a few weeks I’d been invited out by another teacher (who I dated for quite a while) to visit his buddy “up on a hill”. As we drove up the road and then drove up the steep driveway and then arrived....I couldn’t believe the colors, the smell, the view! The house was an empty shell, as he’d spent the summer building it, but it was standing tall and weatherized.

We quickly all made friends and I realized this buddy (who had a girlfriend) was the same person I’d seen before my interview. He was a classic stoic Yankee. The kind I understood so well, because I grew up surrounded by them! You can tell who they are by how they work and dress and what they drive and how they talk (or rather how they refrain from talking too much).

We discovered we were both one of six kids and we’d both picked enough vegetables in high school (for pay) to last a lifetime.

About a year after we met and started socializing, a friend of mine passed away suddenly and at a young age. I went to southern Maine for the service and came back, I recall it was a cold day in November. There were people gathering up “on the hill” and I went there.

I remember this: Owen got a flannel shirt and gave it to me wordlessly. And then he said, “let’s go outside and start a fire.” We burned that fire long into the night, and without being overt about it I knew then his character was extremely kind and aware. Beneath the scowl and gruff teasing was someone who cared!

I knew after the way Owen treated me after my friend’s funeral that his understanding ran deep. We began to talk more, and we talked about farming and finances and food. Really. Because of him, I started an IRA. And ordered a half pig from a local farmer.

We talked about the things that mattered to us, as friends, in our endless run-ins socially and at work.

And then one day it happened-no, not what you think-a group of us were sitting around one afternoon chatting and I looked over at him and he was glowing again. He was bathed in golden light, his smile was lighting up the room and his relaxed manner was warm and happy. I had to look twice to be sure I wasn’t tripping. Sure enough it was like God was shining a light on him: “This is the one!”

I didn’t know what to do, so for many weeks I did nothing. I had a boyfriend. He had a girlfriend. We had never had a romantic interaction between us. I just had this light affirmation thing and a lot of confusion.

I decided the best course was to break up with my boyfriend and tell him the truth. I was interested in someone else.

The truth sets you free, but freedom is a lonely place. My boyfriend was understandably angry, and that hurt too. It took another several months for me to tell Owen I had feelings for him. “That’s nice,” he said. “I’m really happy with my girlfriend though.” Our friendship went from discussing every little detail of adulting, to a chill out.

I was so sad, I moved away from town and to a little place with waterfalls and a rushing river just to escape the feelings of confusion, and loneliness. He was loyal, this Yankee. I couldn’t help but like him even more for it, and give him as much space as possible.

I’m reminded of how long it took right now, watching the sun set over the ridge and listening to the comforting pat-pat of a sleeping dog’s thumping tail, happy in dreamland. No, Owen didn’t turn up at my doorstep in that little town with the big river. Instead we went our separate ways, painfully, a wall of silence where once there was a friend.

I got my masters degree, dated others, moved a lot. At one job, a job I adored, I convinced an out-of-state co-worker to accompany me to the local high school gym to watch the hoops showdown between the coastal team and my old Dirigo kids, many of whom I knew would be playing. “It’ll be so fun!” I told her, “it’s a Maine thing!”

She told me she’d come and we went, it was a frigid night like tonight and the whole town piled in to see their boys whup the other team, my old team. And of course we were in the bleachers when the boys ran out and the coaches walked out and there he was. Blue shirt, familiar scowl and that silly glow, Owen looking amazing even in the dead of winter.

I clutched my friend’s arm and tried to explain to her what I was experiencing on the inside-knots? Elation? Confusion? Happiness?

I have no idea what happened during the game. I do know that his team lost. I watched him walk out of the gym with his team and wanted to run after him, but of course, that would have been silly. I watched him walk away.

Summer came. I was working in the gardens at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and saw a silver-haired hippy in one of our gated gardens. I knew who he was...an old friend. But he didn’t know I worked there, and when I said, “hey you long-haired hippy!” with a huge smile, his first reaction was shock and then laughter as he recognized me.

“I am in town for a wedding!” he exclaimed. “You remember Owen! He grew up right around here!”

We hugged and he left, and I glumly finished my tasks in one of the most spectacularly gorgeous locations in Maine, my heart somewhere in the bottom of the pond in the children’s garden.

Owen was officially taken. Meanwhile I dated seriously, I dated for fun, I spent lots of time wondering how single Mainers meet and tried every single service. Finally after two years of this I met a guy my speed. He had two sweet kids, and he was in the middle of a divorce, but he was smart and farm-y and a teacher!

After a wonderful fall of dating, we made plans to visit my family in Portugal. I felt excitement, but also a vague sense of: Portugal is a really far away place to be with someone who is still married.

The closer the trip, the more little stressors popped up. He had duties that week for school clubs, but he could surely Skype in to assist with them? He would also miss his kids, he only saw them half the time...I totally got it. We were going for ten days, not forever, but it was going to be hard.

The winter dragged on and the time to travel got closer. As I lay in bed alone at my house with flu my mind raced. This was the “one” right? Had to be, because look at all the boxes I could check! And yet...I couldn’t shake the feeling the trip was going to be an expensive disaster for a not-quite-perfect couple.

I thought long and hard about it all. Then did probably the worst a girl can do: text break-up. It was winter, he was thirty miles north and busy virtually every night for weeks, and I was one tired woman. I’d recently endured a major surgery, some crappy boyfriends, and finally a good one! But the energy simply was not right.

He was understandably upset, and I felt like I’d just changed course and avoided an iceberg.

A few days later, just as I’d finished calling the airline to do a ticket date change, (because February really is the worst time to travel, I don’t mind traveling alone but who wants to come home to frozen pipes?) a little red dot pinged on a blue banner. Friend request from....who? Seriously....Owen? I stared at the request for hours, convincing myself it was a joke. But what if it wasn’t?

For those hours wondering, my mind drifted back to the previous five years. Yes, there had been some really good guys in my life. But more often than not, I was alone.

Sundays were the hardest day. Without a family, or a pet, I'd often lie in bed watching TV all morning. I'd cry, too, sometimes, because frankly life can be hard in your late thirties.

I'd been married before, for five years in in my twenties. Because of those years, I'd deliberately spent my thirties traveling, teaching, learning, growing.

I thought back to the dating post-divorce. Oh, all the fellows. A lawyer. A doctor. A gentleman sailor. A teacher and father, two different times. A mechanic single dad snowmaker, for well over a year. A landscape architect. A basketmaker.

None of these were the one. None.

Looking out the window, I saw the wind had whipped the snow on the corner fencepost into a ghoulish snowman, a wraith shaped by wind and storm after relentless storm. It was completely gray and cold.

I had a choice, and it felt easy. I accepted his request.

Within a minute, a short flurry of messages flooded my inbox.

-I don't want to disturb you, I appreciate you accepting me. I just have a few things to say.

-First I would have totally understood if you decided not to be my friend.

-Second, I am deeply sorry.

Owen's messages continued.

-It wasn't fair the way I didn't explain to you more of how I was feeling and what I was dealing with.

-If it's ok I'd like to chat with you more.

The man of few words had a lot to say. We texted for a few hours, just like we had in the beginning of our friendship. He asked me if I was single or married, or if I had kids, my job. He explained his divorce, his current situation, his hope that we could be friends.

His hope that we could be friends? Hello, we were meant to be soulmates!

We decided to keep apprised of each other's schedules-he was coaching so he didn't have a ton of free time just yet. I was working, and it was winter, and a two hour drive to his house was not what I was about to do.

They weren't officially divorced, but she had moved out. They were going through mediation. It was during one of those appointments that I got a text. "In Portland, sorting things out.'

"I am in Portland, too...conference."

A few minutes passed. "Coffee when this is all done?"


It was so cold that day. I waited inside the university student center near where the conference was being hosted and sweated through my layers. There was an art exhibit, I recall, with photos from Aroostook County during the Depression. I waited and waited. Finally I went outside.
There he was, crossing the street and coming toward me!

He looked up. His eyes found mine and he smiled warmly. He gave me a gentle hug, and then said, “ok, drank a ton of water!” So we went back in for the men’s room and he commented on the photos and then he asked me if coffee was ok. Yes!

We made our way to Portland’s Old Port in his truck. He seemed relaxed, but I was extremely nervous. We walked in to the coffee house and ordered drinks. Finally we were squared up across from each other, eyes locked.

“I can’t even believe this worked out,” I said, referring to the snow day re-scheduling of my conference to coincide with his meeting.

“I’m really, really happy you decided to meet up,” he said.

We sat, his smile warming my nerves so that eventually we were both grinning stupidly at each other. Then he asked, “Drive along the promenade?”

We drove along the eastern prom and found a place to sit looking out over the Atlantic. We began to talk in earnest. I told him about my surgery for fibroids, endometriosis, cystitis and infertility. He told me he had multiple sclerosis and had been in the hospital for some heart issues. He’d been really, really sick and it had been awful.

I reached across the seat and grabbed his hand. The sea was silver in the winter light, and the sky was pinking with the early winter sunset. He pulled me closer and put his arm around me, hugging me close.

It was all I’d ever hoped it to be, that side embrace. I rested my head on his shoulder as we continued to talk.

“I missed you so much after we stopped hanging out,” he said.

“You seriously have no idea. At least you got married. I went through online dating hell!”

We laughed. I turned to him and he kissed me, with the mighty ocean in front of us and behind us, a blazing city on a hill.

--to be continued--