Monday, August 25, 2008

What I learned in school today..

First thing- I learned the day before school-- Garmin or as I called it- Garmina- my backseat girlfriend driver- is a wonderful friend to have on a trip. Of course my awesome husband gave me great directions..but Garmina got me where I needed to be locally.

So, day one in class- most of the people here are 1- women, 2- from the region, and 3 very helpful towards each other.

The hotel- The Omni, has a great lobby and atrium- but could benefit from more flowers- they have them, just not enough...or the ones they do have, should have more- Oomph! They did however have a great lunch and the bananas foster was YUM!

So, Phil- is a floral natural- it just comes from within. He is beyond helpful as is his assistant Fanny. I like the fact that he infuses a philosophy of positive thinking in design. Basically, you positively can do it- just let it happen. Be open to instruction and soak it in. A definite positive, happy, I love what I'm doing vibe- very contagious. He spoke about his shop Avante Garden and his wife Cathy- also AIFD. Definitely a floral family.

Our first assignment was creating a tropical table arrangement which included anthurium, protea, lotus pods and some other things.. in particular a 'nautilus' created with a leaf. First we had to learn how to make the nautilus- and I did !! Not right away, but it came to me after a couple of tries. They are very cool and you will be seeing them in our future work as it fits in.

We also did some weaving with grasses and ribbon and applied it in design. Again, very cool. The main thing he was focusing on was balance and the minute details in design- the ones that will make or break you in going for passing a certification with AIFD. Also a lot of other design details that would not impress anyone not in the floral industry. So, I won't bore you. Jessica, I know you'll be reading this- you I will give the details. And Kim, girl- you will love learning how to make the shells and the birds too. No palm leaf will be safe with us around!

We also made very cool birds with palm. Definitely not something you can make only once. They will definitely need some practice.

Tomorrow, more designing, more hand work and other detailed creations. The attached photos are of a very large arrangement Phil designed- about 6 feet tall. The other one is one I made. I'm glad I'm here. It re-enforces what I know and shows me where I need to focus my attention with detail.

Well, I see the photos I'm trying to upload- aren't. I promise I'll try and figure out what the problem is. Maybe tomorrow, I'll have better luck. I've got to get to bed. I have school in the morning ;)

Bye, for now.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'm going to school..kind of-

I am beyond excited for this weekend. I will be leaving on Sunday for a road trip to Charlottesville, Virginia. I'm going there to attend a continuing education class in advanced design. Yes, I have been doing design for 24years-- but, there's always something to learn. My last class was at Texas A&M and I learned alot.

I am most excited because the instructor is Phil Rulloda. This man is brilliant. He has won every design award possible, has his shop and design school in California, has written design books and more and is an AIFD member. One of my goals is to also become AIFD certified. This is kind of like getting a PhD for someone else's profession. It is not an easy thing to accomplish. But, if you do you will be celebrating and it could open many new doors.

So, bright and early Sunday morning I'm leaving and won't be back in the shop until Thursday. I will return to a laundry list of things to do because we have a mega huge wedding on Saturday [don't worry, we're on top of it, everything is ordered already and the flowers won't come in until Wednesday] and also another smaller one. I know the shop will be in good hands. The lovely Jessica will be holding down the shop and designing like the ninja she is. You'd have to see her in action. Things get done and you never saw it happen- she's quite mysterious and wonderful to have around.

So, off I'll go- like Thelma without Louise. Just me, the Garmin and lots of cd's to listen to. I'll be back with lots of new ideas and an overflowing imagination.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lulu Rai Tulip

I couldn't- not -share a photo of the amazing parrot tulip we'll be getting in for the fall season. And what a coincidence that the name has -Lulu in it! Hmmm.. how did that happen? We're so excited about introducing more bulb options for the fall season. We'll also carry supplies for repotting plants. We know not everyone needs a giant bag of potting soil or a whole bag of moss or stones. Well, we will be offering those basic supplies in a much smaller quantity- basically, buy what you need.
We'll also be carrying some beautiful amaryllis which I have ordered in shades of white with a red center and a deep red shade. We're very excited about the new products coming into the shop for the fall season. We hope you'll stop by.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

What's Green, Lavender, Purple and Chocolate?

Green..Tequila Lime to be exact. That's the new color our walls will be sporting for the fall season. We love it... it is kind of limey- Key West lime for me, think bright-very bright and perfect for the dreary days that will be coming soon. Our new look is leaning towards urban, contemporary and fun. But don't be worried. We're not going off the deep end and changing everything- just making the space match the new products we're bringing in for the holidays.

Lavender... would be the wonderful new crop of lavender coming from the recent harvest on an upstate Washington peninsula. We've talked direct to the growers about their growing conditions and what makes their lavender the Best! If it's the best, then we definitely want it.

Purple...wait until you see the amazing new Dutch variety of purple parrot tulip we'll have for the fall season. It's very ruffled with deep purple and green toned petals. We just had to have it and will have only 100 bulbs available.

Chocolate...well, this is not what you'd first expect. It's not to eat-it will be chocolate to grow. We have 'chocolate' flowers coming. Again, from the beautiful state of Washington. I don't want to give too much away because there are more 'chocolate' things coming.

This is just a hint of the new thing we're expecting for fall. We'll have a new look for our business cards [the flower on our business cards is a 'Casis Clematis' and yes, it should be available to purchase in the spring season] and all our media materials. We're very excited for our reveal. Be sure to look for our new ad in the September issue of Underwire magazine.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Just being silly

We're really working the flowers. By that I mean if it doesn't get used within a certain time we don't use them for orders. So today's second post is Jessica playing with the sunflowers.

I know the photos are a little blurred, but cute nonetheless. She plucked the petals so we can hang and dry them for use in fall arrangments.--I told you we try and be 'green' and now we have photos to prove it.

Have a great day!

A kind of weird photo to post

I know on my previous post, I mentioned the flowers we purchase from our wonderful, local grower. Well, the photo for today includes many of their flowers.

Typically I would not post someone's funeral flowers, but I felt I should on this one. When most people think of funeral flowers they have this visual of stiff, two tones-dare I say red and white or some other basic color combination of predictible flowers. And I hate to say it, but they'll look like they belong at a funeral... just not one we're doing.

We try and take a different approach. Our goal for this family was to create a gardeny casket spray. Knowing what we'd just purchased, we knew it would be very natural and less structured. They conveyed they didn't want anything stiff- and that their family member loved the outdoors and gardening. We appreciate the family trusting us with our vision for their family member.

Just keep in mind when ordering flowers for any occasion- be open to new ideas, colors, and flower combinations. There is a huge variety available- think outside the box. You may be very pleasantly surprised.

All the best

Friday, August 08, 2008

'Green' is the new -everything

It's nice to know that we've been 'green' before green was -everything.

I have always tried to keep in mind a saying my grandmother had- 'Take as much as you'd like but, not more than you need.' My grandparents were very simple people- simple in their existance, but not their experiences. I truly loved being with them- they were a refuge to me. I loved hearing about how life was when they grew the turn of the century and in another country none-the-less. They appreciated everything they it a simple possession or friend- everything was to be valued...

So, were is this going in relation to green?? Well, they were from Ireland- the first green. Not that that has anything to do with this, but I figured I'd throw that in for some actual color. But, one thing I always remember is that they reused lots of stuff. Fabric, tin foil and wax paper, boxes, containers and even string. I remember using my mother's crayons-- nubs that they were.. My grandmother just couldn't throw them out.. mind you they were wretched to try and color with, on the occasion we did use them- but we loved playing with them.

They also had a garden and grew wonderful vegetables and flowers. This is where I'm going with the story--- growing your own things-- or for us... Lavender Hill purchasing flowers from locally grown sources. And we're lucky enough to be able to-- and that's today's photo.

Our grower is in Lanesville and he and his wife bring us wonderful seasonal flowers. Our latest crop has been amazing sunflowers, zinnias, sohrgum, pincushions, cox comb and tansey. We love when he stops in because we never know what he'll have or what color it will be in.

When he stopped in yesterday- I had to snap a photo of his van. He and his wife had their grandchild with them on their deliveries so the van was not as filled as usual.. but you can get a pretty good idea from the photo. They have lots of fresh flowers- and they last a very long while.

So, the rest of my green story is.. We will be reusing small boxes for deliveries along with our regular delivery boxes whenever possible-- we're just adding a recycle sticker to let everyone know-- we're not just being cheap. We're also implementing a 'recycle your vase' program. Many people have lots of old vases collected from the times they've received flowers.. we'd like to reuse them. If you bring them in we'll give you store credit for a future purchase. You get rid of the vases- we pass them on to someone else. We're also working on a program to recycle the flowers from someone's wedding or event. Everyone should be able to enjoy flowers and after most events people do not take the flowers home- what a waste. Encouraging a bride or groom to donate their reception decor- centerpieces to an organization that can enjoy them -be it a hospice setting, homeless shelter, group home etc. . We're still working out the details on that but all around everyone benefits.

Well, that's it for now. I hope everyone has a great weekend. I will be off- amazingly- but only because my darling daughter Jennifer will be moving back up to college and into her first apartment. It will be very bittersweet for me and my husband, but I know she's very excited. And she's recycling too-- she's taking the food out of my pantry to stock hers... What a girl!

Have a great weekend-