Book review, books, Flower Designs

The Secret Language of Flowers – Book Review

Hi all! Today I’m reviewing this sweet little book. There are several books out there on the language of flowers and I think even a novel, but I’m reviewing this book by Samantha Gray. The illustrations are by Sarah Perkins. I wouldn’t necessarily call out the illustrator when doing a book review but this book is so beautifully done in both writing and artwork that I can’t not give both contributors a shout out.

Most people know that red roses are symbols of love. But did you know that a single red rose means “I still love you”, “You are the one”, and “Love at first sight.” But that four red roses is a symbol of bad luck. And 50 roses no matter the color means “My love is unconditional.” If you want to say “thank you” to someone you can give them a deep pink rose.

For centuries romantic or religious meanings have been associated with different flowers. Victorians would send bouquets as secret messages of love and friendship. And sometimes even hatred…you don’t want to receive a bouquet of orange lilies from your frenemy.

While this isn’t in practice these days wouldn’t it be lovely to convey a message through flowers. This little book can help you do that.

Flowers are organized into categories based on the message they convey: Courtship, Love & Affection, Beauty, and Friendship.

Each flower has its own page(s) with an accompanying illustrated page. At the top of the flower’s page is the meaning behind it. Then a history on that particular flower, it’s origins, popularity and how it got its meaning. If you love that flower, the bottom of the page will tell you your personality.

I must have multiple personalities because I love all flowers! Lol. But since tulips are my absolute favorite I’ll use that as an example. She has tulips broken down by color because like roses, each color has a different meaning. We’ll use yellow tulips…because I can never pass up a yellow tulip.

IF YOU LOVE YELLOW TULIPS, you have a natural radiance and a joie de vivre that lights up any room you walk into.

I’m not sure if that’s me…but I’d like to think it is.

I’ve had this book for sometime (published in 2011), and I thoroughly enjoy reading it. As I continually say, if I was taught history through things like architecture and flowers I would have gotten better than a D in class.

I hope you purchase this book. It’s a great little read. And I also hope this encourages you to ask your florist to make a bouquet that conveys a specific message to the recipient. Who wouldn’t want to receive a bouquet that tells them how much you love them…even if you are buying it for yourself.

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May your day be filled with flowers!

Thank you for reading…
Business

Top 3 Ways to Push Through the Road Block

More times than not, I find myself not fully engaged. Whether it’s hiding myself away from the world (I.e. chain reading…literally starting another the minute I finish one) or avoiding doing tasks that need completing. This is my automatic. Meaning when I’m feeling overwhelmed, depressed, tired, bored, etc….I hibernate. Unfortunately that can last weeks at times. Sometimes I don’t even know I’m doing it.

Trust me, I’m working on not withdrawing into my cocoon…it’s a main topic of discussions with my therapist. We talk about recognizing that is my state of mind and giving it a time limit. Because it’s totally OK to hunker down and hide for a day. My problem is it can last weeks.

I especially hate that I let my hibernation, affect my business and my health. But this is a business blog so we will focus there…not saying your health doesn’t affect your business…

So what do I do to push through that block?

Make Lists

While I may shut down at times, my mind may be going a million different directions. Right now, I’m coming off of the Art & Garden Festival and moving into doing a few craft festivals for the holidays. So my mind is doing a post mortem on the Festival: what went wrong? what went right? what do I want to do differently? However my mind is also in November (shutter) on a craft show and now I’m thinking about what to make, how to display, how much to make, etc.

What clears my head are lists. A list for just about anything. It can be a to do list, an inventory list, a shopping list, whatever it is that will clear the clutter. Maybe a list format isn’t for you. Maybe your a more brainstorming or mind mapping type person. Maybe journaling is better for you. You do you…just get it out of your head.

Do One Thing

So now that your list or brainstorm is done…do one thing on the list. You’ll be surprised how doing just one task, no matter how small, will kick start you again. There is nothing more satisfying than checking an item off your list. Confession time…I’ve been known to write something on a list that I’ve already done just so I can check it off. Even if you skipped the list making part, just doing one task will get you past that block.

Organize

I like my ducks in a row…sometimes to a fault…but when I’m unorganized I don’t think as well. I’m not one of those creative people who thrive in chaos…not judging at all. As anyone who has ever worked with me knows…don’t touch my freakin’ pencils. I want be on the phone and blindly reach for a pencil knowing exactly where it is. Don’t move anything on my desk either, it’s where I want it, you don’t sit here so don’t move it.

A lot of time when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed is when I’m not organized. Taking some time to put things away where they belong, doing my filing, or…going back to step one…making a list.

So that’s my three things that get me past my blocks. Get me moving forward. Get me out of hibernation. Word of warning though, do not get so bogged down in writing lists or organizing that you use it as a tool to procrastinate your end goal.

What gets you past your road blocks? I would love to learn some tips from you!

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May your day be filled with flowers!

Business, Events, Flower Designs

Review of My First Show

As you know, from all my posts of late, I set up a booth at my hometown’s Art & Garden Festival. It was a lot of prep work, long hours, and hot weather…and extremely fun.

The first question I’m asked is “How did it go?” And that is hard to tell…I have mixed feelings.

I barely sold anything. And even though I offered to hold items until the end of the show, not many wanted to buy fresh flowers especially on such a hot day. So that was disappointing.

However, I got a lot of business cards and postcards into people’s hands. People I hadn’t ever met and do not follow my social media accounts. So that was a big plus and pretty much my main goal.

I also gained some potential business contacts of which I’m excited about. Even if they don’t pan out…at least I know that something I created was appreciated.

Janis, my booth mate, and I were asked to participate in a craft show in November because we had very unique items. A huge positive to the day.

What did I learn? Well…pardon the expression…but a shit ton. I learned you can never be too organized. Even with the trial run through the previous weekend, we still scrambled through some of the set up.

Also, know your product. I had a beautiful arrangement at the front of the booth that was very unique but I could not tell people what one of the flowers were (it’s not a commonly used one) and I struggled until I was lucky enough to have my grower come through the booth. So I asked her and wrote it down! After that I confidently told everyone that asked.

The white airy flower to the right of the pic is called Agrostemma.

I learned a lot about myself and what I’m capable of doing. Faced the unknown of running a booth and put myself out there like I have never done before. Yay, me! Look at me…adulting again!

The best part was meeting people and talking with them about anything. People in my community that I see as I drive around town and some that I’ve never seen before. People from all walks of life. Watching the diversity of my town…it may not be a huge diversity but it’s there if you are paying attention.

The third question I’ve been getting: “Will I do this again?” Yes, but in a different way. What that way will be I’m not sure yet. I still have a little work to do. Gather thoughts and ideas. But yes, I will be there next year…so be sure to look for me.

As always, the love and support of friends and family was wonderful and I am forever grateful for it. It’s easier to make the decisions to step outside my comfort zone knowing there is a support system there for me. I love you all. ❤️

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May your day be filled with flowers!

Business, Events, Holidays

Happenings (and Happy 4th!)

Just a quick little update on a few things…then I’ll let you get back to your holiday weekend.

Website Updates

The subscription service page is up and running. I’ve been wanting to start a delivery service for a while now so beginning the week of July 22, the service will be live…but you can order now, just click on the link above. Are you an enthusiast, a lover or a fanatic?

Art & Garden Festival

Petaluma’s Art & Garden Festival is Sunday, July 14…just a little over a week away. I’ll be sharing a booth with my friend Janis from Living Miniatures. Our booth number is F73…located on Kentucky Street close to Washington. Please, please, please come see us!

New Family Member

My friend and fellow floral designer Carolina just added a new member to her family. Meet little Charlotte.

Carolina, Diego, Chloe & Charlotte

Carolina has been with me on this floral journey since the very beginning. We met in our first class and quickly became the dynamic duo. She helps me with wedding work and recently stood for way too many hour doing arrangements for Mother’s Day…while 7 months pregnant. I am hoping Carolina’s incredible designer talent has been passed along to the next generation!

That’s about it right now…told you this would be quick.

Please follow me on social media:
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May your day be filled with flowers!

Book review, books, Flower Designs

Flower Color Guide – Book Review

Since I started designing flower arrangements I have gathered a nice collection of books on flowers. From gardening to arranging they range from instructional to coffee table, I love them each in their own way.

So I thought every once in a while I’d do a little book review and maybe you’ll find one that peaks your interest. And by all means, if you have a favorite please tell me about it. It may be one I don’t have…yet!

Today’s review is of my latest purchase that I bought at the deYoung Museum during Bouquet To Arts. It was a book that kept showing up in my Instagram feed in an advertisement and had quickly been added to my books to purchase list. The book is called Flower Color Guide by Darroch and Michael Putnam.

This book is exactly what it’s named. It’s a guide to flower colors. The pictures are simple and allow you to see details of each flower. In the upper corner of each picture are the stats for each flower: common name, botanical name, variety, category of flower in an arrangement, and the peak seasonal availability.

In the appendix you can find info on how to buy, prep, and cut flowers. They also give a list of color schemes.

Finally, there are the flower “chips”. These are small little perforated chips that have the flower on the front and their corresponding info on the back of them. This would allow you to pull together a mood board or make a set of flash cards…hey I don’t judge. LOL.

My only complaint is that the book is super thick and therefore it’s hard to keep open while reading.

Definitely a great reference book and one I’ll turn to time and time again.

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Classes, Flower Designs, Gardening, Gardens

Garden Chairs

I’m so excited about this project and the final results. I have been wanting to make a garden chair for a while but hadn’t found the “right” chair. Then at the antique fair this year, I found two chairs…already prepped for me! It was fate…or just dumb luck. So purchase them I did…even carried them several blocks home.

If you read my blog about the antique fair you’ll know that I promised to tell you how I planted in them. So here goes…my first ever “how-to”…let me know what you think.

Step 1: Find Chair(s)

You can use just about any type of dining style chair (not upholstered or a recliner). If you choose a wooden versus the metal one I used you’ll need to prep the container portion differently and most likely weatherproof the wood. Check out some YouTube videos on how to do so. In my case I had these great metal bistro chairs which someone had already removed the seats and attached the chicken wire.

I had debated on painting the chairs but ended up leaving them the white rusted look so they were a bit more neutral to appeal to more customers. If you are doing this for yourself you can choose just about any color you want…I had thought about a bright yellow, red or teal which I think would compliment the plants beautifully. Then again that probably why I left them white…I couldn’t choose a color!

Step 2: Gather Materials and Tools

Gather your tools and materials. Here’s what I used but all are subjective to the type of chair and what you are planting. Remember this is for 2 chairs.

  • Green moss – 820 cu. in. or 13.4 liter bag (used about 3/4 bag for both chairs)
  • Cactus Mix – 8 quart or 8.8 liter bag (pretty much used the whole bag)
  • Burlap – depending the size of the chair but I used about a 1/4 of a yard.
  • Gardening or work gloves – I used them only when I was working with the wire, however if you are planting cacti you’ll want to use them for that as well.
  • Wire clippers
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers – this is optional. Since succulents are fragile many people use tweezers to handle and plant succulents.
  • Zip Ties
  • Chicken Wire (floral mesh)
  • Several buckets
  • 28 plants (mostly 2″ pots but a few 4″)
  • Decorations (I.e. driftwood, bark, rocks, fairy garden accessories)

Step 3: Prep for Planting

There will be a lot of water dripping from your chair as you are working, so pick a work area that can get wet. This is also a somewhat messy job so take that into consideration as well.

Some of the chicken wire was saggy and not connected to the chair frame. I was worried that the weight of the soil and plants would cause a problem so I zip tied the chicken wire in a few more places. This is an easy way to attach it if you are starting from scratch. I happened to have white zip ties so they blended well with the chair frame. You may also want to do two layers of chicken wire and cross-hatch them so that the holes are smaller and the moss won’t come out the bottom.

I filled one of the buckets with water and soaked a good amount of the moss in it. You may need to work in small batches. Ring out some of the water from the moss and then start layering it on the chicken wire. I did I nice thick layer of it but not so much that I lost the bowl shape and the ability to hold the soil. I have to admit once this step was done, I was giddy. I knew this would turn out good…just from the layer of moss. Then again ya’ll know how much I love moss.

Next cut your burlap to fit on top of the moss. This is where your soil will sit. The burlap prevents the soil from falling through the moss. A little hint, I placed some soil in the middle of the burlap to anchor it before I cut it. Note: You can use coconut husk fiber or any liner that lets water through. This is really just to prevent the soil from pushing through the moss.

I poured about half the bag of soil into a bucket and wet it throughly and left other half dry in another bucket. I used cactus soil since I was planting succulents and I needed a soil that will drain well.

Fill the bowl of moss and burlap with the dry soil.

If you are using driftwood or something large, then place them now.

This was a piece of bark, so I filled up the underside with soil to keep it sturdier and so I could plant easily.

I also made balls of chicken wire to make little mounds to plant in. This is where the wet soil really helps as it clings to the mound easier. Be sure to fill inside your chicken wire as you want to make sure the plants are fully in soil when you insert them in.

Sorry, not the best picture of my ball of wire.

Step 4: Start Planting

I did a mock layout of where I wanted to put the plants. Basically leaving them in their containers and laying them around the container. I wanted taller plants towards the back and draping or ground cover along the sides or in open spaces.

Make a hole in the soil where you want the plant to go. Remove your plant from their container and discard the old soil. Insert into the hole you made. I used the wet soil to then loosely pack the plant in place. Step repeat until all plants have been used.

Step 5: Moss It

If you like the “bare soil look” then you can skip this step. I used more wet moss to cover the bare soil throughout the container. You could also use rocks, bark, sea glass, or a combination of these. I liked this “forest floor” look that the moss gave.

Step 6: Clean Up

There will be moss hanging down from the bottom of the chair. I just pushed it back up into the chicken wire or trimmed it where necessary.

Step 7: Enjoy

Take step back and bask in the glory of your finished project. Take tons of pictures and brag about it! You deserve it for all of your hard work. And please share those pictures with me! I would love to see them.

These lovelies will be for sale at the Art & Garden Festival on July 14 in downtown Petaluma. Be sure to stop by the booth and say “hey!”

Please follow me on social media:
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May your day be filled with flowers!

Business, Events, Flower Designs

Quick Catch-Up

I had another blog all written but when I don’t post them right away I know that I really wasn’t feeling it. So it’s now erased and I’m starting anew with this quick little catch-up. (Is there not a ketchup emoji? I really wanted one…just to be punny.)

Save the date!

My friend Janis and have signed up for a booth at the Petaluma Art & Garden Festival on Sunday, July 14. This is a first time for both of us to do a show like this. We would much appreciate you coming to see us and spread the word, please! We are very excited and hope this is the start of participating in more events like this one.

SF Succulent Society Show

Janis and I went to this show last weekend and it was cray-cray to say the least. I think they were a little overwhelmed on how many people attended due to advertising on FB for the first time. While it was a zoo and my claustrophobia was very much tested, we came away with some great plants that we will be incorporating into our work. The show was just in time for us to make our purchases before the Art & Garden Festival!

Bouquet To Arts

I love the Bouquet To Arts Show at the deYoung Museum. Honestly I didn’t think I would go this year, but it happened to be the same weekend as the succulent show and both are located in Golden Gate Park. We did not see the entire show but what we did see was spectacular as always. Aaaaand the fact that I had met up with my friends Doug & Ali who were members and got us in under their memberships.

Waterlily Pond Studios did a phenomenal display in the front entrance. It’s called eclipse. It is 14′ in diameter and 1200lbs. There are 10,000 flowers used. AND IT SPINS! My pictures don’t do it justice.

I have to say, the arrangement below is one of my favorites. It’s really simple but it matches the art that it is paired with really well. Now normally, unless your mechanics are decorative you are supposed to cover them up. In this case you can see the pin frogs but I think it adds to the artistry of the piece.

Here are few other arrangements from the show.

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May your day be filled with flowers!

Business, Events, Flower Designs

Pop Up Shop – The Finale

Note: I wrote this last week and then forgot to post it! As I state below…I was exhausted. So sorry for the delay in my pop up shop recap.

I’m sure by now you’re tired of hearing about the pop up shop but I feel I would be remiss in not sharing how the event went and all the things I learned from it.

To be honest, it’s exhausting and stressful, but so very rewarding and worth every sleepless night.

First of all, the event was perfect and was exactly how I wanted it to be. There were many new people that I was able to meet and honestly I think that was the best part. I also liked that I was able to help promote my friend’s products as well. There is nothing like a good collaboration to boost sales for all parties involved.

I made more arrangements this time than prior and thus sold more. Had I made the same amount I would have been sold out by noon. While that would ave been nice, I wouldn’t have met the new people that came by the shop and I wouldn’t have sold more…yes more than the previous year. Yay me!

I always look back on an event and think about what went well, what didn’t, and what I would change next time. So here’s how my internal conversation went:

So what went well…a number of things actually. As stated previously collaborating with my friends brought in a fresh audience and gave me other items to sell besides flowers and added visual interest to the shop. It gave me another narrative to tell my guests. I really look forward to expanding on that next year. If there is anyone out there wanting to sell their handcrafted products, give me a shout and maybe we can work together.

Tiny nurseries by Living Miniatures. Livingminiatures707@gmail.com

My own narrative has improved. And I spoke to it probably for the first time. I have a vintage flair. My designs are classic and I like to use vintage containers and items. I will emphasize this more as I build the business.

Various vintage containers (Kraft cheese box, milk glass compotes, and enameled pot)

Marketing was better. As I said more unknown people came in because of my social media and others sharing it. Also, because I was selling items that were small, I had bags with stickers and I placed business cards and subscription postcards in each of the bags. Can I tell you that placing a bag with tissue and ribbon in someone’s hands just ticked off a bunch of boxes for me. I’ve stated before that I’ve dreamed of owning a shop…bags, tissues and bows go along with that…weirdly enough.

So what didn’t go as planned? I introduced two things that I thought might draw new guests in, the demos and the kid’s station. No one showed up for either of them. So ok..wasn’t the draw I thought they would be. Lesson learned…move on. Though I’d be remiss in not mentioning Miss Scarlet who came in with her grandma and was so shy she would barely speak to me. However after teaching her how to make a bud vase design and giving her a cookie she and I became fast friends and she waved goodbye to me from the car window. Worth it!

All-in-all I consider the day a huge success and am already looking forward to next

A few of the photos that Ann at @teadrinkertrixie took on design day. I love her perspective!

On to new business: the subscription service is just about up and running. There is a page on the website (just click on the subscription link at the top of this page) with the details, though right now it is under construction so please check back. I hope to have more info in the next week or so. I’m super excited about this…just think you can have Marmalade Sky flower arrangements delivered to your home or office on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis!

I had to post this last arrangement because I think it was my favorite of the day. I don’t normally name my arrangements but this one immediately was named “Little Poppies on the Prairie”.

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May your day be filled with flowers!

Photo of me curtesy of Ann. I love to hide.

Business, Events, Flower Designs

Succulents!

In preparation for my pop up shop I decided to purchase my succulents on line. Mainly because I was running out of time to go to my local nursery. So I purchased six plants from Mountain Crest Gardens.

I thought I’d do a little unboxing post as that seems to be all the rage.

In my mind I was expecting a large box…not sure why…but I was. Instead this cute little box arrived.

On the top inside of the box are the care instructions and a little thank you card. It’s nice that it’s right on top so you can’t lose it or accidentally discard it with the box.

Here’s how they pack the inside to protect the plants. You need to be a little careful pulling it all out as you don’t want to accidentally pull on a plant. And let me tell you…there is a lot of packing material. It filled a gallon Ziploc bag. Saved that, too…because you never know when you need some packing material.

This weekend, I was able to plant and here are the before and afters.

Haworthia cymbiformis v. Lepider
Sempervivum Purdys
Sempervivum heat ‘Giuseppe Spiny’
Sempervivum Dynamo
Crassula obvallata
Crassula ovation “ET’s Fingers” Jade
Sen. rowleyanus String of Pearls

My succulent cocktails and hanging ladle will be on sale this Saturday at my pop up shop (you know I was going to do one last plug).

Overall I was very impressed with Mountain Crest Gardens products and can’t wait to order more. The only drawback is that they only ship Monday through Wednesday…which makes since for delivery dates…but it makes for a very long impatient wait when you order on a Wednesday night. Lol. Therefore, plan accordingly.

Hope you give them a try for your next succulent project.

Come see me this Saturday, May 11 at my Pop Up Shop!

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May your day be filled with flowers!

Business, Events, Flower Designs

Antique Faire Find

My home town of Petaluma, holds two antique faires a year…and let’s just face it…it might as well be Christmas Day for me. Those days are marked on my calendar months in advance. I like to get an early start in the day, not to jump on the good deals but because I like it when it’s less crowded and the temp is cooler.

This past weekend was the spring antique faire and I have to say I didn’t find much that were must haves. I’m always on the look out for Royal Copenhagen or Bing & Grøndahl porcelain. Sometimes I find some linen and other times I find something unique to plant or arrange flowers in.

I was about half way through the faire and my reusable bag was still empty. I had a few ideas for things to go back and get if they were still there. And then I came across something that I have been searching for. My search had been for a chair that I could plant in. Something that wasn’t really usable as a seat any more but that wasn’t total trash…because let’s be honest here…I’m not a very good DIYer. Low and behold someone else had the same idea and had done some of the prep work, but hadn’t completed the planting stage. Score! There was no question about purchasing them and my co-shopper helped me carry them home.

Now my biggest dilemma is if I should keep them with this paint or should I repaint them…I’m thinking bright yellow! What do you think? I would love your opinion.

My plan is to work on these this summer and to post step by step instructions so you can do the same. Or maybe I should say we can learn together. Lol!

The next antique faire is in September…I can’t wait to find a new treasure!

Don’t forget we are only 11 days away from my pop up shop. I would love to see you there!

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May your day be filled with flowers!