Outdoor Wedding Indoors


Bringing the Best of The Outdoors Inside

I had flowers to do for an outdoor wedding last week.

The location of the wedding was in a public garden in Granada Hills.
There was a pavilion in the garden and that’s where the bride and groom were going to have the ceremony done. So the pavilion needed a boatload of flowers and then flowers needed to be attached to the chairs that flanked the aisle leading up to the pavilion.
The reception hall was on the grounds of the gardens and that needed decorating too. And then, of course, there were all of the wedding flowers for the bridal party itself.
We worked way ahead of time to plan all of the flowers and how they would be arranged in the pavilion.

The bride had chosen roses and daylilies as a pairing for most of her arrangement. Her filler flower was baby’s breath and Boston ferns.
The day of the wedding ended up being rainy. I had had my eyes on the weather forecast leading up to the day, and I knew it was a good possibility. But I also knew it might not rain, so I was keeping my fingers crossed.

The crossed fingers didn’t help, so the entire event had to be moved indoors. When I got there with the flowers it was absolutely pouring.
Fortunately, the gardens had a back-up location for events such as this that got rained out.
They had an indoor solarium room and I had looked at that briefly when I went over to scout out facilities. It had a very high ceiling–I’m talking twenty feet–that sloped down to a normal ceiling height at the entry doors.

Where the ceiling was highest was an exterior wall that was entirely windows. The gardens lay in view of the windows. (Of course in the rain, there wasn’t much view!)  Still, it let in light and you could see the outdoors so it was as close as possible to being outdoors without actually being out there.
I’m glad I saw the room ahead of time because when I knew that the forecast was rain for the day of the wedding, I decided what I would do in that room.
So at the wedding, instead of taking all of the flowers out to the pavilion, instead I took them inside to the Plan B room.

I brought in some props from a different outdoor event. One was like a pergola. I set up that pergola in the front and kind of re-created the pavilion feel inside the room.
I tied miles of bunting to the pergola. It was draped in swaths and then had kind of a waterfall of it on both sides of the pergola. (The ceremony was going to happen inside the structure.) I tucked roses and daylilies into the pergola so it looked like a vertical garden. And then I set two giant flower arrangements on either side of the pergola.
It was pretty easy to replicate the original plan of the flowers on the chairs leading up to the pavilion. I basically did the same thing inside–tied the bouquets to the sides of the outermost chairs that led up to the pergola.

The bride came in to check it out. She, of course, was all nervous and stressed out because of the rain and the change of the location but when she saw what I had done with the props and with the flowers, I could see her visibly relax.
She was happy, so I was happy.

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Back to the Shire: Tips of Business Growth


When I bought my flower shop like about 20 years ago, it was just your basic average shell of the building. Not very interesting and overall, pretty simple.
It was a stand-alone building, which I liked, surrounded by a retail complex, which I also liked. I didn’t want to be in a location off the beaten track, which no one would ever find, and with no other surrounding businesses, which would draw even less traffic.

So despite the general boringness of the building, I could envision something else for it, and over the years, I have improved it and made it look so much better.
I’ve always loved old stone buildings like you see in photos of England and Wales. Not so much the castles as the stone cottages that are set out in the middle of green fields, bounded by low stone fences.

So I have let that image be my inspiration and have kind of gone after that look for my flower shop, Old Granada Hills.
When Lord of the Rings came out about 10 years ago I fell in love with the look that they created for the Shire. Loved the stonework and the round green door of the hobbit houses and the way the whole community looked with the round doors and the homes set into the hills.

I made some changes to my flower shop to sort of replicate that look and the English stone cottage image. Believe it or not, I actually changed my door and created a round green one. (I LOVE the comments customers make when they walk through it! Especially Lord of the Rings fans.)
I covered the front of the shop with stone and inside the shop the columns are sheathed in stone. I also put in giant wooden beams across the ceiling. They are so extremely cool.

I hang dried flowers from the beams, and baskets and stuff.  I also have strands of moss and small branches in decorative arrangements. I even have things like long smoking pipes–like the ones the hobbits smoked Longbottom Leaf from. No ham legs, though. I drew the line at that. lol
I have a couple of giant oak casks that look like wine barrels. I use them as bases to display big arrangements on.

I really love the look that I’ve created inside my shop.

I display all of the individual flowers according to color family. So instead of walking in and seeing a whole mix of color in the shop, my customers walk in and see flowers grouped according to color families.
I didn’t use to display the flowers that way, but I got the idea from another flower shop that I visited once and it was really striking. I love how that has turned out and my clients Aall seem to really like it as well.
Outside the shop, I’ve put stone on the walls from the ground to half way up. The top half of the walls I’ve had painted to replicate the half-timbered construction of old England and Europe. I’ve got ivy growing on some of the walls, oak casks  with baskets of colorful flowers standing on either side of the round green door, and an old wooden wheelbarrow full of clay pots near one of the casks.
It’s come a long way, baby, since the days of Boring City!

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Distressed and HAPPY: Flowers and Crafts

Flowers and Crafts

Have you seen the old chest of drawers that’s standing inside my flower shop, a little to the left of the front door?

You know how awesome it looks? All old and wooden and a little distressed with nicks and gouges and stuff like that?

Well, it’s yours truly that gets all the credit. Yep. I am totally going to toot my own horn on this one!!

So, I actually had that chest of drawers in my daughter’s room at home. She moved out and I decided to re-do that room.

I was looking at the chest and realized two things about it. 1) It was actually solid wood (not a whiff of press-board or veneer anywhere), and 2) someone somewhere along the way had painted over that fabulous wood with several coats of white paint.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized I wanted to strip that white paint off, take it down to the original wood, and then stain the dresser. Make it look something like it originally looked. And then bring it over to my slower shop and use it in some mindbendingly clever way.

Well, you know how some projects take on a life of their own and morph into something much bigger than you intended?

Yeah. That’s what happened with The Dresser Refinishing Project.

I got some spray-on stripping stuff at Home Depot. The directions said to spray on a coat, let it sit for 15 minutes, scrape it off, and go on to the next section. Tough spots might need a second application, it said.

Two CANS of the stripper later, and I was still not done! The directions should have said, “Sections that have several coats to remove will resemble the aftermath of a nuclear bomb for several applications before the first glimmer of hope appears that the product will actually work. Keep on keeping on! In three weeks and after many many applications, you will begin to see the original wood.”

I am not one to give up easily. I’ll be honest and say that that dresser sat in my garage for a full month before I finally got it done. Which meant that I couldn’t park my car in there since I had all the drawers standing on their sides on the garage floor, as well as the dresser itself.

The stripper didn’t get all the paint off. It got most of the paint off. But that wasn’t good enough. I couldn’t stain over a surface that was freckeld with white paint.

So then I had to get rough-grit sandpaper, followed by fine-grade sandpaper, and do the whole bursitis-inducing sanding routine.

It was finally all prepped. Paint all gone, surfaces ready to receive stain. And then the rest was easy.

I put on two coats of stain.

Oh, I forgot to tell you that I distressed it before staining it. I took a hammer and chisel and just put in a bunch of gouges and holes. And then stained it. The stain pooled in the dents and gouges and was darker there than the rest of the surfaces.

It came out looking A-W-E-S-O-M-E.

Check it out next time you’re in the shop!

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Map-free: Getting Things Taken Care of



I had a scleral treatment done today.

Okay, I’m just gonna warn you. If you’re grossed out reading stuff about medical procedures and spider veins and stuff like that, you just might want to skip this article. lol
So I’ve inherited from my mother and probably her mother before that the lovely condition of spider veins. On my legs.
No, they’re not varicose veins, they are just these little tiny veins that look like someone has taken a ballpoint pen and drawn a map all over you.
I was talking about these veins with a friend a few years ago. He told me that he had gone to vascular center and gotten a vein issue of his own taken care of there. So I went there to have the treatment done for mine.

It cost about 300 bucks I think or maybe 350. I went into a little room, lay down on an exam table type thing, and spent the next half hour or hour getting pricked about a thousand times with a needle that was injecting a saline solution into the veins.
I walked out of there feeling like a pin cushion. But within about eight or 12 weeks, the saline had done its work and the veins all disappeared.
It really made me feel like a new person.

The veins on my legs had always bothered me, my whole life. I never liked wearing shorts or swimsuits because I was embarrassed about the veins.
Getting a treatment done pretty much gave me a new lease on life. Well, that might be a little dramatic, but at least, it made me much more comfortable in my own skin.
The person that did the procedure told me that I was prone to spider veins and so I should expect them to come back and that I would need to do additional treatments in the future if I wanted to keep them at bay.

So today I went and had another treatment done. It’s been, what did I say, three or four years, since I had the last one done. For the most part my legs have stayed looking pretty good regarding the veins. But there are a few places where they had come back.
So I got that taken care of today. Went to a vein center about an hour away, handed over my money and was taken into a little room where I got the whole thing done again.
The second time around was less stressful than the first because I knew what was happening. This time, before I left, they wrapped my legs completely in compression bandages.

I felt like a mummy walking out of there.
The aftercare routine is easy. I shouldn’t tan or expose my skin to the sun for about 12 weeks. And that’s about it.
I’m glad to have that done and checked off my list.

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