Monday, May 31, 2010

4th Street Lilac Festival

Yesterday, I was at the Calgary 4th Street Lilac Festival with my awesome jewelry designer friend, Clara at Miko Design. This was the 21st annual Lilac Festival. It is held every year in May regardless of weather. This year, I have got to say was freezing cold. I was there for 10.5 hours and was cold and shivering for 10.25 hours.

Needing an excuse to hang out with Clara, I offered to decorate her booth for her. The booth was well received by Clara and a lot of customers. Many made a point of saying it was one of the nicest booths at the festival. This morning, Clara sent me the sweetest email thanking me for my d├ęcor and said she couldn’t have made her sales without my help. I told her that she made her sales entirely based on the gorgeous jewelry she made.

All of Clara’s jewelry is handmade by her. She designs and creates them from beginning to end. Each piece of jewelry is truly a labor of love by her. I was in love with so many pieces of her jewelry! I finally settled on a pair of sterling silver earrings. Aren’t they lovely? Check out Clara’s website if you would like a piece of gorgeous jewelry too. Her jewelry is available at Purr, Epsy, I Appeal, and Rewind Clothing. Clara will have an online store on her website soon. You know what that means….shopping will be available 24/7.

Friday, May 21, 2010

White Roses and Blue Delphiniums Bouquet

For those that don’t know already, I have a very “can do” attitude. I take on most tasks that gets handed to me and I try my very best on all of them. Two weeks ago I did a floral bouquet and boutonniere for a friend’s friend (bride). My friend told me that the bride wanted a bouquet with white roses and blue flowers. True blue flowers are very hard to come by. I ended up suggesting and making her bouquet with delphiniums.

(Tip: If you plan on using flowers that have been dyed a specific color, do not let it touch you or your wedding gown. The colors will bleed. Try wrapping the stems with saran wrap right before you walk down the aisle to prevent any mishaps. This is not tacky, it is smart and your guests won’t notice.)

Making bouquets are tricky because there are so many different factors that you cannot always account for. The first difficulty I had to deal with was the lack of flower supply. The bride’s wedding was on the same weekend as Mother’s Day. The second difficulty I had was that some of the flowers were cut prematurely to service the demand. (Ha! This is the second time I am talking about economics on my blog. My professor would be so proud that some of his teachings did stick with me.)

The delphiniums that I bought only had about 40% of them open. So, I had to cut the top of the flower stems off because I did not want unopened buds. Of course, I also had to cut off all the bottom leaves too. What I had left was a pretty bare (and naked) branch with a couple of opened flowers. After I put the bouquet together, I further cut off the flowers to trim down the bouquet to make its shape. There were so many flower buds on my table that just didn’t make the “cut” (or it did).

Here are some pictures.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Growing Your Own Centerpieces

Ok, I am not quite “Little Miss Green Thumbs” yet…but I am working towards it. My last post about the cost of flowers inspired me to write this one. Another great way of saving money for wedding flowers is to grow them yourself. Of course, this is easier if you are already a great gardener. For the rest of us, I don’t think this is a mission impossible task. We just might have to leave enough time for trial and error and maybe grow hardier plants (that don’t need sun or water). There has to be some of those out there.

The cost of growing your wedding flowers is minimal. You just need to purchase some pretty pots (greatest expense), soil, seed, and water. You can calculate what your time is worth too, but I don’t think you will be reimbursed. If growing a centerpiece from seed sounds intimidating, you can go to a gardening center to buy plants and flowers that have already started growing. The cost is a little more but still a lot lower than purchasing fresh flower arrangements.

I think the easiest centerpiece to grow would be wheat grass. (It has to be easy. It has the word “grass” in it.) For those that don’t know what wheat grass is, it is the grass that Jugo Juice cuts, and juices into a little shot glass. It is deep green in color and taste like what you imagine it to drinking grass. provides some tips on growing your own wheat grass. After choosing a container, fill it to about 1” below the top of the rim with pre-moistened soil, compost or potting mix. Make sure whatever you chose doesn't contain any artificial fertilizers or chemicals. (This is important especially if you plan on juicing the wheat grass after the wedding.) Chose a food grade organic seed that is meant for sprouting. Cover the top of the container with wheat seed, press them into the soil, cover the seeds with a light layer of potting mix or soil, and water. The soil should be kept moist at all times. An easy solution would be to cover the container with a plastic bag or film.

Now that may sound like a lot of work but you should see sprouts emerge in about 3-4 days and in 7-10 days it should be the perfect height for a centerpiece. If you don’t want to leave it right up to the wedding date, grow it in advance and “mow” it right before the wedding.

Here are some inspiration pictures. The first two pictures are from The Knot. I don’t know the source of the last one. (If you know, please contact me and I will make the appropriate reference.)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Real Cost of Wedding Flowers

It doesn’t matter whether or not have planned a wedding or attended one before, I am sure everyone knows that flowers cost a lot of money. Personally, I don’t think that florists and suppliers are out to “get” you (financially) when you tell them you would like to purchase some flowers for a wedding.

The cost of flowers (not necessarily just for weddings) depends on two factors. The first factor is the actual price of flowers. Prices of flowers fluctuate depending on a lot of factors. The most recent example would be the flights and cargo shipments that were cancelled or delayed from Europe due to the volcanic ash. What this means to the floral industry is: Holland could not ship out any flowers to North America. Probably the only thing I learned in my University Economics 201 class (that was taught on the first day) is when supply goes down, demand goes up. Subsequently, the prices are also driven up, up, up.

The second factor that affects the pricing of wedding flowers is the labor involved. To the untrained eye, the bride’s bouquet looks like a bunch of flowers just gathered together and tied with a pretty ribbon. It is not quite that “ta-da!” easy. Putting together a bouquet requires a lot time to prep the flowers. In case you haven’t noticed, roses have thorns on them; roses in bouquets don’t. Guess what happened in between? The florist removed all of them, they didn’t just fall off. After the flowers are prep, they have to be arranged and held into place. Three steps sound easy, but it is not!

Some tips on saving costs on your wedding flowers:

  1. Choose flowers that are in season. If you want tulips (a spring flower) for your wedding in December, it can be done, but at a cost to you.
  2. Choose common flowers. By no means am I saying you have to choose a bouquet that everyone (and I mean everyone) has. Similar flowers can have entirely different looks when used with other complementary flowers. No two bouquets will look exactly the same.
  3. Choose a common color of flower. Ok, hear me out on this one. White, pink, red roses are readily available. A black rose, not really. However once again, it can be done, but at a cost to you.
  4. Choose a simple bouquet design. Posy bouquets are less expensive as compared to a cascading bouquet. The more intricate the design, the more of a cost to you.
  5. Choose a florist that likes you. He/she will have more a reason to help you with your wedding budget.

Here are some beautiful bouquets from The Knot for you to drool over and guess the price and labor involved in making them. Enjoy!

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