January 2009


I guess the voting won’t be for a while but here is a link  http://www.project10tothe100.com/index.html if you want to read up about the project and vote, pick your favorite, or come up with your own idea which will benefit mankind!

I recently heard about one idea that I thought was pretty cool!  The guy is from Seattle and he has submitted a prototype of a wind generator called “The Jellyfish”.  His premise is pretty easy, he wanted something that was simple, something that any one could use, something as simple as plugging in your hair dryer.   Check it out and learn more about it and then vote in the google contest.   There is a you tube video of the project that I like,  his name is Chad Maglaque and the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7sZr5y0QLc is here.  What I really love about his idea is that it produces 40 kilowatt hours of wind generated power,  which is enough to light your house.  He says the prototype can be made out of a ceiling light fan, or any similar type motor, his target selling price is $400 bucks.  Seattle City light has already contacted him and they are expressing an interest because his idea means that every kilowatt hour a customer can generate is one less that the power company has to generate.

I really love googles basic idea behind the contest, which is that every oneof us can help, we all have ways to help, but what will help the most? It’s a brilliant concept, and it’s a terrific way to get us all involved helping one and other just for the benfit of mankind! I’d love to hear about any other ideas folks are finding that are being submitted to the contest.  We are only limited by our imagination!

Floral Design trends for 2009 and things we plan to focus on this year.

Grace…..We plan to stick with classic, graceful, elegant & tasteful designs.  High quality will be a top priority, because I believe it is important to our clients. I myself am tired of buying things that are poorly made, and don’t last more than 1 or 2 uses. A great example of this frustration, was when we recently purchased some colored glass cubes to do floral arrangements in and were  so disappointed to find out that as soon as they got wet, the color “film” came off. It’s completely irritating to me, that someone  would take so little pride in their product that they would manufacture it that poorly.  Our goal this year is to reward suppliers who care about quality as much as we do. Wish us luck!

Calm…We want to reflect the joy of life, if we are successful, this attitude will show up in our floral designs. We will strive for calm, natural, creative and uncomplicated designs with a focus on simplicity.

Minimalist… as always we tend to lean towards a modern approach in our floral design studio, and this year we will focus on contrast, nature, functionality, and a flair towards organic. Not necessarily organic in the sense that everything we use is organic, but more towards a sense of natural materials, wood, feather, string, grass, twigs, herbs, brown unbleached paper, & plants.

Cheerful… Let’s face it, flowers are romantic! Our designs should reflect creativity, cheerfulness, romance, and fun! Romantic,  full of life, delicate & fresh..will be the foundation for many of our new designs this year.

With Valentines Day approaching, and it ranking as one of our busiest days of the whole year, it reminds me that we are in the business of DELIVERING flowers.  We have often discussed with our employees on how to be careful about making people feel vulnerable when you are approaching their home with a flower delivery gift.  You have to admit, that it is a bit weird to have a stranger approach your door, especially in this  economic climate and when it is some times after dark that we knock on your door.

We see  it everyday, with elderly folks, single women, children, etc.. they all act a little afraid when you ring the bell and tell them you have a flower delivery.  More times than not, they do not answer the door.   I really  agree with them and I understand it completely.  It’s why we are forced to leave flowers at the door now more than ever.  Many times my driver will tell me,  that he knows people are home, but they will not answer the door.  Then as he is leaving the driveway they will open the door and retrieve their gift.  It is a good thing to always use caution, maybe now more than ever.  I am starting to call now before I go, just so I don’t scare people when I knock on the door.  I always ask my clients if I can call first. I know some think it spoils the surprise, but now you know the flip side of that.  🙂

We have all heard stories about fake delivery men using flowers as a ploy to gain access to your house, or to use them to plan a robbery. The craziest thing I recently read was a story on the human flower project site about a bank robber who used a boxed flower delivery to rob a bank.  They shipped the flowers to the bank and then called the bank to tell them that the box contained a bomb.  It’s totally nuts what folks can dream up. Wow… how to take a thing of beauty and turn it into garbage, it’s amazing to me.

My main reason for mentioning this was, the funniest thing I recently read, was about how the police were trying to figure out how to gain access to a drug house and came up with the great idea of using a flower delivery as a ploy! Now mind you, this does nothing to make my job of DELIVERING flowers any easier, but I thought it was a brilliant twist !  The drug dealers opened the door immediately and allowed the police access!  LOL!  Just goes to show you the power of flowers! Be careful out there!

I was recently reminded to look at my city through the eyes of someone who doesn’t live here! I realize that it’s an amazing city with so many wonderful things to do, and I tend to take it for granted, but I am lucky to live here.

If you are planning a visit the the Seattle area any time soon, you should add Kirkland to your list of places to come visit.  We are only about 20 minutes from downtown Seattle.  ( well depending upon traffic, I guess )

The Space Needle

If you plan a trip in the summer you can experience the summer concerts at the marina which boast beautiful sunsets overlooking the water, it is just the best evening you can imagine! I was lucky enough to have friends visit from California, and they really helped me see my city through new eyes. I was even lucky enough to benefit from the picnic dinner that they brought out to the marina, a boxed sampler from Beechers hand made cheeses, which is located at Pikes Market in Seattle.  It’s  funny, I live here, and I didn’t even know that Beechers did boxes to go. It was a spectacular evening and it really made me appreciate my city!

Kirkland Marina area

We have a terrific performing arts center, a ton of art galleries, quaint shops and just plain friendly people. I love the way everyone walks every where,  it doesn’t even matter if it’s raining, we are walkers.  Come for a visit if you can, we are a warm and welcoming city!

We are only about 15 minutes from some of the big wineries and breweries, Woodinville as small suburb like Kirkland, has created a whole area of wineries and quaint places to visit.

If you just travel an hour and 1/2 to the north you’ll be at the  tulip fields and the tulip festival ( check the dates, for the Skagit county tulip festival, before you plan your trip) , and go two hours south to Mt. Rainier National park,  or two hours  east the other direction the the Olympic National park.  If you have never been, it will blow you away with it’s natural beauty.  If you like hiking, you will love these places which are full of natural  beauty, hot springs, and wildlife.

If winter fun is your thing, we have that  too! You can go to Snoqualmie pass for skiing, hit the new Snoqualmie Casino for food and fun on your way back , and stop by and enjoy  the breathtaking Snoqualmie Falls which is  famous for it’s beautiful views and great hiking trails! What a way to spend the day!

Snoqualmie Pass

The next day you could head north to Stevens pass and ski there and then go on in to the town of  Leavenworth which is only about 30 minutes over  Stevens pass. It’s a quaint Barvarian village, with lots of things to explore.

I don’t think that many people realize how close everything is to explore here.  I guess if you have never been here before  you don’t realize how easy it is to hit alot of places.  I know when I travel and end up in a new town it is tough to figure out what there is to do.

I know I didn’t really think about it until my friends came to visit and I became the tour guide. We have many things so very close and with really easy access.  The best time to come is in the spring & summer, unless you are a skier and like the snow ( and the rain )

Here are some links to some great places to visit..and don’t forget to visit me if you are in the area:

http://explorekirkland.com

http://www.nps.gov/mora/

http://www.tulipfestival.org/

http://www.leavenworth.org/modules/pages/index.php?pageid=1

http://www.beechershandmadecheese.com/

http://snocasino.com/index.php#/

http://www.snoqualmiefalls.com/

http://www.spaceneedle.com/

http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/locations/kl.html

http://www.nps.gov/olym/

The largest complaint I hear from new customers is that “flowers don’t last”   I am a firm believer that the first impression is a lasting impression and that quality should be first & foremost.

I’m in a business where nature has a way of doing what it wants, and sometime we can’t always tell if it’s been raining in California and the stock is saturated and going to mold really fast. Or the lilies were cut in South America before they were ready, and the pods just wither & die instead of blooming beautiful like they should. As florists we do our best to keep a watchful eye and only sell the very best quality, but nature can fool even us sometimes! I’ve learned to tell even by feel sometimes.  Everyone in the shop laughs at me  &  calls me the flower whisperer, but I swear I can tell if a lily or a hydrangea is good just by the way it feels when I open the box.

Hydration and keeping the cold chain are two of the most important aspects to flower longevity that a flower shop has the responsibility to carry out.  I used to work with a gal who always had her flowers in a bucket at her design station, and it used to bother me because for every day that a flower is out of the cooler sitting in a bucket on the floor it is one less day the customer gets to enjoy it’s beauty.  This is why grocery store flowers don’t always last very long. If a flower has a 7 day lifespan and 5 of it’s days are spent sitting on the floor in a bucket, when you buy it, you have 2 days left to enjoy it.  When flowers are kept at 35-40 degrees, it puts them into a type of suspended animation, kind of like a dormancy. So long as they are dormant, they aren’t decaying.  Once a flower is cut,  & as soon as it wakes up in the heat, it’s starts the natural process of decaying.

Every flower has a different lifespan, some are short, some last hours, some maybe 2-3 days, some are 5-7 days and others are 10-15 days.  As a florist, I try to combine arrangements so that all the flowers do not die all at one time. You can maximize vase life by pulling out each flower as it fades, keeping your flowers in a cool place, and always making sure that the water level stays to the top of the vase.  Even as a florist I am always surprised how fast flowers drink up the water.  Roses in particular, can drink half a vase of water overnight.  If they run out of water, even for a just a bit, they will die.  That is the biggest thing you can do to help add extra vase life to your cut flower arrangements.

If you are cutting flowers from your garden, cut them in the coolest part of the day, and place them in water immediately, you will get extra long life by doing this.  If you think of your flowers as living breathing things, and treat them as such, you will benefit from extra long lasting flowers. It is even beneficial to mist them when it is extra warm in the house, they absorb the moisture through the petals and leaves too!

I hope this helps you to extend the life of your cut flower arrangements and get the best value for the money!

Well I am not sure what I have to say about the December weather…except that delivering  flowers in the snow and ice is really an unpleasant job! Thank you to everyone who showed patience! It really ranks as the worst weather in December that we have ever had!

So now, it’s January, and life goes on….how many inches of rain can you get in a day??? It’s scary that I live in Seattle and even I am asking this question, but a  three day total of 14-16 inches? That’s just nuts? I am so sorry for my many friends who have floating chairs and sofas in their living rooms right now, and of course I can’t even complain about the floods that are making it impossible for me to get to my customers homes to deliver flowers.

I am so used to the rain, but this is starting to bother me! The only way out of  Seattle right now is by airplane,  thank goodness that Horizon Air has added additional flights,  or travelers could not even get out right now. As great as Amtrak is,  the tracks are under water, the Interstate is under water, and most local roads in the county are under water…thank goodness I live on a hill, and have a road that goes around it all for access.  I think the only happy ones  right now are the frogs..since they love the rain 🙂

Thank goodness I have a weather plan:  Firewood, candles, matches,  mah jong, a pot of soup, bread  & my neighbors!

I think we all need to think about basic things we need for survival, I never really worry or think about it, but when the Interstate  shuts down, trucking stops, and so do deliveries to the stores.  I guess when you live at the farthest end of the chain, maybe you feel it more.  I’m starting to think more about taking care of my brother!  I don’t really have a brother, but you know what I mean?  It is becoming more clear to me that “it’s a small world after all”.

http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/sew/