March 2009


Here is a collection of Andy’s photos from his trip around the world. I don’t know Andy , I’ve only spoken to Andy on the phone, one time, he called me from Nepal.  He made me laugh because when I asked him how he found my store in Kirkland, he laughed and said “I just asked around here in Nepal,  and you’re famous here.”  🙂 Funny answer,  What a character!

He told me about his blog, and I became hooked on his adventure.  I think he’s been back for a while now, but I just found all the pictures from his adventures,  I’m excited to browse through them.  I have his blog listed under my favorites, it’s called http://www.goneliving.com.   Enjoy browsing all the different countries.  There are some beautiful photographs.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/downtempo/collections/72157600040657016/

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So many changes have taken place in flower production methods, this frontline pbs video is just one great example of how the world of flowers has changed.   It’s important to ask how the product you buy is produced, not necessarily organic, but humane and ethical treatment of human beings.  I deal with a small farm in Ecuador and they are like my friends, it’s important to me to know they are treated well.

One of my rose farm workers in Ecuador, recently sent me a lovely gift, a piece of woven material made by the indigenous people of the Andes. It is the most beautiful scarf I’ve ever seen.  So fine and delicate, hard to believe that it is hand made.  I asked her to tell me about it, and she said there are lots of little markets, with crafts, and farmers, and this video shows one of them.

I was fascinated to hear the description of the life of a weaver, how it is a way of life, a choice, a tradition, the heritage that they embrace.  I loved this video, and although my cloth did not come from Peru, but Ecuador, the story she told me was similar.  Enjoy

The video is from 4real.c0m a community of individuals from around the world who are passionate about creating social change through action, art, and culture.                          http://www.4real.com

Small business statistics that are mind boggling. There are 27.2 million small businesses in the United States. Between February 2008 and February 2009 one million small business jobs have been lost and estimates call for two million more jobs in small business to be lost by January 2010.  Fortune Small Business magazine reported that 40% of high tech specialists, whether they are scientists, engineers or computer workers, are employed by small business.  The good news shows  a Feb. 2009 survey by WE/Media/Zogby International that 63% of Americans believe that small business owners will lead to US to a better future.

Local small business, it’s the life blood of our country, and I’m on a mission to support them, so for my friends who  are local, here’s some of my top picks!  And for my friends who live all across the country, go search them out in your own neighborhoods and support them!

So this is a great little market that sells local produce, and organic meat.  Lot’s of local history as well.  Check out their philosophy, especially regarding their meat. I really love it, especially  after all the scare about mad cow disease, it’s the next best thing to growing it yourself.

http://www.farmhousemarket.com

Check out the you tube video on painted hills beef site, they do a good job of telling the rancher’s story. I love the hills they have on their site, having seen them first hand, they are perfectly named!  I enjoyed the videos  because it makes me feel good about buying from a group of local families who depend upon my support to feed their families. It kind of reminds  me of our own  families history when my husbands great grandfather ranched and homesteaded in Montana, started the first school on his ranch, after coming here from Slovakia.  It was a hard life, but they survived.

www.paintedhillsnaturalbeef.com

A great local breakfast place, that has been closed for a while and has been remodeled and is re-opening.  Breakfast places are hard to find around here.   When my daughter was young, we had a Sunday morning family  tradition of going out for breakfast to Buds, it was a little hole in the wall place, that everyone went to,  you knew everyone, it had history,  and it was so sad when they closed.  So I am excited that this place is opening back up and bringing back the history and a sense of community back to the valley!
http://www.fcroadhouse.com/aboutus.htm

Another great local business, that has fond memories for our family.  When the kids were in Jr. High school, we heard about this crazy idea, called disco bowling.  All the mom’s were wondering what the heck this was, so we all got together and decided to take the kids bowling, it went kind of late if I remember right.  Of course, the mom’s all had to be “over there” away from the kids.  So we decided to have a few lanes ( quite a few over ) of our own fun Disco music, and the fogger machine.  I’m not sure they still do that, but it’s a great place to take the family.

http://www.techcitybowl.com/

This a charming family owned Italian cafe, with homemade food made fresh daily,  reasonable pricing and a comfortable homey atmosphere.  They carry a great wine selection, and microbrews.  Everyone in town loves this place.  I love it when they have the garlic festival, they pair wine with dishes that are made with lots of garlic and they taste wonderful together.   If you love garlic and Italian, try this place out.

www.frankiesredmond.com/

I noticed that Martha Stewart was promoting paper flowers for decor in the last issue of her wedding magazine.  Thanks Martha!  Then after talking with my nephew the other day, he was telling me he makes a lot of things.  He told me about a magazine called Make. You can take a look at it at http://makezine.com It’s for people who like to make things. I found some interesting things and while  I was browsing I came across ” how to MAKE a dozen roses “for your loved one? At first I thought it was how to arrange a dozen roses, and I thought cool…but that’s not what it turned out to be.

So I thought I’d share these videos of how to make roses, and if after watching them, you think $4.00 is too much for a real rose,  then you should try making your roses.   I guess I prefer the real thing as nature makes it.  Maybe that’s why I’m a florist!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRGSGyXvL_w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZnhMl85dq4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3kb3Q0poAA

Captain Sully started  it when he said ” people really want more good news in their lives”.  Brian Williams of NBC nightly news started asking viewers to suggest good news to report and to pay attention to the positive actions of our friends, family, neighbors and coworkers.   It’s true that positive energy can change the way we view the world.

I’ve been watching the evening news for a few  nights now and really enjoying this new concept of passing on good news.  I don’t get home in time to watch the evening news very often, but in a few moments of time  that I have had recently, I have seen some incredible stories!

One was about a restaurant that feeds people whether they have money or not..the concept was for the customer to pick up a mop and wash the floor, or pick up the dishes and clear the table, all for your meal, or if you can afford it, pay for the guy who came to eat before you who couldn’t afford to pay.  It was an incredible story that made me really appreciate my fellow neighbors.

Then they showed a movie theater that was offering free movie night because he  felt like the public needed to get out and laugh and enjoy their friends and family so  he decided to offer free movie nights.  They showed a steady stream of folks, mom, dad, kids, kids friends, grandma & grandpa, all going to the movies together, and it was completely FREE? I couldn’t believe it! This is the beauty of NOW!

I recently had a customer come into the store and pay for flowers, when I asked who she was sending them to, she said “give them for free to the next person who comes into the stor.”  The next person who came into the store was an elderly woman who was wanting to get a  corsage for her friend who was turning 80 years old.  She was concerned because she did not have a lot of money, but she really wanted to do this for her friend.  So I told her the regular price, and then I said” but for you today it is free!”  She looked so surprised and said, “no she couldn’t let me do that” and then I told her about the woman who had just been in the store and  paid for the next person who came into the store.  You should have seen the tears, and the look of shock on her face.  She told me that  she had prayed for a way to be able to afford to do this, and this was the answer to her prayer.  It was so surprising to me that she was so touched, and it wasn’t even for her, it was for her friend!   That’s good news..so pass it on!

The flour leaf clover, was a symbol of good luck and according to the early Celts it was also an important item to keep you safe from evil spirits. The four leaves symbolized faith, hope, love and luck.  This pagan tradition was continued by early Christian leaders and the three leaf clover eventually became a symbol of the Holy Trinity for the Irish people.

In 1620 according to the University of Illinois, Sir John Melton wrote, ” if a man walking in the fields find any four leaved grass, he shall while after find some good thing.”   It’s estimated that there are 10,000 three leaf clovers for every one four leaf clover. I used to spend hours lying in the grass looking for a four leaf clover, and once in my life I found one! I’m not sure that it brought me any luck, but who’s to say what might have happened if I hadn’t found it! 🙂

Words & Music by Mort Dixon & Harry Woods, 1927
Recorded by Art Mooney, 1948

“I’m looking over a four-leaf clover, that I overlooked before. One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain, Third is the roses that grow in the lane. No need explaining the one remaining is somebody I adore. I’m looking over a four-leaf clover, that I overlooked before.”

I think this was the catchy song for Merrie Melodies cartoons by Warner Brothers,  it’s what I used to hum while looking for the lucky clover.  Thanks to Forest  &  Kim Starr for the use of the photograph! Can you find a four leaf clover in this picture? That is what I used to do as a kid, hours looking in the clover for the one lucky clover!

three-leaf-clover3

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Gr   Growing up Irish, I remember many an Irish tale told in my family.. I’m still afraid to put a hat on the bed..I have no idea why? I still look for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, although I never wanted to meet one of those Leprechauns because I was always told that they were mean spirited fairies who would trick you.  As a kid I always figured if I was given the chance to grab the pot of gold, I could outsmart the Leprechaun, but in all my years I have never been able to get to the end of the rainbow! Have you ever tried that? It’s impossible.  I did like Darby O’Gill and the little people that Disney released when I was 5 years old.

M    My father had a lucky Shillelagh Stick attached to the front of our house, I used to be afraid he might kill himself one day falling off the ladder to retrieve it on St. Patrick’s Day. Little did I know as a child that the Shillelagh Stick was actually a weighted weapon disguised as a walking stick. The skilled use of these hardwood clubs by the people of Shillelagh led to the clubs being called Shillelagh’s by Richard II in 1395.  I’m glad I just thought it was a lucky stick!

th   I think the story about St Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland, might have a different meaning as well, I don’t think that Ireland had snakes. Can some one clarify that one for me? Maybe it had to do with driving the pagan beliefs out of Ireland while ushering in Christianity.

Ir    Irish Music has always been an important part of our family life, a way to pass on generations of stories and history. I spent many nights as a child singing and dancing with my father to Irish music.  Hard to believe that at one point in history, music was outlawed and that Queen Elizabeth I even decreed that all artists and pipers were to be arrested and hanged on the spot. My how times have changes, and I’m glad they have!

Planning your own wedding is not that difficult, but you need to be organized! One of the ways to begin is a nifty trick I learned from my husband.  He was sitting next to a guy on a plane, who basically gave him the lesson that he had learned while getting his MBA.. It was a crazy mini course written out on a napkin, but it works! The lesson was how to plan anything successfully by starting at the end result. The concept is really simple, but it takes practice to learn how to use it.

For example, take the ideas that you have for the perfect wedding, write them down, and brainstorm. At this point it is pure fantasy, it’s just your wish list and dreaming is the first step to getting to the reality of the wedding you actually want. Don’t start with checklists and budgets first, because you will only end up confused and disappointed.

Once you have your fantasies down, try putting them in order of importance. For example, is the ice sculpture or the chocolate fountain more important to you. I encourage my clients to have the wish list and then the must have list. This helps you decide what you can & can’t live without. You have to decide if that couture dress is on the top of the list, or whether the party after the wedding is worth everything to you.

It’s all about prioritizing your wishes first, then getting down to the budget side of things, and bring it all into focus. After you get all your quotes into place, you can organize your plan out and make your decisions based on your highest priorities, which will enable you to cut out what isn’t in the budget.

I encourage all of my brides to keep a folder, with pictures, color swatches, ideas, and even things they don’t like. When my bride shows me the things she doesn’t like, it helps me dial into her style better. Keep a list of all of your contacts and phone numbers and keep a calendar.

Two last comments, if you are planning an elaborate event, I suggest using a wedding planner, it will keep you from having a nervous break down because planning a large event is stressful and a planner is worth every penny! If you are doing it yourself, I suggest you start planning your wedding at least 6 months prior the event date, this also saves you some stress.

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