June 2009

Kirkland, WA – June 11, 2009 – Guests will explore their passions and revel in the presence of true artisans at Kirkland Uncorked, a festival of art, style and taste July 17-19 at Marina Park.

Spend the weekend on the shores of Lake Washington tasting the best the Northwest has to offer in food and wine. Uncorked allows you to taste over 30 Washington wines from the comfort and luxury of Marina Park’s Tasting and Lifestyle Garden. Over 13 restaurants will serve over 10,000 free bite size feasts throughout the weekend. Sample the delectable flavors and see the preparation behind the delicious masterpieces with tips from the chefs themselves during Grilling Demonstrations by Russell Dean Lowell Catering, Tulalip Resort and Casino, Barking Frog, Emmer, and Trellis throughout the weekend. From a sip to a taste, uncorked will tantalize your senses.

The sun won’t be the only thing heating up Marina Park. Watch as Master Chefs Aaron Valimont of Oceanaire Seafood Room, Franz Junga of Il Fornaio, and Scott Lents of bin on the lake go head-to-head in quest of grilling glory during the third annual Grilling Competition Saturday at 5:00pm. Watch as the culinary masterminds turn up the heat and battle to hold the title of “Master of the Grill.”

For those looking for a break from the grape, or in need of more horsepower, both can be found at Kirkland Uncorked. Take a stroll down Kirkland Avenue to view over 60 plus artists. From jewelry to paintings, the street will be turned into an art lover’s paradise. The Seattle Boat Show makes port at Kirkland Uncorked’s Marina Park all weekend; these posh yachts welcome guests aboard for tours and a sneak peak into a floating life of luxury. Also sailing to the shores of Marina Park will be the Tall Ship Lady Washington, known as the official ship of the State of Washington. Guests can purchase Sunset and Adventure sails on the historical ship throughout the weekend. On Sunday, the Kirkland Classic Car Show will feature hundreds of classic hotrods painting their own pictures of style and power.

Even local hotels are getting on-board with the Uncorked festivities! They’re offering guests unique “Uncorked Staycation” packages and amenities such as a complimentary water taxi to the festival.

To learn more about the Kirkland Uncorked wines, restaurants, art and hotel packages, or to purchase advance tickets for the Tasting and Lifestyle Garden visit www.kirklanduncorked.com.


If you are a bride and planning a wedding, I post this as a friendly reminder that being nice is a good thing, and if you are a wedding vendor, remember that you can’t always make everyone happy.

Your wedding day..it’s supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life. Most brides are the nicest sweetest people, but there are always a few that get overwhelmed with the pressure of planning, the expectations from all their friends, and the whole exhausting process.  Why is it that weddings can make some women go crazy? The technical term for it is Bridezilla, a word used to describe a difficult bride.  As a bridal vendor, I have to remind myself that there is no way to satisfy a person like this, and sometimes I have to just chill, take a deep breath and remind myself that the insanity is only temporary.  I’ve been lucky enough to only have had to deal with a few of these types of brides in my floral career.  But it is true that the process of planning a wedding can turn the sweetest bride into a cranky mean person.  Luckily they are far & few between.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to be obsessed temporarily, everyone wants to have the perfect wedding.  But it’s only one day out of a lifetime of memories together.  That’s where the real focus should be.  The life you end up sharing together will not be defined by the wedding ceremony.

Colorful summer wedding

Colorful summer wedding

Here’s a colorful summer wedding, the girls are wearing blue, so we will really be adding a lot of color to make everything look like a hot summer wedding!  The bride will have all these flowers and color combinations, and the girls will be various combos of two colors, with orange being the predominate common thread to all the bouquets.  I love all the bright summery color!

Dahlias, freesia, roses, hydrangea, stock, delphinium, and yarrow

If you are visual, try putting your own color board together in Picasa, it helps give you an idea of how the colors blend.  Have fun, choosing you colors!

more colorful bouquets

Flowers by Brittany™

Flowers by Brittany™

Flowers by Brittany™

Finding your voice..it is what makes for good design

The design business is about breaking the boundaries and defying the norm.  No one wants “boring” design. In order to stand out in this business, you need to have a voice, one that shows in your work. What do you hate? What inspires you? What would you do that is different from everyone else? It’s the challenge that makes us work harder. We strive every day to find our…voice and shout it out in our design! If you are a writer, a painter, a chef, an architect, an interior designer,  fashion designer, a garden designer…or any other type of artist/designer, it applies!

If someone just wants flowers, they can swing by the grocery store and pick up a boring flower bouquet.  But if you are sending a gift, and you want your gift to show care, pizzazz, and the passion of floral design then you use a floral designer. Find a designer that has a style that you love, one that you trust to listen to your wishes and carry out your requests, but on the other side, give them some creative freedom to make something beautiful for you.

I’ve been struck twice this week by the struggle of sharing our voice & giving our customer what they want.  A customer came in the store, and said “  Wow, I love your style!”  I was working on a memorial piece that a person ordered off my website, so in effect I had to design by the photo.  I was surprised when the customer said  “my style”  because it was not “my style” at all.  I call it a design by numbers. (remember paint by number art?)  Just looking at a picture and making the design is not really designing to me.  I did change it up a bit for the person, by adding their favorite flowers and adding some custom colors to it. I do it because some people want to know exactly what their flowers are going to look like before they order them.  I use my website for reference, just to get a sense of what my customer likes and does not like, then I suggest they leave it up to the designer.

I was telling one of our designers the other day, that I thought the wedding bouquet she was working on was too structured and too tight for what the bride wanted. The bride was asking for a casual garden look.  Her response was “I don’t like garden arrangements, because they look messy and unkempt to me.”  I was reminded again that this was not her style, so she was struggling with doing what the bride wanted.

It’s what makes our job as floral designers so difficult; we have to allow our voice to shine through in our work while meeting the expectations of our customers at the same time. It’s a tough balancing act and  then to complicate matters, we need to stay on top of new trends, colors, and new styles and find our own signatures that make people want to come to us for flowers.  My style is bold and bright colors and lots of texture.  I love unusual flowers, and I do not like filler weedy looking flowers. I am an artist, a nature lover, and a gardener (hence why I hate weeds J) My other designer is young and loves modern and stylized, tropical, and anything unusual.  She is an artist, a painter, and a musician, very urban.  The wilder and crazier the design the more she likes it.  We’re different, but we balance each other out pretty well.

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