Monday, September 29, 2008

Vendor Profile :: Arrowhead Golf Course

Ok, so I'm skipping ahead of posting the London photos to post some photos from the wedding we did at Arrowhead last Sunday.
Cute, Cute, Cute!

The aisle is lined with pomanders and the center is filled with red rose petals.

The pomanders are made of orange, rust, green and burgundy mums and attached to the chairs with sage green ribbon.

Elevated centerpieces of sunflowers, mums, seeded eucalyptus, snapdragons, dahlias, callas, green hydrangea, green hypericum berries and curly willow.

Jennalyn carried a handtied bouquet of green hydrangea, seeded eucalyptus, sunflowers w/o their yellow petals, callas, green cymbidiums, fern fronds (uhule curls) and dahlias.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Day 4 - Paula Pryke

wahhh... class is OVER! I've been looking forward to taking this class since February and thought for sure 4 days could pass slowly but, no, these four days flew by.

Today Anita kept us very busy and entertained with event design work. We all got to make two arrangements each and Paula let us use her favorite containers (and keep) that she picked up in France awhile ago. Everyone felt very privileged. I did only bring the one arrangement back to Emma & Mark's flat, after all it is starting to look like a flower shop in here! They've been very gracious and understanding of my floral obsession.
Anita did an amazing job of building very large entry way pieces, mantle arrangements, elevated centerpieces, garlands and centerpieces. She moves with amazing speed, I honestly couldn't say how many arrangements she actually made today. Once I'm back in Colorado I will post the photos and give a recap of the arrangements.
I did purchase two of Paula's new books - one about table centerpieces and the other about wreaths. I think it is possible that I have a complete collection of her books. She did sign these two new ones which is quite nifty.

So now what?? Well, tomorrow I have all day free in London and I think Em and I will do the tourist thing, at least we'll have afternoon tea. Then on Sunday back to Denver, Chad has sent numerous texts with updates on our "kids", he insists they all miss me. ;)

What I'm wondering - is?! Does anyone think the girls will meet me at the door on Monday morning with biscuits and tea??? I have been quite spoiled this week. :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day 3 - Paula Pryke

Ok, really, how is it Thursday night ALREADY?!?!? Didn't I just arrive in London??

So a recap of the week thus far.
Tuesday I made my way across town to class and arrived to a lovely tea/coffee time and an introduction to my classmates. There are two Americans, two Canadians, 2 Romanians, 4 South Koreans and the remaining gals are from England. Everyone is great fun to hang out with.
We soon settled into our seats and in walked Paula to get the class started, very exciting feeling when this flower guru walked in! She told us about her business, the changes the floral industry is facing these days and what we can expect to learn at school this week.

(Ok, dinner has arrived, will have to finish up with post in a bit - btw the camera isn't working so well so the picture sharing is on hold til I return to states)

During our introduction a semi-truck pulled up and we went to check it out - basically the truck loads up from Holland and then drives around London to drop off the flowers. Amazing, absolutely amazing. So much variety and soooo fresh. The Denver wholesalers are going to be surprised to see how these flowers are set up, I'm sure. After our visit with the truck wholesaler we headed back in for a demonstration. Paula did European hand-tied bouquets for a bit then we headed in for lunch. This could be a good time to mention what amazing spreads they put out for lunch everyday. Catered food with tons of variety. Plus, quite a few breaks for tea/coffee and cookies/biscuits. During the afternoon we all got to make two handtieds each. We were quite the site walking to the tube with our arms full of flowers.

Tuesday we returned to the flower school and Paula demonstrated all her famous centerpieces. We made two designs, first one a candle ring which at the end of the day got donated to Emma's co-worker. The second arrangement was my favorite - green cymbidiums and red dahlias.
Tuesday night was a late night for us, as Em and Mark took me to see Jersey Boys - a very good production. Glad I got some theatre while here in London.

Wednesday morning, which felt really early after the late night out on Tuesday, we met at the London flower market at 7:30am. I was up and out the door before Em & Mark were even awake. Thank goodness for the tube with such easy to use service.
Anywhooo.. the market is to die for! Ok, I'll say that it is quite similar to San Francisco's flower market (where I used to shop) but nowadays I'm using wholesalers in Denver so it was quite fun to be back in a market full of vendors. Sooo much selection. Tons and I mean TONS of dahlias, a rainbow of dahlias and callas so tall and vivid colors. I will say though that they don't have as many rose choices as we have. They get their roses from England/Holland and Americans get roses for South America. I definitely prefer our south American roses.

>>>Em just sent a message that I'm to meet her at Harrods (I'm such a tourist), so I'll have to continue this post later.....

I'm back and it is now Saturday morning, my goal is to finish this entry before arriving back in Denver. :)
So back to the London market - yes, I really prefer our South American roses, they are much larger, stronger stems and tons more varieties of colors. For instance, I haven't seen one Black Magic or Circus or Confetti rose all week! That's almost a form of torture....
What perhaps got me even more than the selection of to-die for flowers was the to-die for selection of hard goods. I could have gone on a shopping frenzy! They had a ton of great props, large candelabras, vases in every color you could imagine, all kinds of mosses/tree barks/dried pieces, etc.
I'm not sure how long we were at market, maybe two hours or so? Then we were loaded into a van and transported across town to the flower school. All us gals did say it was nice to be in a van and not underground, it was a nice sunny day.
When we got to school on Thursday we had a new instructor, Anita. Anita has worked for Paula for around 13 years I think she said. Our Thursday concentration was wired & taped work. Not exactly my favorite thing as the girls at Bella Fiori would attest to. We made pomanders, halos (called head-dresses here), boutonnieres and corsages. Oh yea, not my cup of tea. Although it was a good reminder on how to do this type of work. Although Thursday evening it was quite easy to transport our goodies home as I wasn't carrying large pieces and scattering flowers all over the tube.
Then before you knew it, it was Friday and the last day of class. Friday's story is continued in the next posting.

On a side note, when Emma and I got home last night I showed her my two new books (which are nicely signed by Paula) and she looked at me and giggled and said - you sure have an obsession.

I can't deny it, I really, really love flowers.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hello from London!

I'm here, safe and sound ... perhaps not completely adjusted to the time difference though... I made it across London on the tube and had lunch with a friend and I'm now back at her flat relaxing.

Tomorrow my class with Paula Pryke starts! I've been looking forward to taking this class for the past 8 months and can hardly believe it is finally here. I'm so very excited to be here in London and taking a 4 day class with one of the top floral designers in the world! At least, I think she is one of the best in the world. :)

I am hoping to be able to post the photos I take at the end of each day. I guess we'll have to see if my friend's Mac likes my camera?? Otherwise, there will be one large post when I return to the states.

Would you like more information about Paula, her flower shop or her design classes? Here's a link to her website:
Paula Pryke Flowers

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fossil Trace - Golden

To say that Sharilee's wedding was unique, fun, edgy or bold would be an understatement! Sharilee came to us with a love of design and the color red. Michelle and I had a great time designing her pieces and loved the red, red, red everywhere in the ballroom at Fossil Trace Golf Course in Golden.
Here's some shots from her wedding:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

IKEA is coming to Denver

This is great and exciting news! IKEA has so many great vases, votives, candles, and other fun things to decorate events....

IKEA, the Swedish home furnishings retailer, is coming to Colorado.

A 400,000-square-foot store will be built on 13.5 acres along the western side of Interstate 25 in the Park Meadows area, accessible from connections to the Dry Creek Road or County Line Road exits, the company said in a news conference this morning at the Centennial City Hall.

The opening date was not announced.

Store plans reflect the same unique architectural design for which IKEA stores are known worldwide.

The proposed store would be the first in Colorado. Now the closest outlet for the popular retailer is in Draper, Utah.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Just another day at Bella Fiori

A few months ago whenever we encountered a strange moment at work Sarah would say - "Just another day at Bella Fiori". I think all of us girls say that every week now :)
A list of our top moments in the past 5+ years:
1) My friend's wedding where prior to ceremony her officiant stepped on the train of her dress and caused a 5" tear in the back. Turns out I can sew! Greg at Willow Ridge Manor handed over a sewing kit and I got to work on sewing the hole closed before ceremony started!
2) Another time at Willow Ridge when a groomsman didn't try on his pants before the wedding day and on the day of he realized they were 6" too long. Greg handed me a bunch of safety pins and I went to work on hemming up his pants. (I thought we only did flowers?)
3) A wedding at Donovan's Pavilion in Vail - the three tiered cake shows up in boxes in the back of a bridesmaid's car. Luckily, those Wilton cake decorating classes I took while in college came back to me - I remembered how to assemble the pillars and keep the cake from sliding off.
4) Last December 30 at Boettcher Mansion we had a 6pm ceremony with a chuppah setup outside. The winds were blowing 30-50 mph that day and it was freezing cold. Michelle stayed strong with me as we stood outside in our skiing/snow gear and held onto that chuppah til ceremony could get started. (It did manage to blow over once).

Oh, I'm sure we've had some other crazy moments, these four are just my most memorable. I'll be sure to ask the girls this coming week while we prepare flowers for next weekend and post their stories.

I hope everyone is enjoying this lovely September, I know I'm glad to see some cooler temps. ;) I'll try to get some more photos posted from the previous weeks - we've just been so busy with weddings, corporate events, lots of birthday parties and our big move! The next two weeks we have some cool weddings to work on and then on September 21 I catch a flight to London where I'll be taking a week long class with Paula Pryke - my favorite floral designer in the world!


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