Commitments – the follow up

I really can’t believe a month has gone by and that we are heading into the final months of the year.  Crazy.

Journal 1My month of commitments to myself was a struggle at times.  Mostly with setting aside the time commitments.  At the same time, it was extremely rewarding in other areas.   Sometimes the simplest task that was completed would bring the most reward because it was something I had avoided or put off.

The biggest struggle for me was on the business side.  After working an 8-hour day, the last thing I wanted to do was to think about work again.  The 4 hours a week I set aside was too ambitious.   Trying to keep to the days and times I had allocated was extremely hard to do.  I needed rethink my commitment…augment it in some way.   I never quite got anything concrete down.  However, because I recognized my struggle, thoughts of the business were forefront in my mind more so than ever.  Lists were made, marketing plans in place, and increased social media presence.  I didn’t abandon it completely.  I just did things in littler chunks of time.  Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out how to fit all this into my schedule in bigger chunks.  Where there is a will, there is a way, though, and I am hopeful to get this working smoothly.

Journal 2As for the personal side…well that just went splendidly.  Every morning I sat down for 20 minutes and wrote in my journal reflecting on the previous day and looking forward to the day ahead.   Within my journaling, I would make a daily commitment to myself.  Sometimes it was the same commitment day after day because I wanted it to become a habit.   One day I was running late and I only had 12 minutes to write.  I got in such a dither about it.  Such a silly thing to be worked up over but nonetheless, I was quite upset.  Once I got myself controlled, I made a commitment to make up the time later that night.  And guess what?  I did!  By taking 20 minutes each day I learned and gained so much.

  1. A better understanding on how I sometimes go blindly through the day without being present. Ask me at the end of the day how it was, who I saw, or what I did, I would struggle to recall. Because I wasn’t present in the moment.
  2. By reflecting on the previous day and the way I felt, I could change up the current day.
  3. There were several times I would say “no” to something during the day because that morning I had made a commitment.  I set goals that push me further yet are easily attainable.
  4. I always wrote the next day’s date on the top of the next page.  This would just reinforce that I was going to write again the following day.

All-in-all, I think this was a very successful journey and I will definitely continue to make commitments to myself…and keeping them.

If you made a commitment to yourself this month, I would love to hear about it.  We can all learn from each other.

Now…we need some flowers to look at.

Fall Flowers

May your day be filled with beautiful flowers!

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Fall Tea Time

This past weekend I held a small, intimate tea party.  My brain has been clicking away for months on a table design.  I really have two designs floating around in my head, but the other is for an event being held in November…so I have to file that one away for later.

Fall Tea Time 1

Before putting the linens on, I like to do a mock layout. I even take a picture so I can remember what I did.

I can’t tell you how happy I am that the use of metals are popular in design.  I love the shiny and new just as much as the dull and rustic.  Copper being my favorite metal…but as I said…that’s for a different design (hint hint).  This past weekend’s design is focusing on galvanized steel.  Very popular with the farmhouse and vintage look.   I’ve been gathering pieces here and there for various projects, but for this I wanted to create a vignette of all my pieces put together for a fun, eclectic look.  This isn’t all of my collection either.  I have a few bigger pieces and had thought I’d do some stacking, however the bigger pieces were just too large for the table.

 

 

For the dinnerware, I used my Crate & Barrel everyday set with a mix of cream and grey.   Cups and saucers are from Sur La Table and have become by “go to” set when my design will not work with my mix and match sets.

Fall Tea Time 2The flatware is my vintage set that were given to me by my Bedstemor (grandmother).   Can you see the teaspoons at the top of the plates?  (see picture below) These swan head spoons originate from Aarhus, Denmark and were brought over by my Tante Kisten (great great aunt) when she moved to the US from Denmark.   They are probably one of my favorite things I possess.  In fact, both times I’ve been to Denmark, I’ve looked for more, but have yet to find any.  Someday I’ll track more down.

I found galvanized steel initials (Michaels) for each of my guests which I used as place markers on the table.  Wrapped with a little orange twine to add a little pizazz and to pull the color scheme together.

Fall Tea Time 3Yellow and orange flowers give the dull grey metal an eye-popping contrast of color.  The sunflowers and solidago are in a corrugated tin container.  I wasn’t quite sure that it was waterproof, so I inserted a bowl with a ball of florist wire (chicken wire).  The wire became my structure for holding the heavy sunflowers.   I use a pin frog to place the marigolds in their container.  This is the first time I’ve used the florist wire and the pin frog in my designs.  I’ll be using them more in future designs in lieu of floral foam.  I would like to move away from using the foam as it isn’t good for the environment.

 

The overall look of the table was fresh, bright and cheery.   A great transition from summer into fall.

 

May your day be filled with beautiful flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

Commitments

The very word “commitment” can be either scary or a comfort.  It can be both hard and easy to do.  It can be a burden or self-fulfilling.  With just one word, so many feelings arise usually based on whether you are doing the committing or are the receiver of a commitment.

Now you may think I’m talking about marriage since I’m a florist, but I’m speaking about a broader scope and more precisely about commitments to one self.  It is easier for us to make and keep commitments to others.  It’s completely different when we do so for ourselves.   Just think about it…what is a New Year’s resolution but a commitment to yourself?  Also one that is easily broken…usually within the first month.  We are quick to push our own needs, wants, & desires aside for another, whether that be a child, spouse, good friend…or sometimes in my case a good book.

Straw Flowers 1

This is not a new concept to me.  I know I put some of my own commitments on the back burner if I really don’t want to be bothered by them.   It’s probably my number one topic with my therapist.  So what made me sit down and write this blog post about this subject and not flowers?  Simply stated, my best friend.

The other night I was having dinner with my bestie from high school.  Literally we met in 9th grade and had every class together.  We were bound to be best friends or enemies…luckily friendship won out.  Anyway…that was many, many, many, moons ago.  Here we are in our late 40s and both of us are working on changing our careers.  She has the most gorgeous voice and sings with operas and philharmonics. Jealous!  However, she’s cut back on that and is focusing on her first love…writing.  Something I know she will excel at because she is a super talented writer.  Again, jealous!!

Straw Flowers 2

So, as I was saying, we were sitting after dinner (finishing our wine) and she said how she had writer’s block and that she sat staring at the computer for two hours the day before.  She has been struggling with a certain part of her novel, which she had abandoned for a while and wrote some short stories, and that just yesterday morning she finally realized that part of the book would have to be scrapped and reworked.  She was thrilled with that, because it finally gave her some movement on the project.   This led us into discussing the fact that she commits (there’s that word again) to writing two hours every day.   So for two hours every day she sits in front of her computer and writes…or as in the case the other day…staring at a blinking cursor.

This is what I pulled from our conversation.  Her commitment to herself and her writing is to put aside two hours every day…no matter if it’s productive or not.  Had she not sat with writer’s block the day before, she may not have given herself the OK to scrap part of the story that isn’t working. Therefore, the novel would be at a standstill.  I bet if I spoke with her today her two hours were probably really productive.

I like that her commitment was a bit vague.  I think sometimes we get a little too detailed (at least I do) and then when one thing goes wrong we scrap the whole idea.  Her commitment to write for 2 hours every day is an easily reached goal.  She could have committed to writing 25 pages every day. Totally unreasonable and tightens the parameters of her commitment, which would lead to feeling like a failure or have her abandoning the entire novel not just a section of it.

Straw Flowers 4

OK, so what does that mean for me? As I’ve already stated, I know this is an issue for me and I’ve been working on it and things have been better.  I know I have to find things that support my commitments and in some ways makes them easier for me to deal with on a daily or weekly basis.   Calendars are a big help for me.  If it is on the calendar, then it’s a little harder for me to push is aside.  Take for example about 3 months ago, I signed up for a new gym (mind you I’m still paying for 2 that I don’t go to).  Not only do I just really like this gym but also I can sit down for the week using an app and schedule all my work out sessions with the trainer and they link to my calendar.  Now when someone asks me to do something on that day, I know that I’ve already committed to a training session.   I’ve tried using a calendar for my working out on my own…but it hasn’t worked well.   I won’t cancel a training session because I don’t want to inconvenience the trainer, but there is no one I’m inconveniencing if I don’t go for a walk…well except myself.  BOOM! There we have what I’ve been writing about all along.  It is easier to say “no” to myself then to someone else.

Now…to apply my AHA moment.  What should it be?  I want to make a commitment to help with my career and one a bit more personal.

Business:  I’m going to set aside 2 hours twice a week to work on building the business.  That could be social media, advertising, strategy, floral designs etc.  Prior to this, I had committed an undisclosed amount of time on Tuesday evenings for social media (mostly blog writing).  As you can tell from my lack of posts that this just didn’t work.

Personal:  I’m going to take 20 minutes every morning just to focus on me (with no electronics), to think about what I can do for myself every day that is healthy for my body and my mind.  What will I eat for that day that is healthy and good for me?  When will I fit in some exercise?  Am I just so exhausted that I’ll need to schedule a nap after work?  Maybe it’s that time of month and I know I’ll be on the “see food” diet that day so I better stock up on pretzels & chocolate.  The point of that 20 minutes is to have “me” time.

That is a total of 6 1/2 hours per week I’ve just committed.   Since this is almost the beginning of September, I’ll commit to you, dear reader, that I will write a follow up blog at the end of September that will let you know of my progress.  And by committing to you, guess what?  I’ve supported my own commitments.  Yay!

Have you made a commitment to yourself that has or hasn’t worked?  Want to make a commitment to yourself but just haven’t done it?  I would love to hear about it!

Straw Flowers 3

PS: I wrote this blog last week, but wanted to run it by my friend first, so I am about a week into my commitments. So far things are going really well and I’m really enjoying my 20 minutes to myself more than I thought I would.  The photos above were part of the time I spent on business matters. 

May your day be filled with beautiful flowers!

Conservatory of Flowers

Last month, I had the opportunity to visit the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park.  This is just an hour south of where I live and yet I have never visited.   Since I had a Thursday to play in the city, I decided it was high time I went.

If you have never visited Golden Gate Park it should be on your itinerary the next time you are in San Francisco.   There is so much to offer, The DeYoung Museum, The Natural History Museum, The Botanical Gardens, The Japanese Tea Garden…and so much more.  I’m sure you could spend 10 days there and not see everything.  We parked in the underground parking garage and walked to the conservatory, which for me was a treat, as I hadn’t really see much of the park outside of the museum.  The grounds are gorgeous and I think my next trip will be to do some exploring through the Botanical Gardens.

Something you should realize about the conservatory…is that it is super humid hot in there.  I mean, muggy, wet, sultry, humid air (had to use multiple adjectives that mean the same because it was that bad).  Now some people like that type of “weather”, I am not one of them.   Therefore, when I was stuck in the same spot for about 10 minutes with the tour guide, I finally decided to do a self-guided tour.  I knew I would move a bit faster than the docent would.  Please do not let me discourage you from joining the tour, it is very informational and is free of charge with a volunteer docent.

Confession time: I am not a fan of carnivorous plants.  They creep me out.  Makes me think of Little Shop of Horrors (which I love), but still, plants shouldn’t eat meat.   Despite this, I found myself taking pictures of the pitcher plants, as I didn’t realize there were so many different varieties and sizes.

Orchids were very prominent in the conservatory, some very familiar and others I had never seen before.  Yes, that orchid that looks big…is REALLY big!  Though not carnivorous, it makes me think of Audrey 2.

Other typical tropical flowers such as bromeliads, anthuriums, and hibiscus could be found throughout as well.

I thought these water lilies were just beautiful and peaceful looking.  I could sit and look at them for hours…provided it wasn’t so hot.

The grounds surrounding the conservatory are gorgeous with small gardens scattered around.  Of course, I was drawn to the dahlias and succulent areas.

Go see the Conservatory of Flowers on your next visit to San Francisco…I think you will really enjoy it.

May your day be filled with beautiful flowers!

Collaboration – Fun for all

Sometimes I am so wrapped in my brain that I forget to look outside my box.  For some reason, on this particular day, my head popped up outside the box and I immediately texted my friend Anne and asked if she wanted to do a photo shoot with me.  Anne aka Trixiepix.com is an amazing photographer and loves all things nature, opera and tea.  She is a graceful yet vibrant woman, which is reflected in her photos.  She has just release the first edition of The Tea Drinker, a stunning booklet about tea, food, and other fun goodies.

After I texted her, she readily agreed and we started excitingly sending each other ideas into the late hours of the evening.  Both of us anxious to hear what the other had to say.   A date was soon set.  I mean really…like in just a few weeks we pulled this all together.

We met at my house, I had pulled out all my teacups and saucers, and Ann had brought some of hers.  Then the fun began, because even though we had texted each other ideas, we really just went with the creative flow.  No real planning, just building ideas on the fly.   Two creative minds at work…well really three as our mutual friend Heidi was there as well.   I had purchased a variety of flowers with no plan and it all just really worked out perfectly.

Anne took hundreds of pictures and I took a lot too.  Oh man, does she have the talent for seeing things through the camera lens.  My pictures are nowhere near as good as hers.   I’d be jealous if I didn’t like her so much!!   She really made the flowers look fantastic.

So here are a few of the pictures that were taken.  Anne is still editing.  I can’t wait to share more with you.

May your day be filled with beautiful flowers!

Dream Becomes Reality

Pop Up Shop 1

I cannot tell you how long I have dreamt of owning my own shop.  When I was younger, it was a gift shop, and now it is a flower shop.  Two weekends ago, I was able to make my dream a reality…if only for a day.  I learned so much in just one day and those leading up to it.  It was a big success.  I went into the day with the thought that no matter what happened, it would be a success…because I had done it.  I had actually put myself, my designs, and my vision out there for people to see, so that was my success even if I didn’t sell a single flower.  However, it didn’t stop the butterflies in my stomach on Saturday morning.  I couldn’t wait to get to the shop to confirm that the flowers hadn’t died since I left them just five short hours before and that there hadn’t been an earthquake that toppled all my displays.  Once I had seen all that, I could finally breathe.  Of course, it also helped that I still had a lot to do before the doors opened.

Pop Up Shop 5

The table top is actually a backdrop my father made for my photos.  I just put it on top of a folding table.

 

Lessons Learned:  First and foremost, trust in yourself.  You must trust that this is really what you want (what you really really want…sorry..I had to go there) and that you have the talent and knowledge to go about doing it.

Secondly, trust in others.  Do not hesitate to ask for help or volunteers.   Honestly, the day wouldn’t have been the same without the help from my parents.   My father, for weeks leading up to the event, would build me partitions, bring things to the shop in his truck, or go buy materials for me.  And when the day ended, he loaded it all back up to bring it home.  He has always been my rock and I can’t thank him enough.   My mom is always my sounding board, my voice of reason, the one to say “do you really need to do that?” Then when I say “yes”, she just supports my decision.  At times she made me rethink things and move into a different direction that turned out better.   She worked the whole day with me speaking with customers and being my cashier.  Again, at the end of the day they both helped me clean up and put everything away.

“Have a good time.”

Friends were also a huge help.  Of course, my bosses, Wayne and Amy, who lent me the space to hold the shop, but who also came to help set up and do a little selling.  Wayne also went with me to the flower market at 4:30am.  He schlepped flowers around like a pro.   Carolina, a friend that I met in my very first floral class, came the day before to help do some design work.

Thirdly: have a good time.   Enjoy the whole process from start to finish.   It’s a lot of work…hard work.  You are exhausted and your back hurts, but underneath all that, is your dream.  There was a moment during the event, where there was a little lull in the action, and so I picked up my broom and started sweeping the foyer.  I had this moment of calm and just this thought that “this is mine.”  Just for that day, it was mine.

I dipped my toe in the water and now I just want to dive straight into the pool.  Unfortunately, responsibilities prevent me from diving, but not from wading.  I’m saying it now…there will be a Marmalade Sky Floral Design Store opening…you’ll just have to have a little patience (just like me!!)

May your day be filled with beautiful flowers!

Vintage Style

One of the many things I love about my hometown is that it holds an antique fair twice a year.  The city shuts down several of the streets downtown, which is brimming with antique dealers from town and afar.   Last year, I wasn’t able to attend either fair, so this year I was bound and determined to go.  Like a true junkie, I had to have my fix.  I mostly look for porcelain or china, linens, silverware, and home décor. However, with the focus on my business in the forefront of my mind and the pop up shop coming soon, I found my eyes wandering to other goodies.

Army Drawer

What should I plant in here??

Seeing all the dealers together in one place does allow you to see trends, as well and surprisingly the offerings are different every show.  This year, drawers were a big trend and are sold just on their own…no cabinets or dressers for them to set in.  They are great storage solution for a desktop, they can be hung to make shelves, used as planters, and whatever else your mind can think up.

 

Since it’s spring, there was a lot of outdoor and garden items; wire cages, plant stands, café tables and chairs, etc.

Box graters. Yeah you heard me, box graters.  I think I saw about 5 of them.

Lawn Seeder

I think some vines to trail up the handle are needed for this cool piece.

My creative mind was going a mile a minute throughout the 3 hours I was at the show.  I really wanted to find something very unique to sell at the pop up shop (being held on May 13 if you haven’t heard *wink*).  With all the drawers around me, it was inevitable that I would purchase one…a very cool metal army green drawer from a military cabinet.  The item I’m most excited about is this lawn seeder.   I’ll be getting my hands dirty this weekend getting plants in both items.

 

I’m already anticipating the September antique fair.  Anxious to see what treasures I’ll find!

P.S.  Look what delivered last night! My lawn signs for the pop up store. I think they turned out great!

Yard Sign

May your day be filled with beautiful flowers!

Pop Up Shop – Marmalade Sky Style

I took a leap and I’m opening a pop up shop the day before Mother’s Day.  It’s the perfect time as Mother’s Day is the second biggest holiday for flower sales.  The store is located in an open area of the office of my full time job.  I have very generous employers, who have agreed to let me host it.   You might be asking yourself why I would want to open a flower shop in an office.  You see, our offices are far from typical.  The building we are in was an old corrugated tin feed barn and as you can see from the pictures below, the inside has been updated using wood from an old chicken barn.  Oh…the best part…is that it sits right on the Petaluma River, so our view every day is pretty spectacular.   I thought this was the best location for my first pop up shop.

My mind, let me just say, is not as spectacular as the view I was just mentioning.  I cannot turn off my brain and it has been in a constant whirlwind for a few weeks now.   It’s not just deciding what I’m going to offer my customers, it’s determining how to display, how to advertise, pricing structure, and just a general idea of how I want the day to go.  I wish I could offer some insight to anyone reading this wanting to start their own shop, but I don’t have anything at this point…check back with me after Mother’s Day…hopefully I’ll have learned a thing or two!!

Along with all the brainpower is the nervous excitement.  I am truly excited to start this new venture in my life.  I’m actually acting upon it and not just talking about it.  I’m putting myself, my talent, my new business out there for people see, appreciate, and hopefully want to come again.  Sometimes I over plan.  I tend to make things a little more difficult than they need to be.  This process, since I have such little time to plan the shop, has taught me to hone in on the important things and scale things back the unnecessary.  If this is a success and I plan another event, then I can increase what I want to do, add more to the list, etc.

Postcard BackI will say, that social media has been a great way to determine if people will be attending or not.  Sending an invite out and getting RSVPs and even some pre-orders has been very exciting and comforting at the same time.

Please! Come by the shop on May 13 at 9am (until I sell out).  I would love to see you.   Bring a friend…or ten!!  Here’s all the info:

PS: the pre-order has been extended to Wednesday, May 3

 

May your day be filled with beautiful flowers!

Wonderful, Wonderful, Copenhagen!

I was having such a wonderful time on my vacation that I never quite got around to writing a post or organizing my photos.  But now I’m home and back on a normal routine.

Denmark is just starting their spring season, unlike Northern California where we start in February during the first warm weather.  Here the daffodils have already bloomed and withered away, but Denmark is brimming with blossoming bulb flowers.

Probably the best display was in Tivoli Gardens, which was just open for two weeks to celebrate Easter.   If you’ve never been to Tivoli Gardens you must add it to your bucket list of places to see.  This is where Disney got inspired to create Disneyland.  While Disneyland has far surpassed the size and magnitude of Tivoli, I do love the quaint, fairyland feel that Tivoli evokes.

Tivoli had decked out in their Easter finery during this visit.  Our first visit we went in the evening and by the time I got to the floral displays the sky was too dark to do the flowers justice.  They were so spectacular; I had to go back in the daylight. It didn’t disappoint.

I could smell the field of hyacinth before I could see it.  The riot of color just as spectacular as the scent.   I wished I could just lie amongst the flowers.

Hyacinth Field

Probably the most enchanting were the daffodil roofs on the little shops.  These temporary shops were set up around the hyacinth field.  The shops were adorable on their own, but the daffodil roofs just sent them over the top.

Daffodil Roof

I took many photos of flowers during my trip, but Tivoli was the most inspirational.   I can’t wait to go back!!

May your day be filled with beautiful flowers!

 

Denmark Flowers (Danmark Blomster)

I leave in just six short days for Denmark.    While this is so exciting, it is a bit detrimental when trying to grow a business.  I’m trying to be regimented in getting my post out on time and moving my business forward all why trying to train someone to cover for me at my day time job and plan my vacation.   (Photos below are from a few floral shops in Denmark)

In hindsight, I didn’t plan this vacation at a great time for my floral business.  I arrive home, just two days before Easter.  Which means that I cannot do any business for the holiday.   Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited to go…especially because my mom is going with me.  What I’m saying is that I have to start thinking of the business before I plan other things.  We could have gone later in April and it would have allowed me the Easter business.

All that being said…I am thrilled (and a little nervous) to tell you that I am opening a pop up shop for Mother’s Day.  I don’t have all the details yet, but I’m working on them and I’ll be happy to share that info with you upon my return.  The post cards are supposed to arrive this week, so maybe…just maybe they will make an appearance on next week’s post.

I’m hoping to post while I’m traveling because you know I’ll be taking photos of flowers and flower shops.  Last time I was in Denmark was in the fall, so I’m looking forward to seeing all the spring flowers this time.

Until I’m in Denmark and taking photos, I’ll tease you with this TBT (in this case Throw Back Tuesday) from my last trip.  (Photos above were taken on my walk to see the Little Mermaid. Photos below were taken at Tivoli Gardens.)

May your day be filled with beautiful flowers.  

Din dag kan være fyldt med smukke blomster.