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.

 

Tea Tables

Hosting tea parties gives me such a feeling of satisfaction.  My guests leave full and happy and I hope a little pampered feeling.  It’s the social aspect of tea time.  Friends and relatives gathered around the table communing over a meal and drinking tea…and in some cases champagne…is what it’s really about for me.   But I love the other aspects of tea: the tea sandwiches, the scones, the little desserts, and the table décor.  Notice the lack of tea mentioned.  Don’t get me wrong, I like tea, I enjoy tea, but I’ll take the champagne, please.

I hosted my first tea party many years ago…probably 10 years ago…for a luncheon that the girls in my family would do twice a year to celebrate our birthdays.  Usually we would go to a restaurant for lunch, but I had been wanting to host a tea and since it was my turn to plan the lunch, I surprised everyone with a party.   I was given pieces of Royal Copenhagen and Bing & Grondahl porcelain from my Bedstamor (Grandmother) and other family members.   I had always been reluctant to use it, as some of it is very fragile and had been my Great Great Aunt’s originally.   However, since this would be a gentile (Ha!) event, I felt it was ok to us them.   I love the vibrant cobalt blue designs against the white porcelain.   So using that as my theme I added a bright yellow as a contrasting color.   I even made little menus for each person.   I loved every moment of it.  Unfortunately, I have no pictures to show you.  Bummer, right?

The teas have become a yearly tradition and I have extended the invite to more people, as it is no longer tied to family birthdays.   I have even been “taking them on the road” as I set tea tables for a Danish Sisterhood tea party the last two years and I’ve done them on my weekends in Bodega.  Picking a theme is always on my mind. I always have a table design (or two) going in my brain.

Though I’ve hosted a lot of tea parties, I’ve only used my Danish porcelain a few times.  The fall design I did for a Danish Sisterhood party was my very favorite…still is my favorite.  I like the wood tones that ground the design and then the pops of orange that are the perfect complimentary color to the cobalt.

Winter Danish Porcelain Tea Table

I also used it in a wintery design for a party in January on a weekend in Bodega.  Yes, those are plastic plates.  Who said, plastic and porcelain don’t go well together?  It’s sort of like wearing pearls with a t-shirt.   Casual yet elegant.  Here the blue adds to the icy look to the winter themed table.  I didn’t use any flowers in this table design but it was still fun design.  Considering the party was only a few weeks after Christmas, it was easy to incorporate some of my Christmas décor for the look.

 

 

May your day be filled with beautiful flowers.

Daffy Daffodils!

Daffodils (Genus Narcissus) are the birth flower of March.  I can’t think of a better flower to bring in spring. Its bright yellow color chases away the dim grey of winter. The daffodil has many meanings which include chivalry, honesty, forgiveness, rebirth and new beginnings.

Yellow Daffodils

“If you love daffodils, you are a loyal friend and lover who takes pleasure in bringing happiness to those around you.  You are a giving person with a tendency to conceal any sadness you might feel beneath a sunny smile that brightens the day of everyone you meet.  You are a truthful person and a hopeless liar.  Your warm personality and ability to remain strong in difficult situations win popularity and admiration.”

— Samantha Gray The Secret Language of Flowers

According to daffodilusa.org there are 40-200 different daffodil species, subspecies or varieties of species and over 25,000 registered cultivars (named hybrids) divided among the 13 divisions of the official classification system.

While Daffodils

Did you know that daffodils, once cut, secret a fluid that promotes the wilting of other flowers, so it is best that they be kept alone in a vase.  If you must combine them, you need to soak them by themselves for as long as possible (overnight if you can), then rinse and add them to the arrangement last.

If you should want to grow your own little bits of sunshine, plant the bulbs 2-4 weeks before the ground freezes.  Plant them 11/2 to 5 times their own depth.  Cover with 3 inches of soil especially in severe winter weather.   Space the bulbs 3-6 inches apart.

I think they are most beautiful when potted with pansies or lining the border of your walkway.

Daffodowndilly

She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
“Winter is dead.”

                            — A. A. Milne

May your day be filled with beautiful flowers.Yellow & Orange Daffodil

Spring is Upon Us!

This Sunday daylight savings begins.  I cannot wait!  It makes evenings seem so much longer.  Now when I go for my evening walk, I won’t feel like my whole night is over and I can ditch the hat with the head lamps.  Yes, I look like a dork…but there are crazy drivers out there, and I do wear black.  So the head lamps (both front and back) help to make me visible to others.  Plus I then don’t have to carry a flashlight or use my phone flashlight app.

Northern California was hit with some very heavy rains this year and now that they have subsided a bit, I’m happy to see all the flowers and trees blooming in my neighborhood.

I especially love the flowering trees.  They are just so vibrant against the evening sky.   Then I look down and there are all the daffodils and tulips popping up.   They just look like they are ready to party.

Can I tell you a secret?  I like camellias better than roses.  Don’t get me wrong, I like roses, but there is something about a camellia that just draws me in.  In the house I grew up in, we had a camellia tree (bush?), anyway, I loved the vibrant red color and the deep glossy green leaves.  The contrast between to two colors really called to me and I like how the flowers are nestled in amongst the leaves.   Unfortunately, I don’t have my own tree anymore, but I can appreciate those I see out and about on my walks. On a recent walk, I saw a butter yellow colored camellia that had big buds. Unfortunately, I forgot my phone, so I don’t have a photo to show.  Hopefully, I’ll get a good picture to show on a later blog.

Until next week…

May your day be filled with beautiful flowers.