Monday, November 7, 2011

Good idea: A November wedding in Chicago!

Hello again, my reading public!

I am clearly behind in my bloggings by oh, about 12 weddings... bad florist! bad florist! I promise to catch up soon, I swear. When the wedding season closes down, the blogging season opens up! Right? RIGHT.

Anyway, I've been keeping extremely busy, but I just had to take 2 minutes to post some sneak preview shots from a wedding I did this weekend. It was just the perfect weather for a wedding here in the Windy City. And Molly and Steve are a fantastic couple!  Their joy & beauty really shine through in these magnificent photos by RoJo Foto Design. (An excellent photographer by the way, brides, and SO friendly, which is a must-have quality in a wedding photographer!)

A thousand congratulations to Molly & Steve!

Man oh man. That black and white shot of Molly makes my heart go pitter-patter! And it's just a preview! I can't wait for more! As to the rest of you? Want to see more photos? There are a few right here!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oh, how I love fall flowers!

So. I have many blogs to catch up on. I hate when I get behind like this! I will catch up as soon as things slow down!

But in the meantime, I just have to share these little bits of cell-phone-camera loveliness with the world, from Bridget & John's wedding at Salvage One this past weekend.

I love fall flowers!

Sweet little wheat nest centerpieces.

Bridget's gorgeous bouquet.

The full lineup of bouquets and boutonnieres. I loved the colors!

Okay! More later...and hopefully they'll be professional shots, rather than my wimpy little cell phone camera!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Laura B, hungry moose and the incredible stinking flower.

I'd like to take a moment to sing the praises of the often-unsung-heroes of the floral design industry: the wholesale reps. These are the people-behind-the-people, the go-tos, the know-it-alls!

People often ask me where I get the flowers I use in my designs, since I need them in such mass quantities. Heading over to Whole Foods to stock up on, say, 200 stems of orchids and 600 stems of garden roses would get pricey! Fortunately I have a resale license, which allows me to shop at Kennicott Brothers Wholesale Mart.

It's a lovely place to be, and so far a simple visit to the refrigerator room there has a 100% track record at livening even my bluest of moods.

Kennicott also happens to be home to one of my favorite people in all the world - my wholesale mastermind, Laura B. She is a genius to end all geniuses! She gets to work at 6 am every day and is smiling, helpful and pleasant even when I show up unannounced at 6:30 am, demanding 5 bunches of hot pink mokaras! She is, in a word, lovely. See?

Without Laura, I'd never know that here in Chicago, peonies in late August aren't really doable, unless I order through the growers in Alaska who still have some because it's colder up there... oh but whoops, looks like even that won't work because there's been a tragic invasion by some hungry moose who devoured the whole supply!

Without Laura, I wouldn't know that a particularly healthy rainy season in South America has produced unusually lovely hydrangea, so we should order from there instead of California.

And without Laura, I wouldn't know about flora like euphorbia, lycopodium, mimosa (the shrub, not the cocktail) and countless others. Every time I visit the flower mart I'm seen running in and out of the refrigerator room holding some crazy new find and shouting at Laura "WHAT is THIS? I must have it!" She always knows immediately what it is, where it's from, how much it costs and whether or not I can use it in a boutonniere. She amazes me! She even packages all my orders up for me in easy-to-carry boxes with my name on them (which honestly never gets old):

Funny side-story. In April I did some fantastic (if I do say so myself) arrangements for a snazzy supper club event at the Nature Museum here in Chicago, put on by the food geniuses over at City Provisions. I wanted to create arrangements that were themed in accordance to their location in the museum. So I made some pretty goofy requests of Laura. "I need some flowers that look like bugs' eyes, or bugs' houses, or those muddy birds' nests" was one of them. And when I asked her to keep an eye out for anything "really marshy and wetlandsy and cool, like something you'd see on a hike in a misty forest preserve" she found these guys:

Groovy, right? When I arrived to pick up my order that day, Laura whipped these out and I could hardly contain my excitement. They were quite rare, from a shipment in from Holland, "where all the super cool stuff comes from", according to Laura. I had to have them!

Now, little did she or I know, but those pretty pearl-like droplets inside the cup of the flower contain enzymes of a rather pungent smell. In fact, once the flowers were out of the nearly-freezing temps of the refrigerator room and allowed to warm up to their normal temperature inside my car, they began to produce a stench of biblical proportions. I'd almost made it back home when finally, eyes watering, nose running and spirits crushed, I admitted to myself that these flowers next to a tray of food would not aid anyone's appetite. Even the lures of chef Cleetus Friedman's amazing bison meatballs in smoked tomato sauce couldn't defeat this terrible odor!

So I turned around and headed back to Kennicott, where Laura graciously took the stinkers back. (With super rare stuff like this, even my brilliant Laura can't know everything!) My car was stinky for hours after, even though I kept the windows down. That Mother Nature, she's something else!

Anyway, I just wanted to give credit where credit is due. Behind every fancy professional shot of my finished work (like this one of the marsh arrangement mentioned in the stinky flower story)... the collective kindness and wisdom of one Laura B. at Kennicott Brothers. Thank you for everything over the years, Laura! I'm so lucky to have stumbled into your path!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Remember me?

Well well well. Look who decided to show up and update her blog! It's been a while, no? In fact, I haven't updated this blog for over 4 months. For shame!

Humblest apologies, but it's been a bit of a wild time. In addition to a 2 week pilgrimage through Spain and Portugal, I've also been up to my eyeballs in flowers virtually every weekend since the end of April! Weddings, baby showers, corporate and private dinner parties...I've been all over the place with my bloomin' creations. It's been beautiful and crazy and stressful and fun, all at once!

To all my lovely brides, please forgive me. I will go back in time and give proper attention to every one of your weddings. Each has been totally unique and gorgeous in its own way--a visual celebration of who you are as people and couples--and I've loved them all! (And for a few, I'm still waiting on the professional photos.)

For now, though, here's a quick image montage of Forget me Knodt's inaugural summer in flowers. More soon!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Here's your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it.

Happy belated Easter, peeps!

I spent my Easter with family... mostly eating, to be completely honest. I don't understand how I can even be hungry right now (or ever again for that matter) after this weekend's ridiculous display of gustation.

But that is beside the point!

The point of this post is this: on Easter morning I got up early to make a corsage for a fabulous Easter bonnet. A lil' commission for a fabulous gal who was to attend a fabulous Easter brunch at the KitKat Lounge. To be completely honest, I loved it so much I was almost sad to deliver it!

I admit I've never made a hat corsage before, but I think I've got a bright future here! Get yer orders in now for Kentucky Derby hats!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stay for supper?

*chattery teeth*

After an all-too-brief hiatus in Nashville, I return to the bitterly blustery North (and to the blogosphere). And I'm back with a real bang: a photo-blog about last Monday's Supper Club at the Nature Museum!

What a fantastic night it was. City Provisions put the whole thing together, and really hit it out of the park with delectable, themed finger food delights -- every one a mini masterpiece made from 100% local ingredients! Death's Door Spirits kept the crowd blissfully buzzed with their custom cocktails all evening (my favorite involved their signature White Whiskey!) and the Nature Museum's staff was so helpful and informative. (They were also kind enough to laugh at all my jokes. Bonus!) It was so nice to meet new people and make friends among the guests who attended. What a classy bunch!

Finally, photographer Christina Noel captured it all with grace, elegance, and an ever-present smile. Brides, if there's one piece of advice I can impart to you, it's that you MUST like your vendors as people. That goes quadruple for your photographer, since you'll be spending all day with him or her. So check out Christina Noel! Not only does she take phenomenal photos, she's also the kind of gal I think I'd like to grab a couple of beers and tamales with! (And I only have tamales with people I think are totally rad.)

On to the photos. Huge thanks to Christina for getting them to me so quickly!

Guests began their supper stroll in the wetlands exhibit. They were greeted with food, drink, and this marsh-themed floral arrangement by yours truly!
(Photo courtesy of Christina Noel)

Cleetus Friedman, owner of City Provisions, put together an amazing menu for the event and also served as emcee. Along the way he'd teach us a bit about everything we were eating and drinking, then disappear to the kitchen to prepare more amazingness, allowing guests time to enjoy the exhibits, mix and mingle. This man knows his stuff, and the food was some of the best I've ever had! If you're looking for a caterer you've got to check out City Provisions! (Photo courtesy of Christina Noel)

Delicious bites from City Provisions? Yes please!
(Photo courtesy of Christina Noel)

John of Death's Door Spirits served drinks every step of the way, and was so knowledgeable. The drinks were fantastic, as well! This citrusy gin delight was served among the butterflies in the Butterfly Haven.
(Photo courtesy of Christina Noel)

My frilly feminine centerpiece got a place of prominence, directly outside the Butterfly Haven. (Photo courtesy of Christina Noel)

This one was a personal favorite! Inspired by the museum's brand new Nature's Architects exhibit, I used flowers that reminded me of nature's builders: bugs & bees & birds! (Photo courtesy of Christina Noel)

Our party ended in the Wilderness Walk, where this woodsy piece bid guests goodnight. (Photo courtesy of Christina Noel)

And here it is! Proof that I was there!
(Photo courtesy of Christina Noel)

If you want to see all of Christina's fantastic photos from the evening, check out the whole gallery! There really is so much more to see there. And if you want to learn more about the flowers used in my arrangements, just keep on reading!

My friend Colin Bayer was kind enough to snap the following shots with his fancy cam before I took off for the event. Thanks so much, Colin! (Click on any of these images to enlarge).

Arrangement 1: The Wetlands.
Euphorbia, Fiddlehead Ferns, Green Goddess Callas, Yellow Mini Callas, Muscari, and some amazing fuzzy mossy greens inside a moss container.

Arrangement 2: The Butterfly Haven
Big Blue Bird Roses, Little Silver Spray Roses, Buttery Yellow Stock, Sweet Lilac, and my favorite - Hybrid Delphinium, all in a frosted glass vase. This one smelled like heaven!

Arrangement 3: Nature's Architects
I wanted to find flowers that were beautiful, yet reminded me of bugs. Snowberry made me think of bug's eyes (!!!), Scabiosa Pods conjured images of honeycombs, while Billy Balls (aka Craspedia), Fiddlehead Ferns, Mini Callas and Rush Reeds completed the architectural look. I finished it off with a vase that reminded me of Mudswallows' nests. This one was so much fun!

Arrangement 4: Wilderness Walk
Last but not least, I used local Forsythia Branches and fragrant Freesia to create a wild, woodsy look. Simple, yet elegant! The perfect touch was putting them inside a bark-covered vase.

What a great event! Thanks to the Nature Museum for hosting! Thanks to Cleetus and the City Provisions crew for giving me this opportunity -- and also for the delicious food! Thanks to Death's Door for showing me just how delicious local spirits can be! And thanks to Christina Noel for capturing it all so beautifully.

Can't wait to work with you all again in the near future!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Forget me Knodt + City Provisions: it's supper time!

I recently moved to a new area of the city, and Mads and I have been doing lots of exploring on foot, checking out the local hangouts and such. And we have a new favorite! It's called City Provisions - a market / caterer / delicatessen that's all about being local, sustainable, and forward-thinking.

Everything in their store is locally sourced, from the bread to the meat to the booze. They even make their own deli meats! When I asked how one “makes” deli meat, the enthusiastic gentleman behind the counter gave me a brief lesson on meat curing. For example, they “pastrami” their own turkey and beef! Pastrami is now a verb. He told me it’s actually possible to pastrami just about anything, and then offered to pastrami my boot for me. (I respectfully declined).

They're good people, and I've become a daily visitor to the shop for Dark Matter coffee, hot doughnuts and whatever else strikes my fancy. One particularly fantastic thing they do is host monthly Supper Club farm dinners, meant to educate and enlighten folks by connecting them directly with the source of the foods they're enjoying. Many of these dinner events take place on-site at various local farms, and there's always a focus on pairing up with local breweries, distilleries and vineyards, as well. (Three Floyd's beer at Nichols Farm & Orchard? Yes please!)

Anyway, those who know me personally may imagine I am totally onboard with this whole idea. I love it! I love that people are doing it, and I love even more that so many people are participating! So, on one particular morning trip to City Provisions for coffee, I was able to set up a meeting with owner Cleetus Friedman, to see what Forget me Knodt could do to get involved.

Well, my dears, I am SO excited to announce that I've been granted the opportunity to get my flowers on display at the very next Supper Club coming up on April 11th, at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum! It's a really unique event. Instead of hosting a sit-down dinner this time, City Provisions is teaming up with Madison's Death's Door Spirits to create a classy, one-of-a-kind cocktail party.

Guests will be treated to heavy seasonal, sustainable finger foods paired with orginal cocktail creations as they enjoy an evening stroll through the nature museum. The event will take guests from the wetlands marsh exhibit to the wilderness walk and everywhere in between, including the Butterfly House (!) and I've been given the fantastic opportunity to feature my flowers in each section of the event! I can't really explain how excited I am!

You can find more information on this event, and even photos of previous events, here. If you're interested in attending the event, tickets are still available! Just call City Provisions at 773-293-2489 or e-mail

And check back here for updates and photos. Fortunately for this little florist, as is the case with every City Provisions Supper Club, the details of this evening will be captured by wildly talented local photographer Christina Noël.

Thanks so much for the opportunity, City Provisions! I can't wait to get designing!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Okay I was wrong... spring won't spring!

It snowed a bit last night. I had to wear gloves and my winter coat today. I'm afraid I have a serious case of the doldrums! But all the same, these little guys did a good job of brightening my mood this morning...

Hang in there, Chicago! It's the end of March and we've gotta belieeeeeeeeve that summer is coming! And as anyone who's lived here knows, ain't nobody does a better job of celebrating summer than Chicago. (Just don't let the secret out.)

And with the spring comes wedding season! It's going to be wild, crazy, floral fun! I'm ready for it.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Birthday Callas, Acacia, and spring...coming to Chicago?

Today I had the honor of putting together a lovely birthday arrangement. The only real requirement was Calla Lilies. No problem! I paired these gorgeous pinky-purple ones with tons of cheerful Asiatic Lilies, making for one lily-ful bucket o' blooms.

On the search for an interesting accent, my amazing wholesale genius, Laura, pointed me toward the Acacia. Or Mimosa? I guess it could be called either! Whatever you want to call it, I believe it is a new favorite of mine! Tiny fuzzy yellow balls that are AMAZINGLY fragrant! I love it! I want to use it in everything! (Thanks, Laura!)

{click to enlarge}

As I walked through the lovely streets of downtown Chicago en route to deliver the arragement, I was so warm I actually unzipped my down jacket! And even though it was decidedly drizzly this morning, I don't think there's any way to deny it: spring is almost here. I'm so excited! Don't I look it?

Of course, the weather report says it's supposed to snow tomorrow. Lame. If you need me I'll be over by the Acacia, imagining I'm sunning myself on a tropical beach.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Anticipation is Killing Me!

Details, details. The devil's in the details? Dunno about that, but I do know one thing for certain: when it comes to making your wedding unforgettable, it's the details that make all the difference!

Just ask my brilliant friend and colleague, Elizabeth Tulipana, owner of Anticipation Events. She's a Chicago wedding planner who is currently in the process of planning her own wedding. And ladies & gents, it's going to be a good one.

Her save-the-dates are possibly the coolest I've ever seen! I could go on and on about them myself of course, but I'll refrain. Instead I'll just throw some eye candy your way, then send you off to her blog. It's best if you get all the juicy photos and details straight from the brain of the woman who made 'em.

Really, it behooves you to read the story behind the choices she made for these. They're so awesome! Check out E's blog about them. And if you're a bride looking for a planner, I'm here to tell you you'd be in great hands with this lady!