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December Birthday Flowers versus Holiday Centerpieces

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Dec 18, 2017

There are many people out there who have been given the birthdate placed in the very special month of December.  For some, they relish in the notion of being surrounded by seasonal festivities of lights, trees and wreaths and believe this only accentuates the happiness of celebrating a birthday.  For others, there’s quite a different story…  For those who lie on the latter side of the fence, you may feel cheated by the idea of having to share a day which was supposed to be dedicated to you and only you with heavy hitters such as Christmas or Hanukkah getting in the way.  Have you ever perceived your birthday as being seemingly less important and perhaps experienced with less enthusiasm due to the busyness of the season?  What about the terrible gift labeled, “For Your Birthday AND Christmas” that’s supposed to be perfectly acceptable as a combined present for both?  Face it- you’ve probably felt robbed at one point or another and can sympathize with new babies born on December 28th.  

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In my family, we actually have a triple header in this department with three birthdays all falling just before and after Christmas.  My husband, who observes the earliest of the trio on December 4th, constantly grudges about his youthful disappointments of having his day meshed with other yuletide fetes and reminds us annually of the importance of throwing a proper ceremony dedicated solely to a birthdate.  The second to place is my youngest falling on December 11th who relishes knowing the holiday tradition of putting up the tree will always happen on his birthday.  Last but not least is my oldest son who even though had the due date of December 25th, didn’t officially arrive until two days later on the 27th.  He doesn’t seem to mind in the slightest bit of his post-holiday remembrance and instead chooses to use the celebration of the season to his advantage.  After all, it is the happiest time of the year and who wouldn’t look forward to and encore of presents?

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I suppose we’re all different (what do I know?  I was born on April 5th) but wouldn’t it be nice to be given a few pointers on what these December babies feel is appropriate birthday etiquette?  For starters, presents should never be wrapped in Christmas paper because they feel that the wasted effort is an insult to their occasion.  Secondly (as I mentioned before) don’t even try to sneak past a gift (no matter how large or expensive) that is said to be meant for both a birthday and a holiday.  In their world, this is absolutely sacrilegious.   A third tip is to never bake them a Santa or menorah cake accept in the situation where the request has been made.  Although there typically tends to be tons of sweets and treats around this time of year that you could quickly pass off, most December partygoers really wants a typical cake.  The last piece of advice you should be wary of in case you are planning to gift flowers is nixing poinsettia plants or red/white arrangements for floral birthday gestures.  Stick to bright colors that are reflective of the celebration and wait to give these “Christmasy” displays of blooms until after their special day.  Everyone wants to feel special on their birthday so make sure to put in the effort by sticking to this guide if you have a loved one celebrating a birthday this December.

Tags: December, Christmas Flowers, Birthdays, Rick Canale, Suzie Canale

Bear Themed Floral Christmas Arrangements

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Dec 13, 2017

If you’re one for cuddling and canoodling around the fire, you’ll absolutely adore the new “Bear Themed Floral Extravaganza” many Boston florists are defining their holiday line with. Teddy bears are EVERYWHERE this Christmas, from stuffed animals being propped within centerpieces to bear designed containers showcase seasonal blooms.  These cute creatures are popping up in every inch of creative space that has designers quick on their feet to come up with new and interesting ideas to further market this trend.  Both children and adults can revel in the sweet popularity of teddy bears this December and if you’re looking for thoughts on how to create your own this season, here are some fun arts and crafts using flowers that will keep the whole family busy through Christmas.

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This is an expert level project but if you have the tenacity to try it- Go for it!  You’ll need a wedge of oasis that’s been carved into the shape of a bear and a bunch of small button pom-pom daisies.  Once the material has been formed, cut the flowers about 1 ½ inches long and stick the stem into the pre-soaked oasis.  Be careful not to put too many in one spot or leave holes in the back. Once the bear is complete, you can either put him in the middle of an arrangement or place him inside of a cup or bowl depending on the size.  Tie a red ribbon around his neck and you have a beautiful gift for someone special!


If the oasis teddy bear seems a bit too challenging, then here’s a great option that is easy-peasy to make.  Browse the shelves of discount stores such as Job Lot or Christmas Tree Shops since they almost always have a collection of teddy bear coffee mugs available for sale.  Once you’ve found the one that you prefer, take it home and fill it with seasonal blooms such as pine, red berries and red/white roses.  These make excellent presents for children and teachers which can be made quickly at a minimum cost.  Plus-they’ll have the perfect cup to enjoy hot cocoa when the weather turns cold!

Sometimes we think about ways to use a prop in the most complicating ways when a simple answer is standing right in front of our noses!  Those stunning Christmas trees you just purchased are going to need lots of trimming with decorations so why not use teddy bears as this year’s theme?  Again, shop local discount outlets for low cost teddies and stick them here and there throughout the branches or string them to make ornaments.  The kids will love the cuddly presentation and the effort you made to bring joy to them this holiday!

Tags: Christmas, Christmas Flowers, Teleflora, Holidays

Christmas Bulbs Make Great Presents

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Dec 07, 2017

The holiday season can bring a lot of anxiety and stress to shoppers who are constantly in search for the perfect gifts.  Finding that special something for someone you love can be tricky when sledging through the endless racks and bins of department stores of meaningless nick nacks.  Then of course, there’s the strict budget we put in place that every year becomes more and more expanded due to inflated cost increases and seasonal demand.  It’s enough to make a person CRAZY went they find themselves a drift in this typical December situation so it’s high time we started thinking of better options that will make wonderful sentimental gestures but won’t empty our wallets in the process.  Luckily, it just so happens that Boston florists have the precise suggestion to end this yuletide disaster and per usual- they’re answering with flowers.

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While there are loads of flora and fauna that make wonderful gifts, experts are heavily pushing the idea of bulbs that are incredibly affordable and fun to watch growing.  Weeks after the Christmas tree comes down, those who have received a stunning bulb will get to enjoy the memento and keep the holiday mood with them as they watch the bud open.  There are many ways to share these interesting blossoms such as wrapping them up in cellophane or starting the bulb on your own by placing the bottom in a vase filled with an inch of water.  Depending on how savvy the person you’re thinking of is in the garden, you can decide which way will work best in order to evade premature rotting.  If this idea sounds like one that may just solve this year’s conundrum of problems, check out these different species that are all swell examples of flowers to give this Christmas.


Amaryllis

Amaryllis still remains the #1 flower to gift during the holiday season and the reason lies within noticing the plant’s beautiful shades of red, white, pink, peach or stripe that coats each petal.

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Hyacinth

Hyacinth are fabulous varieties to give to someone special because of their cheerful structure, pleasant aroma and symbolic representation of the spring season ahead.


Paper Whites

If you enjoy a strong, sweet scent, these pretty little blooms make amazing presents that will fill fresh scent in every room of any home.   


Allium

Alliums are fun to watch sprout because they lay on the exotic side and promise to be different for that person who seems to have everything.  

Tags: Christmas, Christmas Flowers, Amaryllis Bulbs, Paper White Bulbs

Champagne is In for Christmas Heavy Metal

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Dec 01, 2017


When we think of Christmas, often shades traditionally associated with the season come to mind.  Red, green and white are the go-to palette for most florists and interior decorators who are given the job to transform homes into a festive place to have warm gatherings with friends and families.  While it’s safe to say that these three shades have no plans of ever going anywhere, I was pleasantly surprised to find that metal tints are making their way to center stage to close out 2017 and WOW do they bring a wonderful sense of style!  Gold, silver and bronze may have always been applied in small doses throughout holiday decorating but this year, they become more than just your basic accessory...  

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Refreshingly, one color that top designers are convinced will be a hit during December celebrations is champagne.  Most people might wonder what this exactly means since there is sometimes a controversy over what the exact tint champagne actually is.  According to the dictionary, the metallic sheen is referred to as, “a name given for various very pale tints of yellowish-orange that are close to beige. The color's name is derived from the typical color of the beverage Champagne.” If you’re still confused, one way to navigate these tricky waters is to rely heavily on blossoms of peach, blush pink and cream.  Excellent species that will work to your favor are soft garden roses (which grow in both of these colors), as well as stock, ranunculus and even certain types of Asiatic lilies.  You can mix any combination of these together or use one specific variety to feature in your arrangements.    


Another idea to keep in mind is to create the effect by using props such as holiday baubles, jewelry, ornaments, lights and other trinkets luminescent of the champagne color.  By using props, you can add to the theme by placing white or cream blossoms in the center or incorporate pretty tea lights to set off the right glow.  In this picture, we can see that the designers relied heavily on this notion by arranging faux stems of spray painted gold poinsettias and silver/pink balls to the side of the container.  This makes a gorgeous centerpiece and will live long past New Year’s if you’re planning a second holiday party.  If you think you can pull it off, combine these two theories by mixing together stems of blush and cream roses with glittered ornaments surrounded by a bed of pine.  This piece won’t only impress people with the champagne effect but will also show how much effort you’ve put in to following the latest yuletide seasonal trends.

Tags: Holiday Decor, Christmas, Christmas Flowers, Trends

Holiday Amaryllis Trends

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Nov 29, 2017


The holidays are a busy season for florists all over the city who are looking to improve past floral themes with fresh new designs each year.  While red and white roses are pretty much a staple through the month of December, certain varieties often pop up in popularity which freshen a traditional presentation into a contemporary arrangement.  In recent years, species such as freesia, phalaenopsis, privet berries and green frilly gerbera have graced the pages of industry magazines focusing on promoting a serene, effortless style.  Luckily, 2017 promises not to disappoint.  Instead of previous mixes of compact arrangements most commonly associated with the “globe” shape, technique is switching to a more architecture look using branches, berries and other lengthier stems that will bring more dynamic to the table.  One variety which is said to be the true highlight in most holiday centerpieces this year is the amaryllis.

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One of the reasons that keeps this flower around during the Christmas season is because of the multitude of styles you can use to create beautiful bouquets and arrangements.  Featured in this photo is an excellent example of how the amaryllis can be cleverly positioned as a stunning centerpiece.  Choose a tall, slender glass vase for the container and simply place the bunch inside with two inches of water at the bottom.  You’ll only need about five to seven stems to replicate this design and you’ll be pleased to see how long it lasts!


 

Tags: Amaryllis, Holiday Decor, Christmas, Christmas Flowers

Styling in Silver Follows Champagne Trend

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Nov 28, 2017

Alert!  Alert!  There has been another fashion trend flowing towards the floral industry this holiday season naming silver as decorator’s top choice for accessory material.  Designing experts have revealed that following in the footsteps of the metallic vogue, silver is the newest sensation to sweep seasonal décor and we couldn’t be happier about the news.  Professionals are loving this idea because not only does it make a dazzling display when applied properly, silver has the tendency to make holiday presentations appear crisp, majestic and glamorously ornamental.  It’s a real change from previous years when we’ve been dependent on boring, dull shades that have been on the downtrend for decades.  By instead using silver mixed with white, we can illuminate pieces in a naturalistic manner allowing designers to use a “less is more” approach when making flower bouquets, wreaths and garland for clients. You may have noticed that major retail outlets have already jumped on board since aisle upon aisle is lined with silvery baubles which are being scooped up by our pros.  If you like this idea but are interested in surveying the availability of flowers dressed in silver- you may be surprised to learn that creative geniuses behind the bench are brainstorming exciting answers to this puzzle… Think spray paint, glitter and acrylics when imagining how to replicate this look and here are a few ideas to go those artistic wheels turning.

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Silver Bells

The easiest way to make an infusion of silver within your holiday decorating is to pick up packages of inexpensive silver bells you might find at a Christmas Tree Shop, Walmart or Target.  You can add the ornaments throughout a low-lying centerpiece or glue them to the base of the arrangement making a pretty base for the flowers to reflect off of.  If you are planning on using the bells as a part of the floral design, attach the ornaments to six inch picks using a glue gun and place within the assortment.  If you want to try matching the shade of featured species, request a bunch of eucalyptus, Artemisia or dusty miller.  All of these varieties will look amazing in contrast to this particular motif and expel the feeling of joy we emulate during the season.  


Never Underestimate the Power of Spray Paint…


I don’t know about you but I’m a huge fan of spray paint because it’s a really simple way to quickly change the shade of any solid object and that flowers are no exception. While some of the softer species might have trouble with this process, others have no problem absorbing a coat of paint and quite often will last longer with this system of preservation.  Foliage such as ruscus, leather leaf, bear grass and willow branches are excellent examples of greenery which will work well spray painted as well as poppy pods (hens and chickens).  Make sure you have an area that is well ventilated to complete this project and have fun sprucing up your home in silver this holiday season.

Tags: Christmas Flowers, Holiday Decor, Christmas Ornaments, Christmas Wreaths

Easy to Make Floral Gifts for Christmas

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Nov 27, 2017

Christmas is a wonderful time of year when we rejoice with others to spend time caroling, feasting and swapping gifts to express how much we care for one another.  For some, this season is a joyous time when the spirit invokes an ease of generosity towards family and friends while others have a hard time keeping inline within budget and cost restraints.  It can be stressful to say the least but the truth is, there are other ways to wrap our presents without succumbing to stress and guilt over our leftover credit card receipts.  Christmas means more than how much money we spend and it is high time we manifest options where we won’t have to break the bank to please those on our list.  One area that is beginning to look promising is the expansion of ideas coming from Boston florists who say “they know how to impress at a price much less”.  Here are some of the clever gift giving notions designers are pushing for customers who are seeking reasonable expenditures for this year’s December festivities.

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Personalized bud vases

This is a really neat idea, particularly for those who like to collect mason jars or other small bud vases to save for later use.  Well, here’s your chance!  With a touch of art, these tiny vessels can be transformed into wonderful gifts just by adding a little personalized touch along with a few sprigs of beautiful blooms.  First, you’ll want to check the containers to make sure there are no cracks or holes which will dribble water once they are filled.  Next, it’s important to clean the inside and outside of the lids until the material is sparkling.  After you are sure they are dry, use a permanent marker to write a cheerful message or print their initials on the side to make it special.  Don’t forget to insert a date on the bottom of the base that will remind friends and families of your thoughtful gesture years later.  If your vases are now ready to be filled, visit your local flower shop and purchase sweet blooms of roses, freesia, ranunculus or aster.  You want them to look airy and natural but if you prefer a more festive appeal, mix in a sprig or two of pine to spruce of the seasonal theme.


Pressed Flower Bookmarks

This is another fabulous trick for flower fans to gift to loved ones and you’ll be thrilled to know it won’t cost a whole lot from beginning to end.  All you need are some stems of blossoms that prefer to be dried such as lavender, violets, pansies, daisies or heather that will have no problem being easily flattened.  You also want to make sure they have small centers and petals with minimal bulk because these are the species which usually are troublesome for this type of project due to water retention.  Once you’ve chosen your selection, lay them in between two pieces of wax paper and press using a hot iron.  After sealing the ends, cut the paper into attractive strips similar in sizing to a bookmark and slide it in between a favorite book you already own.  Gift the entire present to someone special and watch them adore the time you’ve taken to make them feel special.

Tags: Christmas, Christmas Flowers, Gifts, Christmas Ornaments

The Old is New this Christmas

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Nov 20, 2017

Each yuletide season, trends continue to change from everything to lighting, tree decorating and even celebratory cuisine.  As we prepare to take on the 2017 holiday whirlwinds, it’s fun to invest a little time in learning what’s hot on the menu for designers.  While many of us are not partial to hiring personal chefs and decorators to whisk are homes into a cheerful state, there’s no reason why we can’t take a peek to find out how to copy their taste on an affordable budget.  There’s no rule saying hosts must break the bank to recreate looks seen in magazines and lucky for us, this year’s theme relies heavily on the recycling of already owned items.


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Experts say that acclaimed designers are heavily relying on the idea that “Old” is the “New” when mapping out their selections for décor this Christmas and Hanukah.  Instead of purchasing contemporary lines of modernized props, they are hunting yard sales and online auctions for previously owned memorabilia which dates back to more than a few decades ago.  Trunks, basements and attics are also busy places where professional decorators are scavenging to find old boxes, milk containers and other reminders of years past.  Remember that ancient train set you stashed in the closet years ago?  Or maybe you just couldn’t let go of a teddy bear from your childhood?  Well, now’s the time to pull them out of retirement because these are the exact props designers are looking for!  Think small trucks, wooden toys, antique dolls and wool hats for possible accessories to place amongst poinsettia plants, Christmas trees (used as ornaments) and outdoor urns where they will turn a plain arrangement into a real conversational piece!  Don’t worry if they have chipped paint or missing parts since this will only add to their authentic appeal.  We’re going for a “traditional” appearance this year so make sure to select pieces that you have warm memories associated with.  


Once you’ve collected your things, now what do you do with them?  That’s a very good question…  Creating your own displays can be as easy as investing in some seasonal roping and strategically placing the trinkets within the beautiful the pine.  Hang on banisters and lay across the hearth to make a merry presentation for family and friends or attach to wreaths on the outside of your door.  If you are interested in applying this technique to your floral arrangements, you can use the same application process as long as the items are small enough not to distract from the blooms in the vase.  A little goes a long way with this style so don’t cramp containers which will make them look junky and less professionally done.

Tags: Christmas, Christmas Flowers, Holiday Decor, Holiday Memories

Is it Too Early To Be Buying Our Christmas Decorations?

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sat, Nov 14, 2015

There’s been a lot of hubbub lately surrounding the issue of whether it is too early to be stocking up on Christmas fare when it’s only November.  Starbucks is the latest culprit who recently launched their “red cup” marketing ploy, which interestingly enough has attracted a large amount of controversial press.  Is it wrong to change all accessorized décor color to red and green?  Is it pushing things to be lighting up the trees with holiday bulbs?  Or how about this one- buying floral centerpieces designed to reflect the Yule Tide season?  Is it offensive or simply a show of our adoration for the merriest time of the year?  


photo credit: Flower Factor

Personally, my holiday spread is put up a couple of weeks into December and taken down one week after Christmas but that’s just me.  I understand that there are many people out there who want to grab every second they can out of the season and I admire you, I really do.  But you have to admit, there’s no doubt the ugly head of commercialism does play a part in the mass movement to put Santa Clauses in storefronts even before we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving.  Do we actually spend more when influenced by the merchandising of Frasier Firs standing in doorways and twinkling lights dangled across glass display cases?  Most advertising business experts agree that inarguable, we do.


photo credit: Flower Factor

So what does that mean for Boston florists who are beginning to bring in shipments of poinsettias, Christmas trees and wreaths?  I’d say it’s a pretty good prediction that there will be a solid sales base for the early bird shoppers who can't wait to stock up on seasonal festivities. If customers are eager for holiday pieces but are torn by the issue of the timing possibly being premature, offer them arrangements that include some identifiable props but still can be categorized as appropriate for fall.  By not overwhelming clientele with a complete switch to silver bells and frosted greenery, we can make the most of November and December by easing ourselves gently into the holiday season.

Tags: Holiday Decor, Christmas Wreaths, Christmas, Holidays, Christmas Flowers, December

Flowers for Holiday Gift Giving

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Dec 15, 2014

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Finding the perfect presents can sometimes be challenging during the holiday season when we often find ourselves either over spending for items that the receiver doesn’t really want or grabbing just anything you can find at the last minute with no real thought put behind it.  The goal for Christmas gifting should be found in the consideration and affordability, not the expense or haste to get all of your shopping done.  One strategy that always receives a winning response is making your own gifts, which are fun, efficient for budgets and most importantly, sentimental to those we care for.  The options are numerous including woodworking, sewing, clay and painting crafts where you can create just about anything that your imagination will allow.  This year’s most popular made-at-home presents are utilizing flowers as the primary material because the color, scent and flexibility in design allow designers to come up with some pretty interesting ideas!  Curious about how to make a bookmark or delicate necklace made from the natural gifts found in your garden?  Here are some options to get you reeling in the world of floral crafting. 

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Bookmarks are a great present to give any avid reader because they are always in demand and can be styled after millions of different themes.  If you know someone who loves books and also gardening, this might be the ideal present.  Begin by picking flowers that can be easily pressed.  Excellent candidates include lavender, violets, pansies, delphinium, freesia, daisies, larkspur and hydrangea.  You are looking for flowers that can be easily flattened and do not hold a lot of water within their structure so be careful not to choose bulky blooms.  Once you have made your choices, take the stem and place it between two pieces of absorbent paper and then slide the pages within a heavy book.  Make sure the weight is adequate by placing a brick or other heavy object on top of the stack.  Allow two weeks for decent pressing results and then carefully lay the bouquet within two pages of transparency paper.  Using scissors carefully cut a desired shape for the bookmark, either a rectangle or oval.  Punch a whole at the top and finish off with a piece of tied twine. 

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Although the traditional form of the necklace commonly given at Christmas is made out of gold or silver, I can tell you first hand that flowers make stunning links when crafting your own jewelry.  There are many different varieties that will work but I have found that the best and easiest flower to use is a small rose head, particularly from the spray rose family.  You will find that not only are they much more efficient when stranding but they are grown in a large spectrum of color in shades of white, pink, red, orange, yellow and purple.  To get started, simply hang the bunch of roses upside down for a minimum of four weeks.  After the heads have dried, carefully snip off the rose buds making sure that there are no protruding stems left attached that may wound the person who is to wear the necklace.  String a needle with a heavy-duty thread and pierce the head at the bottom of its neck.  Continue the process until the desired length has been achieved.  When finished, secure a clasp that can be bought inexpensively at your local craft or fabric store.   Place the chain in small box and there you have it, the perfect gift for any jewelry lover on your list!

suze Suzie Canale, Westwood, MA

Suzie works at the Westwood Public Library and also serves as the President of the Women's Lockerroom Foundation of Boston.

Tags: Floral Design, Holiday Decor, Christmas, Christmas Flowers

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