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What can florists learn from Leonardo da Vinci?

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Feb 13, 2017

Leonardo da Vinci was one of the world’s greatest artists, inventors and mathematicians of all time whose contributions led to thousands of discoveries that enhanced the way we live today.  Through his philosophical and analytical thinking, da Vinci was able to create inventions that paved the way for contemporary machinery as well as provide a system for trouble shooting that would aid in unforeseen problem solving.  Due to his work, architecture, aviation and transportation have all been inspired by his scientific accomplishments and continue to grow from his documented advances.  Leonardo was the original Renaissance Man having a multitude of talents that extended far beyond his love for painting, having a passion for learning which led him to fascinating areas of exploration.  Scientists, technologists, engineers and many others continue to learn from his methodology of technique… and that even includes florists!  

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Interesting enough, flower designers can learn a lot from da Vinci through his style, balance and naturally brilliant arithmetic mind.  Within everything he made, there was a constant desire to manifest a sense of functionality, sensibility and efficiency no matter what genre he was working in.  For instance, the bicycle model he constructed was carefully erected to distribute a greater rear wheel suspension than the front, where a person would be lifted higher into the air.  The theory behind this was to be able to drive the bike forward faster by using higher hind resistance allowing the front to be easily steered.  Florists can use this lesson by deferring more support to the base of each arrangement while keeping the top lighter with product.  As seen in this beautiful bike display, the designer paid close attention to place a basket of blossoms on top of the rear wheel to showcase the need for a visual equilibrium.  

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photo credit via tampabay.com

Taking a lesson from Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man, we can forecast equipoise in bouquets produced, consistently paying close attention to the symmetrical ratio in everything we design.  While it is true that floral fads deem angled branches and protruding stems to be a fresh way to create pieces, take it from the infamous artist who stood by the notion of consistent counterweight and proportion.

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photo credit via flower factor aboutflowers.com

The Museum of Science in Cambridge, Massachusetts is hosting Da Vinci - Genius through February 26, 2016 -- check it out we did. It's eye opening.

“You will never have a greater or lesser domino than that over yourself…”

Tags: The Arts, #EXFL, Museums, Culture, Da Vanci

Holiday Gifts That Keep on Giving

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Dec 09, 2016

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “the gift that keeps on giving,” a million times before, particularly during the holidays.  You might even associate the term with cruddy presents like “cheese of the month club” and dread even the quickest notion of receiving one for yourself.  The funny thing is, this type of gesture is making a huge comeback this Christmas and with good reason why.  Instead of getting a year supply of dairy, clever givers are finding ways to make their gifts meaningful in the sense that they continue their value far after the season has ended.  Immediately gratifying trinkets such as sweaters, scratch tickets or bottles of wine are being replaced with longer lasting impressionistic expressions such as hand made items and thoughtful activities.  People can only have just so much “stuff” so many are welcoming this heartfelt trend and hoping to find other unique ideas to gift.  

 

Sometimes the thinking behind this notion is harder than the actual packaging.  We may become consumed and wrapped up with a concept that is overly complicated instead of putting thoughts into simpler terms.  You don’t have to be over the top with expensive presents or tokens either, so presents should reflect thoughtfulness instead of cost.  In an effort to pass along this wonderful way to show someone you care, here are a few great options that may fit perfectly underneath your tree this season…

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A Beloved Family Recipe

If you know of someone who loves to cook (or loves to eat) give him/her a framed copy of a special recipe you know they like!  Maybe Grandma Ester left notes on how to bake the perfect ginger snap cookie or perhaps Uncle Fred bequeathed his famous clam chowder recipe to you?  These are the dishes that are meaningful to gift upon someone who shares the same passion for cuisine and if you’re lucky, they might even give you a taste when they’ve tried it out.

Seeds

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I’m actually using this one for my mom who adores gardening as much as I do!  Although you’ll have to start collecting seeds from pods during the months of July and August, you’re efforts will be duly noted when your flowers bloom in their garden for years to come.  

 

A Coupon Book

Get a few pieces of paper, staple them together and make your own coupons that they can use whenever wanted or needed!  Create tickets that reflect the appropriateness of the relationship such as “1 Kiss” for your romantic interest and “1 Load of Laundry” for your parents.  Be careful not to mix them up because things could get a little uncomfortable if the wrong person receives the wrong coupon book!

 

Museum Membership

Sometimes the best present given are an activity like visiting the aquarium, zoo or a museum.  Memberships are an excellent way to give a gift that keeps on giving and they will long be thanking you throughout the entire year.

Tags: Christmas, Holidays, Museums, Seeds, Gifts

Things To Do During February School Vacation

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Feb 05, 2016

Oh God, say it isn’t true?  There’s another school vacation coming up?!  Weren’t the kiddies just out for the holiday break, clamoring around the house, bouncing off the walls, frantic to be entertained every second of the day and now they’ll be let out again!  

 

If you’re anything like me, I’m a mom who loves her children but when it comes to these adorable little weeklong breaks from the classroom, I panic just a bit.  Every other month it seams as though I’m pulling out the activity section of the paper or scrolling down local events on Google searching desperately for something that the three of us can do.  If you’re a family who goes away skiing or flies off to a warm beach, you wont know what I’m talking about but for those of us stuck in the trenches we’re most likely calling “S.O.S.”

 

Luckily, I’ve recently compiled a list of places and projects that might keep my six-year-old and eleven-year-old boys busy for the duration of their vacation.  New England is tough during this time of year making most activities housebound due to the weather.  Keeping this in mind, with a little research we can make the most of our time.  Don’t worry about horrendous credit card bill statements or empty pocket change in our wallets- where there’s a will there’s a way!  Check out these local family favorites and enjoy February break in a relaxing, anxious free environment.  After all, it is called a vacation so enjoy it!

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Places

  1. Visit your local library and sign up for their February break programs.  They’re really cool and FREE!
  2. Visit the Museum of Science and Aquarium.  

(Don’t forget to grab passes before from your local library!)

  1. Trampoline Parks are a great way to burn off energy and luckily, establishments such as Sky Zone and Launch are awesome indoor facilities that provide hours of bouncing entertainment.
  2. Go to an art museum-Boston has hundreds!  My favorite places include the Peabody-Essex, De Cordova, Isabella Stewart and Museum of Fine Arts.
  3. The Ecotarium in Worcester is having guests inventors show kids their wacky inventions.  Most related activities are free with the price of admission.

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Things to Do at Home

  1. Get out every art supply you own and let everyone paint, draw or sculpt.
  2. Let the kids choose their favorite recipe from a cookbook and have a day whipping up recipes and sweet treats to pass the time.
  3. Sledding and Snow Hiking can be a lot of fun if you’re located near the woods.  It’s great exercise and New England is so beautiful during the wintertime.
  4. Turn the house into a giant tent by tacking up old sheets and blankets to the furniture.  The children will adore camping while snug and warm in their homes.
  5. A Board Game Tournament is wicked fun and will create memories for years to come.  Top games for this include Parcheesi, Sorry, Guess Who and Clue.  

Tags: Kids, Libraries, Museums, February, vacation

Free Fun for Kids During the Winter School Break

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Dec 18, 2015

Kids will be starting their December vacation soon and Boston parents are beginning to feel the anxiety about how they will entertain them for a whole week!  I know some families solve the problem by simply hopping a flight to Orlando for a week but realistically, that’s not in the cards for everyone.  For most households, there’s a budget to follow, particularly after the season of giving has finally passed by.  Activities for children can be really expensive so how do we keep them happy without emptying our wallets completely? We get resourceful, that’s how!

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Boston has a lot to offer and if you look hard enough, you’ll find that there are quite of few places that are affordable during this time of year.  If you have an open mind and are ready to take charge of the “Winter Break Blues” than browse through these great ideas suggested by New England’s savviest families!

 

Hiking and Nature Walks

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When you live in the Boston area, you’re fortunate to have several beautiful hiking trails across both the north and south shores.  From Harold Parker State Forest in Andover to Hale Reservation in Westwood, there are plenty of paths to take your little ones adventure seeking for hours of enjoyment.  Not only is this a free outing, the whole family will be benefiting from the fresh air and brisk exercise!

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Museum Passes

 

Our city has loads of interesting sites to see and some of the most impressive museums present in the art and science world.  The problem is that many of them can be quite costly, especially if you’re planning on buying tickets for four or more people.  Those fees add up so do yourself a favor and plan ahead.  Often websites such as Groupon will offer discounts or check out local companies who might be sponsoring coupons. 

 

Libraries

 

If you haven’t visited your local library, then you should because I’ll bet you find your new best friend pretty quickly!  Libraries are accommodating to all people of all ages and the best part-everything is free!  These media havens aren’t what they used to be when they only carried a few DVD’s and dusty books.  Most branches support a hefty amount of contemporary digital media, offer computer games, conduct story times and even hold special events during the school breaks.  You’re kids will love the experience and they also might learn something in the process! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: Holidays, Kids, Libraries, Museums, December

Post Holiday Tips To Bulk Up Your Savings Account

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jan 02, 2015

The holidays are over and the tinsel and wreathes have been put away for another year.  Everything seems back in it’s old place accept for one thing, your savings accounts.  December festivities can cost a lot due to exorbitant food bills, gift buying and decorations making finances a little sparse once January rolls around.  Turning to credit cards can only make things worse but I’ve found that there are several ways to add penny-by-penny back into those nest eggs.   You don’t have to worry that severe cutbacks are just not doable.  These are simple tricks that won’t interfere drastically with your lifestyle but will be effective towards assuring that your Christmas spending money will be right back in place for next year.   Utilize one or all of these suggestions and start saving today.

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                                   photo credit: mashable.com

Coupon clipping can be a great way to shave a few bucks off of your grocery bill each week and conveniently, almost every food store in Massachusetts accepts them.  Select products that you already use or can be easily substituted for a brand that is habitually bought.  Be on the watch for double coupon days and offers where competitors will match and beat another store’s prices.  Oh, and be sure to stock up on holiday coupons that are distributed in December, they will be good for another month!

 Counting-Coins                              photo credit: lifebyjeanie.com

Rolling Coins sounds small but really, those nickels, dimes, quarters and pennies add up fast!  Set aside a jar and empty your wallets and purses of change every day.  Once the jar begins to rise, dump out the contents and start rolling.  Most banks will give you paper rollers if you request them so do not buy them from stationary companies such as Staples, you’ll lose more money than you will collect.  Deposit your earnings in your account and you’ll be amazed as to how fast those numbers increase.  I once paid for an entire summer vacation with money rolled from change!

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I think that many of us forget the spectacular services that Massachusetts’s towns and cities provide for their residents.  Many times, we are quick to entertain our families with expensive outings to entertainment facilities without first checking out what we can get for free!  Libraries are excellent destinations where we can borrow books, movies and passes to Boston’s museums, aquariums and zoos.  Patrons can save hundreds of dollars a year just by taking a closer look at what our public locals of our communities have to offer. 

suzie_giving_tree Suzie Canale, Westwood Public Library, October 2014

If you need any library assistance, visit Suzie in the children's department at the Westwood Public Library.

Tags: New Years Resolutions, Libraries, Museums

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