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Gemstones Matched with Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jun 20, 2018

Along with gardening, I’m a big book lover who enjoys reading anything from middle grade/YA to thrillers.  Recently, I began the novel, “Grump” by Liesl Shurtliff which gives the (fairly) true story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.  Geared towards kids in grades 5-7, this fun and whimsical tale gives a new spin on what the real deal with the 7th dwarf really is.  Were they all kind and supportive of the little girl’s path towards becoming the “fairest of them all”, a title that would earn her the crown or did one of the tiny men have an agenda of their own?  There’s nothing better than a great fairytale but when you get a chance to see the story from a new perspective-it’s even more enjoyable.

grump novel

Now, if you’re interested in “Grump” then you’ll need to know the first basic trait of the dwarf.  Dwarves LOVE to eat gemstones! Diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires just scrape the surface of these creatures bountiful and VALUABLE preferred dinner menu.  Not only do they dine on only the finest of treasures but they are also consuming the powers that are present with the stone such as strength, purity, and cleverness.  As I was browsing all of the powers the gems possessed, it got me to thinking about the same ability many flowers also retain and the influence they have over those they surround.  Blossoms have their own magic to give others and can be closely related to these stones and maybe even put into similar categories. Here is a list where I’ve matched the gems mentioned in “Grump” with a blooming counterpart with similar properties.  Take a peek and see if one or both pairings matches your taste!

GEM           POWER            FLOWER

 Amber        Protection         Heather

Amethyst    Peace                Apple Blossom

Diamond     Strength            Gladiolus

Emerald       Intuition            Calla Lily

Opal            Creativity           Lupine

Pink Topaz   Optimism          Daffodils

Ruby             Long Life          Peach Blossom

Sapphire       Truth                Chrysanthemum


Tags: Childrens Book, Flower Meanings, Jewels

How to create a harry Potter Themed Wedding

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Mar 15, 2017

J.K. Rowling has become one of the most beloved authors of all time after her creation of the whimsical wizardry character, Harry Potter.  Throughout the series, the author managed to take her readers along for a wonderful ride filled with magic and adventure, making readers beg for more once the final chapter arrives.  Due to her genius of technique, Harry Potter has become more than a mere fictional fantasy and has transposed itself into a beloved phenomenon that reaches out to new fellowship every year including athletics, education and even fashion.

harry potter wedding.jpg

Mon Petit Studio / Via

One area that we are seeing an interesting realm of expansion is within the wedding scene where brides are requesting Hogwarts themed celebrations.  Including wardrobe, décor and even menu servings, wedding planners are now being challenged to re-create Rowling’s enchanting world that lies beyond platform 9 ¾’s.  While conservative critics snub their noses at this idea that shies away from traditional pastel florals, white gowns and typical matrimonial cuisine, others are ready for a change and diving in with both creative feet!  Are you curious as to how to accomplish this innovative magical illusion that focuses on the wizarding world?  Take a peek at some of these brilliant ways to transform your everyday wedding fete into something you and your guests will never forget!


This is pretty easy if you’ve read the books or seen the movies because all you have to do is replicate one of the Hogwart’s locations such as the dining hall, staircase or one of your favorite classroom areas.  Props can be simply made by covering books and labeling them with titles such as “Advanced Potions” or “Transifiguration Made Easy” and simple tea lights can be lit for illumination.  Place cards are another great bridal detail that can be set up to represent the different houses where guests will be sorted by table.  Make sure the linens match each section and add a bubbling flask filled with food coloring and dry ice to add effect.


Another super simple wedding feature that can be adapted to the theme are the flowers, which only have to be picked for their hues of red, blue, green and yellow.  Another option would be to place heavy gold and silver accents resonating the opulence and mystical feel of the story or making Paper Mache flowers out of old recycled books.  Containers should also reflect the motif, focusing on metallic shades or jewel-toned vases.  If you really want to get fancy, have your florists make gold colored balls filled with sprayed blossoms that symbolize Quidditch balls like the Quaffle, Bludgers and of course, the Golden Snitch.  


The bride and groom can have fun with their costuming by playing characters in the series, the two most popular couples being Ron and Hermione or Harry and Ginny.  Bridesmaids can wear different red, yellow, green and blue fabric dresses representing the different houses (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw) and the groomsmen can simply wear a tie which also color-coordinates in either solids or stripes.  

Tags: Books, Weddings, Childrens Book, Harry Potter

Arrangements Thematic after Famous Children’s Books

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Aug 30, 2016

I work in the children’s department of a library here in Massachusetts where thousands of books holding wonderful plots and characters constantly inspire me.  I also used to work in a flower shop, which too, provoked me to come up with different ways to display and arrange a variety of flowers.  So I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be neat if the two worlds could combine to make something really spectacular?


  photo credit via - pinterest Four Seasons Florist

\What if we took famous characters from well-known children’s titles and designed beautiful centerpieces and bouquets to mirror them?  Think about the conversations these presentations would encourage if they were used in libraries, youth events, schools or even kid’s birthday parties?  The idea has prospect doesn’t it?  Both fun and educational, flowers themed after juvenile literature can open the door to a whole new world of magical reading and floral appreciation.  Here are some of the best one’s I’ve seen so far from a few of my favorite picture books.

cat_and_the_hat_flowers.jpg photo credit -  A Touch of Class Florist and Gifts- Stockbridge, GA

Tags: Flower Arrangements, Books, Childrens Book, Kids, Libraries

Books in Bloom

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jul 29, 2016

There’s nothing like reading a good book but when you couple it with a beautiful flower arrangement, what could be better?  “Books in Bloom” is a new trend that is sweeping libraries, bookstores and flower shops throughout New England and is showing both flower and book lovers a clever and creative approach to combining the two things they love most in this world.  Perfect for display work or events, this interesting way to dress up a great story not only proves successful within increasing customer and patron visitation, but it can also initiate a positive marketing effect for book and floral sales.  Due the fact that merchandizing can become stale over time for both industries, this idea is a perfect way to amp up an organization’s style with an ingenious and imaginative fresh way to exhibit product lines.


photo credit: Flower Factor

So how exactly does it work?


Thanks to our city’s talented florists, designers are able to recreate a physical reflection of the content stored in some of our favorite titles by selecting particular varieties and showcasing them next to the book.  As patrons glance at the arrangement, their mind is believed to connect the pleasurable eye candy with the actual book, encouraging the reader to engage with the material at a more enjoyable level. The architecture of the floral pieces can be simple or elaborate depending on the details of where they are to be shown and props are encouraged to be included as well.  The great thing about “Books in Bloom” is that this concept works for both children and adult novels, making almost any book in a library you see possible to include within the presentation.  Of course certain titles work better than others such as “The Hungry Caterpillar” and the “Great Gatsby” so selecting the books should be carefully calculated beforehand.  


photo credit: via Flower Factor

By designing arrangements that mimic the essence of the media, we can foster a whole new level of appreciation for reading and foster a blossoming love for literature.  

Here are a few examples of my favorites!

Tags: Floral Design, Books, Childrens Book, Libraries, Flower Meanings

2015’s Most Requested Christmas Picture Books

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Dec 04, 2015

I love the holiday season and I appreciate all of the different decorations, lighting, snowfall and foods associated with this time of year.  Our brains actually recognize these as triggers, letting us know what we can expect.  When we see a pine tree on top of a car, we know that it will be soon be twinkling with ornaments and when we hear the jingle of bells, we know that Santa and his reindeer must be near.  We link these characteristics together as “hints” that Christmas time is approaching and we watch for more of these signals to guide us through the traditions and festivities.


For some kids, these “hints” are harder to connect to so they need a little help identifying special traits to let them learn how to react to special occasions.  A great way to do this is to find children’s picture books, which teach them about what a holiday means and how we celebrate them.  Stories are capable of connecting ideas when associated with indicators illustrated on the pages.  


Luckily, families will have a wide variety of new titles to choose from since this has been a very busy year of publishing Christmas themed books.  From picking out a wreath and tree to sending grandma a holiday card, you’ll be able to select any aspect you wish!  Vivid pictures, poetic phrases, funny storylines and magical adventures all await you so browse this list and find your perfect Christmas read!


Tags: Books, Childrens Book, Christmas, Kids, December

Top Children's Books for Halloween

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Oct 14, 2015

Halloween is here and for some little ghost and goblins, trick or treating for the first time can be frightening.  Lucky for book lovers, there are tons of stories perfect for teaching young children all about the spooky holiday while taking a little of the fright away from their worries.  By using furry creatures, clever pumpkins and beloved characters that your kids may already be familiar with, parents have a huge selection to choose from to help get their witches and warlocks ready!  Halloween is more than eerie things creeping behind dark corners- it’s a lot of fun, too!  Here are a few of my favorites that I read to my boys, which have stayed favorites on our bookshelves during the month of October!


The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

August 20, 2002

by Linda D. Williams

CLOMP, CLOMP, CLOMP… This great tale surrounds a little old woman who says she’s not afraid of anything but is she really?  Follow the scarecrow whose clothing makes noises and chases her through the woods to find out if what she claims is true!


Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins


July 21, 2015

by James Dean          Who doesn’t love Pete the Cat or                   the classic story about The Five                 Little Pumpkins?  Now readers will          enjoy a double dose of the tale as               this cool character and his                buddies retell the                   Halloween favorite!

Mouse’s First Halloween

By Lauren Thompson

“EEK” mouse squeaked!”

Poor little mouse is so scared of everything that visits on Halloween night but one by one he finds that all of the things associated with the holiday “are not so scary after all!”


Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody

By Michael Rex

A ghoulishly fun spin on Margaret Wise Brown’s, “Goodnight Moon” told from

the perspective of visiting Martians!  The kids will love the silly comparatives

and parents will adore the unique details the author creates!

Tags: Autumn, Fall, Childrens Book, Kids, October, Halloween

Boston You're My Home - Children's Book

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jun 03, 2015

Boston You're My Home Promotion


Expecting a new baby?  Anticipating a loved one’s soon to be bundle of joy?


Traditionally, children’s books have always been the number one choice for baby gifts, specifically ones that are written about the geographic region where the child has been born.  For example, “Make Way For Ducklings” and “Goodnight Boston” are two favorites that hospital gift shops almost always have on hand.  While these are definitely classics to all of us, young listeners and readers now have another option available to them.  If your new addition will soon be calling Bean Town their home, you now have another option available to add to their library collection.


At Exotic Flowers, we have the perfect promotion that celebrates this spring’s special deliveries!  For every $75.00 spent on a gift basket or arrangement for a baby boy or girl, Exotic Flowers will send along a free copy of Boston You’re My Home” children’s book along with the delivery.  Whether it is sent to the home or to one of our city’s great hospitals including the Brigham and Women’s, Mass General Hospital, Newton Wellesley, Tufts or any other one of our medical center treasures, Exotic Flowers will include a special signed copy by the author with your order.


Why is “Boston You’re My Home” the right storybook for your little Bostonian? 


Written by local author, Suzie Canale and illustrated by Roberto  (also from Boston), “Boston You’re My Home” is a bedtime tale revealing all of the amazing features that makes living here so wonderful.  Mentioning sites and attractions such as the Isabella Stewart Museum, The Arnold Arboretum and The Union Oyster House, the story gives a glimpse into all of the special music, food, sports arenas and historical venues that they will soon be experiencing!  Not only does the book list specific locations that have made Boston infamous around the globe, but it also gives a look into the extraordinary people which we are lucky to have living and working here too!  Our firefighters, police force and emergency response teams are celebrated within the story as well as the concept of Bostonians being a beautiful and eclectic mix earning our proud namesake, “The Melting Pot”.   Written in poetic rhyme, the illustrations exude strong color and definition and successfully impress with visual renditions of landmarks including the Swan Boats, the Emerald Necklace and Old Iron Sides. 


If you are expecting a baby Bostonian this spring and are planning to send flowers or gift basket, choose Exotic Flowers’ fresh approach to celebrating their city with early literacy incentives.    


Tags: Childrens Book, Boston, Suzie Canale, Kids

Great Children’s Books To Get Your Kids Gardening

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, May 27, 2015

We all know how important it is to teach our children to love the outdoors but what about gardening?  When I was only seven years old, my parents bestowed my own plot of earth that I could grow my own crop just like they did.  Sure, it wasn’t as organized as the adult plots, having mostly grown lima beans, squash, marigolds and a tomato plant that produced one single fruit the entire season but I was proud of it!  I remember the excitement I felt when I saw sprigs beginning to protrude from the soil and the amazement I felt being able to combine a seed with soil, water and sun to make a delicious edible or beautiful living thing.   I had wonderful role models to learn from since they both had that inner desire to cultivate and yes they were also florists but there was a lot more which contributed to my fondness for gardening.  One essential element that certainly helped was having a bookshelf full of stories themed after this hobby.


There is no topic that is uncovered when we’re talking about children’s literature and that includes fabulous titles dedicated to teaching little farmers how to start growing fruits, veggies and flowers on their own.  Between the fiction, picture books, easy readers and non-fiction available, we can locate just about any subcategory of agriculture that we want.  If your child is interested in composting, starter seeds, vegetables, perennials, wildflowers or simply the colors associated with gardening, you can locate these subjects by visiting your local library.  Here are a few children’s stories that particularly caught my attention.


The Secret Garden

By Frances Hodgson Burnett


This has got to be the most famous book in history on the “green thumb” matter.  Young readers fall in love with the magical changes of a once devastated garden into a stunning Eden of flowers with the help of a little girl and her companions.  While the characters lead you through a fascinating transformation of roses and other blossoming varieties, they also undergo a transformation of their own within their relationships with one another. 



Planting A Rainbow

By Lois Elhert


This is a beautiful book that educates children on how to plant seeds and bulbs to make a rainbow of color in the garden. Illustrated with bright images that capture the attention of little ones as young as two, “Planting A Rainbow” has inspired millions of readers using soothing descriptions and clever illustrations of bold poppies, lilies and sunflowers.



Suzie Canale

Westwood, MA 

Suzie also works in the children's department at the Westwood Public Library

Tags: Gardening, Gardening in Boston, Childrens Book, Kids, #EXFL, Libraries, Outdoor Living

Best Valentine’s Day Children’s Books

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sun, Feb 01, 2015

Children have amazing little minds because they often learn the first key components of a new concept through words and images found in picture books.  For my five-year-old son, it was books where he learned all about Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween including the colors and traditions associated with these holidays.  Now that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, I’ve made a conscience effort to search far and wide for the best picture books, which explain this time for red and pink hearts.  I look for stories that have a clear story, are simple enough to apply to things he actually sees around him and ones that contain illustrations which legitimately reflect common images related to Valentine’s Day.  Incredibly enough, more and more authors are choosing to write about February 14th making it easier for us parents to select the right material appropriate for our children.  After carefully reading the selection available in my local library I came up with these beautiful children’s books that are perfectly paired with the spirit of Valentine’s Day. 


Happy Valentine’s Day Mouse

By Laura Joffe Numeroff

From the author of, “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” is the Valentine’s Day inspired board book, “Happy Valentine’s Day Mouse”.  Geared towards toddlers and early reading youngsters, mouse begins to make his valentines for friends and then explains the reasons why he loves them each.  The story is very simplistic to understand and contains bold illustrations that are easy to follow along with the story. 


Llama Llama I Love You

Anna Dewdney


Another hit series writer, Anna Dewdney, writes and illustrates this lovely holiday accompaniment to her other “Llama Llama” books with a fresh and sweet story about giving hugs and hearts for Valentine’s Day.  Published as a board book, this is great for the young readers who are learning to sound out words and also a great gift for the teeny weenie reader who may have destructible hands. 


The Land of Chocolate Cosmos

Suzie Canale

“The Land of Chocolate Cosmos” is filled with a delicious “chocolate” theme, which we all know is symbolic of Valentine’s Day.  Written with a sweet message regarding the importance of recycling, kids will drool over the scrumptious images illustrated by Kevin Coffey while learning a valuable lesson about preserving our natural resources.   This is a wonderful book for kindergarteners through 2nd grade.

suzie_c Suzie and Ryan Canale, Boston 2014

In addition The Land of Chocolate Cosmos, Suzie has published three other children's books. They are available to purchase at Exotic Flowers in Boston or available at The Westwood Public Library.

Tags: Books, Childrens Book, Kids, #EXFL, Valentines Day

How To Survive A Snow Day

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jan 26, 2015

The snow is piling up outside and inch-by-inch the outlook doesn’t look so hot.  Your family is crowded around the television listening intently to see whether or not school will be closed for the day.  Kids are getting excited while mom and dad shake their heads in fear of the fatal news and then it happens…school is officially closed due to inclement weather.  You start to panic as your children cheer “Snow Day!” with zeal and you wonder how you will make it through a twenty-four hour period trapped in the house?  It’s a familiar situation for many Bostonian families as the winter is flung into full gear.  Blizzards, ice storms and frigid temperatures are all part of the New England package but don’t fret yet.  There are a few sure fire tips to surviving these messy predicaments that will allow you and your children a comfortable, stress free and (dare I say), fun snow day together!



I don’t care what other experts say, food is key to surviving a snow day so make sure that you’ve made a trip to your grocery store before the storm hits.  Stock up on munchies like chips and ice cream, something that is a special treat that you don’t ordinarily buy on a regular basis.  Water, fruits and veggies of course are a staple, but make sure that you have some fun nibbles.  Foods that make the house smell good are also a great idea like pot roasts, Crockpot dishes and marinara sauces.  Baked goods like cupcakes and cookies that you can make together are also smart choices and will help to entertain the troops if boredom sets in.



Never underestimate the power of playing games to whisk away the hours while still spending quality time together.  My favorites are Clue, Sorry, Monopoly, Parcheesi and Scrabble.  A deck of cards can come in handy, too and will supply your family with entertaining tournaments of war, go fish, rummy and old maid so always have a deck on hand. 



Along with making a stop to your grocery, don’t forget to drop by your local library for a great selection of DVD’s.  Movies are a wonderful way to pass the time and you’ll be happy with the cost since it’s free.  Trilogies are smart since you can watch one right after the other like Home Alone, Star Wars and Jurassic Park.  Pop up some popcorn and enjoy a great show!


Arts and Crafts

Grabbing a few projects for the kiddos is another fabulous way to get through a snowstorm and can be very inexpensive if you have the right supplies.  Empty egg cartons, pipe cleaners, tissue, construction paper, crayons and paints are a simple way to bulk up your arts and craft inventory.  Browse Pinterst from some great ideas or just let the creativity flow with some fun winter themes like making snowflakes or glitter snowmen!

RICKY_AND_SUZIE_CANALE Suzie, Lance, Rick & Ryan Canale, Westwood, MA 

Suzie works in the children's department at the Westwood Public Library. She can help supply you with books and movies to combat any winter storm.

Tags: Movies, Books, Childrens Book, Kids, cooking, January, winter, February

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