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Recycled Storybook Paper Roses

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jan 23, 2015

I have always loved flowers from a very young age.  I’m not sure when this affair began, but my first baby pictures were always images of me crawling in my mother’s gardens and there’s one when I’m around 1 ½ years old where I’m playing with yellow daisies that lined my grandparents driveway.  It seems that my connection to the piece of the world that “grows” has been a long-standing relationship, one that seems to have blossomed throughout my entire life.  Because of this adoration, I have utilized this in several areas including three children’s tales I’ve written where all contain themes of flowers.  I also cook with flowers, decorate with flowers and often draw my favorites using charcoal.  They are everywhere around me.  Recently, another opportunity arose to express floral appreciation, one that combined two other preferred hobbies, crafting and books!

story book roses

If you have kids, you’re going to really get into this art project that was shown to me by a children’s librarian.  Using pages from books that were going to be recycled (which is environmentally responsible), I could actually make roses by following only a few easy steps.  Perfect for tiny fingers, this craft is simple to do because the materials needed are inexpensive and commonly found around the house.  There’s also little mess and teaches fantastic hand-eye coordination skills.  The snowy weather is soon approaching, so read on for this perfect indoor winter art project for kids and adults!



  1. 3 pages of recycled book pages (try to find ones that have bold writing, titles, numbers and pictures.  It will make your flower more interesting looking.)
  2. 1 black/brown pipe cleaner
  3. 3 green pipe cleaners



  1. Cut out shapes from the book pages that resemble petals.  Make them different sizes, using the smaller ones first for the inner bud. 
  2. Take the black/brown pipe cleaner and wrap a petal around it, making sure that it curls completely around the stem.  Add more petals as you pinch the stem and the surrounding petals. Continue until they are all wrapped around forming a rose shaped head. 
  3. Use one of the green pipe cleaners to secure the head around the stem by tightly coiling in a circle shape.
  4. Form leaves and intertwine the last two green pipe cleaners around the stem to complete the rose.


suzie-1 Suzie works in the children's department at the Westwood Public Library.

Tags: Books, Childrens Book, Roses, Kids

The Three Best Childrens Christmas Books

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Dec 19, 2014

The Christmas season is embodied by a rich sense of love, comfort and joy which we gleefully show within our decorations, celebrations and feasts with one another.  Children in particular make this time of year especially wonderful, as they expel the enchanting spirit of “still believing”.  As parents, our own spirits are lifted because of our little one’s excitement and we relish in the fun of making every child’s wish come true.   Over time, many authors have captured these beloved aspects of Christmas by writing stories and illustrating images that not only teach the traditional customs of hanging up the lights, baking the cookies and singing the hymns to carols, but also bringing new and whimsical storylines to broaden our imaginations.  I have become a long time lover of Christmas books because of the bold coloring drawn throughout the illustrations and the beautiful magic and that is present within the pages.  My favorites are expansive, I will admit, but I’ve managed to narrow the list down to three.  Take a look and see if you can find any of your more favored holiday tales to that you read to your kids during this captivating time of year!

Twas the Night Before Christmas


Clement Clarke Moore is the distinguished poet who wrote the infamous story about the arrival of Saint Nick on Christmas Eve.  Written in 1822, “Twas the Night Before Christmas” (also entitled “A Visit From Saint Nick”) was first published in the New York Sentinel on December 23, 1823 with no accreditation to Moore, a requested condition on his behalf for having the piece featured.  Becoming a huge success, the author did not reveal his ownership of the poem until it was included in a later collection of short stories in 1844.  Over 1500 years later, “Twas the Night Before Christmas” has become a time read tradition for many of us to read on Christmas Eve where we listen to the fine words describing a special visit from Santa Claus. 


How the Grinch Stole Christmas


“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”

These were the famous words penned by Dr. Seuss which his iconic character, The Grinch, mutters as he figures out the true meaning of Christmas.   First published in December of 1957 where the stories goal was to teach children about what is really important to celebrate, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” has remained the highest requested book in bookstores and libraries during the Christmas season.  There is no denying the remarkable imagination that the author used when creating the land of Wooville, depicting a story of a mean and scary green creature who looms on the mountain tops plotting the ruination of Christmas for good.  Readers are taken through a wonderful adventure that focuses on friendship and togetherness while learning the invaluable lesson of the holiday spirit. 


Dream Snow


Eric Carle out does himself in this picture perfect wonderland created out of the idea of dreaming of snow.  Set during the wintery Christmas season, a man closely illustrated to resemble Santa Claus, drifts off to sleep where he imagines his farm covered in a blanket of snow.  When he is awakened, he sees that snowflakes are falling and he decides to go to his barn to decorate his Christmas tree.  The particularly beautiful and unique design of this story includes snowflakes placed on clear pages throughout the book, where when lifted, children can see five farm animals hidden.  Another lovely aspect is the button towards the end of the story that plays a sweet musical jingle when pushed. Eric Carle outdoes himself in this holiday classic where the images are bold and the storyline is splendidly simple Christmas tale.


Suzie lives in Westwood, Mass with her family. She has not only published four childrens books, but works in the children's department at the Westwood Public Library.

Suzie & Ryan Canale

Newbury Street, Boston 2014

Tags: Books, Childrens Book, Christmas, Holiday Memories, Holidays, Kids

How To Create Christmas Snow Globes - Kids Crafts

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Dec 10, 2014


                                                                                               photo credit; The Santa Clause 3

The Christmas season is filled with gift buying, cookie baking, Yule decorating, card sending and most importantly, enjoying the time that we share with one another.  As parents, we try to involve our children with as many holiday themed activities as possible, hoping that they will relish in the seasonal cheer and maybe someday, pass these memories onto to their own families.  Don’t get bogged down with an elongated to-do list that seems never ending during the month of December.  Instead, take a little time out to use your hands with your children to make adorable crafts that will not only develop stronger skills in both the right and left sides of the brain, but help build a stronger foundation between each other.  Projects are numerous and can be created easily and inexpensively requiring only one necessity, your imagination!  If you wouldn’t call yourself especially gifted in this department, there is no need to worry.  Here is an idea that uses few supplies, uncomplicated to construct and most critically FUN for everyone, a Christmas snow globe!  Follow these steps and you will be well on your way towards a success Christmas craft.

Snow globes are very popular within the arts this time of year because let’s face it- it’s cold outside!  These spherical wonders are a fantastic option because you simply need colored paper, glue and a few white cotton balls for the materials.  Begin by cutting out a circle and a base as shown below.


  GlobeCircle_copy                                    snow_globe_craft

 Light blue construction paper works best to represent the glass ball but other colors that will work are white and black.  The base can either be darker in shade or leave it up to your kid’s to choose their favorite color to put their own signature mark on the project.  Glue the circle to the top of the base hiding a small portion of the bottom arc behind the base as shown below.  




Once you have this attached, cut out seasonal pictures of your choice and glue them onto the globe, making a lovely winter landscape that can include (but are not mutually exclusive to) snowmen, Christmas trees, wreathes, Santa Claus or any imagery that represents something special for you and your family.  Once the scene has been attached, glue tiny white pom pom balls to represent snowfall.  If you can’t find these to use, take a whole puncher and make your own using white paper.  The shape is the same and can be mounted just as simply. 

suzie_canale Suzie Canale lives in Westwood, MA. An author of four childen's books, Suzie also works part time at the Westwood Public Library and raises her two boys who loves the holidays.

Tags: Childrens Book, Holiday Decor, Christmas, Holiday Memories

How to Write a Letter to Santa

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Dec 04, 2014


                               photo credit:


Dear Santa Claus…

It’s the way that every child starts their sacred letter to Old Saint Nick, writing down with vigor all of the toys that they wish for most on Christmas.  Dolls, Legos, bicycles, board games, books-if a child can dream about it, you can bet Santa Claus has seen it scrolled within his letters at one time or another.  Although the task seems simple to most, some little ones have trouble and are unsure of exactly how to go about this important undertaking.  One strategy is to grab a pencil and a piece of paper and begin your itemization of all the things that you want to see underneath the Christmas tree.  Clearly, this is the easiest way to go about it, but what if we could put another spin on the art of wish list writing?  Wouldn’t Santa be pleasantly surprised to open an envelope to find a unique approach to asking him for toys?  If you think your ready to “Wow” Mr. Claus with a fresh letter full of spirit and cheer, take a look at these ideas to spark things up!


Write Your Own Christmas Story

Instead of sending the big guy a list of your wants and desires, why not create your own personalized Christmas story?  Come up with a list of characters (maybe your family and friends) and a plot to tell your own yuletide tale!  Don’t worry that Santa might not know what to get you because within your narrative, you can make the toys that you want part of the story.  For example:


“Sam thought he had overslept on the most important morning of the year, Christmas of course, but as soon as he jumped out of bed, a brand new skateboard had been left for him tied with a bright red bow and a card attached reading,

“Merry Christmas, Love Santa Claus”.


Not only will you definitely give Santa a chuckle, you’ll brush up on your writing skills as well as have a fun time doing it! 


Make Your Own Collage

Yes, words get straight to the point but an artistic hand can do wonders when designing a letter to Santa.  Give him something to put a twinkle in his eye by cutting and pasting your wish list into a masterpiece full of images called a collage! This type of creative play is a lot of fun plus a great way to fine-tune motor skills and imaginative thinking.  To start, gather up magazines, newspaper inserts and printable downloads from your computer and carefully select those items that you would really love for Christmas.  Then, carefully cut out the images and paste onto a sheet of paper.  If possible, use the sturdiest available such as construction paper.  If you really want to make something special, you can paste the pictures to form a story thematic after the holiday season.  Once the collage has been produced, allow a good hour for the glue to dry before folding into an envelope for the mail.


Santa’s Mailing Address

101 St. Nicholas Drive

North Pole, AK 99705


suzie_and_lance_canale Suzie & Lance Canale, Westwood, MA November 2014

Suzie can be found helping her two boys write letters to Santa or in the children's department at the Westwood Public Library.

Tags: Traditions, Childrens Book, Holiday Memories, Kids, #EXFL

Three Great Children's Books Celebrating Hanukkah

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Dec 02, 2014

There are thousands of children’s books that are perfect for teaching the course, traditions and cuisine experienced during the holidays.  Authors have been writing for decades about wreathes hung at Christmas time, hearts drawn for Valentine’s Day and eggs decorated during Easter in the hopes to inspire excitement and a deeper knowledge for the reasons why we gather together for these festivities.  One holiday genre that possesses a sensational list of books is “The Festival of Lights” also known as “Hanukah”.  Many of the stories include extraordinary images and written phrases that explore popular customs such as lighting menorahs, spinning dreidels, making potato latkes and most importantly, celebrating love with friends and family.   Bookstores hold a wide array of authors who have accomplished this within their tales and here are three that I’ve found to be fantastic reads to honor the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

 hanukkah childrens book

The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes

The author, Linda Glaser, pens this witty children’s book about an entrapment plan of a girl named Rachel when she refuses to accept an elderly neighbor’s refusal to attend her family’s Hanukkah feast.   Drawn with the intricate illustrating techniques of Nancy Cote, the plot thickens when Rachel’s mother runs out of potatoes for the holiday latkes, which gives life to a brilliant idea.  The tenacious girl decides to visit the woman living next store and asks to borrow the vegetables for the mea hoping to coax the old woman by involving her in the cooking of the meal.   Although the neighbor agrees to give the ingredient to Rachel, the girl must use her cleverness to convince her that she must celebrate “The Holiday of Lights” with her entire family.   I loved this book because not only do you get a glimpse at the wonderful tradition of preparing potato latkes but you also are able to experience a smart and hilarious relationship between two unlikely but soon beloved neighbors. 


The Trees of the Dancing Goats

Patricia Polacco has done it again within the heartwarming book, “The Trees of the Dancing Goats” which explains the selflessness of a young girl named Tricia who helps her neighbors in need during the holiday season.  When the scarlet fever plagues the village, Tricia and her family are unable to enjoy their festivities knowing that everyone else cannot partake in their Christmas celebrations.  Plagued with scarlet fever and unable to decorate their houses for Christmas, Tricia and her brother sacrifice their Hanukkah presents to decorate the homes of those families which have fallen sick.  Since Tricia and her family are the only people not affected by the illness, they take it upon themselves to help those in need, thereby showing the true meaning of community.


Sammy Spider’s First Hanukkah

This is a sweet story geared towards young readers that captivates the beauty of color seen during the eight days of Hanukkah.  Written by Sylvia Rouss, this is a remarkable tale about a spider that watches Josh Shapiro during a special eight day span where he lights the candles of the menorah and receives beautifully colored dreidels.  Sad because he does not have a toy to spin, Sammy’s mother makes sure that he gets his own spun, webbed rainbow to celebrate Hanukah.  Illustrated by Katherine Kahn, the author has provided a wonderful story explaining “The Festival of Lights” and has also written a multitude of other similar tales in celebration of Jewish holidays including “Sammy the Spider’s First Shabbat” and “Sammy the Spider’s First Passover”.

suzie-1 Suzie Canale, Big Red Chair, Chestnut Hill Mall

Suzie works in the children's department at the Westwood Public Library and has also written four children's books through her Beantown Tales. 


Tags: Jewish Holidays, Childrens Book, Holiday Memories, Kids, #EXFL, hanukkah

What Do a Red Rose and a Glazed Doughnut Have in Common ?

Posted by Rick Canale on Tue, Jul 29, 2014

Red Roses in Boston Every night I read my four year old son Lance a bed time story. While Lance prefers The Cat in the Hat or his mom's The Popcorn Hydrangea of Poppingtom, I make sure to read new books often. Now that his mom works at the Westwood Library, Lance enjoys new books daily. Last night we read The Donut Chef by Bob Staake.

DONUT CHEF resized 600 Staake's tale shares the story of a wildly popular doughnut shop who almost loses sight of what made his clients love his shop to begin with. When a rival doughnut shop opens, the chef continues to create new and exciting flavors every day. Sometimes the doughnuts do not even look like or taste like doughnuts. 

As florists in Boston, we can caught up in this same type of hysteria. Competition is great for business. It forces new ideas and betters service. At the same time, florists cannot forget where our clients came from. The donut chef is reminded by a two year old girl that the glazed doughnut (which he no longer sells) is the reason she was there. This revelation leads the donut chef to bring back the glazed doughnut in all its grandeur. 

Much like the Donut Chef, every florist needs to remind themselves that the red rose is the backbone flower of our industry. We should never dispel its significance. Clients will try other flavors, but they will always want that red rose. 

Tags: Childrens Book, Suzie Canale, Roses, Popcorn Hydrangea, Westwood

March Newsletter from Exotic Flowers in Boston

Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, Mar 12, 2014

exotic flowers boston resized 600

Dear Friends, 

The weather has been brutal. Thankfully, the Red Sox are in Florida and that crack of the bat is right around the corner. The past few weeks at Exotic Flowers were enlightening, entertaining and exciting. 
We are proud to bring you a crisp and clean update to our website. Please let me know what you think. 
If you have Comcast for your cable TV, then I hope you saw us featured on their get local for Valentine's Day. If not, no worries; I have provided a link in this email.
Our most exciting news is Suzie's new children's book. This is her fourth children's book, maybe even her best yet. She has even decided to donate 100% of all her royalties to the One Fund to support the Boston Marathon bombing victims and their families.
Boston You're My Home  
New Children's Book by Suzie Canale 
Boston You're My Home
Order Your Copy Here
Boston, You're My Home is the story of a young girl named Sweet Caroline who is nervous about her family moving to Boston. Her mother and father attempt to soothe her fears by telling her a bedtime tale inspired by Boston's strengths. From its education to the arts and its heroes, Caroline learns about the wonderful benefits about calling Boston her new home.
Exotic Flowers on TV  
Comcast Video
Click Here to Watch
Aired in February
If you ever visited the shop, you know our story is better than most reality television. We even turned down a reality show opportunity this past year.
This winter however, we had the TV cameras from Comcast rolling and we were able to tell a wonderful piece of our story without the drama.
"The true harbinger of spring is not crocuses or swallows returning to Capistrano, but the sound of the bat on the ball."




Rick Canale
Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView our profile on LinkedInFind us on Google+Find us on YelpVisit our blogView our videos on YouTube

Tags: Boston Strong, Sonny Canale, Rick Canale, Boston Florist Staff, Childrens Book, Boston

Boston You're My Home - New Children's Book Benefits The One Fund

Posted by Rick Canale on Mon, Mar 10, 2014

Boston You're My Home

At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we believe in the importance of reading to children and reading with children. Heck we believe that reading is one of the pillars of civilization. At Exotic Flowers, we share books, poetry and even have a favorite author. Yes, Suzie Canale is my amazing wife. She also writes amazing stories.

Her newest children's book, Boston, You're My Home is the story of a young girl named Sweet Caroline who is nervous about her family moving to the city. Worried about the unknown, her mother and father attempt to soothe her fears by telling her a bedtime tale inspired by Boston's strengths. Including everything from scholarly education to delectable seafood, Caroline slowly begins to learn about the wonderful benefits of calling Boston her new home. Suzie will be donating 100% percent of her royalties for this book to benefit The One Fund. 

Tags: Suzie Hearl Canale, Land of Chocolate Cosmos, Books, Childrens Book, Boston, Suzie Canale

Dr. Seuss and a Love Affair of Flowers

Posted by Rick Canale on Fri, Feb 28, 2014

Allium Gladiator resized 600
As we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss (March 2nd), florists and gardeners embrace Seuss' inspiration from flowers found right in our own backyards. Pictured above, Gladiator Allium showcase the imaginary worlds that Seuss created.
GOMPHRENA SEUSS FLOWERS resized 600Summer flowers like Gomphrena show the fluffy spheres of color so prevalent in the children's stories.
Craspedia also known as Billy Balls are another flower that one can see inspired Dr Seuss to create such memorable images. CRASPEDIA resized 600
With two young boys in the house, there are many Seuss books in every nook of my house. I am also fortunate to be married to children's book author Suzie Canale. Her book 'The Land of Chocolate Cosmos' has been called 'The Lorax' of our generation.
Dr. Seuss and flowers are such a popular concept that PBS kids has even created an online game known as Dr. Seuss Flower Finder where kids and adults can create their own flowers. Flower Finder Dr Seuss
Dr Seuss has inspired so many creative people in the floral industry that a float in this 2013's Rose Bowl featured the Cat in the Hat.
dr seuss float

Tags: Chocolate Cosmos, Rose Parade, Rose Bowl, Dr. Seuss, Childrens Book, Suzie Canale

Children's Book Drive at Gillette Stadium Sunday September 22, 2013

Posted by Rick Canale on Thu, Sep 19, 2013

the beantown tales

Hey PATRIOTS fans! The Pats are asking for donations of children's books to bring to this Sunday's game and they will personally deliver them to needy children of Massachusetts! Exotic Flowers of Boston will give a FREE Beantown Tale book to those who show their game day ticket from now until Saturday to donate to this great cause! Just show your ticket at our store at 609 American Legion Hwy in Roslindale, MA and you'll get a free copy to give:)

At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we know the value of reading to children and for kids to have their very own books. 

Tags: Candy Roses, Chocolate Cosmos, Patriot Place, Books, Childrens Book, Popcorn Hydrangea

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