Mums is the Word
Just wanted to share this photo from the Valley Forge Flower Show, the largest in the U.S. According to a blog post by Sharon McGukin AIFD, AAF, PFCI, "five weeks of cutting string, eight colors of materials, 16 miles of cord, 40 metal grids, 85 volunteers, 4,000 OASIS® Netted Spheres and more than 15,000 stems of preserved flowers." You have got to visit Sharon's blog post for even more amazing photos of this fantastic display of floral design excellence and creativity. It would seem impossible to do what you'll see in these photos. So proud of my industry!
Dia De Los Muertos--Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead is celebrated in central and southern Mexico and many other Central and South American countries. On November 1 and 2, it is said that spirits are allowed to leave heaven and visit their loved ones.
From the www.mexicansugarskull.com website:
"In most Indian villages, beautiful altars (ofrendas) are made in each home. They are decorated with candles, buckets of flowers (wild marigolds called cempasuchil & bright red cock's combs) mounds of fruit, peanuts, plates of turkey mole, stacks of tortillas and big Day-of-the-Dead breads called pan de muerto. The altar needs to have lots of food, bottles of soda, hot cocoa and water for the weary spirits. Toys and candies are left for the angelitos, and on Nov. 2, cigarettes and shots of mezcal are offered to the adult spirits. Little folk art skeletons and sugar skulls, purchased at open-air markets, provide the final touches.
The website has some beautiful pictures of sugar skulls (a disappearing art), ofrendas, village celebrations and more. They also describe the connection with Catholcism and native culture. Check out the gorgeous website and enjoy this Dia de los Muertos.
If you're like me, you have a secret love of coloring. You know, like when you were a kid and you opened up the brand new box of 64 Crayolas and colored to your hearts content in your favorite coloring book? (Mine was a giant Sesame Street coloring book. Actually it still is and I still have it).
Now it doesn't have to be a secret love any more. The new in-vogue thing is coloring books for adults!
Here is a link to a full book, and also, here is a link for a free printable from the most awesome website The Graphics Fairy.com. Of course, it's a floral pattern. Beautiful blooming iris in any color of your choice.
Found the cutest (!) decorations for Halloween at the Ohoh blog. Paper silhouettes you just print off and cover your candles or vases with candles to make a beautiful glowing Halloween display. Photos, easy instructions and free downloads for personal use are included. Doing this!!!!!
I'll have to admit I made this watermelon appetizer back in July, but I've made it again since and it's been a proven winner recipe. It's an easy hors d'oeuvre made with four simple ingredients. Take this to a barbeque or football watching party while there's still time and watermelon is still in season.
I found this treat when I was invited to a Bastille Day party with some French friends. It was a potluck backyard party and guests were assigned a certain part of the meal according to where their last name fell in the alphabet. Mine fell in the hors d'oeuvre category. Now, I could have bought a hunk of cheese and a baguette (which was my original lazy thought) but I knew everyone else the category would too. And once I arrived at the party I was proved right. There were about a gazillion baguettes and almost the same number of hunks of nice smelly French cheese.
I had waited until the day of the party to decide what to take, so it would have to be one of those fast and easy meal kind of things. I perused online et voila, mes amies, I found the answer.
People went nuts for these, and that was before they tasted them. They make a lovely presentation, which garnered a lot of talk and excitement. I tried them at a barbeque that I hosted in August and the results were the same. A crowd pleaser.
Watermelon and Herbed Goat Cheese Hors D' Oeuvres
Cut the watermelon into slices with a sharp knife. In the floral business and in the kitchen, I've learned what a difference a sharp knife can make in your life. Trust me, a sharp knife is safer and sooooo much better to use. You will thank me, I promise.
Cut the slices about 3" deep or to match the depth of your cookie/vegetable cutter...more on that below.
I couldn't find the right cookie cutter, which I was sure I had...but I had already bought the melon and the goat cheese and sliced the watermelon (giant watermelon) and time was running short. So, like we always do at the flower shop I improvised.
You know those plastic scoops that come in a coffee can or a container of protein powder (yuck) or powdered lemonade? I found one of those and popped it into the first slice of watermelon. (Never throw anything away!) It worked great, except for one small detail. The bottom of the scoop made it impossible to get the melon out without totally smashing it. So I took a nail and hammer, made a hole in the bottom of the scoop, then cut out to the edges with some garden shears until I had a cylinder. I also used the shears to cut off the scoop handle. Now i could just sink my cylinder into the melon and pop it out with my finger cleaned everything very thoroughly after handling the hammer and nail of course). I would recommend just having some cookie/vegetable cutters on hand though, especially cute shaped ones like stars or hearts.
Next I used a melon baller to scoop out little divots.
The goat cheese was easier to work with when it was firm, just out of the fridge. I discovered this by accident. The recipe said to let the cheese get to room temperature. The second time I made the recipe, I followed the directions and found the cheese too warm to work with easily. So experiment, but take your goat cheese and mix in a liberal amount of black pepper. Again, another happy accident, at the store the quantities of goat cheese that were the fancy kind from a special farm came in a limited choice of sizes--and let's be honest--prices. I chose a 4oz goat cheese that had cracked black pepper already mixed in (read I went cheap). Best cheap-o decision I ever made. The second time I made it, I used plain goat cheese and my pepper grinder wasn't working so I used ground pepper. It didn't turn out nearly as good as the first time (in my opinion--no one else had a comparison at the second party so they still raved).
Moral of the story, if you can find the goat cheese with black pepper already in it, buy that. If not, a liberal amount of coarse ground pepper.
Cut your choice of herb (I used basil, since I had some growing in a pot on my deck) into small pieces. I wouldn't say fine pieces, just small.
I used the small end of the melon baller to scoop (affiliate link) the cheese/pepper/herb mixture into each divot.
Top with little sprigs or leaves of the same herb for a beautiful garnish and sprinkle with more pepper over the top of the whole thing. Done!
We're Doing a Facebook Giveaway!
The awesome Davis Arts Council has a fantastic summer line up for concerts at the Ed Kenley Amphitheater. To show our appreciation to you we are giving away two sets of 2 tickets for The Music of Motown, on Saturday July 12th, 2014 at 8pm. Go to the Davis Arts Council webpage to see the lineup for the whole summer including some FREE concerts. To enter this drawing you will log on to Facebook (which you can do right below) Like our Annie's Main Street Floral Page and you can earn points by Tweeting about us too. This giveaway will be short so you have to act fast! You may enter starting at midnight tonight and keep entering until 6 pm on Thursday July 10, 2014. Winners will be notified by email Thursday and we will arrange for pick up. Hope you're having a great summer!
Every year, just before Memorial Day, a gentleman calls my shop and orders flowers to be placed on a grave in a neighboring town. He's been calling since before I owned the flower shop. The first year he called during our tenure, he assured us that the previous owner had delivered this for him, and so we wanted to oblige.
I called the previous owner to get directions to the grave-site, but she wasn't home. I went to the cemetery figuring it was such a small town cemetery, surely I would find the grave quickly and get back to the shop on this busy weekend. There were hundreds(!) of grave markers. I ended up canvassing the entire place from one end to the other, grave by grave until I found him.
The trouble is, I can't go to the cemetery without imagining the stories of each grave that I pass. I stop and read the lovingly chosen versus of scripture or inspirations carved into the stone. I look at the handpicked and carefully placed flowers and imagine who placed them.
This year, I finally let my curiosity win. The same gentleman called to order the flowers, always red, white and blue and I decided to ask him how he knew the deceased, because he said the deceased's mother would always call to tell him how much she enjoyed the flowers, indicating by the way he said it, that he wasn't a relative. After the pause he said, "We were...We flew helicopters together in Vietnam." He didn't really know the deceased, they weren't really friends, I don't think they knew each other long enough to be what one would call friends. They were brothers in arms. One had fallen and the other had remembered and still honored his brother every year on Memorial Day.
I consider it my honor to place these flowers every year. I look at the portrait of the fresh-faced, handsome young man, his eyes full of hope and pride. And I can't help but cry every year for this boy who would be my father's age today. I never knew him, but I look forward to seeing him every year. I thank him and his parents and his family for their sacrifice and service. I thank every veteran and their loved ones on this commemoration for my life and everything it entails. Thank you.
I absolutely LOVE <3 this heart stenciled burlap pillow by 2IY, A Blog by 2 Sisters. It's a perfect DIY project, just in time for Valentines Day! All of the instructions for making this simple and easy project are on their blog, with step by step photos.
Milk glass is so incredibly popular right now. This particular vase was part of the collection of old vases at our shop.
Secondhand and thrift stores are excellent places to find collectible glass, and there are many new and beautiful designs from companies such as Syndicate Sales and Accent Decor which can only be purchased from a real retail florist (like me!) ;)
With Valentine's Day right around the corner, you might want to start looking for some white or red glass containers to use for your holiday decor.
Annie is the owner of Annie's Main Street Floral and the author of "The Final Arrangement," part of the flower shop mystery series. Annie is Immediate Past -President of the Utah Professional Florist Association, a native of Layton Utah, and alumna of Layton High School.