Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Beautiful Big Baby

Yesterday, one of my favorite blogs flirtyfleurs.com made a post that featured the canine companions of my flower family- The Chapel Designers.  My best girl, Carly - aka "big baby" (I use the voice of Lotso the bear from Toy Story 3 when I call her this), was a good sport! I think I may have a diva on my hands!

I always pictured having a cute little pocketbook size shop dog. I also thought I would attend galas  and wear fabulous designer clothing, somewhat like Audrey Hepburn's character Holly in "Breakfast at Tiffany's." My real life has turned out to be better, dirtier, and filled with love! The dogs I have shared my life with are all from a rescue or shelter. Carly is not a girlie dog, she runs 5 miles a day, loves to dig in the dirt, and genuinely enjoys all that nature has to offer. She and I have a lot in common. She does like to look good while doing so though - she does and I try!

Here are some of her photoshoot out takes! She is modeling a wreath of delphinium, spray roses, snow bell, and passion vine!



dog floral wreath collar - wreath of delphinium, spray roses, snow bell, and passion vine

dog floral wreath collar - wreath of delphinium, spray roses, snow bell, and passion vine

wreath of delphinium, spray roses, snow bell, and passion vine





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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Our Splendid Old House

It was beautiful out a few days ago.  I am hopeful that the days ahead will bring more of the same. I have designed new flower beds and landscaping projects. I have to remind myself that this is something that will take shape overtime - just like the rest of our house!

A must in every 'home' garden - of course we have 3 of these
A must in every 'home' garden - of course we have 3 of these

You can follow John's brand new blog, Restoring the Splendor, as he shares our projects and stories about my other addiction - Old House Rehab.  This will chronicle our real lives (not always pretty), and how we try our best to balance our busy family and careers, all while living in and working to make the house our home.



We try to salvage as much as possible and keep the design and integrity of the house. We do not rip down walls. We really appreciate what is here, and enjoy the individual spaces and use them as they were intended. We are not a fans of the open living concept. I for one, enjoy the space, and privacy old homes provide. Hopefully this will inspire others to do the same and encourage rehab rather than demolition. There are so many wonderful houses out there that need a second chance.

Most renovation shows do not depict what it is like to live in the house during its transformation. This will take years, not weeks or months. We choose this path, and although it is not easy, it is rewarding.  I am so proud of what we have accomplished so far. I am the visionary and designer. John makes it all happen. He is the engineer, carpenter and overall muscle behind every project we do.  Check out his blog and I hope you enjoy his perspective!



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Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Art of Making Pretty - Sticker Shock

Floral designers use flowers to help enhance and create a beautiful environment. The word experience perhaps best describes what we are selling. There is just a ton of outdated information floating around.  In this second installment of my The Art of Making Pretty series - I am putting these little snippets of truth or advice out there into the universe, in hopes to help bridge some gaps between clients and floral designers.

Oh, and some of my bouquets to enjoy!

The Plaza Hotel NYC wedding flowers

Here's the simple truth - flowers are expensive. Flowers are not cheap - not even carnations (which I actually like) or mums. Each stem takes the same amount of time to order, process place, set up, and deliver. We all know that time is money, but also the flowers themselves are not cheap. Not even for the floral designers when we produce or purchase them. We also suffer from sticker shock.  Brides and grooms you are not alone. We feel your pain, sincerely. At least most of us do :-) . 

Hudson Valley NY wedding flowers - Kingston, Ulster County, Dutchess County,
The Calendar House 

Thanks to social media the flower world has exploded! This is an exciting time for floral designers and clients. So many lovely choices - so, so, so, many! The dreamy inspiration we are inundated with can be both a blessing and a curse. I love that there is more of a demand for all the "pretty" that is out there, since that is all I will use.  Remember flowers are my addiction. A costly one, because I want the best and can not get my fix using flowers that are sub-par. I know I am not alone. Clients and designers need the pretty just as much as Gollum needs his "Precious." Yes I am a dork :-) .

Glenmere Mansion wedding flowers

In the past when looking at wedding day flowers, a couple may have just picked from choices A, B or C from a catalog - not an actual portfolio. Things were simple and very, very boring. You could expect to get the standard stuff (yuck) and pay a standard price (still costly). A formula or "recipe" was common practice. Standards have changed - or rather they have evolved. Today every last detail is custom. Each celebration is unique. The bar has been risen on wedding and event flowers. This is great for everyone. Exceptional floral designs created specifically for that couple are now expected. The cookie cutter mentality will not be accepted (a definite blessing). However, better flowers, custom designs and a greater experience does come at a higher price - for all of us (the curse).

Beautiful wedding flowers are here to stay. Higher expectations and prices the new norm. We are all paying the price - clients and designers alike. No one wants to be hustled and feel swindled - a fair price should be expected, but fair does not mean cheap. Maybe I am just naive, but I believe clients and designers want the same thing - a meeting of the minds...and great flowers! :-)  We are all kind of floating around in uncharted waters - together treading and waiting for a life preserver to be tossed. How we choose to manage expectations on both ends will help us to sink or swim.
 
hand-tied bridal bouquet
Outside on a box in Upstate NY
photo by John Splendido

This segues to the next topic for The Art of Making Pretty series: Managing Expectations (coming soon!)



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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Jocelyn & Conor - Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake Wedding

Crooked Lake House & Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake wedding flowers, bouquet, centerpieces, arrangements

I loved designing Jocelyn and Conor's "Late Summer Nights Dream" inspired wedding. This is not to be confused with Shakespeare's "Mid Summer Nights Dream." It was a true late summer wedding. Celebrating many local American grown flowers sourced from farms in the Hudson Valley and the Upstate Capital Region. Fresh, lush, and sometimes foraged - just makes sense. I only wish our growing season in New York was longer!!!!

I loved working with this beautiful couple and amazing family. They provided me with an overall feeling and a color palette, and trusted me with the rest.  Trust is a gift for floral designers, an immeasurable gift. No, I do not take this trust as license to become "The Rouge"  artsy floral diva. The couple and family trusted me that I had spent the time getting to know them as people - their tastes, personal style, likes and dislikes. I love keeping it real.

The mother of the bride called me from the reception to thank me - from THE RECEPTION!!!! A major highlight of my career, and one of the best compliments I have ever received.  That phone call and our shared tears of joy will always stay with me. Thank you Cheryl.

Speaking about the reception the families celebrated together at The Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake (aka - The Crooked Lake House). It truly is a magnificent venue. One of my favorites. A huge thank you to Mitch Wojnarowicz photography for sharing these beautiful images. I admire his artistry, and work ethic. Mitch keeps it real. I hold his non intrusive and stealthy approach in high esteem. He is there to get the big moments that are meaningful - the ones you will remember.

I would be remiss if I did not thank the amazing Rachel Mercier for her help for this event. Rachel, you are forever a member of the Splendido clan. I am so proud of all you have accomplished in your own career. You are a natural and I miss you!!!!

Thank you to John, my husband and best friend. John is a logistical genius. He is the most organized, type A - and a master of efficiency. John does the work of five men and makes it look effortless.

Crooked Lake House & Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake wedding flowers, bouquet, centerpieces, arrangementsCrooked Lake House & Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake wedding flowers, bouquet, centerpieces, arrangements

Crooked Lake House & Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake wedding flowers, bouquet, centerpieces, arrangements


Crooked Lake House & Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake wedding flowers, bouquet, centerpieces, arrangements


Crooked Lake House & Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake wedding flowers, bouquet, centerpieces, arrangements

Crooked Lake House & Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake wedding flowers, bouquet, centerpieces, arrangements

Crooked Lake House & Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake wedding flowers, bouquet, centerpieces, arrangements




Crooked Lake House & Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake wedding flowers, bouquet, centerpieces, arrangements

Crooked Lake House & Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake wedding flowers, bouquet, centerpieces, arrangements

Crooked Lake House & Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake wedding flowers, bouquet, centerpieces, arrangements

Crooked Lake House & Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake wedding flowers, bouquet, centerpieces, arrangements

Crooked Lake House & Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake wedding flowers, bouquet, centerpieces, arrangementsCrooked Lake House & Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake wedding flowers, bouquet, centerpieces, arrangements

Crooked Lake House & Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake wedding flowers, bouquet, centerpieces, arrangements

Crooked Lake House & Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake wedding flowers, bouquet, centerpieces, arrangements


Crooked Lake House & Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake wedding flowers, bouquet, centerpieces, arrangements


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