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The Untidy Garden Blog

Filtering by Category: Adventures

Picture Me

Julie

I wish I could take good photographs of my work. I don't. I i-phone a few things MAYBE. And MAYBE I instagram it if I’m feeling really good about it. And then sometimes I wish I hadn't posted whatever it was I thought was good last night and delete it. It isn’t as if I don’t know that this industry is all about the image. What does your work look like? What have you done? What venues have you worked at? Who have you worked with? It is embarrassing to not have images of this stuff. I don’t want to put up bad pictures, but are bad pictures better than no pictures? I can’t bring myself to post my photos most of the time.

So to help with my little predicament, my super sweet husband got me a 1-on-1 session with Getz Creative. I will try to keep you up to date on my progress (either by blog or facebook) and maybe, just maybe I’ll be able to take a few pictures of my work that I am actually proud of.

Stay tuned because I will be trying out my new found skills on my upcoming trip to San Francisco.

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Festival of Wedded Bliss

Julie

2 weekends ago I rented at booth in a wedding festival. It was a blast.  So many lovely brides came through the Hyatt in downtown Greenville – in fact, way more than I thought would stop by. As I planned the look for my little square of space, I knew I wanted a structure that could be visible from a good distance. I thought a 10 ft pergola would fit the bill, so I enlisted the help of my husband and his brother. After they spent a few days in the woods with a chainsaw, we were able to load the basic workings of a frame into my dad’s 1986 long-bed Ford F150.  The real fun came when it was time to load in and set up - we hauled literal trees into the lobby of the Hyatt downtown. Yes, everyone was staring at us. And yes, there was a trail of bark.

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After some planning and talking, they started to bolt all of the logs together. We got plenty of “what the heck are you doing?” looks, but everyone was very gracious, and some of the hotel staff even offered a helping hand (and a broom and dustpan). After a few hours the dust settled and my pergola was standing tall the night before the big show.

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While I planned for the pergola, I needed to do more than just offer a large structure for the brides to look at. We might get people asking us if we built pergolas instead of arranging flowers. I wanted to create a look underneath the pergola – one look. I also incorporated lots of texture with my flower choices (like protea and thistle, and peonies, garden roses, celosia, dianthus, roses and tulips. It is difficult to please everyone with your style and color choices, I understand, but I wanted something colorful and full of texture since my pergola was all so….brown.  I tried out different tables, but none seemed to tell the story I wanted to tell, SO I used my own dining room table. I love it; it has character and visual interest. I did three arrangements altogether. The bouquet I made imbalanced the table, so I did not end up displaying a bouquet at all.

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In addition to my choice of flowers, I also wanted to give the brides something to take with them – for free with no strings attached. Sure they get cake and business cards at these things like there is no tomorrow, but I wanted to give away a different type of calling card – a rose. Nothing design worthy about it really, just a bright, bi-color rose with my contact information attached. Maybe giving them something they could take with them (and take care of instead of burying it in their bride bag) could help them remember me.  I wanted to make this rose distribution look nice, so I thought through numerous ways of doing it. I settled on putting the roses in water picks, sticking them in Styrofoam board and setting that in a large galvanized tub. That worked for about 2/3 of the day until there were too few roses and it looked scraggly. I moved the tub to the back of the booth and grabbed 3-4 roses at a time to distribute. That worked just fine since the crowds weren’t as thick. Seeing my roses being toted around by the brides at the show brought a smile to my face.

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Some of my favorite things about the show were talking to you brides about what your vision was. Some of you asked things like – I plan to have a superman theme wedding, what flowers would you recommend? Or how would you incorporate flowers into a rock n roll vibe, or a Gatsby-themed or an outdoor garden-like feel (for an indoor wedding)? These questions and many more help to fuel my creativity, and I enjoy it so very much.

So thank you for coming to the show; thank you for talking with me, setting up appointments and booking me this year. What an honor to work with you for your wedding.

The feedback from the show has been great so far, and I'd love to hear any feedback or ideas you have for me in the future.

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Engagement Rings Ring in the New Year

Julie

Congratulations to all you newly engaged couples out there. I got engaged during the holidays, and it really was a magical time with lights and parties and new sparkly bling to show off. My ring was custom designed by a jeweler in Texas. I hadn’t told Eric what I wanted, nor did my mom or sisters know anything about my ring preferences. He was on his own. Boy did he do an amazing job. Big round center diamond, pave diamonds surrounding it with a blinged out band. It was gorgeous. He proposed to me on his birthday on the top of a building downtown which happened to be the same place he asked me to date him. We even braved the chilly December evening to ride our tandem bike down Main St to our engagement party.

This is not the point of my story.

A few months later…..9 days before our wedding to be exact….I lost my diamond - er, the whole ring rather. I was at the office on a Thursday twirling my ring around my finger and the thought crossed my mind that I might need to size my ring down just a bit; then I went about the rest of my day. After work I went to the bachelor pad/soon to be home and started cleaning out kitchen cupboards. We threw away old Tupperware and duplicate pans and gnarly looking spatulas. We worked all pretty late into the evening until we were too hungry to continue. We chose the cheap Mexican establishment a mile from our house. While eating our chips and salsa I realized my ring was no longer on my finger…..I sort of panicked. I sort of searched the entire restaurant asking servers and managers if they had seen a ring. I sort of put on a head lamp to search outside the car, outside the house – you get the picture.

We emptied indoor trashcans and the big garbage can outside until finally we abandoned the search for the night. We continued the agonizing search over the next two days. Unfortunately, we also had a full truckload of various items from our bathroom remodel, and we emptied every last thing from off of the truck, and then back on the truck - all to no avail.

I didn’t know where else to look.

That Saturday we attended a wedding where I did my best to hide my left hand from any suspicious guests. In the car I was once again (tearfully) apologizing to my fiance’ about how irresponsible I felt, how sorry I was that I had lost something so valuable. He responded in the sweetest way I could have imagined. He said – I’ll look for the ring as long as you want me to, but I don’t value it as much as I value our relationship. No one, especially not me, should make you feel worse than you already feel about this. I want our relationship to be a safe place for you; one where you can tell me anything and I won’t be upset or angry

How liberating is that?!

I love that man. He is more than good to me.

The sad news is that I never found the ring. The good news is that we had insurance on it. I still think a squirrel stole it, so I keep my eye out in the neighborhood. Maybe someday it will turn up, and you’ll be the first (or second) to know.

So to all you newly engaged couples, my advice to you is to #1 – size that ring! #2 – marry someone who responds like my husband responded and #3 – don’t clean out anything the week before your wedding.

Happy New Year!

Replacement sparkly ("old" band plus the new set)

Brooklyn Part 3: Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Take Me In (And Let Me Go)

Julie

Sunday morning I decided to go to a yoga studio that had an 8am class.

There were 2 people there when I went inside. One lady was so cut. You might think the buzzed head and safety pin belly button ring may have had influence on my opinion, but I swear she was the best yogi I have ever seen. So, after being corrected for walking off the mat in my shoes, instructor Bibi asked me if I was familiar with Ashtanga yoga. Well, what is your definition of familiar exactly?….then she asked if I was familiar with Mysore, and I told her I had never heard of that before. Oh, I forgot to mention, the class was 1 hr 45 minutes long. One hour and forty-five-whole-minutes. It sounded like a long time to me, but it was the only class that worked with my schedule.

I thought musclewoman next to me was just showing off/warming up but there was never an official start time. Bibi informed me that Mysore was a type of Ashtanga yoga where the yogis memorized all the movements of Ashtanga and then built on their knowledge each class. So here I am not able to follow the teacher or blend in with the crowd. Bibi was very kind to walk me through some of the steps, but she used yoga terms, and I don’t know yoga terms. So I would do a set of moves and then just stand at the end of my mat until she assisted me again. After an hour of this she said that was enough for today and that I could go ahead and take savasana. (AKA, you’re done with this session, Yoga dork.) Call me yoga dork for the rest of my life.

So I rewarded myself with an iced coffee at Bittersweet (and a doughnut). Ahem.

After the yoga drama and caloric recuperation, it was time to hop on the subway and head for LaGuardia. I had to get on a couple different trains and buses to get to the airport, and by the time I got there I had 15 minutes until boarding time. I RAN to the kiosk. It didn’t let me check in.

I 100% cut in line to talk to a Delta rep. She told me I was late. Hmmm. (Great observation.) She still printed my boarding pass and told me to RUN to catch the shuttle – I did.

I was sweating it out because I hadn’t even attempted the security line yet….there was an introductory security line before you got to the actual security line. Oh great. I said, “This is not the security line, right?” Wrong.

A kind gentleman said, if it helps, you can cut in front of me, but I would try talking to a TSA agent. I didn’t push my luck. Another gentleman overheard me and said if he were in my position he would beg his way to the front – I did. Even the foreigners who didn’t speak much English understood my pleas. I made it through BOTH security lines in less than 5 minutes and at my gate at 12:25pm. The priority boarders hadn’t even gotten on yet.

Whew.

Oh the generosity of strangers! I didn’t think I was going to make it.

Here is what I learned most from the trip: don’t be afraid to ask things of strangers. I asked for directions; I asked for floral advice; I asked for food recommendations; and I asked to cut in a 1.5 hour long security line. Be nice. Smile. Talk to the bus driver. Say thank you. And although I don’t do those things for what I could get out of them, it sure as heck doesn’t hurt.

Brooklyn Part 2: One Foot In and One Foot Back, Both Blistered

Julie

Last time we left off in a cute, quirky Brookly studio courtesy of Airbnb. The apartment had no air, but it did have a fan. Maybe it was just that I was in a new place, or that I was hot, or that I was excited to be in Brooklyn, but I didn’t sleep very well. I was up at 6:24am. I googled café and coffee shop and nothing was open that early, so I decided to walk the 3 miles to my first destination since I had nothing else to do. It was so nice. I listened to American Dollar and talked to Eric Dodds while walking along the Brooklyn waterway.

I started to get hungry and wanted to get some coffee so I ventured away from the bike path along the water into a more populated area. I went into the New York Muffin because it didn’t look stuffy or  presumptuous and had a sign for green juice on the sandwich board out front. That's the part that sold me: green juice.

I came across a Lexus that was on fire. I stopped walking towards it, but I did pull out my phone to snap a pic. There was a guy who had a big fancy camera who said to me that it was insurance fraud - he seemed to have it under control, so I didn't call 911. He was getting really close to the car. I got nervous that something was going to blow up, so I got out of there. Is this just another day in the life of a Brooklyn-ite?! I walked a few blocks before I heard sirens.

Unfortunately here is where I already started to develop blisters. I wore the only closed toe shoes I had besides my sneaks, and I was getting blistered. I saw a CVS and bought special blister band-aids that promised to not peel off-false advertising, by the way.

I got to my first destination. The lower level was a 35,000 sq ft warehouse of wooden wonders from Indonesia. From The Source was my favorite city find.

What a delightfully spacious workshop Peartree has. It was on the 3rd floor of this warehouse. Liza owns Peartree flowers in Northeast Brooklyn. She used to have a shop out in Portland, OR. She graciously spent time with me offering tidbits of wisdom and advice. She was also working on a wedding that had all sorts of “sci-fi” stuff. We’re talking lots of succulents and thistles and berries. It looked fun, and I wished I could be on-site to see the final product all put together.

I tried to catch a bus to head to Metropolitan Ave. In my ignorance, I hopped on with 2  $1 bills and a quarter. I put the quarter in the coin slot and asked, "Where do I put the bills?" The driver said, no bills, just change. He let me ride anyway-so generous. M next destination was a little garden and flower shop called Red Rose and Lavender. I wandered through the shop looking at the terrarium supplies and the air plants, and chatted with Kimberly about her experience as a retail shop owner.

After all my walking, catching buses etcetera my blisters were screaming at me. I ducked into a dollar store to find some flip-flops. I was in luck except the selection looked very asian/geriatric…..but luckily found some that would do. I got out my debit card. Cash only was the reply I got from the lady behind the counter. Here is where I wish I could have kissed the bus driver who forgave my dollar bill faux pas. I pulled out my two $1 bills and was on my way.

Class was so cool. The flowers, the foliage, the “professors,” my fellow classmates, the cheese tray were all spectacular. We photographed the class’s work. There was a laid-backness about class so I could ask Nicolette and Sarah my questions. I was picturing in my mind that I would be sitting in the back row, hand in the air waiting for them to call on me to ask questions about the business, their experience, general flower questions and so on. Side note: I think all of the florists I interacted with encouraged me to email them if I had any other questions.  I felt they really want me to succeed in this industry even though they don’t know me from Adam. It really meant so much to me. (Scroll to the bottom to see the the flower pics.)

I couldn’t justify throwing my flowers away, but I didn’t know what to do with them….I was flying home the next day and putting flowers through that rigor seemed unfair and way too much trouble.  I decided to take them with me. I didn’t have a plan.

I did want to go to the Dumbo area of Brooklyn to visit one last place. Emily Thompson Flowers. Oh and no big deal, but Emily did the flowers for the White House last year.

Toting my flowers the entire way, I hopped on buses and subways to get to Dumbo. (which means Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass)

Emily’s place was much smaller than I thought it would be. Just like at Saipua the trick is if you have a small space, you use the height of your studio for all your storage.

I walked around some shops in Dumbo and spent some time in a park close by before subbing it back to my apartment, flowers still in tow.

My feet were so tired and blistered but food and the cooler evening air drew me back outside. I walked down Myrtle street to make sure I shopped the area. I felt confident in my decision to eat at Zaytoons which serves inexpensive Middle Eastern fair. It did not disappoint.  I ordered so much food for myself it was kind of embarrassing. I had a dinner plate size pita, a bowl of lentil soup, 4 falafels and a roasted leg of lamb sandwich (in another pita) I was optimistic about finishing most of it, but really could only take 2 bites of my sandwich once it came. I got the rest of my sandwich to go.

I had no trouble sleeping on Saturday night.


Everyone's creations.

Yours truly's.

And another one.

Another student's work.