Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I love my Sunday mornings. Yes, I do. The Sunday Times still sitting in the yard. I guess checking out new blog postings is all the news I need in the morning.

Yesterday was an unusually sane Saturday at the shop. The bulk of work was done Friday afternoon, and most of it delivered before I got into work. Lovely. This allowed us to take our time and enjoy doing the rest of the orders: baby showers, birthdays, dozens of anniversary roses, I love you , I miss you and get well soon arrangements.

It was a sunny, springlike day and the store was full of customers wanting to bring that feeling home. We used armloads of peonies, the tulips sold out, the flowering branches are all flowering somewhere.

Here are a few moments from our day. I'm off to Dim Sum celebrating a friend's birthday. There's no sun today, but no snow either and it's the last day of February! Come on March!

** post title compliments of Johnny Cash, the saddest Sunday morning song

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Channeling Spring

I refuse to live in a winter state of mind for another day. I'm thinking spring. I bought this blue flowered voile scarf (under plates) and I may be stomping around in boots and gloves but I have spring tied around my neck.

And check out those plates. Sunday's run by the Goodwill brought us these treasures. We don't plan to collect this Finnish Arabia china on purpose but it calls to us when least expected. We found a set of 6 egg painted egg cups one summer day at the flea market and we've been in love with it ever since.

And I braved the fierce winds to cut some pussy willow from the garden. Yes, the garden. It's visible again, the snow has melted away to reveal clumps of daffodils, tulips and snowdrops all reaching for the sun. And so am I.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Bride With The Curls Part II

I was barred from computer use last night. German girl has exams this week and she needed it to study.

I wasn't too inspired anyway. The pictures I had taken at work yesterday were a big disappointment when I downloaded them. It was as if I had worn a blindfold when shooting.

But it's a new day. German girl is off to school and though I only have 30 minutes before the bus, I had to post a few pics from my Saturday wedding. The bride with the curly hair. Thought I'd let you see what I was on about. I found these on a lovely blog Simple Space belonging to Eric Kelley, the photographer who shot the wedding. He wasn't blindfolded.

I'm off. Hoping for a creative day today for all of us.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Stormy Weather

Yesterday's wedding was such a study in contrasts. A tall beautiful bride with a wide smile and the biggest head of curls I have ever seen. When I first met her it took a few moments (months) for my jealousy over that hair to subside. Maybe it didn't because I always referred to her as the bride with the curls.

Her wedding was yesterday. She wanted a winter wedding and she got one; complete with strong sun and snow on the ground. Here's where the contrast comes in: such a sunny personality wanted such moody colors in her bouquets. Black calla lilies, amnesia roses ,mauve hellebores, silver brunnia all wrapped in gray satin ribbon. The bridesmaids bouquets were even darker with the callas and deep purple tulips.

Our driver said when he delivered the bouquets to the house there were tears. One of the many joys of being a florist is to get it. Get the client's dream and wrap it up in satin and give it to them to carry. Here's to the bride with the curls, and the smiles and the tears. Happy life.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Whew! Enjoying a zen moment with the ranunculus. We just had our friend Sarah and her 3 year old daughter Parker over for dinner. The penne with a deliciously simple marinara sauce was a big hit as was the REAL(not imaginary) cheese we served with it. The warm bread was also good but she did need BUTTER on it. Immediately. No salad ,thanks.

After dinner she had a chocolate filled with RASPBERRY CREAM. It appeared to also contain some cocaine and a little pot. The evening ended with hysterical laughter and then the announcement that she had to go home because "OH BOY ... [she was] worn out". Coming down from your high is such a bummer.

The Lab is also exhausted from all the partying. Guess we're off to bed.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Waiting For Snowdrops

We're all jonesing for spring here. Today we had sun but with strong ,cold winds. The snow is beginning to melt, but I'm still waiting for my snowdrops to reappear. Thank God for the flower shop. Tulips, daffodils, peonies, french lilac, stems of cherry and forsythia in bloom, the scent of mimosa and sweet peas all help to transport us to a better place. A place where we can work in our gardens, cook outside, enjoy a long walk with the dog, wear suntan lotion and sunglasses instead of boots and scarves. I feel like I am telling a favorite bedtime story. But these days will reappear and until they do I'll show up at work a little early and breathe a little deeper.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

California Dreaming

Before I fall into a bubble bath of lovely Kiehl's product, I just have to ponder the eternal question. East or West, which is best?

Behold Kary of My Farmhouse Kitchen outside in her flip flops, for God's sake, planting sweet peas. Then take a gander at my feet, encased in my new wellies, standing in my front yard looking for the front yard.

To move or not to move, might be the better question.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gift Of Jewels!

Happy? I guess so! Why not? It's the "every other Tuesday" that means my house gets cleaned by someone other than myself or German Girl. Three adults, 1 cat and 1 dog all snowed in together. Add in constant cooking, lots of shoveling, dog walking and visits from the neighbors and you need an house empty of animals and humans for a deep cleaning. This happened today.

Well, I guess the cat was still here, but hiding up in the attic and I'm not sure where the Lab is, but I trust she'll be home soon.

An equally good reason to be happy was I got this beautiful postcard in the mail today. Part of the "Gift Of Jewels" secret postcard exchange started by SE'LAH of the thought provoking blog Necessary Rooms. Sure beat the rest of the mail (i.e. utility bill, mortgage statement). Thank you SE'LAH for such lovely idea. I am struck dumb that a total stranger would create something so lovely for me. One love indeed.

And extra happy because I got so many lovely comments on my last posting. As any blogger knows ,the community that is built here on line is exceptional. Invigorating, life enhancing, I could go on and on. I feel so lucky to have been able put aside my ego and allowed myself to get out here and write about what makes me glad to be alive. And then to have found so many more reasons and people and pictures and recipes that make my world bigger and tastier!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

The Flower Olympics ended today at 3:00 pm. We all scattered in various directions, everyone with a handful of flowers. Mine are still wrapped in tissue, tied with raffia and sitting in a pitcher by the sink.

Many beautiful arrangements were made, dozens upon dozens of roses arranged , orchid plants dresses with curly willow and moss, but no time for pictures. Well, only this one, a little wink I literally threw together as a thank you for a friend. Still, I am a big believer in small but charming and you can't go wrong saying thank you with a rose or two, sweet peas, jasmine, dianthus from Japan (our first ever Japanese grown flowers this holiday), sweet smelling ginestra and a few mini cymbidium blossoms.

So Happy Valentine's Day to one and all. Hope it was a sweet one.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Purple Haze

Still snowed in. Well ,not really, went to the grocery store for yet more food. We've been cooking and eating so much, I'm too full to take any photos or write about the meals.

I want to go to work! Tomorrow I am promised. Usually during Valentine's week I would be begging to go home. I would be too tired to cook or blog or even read a blog.

Since I can't stick a flower in a vase ,let me show a few images from other florists who can and do it beautifully.

These designers are keeping me going. Making me dream. Showing me the light at the end of the snow tunnel. The first is from Bornay, a dreamy fantastical designer from Barcelona. She inspires sighs. The second is by Small Stump And Studio Choo. They have their own charming blog with many pics of their dogs ( bonus points for this). But this photo came via Design Sponge. The third is by Little Pheasant, a wedding designer in Brooklyn. I am an avid reader of her blog, and an fervent admirer of her work.

I used to be a magazine addict. Then they stopped publishing many of my favorites and I was at a loss for inspiration. Until one day I read one blog and one blog lead to another and another. Now here I am, this is my 105 post and I'm still reading and marveling.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


When you're in near whiteout conditions, what do you use to keep your house safe? Today's talismans are a yellow primrose, blueberry pancakes, an evil eye brought back from Turkey by our friend Kate and a Chinese God, arm upright bestowing blessings upon our home.

So far, so good. We have power, heat, food, friends (neighborhood potluck planned for tonight) and a sleeping dog. 50 mile an hour winds expected tonight. Bring 'em on, we're protected!

(I did knock on wood 3 times after I wrote that.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Now And Then

Apparently, we're still snowed in. The federal government is closed as are all the universities and schools. After a day of neighborhood shoveling, our street is free and clear, as are all the cars. Groups of neighbors (led by German girl and Tini) went from driveway to driveway laughing, talking, hugging hello and shoveling. Hell, even I joined in and I'm usually the one inside baking cookies. But German girl found a pair of ski pants for me last Sunday while we were thrifting, so for 5.00 and change I joined the party.

More snow is on the way Tuesday night into Wednesday. DC is the new Boston. Wish we were the new Australia.

We beat the snow from the boxwoods and shook it from the leyland cypress trees. I found a picture of our backyard on my neighbor's flicker file. This is Virginia? Here's a pic of my birdbath in better days and yesterday. Same with the backyard. A girl can dream, can't she?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Valentine Reminder

The sun is up, the skies are blue, the heat is on, and everyone is sleeping quietly but me.

I'm sipping my constant iced skim latte and reading blogs. With Valentine's Day just a week away the theme is romance. Apparently Valentine's Day is everyone's favorite holiday. They are not florists. We are so busy working so many hours, doing so many arrangements to express your love, the most we can hope for at the end is a hot bath and a good night's sleep.

But then I thought of the love and care we designers show one another. We share our food, bringing extra snacks to get through the tired moments, fruit, cheese, nuts and a bite of dark chocolate. We carry each other's arrangements up or down the stairs when the other is tired. One of my coworkers always asks " May I do that for you?" We make each other laugh till we cry. We compliment one another's work and offer up flowers that might make that arrangement just that little bit better.

Love comes in all shapes, sizes and guises. Apparently my world is full of it, even in the most unlikely places.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Storm Update

We awoke to a very cold and quiet house. Our power went out at 1:30 a.m. I had made some espresso before bed last night ICE (in case of emergency), this was one. I iced mine up and crawled back into bed with my book. German girl donned ski gear and went out to shovel with her sister Tini and the labs. The dogs were in heaven, they thought they had awoken in Labrador itself. The power came back on at 8:49. Yippee! I bounced out of bed, threw in a load of laundry, turned on the computer and the oven .

The snow continues to fall and we continue to eat. Last night we ate the ginger fried rice from Smitten Kitchen and we're still talking about it. This morning German girl made corn muffins and I made the Shakshuka dish from Sunday Suppers. Tini started shoveling a path to our door at 8:00 a.m. in the hopes the power came back on and breakfast was served. And indeed it was. Tune in for the 5:oo Storm Update brought to you by caffeine , protein and carbohydrates.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pre Flurry Fury

Let's all take a deep breath and relax. Northern Virginia is expecting a lot of snow this weekend. We have been advised to have 3 days worth of food in our homes. Check. I popped over to our local Safeway to get a box of golden raisins for my boss. She found a recipe in yesterday's newspaper she wanted to try, it involved cauliflower, curry and raisins. Guess everybody wanted to cook it too. When is a store ever sold out of cauliflower and golden raisins?

Upon entering the store I was checked by a shopping cart. Adjusting my basket I entered and exited almost as quickly. Carts were loaded for 30 days and 30 night worth of hibernation. People's eyes were wild and they were breathing heavily. It was a feral experience.

Here's my suggestions. Take what you need. Leave some for others. And maybe drop off a few
things for the Arlington Food Pantry. There's enough to go around.

More suggestions: let's all try and stay off the roads. Enjoy the snow and one another. Maybe bake a pie or start a blog!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Um, Sorry Martha.

When your morning starts out covered in snow, and your phone starts ringing with your co-workers telling you schools are closed, what do you do? If you're me , you tell them to bring the kids to work and start thinking about dinner. We often discuss this fascinating topic during work, preferably over our lunch of shared leftovers.

I bought the new Martha Stewart Living and glanced through. A recipe for a broccoli and pasta casserole caught my interest. When I got home I read it with serious intention and realized it was a healthy version of a richer dish. With 2 to 3 feet of snow called for this weekend, my body called out for more calories please. So I cooked a pound of fusilli as opposed to 8 ounces, I made a bechamel sauce with 2 tablespoons of butter, 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 cups of skim milk as opposed to the olive oil and 4 cups of skim the recipe called for. And then added the cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup of ricotta but threw in a 1/2 cup of gouda. The recipe asked for a cup of diced onion cooked in the bechamel, I sauteed the onion in a bit of butter and threw in 4 sliced mushrooms.

I seasoned the bechamel with paprika, nutmeg and a hint of cayanne pepper. All was combined into a bowl and then turned out if an 81/2 by 11 inch baking dish, sprinkled with bread crumbs and baked for 25 minutes at 400 degrees.

We ate this with a salad and mucho gusto. God, let it snow this weekend. I've got to work off my richer interpretation of a once healthy dish.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

More Home Cooking

I know I'm a florist and you would think I would be posting pics of all the beautiful flowers we have at the shop and some of the arrangements we've been doing. But forget that. Right now I'm into what we've been eating or are going to eat.

Tonight is Katsu-don, pork cutlet over rice. I have shown this dish before but minus recipe. I have by my side, a little stained piece of paper torn from The New York Times magazine, sometime ago. It calls for 4 lean boneless pork chops pounded 1/4 of an inch thin, dipped into egg and coated with panko. Actually they want you to dust with flour first but I skip that step. Then I chill the meat cutlets and apparently write a blog entry.

When ready to eat, I put on a pot of sticky rice and in a medium skillet place a thinly sliced yellow onion in 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of mirin(japanese rice wine) and 1/2 cup of water and simmer until onion is wilted.

While this is happening I cook the pork cutlets in batches until golden. Then when there is a little liquid left in the onion pan, pour 3 lightly beaten eggs atop and poach on the onion/soy mixture (do not stir).

When the egg has set a bit, scatter a handful of cooked peas over the egg. Divide the omelet into 4 pieces, place on top of steamed rice , slice the cutlets into slices and pour the pan juices over all this goodness. The original recipe adds pickled red ginger and crumbled, toasted nori. Maybe yes, maybe no, all depends what I have in the house.

With or without the garnishes, this is a delish dish.

Monday, February 1, 2010

And The Winner Is

I have done nothing today. For some people on a day off this is not unusual. For little Ms.Busy (me) it's a rarity. I went to Anthropologie and bought a glass knob for 6.00 to go on the lid of a green glass canister we got at the Goodwill for 3.49. Hmmm. There was also some clothes shopping, lunching, coffee drinking and laughing. Now I'm catching up on blog reading and debating what to cook for dinner.

Yesterday was busy. We grocery shopped, went Goodwill hunting, did laundry and a modicum of cleaning. A friend invited himself over to watch football and eat pizza. " Why not make pizza?" I said to myself while changing the sheets. I had saved a recipe posted by Heather of A Day In The Country and had fresh mozzarella and a can of tomatoes to make a sauce. We never got to watch the game but the 2 pizzas we made were consumed with gusto by 6 people. As advertised the dough was foolproof and rose to alarming heights. I doubled the recipe and next time will split the dough in half and make thinner pizza. And yes Virginia, there will be another time. This recipe is a winner. Thanks Heather.