Goodbye Flower-Brained, Hellow Massive Flower

January 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

Hello friends,

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I’ve been having a bit of an identity crises with Flower-Brained for the past year; apparent by my too few postings. What started as a showcase and an experimentation platform for Lola Event Floral & Design, has turned into a source of brain paralysis. The reason for this, I suppose, is a mixture of changes at Lola Event Floral and Design, curiosity in new ventures, and a growing community of creatives and flower passionistas.

First is my other biz, Lola. It’s growing (yay!) and therefore, I’m learning new things like ways to transfer the things in my brain into the brains of my employees (yay!). The big challenge, however is a growing knowledge that it is massively hard to build a creative business into something that is wildly satisfying on all levels. I’m just not there yet on any level. Wildly satisfying to me meets these factors:

  1. My clients are enormously dedicated to our work. We make them silly with happiness and they can’t help but babble about us to everyone because we’ve solved their creative problems with such ease and inventiveness.
  2. I make a lot of money. Dare I say, this business is lucrative. We can’t keep doing amazing things and achieve goal #1 if we no longer exist. It’s just not healthy to give ourselves to something that doesn’t give back. That is naughty. (Added bonus: my husband can quit his job and become a mad scientist/ tai chi following/ house cleaning/ meal-making love machine).
  3. My employees are well compensated, supported, challenged, and given the opportunity to grow.
  4. My business has systems and people in place so that I do not need to be at the center of the universe.  I need a tan, people. Not of the farmer variety.
  5. My business gives me the opportunity to explore curiosities, be daring, and research new opportunities and technologies. I’m pretty sure not being good in this has ramifications with goals 1, 2 and 3. Interestingly, not achieving goal 5 makes achieving number 4 easier to achieve.

Too much to ask? No.

What’s strange is that I haven’t found anyone else who is meeting my measurements of wild satisfaction. Which brings me to my second reason for our switch. I’ve met an amazing group of creative individuals and businesses trying to thrive. Let me tell you, there’s a lot of struggle. Screw my factors of satisfaction, I don’t know too many folks who are meeting their measure of satisfaction. What better way to lift everyone up than to share with one another our challenges and offer solutions! After all, I’m going to need friends with me while I’m getting a tan and our businesses are running without us.

Thirdly, upon learning about their challenges and our shared challenges, I see a lack of tools and services to aid in business for my particular piece of the event industry pie. I’ve got some ideas and who better situated to tackle those problems than me- and my mad scientist husband.

All this lead me to Massive Flower: TA-DA!

At Massive Flower, we are dedicated to the massive growth you need on all levels to achieve your success. You will not only get my journey to wild satisfaction, but the additions and stories of other folks doing the same thing at all levels.  We want to make a community of pros and a steaming pile of useful information to sort through. Tack onto that some inspiring imagery, education, giveaways and games, and you’ve got a good time, support, and clarity. Yay for that.

SO, please head over to Massive Flower to receive some smart talk and good stories. While there, please join all our social networks, too! We want to make sure we don’t lose our most dedicated friends. Let me know if the site is working for you, it’s new.

Greening Pains.

September 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

I consider myself and our business to be pretty ecologically considerate. Partly because we love happy organisms (slugs and seaweed are exceptions) but mostly because waste is so unnecessary. Sustainability just makes sense, especially when it comes to floral and garden design.

Composting? duh. Recycling? Um, yeah. Reuse? Why would I buy a material twice when it’s right here staring me down? Local materials, flowers, and plants in season? Yes. Let’s celebrate what we’ve got here. Toxic substances? Hmmmmm. Wellll, seems like a no-brainer, but here’s the thing… they’re so useful.

I’ve recently become aware of a soft spot in my shiny green shell. I’ve been suffering from a self sown affliction called artistic ignorance. This is the state in which adherence to any ecological values is ignored in pursuit of a creative endeavor. It’s the idea that the process of making something new is so exciting and noble that any talk of ecology is a buzz-kill. After all, what about all the useful adhesives, foams, and coatings that could improve our designs?  (sigh)

This has been something I’ve allowed myself to believe since I was in art school. Something I keep to myself  within the walls of my studio and has made its way with me into the walls of Lola Event Floral & Design. When the part that taps me on the shoulder and says, “Um, hey, isn’t that stuff bad?” (This part of me wears a hand knit sweater and barefoot running shoes.) But, the part of me that likes to make cool stuff belts out, “Why never you mind! We are making something out of imagination and raw materials. We are amazing! Muah ah ah!” (This part of me wears feather eyebrow extensions, a cape, and shiny boots.) Recently however, I’ve found myself having to explain why we use these harsh chemicals to my employees. The more I have to explain it out loud, the less and less it make sense. Like a kid who has fabricated a reality only to feed her own selfish habits. My explanation starts out confident then, as I continue to babble on, my people’s eyebrows furrow, they start giving me the slow blink, and my voice gets weaker. Pretty soon I’m just squeaking out some sort of sheepish response only mildly better than, “Because. So there. Now grab your gloves and respirator.”

The truth is, I haven’t really worked too hard to find better alternatives because the toxic materials that I’ve gotten used to using are so convenient and efficient- my kryptonite. Add to that the ‘everyone else is doing it’, and ‘we are sustainable in other ways’ phrase and you’ve got the number one lame excuse to hold back the pursuit and dispersal of greener technologies.

So, after throwing a full on “I don’t wanna” grown woman tantrum, I’ve concluded that we’ve just got to alter our way of approaching our designs. I don’t want to be in contact with this stuff and neither do my people.

The first and perhaps biggest offender? Floral foam. It’s everywhere. Nearly every floral designer I know uses this stuff, us included. Floral foam is that green squishy, weird substance that holds water and provides a structure in which stems are inserted.  It’s such a staple in the industry that it’s accepted as a necessary evil. From a functional standpoint it’s awesome. It’s fast, cheap, and allows for secure delivery and gravity defying creations. Friends, the green foam is grotey. Not only will it stick around in a landfill for all time, it’s full of nasty substances like formaldehyde, and gives factory workers the floral equivalent of black lung. The fumes have been fatal when burned and the dust makes you want to scratch your eyeballs out. At the age of 29 I started to get arthritis in my hands. Coincidence? Maybe not considering how much of this stuff and pesticides I’ve come in contact with.

While this realization was bubbling up, we met Studio Choo out of San Francisco- a chemical free floral design outfit with a great new book out. They don’t use the green monster and are thriving. After speaking with Jill and Alethea in May, we concluded that we should attempt to revise our summer’s events to eliminate green foam. We were pretty happy with our success. In many cases, we feel the looks were better than if we had used foam. As we go into a new season, we’ll be able to approach all our events differently.

We’ll be sharing our exploration with you in the coming weeks but for now, here’s some eye candy from some of this summer’s foam free arrangements!

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Photo by Michele M. Waite Photography for Sarah and Parker’s Wedding

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Photo by Lola Floral

 

Rulz for throwing a crazy fun bash- the Bamboo Beats 411 Party

April 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

This is the second year we’ve participated in Bamboo Beats’ yearly bash and it’s always high on the ridiculous fun meter. We’ve compiled some of the best shots of the night courtesy of Alante Photography to assist in describing what I think is BB’s winning mix of freak and fun.

Number 1: Music… duh044_alante_lc2_7558

Of course when your name is dj Tecumseh and you run Bamboo Beats, there must be music. And what is better than one fly turntablist? Three turntablists.049_alante_lc2_7570

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The reason for this may be obvious. We want more of this dancing on one’s head business…

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…and less of what this orange shirted gal has to offer. This is me mastering the good ole clap, stomp, wiggle, wiggle. My other move is the shaka-legga-shaka-legga-shaka-legga-shaka. But for some reason Alante Photography decided not to document that.

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Number 2: Have a little “Whuuuh?!” Factor

We love the Bamboo Beats parties because they allow us to make the stuff that typically aren’t requested. Unexpected decor is key to an unusually fun party. Have expected decor and you can have a usually fun party. When people walk into a party, I want them to feel like anything could happen. It drives up the adrenaline, opens up awareness, and sends the guest exploring for more uncommon details. Pull together some appropriately “out-there” looks and you are on your way to priming your guests to be jumping in anticipation for the night to come.

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For this 9 foot tall cardboard, street art-astic flower urn, we partnered with artist Eli. Eli is a mysterious artist and so we don’t know what his last name is or if Eli is even really his name at all. He provided us with the night’s motto, “GET WEIRD.”

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We set up the back room of Within Sodo as a ceremony set with 9 foot tall arch-screen sprayed up by Eli, our racetrack aisle runner, orange tree, and decals on the chairs with words from Digital Underground’s 1991 hit “Kiss You Back”

Number 3: Good Eats

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The importance of the unexpected is transferable to food as well. Here we’ve got Baked Custom Cakes with adorable cupcakes in a shocking color palette, but whuuuuh? A boombox cake and a splatter paint cake? Can’t wait to put them in my mouth. And by the way, those are our newest vase acquisitions with metal flower armatures. So cool.

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And more food outside with Dantes Inferno Hot Dogs (and veggie dogs) and Skillet’s fried chicken and waffle bar!

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This guy clearly loves street food.

Number 4: Drinks for thirsty dancers.

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The Invisible Hostess and Pearl Vodka provided bright and refreshing cocktails all night. And what says, “Come hang with us” like a cold can of Hilliards? 

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Nothing like a Hilliard’s to sooth a break dancing injury.

Number 5: Freak Show

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What’s he doing? taming a rabid rhino? Making furniture levitate with his eyes? Is he a human statue? No, he’s Valentine of Valentine’s Men’s Grooming Salon. So he’s not really a freak but his skills are freakish. Just his meticulous care for these dude’s heads leaves crowds mesmerized and turns manscaping into a spectacle. And this sort of unexpected spectacle goes a long way in making people remember a party.

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Number 6: Document!

Because nobody will believe you that your party was so fly, you must document! Our generous chroniclers of awesome were Alante Photography and Tyler Mayeno Films

Red Rose Economics, Explained with Gummie Bears and zombies.

February 11, 2013 § 3 Comments

Just a little reminder of why this time of year is so crazy: Originally posted this day, two years ago!

Any other time of year, I can buy a rose with the change under my car’s floor mat. Or with money that  I might not inconvenience myself with bending my lazy butt over to pick off the sidewalk. This weekend, however? It costs me more than the price of a fancy, organic, shade grown bean latte. For the price of one rose, I could drive a gas guzzler from North Seattle to Tacoma and back. For one. fleeting. red. flower. Tack eleven more onto that and sheesh!

It is shocking. And of course as a floral designer, this time of year, fellas who never get their special people flowers any other time of year whine to me that they are getting ripped off. The crazy thing is… they aren’t. The hike in price runs all the way down the flower industry food chain and while there certainly is a little bit of opportunistic pricing, allow me to explain a little of what goes on around this crazy time of year when everybody wants the same. fleeting. red. flower.

Of course, this will be illustrated in Swedish Fish and Gummy Bears because I have more of them than I do of expensive roses.

(If you read my previous post condemning sugar from my diet as part of my “new healthy me” plan, you will be happy to know that the animal confections shown in this post shall not be ingested. They will be gifted to my special people… since I cannot afford the price of red roses)

The yummy fishes and the yummy bears are roses. The yummy fishes are all the different roses that are not red. The yummy bears are red roses.

Throughout the year, lots of people love to eat all the yummy fish and bears.

And since the fish and bears can only be made under certain sun and climate conditions, happy fish-and-bear-maker-people all over the world make the yummy fish and bears so that we can have them whenever we want, whenever we want. Production of fish and bears and consumption of fish and bears plods along at a happy balance…. but once a year…..

Everyone wants the yummy bears. Just the bears. There are plenty of fishes, but they just won’t do. They want the bears. Even people that don’t like yummy bears want bears. They know they have to have them, that their domestic lives will be improved, that they will receive disapproving looks if they don’t have the bears. These people can be likened to zombies.

Good zombies.

And every zombie who wants a bear, gets one. Zombie just has to pay more. And why?

Because in all the nice places of the world, happy fish-and-bear-maker-people have been planning for the day when all the zombies will want only bears only for a little while. And because it is so big, and so short, and all they want is bears, it takes a lot of planning. Rooms that cover hillsides are stashed with yummy bears. Can you have a yummy bear in January? No. It is for Valentine’s Day only.

Can you maybe use the rooms to store your couch in while you paint your living room? No. Its exclusive purpose is to hold yummy bears for the day the zombies will want them.

Can maybe a yummy fish-and-bear-maker-person take a day off during this time? No. They must care for the yummy bears.

And all the space and light and water and heat, and happy fish-and-bear-maker-people love goes into caring for those bears, and all the money goes to pay for all that space and light and water and heat and love months before Zombie will need them. Just so that on the day Zombie wants them, Valentine’s Day, they will be yummy. But more important, they will be THERE!

Thank you happy fish-and-bear-maker-people, and thank you Zombie.

And, if yummy bears are too expensive. You can still buy yummy fish. But as history shows… you probably won’t.

Wedding in the Woods

February 3, 2013 § 1 Comment

Moss fashions, faux antlers, and paper animals? Oh my!

Oh yes. We (Lola Event Floral & Design) recently participated in Weddings in Woodinville, an exclusive wedding show in which vendors are hand picked for awesomeness and asked to transform a space as if jaws dragging on floors were the main objective.

We were selected by Kelli at Shindig Events which is excellent since we go together like charred crust on a roasted sh’mallow. We were teamed up with Matthews Estate Winery, an expansive site with tons of options for amazing events, and Shane Macomber with Shane Macomber Photography.

Good thing we handed out napkins… to wipe the dirt off the jaws…. from the dragging, you know. And the drool off the leaves… and the tears of joy… and the anticipatory perspiration… and the… nevermind.

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Spanish moss, a cord of wood, and airy forest greenery! Um,I should mention that we rent these things.

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the Spanish moss from below. Magical.

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Rustic furniture, big ole clear tent, warmth, plates and glass by ABC rentals by Cort, linens by Creative Coverings, table design by Shindig, paper by Paper Fling, Flowers by Lola

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faux antler chandelier, yo. That’s actually what the bride is saying with her eyes… that and “Thanks for the warm shrug, yo.”

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Sometimes when there is so much awesome, you need some simplicity to balance it out.   WIW_ShaneMacomber_0054

Pinecone garland

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Smore deliciousery by Lady Yum. (and they were)

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I’m glad we pulled off this shrug just before the event started. Dresses here and below by Dress Theory, hair and makeup by Off White, and headpieces by Off White and Madprops.

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Fine, fine suit by Trillium

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Garden Rose, bouvardia, and freesia bouquet by Lola Event Floral & Design

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Our fine, fine, elk man made of papier mache,sticks, and paper products, in a fine, fine suit by Trillium tailor. Elk suits were out of stock so we had to squeeze him into a human suit.

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This photo is by Soper Photography

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Paper by Paper Fling.

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Eats provided by Foodz Catering.

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Super awesome lights provided by the Bunch Store.

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Sh’mallows roasting over a chalkboard fire.

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More yummies by lady yum. The red ones were mango Habanero. They blew my mind.

A Novel Place to Get Married

November 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

This summer we at Lola Event Floral & Design had the pleasure of working with an out of the ordinary, self-described “coupla nerds.” There’s nothing like a new idea to get the create juices really pumping. Cindy and Sam’s desire for a no real flowers allowed, triumphant expression of all the things they love led us and their creative team to a truly one of a kind wedding. Perhaps the most triumphant piece (besides a glowing bride and groom and proud family) was our fantastic book arch. We really just can’t shut our mouths about it.

So if you haven’t already seen it on the Huffington Post or other outlets, here it is again- this time with our own photos. Definitely go to Alex Rubin’s page for pics of the beautiful couple, more book arch, and more wedding photos.

Thank you, also, to the couple for being so neato and for choosing such a great team of creative professionals

To the Lola Event Floral & Design team for all the great pieces and long hours of mindless book drilling.

Pink Blossom Events for planning, paper flower centerpieces, and in general making everything work.

Sodo Park/ Herban Feast for the iconic site and tasty eats

Heathoriginals for paper flower mastery

and Rubin Photography for capturing it all.

A Good Read, A Good Cause

October 22, 2012 § 1 Comment

You know we love a good themed event here at Lola Floral but few themes offer 380 pages of setting descriptors just waiting to be turned into something real. Few themes require us to read a book. We were spellbound from the first page on of Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus which was the inspiration for this fall’s Group Health Foundation Gift of Health Gala. The event was produced by, the always impressive,  TOLO Events and the lovely photos are provided by Tracie Howe Photography. The venue was the Seattle Westin Grand Ballroom.

The color palette was predetermined by the book; white and black with red accents. I kept a notepad by my reading spot to write down any shapes, visual elements, or materials. The list included wrought iron, clock parts, birds, red rose, ornate scripted text, circles and rings, trees, apothecary bottles, cards, book pages, candles, runes, and tattoos.

The ice garden and the cloud maze were the most magical parts of the book. They were represented by the ice tree and the cloud mobile. Fluffy clouds dangled from tree branches and were lit from within with LEDs.

Each arrangement was pin lit from above for an eerie and dramatic effect.

All white flower arrangements were set in black and white striped vases. A little curl of black wrought iron set in each one.

Flowers included hydrangea, white roses and locally grown lilies and gladiola.

Thank you all for a great event!

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