Monthly Archives

August 2009


1-800-FLOWERS.COM Floral Design Council

August 25, 2009

This week I was invited to attend a design council presentation by the BloomNet, division of 1-800 FLOWERS. In their continued pursuit of excellence in the world of floral product development 1-800 FLOWERS reaches out to leaders in all areas of the floral industry and brings them together with other members of the 1-800 FLOWERS team to brainstorm, share, and create. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet some kindred spirits and to see what other designers are up to. While I can’t show you any of the designs that were presented at this time as they are in the early stages of the product development cycle I am happy to introduce you to the four talented floral artists who participated in this session. All four brought their experience and skill as well as their passion for floral design to this event. To find out more about each one you can view their full biographies below.

Andrea Nordloh Ancel
Most recently Andrea Ancel was the founder and owner of Wild Poppy Inc., a highly successful event and floral design business regularly recognized by New York, Best of New York and Gotham Magazines. Previously she was manager and head designer for Renny, a nationally known New York event and floral design firm. During her distinguished career Andrea has conceptualized and coordinated special events for major clients such as The New York Times, The New York Public Library, Whitney Museum of American Art, MTV, Memorial Sloan Kettering and Estee Lauder as well as innumerable other organizations and private clients. She has traveled as far as the Mid East for large-scale installations. Andrea is known for her unusual use of color and textures in her floral arrangements, as well as always giving clients far more than they expected. Andrea received her BFA from the Parsons School of Design in New York and served a color/textile design internship in India. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children.

Frank Brice, AIFD, PFCI
Frank Brice, President and Owner, Rao’s Mattydale Flower Shop, Syracuse, NY, and BloomNet Professional Florist. Frank has worked in and contributed to the Floral Industry across the United States, Europe and Asia for over 40 years. Frank’s Educational background includes Associates Degree – Ornamental Floriculture, Alfred State College, Alfred, NY, and Bachelors of Science – Environmental and Consumer Studies, Buffalo, NY. Frank received a scholarship from the renowned Floral Art School, Maastricht, Holland and has attended classes at Sagetsu School, Tokyo, Japan as well as provided advanced commentating for the A.F.S. Education Center. Floral Industry Affiliations include – American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD), Professional Floral Communicators International, Society of American Florists, Knud Neilsen and Lomey Manufacturing Design Team’s, and World Flower Council. Frank has also served as a Contributing Designer to a number of highly respected Publishing Companies and Floral Industry Organizations such as Professional Floral Design Magazine, Michigan State Floral Magazine, Modern Bride Magazine, John Henry Company (Hot Display, Weddings), American Floral Services – Flowers for you Wedding, Selection Guides, and Tributes and was part of the BloomNet Wedding Book Design Team. Frank has also served as a Contributing Writer and Educator for Tradeshow programs both Internationally – Holland, Taiwan, Japan, China, Canada, and within the United States – Oklahoma City, OK, AFS Education Center, CT, NY, MI, W. TX, WI, and S.CA. Leverage his keen eye for function and design, Frank has participated in Product Development Projects for Smither’s Oasis, Lomey Manufacturing, Romance Silks, and Creative Distributors where he also served as their Creative Director for over 10 years. Frank is also responsible for award winning tradeshow booths and was the youngest designer for the Tricia Nixon & Edward Cox wedding.

Mary Linda Horn AAF, AIFD, OCF, PFCI
Mary Linda currently works as a freelance designer/consultant and has been in the industry since 1975. She has been a member of the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) since 1989 and a member of Professional Floral Communicators International (PFCI) since 1999. In July 2007 Mary Linda was inducted onto the AIFD National Board as a Director at Large. In 2008 she was elected as a trustee to the AIFD Foundation. She is serving as immediate past Chairperson of the Student Membership Committee for AIFD National and as AIFD industry advisor to the Anderson Chapter of SAIFD at Ohio State University. She has served the North Central chapter of AIFD as board member, president, and Scholarship Committee member and Chair. Mary Linda works on several committees for the Ohio Florists Association, including the Ohio Certified Florist program, and the OFA Professional Floral Design Competition. She also teaches floral design at the Delaware Cultural Arts Center in Delaware, Ohio, and is one of the Leaders/Mentors for the “Designing for Excellence” workshop held on the Texas A & M Univ. campus.

For the last ten years Mary Linda has studied Ikebana and holds the title of Kakyo, Assistant Professor of Ikebana, 3rd Grade with the Ikenobo School of Floral Art in Kyoto, Japan.

Awards would include Designer of the Year with Ohio Florist Assoc., Central Ohio Designer of the Year, Michigan Designer of the Year, the Teleflora Flowers & magazine contest and received the “Chuck Bannow” award in 2008 from MFA. She served on the AFS Education Services Team for five years and was a featured designer in Professional Floral Design (PFD) magazine. Mary Linda participating on the BloomNet Wedding Book Design Team and currently she is working with BloomNet on tradeshow educational projects and is a featured designer in five issues of Flora magazine in 2008. January 2005 found Mary Linda working with SAF (Society of American Florists) on the Presidential Inauguration. In July 2004 she placed second in the Holland Cup Floral Design Competition and presented a main stage program in New York for the National Symposium of AIFD. She has presented programs and workshops across the country for the industry, garden clubs and the public.

Bryan Swann
Bryan Swann has been in the floral industry for 25 years, starting his career in Boston, MA. Here he had the opportunity to work at one of the largest florist in New England and with designers from around the world including France, The Netherlands and Germany. He started with BloomNet Florist, Karin’s Florist in Vienna, VA in 2006 and is currently the Sales and Design Manager. He leads a talented team of designers and sales agents. Bryan prides himself on keeping a balance of designs that are fresh, innovative and current with industry standards while maintaining a sense of tradition. He designs weddings and events for large ballrooms or intimate venues. His designs have won the ISES Capital Award 2009 for Team Design for The Elements of Surprise.


More Fun Ideas for the Dorm!

August 20, 2009


Known for centuries as Lucky Bamboo, the plant is not a bamboo at all (botanical name: Dracaena), but a resilient member of the lily family that grows in the dark, tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia and Africa.

Along with its ease of growth, Lucky Bamboo has long been associated with the Eastern practice of Feng Shui, or the bringing of natural elements of water, fire, earth, wood and metal into balance within the environment. Lucky Bamboo is believed to be an ideal example of the thriving wood and water element. Also, the addition of a red ribbon sometimes tied around the stalks is believed to “fire” the positive flow of energy or chi in the room.

The number of stalks also has meaning: three stalks for happiness; five stalks for wealth; six stalks for health.


You’ve heard so many times from me about the power of flowers. It doesn’t take a lot of flowers or expensive flowers to brighten a room and make someone feel good. At times, being away from home can be difficult for a college student. Surprising your special student with a simple bouquet, now and then, can really make a difference. Traditional vases aren’t necessarily the way to go in a dorm room. Remember if it can hold water it can hold flowers. This ceramic Chinese “take-out” container is a fun unique vessel that can do double duty as a dinner plate or hold pens, pencils, hairbrushes, remotes, chargers, and of course flowers. The attached charm features the Chinese symbol for luck. And we all need a little luck!


Dorm Room Decorations

August 18, 2009

With everything else you need to buy when setting up a dorm room plants and flowers probably aren’t on the top of your list, but they should be on the list! They naturally clean the air by removing toxins and can actually fight fatigue and colds. Tending to a plant or a small garden can be very relaxing and rewarding. Plants brighten up a room, add fresh air, and can also be very useful to have around if you grow vegetables, herbs, or medical plants, such as Aloe Vera. Cactus and succulents are a great option, because they are cool looking and require very minimal care, but are still a living thing.

And don’t forget the flowers. Remember all of the benefits of having flowers in a room that I mentioned in the previous post. A dorm room can use all of those benefits in a big way.

Here are some small and simple ideas for bringing the beauty and benefits of plants and flowers into a dorm room.


Sempervivums (hen & chicks) are a hardy succulent alpine plant. The name sempervivum means “live-forever”. They are well adapted to survive in some of the poorest soil and drought conditions. They usually come already planted in terra cotta pots, which are a great natural look and are small in size, so they fit nicely on a windowsill.


As we all know accidents do happen. Having an aloe vera plant in your room has an added benefit of being medicinal in nature. As soon as you suffer a burn, break or cut off an outer leaf of an aloe vera plant, split it open with your fingernails, and squeeze the leaf gel onto the burn.


Herbs are easy to grow and smell terrific. They can also be used as seasoning, which can make even the blandest college food taste a little better. Parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, and oregano are just a few you can try. The grey green leaves of the oregano give a delicate appearance while the tiny pink flowers nestle in showy pale green bracts.

Teacher Appreciation & School Days

Keep the Classroom Green

August 13, 2009

Plants are like little mini air purifiers. They naturally clean the air by removing toxins and can actually fight fatigue and colds. In other words, plants are perfect for the classroom. The fun part about this coffee plant teacher gift is the decorated planter. Start with a solid color container and let your child decorate it with stickers, paints, or markers. Just remember that when you are using a planter without holes in the bottom, you will need to add a few rocks or pebbles at the bottom for drainage.

Remember: Just have fun with it!!

Teacher Appreciation & School Days

Back to School!

August 10, 2009

“Back to School” time is fast approaching, which is good news to some and not so good to others! Whichever category you fall into, it’s time to get the kids ready for school, but not without a party to soak up some nice weather just one last time!

As a contributor for, I’m proud to announce our new BlogTalkRadio show, premiering tomorrow, Tuesday, August 11th at 3:00 p.m. EST. In this first episode, lifestyle party expert, Jeanne Benedict, will be discussing some Back to School ideas, as well as ways to celebrate the End of Summer. Check it out!

Also starting tomorrow, I will be sharing some simple and creative ways to use flowers and plants to make the transition easier for everyone from kindergarten to college!


A 60`s Centerpeace

August 6, 2009

“If someone thinks that peace and love are just a cliché that must have been left behind in the 60s, that’s a problem. Peace and love are eternal.”

  • John Lennon

“All we are saying is give peace a chance.”

  • The Beatles

“When the power of love over overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

  • Jimi Hendrix

To make this “Peace & Love” centerpiece you will need:

  • Black ceramic cube vase
  • Floral foam
  • Peace and love decals or bumper stickers
  • Gerbera daisies
  • Optional – black tray and tea lights

Decades of Birthday Celebrations

August 4, 2009

Using icons from the decade in which the guest of honor was born, makes decorating fun and easy. Whether it’s the 50’s, 80’s, or 90’s, each decade has its own unique style and vibe. You can also mix it up and highlight the best of each decade throughout the life of the birthday celebrant. Here are some general ideas and guidelines to help get you started.

  • Make themed invitations and ask people to come in costume.
  • Pay attention to detail. Your food, decorations, and music should relate to the decade.
  • Not all of your guests will have necessarily been around during the decade you choose, so designate someone who will be able to demonstrate the dance moves of that decade.
  • Have a trivia contest.

The Internet makes this type of party planning so easy. All of your research is just a click away. Search the most popular fads from each decade and decide how you can incorporate them into your party. For example, for an 80’s themed party an oversized Rubik’s cube makes a great container for a centerpiece. For this one, I started with a square glass vase filled with floral foam. I downloaded an image of a Rubik’s cube, sized it accordingly, printed out four sheets for each cube, covered them with clear contact paper (to make them water proof), and glued them to the square vase.

Working with the bright primary colors of the Rubik’s cube, I chose gerberas, delphinium, button poms, roses, and soliadgo to create the fun floral arrangement. The tablecloth is a solid royal blue with crisscrossed ribbons of green, red, blue, yellow and white to further play up the geometric look. The overall look is festive, fun, and totally 80’s!!

Up Next: The 60’s – Peace, Love, & Daisies!