2015: The Year of the Sunflower!

July 7, 2015

That’s right: Fleuroselect—also known as the Home Gardening Association—has designated the sunflower as the 2015 Plant of the Year. And this honor certainly is well-deserved.

The sunflower has been adopted as a symbol of happiness, strength, a love of the sun and sunlight. Because the sunflower always turns its face to the sun, it has also come to symbolize faith and the constant search for light, or enlightenment. Everybody loves sunflowers!

Here are a few ways to incorporate the irresistible beauty and warmth of the sunflower into your next summer get-together.

Vintage Sunflower Tabletop

Sunflower Tablescape with DIY Placemats

Use Antique Single Flower Vases

For an updated twist on a traditional centerpiece, an assortment of vintage-style green and yellow bottles, each holding a single sunflower, are lined down the center of the table creating a garden of sunflowers with their faces looking up to the sun!

Sunflower Tablescape Top View

How to Make Sunflower Placemats

Sunflowers come in many different colors and sizes—from mini to giant. Our super-size sunflower placemats make a big impact and are easy to make!

Supplies for DIY Sunflower Placemats

What You’ll Need:

• Cardboard circle – approximately 10″ in diameter
• Salal leaves – 20-25 leaves in various sizes (fake leaves can work too for a longer lasting placemat)
• Glue
• Yellow spray paint
• Brown paint
• Sponge

DIY Sunflower Placemats Step-by-Step

Step 1

Cut one cardboard circle for each placemat. (This is a good use for old cardboard boxes!) Each circle should be about 10″. I used a dinner plate as a template to trace a circle onto the cardboard, which worked perfectly. Use the sponge to add brown paint to your circle, leaving a bit of the original cardboard color showing through to create a textured look for your sunflower center.

Step 2

Cut all of the salal leaves from the stem and spray paint them yellow. Once they have dried, glue the wider end of the larger sized leaves to the edge of the cardboard circle.

Step 3

Glue the smaller leaves between each of the larger leaves.

With fresh salal leaves, the sunflower placemats can be made a day or two before you plan to use them. Keep them flat and in a cool place.


Painted Flowers

June 22, 2015


Stem Dyed Rose
Painted flowers of all sorts have become extremely popular over the last year or two. There are basically two different methods for painting flowers—stem dyed and surface painting. One of the most popular by far is the stem dyed multi-colored rose. You may hear them referred to as rainbow, tie dyed, or kaleidoscope roses. This method, used to achieve a multi-colored rose, is one of the more complicated processes, but the results are stunning! While the flower growers that we work with at have this process down to a science, it’s also a fun project to try on your own. This was actually the first time I tried it myself, and it was so interesting to see how the petals on each rose accepted the various dyes a little bit differently, creating a bouquet of roses that is as unique as it is beautiful!

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Holiday Decorations

DIY Red, White & Blue Floral
4th of July Crafts

June 22, 2015

Fourth of July celebrations (and decorations) are the best! Whether you’re celebrating America’s birthday with friends and family on the beach or in your backyard, here are some easy ways to add little patriotic touches of red, white and blue with these fun DIY floral 4th of July decoration ideas!

DIY Mason Jar American Flag Vase

Seriously, is there anything you can’t do with a few mason jars? I took three small, clear mason jars and painted them in a stars and stripes tribute to Old Glory. One stem of blue hydrangea in each and you have a beautiful, fun, inexpensive centerpiece. You could paint a couple more while you’re at it and use them to hold cutlery or straws, or even tea lights, creating a festive look for evening festivities.

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Holiday Decorations

It’s Dad’s Turn to be
the Guest of Honor

June 8, 2015

Celebrate Dad with a Father’s Day Beer Tasting

We received such great feedback on our Wine Tasting for Mom event that I thought, why not plan something similar for Dad? This time we’re going with a beer tasting event in dad’s honor!

Thanks to an increasing appreciation for quality beer production, there are new breweries popping up all over the country. There’s a good chance that there’s one right in your neighborhood or close by. If possible, hosting your Father’s Day event right at the brewery can add a unique feel and make it more fun for everyone. Leaving the beer to the experts gives you more time to focus on the decorations and the fun details that make Dad feel loved and honored for all he does!

I reached out to Gretchen Schmidhausier, a friend of my sister, who recently fulfilled a lifelong dream and opened a microbrewery in her hometown of Neptune City, New Jersey, on the Jersey Shore. The Little Dog Brewing Company was named after Gretchen’s dog Quincy, a basenji, who is also the face of the brand!

Current Beers- What's On Draft?

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A Golden Graduation Celebration

May 18, 2015

Graduation Decorations That Go for the Gold

Graduation truly is a time to sparkle and shine—and using gold in your party décor will also put you right on trend. Gold is everywhere these days and in many different ways: foil, leaf, glitter, tassel, etc. Here are a few easy ways to make your graduation the one that outshines the rest!


Duct tape, you’ve come a long way! One of the simplest ways to customize and add some pizzazz to your centerpieces is to wrap a piece of gold duct tape around the vase and write a message on the tape. This gold duct tape is actually dry-erase as well—what could be easier! Continue Reading…

Mother's Day

Mother’s Day Wine Tasting

May 7, 2015

A Unique Mother’s Day Activity to Wow Mom

Spring is here and Mother’s Day is right around the corner. Have you started to think about how you can show mom just how much you love her and how special she is? How about getting together with a few of your friends to plan a Mother Daughter Wine Tasting party. The planning and preparation can be as much fun as the event itself.

A rustic, natural Napa Valley-inspired wine tasting is the perfect setting to incorporate so many of the most popular trends: burlap, chalkboard, mason jars, monograms and Made in America!

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Fun Floral Facts

A Passion For Roses from the Flower Farm

April 27, 2015

The flower business is a very passionate one. From the breeders to the growers to the florists and floral designers, we all love what we do. One of my favorite parts of my job is getting to visit the farms that grow the beautiful flowers that bring smiles to so many faces every day.

I didn’t know what to expect on my trip to the farms in South America where 78 percent of the 4 billion cut flower stems purchased in the U.S. are grown. Our first stop was at Passion Growers in Bogota, Colombia, where the beauty of the land and the warmth of the people blew me away.

The owners of Passion—Jaime and Cheryl Peisach and Sam Ferrara—intended to create a small company, a hobby, to do what they loved and do it as best as they possibly could. The idea was simple: provide the best roses available anywhere and NEVER waiver on the highest standards—including the highest ethical standards—consequently resulting in a positive impact on customers, associates, suppliers and the community. This is how Passion Growers was born. Continue Reading…

Holiday Decorations, How-To's, Mother's Day

DIY Mother’s Day Craft: How to Make a Floral Hot Air Balloon for Mom

April 23, 2015

Pink and Orange Hot Air Balloon Place SettingMom does so much for the family throughout the year: No matter how long her to-do list is, you know you can always count on her for anything. Because she means so much, let her sit back and enjoy herself on Mother’s Day, and show her how appreciated she is. Treating your mom to a nice brunch is the best way to make her feel like a queen bee: Since you’ve already taken care of everything, Mom doesn’t have to lift a finger. To make her day even more special, pick a fun and truly original theme for your luncheon: hot air balloons!

This beautiful hot air balloon arrangement adds a whimsical take-me-away touch to any Mother’s Day table setting. As soon as she sits down, Mom will feel like she’s floating among the clouds without a care in the world! This Mother’s Day craft is really simple to make, so you can make a big, loving statement with minimal effort. Here’s how to make a floral hot air balloon for Mom on Mother’s Day! Continue Reading…

Holiday Decorations

Cinco de Mayo Decorations & Party Ideas

April 21, 2015

Our country is rich in many different cultural traditions, with celebrations focusing on specific groups growing and becoming more popular every year. And who doesn’t need another reason to party!

Cinco de Mayo is one of my new favorites! The food and the colors of Mexico are made for celebrating – bright, spicy, and flavorful! Here are a few ideas to try for your Cinco de Mayo celebration.


Fiestaware pieces are the perfect container for a few cut flowers. While dahlias are pictured here and are the official flower of Mexico, they aren’t available until late summer. Any colorful bloom will work perfectly.

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Kentucky Derby Party Tips

April 1, 2015

Run for the Roses!

Did you know that the rose has been the official flower of the Kentucky Derby since 1904? And in 1925 the president of Churchill Downs dubbed the Kentucky Derby the “Run for the Roses.”

Each year the winning horse is draped in a garland made from more than 400 red roses. The winning jockey is presented with a bouquet of 60 long stem red roses!

The Derby is truly steeped in tradition. If you are planning to have a few friends over to celebrate the Kentucky Derby here are some easy ways to include a few Derby traditions into your party.

The Infield

“The Infield” is the flat grassy area inside of the track where one of the biggest parties is held each year! Think Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras and you have a pretty good idea of how crazy this party gets. Set the mood with your own replica of the infield.


Start with a flat of wheat grass. Cover the bottom of the tray with moss and insert red roses that have been cut short directly into the base of the wheat grass. It’s that easy to create this fabulous Kentucky Derby Infield centerpiece!

Mint Julep

Another Derby tradition dating back almost a century is the very southern Mint Julep cocktail. It is a mix of crushed ice, sugar, water, fresh mint, and bourbon. The traditional silver julep cup also makes a great vase for a petite bouquet. 1-800 has a few to choose from including Julep Treasures Petite Bouquet™.


For this arrangement I used 6 short stem red roses, a few stems of fresh waxflower, and a few sprigs of fresh spearmint. These small, festive bouquets can be placed throughout your party to really set the mood. Put one on the bar, another in the bathroom, and a few on the buffet table, and you’ll be all set to place your bets!!