I look forward to the Boston Flower and Garden Show every year. It means spring is just around the corner, and I get a chance to see how the other half (the half that can keep flowers and plants alive) lives. Plus, flowers are fun to draw and paint, so it’s the perfect place to get a bit of inspiration.
This year I brought baby Nick with me to enjoy the roses, daffodils, pansies and pitcher plants… but he snoozed through most of it while I snapped away with my trusty sidekick iPhone.
The 2016 Boston Flower and Garden Show
A few of my favorites photos from the show
The colorful beehive is my favorite. Do you think I could keep, like, tee shirts in there? Instead of bees?
Our assigned project for the second week of Nicole’s Classes Floral Arranging 101 was a “wild English garden” arrangement. I fell a bit short when it came to sourcing flowers and greens (hello… bamboo?), but I tried to follow directions as best I could to create an arrangement with an effortless, not so structured look.
During week 2, I learned about “S” composition in flower arranging, how to make a floral frog out of twigs, and the value of having neighbors who will let you forage in their gardens (I, um… live next door to a bar).
While I’m fairly certain I did not ace the assignment, I am happy with the finished product. I especially love the bright blue campanula and how it spills over the vase.
I recently came across Nicole’s Classes, a selection of online video classes on topics like photography and design, while headed down a spiral of late night Internet consumption, when I should have been trying to get back to sleep. Which reminds me, the next person who encourages me to “sleep when the baby sleeps,” … well, you don’t want to be that person. Just kidding. Kind of.
Back on topic: I’ve always been enchanted by flowers. I worked for a florist when I was younger and loved watching the designers carefully choose their flowers and artfully arrange them. When I saw that a Floral Arranging 101 class was about to begin (and would wrap up just before I head back to work… cue all of the nervous, excited, conflicted and overwhelmed feelings), I bit the $125 bullet and signed up.
The class, taught by Chelsea Fuss, spans four weeks and features one project per week. Each project is supported by video tutorials, recommended materials and flowers, and access to the instructor for feedback. This week’s project was a hand-tied bouquet, along with an aqua pack for transporting the bouquet.
I’m having so much fun with the class, and figured I’d share my weekly progress here. We like looking at pretty things, right?
After a few failed flower shopping trips, I found this selection at my favorite Whole Foods in Cambridge. I would have loved a bit more greenery, but I’m happy with how it turned out. And those tulips that could possibly pass for peonies or cabbage roses? I am obsessed.
I really get so much satisfaction from seeing a project through to completion (I can’t tell you how many things I’ve started only to get distracted and stray… okay, I can: a lot.), having a chance to engage the creative part of my brain, and work with my hands (on something other than the ancient art of diapering) a bit.
Also On Tap for Today:
Anyone else nearly throw a party when they discover new fonts on PicMonkey? No? Just me?
With work being crazy (in a good way), I’ve been making a conscious effort to unplug a bit more during the weekend. I can’t seem to put my Instagram machine iPhone down, though. Technically it’s only plugged in when it’s charging, so… I guess that still sort of counts as being unplugged. Maybe.
The Os Gemeos mural in Dewey Square, taken from a stoplight (safety first).
View of Logan from the Seaport – I love living so close to the water.
Spotted this so jelly mug (the reverse side features a pair of jelly fish) at Target while running errands. And then I had Destiny’s Child stuck in my head for the rest of the day. I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.
I whipped up a quick and (extremely) easy lemon artichoke pesto on Friday night. I love throwing together ingredients with neither measuring, counting, nor caring. Pestos are perfect for that. I used two small jars of artichoke hearts (drained), added a generous helping of walnuts (~2 cups), a bunch of fresh parsley, a drizzle of olive oil, juice from one lemon, a pinch of nutritional yeast, and little salt and pepper. You could probably chop up the ingredients and mash together in a bowl, but I went straight for the food processor. Nice and smooth.
Clark and I enjoyed the spring-like weather this weekend with a few extra-long walks. I thought this tree was cute.
I slept in on Saturday and missed the early class at CrossFit Southie, so I threw together a little at home WOD, after checking out a few of the workouts on The Traveling WOD. That site is a great resource for workouts on the go, or at home – with very little, if any equipment required. After six rounds of my made up workout, I got to work on pull-ups. Practice makes progress.
After taking some time a few weeks ago to organize my random collection of ribbons, mint and coral colored pens, and washi tape, I’ve been obsessed with little projects like this one: sprucing up my iPhone and iPad chargers with different tapes. Here are a few more clever uses for washi.
There was a time when I never, ever napped. That time can be defined as my entire childhood. Nowadays, if football is on and Clark’s feeling snuggly… the two of us are out like a light.
I am finding my Polar FT4 heart rate monitor from h.h. gregg to be not only informative, but super motivating. I’ve been wearing it to CrossFit and am amazed at how much harder I push myself at the box, than I do when I workout on my own.
But wait… there’s more.
Speaking of CrossFit, I left the box on Sunday feeling like a Mighty Endorphin Power Ranger after our rowing/DU WOD. It didn’t hurt that “Beat it” (rock in peace, MJ) was playing on the radio on the way home. While I’ve been able to do one or two double-unders here and there over the past few months, I’ve never been able to string them together before. Usually I would feel or hear the rope pass under my feet for the second time, freak out, and then immediately whip myself in the shins. I’ve been practicing, checking out YouTube videos, and watching other athletes and somehow… it just clicked during the warm-up. One double-under turned into two… and then three… and during the workout, twenty! I must have looked like a total goofball, but I could not stop smiling and Irish-whispering “I am doing it!” When I went up to the board after class to give our coach my time, I started to say level one (which was scaled to 10 DU attempts), our coach replied… “What you did was not level one.” Perma-smile.
After class (and various leaps and spin moves about the condo while I described my jump rope glory and push jerk PR to Nick), we headed to Whole Foods River Street to stock up for the week. Pomegranates: check.
As soon as we got home, I traded my skinny jeans (no one should wear real pants on the weekend) for short shorts and ProCompression socks. Much better.
Yet another water view from the Seaport. You will not be shocked to learn I am a Pisces.
This was the mess I made while multi-tasking. I perused Runners World for a spring half marathon to run, while painting my nails, while watching the Pats (I stayed mostly awake for that game). I like to pick nail colors based on their names (seen above: essie eternal optimist, beyond cozy and miss fancy pants). I’ve been reading Apartment Therapy: The Eight Step Home Cure and was reminded about the good having fresh flowers around can do. Tulips are a favorite of mine.
As of Sunday evening, I have successfully completed 13 out of 13 #fmsphotoaday challenges. Yesterday’s theme was circle. This was kind of a stretch, but the BC seal is a circle. I recently joined a mentoring program at my alma mater and will be paired with an undergraduate student next month. I think it will be a good way to reconnect with the Heights, especially with my 10 year reunion not so far off. Yikes.
Clark and I headed out for another long walk (clearly, I put my pants back on). It’s January in Boston, yet it was too warm for a jacket and real shoes, so I dug out my Toms. Al Gore was right, people.
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]A new day, a new week, and almost a new month. Despite losing our playoff soccer game by one measly goal, I feel like things are off to a good start. This may be an overshare, but I’ve taken to keeping fresh flowers in the bathroom so I am greeted by something happy and living (in addition to Nick and Clark, obviously) first thing in the morning. I think it helps start things off on a lovely note.
I managed to get today’s breakfast and lunch all packed up, the dishes done, and my bag ready to go last night. I am truly amazed by the amount of time I usually manage to waste before heading out the door in the morning. Perhaps this weekend’s conference inspired me to get my act together.
After a short break, Clark is happily back at The Pawsitive Dog for day school. He’s doing his best to start back on the right paw, but apparently he’s been a bit naughty as of late… which makes me love him even more. Apparently someone left a door open today and, ever the opportunist, he went on a little adventure through the neighboring pet store. What a goober.
Nick and I picked up the little guy before heading to our soccer game, which ended rather disappointingly. We were the #2 seed heading into tonight’s championship games, but lost our first game. Per usual, we had no girl subs, and I walked away from the field feeling utterly wiped. When we returned home, I caught a glimpse of a box that recently arrived and just like that, instasmile. With January wrapping up, it’s time to dig into my foodie penpal package. I was lucky enough to receive the most fantastic package from Alex of yums and loves. As soon as I learned that she has a Frenchie named Clarence, I knew we could be kindred spirits.
Alex sent me a Frenchie memo pad, which you might recognize from Clark’s 2nd birthday when I came out of the crazy dog lady closet, creating goodie bags for all of Clark’s four-legged friends. Thanks for replenishing my stash, Alex! She also included a copy of Everyday Food, one of my favorite sources for tasty, healthy recipes. Other goodies included snickerdoodle animal crackers (straight into my little lunch bag those go!), tiramsu almonds, glazed almonds with honey, cranberries and sea salt, a bar of dark chocolate and Barney Butter packets (a favorite around our condo). Alex completely spoiled me. Thank you so much!
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]You know when you have a closet full of clothes, but nothing to wear? I felt like lately we’ve had a kitchen full of food, but nothing to eat. Short on fresh veggies, yogurt and other staples, Nick and I literally emptied our fridge and cabinets before hitting up Whole Foods this weekend. We tossed anything perishable (and therefore un-donate-able) that sat on our shelves, uneaten. I was surprised to find more than one expired item. Ew.
With our shelves wiped clean and everything reorganized, we sat down to make a shopping list with a much better sense of what we actually have on hand. Clearly (if the three jars of whole grain mustard are any indication), this is a habit that I could stand to make more… habitual.
One of my favorite treats from the market is fresh flowers, especially as the weather gets more dismal. This week, I picked up a bunch of snow white tulips, and a bunch of long-stemmed kale. Greens make lovely arrangements. Perhaps I will walk down the aisle with a bouquet of kale, carrots, and radishes. Perhaps not.
As I carefully unpacked our groceries, I made sure to add my goodies from Parita, my October foodie pen pal, to the shelves. In addition to some homemade chocolate chip blondies (which didn’t last long enough to be photographed… muhaha), Parita sent me a jar of nutritional yeast (something I have been looking forward to trying!), chocolate chip peanut butter Larabards (one of my favorite flavors– Parita recommends trying them frozen), and a jar of olive tapenade. Thank you so much for this perfect assortment of goodies, Parita! If you’d like to see what I sent my pen pal, Nicole, please visit her blog, Nicole on a Mission. 🙂
I used some of Parita’s tapenade when whipping up some quick and easy appetizers (Nick’s parents will be here any minute). If you invented filo shells, thank you. You, sir or madam, are a genius. For toppings, I use three combinations:
Brie, hot pepper jelly and freshly ground peppper
Granny Smith apple, crumbled brie and dried cranberries
Olive tapenade and shaved pecorino romano
I hope you’re having a lovely Sunday! Come on over if you need a snack.
A really tall person took this photo. Just kidding. It was me, on my stepstool. Wearing heels.
I’m not usually one to go bonkers over a sale (though I will never pay full price at places the Gap, after realizing everything goes on sale 3.5 minutes after you pay full price), but this One Day Sale really got me jazzed. I scooped up three bunches of tulips for $12. That’s 40 cents per tulip. I’m sure even Clark could afford that (Lord knows what sort of change he’s hoarding in his crate; I once found a pony hair ballet flat and a Michael Kors handbag in there). Aaaand they didn’t die the next day!
I usually gravitate toward all white arrangements, but with winter’s unwelcome return to Boston this past weekend, I had to add a bit of bright and bold. I love pairing pink and red flowers, and thought that’s what I was doing… but apparently I am colorblind, because upon closer review, those are clearly orange tulips. Hey. That works too.
I may get captured by scientists upon revealing this (they’ll surely want to learn my secrets), but I’ve kept a vase of white calla lilies alive since the weekend before Valentine’s Day. I intend to keep these tulips alive until Thanksgiving, God willing. I may need to shellac them. To avoid being taken to NASA or wherever scientists live, I’ll just spill all of my top not-so-secret info.
Buy flowers when they’re barely (if at all) blooming. The tighter the bud, the better.
Cut a half inch or so from the stems before placing them in water. I find it easiest to do this while they’re still wrapped. That way avoid getting stabbed by thorns, and your stems will be uniform in height (you can snip them shorter once you start arranging, if you’re into that sort of thing).
Remove any and all leaves. They drain energy from the flower and turn all swampy if submerged.
Place the flowers in a vase of cold water. Change the water daily. Temperature is important.
I am not sure where those flower food packets come from, but I am pretty sure it’s a warehouse from 1970 that has been trying to unload those chemicals for decades. You don’t need to use that stuff.
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false] I would have stopped to smell the flowers, but I was afraid I’d get mowed down by the crowd. I could have never imagined that the most dangerous place to be on a Saturday night in the city would be a flower show. As we entered the Seaport World Trade Center, we were forced do dodge throngs of people wielding 4 foot tall garden stakes, bundles of branches, and various other garden show paraphernalia.
I have never been touched by so many garden club members in my life. As we attempted to walk up and down the outer aisles (I like to tackle these types of events with a plan.. in this case, it was not a good one), we were crushed by people charging the Harbor Sweets booth as the salesperson announced he had toffee samples to give away. Lord have mercy. We, unfortunately, didn’t get to spend nearly as much time checking out the actual flowers and gardens as we did last year. Visiting on the weekend was not the best idea.
I did get a few ideas, though, and a few good pictures. Voila.
Yep! That’s a real bird!
After being run over by some sort of hand cart filled with garden sculptures, I decided enough was enough. We picked up a really cute window sill garden, some hydrangeas and white roses from Wilson Farm, a “Happy Dog Meal” for Clark and called it a day. Next year, we’re sticking to a weekday night. And wearing body armor.
Last night Nick and I swung by the Boston Flower and Garden Show. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but given that I spent Tuesday night crying like a (crying) baby while watching “The Blind Side,”* I was hoping it would be an uplifting experience. I analyzed the risk, and assessed the depressing factor of a flower show to be quite low. I assessed the allergen factor, however, to be quite high.
So I overdosed on Zyrtec.
It was amazing… the show, not the Zyrtec. The exhibit hall featured gardens created by local gardening clubs, garden centers and landscape architects. Tucked in the middle of the room was one of my favorite sections, the Garden of Cakes, which included a dozen or so garden-themed cakes.
I loved walking around each exhibit, snapping digicam photos (over a hundred, I got a bit carried away) and fighting the urge to touch and smell everything in sight. In the back of the room, we checked out the floral design and amateur horticulture competitions, as well as a display of Ikebana arrangements. There was a great vase that looked sort of like a macaroni… but that’s neither here nor there.
Regardless, here are a few highlights (I’ll spare you the full 127 photos… unless I emailed them to you last night, in which case, you have not been spared).
I really enjoyed myself. And I didn’t cry once.
*Don’t get me wrong: The movie was excellent (the book, too). And transforming. I was transformed into a weeping willow.