Friday, August 6, 2010

July Post Series: Event Planning

So this post will be mainly sharing the places
and blogs that I get my inspiration from and
the stores that I locally use to get the supplies
that make my dreams a reality.

Party blogs/websites:

(good for food and activity suggestions)

Design Blogs (Ill draw from the decor I see on these
blogs and manipulate some of them to fit particular
parties that Im throwing):

Food Blogs:

Sarah Voortmyer (a cook I have taken classes from)

Hello, Cupcake! (I have a goal to make all the cupcakes
in this book, I plan parties around the designs or make
sure to make the designs that go along with an already
planned theme)
-See here, here, and here

Favorite Local Party Stores:

Dear Lizzy (specialty cupcakes, mini cakes, designer candy,
and some decor and favors)
10953 Alpine Highway
Highland, UT 84003-8880
(801) 492-0022

PartyLand (Decor, dinnerware, balloons, favors)
310 North 850 East
Lehi, UT 84043-8622
(801) 653-2806

Zurckers (same as partyland, sparklers can be found here)
340 East 800 South
Orem, UT 84097
(801) 734-6400

Costco (food and flowers)

Liberty Heights Fresh (unique foods, flowers, favors)
1290 S 1100 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84105-1813
(801) 467-2434

Michael's (decor, favors, craft supplies)
321 East University Parkway, Orem, UT‎ -(801) 225-1085


215 East 12300 South, Draper, UT‎ - (801) 495-4210

640 East State Road, American Fork, UT‎ - (801) 756-0133

Jo-anne's (fabric, craft supplies, decor) I often by yards of fabric
for table decor (I dont even hem it, ssshhhhh)
268 East 12300 South, Draper, UT‎ - (801) 495-3158
172 East University Parkway, Orem, UT

Gygi design Innovations (food containers, cake decorating)
3500 South 300 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84115-4310
(801) 561-1222

Thanksgiving Point Emporium (decor, favors)

Monday, August 2, 2010

July Post Series: How to make a Low and Full Flower Arrangement

I just made a couple of these arrangements one for my
mom and one for my mother in law, both have summer
b-days. I worked as a florist with "Pocket full of Posies"
when I was in high school, doing weddings and events. I
have really enjoyed using what I had learned from that
job when throwing my own events or when I need to
give a gift to someone who doesn't want or need anything
in particular (perfect description of my two mothers),
making a spectacular arrangement makes someone
feel special but isn't something that they will have to
keep forever.

-I always get the majority of my flowers from Costco, I
rarely go with a color combination in mind and usually
just see what is available and decided on a color theme
then and there.
-I will somtimes get a few filler flowers from Smiths Market
place, they actually have a good selection all organized by
-If in SLC I love to get flowers from Liberty Fresh Market,
they are way more expensive but they always have unique
verieties as well as a good selection of greenery, which in a
tall arrangement done in a vase you really need and shouldnt
(Favorite greenery: lemon leaf, dogwood (light and green
marble look), eucalyptus, theres one more Im trying to
remember the name of when I do I ll come back and and
put it into the post.

-For any arrangement done in a container with a large opening
oasis is the best (and sometimes the only) way to get a full
looking arrangement. Oasis is a green highly absorbant substance
that you buy in bricks (shape only, this material is very very light
in weight) and it is found in the Styrofoam/ fake flower sections
of craft stores, (Micheals always has it, Robert's only sometimes).
-You need to soak the oasis in buckets till there are no more
bubbles coming up from the completely submerged brick, OR
I will run the bricks under water rotating to different sides
until the water starts to freely run off the brick. Youll notice
at first that the water wont even hit the sink as it gets absorbed
by the oasis so fast but as the brick gets more saturated the
water will start to run off more and more.
-Then you start constructing a form for your flower
arrangement in your chosen container. You want all the
peices of oasis that you are using in the form to touch
the bottom in some way (so when the arrangement is
watered the oasis can continually soak up the water that
pools in the bottom of the bowl and bring the water up to
the flowers' stems stuck into the oasis).
-Start with the middle and tallest part of your arrangement,
and cut the bricks to the desired hight. Its best to get the
hight in one piece of oasis than stacking multiple scrap
pieces together. The arrangement with be stronger this way,
if you uses multiple pieces the oasis is more likely to crumble
after you add more and more weight in flowers.
-For arrangements done in bowls yourll need to taper the
bottoms of all your side oasis peices.

-Then you can roughly shave off the tops till you get the
form you want
-When doing flower arrangemets choose your flowers based on:
-color, shape/size, and texture
-Its best to keep the color of your arrangements limited, so they
feel controlled and composed. Have more unity. Analogous color
combos will allow you to get many shades of slightly different
colors without making the arrangement feel busy. While when
working with complementary color combos you should limit
the colors to around two shades of each of the complementary
colors. When working with white I say "either commit or stay
away". Little bits of white around larger areas of bright color
feel like little holes in the arrangement. Either only work in
a saturation of color or count white as one of the major colors
in the arrangement and do lots of it. Green is always a perfect
accent color for any arrangement so if your arrangement needs to
feel more full, or needs more variance in texture you can add
green flowers (green roses, and Yoko Ono mums are my fave)
or green fruit (limes, apples, and grapes are my faves). I have
even been known to cover bald spots along the edges with moss.
-It took awhile to get used to but florists cut thier flowers
with knives instead of scissors. The knives slice the stem at
an angle giving more exposed surface area for the stem to
soak up water with. Scissors can slightly pinch the area cut
more closed limiting the area the stem can drink from.
-With these arrangements I start on the edges and work up, with the
flowers on the edges as well as the flowers with taller blooms I cut
the stems as long as I can then slowly push it into the oasis till the
bottom of the bloom is just barely touching the oasis. But then as Im
building up and need more hight I will allow the blossoms to stick out
higher and higher from the oasis. Always be conscience of the shape
and make sure you are forming the arrangement with rounded edges
and not flat sides.
-The colors and flowers are better displayed when they are arranged
in clusters. So dont evenly disperse individual flowers but evenly
disperse color and flower groupings. Dont be afraid of putting
two flower groupings of the exact same color next to each other,
as long as they are different textures and sizes and there isnt a
full side or half of just one color your good.

-When using fruit in lower arrangements I will use the left over
stems of roses (as they are the strongest) to stick the fruit on,
before sticking them into the oasis. I will also use greenery or smaller
flowers to fill in all the small gaps around the shape of the fruit.

-And I always have to take pictures of the final product.

Monday, July 26, 2010

July Post Series: Gardening

(what I wish my garden looked like)

-Favorite garden stores: Wasatch Shadows (90th south) for
perenials and soil enhancers, Highland Gardens (just
north of the AF temple on the same road) for annuals we always
look for "the wave" petunias as they cover more ground,
Cactus and tropicals for perennials, pots, and expert advice.

So we had an arborist from Wasatch Shadows come out at
the beginning of the month to look at our trees and plants
and give us advice on their care and maintenance. I grew up
gardening in my mother's garden and thought I knew enough
to put together a nice little garden in my own house but I am
realizing that there is so much I still need to learn. Her garden
was 20 years more established then mine with all the kinks
worked out, I only learned about what was delegated to me when
I was young. (mainly planting, garden design, weeding, and dead
heading). I knew that due to different climates that we cant grow
many kinds of plants that are found in different states, but what
I didnt know (at least to the degree that I know now) every
neighborhood has a different climate and that even within one
yard there are microclimates that you need to learn to work
around. I tried many plants that worked in friends and family's
gardens here in UT but here at the point of the mountain, not
everything thrives.... or even survives. So here I will share basic
gardening tips that were given to us to help with what is struggling
in our garden (many of you probably know more about this,
but Ill share just in case there is a tip that could be useful).
As well as my favorite plants that have been tried and tested
and have been loved in my garden.

So we knew we needed to get out and prune our trees but
we appreciated the tips we were given. Trim where branches
meet bigger branches so there will be less scaring, if you are
not sure where the branch is dead or not scratch the bark a
little and look for where the skin underneath stops being tan
and starts being green (or "wick" for all you Secret Garden
lovers). We have a hedge of mock orange bushes that still
havent bloomed, many spring flowering bushes only bloom
on new growth so they will need to be pruned. The best time
to pune those bushes would be in the middle of the summer
or right after they finish blooming so they can establish some
new growth before winter. This also includes Forsythia bushes
(one of my favorites!!!!!) which bloom bright yellow in the
spring and then turn into just a nice green bush durning the
summer, we have two of those in our yards that I cant wait till
they get bigger (the three twigs that they consist of are great
(Forsythia in bloom. looks amazing with spring
bulbs blooming all around it)
We also learned that we should feed our trees twice a year
because our soil and climate are so harsh. Spring and fall.
You can either do this by drilling 4-6 holes in a 3 ft
perimeter around the tree with an auger and then fill with
a tree and shrub food, or we are trying out some stakes that
we found at home depot. We drilled some smaller holes in the
ground to put the stakes in but we are hoping that the slow
release, continuous feed will help our trees for the remainder
of this season. We learned a few years back that evergreen
trees do not do well in wetter areas of your yard. It was hard
for us to know where those where since eveything looked pretty
dry from up top, but we had an area that was more clay than sand
and gravel and didnt drain as well when our sprinklers as well as
our neighbors sprinkler water was passing through. We lost a pine
tree that was planted in this area and was instructed to plant a
distigious tree there instead. We chose a dogwood, over the last
year the trees blooms and leaves got fewer and fewer. The arborist
told us that Dogwoods love acidic soil and that we should till in
a sulfer based soil acidifier as well as feed and prune. Lets hope
this does the trick. (you can also till in peat moss in your soil as
well to acidify and loosen up your soil as well)

Our maple was getting marbalized coloring on the leaves and
we were told that maples love IRON in the soil so we are going
to till in some Ferreplus. as well as prune and feed.
We unfortunately not only have the "garden variety" weeds
we also have some pretty pervasive and obnoxious varieties.
One being morning glory, the strangling vine-like weed with
the weak and delicate roots that break when you try to pull it.
At first I thought the little white flowers of this weed were cute
but now they frustrate me as I now know how it strangles my
plants and kills them. This weed spreads like wild fire too. We
were told one of the best ways to deal with this weed is to wear
thick plastic gloves and then dip your hands into a bucket of
roundup, the grab the vines and rub roundup all along the vine
and then into the small area around where the vine is going out
of the ground. This is a good way to localize the weed killer
without killing the surrounding plants.
The next weed is horse tail brush and looks like little pine
trees sprouting around. The roots on this weed are also very
fragile and make pulling very difficult or impossible. We were
told that this weed is pretty resistant to weed killers and that
we should try using shrub and stump killer. After that we hope
pulling up the weed once its dead will clear that area up for
Many of you have noticed that the soil in TM is CRAP! hard
and full of rocks. The first time I tried planting bulbs was a
blister-making experience. So we have tried to till in new soil
and pull out all the major rocks every season but we always
find spots that have remained tough and Im still pulling out
rocks that are the size of my head. But on the other hand there
are areas that are now much easier to plant in and the plants
are stronger and flourish as the soil is easier to grow in. We
now only buy the hefty duty garbage bags from Home Depot as
our yard waste including the build up of rocks that we are
throwing away gets so heavy.
Our favorite soil to till into our existing soil is this Harvest
Supreme found at Wasatch Shadows located just off of the 90th
south exit on I-15.
Blooming vines:
-We have a bunch of Wysteria growing over our pergola.
The first couple springs it bloomed its dripping violet
blossoms great but these last few springs our vines went
from winter to summer leaves skipping the blooms (my
favorite part!) we asked the professional and he said that
we will need to shock the plant and make it go back into
reproduction mode, it seems to feel too safe and doesnt
generate blooms in an attempt to reproduce. To do this we
are supposed to cut a few of the roots by driving a shovel
into the ground 2-3 ft away from the plant. We are going to
do this as well as thin out and braid the vines to train them
a little more. We have had great success in training our
wistaria and clematis by tying the vines onto the trellises
with raffia.

-Tips on designing flower beds- Organic edges (curvy
instead of straight) feel more natural help a garden appear
more flowing, plant taller plants in back then mid plants
and then small. We are putting in our edging in ourselves
using this product from home depot. We have some pretty
thin areas of lawn between flower beds and didnt want to
loose any more space visually and even physically with a
cement edging. Its a lot'a work but its cheaper, we like the
look, and its presenting great opportunities to till in more
harvest supreme in every bed as we dig the trenches to
install the edging.
-Our plan for our flower gardens is to build up base of
perennials with only small areas left to plant annuals
every year. Although we get much satisfaction out of working
hard in our garden we eventually want the job to be
maintaining rather than planting and constructing the entire
-We have been bugged out of our minds with the drip
watering system for our flower beds. We were told that
it was not only cheaper but more efficient. But we are
discovering that it is only good at watering a "zero(dessert)
scape" garden as the coverage is terrible and only a few plants
get watered from the select hoses. We have lost many flower
plants because they werent watered enough. We have
punctured a couple main lines just weeding (as they are not
buried which is also ugly) and has caused us a lot of flooding
issues. We are now currently bidding out contractors to
switch our drip to a normal underground metal pipe sprinkling
system. So our recommendation would be a very strong NO
if you are thinking of having a drip system.
-Also if you are having someone install (or doing it yourself)
outdoor lighting remember to remind them that it is code
to burry the electrical wires 6" underground. The guys that
installed ours left all the wires floating around above ground
in our beds and they have been damaged, tripped over, and look
so ugly because of it. We are now burying them ourselves but we
checked into it and we could have reminded the contractors that
it was their obligation to burry them. So just a tip for you that
might come across this situation. But do look in to uplights on
your house and trees, great effect!

Our favorite perennial base flowers (that come back
every year and only need to be planted once) that are
tried and true for our climate in TM and in many other
areas in UT are:

Hollyhocks- we bought these as potted plants but we have
let the original ones that we bought go to seed every fall
and now they have spread and fill in the back areas of our
garden quite nicely.

Whirling butterfly bushes- get very big. beautiful floating
delicate white or light pink flowers.
Lavender- Fills in large areas with great color and
smells amazing, we placed it by areas where we would
be sitting in our yard so we could smell it on summer
nights. Do know that lavender blooms out in mid July
and then needs to be cut back (this picture was taken at
the tail end of my lavenders blooming season).
Salvia- Large areas of bright blue-purple. Also
ends blooming in mid July. We deal with this by planting
a few groupings of the annual variety of salvia around
the perennial salvia and lavender so when the later bloom
out we dont have large areas lacking in color the annual
salvia keeps blooming on. (annual salvia loves miracle grow
fertiliser and doubles in thickness and size if fertilized a
couple times in a season).
Annual saliva (blossom testure is a little different)
Day lillies- large areas of green and yellow, low in
height, should be cut to the ground every fall.
Jupiters beard- Large areas of pink (or white)
and if dead headed will bloom all summer long.
Spreads fast and thick.
Creeping Jenny has been a favorite of our ground
cover, we hope to have ground cover greening up
all our areas under trees where we havent planted
flowers or bushes.

As seen in this post (click here)- We love spring bulbs
and have had great performance from them. We plant
them in groupings in November. We have never had
problems with dear eating our tulips as we mix in
Daffodils and hysenths (flowers that dear hate) closely
to our tulips. I absolutely LOVE the smell of hysenths.
They are amazing.
-Our favorite tree ever has been our ornamental pear
(as seen in the link posted above) Beautiful full white
blooms in the spring, and gorgeous red orange in the fall.

Hope at least something has been helpful in this lengthy
post. Gardens are sooooo rewarding.

April CC meeting= A rich and Creamy Evening

In April we gathered at Kelly's house to learn about
and indulge in CHOCOLATE!
Eric taught us about the processing of the cacao bean
how to make different qualities of chocolate. We tasted
different types of dark chocolate that tasted different
only because the different chocolates were made from
cacao grown in different locations. The flavor was altered
because of the surroundings. So interesting. We then
hand rolled truffles and made chocolate peanut butter
cups. Thanks so much Eric and Cassandra. This was
a fantastic event!