Archive | April, 2012

Garden Gnomes Galore!

25 Apr

In the mid 1800’s ceramic garden gnomes started to appear in people’s gardens; the reason was twofold. Although specifically designed for decorative purposes, many adorned their gardens with these funny little men for superstitious reasons. Many believed that garden gnomes would ward off thieves.
I find the concept of a gnome’s ability to prevent thievery an ironic one, as today many vandals find humour in relocating a garden statue from one neighbours flowerbed to another! A good old-fashioned game of hide-and-seek if you will.
I am not especially certain why I find garden gnomes intriguing. Perhaps it brings me back to my childhood where lawn ornaments were the norm – where it wasn’t unusual to see a front yard infected with Bambi, Thumper, or a little boy sitting on a log with a fishing pole. Was it because of my favourite aunt with her, albeit completely politically incorrect, “lawn jockey” that required regular paint touch ups each spring? Maybe it was the crazy Travelocity mascot that I saw from week to week when I was going through my “Amazing Race” phase? Whatever the reason, I like them. Although these silly little gnomes would never reside in my garden (ok….maybe one tucked away under a giant hosta leaf) they bring me an immense amount of joy when I spot one.

I have just recently started to take pictures of these crazy little guys. Here is a small grouping of the miniature men I have come across in my recent travels. Enjoy!

garden gnome

garden gnome

garden gnome

garden gnome

garden gnome

travelocity gnome


Yellow Freesia Wedding Bouquet

20 Apr

wedding bouquet yellow freesia

As the owner of purplefreesia designs, it probably seems a bit unconventional that I would feature a bouquet that didn’t feature purple freesia. But a few weeks ago, I was asked by a fellow florist if I would help her design her step daughters wedding flowers: her colour theme was yellow. I am the number one fan of freeisa regardless of it colour. This bouquet worked out so beautifully, that I had to create a quick post for all potential brides to see. It consists of 40 stems of freesia and it smelled wonderful! The only thing that could have made this bouquet better would have been if it were purple!

Vintage Milk Glass (part deux)

18 Apr

It was about a year ago that I introduced the world to my cherished collection of milk glass bud vases.  A year has since past and I have a new grouping of milk glass to showcase – urns and bowls.  Although it was never my intention to broaden my collection to larger pieces like a pedestal vase or a trumpet, I came across one in a thrift shop a while back, and as they say, the rest of history.  This week, as I was wondering through the Salvation Army (which happens to be one of the best places to score milk glass in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, second only to St. Vincent de Paul) I completely lucked out and scored the biggest piece of authentic E. O. Brody milk glass I have ever laid my eyes on (at only $6).  This oversized treasure has inspired my blog posting today.

large milk glass urn brody

vintage milk glass authentic

The collage above features my three favourite pieces of milk glass acquired this year. Each one carries a tremendous amount of sentimental value, coupled of course with their beauty.

A. This funky looking little hen is actually a milk glass trinket box. It measures about 10 cm in length and was discovered by my 9 year old daughter. She insisted that we try to win it on ebay….it was the most I have every paid for milk glass, ringing in at about ($7 US).

B. This footed vase is milk glass with a contemporary twist. Its clean lines are unique for milk glass. The best thing about this vase is that it was given to me by a very special florist friend filled with purple flowers in celebration of my 40th birthday a few months ago (did I say 40? I meant 30).

C. This is an incredible peice of milk glass. It has a removable glass plate filled with holes (known in the flower industry as a floral frog). My sister gave this to me for my birthday – sister gifts are always the best!!!

new milk glass patterns in my collection

e.o. brody milk glass


l.l. randall milk glass

The constant quest for a new piece of milk glass is an exciting one and I am fortunate enough to be able to share it with a very close friend who is also a collector. Our milk glass expeditions are very special – what a great way to spend a day off with your bestie! I can only hope that in another year’s time I will have the pleasure of writing a third edition of milk glass!

Living Fresh Flower School “The Right of Spring”

15 Apr

living fresh sign

Today the Living Fresh Flower School hosted a floral design class featuring spring flowers and bright colours.  It was an especially challenging session – the students were taught by Tina (design instructor) how to create a floral arrangement in a wide mouthed cube shaped vase using a taped grid system.  This is one of the most advanced methods of vase design.  Each and every student took on the challenge and passed with flying colours.  The end results were spectacular!

hellebores daffs hyacinth

tulip freesia


Tina Riddell Living Fresh

Our next meeting is a Mother’s Day class. Bring the special “mom” in your life to our class on Sunday May 13th and enjoy an afternoon of floral creation together! Check out the Living Fresh Flower School website for more details.

Handcrafted Bouquet Jewellery

11 Apr

This week I have opened up another chapter in my floral designing career!  May I present to you my new online store, – a site  featuring handcrafted wedding bouquet jewellery designed by yours truly.

Bouquet jewellery is in the fashion forefront yet its elegance is timeless. By enhancing your bridal flowers with crystal accents and silver tones you will create a one of a kind look for your wedding day.  At  purplefreesia designs you will find modern interpretations of jewellery inspired by centuries ago –  unique genres such as steampunk and Marie Antoinette to name a few . Each piece is handcrafted to easily incorporate within your wedding florals. Bouquet jewellery is that final detail in completing your picture perfect look.

I have never hidden the fact that I am an artist not a computer person, and so this is where I must give credit where credit is due.  An infinite number of  “thank-you’s”  must go out to Julie Surian (web designer, piano teacher, my sister), who never once complained when I asked her to change things a million times; Kevin JohnsonSenior Director of Operations, Lavalife and best friend ever) for his superior knowledge of  building secure websites and for never making any of my questions feel stupid; and  Jada Magdalena (model) who never once complained about how cold it was outside during the many photoshoots. is nothing short of beautiful thanks to the efforts of these great people.

Here is a small sampling of some of the images featured at .  For the total experience click here!

Medinilla Magnifica

6 Apr

A few weeks ago I attended the Canada Blooms show at Exhibition Place in beautiful downtown Toronto.  It’s a great show to attend because no matter how much you  think you  know about flowers, there are always new products, flower varieties and growers to see.

This year the show featured a tropical planted called Medinilla  –  and when I say it featured it, I mean it was EVERYWHERE. It was in every floor container, hanging pot, and display as far as the eye could see.  It was nothing short of spectacular.  I was not surprised to learn that in January 2012 the Medinilla won “Favourite New Flowering Plant” at the Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition Show. I had never seen this flower before that day. My camera led me to every corner of the show, capturing it from every angle.

This is what I have  learned about this magnificent plant:

Botanical name:   Medinilla Magnifica

Common names:  Chandelier tree,  Malaysian Orchid, Rose Grape

Country of origin: Philippines

Type:  epiphyte (a plant that grows on other trees but does not withdraw its food from those trees)

Height: up to 4 feet tall

Light requirements:  bright indirect light

Water:  likes to dry out between wateringl

Humidity:  high

Temperature:  17 to 25 degrees  celcius

Zone:  5 (southern Ontario included)

Retail Price:  approximately $60-80 for an 8″ pot