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Garlic Scapes in Floral Design

30 Jul

Garlic scapes are the curly tops of the garlic plants  Unknown to many, they are just as edible as the garlic bulb itself.  They offer a flavour best described as a cross between garlic and an onion. Unfortunately, because cutting them off is an essential process in getting the garlic bulbs to grow bigger, they are undervalued and often get tossed in the compost bin.  My father in law is a seasoned garlic grower, and although he does enjoy what the garlic scapes bring to the culinary table, he grows such large quantities that my mother in law, too,  gets to enjoy them as a unique foliage for floral design. When first cut, they are very curly – the scapes start to straighten after a day or two in a vase. And yes – they smell just like they taste!



garlic scapes in floral design

garlic scapes in pottery

garlic scapes


Living Fresh Flower School: We’ve Moved!!

30 Jun

living fresh flower school studio

It is with much excitement that I am announcing the new location for the Living Fresh Flower School:  in the Walper Hotel in Kitchener, Ontario.  The Button Factory in Uptown Waterloo was a wonderful start to the school, where we ran a year’s worth of courses – but our new studio at 20 Queen Street South will be a permanent home for us, allowing us to offer not only special interest courses, but also a series of classes (floristry 101) for the career oriented student. Our new fall schedule for the 2012/2013 year is now up on our website, so register now as space is limited.  Because our new studio space  has a more modest square footage, class sizes will be smaller and more  intimate allowing for a student to teacher ratio of as little as 3:1.

We can’t wait to see everyone in our new space this fall!

living fresh flower school teachers deb jasinski tina riddell

Country Chic Barn Party

27 Jun

When you are a collector of something, nothing makes you prouder than when your collectible is admired by another. If you have been following my blog, you may recall numerous posts over the last year featuring my beloved milk glass collection. I have been a collector of this vintage style glass for many years – there is something so wonderful about its old school feel. So when I was approached by someone last week to borrow my collection for a party I simply couldn’t turn them down. The party was a year end celebration for a women’s choir and it was to be held in barn in Cambridge, Ontario. This wasn’t just a hoedown – this was a five course meal served in a beautifully whitewashed barn with vintage beams and a full service kitchen.

country chic barn decor milkglass

country chic barn decor milkglass

country chic barn decor milkglass

country chic milkglass whitewashing barn

In keeping with the “country chic” feeling, the people in charge of decorating for this soiree chose to obtain their flowers curbside. Wild flowers (weeds to some), were cut the night before the event and lovingly assembled in my little milk glass beauties. I have said it once, and I will say it again: you don’t have to be a trained floral designer to make flowers look great in vintage milk glass! Oh, and by any chance did you notice the candles that were placed in mason jars??? After milk glass and antique bottles, mason jars are my third passion – don’t even get me started on that!!!

country chic barn decor milkglass

milkglass country chic barn

milkglass country chic barn

milkglass country chic barn wildflowers

milkglass country chic barn

The organizers of this event did a stellar job. Everything from the twinkle lights to the linens were a perfect touch to this “country chic” event. If you are considering a casual yet elegant event in the future, this is definitely a theme worth considering.

NEW!! Steampunk Inspired Jewelry Line

23 Jun

Based on the Victorian perspective on fashion, steampunk is a fusion of science fiction, fantasy and technology. Steampunk design emphasizes a balance between tool and decoration. This week marks the launch of a steampunk inspired necklace and bracelet collection at Purplefreesia Designs. Our ETSY shop (click here for a direct link) presents functional gadgets with a fanciful twist. Using our signature Swarovski crystal elements along with antique bronze charms and handmade resin cameos, our jewelry is handmade in our studio in Ontario, Canada. Please visit our ETSY shop to view our full line – we ship worldwide. Watch for new jewelry pieces every week as we introduce new materials such as pyrite, silver, gold and glass.

Please enjoy a look at some pieces from our current collection!

necklace bee clock steampunk crystal

bee owl steampunk necklace crystal

bicycle bike antique steampunk necklace

bracelet steampunk gadgets key teacup fan scissors

clock compass steampunk necklace

necklace steampunk clock key crown crystal

steampunk necklace key crystal

necklace steampunk key owl crystal

necklace steampunk airplane aviation plane key crown crystal

clock steampunk necklace swarovski

necklace cog clocks gears steampunk swarovski

steampunk necklace antique bronze jailer's keys swarovski crystal

key cogs gears swarovski crystal necklace steampunk

pocket watch steampunk necklace crystal binoculars

Old Fashioned Garden Roses

18 Jun

david austin rose milk glass 


Antique garden roses are the flower of choice in bridal flowers these days.  Not a week will go by at the retail flower shop I work in that we don’t get an inquiry about them or have the pleasure of working with them. Garden roses used to be the “unobtainable” rose for the average person.  South American growers started the crops about 10 years ago but would only sell them to wholesale suppliers in quantities of 144.  That is a very large amount of such a perishable flower, thusly, making it only available to the affluent customer.  But things have changed – requirements have lessened and now it is quite common to purchase as few as one dozen.  The average retail cost of a garden rose can range from $5 to $8 depening on the variety.

I have been the lucky recipient of garden variety roses for the past 8 Mother’s Days.  This year my rose bushes have been especially abundant because we have experienced a good amount of rainfall here in Southern Ontario.  I couldn’t resist cutting some of them and arranging them in a vintage antique milk glass vase that was given to me by my sister on my most recent birthday.  The vase is the perfect match to these old fashioned roses. Even though these roses only last about 2 days, their fragrance and beauty is well worth the effort.

david austin rose charles darwin

climbing rose hot pink rose

garden rose yellow golden showers

david austin rose othello hot pink

climbing rose dawn soft pink

garden roses

milk glass garden roses david austin

Living Fresh Flower School Garden Party

28 May

mason jar floral arrangement for a garden party

With the hot weather now at our disposal, what better way to entertain than in the outdoors? The Living Fresh Flower School featured a design class on Sunday, May 27th that demonstrated the in’s and out’s of floral decor for an outdoor party. An eclectic mix of mason jars from various companies such as Crown, Bernardin, Golden Harvest and Dominion were the perfect vessels for these dainty floral pieces.

mason jars for floral arrangments

When designing for an outdoor event it is important to remember that a diverse colour palette is key: look around the gardens in your neighbourhood and you will see that every colour is represented. Garden flowers tend to be daintier in size and offer various textures – mixing these textures can be a risky one in common floral design. In garden design, texture overload in fully acceptable and encouraged.

Photographed below is a selection of some of the blooms that were provided to the students for the groupings of arrangements that they got to make for their final project.

anenome scillia hydrangea

asters monte casino dusty miller

vendella rose thistel hypericum berries sea holly double freesia

tulips euonymus

Here is a sampling of some of the creations by the students of the Living Fresh Flower School.  Beautiful pieces, fit for a party!

garden party flower arrangement

garden party arrangements

garden party flowers

A garden party wouldn’t be complete without some colourful treats!

jelly beans mini cupcakes for garden party treats

Please check out the Living Fresh Flower School’s website for information on our next class “Ode to Peony” on Sunday, June 10th, from 1-4 p.m. at the Button Factory in Waterloo.

Steampunk Inspired Weddings

5 May

Steampunk Inspired Weddings – Fusing Flowers with Science Fiction

steampunk wedding

steampunk jewellery accessories including pocket watch, keys, loop and cameo

steampunk goggles

steampunk goggles

Steampunk is in the fashion forefront. Although its beginnings were in the 1980’s it has reached a strong presence in 2012. The influence of steampunk can be seen in many aspects of art, fashion and design. Based on the Victorian perspective on fashion, steampunk is a fusion of science fiction, fantasy and technology. Steampunk design emphasizes a balance between tool and decoration.

As a florist, this genre excites me. Although it is a style that has been around for more than thirty years, it has not broken into the floral industry. The organic and natural aspect of flowers infused with the rigidity of mechanics and technology seems like an odd combination. As a floral designer I have always embraced the challenge of combining unlikely elements to create an artful piece. The newly launched web store at features the beginnings of my steampunk accessories for wedding floral design. The steampunk bouquet jewelry collection at Purplefreesia Designs presents functional gadgets with a fanciful twist.

steampunk boutonniere with key

mokara orchid boutonniere featuring silver key (webstore

steampunk cymbidium orchid with lock boutonniere charm

cymbidium orchid boutonniere featuring silver lock (webstore

steampunk purple mum boutonniere with tube vial

purple button mum boutonniere featuring glass test tube vial with custom message (webstore

steampunk cognac glass vial with clear swarovski crystal

glass cognac vial with custom message for boutonnieres (webstore

steampunk glass tube vial with clear swarovski crystal

glass test tube vial with custom message for bouttonnieres (webstore

steampunk teardrop glass vial with clear swarovski crystal

glass teardrop vial with custom message for boutonnieres (webstore

The steampunk collection at Purplefreesia Designs is ongoing. Product development is our number one priority – please check us often for new floral gadgets such as pocket watches, cameos, cogs and gears.