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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

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!