Monday, August 14, 2017

Current obsession: 3 of our favourite plant lover blogs on the web

If you've dropped by the shop, you know we've got a serious crush on houseplants. Each and every time a new shipment comes in, the whole team falls in love with a new friend to take home.

If you love plants the way we do, you'll appreciate these plant lovers too:

Urban jungle bloggers
this website and instagram feed are super inspirational. Featuring a team of plant obsessed bloggers, you'll find inspiring home tours mixed with interesting and stunningly visual posts teaching you how to bring more plants into your life. The two bloggers behind the scenes also happen to have a really good plant book out, which we carry here at the shop!

Houseplant Journal is a Toronto based blog run by a very knowledgeable plant lover. This is a great resource if you have any questions about your plants. Everything from basic plant care, plant id ( for those random unidentified plant finds at the corner store) through to plant propagation and lovely home tours to sneak a peek at other plant lovers collection.

Modern Plant life is another proudly canadian blog that is filled with information. The blogger behind it is a self professed "black thumb" turned plant geek who is learning as she goes. Take a look through her lovely instagram feed for even more inspiration.

Do you have a favourite plant blog? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

In the shop: Some summer flowers you may not know

Summer brings us blooms that we love, big full fat flowers with such an array of hues that we feel our hearts will burst as we design away in the shop.

Delphiniums, dahlias, and lisianthus are flowers we wait for each year, as the season hits they become plump and frilly and make us happy every summer. But there are other, lesser known flowers that we wait for patiently too. Here are three of our current favourites.

Scabiosa may have a not so pretty name, but the blooms themselves are stunning. The soft periwinkle blue tone is always a loved one, but the deep blood red and soft buttery yellow are wonderful to work with too.

Cosmos are delightful. They come in a range of colours including deep red through pink, soft yellow and white. Their feathery leaves have a soft grace to them that adds whimsy and movement to our designs.

And these babies....well, the common name says it all: "Love in the mist"! With soft feathery foliage like the cosmos, and delicate dancing stems these small wild looking flowers are jewel like.

What about you? Do you have any lesser know but much loved blooms that you look forward to every summer? We'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Shopkeeper's diary: July

After a June so busy with events we could barely catch our breath, July came along as a gentle reprieve from the chaos that they bring. Time to catch up on some of the little things that never get done, that get left to the side when we're in full swing. I've been giving the back section of the shop some much needed attention. A new table with vintage chairs for our meetings, and some fabric was purchased to make panels to cover the not so exciting work table shelves when I'm in consultations. The front counter has some lovely fabric pieces  decorating the sides. Plans have been made to finally paint the washroom, although that has yet to actually happen (this week, I've promised myself). And a three month backlog of bookkeeping was slogged through. And yet, there are still so many things that haven't been attended to. This blog, for one thing, where along with my newsletter I have fallen off the wagon and slipped away from my regular posting. No real excuses, not since I just finished reading the time management book "168 hours" which explained very well that we all have bucket loads of time in a week, we just need to prioritize how we spend it, in order to spend it on the things we actually want to be doing. In truth, I've been enjoying taking a bit of a breather. This marketing, connecting, emailing, posting thing takes so much brain space. Sometimes it's nice to concentrate on other things.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Makers: Doris Wai of Lovelettering

 The Makers series of posts highlights the artists that make the products we sell, a peek into their workspace and process as they create beautiful things. 

In this Makers post I'm delighted to introduce you to Doris Wai, creative director of Lovelettering, who creates amazing and beautiful handlettered pieces as well as a line of adorable handlettered "pose-cards" that we sell in the shop.  I sent Doris a few questions about her creative process and creative space:
Toronto maker and creative Doris Wai of lovelettering talks about her creative space

Jess: Tell us about your work space- do you have a dedicated studio or do you carve out space where you can when you need? What does it look like?

Doris: I never intended to start this business, and could have never imagined but I have always had a room dedicated to my creativity, but since Love Lettering took off, it seems that my home is almost my entire studio!  I have multiple work spaces for different purposes!  In the basement is my work room, where I store all my supplies, big printers, shipping materials etc, if I am going to get down and dirty, into the basement I go!  On the main floor I use a portion of my living room as a place to letter the items that are brought to me on a daily basis, you will find 2 easels that literally support me as a hand lettering artist.  And on the top floor is my airy office, where I handle my emails, invoicing and accounting, there is a loveseat in here that I frequent to write Instagram posts, its a lovely space and I enjoy it very much. 

creative handletterer Doris wai's workspace

Jess: what are your tools of the trade?

Doris: Any instrument in which I can create a letter is a tool to me, in my line of work, I letter on so many different surfaces so I like to know what pens work best on what surface, what pencils work on all surfaces?  But some of the items I cannot live without is painters tape, my Stabilo All pencil and my Sharpie paint pen.

posecards by handletterer Doris Wai

Jess: Share a little about the process involved in your work?

Doris: For signage, my work is so vast and tailored to each client, wording is almost always different, surfaces are different so there is never a repeat of anything.  However with the Posecards, it thrives upon repetition.  I hand letter each design and then print onto card, where they are hand cut, coloured, and assembled.  I created Posecards, a line of photo prop greeting cards, as crossover product between a gift tag/greeting card and a photo prop, in the age of the selfies, we can use photo props anytime with our cell phone, why not mark the occasion?  I will continue to use my lettering to create products because I know one day I will be old and want to ensure I have created things I can continue to sell.

Jess: Where do you look for inspiration?

Doris: I am a visual sponge, I can look any anything and transform it in my head, some times lyrics from a song creates a painting in my mind, sometimes its a persons personality that drives me to draw, there are not enough hours in a day to accomplish what is going on in my mind. But my daughter inspires me to work hard, be diligent, but enjoy life too.  And Instagram, the black hole of inspiration, its like taking a trip without going anywhere, you can step into a hotel lobby, you can visit the desert, you can learn to letter! To be inspired all I really have to do is look around.  

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 Not only is Doris insanely good at what she does, but she is also a super sweet lady too, and I'm so happy to know her. You can find Doris online via her website as well as follow along with her beautiful work on instagram And, as if this lovely lady didn't have enough going on, she also has a book filled with gorgeous handlettering projects coming out in November, which you can pre-order here!!!!!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Behind the scenes: an editorial shoot

This past March I was lucky enough to be a part of a gorgeous editorial shoot at Bob Rumball Manor, here in Toronto. Editorial shoots are interesting things, wonderful opportunities that need to be carefully considered and managed. The main idea is that you get a group of creatives together to bring an idea into reality for a day, and then have a talented photographer get shots of it all. Then those photos get submitted to blogs and magazines in the hopes of getting a feature. There's no guarantee going in that this will pan out, everyone is working on faith. Everyone pitches in their particular area of talent and creative genius for free, and in return we all get to not only reap the benefits of any feature the shoot does garner, but we also all get to use the gorgeous images for our social media feeds.

BTS: Canadiana Styled Wedding Shoot from Summerfield Films on Vimeo.

 This particular shoot was on a rather chilly ( but frustratingly not snowy) Sunday. We gathered together at the Bob Rumball Manor on Bayview ave, feeling somewhat bleary at the rather early start. Wendy Lee, the event planner behind Asian Fusion Weddings and the powerhouse behind this shoot,  had given us all the brief of creating a Canadian themed wedding, but with the caveat that it should still be an elegant, glamourous affair, rather than too rustic. The colour scheme was red and white, to  match the Canada Flag of course, with black and silver as accents.

I struggled a bit at first, red and white is my least favourite colour scheme of all when it comes to flowers. But I've been learning over the past couple of years that I've been doing editorial shoots that it all works best when each vendor involved takes the brief and adds their own sprinkle of genius in there. I know as a floral artist that a straight two colour theme falls flat, it has no depth or richness to it. So I gave it a little tweak and organized myself with blooms in deep red tones with some dark plummy black and here and there the odd hit of rich hot pink. Just a little. No white in sight with the floral elements. A colour scheme doesn't mean everything needs to include those colours- there were plenty of other parts of the day that pulled in the white.

Wendy and I started setting up the main table, creating a headtable-scape with lots of added elements. The two models arrived and the team of makeup artists, hair artist, clothes stylists and accessories went to work getting them shoot ready.  Shirley from Shirley Sweet Creations set up her delicious dessert table, and all the while Matt from Hawley Crescent Culinary was in the kitchen putting together plates of charcuterie along with other dishes to feature ( including the best poutine ever!).

There's lots of milling about at times, it's hard to get timing just right, and everyone ends up pitching in- I spent a fair bit of time led on the floor in one of the upstairs rooms holding wrinkles down on a blanket being used for a flat lay backdrop for example. Eventually  most of the prep work was done and the photographer Anita (Rhythm Photography) as well as the cinematographer John (Summerfield Films), were able to get to work taking the shots they needed to get. All told, it was a full and long day's work by a fairly large team of people.

The models were great sports. Anyone who thinks they just sit around getting their photo taken and that their job is easy should spend a day watching a shoot. The outdoor shots had them freezing their butts off- what you don't see in the gorgeous photos is all the rest of us standing just out of frame , fully bundled up in our parkas in the subzero temps. Between each shot set up the stylist, Hilary, would race in to cover the poor bridal model with a coat to try to ward off the cold.

We've gotten some amazing press with this shoot, Wendy did wonderful work getting us featured. It was so hard holding off till now, but the timing worked so perfectly as Canada celebrates it's 150th birthday this week.

The full shoot is being featured on some amazing wedding blogs, and you can see the full catalogue  of the beautiful photos by Rhythm Photography of all the lovely details that Wendy included int he shoot on these posts-

Mountain Side Bride
Wedding Opera
Style Inspired weddings
Elegant Wedding Magazine
Aisle Society Blog

Here are the talented people involved in the shoot:

Bridal Stylist – Hilary Cameron

with thanks to Anita of Rhythm Photography for the stunning images you see here, as well as John at Summerfield Films for the wonderful behind the scenes video.

Monday, June 26, 2017

5 flower farmers to follow

Recently one of our amazing Ontario flower farmers was by the shop dropping of some gorgeous buckets of blooms. She introduced me to her assistant, saying that she was " helping out at the farm, learning the ropes" to which I could only reply " good lord, you mean- she's living the dream!"

Thanks to social media, we can all take in the beautiful fields of flowers, artful pickup truck beds filled with buckets and summer bloom closeups that these hardworking farmers get to work in, but without going through all the slogging through the pouring rain, getting our trucks stuck in fields of mud, and enduring the heartbreaking, crop ruining changes in weather.

Here are 5 of our current favourites to follow ( click on their names to see their beautiful instagram feeds):

Antonio Valente Flowers
flower farmer

This guy is the sweetest. So gentle and so humble, Antonio's micro farm is just north of the city. We interviewed him a while back, you can read that post here

Floralora Flowers

We just started buying from Sas, the farmer behind Floralora, this year. Her farm is in beautiful Prince Edward county to the east of Toronto.
Find out more via her website here

La Primavera Farms

flower farmers
This farm brings us gorgeous blooms that blow us away every time. We wrote about this farm in a post you can read here. 
Visit the website here


This U.S.flower farmer will amaze and inspire you with her gorgeous photographs and gentle narratives. You can learn more about flower farming, growing your own cut flower garden and see scenes from their gorgeous property on their blog here.

Electric Daisy Flower Farm

A U.K. flower farmer, her instagram feed is unbelievable. A fantastic mix of flowers with a creative vision that will inspire you. On a sweet side note, this flower farm is located close to where I spent my childhood in the south west of England! You can see more via the website here.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Weddings: A soft and sweet late Spring wedding

Not all the weddings we do are full scale events. Case in point, the wedding flowers we made for Helen and Aric's special day recently. The couple celebrated their wedding at Sunnybrook Estates. They put together their own centerpieces - interactive games for guests to play at the tables- but had us design and make all their personal flowers.

I was thrilled to have the talented photographer Samantha Ong send me some of the gorgeous light filled shots she captured of the day, and you can see more on her blog here.