Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry... Be Merry!

Here is a gorgeous home which I was asked to decorate for the holidays. Picture perfect would not begin to describe it. It's an alarming contrast to my own little hovel of an apt that I left behind in NY. I have to admit that my face hurts from grinning at the light shows that the peeps down here display in their front yards. I'd go so far as to say Floridians make even a bigger deal of the holidays than North Easterners because of their lack of snow and everything Ho-Ho-Ho.
The day I was scheduled to fly out I felt like the holidays were just a pain in the ass! I was seriously grinching out loud to my favorite local barristas at Daisy Bakery when another customer in line looked at me with disapproval and said, "It should be a kinder holiday".
Of course, his criticism remained engraved in my psyche like a bad pop song all day and night until the plane reached it's final descent and I looked out the window and saw all the little houses with their masses of twinkling string lights and blow up snowmen on the rooftops. I thought of the effort each occupant had made to bring some spirit to their block and was glad to be home with my family, as dysfunctional as they are, coming together and celebrating another year of our South Florida tradition and family loving.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Scent of Juniper

The last few weeks have seen the studio filled with evergreens and all sorts of white and red flowers. These images are from a wedding we did last weekend. Unfortunately I am limited with my computer which doesn't have photoshop to allow me to correct lighting on other images so you can get a better look at the overall wedding. Hopefully this will be resolved soon and adequate representations will be uploaded. Until then please bear with the photos which make the cut. With the holidays upon us we have been enlisted to decorate homes and weddings representing the season. It's the time of year when Louie and his army at Major are in full swing making wreaths and garlands for all the designers who simple pine bows just won't do. I've seen some beautiful recipes which inspire like variegated holly and dried mountain laurel branches. I ordered Juniper mixed with brunia, and Cedar and was delighted with outcome - both elegant and fragrant. Next post will visit a home we dressed with all the trimmings.
Happy Holiday folks!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Prospect Park

Yesterday I had a walk-through at the Audubon Boathouse in Prospect Park and was completely intoxicated by the light and remnants of fall as I made my way through the park. It was as if the most saturated leaves had hung on till the end. Everywhere I looked there was a brightness and intensity of hue against a backdrop of earthen dried foliage making their way into a natural compost for the winter months. My nature hike was brief but long enough to lose myself for a few minutes in nature and the final high notes of autumn.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Winter Whites and Sparkles

Above is a sample centerpiece made for a wedding at Prospect Boathouse on New Year's Eve.
The ingredients include Amaryllis, Anemones, Ranunculus different variety of white, ivory and blush roses, Dusty Miller, Brunia, Eschevaria, Stock, and Veronica in antique silver pedestal vases and mercury glass vessels. Accents of crystalize twigs lend it a sparkle and a nod to the holiday season.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Non Traditional Thanksgiving

Yesterday close friends gathered together to make delicious dishes all day. Instead of a turkey we made a giant pot of Paella. Stuffing was replaced by roasted vegetables like beets sprinkled with Cabrales cheese, cauliflower with Asiago, fingerling potatoes with rosemary, and butternut squash with balsamic vinegar. Our greens were satisfied by a kale sesame salad with shitake mushrooms in a rice vinegar, sesame oil dressing and sweets remained true to the holiday with pumpkin pie from Daisy Bakery, pumpkin cheese cake from whole foods and giant assorted pastries from a Greek bakery in Queens. I fear counting the total number of calories that passed over my fork thinking of all the places on earth where one quarter of those calories could save a life. We are a very lucky crowd to be able to celebrate our lives in such an abundant way. I am thankful for having the opportunities I have had, for the good health of my family and friends and for living a creative life filled with beauty and celebration!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Seafood Paella

  • Broth:
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
  • Herb Blend:
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Paella:
  • 1 pound monkfish or other firm white fish fillets
  • 16 unpeeled jumbo shrimp (about 1 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 16 littleneck clams
  • 1 (7-ounce) jar sliced pimento, drained
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  • To prepare broth, combine the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
  • To prepare herb blend, combine parsley and next 4 ingredients (parsley through 2 garlic cloves); set aside.
  • To prepare paella, trim connective tissue from monkfish; cut into 1-inch pieces. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large paella pan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish and shrimp; saute 1 minute (the seafood mixture will not be cooked through).
  • Remove seafood mixture from pan, and keep warm. Add onion and bell pepper to pan, and saute 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, paprika, crushed red pepper, and 3 garlic cloves; cook 5 minutes. Add rice, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, herb blend, and peas. Bring to a low boil, and cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add clams to pan, nestling them into rice mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until shells open; discard any unopened shells. Stir in the seafood mixture, and arrange shrimp, heads down, in rice mixture. Arrange pimento slices spokelike on top of rice mixture; cook 5 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Remove from heat; cover with a towel and let stand 10 minutes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Merry ABCs and Thankfully Happy Ones!

This week I had a spell cast upon me by the visual display at ABC carpets. I put the metal to the petal on my holiday cheer and completely surrendered myself to crystal fawns and glass unicorn snow globes. Opalescent vases and "snow" flaked poinsettia leaves lifted my fairy wings right into a crystal encrusted frenzy back at the studio. The floor is now covered in glitter and glass crystals. When will this end! Dec 31st hopefully, when our last winter wonderland wedding goes off as splendidly as ABC's holiday display has! But before then we have that thankful day to honor so off to spin class to get the metabolism in high gear for all the approaching calories!!!

Happy Thanksgiving Lovers of Life!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Leaves FALL

Leaves are covering the ground as the explosion of color makes way for hard silhouettes of branches preparing us mentally for the winter ahead. This week has been warm and sunny and I savor every minute. Above is one of the last fall arrangements coming from this studio. Winter wonderland weddings are taking over. It's a week filled with crystals and branches. Production for the base materials for many December weddings is filling my time and space. Think Dr Zhivago meets a true life ice storm. More about this soon.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Big The Bold & The Beautiful

This bouquet was made for the current issue of New York Magazine Weddings. The features editor asked for bouquets made in primary colors, so here is my blue bouquet. Other spectrums will follow.

Delphinium, Monkshood, Passion vine and flowers, grasses, ferns and Scabbiossa pods.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Unbridled Rustic Bouquet

Left overs in the fridge don't stay there long. Today I rummaged through to make a nosegay with a nostalgic and rustic tone. Adding pale blue Scabbiossas, some dried barley from the studio and a few wild peas I had planted out back provided just the right notes that were missing to soften the Echeveria, Heather, Dusty Miller combination we visited in the last post. Copper, gold and gray satin ribbons were a nice counterpoint to the wild roses and magnolia leaves. Perhaps this could serve as the bouquet to the centerpiece whose parts we revisited or simply call it what it is, a well distilled reimagining. I quite like it and may suggest it to a bride I am working with. Hope she likes it as much as I do.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bright As The Day

This weekend New Yorkers pretended Summer would never end. Skirts short and moods high. This sunny fall arrangement looks more like it wants to belong in the Spring pages. I'll just call it an "Indian Summer Fall Centerpiece". Who said Spring owned bright pinks? Our Dahlia begs to argue all luminescent in a melon pink that turns blue with the light.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Day For The Spirit

A delivery for a yearly luncheon took me out to the Hamptons Yesterday. I listened to stories about Steve Jobs for hours in traffic there and back and in between decided to drive to some of the local farms. There couldn't have been a brighter clearer day to wander aimlessly through the apple orchards and flower fields! It reminded me of how absolutely starved as a city dweller I am for nature. I can get completely lost in it for hours which I did delaying my visit to a dear friend further down the road in Amagansset.
I finally made it to her place where her perfect husband brought us the most delicious Chai lattes I've ever had. Then she drove me to the Hither Hills Sate Park. We trudged through a sage green smattering of lichen laden pines and made our way up to the top of the dunes. I felt like I was transposed to another part of the world. I imagined being in a desert except the perfect temperature immediately brought me back to an exquisite Montauk fall afternoon. Christine took funny hipstamatic portraits of us with her iphone as her ridiculously low maintenance baby napped in the Byorn sack and we mused on the patterns of the shadows cast by the grasses and exact colors of specific patches of green.
As I drove back into the hard wired city I was filled with gratitude for the healing beauty of nature and how much love it filled with me with. That may very well be why I make a living of working with it's perfect and imperfect products.

Another thing that really struck a chord in me as I drove back were these words,

"You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."..........................................................Steve Jobs

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Lil' Ol' Country Bukay

Here's a bouquet I arranged for Town and Country's latest Wedding's Issue on stands now :)
Always honored to be in their beautiful spreads!. This fine gal features the ever gratifying Juliette David Austin Garden roses surrounded by (this year's favored foliage) Dusty Miller, feathery dark Agonis leaves, Celosia Specata, Black Scabbiossa blossoms with their pods, Astilbe, Fuschias and Seeded Eucalyptus with foliage.