Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Sleepless Eulogy


Woke up after a night of tossing.  Sometimes too many things try to fit through my head at once. Like singing to yourself while watching the news and trying to read.  Generally nothing comes of it but a stiff jaw and dark circles under the eyes in the morning.  

Today I somehow managed to lay awake with my eyes adjusting to the early light reflecting off an inch of April Snow.  Holding my eyes open is the key to silencing the noisy rambling loop.  Deeply breathing, slowly in, slowly out, trying to make some space for calm and reason. 

If I finally get a harness on this wild horse it can take me a long way.  Sometimes after a few deep breaths a good thought will rise to the top like heavy cream.  Today’s creamy thought: To do something even though it is hard is noble, honorable, righteous.     

I think this might have been something I was working on due to a 5 minute Ted Talk By David Brooks… the last piece of TV I watched  

David Brooks TED Talk

Within each of us are two selves, suggests David Brooks in this meditative short talk: the self who craves success, who builds a résumé, and the self who seeks connection, community, love - the values that make for a great Eulogy."

There is a real possibility that this tiny straightforward talk sent me into a tailspin.  I went “driving”  an old habit of mine when life was unfair.  I would pack up some bags with books, notebooks, monies a snack… basically a giant bindle, and I would leave the life that had disappointed me.  Let it think about what it had done. 

Side note: I seem to think that that best way to punish someone is to leave them alone so clearly I don’t like to be left alone. 
This gives me a memory of when I was a preteen and so angry at the many injustices of life.  To take back control and punish my parents I would collect all evidence that I lived in the house and take it to my room (toothbrush and paste, backpack, scrunchies shoes, coats, etc.)  I would close the door and vow to myself never to come out.  I would come and go through the window, this went on for a while until my Dad nailed the window shut and removed the door from its hinges. 

Anyway this is what I did yesterday except my husband was the lucky recipient of this particular tantrum.  The 2014 version of a bindle includes:
  • iphone
  • Macbook pro
  • Cannon Rebel ti2
  • C.S. Lewis The Four Loves
  • Better Photo Guide to Digital Natural Photography
  • A collection of Pilot extra fine Rolling pens in purple, green & black.
  • A bag of strawberry twizzlers & ¼ bag of jalapeno cheese curls.
  • Packed into matching herringbone wool & leather purse and laptop bag.


A person in this state doesn’t know why she is packing bags and leaving. Like the gypsies in Chocolat don’t know why they have the urge to move with the East wind.   You just have what some would call “the itch”.  It doesn’t itch though its more like pressure in your chest and the leaving is more like trying to run from it in the hopes that a change of scene will make it stop. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t work. 


 You get behind the wheel and drive  aimlessly turning right or left at each intersection.  Becoming increasingly lost, and the pressure is still there.  You just have to get far enough away to realize there is no place like home.  Then its okay to decide you’ve successfully punished your intended victim and you can safely return. (re: Dorothy in Oz.)

Back to Todays good thought: To do something even though it is hard is noble, honorable, righteous.  

I’ve been feeling pretty empty for a while, as David Brooks laid out, the Self that craves success builds a resume and that is what it have done.  Meanwhile starving the Self who craves connection community and love.  

Because when you are working 24/7 to build a resume it is hard, noble, honorable, righteous but mostly hard, to then go out and seek connection, community and love.  It means coming up with more energy when you are exhausted and there in lies the nobility.  “The values that make for a great Eulogy”

Holly tireless sought to form meaningful connections with her fellow man.  She spent every waking hour working to make others more comfortable.   She like her father and mother before her, would jump out of her chair at the first hint of something she could do for another.  She did small things with great Love following in the little way of her patron St. Therese of Lisieux.

None of the above is true… YET.  But lets try shall we, lest we find ourselves back on the road to nowhere.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Easter Lip Balms in the Etsy Shop


New skinny "slimline" Easter lip balms in the Etsy Shop today  I thought these would make cute favors for place-settings on the Easter table or be fun in Easter Baskets. loving these delicate little tubes (0.07oz) See more here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/117260752

Friday, March 7, 2014

Designing with the Friends of Art & Flowers at The Detroit Institute of Arts

Growing up in Detroit my family attended weekly church services at a gorgeous gothic cathedral on Woodward Avenue one block from the Detroit Institute of Arts Even then I sensed the respect, awe, and wonder that still surrounds the DIA.   When an opportunity to create floral designs for the DIA presented itself naturally I jumped all over it!!
www.sweetpfloral.com Sweet Pea Floral Design XL floral arrangement for the Detroit Institute of Arts DIA

This is a museum of epic proportions, among the top six collections in the United States with over 100 galleries, a 1,150 seat auditorium, an art reference library and state of the art conservation services laboratory.  Home to Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry fresco cycle and Vincent van Gogh's Self Portrait.  It is so easy to get inspired here and so Crazy to think we almost lost it in Detroit's ongoing bankruptcy saga.  
www.sweetpfloral.com Sweet Pea Floral Design XL floral arrangement for the Detroit Institute of Arts DIA

 I joined the Friends of Art and Flowers in 2012 after a recommendation from a florist friend.  FAF is a group started at the DIA in 1985 for the beautification of the museum.  The ladies and gentlemen who lead this talented group of designers are about the nicest people you could hope to meet and made me feel so welcome right off.  Each week we create 3 designs with a leader for each.  All of the designs in this post were lead by yours truly (and gleefully!!)
www.sweetpfloral.com Sweet Pea Floral Design XL floral arrangement for the Detroit Institute of Arts DIA
The above was designed for last spring's Elizabeth Sikes Kuhlman Lecture This year the lecture/luncheon will be presented by Jane Godshalk on May 1st.  Jane will represent the United States as one of six international demonstrators at the World Flower Show in Dublin.
www.sweetpfloral.com Sweet Pea Floral Design XL floral arrangement for the Detroit Institute of Arts DIA

When I was getting started with these designs it was terribly intimidating.  They are so much bigger in person then they appear in photos and they take a LOT of flowers to look appropriately full.  On my first ever attempt I was so worried about having it look full enough from the front that I forgot to save flowers to fill in the back and ended up having to start over (oppsie).  I guess  share this as my way of encouraging all designers to attempt larger scale work if they haven't already... you can always take it apart and start over if you don't love your first try!!

www.sweetpfloral.com Sweet Pea Floral Design XL floral arrangement for the Detroit Institute of Arts DIA

Honestly what might have sold me on joining FAF (besides my friendly team mates) is the huge gorgeous collection of vases they have in the floral design room located in the basement of the museum.  Every week we go in on Monday to clean up last weeks arrangement and drum roll please......... select our vases for this weeks designs from the candy shop which is their vase collection

www.sweetpfloral.com Sweet Pea Floral Design XL floral arrangement for the Detroit Institute of Arts DIA

Unlike with wedding design I can pick the freshest in season flowers for the museum arrangements and let my imagination go nuts like with the above arrangement, I found the wild sage and various fall grasses and decided to wire up some ribbon to add the illusion of wind blowing the grass.... fun.
www.sweetpfloral.com Sweet Pea Floral Design XL floral arrangement for the Detroit Institute of Arts DIA

The above was an experiment with a gluing technique I learned from Francois Weeks while in Santa Barbara the January with the Chapel Designers.  Maybe the first design that felt 100% like it belonged in an art museum.  wasn't sure how to display it so I just hung it below the weekly design like some sort of weird floral plaque (plaque: n. an ornamental tablet)
www.sweetpfloral.com Sweet Pea Floral Design XL floral arrangement for the Detroit Institute of Arts DIA

I can not think of a better volunteer opportunity and I am so grateful that I joined up and got right to it.  Designing on this large scale has taught me so much about mechanics, movement, texture and reconnected me to the city I loved as a girl.  
www.sweetpfloral.com Sweet Pea Floral Design XL floral arrangement for the Detroit Institute of Arts DIA
It has been a great place to tryout roses I'm considering for use in weddings, get a little kooky with designs that remind you of Dr. Seuss, and meet all kinds of kindred floral spirits.
www.sweetpfloral.com Sweet Pea Floral Design XL floral arrangement for the Detroit Institute of Arts DIA
Can't wait for March 17th when I get to roll my sleeves back up and add my little bit of pretty to the giant halls of masterpieces in this Temple of art.

Monday, March 3, 2014

UMMA & Eahart Manor Concordia University Ann Arbor Wedding

Fuchsia and Purple orchid garden rose bouquet by Sweet Pea Floral Design www.sweetpfloral.com for Ann Arbor Earhart Manor UMMA wedding

Marissa's bouquet is composed of Baroness garden roses, lavender Cattleya Orchids, Sabina dendrobium orchids, Paco mini purple calla lilies with purple stock and fuchsia peonies.  

Fuchsia and Purple orchid garden rose bouquet by Sweet Pea Floral Design www.sweetpfloral.com for Ann Arbor Earhart Manor UMMA wedding

Fuchsia and Purple orchid garden rose bouquet by Sweet Pea Floral Design www.sweetpfloral.com for Ann Arbor Earhart Manor UMMA wedding including Fuchsia Peony, mini purple calla lily pack baroness hot pink garden roses, ocean song lavender rose, sabina denrobium lave cattleya orchids and purple stock

Full length black bridesmaids dresses pink and purple bouquets by Sweet Pea Floral Design www.sweetpfloral.com for Ann Arbor Earhart Manor UMMA wedding

Ann Arbor Wedding Law Library photo garden rose bouquet by www.sweetpfloral.com

Full Floral Birch Chuppah by Sweet Pea Floral Design www.sweetpfloral.com for Ann Arbor Earhart Manor UMMA wedding

Full Floral Birch Chuppah at UMMA by Sweet Pea Floral Design www.sweetpfloral.com for Ann Arbor Earhart Manor UMMA wedding
We used our birch chuppah as a base for this full floral wedding arch that had a lush colorful garden feel  this design was just dripping with green hanging amaranths, cattleya orchids, garden roses, green hydrangea, orange ranunculus and backed by curly willow branches.

Full Floral Birch Chuppah at UMMA by Sweet Pea Floral Design www.sweetpfloral.com for Ann Arbor Earhart Manor UMMA wedding

Elevated abundant hydrangea and garden rose centerpiece on silver by www.sweetpfloral.com Sweet Pea Floral Design for Earhart Manor Concordia University Wedding


Thank you so much to the lovely the talented Amy Carroll Photography for allowing me to share these photos!! I love how Amy captured the pungent color of Marissa's bouquet and centerpieces.  This wedding was challenging and felt like a huge success after it went off without a hitch.  The challenge is setting up such an elaborate ceremony complete with full floral birch chuppah at UMMA where you only have 1 hour from the time the art museum closes to when the guests arrive.  We are now absolute experts at this tricky set up and know to have all hands on deck in the occasion that the stage or chairs are running behind.  
www.sweetpfloral.com full floral railing on back patio of Earhart manor at Concordia university ann arbor

Of course Earhart Manor at Concordia University in Ann Arbor has long been a favorite and this one was particularly awesome to design for including a full floral rail on the back patio as well as lamppost decor, and an enormous statement piece in the foyer which I didn't get a photo of darn. 

THE BELOW PHOTOS ARE BY ME NOT AMY CARROLL so please don't credit her for any strange color, blur etc sincerely Holly, amateur photographer at best.

Earhart Manor Concordia University Wedding flowers by Sweet Pea Floral Design www.sweetpfloral.com Pink purple and green colorful elevated tall centerpiece silver candlestick vase silver chivari chairs mercury glass votive holdersmercury glass compote centerpiece by sweet pea floral design Ann Arbor for Earhart Manor Concordia University Wedding  orange ranunculus fuchsia peony, pink garden rose, scented geranium

Earhart Manor Concordia University Wedding flowers by Sweet Pea Floral Design www.sweetpfloral.com Pink purple and green colorful elevated tall centerpiece silver candlestick vase silver chivari chairs mercury glass votive holders


Friday, February 28, 2014

Elizabeth and Aaron's Detroit Athletic Club Wedding Reception

Detroit Athletic Club wedding reception elevated branch centerpiece by Sweet Pea Floral Design



Elevated branch and orchid classic elegant white centerpiece and gold compote centerpiece by Sweet Pea Floral Design for Detroit Athletic Club wedding

 It was really a joy to create these clean classic elegant  centerpieces for Elizabeth and Aaron's Detroit Athletic Club Reception.  The extra long hawaiian orchids  added the perfect wispiness to the curly willow branches in the elevated branch centerpieces,  exactly what my nana always refers to as understated elegance.  The gold compotes filled with hydrangea and garden roses were a perfect match to the navy and gold chargers traditionally used a the DAC.  This last photo below is by Dziekonski Photography (the above were taken by me   which is why they are  a bit off color).

Detroit Athletic Club Wedding Reception bouquet by Sweet Pea Floral Design www.sweetpfloral.com