Christ Episcopal Church-Campbell Hall, Sausalito, California

Translated, our bride’s name means “Laurel,” and the groom’s, “Oak.” As such, these two botanicals were featured in each and every floral design at the wedding of D and J. In addition, the couple’s interest, and a particular vocation, focused on the natural beauty of Marin County’s parks, open space, and headlands. These beautiful features we treasure in Northern California were celebrated with the color green, and with a design style which gathered their flowers, naturally and organically. For our work together on your sunny, winter afternoon wedding, we all thank you, and we wish you a lifetime of joy and happiness: Terry Eberle and her posse at CaterMarin; Jill Branch, and Ann Sakai, Branching Out Cakes; the Clergy, Parish staff and Guild, Christ Episcopal Church.

Photo 1

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Posted in Centerpieces, Marin, Campbell Hall, Sausalito, Uncategorized, Weddings, Bouquets, Weddings, Boutonnieres, Weddings, Centerpieces & Display Designs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

An Intimate Napa Valley Wedding Celebration

The intimate Napa Valley wedding does not get much more charmingly exquisite than this late summer celebration: ceremony at the Napa Valley courthouse, followed by a dinner reception at a private estate located in the Atlas Peak appellation, Howell Mountain Range, Eastern slopes of this valley. Oh my, my, the sunlight, the soil, and their cool breezes at night! Included at the wedding dinner, Champagne, Cabernet from the estate, and from Marshall in West Marin, on the shores of Tomales Bay, Hog Island Oysters. Cheers, to M and S! Wedding photos, courtesy of Kathi Cook Photography.

Blog-Sara's Hair

Blog-Sara's Shoes

Blog, Sara's Bouquet

Blog-Hog Island Oysters

Blog-Vineyard

Blog-Lake Shot

Blog-Kiss on the Dock

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Ralston White Retreat, Mill Valley, California

Surrounded by giant redwood trees and shadowed by magical Mount Tamalpais, this beautiful property was a wedding gift from Ralston White to his bride, Ruth Boericke. Completed in 1915, and home to the White family for many years, this estate now hosts conferences,  meetings, and lovely weddings on the heart shaped lawn. One of Marin county’s greatest historical homes, complete with two families of pileated woodpeckers to keep you company, as they fly over your head, checking your floral designs and stylings. These beautiful photos, courtesy of Linda Russell, Marin County, California. Continued congratulations to C and D!

Bride and Groom with Sparklers

Artsy Parasol

Danielle's Bouquet

Flour Chylde Cake

Cigar Box of Rings

Boxes of Flowers, 2

Boxes of Flowers, 1

Heart Shaped Wedding Lawn

Wedding Ceremony

Mr. and Mrs. Chairs

Vase of Flowers

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…Brilliant Botanicals and Floral Designs to Complement the Occasion, Season, Location and Recipient

I am frequently asked by the family, after the design of their event or wedding, if we “do other things besides large events.” If, we design and deliver flowers for smaller occasions, such as a holiday centerpieces, a bouquet for a loved one’s birthday, or a piece at a memorial service to honor and remember the passing of a loved one. The answer: Absolutely, we are a full service design studio, able to help with all occasions, grand or small. Our “floral arena” as many friends and family call our “operation” includes: an air conditioned design studio; a 10’ x 15’ walk in cooler, always, filled with fresh flowers and botanicals, sourced 2-4 times per week; 3 small buildings of props and vases, with a 4th being built; gardens planted with succulents, reeds, grasses, and heirloom flower varietals; plus or minus, 200 rolls of ribbon…my personal favorite feature! I have been collecting collections since I was about 4 years old. Imagine, finally having a career where this “calling” of collecting is so very applicable! Spoken by me weekly: “Uh, yea, I have a box of those we can use.” Adding to the mix in 2014, for our pastry chef, caterer and restaurant colleagues, pesticide free edible flowers including anise hyssop, calendula, and borage, and increased production of our hanging succulent gardens. It’s quite a lot, we are up to the task, and as I tell our clients, our work is a task of love. In sharing the details of our ever evolving studio operations, this floral journey,  always good to point out the things we cannot accommodate in our production: everlasting and silk designs; landscaping services, providing buckets of flowers, raw flowers so folks can design their own arrangements. We receive requests for each of these services. In these cases, we provide referrals for vendors who feature these services.

This post, long floating around in my head, is inspired by the clients we helped yesterday: a father ushering his son to and through his Bar Mitzvah; an artistic woman marrying in a simple, clean line ivory dress, so her bouquet structure may be livelier and not detract from her dress; a man who turned 50 years old yesterday and with his wife and 20 friends, celebrated the occasion with a cooking class; a small group of family and friends who said farewell to a loved one, as they departed from this time, to their next. All of our clients inspire and encourage me in many and individual ways. It is the latter, those saying farewell to a loved one, who: help keep my heart and mind open; to be present;to have patience; to seek wisdom and answers when they are not straightaway apparent; to find joy, be it leaping out at you like a tabby cat kitten, or hiding like the kitten’s mother, needing a rest from her young ones;  to live this life fully. I thank you for your trust in what I do. I thank you all for this continued opportunity and journey with the flowers.

Fondly, Kate

For the Bride – Fair Bianca roses, veronica, and a profusion of grasses and reeds from our cutting garden

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 ITK Culinary, version 2Cooking Class, ITK Culinary, Sausalito, CA

Mazel Tov!

Bar Mitzvah

Unable are the loved to die.  For love is immortality.  ~Emily Dickinson

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Red Spray Roses and Twigs

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Posted in Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah, Centerpieces, Floral Gift Services - Happy Birthday, Anniversary, Congratulations, Thinking of you, Kate's Blossoms Cutting Gardens, Uncategorized, Weddings, Bouquets | Tagged , | Leave a comment

On This Harvest Moon…

Photos 4, Harvest MoonLikely attributed to a lengthy, July vacation in the Pacific Northwest, I have been drafting “this Harvest Moon” tale since that time. On this moon, a notable day and evening for me, it is a tribute to my Mom and Dad.

Both born and raised on working farms during the depression, my Father’s, in Southwest Virginia. The family lived as tenants, aka, sharecroppers, and planted, tilled, and harvested many backbreaking acres. 2/3 of the take went to the land owner, 1/3, to Dad’s family’s dinner table. Mom’s family farm was in Western Washington, a homestead, reward, and a future for two Norwegian immigrants and their children. Every morsel of fruit, vegetable, protein and dairy served in these family homes was raised, tended, eaten fresh, canned or salted down for the winter. Some grains, salt and sugar, baking powder, kerosene, and cloth, these were procured with cash from the “cash crops.” In my father’s case, sadly, not moonshine, which would make my lore so much more intriguing. Instead, cash came about from an alternative vice investment, tobacco, which was planted on side fields that the kids tended at night with lanterns, hand picking the cut worms from the underside of the leaves. The damaging and gaping holes these worms could cause, would lead to a Bear Market for this commodity. You see, large jagged holes in tobacco, when rolled up, creates a short and a lapse in a ‘gar’s gentle burn. Hideous chemical spray could have been substituted for the kill of the worm, but for this crop, Dad’s people were amongst the first organic farmers, and apparently, drew the best tobacco buyers for their leaves, much like my Uncle Doll. Uncle Doll, he did do moonshine for his cash. But, that’s a whole other story.

Continued farming, with flowers…

Working as hard as these families did during their childhood and early adult life during WWII, you would think that once a cash job came along for my Dad, he would have suggested that Mom fully source our meals at the local Thriftway grocer. Nope, just the opposite, for our fruits and vegetables. Picking, sorting, canning in Mason Jars (their true use) and flash freezing in Tupperware, was preceded by quite a bit of farming. Dad taught me to sprinkle carrot seeds, set potatoes in mounded hills, same with the pole beans, and place corn kernels exactly four inches apart. In my early days, I was provided a ruler. The property included about 18 fruit trees, and I had built a fort or picnic structure for me and my cats, under each of them: Kings, Romans, Jonathans, Winesaps, Gravensteins. We also had prunes, a wide variety of blackberries and tayberries, blueberries, raspberries and a ridiculously sour pie-cherry tree. Rounding things out was a coop filled with hens.

For the flowers, the season would begin in the yard and back in the woods, with wild hazelnut, trillium, flowering red currant, followed by every varietal the Burpee seed and bulb catalogs offered for the tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, and crocus. Quince, forsythia, lilac, snowball (aka, bridal bouquets for our dolls), and dogwood at Easter. Mom inspired my start as a designer by providing notebook paper,  a stapler and string for the crafting of May Day baskets. Unlike, my one day in a tap and a ballet class, disastrous, for the record, I had a flair for flowers, so she upped the craft supplies’ basket with construction paper, pipe cleaners, ribbons, stickers and a tub of paste for seamless basket folding and affixing. The cats accompanied me on all deliveries, and always gave me away, not knowing to run with me from the neighbor’s door, after hanging the basket and knocking.  May Day was followed by a version of decoration Sunday, a Southern thing, on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. A few days before our decoration Sunday, Mom, her sisters, and nieces had cleaned the family plot of weeds, fungus on the gravestones, and any rogue, winter falling limbs. Early in their days, a lunch of waffles with strawberries and whipped cream would follow, replaced in later years with a trip to the Family Pancake House. Mom was primed for her return, with me, to this family plot, and those of many more loved ones, respected ones. We had a fresh flower bouquet for each grave. By the time Mom’s health made some changes for her, I think we were up to 27 graves in two community cemeteries. Each year, we’d find yet another person we had known, not being remembered with a flower. Judy, we were always glad when you were able to step away from tablecloth duty at the Hyannisport of Hammersley Inlet to join us.

Summer brought a daily carnival of dahlias, in colors of yesteryear, much like when Crayola crayons hosted their true and original names. Heavy growth and girth of these summer sirens was prompted by all the perch and bullheads my posse and I caught on the dock in front of our home, and planted deep under the tubers, early season.  So followed the swingtime fuchsias, asters, hydrangea,  roses, and the frost, leading us to do it all again.

While the following song is a song for lovers, such as Andraya and Karl, this song is about love. And as we know, love always involves a dose of heartbreak. Tonight, surrounded by flowers old and new, I hum this haunting melody, on today’s Harvest Moon:

“Because I’m still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I’m still in love with you
On this harvest moon…”
10-27-1992, Mr. Neil Young

Photos 2, Harvest Moon Photos 3, Harvest Moon

Posted in Centerpieces, Kate's Blossoms Cutting Gardens, Marin, Balboa Cafe Mill Valley, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

August’s Sturgeon Moon

I know it, I shouldn’t be that surprised upon discovery of what inspires the design process, specifically, the one of my hands and mind. Taking a moment here in the studio, to reflect upon last night’s moon rise, and its travels to tomorrow evening towards it fullest. It’s the Sturgeon Moon. The fishing tribes of the Great Lakes and other bodies of water are given credit for naming this one, as their year’s biggest sturgeon catch was snagged during this month. A bit more, some knew it as the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze. It was also called the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon. Below, this morning’s design celebration, moon shapes, corn and grain colors, onward to their delivery. Continued Happy Summer, Kathleen-Kate

Sturgeon Moon

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Passionately Pink Peonies, at the Marin Art & Garden Center

When it comes to the magic, beauty, and pure allure of spring peonies, from the fields of Napa, Calistoga, Southern Oregon, and Eastern Washington, I always chuckle to myself as I design these robust, remarkable, and reverent stems into centerpieces and bridal bouquets:  we could style them together with maritime rope and deliver in plastic buckets, and they would still, bring the house down, with sighs and oohs and awes! They are, that amazing. And, of course, we always do a bit more with them, than that, at the studio and on site at weddings!

These lovely blooms were enjoyed at the Marin Art & Garden Center, by Mr. and Mrs. RVC. Congratulations and continued wishes for joy and happiness from all of us on your wedding team: Christy Daly, Allure Consulting; Chris Engel, Insalata’s Catering; Sweet Things.

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Posted in Centerpieces, Chuppah, Marin, Marin Art and Garden Center, Uncategorized, Weddings, Bouquets, Weddings, Boutonnieres, Weddings, Centerpieces & Display Designs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment