A Sweet Valentine’s Brunch 1 comment

Coconut Cream Filled Strawberries

February 7, 2017– posted by Gina – Recently, I had the opportunity to treat a few of my close friends to a simple Valentine’s brunch. I set everything up buffet style for this cozy, casual gathering.

Valentine Brunch

I purchased these Gerbera daisies at the grocery store on one of my many recent trips. When I snapped them up I did not have this spread in mind but they worked well with this grouping. I placed them in a rustic galvanized vase with green patina which blended in perfectly with the serving dishes. It was a very simple detail but often it’s the little touches that can have the biggest impact. What is Valentine’s Day without a little candy? I can never pass up the grocery aisle with the seasonal goodies. As I was strolling through the selection of endless sweets, these oversized M&M’s caught my eye and somehow a few bags ended up in my cart.

Gerbera Daisies and M&M's

I set the coffee up right across from the food. Having seen antique tart pans used as decorative items in kitchens lately, I figured I might as well use my current one for something other than baking. It held the white coffee mugs. What is Valentine’s without these little Sweethearts? I sprinkled a few in the bottom of the mason jar and used it as a silver caddy.

Valentine Brunch Coffee Station

It’s great when you can pull things you already have together to create a theme. I didn’t have to run out to buy anything for this set up since I already had the hugs and kisses plaque, the carafes and the  plaid napkins on hand. When you start to think of different ways to use what’s on hand, you’ll find you have an infinite variety of possibilities.

Valentine Brunch Buffet

I served banana bread, chicken salad and coconut cream filled strawberries. For the strawberries and the banana bread I used recipes I had been wanting to try. Both were delicious and easy to make so if you’d like to see the recipes visit our Recipe Page.

Valentine Brunch Banana Bread, Strawberries and Chicken Salad

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Fishin’ & Flowers

July 26, 2016, posted by Gina – My friend over at Pink Peppermint Paper was asked to help put together a creative event for a company dinner at a local restaurant. The restaurant is casual and serves up some of the best catfish I have eaten anywhere.

Casual Summer Event centerpieces wm

The restaurant sits on the water, so she came up with a fishing theme. This is where I came in. They needed flowers for the tables to coordinate with the restaurant and theme. I was so thrilled to work on these arrangements because, outside of their request for colorful flowers, I had free reign.

Casual Summer Event wm

My friend used burlap runners on the tables, fishing net, the cutest gingham place cards and bobbers for the napkin rings.  I went with very natural looking arrangements with sunflowers as the star flower.

I enjoyed working on these and love how the event turned out. If you are in need of invitations or ideas for parties, visit Pink Peppermint Paper to see all the things my friend has to offer.



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Noël: Decorations from the Heart* 2 comments

December 11, 2015, posted by Michelle – Bonjour! I am spreading a little cheer from across the pond and hope you like this Christmas tree collection. These trees are part of the annual *Les Décos du Cœur event in Lyon and they are sponsored by companies throughout the region. People can participate in a drawing this weekend to win various prizes and the trees will be auctioned off on Sunday. The proceeds go to a charity that helps the elderly in need. Christmas Tree Collage

A few of these trees were decorated with a distinct French flair: the red, white and blue tree, the Olympique Lyonnais soccer team tree and the tree with macarons in transparent ornaments – that one was also topped with a chef’s toque in lieu of the traditional star.

toque macaron

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Silk Market in Lyon, France 1 comment

Silk at La Bourse, LyonNovember 22, 2015, posted by Michelle – Every November, Lyon hosts an annual Silk Market and we never miss this unique opportunity to shop for silk and items made of silk all in one place. For centuries Lyon was the capital of the silk trade and manufacturing in Europe and is still a reference for high quality silk. This is a showcase for all things silky, from subtle pocket squares to bold upholstery; there’s even a small silkworm exhibit.

Tassinari et ChatelAs if browsing through yards and yards of silk from manufacturers like Tassinari et Chatel, Veraseta and Denis et Fils wasn’t exciting enough, it’s held in one of the most beautiful buildings in town. Le Palais de la Bourse, built in 1860 in the center of downtown Lyon, was originally home to several different commercial enterprises, including silk brokers. The impressive architecture features arches, sculptures, gorgeous painted ceilings and grand staircases so it’s the perfect setting for showcasing sumptuous silk.

La Bourse inside

After sorting through bolts of silk, remnants, ribbons, scarves, ties, purses and pillows we came away with a few yards of silk (pictured below, left) from Tassinari et Chatel and plan on making some very special things.

Silk Kimono and Silk Items

Do you like wearing silk? Decorating with it? We’d like to hear your thoughts. Just click on the title of this post and the comment form will open at the bottom of the page.

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Thanksgiving Pumpkin Centerpieces 6 comments

November 19, 2015, posted by Gina – Last night I had the opportunity to present floral designs and tablescapes to a really fun group of ladies. A big thank you goes out to our lovely hostess who prepared some fabulous appetizers that were enjoyed by all, including me.  I presented how-tos for variety of different designs that would carry through the holiday season; a round centerpiece, a cornucopia, a long-lasting Christmas arrangement, two tablescapes (one with a pumpkin centerpiece and the other with a cornucopia centerpiece), a vertical arrangement and a cranberry filled vase.

Thanksgiving Arrangements and Tablescapes

A tip for the vertical arrangement is to start with a bit of tall greenery in the back and then step your flowers down. I added a lemon for a bit of fun. When working on a cranberry filled arrangement, first fill a vase with cranberries and then fill with water. You won’t need oasis or a tape grid as the cranberries secure the stems. How cool is that?

After my presentation, the ladies designed their own pumpkin arrangements and they did a fabulous job. When they first walked in and saw the pumpkins ready for them and thought they would be cutting and gutting the pumpkins. They were happily surprised to find that we would actually be using the stem to secure the foam instead of cutting the pumpkin. I must tell you that I had to use a saw to cut the stems in half on each pumpkin which was quite a site, but it got the job done. We all had a lot of fun and everyone was pleased with their pumpkin arrangements, which they took home with them. Voilà, the fruits of their labor…

Pumpkin Arrangements

Coming up….I plan on posting tutorials on how to make a cranberry filled arrangement and a long lasting Christmas arrangement in preparation for the holidays, so stay tuned and check our Tutorials Page in the coming days.

We like to hear from our readers, so if you’d like to leave comments or share your thoughts click on the title of this post and the comment form will appear at the bottom of the page.

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Setting the Scene for a Thanksgiving Luncheon

November 17, 2015, posted by Gina – A couple of weeks ago I had the wonderful pleasure of attending my cookbook club’s monthly luncheon. The theme for the day was Thanksgiving and it was a true bounty of the season’s best.

I was asked to design the flower arrangements using cream, green, brown and neutral colors. It was challenging and refreshing for me to work with this color palette for a Thanksgiving feast since it’s a departure from the traditional oranges, reds, and golds.

Birch Planters Magnolia SunflowerI found some great looking birch bark planters and chose Little Gem magnolia leaves as the backdrop because of their wonderful brown back coating. Hydrangeas, roses, hypericum berries, and white mums were the stars of the arrangements. To add interest, I removed the yellow petals from the sunflowers to create a brown and green flower.

My friend set her tables with beautiful white table linens and tied wheat to the napkins. It was a great touch and really set the mood for the harvest feast that followed.

Tablescape Thanksgiving Luncheon

CLICK HERE to go to our Recipe Page and read about all the dishes that were served.

How do you decorate your table for Thanksgiving? Do you look for new twists on the standard Thanksgiving decoration or do you like the traditional look? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you. Just click on the title of this post to and the comment form appear at the bottom of the page.


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Chocolate Creations 2 comments

November 6, 2015, posted by Michelle -I finally made it to chocolate heaven after missing it for three years in a row. Every November The Salon du Chocolat, an annual event that showcases French chocolatiers, is held in the convention center just a stone’s throw from our apartment. Today was a beautiful, sunny 72° Indian summer day and the 10 minute stroll to all the chocolate anyone could ever want was delightful. Behold…

French Chocolate Collage

From top left: Chocolate evening gown, chocolate display, sassy chocolate houndstooth dress, decorated chocolates from L’Art Chocolatier, chocolate dog, chocolate “lipsticks” at Bouillet, chocolate dresses, chocolate bars and chocolate female form at Saladino

Mais oui…those dresses are made out of chocolate or have chocolate detailing. And they’re not just for show – there are two fashion shows each day but I was hours early for the first one so I didn’t get to see girls actually modeling them. One designer even made a chocolate dog to sit next to his dress. And those “lipsticks” are also made of chocolate! Most of the very well known Lyonnais chocolatiers were set up there; Bernachon, Voisin, Bouillet, Saladino (provided links for the curious). But I bought a small box of 14 different beautifully decorated chocolates from a chocolatier called L’Art Chocolatier from the South of France. Some of the flavors included violet, lavender honey, red wine, Sichuan pepper and lemon meringue. Oh la la!

There were also a few chocolate making workshops, demonstrations and of course, all the chocolatiers were handing out samples. I almost overdosed… there are worse ways to spend a Friday afternoon!

Are you a chocolate lover? Do you have a favorite local or regional chocolate shop? Let us know about it by clicking on the title of this post to open the comment form which will appear at the bottom of the page.

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Pumpkin Season

October 19, 2015, posted by Michelle – Sharing a photo collage from this past weekend’s Pumpkin Festival in Lyon. There was a huge cornucopia display and all the gourds and pumpkins spilling out of it were so pretty. I don’t know who ended up winning the biggest pumpkin contest but the orange and white ones below both weighed over 400 pounds. Pumpkin Festival Collage

There’s a pumpkin exhibition every fall at a farm in Switzerland called Juckerfarm. I found some great photos online of some of the scenes made entirely out of pumpkins.  So, if you’d like to see a tiger jumping through a ring of fire, a rabbit coming out of a top hat, a knife thrower and his assistant, etc… have a look and get ready to be impressed…. PHOTOS from JUCKERFARM.  And proving that he’s still King, there was even an Elvis made of hundreds of pumpkins.

Are there any farm related fall events in your area? Have you been to any fairs yet? Have you set out pumpkins, mums, hay bales etc. in your yard? Let us know how you celebrate fall. Click on the title of this blog post and the comment form will open at the bottom of the page.

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Pumpkin Party

October 16, 2015, posted by Gina – Last week I had the pleasure of hosting a floral presentation at my home for Pi Phi alumnae. These ladies were a whole lot of fun and I enjoyed my time with them.

First things first, I had prepared a few hors d’oeuvres which I set out on my patio so we could all have a chance to visit. After a while, we went back inside and installed ourselves in the kitchen where we got down to the work at hand: pumpkin floral arrangements.

PicMonkey CollageThe ladies had the opportunity to compose their own floral designs after the presentation. They worked on a succulent pumpkin and I think they each did a great job. The best thing about this group is that they paid close attention to the presentation and asked questions. So when it came time to make their own pumpkins, they were well prepared and ready to unleash their creativity.

Thanks Pi Phi’s and I hope to see you again soon! Happy Fall.

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Floral Demonstration at Farmer’s Table Cooking School

October 12, 2015, posted by Gina – Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of presenting floral designs at the beautiful Farmer’s Table Cooking School in Livingston, Mississippi. Livingston was the original County Seat for the area but as times changed so did the County Seat. This area is dotted with beautiful fields filled with trees, a few cows and gentle, rolling hills. Even though you are just minutes from the city, you feel as though you’ve stepped back to a time when the pace was a bit slower.

The Cooking School is a very nice venue where Chef Matthew teaches classes on mastering culinary skills but the school also hosts other kinds events. So, I was thrilled to be invited to teach a floral design class.

Fern and Sedum in BasketSince it’s tailgate season, the first thing I showed was this very simple arrangement that’s super easy for a tailgate host or hostess to put together and a great way to dress up tailgate tables. I chose this oval basket as it is the perfect size for a table. I gathered plants in school colors and created a coordinating bow. Spanish moss covers the pots the plants are in and finishes off the basket. This took about 5 – 10 minutes to assemble and is really a great alternative to a fresh flower arrangement. Bonus: The handle on the basket makes it easy to carry to your tailgate area.

This round centerpiece  is one of the most practical arrangements to make. It sits low, allowing for conversation, and does not take up too much space ensuring you have plenty of room for food.


The pleasing mix of colors in this dough bowl arrangement can carry you through the season. Cover the bowl with some wood shred and then arrange coordinating colored spheres in the bowl. I added a touch of whimsy with an ornamental cabbage and an orange pomander ball.

I like to call this lean, vertical design the “welcome” arrangement because it looks so striking in an entry way. Use coordinating colors in centerpieces and arrangements throughout your home.


Coke Crate Mixed Garden

These Coca-Cola crates were so ubiquitous in my childhood that we would literally trip over them in the garage. You’d probably have to pay about $50 for one today. They are so much fun to use for arrangements on porches or patios. In this arrangement I placed in a few different objects creating a casual, retro vignette. You could also place a few bottles in this create and fill each one with a single stem.

Lush Fall Arrangment

I started assembling this pretty arrangement by creating a tape grid on the top of the vase. This enabled me to place stems right where I wanted while keeping them firmly in place. Lots of tall greenery and a bit of curly willow really set the stage for the colorful flowers.


Baby Boo

It’s all about the colors in this fall place setting. I used my Italian Spode as a backdrop to a simple tablescape. The pops of green from the napkin and orange from the pumpkin really make this inviting.

Bridget and Chef MatthewChef Matthew and Bridget from the cooking school were so much fun to work with and participants were treated to some great food, new recipes and floral design. This made for a very fun evening.

I look forward to presenting again at the cooking school. They have done a phenomenal job of creating an environment that seems to brings out the creativity in everyone.

What do you think about the arrangements? Would you be likely to try one of these yourself? Do you have any ideas for tailgate, dinner party or seasonal arrangements? Let us know! To leave a comment, click on the title of this blog post and the comment form will appear at the bottom of the page.

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