Posted in lorieb.wordpress.com

Fall in Love with a Sustainable Wedding

Guest Post by Stephen Jeffery

Wedding planning is a stressful experience. You know it, I know it; anyone who’s ever been within earshot of “Here Comes the Bride” knows it.

From finalizing the guest list to organizing the photographer and choosing the venue, brides and grooms find themselves strapped for time, cash (the average wedding costs more than $30,000), and patience as the big day approaches.

Then there’s the equipment you need. Depending on the venue, you might need to bring your own tables, chairs, stereo, speakers, tents or signs. Those are a lot of things you probably don’t have, and which you don’t want to have to deal with when you return from the honeymoon.

Sustainable Weddings are Here

2020 is expected to be the year of the sustainable wedding. Apart from the growing costs, couples are increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their ceremonies. 

Making your wedding more sustainable can be as simple as embracing the sharing economy. Chances are you’ll never host a gathering on the same scale as a wedding again, so there’s no need to buy items you’ll only use once.

Reaching out to your community and renting items from others doesn’t just benefit the environment; you’ll save money, and you won’t be weighed down, figuring out what to do with the items once your special day is over.

But then the questions arise: who has these items? How can I find them? And once the wedding’s over, am I going to need to run across town to return them?

That’s where the sharing economy can help out. Just ask Jenna.

Meet Jenna

Jenna’s special day is coming up in July. She’s going to be spending the next few months deep in preparation mode.

She also had a long list of items she needed to make her day unique. The problem was, she didn’t know where to find them, and she didn’t want to fork out more money than necessary.

“I’m on a lot of Facebook groups and wedding groups and didn’t really find a lot of help,” she said.

Jenna told a friend about her troubles, who then sent her our way.

The Community Steps Up

Ruckify’s support team was able to put her in touch with people in her community who already had the items she needed. Through the Ruckify Marketplace, they shared lights, a tent, dance floor, and photo booth.

Not only did she save money by not having to purchase any equipment, she had peace of mind from not needing to worry about storing the equipment once the wedding was over. 

The verification of all Ruckify members added security and reassurance that the items would arrive on time and in great condition.

“It’s the easiest thing you could ever use,” Jenna said.

“The fact you can rent these items out for a fraction of the price was great.”

Plus, all of the items and equipment will be dropped off and picked up at the venue through RuckTrucks, leaving Jenna free to focus on spending time with friends and family, and celebrating her love.

“I was worried I’d be racing around town, picking up all this stuff,” Jenna said.

“The process has just been so stress-free.”

Your Community can Help

A day that’s meant to be the happiest of your life shouldn’t arrive only after weeks of stress and frustration. You can end up spending more time worried about what you’re going to do with all the equipment you’ve picked up than you do catching up with those you love.

Reaching out to your community and embracing the sharing economy is the first step to making wedding planning that little bit less stressful. 

If you’re interested in Ruckifying your wedding please reach out to Cameron Linke, the Territory Account Manager at clinke@ruckify.com.

Posted in gardening, gardens4u.ca, lorieb.com

Wedding Flowers on a Budget

How do you find wedding flowers on a budget? Easy! Visit friends’ gardens looking for the color you want the day (mid morning is best) before the event, put the cut stems in cold water immediately and store them in a cool place until you are ready to arrange them.

A friend’s son got married this week, and I guaranteed I could provide the wedding flowers on a budget. The bride and groom did not want bouquets, just flowers for a few vases on the tables. That made it simple for me. The biggest problem I encountered was that the colour theme was blue and silver. Any garden or flower lover will know that blue flowers are rare, and silver non existent. Lucky for me I had blue delphiniums blooming in my own garden this week and a few Gardens4u clients that also had blue blooms to share.

Silver was a whole other problem; thank heavens for spray paint! To add silver accents, I painted ferns and babys breath for the vases, and dusty miller and an ornamental grass for the large arrangement at the front door. If you decide to try this trick, be sure to use lots of newspapers or other material to cover everything in the vicinity of the painting process. Spray paint gets everywhere!

The vases for the guest tables were tiny, silver and small-mouthed, so I used appropriately scaled down sprigs of flowers…

wedding flowers on a budget
blue and silver theme

with larger blooms reserved for regular sized vases on the head table and the gift table…

Weeks ago I planted blue lobelia and white dusty miller in an insert that fits into a plant holder to act as a “welcome sign.” Last evening I spray painted the dusty miller as well as a chunk of ornamental grass I chose for some height…

floral welcome sign

Voila, wedding flowers on a budget. The total cost was a measly $62. Some may say I have a green thumb, but today I am sporting a silver one!

silver thumb!
Posted in loreeebee.ca

Are you a risk taker?

It occurred to me this past weekend that I am a bit of a risk taker.  At least when we are talking recipes.  Oh, and anything related to gardens or flowers.

I very rarely follow written recipes completely, modifying them with favorite, gluten-free, or on-hand ingredients. For family dinners I usually try out at least one new recipe, and this past (Canadian) Thanksgiving dinner was no exception.

I made the perennially favourite pumpkin pie as well as cherry and butter tarts, but instead of apple pie or crisp,  I tried a strawberry rhubarb crisp.  My brother had commented on Facebook a while back that he was craving strawberry rhubarb pie and no one would make one for him, so as he was hosting dinner this past Sunday I took the bait.  One of my clients donated the rhubarb and I had frozen strawberries on hand.  The recipe called for fresh strawberries, so I just let mine thaw on the counter before using them. I do believe the dessert was a favourite at the table; the bit that was left in the pan was scooped up by my nephew to take home for later.

Tired of the popular vegetable dishes this time of year too, I decided to try roasted zucchini as my vegetable contribution.  It too turned out delicious; I will definitely make it again.  I simply sliced 3 yellow and 3 green zucchini lengthwise into about 6 spears each (you could slice them into coins instead) placed them on a greased cookies sheet, drizzled them with olive oil, sprinkled them with a mixture of parmesan cheese, garlic, oregano, and dried basil, and baked then broiled them to perfection.  Yummy!

Someone asked me after I volunteered to make my daughter-in-law’s wedding bouquets if I wasn’t nervous they wouldn’t turn out.  My new daughter-in-law is wonderfully laid back, so I knew if the bouquets weren’t exactly perfect, she would not stress over it, otherwise, I might have been more nervous and (probably) would not have offered my services.  All five were different and definitely unique creations…

I consider cooking or baking and gardening to be artistic adventures, and I think most will agree that artists of any kind have to take some risks to be unique.  I guess I do tend to fly by the seat of my pants (as I call it) or like to take (some) risks, but it is (almost) always worth it!

Posted in DIY, loreeebee.ca

Tips for DIY bridal bouquets, boutonnieres, and headpiece

Recently I attempted to make 5 bouquets, 5 boutonnieres, three corsages and one crown/headpiece for my son’s wedding.  I have lots of perennial plants in my gardens and lots of clients with even more beautiful flowers, so I thought “piece of cake.”  Not so much; it was much trickier than I thought but well worth the effort.

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I researched lots of Pinterest pages, and other DIY sites so I had notes to refer to.  The toughest part was that I could not do much (other than research) ahead of time (other than pace my gardens willing the flowers to bloom!)   To keep the flowers as fresh for as long as possible, I could only pick them the day before the wedding.

Mother Nature threw me a CURVE BALL too; I had planted lots of purple flowering perennials last fall that were supposed to bloom the beginning of June.  Due to the cold and wet spring we experienced here in Ottawa, very few of those flowers were in bloom in time.  White peonies with purple roses and clematis were not meant to be.

The following are the basic tips to ensuring your DIY bouquets turn out well.  Some are obvious, some not so much, some lessons I learned along the way…

  • don’t pick the flowers earlier than the morning before the wedding
  • have more flowers and foliage than you think you need
  • as soon as you do pick them, cut the stems longer than they need to be and put the cut stems in cold water immediately
  • use a clean bucket and clean cutters (this helps the blooms last longer)
  • recut the stems while they are under running water or in water (this ensures no air bubble get into the stems, preventing premature wilting/rotting
  • let the flowers sit in cold water for a minimum of 3 hours before arranging.
  • to assemble, start with the main/center flowers, then add others to fill out the bouquets. Add foliage last
  •  Stand in front of a mirror as you are arranging them to better see how they look
  • use elastics to hold the flowers together, placing them just below the top of the stem.  If your bouquets are large you can use several elastic to hold flowers together in groups
  • prop up droopy flower heads with wire or tape (I should have done that with the rhododendrons in my bouquets, they were very droopy by the end of the day)
  • use tinier flowers and blooms for boutonnieres and head piece, (see below) cutting stems short.  These short stems do not stay as fresh as long as the longer stems, so plan to make these last
  • I made each bouquet different, creating as I went along.  If you want them all to be identical, you will have to count out your available flowers and have a more detailed plan.  I tend to fly by the seat of my pants!
  • as you finish each bouquet, place it in a separate vase of water so the flowers do not get crushed/crowded
  • leave a few extra inches of stems at the bottom of each bouquet for final trimming
  • buy lots of ribbon; you can always return whatever you do not use
  • wide ribbon wraps faster and easier than thin ribbon, but seems to come off easier.  I used narrow ribbon for a base, then did top layer in wider ribbon
  • make all the bouquets first before starting to wrap with ribbon.  This ensures flowers are not out of water too long.
  • start wrapping ribbon near tops of stems (where elastics are)
  • if you choose to have dangling ribbons, loop them in at the top before wrapping, keeping them out of the way as you work
  • hold ribbon with one hand and bouquet with the other, turning the bouquet as you wrap.  The first (downward) layer of ribbon does not have to be perfect; you can leave some stem showing between, filling in the blanks on the upward layer.  Leave two inches of unwrapped stem at the bottoms so ribbon does not get wet
  • put each bouquet back into its vase with fresh water to just below ribbon
  • at last minute ( I could do this as pictures were taken at my home, so cut excess stems off literally 2 minutes before bouquets were needed) cut off excess stems

 

 

This headpiece was made as follows;

1

  • measure head with a piece of string
  • use a few (more than one) strands of floral wire to ensure stability, overlapping it by two inches, wrap with floral tape
  • cut flowers just before you use them (they wilt quickly) making stems 2 inches long
  • lay out flowers in the pattern you want to place them on the headpiece
  • place one bloom on headpiece so that stem is on top of and parallel to the wire circle
  • secure bloom to circle with floral tape, starting just below bloom and wrapping both stem and wire circle until end of stem
  • overlap next bloom so it sits on top of previous bloom’s stem, working your way around the circle of taped wire
  • tie strands of ribbon (if desired) to headpiece at center back
  • when complete, mist the creation with a bit of water and place it in a plastic baggy.  Blow air into the baggie and seal it.  Keep it in the baggy for as long as possible, the tiny blooms wilt quickly!  Store it in a refrigerator or cool room (basement)

 

I tried something a little different for the boutonnieres.  I grew my own calla lillies, starting them in pots in my basement last winter…

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The groom’s had three tiny purple pom pom like flowers, the groomsmen just the calla lily and foliage.  For the foliage I used tiny calla lily leaves and snippets of english ivy vine…

  • cut stems about 3 inches longer (could be shorter or longer as desired)
  • arrange flowers and foliage in the pattern you choose
  • wrap stems with floral wire
  • add decorative pin for securing to lapels
  • place each boutonniere in its own plastic baggy, mist lightly with water, blow air into baggy and seal.  Store baggys in refrigerator or cool room (I kept them all in my basement)
  • these too will wilt quickly as the stems and blooms are small.  My one son joked he had “salad on his suit” by the end of the night

 

The corsages did not turn out so well.  The short stems would not stay in the pearl wristbands I chose.  I tried securing them with floral wire, but they kept falling apart.  The intense heat of the day did not help as the flowers wilted quickly too.  I would appreciate comments/sugguestions on what I could have done differently, just in case I have another wedding soon…

 

 

 

Posted in gardens, loreeebee.ca

Purple passion

I have a passion for purple, especially purple flowers.  When my daughter-in-law decided purple was the color she wanted in her bouquets and floral decorations, I was excited as I have lots of purple flowers in my gardens.  I even planted extra purple flowering perennials just in case I didn’t have enough…

Too bad many of them didn’t bloom in time for the wedding thanks to the wet and cool spring Mother Nature gifted us with this year.  To improvise,  I borrowed purple blossoms from my clients’ garden to supplement the ones I did have in bloom to make bouquets and flower arrangements.

For the past week (now almost two weeks after the wedding)  my passion for purple has been blooming in profusion in my gardens!

Posted in gardens, loreeebee.ca

It’s official, I now have a daughter (in law)

My son’s wedding was this past weekend, so I have now inherited a daughter (in-law).  As a mother of three sons, a daughter is very welcome in our household.

The wedding was a beautiful event that even Mother Nature saw fit to participate in. Everything, including the weather, was perfect.  Here are a few photos of my preparations for the rehearsal party BBQ and wedding pictures in our backyard…

I was in charge of the bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, and floral decorations at the venue…

A neighbour (thanks Libby!) dropped off a spectacular “bouquet” of purple hydrangea cupcakes. Eating them almost felt wrong, but the flower girl was willing to eat the first one, making it easier for the rest of us to dismantle the display…

With all the cool, wet weather we have had up until this weekend, many of the “shades of purple” and white themed plants in my garden were not yet in bloom in time for the bouquets, but they are today…

pale lilac rose

The day before the wedding I cut as many purple and white flowers as I could find in my and a few of my clients’ gardens (with their permission) in preparation for making 5 bouquets, 5 boutonnieres, 3 corsages, and 1 crown.  The floral decorations for the venue were planted a month ago, but the center plants (predominantly ornamental grasses) had not grown as much as I had hoped either.  Water tubes purchased from a local florist allowed me to improvise by adding fresh-cut purple irises, lilacs, and alliums for the desired height in the arrangements.

I was desperately seeking large purple blooms for the main flowers in the bride’s bouquet because my pale purple roses and deep purple clematis were not yet in bloom.  Although I was not working in clients’ gardens last week (too busy in my own!)  I stopped by one of them to check on it.  Lo and behold there was a beautiful deep purple rhododendron in glorious full bloom.  It felt like a sign from above since although last season this client promised me I could use some of these blooms in the bouquets, she has since passed away.  I know she was smiling down proudly as everyone admired her rhododendrons at the wedding.

This morning as I cleaned up the mess I made in my basement while making the floral arrangements, I put some tiny leftover blooms in a vase on my table.  A beautiful reminder of a beautiful weekend…

Posted in family, lorieb.com, travel

A weekend in New York City

This past weekend my family travelled to New York City for my niece’s wedding.  We left Ottawa before the sun came up Friday morning and arrived at the townhome I had rented through AIRBNB a little over seven hours later. As there were six of us staying together, it was less expensive to rent a home than to book several hotel rooms.  I chose a place in the Park Slope neighbourhood of Brooklyn so we could walk to and from the wedding and still have access to subway lines for site seeing in Manhattan.  Once we got over the fact that we were staying in a stranger’s home, and past the tricky door lock, we all loved the coziness of the typical New York BROWNSTONE home and would use the service again.  Use this link for your Airbnb travel discount

 

I had prepaid for an overnight, covered parking spot for my son’s oversized truck with ParkWhiz for the weekend, but when he tried to park his truck, he was told they had no room for him.  After speaking to several people at that lot and another lot the company recommended, we were told that my original payment would be refunded if he paid for the new spot.  I still have yet to see a refund on my visa statement, but have contacted the company and was told (very good response time) that my refund will take a few more business days to process.  The bottom line is we did get parked and did not have to worry about further parking issues or driving in the city.

After unloading our luggage and a quick change out of our travel clothes, we headed to Manhattan via subway to take in some New York sights.  The architecture of the sky scraping buildings is magnificent. The clear blue sky as a backdrop was perfect for picture taking.  I especially loved the combination and contrast of the new with the very old…

 

My eldest son had mapped out our journey and we walked for miles and miles, trying to see everything in Manhattan.  We visited New York’s harbor, aka Battery Park, to view the Brooklyn bridge and the Statue of Liberty, strolled down Wall Street, to the ground zero site, through Tribeca, Greenwich Village, Times Square and Rockefeller Center…

 

Throughout our travels, we picked out and snapped pictures of many iconic landmarks and familiar (from TV) sites including Trump tower, Tiffany’s, Madison Square Garden, NBC’s news room, and Rockefeller Center …

 

Perhaps the most awe-inspiring of all the sights we saw, at least to my family, was the memorial site for the victims of the 9-11 tragedy where family members place flowers on the names of their lost loved ones on their birthdays.  It is incredibly beautiful; heart warming and sad at the same time.  The large, white, bird-like building in the last two pictures is the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, an architectural masterpiece

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Believe it or not, we took all of the above (and more, as I know I forgot to mention a few hot spots we visited) in Friday afternoon and evening, then headed back to Brooklyn on the subway.  Saturday morning we were able to walk through a beautifully verdant Central Park (at least a small portion of it) before it was time to get ready for the wedding…

 

The wedding we attended was beautiful, and lots of fun.  I have not seen my brother for several years; reconnecting with him was awesome and long overdue.  My parents had six children and fifteen grandchildren, but as they are currently living all over the USA and Canada, rarely (never) are they all in one spot at the same time.  Having four of us siblings and ten of “the cousins” (as they now call themselves) present at this event was nothing short of miraculous, but very touching.  At one point I overheard the cousins reminiscing about and toasting/roasting their beloved grandpa (my father).  They barely remember their grandma (my mother) as she died many years ago when they were all very young.

Our return trip to Ottawa from NYC seemed longer (it always does, doesn’t it?) than the journey to get there.  The trip took us over bridges, through tunnels, scenic neighbourhoods and lots of traffic, eventually winding through the mountain ranges towards the Canadian border, where we were met with a delay on the 401 due to an earlier accident.  Back to reality!

 

My father’s birthday is today; I know he heard his grandchildrens’ toasts and their plans to stay in touch and get together more often.  I could feel my parents’ presence that whole day; I know they were smiling down on the wedding and their family.