Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Old Flocked Tree

Remember from yesterdays posting?  I talked a bit about having a silver tip tree while living in California?  Well, here is an old pic of that silver tip that I had flocked.  I think this pic is from the by-gone year of 1998... can't believe it's been almost 13 years since this pic was taken.  So, you can clearly see how much weight the flocking and the lights added to those poor tree branches.  This tree was so difficult to decorate.  Hanging the ornaments was a real challenge as the hanging hooks had to be gouged into the flocking material to secure them to the tree.  It was beautiful to be sure, but certainly a big hassle.  This was the one and only tree I ever had flocked and probably never will again, as flocked trees just aren't seen in my part of the world.  The next pic is of the same tree but with more of the decorations added.  My good old friend Bret was there to help, along with about 20 other folks helping us celebrate the season and decorate the tree.
Flocked tree tid-bit for the day...  the tree skirt is a special one.  My mother made that tree skirt by hand and sent it to me in SF, CA that year, especially for this tree in it's blue and white theme.  It's made of taffeta, with a tiny snowflake pattern.  I have used it since on the years that I had a white, although artificial tree.  It is still lovely, and special since it's hand made by my mother... I am saving it for the day when the house is big enough for two trees... a white and blue tree in the living room, and a fresh green tree in the den.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas At The Movies

Picture it, 1947, a cold and always dark city somewhere in New York, and Loretta Young is out in search of a Christmas tree.  There are many great old movies who's plots revolve around the celebration of Christmas, one is "The Bishop's Wife" with Loretta Young, Cary Grant, and David Niven.  And, in that movie is my favorite and I think the best of all movie Christmas trees.  Loretta buys the tree in the first scene at her local florist, ordering it to be delivered late on Christmas Eve... yeah, who waits to put up a tree on Christmas Eve these days?  At any rate, the tree eventually gets decorated in a "heavenly" fashion by Cary Grant.

Often in old movies and old t.v. shows as well, the trees seem to be of the same type/variety/species.  I think I can offer some insight to why Hollywood move and t.v. trees always see to be perfectly shaped with open spaces and completely horizontal branches.  The trees used are "Silver Tips" or "California Red Fir" trees.  In the past, it was the Christmas tree that everyone seemed to use in California.  With most old movies and t.v. show being filmed or taped in California... I am assuming that the prop departments simply chose the trees that were most readily available. 

One of the few pleasant memories I have of living in California was that these "perfect" trees were still available in the 1990's, sold mostly on corner lots and lumber yards and garden centers.  These trees were perfect for ornament hanging, open spaces for icicles to hang just right, and very fresh with long lasting qualities.  However, even in the late 1990's these trees were being phased out for the more desirable, fuller, bushier and more fragrant Douglas, Noble, and Frasier firs.  Well, times and tastes change.  But, of the seven. Christmases I spend in CA, three of those were "Silver Tip" trees.  Also, I will mention that the silver tips were very much more expensive than the more popular shorn and shaped trees from the tree farms.  Their growing cycle is much  longer than typical trees, and require the higher elevations of the mountains to grow, therefore harvesting and shipping were more expensive. 

Just about every year since then I have researched the Internet for a grower in No. California, Oregon or Nevada that has these Hollywood Trees, however, I have never had any success in finding a grower willing to cut and ship just one tree.

Posted below are some pictures I have found of silver tip trees on Google Image search, some are of other silver tip tree appearances in the movies, others are from growers.  Enjoy.
"Christmas In Connecticut"
1945 starring Barbara Stanwick and Dennis Morgan

An artificial Silver Tip... see how the ornaments hang just right...
from "A Summer Place" 1959 Warner Bros. Starring Sandra Dee and Richard Egan
"I paid $20 for it... it should last 10 years."

Here are some other examples of these great but scarce "silver tip" Christmas Trees...

Silver Tip tid bit of the day... like I said, I had three of these wonderful trees over the years... and, being in California, one year I decided to go as tacky as possible and have the tree flocked... and flock it they did.  By the time the flocking, lights, and ornaments were one, the poor thing was weighed down so much that most of the limbs pointed down to the floor.  I recommend that if you are going to flock, then flock a stronger tree!
Photo Credits:

The Bishop's Wife: from
A Summer's Place:
Holiday Inn:
Christmas In Connecticut:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Daddy of the House

We all have some very memorable story about Christmas Time.  Some of us have inherited these stories from our parents or grandparents.  Some of the stories just don't fade away because they are so touching or just plain funny.  Today, I am going to share with all of you my personal favorite Christmas time story, as related by my mother and aunt.  This story revolves around a most devoted father, and a store bought Christmas tree.

It was probably the late '40's in Port Wentworth, GA, a small community just to west of Savannah.  As with most children at Christmas my mother and her sister were very keen to what was popular and the "in thing".  Typically at Christmas my grandfather, saw in hand, would head out to the woods behind the house.  Those woods led to the banks of the Savannah River, and were once the grounds of The Hermitage Plantation, famous for the location where the Cotton gin was invented by Eli Whitney in the lat 18th century.  Those woods were scattered with pines, holly trees, and cedar trees.  This family always had a real live cut pine tree from the woods.  But one particular Christmas my mother and her sister wanted a store bought tree, just like other people, their friends in the neighborhood.  It was starting to be "the in thing" to buy your tree from a Christmas tree lot set up for season, the trees, most likely cut weeks before and shipped in from the north, as coastal Georgia was not the location to find a live, growing traditional Christmas tree.

So, after much asking and begging, my grandfather caved in to his daughters want to have a store bought tree.  As my mother remembers, it was a standard balsam fir tree.  I would imagine that in those days, and it being the first time a purchased tree was being used that a tree stand full of water may not have been in the picture, and that freshness wasn't necessarily a concern of tree vendors in the late '40's.  But, the much begged for tree finally made it into the living room.  Grandaddy got it put in, stood it up in whatever stand he must have fashioned and began the lighting process.  But, as the lights started going on the tree, the needles started coming off the tree at a rapid pace.  In a short amount of time, that poor, ill-fated balsam tree was absolutely needle less.  When the tree stood there with lights and no needles, my mother and her sister, as any child would do, started pitching royal fits at the state of their tree, no needles... just brown brittle branches and a couple strands of lights.  As my mother tells it, there was much crying and anguish over the situation.  But, my grandfather, completely exasperated at this point, began to have a little breakdown.  After giving in to his daughters many passioned requests for the tree, and for spending money that was scarce anyway, had finally had it.  He was a quiet reserved man of few words, but was pushed to the limit of frustration and exclaimed..."why was I ever the daddy of this house?!". 

I imagine that at this point, Grandaddy must have tossed the bare naked tree out the door and stomped off to the woods to cut down a tree for his daughters.  Over the years, whenever one of the family has found themselves in a situation where the rest of the family if frustrated and disappointed with a project gone wrong, usually the person responsible blurts out "Why was I ever the Daddy of this house?!"

Since I was of the height and age to stand on a ladder putting lights on the tree has usually been my job.  I normally decorate at least two trees a year, one for me and one for my mother.  These days I have the assistance of my two nieces, ages 11 and 8.  Believe me, at some point during that process I usually think of Granddaddy and end up saying... "why was I ever the uncle of this house?!"

Tree decorating tidbit for the day... Would you believe that electric lights were first strung on a Christmas tree in 1882.  The visionary was Edward H. Johnson, Vice President of Edison Electric at his New York City home.  The first lighting consisted of eighty egg-shaped lights in the color of red, white, and blue.  Below is a picture of that first lighted Christmas tree.

Story and Photo Credit to: , thanks Jim for the fascinating information!
and Google Image photo stock; 1930's Christmas tree, source site unavailable.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Engagement Excitement... and some other excitement!

The Today show is counting it down, only 139 days until the Royal Wedding of the century... unless, William and Kate's first child is more wildly popular than they are... then, that wedding will be the wedding of the century...what? probably some 30-35 years from now?  Prince William chose a photographer that so famous captured his mother so movingly in pictures just prior to her death.  I think it would be hard for anyone to argue that the couple pictured above is truly in love, and that their future will be happy and peaceful as a married couple.  I have heard so many people talking about them as King and Queen.  It's hard for me to look quite that far ahead, especially with William's grandmother still on the throne of England, not to mention that his father will be king before him.  With Prince Charles's attitudes towards healthy living, who can tell how long it will be before William is eventually crowned?

On a quite different note, an image of the royals that we are not used to seeing in the media.  Protesters attacking the Prince and Duchess's car?  Really, the look on the Duchess's face really tells it all as far as how surprising the incident was.  I wonder who was in charge of choosing that route to the theater?

Royal Tidbit for the day ...  Prince William will be marrying a commoner, it's sounds kinda mean, but in England, Kate Middleton is neither a member of the Nobility/Aristocracy, nor the royal family.  Royal marriages to commoners are rare but a previous king, King James II married Anne Hyde in September of 1660.  Princess Diana, daughter of the 8th Earl Spencer, was of noble birth, yet, not royalty.  After Dian's father died in 1992, her brother Charles became the 9th Earl Spencer.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas: Vintage is the way we go...

So, all is not royal weddings at my house... especially during December.  The weekend finally came and we got to bring the tree inside to decorate.  Vintage, vintage, vintage.  That's the way we have been going decoration-wise for the past few years.  All it takes is a steady collecting of old decorations, anything that reminds you of your childhood Christmas celebrations.  I don't keep a lot of stuff, with the exception of photos and Christmas decorations.  I am very proud of a few things on the tree in particular... one, the angel.  The tree topper, pictured below belonged to my grandmother bought, I think sometime in the late '50's... there is still a K-Mart price sticker reading 68 cents on the original box that it came in from the store.  Another ornament is a glass ball, belonging again to my grandmother, this one is depression era we think, faded color on the glass and a rusty fixture on the top for hanging.  They are most treasured, along with some ornaments that were on the tree when I was young.

Along the way, I went back to using the big C7 colored lights, bubble lights, light reflectors, tinsel garland and the true, heavy, shimmering lead icicles.  It really gives the tree a vintage look.  EBay is the best way to go vintage when it comes to Christmas.  Just search "vintage Christmas decorations" ... there are literally hundreds of pages of old things to buy or bid on.  Good luck with creating your vintage-look Christmas tree.

Royal Tidbit of the day ... Kate Middleton is about to spend her last Christmas as a commoner, after she is married, she will be a Princess as well as rumored will become the Duchess of Cambridge.  For years to come she will probably be spending the holidays with The Royal Family at Sandringham, in Surrey, or at Balmoral Castle.  Good luck Kate!

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Holiday Diversion

What with all the royal engagement news in the past weeks, some might be finding it hard to concentrate on the holidays coming up.  Not so at our house, we are giving equal attention to Christmas and to Wills' and Kate's big news.

This year we decided to give ourselves a little rest break between Thanksgiving and the decorating for Christmas.  Normally our tree and outside lights would go up on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, but, this year we have waited a week.  However, I couldn't resist buying the tree the day after Thanksgiving.  While buying a tree for my mother's house in Savannah, I spotted a great tree that would be just perfect for our living room.  Typically we travel not far to a local tree farm to cut our own Virginia Pine.  But, when I saw the tree, pictured above, I just had to have it.  This tree will be perfect, with its sparser branches to really show of the many vintage ornaments we have, as well as the fantastic lead tinsel/icicles we have collected.

Buying this tree was an adventure.  After choosing my mother's tree, hauling it to her house, decorating there... I return to the tree lot in Daffin Park, in Savannah.  My little tree that I spotted earlier in the day was still there.  I will admit that many people wouldn't have given it a second look, but I knew right away it was the type of tree that really reminded me of the old-timey Balsam firs that we used to get in the '60's and '70's.  These days all that are available on tree lots in our area are the super trimmed and super perfect Fraser Firs from.  However, this tree lot gets it's whole supply from a North Carolina farm that doesn't believe in shaping the trees to such an extent.  The weather had turned ugly by the time I went back for my tree, but I was determined to have this one.  So, after getting it securely tied to the top of my rather small car, I drove back to Hilton Head in a dark driving rain.  Our tree is good and watered, and has been waiting patiently on the back patio for a week now.

We can't wait to start decorating tomorrow.  I will be sharing pictures of the finished product, as well as posting some other interesting pics that I have come across.  Also, some of my own pics of Christmas trees from past years.

Hopefully this will keep us occupied while we wait on further details of the upcoming royal wedding.

Royal Tidbit for the day... The Christmas trees that grace royal residences such as Sandringham, Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, and Frogmore were typically cut from the woodlands of Windsor Great Park adjacent to the castle.  These trees were mainly Nordman Firs, the most popular choice in England for Christmas trees.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Countdown Begins!

The date has been set... and the location!  Friday, April 29th, 2011, in London.  The day that royal watchers and royal wedding fans have been waiting for since 1981.  Personally, I am happy that it is sooner than later, no need to keep the world waiting longer than necessary.  I just hope the English Spring weather is over and done with so Wills and Kate will have a pretty day for their event.

Also, this royal wedding fan is very pleased that they have chosen Westminster Abbey as the venue.  Perfect size for a "non-state-event" royal wedding.  And, it keeps things in London where the media will have easy access, and the world will have a better view of things.  I would imagine that things are chaotic if not at a high excitement level on the grounds of the Abbey this morning (afternoon there).  All the planning that will be needed for this event will surely start immediately.  So much to do, and so little to do it all.  Most weddings these days take around a year to plan and execute, and none of them will have the elaborate details that this wedding will entail.  Music, staff, security, attire, horses, carriages, banners and flags, and FLOWERS!  I am hoping to hear from my dear friend David Longman (legendary London florist, maker of Diana's bouquet) to see if he has any inside information on who the lucky florist will be.  I could speculate all day as to what Kate's bouquet will look like, however, without knowing what the dress will look like, the bouquet would be difficult to plan.  Wondering if there will be a sentimental nod to Princess Diana some how in the style of the bouquet and it's contents... possibly Lady Di roses?  Who knows, only time will tell, and we will find out for sure early in our morning on April 29th, 2011.  Don't forget to set your TiVo's and DVR's.

Royal Wedding Tidbit for the day... in 1947, there was so much curiosity over Princess Elizabeth's wedding gown, that designers tossed bogus designs and patterns in the trash bins in order to distract and confuse the media so eager for a look at the dress.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Congrtualtions to Wills and Kate!

Like this blog posting... the royal engagement has been a long time coming.  I know that several fall weddings, vacation, work, etc. has kept me from my blogs, but what took William so long to pop the question?  All is forgiven now, as we get set to count down the days to the next royal wedding.

Yesterday's announcement had the world and the Internet abuzz.  Excitement on both sides of the pond, this story taking the lead on all the news stations.  Well, it has been almost 30 years since Diana and Charles got married, and the world is truly in need of the spectacle, pomp and pageantry of a British Royal Wedding.

So, we are left without a wedding date, therefore we can only speculate as to when they will actually get married.  Speculation too for where the wedding will take place, what style of dress will Catherine wear... and most importantly, WHAT FLOWERS WILL BE USED IN HER BOUQUET!

I did some reading yesterday, snippets from all the news stories, there was so much information, it was hard to take it all in.  One story suggested that Catherine will eventually, with any good luck, be the most famous Queen Catherine since Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII... with no doubt, as Miss Middleton will have the benefit of the Internet and 24 hour news to get her story out to the world.

About the ring... so many opinions on using Diana's engagement ring.  I can easily see how many would think using this ring is not a good idea.  I have read, morbid, creepy, in bad form, ghoulish even.  I think we really have to consider Williams great love and respect for his mother.  Obviously, he wanted to use her ring as a special symbol and respect for his mother.  Superstition would have some saying that this ring has a negative aura since Diana's marriage ended, shall we say tragically.  However, consider that for even a short while the ring, for Diana was a symbol of love, happiness, and hope for the future.

Both prospective brides wearing blue and the grooms in grey suits... some times the past repeats itself.  But, this blogger is hopeful that the royal family, especially William has learned many things from the past, and Catherine will have a much easier time dealing with things than Diana did.

Royal Wedding Tidbit of the day.... it is speculated that prior to the wedding the Queen will give the happy couple new titles and they will be known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

American Royalty...

Congratulations to the Clinton family, Chelsea is married, yay!  It's been a couple of years since we had a First Daughter wedding... the last being Jenna Bush in 2008.  No matter what you political affiliation, it seems that a Presidential family wedding can cause excitement in the U.S., somewhat like the excitement that is generated for a royal wedding.  Face it, the Presidents and their families are the closest things we Americans have to royalty.  If not for their heritage and royal blood line, then for their ability to make news and stir up controversy and plenty of photo fodder for the Paparazzi.

I fully approve of Chelsea's style choices for her wedding.  The location was stately and secluded, the guest list was studded with famous friends, and her choice of flowers was flawless.  From the pictures I have been able to see of the bride, her bouquet appears to be made of all Gardenias.... Superb Choice!  However, upon closer viewing, I believe the Gardenias are supported by a base of white Hydrangea.  You can tell from the picture above that the rather thick green stems belong to some other flower besides Gardenias.  I really like the choice of all white flowers for the bouquet that is a perfect compliment to her Vera Wang gown.  Also, in perfect royal understatement, the groom's boutonniere is simple with a single white freesia, and low and behold for an American wedding, the groom's boutonniere is an appropriate size.

At this point, we can only look forward to a time when the Obama daughters are of marrying age... sigh.

Presidential Wedding Tid Bit for the day ...  on August 6th, 1966 (great year by the way) Luci Baines Johnson, daughter of then U.S. president Lyndon Johnson, married John Patrick Nugent at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C., the bride carried a small nosegay of Lily of the Valley.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The British just have a way with weddings...

I have said it before, and I'll say it again... the British just have a way with weddings.  Can't exactly put my finger on it, but they just look different, when compared to American weddings.  Possibly, it looks as if they aren't trying too hard to pull it all off.  They are dressed somewhat formal, yet, the atmosphere seems relaxed and and not forced.  Their outfits aren't matched to death, yet every one's attire seems appropriate to the occasion and the surroundings.  A wonderful friend from England has shared these pictures of her daughter's wedding from June.  After viewing all of the pictures, it is very apparent that it was a special occasion where each guest had a wonderful experience.

Again, nothing looks forced or orchestrated, though, I know that much planning and work went into this wedding.  Congratulations to Penny and Ken on their daughter, Sarah's wedding!

here are a few more of their pictures... thanks Penny for allowing them to be part of my blog...
Wow, orchid plants as the table centerpiece... wonder who suggested that?? ;)

Finally... a picture of the lovely bride with her bridesmaids.

Good luck Sarah and Nick, from everyone here on Hilton Head!

Royal Wedding Tidbit of the day... Princess Diana's bouquet contained quite a few varieties of flowers... one was the Gold Medallion rose... for her wedding it was referred to as the Lord Mountbatten rose, in respect for Lord Louie Mountbatten, special friend and confidant of the Royal Family and Prince Charles..
 Lord Mountbatten had been assassinated roughly two years prior to the Prince and Princess's wedding in July of 1981.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It's Sweden's turn to shine...

... and shine it did... the wedding of Crown Princes Victoria and Daniel Westling, uh-hem 'scuze me, now Prince Daniel.  They were just married yesterday, so I have only seen a few pictures and a little coverage on he news channels.  Looks like it was a perfect day, and from the looks of this picture, the Crown Princess could not have been happier.

Her bouquet is certainly a lovely all white cascade of what looks to be Amazon Lilies, clusters of Stephanotis blossoms and some Dembdrobium orchids.  Hopefully, this will signal the return of the cascade bouquet as a popular choice for brides, royal and not so royal.  The groom looks very dignified in his formal wear, and as usual with royal weddings, some medals of recognition and rank are being worn instead of a boutonniere.  Video on the Today Show highighted the reception at the palace for the guest count of about 1,000.  Some of the centeriece were vases filled with lavender Sweet Pea, simple, elegant, understated: the signature of royal wedding floral style.

Just a short mention about the head wear.  Loved the coronet of cameos the royal bride wore...fantastic and so unusual... I wonder if that was her something old?

The British royal family didn't miss the event all together, as Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex (Sophie) were in attendance.  Other royal guests included kings, queens, and crown princes and princesses from Jordan, Spain, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

Royal Wedding Tidbit of the day... Crown Princess Victoria's wedding party included two future queens!  They were Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands and Princess Ingrid-Alexandra of Norway.

Thanks for checking in... sorry for the absence... this thing with Fergie had me distracted. Terry.


Monday, May 24, 2010

A little dissappointing... the York saga continues

Well, it's not news anymore, but the shady dealings of Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York are spread over every news medium on the planet today.  I have to say that I haven't been this disappointed in a member or ex-member of the Royal Family, in quite some time.  In fact, I am quite shocked.  Somehow, I believed that all the really bad press plaguing the family was in the past.  Minor rows and rifts here and there by the grandchildren, yes, but this?  Come on Fergie, shape it up and start living within your means.  What must your daughters think?  Not to mention, Her Majesty the Queen... doesn't she have enough to contend with already?  .... Poor thing.

Trying not to judge here.  I can imagine that when driven into desperate times, some succumb to taking desperate measures.  I do feel for the Duchess and hopes that she finds some sort of happiness in the future.

The picture above is the wedding day of Sarah Ferguson's parents, Ronald and Susan Ferguson... not a good close up of the flowers, but definitely appears to be a wired and taped all-white flower creation, typical for the mid-50's style wedding.  Sarah's parents divorced in 1972.

Royal Wedding tidbit of the day... Sarah, Duchess of York was very much the designer of her own wedding gown... she had the dress makers embroider many symbols and images on the 15 foot train, bumble bees, helicopters, flowers, etc.  Also, she had Prince Andrew's first initial "A" emblazoned in the very center of the train.  Most critics likened the large "A" to the Scarlett Letter.  It wasn't a good omen.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Turquoise - It's this years pink...

Is it really the color of the year? Turquoise, I mean for weddings... well, it's not, then more people should choose this bright and interesting color for their wedding color theme. When first presented with this color by a recent bride, my brain had to go into overdrive to figure out what color flowers to use, as there isn't much to my knowledge that comes in turquoise... or even close. My best strategy proved as success by asking the bride for a favorite color (other than Turquoise). Pink was the answer. I also considered the setting/venue, time of year and time of day of the ceremony. Outdoors was the location for the ceremony, and since we are in a coastal/semi-tropical region, I thought that pink and hot pink/fuscia would be a good match. As you can see form the pic of the centerpiece, things went very well. I stuck with the tropical theme and suggested orchids for the signature flower for the day, with lilies (a favorite of the bride) being the second flower choice. Sensible centerpieces, though containing many elements were fairly easy to combine. However, you have to have a good recipe and patience to get the water the right color. Green and blue (in the right measurements) makes turquoise! A late afternoon ceremony gave way to an early evening reception, still light outdoors, but not so light that many votive and floating candles helped make the setting all the more romantic.
Congratulations Courtney and Steven! married May 15th, 2010.
Royal Wedding tidbit of the day... King George VI, amended the rules a year or two after his daughter Elizabeth married Prince Phillip of Greece. Earlier in the year 1947, Phillip had relinquished his title, nationality, and religion (Greek Orthodox) in order to marry the then Princess Elizabeth. At the time of the wedding Phillip would have been a commoner, and his children would have no right to a royal title. But the King granted Phillip the title Royal Highness, Duke of Edinburgh... subsequently before the birth of Prince Charles in 1948, the King furthered the move declaring that all off-spring of Elizabeth and Phillip would be considered royal.

And here is one more pic from the turquoise and hot pink wedding.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Recreating the royal bouquets...

Recreating the magic... in this case a royal bouquet. The first pic is of Princess Mary of Denmark on the day she married Crown Prince Frederick on May 4, 2004 at Our Lady's Cathedral in Copenhagen, Denmark. Denmark is home to the oldest European monarchy. The princess, Mary is a native Australian, and the first Australian woman to ever be in the line of succession to become a queen.
Our other bride... my cousin Jordan immediately after her wedding in June of 2009 in Lincoln, Nebraska. I see the similarity in the bouquets now, nearly a year later. Honestly, I spend so much time analyzing the British royal weddings, that I tend to overlook the royal weddings on the continent. Jordan's bouquet is made of all white/ivory Eskimo roses, some crystals and pearls were added to coordinate with the detailing on the dress and the crystal choker, which was handmade by my cousin, her new mother-in-law. Her bouquet was a round nosegay, but she wanted some ivy, so I added many long strands of English ivy, making it essentially, a cascade. Similarly, Princess Mary's bouquet is a round nosegay of what appears to be white roses, freesia, and stephanotis... though from the picture it's hard to tell for sure. However, just like Jordan's bouquet, the Princess's bouquet became a cascade when the trailing jasmine was added.
Royal Wedding Tidbit of the day... There was a time when it was unheard of for a member of the royal family to marry someone who was not "royal". However in 1923, Prince Albert, Duke of York married Elizabeth Bowles-Lyon... Elizabeth was a commoner, Lady Elizabeth. Since the Duke was not expected to ascend to the throne, not too much bluster was raised at the match. However, the abdication crisis of 1936 caused a bit of a jolt, to put it lightly. When Edward the VIII abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Simpson, Prince Albert Duke of York became King George VI. So, literally, King George VI was the first British king to be married to one of his subjects. Surely enough though, Lady Elizabeth, Duchess of York became Queen Elizabeth. She was queen consort however, and did not reign, her husband was the reigning monarch until his death in 1952. His daughter Princess Elizabeth then became Queen Elizabeth II.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers' Day... and, more about Peter and Autumn

I thought this couple deserved one more post, not the most recent royal wedding, technically, but truthfully, there weren't too many pictures of the flowers from Freddy Windsor's wedding to talk about... so, here are a couple more from Peter and Autumn's wedding at Windsor Castle. A royal wedding wouldn't really be royal without the horse drawn carriages, and here is Autumn and Peter making their get-away in an open landau.

I think this first picture gives a great perspective on the bouquet as well, rarely do we get to see them from the side view. I heartily approve of the construction of this bouquet, as it is wonderfully multi-dimensional and looks very well proportioned even when viewed from the side. A florist in Windsor has great skill in making these traditional bridal bouquets, heavy with "wire and tape" technique.
Another picture here of Zara Phillips as bridesmaid for her new sister-in-law. A small pic, but you get to see the attendant's bouquets of all white flowers, Zara's being stephanotis. Kudos on the dresses for the bride's maids. A lovely color, and a much more modern design than those chosen for royal weddings in the past.
Royal Wedding tidbit for the day... the wedding of Peter and Autumn Phillips took place at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. The chapel, not only venue for recent royal weddings (the trend seems to be moving to more low key, so not taking place at Westminster Abbey), but also the final resting places for many of the remarkable Kings and Queens in Britain's history, including.... King Henry VIII, King George V, King George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Kissing Cousins ... and their Grandmother

Prince Harry sure was the kisser at his cousin Peter Phillips' wedding at Windsor Castle. The affectionate prince is show kissing the cheek of his cousin Zara Phillips (Princess Anne's daughter) and also giving a peck on the cheek to his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth. This is surely something we don't see very often... Her Majesty showing any sort of affection in public. I would say it's very rare as the Queen usually upholds the highest level of decorum and modesty. But, the young princes, Harry and William are very much comfortable with showing their emotions and making physical contact with people they meet. So much like their mother, Diana.

I would never say that the Queen is unfeeling or cold.... but, during the years when she was raised and became queen, such public displays simply weren't the norm. I feel that people criticize Britain's Monarch excessively and unfairly for her conduct in public... hey, it's the way she was raised! And how often do we all use that as a reason for our conduct?

Now, about the flowers, I chose this picture to show the "kissin' cousins" as well as to get a closer look at the attendant's flowers for Peter and Autumn's wedding. All the bride's maid's bouquets are composed of all white flowers. Zara's bouquet is all Stephanotis, with many of the buds still closed. I can imagine how wonderful a fragrance that bouquet emitted.

And another thing! look at the way they are dressed.... can't Americans take some clues from the British when it comes to what looks good to wear to a wedding?

Royal Wedding Tidbit of the Day ... St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle has played host to many noteable royal wedding ceremonies... Edward VII and Queen Alexandra were married there, as well as Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, as well as the current hier apparent to the throne, Prince Charles, when he wed Camilla Parker-Bowles, known know as the Duchess of Cornwall ... more about Camilla later. ;)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Peter and Autumn Phillips.

Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly... Married on May 17, 2008, a royal wedding with a lovely traditionally styled and constructed bridal bouquet. The bouquet is of an elegant length in a trailing cascade. Upon examining the pictures of the bouquet closely the contents appear to be roses, Lily of the Valley, stephanotis and the ever popular foliage... ivy. This bouquet reminds me so much of the bouquet carried by Princess Diana at her wedding in 1981. Not many brides these days choose a large cascading bouquet like this. The trend these days still seems to be smaller rounded clutch bouquets with a more varied color palate. I really prefer the all white bridal bouquet... and of course don't mind color when it comes to the attendants. Pictures of this wedding that will appear in later posts will show that for Autumn and Peter's wedding, the bouquets are in all white as well.
Peter and Autumn were married at St. George's Chapel in the compound of Windsor Castle. Peter is the son of Princess Anne and her first husband Timothy Philips, whose marriage ended in divorce. Peter is also the eldest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.
Royal Wedding Tidbit of the day... In order that Peter Phillips would not have to give up his place in the line of succession for the throne, Autumn Kelley denounced her Catholic faith and became a communicant of The Church of England. Interestingly enough, Peter and his sister Zara are the first grandchildren of a monarch not to hold royal titles.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Giving Wallis Simpson her day...

Sorry folks and loyal followers, that is has been so long since the last posting. I guess spring just got away from me... sitting and anticipating the warm weather kinda got me distracted. Plus, other distractions like the still circulating rumors that a royal engagement will be announced in June, and Her Majesties birthday last week... things that keep a royal blogger distracted. I hope everyone will forgive the lapse in blogging.

So, today we give The Duchess of Windsor, a.k.a., Wallis Simpson her due. Looking at this picture her wedding day didn't appear to be an especially happy day. But, she had her King, err, well her former King on her arm. What more could a girl want? How about to be Queen? The look on her face seems to say it all... "I should be the queen right now!" That is simply not what history had in store for Wallis and Edward VIII. From all I have read over the years, the abdication crisis in December of 1936, was the most serious event and potentially destructive event in the life of the British royal family for many years before and after. Abdication, almost unheard of. Normally, monarchs died and the next in line took up the crown as their duty. But, I realize, often making great personal sacrifices of happiness in order to fulfill their duties. Clearly King Edward VIII saw something truly wonderful in Wallis Simpson, in order to step aside and let his younger brother take the throne. It is a story for all the ages, as one of the most uncertain times in the great and long history of the British Empire.

Now, for the flowers. Clearly from the picture, the bride neither carried nor wore any flowers. The groom, by this time styled as the Duke of Windsor appears to be wearing a carnation boutonniere, classic and stylish in his morning suit. The flowers present to the right of Wallis seem to be peonies and delphinum. I think an appropriate combination that is quite fitting for the french chateau where they were married. The wedding location was Chateau de Cande, near Tours, France, and the wedding date was June 3, 1937, just six short months after the abdication on December 10, 1936. The Windsors were married first in a civil ceremony performed by the local mayor, then married again in a religious ceremony conducted by the Rev. Jardine... while being serenaded by the great organist Marcel Dupre in the music room/salon the the chateau.

What a scandal and what sadness, since the bride was an American and twice divorced, she was not at all deemed an appropriate wife for a king. Edward VIII, having not yet been crowned in a formal coronation ceremony, elected not to be king without the woman he loved. Edward's mother, Queen Mary refused ever to receive her daughter-in-law, and brother Albert, now King George VI paid a final insult to his brother's choice of bride by refusing Wallace the style of Her Royal Highness, she was simply The Duchess of Windsor.

Royal Tidbit of the day ... for years after the abdication crisis, Wallace and Edward were snubbed and ignored by the royal family. The Queen Mother reportedly held a heavy grudge agains Wallis, believing it was Wallis' fault that she and her family were forced into becoming King and Queen, the stresses of duty, leading to the premature death of King George VI at the age of 56.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Azaleas around Hilton Head

Now that spring has come, and decide to stay, the azaleas are popping out all over. Each state has it's own state flower... if there were a flowers of The South, I would vote for the Azalea. There are plenty of varieties, colors, and sizes to please anyone. Growing up, my home was hedged in front by the big fuchsia azalea hedges. Along with the large bright pink blooms came the big bumble bees as well. Hilton Head's azaleas are exploding just now, right in time for The Heritage golf tournament. Unlike the Bradford Pears and the dogwoods, the azaleas will will be with us for several weeks. Hopefully our first spring storms wont be so strong as to knock the blooms off the bushes. The second pic is of the ever familiar Harbour Town Lighthouse. Harbour Town and all of Sea Pines plantation are preparing for the influx of golfers and golf fans. Preparations are underway to make sure that everything is perfect for the the tournament, readying for the eyes of the nation to be focused on Hilton Head Island for a whole week.

Royal Tidbit of the day... on the last occasion of investiture of Garter Knights, Prince William was invested as the 1000th Knight of the Garter. The investiture ceremony takes place in the month of June each year at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. P. William is currently the youngest Garter Knight, but not the youngest to be invested. Prince Charles was made a Garter Knight at the age of 19.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter Flowers 2010 - And Royal Wedding Rumors!

Easter 2010 has come and gone, but I have these wonderful pics, thanks to Stan and his camera. Helping out part time at a flower shop certainly has it's benefits. Namely, having access to great floral supply and selection of the freshest flowers available. When I get an idea for what I want my centerpieces to look like, first I search out the desired containers from my home stash... then, just give a list to my part time boss and flower buddy, she has them come in when I want them. This Easter, I went with lots of tulips...why? Because to me, besides Easter Lilies, tulips are the quintessential Easter flower. Some might be wondering, "why the red roses?", since mostly those remind us of Valentine's Day or Christmas... well, our hostess just invested in new dishes... red glass tableware that really sets off some delicate red accents in her newly renovated and redecorated home. So, red roses it was, to coordinate and really bring out the new tableware.

All of the containers this year were clear glass, but each in an unusual shape and dimension. This grouping of containers inspired me to create a real "toss up" of styles and combinations, and including some interesting textures and accents. For instance, one vase simply had tulips and nothing else. Another incorporated Kiwi Vine as an armature to help hold the flowers upright in a very shallow container. Also, I had the idea to completely hide the mechanics on one arrangement by encircling the inside of the shallow vase with bamboo. This last technique I described was extremely labor intensive. Cutting the bamboo into small pieces all the same size too some time. I would be sure to charge a worthy fee for anyone wanting this look in their arrangements. But, it these arrangements for our Easter celebration were a labor of love, and I enjoyed every minute of the design process. Thank you again to Colleen, Kent, Whitfield, and Ross for a wonderful Easter celebration.

Royal Wedding tidbit of the day... Hopefully I was not the only one who noticed the Buzz the last couple of days over the possibility, maybe, might or might not, desperately needed, royal engagement of Prince William to long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton. I haven't seen that much royal attention on the Internet since Prince Harry was found to be deployed in Afghanistan.

Well, for me, I surely hope that there will be an announcement of their engagement, and really do hope that, if the speculators are correct, that by the end of 2010 there will have been another major royal wedding. Sources suggest that if they are engaged in June, that a wedding would very likely follow in roughly six months, they are thinking November of this year.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blue Roses for your wedding... you can't go wrong

Spring is in full swing, and I am handing out my wedding flower suggestions to anyone who will listen... no matter if they are getting married soon or not. Hey, you gotta have your wedding flowers planned out and get your look together.

If the Good Lord hadn't intended for roses to be blue, he wouldn't have invented food coloring. What I am saying to brides these days is, "if you have chosen any shade of blue for your bridesmaid's dresses, then you are in luck. Yes, in luck, as roses, those time-honored most respected of flowers, are available in blue! Don't be afraid of tulle puffs and baby's breath either... your mother wasn't why should you be?

Here are some other Hot Wedding Flower Tips for y'all considering gettn' hitched and want'n to decorate the reception hall to the max.

1. Feathers and balloons are real pretty, cheap, come in all colors, and you can find them anywhere!

2. No jackets for the guys? That's o.k. y'all, boutonnieres can now be attached with magnets through the thickest of shirt fabric.

3. Don't waste the money on flowers for your wedding cake, fake doves and over sized wedding rings made of tin (but painted to look like gold!) are easy to find at any party supply store.

4. Don't let that little tummy bulge keep you from wearing the gown of your dreams... Now most every wedding dress place these days has a maternity department!

5. Remember, Pink is a good fall back color for your wedding. In case you can't find carnations in that special lavender tone you're looking... remember, pink goes with everything!

Enjoy your Spring, and this first day of April!

Floral Disaster Tidbit of a royal magnitude... Once I was working at a flower shop in California, it was Valentine's Day. A customer came in and requested a dozen roses for his "old lady". The customers last request was ...wait for it... "don't forget to put some baby's bottom with them." After that, you kinda forget the woes of Valentine's Day in a flower shop.

Would you call that pink, or Flamingo?

Some many good pictures and videos too, from this past weekend. The flamingos were the first exhibit we saw at the zoo in Columbia. These birds were amazing, so colorful, and a bit loud. Their call sounds very much like geese. These flamingos have a brilliant color, much more vivid than the standard pink that you see on most flamingos, those not in somebodies front yard!

All of the animals were wonderful, I think I was most impressed by the giraffe exhibit. There you can purchase lettuce to feed them, and they are not shy. They will take the food right from your hand. The zoo has graciously provided hand sanitizer stations in that exhibit. I had lots of giraffe saliva on my hands when the feeding was done.

If anyone is in the Columbia, SC area for a visit... I highly recommend the Riverbank Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

Royal Wedding Tidbit for the day... Westminster Abbey has been the scene for several royal weddings. But, the first royal wedding to take place in the abbey occurred on November 11th in the year 1100. The happy couple was King Henry I and Princess Matilda of Scotland. The current Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II was the 10th member of the royal family to be married in Westminster Abbey.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Zoo and Gardens in Columbia, SC - Who knew???

Now, I have been traveling through Columbia, SC for over 40 years... mainly as a way to get to Gastonia, NC. Too bad I had taken it for granted for so long. I never knew there was a zoo and botanical gardens of such quality and beauty located in the Palmetto State's capital. The Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Gardens was the second main event to our Carolina Cup weekend. Most fortunate for us is that currently, all of the spring flowers are in bloom... tulips, thousands of them, daffodils, pansies, violets, Japanese Tulip trees, cherry trees, almond trees, Spirea, Jasmine, Heleboris (Lenten Rose) were among the hundreds of varieties we were able to see blooming on Sunday in the gardens. Also, the zoo! Most of the animals were risin' and shinin' so there was lots of activity going on. Even got to fee a baby Giraffe.... now, that doesn't happen every day. Such a great weekend. Thanks especially to our friend and blog follower Sandra who scored us the tickets for the zoo/gardens. Sandra, we really appreciate it! Terry.

Royal Wedding Tidbit for the day...when Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999, there was a break in tradition when he was created the Earl of Wessex... unlike Charles and Andrew, who were granted Dukedoms when they themselves were married. However, the Earl of Wessex, it is speculated, will be created Duke of Edinburgh, when that title reverts back to the crown.... ahem... in other words... when Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh dies. **It has also been decided (by who, I'd like to know!) that any children of Edward and Sophie will not carry the title Prince or Princess. Sounds like a bum deal to me... for any of their children. But, since that was decided there have been two children born to Ed an Sophie... a daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, and a son, James Viscount Severn. Edward is Earl of Wessex and Sophie is Countess of Wessex.