If my ability to keep up with blogging is any indication of any future parenting skills, then I’d say I’m an expert-to-be. Some have indicated that the first step is doing a better job than your parents did. Seeing as though my dad has a severe “clicking problem” and thinks everything on the internet is a lie, it’s clear I’m ahead of the game. I also have been getting Parenting Magazine since I was a freshman in college. I have no idea why – I didn’t sign up for it – but it won’t go away. On top of that, it was coming to my home address (unbeknownst to me) which started to concern my mother. She thought maybe there was something I wasn’t telling her.

None of this has anything to do with flowers. But the rest of this post does.

Remember that amaryllis I was telling you about? Well, it’s dead now. I didn’t get very far with taking pictures of it because the leaves made it look unruly. I refuse to post pictures that aren’t “instagram worthy.” So here’s an artsy-fartsy photo of a painting I did about 3 years ago. The current state of this plant isn’t important (it’s dead – though the killer is still at large.)  What’s important is that I have immortalized the plant in oil paint.

Amaryllis, Spring 2009

That artsy-fartsy piece of art I told you about.

Stay tuned (it could be one week, it could be three months) for my next post about the arrangements I made for Valentine’s Day (may they also rest in peace).


Lies, All Lies

I’ve been receiving a lot of hate mail lately (lie). Apparently I have quite a few devoted fans (stretching the truth) that have been disheartened by my laziness (truth) and lack of posts.
This is an interpretation of the hate mail of course, seeing as most of it is coming from
Siberia (damn lie). Obviously I don’t read Russian (lie).

Regardless, I’m back. At least for now while I’m momentarily entertained.

I recently came into the possession of this bowl of weed (lie, I’m thug, but not that thug). Actually, it’s just the mossy undergrowth of a few amaryllis bulbs I planted in a clay bowl I made myself (I’ve really outdone myself here. My mom bought it, I didn’t even take it out of the box). In honor of the holidays I thought we could all watch it grow.

Amaryllis Week One

Week One

Here’s to week one!

If I Had My Way

I would be a “Restaurant Florist.”

And I plan on someday making that a reality. But for now the reality is that I am young and still have much to learn. And I like it that way. I’m enjoying the post-college limbo and my only goal right now is to soak up as much knowledge as possible from the “experts” of the industry.

This article recently appeared in the Sunday Chronicle and I thought I’d share it here. It offers a good peak into what these people do, AND there are pretty pictures.

I’ve met Natalie Bowen before and she is lovely and extremely talented. I would jump at the opportunity to work with her. But my favorite thing about this article was seeing Rebekah Northway’s website. Her company is called The Petaler, (such an awesome name) and she has a wicked cool website.

If right now you’re thinking: “Wow Madeline, what a copout, all you did was give us a link to an article someone else wrote.” You would be correct. To ease the pain, however, I have included a favorite SNL Digital Short that has nothing to do with anything. So quit your whining.

Naked Ladies

I was walking down a street recently that was lined with naked ladies when I had a very vivd memory from my childhood.

I’m talking about the flower. Get you’re mind out of the gutter. Although, I could understand your confusion seeing as how San Francisco has no law restricting public nudity. Classic San Francisco.

Like most children, I was curious about everything, flowers included. This specific memory was of when I learned the name for the pink flower that lines Junipero Serra Drive at certain times of the year. “Naked Lady” is the common term for the pink flower which loses its leaves and causing the flower to stand alone in its birthday suit. Of course at the time I was convinced my mom was lying to me about the name. But alas, Wikipedia concurs with my mother. Unless she wrote that wiki page…

Anyways, here is a photograph for your viewing pleasure. Google the flower yourself if you feel I’ve given inadequate information on the “Amaryllis Belladonna.”

Naked Ladies

Day-um! Look at those naked ladies!

I’m not dead!

I swear I’m not dead. Life has gotten hectic and to be honest I was never even good at keeping a journal as a kid so I don’t know why a blog would be easier. Whatevs. For those of you who have been waiting on pins and needles, I apologize. For those of you who haven’t, well, I hope you accidentally sit on a pin or needle.

I’m working on a few posts at the moment, and for now all I have to say is that I want this book very badly. More to come later on the author Nicolette Camille.

Bringing Home Nature

Also if you’ve never seen Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail, then you aren’t living.

Everything Is Just Peachy

Last week Studio Choo had a large wedding that needed lots of arrangements. One of the many elements within those arrangements were peaches. The problem with having a peach in an arrangement is that you can’t just throw it in the vase with the other flowers. You need to give it a stem. The easiest way to do that is to put the peach on a skewer. So that’s exactly what I did.

skewers, a peach, and floral glue

Things you may need if you choose to skewer peaches: skewers, a peach, and floral glue.

First, you dab a tiny amount of floral glue where you want the skewer to go. As you put the skewer in, you twist it just a bit to get the glue inside.

skewered peaches

Voila, skewered peaches.

And you can totally eat the peaches when you’re done!

Just kidding, the floral glue isn’t edible.

Seriously, don’t eat that glue.

Steel Magnolias

In case you didn’t know, magnolias aren’t steel. But I did steal a magnolia the other day.

A few weeks ago I had an discussion with a friend about whether or not it was magnolia season.  Well, it is magnolia season, and they’ve been on my mind ever since then. They’re blooming on trees everywhere, especially on a few that line the street I live on. Unfortunately for my five foot self, most of the blooms rest closer to the top of very tall trees. But to my surprise I saw flower, close enough for me to reach, calling my name. As soon as I got home I got my clippers, chopped off the magnolia, and stuck it in a vase.

Nobody told me (granted I never asked) that magnolias smell terrible. I was always too short to smell them on the tree myself.

I guess that’s what I get for stealing a magnolia.


The foul smelling result of my thievery.

Celebrity Jeopardy

One thing I’ve had to do a lot of lately is processing roses. Roses are different from other flowers due to the fact that you have to remove their pesky thorns.

Le Tools

Le Tools. That’s “the tools” in French. Everything is fancier in French


The roses that needed to be cleaned.

The goal is to get all the thorns and lower leaves off the stem. Some florists choose to use a tool called a rose stripper. No, not a stripper named Rose, a rose stripper. However, the disadvantage of using this tool is that it literally strips the entire stem of its outer skin, leaving it exposed. While this is a more painless way to remove thorns, it’s not good for the flower in the long run. Although more time consuming, using snips (the small scissors) or a knife is a better way to cut off the thorns. Start removing at the top near the blooms, because it puts less stress on the stem. This is according to Martha Stewart, may she rest in peace. Oh, she’s still around? The last I heard she was in prison, I just assumed she didn’t make it.

Sorry, it may have been too soon for a prison joke. I love Martha, and I think she’s great on Celebrity Jeopardy.

Anyways, for the final touch, cut the roses at an angle and place them back into water.

Now you have some snazzy lookin’ roses.


Before, and after having the stems cleaned.

Choo (times two) & Wu Tang

Before I dive into a daily account of what I do each day at Studio Choo, it crossed my mind to write a bit about the people I’ve been working with.

Studio Choo was started by Alethea (pronounced uh-lee-thee-uh) and Jill (pronounced Jill) in 2009 and their retail location was opened shortly after in 2010. According to their website the name “Choo” comes from a nickname they call each other based on Jill’s distinct sneeze, which I have yet to witness.

Both Jill and Alethea are determined women who have great attitudes towards life. Their knowledge of flowers and the inner workings of the floral business is vast. I’m beginning to see that the floral community is small, yet there seems to be quite a bit of collaboration. There is such thing as healthy competition, but you can also learn a lot from your peers.

Wendy, whom I’ve mentioned before, is one of their dedicated design assistants. She is bright and bubbly, and fits like a glove within the Studio Choo team. She has been deemed “Wu Tang” or “Wu” by Jill and Alethea. The three of them are always joking around that when Wendy starts her own floral design business she’ll call it “Studio Wu” and work in the same wild style as the ladies of the Choo.  If this ends up happening people may think there’s a chain of Chinese florists popping up in San Francisco. Apparently phone calls asking for a traditional Chinese bouquets have been known to happen.

I can only hope that spending more time with Jill and Alethea will result in getting an awesome nickname for myself.

They Like it Wild

Studio Choo has a very distinct style. They use a lot of wild flowers and their arrangements often have a “garden-y” look to them. That’s a technical term by the way. Gardeny. It means garden like. The term “garden-ish” is also acceptable. There’s no need to look it up, you can trust me.

In her own words Alethea said she often tells people, “Think of it like a little garden, with parings of one flower here and another group of flowers over there.” This a perfect example of some of Studio Choo’s arrangements. I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t want to have that delivered to them. And I could spend hours browsing through their photos on flickr. You should too. You should also check out the weekly column they wrote for Design*Sponge appropriately named, “We Like it Wild.” You should just be following Design*Sponge in general.

Classic Studio Choo Arrangements

Classic “wild” Choo arrangements

Today Alethea had me try my hand at an arrangement “Choo” style. It is not as effortless as it looks. To say that I struggled would be an understatement. The good thing is that have the entire summer to learn and perfect this style. On top of that Jill and Alethea are incredibly generous with their knowledge. They both seem genuinely interested in helping me grow (pun intended) and mature as a floral designer. This is something I rarely felt from my professors while in school.

The first arrangement needed quite a bit of help but then I was put in charge of one for a yoga studio down the street from the shop on Divisadero. In my opinion it was good enough but I too am looking forward to more practice under the guidance of Alethea and Jill.

Wild Yoga Arrangement

My “wild” arrangement for the yoga studio down the street.