Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Celtic Knot

You all know how I love to get asked to make something I've not made before? Well this week that happened; it's always a great moment when a customer utters the words "I'd like a.... is that possible?" Sometimes I am able to say "Yes of course; let me show you a photo of a previous one I've made" but to be able to say "Yes" to someone for something I've never made before is a great (yet exceptionally daunting) feeling. Sometimes I know exactly what the customer is talking about and a way to make it will pop into my head before we even get down to the nitty gritty of it. Other times I'll have to google the image; other times I won't have a clue. This week thankfully I had some idea (although not a lot).

When the customer asked me if I could make a Celtic Knot an image of very intricate geometric designs entered my head. Not one to be deterred I opened up google for the customer to have a look at so they could choose the one they wanted (they hadn't decided on a style before coming in to the shop as they weren't sure I would be able to make it for them).  I'm very glad they ended up coming up with their own design, that thankfully wasn't anywhere near as intricate as some of the ones we looked at; that doesn't meant it didn't throw up some deep thinking and brain storming.

Taken to try and show the up/under effect
The biggest issue was how to make it look like someone had actually made a knot; this meant that some parts of the knot would be under others; some parts (obviously) over. I also had to think about what flowers would give the best look. The customer had said she wanted greens and browns, so the obvious choice was the green chrysant that I did eventually use. What a nightmare it was to work with. A normal double chrysant that we base in is flatter, enabling us to get a nice smooth finish (they also help if we need to bevel slightly as they will link in together). The green used was almost ball like in shape so it was a lot harder to get a nice smooth finish. However, having said that I don't think it turned out too bad.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Snow? What snow?

Ok; so we know that there was a blanket of snow that covered the whole of the country yesterday (with a pretty heavy scattering over our own square mileage included).  I love the snow; the inner child that is kept hidden always puts in an appearance with just a single flake of the white stuff. However, like the rest of the country I hate the way everything just grinds to a halt. I heard tales of people (the elderly included) being chucked off buses when they were told to stop operating on Health and Safety grounds. Left abandoned in the middle of nowhere with no way of getting home. I fully understand if it's not safe to be out on the roads but to just leave people? That's shocking.. Schools that were unable to open; airports having to close; basically everything just closing. For a few frozen raindrops? Sounds crazy doesn't it? Especially when everyone had plenty of warning that it was coming; we all knew to expect it. 

So were we prepared? We sure were. Clive made sure he dug out his non-slip walking boots; found his winter coat and armed himself with a hat, scarf and gloves to keep the chill out. Why did he do this? Because we had flowers that needed delivering. If there's a way for us to get our flowers out to our lovely customers then we will do all we can to ensure we do.  Now we were lucky that all of today's orders were to be delivered locally, which meant they could be walked. Sadly we have had to let down a customer on an order tomorrow, but that is because it is to be delivered 12 miles away from the shop, and literally out in the sticks. The customer we were delivering too is unable to get their own vehicle out of their drive so there would be no way we could get up it; I also believe that as important my customers are, and getting their orders delivered is very important to all of us, the safety of our staff takes priority. Had we thought there was a way Clive could get there without any risk to not only his life, but also that of someone elses (if he was to hit a patch of ice and slide then he could easily endanger the lives of others as we as himself) then we be sending him out, but rightly or wrongly (depending on who you ask) his life if worth more to us.

It's only a 2 mile round trip; now get walking
Obviously once all the roads are open and back to normal then we shall be back up and running again. For now thanks for sticking with us and here's hoping that none of you have been too inconvenienced by the weather.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

All systems go

I asked Clive yesterday for any ideas he may have when it comes to keeping this blog up together for you all; the plan was for him to come up with things I could talk about with you all, and share with you. Do you know what his answer was? "Something interesting". Ok; now is it just me or is that not helpful? I then pushed the issue and explained sometimes I run out of things to say and explained I'd like to try and write on here a couple of times a week. To this he told me "That's all well and good as long as you don't bore everyone". Hmmmm; needless to say he is now banished from the shop :) - and no he still hasn't come up with any ideas so if you any of you have any please feel free to share. 

Now on the subject of sharing I have a little video clip to share with you all. Don't got getting all excited; it's not me pouring a vase of dirty flower water over Clives head (now why didn't I video that when I did it :) ) but it is the sneak preview I promised you all for one of our new selection guides. That's right lovely people; you will be seeing it here (first).  It's not even gone to the printers yet. 

I have to say when it came to setting it up and laying it all out it really wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. Had it been for me personally it would be full of odd bits and pieces, and really jazzed up. I started that way, then remembered that it's not about me; it's about the shop. It's about promoting an image, while at the same time being helpful and practical to all our customers that will be using it; not an easy task, but after chatting with several other people and getting their input, I came up with something that I hope once printed on some lush paper and bound in nice book form should work well for us. 

While I have no doubt there will be many of you that could have done much better (and those that only think they could :) ) I'm quite pleased with how it's turned out. It does exactly what we need it to do. The great thing is that all the pages are removable, so if one gets damaged, or we want to add some extras in, we will be able to do so without too much hassle. The wonders of modern technology. 

Next on the list? The general occasions guide of course.. watch this space......

Monday, 7 January 2013

Anyone for a cuppa?

One of the great things about the work we do, is some of the other wonderful people (yes I am indirectly calling us wonderful too :) ) we come across in relation to all manner of different occasions. We've been blessed to have worked alongside some great companies; cake decorators, balloon artists, and photographers among them. All talented in their own right, but when we all get together the results of our hard work can be truly inspiring. 

That's why today we were happy to give over half our window area to a new local company that specialise in the hiring of Vintage China for all manner of different occasions. I know I have mentioned them once before when they were first getting started (and I'm happy to report that their business is going from strength to strength) so it was so nice to finally have some space available for them to display some of their wares. With everything from cakes stands, to cups and saucers they have a lovely selection of china they are happy for you to hire.  Looking at the small selection of their stock we have in the window is making me think of a summer wedding. Sunny days (so I obviously mean summer in a country other than ours) with tea, cakes and sandwiches out on the terrace; inside a marquee decorated with bunting (and lots of flowers of course).  Then my mind is taken to a social hall with a gathering of friends for a party, or new year celebration. Aunty Ethels home made chocolate sponge on one of the cake stands; egg and cress sandwiches on one of the lovely plates, with proper tea leaves brewing in one of the lovely tea pots. They truly do have a combination for any occasion.

From coffee mornings with friends, to a full on party with all your family, friends and *others* I believe Yesterday Vintage China have something to offer everyone (they're also a very friendly family run business and understand how the personal touches can make all the difference). 

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Happy New Year

2013 already; where does the time go?
We hope you all had a wonderful, happy and healthy Christmas and that 2013 brings you much joy and all you could wish for.

Now the New Year for many is a time to make changes (out with the old; in with the new) but we have decided to pretty much leave things as they are. As they say “if it aint broke, don’t fix it”. This seems to work as far as we are concerned. Last year was the best year we have had since we first began trading back in 2006; to us this is amazing with the economy being what it is, so the last thing we would to do would be to change what appears to be a winning formula. That doesn’t mean we will be sitting back and resting on our laurels though. Oh no. We do have many new ideas that we feel will only aid and add to the service we are already supplying, and take pride in.  We are also planning on a special one off item later in the year, but I will wait until nearer the time to share that with you all.
For the past year (I can officially say that now as I put the wheels in motion in 2012) I have been working on new selection guides for the shop (for all occasions – there will be General Floral Gifts, Weddings and Sympathy).  Normally these have to be bought from either the relay service you belong to (a bit difficult when we don’t belong to one) or from specialist florist wholesalers (that will sell to anyone). While these have done us proud and been more than useful for the past few years, they are generic for every florist in the country. None of the photos in the guides are of our work (and some of them are pretty hideous – I’ve no idea how anyone would allow them in a guide) so I have been working on guides that are purely of our work; there will be nothing in them that hasn’t been made by one of us in the shop. Not only will this be more personal for us when we are going through ideas with you, it will also show you what we are capable of. So many times I’ve had people in the shop that have been elsewhere and ordered an item from the guide they’ve been shown, only to receive something that looks nothing like they have ordered. This is because anyone can buy the guides they are using; but just because they can show you the pictures, doesn’t mean they are capable of making the items.  By personalising ours you will know that we can make anything in the guides, as we have already had to make them to photograph them in the first place.  It’s a sad fact of life that ANYONE can buy the guides, open a shop and take your money from you, without them having the first clue what they are doing. Just as you get cowboy builders that haven’t a clue, sadly you also get cowboy florists.
Those of you that have visited the website will know already that there is nothing on the site that hasn’t been made by one of us; the guides we will be using in the shop will be exactly the same.
The website will be getting a bit of an overhaul too (although Clive doesn’t know this yet). The set up will stay the same but I’d like to try and make it a bit more interactive if that’s possible.  If any of you have any ideas of bits you’d like to see on there, then don’t hesitate in letting us know.  As I’ve said many times before (and will no doubt say many times again) without we would have nothing, so your input is always greatly appreciated.
For now can I thank you again for your continued support and wish you all a very Happy 2013.