Wednesday, 24 April 2013

How quickly

the time flies when you are not working; last week just seemed to whizz by (sorry if it didn't for you). 

Again I want to say a big Thank you to those of you that waited for me to get back (and re-open the shop) before placing your orders; I apologise if any of you were in trouble for the belated bouquets we sent out. It always amazes me that rather than go somewhere else you are happy to let the flowers arrive later; I honestly could never put in to words how much that means to me. You are the best. 

For those of you that did pop down or drove past, I am sure you would have seen the electric vans outside and the front all dug up? I couldn't believe it when I came back on Monday; while I was away we were meant to be having the forecourt area block paved; instead I came back to this the old tarmac with new bits here and there. Turns out there was an electrical problem (involving us, the barbers next door and the hair dressers next to the barber) which resulted in our forecourt having to be dug up (thankfully the new paving hadn't been laid at this point - the costs involved if they had would have made the landlord weep; of that I have no doubt). This also resulted in workmen having to enter the shop; I'm sure I don't need to tell you the mess I came back to as a result of this? Annoyed at first by it, I then stepped out of the box and looked at the positives. I had already decided to change the window display (and as half of it had been removed for the electrics I didn't get a choice) so that made me get on with it. It also meant I had to sort the whole shop area so I ended up just gutting the whole shop and re-arranging everything. This was in between sorting out you lovely customers with your orders (It's true what they say though "if you want something done ask a busy person"). I still can't believe just how much I managed to get through during Monday (I did have a few bits to finish yesterday). 

I chose to pretty the window up this time round; the turquoise and brown was lovely (but a bit dark) so on Sunday I ordered a load of artificial flowers in lilac and lemon shades.  I then used a lemon velvet for the base of the window, with some lilac organza swirling through and I had to admit the colours work really well together. They not only cheer the window up, but being such light colours they've brightened the shop up nicely too. Again I can only photograph from the back but I'm sure you'll agree the colours are delicate and bright at the same time. 

It seems to be the week for these colours too as several people have asked for them; including the last minute bride who came in yesterday and is getting married today. Yes people really do leave things to the last minute :)  Thankfully I was able to make her a small bouquet in the colours she wanted; I would NOT advise anyone leaves it quite so late though (although it's better than the bride I had a few years ago that stopped at the shop en route to her wedding for something - literally less than 20 minutes before she was getting married - that's pushing things a wee bit). It did work out well in a way though as I am always trying to find a way to photograph bouquets so that I don't have to take out the background (they really don't look as good when I've had to fiddle with them as they do when they are photographed) when it suddenly struck me that if I tied our Vlads hands together I could possibly use him to hold them so I can get a better photo. I always knew there was a reason I never put him back in the loft :)  I do think it shows the flowers off a wee bit better than when I remove the backgrounds; he will be used again.

As you can see though Vlad is not looking too happy about things :) His hands are now in the perfect position though. I will see if it works as well with the bigger bouquets (one of which I have to make this weekend).  Might have to dress him in white if photographing a full shower bouquet. 

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Fancy a tipple?

 just a nice mug of tea as you complete your word search? 

 On Tuesday all of these things made sense to us in the shop as I had to make a Bottle of Baileys.. 

a Mug of Tea....

and a Wordsearch

Sadly these had to be made for a ladies funeral (as unfortunately 99% of the different items we get to make are sadly for) but it is so nice for us (me) to be asked (and trusted) to make these items for the family. It's also lovely when someone trusts me to make something I've never made before (none of these had I previously made) as they have no idea how the item will turn out (thankfully they are able to see via the website and photo's that we post online that there isn't much we can't do - I have owned up to customers if I think something truly isn't possible). I wasn't keen on having to use the strips that we attach the letters to for the wordsearch, but they wouldn't stay in place trying to glue them on individually so I was left with little choice (I do know row 4 looks slightly off in the photo; this was rectified before the tribute was delivered). As with most items when I take a photo of them (bare in mind I am a florist with an iphone and not a photographer in any way, shape or form) they never look as good as in the flesh, but I'm very pleased with how they came out, and oddly enough the word search is my personal favourite; not sure if that is down to the colours or just the concept. All of them were between 2 and 3ft in height.

I also had to make a dolphin; in the 27 years I've been doing floristry (goodness people get less for murder) I have never made a dolphin until this week, which I find odd as they are very popular with people.  I was very pleased with how that came out too.

Thankfully it hasn't been all sadness this week; I've had 3 new brides book in (luckily they are getting married in the week and not at weekends or I would have struggled to fit them in) and today we have not one, but 2 diamond wedding orders to go out (to different people). This was obviously a good day to get married 60 years ago. It's always lovely to make flowers up for a diamond wedding; to think people have been able to stay with each other for so long is an amazing achievement. On top of the diamond weddings we have also this morning sent out flowers to a lady who is 103 today. 103; can you even imagine? That changes she must have seen in her lifetime (I know in my 42 years how much things have changed and I've been bought up in a technological age). It must be mind blowing to her if she actually sits and thinks about it. So to that lady we say Happy Birthday, and to our lovely Diamond couples we say Happy Anniversary (here's to your 70th). 

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Why are you taking photographs

of all those orders"? enquired the little voice from inside the shop. The voice belonged to a young girl having a browse at some soft toys, while I was taking photographs of all the orders I had made up ready for the drivers to grab and head off out to deliver. 

To some, this girl would have been dismissed as one of those "inquisitive children" (I hear Mums and Dads say to their own kids so often to "stop asking questions and let the lady (that's me) get on with her work". I find this sad because if kids don't ask the questions then they will always wonder (and never learn) so first off let me say that I am more than happy for them to ask, and if I am able to answer then I will do; and answer this little girl I could. 

I photograph absolutely everything that is going out to be delivered.  It started a long time ago when we sent some flowers to a funeral; there was a lot of trouble among the family and as it turned out the item we had sent was (bigger) better than most of the other tributes there (these others hadn't been made by us). A particular family member took exception to her having paid more for her tribute which ended up smaller than the one we made, and when nobody was looking she swapped the card from her tribute, with the one on the tribute we had made. Now, aside from the tributes being different sizes, they were also different colours, so when our customer got to the funeral and found a small orange tribute with her card on, and a large pinky shaded tribute (which is what she had ordered) with the other family members name on, she was not happy (and nor would I have been if I had been her). I knew that I had made what the customer had asked me for, but I had no proof at the time. I did ask her to go back to where the flowers were so I could phone her once she was there as I could remember the flowers I'd used in the tribute and wanted to talk her through them while she was stood looking at them, but she was so upset and angry she demanded her money back and vowed never to use us again. 

This to me was so upsetting; I hate the thought that a customer believed I had let her down for a start, but also as a small business in these economic times we couldn't afford to go around making up tributes which we then ended up paying for ourselves. After that day I made sure I make a point of writing down every single flower that goes into any order (whether it be for a funeral, birthday or a *just because*) and then I photograph the flowers too. This way if anyone was to try it on (and sadly there are many, many, many people that will try it on, and tell me we delivered the wrong flowers/colours or that the flowers were dead when they arrived) I am able to show them the photograph (backed up by the list of flowers I have) as proof that I have made what they have asked for; and that the flowers were very much alive too when delivered. Yes I know it's a very sad world we live in when we have to do things like this, but sadly there are (as always) the few that ruin things for the many. 

I hope I answered the little girls question well?