Flowering Kale at Revival last week

Last week at Revival  Gorgeous and Green reused this chemical glass vase.  Since the opening is so narrow, I can only put a couple of stems in.  This time a little local flowering kale and a nice flowering branch.   I love using flowering kale or cabbage, not only because it's hardy and has lovely petals and color, but because it is tied to a good friend of mine. My flowering kale comes from a local grower and wholesaler in Half Moon Bay, Dave Repetto.  I have developed a great rapport with him and he is always clear with me about his flowers and his more sustainable practices, including not spraying pesticides on most flowers.  Besides the fact that he's local, I know he employs a good amount of local people and he is kind and fair.  My local business of selling local and sustainable flowers (and gifts and cards, and...)  in turn supports so many other local businesses and people, and the ripples go on and on.  

 

In the big vase I had some lovely flowering branches that had such great movement up and out, I just added a few greens and hanging amaranth as well as one large flowering kale right near the middle.

And for the entrance, one more kale in a short vase with some sprigs and branches.

In Green and Health, G&G

Lovely Local Flowers Delivered...

I recently delivered a beautiful and cheerful bouquet for an out of town customer , and sent her a phone pic of the bouquet, and she loved it so much she put the pic on her blog...  So, I'm reposting it here.   All local, fair trade/organic flowers in a recycled glass vase with biodegradable ribbon and card holder (a G&G signature)!  If you're in the neigborhood, check out our flower and gift shop: ggboutique.com Cathrynsworld.com In Green and Health, G&G

Handmade Cake Toppers

 

Top Your Cake with Art

Etsy has so many great gifts and decor ideas for green weddings.  They have a ton of handmade items. Handmade can be sustainable because individuals usually use simple methods of creating their products and create less waste doing so.  When we buy products at the prices set by artists on Etsy, we are paying a fair price for the item.  It's less about getting something cheap and more about what wonderful piece of art we most desire.   Plus, everything is online, so it removes our having to drive around to malls to find what we are looking for while wasting gas.  The artists don't need to keep up a shop and can keep their costs low and fair. One handmade item that I've seen a lot of lately has been the cake topper.  Hopefully, if you decide to use one, you get one cute enough so that it gets reused again as decor or memorabilia in your home.  The toppers I've got showcased here are either made out of biodegradable materials and/or made by hand.  Check them out:  

Cake toppers by dandelionland:

Cake Toppers by Littlevale:

Cake Toppers from HeyMiemie:

Thanks Etsy artists... In Green and Health, G&G

Green Wedding Registry from The Knot's Green website

A Re-Share of Some Green Registry Tips

I posted a blog on The Knot's green wedding website a few weeks ago about greening your wedding registry.  I think that it's a great way to spread the message of a green couple and help folks change their spending habits. Take a look: The handmade ceramics above are from www.dodgestationpottery.com. It's not only made by a person's hands, but it is also art. The website offers a wedding registry that allows you to choose the pieces you want so that your guests can order them for you. They have dinnerware(photo at top) as well as kitchen items like these cute ramekins just above.

Look at this spacious fair trade hammock made of reclaimed cotton by a family owned workshop in El Salvador. The workers are paid above standard wages and receive benefits. Available onwww.globalexchangestore.org

This registry allows couples to register for charities, so guests can donate using their credit card or write a check to your favorite cause in place of a tangible gift. From The Global Fund for Women to Amazon Watch, they probably have a charity you support on their list.

www.idofoundation.org

To view the whole blog post go to The Knot's green wedding website where I am guest blogging: green.weddings.com

In Green and Health,

G&G

The Green Festival, San Francisco

Green Weddings and Green People in San Francisco

www.greenfestivals.org And no, we're not all eating granola.  I like granola like everyone else, but I definitely don't see myself as "granola" just because I live green or sustainable.  Besides, granola isn't a bad word these days.  It actually is pretty tasty, especially homemade.  Put it into a jar and you've got a great gift or "wedding favor" for your guests. Ok, so what will we be doing at this green festival?  Well lots of talking, sharing and looking at new ideas and guest speakers.  Check out the Schedule.  Online you can download a guide to the festival that gives you all the cool info.  It's huge and includes so many inspiring words, visuals and people.  Here are just a few of the highlights:
  • 450+ exhibitors and organizations in the Green Marketplace
  • 45 minutes presentations and speakers on the sustainable economy, ecological balance and social justice
  • how-to workshops in the Green Buiding Pavilion
  • Hemp fashion shows in the Hemp Pavilion
  • Music acts
  • Food Demonstrations in the Soul Kitchen
  • Green Social Media Demonstrations
  • Organic food and drink
  • Concerts and dance parties after dark:  greenbash.com
I'm actually going to be volunteering for the festival and donating some large sustainable arrangements (I'll post the photos this week).   I'll also be checking out new ideas I can use in my business and in my life (my husband wants to get a small wind turbine for our front yard... in Oakland)  and making connections with other green-minded folks.  One connection I've already made is going to be there, and I look forward to seeing their hemp silk bridal attire at a fashion show Friday and Saturday night.  They're called Conscious Clothing and you can check out there stuff here:  www.getconscious.com Here are some beautiful examples of the things they can do.  What I like, is that they do custom designs.

ruffle hemp silk wedding dressHere is the dress with all the layers, but you can unzip the last three and make it shorter.

IMG_3279

IMG_3295_1

low back hemp silk wedding dressI love the low back and silk ruffles of this dress.

IMG_3320

IMG_3316love it.

So if your in or around the Bay, definitely come check out the SF Green Festival this coming weekend.

In Green and Health,

G&G

 

 

 

 

Green sweets and treats

A Hot Chocolate Favor

So it's getting chilly at night these days.  The time has changed, the days are shorter, and you've probably switched to flannel sheets like we have.  I know, I live in California, but we still get cold here. If you're getting married this winter, you may be considering a winter theme.  Maybe you're just thinking about the comfort of your guests on a chilly winter night.  Whatever the case, why not help your guests get cozy after the affair with favors of organic and fair trade hot chocolate? I love hot chocolate, hot chocolate with marshmallows, even Mexican hot chocolate.  With a few cookies for dipping and a movie to watch, I'm set for the night. There are a few companies out there providing hot chocolate made with organic and (so very important) fair-trade cocoa, but one caught my eye because of their willingness to share with their cocoa growers: Deansbeans.com.  Now, their hot cocoa mix is not only well-intentioned, it's also very affordable.  Half of their profits are returned to the growers! Hot Cocoa small-1.JPG I'm not sure how it tastes, but I'm hoping to try it and get back to you.  Dean, if you're reading this, I'd love to taste a cup! The Gorgeous and Green Events wedding or party favor suggestion would be to find some small recycled paper bags and twist ties and measure out a serving of the mix for each guest.  Here I cut out some snowflakes from leftover white fabric I had and attached it to the front and used reused ribbons to accent. hot coco favor You could even go one step further and put it in a glass jar with some marshmallows so they can see the mouth-watering treat.  You could personalize it with a cute tag with your guest's name on one side and the cocoa directions on the other.  And don't forget to tell them it's not only organic, but fair-trade! In Chocolate and Health, G&G

A busy Summer of Sustainable Weddings

Weddings, Green Weddings!

Like most florists and wedding coordinators out there, I've been busy.  So busy, I haven't been keeping up on my blogs.  So sorry. But, I hope to have some wonderful pics from wedding photographers in the coming weeks to show you all that I've been up to.  First though, a sneak peak at a few of my concoctions. A few weeks ago I had a wonderfully organic wedding in Lafayette, Ca.  The bride trusted me to develop a plan for her day and we came up with a plan for collecting recycled cobalt blue vases for her centerpieces.  She wanted pink and since there was so much blue, I added a few touches of yellow, namely from some beautiful sunflowers that were in season. All her flowers came from local growers, and about 75% of them were organic.  Thankfully, a local grower had an abundance of rose colored mini callas.  So I used them wherever I could.  I must have had at least 2 dozen just in the bride's bouquet.  Take a look:

wedding flowers

And I added plenty of those callas in the bridemaid's bouquets as well.  I also added some orchids that yours truly had grown.  For some reason I have good luck with orchid plants.  Nock on a tree.

Steph and bridesmaids

I just had a lovely wedding in Kensington at the community center, and the bride was not a big fan of flowers.  She wanted fruits and vegetables instead.  So I worked some magic with some locally grown fruits and veggies and created some beautiful centerpieces.  Here are some mock centerpieces to give you an idea of what I did:

gg Veggie centerpiece

gg fruit centerpiece

I just love getting creative with what the local earth has to offer in it's abundance.  As you can see, it's dahlia season and I couldn't help but add some locally grown organic dahlias into the mix.

All the centerpieces I've been doing, whether flowers, veggies or branches have included some key elements of sustainability.  All the vases we used in these two wedding ended up getting reused, either in to my collection or into someone's home.  That feels so good!

In Green Weddings and Health,

G&G

Silk or Artificial Flowers are not the option

"Silk" or artificial flowers are NOT a

sustainable or eco-friendly option

artificial-flowers Now I remember when I used to help my aunt decorate for weddings, we used silk flowers (actually plastic, but we'll get into that in a second) for decorating because we could use them over and over again, and couple's could save money on their decorations.  That was back in the 80's, and I thought a lot had changed since then.  Apparently not. I have noticed in one too many art stores that there are large quantities and varieties of plastic flowers.  I have also noticed many brides and grooms desiring and talking about silk flowers on wedding chats and so forth.  It scares me.  Haven't we all been schooled in what's good for the environment?  At the very least, aren't people concerned about all that plastic that's going to sit in our landfills for years to come in the form of a colorful plastic gerber daisy? But then I remembered the name: "silk flowers".  Maybe it's throwing people off.  So, here's a little background to artificial flowers and how they got their silk name. Many years ago, in some cultures (in Asia and in Europe and eventually in the U.S.) it was considered a beautiful art form to recreate flowers out of artistic materials in such a way, that these fakes looked almost real.  Back in those days, they didn't have plastic.  They probably used natural materials: cottons, wool and most likely silk.  Some used clay, others used glass beads.  The list may go on, but the point is, they didn't use plastic.  And, it was all biodegradable.  Some of the paints or dyes, may have been slightly toxic, as they are today, but hopefully less so.  What did happen however, is that even back then, those who created these artistic representations were paid little and the work was tedious and hard.  And, even at the turn of the century in this country (still before plastic) the factories where these artificial flowers were made were filled with women and children, often working long hours, using child labor and unfair work conditions.  For more information about this time period and artificial manufacturing take a look at this book by Mary Van Kleeck for the Committee on Women's Work of the Russell Sage Foundation in 1913: books.google.com/books A hundred years have gone by, and in the mean time as in that famous line from The Graduate states:  our future lies in plastic.  And unfortunately so will many generations of people and animals on this earth as it isn't going away any time soon. Now, producing plastic can't be great for the environment.  In one article I found, the author suggested that there was actually no byproducts of artificial flowers.   Hmm.  Not sure where they think the plastic comes from in all those beautiful colors.  I Know a little bit about production, and I would assume that creating and melting and dying and forming those colorful plastic flowers and trees, there will be some leaching of that plastic, chemicals and dyes from that process into the environment, the soil, the air, the ground water, the oceans, etc.  In fact, I did find another book that suggested that people who make artificial flowers come into contact with arsenic gas, apparently it's pretty harmful, every heard of it?  And to top it off, a lot of these flowers, trees and fake shrubs are either doused in fire retardant chemicals or chemicals are "embedded" into the polyester or plastic materials so they are fire retardant.  Not only do they live forever, but they might burn because they're made of plastic.  You can't be too careful.  You can check out why they want you to buy that here:  http://www.commercialsilk.com artificial-tree1 But, not only does manufacturing the flowers probably affect people's health and the health of the environment in which it was made, it's also about who it's affecting.  Where do you think all these plastic flowers and trees and fake grasses are made?  Well, let's see.  Their plastic.  Their cheap.  Oh, could it be China?  Or maybe Thailand?  Or, say India?  Yes.  Cheap labor.  Unfair working conditions. Underpaid people or maybe even children, like this girl found by this photographer: a href="http://www.loupiote.com/photos/87750962.shtml"> artificial flowers - child labour - vietnam These underpaid laborers working tedious jobs with chemicals, arsenic and who knows what else.  And thankfully for the U.S., it's all being made in another country so the pollutants aren't directly in our backyard.   But that's not the end of the story.  Then it gets shipped thousands of miles over to us and trucks bring it to our homes or stores and we lovingly put the flowers in nice plastic vases and glue them together with some hot glue and styrofoam.  How lovely for the landfills.  And then we put those lovely fire retardant plastic flowers in our bedrooms and in our restaurants, and they collect dust while fire retardant and plastic off gases around them.  And if you're lucky, they may have even been sprayed with chemicals to make them smell like real flowers.  It just gets better and better. Now, I realize I may sound upset.  And I am.  And I know there are a ton of people out there who already know these flowers are not a good idea.  But for those of you entertaining the idea, please think twice.  If you're concerned about money, think about other ways to decorate that could be more forgiving to the environment and people's health.  If you want flowers, think naturally.  Why not buy some locally grown wildflowers?  or get some organic roses?  Find an organic or sustainable florist in your area.  I know people are starting to understand that most live cut flowers are sprayed with toxic pesticides and fungicides, etc.  as stated on this website for artificial flowers:  fake flowers don't need pesticides.  And you're right, but that in no way makes them good for the environment.  If you are really on a budget and worried about toxins, make them out of recycled paper, some fair trade organic cotton, anything but plastic!   You won't find a #2 recycle symbol on the back of that plastic rose, so you know where it goes when you're done. That's all for now. In Green and Health G&G

Green Wedding in Santa Cruz

Local, Sustainable and Organic 

In November, we did a wedding for Heidi and Dave, who had chosen to do local and sustainable flower design for their wedding.  The wedding took place at the Chaminade, very close to their home in Santa Cruz.  I don't live in Santa Cruz, so I stayed at a local beach cabana with my husband under the guise of a surf weekend.  We brought our dog and all the materials I would need to craft 21 large table centerpieces of orchids, some cocktail arrangements, a table card arrangement and the wedding party's flowers.   Heidi originally wanted orange and purple flowers, but when we talked with Dave about his needs he asked that we not use very much purple, as in his Italian culture it was considered bad luck.  So out went the purple and in came the green, white and orange color scheme that I suggested.   I had seen some beautifully decorated rooms where the floral designer used potted orchids as the centerpiece, so I suggested we do the same because the plants could also be used as gifts for those who wanted to take one home with them.  I used willow branches, moss and glass vases with rocks to pot the orchids, and they looked beautiful in the room.  Around the centerpieces I added some moss and branches I had found from the sea and that had dropped from trees in the mountains.  We decided a slightly mountain-y feel would go well for where the Chaminade is located (in the Santa Cruz mountains).  The ceilings were bare and we needed some height in the design, so the tall orchid centerpieces did the job wonderfully. gg-med-heidi-tables We also wanted to add some color to the tables but didn't want to have to buy tablecloths or order special cloth so I found some elephant dung paper (paper made from elephant poo, tree free, recycled and biodegradable) that came in a dark orange that Heidi was fond of.  We used the paper at each place setting and used if for the tablecards and table numbers. gg-med-room-setup I snuck in a little purple with some of the green flowering kale for the cake table.  Throughout all of the tables we used floating candles and votive candles for ambiance.  The dinner was in the evening, so to create an atmospheric light without turning up the electrical lights made it feel very romantic.  There were a lot of windows in the room, so we also strung up some hanging glass votive holders in the windows, which also added a soft light and twinkling. gg-med-heidi-cake For the Bridal party's flowers, I used what was in season from some local flower growers.  Heidi wanted Calla lilies and flowering kale matched the color scheme, so we used them for the bouquets.   gg-med-heidi-and-girls I also used veriflora certified roses for some of the boutonnieres and for the Bridal Bouquet. gg-med-heidi-bouquet Overall, the wedding looked beautiful and the atmosphere during dinner was very romantic.  Using local and fair trade flowers made the wedding a conscious wedding, that matched the lives of the bride and the groom. For more information about green wedding planning and floral design, visit us at www.gorgeousandgreenevents.com In Green and Health G&G

Review: www.greenyour.com

Review of the site: www.greenyour.com

I'm always on the lookout for helpful eco-conscious sites that have good and easily accessible information about weddings and wedding planning.  Well,  I happened upon www.greenyour.com and was excited.  First of all, being in green business, it's hard to find people or places that offer up good and deliberately hearty information such as this.  Looking under what they had to say about greening your wedding flowers, the facts were strong and depressing, and highly motivating.   I was really impressed that they talked about the flower industry so clearly and without remorse.  70% of all cut flowers in the US are from Latin America, where we have no control over how much pesticide they use on those flowers.  Then they are shipped to us and we put them in our hair and on our dining tables.  What do you think happens to all those chemicals, at some counts more than 120 that are used on flowers and greens in out of country flower production?  Not only are they poisoning both adult and children who work as flower farm workers in Latin American countries (and probably Thailand, China and wherever else flowers are being grown these days), but you guessed it, it's all ending up right in our homes, in our lives, in our water and in our dirt.  So much for beauty.   Now, being a florist, I knew this, and I know most people out there buying flowers don't.  I know some of us do know this and choose to look the other way.  But when facts are flown in your face, so clearly and without apology as on this website, you almost have to pay attention.  One downfall to the site, is the lack of pizazz.  Now, I know knowledge and truth go far and empowering people to make a difference shouldn't require marketing and flourishing design elements, but for many people on the web, pizazz makes people stop to watch.  Overall, the site is clean.  A nice medley of green and white with symbols everywhere so you know where to go.  It's easy and simple.  The also have a whole section under lifestyle on events, from birthdays to weddings.  Fantastic.  But still, a little plain for being so fantastic.  So my only comment would be, to add some design elements, especially if you're talking about weddings and events and such.  Not too much, just a nice flower pic here or cute dress there.  I smell a letter to the editor. This site also included information about other wedding decisions in their 15 ways to green your wedding, from finding a green event or buying a vintage dress to carbon offsets for your event and travel.  I would definitely suggest this site to anyone looking to know why these decisions are important ones and a few steps in how to actually make those decisions happen.  Thanks greenyour.com!  Now, if I could only get you to list more local resources in the Bay Area, I would be a happy camper.  Many engaged couples don't have a ton of time, so sometimes the best thing to do is list where to go.  But then again, I guess that's why I'm in business, to make it easier for those of you interested in planning and/or decorating a green event or wedding.   So look me up (pilar@gorgeousandgreenevents.com) , and definitely check out www.greenyour.com   In Green and Health, G&G