Tuesday, November 30, 2010

90th Birthday Celebration

The Centerpiece When I am asked to decorate a party I always get so excited and when the request is to create decorations for the 90th birthday celebration someone’s Grandma…..well that’s really special. It was a real pleasure for me when my customer with a lilac paper plate in her hand came in to ask me to create centerpieces for grandmas birthday party. The budget wasn’t a big one but I always find a way to create something beautiful with almost any budget.

As usual customers don’t fully understand floral materials. Often they don’t really know what they want in a design. It’s my job to draw them out. To carefully listen to their comments and interpret them into a floral arrangement or decoration using other types of materials. So it was with the lilac paper plate and a few questions that I designed these decorations.

The best part of all was the phone call that I received from the customer saying that we received numerous compliments for our work. Compliments that we deliver more than a customer ever expects and we do it on time. I suppose all this is the result of having a job that I really do love and get excited about each time a customer comes in to decorate a party or wedding.

I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed doing the work.
Happy 90th birthday to “Grandma”.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bridal Fair - A Garden Wedding

Sposa2011Wedding planning season has begun in Italy and with it many cities host one or more Bridal Fairs. Organizing for a fair is such a challenge. Not only does it require that I find some creative idea that will capture the attention of thousands of tired fair goers but also to create something that will last the five days of the show but will showcase my skills as a designer and florist. Then comes the managerial and marketing work. Even though I have specialists who handle these responsibilities, I believe it’s important that I am involved in the process.

This year I designed a garden wedding. As always I try to create a stand that allows me to explain to couples in an instant my style of designing for church weddings and reception decorations. My garden wedding is made up of items that can be used in a number of different ways.

Since my goal is to design for my clients, I included both modern and classical arrangements in the stand. There was something there for every request.

The big news??? I included feathers in my designs which is an item normally not seen in Italian weddings. It was interesting to see the reaction of the younger brides to this “NEW” idea. I was personally surprised to learn that many couples have planned to get married during 2011 in the garden.

Creativity and surprise, this is why I love my work.


Monday, October 18, 2010

The Calla Lily

The Bride When I receive an email from a lady who is planning a destination wedding here in Rome, the first thing I do is create a file. From experience I know that working with a client long distance requires special attention. Normally I rely on my sixth sense during meetings to help me understand the expectations of a client but when you are receiving emails and that’s all you have to rely on, it’s important to file each and every email that tell you something about the future bride.

Bridesmaid Reviewing the emails that Elaine sent to me along with photos of designs that she liked I found a theme emerging before my eyes and brought it to her attention. She loves calla lilies!!! I suggested that she use the calla lily as her theme. We used 4 colors of Calla lily in the bouquets, buttonholes and the church decorations. We reused the flowers from the church to decorate the reception in order to maximize on the flower budget and reinforce the Calla Lily theme.

Church Entrance

Pew decorations

Alter Reception
Point of information, I have been able to count more than 30 different colors of Calla Lily. They come in sizes ranging from no bigger than your thumb to bigger than your fist. The options are limitless.

Special thanks to Elaine, Ian and their family for allowing me to publish these photos. I had a wonderful time working for them.

All the happiness in the world to them.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gattinoni Couture

Entrance to the Palace

Reflecting on our lives, it’s those rare spectacular moments that become imprinted in our memories for the rest of our lives. Just this Monday, July 12th 2010 was one of those spectacular moments for me.

It was my birthday which is already a very special event for me. I usually celebrate my birthday by giving to others in some way. Guillermo Mariotto, Director of fashion design at Gattinoni gave me the responsibility of designing the decorations for his Fall/Winter 2010 Show, an honor that many floral designers would pay for but he offered to pay me. The Show was held at a royal palace constructed in the 1600’s. Decorating a venue of this type not only requires special attention to design but also of handling tools and mounting methods as not to damage any part of the incredible works of art of this historical monument. It was such an emotional experience to see my work in such regal surroundings.

The icing on my birthday cake that evening was the attendance of American Ambassador Ertharin Cousin. To have such an outstanding American woman present in Rome to admire my work was an honor that I will remember the rest of my life.

Full of emotion,


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Floral Materials

Gerber (inverted)
Taking classes, visiting floral demonstrations or just playing in my store with various materials are various ways that I get inspiration and keep my creativity alive. When a customer comes in to plan an event I want them to see creativity in motion in my work environment.

The rich color and long lasting character make this a very interesting greenery to work with. It can be cut or twisted of rolled and will still last for weeks….yes, weeks.

Lemons (fruit)

Fruit doesn’t have to be in the middle of an arrangement in order to be part of it. I try to create new ways to use common items.

Bells of Ireland

Bells of Ireland (Molucella) This “flower” is normally used in its long upright position. Knowing it lasts longer when cut short I decided to see how long it would last when cut really short.

Recently various customers after looking around were shocked to learn that a type of flower existed or that I use a common flower in a very uncommon way. These customers are the catalyst for sharing some of my recent designs with you.

Just sharing,


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Floral Art - Nemi

Floral Art outdoorsFor the past few years the tiny town of Nemi has invited me along with a very few other floral designers to participate in their annual celebration of wild strawberries and flowers. This little town just outside the center of Rome is famous for these two items.

Since there are many flower growers in Nemi, they each donate all kinds of floral related materials for this event. Upon arrival we are guided to a warehouse full of all types of flowers, greenery, branches and assorted other items. This warehouse is a floral designers dream come true. We are each permitted to chose whatever we want to create our designs. Many of us have brought along other items to add to the vast assortment.

It doesn’t take long before we are each immersed in our design projects. I have chosen types of flowers that I usually don’t use in my work as a way to force myself to create new forms and to experiment. What a wonderful experience to design literally whatever you want using flowers.

Although I am always thrilled with this very special opportunity to create outdoors for the sheer joy of doing it and not bound by customer needs, the best part of all is eating all those strawberries at the end of the night.

How blessed I am to be doing something I love.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Circolo Della Caccia

Ambassador Cousin and Debra Biagini

Ambassador Cousin and Debra The Bouquet

Recently the American International Club of Rome (AICR) was invited by our club Vice President to the Circolo della Caccia.

The Circolo della Caccia, also considered an exclusive private museum, was founded 140 years ago in 1869, and is a true privilege for those who are able to gain access to its noble doors.
Stepping back in time, guests marveled at the 17th century frescos adorning the walls; at the traditionally-clad wait staff in livery catering to their every culinary need; at the secret staircase hidden within the internal wall structure of the palazzo; and so much more. Guests were welcomed with a cocktail and treated to a refined dining experience amongst an international group of friends and two american ambassadors.

The club asked me to design a bouquet for Ambassador Cousin. Since I did not know her I decided to just create something that I truely loved and hope that she would love it too. The above bouquet was created with roses and ipericum. It was turely exciting to find out that the ambassador not only loved my bouquet but really does love flowers....just as I do.

It really was an honor to create something beautiful for this intelligent and beautiful ambassador.