Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Stall's well that ends well.

Kablam! Another monster pun!

Well, come one come all and listen to my great tale of the Great Dixter Christmas Fair..... I arrived half an hour before it opened (having set up the day before) to find that hordes of super keen people had been let in early! And someone was already standing at my stall asking to buy things! "Amazing", I thought, "I shall be cleaned out before it's even time for elevenses". This proved not to be the case, but there was an excellent turn out, and it really was the most amazing location. I was in the Yeoman's Hall, next to an enormous raging fire (note to Great Dixter - surely you are plant savvy people, and know that flowers do not cope well next to leaping flames? Just saying is all...) with a jolly troupe of other stall holders, selling everything from beautiful handmade soaps to amazing jewellery. Hidden up the stairs past the tombola, some might say we were tucked away from view, in the manner of a slightly embarassing family member. I like to think we were the jewels in the crown of the fair, positioned cunningly next to the tea and cake section, a reward for the inquisitive shopper. Look at the stall of destiny, is not it lovely?

Bizarrely, all the things I thought would be snapped up instantly people didn't even look at, and the things I made last thing at night in front of the telly just to use up leftover material, were ohh and ahh-ed over, and bought straight away! Which just goes to show how much I know. Nuffink.

The most frustrating thing at these events is when people pour over you work, saying "oh it's all so beautiful, you're so clever, it's so wonderful, you have such talent" and then they walk away without buying anything! Still, a tremendous boost to the morale, if not to the coffers. That said, the whole thing was a delight, and I came away with a spring in my step and a cheque from none other than Christopher Lloyd! (great nephew of I believe...)

The most surprising moment was finding Yukka, one of the Great Dixter dachshunds, under my table trying to make off with my sandwich. Fat hund.

Now my attention turns to the big wedding next weekend. I've already worked out that there are not actually enough hours in the day to get everything collected, arranged and delivered, but I have every confidence that someone will invent some sort of time travel device by next Wednesday. Every confidence.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Of Moss and Men

It's the 1st of December, the yule tide is here, and once again I have come to the realisation that truly, moss is the devil's work. I know I'm all 'green' and what have you, but even I get a fit of the screaming ab-dabs rummaging though great auld dirty bags of wreath moss. There are THINGS in there... More things than last year... Plus the bag I have looks all green and mossy and delectable on the outside, but inside it is full of brown, nasty, un-mossy stuff. Nevertheless I have continued, and am quite pleased with my little wreath-lets, even though at their heart lurks the dingy moss of doom...

I made some willow rings earlier last month for some dried wreathy delights, and, despite having got quite giddy on the fumes from my hot glue gun today, they are looking very nice too. And yes, I hear all you 'but you should wire everything on individually, glue is for losers' people out there, and to you I say....tthhbbbpppp.

All these wonderous things will be on sale at my stall at the Great Dixter Christmas Fair this weekend! Come one, come all, grab your maiden aunt, coerce your children, bribe your parents, blackmail your spouse and come get festive.

Also check out the lovely e-advent calender at Green Union. Behind every door is an eco-tip, and if you send in a good one you could win a highly valuable prize from me! Or, if you're lucky, one of the other lovely people involved...

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Dahlia of the Triffids

Yes, it's happening, we're going for a botanical-literary-cinematic pun for every post. Start the groaning now.

So I dug out my dahlia tubers yesterday. They truly were monsters. I wish I could tell you which varieties they were, but of course I have totally forgotten. I think I went wild and ordered them from Sarah Raven as a treat (for me, not for her, I doubt she was that thrilled). Anyway, there were two delicious dark burgundy kinds and a bright orange one. They all grew like topsy* once planted, although I have to say that the vase life of the orange ones was pretty disappointing, they went rather crispy and curly round the edges - like a sandwich left out in the sun. They did pretty well in floral foam, and I made some lovely table centres out of them, which you see pictured, in September, which I thought were an autumnal delight, if I do say so myself. Was just about to divide them when it started hailing in a thoroughly aggressive manner, and I had to take cover in the greenhouse, with a rather worried dog. After the icy deluge I have to say I rather lost the will to garden...

Have not made a SINGLE wreath today as direct consequence of eating the biggest Thanksgiving dinner ever in the history of the world (fact) and being simply too full to deal with moss and wires and spiky things.

* Factoid of the day. I was just about to wonder out loud what 'topsy' was, thinking maybe it was a sort of weed, but I looked it up and in fact it comes from Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher-Stowe. The character Topsy is a wild ragamuffin, who says, "I s'pect I growed. Don't think nobody never made me." and it passed into common use. You see! Putting that English degree to good use, and maybe making up for horrendous puns? No.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Wreath Encounter

Hello loyal readers!

Well it's day two for the Rebecca Frere Flowers Blog of Ultimate Destiny, and it's got two followers, so if it continues to grow in this rabid 'a-person-a-day' manner, then... can work it out for yourselves, you mathematical whizz kids.

Today I took Christmas wreaths of all shapes and sizes (this is a lie - they were all round) to the Bonnington Christmas Coffee Morning. Whilst perhaps not being the world's most glamorous event, it was very jolly and in aid of a good cause, and the wreaths quite literally flew off the (makeshift) shelves. One over zealous would-be customer had to be prevented from buying one which was only half made! This means that either a) people are quite mad, or b) I should not bother finishing them off properly, as people clearly don't notice when they're a bit askew. I'm leaning towards A. It was an excellent dress-rehearsal for the Day of Days - the Great Dixter Christmas Fair.

Gearing up for a lovely wedding in Lympne Castle in December - a real christmas treat. I seem to have been talked into doing not only the flowers, but also running a creche in the castle during the reception... Not sure if I should diversify so soon, and in this direction, but we shall see!
Before I sign off, many MANY thanks to the multi-talented and tirelessly tasteful Kerry at for creating my beautiful new website AND setting up this blog, enabling me to bore people with my incessant chatter even more often than in the past.
Pip pip.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

December's News

Rebecca has a lovely stall at the Great Dixter Christmas Fair, held on the 6th and 7th of December. Come along to this wonderful house and garden, support local small businesses and do some Christmas shopping.