2014 in review for this Blog! Thank U Followers, Friends, and Clients. Happy New Year to You All.

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 31,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Mini Snowman in a Jar with Buffalo Snow

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This is a fun little project – great to do with kids or young adults and I thought I would re-share it today! It’s not too late to decorate!

Container Crazy CT

When babysitting my nephew, it hit me that I should keep some of the baby food jars on hand for an upcoming project – but I didn’t know what that project would be.  Perhaps the jars would be used to store some small items, or maybe I’d make a candle holder out of them, or they could have just ended up in my supplies for a long-time and not be used.

However, because my holiday decorating and fun juices are still flowing, I decided to create little decorations by using them to house a mini snowman.  These little decors could be easily used as ornaments (just attach a string on the top to hang) or as seating nameplate holders at a holiday table.  Whatever the use, sometimes its those “little” embellishments that are the most fun.

Mini Snowman Jar_0005

Here are the items used:

  1. Buffalo Snow (found in bags in retail stores)
  2. A…

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Thank You – Feeling Blessed Once Again for The Support of Clients, Friends, Family

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Last night, I posted on Facebook a photo of my Christmas tree, not yet fully decorated, while noting that I was very tired indeed. My schedule from spring up to this day has been filled with activity related to plants and container gardening, and during this time of year, decorating the home for the holidays with fresh evergreens and decor.

But, as I sat down last evening, it hit me. I was feeling pretty exhausted from lots of activity, but happy all the same. This year was filled with classes, Walk & Talk Garden tours where friends offered their gardens to be showcased free to anyone interested in attending, plants sales, and container gardening installs. Sometimes I will push myself to do events and I’m definitely driven by the fact I enjoy what I do but it is mixed also with ups and downs of emotions, meaning I get so excited (an up!), then sometimes I worry about the details (the downs!)

Worrying about details can be counter productive because there is so much you can not control in the gardening world. Plants get bugs, they may fail, or look weak – but I always want the best of the best so I will stress, look over my stock, scout and make sure all are doing fine – for my annual Container Gardening Workshop, as an example in May – or for the greens used this month for my annual Kissing Ball and Holiday Creations Workshop in December. I always want every thing to be just right – or as perfect as possible.

I got so hyped up at my last class, I thought I was going to faint when I was going over details with the attendees before they started making their kissing balls, wreaths, and holiday arrangements with greens. It kind of reminded me of the panic which set it when I did my first tv gig.  I was “soooo nervous.” I literally thought I may pass out before the start of my talk.

But I still did it and do it – Why? I sometimes think, why did I say yes to something that made me so nervous?! The answer to that question is obvious – because I love doing anything related to plants and container gardening, and while I may not be the most polished speaker in the world – I wouldn’t miss a chance to share what I know when asked, and so I proceed, even if the situation is a little out of my element or nerve wracking. After many talks now, it is not as difficult as it was when I started being asked to do talks – and I love doing them, even when busy and racing around with various activity.

This year, I was honored to be asked to speak to the Advance Master Gardeners Group in Tolland, CT for a session in September on Container Gardening Design, Care, and More. Then, my stupid laptop had major issues, so major in fact that I had no time to finalize my presentations, so I started getting nervous.  I begged the Master Gardener Coordinator to reschedule me – and thus, she did – to November 19th.  She kindly agreed (Thank you Deb P!).

If someone would have told me – you will be speaking to Advance Master Gardeners in November during the evening when temps were somewhat cold and we are approaching the winter season – which is not necessarily container gardening season – I would have thought it nuts, but I spent over 2 hours sharing a great deal of knowledge I’ve gained over the years as a container gardening fanatic and as an installer of container gardens as a business with my audience.

I thought about what I could offer that would be different – and some of it was the different types of tools for design which people may not consider, which I use all the time in my inspirational pool of … well, of, I don’t know the right word there – but what I mean is I try different stuff and tools that may be nontraditional when I design containers and gardens to gain inspiration and more.

And the response by the Master Gardener audience that evening during my presentation made up of 5 modules was amazing, they didn’t want me to stop talking. They commented on the documentation I provided too – saying they don’t get that much in other talks, which I took as a complement.  And two ladies approached me after the talk saying they want me to come visit them at their location south of Hartford. I jotted down their contact info – and then off I went to get busy with my evergreen orders and classes for December – so I still haven’t called those two ladies back yet (I will, I will – I promise!).

Another thing that surprised me was a request to do my edibles container gardening talk in February!  The group said of course, they would love to hear about edibles in container gardens during the winter – so that is up next, after a rest over the holiday week coming up and maybe a little more right after. And after having the luxury to do plant orders for next spring – which is a fun activity – and I’m excited (a big up!) about that as I take my knowledge and experience to select the best plants for next season’s Container Garden Workshop theme – which is going to be about powerful perennials in container gardens.

In addition to the Walk & Talk tours, I held many container garden talks this past year with a special focus of combining edibles in mixed container gardens as “design” elements (meaning their beautiful features – not even the fact they make a good snack when you admire your container gardens), and ‘nature with art ‘ classes with guest speakers, and offering my Big Container Garden Workshop at my classroom location in Broad Brook, CT for the first time, and – lets see, talks and visits at various Farmers Market and more – well, the activity was non-stop. It kept going – all good news!!

This is not to imply, however, that I’m as busy as I could be – I want more work and hope you will consider me for your container gardens in the upcoming season – Oh YAH!  Thanks to the homeowners and business people whom hire me repeatedly every year – you make me so happy – you do not know. When I’m at your home or business installing your container gardens, I think to myself – I’m sooooo happy doing this!! I’m so happy doing this!!  I could do container gardens 24 x 7 allll day long and be happy – why, I guess it is my passion!!

So – anyhow, not to babble – which I know I am at the moment, this post is just to say thank you to everyone supporting my efforts as part of my business, called Cathy T’s Landscape Designs, and my blog called, Container Crazy CT.

Oh, a friend just asked me on Sunday, when she came by to purchase some holly greens for her containers at home, why I changed my business name to Container Crazy CT?

My business name is still the same, but my focus is less on garden design and more on all service offerings related to container gardening – all things container gardening – installs, classes, and more – and offering monthly classes where nature is combined with art with guest speakers, and offering garden tours.  I’m doing less of the landscape design work specifically, but do offer general consultations on gardens or landscapes. I’ll update my blog on all my 2015 service offerings in the new year.

You know, at the beginning of this year – I wrote 5 goals on my black board in my office — You know how they say, write a dream board or goal board, and it will happen?  Well, all of my goals, except one, happened! The one that didn’t, I had put an X on it and said wait til 2015.  It was about transforming this blog into a more professional format, which I hope to do in 2015.

As for the other goals I listed, well, if you want to know what they are – contact me, I will tell you.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

It is time for bit of rest (and gift shopping and cooking for me) – I’ll be back very soon…

Cathy Testa
860-977-9473 (cell)
containercathy@gmail.com (email)
http://www.cathytesta.com
Blog: Container Crazy CT

Bottling Intoxicating Scents of Fresh Evergreens by Making Potpourri

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Last year, I made up a few of these adorable mason jars with fresh cut evergreen pieces and bits – and am re-sharing as an idea for hostess gifts, or even table name place seating idea. A fun idea and easy to do! Cathy T

Container Crazy CT

Sweeping up the floor of my classroom after an Evergreen Creations Class, a thought occurred to me.  I should collect some of the smaller cut pieces which fell to the floor to make potpourri.

And it was then I remembered, I picked up some mason jar covers at a Vintage Bazaar this summer with a precut pattern in them. They will be perfect.

Using some mason jars I had in stock, I filled the jars with bits and pieces of the greens. It was amazing how quickly the scent permeated from the jar.

Most people enjoy the scent of freshly cut evergreens – especially because it brings back memories.  Scent being one of the most powerful to remind you of something from the past.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension has an article on their website which states the feeling of evergreen aromas perfectly.

“Of all the memorable aromas of the…

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My First Square Wreath Done!

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Greeting Fellow Visitors,

Making a square wreath is a little more challenging as compared to a typical round wreath because of the corners and how you should keep the greens symmetrical to maintain the square look of the frame – but it is just as much fun as any project working with freshly cut evergreens.

Steps to Make a Square Wreath:

First, decide if want to batch your bundles of freshly cut greens by the “same type/variety” or by a “mix of each type” per bundle.

Mix of Fresh Cut Evergreens

Mix of Fresh Cut Evergreens

Because I wanted to see how it would look if I cut and batched the fresh evergreens by same type, this is the option I used to make my first square wreath.

However, I also love the look of bundles when a mix of each cutting or snip of the various greens are batched and bundled as well. It just depends on your preference or style.

Types of Evergreens Used:

Shown above, from left to right, are Holly, Berried Juniper, Silver Fir, Fraser Fir, Cedar Coned, Boxwood, and Golden Arborvitae.

Highlights of the Evergreens:

  • Holly – Very sharp leaves, and more of a decor touch – I only used 2 batches of those.
  • Berried Juniper – What is a wreath, kissing ball, or centerpiece without a touch of the berried Juniper? The soft, blue tones add a contrast and like the Holly, I made only 2-3 bundles of this to add as a highlight.
  • Silver Fir – Thick stems, one sided long soft needles (meaning the underside color is softer), and smells amazing when cut!!
  • Fraser Fir – Very long lasting, a must in any arrangement, traditional – just like Balsam, but Fraser is what I had available this season.
  • Cedar Coned – I love, love, love the golden color of the little cones on the tips – and it really shows up against darker greens, like the Boxwood. This type tends to drupe or dangle, so use care where you position it.
  • Boxwood – This is another fav – because it is so classic, a rich dark green color, small ovate like leaves, and a bonus is they don’t make your hands sticky while you work.  It’s a dark contrast of green to use in the design and a nice base, such as the Fraser Fir or Balsam.
  • Golden Arborvitae – Soft, flexible yet so beautiful – it has patterns of golden yellow in the green, and really so pretty to add as another element. Like the Cedar, it is a little softer and pliable.
  • Pine – Also smells amazing when cut, very sappy, and thin, long, flexible needles, nice next to coarse greens. Think thick foliage next to fine.

Cutting the Snips for Bundles:

So, cut a few of each at all the same length (4-5″ or 5-6″) and wire them together tightly at the cut end with green florist wire. Use sharp pruners and wear gloves, otherwise, you will have a sticky mess on your hands, and lots of lotion required afterwards.

Prepared Bundles:

Here are several bundles prepared. It is easier and faster to work if you have all the bundles ready to go, then you can lay them out on top of your frame to see how they would look before attaching them individually on the frame.

Bundles Prepared

Bundles Prepared

Think about putting the lighter colored bundles next to darker ones. For example, dark green Boxwood next to the light blue of the berried Juniper or the softer Golden Arborvitae. However, in the end, I don’t think it much matters, as all the beautiful freshly cut evergreens on the wreath usually look amazing!

Dark Green Boxwood

Dark Green Boxwood

14″ Wire Frame Used:

A heavy-duty double-wire 14″ square frame was used for this wreath. The durable frame is usable year after year, which is why I highlighted it at my class on making kissing balls and other holiday creations last weekend.

14" Wire Frame Used

14″ Wire Frame Used

Shown above are several of the bundles attached.  You can see there are two bars along each side of the frame.

Options are to wrap each bundle directly over the middle of those two bars, or to stagger them on each edge of the double bars. If you have a paddle of florist wire, wrap the stem end to the wire, then continue for each bundle without cutting the wire from the paddle.

Working Way Around

Working Way Around

Or you can cut wire as you go – either way works – but the key is to wire tightly. Wrap, pull tight, wrap a few times more to ensure it is secure.  The Silver Fir, as an example, can be heavy as well as a batch of drooping Cedars, so be aware of their weight for each bundle.  Boxwood and Fraser Fir are lighter thus may not require as much wiring.

Golden Arborvitae Used in the Design

Golden Arborvitae Used in the Design

As you approach each corner, think about the placement a bit so the square form is maintained. It also helps to watch a good holiday movie or listen to holiday tunes, and if your day is lightly snowing!

Snowfall that day in Broad Brook, CT

Snowfall that day in Broad Brook, CT

Here is my first ever made finished square wreath without decor and ribbons. The little red berries are double-ended on a wire and easy to attach. The look here is natural and likable, but decor was added after this step.

Square Wreath with Red Berries Attached

Square Wreath with Red Berries Attached

Adding Decor:

This step is really based on your preference. I made a bow to match the color of my white and red holiday decor colors at the house, and inserted picks of white snowflakes. Zip ties are what I use to attach a hanger on the back.

Bow on the Left Side

Bow on the Left Side

Silver Snowflakes Added

Silver Snowflakes Added

All Done!

Here it is all finished and hung on my door.  When my hubby arrived home, he said he liked it and that it smelled good too. And, when posted, many friends “liked it” which was very nice too – Thank you!

All Done!

All Done!

Want to Make Your Own ?? – Now’s Your Last Chance at Cathy T’s!

I’m holding a mini-session tomorrow, Saturday, Dec 13th from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. If interested in attending, contact me via text or call: 860-977-9473 or email containercathy@gmail.com. Cost is $30-35 based on item you elect to make. Options: Kissing Ball, Candle Centerpiece, Round Wreath – or, of course, a Square Wreath!!!  Location: Broad Brook, CT.

This will be your last opportunity to Make Your Own, but if you don’t have time, and need a decor element made for your home, custom orders are accepted.

TGIF Everyone,

Cathy Testa
http://www.ContainerCrazyCT.com
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com
http://www.cathytesta.com

Visit Cathy T’s Pinboards on Holidays to see many, many inspirational ideas of working with evergreens!  Click the Pinterest Icon on the right side bar of this blog.

To see examples of Cathy T’s Container Gardens Stuffed with Evergreens – See her latest posts and pinboards.  Ho-Ho-Ho-Horticulturist!!!

We Put Lights in Our Holiday Kissing Balls and Wreaths

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The lovely lady in the below photo, attending Container Crazy CT’s annual Kissing Ball & Holiday Creations Class, brought a string of holiday lights to put in her kissing ball one year – and that was the moment a trend began at this annual class!

The Official Light Queen at Cathy T's Annual Class

The Official Light Queen at Cathy T’s Annual Class – Photo by HomePlaceBlogger

Magic like this sometimes happens in class – and is one of the best part of holding a session where creativity kicks in by all the attendees. Thus, this light originator has been crowned our “Official Light Queen” at our class.  Love it Eilene!  Thank you for inspiring us.

Lights in our Holiday Kissing Balls

Lights in our Holiday Kissing Balls

In fact, this season, so many of the repeat attendees, which I refer to as the “Advanced Kissing Ball Makers,” are perfecting their techniques as they create their kissing balls, wreaths, and candle centerpieces with fresh evergreens.

Square Wreath with Lights - New This Season in Cathy T's Class!

Square Wreath with Lights – New This Season in Cathy T’s Class!

Here is an attendee also bringing lights, inspired by our “Official Light Queen” above, which she added to the square wreath she made with a mix of beautiful fresh evergreens.

Cathy T shows the class the new square wreath frame (Funny Expressions! LOL.)

Cathy T shows the class the new square wreath frame (Funny Expressions! LOL.)  Photos by HomePlaceBlogger

The square wreath is a new option available at Cathy T’s class this year.  It is created using a 14″ double-heavy duty metal frame – the frame is so strong, it will not bend and lasts for years to be reused. And the lights, which this attendee attached to her square wreath shown above, are battery operated – Great Job Dianne!

Light Queen Demonstrating

Light Queen Demonstrating – Photo by HomePlaceBlogger

I asked our Light Queen, Eileen, to demonstrate her technique for adding the holiday string of lights to the kissing balls, and you can see Renee is watching carefully – as she had plans to do the same in her two kissing balls.

Renee works the blues - adding blue ribbons and blue lights

Renee works the blues – adding blue ribbons and blue lights to her kissing balls

Renee and I attended the same high school (many moons ago). In fact, we sat next to each other in art class back in those days – and I always loved her drawings and clay art, and later in life – well, she ended up in my life even more – because I married her cousin!  So we are in-laws, and to have her here again this year is a treat.  She did an amazing job with her two kissing balls this season.  Way to go Renee!

Two finished with Blue Ribbon and Blue Lights!

Two finished with Blue Ribbon and Blue Lights!

I just love her bubbly personality which comes through in these photos.  More will be posted soon of our attendees amazing creations, and see below – a mini session is underway this weekend on Saturday.

Finished with Lights; Photo by HomePlaceBlogger

Finished with Lights; Photo by HomePlaceBlogger

Tips for Using Lights in Your Kissing Ball:

Evergreens remain fresher if kept outdoors in the cold where they will also receive some moisture from occassional snowfall or rainy days.  So, I always recommend kissing balls be hung outdoors, this way, they will last a long time – even up to February.

And please note: DRY greens are a huge fire hazard.  Never EVER leave a kissing ball with lights on unattended – and the same goes for any candle centerpieces created – do not leave candles unattended in centerpieces with greens if you decide to light the candle – even if it is a non-drip type as provided in class.

In fact, my recommendation is to not light the candle at all – or to use the non-drip type with a catch tray inserted for any potential drippings and if you light the candle, ONLY when you are sitting right in front of it.

Why so cautious?

Ever see a dry Christmas tree catch on fire?  It can be very dangerous and the flames move quickly.  So while lights are gorgeous in all evergreen creations – and many are available now as battery operated – just remember the safety rules – only when attended and better if the creation is displayed outdoors.

Have a Good Day Everyone,

Cathy Testa

Note:  A mini-class is underway for this Saturday, 12/13/14 at 12:30-3:00 pm.  If interested, contact me soon!

Container Gardens with Evergreens – Spice Up Your Space for the Holidays

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I’ve worked on cold and windy days to install festive holiday container gardens with evergreens and decor this time of the year – but I have to say, yesterday was probably the coldest day ever experienced outdoors while doing so.

Checking the weather beforehand wasn’t on my list – I knew it was going to rain today, so I thought, I need to get this done first thing on Monday.

The truck was loaded up with evergreens and decor supplies by sun up. Sometimes, having an early start is nice because all is quiet before shops open up for the day.

So off I went.  Within the first 45 minutes tho – my hands were frozen.  It was much colder than I expected. It was like 22 degrees out!

But because I enjoy the process of installing container gardens for the holidays, ignoring the tips of my finger tips getting cold in my not-warm-enough gloves was somewhat easy – at first.

As the owner of a business showed up to unlock his store, he said, “You picked a terrible day to do this. It’s freezing out.”

So, I responded with, “It is suppose to rain tomorrow, and it is time for the seasonal change up, so here I am!”

He agreed, indicating this is his favorite container of the seasonal change outs, and how he is looking forward to the holidays.

After completing his two big barrels at his store front, I went for a coffee and returned to the house for warmer socks, gloves, a neck warmer, and warmer ski like hat – it was THAT cold out.

Back out I went and finished two other jobs, taking a lunch break in between to – yes, warm up again.

Luckily – these are local clients – for which I am very thankful for their business.

Check them out – The Sweet Spot Bakery in Broad Brook, CT offers freshly baked cupcakes, cakes, and more – and they are yummy. In fact, I had them make a kissing ball cake for my latest class – it was much fun as everyone didn’t realize it was a cake at first.

KB Cake by The Sweet Spot Baker (Photo by HomePlaceBlogger)

KB Cake by The Sweet Spot Bakery of Broad Brook, CT (Photo by HomePlaceBlogger)

Then there’s the huge and popular package store, Joe’s Fine Wine & Spirits, on Rt 140 in East Windsor, CT.  When I looked around at the supply of wine and beer, during my warm up breaks in the store yesterday, I thought – “Gosh, what Leslie and his staff has done for this place is amazing.”  They offer a huge selection of wine and beer — and they hold holiday festivities during the year, like wine tastings, and several important fundraising benefits to help raise funds for community efforts.

Barrels in-front of Joe's Fine Wine & Spirits by Cathy T

Barrels in-front of Joe’s Fine Wine & Spirits by Cathy T

After finishing the decor at Joe’s Fine Wine & Spirits, it was off to a local hairdresser’s shop, next to the new TRX exercise studio, which is another small local business to support. The salon is called Carol Jean’s Hair Salon at 144 North Road, East Windsor, CT. Michelle is a great person and offers local salon services.

Container Garden Dressed Up by Cathy T at Carol Jean's Hair Salon

Container Garden Dressed Up by Cathy T at Carol Jean’s Hair Salon

All of these business owners tell me the festive container gardens outside their businesses adds a welcoming environment – and their customers really enjoy seeing them each season, and talking about them with the business owners.

Container Gardens outside of storefronts and businesses lets everyone know – customers are important to their small businesses, and they want to share the holiday happiness too!

If you are interested in an install job for container gardens, call me this week while supplies last.  This is the best time of year to dress up your outdoor store front environment, whether it be a container garden stuffed with greens and decor or a holiday kissing ball or wreath hung on your front door. Tis’ the Season!!

His and Her's Elves Grace the Steps of THE SWEET SPOT Bakery in Broad Brook, CT.

His and Her’s Elves Grace the Steps of THE SWEET SPOT Bakery in Broad Brook, CT.

And, by the way, I’m super glad I went out yesterday, despite the freezing cold, instead of today. I hear the ice is slick out there today – black ice, my husband warned. He already e-mailed me from his office to say be careful stepping out on to the driveway today. It is slick.

I think I’ll wait for the sun to come out and warm up everything – this time!

Cathy Testa

http://www.ContainerCrazyCT.com
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com

Custom Orders for Evergreens – Or Make Your Own by Appointment This Week!

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Ho, Ho, Ho Everyone!

What fun we had on Saturday! Just look at these beautiful ladies with their evergreen handmade holiday creations from Saturday’s class at ContainerCrazyCT’s workshop.

Attendees at ContainerCrazyCT's class - Photos by HomePlaceBlogger

Attendees at ContainerCrazyCT’s class – Photos by HomePlaceBlogger

Advanced Kissing Ball Makers (returning each year) are really rockin’ their creations – lights were added to balls and wreaths, their bows are coming out fantastic, and each has new ideas every year.

Attendees at the 5th Annual Class Hosted by ContainerCrazyCT

Attendees at the 5th Annual Class Hosted by ContainerCrazyCT

Making Your Own by Appointment – Open Studio Days

If you are interested in making your own, you may do so during Cathy T’s Open Studio days this week from Dec 9-12th, any time, just book an appointment, come to her workshop in Broad Brook, CT and get one-on-one private instructions on how to make your very own kissing ball, wreath, or candle centerpiece with fresh greens.

First Time Attendee Makes a Gorgeous round and square wreath!

First Time Attendee Makes a Gorgeous round wreath – Great Job!!

Place a Custom Order Soon!

Too busy for Open Studio Days?  Place a custom order today, and Cathy T will make an item for you.  Custom orders for a large kissing ball, wreath, or candle centerpiece are available. Prices range from $35-$45 based on items selected and decor.

Container Gardens With Evergreens at Home or Business Locations

Also, remember Cathy T installs container gardens at outdoor locations stuffed with greens and decor.  If you need an item for your home or business, call her today or text: 860-977-9473 or email: containercathy@gmail.com. See also the contact form below.

A Box of Greens – Is a Box of Jolly!

Do you need a stock of evergreens to dress up your home?  Another option available is to purchase a box of greens.  Pickup at Cathy T’s Broad Brook, CT location is required – so if you are local, give a holler at 860-977-9473. The box will include Balsam, Silver Fir, Golden Arborvitae, Yew, Cedar, and more. For information and prices, please contact Cathy T.

A Great Big Thank You!

I’d also like to take this quick opportunity to thank all the attendees for making my Christmas season kick off so much fun.  The appetizers you brought, the cheer, and special attendees giving their own demo’s (Maryse – Bow Queen!, Eilene – Light Queen!) during the class.

Contact Form

Cathy Testa
http://www.ContainerCrazyCT.com
860-977-9473 (cell)
containercathy@gmail.com

 

Rudolph Delivers Fresh Evergreens for Making Holiday Kissing Balls at Cathy T’s Class

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Hello fellow blog followers, friends, clients, and new visitors!

A New Variety at Tomorrow Class - Golden Arborvitae!

Golden Arborvitae Used in Kissing Balls – A New Variety This Year!

Tomorrow marks the date of Cathy T’s “5th Annual Kissing Ball and Holiday Creations Class!

It’s hard to believe, but this class has been running for five years now.

It all started when an idea popped into my head to hold a class on making holiday kissing balls, wreaths, and centerpieces using fresh evergreens after helping a friend assemble her kissing balls at her home.

Each year, this class is coordinated with a mix of excitement, anticipation, and fears.

What do I mean about fears?

Well, when working in the plant world – because plants have the potential to be affected by any number of unexpected surprises, there is always that little bit of fear that something could go wrong.

Just yesterday, I shared a link about a California tree grower experiencing a huge loss of holiday grown trees due to drought. Christmas trees take many years to reach the perfect stage for sale during the holidays, so image his disappointment when 500 trees were so badly affected by lack of rain fall, they could not be offered for sale this season. This is something he really had no control over because his trees were suffering from the forces of Mother Nature.

But, most people in the horticulture trade learn how to roll with the punches, solve any unanticipated – or unwanted bumps in the road and move on quickly. And usually, they never give up either.

On the day I drove to my suppliers to finally pick up my order of fresh mixed evergreens  – a day highly anticipated and enjoyed every year around this time – a blip happened.

When I arrived at their door, they told me a big portion of my evergreens order was not in yet.

Cathy yelling "something is missing here!" Photo Source: Bitstrips

Cathy T is surprised to learn not all is in yet. (Photo Source: Bitstrips)

My reaction was not pure panic, because it was one of those – here we go moments, but disappointment set in. I have things to do and get done, and this would be a slight delay to deal with.

I thought, “I guess this is my unexpected storm this go around?”

As I questioned why and how quickly they could resolve this blip, suddenly, out of no where, a very pleasant gentleman showed up by my side.

I had never seen him before and he reassured me all would be fine. He promised to make a special delivery to my house the very next morning.

When I questioned him on the time of the delivery, he said they would be there by 8:30 am.

Timing was important to me, just like Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, a great deal of planning goes into my special day – so I didn’t want this little storm to delay the gift of greens used in my class by all the Kissing Ball Makers.

Thankfully, the next morning, one of his elves did show up, as promised — on time.

“Phew.” I thought.  All looked great and it was onto my next to do’s to prepare for the class activities.

As I was working, I started thinking, “Who was “that guy” yesterday?”

As I mentioned, I had never seen him before in all the five years I have driven to their place to pickup my evergreens. Was he an owner? Is he a new worker?

He certainly was very attentive and saved the day.

Was he my Rudolph?

Perhaps!! To me he was at that moment – he made sure the delivery took place no matter what it took – typical of horticulture people – especially this time of year.

So, long story short —

Making beautiful holiday kissing balls with fresh evergreens will happen yet again, despite those fears or blips which may happen from time to time in the plant world.

Snowmen Wine Stoppers - You know what these are for!

Snowmen Wine Stoppers – You know what these are for!

We will be surrounded by holiday decor, warmed by appetizers and holiday cheer, and share our day with enthusiastic kissing ball makers.

Dark and Classic Boxwood Used in KBs

Dark and Classic Boxwood Used in KBs

You may search the question: “How to make kissing balls?” via Google on the Internet, and you will find many videos and information on the how to’s, but you don’t get the holiday magic which happens in Container Crazy CT’s holiday workshop each year, unless of course, you are a fortunate attendee.

See you all soon new and advanced Kissing Ball Makers!

Ho, Ho, Ho…

Affectionately,

Your Pseudo Mrs. Claus

Cathy T - Photo by Bitstrips

Cathy T – Photo by Bitstrips

Using Zip Ties to attach Deco Mesh Ribbon to your Decorating Projects

2 Comments

Mesh Ribbon is super easy to use. It bunches, batches, twists and turns so well and can be attached easily to wreath frames using Zip Ties, I decided to reblog this post from last year. Lots of folks are searching the “how to” question on mesh ribbons, this should help. Other things to note: Mesh Ribbon is GORGEOUS, but if in full sun for a long time – it will fade. That is about its only drawback I have experienced, otherwise – keep on using it. I hope this post will help you with the how-to’s of attaching it to your holiday decor this season. Enjoy and SHARE! Thanks, Cathy T

Container Crazy CT

Mesh ribbon is incredibly easy to use and attach to your mechanics by using zip ties (a.k.a., cable ties).  You can use pipe cleaners (as an alternative) instead of the zip ties, but zip ties secure the ribbon tightly at each puff or bunch, which makes the pulling and tucking more efficient as you work to create your design for a wreath or swag.

The zip ties also work well for attaching ornaments because they slide easily into the ornament hooks.  The size you want to get is at least a 3-4″ length for the zip ties, or you can go longer, and just cut the tail ends off at the end of your project.

Zip ties will last for years, where I think pipe cleaners can wear a bit over time.  And if you want to take apart your project later (for whatever reason), zip ties are easily cut…

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