Going, going, …Gone! Greens for Sale, Custom Orders, and More!

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Soon it will be going – going – gone on all the beautiful mixed greenery available for purchase at Container Crazy CT’s. I’ve made custom kissing balls for clients, wreaths for friends, and have available boxes of greens if you wish to purchase some to use for your final holiday decorating, but after this week – all will be gone! So contact me if interested soon.

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On Saturday, because it was 60 degrees out, I sat at the end of my long driveway making kissing balls with holiday music coming out of the truck, and my husband facing the sun as he kept me company.

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Some neighbors walked over to say hello and cars beeped as they drove by. It was a fun day and one to take advantage of because of the amazing unusual warm weather we experienced this weekend in December.

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During the week, I also made some cute mini swags and handed them out to friends. They are perfect to put on the back of chairs or as decorations on your holiday table.

I also tried making my first wreath in the shape of a cross. It is filled with juniper, variegated holly, seeded eucalyptus, boxwood, silver fir, yew, pine, and more greens. It took over an hour to make, but it was a nice process for the first time and I know how I would change the application of the batched greens next time to look even better. It is rather large too – at 3.5′ in height. Someone suggested making smaller ones for cemeteries which I thought is a really nice suggestion.

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Yesterday a break was due. My husband and I took the time to visit the Coventry Winter Farmers’ Market at their new location at the Coventry High School. The market is held on Sundays from 11 am to 2 pm. It was a great opportunity to purchase some gifts and to visit my friend, Laura Sinsigallo of timefliesbylauralie, who was vending as well. She taught a class here for me last year, and she makes the most adorable and cute holiday themed dolls, and she stamps vintage spoons and makes other art. I had asked her to make a spoon for me with my website name to maybe use in my pots, and here it is. She said it was rather challenging, but I just LOVE it!

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And here are some photos of Laura’s work at the market. I picked up a few things for gifts for my family. Her style is one I truly enjoy.

Next year, if I plan all right – I will be vending there on the same Sunday, but this year was just a little too hectic this month to get in on time. My priorities this week are making wreaths in the morning, holiday shopping in the afternoon, planning my menu for my family’s Christmas gathering in two weeks, and well – it is time to make a list and check it twice…

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

 

P.S. I use green florist tape to cover the kissing ball wire hooks. It looks so much better. Those little touches help. It will be something I will show everyone at next year’s workshops.

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Making Your Own Evergreen Creations – This Saturday at the Mini Workshop!

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Just a quick heads-up – If you missed the big Holiday Evergreens Creations Workshop this past Saturday, there are other opportunities to make your own evergreen creation – via appointment this week or attend the Mini Workshop on Saturday, December 12th, 11 am.

(Note, the start time is 11 am but if you prefer earlier in the day, or later, just let me know – I realize everyone has super busy holiday schedules right now – we are flexible).

To attend Saturday’s class, email containercathy@gmail.com or call or text me at 860-977-9473. Payment in advance is not required – You may pay at the class, but a confirmed headcount is needed, so sign up by Thursday of this week if you wish to join the Mini Workshop on Saturday.

We have fresh beautiful greens to make a Kissing Ball, Candle Centerpiece, Wreath, or Candy Cane Wreath.

Here’s more details!

Open Studio Days – The week following the Big Class, if you prefer a one-on-one instruction by appointment, you may contact Cathy T to book a date and time – any time of day the week of Dec 7th, Monday through Dec 11, Friday.  This is convenient for those having time during the day or prefer to make an item after work or even before work.

Saturday’s Mini Workshop

Saturday, December 12th, 2015 – The Mini Workshop:  This session is perfect for anyone, nice for mothers and young daughters, or anyone that could not make the Big Class. It is quieter, no festivities other than making your beautiful evergreen holiday items with more one on one personal instruction directly since it is not a big crowd. You will learn the techniques and tricks to making gorgeous greenery arrangements and take home your holiday creation.

Cost: $37-$40 based on item you elect to make.
See the menu bar for descriptions.

Location: 72 Harrington Road, Broad Brook, CT 06016

I hope to hear from you! Cathy Testa

860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com

Photos by Bonnie of the Home Place Blog. That’s her on the top left in pink! She is wonderful and shares posts about food, events, and fun happenings in Connecticut. Check out Bonnie’s award winning blog for more on her amazing topics about places to eat and enjoy in Connecticut.

Keeping Holiday Greens Fresh after Assembly

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Hello Everyone,

The temperatures are getting a little colder here in Connecticut and the misty rain is making things outdoors a bit damp, but it will not dampen my spirits – In fact, it will make them even brighter.

As my big Kissing Ball and Holiday Evergreen Creations class is approaching – in only 3 days – I welcome the colder temps and feeling of winter – It also helps me to maintain the goodness of my specially ordered mixed evergreens for this weekend’s class.

This year, we have lots of newbies in my workshop. Some of them seem a little nervous, saying or texting things like, “I’m not crafty” and “I want to sit in the front of the class,” but I believe they will surprise themselves.

All my attendees end up making something amazing and they impress me every year with their talents as they decorate the kissing balls and wreaths. I learn from them as well.

FM Kissing Ball Red Ribbon

Kissing Ball with Bow Created at ContainerCrazyCT Classes

But after the class, they may be wondering, how do I keep everything fresh?

For starters, the cold weather really helps – and it best for them to keep their newly made holiday arrangements with fresh evergreens outside.

The natural moisture from misty winter rains and upcoming snow falls outdoors keeps the greens just right. Colder is better to retain needles.

But, the type of evergreen also determines how it will fare in the weather after being cut and inserted into the mechanics.

For example, fir and balsam trees cuttings last very well for a long time. Their needle retention is pretty good – that is why people like them for Christmas trees.

Keep Your Holiday Creations Outdoors

It is also important or helpful, but not mandatory, to keep your wreath or kissing ball out of direct sunlight and wind. The wind may dry out the needles somewhat faster than if located in a protected place outdoors.

You may hang your kissing ball indoors – like from a ceiling fan or chandelier, however, it will dry out faster in a warm house. If you really want to do that for décor during your festivities later in the month, a good tip is to hang it outside the weeks or days before so it stays cold, and move it to your indoor location a couple days before your holiday event.

And be sure to keep any holiday arrangements with fresh greens away from hot rooms heated by wood stoves. That will surely dry them out.

I also recommend any candle centerpieces are kept in the coldest room possible before you display them at your holiday dinner table.

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Fake Red Carnations on a Regular Sized Evergreen Kissing Ball

I find my kissing ball, hanging outside by my steps lasts all the way into February with no problems at all. I remember one year, it was hanging there on Valentine’s Day covered with snow and red fake carnations but it was soooo beautiful even then.

Pick Them Fresh

It also helps if the greens are purchased or picked fresh of course, which is one of my goals every year for this workshop. Timing is everything.

If you get greens from your yard, wait until you are ready to arrange them to cut them from your branches, or do it the evening before if possible, and take them when it is cold outside (not warm). Also, I recommend you cut them before any major wet type freeze falls on leave leaves or needles – so be sure to watch your weather forecasts.

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Regular Size Boxwood Kissing Ball – Color Lasts a Long Time!

Other types of evergreens which last and have a nice color in mixed arrangements are juniper, incense cedar, white pine, and as noted above, fir and balsam. The white pine may dry out a little quicker than the others, I have found but no worries, all will be fine.

Hemlock branches are very pretty and they tend to arch which I like in container gardens outdoors for holidays, but they will loose their needles a little faster than other types.

Yew, with its dark green needles, is a great candidate and lasts. For some reason, it is not as popular but I think it looks marvelous and adds a layer of texture in the arrangements.

One new item this year at my workshop, which will be a surprise to my attendees unless they are reading this blog post today, is berried Eucalyptus. This has a beautiful blue coloring and texture – and I’m excited to share it with everyone on Saturday.

Boxwood is another excellent, quality green in arrangements for the holidays. One big benefit is they have no sticky sap and they maintain their dark color even if they get a little dry over time. I absolutely love the classic look boxwood cuttings give to kissing balls and wreaths.

Boxwood along with Pine may be soaked in water prior to your day of arrangement – if needed to re-hydrate, but often it is not required.

Holly can be a little tougher to work with because those spines are SHARP. And holly may turn black if it gets wet and then freezes, but I don’t see this situation too often.

By the way, this year, we have variegated Holly – wait til you see it – oh, la, la, fa, and la-lah. Its gorgeous.

One year, perhaps next year, we will add magnolia leaves to the mix – they have shiny tops and brown undersides to their leaves, and it adds a really nice texture to holiday evergreen arrangements, especially on wreaths.

There are anti-desiccant type products you may spray on your greens to help retain moisture, but to be honest, I don’t bother with that – and everything has lasted well for the holidays.

Boxwood Bow III

Bow on top of a Kissing Ball

Last but not least, cutting the ends of your greens from fresh branches with “good sharp pruners” is important. It not only helps with the insertion into your kissing ball mechanics, but allows water uptake if you set your greens in a bucket of water the night before or if you are using hydrated floral foam.

Timing is Everything

Timing is probably the most important of all (along with cold temperatures).

Everything is timed in the background – lots of busy growers, distributors, and buyers do everything they can to time the harvesting of greens at the right time to shorten the length it sits out – and if too early, that’s not good – if too late, not good either. It has to be just right.

I do my best and feel like Mrs. Kissing Ball Clause as I prepare all for holiday workshops – I feel this magical spirit as I get everything ready – maybe that is what drives everyone in the business of selling Christmas trees, making wreaths to sell at stores, and arranging workshops. They end up working outdoors in the cold or rain but keep on. We are those elves doing whatever it takes to make all merry.

See you soon,

Cathy Testa
www.ContainerCrazyCT.com
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com

Container Crazy CT has Gift Cards Available – See the Menu Bar above – A Great Gift Redeemable Towards Future Workshops!

We have many exciting new workshops in 2016 – See “February’s Floral Design Class” with two experts in the horticulture business of floral design. See “April’s Art class”, and also May for the “Container Gardening workshops” – All hands-on and fun, educational, convenient. Classes fill up early too – so gift cards are perfect to give to someone who will enjoy this type of event at Container Crazy CT located in East Windsor/Broad Brook, Connecticut. And they may be used, of course, for next year’s holiday workshops. We hope to hear from you! Cathy Testa

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

 

Evergreens Creations Class at the East Windsor Senior Center on Tuesday

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Yesterday was a huge success of making amazing evergreen creations with attendees at my annual class, but there is another chance if you are available during the day and would like to join my next session at the East Windsor Senior Center located on Main Street in Broad Brook, CT.  It will be held Tuesday, December 10th, 12:30 – 2:00 pm.  If interested, we have a few seats open.  Contact me either via cell: 860-977-9473 or containercathy@gmail.com.

To give you an idea of what you can make, take a look at these photos below of the regular sized kissing ball and wreath.  The candle centerpiece is unique – we won’t be making them in this beautiful sleigh as one attendee did yesterday – what a GREAT IDEA, but the candle centerpiece you can make is just as beautiful.  See my Classes on this blog for other photos.

Every year, the creativity increases by the attendees.  I’m always impressed with their new twists on how to make their evergreen creation more – well CREATIVE!  We had attendees make topiary balls for a beautiful pot outdoors, another attendee brought a cute sleigh to create her candle centerpiece, and even another attendee installed red lights in her kissing ball – WOW.  Stunning, which I will share those photos later.

But for now, this is just a peak of items from yesterday’s class below.  If interested in this week’s Tuesday class at the Senior Center, please contact me right away.

Take a look at other photos on this blog for what you can make with fresh evergreens, including the instruction and materials.  For more information, contact me 860-977-9473.

And enjoy the rest of your weekend.  Thank you – Cathy Testa

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FOUR YEARS AND COUNTING

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It is truly amazing how fast time flies by, especially as we get older. My mother always says, “Wait til you get my age! It goes sooo fast.”

I read somewhere the reason it feels like life is moving so fast sometimes is because of our “routines” and if we change them, things won’t feel so fast, but routines and traditions are inevitable, plus we enjoy them.

AN AWARD

Source: WordPress

Source: WordPress

Today I saw an “award” on my WordPress Blog message board.

It says today is the 4th year anniversary of my blog – geesh!  I can not believe I started this blog 4 years ago – where did the time go?  And I have 224 posts to date.  Stats continue to rise and I truly appreciate all the visitors to my blog.  It is incredible the other bloggers you can meet just by being a blogger.

Nowadays, I don’t bother searching for something via websites, I always go to blogs when I want to find something creative or when I need information.

But other things that seem to creep up quickly – are the months.  My husband always says, “Wow, it’s xx month already – like October – its here – and then he will follow with, “Next thing you know it is Christmas, and then New Years, and then time to open the pool, then time to close the pool, then time to take stuff off the deck…”  I usually stop him with, “Cut THAT out!”  LOL.  He’s right now, we barely swam in our pool and just closed it up recently, how does that happen so fast?

A CLASS IN DECEMBER

Source: Bitstrips

Source: Bitstrips

It may seem early to be talking about December, but I just posted more information regarding my annual holiday class called “Evergreen Kissing Ball & Holiday Creations“.

The planning for this event starts in October for me.  You see, I have to place orders to my growers and suppliers now to ensure I will receive my batches of fresh quality evergreens for my attendees.  They don’t get cut now but they need to know what to expect from their clients, so yesterday I had the pleasure of selecting the greens and creating my advance documentation about the class.  Some folks did ask recently if I’m holding the class again – and the answer is YES!  So click on my Cathy T Class page from my menu if you wish to get on board early.

That’s it for now – just a quick post.  Onto planning for my October class, being held this Sunday, October 13th, on how to overwinter tropical plants. The weather this year is warm compared to last year this time – I remember, because I setup a fire pit outside last year when I did this class, and this year, it is still warm and even humid.

Last night, I had my slider door open to allow the fresh air – amazing for October. But it could change with a snap of your fingers.  I’m starting to do some container garden clean-up this week – thinking tomorrow because the sun is suppose to be out, so it will be enjoyable.

The take down of my tropical plants for storage over the winter will be held off for Sunday.  So if you want to join me to learn the process, please contact me by Friday, October 11th, of this week.  It will be here before you know it.

Thanks for dropping in again – so enjoy your visits.

Cathy Testa