Can you believe it's the Friday before Thanksgiving?! I cannot! Today we had the pleasure of interviewing Christine, with Continental Floral Greens. Is anyone else a huge fan of decorating with gorgeous greenery? I love it any time of year, but during the holidays there is nothing better than fresh garlands adorning the fireplace & a beautiful wreath hanging on the front door. And the smell of fresh pine? Get out of town!
1. Christine, thanks so much for taking time to share with us today. Can you tell us about Continental Floral Greens?
We like to call ourselves a farm to vase, or farm to front door, greens experience. We are the largest floral greens grower in the US, with farms and operations in Washington, California and Florida. We grow more than 60 varieties of floral and holiday greens and take great pride in our farms and how we harvest.
For the holidays, we produce the highest quality, handmade, all natural, Christmas wreaths and garlands with our signature High Mountain Blue Noble®. We believe in celebrating the classics while also offering unique designs - a twist on tradition - to set the stage for your holiday home.
From feathery ferns to strong salal, there’s a time and place for floral greens - always and anywhere. Often they are used to set the stage for flowers, but with all their variety in color, texture, line and fragrance, our high quality greens can truly hold their own.
2. You mentioned a signature noble, what makes this noble unique?
Our noble grows in nutrient-rich, volcanic soil near Mount St. Helens, at a higher elevation than traditional farms. The result is a stunning silver-blue hue and thicker, longer lasting needles than any other noble available. All of our Western Greens, including our High Mountain Blue Noble® , earn the highest rating for environmentally friendly cultivation.
3. What are your favorite holiday decorating ideas?
I love our striking High Mountain Blue Noble® paired with the contrast in color and texture of Southern Magnolia leaves. Magnolia is the perfect fall foliage for Thanksgiving decor and will carry, beautifully, right into the Christmas season.
Layer two garlands for maximum effect on a mantle or table - a Magnolia garland and a High Mountain Blue Noble® Mix garland. Add lights, pinecones, or a festive ribbon.
We also like using our wreaths in interesting ways - turning them into a centerpiece by adding a hurricane and candles, or stacking our European inspired three-dimensional wreaths on a front porch.
Bulk Christmas greens are a quick and easy way to add holiday cheer. Create a holiday arrangement or centerpiece in seconds - just drop into your favorite vase or basket. Or add greenery to small candle holders at each place setting. Our favorite, add some greens to your stockings - until Santa comes, of course!
You can see these holiday ideas and more on our Pinterest page.
4. Beautiful, lush greenery is everywhere these days, any thoughts on this trend?
Greenery is so versatile. From bold and bright to soft and subtle, there’s a green to fit any design style. We are seeing more and more garlands used in creative ways, and not just for weddings. Greens can be such a cost effective way to add texture to any space, any event - from formal to casual, classic to modern. Going heavy on the greens is a great way to add volume and scale to a centerpiece or arrangement- adding just a few blooms for a pop of color. Looking for fragrance - add eucalyptus.
I also see this trend continuing. It’s almost like the secret is out. Incorporating fresh elements from nature into an event, or your everyday home, really adds something special. We’re seeing beautiful and innovative uses of greenery throughout the home. Everyday use of greenery and florals are up, no longer do we need to wait for a special occasion.
5. I noticed you have a fundraising option – tell me more! And before I forget to ask, what's in your apron? :)
Yes! We offer a simple fundraising program with our exceptional holiday wreaths and garlands for schools, sports teams, youth programs, etc. To learn more, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In our apron we keep clippers, scissors, rice lights & batteries, ribbon, floral wire and tape...and of course a granola bar or two and a pack of gum. It's usually packed full!
Thanks again for sharing with us today! I feel like I've learned so much and can't wait for my greens to arrive next week so I can decorate. As a special treat to our followers, they are offering 20% off your order at shop.cfgreens.com by using the code OatmealLaceCFG at checkout.
And always, free shipping!
For more Continental Floral Greens visit them below
You guys, we are onto the 5thconsecutive week of the Friday Five series and I am pumped! I plan to keep this as a regular feature on into the new year (as long as I have willing participants) although we will take a break over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday. I hope you all will continue to follow along, and if you have an apron and would like to be featured, email me! (seriously, I love to hear from you guys and am planning the calendar in January now)
Ok! So on to this week’s interview! I got a chance to speak with Nicole Hance, the hilarious, kind –hearted woman who’s the driving force behind West Sheridan; a hand lettering and illustration company she started on a dream and a prayer back in 2013. She’s also one of my oldest online friends and has illustrated several of our Christmas cards, hand lettered prints in my home and created the recipe and Thank You cards for Oatmeal Lace. If you’ve received a package from me, you’ve seen her work!
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself, your company, West Sheridan, and how you began exploring calligraphy?
I started this answer with my age but then deleted it - that’s not how I want to introduce myself! Ha! I’m a mom to two little kids (Ava is 6 and Drew is almost 2) and have been dating my husband for 20 years (married for 9).
West Sheridan was born in 2013, out of my fervent need to not have to work in a corporate cubicle anymore. On paper it was a perfect job - great boss and co-workers, flexibility, offered financial comfort, etc. - but I felt like I needed MORE. I needed more time with my little girl, more creativity, more purpose. I saw a blog post (I cannot remember where!) about ‘faux calligraphy’; I think if you scroll back REALLY far on my Instagram you can see my first attempts. They were really….ummmm… bad. But I practiced a lot and thought it was fun and eventually decided “Maybe I can do something with this…” So I gave it a shot with my first Etsy shop and social media. When I was expecting our second child I took West Sheridan full time and it’s been great! I have LESS of that whole ‘financial comfort’ thing but MORE of the other things I really wanted.
P.S. Fine, I’m 37. I have no problem with that, but I feel like much less of a ‘grown up’ than I should in my late thirties. :)
Um, I’m 38 and still call my mom with questions every day because CERTAINLY I can’t be that grown up?! Still blows my mind that I am responsible for the well-being of two little ones…
2. What are some of your favorite tools/supplies?
My answer has changed a lot in the past year and a half! I used to live for fresh Sharpies, Microns, a stack of bright white paper, and my Wacom tablet. I would do all my work on paper (pencil sketch then ink final copy) and then scan it into my computer. From there I would clean it up in Photoshop and then vectorize in Illustrator. But then… For my 36th birthday my overly generous parents, brother + sister-in-law gifted me with a Surface Pro and I’ve barely looked back. Now I letter + draw directly in Photoshop or Illustrator and it has been nice to skip the step of scanning in all my work. Of course there are still some times when only a piece of paper and pencil will do - but even then I can take a picture of it with my computer and skip the scanning!
3. What gets you up in the morning? (I hope it’s not early rising children like me!)
No, all three of us sleep through my alarm daily! But I will proudly let you know we have never missed the school bus! (yet)
I’m not sure if I should be answering this literally or figuratively, but I guess either way the answer is: Ava and Andrew. Everything is for them, from caring for them directly (feeding, dressing, bathing etc.) to showing them how to navigate the world (love others, spend your time on things that matter, pray hard, work harder, and be grateful. That’s the short list.) One day I might have a larger list of reasons but I’m OK with them consuming this season of life. I know it’s short and I’m overwhelmingly thankful.
4. Any tips for newbies on how to develop their own style?
Practice, practice, practice, practice, PRACTICE. Just keep sketching, doodling, writing the same words over and over. Keep making things, even if you don’t think they’re “good enough”. One day your style will emerge and maybe it won’t be what you were originally going for, but it will be yours! And it will likely continue to evolve and improve forever.5. What’s in your apron?
Oh my gosh, I just feel so fancy and OFFICIAL in my apron. It is my uniform for craft fairs and shows, and I keep it stocked with pens, a receipt pad, business cards, scissors, and change. I also wear it for on-site work, such as delivering + setting up wedding signs or lettering murals. For those occasions, I make sure the pockets have tape, scissors, a pencil, good eraser, tape measure, and twine.
I also have a 2nd one for my employee (just kidding, my husband) and I won’t lie, sometimes he wears his to grill when he’s off the clock. I think he keeps gum, earbuds, and matches in his.
Thank you so much for joining me this week, Nic. I’ve loved watching you from the beginning, both your business and your life as a mom…especially since our kids are so close in age and our stories of starting our companies feel so similar. Really looking forward to meeting you in person this February!