Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Brief Floral Break - And the Sewing Assistant Jumps Ship Again

Wow.  Haven't gotten to the sewing machine, the knitting needles, the embroidery machine, paints, pencils, needles, thread, beads or anything else even vaguely resembling craftiness in the last two weeks.  At first it was the jet lag, which was really hard on me for some strange reason.  Then there was all the laundry to do, which I am still catching up on.  Then the husband decides that since he is off work until next Thursday, that he needs to tackle the lawn border and a new dividing wall in the back yard, which requires an extra body here along to help with the cement, the brick pavers, the grouting, the sprinklers, etc.  At the same time, he directs me to Ikea to buy new furniture for the family room, to be delivered and set up while he is still home.

There went my week.

My older son and two of his friends have been helping to *pack up tons of stuff (the printer, books, photos, dvds, videos, cds, more books, memorabilia, candles, candle holders, even more books....), take it to the garage, take out the old furniture (good-bye, antique buffet....sniff!....oh, wait - my next door neighbor wants it?  YAY!  I can still visit it from time to time!), separate out the delivered furniture boxes from Ikea, paint the family room walls, assemble the furniture, set it in place*, then start on the entertainment unit across the room (repeating from * to *, except for the antique part).

This should not happen during Holy Week.  My husband, never having attended church in his entire life except for our marriage and infrequently when the boys were small, does not understand why I need time off during this week to take care of things up at church.  So he plans big events like ripping apart the backyard and buying and building new furniture.  Or taking long trips (like to Yosemite or the Grand Canyon).  At least he enlisted the help of my son and his friends this go around, knowing that I've been just about forbidden by my doctor to do these back-wrecking activities.  I'm in charge of the floral ministry up at my church, and have been trying to "retire" from physically doing the large altar arrangements for at least a year now.  Unfortunately we have not been successful in our efforts to find another florist, so when I scheduled for this Easter season I still had to take a couple of arrangement dates myself.  This weekend was one of them.  Right in the middle of everything happening here at home.

Oh, joy.

Oh, well.

I love working with flowers and giving it up was just about as difficult as giving up working on the uniforms.  I just don't love carrying heavy containers of soaking Oasis, bending over to pick up flowers or insert them into the arrangement, and lugging all the buckets and garbage bags out to my car and the dumpster when I'm done.  It hurts a lot.  (Insert sad face here.)  Still, listening to the pastor micromanaging everyone else who was in the church, training them, making constant corrections, & expressing his dissatisfaction with whatever they happened to be doing (he tends to get pretty wound up before high feast days), I couldn't help but be thankful that the ministry that I do is pretty much isolated from everything around me.  I did expect him to hover over my shoulder eventually - he's done it every Easter & Christmas as long as I've been doing the arrangements for them - but was unprepared for his comments today.  He passed by, stopped, looked at what I was doing (here it comes, I thought), and said "Nice arrangement.  Really nice and full."  And continued on to the next group.  I think I was the only person in the church that escaped a verbal correction today, and that was a first.  Must be doing something right, I guess.

The arrangements I do for the altar are huge, cumbersome and time-consuming.  They often stand about as tall as me (a little over 5 feet high), and probably span around 3 to 4 feet in diameter at the base, depending on the style of the arrangement.  I have a couple other trained florists who do arrangements for the church as well (we only work during the Easter season, about 10 weeks total), and they each have their own unique approach.  But neither of them seem to be able to break out of the smaller size mode they typically work in.  The interior of the church is about three stories high above the altar, so it's important to balance the size of the sole arrangement that goes up there.  It usually takes around three hours, start to finish, to make one of these arrangements.  Usually I use the time to sort of meditate or pray while I'm doing it, but today that was impossible.  There were altar servers and lectors practicing for the vigil tonight, people changing out the environment decorations from the Good Friday ones to the Easter ones (this involves climbing up VERY tall ladders, I'm so glad I'm not on that committee), people preparing candles, bulletins, the baptismal font, the altar, and other things.  Busy sanctuary today.  So after listening to the constant micromanagement for about two hours, the pastor's comment to me really made my day.

Boom.  Big flowers.  The pastor told me once, "If it ain't big, don't bother doing it!"

Spider poms.  

Callas at the top.  I had to order these; we usually cut and use the ones on the church property, as the pastor had them planted for that purpose.  This year's crop was terribly thin and short, though, so I had to spend the extra money on these for the height.

Lilies and China Mums.  Wish they'd had more of them, but I got the last bunch of ten.  
So even though I couldn't get to any of my own craftiness, it was nice to be able to put these together and have them so well received.

Not looking forward to pulling them out later in the week, though...I wish we had some kind of wagon to tow the finished bouquet to the dumpster (it really is incredibly heavy with all the water in the oasis).

On the homefront, the Sewing Assistant has decided to become the Building Inspector. seem to have missed one of the screws, here.

Whaddya mean, this isn't going to be a kitteh condo?

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