Archive for November 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards Gala This Week!

The Big Guy and I are jetting off to Ontario this week.  I am so excited!  I've been invited to attend the Royal Bank Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards Gala by Sloane Muldoon, the Vice President of Agricultural Banking at the Scotia Bank.  I just met Sloane last week at a luncheon we attended at my favorite Winery, Domaine de Chaberton, just down the street from my house.  Sloane's a great gal.  What an honor to get the invite!

The Big Guy and  I are jetting off together because we have meetings out east to attend and we HATE going alone.  I'm his Bonnie and he's my Clyde. I'm the GAS PEDAL and he's the BRAKE.  Call it a perfect balance between optimism and realism.  We're BFF's my hubby and I.  What a blessing!


To find out more about the amazing women nominees up for awards tomorrow evening click here.  I'm sitting at table # 40 with a crowd of ladies that I'm sure will inspire and WOW me to no end.  I can hardly believe it!  I wish I could take all my blogger friends along but I think I got the last seat.  Now that is one FABULOUS Christmas gift for lil' old me!

So, I'll be off the radar for a few days.  But, if any of you pass by my place, do me a favor and check to make sure none of my teenagers are partying on the patio this time.  I know I can trust my blogger peeps to keep my babies in line while I'm gone!


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Friday, November 25, 2011

Wee Two Should Be in GQ

Photos by Dragonflight Photography
Things are getting a little crazy around here as we get closer to Christmas which means Tamara has a tough time FINDING time to keep up with blogging.  Come to think of it, right now, she's not able to get much of anything done except make sure the poinsettias are going out to the stores as fast as possible.

You KNOW things are BAD when she starts to refer to herself in the THIRD PERSON. 

Snap out of it TAMARA!  Shake it off and get back to blogging.  You have pictures of your grandson that people are going to want to see!

So, a few months a go my Little Angel brought Wee One and Wee Two over to my house for a photo shoot.

Can you BELIEVE how adorable this little fella is?!

I bought this wonderful doll buggy at a thrift store in FORT LANGLEY, my favorite place to spend some quiet time away from work and stress.

I bought it so that Wee One could play with it when she came to visit.  So far it has been a really good purchase, wouldn't you say?

Now, while Wee Two was getting his photo taken.....


I had to try keep my effervescent, never stop getting into trouble granddaughter......



busy with other activities.  We had a mini-photo session of our own.....


with Gramma as the model.  You may have noticed that I'm not afraid to have my picture taken.  Actually, I love having my picture taken.  Looking at pictures of myself together with my family and friends helps me count my blessings.  I mean, look at that adorable little girl playing with her Gramma like they are the best of friends.  Who WOULDN'T want to capture that in a photo?!

Some of the shots were taken in one of the upstairs bedrooms where we built a little window bench.


Some of the shots were taken on Mini Me's bed with only a sheepskin protecting the mattress from a regal soaking by an un-diapered Wee Two.


We had to put his diaper back on quick before any little "accident" caused a major catastrophe for my youngest daughter and her nocturnal sleeping space.


Now this picture says it all.  Behind those deep blue peepers lies a loving, mischief making little two year old that Gramma just can't say NO to.

Could YOU?!  I bet you couldn't.

Now, of course we have already booked piano lessons for Wee Two, starting soon.


Nobody in this family gets away with not taking up music lessons.



We are really hoping that the next generation will take up the keyboard at some point in time.


We have far too many string players in the family.  It's time to round it out with a concert pianist.



And of course, no photo session of my Little Angel's family is complete without a shot of PEPPER.



Yup, my grand puppy is a looker, alright!  He keeps the Wee One occupied......



and that makes Gramma real happy!


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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Farmer's Market


I LOVE Farmer's Markets and by the looks of our parking lot today........


so do a lot of other people!

This is the first time Milner Gardens has hosted the Langley Farmer's Market so we weren't too sure what to expect.  How many people would actually stop by?  How much advertising should we do?  How many staff should we have in the store?  So many questions and not too many answers.

But none of us expected quite THIS kind of turn out!


Everyone was having so much fun.....


And all the different vendors had such wonderful things to sell.....


There's is nothing like home made preserves, I say!


And fancy, schmansy salts are one of my weaknesses.



People were streaming in to check out what was going on.  We had to call in the cavalry to direct traffic so that no one would have a fender bender in all the chaos.  Anderson Cooper was more than willing to stand out in the sunshine and help customers find a spot but he did finally relent and put some pants on after being out there for a while.



Our resident Mascot was out waving at cars as they drove past.


Who could RESIST stopping in at such a fun place?!

Now, by the time it was lunch I had been smelling the delicious aroma's wafting from the food truck for a few hours already.  It's amazing how HUNGRY you get from just SMELLING great food being prepared!


I indulged in Chili Chicken Bites and Yam Fries.  YUMMY to the max!


So, if you missed the Farmer's Market today at Milner Gardens, don't despair.  We will be holding another one on December 10.  SANTA will be here that day so you can bring the kids and have their Christmas photo taken for FREE!


Don't forget to stop by during the week for your FESTIVE DECORATIONS too.


We have oodles of colors and styles to choose from with new stuff coming in every week!



Happy DECORATING everyone!


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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Developing Designs From Scratch

About 12 months ago, the Big Guy and I took a trip out to China to work on developing a new line of pots for Christmas 2011.  That means that LAST Christmas, I was trying to GUESS what y'all were going to buy THIS Christmas.

Do you have any idea how STRESSFUL that is?!  I mean, how can I possibly know what YOU will want to buy NEXT year to decorate for the holiday season?!

But it has to be done. 

So, I flew out there with this little sketch I had made.....

I thought that maybe people would like to have something a little more WHIMSICAL this year.  I figured we need a little cheering up after all the bad news on Wall Street and the down turn in the economy. 

Nothing says "CHEER UP" like a chubby snowman.  Am I right?

When we arrived in China I gave this sketch to our supplier so they could make us a prototype.  They looked at me like I was crazy.  They just didn't know how on earth to make a pot cover out of a snowman sketch.  So, I emailed this photo back home to Mini Me and challenged her to draw me up a nice pot cover based on this idea.

Then I went shopping.

I LOVE shopping in China, even when it's unseasonably cold there.  There is no heating in the market but there are so many bodies doing business that you don't need heat to keep the buildings warm.

The Big Guy always comes along when I shop at the market.  He helps me make good buying decisions because my taste is a little "over the top" compared to most people.  If he didn't come along, I might do something crazy like.......

BUY THIS BEDAZZLED BED for my bedroom.  Isn't it just AMAZING?!  I almost had him convinced that we really NEEDED this beauty......

But cooler heads prevailed and instead we bought beautiful giftware for our retail store, Milner Gardens.


It took quite a while for our snowman pot prototype to be manufactured so we got to do a lot of shopping on this trip.  After a stop for coffee at a beautiful hotel....

Here I am with our guide.  She does all the bargaining!
we went back to shop some more.

The Big Guy swears he hates shopping but I think it's time he came out of the closet.  In actual fact he is a POWER SHOPPER.  He has a really good eye.

The BAD part about spending a lot of time at the market is that eventually you will need to use the FACILITIES.  I hate using the facilities in China.

I really need to practice my squats before I go on my next trip 'cause these toilets are a challenge for my little old legs to handle.

Once we finally made it back to the office, we were excited to see the FIRST PROTOTYPE ready and waiting however it needed a little bit of Tamara's special touch.


A little dab of paint here.......


and another little dab there......


and the first attempt at a snowman pot cover is finished.

Lest you think it is THAT easy, let me assure you that at least 8 more prototypes were made before perfection was achieved.  We had to make it more sturdy.  We had to make it more 3-D.  We had to make it more flared.  You name it, we did it.

Would you like to see the FINISHED product?



Ta daaaaa!  Our 2011 Snowman Pot is finally in the stores.  Of course, we had to make sure we had more than just ONE style because some of us NEED choice.


Now comes the REALLY BIG JOB of shipping them out to the stores......


We're working all night long to pack them up to bring them to my favorite BIG BOX STORE near you!

Don't forget to pick yours up soon.  Limited quantities available!



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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Winter is coming!


Temperatures are starting to dip here in British Columbia as Fall begins to make way for a chilly Winter season.  The weather in Vancouver is normally quite rainy at this time of year which can really throw a wrench into any greenhouse construction project.  Fortunately for us, the glass is on the roof of our 8 acre expansion, making it possible to start pouring the cement flood floors no matter the weather outside. 

Now we are rushing to get the heating system up and running as quickly as possible.  If it should suddenly start to snow, we will need to be able to turn up the temperature inside and melt the flakes off the roof or we could have a catastrophe on our hands.  Snow is heavy.  REALLY HEAVY.


The small blue boiler we had in place until now will no longer be sufficient to heat the addition.  Our new boiler is going to be able to handle all our heating requirements for the entire facility.  It's funny how I used to think our old boiler was reasonably large but now it's completely DWARFED by the new one.

Size is relative.........

I mean, take a look at this series of photos I took in the back section of the expansion.  This area is going to be for Spring bedding plant production and a high wire cucumber crop during our off season.


Can you see the cement truck parked WAAAAAY in the back?

Can you see it NOW?

This place is so big that a GIGANTIC cement truck can get lost inside!



I may have to re-think my habit of wearing high heeled shoes to work.  Walking around a 10 acre facility may require some flat Mary Jane's from now on. 

Besides all the fun of construction around the farm, we have also started shipping poinsettias this week.


The glittery pot covers arrived JUST ON TIME from China which always makes me sweat a little.   .  Last week I bit my fingernails down to the nail bed while waiting for our containers to clear customs.  We knew it was going to be a tight timeline because there was so much handwork to be done on this design.



When we visited our supplier in Septemeber we encouraged them to buy a few extra sewing machines just to make sure that production would go fast enough!  It was great to actually have the opportunity to see them being put together because it gives you a much better understanding of what really goes into getting a project like this complete.


There are still a few missing containers out there somewhere on the Pacific Ocean.  What would Poinsettia shipping season BE if everything arrived on time?!  Where would be the adrenaline rush?  What would be the challenge?

So, before I sign off for the day I leave you with one word of advice........


Hurry down to MY FAVORITE BIG BOX STORE soon before these babies sell out. Limited quantities available!


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