Made in Tillamook County, USA!

Do you love to buy products that are made in the USA?  How about made in Tillamook County, USA?  Here at Sunflower Flats we appreciate the talented individuals in our county and we are supporting them by offering their products a platform in our shop.  We will dedicate several blog posts to featuring their work so that you can get a glimpse of the 12+ local artists that we work with.

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Cami Schild and Samantha Wagner started out knitting headbands for a hobby and adding some sort of extra flourish to them – usually buttons or flowers.  Like most hobbies, it got out of control, so they formed Proverb Sisters and have been working together to create products as well as market them locally.  Perfect ear protection for our cold, spring winds and many color combinations to choose from, their headbands keeping us warm and stylish at the same time!


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Jan Woodbury – besides being a lovely, sweet lady (like SAINTLY kind) – teaches kindergarten in South Tillamook County.  Not only does she teach, but she has a passion for constructing felted purses in rich, earth tones with classy details – all truly one of a kind made with up-cycled material.  Jan also knits hats, mittens and scarves.  All made right here in Tillamook County, USA!


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Like flowers, words inspire.  Sometimes they go right to your heart and soul and connect.  Maybe it’s even a card with a saying on it that it just too true and you keep it in your card shuffle to ponder yourself.  I have one of those in my endless shuffle from many years back, and it’s always good to read it and yet again, think about it and realize, hmmmm still no one to send it to!  Dana Anderson Cunningham of ArtLight Media in South Tillamook County creates these cards on quality paper using found inspirational quotes against a backdrop of her block print designs.  They’re perfect for sending, but can also be placed in a spot at work or home where inspiration is needed throughout your day (as in EVERYWHERE!)


Come in anytime to engage your senses and see what’s new from our local artists!


Don’t Be Tamed!

“You were once wild here.  Don’t let them tame you.”  ~Isadora Duncan

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Chloe, Mom and I painted last week.  We missed Carsen, but he was in Central Oregon visiting his cousin, Sawyer.  Don’t let the picture above fool you!  This was in September 2009 when Chloe was painting my sunflower patch, but I can’t help but long for days of summer and bright sunflowers….it will come soon enough!

Anyway, back to painting last week, watching Chloe in action, I’m hoping:  ”don’t let them tame you.”  Whatever it is within her that gives her the ability and confidence to go for it comes out.  The week prior she decided to paint a cow skull for her Aunt Becky using a palate knife with all kinds of colors, so she added more color this week after seeing she had toned it down more than she liked.  This week’s new subject was an owl’s face on the entire canvas.  With piles of paint on the palate and a big brush already heavy with paint, she dove in starting with it’s big, bold chartreuse eyes.  (I thought the eyes would have been last, but what do I know?!)  She always works it all out in the end!



Painting requires losing yourself in the task and I love that about these several hours.  One doesn’t have to think about anything (translation: work) except how to get the bird the right shade of blue, a little snow on the branches and berries that are a reddish, brownish color.  Being consumed by something other than work is a welcome break from it all!

Carsen will be back at it next week, finishing the horn on his buffalo head and mom will continue to paint grass over the pond because “water is too hard to paint.”  That’s okay, mom, “don’t let them tame you.”  And you either, my dear Chloe.

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Blooming Branches

Three forsythia shrubs in our yard are work-horses for me this time of year as far as providing height to bouquets and a bright yellow texture for winter/spring arrangements.  Closer to Easter, forsythia can be used to form basket “handles” for basket arrangements.

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Forsythia takes me back to college days, specifically my freshman year at Willamette University in Salem.  I was a fish-out-of-water there, struggling, ill-prepared for the rigor of a private university.  Usually 10 chapters (at least) behind in my reading, papers due, test tomorrow…Yes, your basic freshman nightmare!

Continuing my quest to avoid study, I walked downtown Salem to the local florist and bought a huge bunch (branches were at least 4-5 feet tall) of budded forsythia.  I lugged these back to my dorm room and placed in a bucket of water.  It did wonders for my mental health to bring nature in!  The bright yellow branches bloomed for several weeks in my institutional green cement-walled dorm room.

I don’t even remember the eventual test grade, the reading subject or what my paper was about.  I only remember the forsythia and how it helped me in the winter of 1974, and yes, it is still a favorite of mine!

You can often find a similar bunch of forsythia branches in the front window of my shop this time of year.

You can often find a similar bunch of forsythia branches in the front window of my shop this time of year.

Gratitude goes a long way – Oregon Coast Florist – Oregon Coast Gift Shop

Beach gifts


Sometimes you never really know how simple two words like “thank you” can mean so much.  Today was a day when kind, positive words were especially appreciated.

Rich Jenks made a special trip into the store to tell me that the flowers he ordered earlier in the month lasted for a week longer than expected.  And that was a good thing because they were for a memorial service that was postponed for a whole week because of the snow.  He wanted to let me know that the flowers looked as good seven days later as the day he picked them up.  (I reminded him that sitting in a cool church all week helped make that happen!)  But still a very thoughtful gesture for him to take time out of his day to let me know.

Another lady came in to browse and once in the door said, “Oh, it smells WONDERFUL in here!”  We do hear that often and appreciate hearing that because of course a flower shop should have a wonderful fragrance!  And there was another lady who said, “Thank you for being here.  The energy feels really good in here.”  And at that point that was good to hear, because most of mine (energy) was depleted!  And still another…”Everything’s so colorful, thank you, I’ll be back.”

So, thank you for the thank you’s!


What’s on your table? – Oregon Coast Florist – Flowers for the Home

Everyone needs flowers.  Of course, since I am a flower person, I’ve always believed it, but there are actually studies that prove it to be true!  The studies have actually proven that the presence of flowers improves attitudes and increases productivity, which is a very good thing!  In Style magazine cites a Harvard Medical School study telling readers about the emotional health benefits of flowers: “Surround yourself with flowers. There’s a very compelling reason to have beautiful blooms around at all times….research proves that flowers in the home or workplace creates more enthusiasm around your daily activities.”

Calla lilies don't require any greens or much fuss to arrange.  Simply cut from the bush and place in vase!

Calla lilies don’t require any greens or much fuss to arrange. Simply cut from the bush and place in vase!


Sunflowers are perfect for a Independence Day gathering.  The yellow makes the flags pop!

Sunflowers are perfect for a Independence Day gathering. The yellow makes the flags pop!

I like to keep flowers on the kitchen table, like my grandma always did and my mother still does.  Flowers provide a conversation piece, something to contemplate, something to be enjoyed and even to be amazed at!  For example,  right now even in the wind, rain, hail and snow – in spite of it all – the pretty pink, crepe papery camelias still are brave enough to show their happy faces polka-dotting the shrub as if to say, “you aren’t raining on my parade!”


Dahlias are one of the best things about summer.  Clip them from the stem and enjoy long lasting, bold color.

Dahlias are one of the best things about summer. Clip them from the stem and enjoy long lasting, bold color.


So, what’s on your table?

Shipwreck Wedding on the Oregon Coast-Oregon Coast Florist-Oceanside-Wedding Inspiration

Months ago, Xiomara of Imago Dei Photography, approached us with the idea of participating in a Shipwreck on the Oregon Coast themed photo shoot.  Along with three other photographers, Xiomara saw the opportunity to attract destination brides to our area of the Oregon Coast.  Basically, we would be staging a fantasy wedding. That meant securing all of the props, services, bride, groom, make-up, hair, dresses, shoes jewelry, cake, tuxedo and FLOWERS of course!

Were we interested?  Of course!  Even though we’ve designed flowers for hundreds of weddings over the past twelve years, brides usually have their own ideas about what they want in the way of flowers.  Xiomara sent us an inspiration board knowing she could trust us to see the vision, but also gave us complete creative freedom within the vision.  All she said was, “I want to see something I haven’t seen before.”  This is like a florist’s dream come true!  And this kind of challenge keeps me awake at night pondering how I will combine a certain flower and a certain succulent.  And what would set off the Gatsby era dresses?  And how about something for their hair that uses an element from the bouquet?  How can I tie in the setting, the sand, the surf, the sea life and shipwreck?

Since there were two brides, we decided that one would have a more traditional bouquet using David Austin Patience roses (they look like peonies and are phenomenally fragrant) paired with foilage, succulents and pods.  The combinations of the varying textures – the softness of the roses against the sponginess of the succulents all reminded me of the texture found at the ocean.  A silver thread tied all of the elements together and drew you to the dress as well.

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The second (and more out of the box) bouquet was crafted from pele hair and dried seaweed, which formed the base and was the inspiration for the design.  I loved the way it flowed, it’s more rugged texture, and the color against the softness of the elegant feather backed cymbidium orchids.  Tillandria formed the bodice of the bouquet with cascading succulents.  We decided this bouquet would only be for the most confident of brides.

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Photo shoot day required many support people.  There were three of us from Sunflower Flats, and several other vendors, photographers & helpers out there.  We all acted as pack horses to lug all of the props for each of the sets:  tables, trunks, our curly willow arch (in pieces) flowers, greens, nets, glass balls, vases & cake and then had to lug it all back!  We literally walked miles!

Shipwreck setup

Xiomara envisioned shooting on the OTHER side of the tunnel at Oceanside, meaning the tide had to be out enough to get through and out to the other side.  All of us began the trek with our loads in the gale force wind and rain.  We emerged from the far side of the tunnel to waves still crashing over the exit.  No beach to be seen yet, and with an angry surf, we knew it was going to be awhile until it receded.

**Keep in mind, this is NOVEMBER, not a typical month for an outdoor/beach wedding here on the Oregon Coast.  But when you are gathering wedding vendors, this is one of the only months wedding vendors are available!  The inclement weather just added to the adventure!

So, Plan B (modify and adapt) back to where we began (on the Oceanside beach) with all the props and we set up what we could do with the guest book table, sweetheart table, curly willow arch and cake table.  The challenge was to have someone hold all the pieces together, bracing it all from the wind, until the second before the shot.

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We were bouquet sitters – protecting and harboring the bouquets while the models got into place and then giving them the bouquet at the last minute for the shot.  If you thought being a florist was glamorous, here is a picture of us to prove otherwise!


Eventually, the surf receded so we could venture to the other side of the tunnel with the stunning rock backdrop.  The cloud formations even cooperated with the swirling, floating foam around the craggy pools.  Nature’s elements and it’s many textures and light came together for a truly phenomenal experience for us as florists.

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All photos courtesy:  Imago Dei Photography

To see more amazing images from this day and for a complete list of vendors & contributors, please visit Imago Dei Photography’s blog.


Anniversary Inspiration

Florist on the Oregon Coast

Some husbands go above and beyond to show their love.  Kevin is one of those men.


Sixteen years ago, Kevin Queen married Debbie at the Garibaldi Museum where she carried a bouquet of Stargazer lilies and Fire and Ice roses, her favorite flowers at the time.  Every year since, Kevin spends the year prior to their anniversary researching and thinking about how he will recognize their upcoming anniversary with a floral arrangement that incorporates something that signifies that particular year of marriage.  For example, paper signifies year one so Kevin made a paper replica of Debbie’s bouquet for their first year anniversary.  For the last twelve years, Kevin has collaborated with Sunflower Flats to come up with a design in whatever idea he decides on.  One year, he purchased a steel card holder and had us attach orchid florets and roses to the holder.  Another year was aluminum, which was the most difficult for him, but he finally settled on folding his own roses using aluminum paper and incorporating them into a fresh rose arrangement.  Kevin says his goal each year is to find something practical that Debbie will be able to use in their home.  Last year, because it was the year for crystal (15), he chose wine glasses and a baking dish as the base for his arrangement. 


This year, for year sixteen, Kevin decided silver halloware meant a new set of silverware (which he said they needed) and a new stainless (silver) Kitchen Aid mixer.  A couple of weeks ago, Kevin brought in the mixing bowl for Patti to design an arrangement in, but this wasn’t to be just any fresh arrangement—not when Patti is the designer—and Kevin expects out of the ordinary–always– so, Patti started gathering her ideas.  And true to form, Patti came up with a design perfect for the mixing bowl that incorporated Intuition roses and Sterling roses (now Debbie’s favorites)—in a layered cake design!!!!  But not just a simple layered cake design…no, this cake had pieces of the silverware incorporated around the edges of the bowl along with a silver armature out of wire to accent the Intuition and Sterling roses along with the eucalyptus and the light pink genestra to give it a little pop and sweet fragrance.


We loved how it turned out and Sherri, our delivery lady, said Debbie did some little hops up and down when she saw it. Obviously, she loved it too!  Congratulations, Kevin and Debbie Queen on sixteen years of marriage and best wishes for many more to come!