In the Spotlight: “Like” My Christmas Tree Contest Winner, Adelaide Linn, CFD

flower bouquet created by Adelaide Linn, CFD

Adelaide has been married to her husband Michael for 29 years and together they have one son, Spencer, who is 21 and attends PSU. Adelaide and her family live in Lansdale, the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA…which means NYC, the beach or Washington DC is just about a 2 hr trip. Adelaide loves Philly and thinks it’s a great location.

Adelaide currently freelances out of her home designing weddings, parties, or whatever her clients request. Her business is “Adelaide’s Florals” and she often travels upon request for floral design shows, shop help, or large events.

As the Grand Prize Winner of uBloom’s first contest held on Facebook…the “Like” My Christmas Tree Contest, Adelaide received $250.00 cash for her contemporary and chic, black & white Christmas Tree.

uBloom “Like” My Christmas Tree Contest Winner, Adelaide Linn, CFD

When did you first become interested in floral design and interior design?

In my junior year of high school there was an option to go six weeks to a college campus for a course and then six back at the high school. I chose floral Design and have done it ever since. Upon graduation, I attended that same college and earned my Associates Degree in Floriculture.

Did you know immediately that designing was something you wanted to make a career out of?

I always loved art classes and when I found floral design I became obsessed with it. The possibilities are endless, and in the last 25 years the industry has changed and become so artistic. One trip to an AIFD Symposium will totally change all that a designer thought they knew. It is an experience centered around true artists and professionals that are only too happy to help any designer that needs answers or inspiration. If there is just one designer out there that has not been to an AIFD symposium, they really need to attend and see some very great floral artists from the States and all over the world.

What is your design education and background? (both floral and interior) Also, discuss the process for attaining CFD.

My education includes an Associates Degree in Floriculture, and various courses from…Phil Rulloda School of Floral Design, Texas A &M-Designing for Excellence with Hitomi Gilliam AIFD, Lottie Nys AIFD, Mary Linda Horn AIFD, and Jim Johnson AIFD. Also, the Teleflora Education Center-Permanent Botanicals with Matt Wood.

I earned my CFD last July at AIFD symposium. If you go onto their website you will find the steps to becoming AIFD. The testing is rigorous and there is online testing to do prior to symposium, so you need to start that in February. After you successfully pass those requirements, you are invited to “test” at symposium. The AIFD website explains the entire procedure.

Adelaide Linn and Robert De Billis getting ready to work a corsage bar at AIFD Symposium

Share an important “lesson” or “nugget” of wisdom that you learned early on in your career.

Wisdom or Info I have learned… to always think outside the box. Use a typical product in a ‘different’ way. And for the most part ‘less is more’.

Did you have a mentor? If so, please talk a little bit about their influence in your life.

I have had many mentors in my career, J Schwenke, AIFD and Lottie Nys, AIFD have been a great teachers. Hitomi Gilliam AIFD, Mary Linda Horn AIFD, Keith White AIFD, Kris Kratt AIFD & Bill Schaffer AIFD, and Ron Mulroy AIFD…these artists have taught me to always pay attention to detail, how a simple design can be just as interesting as the complicated ones, and that if I ever have a question, problem, or inspiration, everyone is just a phone call away. I have met so many kind and loving people in this industry that truly want to share and teach. It’s an honor to call them my friends.

What do you love most about floral design?

What I love most about floral design is the flexibility and opportunities it provides. I can be volunteering with Schaffer Designs at the Philadelphia Flower Show in January or helping an independent studio for an event at the National Constitution Center for a prime minister’s visit. Also, just making Bride’s dreams come true is very satisfying, staying throughout the event and making sure everything runs smoothly. At the last wedding I did, my son was the photographer and I turned into his assistant after all the florals were just right. It was such a fun day working in sync with my son and his great photography skills.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

A lot of my inspiration comes from J at uBloom and of course, attending regional symposiums, local design shows and reading publications such as Fusion Flowers.

Your beautifully decorated tree captured the Grand Prize in uBloom’s “Like” My Christmas Tree Contest on Facebook. How did you find out about the contest and what made you decide to enter?

Regarding my tree, well, I have several clients that I decorate their homes for the holidays. I had just returned home, opened the computer to Facebook and saw the contest. I thought I would post a picture of the most recent Christmas tree I decorated, which happened to be the black & white flocked tree.

Tell us a bit about how you came up with the chic design and color scheme for your Christmas tree decor.

That particular client’s room was decorated in almost all white and I knew she loved ‘flocked’ trees. She’s also very contemporary, so I kept the tree tone on tone with the black accent at the top.

Adelaide Linn's winning entry for uBloom's Facebook "Like" my Christmas Tree contest

What were your first thoughts when you found out you had won the contest?

I was shocked and very delighted that I had won. I love decorating, and it’s especially nice when there is no budget restraints!! The Philly Suburbs provide that for me.

Speaking of holiday decor, what was the: most spectacular, unusual, over-the-top, or wildest holiday decor you’ve ever set up for a client or showroom floor?

When I owned my own shop (for 15yrs) near PSU, I was on a tight budget in those days, but I managed to make a grove of upside down grapevine trees in my front window. I had budget restraints, as all shop owners do, and once again, the idea of using a typical product (grapevine) in an unusual way brought a lot of traffic into my little shop. It wasn’t all that ‘over the top,’ but it was original and a fun open house.

What does your personal (home) holiday decor look like?

The holiday decor at my home varies by mood. I collect ‘Old World Christmas’ ornaments, so some years I use those and other years I do decorator and follow the scheme of my interior. I have a front door with a stained glass insert that my son made me, so this year I just framed it with magnolia leaves around the oval glass and trimmed it with a simple bow of chartreuse green. A typical wreath would have covered the beautiful glass.

Adelaide Linn and Lottie Nys at AIFD Symposium

Do you have any “tips” you can share with uBloomers on decorating for the holidays?

Find out what the customer likes…hobbies, their customs, etc. and offer to decorate their homes and parties accordingly. Also, plan your time wisely to avoid burnout. Get help! A two man team is far better than trying to do a 12 ft. tree by yourself.

What do you see as the up and coming holiday trend(s) for 2011?

As for ‘trends’…..I’m thinking the ‘mom and pop’ shops are going to need to change or they won’t be in business in the near future. Figure out what you can do GOOD and stick with that. Events, etc. Everyday arrangements orders are dwindling in this economy, so focus on SERVICE and guarantees, that is what the grocery stores can’t do. As far as design, think more imaginatively, there is a market for custom silks and fresh arrangements if you’re in that kind of neighborhood…customers are tired of seeing ’roundy-moundys’. Step it up a notch with flat wire, bark, gems, river rock, etc. Make it ART.

While we are on the subject of trends for 2011…what do you think of Pantone’s choice of “Honeysuckle” as the color trend pick for this year? What colors do you see being paired with Honeysuckle? (for wedding, event, and interior design color schemes)

Well, with that particular shade of ‘honeysuckle’ there are so many possibilities! Almost everything’s going to look good with it. However, I do have to wonder how many brides will choose that “pink” for their girls and can only imagine how many ‘husbands to be’ won’t be exactly thrilled with a pink wedding. BUT, all shades of green, gray, purple, oranges, blues, browns, or even just different shades varying from the ‘honeysuckle’ alone would be interesting!

What floral trends (particular flowers, containers, and design styles) do you feel will be rising in popularity this year? Any surprises?

Floral Trends, well that was pretty much displayed at AIFD’s Symposium this past year. All types of wires, wool yarns, and anything with texture for designing. Even zip ties have earned a place as a ‘cool’ mechanic! Anything woven, wire-meshing, flex-reed… the possibilities are endless. The customer niche we’re trying to keep are always going to want upscale flowers, even if just in a minimalist way, with the above mentioned accents and designed artistically.

What are your favorite floral designs to create? (include style, materials, and colors)

First, I’d say anything BIG. I’d rather reach over my head to design than use tweezers to make a miniature. Secondly, I’m very fond of anything contemporary or artsy. Even adding an orchid plant to a partial arrangement with the roots exposed…things like that.

If you could travel anywhere in the world to study design, where would you go?

To tell the truth, I think I’d stay here in the States. I prefer American Designers and there are so very many to admire and learn from. There are quite a few designers that I’d love to spend a week with here in the states: Talmage McLaurin, Mandy Majerik, Beth O’Reilly, Ty Leslie, Cory Harbour, Michael O’Neil to name a few that I haven’t worked with, but who love what they do as well as share ideas…and after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Adelaide Linn assisting Keith White, AIFD

Who would you love to collaborate with most in designing a “Platinum” wedding or event? Describe what the decor would look like.

Hands down that would be Bill Shaffer AIFD and Kristine Kratt AIFD. Their talent here in Philadelphia is absolutely supreme. They’ve got the warehouse of props, and also a ‘warehouse’ of ideas. The wedding design would have lots of glassware and candlelight everywhere, even dripping from the ceiling.

If you were asked to design flowers for the President and First Lady, what would you create for them?

I worked hard on that entire process…getting them elected that is. What a wonderful time that was for America…HOPE! I guess I would do something with tropicals since I know he’s from Hawaii. Just making a boutonniere for him would probably get my adrenalin going!

What are some simple ways we can update our floral style without breaking the bank?

Some simple ways to ramp things up without spending a fortune ….Get out of the shop and take a trip to thrift shops! You wouldn’t believe what you’d find!! An old, brass lamp could be a great ‘place card table’ piece. Take usual things and use them in unusual ways. Empty frames, lamps, and old jewelry are excellent for bridal/prom work!!! Buttons, gems, yarn, antiques, even golf clubs, everything out there at barely no cost, this is how you make YOUR arrangements stand out. Ask what your client’s hobbies/likes are…….make it personal, a grocery store cannot do that!!

An old brass lamp could be a great wedding place card table piece

When you aren’t designing with flowers, what are some hobbies or activities that you enjoy doing?

When I’m not designing……. My only son is an IST major at PSU, so I guess you could call me (as he does) ‘a velcro mom’. That’s what happens with an only child. I also love dogs of any kind, I have a westie and a 3 legged cock a poo. I also enjoy interior decorating, re-doing rooms and I’m also a big fan of fashion and accessories.

Do you have any organizations or charities that you participate in?

I volunteer at the Philadelphia Flower Show every year. It is the largest indoor Flower show in the USA. I work with Bill Shaffer, AIFD and Kris Kratt AIFD. Last year the display theme I helped to create was ‘Polar Fantasy’. Bill’s dream evolved over many weeks, and to see it and help it come to life was a wonderful opportunity. This year he’s working on “An American in Paris.” Can’t wait to be part of this one with Schaffer Designs!

What’s next for Adelaide Linn?

Well, I’m very willing to travel and design for others as a team or whatever the situation requires. I also enjoy assisting great designers as they present their shows. It’s very rewarding. 2011 will be a year of change, going from a regular job to freelancing. I’m hopeful that I can, in fact, have the opportunity to travel and help other businesses/designers with their events and parties. I’m on face book if you do indeed need help just send a message!!!