Today’s first speaker was Ginger Kaiser – owner of Willows Floral in Golden, CO. She wants us to all think about ordering for Valentine’s Day now. Also for Valentine’s Day Ginger doesn’t recommend roses as the quality is not as good as it is at other times of the year and the prices can be atrocious. If you want roses let Ginger know now so she can get the freshest roses for you. You can get more bang for your buck with a nice arrangement in specific colors that will last longer. Ginger brought a sample of a forty dollar arrangement in a very nice vase that was a combination of colorful fresh flowers. Ginger brought in several samples of live gardens that she loves to create this time of year, with everything outside being so drab she loves to create these unique pieces to brighten up your indoor environment. The bulb gardens and hyacinths are very popular this time of year, and Ginger brought in examples of both in a variety of sizes. The best way to care for the bulb gardens is to keep them out of direct sunlight, in direct sun they will grow to quickly and die off sooner. These bulbs can be planted outdoors after Mother’s Day and will bloom again next spring. Her other option is the European Gardens – this is a combination mix greens plants and flowering plants – these are nice for any occasion! They are not meant to stay in the basket that Ginger places them in for long, enjoy them for a while and then moved to another pot and have several wonderful potted plants for years to come. In each European Garden – each plant needs to be watered separately since they are not planted into the basket. These are a great gift for men and office. Living plants do so much to enhance the atmosphere of any home or office and bring the outdoors in. They can as well soften the look and feel of a room by adding the warm ambience with shapes and textures. Ginger tells us that not only do they soften your room there are health benefits from having plants in the home. They can clean the air, reducing the toxic chemicals in rooms with poor ventilation, your carpets, drapery and building components like insulation and particle board also contain chemical that are irritants to humans. However you can overdo it with plants, if you feel overwhelmed with the added work and the feeling that the plants are crowding you then you know that you have to many. Ginger states that about three to eight plants in a room (depending on size) is plenty. So if you have a table or bookcase that needs something, instead of making it look cluttered with knick knacks – just try a green plant or flowering plant. This is the perfect time of year to buy plants, after all the holiday decorations are put away and your house is looking empty and the trees and bushes outside are gray and leafless. Think of Ginger not only for Valentine’s Day but year round for all your floral needs!
Ginger Kaiser * Willows Floral * 303.989.6446 * flower_queen@comcast.net

Our second speaker today was Leailia Bartleson with Mrs. B’s Baskets in Golden, CO. Today Leailia did not bring in any examples of her work, but reminded us that she does her baskets personalized to your wants and they always live up to that expectation. The gift basket ideas go from grilling baskets for the man in your life to a pedicure basket for women and everything in between. You can always check out her website www.mrsbeesbaskets.com for ideas if you are having trouble coming up with one on your own. She also wanted to remind us about the Sweetheart Dinner for Two – which includes dinner, flowers, candles and you just have to show up with your sweetheart! She is working with Suzanne from Food for Thought Catering for the dinner this year. Leailia also operates a concierge service in which she wanted to share her latest project and had planned on bringing in before and after pictures but camera issues prevented that – Suzanne’s backroom – the before was that room that you are scared to walk in – to a room that it so organized Suzanne can walk into that room and find a menu for Valentine’s Day in seconds!! It was quite the accomplishment!!
Then, Leailia wanted to introduce her Mom, Odele – who came with her today – and Leailia told us that her Mom was her inspiration for life. Leailia, first off, wanted to explain that not only was Odele her mom, she was also her Grandmother – in 1962 as a single woman she adopted her youngest son’s child – Leailia. When Leailia was little, her Mom owned and ran Percilla Cleaners in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, a business she started the cleaners in 1955, as a single woman. Her first week in business, she told Leailia, she ran a whole .75 through the register. She knew that she had to figure out a way to build her business – with Durango about an hour away so many of the people in town would just make the drive and get things done there. With no one in her family understanding how to run the dry cleaning equipment and it all fell on to her shoulders, and she took it on and worked hard every day to support her family. So she had to find a way to make her service easy for the residences in and around Pagosa Springs. Odele took a look at her car and figured that it was big enough to do pickup and delivery – so she started driving down to the Apache Reservation and Chama, NM and began a door to door service for dry cleaning. When she saw that this new service was paying off she started driving as far away as Farmington, NM – lots and lots of driving. Originally she offered only dry cleaning, but then after an experience with some very unprepared Boy Scouts, who had their jamboree outside of Pagosa Springs and only had one change of clothes, so she did laundry for the campers so they would have clean clothes each day.  In the sixties the movie “The Cowboys” was being filmed in Pagosa Springs – the crew would bring in the clothes used on the set each day and have them cleaned so that they would be ready the next day for filming. Leailia’s first job was working at the dry cleaners in hanger assembly – putting the paper around the wire for shirts. Her Mom is also a professional seamstress and that as well was incorporated into the business, and she began providing that to the people of Pagosa Springs. She has always worked very hard to support her family and that included raising around 30 children – whether it be nieces, nephews or grandchildren. Odele began her life traveling from Arkansas to Texas in a covered wagon at three years old – lived through the Great Depression and then creating a life for her children and family. Odele should be an inspiration to all of us – she created a life for her family and ran a business in a time when it was not as easy for a single woman to do things that we don’t even think about today! Keep Leailia in mind for all of your gift basket and concierge needs – you know that this is a woman who can get it done!!!
Leailia Bartleson * Mrs. B’s Baskets and Concierge Service * 303.278.6433 * Leaililia@mrsbeesbaskets.com * www.mrsbeesbaskets.com