Since my trip is not yet over it’s a little unfair to say that my favorite day was with Belgium designer Gudrun Cotteniere. I am certain even the tulip fields of Amsterdam (which I have always longed to see ) will not surpass the joy I felt in being with Gudrun. I loved her for so many reasons, firstly she is a remarkable wife and mother, more remarkable than I can ever share. I loved her home based design studio, and I loved her very creative mind. Gudrun can and does make anything and everything beautiful. She is constantly inventing new creations by recycling the most basic of things including toilet paper rolls, bicycle rubber, and even old candles.

Gudrun began our lesson in this 500 year old cathedral in her beautiful village. Our mission was to design and prepare the entire church. This all had to be done and completed in time for Saturday night mass. This would indeed be a surprise for the church.

My first task was to wrap these wire baskets in a recyclable material she had gathered.

Designer Laura Zaharias of Colorado got assigned to prepping the golden candelabras.

Sisters Karen and Peggy, started on the low altar arrangement.

Gudrun taught each of us how to prepare these Styrofoam balls for the altar table. Each designer took turns working on the different locations in the church.

These branches would also be used in the altar table design. Working on this project together as a team was a wonderful way for us to bond, and it really helped us get to know each other. This was a serious job and we became a flower family over the task of decorating this historic church.

Linda and Bev started the process of laying out the altar design while other designers finished the hand crafted vessels that were made with pinned leaves.

This magnificent design was created for another altar area of the church.

This is also the day I became friends with my new Australian buddy Evie. That’s EVIE, not Ivy!!! We handled the designs at the back of the church. These arrangements were huge and they were displayed in vases that we had helped to create.

As we left the village we watched the congregation arrive, I have to admit it was really fun to think what the people would think when they got to church. As you know I have decorated a few churches in my day but this was certainly the most fun, and the biggest surprise for a community I have ever been involved with!!!

I can’t wait to share the rest of our day with designer Gudrun Cotteniere, but for now I have to get to bed. I am going to the Alsmeer Flower Auction tomorrow. Another dream coming true!!

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