The Tool Kit

When I was little, I was always fascinated with what the contents were in a doctor’s bag.  My sister and I really loved Little House on the Prairie, and as I recall, Dr. Baker was always prepared with his kit.  My grandfather was a doctor, and in his days in the military he was a field doctor in France.  I always thought about how he had to be prepared for some really gruesome situations, and how his doctor bag was essentially a magic toolbox.  Sort of.

My kit. Metal, shiny.  A bit heavy, but I'll deal with it.

My kit. Metal, shiny.  A bit heavy, but I'll deal with it.

At the flower shop I work at, we sometimes take on several weddings per weekend.  With a staff of five and a proportionally large-sized pool of freelancers to hire, we’re able to do that and still devote the appropriate care to each event.  If there are multiple events in one weekend, it is a coordination game of timing and transportation, with dropping things off, setting them up, all over town and throughout the Greater Philadelphia area.  Each team that goes out to flower also goes out with what we lovingly refer to as a “kit.” 

“Do you have a kit?”

“Is there extra ribbon in your kit?  Just in case.”

“Where’s the kit?!”  (Furtive glancing around the shop, only to find the kit is right in front of us on the work table.)

“Do you think I need extra zip ties in our kit?”

It’s just a tool kit that is full of production supplies.  In the event that something were to become undone, or break, or deconstruct, the hope is that with a fully stocked kit and some fast fingers, we can fix the problem wherever it happens.  Sometimes the problem is that an extra boutonniere or corsage needs to be whipped up using stems stolen from a centerpiece, or sometimes the ribbon on a bouquet gets soaking wet and needs to be re-wrapped.  Or, maybe the wire wasn’t doing the job and zip ties need to force a garland to stay put. 

Your preferred tool kit might not need as many items in it, or you might want to just make sure you have everything you could possibly need available to you. 

If you’re freelancing at a certain location, you can’t necessarily bank on having supplies available to you, so I tend to err on the side of caution and just bring as much as possible.  I've found that in situations where I'm hired to freelance, I use more items in the kit than while working weddings at the shop.  

Tape: waterproof tape (wide and narrow), stretchy tape (half-inch and one inch), duct tape, scotch tape

Waterproof tape, two sizes.

Waterproof tape, two sizes.

Stretchy tape, two sizes again.

Stretchy tape, two sizes again.

Haven't had to use this, yet.  

Haven't had to use this, yet.  

Adhesive: Oasis floral glue

For making corsages on freelance jobs.  Very stinky, but works better for me than a hot glue gun.

For making corsages on freelance jobs.  Very stinky, but works better for me than a hot glue gun.

Fasteners: bind wire, zip ties, rubber bands, twine, tiny wire cuttings, boutonniere/corsage pins

Tons of uses.  Chuppahs, arches, aisle markers, primarily.

Tons of uses.  Chuppahs, arches, aisle markers, primarily.

Many small zip ties can make one large zip ties.

Many small zip ties can make one large zip ties.

For fixing broken or crunched stems, strengthening delicate stems.

For fixing broken or crunched stems, strengthening delicate stems.

At the shop, we go through a ton of these in high wedding season.

At the shop, we go through a ton of these in high wedding season.

Hand tools: clippers, snips, ribbon scissors, knife

Clippers.  I use these 90% of the time.

Clippers.  I use these 90% of the time.

Swiss Army floral knife.  Needs sharpened.

Swiss Army floral knife.  Needs sharpened.

Tiny snips for delicate operations.

Tiny snips for delicate operations.

Larger pruners, can cut up to 1" in diameter.  For branches.

Larger pruners, can cut up to 1" in diameter.  For branches.

Ribbon scissors.  The only tool that I do not lend to others on freelance jobs.  If these cut anything but ribbon, they'll dull faster and I love how sharp they are.  Thank you, Nate Berkus for Target.

Ribbon scissors.  The only tool that I do not lend to others on freelance jobs.  If these cut anything but ribbon, they'll dull faster and I love how sharp they are.  Thank you, Nate Berkus for Target.

Miscellaneous: permanent marker, pens, towels, binder clips

Binder clips.  My husband's favorite office supply came in handy with chuppah setup once.  As I'm a former teacher, my car and apartment are still chock full of office supplies, despite gifting most of them to teacher friends already.  A large binder clip in my car console helped fasten a sail that was being used as a chuppah roof - the canvas was folding strangely, and wasn't a perfect square or triangle, and just needed cinched in one place.  We couldn't glue it, and pins weren't strong enough.  But a binder clip was perfect.

Binder clips.  My husband's favorite office supply came in handy with chuppah setup once.  As I'm a former teacher, my car and apartment are still chock full of office supplies, despite gifting most of them to teacher friends already.  A large binder clip in my car console helped fasten a sail that was being used as a chuppah roof - the canvas was folding strangely, and wasn't a perfect square or triangle, and just needed cinched in one place.  We couldn't glue it, and pins weren't strong enough.  But a binder clip was perfect.

White handled pruners and red knife are always in the holster.

White handled pruners and red knife are always in the holster.

Disgusting gloves to protect from thorns and decaying matter.  And insects.

Disgusting gloves to protect from thorns and decaying matter.  And insects.

What essential items are in your kit?  Has anything unconventional come in handy for you, like my binder clip?