A Virtual Visit

Kar-Fre is in transformation–shedding it’s winter layers and Valentine hearts for a more colorful, fun spring vibe.

Welcome to Kar-Fre Flowers

We’re itching to decorate outside, but sadly know that winter isn’t quite done yet. So we picked up sticks, raked leaves, and daydreamed about what we want to do when winter is finally over!  Let’s go inside…

Fun spring wreaths at Kar-Fre Flowers

A fresh spring wreath greets you on our fresh green door. No matter what Mother Nature has left up her sleeve, a visit to Kar-Fre always brings a smile.Coach lamp decoration at Kar-Fre Flowers

Our coach lamps are feeling springy as well and the sparrows outside seem almost envious of the adorable nests in these swags.

Spring on display at Kar-Fre Flowers

So much fun color when you enter Kar-Fre Flowers.  Best compliment today was, “This isn’t like any other flower shop I’ve ever visited, it’s so bright and happy.”

A cooler of pretties at Kar-Fre Flowers

Our cooler is filled with the freshest spring flowers–gerbera daisies, tulips, iris, stock, sunflowers, and more.  There’s also the prettiest arrangements anywhere designed and created by our team of floral artists!

Flowers, gifts, and more at Kar-Fre Flowers

This is kind of our mantra for your visit!   Let’s tour more later….

Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit!

Happy 1st of February!

That sound you hear is us revving our engines for Valentine’s Day.  Behind the scenes this past month shelves have been dusted and organized, bolts of ribbon double counted, rose red bows made, flowers and plants ordered for the BIG day, and today the baskets and vases arrived.  Our cardboard dumpster has been enjoying a life of luxury the month of January and today it got a work out with all of the broken down cardboard boxes that came.

We also dug through the archives looking for pictures from past Valentine Days.  It’s always bad to dig out the box and get started because we never want to stop.  We found one of Kar-Fre’s first wedding flower orders.  A cascade bridal bouquet of pink roses, babies breath, and greenery was $27.00 in 1972. Can you imagine?

Bonnie and Rod Valentine's Day late 1970s

This picture is from the later 1970s and features Bonnie Wells and Rod Berg.  Bonnie worked with us for many years and we still miss her dearly.  I learned to clean flowers with Bonnie and still think of her instructions each time I’m in the flower cleaning area.  Rod is still an important part of our team and based on this picture I think you can understand why some of the team calls Rod, Dinosaur!  The secret to success for any holiday is team work and this picture portrays that perfectly.  Bonnie is wrapping an African violet plant for a customer while Rod makes a bow for her to add to the plant.  Our team always amazes me, but when the going gets tough, they get tougher!

Kar-Fre Flowers Open Sunday

Yep! Open Sunday, February 14th for Valentine’s Day.  8:30am-4:00pm and delivering to all Kar-Fre destinations!

KarFre Flowers Snapchat

We may have gotten caught up in our history today, but we did also find time to broaden our social media platform into the future with Snapchat!  We’re still learning, but we hope you’ll join us and have fun with this new connection!

Groundhog Day tomorrow.  Sounds like a good excuse for Brinner or breakfast for dinner with biscuits and sausage gravy (ground hog sausage) and Groundhog Day the movie. How will you celebrate?








May Day!


It may not feel like it, but tomorrow is May 1st and that means May Day!   We love the tradition of May Day and our amazing designers create the cutest May Day bouquets and baskets each year.

This year the weather seems to have everyone wondering when will the sun shine again? When will spring come? When will I not feel like spending the day in my jammies? (Maybe the last one is just me?)  We think that this weather is why our May Day bouquets are flying out the door!  Why not share a bit of spring and hope that spring is just around the corner.

Sweet May Day bouquet

I love this May Day bouquet.  The sunny daisies and solidago mixed with fluffy babies breath and limonium for a vintagey garden look.  Best of all the bouquet is designed in a ceramic 1/4 cup measuring cup so after the flowers are gone there’s a sweet keepsake.  Best of all it’s just $10.00.

May Day vase

A loopy bow of mixed lavenders and yellow front a pretty spring mix of fresh flowers in this adorable vintage looking vase.  It’s the perfect reminder that spring has to come soon!   It’s also only $10.00!

Spring May Day bouquet

I saved my favorite for last.  A cute robin’s egg blue dish filled with a mixture of daisies, solidago, waxflower, babies breath, and a wispy bow.  It’s just $12.50.

Happy May Day!

Remembering Rose…

When my parents purchased Hampson’s Floral in 1972 they knew little about being florists.  They were fortunate that there was an experienced, creative designer willing to stay on and help them to learn the trade.  The designer was Rose Korleski and she became not just a co-worker, but a dear friend.


Rose not only helped my parents learn to be florists, but she and her husband, Dick,  helped my parents to meet people and learn all about life in Sycamore.  This picture was taken shortly after my parents bought the flower shop and shows Rose creating a corsage.


We were saddened to learn late last week that Rose had died and are so lucky to have so many wonderful memories of Rose during her many years at Hampson’s and Kar-Fre Flowers.


Often during a holiday when the shop was crazy busy and Rose would be working on orders that were needed for delivery.  She often would need some of the flowers that were in our front cooler, but knew there would be customers needing to be waited on, but knew that my dad would be impatiently waiting for her orders so he could route them out on deliveries.  In order to get done she would put on her jacket, grab her purse, and wander out in front so that she blended in with our other customers.  She was able to pull the flowers that she needed from the cooler without anyone noticing and get back to her desk to complete her orders and keep our delivery team busy.

As our business grew so did our staff and Rose was always kind and patient as she helped our designers to learn the ropes in our hectic design room.


Rose and another designer review some notes on an order’s colors and dimensions.

Rose was always a role model to us for healthy living.  She always brought a healthy lunch to work with her and most of the time would walk or ride her bike the 2+ miles each way to Kar-Fre Flowers.  I remember one day a lady stopped at the shop trying to find homes for a litter of orange kittens that she had.  Rose decided to adopt two, named them Mert and Gert, and rode home on her bike with them in the basket between her handlebars.


Rose was an amazing, creative, imaginative designer.  She loved working with flowers and creating stunning arrangements for any occasion.  Rose was always eager for a floral challenge and when someone requested that we create a centerpiece with a violin in the center, Rose created a beautiful arrangement of alstroemeria, babies breath, and chrysanthemums and our customer raved about it for months to come.


Sometimes our customers have incredible ideas and it takes a designer with talent and imagination to take the idea and make it a reality.  This idea was a floral band with a halo and we couldn’t pass up the chance to always remember how incredible awesome Rose made it.


This wreath was breathtaking.  An ordinary grapevine wreath became extraordinary when rose created an arrangement on it of japhet and dendrobium orchids accented by an assortment of tropical greenery.


Rose at her desk in our design room.


It couldn’t always be all work and no play and Rose loved having some fun when our kids would visit.  Kyle introduced her to the wonderful world of Ghostbuster figurines.

At some point almost everyday the question of what’s for dinner comes up in our design room.  It’s amazing how inspirational  it is to hear what everyone else is having and over the years many yummy recipes have been shared.  Rose was an incredible designer, but what a cook!  Her creativity was also readily apparent in her kitchen where she created delectable dinners, gorgeous cakes, scrumptious appetizers, and much more and made it all look effortless.  While I am lucky to have many of her recipes in my recipe box, my favorite is her Carrot Cake.  It’s simply divine and I can think of no better way to honor her memory than to share this recipe and hope when you make it you’ll remember Rose…

Rose Korleski’s Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting

      Carrot Cake recipe

       2 C. flour

       2 C. sugar

       1 T. cinnamon

       2 t.  baking soda

      1 -1/3 C vegetable oil

      4 eggs

      2 C. grated carrots

       1 C chopped pecans + 1 T

Heat oven to 350 and grease and flour a bundt pan

Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, and baking soda together in a large bowl.

Mix in  oil and eggs and then add carrots and pecans.

Pour into prepared bundt pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

When cake is cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with remaining chopped pecans

Cream cheese frosting recipe

1- 8 oz package cream cheese–softened

1/4 C butter

1 t vanilla

2 – 1/2 C powdered sugar.

Cream cream cheese and butter together, beat in sugar until smooth and add vanilla.

Rose and Dick Korleski

Rose and her husband, Dick, at a Kar-Fre parties. They were always such fun at all of our parties.

We will miss you Rose, but are thankful for so many great memories.

Jellycat LionHello, I am Fuddlewuddle Lion and oh my I am so pleased to meet you!

I’m a cuddly kitty, except for when my tummy growls and then I get a little grumpy and you might hear me roar.

I am the king of the Jellycat  jungle… although that Flamingo, Fenella, thinks she’s the cat’s meow!

I hope you will come and visit us soon…I really would like to find a new home away from that darned bird!