imageMike Hines photo by Kentaro Yamada

One of the most creative people I know, Mike Hines, agreed to sit with me and answer my questionnaire.  Mike began his career in retail then transitioned to interior design and finally found his passion….florals!  Again, someone I thought I knew well, we have worked together almost since the beginning of his opening epochfloral with Mikel Laughlin, in 2001.  Mike and I seem to always be on the same wavelength…I just need to give him my vague thoughts on what I want for whatever event I am working on no matter how small or how large and low and behold it is always how I envision the finished product.  I found out so much that I didn’t know and am sharing it with you in today’s profile.

imageMike creating…photo by Adrian Natase Photography

NENA: When did you realize your talent?

MIKE: I don’t think I really knew at any one time.  My Mother, who knew I had talent before I knew it,  exposed me to creativity at a very early age, she gave me art supplies,  paint by numbers, rugs to hook and I just created and was very happy.  I painted my own rooms and decorated them as long as I can remember.I grew up with flowers all around me, they were and are part of my DNA, just didn’t realize it at the time.  I worked in retail and interior design before getting into florals.

NENA:  So you knew you wanted to do something creative as a career…

MIKE:  Not really, I went to school to study Criminal Psychology, I wanted to go into forensics.

NENA:  Oh my, our very own version of CSI, I along, with many others, are quite happy you turned your thoughts to creating beauty rather than pursuing the dark underbelly of humanity!

imageA Mike Hines creation, photo by Doug Human Photography as featured in Mike’s book. UPROOTED, which I am featuring in tomorrow’s Books Books Books post.

NENA:  How did your original passion for creativity bring you to where you are now?

MIKE: Curiosity and the alchemy of things (see photos in UPROOTED to see this philosophy in action!).



The inspiration board for the Costume Council Gala and one of the actual tables (there were four different set ups).  Photos by Nena.


The Chicago Rooms at the Chicago History Museum The Costume Council Gala for the opening of the Chicago Styled: Fashioning the Magnificent Mile exhibition, November 14, 2014

imageThe huge wall of hand cut and hand placed paper flowers as guests entered the Gala. Photo by Nena.

imageA Corporate Event Gala at the Ritz Carlton, Maui, photo credit unknown

FAVORITE BOOK:  Dr. Seuss, Peter Pan

FAVORITE MOVIE OR GENRE: “Make me cry movies” and musicals.  Some of my favorites: Finding Neverland, Billy Elliott, Out of Africa, Moulin Rouge (Baz Luhrmann version), Australia, Central Station, English Patient.

ENTERTAINMENT IN ORDER OF PREFERENCE:  Legitimate Theater, Symphony, Musicals, Ballet, Opera

FAVORITE CHICAGO RESTAURANT:  Lula’s Cafe in Logan Square.  I prefer American cuisine and fresh ingredients but not necessarily farm to table.

HOBBIES:  Yoga, skiing, tennis, cooking, and baking, entertaining, listening to musicals and traveling.

YOUR HOME:  Clean lines, modern, all white no color…I work with color and I  prefer not to live with it!

FANTASY DINNER:  Still working on the guest list but would serve a standing rib roast, twice baked potatoes and Pavlova (see recipe below!)

FAVORITE VACATION SPOT AND ON LIST:  Scottsdale, Arizona, by myself and to be visited, Morocco

WHAT PIECE OF CHICAGO STREET ART IS YOUR FAVORITE AND WHY:  The graffiti at the Fulton Street Market because of it’s creativity and vulnerability.

INTERESTING INTERVIEW:  I hate to read reviews, always fearing the worse!  I did really enjoy a video that I did with Glossed and Found (actually did a couple with Graham) a couple of years ago.  It became a very “deep” interview but I found it very cleansing and thought it turned out really well.

HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: As a compassionate human!

A quote from the introduction to UPROOTED, in Mike’s words, in my opinion, says it all….”My passion and my need to use my creative mind to design and innovate have become the fuel for my everyday life spent living with flowers.”  A life spent as a genius creator who is vulnerable, always seeking more of himself and pushing his flowers to new heights and himself to new plateaus of creativity….I can’t wait to see Mike’s next chapter!

A superb cook (he prefers to bake, particularly pies, rather than cook but does both exquisitely!) Mike is sharing one of his coveted recipes, again, I think perfect for the Holidays…perhaps New Year’s Eve dessert, your thoughts????

From the Mike Hines Recipe Box

Cranberry Curd Pavlova

Cranberry Curd

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice (I use blood orange for added color)

1 orange peel

1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 large egg yolks

1 large egg

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier

  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes or until cranberries pop. Place cranberry mixture in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Strain cranberry mixture through a fine sieve over a bowl; discard solids.
  2. Combine sugars and butter in a bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined. Add egg yolks and egg, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in cranberry mixture, cornstarch, and salt. Place mixture in the top of a double boiler or glass bowl over simmering water (don’t let water touch the bowls bottom). Cook over simmering water until mixture thickens (about 10 minutes), stirring frequently. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in liqueur. Cover and refrigerate up to 1 week.


5 large egg whites (at room temperature)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

4 teaspoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

Preheat oven to 275°.

Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 10-inch circle on parchment paper. Turn parchment paper over. Secure with masking tape; set aside.

Beat egg whites at high speed of a mixer until foamy. Add salt, beating until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form (do not under beat). Sprinkle cornstarch over egg white mixture; beat at low speed until well-blended. Stir in vanilla and vinegar.

Spoon egg white mixture onto drawn circle. Using the back of spoon, shape meringue into a “nest” with 2 1/2-inch sides. Bake at 275° for 2 hours or until dry. Turn oven off; let meringue cool in closed oven at least 12 hours. Carefully remove meringue from paper; set aside.

Once the Pavlova has cooled and the curd has cooled and thickened, dollop the curd onto the top of the Pavlova.  For added luxe, make homemade whipped cream, lightly sweetened, and dollop the curd top with the whipped cream.

Mike’s comment….Luxurious and delicious.   I could eat the entire thing in one sitting (with a glass or two of port).

One thought on “PROFILE: MIKE HINES

  1. Marcia Buchanan December 6, 2016 / 4:52 pm

    Enjoyed reading your interview with Mike. Didn’t attend the CC gala because I was out of town. He is a creative genius. Anxious to see more from him! Thanks again for highlighting him.

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