Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Surprise Painting!

Just in time for Christmas,  Kaleen and Michael's cotton and Irish bloom-filled painting is finished!

Talk about a great story behind this one.....
In February of this year, I traveled to Ireland to visit a friend with hopes of creating a photoshoot out there too.  Weather was not on our side, and the southern portion of the country where the shoot was planned for was out of commission with flooding, power outages and road closures.  Despite our bad luck, I had the joy of connecting via Facebook with a lovely florist in Cork, Ireland.... Carrie O'Connor at The Best of Buds.  Her talents are amazing, and her kindness was incredibly generous.  Her sweetness lead a client of hers to me......Kaleen and Michael were married in Dingle, Ireland, but unbeknown to them, Kaleen's mother has purchased a painting for them as a Christmas gift.  I love these gifts.  The thoughtfulness that has gone into this painting by all parties involved really makes this season bright.

Photo by Poppies and Me
Even though their wedding was in May, I think this bouquet has a real winter warmness to it.

I kind of forgot to take a few progress shots in the beginning.

A gift to share with everyone.  Happy holidays to all of my friends, family, co-workers, clients and everyone in-between.  
Wishing you all the prettiness today and into the new year!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Meet the Venue | Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa

The holiday spirit is among us, and I can't think of a better place that brings the warm and fuzzies of the season than the Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa in Galena, Illinois.  My family has spent many a Thanksgiving holiday there, as well as my sister's wedding this past August.  Every year we went around Thanksgiving, the lodge and surrounding area was already decked out with their Christmas decor that you felt closer to December than turkey time.  So, in honor of the festivities that are edging closer and closer, I thought it would be fun to feature this venue that I hold so close to my heart.  In addition, Megan, the event planner for my sister's wedding, was so fabulous and definitely worth hearing from.

Photo courtesy of Unposed Photography

If you ever need a weekend getaway from the city (for those of you in the Chicago area), I highly suggest Eagle Ridge for a nearby retreat!

I reached out to Megan to answer a few questions about the resort....

1.  What is your main job at Eagle Ridge?
My official title is Catering Sales Manager. My job is to plan and oversee Weddings and Special Events such as Vow Renewals, Family Reunions, Bachelor and Bachelorette parties just to name a few. My unofficial title is Swiss Army Knife… I have worked in most positions in the Restaurant and Hospitality Industry and am more than happy to fill in wherever needed.

2.  How long has Eagle Ridge been around?
As one of the Midwest's most unique full-service golf and spa resorts, Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa offers an array of exciting experiences, as well as the perfect destination to take advantage of its pristine beauty and relaxing getaway opportunities. The resort is a natural backdrop to the picturesque setting of the 6,800-acre Galena Territory – a recreational and residential development built by the Branigar Organization in the early 1970’s. It’s abundant wildlife, rolling hills, peaceful lake and dramatic vistas were the perfect setting for a world-class resort and its close proximity to the historic town of Galena instantly made the area popular with vacationers.

Accommodations at Eagle Ridge range from 80 beautifully appointed rooms at the main lodge – or simply ‘the Inn’, to roughly 200 spacious, individually private-owned one-to-six+ bedroom villas and distinctive homes each enhanced by modern amenities and luxurious features.  This unique lodging arrangement not only offers guests the traditional luxury hotel room experience, but it also presents a more private alternative in our inventory of free standing homes which lend themselves beautifully to families, group getaways, wedding parties, executive retreats and even group meeting venues.

3.  Toot your own horn....what is the venue’s specialty?
Eagle Ridge goes above and beyond to accommodate our Guests and make them feel welcome. We pay a great deal of attention to the details and do our best personalize each stay and make it a memorable one.

4.  What would be your dream event creation?
A Celebrity Wedding. (Preferably Jennifer Aniston’s, I’m a big fan!) 

5.  Wedding trend you love and one you’d like to see disappear?
The trends that I love are seeing the personalized things/trends that Brides do. Some favs include different colored Bridal Gowns, going with black and gold linens instead of the traditional white, not having programs and doing a chalkboard or sign instead just to name a few. I don’t think that there is a trend that I would like to see disappear…. I think that every Bride is different and I love different trends/styles for each of them based on their personalities and tastes.

6. Craziest request you’ve had??
Umm, honestly, I don’t think I can say that I’ve ever had any request too crazy. I’ll be sure to let you know when I do though. lol

7.  What is something uncommon you wish your clients knew about Eagle Ridge?
We have had celebrity’s stay here.  When the movie field of dreams was filmed the cast stayed at Eagle Ridge. 
Also, our Chef creates a completely edible Gingerbread house every winter. I have attached a fun fact sheet about that as well.

8.  Favorite thing to do outside the territory?
I love nature, which Galena is great for! But besides kayaking and taking our two adorable beagles for long walks out near the nature preserve just outside of town. My guilty pleasure is Sushi! Date night with my husband is one of my favorite things to do and we dine at Little Tokyo in downtown Galena as often as possible. It’s delicious!

9.  Anything new and exciting coming up that we should know about?
The second phase of multiphase renovations will be taking place soon which will concentrate on all our guest rooms in the inn and courtyard. We are all very excited about this!

Megan Carter
Catering Sales Manager
Weddings & Special Events

384 Territory Drive
Galena, IL  61036
(815) 275-3287 Cell Phone

Thanks so much Megan!!!  Oooo, and thank you for this tasty treat.....

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Painting Update: Courtney and Shawn

Time to catch up on another painting I recently cranked out.

The thoughtfulness that went into this piece is what makes my art so special.  The parents of the bride wanted to give their daughter and son-in-law something memorable for their first anniversary, and discovered me through one of my previous clients.  I love when that happens!  Having gotten married out in Aspen, the bouquet was not transportable to their home in D.C.  In comes me to produce a one of a kind anniversary gift!

Check out this pretty....
Photo by James Christianson

And the finished product....

Special thanks to Lauryl Lane for producing such a gorgeous bouquet and to James Christianson for supplying me with the photos to work from.

For more images from this beautiful wedding, check out the feature on Elizabeth Anne Designs!

Photo by James Christianson

Friday, October 17, 2014

Bridal Shower Floral Crown Bar

A couple weekends ago I had the joy of co-hosting a bridal shower for one of my dear friends from college.  It is still amazing to me how many of my college friends have flocked to Chicago that I continue to have in my life.
To celebrate Tracey and Dan's upcoming wedding, a few of us girlfriends decided to host a shower geared towards Tracey's free spirited and fun loving personality.  With everyone delegated a special task, I took on our activity for the day….a floral crown bar.  For the bride that doesn't want to play silly bridal games, this was the perfect activity to involve all of the guests and still make the bride feel pretty special.

A quick trip to the flower market and some simple tools….

And we became floral goddesses!  

Happy wedding weekend to Tracey and Dan, and may there be lots more flowers in your future!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Good-bye Summer…Hello Finished Painting

Wow.  I don't know what to say.  Time has flown by.  Summer is gone. Labor Day is here.  Sister's wedding is over.  Projects are continuing.  Painting is done.

With all that I have had going on this summer, I gave myself a little grace and decided to not feel too guilty about not writing for over a month.  Everyone deserves a summer break, right?  I'm still waiting for one, but the blog definitely got one.  Rather than groveling over the busyness and trying to double back and catch up with an enormous amount of content, I'm just going to pick up where I left off….Jill and Doug's painting.  Well, it's finished, and it's a blue beauty.

Ahh, I love it.

I am hoping to share my next painting more regularly too….because it's due mid-September.  EEK!  Get ready for me to jump back on the blogging bandwagon!  Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Meet the Florist | Sophisticated Floral Design

Ok, it's been a long time.  This wedding season is kicking my butt…but in a good way.  I have so many different projects going on and work coming my way that I really can't complain.  It only makes me a slacker in the blogging department.  If you follow me on Instagram, you'll see the piles of work as they come in and go out.

How about that painting I've been working on for months….yeah, that's been slow too.  The last minute chalkboard projects have taken over, leaving the painting to a smaller time slot during the week.

Some progress has been made though, and I'm also happy to share with you the maker of this fabulous bouquet, Lora Losinger of Sophisticated Floral Designs!  In a crazy wonderful world, I would be able to deliver this painting when it's completed and meet the artist behind the flowers at her Portland studio.  Well, it just so happens that while my bride did get married in Portland, she is now living in Louisiana… so that plan is out the window.  Ah well.  A leisurely trip to Portland will have to be planned in my future….post wedding season.

In the meantime, let's meet this talented florist who's work I have been a long time admirer of….

1.  How did you start in this business?
I was first introduced to floral design as a young 14 year old freshman in high school. My school had an in-house floral shop where I gained my initial design experience doing daily arrangements, prom and homecoming flowers, as well as holiday orders.
This was when I made up my mind that retail floral shop was not for me. I wanted to specialize in wedding and event design out of a private studio. No walk-in traffic, meant I would have the time to focus on what I did best; which is weddings.
I continued my floral education at Floral Designs Institute in Portland, OR. Graduated in 2004 and two years later ventured out on my own and started Sophisticated Floral Designs out of my little apartment with a rental garage at the time. Looking back, I am amazed at the volume of designs that came out of that tiny place. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
2.  Gotta ask...what’s your favorite flower?
I can’t say I have a favorite flower. It always changes, based on the season. Top favorites are garden roses, ranunculus, succulents, dahlias, jasmine, orchids, ferns, unique textures-pods, berries, etc.
3.  Toot your own horn....what’s your specialty?
I enjoy being very versatile and trying new styles and flower varieties. I love using unique, seasonal and locally grown flowers, foliages and pods, as they add so much interest and texture to any design.
I gravitate more towards the Sophisticated, Formal, Lush and Elegant look.
4.  What would be your dream creation?
I would love to design a full botanical dress. Also a large floral installation/floral wall for an event.
Too many fun ideas to explore.
6.  What do you like about working in the wedding industry?
No two weddings are ever alike. Brides have very different styles and it keeps things interesting and challenging all at the same time.
7.  What is something you wish your clients knew about your job?
Its not as glamorous as most think. The end product is beautiful, but the process to get there is very labor intensive and stressful. From heavy buckets to cleaver loading procedures to get the flowers to the venue in one piece. Unloading and set up takes blood, sweat and tears {literally at times}, but in the end everything is gorgeous and picture ready. Working with perishable product is no joke.
8.  When you are not working, what are you up to?
Spending time with family and gardening. This is my first year growing a vegetable garden and its going well so far.
9.  Anything new and exciting coming up that we should know about? (either professionally or personally)

We are expecting a new baby due December 2014.

Congratulations to Lora!!!!  So excited for her.

This one is to die for!!!

Lora Losinger
Sophisticated Floral Designs

Thank you so much for sharing with us Lora!!!  I can't wait to paint another one of your bouquets someday!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Contemplative Thoughts

I am currently up in Wisconsin at my cottage working on a project for an upcoming photoshoot.  Yes I forgot to post something about Father's Day and painting is not as high on the priority list right now.  I feel crazy.  This time in WI is not of rest and relaxation which is normally what this setting entails.  I am working around the clock to finish something that is just easier to work on on our massive dining room table (without a kitty at my feet).  From here I head to a florist's to work on a seating chart, and then home to complete a couple other projects before heading out of town again for my sister's bachelorette party in Michigan.  It feels like a whirlwind that I am standing still in the middle of.  Time and projects, but my brain has a moment to just think as I slowly progress on my work.

It made me think about how I work and the confidence you have to have going into and starting a project made by one's hand.
Trust me….

You have to look ahead, but not too much and know that where you touch down is a good place to start, even if you have to adjust things along the way.  As time progresses, you begin to trust yourself a bit more and become familiar with your surroundings…and you no longer have to fear.

I got all this while painting some words…..and without drugs.  Wow…..maybe I should do drugs instead.