Archives for the month of: February, 2010

April and Matt’s wedding was beautiful…and I’m a slacker.  Ok I’m not really a slacker, I’ve had a lot of stuff going on lately!  I haven’t had the time to really sit down with all the pictures I took at April and Matt’s wedding. 

But the day has finally come!  I know April has been waiting for this too. She loves details like I do.  Don’t believe me! Check out the great details from her shower…this level of attention to detail must run in the family! 

I guess I should start with the wedding itself, which was perfect!  But most of my pictures look like the one above.  Mostly because I wasn’t an official photographer so I had to lean out into the aisle to get my shots.  Maggie did too – Good thing we brought our men to act as our “spotters”…safety first!

Here is a shot of some very sweet words from April and Matt to their parents in the program…so well written and heartfelt!

Then it was on to the reception.  The wedding was themed “One for the Books”  which I think is brilliant.  Mostly because April and Matt are book-lovers (much like I am) and April also loves antique/vintage details.  Which is what makes these centerpieces especially lovely.

Um, hello beautiful! Talk about great use of a theme.  Using vintage books and buttons! Adorable.  April also selected books that represented the guests seated at each table – so thoughtful!  Here’s some more detail shots of the book details throughout the reception.

Love the wear and tear on the edges! So much more character than a brand-spanking-new book!

These were the books on the head table.  Did you catch the titles?  Harmony, This is My Best.  How sweet are those titles for a wedding!

Here are some pictures from the sign-in table.  Again – great vintage touches throughout the reception.  Love the bottle!  The framed engagement picture was from Maggie Medema Photography.

The cocktail tables were also decorated with great details such as this great fabric

Unlike the photos I took at April’s shower – I actually backed up and took a few shots of the tables and reception as a whole.  The area for the reception was huge with millions upon millions of windows!  Maybe not millions afterall…but there were a lot anyways.

Now for a few more views of the head table.  These pretty paper flowers matched April’s hair clips (made by her talented mother!)

Now on to my favorite part of weddings…the cake!  Gosh I love wedding cake.  Especially when it’s on a cake stand like this.

And the cake was beautiful as well…

Congratulation April and Matt – I had so much fun at your wedding.  Another Streator girl takes the plunge! I wish you two all the best!

I love to garden.  I love to watch things grow, and bloom. (I’m not usually interested in shrubs or trees or grasses – unless they flower).  What can I say – I’m my mother’s daughter.  I grew up watching her garden (because I used to think worms were yucky and therefore wouldn’t garden along with her).  But I did watch her tend to her plants, cross her fingers, and hope for the best.  Well there is probably more skill involved than just that alone! 

I did however help her pick out flowers.  She is not a visual person.  It’s hard for her to imagine things together and how the end result will look.  She has to see something in real life…I love to do the imagining and visonary part.  So we make a good team, and I loved shopping for those blooms! It was one of my favorite summer memories. Her garden is lovely – not too planned – we are both prefer the cottage garden style. 

I’ve recently been able to garden my own land.  It’s been wonderful!  I’m so excited to see what comes up this spring (especially because I added 100+ spring bulbs!)  Expect some pictures of this process.  I’m not the best gardner, but mostly I know my flower varieties and what conditions they prefer, and if I don’t I’m a good reader – so I check out their tags.  Most of my plants live (some even thrived!) I’m at approximately 85% success rate.  I’m ok with this!

Since the garden/lanscape worked well last year – I’m ready to try a few new things:   

1. Raising the vegtable bed we had last summer (in the hopes to help out with our TERRIBLE clay soil.

2. Adding a “cutting garden”.  I love flowers in the house as much as in the ground but I hate removing the blooms from my landscaping so the cutting garden is super exciting.

3. Planting a more tropical section with canna (LOVE THESE) and some other showy blooms.  We are planning to add some sort of water feature/fire pit type section – so stay tuned for those fun adventures!

4. Spreading wildflower seed in our “back 40”.  Those of you who know what I’m talking about know this is really only 3/4 acre…but we call it the back 40 nonetheless. We’re planning to make it a swaying in the breeze, colorful addition to the back yard. (Plus we don’t mow that anyhow)

5. I would love to attempt to grow some sort of water lily.  I hear they can be grown in small containers or even birdbaths!  I don’t know how true this is – or if I’m capable of this.  I’m going to the garden shop nearby that has an entire water-garden section.  I’m sure someone there can help me out with the need to do this!

At these points of winter (the cold, slushy, dreary, sun-less weeks) I’m so ready to starting thinking/dreaming/planning my spring-time garden to-do list.  This year has been no exception.  In fact I think this urge to plant started earlier this year than normal.  I guess I’m even more ready for summer this year!

Here’s a few of my favorite gardening scenes (Thank you internet!):

BHG

Hello – old wheelbarrow!  YES PLEASE!

The Garden Cottage BNB

 I’m loving the color and texture of this one!

anneelliot.wordpress.com

I think I could live here.  But I would want to spend my days sitting in a swing on a porch with a great book and a antique quilt to cover up with for the cool nights.  Sigh – that sounds so appealing right now!

 

I love to grow things – I love things that bloom – I love Orchids!

Orchids are one of the few flowers I’ve had zero luck with – well maybe not zero luck as I’ve never really attempted to grow them before.  I’m always impressed by those people who grow orchids sucessfully.  They are delicate, beautiful, and exotic.  I think they are so unique and lovely!  I always wanted to grow them but was really nervous.  I took the plunge a few weeks ago and bought one.  I’m happy to report it is currently alive and well on my kitchen counter.  It reminds me that spring is on the way!  I love it for that.

I’ve taken pictures of it over the past few weeks.  Here are two of my favorites.  These don’t show off the great color  – but I love the drama and texture!

I love these!  They seem old-fashioned to me and perfect for framing!  I plan to add these photos to my Etsy shop at some point in the next week or so.  Poor Etsy shop.  I’ve been neglecting it!  Crazy schedule and all has been keeping me away.  But keep an eye out for these beauties!

Happy Weekend! 

Thought I’d update everyone on the projects and things I’ve alluded to over the past few weeks.  Although I can’t finalize any of these posts…here’s my updates:

1. My bread baking adventures ended on a positive note:

Delicious…cheesy…garlick-y…YUM!  I’ll post a recipe and the play-by-play later on. 

*Note: Not that anyone should take my advice on how to actually bake bread as this was my first attempt…but it was pretty ok!

2. Black and White Decor

So I finished all the items…bought the frames…haven’t hung them up yet.  I’m working on it!

3. April and Matt’s Wedding

I will post more photos!  I swear I will!  But I thought I’d post just one more of the beautiful table with the beautiful big windows behind it to tide every over a bit.

4. Wall Art

Boy this post reminds me that I have several decorating projects which aren’t completed.  This one is getting closer though.  We are at the frame making n’ painting step. Then all we have left to do is put em’ up!  Finally!  No new photos – sorry.  Don’t want to give everything away!

Ok so maybe there is even more “unfinished business” on this blog.  I sometimes get excited about things and jump around a bit with my blogging.  I’ll do my best to use this as a reminder so that I can finish up all my posts.  Sorry to keep everyone on the edge of their seats for so long!  Ok…so maybe I’m the only one who even remembered!

Even though I sort of hate snow, well hate isn’t the right word.  I loathe snow, despise its existence, dread those powdery white flakes!  Dramatic – me – no way!  I thought I’d share a snowy image from this morning.

And a picture of something not so snowy – something to look forward to this spring!

This picture from BHG (Better Homes and Gardens) inspired me.  And no not to buy a new TV (although that would be ok I guess), but to make some new decorations for the entryway.  I don’t have any finished photos to show you…mostly because I need to buy more frames and I haven’t had a chance to do that just yet.  But…this photo also fits the b&w theme so I thought I’d share. 

I’ll show the finished product once I make a frame-purchasing trip. (And hang the frames…it may be a little while!)

PW (aka Pioneer Woman) is at it again with another photography assignment for her readers. This time the assignment is shallow depth of field.  I think I squealed when I read this one.  I love using a really small aperature on my camera to blur out the background and focus in on one tiny detail in a picture. 

 (For you non-camera obsessed readers, this may not make much sense!).  If you’re interested in more information about what the heck an aperature is, click this link, PW does a great, easy-to-understand, review.
 

Anways, I haven’t posted my submission to the Flikr group yet because, well I have no idea which image to choose.  It seems (from looking through my computer files) I almost always shoot with shallow depth-of-field. I thought I’d share a few of my favorite images here (maybe a few more than just a few). 

I’ll post one of these to the Flikr group sooner or later:

I find so many artists fascinating, brilliant, and inspiring.  I recently was interviewed for a blog feature (I know…little ol’ me will be a feature…don’t worry I’ll link it as soon as it’s posted!) anyways – I was asked what artists inspire me, and that got me thinking!  Lots of artists have inspired me – in many different ways. 

Some artists’ personal stories are inspiring while others inspire me with their use of color, composition, and materials. I love art museums! LOVE THEM!  I could spend days in museums…mostly the modern art portion.  I always find great pieces of art that inspire me.  Sometimes by artists I know, sometimes by artists I don’t.  But I will never forget the first time I saw a piece by Chuck Close.

I was with my mom (always a faithful art museum companion – Thanks Mom!) at the Chicago Museum of Fine Art in the modern art section when we started looking at this big portrait.  I even remember where exactly it was positioned in the gallery!  Up close it appeared to be a lot of little boxes filled with different shapes (Xs, Os, squares, dashes…etc…) I could tell it was a portrait and it was cool. 

“I build a painting by putting little marks together–some look like hot dogs, some like doughnuts.” –  Chuck Close

The size alone was simply awe-inspiring.  We continued on to the next gallery and then next, when all of a sudden I turned around and looked back through the hallway at the over-sized shape filled portrait and it had transformed.  Completely. It had morphed into a photograph.  I couldn’t believe it.  In fact, I walked back up to it and stood there for another hour.  Luckily my mother understands my quirks and let me behave this way without urging me on (Thanks again Mom!)

I was completely in awe, speechless, and that’s quite a feat!  After finishing the rest of the gallery I demanded we go back downstairs and look at the Chuck Close piece again.  Ever since that day I have continued to seek museums with Close pieces.  I have been forever in love with his work.  It’s so big…and so real! 

 For those of you in the St. Louis area.  Go immediately to the St. Louis Art Museum.  Turn right after entering the front doors, go up the stairwell, make another right (this is the Modern art section) look around a bit.  Don’t worry, you won’t miss it.  I’d give you directions to its exact location, but they move pieces around from time to time.

Ok…back to Mr. Close.  To make his work even more inspiring.  Chuck Close has an amazing personal back-story.  He has overcome a set back that I could only imagine would keep me from ever painting again.

In December 1988 Chuck Close suffered a spinal artery collapse. This left him mostly paralyzed from the neck down.   He refers to this day as “The Event”.  Did he give up? Did he hang up his paint brushes?  No way!  He continues to paint by taping a brush to his hand.  Doesn’t that make you rethink all your excuses in life! In short (Ha…like I ever make anything short!) Chuck Close’s work always inspires me.  It doesn’t matter how many times I see the same painting, I still have that same rush I felt the first time I saw his work.  I wanted you to experience his work as well, and although these pictures really don’t do it justice at all (seriously…you must see this in person!), I posted a few images for your viewing pleasure.

I reposted these from various websites (I know, I know, you don’t even have to say it – I’m sure it’s wrong of me!) But I wanted to share with you some of my personal inspiration.

Phil Spitbite, 1995

Lucas/Woodcut, 1993

Self Portrait, 1967-1968

Chuck Close working on a portrait after “The Event”

I love to eat…love to eat…I also love to cook/bake/make food a mess in my kitchen.  This fact always shocks my mother.  She is a fantastic cook and a great source of cooking/baking/mess making instructions.  I didn’t take full advantage of this information growing up.  I helped around the kitchen a little – but really starting cooking all on my own when I first lived in an apartment with a real stove!  One thing I did learn from her however is how to use almost every dish/pan/utensil in the kitchen for each meal.  I’m really good at making a mess.  She didn’t however pass on her good skills of cleaning up.  I do ok though.

Anyways I thought I’d share some of my cooking adventures here.  Right now in my oven is my very first attempt of baking fresh cheesy-garlicy-bread.  I hope it turns out edible…if not, at least my house smells amazing right now!  I also documented the bread baking process.  If all goes well I’ll share it here sometime soon. 

But for today…I bring you Almond Pound Cake with Raspberry Topping

This cake was super easy – it was an upgraded cake mix.  Don’t judge me for using a cake mix…it’s fast…it’s easy…it’s delicious!  But you could use any pound cake recipe you want.

I used the plain pound cake box mix and added a teaspoon of almond extract then baked it according to the box directions.  (It wasn’t as almond-y as I would have liked…next time I’d added another teaspoon). 

But plain pound cake just wasn’t enough – I needed some topping!  So I used my raspberry filling recipe (which is great between cake layers and would also be good as a cupcake filling! This time I spread it on top of each slice and added a dollop of cool-whip (with a little vanilla extract added to make it taste home-made) right before serving. Oh man – it was moist, and perfect with a little tang from the raspberry filling! You should try it sometime.

Enjoy!

Raspberry filling:

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups frozen raspberries

1 ½ tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh would be good, but I used the fake stuff since that’s what I had on hand)

¼ cup sugar

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil
  2. Let cool slightly, then strain through a fine mesh strainer (this helps get rid of all those gross, crunchy, appetite-ruining seeds).  But if you’re ok with seeds…you can skip this step
  3. Finish cooling then spread on top of each slice before eating

There are so many wonderful, talented, amazing artists on Etsy.com.  If you have never been to this website – well then finish reading this post, and then head on over that way.  You’ll like it.  I hope.  And while you’re there…check out my site by clicking here.

But this wasn’t meant to be a self-promotion.  I wanted to promote some other fine folks who I have stumbled across.

AceroStudio has a variety of  interesting items…but my favorite is this one:

Set of 2 Vintage Camera Cups

Aren’t those old camera images perfect! This would be a great addition to my relaxing morning coffee and newspaper reading routine – wait! Who am I kidding?  I wake up 10 minutes later than I should have…rush to get ready which always results in a straightening iron burn or mascara on my cheek – then dash out of the house so quickly sometimes I have to double-check that I’m fully dressed. Pants, shirt, shoes – check!

But it would be nice for the coffee I inevitably drink each night when I get home and have to stay up to work on stuff.  Not into cameras – there are vintage typewriter mugs too! As well as lots of other great stuff.

Now on to something with no other functionality than it would beautify my home and remind me of my Streator Girls.

Sex and the City Print

Laura Trevey creates amazing watercolor images.  I love all of them…but wanted to show this one because of its title.  I sure miss those girls!

Stay tuned for more “stuff I want to have but can’t afford right now”.  It’s one of my favorite features!