Monday, December 21, 2009

... and a cardinal in a bird cage

Yes, the weather outside is frightful. After a snow storm came through on Friday, leaving the top of my magnolia tree bent over so far the top was touching the ground,  I went outside to gather some of the broken branches to refresh my mantle. I saw, sitting among the limbs, a cardinal ~ cold and startled. Once I made sure it was alive, I ran inside to grab my new camera Santa brought to me early.

After snapping a few shots, I started worrying about the little guy, so took some moss and put it inside a birdcage that has a nest in it and had my husband bring it in to evaluate his condition. I was a wee bit afraid of it as it was chirping at me rather loudly. Gigi's curiosity (and maybe a little jealousy) started to ruffle the bird's feathers, literally, so I put the cage up on a table in my sunroom.


 We shut the doors to just let the bird be ~ to rest and regain its composure. Later we looked through the doors and saw he had flown the coup (or rather jumped as we think he was still a little rattled).

My husband rescued him from under a chair, migrated him to the basement where he was fed and transferred to a smaller cage, to roost for the night ... and hopefully recover.

This morning I sprang from my bed and ran to the basement. I threw off the blanket and our feathery visitor seemed ready to go ~ breakfast devoured.  I took the cage to the back door ... and away he flew like the down of a thistle.

Goodbye Rudy. I am glad we could help you and hope you fare well!

photos by Dana Cochran ~ The Ginger Parasol

Friday, December 18, 2009

Favorite Artist Friday ~ Trisha Romance

Star of Wonder

I fell in love with the work of Trisha Romance in 1990, when a friend purchased a print from this artist, while visiting Niagra-on-the-Lake in Canada, entitled "Christmas Morning."

My husband knew how much I loved her work and gave me "Silent Night", in 1993, as a Christmas gift. We later purchased "Candlelight Stoll" and "The Home Bakery." Her paintings are printed in limited edition prints and then the plates are destroyed.

"Star of Wonder" is another favorite that I sent out as our Christmas card several years ago.

I love the way the artist tells a story about each of her enchanting paintings and have include them below each one.

Silent Night

On Christmas Eve, the white blanket of new fallen snow surrounding our home, seemed so "calm and bright" that only an angel would dare to tread on it.

As we gathered around the table, to give thanks and sing glory to the Newborn King, heavenly peace blessed our family.

Peace on earth seemed a certain thing. As certain as the joy that filled our hearts, and as certain as the Star that led the three wisemen to the place of our Savior's birth, on that first "Silent Night". ~ Trisha

Candlelight Stroll

There is a night, a most romantic night in our town, truly unlike any other. It is an evening that warms the hearts of many and gives new life to even the most serious Scrooge. Early in the evening, many folks dressed in traditional apparel, mix Christmas shopping and socializing as the town prepares for "The Victorian Candlelight Stroll". Christmas music fills the air and just the sound of sleighbells is enough to transport one into a past century. Candles are sold by the hundreds so that not a soul is missed. Faces glow, not from just the candles they hold to celebrate the seasonal event but, with the Spirit of Christmas.

By the time the clock tower strikes seven, the townsfolk and all their visitors join the choir from the courthouse stairs. One by one the candles are lit from stranger to stranger, from loved one to loved one. And the chorus of "Alleluia" sends a tingle up your spine and brings a tear to the eye.

I dedicate this painting to all who have created this magic in many towns across our country, from the candle man to the smallest caroler. ~ Trisha

The Home Bakery

 The Candlelight Stroll wouldn't be the same without a trip to the bakery to fill up on gingerbread men, fruit cake and shortbread. Everything is bundled up in the familiar white box and wrapped up with string, but when we leave I realize that I've acquired much more than I paid for....a childlike joy that warms the insides and a feeling that in all the hustle and bustle it's the simple pleasures that satisfy and fill the soul. ~Trisha

After almost losing her eyesight at the age of four, Trisha gained a new appreciation of sight and thus an artist was born. After the bandages were removed from her eyes, she began drawing everything she saw. She said she felt an indescribable sense of light, freedom and happiness and believes it was a miracle. She has not stopped drawing nor painting since.  In 1989 she suffered from a venous angioma in her brain which has limited her ability to work as she once did. Her bio is long, but a must read if you like her work. She has a way of putting so much light, life and love into her art. I can get lost looking into these magical prints, imagining the stories that are going on within them.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

Winter Wonderland

I love creating inspiration and story boards, both on the computer and on paper or boards ~ of real weddings I have worked on and from magazines. I keep a box of clippings next to my magazine basket that gets filled while browsing my favorite periodicals. These boards were created by Snippet and Ink and Ritzy Bee. I have almost all these clippings in my own collection, having every issue of Martha Stewart Weddings since its first publication in 1987. I love how these were so beautifully arranged, so I thought I would repost them as they bring me much inspiration as I work on wintery wedding orders today. Winter weddings are actually my favorite ~ so intimate, elegant, magical and enchanting.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Real Wedding Weekend: Amy & Marshall

As long as Amy had dreamed of getting married, she envisioned an outdoor, autumn wedding at her family’s second home on Lake Toxaway, NC. Since she was fifteen years old, her family spent summers, holidays and random weekends making memories at the lake with family and friends. She thought it would be the perfect place to show her guests why Lake Toxaway held such a special place in her heart.

The ceremony was held on the tee box at the Country Club with a reception following at her parents’ home. In both settings the event was designed to enhance the natural beauty of the surroundings as opposed to trying to create something different.

The family’s eight year old dog, Ally, was a greeter at the ceremony. She also loves being at the family lake home and was decked out in festive attire to greet their guests. After the wedding, Ally was taken to the reception where she was able to join the party for a little bit of fun. She was a huge hit and the wedding would not have been the same without her presence!

I worked closely with the bride to design a script for her invitations that would reflect her simple, yet elegant style. We then engraved the calligraphy, in chocolate, on handmade Belgian stationery. The paper is so gorgeous and one of my favorites. It has a rich, yet rustic flair with its texture and deckled edges and complemented the engraving beautifully. The suite set the stage for the beautiful event to come.

Amy’s couture wedding gown was designed by Justina McCaffrey. Two veils were created using the same lace used in the dress, one as a train for the ceremony and a shorter version for the reception. McCaffrey also designed a short jacket made of the same lace that the bride wore during the reception, as it turned out to be a chilly, fall evening.

The wedding party was transported from the ceremony to the reception via the Miss Lucy, a boat belonging to the Lake Toxaway Greystone Inn. It was a great, fun time for a champagne toast with the wedding party and a wonderful way to really incorporate the “lake” into the wedding. Definitely a highlight!

The cake was five layers with alternating round and petal shaped tiers. It was covered with white vanilla buttercream icing with a choice of three cake flavors - vanilla butter cake with vanilla buttercream and chocolate ganache filling, brown sugar pound cake with hazelnut praline filling and spice cake with cream cheese filling. One of my most favorite parts of the cake was the stand – it was made from the trunk of a tree that was once stood the family’s yard at the lake. The table was covered with moss and the caked placed on the tree trunk. Yet another simple touch that was very natural and blended in with the surroundings.

This was one of my favorite weddings of those I have worked on as I love juxtaposing rustic with elegance. This event was the perfect union of both from beginning to end. ...and the bride and her mother were an absolute joy to work with!

Invitations - A Fine Line
Photography - Charles Bordner
and various photos from the bride's friends
Flowers and design - Karen Purvis

Monday, November 16, 2009

Home Sweet Homes

Earlier this year I was commissioned to render 8 house portraits for a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary as a gift from their children. Working as an executive for GM, the couple moved quite a bit over the last 50 years.

From the townhome where they began their lives together and the first home for their three children,

to the home where they retired,

...and all the beautiful homes in between,

they have shared an amazing life together.

I hope each time they look at this painting it will bring back wonderful memories of the times they have shared together, and those with family and friends, over last 50 years ... and many more to come.

This was my first attempt at ever painting a house and coordinating eight on one page was quite challenging, but I was happy with the overall results.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sneak Peek and a Special Fall Promotion

More gorgeous photos of this glamorous wedding coming soon. Here is a peek of the wedding reception stationery pieces.

The place cards I penned were nestled among roses and jewels. We used Biltmore Estate historic facts for the table names, which was fun, as well as interesting and informative.

The bride asked me to have a menu designed in a square format using various type sizes, going from small to large. We wanted to use the same script and Parisian borders I used to design her wedding invitations and have them flow into the reception pieces. I asked Heather, owner of Real Card Studio (one the exquisite lines we offer at A Fine Line), to see what she could do with these special requests. Heather never disappoints, so I knew she would come up with something fabulous …and she did! This is one of my most favorite menu and program designs ever. They were letterpress printed in chocolate and champagne on handmade Italian paper. The bride wanted something very modern, while her mother requested the design be classic and traditional. We were able to please both and the final product was stunning! The bride’s mother told me the menu was the most photographed element of the wedding among the photos taken by their friends and family.

This brings me to the special we are offering at A Fine Line running until December 31. Receive 10-15% off wedding programs and menus when purchased with wedding invitation suites from the same company. This promotion applies to specially selected lines we carry.

photography by Parker J. Pfister

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sketching at The Bloom Room

It appears I have way too many photos and designs on my computer and it has finally crashed! I cannot get to the wedding photos I was going to post, so here are a few sketches I did at my friend Stacey’s shop, The Bloom Room, last week. Since I can't scan or adjust them, please excuse the quality of the photos – yes that is my excuse for them. :) and no, the Wizard of Oz is not behind the curtain! ... I just didn't get around to finishing the details while I was there.
Stacey and I used to share the same shop until she needed a larger work room and more storage space. Not only do I miss her company, but I miss the beautiful flowers! Stacey is a fabulous event and floral designer, with a great vintage style, and does shabby chic like no one I know. I decided to go over and see what they were working on for the week and practice sketching which I need a lot more practice, but I am enjoying it. It was a fun day!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Perfectly Inscribed

My fabulous hand bound journal arrived today. It is perfectly inscribed and ready to fill with calligraphy, sketches, watercolor, quotes and things that bring me inspiration. I ordered a smaller version a few months ago from Melissa Meaders McArdle (Simply Mel) over at Reverie (a must follow blog!) The book is filled with gorgeous handmade paper that takes ink and watercolor beautifully. The books are hand bound by a bookbinding artist in Scotland. When I saw that she had a larger version, which could be personalized, I had to have one. The cover’s inscription reflects the name of my little dog Ginger and other things that bring joy into my life.

The arrival of the book is bittersweet as little Gigi was hospitalized again today for diabetes. Last week, when we took her to the oncologist in South Carolina, we had hoped to get a great report that the chemotherapy was shrinking her brain tumor. What we found out was that she had developed diabetes and was in serious condition and a CT scan could not be performed. They referred her back here to our animal hospital, where she was hospitalized and started on insulin. The oncologist believes the diabetes is a result of prednisone being used for the tumor, therefore it cannot be discontinued. We have not been able to stabilize her glucose levels with the injections at home, as the dosage has to be increased gradually, so she is back in the hospital today. We have taken her off the chemo until we get the diabetes under control. Our veterinarian still has high hopes that she will rally, so we are still hanging on.

I look forward to brighter days when I can relax and enjoy creating something artful in my spectacular new journal.