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Brides & Blooms: DIY May Day Baskets

It’s officially May Day and you know what that means? Yes, April is finally over and hopefully the showers will soon be too. More importantly, it’s a celebration of spring, a celebration of new life and renewal! Lucky for me, May Day is the perfect opportunity to indulge in my love of flowers. Traditionally, one can celebrate this lovely day by hanging baskets of fresh flowers on the doorknobs of your neighbors’ houses. If you want to spread some good ol’ spring spirit (and fool your neighbors into thinking they live next to Martha Stewart), follow this simple step-by-step guide from Alluring Blooms and I on how to create your own DIY May Day Baskets:

You’ll need:
- Construction or kraft paper
- Decorative paper (optional)
- Double-sided tape
- Plastic sandwich bag
- Hole puncher
- Ribbon, twine, or string
- Fresh flowers, of course

1. Start by cutting two pieces of paper to about this size. Here, we used standard brown kraft paper, but you can use whatever you want! Then glue or tape the two pieces together. It’s crucial to double up the paper so that it can support the weight of the flowers and water.

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2. Line all of the outer edges of the paper with double-sided tape.

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3. We decided to make the basket extra fancy so we taped lace doily paper to the brown kraft paper using two-sided tape. You really don’t have to be too precise with this part…use as little or as much as you want to! If you decide not to use decorative paper, then omit the previous step.

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4. Take one of the edges and fold it over so that it makes a cone shape. This will be your basket. Then secure it with tape. Man, what would we do without tape??

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5. Nobody likes a soggy May Day basket so grab your plastic sandwich bag and place it in like so.

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6. Using your hole puncher, create two holes in your basket…one on each side.

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7. Pick out some pretty ribbon, string, or twine to use for the handle of the basket. Cut out two long pieces and tie them through each hole. Then take the other ends and tie them together in a bow.

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8. Pour a little bit of water into the plastic sandwich bag.

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9. Now for the best part! Pick out some of your favorite fresh flowers. Typically, May Day baskets are made of tulips and daffodils, but you can use whatever you want…roses, daisies, carnations, you decide. You can also get super creative and put other goodies in the basket such as flower seed packets, flower bulbs, snacks, old Easter candy…I won’t judge. And there you have it, a beautiful, hand-crafted gift to brighten someone’s day!2014-04-30_0011.jpg

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To learn more about the history and meaning of May Day, check out Amanda’s blog post HERE!

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Brides & Blooms: The Art of Floral Design

You’ve set the date. You’ve reserved the ceremony and reception venue. You’ve selected a wedding photographer to capture your big day. You’ve determined a color scheme or design aesthetic and now you just need to find a way to bring your vision to life. One word: florals. Florals play such a pivotal role in your wedding day. Fresh blooms can really transform your wedding decor from drab to FAB in no time! From bouquets to centerpieces, florals can add pops of color to emphasize the theme of your wedding.

With floral inspiration readily available at your fingertips (a-hem Pinterest), you may have considered doing your own floral arrangements. However, I strongly urge you to consider hiring a professional. Floral designers are incredibly creative and talented people. They understand how to turn your dreams into a reality. They know how weddings work and about the little things that you may overlook like the petals for the flower girl or the extra, smaller posy for the bouquet toss.

Think you can just go to your local florist, pick out some of your favorite flowers, and tie them together with a pretty ribbon? Think again. There’s much more to floral design than just the construction and assembly of the floral arrangements. It’s a creative process. As Amanda from Alluring Blooms explains,

“When it comes to designing floral arrangements, there are so many considerations! I love combining a mix of colors and textures to add visual interest. Larger blooms or blooms with bold colors draw your eye and become a focal point. I also love incorporating vines and draping flowers to add flow and movement to arrangements.”

From a photographer’s perspective, florals can make a huge impact in your pictures, adding the perfect pop of color to every frame. If you’ve put a lot of time, energy, and money into your wedding day florals, odds are you are going to want these details captured. This is why I always encourage my couples to allow enough time in the wedding day timeline for me to capture these important detail shots, preferably before the ceremony. This is often when the flowers will be at their freshest and most untouched state. And let’s be serious…who wouldn’t love taking pictures of beautiful blooms??

Just for you, Amanda and I have provided some behind-the-scenes shots of her flexing her floral muscles and creating a beautiful bridal bouquet inspired by the season. Considering the seasonality of spring, she choose to incorporate a gorgeous combination of roses, tulips, ranunculus, anemone, nerine, eriostemon, jasmine vine and waxflower. Trust me, she makes it look much easier that it actually is! While you’re at it, head on over and check out her blog post on florals and seasonality here!

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“A Rustic Bohemian Affair” Stylized Shoot

This dream started last spring. As I was peeling through wedding blog after wedding blog, I was continually inspired by the earthy and organic feel Bohemian weddings offered. Heavily featured with beautiful blooms and a lovely pastel palette, I knew that I wanted my stylized shoot to have a Boho vibe with a rustic touch. I wanted it to be soft, romantic, and simple and incorporate certain must-have’s such as a floral headpiece, an outdoor setting, several DIY touches, a beautiful flowing gown…these things, to me, scream Boho! And that’s where I came up with the theme “A Rustic Bohemian Affair.”

After deciding on my theme, I didn’t take me long to think of what vendors I wanted to collaborate with. I must say that I am so incredibly blessed to have worked with such amazing, supportive, and down right awesome people! These guys made this experience so much more enjoyable! And how they dealt with my endless emails is beyond me. As I met more and more vendors, I learned about how they created their business from the ground up, how it all started with a dream, how they would rather work 80 hours a week doing something they love than work 40 hours a week doing something that doesn’t make their soul sing.. These people are such an inspiration to me as I pursue this journey of self-discovery. Needless to say, I am so thankful for all of their help, whether it be with products, service, or simply their words of encouragement. I highly recommend collaborating with these incredibly talented and passionate professionals…they are seriously the best in the biz! I also have to give a big, fat THANK YOU to my boyfriend, Bryan, and my BFF, Amy, for their amazing support throughout this entire process and for helping me out the day of the shoot…I honestly don’t know what I would do without you!

Photographer/Event Design: Willow & Stone Photography
Venue: Lussier Family Heritage Center
Models: Adam Olsen and Natalie Wilson from The Rock Agency
Dress: Monirose Bespoke Gowns
Bridal Accessories: Vera’s House of Bridals
Men’s Attire: Jazzman Clothing
Florals: Alluring Blooms
Event Rentals/Props: A La Crate Vintage Rentals, Vintage Birch Barn
Sweet Treats: Cupcakes-A-Go-Go
Hair & Make-Up: Kayla from Rejuvenation Spa & Salon
Stationary: Sugar River Stationers

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Kevin Topp - SAMANTHA!! These pictures are INCREDIBLE!!! You should be very proud of how this turned!! It looks like it was a lot of work!! I hope it furthers your career even more than it has!!

~Kevin

Happy 6 Months Gracie!

Today, our sweet, little Gracie turns 6 months old! If you know me at all, then you know about my kitten, Gracie. I’ll admit that I talk about her more than a normal person would, but I’m okay with it. For those of you that don’t know about Gracie, let me tell you about how our journey together began. Last fall, my mother had got a kitten named Socrates, and Bryan and I were absolutely smitten with him. After spending a long weekend with him, the thought of getting our own kitten entered our minds, for me more so than Bryan. We had joked about it a couple times, but the conversation never went beyond that. Just to see what was available, my mom and I had gone to the Dane County Humane Society a few times, but no one really caught my eye. Fast forward to November 16th: My mom had sent me a picture of this itty-bitty kitten from the humane society. She looked absolutely perfect. Bryan and I got in our car and drove over to see her. Lucky for us, she was exactly what we had been waiting for! She was curious, friendly, and beautiful, and she stole our hearts.

Even though she has only graced (you see that pun there?) us with her presence for only 4 months, we have watched her grow from a shy, little kitten to a curious, hyperactive daredevil. We’re constantly discovering her fascinating “catisms” and if there’s anything I’ve learned from having a kitty, it’s that cats are weird. Like really weird. If you’re a cat person, you know exactly what I’m talking about. To prove this fact, I’ve compiled a list of ten things to demonstrate her weirdness:

1. She is a garbage disposable. No joke, friends. If we let her, she would eat anything and everything. When we give her her canned food in the morning and evening, she scarfs it down in about two minutes, with complete disregard of grace or etiquette. When it comes to food, she is NOT dainty or classy…she is a piggy. In fact, every single time Bryan or I eat, we have to put her in the bathroom. Otherwise, she wouldn’t leave us alone. To prove this point even more, we recently had to take her to the veterinarian because she wasn’t eating right and meowed painfully every time we picked her up. Two X-rays and $200 later, the vet told us that there was a “mysterious object” in her colon. Well two days later, we found out what that was. Turns out, she had eaten a cotton ball. A cotton ball! Seriously Gracie?!

2. She likes to choke you with her body. Anytime we are lying on the couch or in bed, she finds it completely necessary to lie right on our neck, extending her entire body (and usually with her rear in our face), therefore choking us. I’m not sure if she thinks she’s protecting us or enjoys the warmth, but it’s actually quite cute. Gracie, you can lie on my neck any day!

3. She hoards socks. This has become quite a problem as of late. We find socks everywhere…in her kitty tunnel, her kitty bed, the shower, the basement…they’re seriously EVERYWHERE! She literally goes right into our hampers and pulls them out. And then proceeds to drag them all over the house. So we have to find them. Hey, while you’re at it Gracie, you can go ahead and wash them too. Thanks!

4. She often thinks that we are human jungle gyms. I understand that cats like to climb…I get it. But she does it at the most random times. For example, I’ll be brushing my teeth and then out of nowhere, she comes flying through the air like a dang spider-kitty and climbs up to my shoulders. Oh, and did I mention she has claws? I can tell you that some not-so-nice words come out of mouth when that happens.

5. She sucks on our fleece blankets. Yup, you read that right. She sucks on our fleece blankets. And it’s weird. We read in a book somewhere that this behavior, known as “wool sucking”, is actually quite common among cats under the age of one. It can be the result of abrupt weaning from their mother, and since Gracie was found as a stray, it’s very possible that this may be the case for her. Regardless, it’s still weird.

6. She tackles football players on the television screen. This fact did not take long to realize, as we spend every Sunday from September to December lying on the couch, watching football, and being lazy. I’m not sure what it is, but she really likes to pretend that she’s tackling the football players. What’s odd is that she only does it for football, nothing else.  Weird.

7. She loves bath time. This, to me, is strange because I’ve never known as cat that enjoys a good bath. When the time comes, she just sits in the tub, looking like a drowned rat, and doesn’t put up a fight, doesn’t even flinch. This is also true for trimming her claws and brushing her teeth…she just enjoys it. And I can’t blame her. Who doesn’t enjoy getting pampered??

8. She likes forts. Any combination of pillows, blankets, and cushions has her excited like a kid in a candy store. But let’s be serious…forts are pretty awesome.

9. She’s obsessed with going into the kitchen cupboards. Ob-sessed people. Before we got smart, we used to keep her treats and cat nip under the kitchen sink. One day Bryan came home from work to find that she had completely demolished the cat nip bag and ate all of her treats. So then we decided to tape the cupboards shut and put the trash can in front of them, and she still got in, destroying all of our kitchen sponges by ripping them into hundreds of little pieces. Needless to say, we had to invest in some safety latches. Take that, Gracie!

10. She enjoys biting my toes. This one is particularly annoying because she only does it when I’m trying to get ready in the morning. And let me tell you, she is persistent! She won’t stop unless I get her out of the bathroom, and then she’ll just meow until I let her back in. But she doesn’t bite Bryan’s toes, just mine. Weird.

Despite her very strange “catisms” and her sometimes annoying tendencies, I wouldn’t trade her for the world. Having her around brings us such joy and happiness. I could make a list of about a hundred things that I absolutely love about her: how she licks my nose every morning, how she lets me hold her like a baby, how she sleeps on my lap when I’m at my computer, how she follows me around the house, the list goes on. Bryan and I have enjoyed learning about her and her personality and look forward to discovering other weird factoids. So the real question remains, “Who rescued who?”

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Are you thinking about getting a kitty or puppy? Please consider adopting from the Dane County Humane Society!

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Inspired Workshop: A Tribal Affair

Last fall, I was blessed with the opportunity to work with the talented creatives behind Blue Dandelion Photography. They hosted a lovely Inspired workshop that allowed me and other local photographers to learn their craft through hands-on techniques and demonstrations. When I learned that we would be participating in a stylized shoot put on by some of the industry’s best vendors, I was ecstatic. And then when I learned what the theme was, I died (figuratively, of course). With Native American influences, this shoot was filled with gorgeous tribal details, pops of vibrant color, and various textures that complemented each other beautifully. To really bring it all together, the shoot took place in the private canyons of Ho-Chunk Nation, the home of the Wisconsin Winnebago tribe. I loved every single piece of this shoot, every carefully thought-out detail. I would like to send a BIG thank you to Doug of Blue Dandelion Photography for pushing us and our creativity. Heck, I even got to challenge myself to shoot at night without flash…that NEVER happens. I’d also like to thank our lovely models: Stephen and Stephanie Booth, Jeremy, Cassie, and Laila Husby, and Stacie Graves…you guys were so incredibly patient and understanding with us and our crazy ideas. And you are ROCKSTARS for putting up with the 90° weather in flannel and long gowns…seriously.

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Credits: Bridal Gown-Premiere Couture //Florals- daffodil parker //Cake- Bloom Bake Shop //Rentals & Props- A La Crate Vintage Rentals //Invitations- Sugar Pear Design

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