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it is hard to put into words all of the incredible beauty & inspiration that was tucked into a few precious days at the SEA ISLAND RESORT in GEORGIA – from the stunning FLORALS by the insanely talented AMY OSABA to the stunning FASHION & SET styling by the ever gracious GINNY BRANCH to the truck load of treasure from BLUE EYED YONDER – it was literally my DREAMS coming to life before my eyes….

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the attendees were embraced by SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY that embraced us at every turn at SEA ISLAND RESORT – they learned & created side by side with each other & with ME – they finger painted with WAX from incredible artist, encaustics master & book maker LEAH MACDONALD

elizabeth messina_a lovely workshop_instagram0003they sat with MARTHA STEWART WEDDINGS photo editor, SHIRA SAVADA & soaked up her insights on publishing & got a bit of her fantastic sense of humor along the way…they enjoyed treasures from BENEFIT COSMETICS, WILEY VANETINE, ARTIFACT UPRISING, VELVET RAPTOR, MONKEYS ALWAYS LOOK, CUPCAKE VINEYARDS, CACAO, FUJI FILM, PRETTY PLUM SUGAR, TIBI, RUCHE, YOU SMELL all tucked into beautiful custom made totes by the one & only WEDDING CHICKS – & our staff wore handmade aprons by ICE MILK APRONS

elizabeth messina_a lovely workshop_instagram0004Tthey photographed stunning fashion by CLAIRE PETTIBONE, TWIGS & HONEY, CHELSEA ROSE BRIDAL, THE SENTIMENTALIST, and IVY & ASTER which hung beautifully from the frames of five stunning models KAREN, SARAH, JESSICA, GINA & ANNA…whose beautiful hair & makeup were carefully tended to by ERIN SKIPLEY & CLAUDIA MEJERLE

elizabeth messina_a lovely workshop_instagram0005then we dined on scrumptious SEA ISLAND RESORT meals while lovely LA TAVOLA linens covered the tables – as a handmade chalkbroard sign by SOUTHERN SPROUT sat beside us & LOVE LETTERS & such were artfully written by incredible calligrapher MAYBELLE -we laughed, we cried – it was everything i LOVE about collaboration – the end result was much bigger than all of the parts –

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i think the thing that truly touched my heart the most was the incredible group of people that came to A LOVELY WORKSHOP to learn from me & my fantastic group of collaborators…all of the attendees brought something special to our group…they are all ARTISTS & it was a pleasure to share time with each & every one of them –

elizabeth messina_a lovely workshop_instagram0007please take a moment & explore the creative work &
websites of the 2013 LOVELY WORKSHOP attendees


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i HEART the beautiful designs of WILEY VALENTINE so much

their style is clean & elegant with an array of options in all color palettes…

i was lucky enough to have all of their beautiful paper goods & designs
last year at the 2012 A LOVELY WORKSHOP at LAUXMONT FARMS

& i am beyond thrilled to say they are working on even more loveliness
for the upcoming  2013 A LOVELY WORKSHOP at SEA ISLAND RESORT

if you are planning your wedding or just looking for some beautiful
cards or personalized thank you notes WILEY VALENTINE is amazing

i saved some of their invites & have them displayed in
my office just because i want to see them every single day

their designs are THAT pretty

so do yourself a favor & visit WILEY VALENTINE today

i promise their pretty designs will bring a smile to your face


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happy valentine’s day giveaway!
today is KISS THE GROOM’S 2nd birthday  & we
are celebrating with our loveliest giveaway ever….


“Twigs & Honey by Myra Callan is a line dedicated toward creating unique & innovative accessories that are designed to compliment & accentuate the wearer’s features. The pieces utilize both modern & old millinery techniques for assembly from hand dyeing & sewing to pressing of petals & curling of feathers. The designs are not created to follow trends but rather to create pieces that are original, beautiful & wearable. New styles are being adding regularly but all are heavily influenced by vintage fashion, patterns & textures in the natural world & fine materials. Perfect for special occasions & weddings, Twigs & Honey designs are created to work wonderfully for your event while remaining timeless in form & function for years to come.”

“Drop it MODERN© is a line of modern photography gear and luxurious backdrops that have been made famous by their rich textures, modern designs and quality materials. drop it MODERN© is the “Original Modern Backdrop Company,” that features custom made prints by owner of Drop it MODERN©, Breanne Schaap, to best accommodate every genre of the photography industry. With one touch you will feel the difference. drop it MODERN© is an inspired company, set to inspire you to enjoy chasing that creative thought in your mind.”

drop it Modern© donates a portion of the profits of every backdrop
purchased to provide clean water to thirsty people worldwide.

“I don’t remember when I fell in love with letterpress stationery, but always knew
it was in the cards for me. On the eve of my 25th birthday, my quarter-life crisis
prompted me to take the leap. My main objective was to create a collection of stationery
that was modern, minimalistic, and smart. Using a printing technique from the 15th century,
simplistic design philosophy, and only the finest papers and inks….

Our mission is to draw attention to the beautiful things in life,
while preserving our earth…one letterpressed note at a time.”


jillian creator of GIG PRESS on her wedding day

in the spirit of love & life & KISS THE GROOM & valentine’s day….
i asked the 3 talented designers to share a personal KISS & TELL story….


myra’s kiss & tell….

The day that Matt and I were married was truly an extraordinary day. We were blessed with having our loved ones near, lucky to have perfectly warm weather, and thankful for having each other. I didn’t think that I would be the bride that would get overly emotional during the ceremony, but I felt my knees get weak while facing my future husband and struggled to hold the tears back. I really don’t remember much of anything that was said during the ceremony but I mostly remember the flood of emotions and those reciprocated by my better half. When it came time for us to kiss, I recall thinking that this was really the “first” kiss ever. It would be the kiss that would signal our lives together as husband and wife. After we kissed, I remember smiling ear to ear as we were announced as husband and wife and I’m happy to say that Matt and I still flirt and kiss over 3 years later.

breanne’s kiss & tell….

“It was new years eve, and there were lots of people there. I had a crush on him for as long as I could remember.  It had been a week since our first date and I hadn’t heard from him since. I live in a small town and everyone I knew was crammed in an old rusted out shop on a cold foggy night on the outskirts of town…..Popping champange and trying to keep warm. I was wearing gold sequins from head to toe so he couldn’t miss me in the crowd….the countdown started…. 10……7……he makes his way towards me…..3…..2……1….it was sweet, soft and sexy….. and it went on and on and on…..a perfect start to the new year and the rest of my life….”

jillian’s kiss & tell….

“our first married kiss…  i look at photos, and i’m reminded of exactly how it felt…i pray i never forget the feeling!!  the all to short moment was filled with so much joy and excitement.  my heart was fluttering…and i remember trying so hard to commit the moment to my memory forever.  it was so romantic, and sweet enough for the world to see.  it truly was a taste of what was to come…of what our life would be like as mr. & mrs.  i cannot believe it’s almost been one year…. wedded bliss…time flies when you’re in love…”


another sweet little detail of GIG PRESS designs

may love & light & kisses be with you always….

one lucky girl will win stationary from GIGI PRESS….
& my favorite sea blue backrop from DROP IT MODERN &
the birdcage veil (i wish was mine) from TWIGS & HONEY

happy valentine’s day….XOXO


(to enter the contest simply write “xoxo” in your comment)

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on SNIPPET & INK today

i think rain may actually really be good luck on your wedding day….it certainly makes for beautiful images….jillian & rick were married on a rainy afternoon….jillian the owner of a lovely letterpress compnay GIGI PRESS, was beautiful in her MANOLO BLANIKs & MONIQUE LHUILLIER….please go visit SNIPPET & INK today and see all of the lovely details….including amazing calligraphy by GRACE CONNELL & beautiful flowers by SQUARE ROOT DESIGN…..and so much more…

here’s to true love & raindrops…xoxo

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pssst….come a little closer, i have something to tell you….i am putting on my mittens & heading to kentucky….i am going to be giving a presentation at the WOW event in lexington kentucky, on january 8th (for wedding professionals) & on january 9th (for brides) & i am hoping you’ll come too…

this event is produced by KENTUCKY BRIDE MAGAZINE….and i am particularly excited to share with you the cover i just photographed for them…i am so smitten with southern hospitality, so i just had to return to kentucky to celebrate & share with other people who love weddings…if you like these

photos you are gonna love this magazine….
& if you are in the mood for a little southern
hospitality, meet me in kentucky at
the WOW event….xoxoxo

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i am especially fond of CHEWING THE CUD & viola, the incredibly talented creator of the innovative company….viola designed all of the printed materials for A LOVELY WORKSHOP in napa & she is working tirelessly on amazing letterpress & printed surprises for A LOVELY WORKSHOP in france coming up in may 2010….she is also working on a very special personal project, a sweet little bun in the oven….to see more of her lovely designs & unique ideas you must check out STYLE ME PRETTY, abby will be putting up some more of viola’s work very soon…..

About chewing the cud….
“chewing the cud is a story depicted in the mediums of paper, apparel, and accessories. The tale is a celebration of all things unique; sometimes bold and dramatic; other times a soft whisper, or a playful hint of spice. The ending is always a kaleidoscope of inspired possibilities, and that, is how we like to see our world.”
-viola (creator & owner of chewing the cud)

i just love the BIG IDEAS books…..


“Why chewing the cud, you ask? We like to ask “why,” and then we like to ask, “why not.” chewing the cud defines that moment of meditation before taking a calculated leap. For the most part, we remember to bring our wings.”-viola….there is a sweet simplicity & loveliness to viola’s designs…


i always think its interesting to find out what inspires someone who inspires me….

and these are a few of viola’s favourite things…..

“running in the rain. flip flops. spotted feathers. cookbooks (with lots of photographs). steamed custard. square wreaths. laughing out loud. stripes and dots. tongue-scorching hot sauce. freshly picked lavendar. foldable bags. foggy mornings. pleats. wet clay. starry nights. crooked lines. books and blankets. white daisies. movies in the park. french macaroons. cigar boxes. dark roast coffee. lazy sundays. did I say coffee?”


these fabric wraps stole my heart the first time i laid eyes on them….these beautifully designed pieces are fabric are meant to be used to wrap a gift…i love this idea…a gift within a gift….its clever & sweet….and they make beautiful head scarves, my daughter has been wearing one around the house lately……here is some more information about the super stylish fabric wraps  in viola’s own words….

Unwrapping the story…
“I didn’t know it then but I think the idea was planted in my head many years ago, when I did my thesis on gift-giving in art school. I’ve always felt that the gift presentation is as important as the gift itself. Each wrap is a gesture of giving and carries a message: Give Luck, Give Cheer, Give Love… “
Wrap your gifts and loved ones with much love and luck….
And some of the more practical specs:
• all printed on 100% organic cotton using vegetable-based inks
• eco-friendly alternative to wrapping paper
• great for wrapping odd-shaped objects
• great as a fashion accessory, napkin, cushion covers, as a print on the wall….


remember to stop by STYLE ME PRETTY & CHEWING THE CUD & let yourself be inspired….



two lucky winners will receive 3 CHEWING THE CUD gift wraps…as well as a BIG IDEAS book…each winner will get a yellow fabric “give luck” wrap, a blue fabric “give luck” wrap, and a flower fabric wrap….you can keep all three, use them as art for your wall, a scarf for your hair or maybe keep your favorite & give 2 to two of your favorite people….& i love the BIG IDEAS book, perfect to slip into your purse & pull out when something special pops in your mind, who knows how big your ideas can get?? so please leave a comment, cross your fingers & i will select 2 winners very soon….xoxoxo

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SARAH DRAKE DESIGN is a simply wonderful invitation company that has (lucky for us) started a new line of beautiful home products…stunning linen table clothes & napkins….linen sheets….dishes….& more…& everything can be personalized with you & your hubby’s monogram…



Art and Soul

“Sarah Drake is a design company inspired by real relationships, experiences, and true stories. We infuse this into our letterpress wedding invitations, monograms, linens, and ceramics, all custom made. Sarah Drake is run by two women, who strive to bring the most attentive service to our customer base. The nature of the products comes from developing relationships with our clients through active listening. Customers share their backgrounds, loves, style, and personal histories. Our products become pieces of art that evolve from their narratives and often go beyond the client’s expectations, as we are creating product that is truly representative of their souls. This is our main goal as a company, to develop positive relationships while keeping a careful eye on the quality of our designs, paper, ceramics and linens. 
Our relationships with vendors are equally important in maintaining the integrity of our business.We use the services of small, family-run companies to provide the highest and most green quality products available. In fact, most of the companies we work with, including our printers, are within walking distance of our Chicago studio. By building community within our industry, we can create the finest quality products, reduce shipping costs, contribute to the growth of Chicago’s economy, all while developing long lasting friendships.
The soft economy has given us a chance to reflect on our goal as a business in a world already overwhelmed with products and waste. Our work is different. Each order is custom made per client, not mass produced. Whether it is an invitation to an intimate event, or a porcelain mug, each item passes through our doors with a history already attached to it. It has been produced specifically for the person it was meant for, meticulously designed with our fine eye for simplicity and form, and created by local artisans or by our own hands.
Our personalized service provides the catalyst of what it means to connect with each other. We have stayed in contact with many of our clients, formed new bonds that have resulted in shared dinners, invitations to clients’ homes, and even been witnesses at their weddings. We think that above all, this is what is important in life. People, relationships, conversations, and the best product available that grows from all of this.”



i must confess….i have known sarah (one of the founders) for some time…i photographed her wedding years ago & have long been a fan of her creative design work…but these home items have me a bit weak in the knees- (i am waiting for my very own grey linen table cloth & napkins with bated breath)


and they have a line of every day dishes that is so simple….perfect for any meal


which you can have personalized for your family too


SARAH DRAKE DESIGN’s products feel like home


“i am my beloved’s & my beloved is mine”


ohhhh….and i love the knit throw….its perfect for a lazy afternoon or a walk in the park


whether you want a perfect invitation, a bowl of figs or to fall asleep in a field of dreams….


take off your shoes & snuggle up with

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the simply stunning bride, isabelle & her lucky groom, daniel were made for each other….


their unbelievably lovely wedding was planned to perfection by MINDY WEISS


all of the incredibly beautiful paper products were created by GRACE CONNELL DESIGNS….she is such a talented & amazing artist….every detail of this wedding was stunning from the one of a kind invitations (each one was hand painted)…to the tables numbers (also hand painted)…to the ridiculously fabulous map (hand painted as well) created especially for the bride & groom’s guests…..


speaking of RIDICULOUS….you must check out what MINDY WEISS has planned for sunday october 11th, 2009….she’s assembled a wonderful group of wedding professionals to share their information & creativity with brides & other professionals alike….i am honored to be one of the speakers alongside inspiring women like  AMY ATLAS, amazing event planner & sweet conesure from new york & ANTONIA VAN DER MEER, editor & chief of MODERN BRIDE & ELEGANT BRIDE, & many more – at mindy’s weiss’ most RIDICULOUS wedding event ever! if you are anywhere near los angeles on october 11th, you must check it out….


back to this beautiful wedding, the entire celebration took place at the SAN YSIDRO RANCH



the bride was stunning in her monique lhuillier gown & handmade LEAH C headpiece


the bridesmaids, oh the bridesmaids, were all so stunning, each adorned with LEAH C headpieces


the SR HOUGUE florals were a stunning compliment to the beauty of the SAN YSIDRO RANCH


the celebration lasted late into the night….so much love….so much beauty….


isabelle & daniel are such a sweet & beautiful couple….


i simply adored being part of this wedding….


i hope these images help inspire your dreams & plans for your wedding day…..


this wedding is currently featured in one of my favorite magazines


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handmade paper is a perfect after school project for your children…simple, a little messy & lots of fun….you can make paper out of almost anything….we made lavender & grass paper….and even cinnamon paper….here’s the 411 about making your own paper….use your imagination & enjoy….




  • Sponge
  • Window Screening (mold)
  • Wood Frame (old picture frame can be used too) (deckle)
  • Plastic Basin/Tub (Large enough to totally immerse frame)
  • Blender/Food Processor (For making paper pulp)
  • White Felt or Flannel Fabric
  • Staples or Tacks (For tacking screen on frame)
  • Liquid starch (optional) 
  • handmadepaper3



    1. Select the pieces of paper to be recycled. You can even mix different types to create your own unique paper.

    2. Rip the paper into small bits, and place into the blender. (about half full). Fill the blender with warm water. Run the blender slowly at first then increase the speed until the pulp looks smooth and well blended. ( 30 -40 seconds) Check that no flakes of paper remain. If there are, blend longer.

    3. The next step is to make a mold. The mold, in this case, is made simply by stretching fiberglass screen (plain old door and window screen) over a wooden frame and stapling it. It should be as tight as possible.

    4. Fill the basin about half way with water. Add 3 blender loads of pulp. (the more pulp you add the thicker the finished paper will be) Stir the mixture.

    5. Now is the time to add the liquid starch for sizing.(This is not necessary but if the paper is going to be used for writing on, you should add some, the starch helps to prevent inks from soaking into the paper fibers.) Stir 2 teaspoons of liquid starch into the pulp.

    Place the mold into the pulp and then level it out while it is submerged. Gently wiggle it side-to-side until the pulp on top of the screen looks even.

    6. Slowly lift the mold up until it is above the level of the water. Wait until most of the water has drained from the new paper sheet. If the paper is very thick, remove some pulp from the tub. If it is too thin, add more pulp and stir the mixture again.

    7. When the mold stops dripping, gently place one edge on the side of a fabric square (felt or flannel square). Gently ease the mold down flat, with the paper directly on the fabric. Use a sponge to press out as much water as possible. Wring the excess water from the sponge back into the large plastic tub.

    8. Now comes the tricky part. Hold the fabric square flat and slowly lift the edge of the mold. The wet sheet of paper should remain on the fabric. If it sticks to the mold, you may have pulled to fast or not pressed out enough water. It takes a little practice. You can gently press out any bubbles and loose edges at this point.

    9. Repeat the steps above, and stack the fabric squares on a cookie sheet. Save one fabric square to place on the top of the stack to cover the last piece of paper. Use another cookie sheet to press the remaining water out of the stack. (do this outside or in the bathtub, it can make a mess)

    10. After you press the stack, gently separate the sheets. They can be dried by hanging on a clothesline or laying them out on sheets of newspaper. When they have dried peel them off the fabric and voila! you have paper!


    this is a great way to teach little ones about recycling & when your paper is dry you can draw or paint on it…handmade paper would make super sweet save the dates for a wedding or birthday party too!



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