2016: A Year in Summary

2016 was such a huge year for me. It started out in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which was the first place I had ever lived besides my hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Aaron and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary and started our second year of marriage in our new city, both of us in new jobs, 12 hours away from all of our friends and family. We experienced tremendous growth as a couple; being isolated from all we had ever known caused us to rely and depend on each other in whole new ways. Here are some photos from our wedding day - January 23, 2015, complete with our "unity pour-over" and the first wedding invitation suite I ever made: our own! It's so funny looking back on that and seeing how my style and process have changed.

2016 also saw the launch of my online shop, where I started to sell prints of original artwork I had created over the winter. My business and website launched in December of 2015, and by March I was excited to expand my scope from strictly client/commission work to retail, as well. Throughout the year I developed some card designs, expanded from solely black and white illustrations to watercolor pieces too, and also created my first botanical calendar! I'm so excited to develop more new products throughout this next year.

I worked with my first logo and branding clients as a professional business owner/designer, and was able to develop a process and several packages that I love. I'm so thankful to each and every one of the branding clients I've worked with: it's an incredible honor to create permanent artwork for your brands that will stick with you for years and years. I'll always be humbled by and so grateful for your decision to work with me!

At the beginning of fall, I launched a huge new project as a part of my shop: my semi-custom wedding invitations. There is so much thought, effort, time, and work (both design and logistical!) behind these suites, and they are definitely a product I am proud of. I learned so much about figuring out proper pricing, back-end website work, and persisting through frustration and exhaustion while creating these suites. I can't wait to see how 2017 brides use and customize them!

I was also ecstatic to work with a handful of brides this year, creating lasting and meaningful wedding stationery for their special days. Making wedding invitations and other paper pieces is so fulfilling and creatively stretching for me! Again, I feel so blessed to be working with people who trust me and appreciate my art enough to use it as part of such an important life event! After getting married myself and dwelling on that perfect day time and time again, creating wedding stationery for other lovely couples will always hold a special place in my heart.

This was the year of my first styled shoot, and the first time I saw my work published (both in print and online). I had the opportunity to work with so many amazing creatives and wedding vendors, and I am so happy I got to "meet" and collaborate with each of those people! Styled shoots are wonderful because they not only provide beautiful photographs of your work, but connect you so well within the industry and get your name/work out much farther than you ever could on your own. I also love styled shoots because they leave the artist with complete creative freedom (maybe with just a few limitations on color scheme and what pieces are needed). While I will always love working for clients, it's also so refreshing and important to sometimes be able to come up with my own vision for my work and then see it to completion. Creative freedom fuels my passion for what I do and rejuvenates me when I am feeling burnt out or tired, and is therefore a necessity for me throughout each year. To see each shoot in its entirety, look back through the archives of this blog!

We chose to move from Grand Rapids to St. Paul, Minnesota in late spring of 2016. Lots of factors went into our decision: we hated being so far from our friends and family in South Dakota, I wanted a larger and more developed creative community, and I had always wanted to live in the Twin Cities (it was the main destination of both of our high school/college road trips, lots of my extended family live here, and the art, food, and coffee scenes are all thriving). However, our biggest reason for the move was because my husband wanted to fulfill his years-long dream of opening his own coffeeshop. We had considered lots of possible locations over the years, but we always kept coming back to Minneapolis. The cafe hasn't opened yet, but keep a lookout for updates and announcements! Aaron's vision for this shop is wonderful, and you'll definitely want to check it out! Here's a preview of some of the design work for the cafe:

With our move came a new apartment: a beautiful one-bedroom space in historic St. Paul, complete with gleaming hardwood floors, antique built-ins, and crown moulding. I've never enjoyed decorating and styling a living space so much! It's been so much fun making this space our own, and I can't wait to continue doing that as long as we live here.

When we moved into our new apartment, I insisted on getting a pet! Anyone who knows me at all knows that I am totally dog-obsessed, but any animal can easily work its way into my heart. Our landlord doesn't allow dogs, so we decided to get a bunny! Cromwell is a seven-month-old Flemish Giant rabbit, and he is hilarious. We get endless entertainment from watching his silly antics and amusing mannerisms. He's so soft, snuggly, and cute - really pretty impossible not to love.

This past year was so full. We moved across the country, both started our own businesses, adjusted to life in a new city, got a pet, and Aaron started a new job. We have been through periods of extreme change and busyness, and it hasn't always been easy. However, while it's been the most challenging year of my life, it's also been the most exciting and fulfilling. I can't imagine a better gift than life lived with Aaron by my side. I couldn't be more grateful that I get to do what I love every day for a living. And I couldn't be more in love with the vibrant, diverse, and exciting city we live in! Things haven't always gone according to plan - in fact, our lives look so very different now than we thought they would. But I've never felt more clearly that God's plan is greater than ours, that he loves and cares for us perfectly, and that he teaches us good and valuable lessons in trust and dependence through years like these. At the end of 2016, my heart is so full. I couldn't be more excited to see what's to come in 2017!

Credits:

Wedding Photos: BethCath

Portfolio Photos and Semi-Custom Suite Photos: BethCath

Selections of Styled Shoots from: YourDreamPhoto, Emilie Anne Szabo, Emily Kirke Photography, Alyssa Wilcox Photography, Kayla Barker Photography, and Jake Anderson Photography