Old Fashioned & Beautiful!

I don’t update nearly enough.  Maybe it’s the humidity…….maybe the “to do” list is overwhelming…….who knows…….but I got to thinking about this shadowbox the other day and decided this would be my next post.  And maybe I’ll just update by posting the finished orders.  A wonderful grandma had just died and this shadowbox was given as a gift to her daughter.  What I find so precious about this item is the wedding picture of grandma in the frame.  So beautiful.  What a wonderful memory to treasure.  And the tulips!  Could not believe how beautiful the tulips came out.  I’ll tell you what I love…..opening the boxes of flowers buried in silica gel and being amazed at the beauty of the flowers when they’re done drying.  For me it’s like opening Christmas presents and I never tire of it!

May your day be filled with beauty.



What’s in a Name?


This young man’s name was Michael R. Peace. Until flowers were brought to me this “name” meant nothing to me because I had never met him……never even knew he existed. He was only 21 when he was killed in a car accident this past November. Once the flowers arrived, however, I was introduced to a young man who was deeply loved by many……..and it made me think.

First of all, 4 shadowboxes were being done for the family as a gift. Each person who was getting one chose the flowers they wanted in their box and certain pictures. Each box was to have the obituary, and the funeral note information and a pinecone in honor of him being an outdoorsman along with the flowers they wanted.

Being one who feels that less is more I stared at all the items that were in front of me for each different box. I wondered how on earth I would get all that “stuff” in there. When I’m working on a bridal box my mantra is “simple elegance”…but can you really have simplicity when it’s a funeral box? I decided “no”. This is a person’s life all wrapped up right here for a loved one to treasure. I learned about Michael just by looking at all the pictures that were facing me. Michael was real and he was loved and he was special and it all has to be captured for the sake of the memory.

I’m not here to tell you that “here at Anne Bruening Originals we will do blah, blah, blah for you and your family”…….

I am here to tell you that my name is Anne Bruening and just like everyone of you out there my name matters to me and with it are associated aspects about my life that people know because they know me. And if I were to die today I wonder what treasures my children might put in a box along with the flowers. Those memories matter.

Your memories matter to me. They will be treated with love.



It’s time for Change


I have to say, as I have gone through life, that I have mostly hated change. We grow into our routines. They make us feel comfortable, safe……even if life is not that great we still hold on to the “comfort” that the “sameness” represents. At least that’s how I used to feel.

Then one day, a few years ago, my world was rocked and the change that faced me was too overwhelming for me to bear………or so I thought. After about 3 months of walking around in somewhat of a stupor and stumbling for my way………life changed again. I strongly grabbed on to the hand of God and said let’s do it Lord……..let’s take on this world together in a way I have never done. From that time on I have embraced changed in most situations because it is a good thing.

And so it is with Anne Bruening Originals. It is going through change. It’s ok. I like it, actually. I am watching a dream come true that I have had from the beginning – that one day I might be totally “custom” order………I just didn’t think it would be in this way. Times have changed, people have changed, economy has surely changed. I noticed about 2 years ago that my retail sales were changing big time……retail as in coming in to the shop and just purchasing for the home. People were buying groceries and paying bills…….not buying “fluff”……..and that’s what I am…..”fluff”! A non-essential.

I learned years ago that if a business is to run well it must “find a need and fill it”. “Who needs dried flowers Lord?” I would ask almost daily. I have found out, in the last several years, that many people need dried flowers………..just not in the way I originally began.

And so…….Anne Bruening Originals is closing the doors to the basic retail end of the business I once had and opening the door to 100% Floral Preservation. It has been the way it has been going. It has been 98% of my sales…….it is what my clients need and what I love to do for them.

I think of a dear man who recently came to the studio who had just lost his wife to pancreatic cancer. They had 3 weeks. No one was prepared for this. She………younger than me. He had a simple rose from the funeral…….already 2 weeks old and quite withered………and their wedding rings……would I put them in a frame he asked?

Oh dear God……I love my job……..thank You for helping me find the need and fill it. I couldn’t be more blessed.

As most of you know…….my door has always been open. As long as I’m home I am open and available to you. But no longer do I have “regular” shop hours. Appointments are necessary as I am learning that it can often take a client an hour and more to decide on how they want their flowers displayed. It is important that they have their time uninterrupted. Still……….if you are driving by………you are welcome to come up and knock on the door and make that appointment (which could be for right then and there).

Feel free to comment and ask questions………I do my best to be available 24/7 though that’s not always possible. Just know that I do deeply care about what you think. And thank you for 20 years that has brought me to this wonderful place in this business. It has been and still is a wonderful journey.



Floral Preservation for Funerals


It seems like it was just yesterday when I began preserving flowers along with designing dried florals into arrangements for the home or office.  The preservation began, over 12 years ago,  by saving a friends flowers from her moms’ funeral.  I used to watch with interest when people would come into my shop.  They loved looking at flowers that were hanging to dry over head.  (Yes, I used to hang flowers for my clients before the silica gel entered in on the scene.)  Anyway, customers literally loved looking at all the pretty flowers drying and would reach up and touch them.  I would explain about them all while they listened and then watch them quickly jerk their hands away and jump back if I mentioned that the flowers were from a funeral.  You would think they would get some kind of disease just “touching” the funeral flowers!  (more…)




I am honored when I am brought flowers to preserve from a funeral.  I admit that I get caught up in the stories of the families of the loved one who has passed on.  I’m the type of person that will look at all your pictures even if I don’t know you.  I love pictures…………I don’t care who they belong to.  (more…)