Latest Posts

Afraid to Ask?

Stained Glass by the Numbers

Piece by piece, these stained glass side lights come together. I almost never stop to count the number of pieces in my designs. Sometimes I think it would scare me to know!

A labor of love, time spent in creation of beauty!

Some studio’s charge by the piece. This is a good indicator of the work’s complexity, given each individual piece will be touched six or more times in the fabrication process. Truly a labor of love in it’s creation. There’s something special about that kind of work – in the doing of it, and in the viewing of it. Both creator and end customer will get joy from the stained glass work. And this joy can last a lifetime. For me, that’s what makes these works meaningful and worthwhile.

Closeup of pattern and petals in various stages of completion.
Detailed closeup of pattern and petals in various stages of completion.
Custom stained glass sidelights soldered and ready for patina.

Strawberry Lavender Lemonade

Tastes of the Season

Nothing says spring like fresh strawberries! Now at their best, this seasonal delight is a perfect companion to the essence of lavender in a lemonade sure to impress! A perfect beverage for an outdoor party, wedding or baby shower!

Strawberry Lavender Lemonade

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: super easy
  • Print

A fresh, crisp, slightly sophisticated beverage perfect with any spring or summer meal.



Credit: www.galleryschoice.com

Ingredients

  • 2 fresh lemons
  • 1/2 c. lemon juice
  • 5 c. water
  • 8 cups ice (approx. 32 large cubes)
  • 10 to 12 fresh strawberries sliced
  • 4 Tbs. GC Lavender Syrup*

Directions

  1. In a large pitcher, mix water, lemon juice, syrup and strawberries.
  2. Add lemon slices, reserving some for garnish.
  3. Pour into ice-filled glasses, garnish and enjoy. (Add fresh lavender sprigs when in season for an extra special touch of elegance!)

Find GC Lavender Syrup at your local farmers’ market or

Stained Glass My Way!

This season the gallery has been bustling with new stained glass students and with all the most recent success stories, I needed to take a minute to share some visuals with all of you. I like to say I live vicariously through the work of others. I also say ‘I never met a piece of stained glass I didn’t like!’ So true. I am sure you will see why!

Congratulations all on accomplishing some great projects!

Always wanted to try stained glass? Now’s the time! Join us for class!

Dreaming of Somewhere Dry

If only captured in glass! This stained glass student captured the beauty of the arid west, with her cacti window.

Hard to believe that this was her first class experience with us. Not your typical beginner project having 71 or so pieces, (we like to have people start at between 20 – 30), one can’t help but be drawn in by the level of detail and beautiful design. In addition, vibrant use of primary colors along with attention to the contrast of light and dark areas bring the piece together.

Congratulations Julie!

For the Love of Salad

A colorful palette of fresh flavors and textures can make a modest salad a delight!

I hear so many people say they hate salads. Quite frankly, I don’t understand. With so many options for ingredients, with such a broad and colorful palette to choose from, how can someone make such a blanket statement? Even the pickiest of eaters should be able to find some combination of modest vegetables to enjoy!

Gourmet chefs know we eat with our eyes. Given that fact one suggestion for those who, like me, want to eat healthy and live well, would be to take care to incorporate a variety of colors and textures. When I prepare a salad for lunch or dinner (it’s almost always on the run to take with to eat at my desk at work or on the go) I can’t wait to eat it!

My second tip is simply use fresh produce! Now I know – in the middle of winter, garden fresh local is not a pure reality! But, even I can see when the lettuce I bought last week is looking like compost fodder.

If you are any sort of adventurous, try growing some micro greens on a sunny windowsill! Check out this website for more info: https://www.trueleafmarket.com.

Growing under new LED Grow lights

A sunny window can foster these nutrient rich salad toppers!

You will be amazed by the pop of flavor those little guys deliver!

Other ideas: try zesting a lemon on top for a burst of sunshine freshness.

Just a reminder:
Join us at the farmers’ markets: Saturday, 7 am – 12:30 pm in Downers Grove by the Burlington Northern train station AND Sunday, 9 am – 1 pm in Oswego, IL by the library. This Sunday is the first Oswego Market for the season. And, if you are near Naperville on Wednesday afternoons, stop in and see us at St. John’s Market near the clock tower from 3 pm – 7 pm .

Whatever you do, artistically designed salads you make yourself can help you achieve your goals for healthier lifestyle. So go ahead – be creative!

Market Shirt of the Day

Local farmers markets are a great source of local food and handmade goods, and a great place to do some people-watching. One of the most popular spots for the 5-and-under crowd is a covered storm sewer near our DDG tent. Many, many stones have splashed below.

But for me, it’s the shirts and hats. Call it local flavor. So I’m sharing my favorites, and trying desperately NOT to comment. At all. Ever. OK, maybe just a little. (Names have been changed to protect the innocent. Mostly.)

If I can figure out how to just ADD to this post every week or so, I’ll do that. Happy scrolling!

Downtown Downers Grove Market 5-25-19:
Clearly this will be Miss Rose’s favorite of the year. It’s a Texas Roadhouse. And Apprentice Andrew will love the Illinois State Redbirds hat. Great combo!

. ‘Nuff said. Downtown Downers Grove Market 5-18-19.

Water Water Everywhere

Where were you in 2003??

Back in 2003, I spent my days (and many evenings) as an IT Director, installing and maintaining networks and phones across the country. Rose was in Naperville, flexing her MBA as a Marketing Manager at Tellabs. And whilst I was installing a water heater at home, Rose registered Gallery’s Choice. October 31, 2003.

So that old water heater finally rusted through, and I spent a bunch of this weekend reminding myself everything I once knew about soldering. Pipes, not glass. Soldering from the bottom, like I did last time, can damage the plastic (dielectric) inserts. Not too much solder. Clean, clean, clean. Just like our Stained Glass soldering, it’s a process. Plan it, lay it out (dry fit), clean, flux, solder, polish.

But this will never pass for stained glass art, and our basement utility closet shall never be on the house tour. Your stained glass WILL be a tour highlight, whether you make it or just provide the inspiration to a qualified, union, stained glass artist. HA!

So look for the parallels in life – they’re out there. Maybe it’s not the obvious connection between stained glass and water heater replacement, but you’ll find them. Back in 2003, becoming a full-time artist wasn’t the obvious choice for me. But it has been an amazing run, with our art in 34 countries and 45 states; a blossoming lavender business; a daughter turning 25 (she was in 3rd grade when I installed this old heater); and WOW I just scared myself. Sixteen years from a 12-year warranty! So to borrow a line from Apollo 13:

“Farewell, Aquarius, and we thank you.” “She was a really good ship.” (er, water heater – oh, just go with it.)

Being Well

The inner peace of an alert and calm mind are the source of real happiness and good health.

Dalai Lama

As I try to envision being a better self, I often find direction from those wiser than myself! Today, I happened to check in with the Dalai Lama for a life lesson!

In this overly busy age of rushing around trying to do everything and more, his thoughts on the importance of calm have a deep meaning for me.

Take a breath. Smell some flowers. Look up at the sky. Right now. Where ever you are. What ever you are doing. Just stop for a moment. Breath. Observe. We are alive. Don’t miss it!

Our Field of Dreams

A behind the scenes look at our first lavender planting of the year!

https://videopress.com/v/5P77K6IJ
Lots of work goes in before the name goes on our GC Lavender products.
Check out our Field of Dreams!

But “Why?” you ask would we do this? Why would we farm? Why would we take the time, put in the effort, engage in such a pursuit? The answer is somewhere between having a restless creative mind and because we can!

Now that we have been working our “grow-it-local” business pursuit, I can’t imagine us without it. It all started as a simple idea to make our marketing efforts for our art gallery more relevant. Focusing on culinary arts as the tie in to local creativity, the idea blossomed into something bigger!

The plants themselves are pleasing and so versatile I am continually amazed. From fragrant garden boarder, to stress reliever, to savory spice, sweet addition to bakery and confections, to bug repellent – this plant seems to have it all. But the best part for me, personally, is what I have learned about farming. By tending to this field, loosing a good number of plants to local rabbits, worrying about them in extreme weather, harvesting from them…I have found such an appreciation for the work of our local farmers. I have such a new respect for our neighbors in agriculture! And this new found awareness of what it takes to be in a business where Mother Nature is the boss, the work is hard and days are long, has been eye opening!

All this work with the rewards of providing products that serve the local community.

Some of the steps for this year’s planting:

  • Amend the clay soil with sand, gravel and peat moss.
  • Mound the rows to increase air circulation.
  • Add drainage.
  • Add drip irrigation to rows of first year plants.
  • Cover with weed barrier.
  • Measure plant spacing.
  • Cut opening in weed barrier.
  • Plant!

Lavender plants are a perennial that likes drier, more arid environments. There are many varieties and some actually do very well in our area with proper care! They are (usually) deer and rabbit resistant, (unless your plants are culinary and your bunnies are hungry!)

Hope you enjoyed our little back lot tour! Stay tuned this year for even more GC Lavender products! Now available online, as well as at the gallery and at a farmer’s market near you!

Quiet Morning Artist’s Inspiration

A quiet commute to the Farmers’ Market last fall provides the inspiration for many oil paintings. Working with the mood created by foggy silhouettes as the sun just begins to break, I watch in awe as the scenery changes before me. The ultimate challenge of “en plain air” painting – capturing the look and feel of a fleeting moment and moreover communicating the emotion felt in that instant to the viewer. This is quintessentially what art is about. The highest level of communication.

It is this challenge I find compelling!

By the way – I do not suggest taking pictures while driving oneself. I thankfully had a driver (Thanks Honey!) while I documented the terrific views!

Join Us at the Market

Farmer’s Market starts tomorrow in Downers Grove by the Burlington Northern Train Station. We will be out under tent from 7:00 am until 12:30 pm. If you are looking for a last minute Mother’s Day gift or are just itching to stretch your legs and get out of the house – stop by and see us!

Locally grown lavender with a creative flair by Gallery’s Choice

We work all year to bring our customers the finest culinary lavender and relaxing bath and body products. In addition, of course, we feature our glass art gifts in the form of wall art, glass dishes and novelties.

For us, the farmers’ market is more than just a place to sell. It really is a way to touch our community and we look forward to see our other market vendor friends as well as customers. It’s a vital part of being in a community: to serve and be friends with those we serve.

So look for us (rain or shine)! We are so happy the season has started again!

Bill working the display under tent on a lovely day!