Coffee Is . . . Print

Are you completely, totally addicted to coffee? Multiple cups a day? Black? Sugar? Creamer? I’m what you might call a part-time coffee drinker. I have family members and friends who drink it all day long, day in and day out. I do love coffee (with decent amounts of cream and sugar, thanks for asking), but not five-cups-a-day love. I actually only buy it when we have company, because Brett doesn’t like it and I don’t want to waste money on coffee for myself. And honestly, coffee is more of a treat when I do get to drink a cup, because that normally means I’m with a friend or at my parents’ house in Ohio or somewhere special.

Coffee actually always reminds me of my church’s youth group growing up. Being with that group is one of my fondest memories of my high school years, and coffee was our thing. We’d be going somewhere, or on a trip, or coming back, (or pretty much anywhere, who am I kidding), and we’d make a Starbucks stop. My youth pastor and his wife would make it for us any time we were over at their house (which was all the time), and they always had the best flavored creamers. I think it got to the point where they knew exactly how some of us liked our coffee and would just bring it out without asking.

This print was created for one of my best friends (Brigitta), who spent an insane amount of time with me at Paul and Gen’s. We totally took advantage of their hospitality and were often oblivious to their tiredness or their poor kids needing to go to bed. (Sorry Paul and Gen, I really don’t know how you guys did it sometimes!) Now Brigitta has the cutest little apartment of her own and is slowly decorating it as she acquires furniture and gets crafty. For one of her walls, she split a huge map into three pieces and put them over canvases above her couch. I’m totally jealous and will definitely be doing that myself someday!

I created this for her kitchen as a Christmas gift with a quote she had pinned on Pinterest. She’d told me that she wanted to make a corner of her [lovely, spacious] kitchen into a coffee bar, so what better to decorate with but some really cute wall art? And the funny thing is, she received two other unique wall prints/decorations from friends for Christmas. So no excuses Brigitta, you have to get that coffee bar going!

Coffee Is .... with Frame

 

And this print is now available on my store! Find it here. Hope you coffee lovers enjoy it!

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A Few Vintage-esque Save the Dates

Today I’m sharing a few Save the Dates I’ve made recently. While making these, I was wondering: am I the only designer out there that uses Adobe InDesign for pretty much everything? In college we had classes specifically for Photoshop and Illustrator, but nothing with InDesign. I used the program a lot as an intern at a publishing company, and to me, it just makes so much sense to use for any and all print documents. I’m still using CS2 on my nice old Mac, and InDesign is the only program that lets me package my files. To my non-designer readers, “packaging” files basically means InDesign does the hard work for me: it puts copies of all fonts and images used in my design into a new project folder. That way I will always have the fonts and images, even if they accidentally get deleted from other areas on my computer . . . it’s awesome. Plus InDesign just has a lot of tools for organizing text and making designs ready for printing that just make it preferable to Illustrator.

That’s not to say I don’t use the other programs as well. I use Photoshop for — you guessed it — editing images. I also save all my images for this blog and my store using Photoshop. Illustrator I use . . . almost never. Only for complicated — again, you guessed it — illustrations. InDesign has most of the illustration tools I use, so there’s often no need for Illustrator. It’s all about preferences; I’m sure there are lots of designers who would read this and be shocked. Oh well.

Anyway, about these Save the Dates! Originally we were going for a somewhat vintage look. These four were the first options I showed my client, and none are the final product — in the end, we went with a much more simple text treatment. A couple of these will be available in my store starting today! Enjoy.

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Happy Birthday, Mom! An Exodus 15:2 Print

In honor of my mom’s birthday tomorrow (January 18), I thought I’d share what Brett and I gave her as a Christmas present. As most of our family and friends know, she hasn’t had the easiest past few months, and that’s an understatement. More about that here. Needless to say that even though she hasn’t felt like it, she’s been incredibly strong and very inspiring to many, many people.

This verse was one Mom had in the hospital with her, one I read to her often, and one she posted to her Facebook awhile ago. I knew it was a favorite of hers, and even though we didn’t “do presents” with my parents this year, it was something Brett and I still wanted to do for her.

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I don’t normally work with images like this in the background, but this time I wanted something with color and something inspiring. What better than a sunrise or sunset?

MomIt took me a few tries to get the text just how I wanted it (as is the normal process for design). My first thought was “bold”, but when the letters blocked out so much color, I re-thought the whole thing. Outlined letters to the rescue! It turned out exactly how I wanted it, which was great. Sometimes that doesn’t happen, and it just takes a lot more experimenting and tweaking and obsessing. Good thing I love doing what I do!

This is one of my favorite prints that I’ve made. It’s available in my store here, so check it out!

A Christmas Card in January

Well, well . . . long time, no see. Sorry about that. Sometimes life just gets in the way. And sometimes I’m lazy. But let’s be honest, the “life” excuse sounds way better.

For my first post in the new year, I’m sharing our Christmas card! I had way too much fun designing it. I’ve been seeing the “year-in-review” cards becoming more and more popular, but I wanted to put my own spin on it. Instead of tons of miscellaneous information, I tried to think of a few key things that happened in 2013 and turned them into graphics. Did I say I had fun? Because I did.

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One of my secrets of coming up with color palettes is . . . *gasp* . . . researching color palettes on Google. Sure, I can come up with various color combinations myself, but sometimes people have combined colors that I would never think of. I wanted our cards to have a fun palette, not too Christmas-y and not too far away either. The orange-y red, greenish blue, gray, and off-white seemed perfect.

I also have to give a major shout-out to Overnight Prints. Last year we sent out a postcard that we printed and mailed through Vistaprint. Not only was the quality of the picture we included not that great, but about 1/4 of our mailing list never received the cards! I vowed never to use Vistaprint again, but when I researched printers this year, every company had what seemed like sky-high prices. I was seriously considering Vistaprint again when I stumbled upon Overnight Prints. Their website is awesome and totally user-friendly. Their prices were great and they send a sample pack of their products! The quality of their samples was fantastic. And the best part? The night I ordered our cards, Overnight Prints was having a half-off sale on postcards! I couldn’t believe it. We got an incredible price for thick, semi-glossy, quality postcards. They also were shipped and delivered right on time. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. (Disclaimer: I’m not getting paid to say nice things about Overnight Prints. They have no idea who I am. I just had a good experience and wanted to share!)

Here’s how the back side of our cards looked, along with a side note about this picture: it was totally taken in our apartment. We really wanted to take a nice winter-y picture outside, but the weather wouldn’t cooperate with us. So the hubby set up a makeshift tripod and I edited out the background. I would call it a success.

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It’s also important to me to include the true reason we celebrate Christmas. It may sound cliche to many of you, but it’s not about presents or even spending time with family and friends. Those are wonderful, fun things, but they mean absolutely nothing in the long run. Only by knowing Jesus can we truly live.

And last but not least . . . I know I totally ragged on Vistaprint a few paragraphs ago, but I did back down and order one thing from them. I really wanted some custom address labels that matched our cards, and Vistaprint was having a great deal. I think I got 140 address labels for $3. Can’t beat that! Here’s what they looked like (obviously with the address blurred out):

addressStamp

So that was our Christmas card this year. I’d love to do something completely different each year, but I loved the format of this card so much it may become a template for future years! I would also love to create custom Christmas cards for anyone who would like them, so when November rolls around, remember to contact me!

Wedding Invitations Galore

I just thought I’d pop on here to share some wedding invitations I’ve designed recently. None of them were for anyone specific; I just sat down and created a bunch of unique styles for brides who don’t especially want to go with the “traditional” look. Personally, I love when brides want something a little different . . . the invitations can really set the tone for your entire wedding and show off your personality. I also love using a lot of color, if that’s not evident already:

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A modern, text-heavy invitation. Found here in my store. A matching Save the Date is also available!

INV_flower

Simple and elegant, yet still modern in font choices. Found here in my store.

INV_gray_5x7

Chevron is a huge trend that’s been around for a little while now. I realize gray isn’t wedding-like at all, but I loved the look of it. Colors are always customizable for every order. Found here in my store.

INV_date

I wanted to do something that really showcased the date. Yellow and gray are so much fun together (but again, colors always customizable). Found here in my store.

INV_Story

I love this one. It’s about as far from traditional as you can get. I wanted to go for a pretty informal look, with a few different fonts that still work together well, and some elements to “break up” the design without taking away from the overall look. It would look great with a lighter background as well. Found here in my store.

INV_Stripe

On the opposite side of the spectrum, this one is formal, but in a unique way. I originally had this displayed with a deep red background and all white accents, but it looked too Christmas-y. It would be a great Christmas-time wedding invitation, but I didn’t want to limit its versatility. Found here in my store.

INV_2ColorPetals

Last but not least, another somewhat formal one. The simple flowers–to me–are modern enough to not look dated, but versatile enough to be used anywhere, traditional or not. Here it really adds to the elegance. Found here in my store.

Thanks for checking them out! I have so much fun creating these. Matching Save the Dates and RSVP cards are always available as well. Contact me to ask about pricing wedding packages!

Wedding Weekend

This past weekend was a big wedding weekend around here. Remember this post? Yep, the big event was a few days ago and it was so much fun. It all started last week, when the groom’s brother, Tim, flew in from Kentucky with his wife, Marie. They’re close friends of ours, and the hubby and I had them over for dinner Wednesday night. We had a blast, despite the fact that we still had to wake up Thursday morning and go to work. Real life stinks sometimes, am I right?

Friday night was the rehearsal. Alicia had asked me to be somewhat of a coordinator, mostly just helping out at the rehearsal to make sure everyone was where they needed to be when they needed to be there. I’ve done this a couple times before, and I have a list I’ll send to the bride a week or two before the rehearsal. It’s a big list. A little overwhelming for a bride who hasn’t thought through any of it yet. Things like, who is walking your maternal grandmother down the aisle? When is the aisle runner being pinned, and by whom? Are there candles that need to be lit before the ceremony? Should the bridal party find their places on the platform right away, or should they stay on the ground level (assuming the ceremony is in a church)? It might seem OCD, but trust me when I say that these things have to be decided before the rehearsal. Otherwise it’s utter chaos. Of course, smaller weddings are sometimes a different story.

Luckily, Alicia actually replied to my super long email (kudos, Alicia!) and she had thought through pretty much everything. We only had to make a few changes once we were actually at the rehearsal. The longest part was probably spacing the entire bridal party across the platform evenly and then figuring out the timing of the processional. It can get confusing with four sets of grandparents and two mothers that need to be walked down the aisle, sometimes by a groomsman/usher who had just walked someone else down the aisle. We ran through everything about three times until it seemed decently smooth. I only had to yell, “Michael! STAY!” from the back of the sanctuary to the front once, when the groom started to climb the platform instead of staying on the ground level. And props to Marie and my sister-in-law, Lindsay, for being stand-in grandmothers at the rehearsal when we didn’t have the real people there with us.

Did I mention it was pouring rain Friday? Like a monsoon, all day . . . I think it had finally stopped when we left the church to go to the rehearsal dinner, but otherwise it poured. It was humid and sticky, and the church was stuffy. The big day, though, was beautiful! Perfect temperature, sunny, gorgeous. I was a little nervous about the processional (and then the recessional) going smoothly, with various groomsmen/ushers rushing back and forth to seat people. Luckily, I don’t think anyone missed a beat and it was pretty perfect. The only bit of trouble happened before the ceremony when Tim’s rented tuxedo shirt didn’t have a hole for his cuff link. My handy husband, who always has a knife on his person, fixed that problem in about two seconds. The florist also pinned three of the groomsmen’s boutonnieres to the ushers, which meant three groomsmen had nothing until about ten minutes before the ceremony when we finally realized what had happened. It’s the little things that will make it funny later, I guess.

Overall it was a great day (and weekend), and Brett and I so enjoyed being able to help out where we could. Without further ado, here is the invitation I made for them:

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inviteWords

I originally sent Alicia images of a bunch of wedding invitations I designed so we could figure out what she liked and disliked. Her favorites had flowers and were very simplistic. Since the bouquets she and her girls would be carrying were all roses, I decided to try out a few different variations on roses. I didn’t like any of them as much as I liked these shaded ones. I used the same font as I had on their Save the Dates, and it took off from there. Here are a few invitations they didn’t choose:

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Once Alicia and Mike settled on their invite, it was pretty easy to make a matching RSVP card:

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There’s something about getting your own creations in the mail . . . seeing them fully printed and just how you imagined them. I felt that way seeing the programs I made yesterday as well. She wanted to go with the fan idea that’s becoming popular with summer weddings. I had a lot of fun making them to “match” the invitations but be their own design as well:

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It was a great, busy weekend. Now we’re gearing up for the next “big” thing: flying out to Ohio this week! We get to spend my birthday and a little time (not enough, unfortunately) with my parents and other family and friends. We can’t wait!

Let’s Eat Together

Are you a wedding snob? You know who you are–those of you who take one look at a gaudy centerpiece, an ill-fitted wedding gown, or, gasp, a buffet–and turn up your nose? Is the DJ playing awful dance music? Is there no alcohol? Was that guest wearing shorts?? We’ve all been there. I’ll be the first to admit that when I see pictures of really tacky-looking weddings, I cringe too.

One thing I always remind myself, though, is the most important part of that whole day has nothing to do with the decorations, the dress, the food–it’s about the people. That couple standing up there has, hopefully, been anticipating this day with love and joy and excitement. There’s something about two people coming together and starting a new journey as a couple that just makes me so happy.

Sometimes I look back on my own wedding day (September 4, 2010) and wish there were a few things I could change. Then I remind myself of two things: 1) Stop comparing our special day to these crazy Pinterest/DIY weddings, because Pinterest wasn’t even around then, or at least I’d never heard of it, and 2) It was about us, Brett and I, making a commitment to each other before God and all of our dearest family and friends. Everyone we love most in this world was there, and we had an absolute blast that whole day. It was perfect.

Anyway, all that was to say that I love weddings and pretty much everything that goes along with them. Call me a typical girl, what can I say? It’s a good thing, I guess, since I design wedding invitations and all kinds of other wedding stationery. The design I’m featuring in this post is a rehearsal dinner invitation. It was my first one, and I loved it:

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Mike and Alicia are friends of our family. Tim, Mike’s older brother, was actually the best man in our wedding, and Brett returned the favor in his wedding a year later. Now it’s Mike’s turn to get hitched, and I was so excited when he and Alicia asked me to design their invitations . . . but that’s a post for another day. For now, I’m just sharing this invite that Mike’s mom asked me to create.

I know I’ve used the word “love” a lot so far in this post, but I’m doing it again: I really love rehearsal dinners. It’s such a special time with the people that you’re closest with to relax and just have fun the day before all the “big” stuff happens. Ours was a sort-of barbeque in the hall at our church where the rehearsal and wedding were. It was loud and hot and so much fun. I love the relaxed feeling rehearsal dinners have–that’s what I wanted to portray in this invitation: fun and laid back.

This rehearsal dinner is at The Coach Stop, and I went to their website to feel out the atmosphere. The colors in the invitation are pulled from the site. Here are a few versions of the invite I went through before settling on the one you saw above:

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I really liked the “Let’s Eat Together” phrase because we eat together with the Smith (Mike’s) family a LOT. Plus, let’s be honest, Mike likes to eat. And that’s why his mom loved the “Let’s Eat” versions of the invite. Then we experimented with the shape at the top and having a border, and then further with how the text needed to be laid out. I personally enjoy taking a lot of information that needs to be read easily and organizing it from a design perspective. Call me crazy, but it’s so much fun.

I’ll do a post all about their wedding invitations and programs closer to the wedding or soon after, depending on when the programs are finalized. I’ll also be posting a version of these rehearsal dinner invites on my store soon! Stay tuned!

A First Attempt at Nursery Art

I went to college at a small school in the cornfields of Ohio. They were four of the best years of my life. Not only did I meet my husband, but we made a fantastic group of friends, all of whom we miss so much. A large group of them still live in Ohio, but the rest are spread across the U.S., from New Jersey to Kentucky to South Dakota. It’s so much fun whenever we’re able to get together with any of them, and even better when it’s a huge group of us. We keep telling ourselves that someday, we’re all going to rent a huge house on a beach or lake and vacation together. We can dream, right?

Anyway, the designs you see below were created for two of our dearest friends, Michelle and Josh. They were the first of our friends to start a family. Ella is three-years-old now, which I still can’t believe, because she was only four months old at our wedding! Time flies. Their second daughter, Avila, was just born this past February. I was a senior in college when Michelle was pregnant, and while a few girls and I threw her a baby shower through the mail (since she and Josh were living in Seattle then), I was clearly not smart enough at the time to do something special. So when Michelle was pregnant a second time, I decided I wanted to do something totally unique and special for them. And here they are:

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Ella’s was almost three years too late by the time I sent these, but . . . better late than never, right? I wanted to make each of them unique to the girl as well. Ella means “light”, and, as Michelle eloquently put it, she was born “as the sun rose” (at 5:33 a.m.) I included that phrase on the banner and added a sun graphic to the bottom without making it overly sun-like. Avila has a few meanings, but one of them is “bird”, hence the graphics at the bottom.

Here’s how Ella’s design appears on my store, slightly changed to include the city (which I’m kicking myself now for not including in the original design!) I also got rid of the sun and the “sun rose” phrase so that any parents who like the design would be able to personalize it however they want for their own child.

Ella

And here’s Avila’s design as it appears on my store. Again, I took away a bit of the personalization, but kept the birds at the bottom. Interested customers can choose any animal or object they’d like!

Avila

These were my first attempt at nursery art, and I love how they turned out. I like being able to personalize everything I design for specific clients; it’s so much more meaningful that way. I think Josh and Michelle plan on having more children someday, so I guess I’m roped into this for the long haul . . . just kidding. I LOVE doing this stuff.