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sneak peek: art deco inspired invitations

25 Jul

So my hubs today asked me how long it has been since I wrote on the bloggity after suggesting it has been awhile….and I was all “phft…not that long.”

But inside I knew.

I knew the truth was something I’d buried deep (ok, maybe not really)…as I promised myself I would never go this long without writing and I’ve been continually putting people off who have been asking to see my recent work.  Eek!

The good news is I’ve been SO busy (yay!)  but the blog has fallen off the edge of the earth.  The bad news is I have SO many wonderful designs & goodies I’ve completed in the last few months, but literally no time to take pictures and post.

Anyway, in keeping with that…I’ve already taken up too much valuable time as I am desperately trying to assemble 100 invitations for a last-minute client who had 4 weeks for design.  Not to mention, my puppies are scared of the thunder that is booming outside and jumping into my lap for comfort.  It’s a beautiful thing, trying to glue & tape with a pup in my lap.

To satisfy your fancy, just wanted to post a little sneak peek of the gorgeous teal envelopes & custom patterned liners I’m assembling for this current invitation suite.  My client, Joy, wanted an art deco/art nouveau inspired invitation set with all the bells and whistles- custom envelope liners, 3 color letterpress printing, various patterned backings on each of the pieces, custom postage stamps, rounded corners…the list goes on…and the invites are fabulous!

Here is a picture of the envelope & the custom liner I created that we’ll be using for Joy’s invitations.  The colors: teal & chartreuse

More pictures to follow of the full set.  Maybe in a year or so.  🙂


Do-it-yourself wedding invitations…with a little help…

4 May

I’ve always loved the idea of do-it-yourself everything for a wedding, but realistically, most brides usually do not have the time or are not super creative…and even if they are creative…they probably don’t know how to use Photoshop to make their own images & layouts. For a while now, I’ve been meaning to add to my repertoire the option of semi do-it-yourself wedding invitations…or rather, more like “assemble-yourself wedding invitations”.

I LOVE this idea because a bride can still end up with beautiful graphics, layout, design, etc…yet save money by doing the assembly and buying the little accessories (such as ribbon, flowers, jewels) herself. Genius!

All this is to say…I recently worked with a super sweet client, Kristen, who wanted a vintage, zoo-inspired wedding invitation. She is definitely one of my favorite clients to date. I loved her ideas and how she wanted every detail designed for her wedding…all coordinating of course! Kristen sent tons of images of ideas, inspiration, and “looks” she was after for her invites, but the catch was her budget was limited and she really couldn’t spend much on them.

So, we decided to go the route of semi- do-it-yourself wedding invitations and it worked out fabulously! Kristen purchased gorgeous, dark silver envelopes & pocketfolds from Envelopments and deep, dark purple backing paper. I designed the invitation, the RSVPs, & the direction cards- plus little extras like drink tags and song request cards…and will be designing the table numbers & ceremony programs too. Kristen is a very creative bride; she knew exactly what she wanted, in a good way! One of the things she asked for was for me to design custom rubber stamps for her to use on the envelopes & other wedding paper goods. You can see the stamp design in the pictures below on the envelope, along with all the other goodies.

The invitation design I created focused on the vintage element- with the wide stripes and vintage shape. The zoo-inspiration will come in for the table numbers, where we will be incorporating vintage animal illustrations. So fun!!

Once all the pieces were designed and printed, I mailed them all to Kristen who assembled them onto their backing papers and into their envelopes. There you have it; do-it-yourself wedding invitations with a little help. If you are interested in this option for your wedding, please contact me for more information and pricing.

Pictures of Kristen’s wedding invitation below:

Hope you like them!

A letterpress sneak peek straight from my studio

2 May

Remember this big, old, honkin’ 100 yr. old thing I wrote about back in October?

Well…we’ve been printing on it a bunch…and I felt it was time for an update to my loyal readers.

Our most recent print job was printed on 100% cotton paper from Crane.  It is one of the most luxurious, softest, most gorgeoouus gorgeous papers I’ve ever worked with.  So obsessed.  Really, you can’t help but touch and feel the paper…not to mention…once it is letterpressed you REALLY can’t help it because it leaves such a rich, deep impression from the letterpressing process.  Swoon!

I suppose it’s time to show you a few pictures from our latest print job + a bit of description on the process.

1) For each color, we had a photopolymer plate made.  You can see what one looks like below.

For this job we did three colors!

Image Source: Elum

2) Next, we mixed the inks to get the exact right shades we were looking for.  One color at a time.

Image Source: nomadic

3) The first ink color goes on the press & rollers.  ALL pieces with that color are printed.

Image Source: Peas&Cornbread

Everything is cleaned off, then the second ink color is applied to the press & the paper pieces are put back in to add the 2nd color to them.  Same goes for the third color.

One of the hardest parts of the whole process is figuring out how much padding to add behind the paper so that when the plate hits the paper it pushes in…but not too much and not too little.  Too much and the paper cracks.  Too little and you can’t tell it’s indented.

Color differences, flaws, & other variations are part of the process of hand-made goods, and add to the appeal of letterpress.

Here’s an image of the layout of a completed invitation page.  We’re cutting these ones after, but you can cut before & then print.

Image: Lifework

Here’s a closeup of the invitation, so you can see the indentation and the reason letterpress is highly sought after!!!  GORGE no!?  You can see a bigger version if you click on the picture.

Image: Lifework

I plan to post pictures of the fully assembled invitations once they are completed, but I seem to always promise more to come soon…and so far I haven’t followed through very well!  I’m workin’ on it.

Now you see why letterpress everything is my new favorite obsession.  I hope many of my future clients opt to go for letterpress printing instead of digital!

Book themed wedding ideas for the bookie, English major, or nerd couple. Yes please.

25 Apr

Oh mylanta.  I heard a while ago through a friend about a wedding taking place in a gorgeous, old, brick bookstore in my hometown.  This…is…fabulous!

On that note, lets look into some book-inspired, library themed wedding inspiration.  Yummy!!!

How about this use of old flea market books for table numbers!?

Jessica Claire

I think this would be a great centerpiece!  Though, maybe with flowers too!  Lovely.

We heart it

Such a simple reception centerpiece idea!  A stack of books.

We Heart It

Printed book cover table themes.  Soooo fabulous!  “Yes, you’re at the Fahrenheit 451 table.”

Wedding Wire

Use old, hollowed out books for wedding invitations.  Love it!

Two Upon Ten

book inspired invitation


More bookie table numbers!

Sweetest Occassion

Old book pages for decorations

Green Wedding Shoes

More torn out book pages.  So neat!

Sweetest Occassion

Book escort card idea- each guest got their own custom bookmark marking which table to go to!

Wedding Wire

More wedding invitation books.  I. Must. Make. One.  Where’s that special client??


Groomsmen’s gifts in books.

GH Kim

Another invitation in a book!

Looooove the “library card” look!

Polka Dot

Loving this ceremony bookcase setup!  Please do this for your wedding!!

Jessica Claire

Vintage Hawaiian Invitation mockups

15 Apr

One of my current invitation clients is a super artsy, creative couple planning a wedding inspired by South Pacific, theater, and vintage Hawaii.  SO FUN!  Their colors are a variety of lavenders, corals, pinks, creams, and greens….very tropical.

We came up with the idea of a movie poster-inspired invitation with a vintage postcard, South Pacific-ish artwork, and a vintage map.  All the pieces will be enclosed in a gorgeous light pink fold out and a lavender envelope with coral hand-calligraphy on the front.  Not to mention…the full suite will incorporate lace, flowers, and ribbons as well.

Here are some mock-ups of this fun, whimsical invitation.  Names, addresses, etc have been changed.

Pictures of the real thing will be posted first thing next week.  This weekend is booked with printing, cutting, assembling, tying ribbons, and stuffing envelopes.  Lots to do!


Circus Glam. Take 1 on Circus Themed Invitations.

21 Feb

One of the most stressful parts about my job, surprisingly, is not the actual creation of the invitations but hitting the send button on an email to a client for them to see my design for the first time.  EEEK!

I feel so much pressure and worry.  “What if they don’t like it!?”

Really, it’s pretty hit and miss.

Often I am given a sentence or two description of what a client is looking for.  “Old Hollywood Glamour with pink, charcoal, and black for colors.”  Or “vintagey, circus glamour using purples and chartreuse and pops of red and turquoise.”  That’s great, but I always want to just interrogate them for more information.  🙂  Do you want an accordian style invite?  A booklet?  Separate pieces all layered into an envelope?  Do you hate stripes?  Are you opposed to animal silhouettes?  Do you like this look more than that look?  What about wording; more formal or more casual?

Instead, I take what I get and just use as much as I can to inspire my ideas of what I think they want to see.  Always in the back of my mind I know that I might be totally off!  And I know that most likely there will be changes!  And that’s okay with me…because I can only do the best I can do with what I’ve been given to work with…and changes are to be expected!  There’s no way I can nail all of those elements perfectly the first time around, especially when I don’t even have all the details like the spouse’s name, or the time of the event, so I can’t take it personally.  I’ve had to learn that the worst case scenario is the client might tell me they are looking for something more like “such and such.”  Then I can go ahead and make exactly that- so I end up getting what I wanted in the first place: more description and specifics.  Right!?  That’s really not so bad.

Really, my job would be a lot easier if I was just told exactly what to make!  Duh, because the hardest part of my job is the research and coming up with the idea and the look.  If only I could just be the middle man- you tell me exactly what you want and I’ll make it, but no thought has to go into it for me.  Fabulous.

Nah…I really don’t want that.  The BEST, most FUN, and most REWARDING aspect of my job is the hardest part….and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’ve realized that my job really is to use my ideas and personal style to create invitations for my clients that are stylish and “in” right now, and to create something my clients may not have been able to envision themselves- as I am finding out is often the case.  As time goes on I am becoming much more aware that my clients often don’t know what is “in” or exactly how they want their invitations to look.  This is such a foreign concept to me because as I planned my wedding, my invitations…and even now as I plan my house remodeling…I know EXACTLY what I want the end result to look like and I am very picky about not liking certain elements!  I guess I just assume when I send my first draft of invitation ideas on to a client they will be that way too!  So far, not the case.  How cool!

That’s what being a designer is I think.  At least to me, a designer is someone who puts their own vision & interpretation of an idea onto paper (or canvas, or wood, etc right?).  People come to designers to have THEM create the look, to do the work for the client instead of the client doing it themselves!  It’s a lot of trust really for a client to hand off the design of something important, whether it be invitations or a logo, to the creative genius of someone else.

So, when I create an invitation or a logo or anything else, I create it as if it was my own.  I put my whole heart and soul into it as if this was the invitation I would be sending for MY birthday or the logo I’d use for MY business, and that way every piece of work I do is not only one hundred percent completely me and my vision of my clients description, but more importantly is created as if it was the most important assignment I’ve received.  I hope my clients are able to see and feel that passion!

Here’s a sneak peak of the initial Circus Glam Invitation suite for the uberly stylish Jeanne E.  You can click it to view a larger version.  Some names & personal information such as the address have been changed to prevent a bazillion uninvited guests from appearing on Jeanne’s front door for the party!  🙂

First draft…here we go with hit and miss, right?

My thought is those bottom accessory pieces will be laser cut in that fun shape.  They will be inserted into a brown Kraft envelope that will be attached to another card with the purple striping on it.  Fun fun!

Of course, this invitation could change a ton, or maybe not at all, depending on if I hit it close or not.

In the meantime, the anticipation is nerve wracking!  Hope YOU like it at least!  🙂

Circus Glamour. Kinda like glamping, right?

17 Feb

I recently got a very fun invitation client.  She is having a two-day, 70th birthday bash and the theme is vintage circus with glamorous accents.  Pure fabulousness!

It’s an interesting combination.  When I think of circus I think corny, bright colors, child-like….but then you add in the word “glamour” and it throws the whole stereotype off.  Glamping.  Camping with a touch of glamour.  Camping equals tents, bad food, probably not the best nights sleep.  Glamping…well you’ve got yourself a mini hotel in a tent in the wilderness!

I have to say this is probably the most wild, out there, and fun theme I’ve gotten to do so far.  I LOVE this kind of stuff!!  It gives me a chance to be really creative and come up with out-of-the-box ideas.

First thing I usually do before creating an invitation suite is a ton of RESEARCH!  This is not as boring as it sounds.  On the contrary, it’s like half of the fun for me because it involves looking up pictures and requires a lot of googling for ideas and inspiration.  It gets me all giddy inside and I save waaaay too many ideas to my poor computer’s files.  Loyally, she hasn’t slowed down yet or given up on me.

Then I create an inspiration board (a collage of a bunch of images) with my favorite ideas contributing to the overall look of the party or invite.  Here is the circus glam inspiration board that I’ll be working with.  This will give you an idea of the colors, look, and feel of what I will create for Jeanne’s party, and it keeps me on track as I start to design.

Next, the hardest part is taking all of those ideas and combining them into one invitation without using too many of the elements that I fall in love with.  This is quite a challenge for me- I just want to put all the best parts in!

So, I brainstorm and write down all of my ideas:

– pinwheel to spin

– custom tarot cards with invitation information on them

– silhouette art

– cut paper elements

– accordion or book style invite

– fortune teller game

– vintage popcorn bags as envelopes

– re-print vintage circus posters as envelope liners

– waving banners

….and of course…I don’t end up using all of them, but they help get me started!
Will follow up soon with some initial invitation drafts so you can see more of the creative process!

Forever Fairmont Event- Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle

27 Jan

The Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle- a super stylish, artsy, and modern hotel that I absolutely LOVE is putting on an event… “The Forever Fairmont Event”…this Friday (tomorrow) and I was lucky enough to be asked to participate in some of the design aspects!  The incredible Daniela at Bella Signature Design, who I work and collaborate with often, will be designing the decor & tables- and I designed the menus, seating cards, and favor tags to go with her fun, yummy, and colorful spring theme!

This is very exciting for me because there will be 200 brides at the event viewing everything from table decor, flowers, and paper goods like menus & seating cards…thus, they’ll be viewing my work!!  Yippeee!

Here are the finished printed paper goods for you to see.  Can’t wait to follow up with pictures of the actual event & the tables!

One smelly invite- the fabulous Napa Winery Inspired Wedding Invitations

17 Nov

I’ve started work on Brittany & Corey’s Napa Winery wedding invitations.  You probably recognize their name from a few posts back where I posted pictures of their Save The Date.  The are looking for a winery inspired wedding invitation, but nothing with an obvious winery theme.  Using deep purple, eggplant, and mossy green for their color palette and some natural elements, I think I’ve got just the design.  I am going to be making two or maybe three sample invitation ideas for Brittany & Corey to view and pick from, if I can dig in and find some more inspiration!  I’m stuck on sample invite number one.  Feel free to send ideas.

Thus said, I tend to put all of my best ideas into one package.  Now that I’ve made the first sample, I’m kind of out of ideas for a second one because I used everything I love in the first!!  SO…first sample =  SUCCESS!  I’m totally happy with how it turned out.  The invitation is just like I envision their wedding will be- luxurious, rich, textural, and elaborate.  I used a mix of raw silk (think luxe), stained oak (think wine barrels), and moss (think stinky).  I’m hoping as the moss continues to dry out it will not smell.  I don’t think “eww” is the first impression Brittany & Corey want to give their guests when they open their invitation boxes.

“But it looks pretty!!” I say.  Beauty is pain.  We cram our feet into stilettos that hurt our toes…but we don’t care…they look good, darnit!  Well, doesn’t that rule apply to invitations too?  Doesn’t matter if it smells!  It looks good!

Here is a picture of what I have so far of the first sample.  It’s not done yet…just a snapshot of the many stages and processes that go into making a full invitation suite.

…sooo…today is a day of research to gather more inspiration so I can come up with something for my next sample.  I love these days- they mean snuggling with the dog on the couch and scouring the blog and design world for invitation, creative, and artistic love.  AND they’re just as important to the whole creative process as actually gluing the silk to the cardboard, drawing the pattern on Illustrator, or dipping the brush in paint.

I’m leaning toward a rustic, not-so-luxurious version of “vineyard” for the next sample.  Ideas?  Anyone?

Brittany & Corey- Napa Winery Save-The-Dates

22 Oct

Brittany & Corey are a young couple from the Seattle area.  They are having a destination wedding at Jacuzzi Vineyards in Napa, California and I’ll be doing all of their stationery pieces for the wedding.  Their wedding will be over the top!  It sounds absolutely fabulous, with every single detail planned and coordinated throughout the whole event from gift bags for guests to hang-over-kits for the day after, not to mention, they will have fabulous invitations too!  🙂  Of course, the fabulous Daniela at Bella Signature Design is their coordinator, florist, planner, designer…and more.

Their colors are a deep, rich, eggplant purple and a mossy green- with some accents of fuchsia.

Eggplant and Moss Green color palette

So far we’ve completed the Save-the-dates…and of course I’m REALLY looking forward to designing the invitation suite soon too!  Sounds like we’ll be using real moss in the invites which I love love love!!!  I adore mixing natural materials and textures in with my designs.

For Brittany & Corey’s wedding I created a custom print that will be used throughout the event (on everything, but in slightly different variations so that it all goes together without being matchy-matchy).  Tough to explain, but you can see great examples of this same idea by visiting Tara Guerard’s website and viewing some of her galleries at the bottom.  She has beautiful work!

Custom Motif & Pattern- reminiscent of a trellis

The Save-the-dates were to be luxurious, elegant, classy, and evoke a feeling of the winery without any of the cliche’ winery designs.  No grapes, no barrels, no vines.

The graphic of the final save-the-date design.

I was worried about their colors at first, I’ll admit.  It’s tough to use green & purple, AND fuchsia in an elegant way.  I printed their custom pattern on both sides of the envelopes, designed custom coordinating address labels for them to hand-address to their recipients, and created a three layer piece using coordinating dark purple and mossy green papers.  I looove the end result!