Vintage Love Letter Bridal Shoot with Stephanie Weber Photography

When was the last time you wrote a handwritten letter? There’s something magical about receiving a letter in the mail, to feel the texture of the paper in your hands as you read a note written specifically for you. In an era that moves faster each and every day, a letter is a nice pause in the chaos, a moment where you can catch your breath.

This kind of love inspired one of my favorite shoots from last summer, shot in Santiago Oaks Canyon Park. The team was inspired by The Notebook, the love of Allie and Noah, and the vintage look of the film.

Before I show the beautiful bride, here’s a look at the letters I created for the shoot. Each piece of handmade paper was immersed in water and then touches of brown and yellow were added to age the stationery before any writing was added.

I love how Stephanie Weber Photography styled these photos with accents like dried fruits, vintage photos, magnifying glasses, and old books.

The bride, Andi, is no stranger to love letters. Her husband who is deployed writes to her any chance he gets. She made the perfect model for this shoot in a gorgeous blue gown provided by Shop Blush Elegance and a beautiful bouquet created by Bloom Theory Design.

Hope you enjoyed this nod to nostalgia and it inspires you to write some letters to your loved ones today!

VENDORS // Location: Santiago Oaks Canyon Park // Hair Stylist: Mindful Beauty By Erika // Jewelry: Bexo // Dress Designer: Shop Blush Elegance // Calligrapher: Sam Allen Creates // Floral Designer: Bloom Theory Design // Photographer: Stephanie Weber Photography

Featured on Glittery Bride.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas 2020 Guide, Personalized Artwork and Unique Presents from the Heart

I strive to create unique gifts for Mother’s Day, and luckily for you, not just for my mom! I love creating gifts for YOU to give the mothers in your life too! I collected a few of my favorite items—that you can purchase today—that I guarantee will make your mom, your wife, your grandmother smile straight from the heart!


1. Watercolor Family Portrait

A watercolor painting turns your photos into works of art! Whether you want to use a professional photo or snapshot from your phone, using a photo that you love puts more emphasis on the sentimental bond of love between the mother and child, or grandmother and grandchild (hint, hint!!). These watercolor portraits are always a hit!

I am completely blown away with how beautifully our family portrait came out. Watercolor is such a unique way to display our family of five on our walls; personalized art is such a great conversation piece! To say I’m happy with the way it came out would be an understatement. Thank you Sam for yet again creating something beautiful for our home!

– Jamie C.

Links to purchase: Watercolor Family Portraits


2. Hand Drawn Papercut Silhouette

I’ve been selling these little cuties since 2014! I love how the stylized look of their profiles make you focus in on their unique features: their buttons noses, the shape of their lips, and the curl of their hair.

I am absolutely in love with the silhouettes that I ordered from Sam. They make a timeless statement in my home that will be treasured forever. I love the way they capture my boys features in a way that a traditional picture just doesn’t do.

Mckensie B.

Links to purchase: Single Person or Siblings Silhouettes


3. Floral Last Name Sign

I don’t think I could describe why I love these signs so much, not any more than the Avett Brothers say in their song: “Always remember, there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.” There’s so much love and history in a last name, so many memories behind each family. These last name signs immortalize that love in a beautiful way!

Sam’s watercolors are so beautiful and detailed. I can tell she pours her heart into each one. I am thrilled with how my custom “Sisters” painting turned out and would order anything from Sam again in a heartbeat.

– Kristen M.

Links to purchase: Floral Last Name Sign or Evergreen Last Name Sign or message me to discuss a custom design like the Maine coast one pictured above.


4. Floral Letters and Papercut Silhouettes

If you just can’t pick between the last two products, here’s a combo option of my Floral Letters with the papercut silhouettes. The 8×10 size is perfect for family’s with 2 kids, but larger sizes and other variations are available.

Sam did an absolutely beautiful job combining my children’s first initials and silhouettes! The water color floral letters are gorgeous and the attention to detail on the silhouettes is impeccable. Their profiles are so accurate. Definitely one of my favorite pieces of artwork in our home!

– Amie P.

To purchase: Floral Letters with Papercut Silhouettes


5. Custom Painting of Favorite Verse or Saying

The final route is going totally custom and having her favorite verse or saying written in watercolor calligraphy, all painted within a watercolor floral wreath!

Sam has made many pieces for us but this one is my most favorite (pictured below). She created it to mimic my baby shower invite that I absolutely adored and I was so blown away when I saw. It is so beautiful, even more than I could have imagined. It will be in my daughters room forever.

– Lauren W

To purchase: Custom Watercolor Painting


6. Gift Certificate

And lastly, and a relatively new item to my shop: Gift Certificates! A gift certificate is a great option when there’s so many great options to pick from and you can’t decide what to buy as your gift! Whether you have your eye on my handpainted watercolor portraits or the papercut silhouettes, by purchasing a gift certificate, you are allowing your recipient the joy of choosing their favorite!

To purchase: Gift Certificate


Bonus! With any purchase from this Gift Guide, I will include this year’s Mother’s Day card for FREE!

To receive your free card, please make a note in your order notes during checkout and mention this blog post!

Bonus Number TWO: All of the watercolor paintings and papercut silhouettes are on sale in my shop until April 26!! Click through the links above to view pricing and packages. Spaces are limited for Mother’s Day delivery so order soon.

Sam Allen Creates: July thru September 2019

Although these review blog posts take more time than I ever think they should, they are always so rewarding to see finished! The months of July, August and September were full of wedding work sprinkled with some other fun painting projects and even a tattoo design! Hope you enjoy this look back to last summer with me!


July

July celebrates the anniversary of the opening of Disneyland! Since it’s my favorite place in the whole world and they just revamped the beloved castle, I wanted to spend some time creating a new castle sketch and painting. I’m totally in love with the results and have this little passion project of mine hanging proudly in my office!

The month also included this commission of a painted quote: You are a match for your mountain. Another favorite of mine—and you can get this as a free phone lockscreen on my Instagram by viewing the Story Highlights: instagram.com/samallencreates!

After a short vacation to Tennessee, I returned to a full plate of preparing for a flatlay workshop in Pennsylvania! They were in need of over 10 unique suites for their participants to practice styling and photographing. I had fun going over the past few year’s worth of design work to create updated and reprinted suites for them. The envelopes alone were a work of art! Stay tuned for the results of the workshop…

Wedding BTS

Before I share some of the wedding photos from my July weddings, here’s some in-studio behind the scenes shots… some of these you’ll see again in the final wedding photos in later months below!

As I worked on the launch of my wedding programs, my “guinea pig” bride got the special treatment with a custom written heading! Shop wedding ceremony programs here.

I loved all of these navy pieces created for this same bride, including this custom hashtag sign, which is now also available in my shop!

While I wait for wedding photos from this July wedding, take a look at these gold watercolor tags and tent cards. I wish you could see their shimmer!

Navy watercolor is definitely a favorite of my customers! Lastly, for my in-studio shots, are some name tags and note cards for wedding welcome bags!

Real weddings

Now it’s time for some real weddings! I absolutely adore how this travel themed wedding came together! They used international and domestic cities for their reception table names! Photos by Kelsey Combe Photography.

Shop Dusty Rose table numbers here, photos by Olivia Gird Photography.

Name tag placecards written in gray watercolor, photo by Chard Photo.

Styled Shoots

Now that I’ve wrapped up July’s Real Weddings, I’d love to share the styled shoots I participated in.

First up is a shoot with Stephanie Weber Photography! When she first proposed the idea of a vintage love letter shoot, I eagerly accepted to collaborate! It was such a simple yet beautiful concept and I am in love with the gorgeous results!

From our sunny California coast, we now go to the mountains of Colorado! Organized by Taylor Olivares Baxter and photographed by Neva Michelle!

Bridesmaid Cards

As I close out the month of July, here’s a look back at some bridesmaid cards painted up! I don’t always take photos of the cards, but these were definitely some favorites so I couldn’t resist! Shop Bridesmaid proposal cards and thank you cards here.

New Products

And lastly, there were a few new products launched in July! Whew, what a month!

As mentioned above, I launched my wedding ceremony program… I loved creating the custom watercolor headings—with so many varieties for my brides to choose from!

And as mentioned above, the addition of these Share the Love! wedding and event hashtag signs. I include a few fonts to pick from and a variety of watercolor paint options as well to customize the sign even further! Shop here.

And lastly, the redesign of my popular Godparent poem print but in watercolor calligraphy! With the launch of my watercolor godparent cards earlier this year, I really wanted to create a print to match! Shop my new print here, comes in 2 sizes and multiple color options.


August

Back to that flatlay workshop, here is just a peek at the results! You may recall seeing Jess Palatucci’s work on my blog last year with our Rapunzel themed styled shoot (link here), but this was all about how to photograph the details. As a stationery designer, I love these types of workshops but I am totally biased as I thrive on creating these details! Thank you, Jess!

Right after wrapping up the workshop for Jess above, I was contacted by Janita Mestre for one of her photo shoots—also which included an extensive flatlay area for the photographers to practice! Thankfully, Janita is local to me and I was able to provide her with quite an assortment of details! I love how she styled them, it was hard to pick my favorites! Thank you, Janita!

After wrapping up the work for the workshops, I created several more sets of invitations and wedding vow art to send some other photographers who were looking to practice their flatlays! Included in their packages, I made some more one-of-a-kind pieces like these wedding vow art pieces:

The month of August is also back to school time, at least around here, so I got to make this little cutie a sign to hold on her first day of Kindergarten!

I also got to paint up some Floral Last Name signs in addition to another Sisters painting for a shared bedroom. These are some of my favorites to work on, so many unique color schemes can be created! Shop Floral Last Name Signs here.

Next up, some Bible verse affirmations for a fellow wedding vendor!

Watercolor Portraits

And of course the month included watercolor portraits! From wedding to entrepreneurs to families! I love them all! Shop watercolor portraits here.

Wedding BTS

Digging back into wedding work, here are my own in studio shots for these fall weddings! First up are navy blue watercolor painted wedding invitations! Interested in having me address your own envelopes? Take a look at my Etsy shop here.

You’ll get to see this real wedding just below in the September section, but I loved getting to work with my dusty purple! It’s not often that I paint in purple but I really love the look it has! This bride included lots of my watercolor stationery… from table numbers to ceremony programs and menus to signage and placecards! Whew! I love getting to be so involved in one single wedding and working so hand in hand with the bride for her happy day!

Acrylic table numbers and guest book sign for a September wedding in Switzerland! Plus tags for their escort table display! Scroll down to see the final wedding photos in the September Real Weddings section!

I’m always touched when someone requests a sign for their Memoriam table…

And lastly, some gold watercolor name tags… see how they used them in the next photo in the Real Weddings section!

Real Weddings

Can you spy those golden tags amongst the place settings?

Amy Deputy Photography

This wedding was one of my favorites last year! Not only was the bride so easy to work with, the photos of her Maine coast wedding was beyond gorgeous! Photos by Courtney Elizabeth Media.

“Sam was an absolute dream to work with! She designed our wedding programs, menus, signage, vow books, and thank you cards for our family/wedding party and they were absolutely stunning. She was extremely responsive throughout the entire process—the customization available allowed me to get the final product exactly as we were looking for. I received so many compliments from guests on how beautiful everything was. Highly recommend Sam and I can’t wait to work with her again!”

Nicole M.

Watercolor escort tags in such a cute display! Marissa Cribbs Photography

I had a lot of amazing August weddings this past year! So I’ll say it again, here’s another favorite wedding of mine! This one was at a Santa Barbara mission… Heirlume Photography

And another favorite! This gorgeous wedding took place in Sun Valley, Idaho! Jenna Bechtholt Photography

And lastly, here’s a peek at a more local wedding, photographed by my friend Stephanie Weber Photography. Did you know that if you book a wedding package with her, she includes my vow books in her welcome package!

Bridal Party Cards

Before moving on to September, here’s some of the bridal party cards made in my favorite color!

New products

August’s new product was a spin on my godparent card! You now have the option to include this printed poem inside! Ask and you shall receive!


September

Remember when I mentioned sending suites out to photographers in August? Well here’s the first of the results! These are styled and photographed by Michelle Lippert Photography:

I also got to submit the paper goods for a styled shoot at an alpaca farm in New Jersey! It was so fun incorporating an alpaca into the wedding crest. let me know if you can find it!

Flatlay and tablescape photos by Kiamarie Stone.

As mentioned above, every now and then I make several sets of vow books for Stephanie Weber Photography’s welcome packages! It’s always a fun challenge to come up with unique designs.

Another fun project this month was lettering this tattoo for Laura MchPherson of Elephant Juice Photography.

Watercolor Portraits

Don’t think I forgot about my watercolor portraits! It was a busy month!

Wedding BTS

This month’s in studio flatlays feature a lot of wedding signage along with some place card tags! Take a look!

Real weddings

While I love all my wedding projects, this wedding in Switzerland was extra fun for me! I have worked with wedding planner, Loukia Arapian, before on an elopement but this was for a real wedding with so many romantic details! I even got to make one of the acrylic signs in French! Céline Chan Photographie

You already got a peek at this dusty purple wedding above, but here are the final wedding photos by Moth and Moonlite Photography

Table Numbers and “In Loving Memory” sign for a Massachusetts wedding. Morgan O’Neil Photography

Menus and Table Numbers for a destination wedding in Maui, Matias Ezcurra Photography

And lastly, a gorgeous and rustic wedding at Mount Ida Farm in Virginia, photos by Aaron Watson Photography. See more of their big day here.

Bridal Cards

And with these cards, we close out the quarter!


If you made it through this whole post—THANK YOU!! I’m really so proud of the work done over these few months and love getting to share it all with you! And in the spirit of thankfulness, I want to tell you that I wouldn’t be who I am without your encouragement and support. As I continue this adventure, I feel so much gratitude to pursue what I love and have you here for the ride. I’ll never tire of saying it, friends. Thank you for being here.

Christmas Gift Guide, Personalized and Unique Presents Handmade with Love for Your Friends and Family

I don’t know about you but I LOVE to give gifts. And usually when the gift is SO GOOD, I can hardly wait until that special day arrives so that I can see their face as they open their present. I am usually so excited that I start to cry myself when so much heart has gone into that special gift, a present that has so much emotional ties running through it. This is my heart for giving gifts and I can only hope to share that with you through this gift guide as I help you give one-of-a-kind and memorable gifts.


1. Watercolor Family Portrait

A watercolor painting turns your photos into works of art! Whether you want to use a professional photo or snapshot from your phone, using a photo that you love puts more emphasis on the sentimental bond of love between the people featured in the painting. These watercolor portraits are always a hit!

I am completely blown away with how beautifully our family portrait came out. Watercolor is such a unique way to display our family of five on our walls; personalized art is such a great conversation piece! To say I’m happy with the way it came out would be an understatement. Thank you Sam for yet again creating something beautiful for our home!

Jamie C.

For more information and to purchase: Watercolor Family Portraits


2. Hand Drawn Papercut Silhouette

I’ve been selling these little cuties since 2014! I love how the stylized look of their profiles make you focus in on their unique features: their buttons noses, the shape of their lips, and the curl of their hair. Creating a silhouette is a fun yet classic way to add variety to your gallery wall and it’s sure to be a memorable gift, treasured for years to come.

I have had the silhouette that Sam made for me, placed in focal point of my home for just over a year now. I absolutely love it just as much today as I did the first day it was in my house! It reminds me of my three little babies when they were babies! The way Samantha was able to capture their perfect little noses, their plump cheeks, those kissable lips, and their unbelievably long eyelashes just takes me right back! It’s very special how one piece of art can give me so many wonderful memories as a Mom. Of all the things Samatha has done for my family this one is a top fave! She’s easy to work with, quick to respond, and her talent is amazing!! This is something that will hold its value for years and years to come, I’m so thankful I ordered this when I did!!

Katie W.

Links to purchase: Single Person or Siblings Silhouettes


3. Floral Last Name Sign

I don’t think I could describe why I love these signs so much, not any more than the Avett Brothers say in their song: “Always remember, there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.” There’s so much love and history in a last name, so many memories behind each family. These last name signs immortalize that love in a beautiful way!

My favorite part? The colors are customized to match the decor in your home! It can be such a struggle to find the right artwork to hang on your walls that will match what you already have! Problem solved!

Links to purchase: Floral Last Name Sign or Evergreen Last Name Sign or message me to discuss a custom design like the Maine coast one pictured above.


4. Floral Letters and Papercut Silhouettes

If you just can’t pick between the last two products, here’s a combo option of my Floral Letters with the papercut silhouettes. The 8×10 size is perfect for family’s with 2 kids, but larger sizes and other variations are available—it’s the magic of custom made art!

To purchase: Floral Letters with Papercut Silhouettes


5. Custom Painting of Favorite Verse or Saying

The final route is going totally custom and having a favorite verse or saying written in watercolor calligraphy, all painted within a watercolor floral wreath! Sometimes while I walk through my favorite home decor store, none of their word based wall art truly speaks to me and my family. So I love when I get to paint a family verse and always love creating art around an old family quote or saying—it’s so close to the heart, sentimental and a family treasure. Some additional ideas for those on your Christmas gift list: song lyrics from the newlywed’s first dance song, a motivational saying for someone needing some daily encouragement, or maybe a saying about why grandmas are the best! Whatever option you choose, it’s sure to be a favorite piece on their wall!

To purchase: Custom Watercolor Painting


6. Initial Ornaments

Let me introduce you to my latest product release! I am always on the hunt for our traditional annual ornament, but these handpainted letters have so many purposes! Last year I used them as gift tags and then encouraged my friends to use them as the ornaments on their trees. You could also buy them in a larger set and string them together to make a garland with your favorite Christmas saying.

To purchase: Initial Letter Handpainted Ornaments


7. Rubber Stamps for DIYs and Gifts

This time of year, I get a lot of orders in my Etsy shop for my Christmas stamps but also crafting stamps! Whether you are looking for that finishing touch to your gift tags, if you home make your gifts and need a special tag for that added personalized touch, or maybe you’ve looking to gift a bookplate stamp to your favorite young reader—I got you covered!

Shop stamps here:

• Merry Christmas stamp
• To and From rubber stamp
Christmas themed, return address stamp
• Baked with Love stamp
• Handmade with Love stamp
• Bookplate stamps
• And many more saying and designs available!


8. Address Stamps

While you can buy this kind of stamp to gift to a loved one or for a hostess gift, it’s always fun to buy one for yourself! Save yourself a lot of time when addressing your Christmas cards by purchasing a custom calligraphy return address stamp!

To purchase: Custom Calligraphy Address Stamp


9. Gift Tags

Once you have all your gifts in place, don’t forget the gift tags! Truly the perfect final touch to your one-of-a-kind gifts!

I have quite a few options here… whether you want ink:

Or handpainted watercolor tags:

Stephanie Weber Photography

Or want printed ones where you fill the name in yourself!


10. Menu and Placecards

My gift tags can also be used as placecards for Christmas dinner! Your guests can then take them home as a little favor from one very memorable Christmas!

Darla Winn Photography

And lastly, as my free gift to you, download and print my Christmas menu printable! Get your freebie here!


Thanks for taking the time to go through my gift guide! There really is so much stuff to cover, but if you have any questions—please don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m only an email away… message me via the Contact page at the top of the screen OR directly through Etsy. I look forward to working with you!

Sam Allen Creates: April thru June 2019

The month of April focused almost fully on Mother’s Day preparations! Which I love because as a mama myself, I just love to celebrate mom’s of all kinds! The latter half of this quarter then went back to focusing on the summer wedding season!


April

There’s a lot to cover this month, so let’s get started!

Mother’s Day gifts

For this year’s Mother’s Day promotions, I created this card as a freebie for orders of watercolor portraits and papercut silhouettes! It was such a hit!

One of my most popular products for Mother’s Day is always my papercut silhouettes. I love drawing out these sweet profiles, their noses and eyelashes or maybe even their fur!

This year, I included a Buy 1, Get 1 Free promotion. It was such a great way to buy a set for grandma but then get to keep one for mama too!

My watercolor portraits didn’t launch until summer last year so this was their first Mother’s Day season! Each of these were gifts from the mamas to the grandmas… so sweet! Shop watercolor portraits here.

And then this was to honor the multi-generations of women in the Parker family! Not only did this make a great Mother’s Day gift, but also a great wedding gift! See more wedding day watercolor portraits here.

In April, I also made a great addition to my shop with the option of colored envelopes to my card collection! I really love the added color these bring to my watercolor cards! Shop cards here.

All of the following photos were from card orders in April alone! It was a busy and fruitful month!

And of course, I can’t forget to include watercolor tags!

And some green watercolor tags, scroll down to see the real wedding photos!

Before the month came to a close, I also made up several more sets of vow books for Stephanie Weber Photography’s gift sets for her wedding couples! I can’t wait to share more of these with you as Stephanie photographs them on the wedding days!

Speaking of vows…. I wish you could fully appreciate the size of these pieces, but wow, what a joy to work on these for Vivian’s wedding anniversary! I love when couple’s choose to document their wedding vows, hanging on their walls to be reminded daily of their commitment to one another.

Now on to wedding work! First up are a few in-studio shots from this California wedding! I love the classic black and white look… can’t wait to see the real wedding photos of how these were displayed.

I also got to design these wedding invitations for Carina and Gilbert’s Cancún wedding! I’m so excited to see how her photographer, Melissa Fe Chapman, documents their destination wedding!

And before I share the real wedding photos from these May weddings below, here’s some of my in-studio shots.. if you’ve been reading my blog these past few months, you may recognize some of these.

First up are these navy watercolor signs and name cards for an east coast wedding!

And then some dusty rose beauties for an Arizona wedding!

I’m still hoping for real wedding photos of these tent cards but here’s my own personal shots. Love this classic black and white look with the meal choice in gray.

And of course we can’t forget the styled shoots of the month!

First up is this shoot at Higuera Ranch with Styled Shoots Across America… I’m planning on sharing a full blog post on the day so here’s just a sneak peek, photos by Ty Pentecost Photography.

And another peek at this shoot at Rancho Pavo! This truly is my only peek so far as the shoot will be published soon and then I can reveal more! Photo by Golden Arrow Photography.

Artwork for Baby Girl Nurseries

And lastly, for the new babies! I love getting to paint up artwork for baby nurseries! I hope these new mamas find peace gazing at these paintings during those late night feedings… I know I memorized all the artwork in my son’s room during all those long nights! Floral letter paintings available here.

Or for a more custom piece, shop here.


May

On to the month of May! Of course the start of the month, included some more Mother’s Day gifts!

From papercut silhouettes

…to watercolor portraits!

The month continued on to include a wide range of items. Like this one from a very thoughtful husband who commissioned this watercolor brush calligraphy painting of a saying he always says to his wife. How sweet is that?!

At some point I blinked and before I knew it I was sending out invitations to my son’s third birthday party! What a whirlwind!

In preparation for the summer weddings, I made quite a few table number signs in a wide range of colors! Love this first shot by Paul Blackmore Photography for a classy nautical wedding. Shop table numbers here.

One of my returning brides requested a matching “thank you” card to my printed cards that I released earlier in the year. I was more than happy to whip these up for her and create a new listing in my shop!

While I love my printed cards, I sure do love the fully handpainted cards too, like this gold bridesmaid card!

And here’s a few more brush calligraphy items, from tags for toy box bin labels to wedding placecard tags and tent cards!

Just in time for Disney/Pixar’s Up movie release date, I created this watercolor painting inspired by the film! I love how it came out so much!! Purchase a print for your home or to gift here.