Sam Allen Creates: July to December 2020

As with everyone, our 2020 was all over the place! With highs and lows, and all the in between…. but our favorite part of the year, of course, was the birth of our baby girl in May. As with my son, I didn’t take a long maternity leave but slowly eased back into work just a few weeks after she was born… take a look at all the fun projects that crossed my desk in the latter half of one very crazy year!


July

July wasn’t too busy for me on the work front, although the home front was plenty busy with our 1 month old baby!

Although a shoot I worked on at the start of the year, that had been postponed due to *you know what,* finally happened and goodness, it was worth the wait! Photos by Whimsie Photographie

Bridesmaid cards

In between all the feedings and nap time for the baby, I managed to get a lot of orders out but skipped photographing them! Who has the time?! But I did snap this gorgeous dusty purple and lavender combo!

Custom watercolor paintings

My favorite commission of the month was creating this custom painting for a baby boy! It traveled with this sweet grandma from Southern California to the state of Kansas for the baby shower… I love creating pieces with bible verses for children!


August

Bridesmaid cards

This month, I’m making up for my lack of photos taken in July! I created nearly 150 bridesmaid proposal cards this month, and here’s just a few of my favorites!

Wedding BTS

While I never had my usual wedding rush over the summer, I was sure thankful for any of the wedding orders I did get! It’s such an honor to get to work with brides during such a special time in their lives.

Real Weddings

And from my hands (above) to the wedding below, I love seeing how brides display my watercolor collection items on their big day! Matthew Moore Photography

Floral name signs

My love for pink just grows and grows as the years go by! This was such a fun and feminine name sign for a little girl’s room! Shop last name signs here.

Watercolor portraits

This was such a neat painting to work on! This family has taken in several exchange students over the years so I was commissioned to create a portrait to include them all in one by happy Global Family! We used an assortment of photo references to make this happen while also creating a cohesive color scheme with the clothing to bring it all together! Shop watercolor portraits.

More fun projects!

And lastly, August is the start of school around here so I was happy to create these first (and last) day of school signs for my friend Trisha’s daughters!


September

The month started out with celebrating my mom’s 60th birthday—COVID style. It was a small gathering at one of her best friend’s houses… I don’t know what I would do without her. I’m one lucky girl to have her as my mama!

Bridesmaid cards

To help out my brides with gathering the gifts for their bridesmaids, I shared a blog post with 25+ Bridesmaid Gift Box ideas, take a look! And then see more of the cards created in September below.

Envelope addressing

One of my favorite projects of September was working on these deluxe invitation sets! Each set included an outer and inner envelope along with these pretty fall colored floral envelope liners.

Wedding BTS

As wedding season gained some traction, I created quite a few places cards for fall weddings as well as bar menus and table number guest lists (see these displayed at the Real Wedding in October below).

Real Wedding

Outdoor garden weddings and indoor ballroom weddings!

Styled Shoot

After over a year of dreaming and looking for the right team, my friend Stephanie Weber combined her artistic photography talents with Naomi of Bowties and Bouquets to create the most amazing ballerina themed wedding editorial shoot!

It was such a dream team of vendors with such beautiful results… I plan to do a whole blog post on the day, but for now enjoy this sneak peek and these words from Naomi:
This inspiration is full of whimsy, swoon-worthy love and fine artistry through dance, creativity and passion. This editorial was inspired by art, movement and the dance form known as ballet. Throughout the planning and design, I wanted to convey the beauty that is expressed solely in art, the passion that we can only experience through dance and the intimate connection between two people who share a love for the same craft.⁠

Custom watercolor paintings

To celebrate an adoption, this lovely mother commissioned a painting for display at their adoption party! She had fallen in love with my Floral Letter signs and submitted this sweet wording to use. What a special keepsake. 😍

Watercolor portraits

With COVID and families not being able to gather, I really enjoyed working on this custom portrait combining over 7 different reference images. While families can not be together in physical proximity, I loved being able to create their family whole!

Baby Milestone Tags

Last up for September… milestone tags for a cute little baby girl! Each month, this mama tags me in her monthly milestone posts and I love seeing her girl grow! Such a treasure!


October

Entering into October means full on Thanksgiving here in my office! Hundreds of placecard tags are created in anticipation of the holiday all about gratitude!

Did you notice those handpainted pumpkins in that last photo? These were created for my “aunt” for her birthday. Painting up craft pumpkins has been on my artsy bucket list for years and know I’m totally obsessed with them! I already have a list of pumpkins to make for this coming fall too!

Bridesmaid cards

More handpainted bridesmaid cards along with a peek into @hgholladay’s bridesmaid box!

Wedding BTS

Looking back on these photos really makes me wonder how this was over 6 months ago already, feels like yesterday!

Real Weddings

After working on her wedding envelopes at the start of the year… to only have that wedding postponed… I was so happy to work on these final wedding goods for Erin (see more in my September Wedding BTS photos)! Hannah Forsberg Photography

And more escort cards that doubled as placecards with meal choice icons!

I love how Stephanie Weber Photography gifts my handmade vow books in her welcome packages for her clients! But then to see them use the books in real life is even more amazing!

Styled shoots

While this first shoot happened earlier in the year, it was featured on Wedding Chicks in October! That was the first I saw of the photos and I was in love! Such beautiful winter wedding inspiration. Photography by Lea Marie Photography.

In addition, I also was able to send along some more navy watercolor goodness to a local styled shoot with Victoria Parker Photography and New Creation Floral Design.

Silhouettes

While getting ready for my Thanksgiving weekend promotions, I created silhouettes of MY KIDS, to feature in the promos, and of course had to include a bow on my daughter because she’s barely recognizable without one haha


November

November means getting out the last of the Thanksgiving name tags and then starting to receive the photos from my customers of their tables… my favorite part!!

Real Wedding

As the world started to shut down again, this is the only real wedding I received photos from (notice the basket of masks in the background).

Floral name signs

But as the world slowed down, people turned inward yet again and I loved creating this last name sign for my friend Stephanie’s future new home in the most perfect fall color scheme! Watch a video of its creation here.

Watercolor portraits

As the Christmas season quickly approached, I started creating more and more portraits for gifting! Watch this first family’s portrait come to life here.

Stamps

And of course, Christmas stamps! Such a fun way to decorate gifts. Shop my full collection in my Etsy shop.

Christmas cards

And lastly, a couple Christmas cards designed… one card poking fun at the craziness of the year and then this gold foiled beauty!


December

The first half of December is usually fairly busy in my shop as I complete Christmas gift orders, and then it slows down as the holidays approach.

Floral name signs

Loved creating this Floral Last Name sign using the white and green color scheme from the couple’s wedding!

As well as these Floral Letters for a pair of sisters in a purple and pink color scheme.

Watercolor portraits

And of course the last rush on watercolor portraits!

Silhouettes

Shop papercut silhouettes here.

Christmas Cards

Our Christmas card!! This was so fun to make as I drew out the floral illustration for the front to turn into rose gold foil, then I painted in the flowers for the artwork on the back.

Annual Christmas Ornaments

And lastly, creating our annual Christmas ornaments… I’ve been gifting our friends and family an annual handmade Christmas ornament for about 8 years now and while each year gets harder to come up with an idea, this is going to be a favorite of mine for awhile.


If you made it to the end of this insanely long blog post, THANK YOU!

If you are interested in purchasing any of the above, don’t hesitate to reach out via my Contact page or directly through my Etsy shop: yournewfriendsam.etsy.com

Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2021, Personalized Artwork and Unique Presents from the Heart

Every year I strive to create unique gifts for Mother’s Day, but not just for my mom! Luckily for you, 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 the moms in your life, whether that’s your own mom, your wife, your grandmother, or someone else uniquely special to you, 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!

This past year, I was able to create portraits for wedding anniversaries, after infant and pet loss, for families who couldn’t see each other during lockdowns but wanted a full family portrait, for a family with all their foreign exchange students from over the years, and so many more. I feel so honored to be invited into these moments and create these special keepsakes.

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. And let’s face it, these little ones will never again be as small as they are today!

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!

Moms love presents that are customized, handmade, and uniquely made just for them. These signs are painted to match any home, and with their last name included, you know they can’t find these any place else!

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 Florals or with a 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! Or just a bouquet of flowers alone! Both make a beautiful gift that is created from the heart, that let them know you care about them and appreciate them.

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 25!! Click through the links above to view pricing and packages. Spaces are limited for Mother’s Day delivery so order soon.

Happy 8 Years to my Etsy Shop: Your New Friend Sam

I’ll never forget the night I opened my Etsy shop. It was the night of February 3… my hubby was out for the night and after tons of nagging support from my friends, I finally set up an Etsy shop. I had dozens of baby/bridal shower and birthday invitations from my portfolio over the years that could be listed with a few clicks of a button.

It took over a month to get that first sale and then almost another year before I hit 100 sales, BUT then the ball really started rolling and by the end of 2014, I hit 1,000 sales—all while still working full time at my graphic design job at a Southern California marketing company!

By that time though, my other side hobby of hand lettering had really grown and I had added rubber stamps to my shop. I used my writing to create wedding favor, crafting and address stamps.

One of the reasons that I had hesitated to open my shop was that I had no idea how to set up shipping, nor did I think I had the time, but it didn’t take long for me to figure it out. I learned as I went and my inventory of listings grew.

My shop wouldn’t have grown if Etsy didn’t have such a friendly customer base! As people would reach out to me to create custom projects, I would then list the newly completed design. Growing my listings from just a dozen stamps to over a hundred different designs!

All the while, I kept practicing my lettering and growing that skill, even dabbling in watercolor brush calligraphy. In 2014, I also listed wedding vow artwork printables, embossed cards, name tags—and had more and more brides reaching out to me for different projects and soon I added rehearsal dinner and wedding invitations to the shop. I had even lettered some tattoos!

By the start of 2015, my shop was bursting at the seams and so was my graphic design job. Something had to give, I couldn’t keep up with both any longer. After a lot of prayer and consideration, I put in my notice at my job. It was so hard to make that choice, but I wanted to see where my Etsy shop could go if I could give more time to it. 3 months later, on my last day of working both jobs… a representative from an overseas manufacturing company reached out to me for some freelance lettering designs after finding my Etsy shop. Less than a year later, I saw my work in stores like Hobby Lobby, TJ Max, Home Goods, and Michaels! Read more about that here.

I always think of 2015 as the peak year in my shop. Sales have never been higher than they were then, but that’s in part because at the end of September that year, I took my shop on the road for a 7 week road trip with my husband who is a competitive BBQ pit master. We drove from California to Missouri to Tennessee and to Florida for his various BBQ competitions. By the time we got back in November, we found out I was pregnant with our first baby!

By the time 2016 came, my shop had started to slow down. I had hit 6,000 sales and was now getting ready to welcome home baby. That next year was a total blur. With a baby who wouldn’t nap—or sleep at night much—I fit in work when I could.

A big highlight for the start of 2017 was the release of the Crate & Barrel’s Spring catalog. I had been contracted the previous fall to create name tags for their place settings—it was thrilling to see how these tags were used and styled in their catalog!

And then, for a friend’s baby shower, I picked up my paint brush—that I only used for lettering at the time—and I tried to paint flowers. What started as a few flowers for the invitation grew to painting flowers everywhere and on everything! See more of this Shabby Chic Baby Shower here.

And as you know, painting flowers didn’t stop there. Later that same year, I painted up my first Floral Letter sign. It was just a fun personal piece for Alice in Wonderland… and then I did some individual letters, and then that grew with a commission for a family member of their last name… and well now I have the whole alphabet and dozens more last name signs painted!

The fun didn’t stop there though! By the end of 2017, I had worked on my first styled wedding inspiration shoot! Working with fellow wedding professionals opened my eyes to a whole new world! Putting faces to the names on social media, creating friendships with other entrepreneurs made working from home far less lonely. My creativity soared with all these new opportunities.

I had so much fun lettering on all the things!! I was introduced to handmade paper and had the opportunities to letter and paint on mirrors, acrylic, silk ribbon, wood, linens, and even tambourines!

2018 was a HUGE year… not only was I working on 2-3 styled shoots each month (which was insane with a 2 year old at home and running my Etsy shop), but I finally took the plunge and added more of my watercolor items to my shop… watercolor name tags and bridesmaid cards! Today, those are now the best sellers in my shop and were the humble beginnings of my watercolor wedding collection which has now grown to include watercolor table numbers, menus, programs, signage and more!

In 2018, I also started creating watercolor portraits! What started as a gift for our friend’s baby adoption, turned into a brand new offering in my shop. I’ve since created portraits combining photos of extended families that never get a chance to all be together, for baby and pet memorials, for new families, of vintage wedding photos, and so much more! It’s truly an honor to get to create these pieces.

Looking back on this history and seeing where I am today… it all centers on that fateful night I opened my shop. Without taking that leap, I wouldn’t have this wonderful career that has allowed me to stay home with my babies. I wouldn’t be getting paid to do something I LOVE and for that I am forever grateful!

November 2020, celebrating 15 thousand Etsy sales!

Lily’s Boho Baby Girl Neverland Nursery

I’m so excited to share my baby girl’s Neverland themed nursery with you today!

The inspiration for her room came from my love of Disney’s Peter Pan! To make it more feminine, the look of the room plays less with Peter Pan and pirates but more with fairies, mermaids, and Indians! The look is all tied together with a simple color scheme and an overall rustic floral boho vibe.

Our son’s pirate themed room is full of darker moodier colors so I wanted to create a very bright and warm space for our baby girl. However, we had to use our son’s dark wood crib and recliner for the space. We did buy a new (used) white dresser for her though, sourced locally in our community, and then placed our son’s changing table topper on it giving it a nice two tone look—in an attempt to not make the crib and recliner the only darker elements in the room.

My favorite part: spending the time gathering pieces for her gallery wall above the changing table and the floating shelves above the recliner. I had so much fun buying from artists that I have followed for years as well as buying from new artists, and of course contributing my own artwork as well.

Neverland Map Print: S & J Novelty on Etsy | Fiber Art Rainbow and Sun Hoops: Hills and Valley Studio | Mermaid Lagoon: Liana Hee, purchased via Disney Gallery | Tinkerbell print: S & J Novelty on Etsy | Fairy prints: AwwDraws on Etsy | Vertical Mermaid Print: Britney Lee | Alphabet Print: YourNewFriendSam, Etsy (that’s me 😉)

Square Mermaid print: AwwDraws on Etsy | Globe: Target | Mini Terrarium Glasses: Whole Housewares on Amazon | Mini Tinkerbell: Dameing on Amazon | I Love you to Neverland Blocks: Hello Poppy

My second favorite part is her reading teepee. I dream of days spent reading in there with her and playing hide and seek.

I had a long list of Peter Pan quotes to include in the room, but this one was my husband’s top request from the movie Hook. Plus I got to use the artwork from her baby shower invitation!

I hope you’ve enjoyed a peek into her room! It’s definitely my favorite room in the house right now, which is really good since I spend so much time in there!

Maternity photo by Stephanie Weber

Shop the Room

Changing Pad Cover: Target | Sheets: Target | Floral Garland (above bookshelf and teepee): Hobby Lobby | Bookcase: Barrister Lane Collection (found used on OfferUp) | Mermaid Shelf Decor: Hobby Lobby | Curtain Rod: Target | Blackout Ruffle Curtains: Target | Coiled Baskets: Target | Floral Arrangement over Crib: Hobby Lobby (combined 2) | Sailing Ship: Haptic Lab | Teepee Tent: Little Dove on Amazon | Large Stuffed Animal Basket: Mintwood on Amazon | Pink Rug: Rugs USA | Majority of frames purchased from Hobby Lobby and Michaels

Sam Allen Creates: January to June 2020

There’s no better way to start off a new year than by looking at the best parts of the year before!

I love taking the time to create these blog posts, taking the time to review each and every project from the start of the year brought back so many memories! Granted, so much more work was created but not necessarily photographed! The year started slow as it usually does but just when wedding season was picking back up, the pandemic hit and my shop was at a standstill. Thankfully, Mother’s Day prep gave me some fun projects to work on… but scroll to the end to see my greatest creation from the spring, she’s a cutie!

I’m going to lay out this annual recap a bit different, rather than going by month, I’ve organized it based on type of project! Let’s get started…

Flatlay Inspiration

The year started with a flatlay marathon with Bowties & Bouquets and Sun and Sparrow Photography.

Once the pandemic descended upon us, my friend Rosy, from Alba Rose Photography, offered to shoot some of stationery to get some flatlay practice during the lockdown.

Bridesmaid Cards

I bet you can’t tell by looking at these photos what my most popular color combo ordered is? just kidding… it’s quite obvious my dusty rose cards are a fan favorite!

Shop Bridesmaid Cards in my Etsy shop.

Envelope addressing

I also got to work on a few sets of envelope addressing for spring weddings (both of which were sadly cancelled and postponed 😱).

Wedding BTS

A few in-studio shots for more 2020 brides, both of whom got married by the end of the year no matter the obstacles along the way!

Floral Name Signs

I really love making these Floral Letter name and word paintings. The following us two very different color schemes making each one is so unique!

Shop Floral Letter Name Signs here.

Miscellaneous Custom Watercolor Paintings

A wedding gift created with the couple’s motto… and one of the last non-pandemic affected weddings of the year—dated in early March!

I loved creating this California state painting for a local real estate agent as one of his client gifts.

A wedding bouquet painted in watercolor. This was my first ever at this scale and detail and I can’t wait to do another one! Bouquet from New Creation Floral based on a photo by Melissa Fe Chapman.

A family motto painted up in a fruit blossom wreath.

A buffalo painted up for a mostly black and white gallery wall.

A sweet piece painted up as a gift for a retiring school staff member.

A handpainted journal, one of the very last projects I worked on before the baby arrived—and a good thing too because it’s for my children’s godmother!

Watercolor Portraits

Wow, if I hadn’t made this post, I may not have realized just how many portraits I painted during this season until I did my year-end accounting! Almost all of these portraits were painted in between April and May! It was such a whirlwind!

Shop Family Portrait Paintings here and Wedding Portraits here.