My Designs in Hobby Lobby and Beyond!

Sam Allen Creates Love is Sweet for Hobby Lobby

On a random Friday night last year, my husband and I were wandering through Hobby Lobby looking for decorations for our baby’s nursery, when we stumbled upon my “Love is Sweet” artwork! I was in shock! Tears were flowing, extra hard thanks to those darn pregnancy hormones, as I smiled like a goof in the middle of the aisle.

Almost a year prior to that, I had been contacted by an overseas manufacturing company that was in need of an American hand lettering artist to create several designs for them to sell to stores such as Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Pier One, etc.

Over the course of that next month, I worked tirelessly coming up with sayings and crafting the perfect designs to submit. And once I submitted them, they would take it from there to pair my design with the perfect background material and frame. And since they bought the design from me outright, I had no idea when or if the designs would be picked up by any stores!

Sam Allen Creates for Hobby Lobby - Love is Sweet sketch

Initial Sketch of my Love is Sweet Design

So that’s why, almost a year later, the shock to see my very own handwriting on the shelf in Hobby Lobby, MY FAVORITE STORE EVERRRRR, was the most exciting, the most gratifying, the most AMAZING, thing ever in my whole life (until a few months later when my son was born of course!).

And since that first time of working with this company, I’ve designed many many more pieces for them, just recently completing another 20 handwritten works!


Sam Allen Creates Its Good to be Home sketch

Sketch of one of my more recent submissions

It’s all so exciting! That feeling of seeing my work in stores has not wavered even a fraction. And seeing my friends and family, and even strangers, finding my work in stores and sending me photos has been the most amazing thing ever!

This post is so long overdue because I have been saving and saving and saving everyone’s sweet photos to share here! Each of these photos means so much to me!! I can not fully say how much I appreciate everyone’s support and excitement in this venture!

Sam Allen Creates for Hobby Lobby - For This Child We Prayed -Shana, Portrait by Cory James

Keep your eye out for some new releases at Hobby Lobby and Michaels, including one from the below “Love Never Fails” sketch (available at Hobby Lobby NOW)!

Sam Allen Creates Home Sweet Home and Love Never Fails sketches

• Love Is Sweet, limited availability at Hobby Lobby

• For This Child We Have Prayed: available at

• Home Sweet Home: limited availability at TJ Maxx

• Home is Where I Am With You: limited availability at Home Goods, and coming soon to Michaels!

• There’s No Place Like Home: limited availability at Home Goods and Hobby Lobby

• Love Never Fails: just released at Hobby Lobby, available online here.

Sam Allen Creates Home Is Where I am With You and There's No Place Like Home sketches

Runway Bridal, Professional Bridal Stylist Logo Design for Tessa

Back in January, I started to work with Tessa Ellis, a hair stylist who works at Shear Envy in Wildomar. Tessa and I have known each other close to forever, aka since middle school and have just reconnected over the last couple years. Anyway, back to January, Tessa asked me to design a logo for her personal brand as she is expanding further into styling for brides.

To design her logo, I asked her to fill out a brief questionnaire that would describe her business and help me with visual cues. Many of Tessa’s answers followed the same theme… her brand should be simple yet elegant, classic typography with pastel colors. She also wanted to include a silhouette of a bride.

I also looked at Tessa’s Pinterest boards, in particular her clothing where she seemed to pin many modern outfits, several with bold stripes.

So modern meets classic… I am coining the phrase “modern yet vintage feminine.”

I first gave Tessa 4 logo concepts to look at, all in black and white, just to get an idea on which direction she would like to head in.

Concept 3 was taken out right away as it was too modern and I created a few different variations of the other concepts and started to play with color. After that step we settled on revised concept 1 with a pastel pink and gray color scheme.

I am so happy with how the logo turned out and even more happy that Tessa loves it too. From there we developed business cards and a WordPress blog site. Both the cards and site utilize the strong horizontal stripes and the site includes a bride’s silhouette in the header graphic.

You can visit here and see how we utilized a semi-customized WordPress blog site. The same theme that my blog uses is on her site but with the customized CSS option.

Thanks for reading about the design process of Runway Bridal… it was definitely a fun project and I am looking forward to more projects with Tessa.

The Detailed Process of Design: Ty Mattson’s Dexter Season 5 Screen Print

This is, what, my third post on designer Ty Mattson… but his work is truly amazing and the process he reveals after a project is concise in its accuracy. He just released the latest screen print for Dexter season 5 and gave his blog readers a glimpse into the process including a really awesome video. He actually recorded his computer screen as he illustrated and laid out the entire piece. The time he spent on each and every detail, stroke, and texture is a thrill to witness. Here’s a few images of the design, including the video, but please visit his actual site to see more of the project and the past ones as well.

Dexter Season 5 Sketch

Dexter Season 5 Print

Dexter Poster Time-Lapse from Mattson Creative on Vimeo.

Evernotes Every Friday (Intro)

Have you ever heard of Evernote? It’s a web/desktop/iPhone application that syncs your saved images and text across to all your computers and phones. Basically, it’s my best friend at work. I also mentioned it before in this post about my design process. Anyway, I wanted to start a series each week that will showcase my top 5 images that I saved to Evernote that week, giving all my thousands (haha) of readers some access to some premium design eye candy without having to scavenge the interwebs to find it. You’ll find that I have a very diverse taste and I gather images for many different design projects at once, from a photoshop heavy photo collage to a nontraditional vintage inspired wedding invitation to a detailed illustration of an elephant to a diy project that I will most likely never accomplish. I hope you enjoy this new series as I share from my over 700 and growing Evernote notes.

And without further ado, here’s week one, in no particular order:

1. Justin Mezell’s Into the Wild Layout Design

While looking for inspiration for a cover collage I was designing, I found this on Graphic Exchange. I love the contrast and the random objects coming out of the dark pained background. Designed by Justin Mezell for Relevant. His cover design is awesome too!

Graphic Exchange - Justin Mezzell

2. Christine Celic Strohl’s Butterfield Identity System

I just discovered Christine’s work this week but out of all her work, this was my favorite. I love the colors and how she incorporated the logo across the whole system. You can view the rest of her work for Butterfield, including packaging and vehicle design, on her website.

Christine Celic - Butterfield

3. Kevin Richardson’s Corporate Brochure for MD&A

I have been following Kevin’s work on Dribbble for a few months now, but this print piece is awesome! It’s so clean and detailed, I love it! He recently started a new web design company and their site is pretty awesome too! And he’s a Christian designer so I give him bonus points. haha You can see many more images of this project on his blog, Encourage Others.

MD&A Corporate Brochure

4. Design Sponge’s Before and After: Amy’s Drawers

This is one of those projects that I would love to do IF I took the time to go garge sale-ing more often and IF I took the time to actually complete it rather than let my treasures rot in the garage. But this is just so cool. If you can’t tell just from looking at the image, she took four used drawers and repainted/repurposed them into this display piece. You can see the before image on their blog along with another awesome before and after storage project.

Amy's After

5. Christine Celic Strohl’s Wedding Invite

And lastly, here’s Christine Celic Strohl’s (see above) wedding invitation. While purusing her site, I saw a section for invitation design. I was so excited to see a professional designer who also does wedding invites (because that means they are just that much more awesome)!! And out of the whole page, the one I chose to save happened to be her very own invite. I love the extreme clean lines and modern look and just the hint of robin eggs blue. It plays a fine line between traditional and very modern. And that’s why I really like it! There’s also several more invitation designs on her site as well, can you guess my second favorite?

Christine Celic Wedding Invite

I hope you enjoyed my first Evernote posting! Let me know which one is your favorite! I’d love to hear from you!

Starting Line

This blog (in its entirety) is about so many things, but I originally wanted it to be mostly about design. However, I have been having so much fun posting about other random things like what I’ve been learning as I read through my Bible or about the fantastic world of Disney! So this is getting back into the design aspect of creating for our Creator…

On a daily basis here’s what I do to help get into design mode –

Google Reader

I might be the last person on the planet to discover this, but previously I had been using Yahoo to collect RSS feeds, and I didn’t like it so that stopped awhile ago, but Google Reader is AMAZING! I have taken a lot of my favorite design blogs and compiled them all together so I start each day with a dose of amazing-ness!


I’ve had a Twitter account for over a year now, but I am just a silent follower, I rarely tweet myself. I just love to read the articles and the “Best of” lists. It’s fun to see what these mega-bucks designers are making, creating, and inspiring.

And then if I am starting a new project, I check these accounts –


When I do find good Twitter articles, tutorials, or graphic showcases I bookmark it in Delicious with the appropriate tags so when needed I can look it up later. It makes starting a new project just that much easier. Say I am starting a new website that is aiming for a minimal design, I look up web_design and minimalist. Easy! Inspiration right there and ready to go! Or I need to accomplish something in Illustrator that I just haven’t got a clue on doing but I know it’s possible I search for Illustrator and tutorial, and there you go.


This is my favorite tool! After scouring all the previously mentioned, I find a great image snapshot and this is where I put it. My design taste is far ranging and this is a great place to keep it all organized. I also like that I can keep such a range of imagery from photography to paintings to magazine article layouts to web screenshots. If I see something that inspires me but it might not be needed at the moment, I Evernote clip it. And that is what makes it amazing. It’s candy for my visual brain.

But if I am already involved in a project –

Inspiration Board

This is a collection of images, textures, and colors that I found that relate to my current project that I gained inspiration from.

I wrote that the above gets me into design mode, but really where does design mode end? I find inspiration everywhere! I love just snapping a photo of whatever I find, the rust texture on a side of a gas barrel or the colors of bracelets found at a Mexican market, and then uploading it to Evernote so that my inspiration can be stored up and poured out later.

And if this post wasn’t long enough, here’s a chart from my friend Ethan demonstrating the fact that a designer is always thinking about design no matter where you are!

So there’s a look into my starting process and design resources to get me started each day!