Lindsey and Anthony’s Tropical Wedding at Bali Hai Restaurant, San Diego—Watercolor Wedding Stationery

You guys, I wrote this post TWO years ago, just after the wedding and then I found out I was pregnant and my blog pretty much burnt out for a bit while I struggled with a full 9 months of morning sickness and then newborn craziness and then just working mom life with a baby. So I hope you’ll indulge me with this “throwback post” as I’m excited to be posting this now even though it’s two years later!!

This was such an amazing wedding to work on!! First of all, I got to be bridesmaid AND the stationery designer so that’s always fun!! Second of all, Lindsey let me paint all over everything! And that is extra fun!!

Lindsey and I have been friends since 4th grade. She was in our wedding several TEN years ago and I was honored that she asked me to be in her wedding as well!!

I wanted to share a few of my favorite images from the wedding, of my work and the day itself!

First off though, let’s start with the wedding invitation suite….

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It was my first time painting flowers of any kind, I definitely learned a lot during pages and pages of practice! Even looking back two years later, I still love this suite so much. It was also my first time addressing envelopes in watercolor. I went through quite a bit of purple watercolor paint that summer!

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We even worked on some rehearsal invites to go with the theme as well…

Sam Allen Creates Watercolor Rehearsal Dinner Invitation

Okay okay enough of nerding out over paper goods in my home photo studio, let’s see the real wedding photos… by photographer Melissa McClure! And you can see her blog of the day here with so many more amazing photos!

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The reception was held at the Bali Hai Restaurant in La Jolla. It was a gorgeous restaurant right on the beach with a dock down into the water.

Wedding Bali Hai Reception - Photo by Melissa McClure

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For the placecards, we created individually painted bookmarks which would then fit a photo strip from the photo booth!

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And just a few more pictures of the beautiful bride and groom and I’m sneaking one in of me with the bride too! Isn’t she lovely!!

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Lauren & Kellen — Menifee Maternity Photos

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This little sweet baby girl is about to make her debut in the next couple weeks so I thought I’d share a few of her parent’s maternity photos with you all first! I can not wait to cuddle and love on this babe. Timehop has been reminding me daily of my little Isaiah as a newborn from last year everyday and it’s giving me baby fever!! Olivia June, I can not wait to meet you! And neither can your mama!!

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Menifee Maternity Portraits — Lauren and Kellen

Taylor and David’s Wedding at The Crossings, Carlsbad — Elegant Lace Wedding Stationery

Not every day does a designer get the privilege to have their hand, in my case that can be taken literally, in so many aspects of a single wedding. My wonderful family friend Taylor, had me create so many amazing pieces for her wedding last year two years ago… from the save the dates and invitations, to the tent cards to signage, I got to do it all—and I loved every piece! I have been so excited to share this special day with you all and the time has finally come! Just in time for their 2nd anniversary!! What the what?! Where does the time go?!

Starting with the Save the Date… we started to explore the type we would eventually use and the overall look and feel.

Sam Allen Creates Wedding Invitation Suite for Taylor Save the Date

Then a few months later we started on the invitation. I love every bit of it even still after these last two years! I found the lace embellishment on shutterstock.com and after showing Taylor, she LOVED it as it reminded her of her wedding dress. So that was the perfect border elements to our stationery for the invitation suite and day of paper goods. After you take a look at the invite, there’s beautiful photos from the wedding day itself ahead!

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Okay okay, enough invites already… here’s the beautiful wedding day photos captured by Heather Elise Photography.

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Guests first look after arriving to the wedding was seeing this amazing table set up for the place cards! I loved the circle design these tent cards were placed it with the large silver vase in the middle.

But of course, before the guests were to find their seats. We needed to watch those two lovebirds get hitched! It was such a beautiful ceremony! Not only did I cry, but I laughed as the groom handcuffed himself to his new bride… and then they couldn’t get the handcuffs off later. Oh my.

Taylor and David are beer snobs connoisseurs, so the reception tables were named after their favorite breweries.

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Thank you so much, Taylor and David, for letting me be such a special part of your wedding day. Creating your paper goods was such an honor. Love you guys!

Taylor+David Highlight Film from KAPPEL IMAGERY on Vimeo.

Four Month Old Isaiah

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Considering you will be 5 months old next week, I’m a little late in posting this. Thankfully I took good notes and wrote this out a few weeks ago because you have changed SO much since you turned 4 months. Every day brings us a new joy and discovery… but for now, I’m enjoying taking a look back on the month before:


You’ve found your hand, your fist and then your thumb. But you kinda prefer to alternate them all and end up with lots of eye pokes.
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For a time, you’d like to throw your right arm out and above your head, but end up with smacking yourself in the face. In just this past week, you’ve really figured out how to grab and hold things whether it’s a teething toy monkey or a blanket.
You’ve found your voice. Chats with you are my favorite. You rarely even interrupt but are always ready with a lengthy reply.
We heard your first laugh. It came and went so fast and I couldn’t wait to hear it again.
You’ve had your first Disneyland experience. Something I’ve been waiting for for as long as I can remember. We took you on Its A Small World for you first ride. Walt Disney and Mary Blair would have been proud! You seemed to like it at first, after all we are on a boat (another first!) and water is your favorite, but then your sleepiness kicked in and you kinda lost your cool. Your sleepiness overtook you for your second ride as well: Winnie the Pooh. Being able to take my very own baby to a place I’ve loved so deeply was so magical. Being part of the stroller pushing mamas, wow! I can’t believe I get to do that now!
You still get super excited about things and flail your arms up and down when you do. Add in your super big “crazy eyes” and we can’t help but get excited too! You love your Nemo jumper, especially when Sheldon the seahorse says a hearty “Hi Isaiah!” It almost guarantees your gummy bashful smile in return.
Bath time is still a highlight of the day. You’re almost growing out of your tub though so the kicks and splashes haven’t been as frequent! Now that you don’t hate getting out of the tub as much, snuggling up in your towel has become a lot more fun!
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Being your mama, son, is a privilege and an honor. Why God chose me for this joyful task, I will never know, but I will never stop thanking him for choosing me to raise you. Your smile and spark are contagious. Your curiosity in the smallest of things, like the polka dot lining on the Boppy, makes me wonder and makes me so excited to show you the world.

Molly’s Bright and Colorful 2nd Birthday Celebration

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You guys… In my last post about working with Trisha, I mentioned how much I adore designing for her! With all this hand lettering and painting going on, Trisha is my #1 customer (no offense to all my other #1 customers though!). She is such an encouragement and makes me strive to keep doing better and better, while still surprising her with each design. And now that I’m in the midst of working on her daughter’s 3rd birthday invitation, I thought it was time to post about the 2nd birthday invitation!

Trisha was really open to the direction to take the design. She wanted it bright and colorful though! So after showing her a few ideas, we went with a fun and whimsical direction and I got to hand write the whole piece! And then the best and final and most perfect touch, Trisha punched out and sewed on a few bright and colorful flags. Oh I love them so!

First off, I wanted to show you the work-in-progress sketch of the design before it was fully inked. It was really important to plan it out in pencil to really get the layout and how the words and lines would interact and flow together.

Mollys 2nd Birthday Handlettered Invitation Sketch

And then the fun and festive color was added to match the scrapbook paper that Trisha found for the banner.

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I love how Trisha sewed on the paper banners, it was such a fun handmade touch to the invitations.

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Can’t wait to share this year’s invites with y’all! Hopefully it won’t take me a year to post about them though! Ah!

Baby Isaiah’s Newborn & Nursery Photos, and Birth Announcement

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I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life to have these photos done… I just can’t believe these are of MY baby. And they are just so darn cute. I love them all so much!

My friend Jess came over when Isaiah was 6 days old to take these in his nursery. We were in the process of moving and thankfully were able to have his very first room documented like this. To say we love the photos would really be an understatement, but what has also been tugging on my heart is the love from behind the camera. Coming from experience as an auntie/photographer, seeing how Jess saw my son through her lens and having it captured on “film” is just so special to me. You can read her own blog post on the photos here.

Maybe you all can help me pick which ones to frame because I really just can’t decide!

And please stay tuned to the end of the post where I’ve shared the birth announcement photos!

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The white blanket Isaiah is laying on here was knit by my grandmother… I love that little detail! (Rug is from Target)

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I mean come on! Look at those lips!

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We’ve been calling him Monkey Toes since the hospital… as he rested propped up on my legs in bed, he grabbed my bottom lip with those toes. It’s hard to tell here how long those little toesies are when fully extended!

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2 days after these photos were taken, we moved! His room was the last to pack up in hopes that we would bring him home to his first nursery rather than the new house. Thankfully, we had one very sweet week with him in our first home.

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I looooooved his nursery! It was and still is my favorite room in either house! Even though it is highly unfit for a child right now with some of the decorations… those will be removed in time though! Childproofing comes later right?

The crib and changing table are from Babies R Us. The crates (from Michaels) and the lumber for the wall (Lowe’s) were purchased as raw wood and then stained by my hubby and in laws before installing in the room. That wonderful mirror we stumbled across at Hobbly Lobby. How perfect is that?!

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The very next morning after finding out we were having a boy, we started pinning ideas for his nursery. My main focus was collecting art for a gallery wall. I was so excited to purchase art from some of my favorite artists that I’ve been following for years!

The two top prints on the left are from Handlettering Co. The “Skillful Sailor” print was actually purchased last summer in Montana! We had no place for it at all but loved it so much. Little did we know that less than a year later it would be the centerpiece for our baby’s nursery!

The far right print is from This Paper Ship. The far left map was purchased as a plain wood hanging from Michael’s and then I handpainted the map on it in gold leaf paint. The small knick knacks are from Hobby Lobby… Captain Hook and Neverland map prints are both from Etsy! Whew!

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Thank you Auntie Jess for all these photos and memories! We love you so much!


For Isaiah’s birth announcement, I really had NO idea how to get started designing it. There was a lot of pressure on me too (from myself) after having designed so many other birth announcements. I of course wanted to handletter on it, but with my writing being so girly, I found some smaller ways to add it without making it too feminine. Plus I hand-addressed all the envelopes so that was added fun! I really love how it came out, from the photos to the small design details. Like the compass and arrows on the back and the diamond shaped pattern that I traced from the rug in his room. I just love how it came out and I hope you do too!

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Notice the pattern on the far right side…? That’s traced from the rug in his nursery 🙂

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Isaiahs Birth Announcement Envelope Addressing

I SO enjoyed addressing all the envelopes to mail these out. It was my creative outlet during nap times 🙂

And I loved getting to design my very own address stamp after crafting nearly a hundred for others through my shop. I went for a fully handwritten and whimsical design. Hopefully the post office can read it for any returned mail!

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The end!! This really could have been split into 3 separate posts but who has time for that!?

Luellen and Walkenhorst Family Portraits, Montana Reunion Photography

Hi there! As I recover from that crazy road trip of ours, I thought I’d share some photos from our family reunion this past summer…. my dad’s brother in law just turned the big 7-0! So that side of the family had me take some photos of the generations as a gift for grandpa Jim!

These were all taken around the yard of our rental house just outside Glacier National Park! It was truly a gorgeous place with an unbelievable view!

From left to right we have the Walkenhorst family with my cousin Katie, then my dad’s sister Diane and my uncle Jim, and then the rest of the Luellen’s with my cousin Tom…

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Grandpa with son and son-in-law…

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And Grandpa Jim with Grandson Jake…

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Grandma and Grandpa with the grandkids.

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Here’s my cousin Tom and his family who were our gracious hosts in Missouri last month!

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Later that week we took some more photos but of just the Walkenhorst side…

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And that wraps up our family photos from the trip… so fun! Next up, my cousin Jake’s senior photos!

Pankratz Family: Hudson’s Being Promoted to Big Brother!

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Oh man, this kid cracks me up. His joy and unceasing happiness is contagious.

All of his expressions had me laughing out loud as I edited his photos so I just had to put together this little animation to document all the little moments in between.

Hudson 7 Month Animation

See, now don’t you love him too? 🙂

A small reason I got to take his pictures this day was just because I hadn’t been able to get him in front of my camera in such a very long time. But the second reason, the biggest reason, was to make this announcement to the world….!

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But as a bonus to the announcement of Hudson being promoted to big brother, we just had to document this adorable chunky stage of his life. Thanks little guy was letting your mommy and me dress you down, make you lay in grass, and even stick you in a crate. You gave us some funny faces, looks of confusion, but you were a great sport. And you better get used to this craziness!

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Oh, Hudson… I’ll eat you up, I love you so!

With all my love, your crazy Auntie Sammi xoxo