Isaiah’s Under the Sea First Birthday Party

After Lauren’s beautiful baby shower in May, I was in a party planning slump which meant I ended up putting off planning Isaiah’s birthday party until the absolute last minute! The whole party pulled together only the week of the event, except for the invite of course.

I took some photos in my office of my favorite decorations before the party just in case something happened to them on the day of. I got a little caught up in them and they probably don’t really go for a first birthday but I love them nonetheless.

But first, I want to share the invite with you! It was so fun to work with such bright paint colors! And make the simple ocean illustrations all fit together like a big puzzle!

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And of course I had to paint up some Thank You cards to match! However, that did make me end up sending them months late! Just like this blog post, I’m always late nowadays! 😛

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While searching for Under the Sea birthday party ideas, I came across this saying about the ocean and loved it so much, I knew it needed to be on display at the party!

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I also came across these amazing glass bottles at Michael’s and of course I had to write all over it. I used lyrics from “Oceans” by Hillsong… it’s another one of those decor items that don’t really fit a kid’s birthday party but I just had to make it. My hands were itching to letter on this bottle!

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One very important part to any kid’s first birthday party invitation is the “achievement poster.” I loved going over all of our boy’s favorite things, collecting what’s near and dear to our guy and painting them all out. He made the perfect model as well! I had no idea what he was going to do posing with a poster over half his size but his little faces looking at his mama’s work was adorable.

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Finally, here are some photos from the actual birthday party day!

Our amazingly generous friend Anthony took the majority of these photos! It was such a relief to just be able to focus on Isaiah and not have to worry about documenting all these details! So thank you, Anthony!!

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And that’s the end of that! It was here and gone within a blink of an eye and now I have a 15 month old! But seriously, when do we stop counting months? Anyway, the day was such a joy. I love watching our boy be loved on by his family and friends. My heart just overflows.

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….

Sam Allen Creates Watercolor Weddng Invitation Suite Water Lily

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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Sam Allen Creates Watercolor Wedding Reception Cards Birdcage - Photo by Melissa McClureSam Allen Creates Watercolor Wedding Reception Guest Book Sign - Photo by Melissa McClureSam Allen Creates Watercolor Wedding Reception Drink Selection Sign - 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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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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Heather Elise Photography crossings at carlsbad tablescape (562)

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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.

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!?

Your New Friend Sam, Etsy Shop: It’s a Frozen Celebration

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Now that it’s December and really starting to feel like winter here in Southern California, I thought it was a perfect time to post about my new Frozen inspired invitations!

Several months ago, I dreamed up a list of all the items I’d like to add to my shop, a Frozen themed invitation being one of them. Not long after that, an old friend inquired about having a Frozen themed invite custom designed for her daughter’s third birthday party. Divine, right?

I started dreaming up how I’d want the invite to look, but as I am not much of an illustrator, I called upon my wonderful friend Rachel, a student at University of California Irvine. And a very familiar face around this blog.

After giving Rachel a sketch and some images to inspire the look and feel of the invite, she went to town painting up the background of the invite on several pages for me to digitally piece together. I just love the look of these in person, the depth and texture to each layer of paint… it’s just gorgeous and so tactile.

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I just loved how the piece came together and since we didn’t use the actual characters from Frozen, the invite can be created for a variety of winter themed parties and showers.

But first and foremost, we created it for a very special 3 year old’s birthday party… I love working on custom designs, the client gets to work hand in hand with me, getting a say over the color choices and overall look of the invite. We also upgraded the envelopes to a pretty “ice” silver. They were literally called “ice”—how meant to be is that?!

Frozen Inspired Birthday Invitation from Your New Friend Sam on Etsy

It wasn’t until I started to work on the lettering for the invite that I was struck with the idea of creating this same invite with a variety of type treatments to allow the invite to cross over from just being a Frozen invite to winter parties and showers. So we then created Winter One-derland/Wonderland for first birthdays and Oh, Baby It’s Cold Outside for baby showers.

Frozen Inspired Winter Onederland Wonderland Birthday Invitation from Your New Friend Sam on Etsy 480 Frozen Inspired Winter Onederland Wonderland Birthday Invitation from Your New Friend Sam on Etsy 482 Frozen Inspired Oh Baby Its Cold Outisde Baby Shower Invitation from Your New Friend Sam on Etsy

And to close, here’s a close up of those icy envelopes, addressed to my favorite Frozen character and her main squeeze.

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All these invitations and options are available in my Etsy shop!

Interested in your custom invitation design? Contact me!

5 Ways to Prepare and Shop for Christmas with Your New Friend Sam

Your New Friend Sam Christmas stamps

Guys, it’s November?! What? How did that even happen…?

Now that I just wrapped up my best friend’s baby shower this past weekend, I’m ready to dive deep into Christmas! Well, at least start to prep—because we can’t forget Thanksgiving, of course… especially since we’re hosting it this year!

Anyway…. I just wanted to do a super sales-pitchy post (without being too-too-pushy) about how I can help YOU get ready for the holidays! Whether its gifts for your loved ones or designing something special for your annual Christmas card. Let’s work together!


 

Your New Friend Sam Handwritten Vows Kraft Print 972

For the Newlyweds

A perfect gift for newlyweds would be to have their vows handwritten and framed to display in their new home. If you don’t have access to their vows, what about the lyrics to their first dance song?

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For the Student and the Reader

Every reader that has a growing collection of books needs to have a way of personalizing them. First with a bookplate stamp that will mark it as theirs and then a library card pocket to keep track of who has borrowed from their library.

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Your New Friend Sam Calligraphy Address Stamp Warren Family

For the Family or New Homeowner

The product that started the craziness that has become my Etsy shop! These address stamps make a perfect gift for those who just bought their first home… but they are wonderful for any family or couple. Really anyone who sends mail could use an address stamp.

Your New Friend Sam Address Stamp - Keith <3 Lisa

Your New Friend Sam Handwritten Embossed Christmas Cards

For You!

Maybe you need an address stamp too because…. it’s time to send those annual Christmas cards— whether they are handwritten and embossed with a fine glitter or white opaque powder… or the traditional photo card.

Your New Friend Sam Christmas Cards

Your New Friend Sam, Merry Christmas Rubber Stamp

For Gift Wrap:

Now that you’re done shopping and the cards have been sent… it’s time to get wrapping! Whether you want handwritten gift tags or a holiday stamp (Merry Christmas or a simple to/from)!

Your New Friend Sam, Name Gift Tags

Your New Friend Sam Handwritten Merry Christmas Gift Tags

Bonus! Let’s get together for a family photo session! Email me for pricing—there’s only a few weekend dates left available!

Thanks for shopping with me! Looking forward to working with you!!

P.S. The Wedding Vows printables also make great gifts to anyone with a favorite song or bible verse, instead of vows, create a design with their favorite bible verse or their favorite song lyrics.

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