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 ūüėĪ).

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‚ÄĒdated 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‚ÄĒand 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.

Papercut Silhouettes

A couple silhouettes created for Mother’s Day gifts!

Shop Papercut Silhouettes here.

New Products

Creating a full alphabet print of my Floral Letter paintings had been on “my list” for well over a year, but I finally got it done right at the start of the new year! After creating 26 letter paintings and 26 floral designs, the print came together seamlessly! I was able to offer it in two color schemes, one in pink and one with cooler tones of purple and blue. And of course, I had to add one more in my favorite typography form: the ampersand!

Shop Floral Letter Alphabet Print and my Ampersand Floral Letter Print here.

Another item on my lengthy list of projects to accomplish were creating a floral cross and Easter bunny print. With the slow season in my shop caused by the pandemic, I was actually able to get these done just in time for Easter! I absolutely LOVE how they came out and it was so fun to see how everyone displayed them in their homes. They are still available too! Download your free printable paintings here.

More Designs & Lettering Projects

A hand lettered canvas banner created to display travel pins! Can’t wait to share with you how this photographer is using this banner in her office!

A tattoo for Chelsey Lux Photography… a few years ago I lettered a tattoo of her first two children that’s displayed on her left arm. I knew at the time that one day she hoped to add a third name so we purposely designed the tattoo to allow a third name. I was thrilled when she later reached out to me that she was ready for that third name! And I love that little Hattie has her own placement on mama’s right arm! Congrats, Chelsey!

And lastly, as we slide into baby mode… I loved creating this birth announcement for my dear friend and photographer, Jessica Rose! I got to design both of her older son’s announcements and it was an honor to create this one for her third… he is exactly two months older than our little Lily. It’s so fun to be in this baby season with her again (as we both had boys in 2016 together too). And also… she makes such cute and sweet little babies!

Our Sweet Baby Lily

All that to say, the best thing I made during the first half of the year: our baby girl! It was sure weird to be pregnant during the start of the pandemic. Suddenly not seeing any friends as my baby belly grew and grew. While that was heartbreaking to say the least, I tried to keep my eyes on the prize and continue to grow that healthy baby girl while cherishing my time with our son, one on one.

Gender reveal photos by Jessica Rose.

The pandemic may have canceled the baby shower, but I still created the invitation for it and printed myself a copy! Plus, I used the artwork in a larger piece for her room (see below).

More to come of her nursery very soon, it’s the next blog post to get done on my list!

Maternity photos by Stephanie Weber Photography.

And then she was born‚ÄĒMay 30, 2020!! After a scary encounter with preeclampsia, I was induced 4 weeks early and gave birth to an itty bitty 4 pound, 15 ounce baby girl!

Newborn photos by Jessica Rose.

And we’ve been fully immersed in all things baby pink ever since!

And that brings us to the end of June and the end of Part 1 of my 2020 Review… If you made it this far, thank you!! I love having you here and thank you for being apart of my journey… I’d love to hear your feedback on these projects, let me know your favorite in the comments below!

Christmas Gift Guide 2020, 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.

Working with Sam was easy from start to finish! She communicated along every step of the way to make sure the work was exactly what I had in mind! I absolutely love the piece and know it will have a special place in our home for years to come!!

Janne F., (see below dock wedding painting)

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 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‚Äôt do. Everyone that comes into my house comments on how much they love them. Sam is always incredible to work with and is so passionate about her work no matter what it is she‚Äôs working on, it‚Äôs bound to be amazing!   

– Mckensie B

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‚ÄĒit’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‚ÄĒit’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. Watercolor Painting Prints

On the less expensive side, I also have a few non-personalized prints available. These are reproductions of my original watercolor paintings and I love having them as an option in my shop!

Shop prints here:
‚ÄĘ Alphabet Watercolor Floral Print
‚ÄĘ Ampersand (& Sign) Watercolor Floral Print
‚ÄĘ Adventure is Out There, Floral Hot Air Balloon Print

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‚ÄĒI got you covered!

Shop stamps here:

‚ÄĘ Merry Christmas stamp
‚ÄĘ To and From rubber stamp
‚ÄĘ Christmas themed, return address stamp
‚ÄĘ Baked with Love stamp
‚ÄĘ Handmade with Love stamp
‚ÄĘ Bookplate stamps
‚ÄĘ 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 & 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
Lea Michelle Photography

And lastly, as my free gift to you, download and print my fill-in-the-blank 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‚ÄĒplease 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!

25+ Bridesmaid Box Ideas

I don’t know about you, but when I first got engaged, my step one was to propose to my bridesmaids. While I didn’t do anything fancy, I’m loving the trend of creating personalized gift boxes to invite your bridesmaids into your bridal party.

But what is a bridesmaid box exactly? And what goes in it? A bridesmaid box is basically just a sweet and personalized way to ask your closest friends or family members to be in your wedding.

First up, you need something to put your items in… something like a box (pictured above is a paper box from Michael’s) or a bag, like a tote bag shown below.

Next, you need a way to ask your bridesmaid the most important question… and the whole point of the box: will you be my bridesmaid?!

I am very biased here, but a card created just for them is one of the best ways to propose. While I have quite a few options in my Etsy shop, some more personalized than others, I do love the ones that allow for the bride to write a sweet and heartfelt message inside like this one. But you can be more personalized with a deluxe card that even includes a handpainted signature.

Once you have your card in place, it’s time to fill the box with some fun goodies… here’s a great list of ideas to start with, for a range of budgets:

  • Travel jewelry case
  • makeup bag
  • framed photo of the two of you
  • mini plants/succulents
  • nail polish
  • face mask
  • bath bombs
  • mini wine or champagne bottles
  • bottle opener
  • mani/pedi tool sets
  • birthstone bracelet or necklace
  • sweet treats (i.e. chocolates) or snacks
  • loofah
  • candle
  • bar soap
  • personalized mug or stemless glass
  • static guard
  • mints
  • energy drinks
  • fuzzy socks
  • spa stuff (i.e. lotion)
  • hand sanitizer
  • hair ties
  • pajama set
  • compact mirror

On items that your girls can use for years, like a wine glass or make up bag, if personalizing your items, sometimes having a name instead of their bridal party role (i.e. bridesmaid) is best so the item will live on well after the wedding.

Most importantly, put lots of love into your boxes as the gesture and thought behind them will mean more than anything else.

Have any other ideas on what to include in the boxes? Please leave a comment, I’d love to grow my list for future brides!

Photo by Stephanie Weber

Watercolor Wedding Stationery and Signage Collection

If you’re a bride looking for an extensive line of stationery for your watercolor wedding, then this is the place for you! I love meeting brides right after their engagement and working on proposal cards for their bridesmaids… and then helping them with addressing their wedding invitations as the big day gets closer… and then finally, completing their day-of stationery! This job is a dream come true: getting to meet kindred spirits while pursuing my creative dreams!

Below you will discover, through real weddings and studio shots, the various products that I have available. Some are available directly through my Etsy shop while others are more custom in nature. 

First up, bridesmaid proposal cards! I don’t know about you, but when I first got engaged, asking my friends to be my bridesmaids was my top priority! I love creating these cards for brides, knowing that they are a celebration of true friendship and sisterhood. There are so many color and wording options, starting with the proposal but also including thank you cards for the wedding day. PLUS cards for parents, other family members and of course the groom on the big day! Here’s a few sneak peeks at what I have to offer, but take a look at my full line of Bridal Party Cards in my Etsy shop.

Next, wedding invitations and envelope addressing….

Envelope Addressing

The first impression your guests will receive of your wedding starts with your hand addressed envelopes! Whether it’s with pointed pen or with brush calligraphy, I love to addressing envelopes… creating each one as it’s very own work of handlettered art!

The way this shop owner addressed my wedding envelopes was my absolute favorite part of my entire wedding stationary suite! She was very easy to work with and created prettier envelopes than I ever could have imagined! So many of our guests have commented on how beautiful they are!! We couldn’t be happier!

– Hollie K.

Once your guest opens their personalized envelope, then the real show begins! Here is where they get the full vision of your wedding… from the look of the artwork to the color palette to the style of fonts…. all of this sets the tone for your big day!

While I have an extensive portfolio of past wedding invitations (see portfolio here), you can see pricing and more information on semi-custom invitations in my Etsy shop here.

Now let me walk you through your wedding day, starting with a warm welcome for your guests, programs for your ceremony, and then through all the paper goods for your reception…

Welcome Signs

Welcome signs are a great way to direct your guests to your ceremony, and can then be transported to your reception location as well if needed. These usually include a saying with your names and date. Materials range from paper to acrylic to mirrors.

Ceremony Programs

These paper handouts are given as your guests enter the ceremony or placed at each seat. The include the order of the ceremony, a thank you message, the names of the wedding party and family members, as well as a place to list names for a memorial. There are many options available, see the full list here.

Seating Charts

If you’re having assigned seating, you’ll either need a seating chart or a display of escort cards/tags (see the next section). While I love both of these methods, I have such a soft spot for seating charts! They are to the point and a creative way to welcome your guests to the reception. The basics include a list of your guests names organized by table number or alphabetically. Additionally, a creative title and the bride and groom’s names and date finish the piece. Materials range from framed or mounted posters, glass, mirror, acrylic, chalkboard… really the sky is the limit!

Seating charts are made to order and not listed in my Etsy shop currently, message me for a quote.

Escort Cards

Escort cards would be used in place of a seating chart… whether you go with a tag or tent card, each piece will need the guest’s name and their table number. Find the following items in my Etsy shop: banner name tags, rectangle tags, and tent cards.

Table Numbers

Your guests now know which table they are sitting at and now need to find their table. My standard table numbers include a few different layouts, but there are other creative ways to name your tables as well like after your favorite cities!

While this next gallery isn’t made with watercolor, I sure do love the look of acrylic for table numbers as well!

Or even made on terracotta saucers and slices of agate!

Placecards: Tent Cards, Flat Cards, and Name Tags

Once the guest arrives at their designated table, a placecard is used to show them their actual seat. This is also a great place to show the serving staff which entrée your guest chose, if needed. Guests tend to love seeing their names written out in calligraphy and often take them home as a keepsake.

Find these items in my Etsy shop: tent cards, flat cards, rectangle tags, and banner tags.

Placecards can also be made using natural elements like marble tiles and slices of agate!

Reception Dinner Menus

Whether you’re having a buffet or a plated reception, menus add another layer of decor to your table. My menus include a variety of color schemes and fonts to match your decor. While my standard menu design is listed in my Etsy shop, customized menus can also be created like the ones below with watercolor florals.

Kay Mitchell Photography

Custom Worded Watercolor Signs

And lastly, for all other needs, I can create custom watercolor signs with whatever wording is needed! Perhaps you need a sign for your Cards & Gifts table, a memorial or hashtag sign, or even a chart to show the timeline of events… I got you covered! Shop custom signs here.

Now that we’ve gone over the individual items, take a look at how these brides have used these items together to create a cohesive look for their wedding!

A wedding in gorgeous Idaho featuring navy watercolor table numbers, placecards, menus and programs… photos by Jenna Bechtholt Photography

Courtney’s blush and gold, travel themed wedding at El Chorro in Texas, photos by Daniel Kim. See more in my full blog post on her wedding.

A Charleston, South Carolina wedding which features multiple custom signs, a seating chart and more… photos by Dana Cubbage. See my full post on this wedding here.

Loved getting to use my dusty purple color mix for this early fall wedding, photos by Moth and Moonlite.

The navy watercolor is by far the most popular of my color choices, but it was truly perfect for this Maine coast wedding… 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. 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.

A Tahoe wedding utilizing my watercolor banner tags for escort cards on their drink ware, along with a custom watercolor painting. of pine trees for their bar menu and their dinner menus. Photos by Torrey Fox Photography

For this Santa Barbara wedding, I created a large seating chart to match my watercolor table numbers and placecard tags. Then a custom timeline poster was created as a schedule for guests. Photos by Heirlume Photography

A greenhouse wedding complete with succulent inspired invitations, wedding programs, menus and tent cards but also some lettering for the seating chart on some gorgeous blue glass bottles! The wedding itself used a lot of bright colorful florals so I loved how the day-of stationery, utilized the walnut brown ink as a more neutral additional to the tables. Photos by Stephanie Weber Photography