Amie’s Baby Shower and Emma’s Watercolor Floral Birth Announcement

Well this sweet baby girl is a whole year old now! I am antsy to share photos from her first birthday but before I do, I have to share photos from the baby shower and her birth announcement! Better a year late than never, right? Right?!

Since I was still in the midst of morning sickness when shower planning was underway, I opted to purchase some watercolor graphics for the florals. I fell in love with the ones I found from By Lef on Etsy. They were so easy to implement and came in such a variety! Make sure to check out her beautiful shop!


Amie’s mom and sisters threw such a beautiful shower!! I was honored to get to contribute a few handlettered goods to compliment their shabby chic decorations…





About a month later, sweet Emma was born! I used the By Lef water color graphics to compliment my handlettering for her birth announcement too! Not many of my friends have girls… so it’s always so fun to get to design some fun girly items! Photos of baby Emma are by Kristyn Dodge Photography.


You are such a blessing to us all sweet Emma Rae!! I’m looking forward to watching you grow!


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….!

Hudson Big Brother announcement 5x7

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

Baby Hudson’s Newborn Photos

Hudson Ryan Hospital 43 bw

Well now that this little guy is over 3 months old, I guess its time to post his newborn photos that we shot back in December. Goodness, I am so behind in life….

Let me introduce to you the newest little fella to my family of friends (I swear, I have the cutest collection of nephews in the whole wide world!!)…

Hudson Ryan Pankratz was born the weekend before Christmas. We all waited patiently, checking our phones constantly, to hear when this little love had arrived. And we all jumped from our chairs when Grandma Kelly came running back from the delivery room with Hudson’s first photos. And then we all fell in love.

I’m so proud of my best friend! I will never forget that wonderful night…

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He still sleeps just like this with his arms out flashing those macho biceps.




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A few days later, Andy and I drove up to visit and take some more photos of him for his birth announcement.

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Told you it’s been awhile….

Hudson Ryan Newborn Photography 30 Santa Hat

Even more proof that I am quite behind… here’s little Hudson this past weekend at his Auntie Brittany’s birthday. Love that little grin!

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Oh Hudson, your Auntie Sam loves you more than you will ever know. Thanks for blessing us so much and being such a joy to your mommy and daddy. Looking forward to our big trip to New York later this month. Prepare for 4 months worth of cuddles jammed into one single week. Love you forever and always.

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Vintage Cars and Drag Racing Themed Baby Shower and Party

car themed shower party cone favors

Hey there race fans! I’m so excited to be sharing photos from my best friend’s baby shower earlier this month! Especially after sharing her maternity photos last week!

Because of their love of vintage and cars, their baby boy, Hudson’s, nursery will be vintage car themed. But because Amie grew up as a drag racer in the NHRA, we felt compelled to gear the shower toward Amie’s *racy* past. It was such a fun shower to plan and to maximize the theme down to the smallest detail!

The Invitation Suite

I struggled and fretted over this invitation… there’s a lot of pressure when you’re a graphic designer AND hosting the shower. Or is that just in my head? Anyway, it took me awhile to come up with the design of the paper goods. How do we combine vintage cars and racing in one theme without being cheesy? Somewhere along the path, I thought of representing each: the dad and his love of vintage cars, Amie’s dragster, and then a “baby car” for Hudson! We then paired the invite with a “ticket” that had the RSVP and other information, racing red envelopes, matching wraparound address labels and some black and gray striped washi tape. Oh and hot rod postage stamps! I think that’s my favorite detail!

Instagrammed photo via @samallencreates

Instagrammed photo via @samallencreates

cars themed shower invitation suite red envelopes copy

The Day of the Shower

And now for the day of… when it rainned all the night before and all morning! But I hope you enjoy some photos from the day where the threat of rain didn’t keep us from celebrating with a race to the finish line!

car themed baby shower party

Each table was set up with its own racetrack with the centerpiece being one of Amie and her family’s trophies and medals. Along with a mixture of soup cans that were reincarnated as oil cans.

car themed shower party centerpiece 2

One of my favorite parts was the red velvet cake (Amie’s fave!) that was designed around the invitation and baked by my friends at Twinfully Sweet. How darling is that?!

car themed shower party cake and centerpiece

The race track centerpiece functioned as a board game with all the shower games moving the guests’ cars forward in their lanes. And then at the end, each table’s winner competed in a relay race for the final prize!

car themed shower party centerpiece  car themed baby shower party game piecescar themed baby shower party game rules

The favors were created based on a tutorial published by Disney for their Radiator Springs cones. We did have to modify the tutorial to make the cones big enough for our sweet treats… a few of the snacks Amie had been craving during the pregnancy! Unfortunately, we didn’t realize we need to modify until after all the paper was cut! ha!

car themed shower party favors and plasticware

It really was so fun to play up the racing theme, and thanks to Pinterest, we found so many  cute ways to do that!

car themed shower party Fuel Up banner car themed shower party drinks car themed baby shower party gray stripe straws

car themed shower party first car fund car themed shower party kid photos car themed shower party thumb print guest book 2 car themed shower party thumb print guest book car themed shower party menu and diaper cake

car themed shower party to go to sleep I count race cars

But my favorite decoration was the balloon arch that we created the morning of, after seeing this tutorial on The House that Lars Built. It came out perfectly, just as I imagined and I was so excited for it to be a cute photo background while Amie opened her many presents for baby Hudson!

car themed shower party balloon arch

My beautifully glowing Amie, hope you enjoyed your shower just as much as I had planning the details!

So many gushing thanks to everyone that helped pull this day together. It was one big team effort… in other, on theme, words, Amie’s pit crew pulled out all the stops to make this day a big win!

Matt and Amie’s Maternity Portraits at Santa Rosa Plateau

Santa Rosa Plateau Maternity Photography | Amie and Matt 2

It was just a year ago that I got to stand up next to my best friend as she married the man of her dreams. And in just one short month, they will be welcoming their baby boy into this world.

I can’t wait to love on you Baby Hudson…. and take thousands and thousands of photos of you over the coming years!

Hope you all enjoy taking a glance through our little afternoon in the great outdoors!

Santa Rosa Plateau Maternity Photography | Amie and Matt 1   Santa Rosa Plateau Maternity Photography | Amie and Matt 4 Santa Rosa Plateau Maternity Photography | Amie and Matt 5 Santa Rosa Plateau Maternity Photography | Amie and Matt 6  Santa Rosa Plateau Maternity Photography | Amie and Matt 8Santa Rosa Plateau Maternity Photography | Amie and Matt 7 Santa Rosa Plateau Maternity Photography | Amie and Matt 9Santa Rosa Plateau Maternity Photography | Amie and Matt 3 Santa Rosa Plateau Maternity Photography | Amie and Matt 10

Oh man…. I can not wait!! You two are going to be such amazing parents!!

Matt and Amie’s Pregnancy Announcement Photos and Card Design

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Last week, my best friend finally let the cat baby out of the bag! She’s expecting her first little babe this December!

Before she even found out that she was pregnant, she had told me that she had wanted to take these feet photos with their little pup (okay she’s not that little now, remember these Christmas photos??)

your new friend sam pregnancy announcement calligraphy photo card growing by two feet

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So of course I am so excited to meet my new little niece, or nephew. I’m already dreaming of the cuddles, photo shoots, Disneyland trips, and mini milestones all along the way.

And of course, dreaming of the baby shower!! It feels like just yesterday that I was immersed in all things pink and cherry blossoms!

Now, don’t you worry, I’m sure I’ll be posting all along the way… but until then, enjoy a few photos from our announcement photos and the announcement itself that we printed on heavy linen cardstock. And of course, I had to add a little hand lettering to keep in theme with their wedding. 🙂

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A Year Spent at the Happiest Place on Earth / 2013-2014

disneyland sleeping beauty castle april 2014

Today my Disneyland pass expires. After having an annual pass to the Happiest Place on Earth since Christmas of 2004, I am so heartbroken to not just be able to head down there whenever I want. Looking back over the years, I feel so blessed and am so thankful for all the little moments and celebrating all the major milestones. It’s the place I fell in love, it’s where friendships were strenghtened, its the place where my little nieces and nephews saw a whole new world with a sparkle in their eyes. And oh my gosh, I miss it already.

On the other hand, Disneyland to me has always been a creative and artistic masterpiece. Every single nook and cranny has been thoughtfully executed down to the smallest detail. It has been crafted with love and a passion for the ideals of one man, Walt Disney. Walking down Main Street, I am just filled with so much creative juice that my heart just feels full and my mind is racing with ideas.

And while I am taking a break from having a pass for awhile… I will forever cherish all these days and nights spent in the most beautiful amusement park ever created. Okay, I think Paris and Tokyo Disneyland are the prettiest, but I haven’t been to those—yet.

So here’s to yet another great year spent at the Happiest Place on Earth—and my last for a little while! To the memories and photographs, to the friends and laughter.

See my 2010 year at Disneyland, 2011,  and 2012.

May 7

The day I got my pass was just to be able to get in for the day to take Rachel’s maternity photos… it was great to be back after not having a pass for 2 months. And of course, great to be there for sun kissed moments such as this…


September 22

Saying goodbye to the Courtyard of Angels as they closed it down the following week to make it the new entrance to Club 33. It’s my favorite spot in the park, see my post on it here.

courtyard of angels 2013

November 11

My first trip with my newest Disneyland ride buddy!! I was pretty excited, can you tell?

amelia 5 months

November 15

First time seeing Amie as Mrs. Pankratz since the wedding! So much catching up to do while exploring Disneyland at its Christmas finest!

disneyland amie sam november christmas 2013

December 8

Before going on Splash Mountain with the newlyweds… and before Amie was very upset with us for making her sit in the front row and get totally drenched.

splash mountain pankratz allen december 2013

January 12

Celebrating our annual trip for Rachel’s birthday.

rachels 21 birthday disneyland january 2014

January 17

Because I just couldn’t pick which Ryan boy to post! And because they are both just so darn cute!!

parker january 2014 disneyland

hudson january 2014 fliks flyers

February 9

One last trip before the husband’s pass expired.

innoventions with andy february 2014

April 9

Molly’s first trip to Disneyland! And her buddy Grayson and my buddy Jess looking at ducks… again, couldn’t decide which kiddo to show! More photos from this trip here.

mollys first disneyland trip april 2014

grayson and jess ducks april 2014 disneyland

April 11

Mia took her first spin around the teacups during what we thought would be our last trip together! Another couple photos from this trip here!

amelia disneyland tea cups april 2014

rachel sam amelia disneyland tea cups april 2014

April 30

Another “last trip before the pass expires…” I just love watching the kiddos experience the joys we take for advantage. Like the fun of a carousel.

california adventure carousel molly trisha april 2014

california adventure carousel grayson april 2014

May 4

Since I started my pass and this post off with 8 month pregnant Rachel, I thought it was only appropriate to end with 11 month old Mia in her mama’s arms.

rachel amelia disneyland castle may 2014

Wow… what a year it was! I can’t promise you that I didn’t cry a few times going through photos to create this post. I love these friends of mine who are more like family. And this park that sometimes feels more like home.

disneyland sam

Custom Lettering and Design for Amie’s Shabby Chic Vintage DIY Wedding

Harvard Photography

Just a month after the wedding, I posted an in depth recap of that glorious day, when my best friend married the man of her dreams under the trees, amongst the hills of Temecula Valley.

While this post shares my best friend’s wedding on a whole, I wanted to share a few photos of the behind the scenes of parts I got to work on!

To make it to that gorgeous day though, a lot of craft nights (and mornings, and days, and weekends) had to happen. Because she loves me, or my writing I should say, I got to hand letter on just about everything! From the invitations to the cake topper… my little hands were busy!

Of course, as a matron of honor, I had many other duties from planning the bridal shower (link), the bachelorette party, and of course on the day of, I had to give a speech. But all in all, my main duty was just helping the bride along the way. Facebook Chat was our go to means of communication. Almost daily, messages were exchanged with links and “so what do you think about this and that’s?”

I just wanted to take a moment to go over some of the crafts and projects we worked on together. It’s a big thanks to Amie Belle and her encouraging me on these projects that pushed me in my passion for hand lettering which launched my Etsy shop to where it is today.

So in a way, this is a giant portfolio update for me—a way to say “hey, I can write that for you!”—and also a way to share ways you can DIY your own wedding day!

If you have any questions, give me a shout out in the comments and I will get it answered!

The Invitations: Save the Dates, Rehearsal and the Wedding

Let’s start with the invitations! I posted about the Save the Dates last March! And here is the very first rubber stamps that launched over 100 more! Kinda crazy to look back on that actually. Who knew?!

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After the Save the Dates, Amie and I worked on her wedding invitations. But of course, before the wedding, comes the rehearsal! I just adore how these came out… all Amie asked for was a “type” look. Which is a favorite of mine so I was happy to oblige! These are actually for sale in my Etsy shop too!


For the wedding invitations, Amie wanted something “simple.” So we kept the invite itself pretty simple and then hand punched (using this Martha Stewart paper punch) the bottom of each card. Then glued those cream pages (from Staples) to a piece of Kraft paper (from Michaels). We also designed maps and a RSVP postcard (postcards printed at All the pieces were then tied together with lace and twine and we added 3 Kraft hang tags (Recollections tag punch from Michaels) that read “You’re Invited” along with a verse from the book of 1 John. The invite was then mailed out in a charcoal grey envelope addressed with a large sticker label and the return address was rubber stamped.

wedding invitation assembly


wedding invitation with lace and kraft tags

For the day of, we did quite a variety of projects. Not really sure where to start…

Let’s start with the directional and other fun wood signs!

Hand Painted Wood Signs

The benefit of hand lettering everything, starting with the STDs, was that everything matched seamlessly and we didn’t have to depend on stencils or trying to figure out how to get certain fonts painted on to wood. We did however create stencils for the serif font seen below… but those were easy since the lines are mostly all straight. We just printed out the words at size, cut the inside of the letter out and voila! Home made stencils!

This first photo is Matt and I working on the LOVE sign and cutting out stencils along with a bunch of the completed wooden signs at my house.

wedding wood signs DIY

Harvard Photography

Harvard Photography

Harvard Photography

Harvard Photography

For the cake topper, from Morgann Hill Designs, we just used a purple Sharpie paint pen. Easy peasy.

Harvard Photography

For this LOVE sign we followed the tutorial on Shanty to Chic—except we created stencils of our serif font to match the rest of the wedding materials. Side note, tonight we are making more of these but with more custom designs! I can not wait to have one of my own!

Harvard Photography love wooden sign

Harvard Photography ring box

Hand Lettered Escort Name Tags

We also hand lettered the escort tags… to save time we ordered these tags on eBay and then used these Micron pens in sepia along with some rubber stamps for the table number.

name card calligraphy

Harvard Photography

The large chalkboard was from Kirklands, and I hand lettered the sayings using this pen from Hobby Lobby. So easy, and much less messy than real chalk. I did however, prime the board with a real stick of chalk. That helped a lot—and gave it a more worn look. In the image above, you can tell that the board was primed, the image below was written straight on the board without any real chalk lather. The ink sticks more to the board in the unprimed which will make changing it much harder. So it really just depends on how you want to use them in the future.

Harvard Photography

Amie also picked up a few frames from Hobby Lobby and then created chalkboards out of them using some chalkboard spray paint.

Harvard Photography bbq chalkboard menu

Harvard Photography

wedding DIY assembly

The wedding favors were red neck wine glasses (candlestick glued to a mason jar) for the ladies, and plain mason jars for the men. Attached to each jar was a hand tag using that same Recollections punch from the invitations—and inside each jar was a personalized bookmark, with the name of the guest on top to help with the seating arrangement. These tags and bookmarks were just printed (same ream of paper from the invitations too!) and cut at home. The bookmarks were also punched at the bottom to match the invitations along with an eyelet (see above photo) to hold the twine tassel in place.

Harvard Photography rings and bookmark favor

These last paper products to show you were also just printed at home using normal stock paper that was the same cream color as the wedding cardstock.

The wedding programs: the lightweight printer paper made it easy to roll up and then tie off with some more twine.

wedding program your new friend sam

Harvard Photography

DIY wedding programs

These fun Mad Libs we created using a bunch of sayings we found online.

Harvard Photography

Harvard Photography


And the last thing I helped Amie with was completing the slideshow for the wedding… it was created using iMovie and could not have been more easy! I had never used it before and was really relieved that it truly was as easy to use as my husband kept promising it would be! 🙂 One big tip: before placing music, make sure you have all your images and transitions set up because once you have to change those, then you have to go back in and tweak and every single song.

Harvard Photography

If I can give any advice to any of you soon to be MOH’s and bridesmaids, it would be to just be an ear and a helping hand to the bride. While that seems so obvious, it’s easier said than done.

Another piece of advice: if you think a project will take one evening to complete, double or triple that! 🙂

Many of the elements above are now for sale in my Etsy shop:

Address rubber stamp. You’re invited! rubber stamp. Invitation card. Rehearsal invite. Custom Lettering. Escort tags.

Save the Date rubber stamps as seen above are coming soon—see my other Save the Date rubber stamps in the meantime.

A Gift from the Bridesmaids and Maid/Matron of Honor, A Scrapbook of Letters for the Bride

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Another great gift idea for the bride to be is a scrapbook of letters from all her girlfriends, bridesmaids, and close family members.

See yesterday’s post on another gift for brides, a scrapbook of all the wedding events!

My friend Amie actually pinned this relatively early in the wedding planning process so I kept it in mind for later. About a month before the wedding I sent messages to about 20 people, from her close girlfriends to her family, including her brother and nephew. And then I saved the best for last with a letter from the groom.

A few days before the wedding I snapped a few photos of the pages that I had completed for some of the letters—hope you like them!

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If you’d like to make your friend a letter scrapbook as well, here’s a sample of the note I sent to everyone requesting for their participation:

I’m planning on making a scrapbook to give [the bride] at the rehearsal dinner filled with letters from the women closest in [bride]’s life! You can just give me a letter or you can actually make one page [size] for the bride. Your page can include anything you want – a picture, collage, poem, memories, song lyrics – anything that reminds you of your relationship with our girl! Let me know if you’d like to participate! Thanks!

gift for the bride letter scrapbook_0998

I really loved this album that I found at Michael’s. It’s slightly bigger than the Bridal Beauty scrapbook, sized at 8 1/2″ by 8 1/2.” Plus it came with stickers to decorate the front so we chose the phrase “Dear Amie.”

My favorite part of putting this book together was reading everyone’s letters and seeing just how much this bride-to-be was loved! Tears were shed by many of us throughout the process—making it a truly special gift for such a special time in her life.