Molly’s Bright and Colorful 2nd Birthday Celebration

Mollys 2nd Birthday Handlettered Invitation 2

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.

Mollys 2nd Birthday Handlettered Invitation 1Mollys 2nd Birthday Handlettered Invitation 3

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

Mollys 2nd Birthday Handlettered Invitation 4

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!

Your New Friend Sam, Etsy Shop: Will You Be My Godparent Invitations, Greeting Cards, and Thank You Cards for Godmothers and Godfathers

Godmother Invitations by Your New Friend Sam - Cream Cardstock with Gold Glitter Embossing Upgrades

Nearly 2 years ago, a friend of mine commissioned me to make her a handlettered print to give as a gift to her daughter’s godparents. After listing it in my shop, I had a few requests to have “Will You Be My Godmother?” cards. Of course, at the time, greeting cards were not in my skill set—or so I thought—so I would decline those orders. After the launch of my bridal party invitation line last October, it occurred to me that I was now more than able to offer Godparent cards. Just after Christmas, I created and listed “Will You Be My Godmother/father/parents?” cards and they were more of a success than I could have dreamed.

I love selling on Etsy as it is a shopping platform that invites its customers to truly create something so unique. There is no hesitation to reach out to customize existing listings and thanks to that, I’ve been able to design some very fun and personal cards and prints.

Godmother Invitations by Your New Friend Sam - Cream Cardstock with Personalized Gold Glitter Embossing

With the immediate success of the cards, I thought to update my original Godparent poem listing with a fully handlettered poem to match the cards and list it as a Instant Download, Godparents Handwritten Poem, or a FREE download with card purchase.

Godmother Invitations by Your New Friend Sam - Black Cardstock with White Embossing and Printed Poem 2

Yet again, custom orders came in for the poem to be printed within the card itself. With that, a truly deluxe card listing was made. These are my favorite to make as they are mini works of art but in card form. From the embossed front of the card to the full length poem within, I can only imagine each godparent opening their sweet little card and accepting the invitation with joy. I can’t say enough how much I love my shop and the opportunities I’ve had from it.

Below are a few more favorites of mine, but you can see the ever growing collection of greeting cards here.

Will You Be My Godfather by Your New Friend Sam - Gray Cardstock with Black Sparkle Embossing Madrina Invitations by Your New Friend Sam - Cream Cardstock with Personalized Gold Glitter Embossing and Gold EnvelopeWill You Be My Godparents Personalized navy Poem and White Signature by Your New Friend Sam - Gray Cardstock with White Embossing  Thank You For Being My Godmother Personalized Poem and Signature by Your New Friend Sam - Cream Cardstock with Gold Embossing

Hope this gives you a great glimpse into my little world of embossed cards!

Purchase your cards on Etsy or message me to create a custom order:

Godparent Invitations

Godparent Invitation with Embossed Personalization

Godparent Invitation with Personalized or Addressed Envelope

Thanks for Being My Godparent

Thank You For Being My Godparent

Card with Printed Poem and Signature Option

Madrina and Padrino Invitations

Your New Friend Sam, Etsy Shop: Will You Be In My Bridal Party Cards, Bridesmaid Invitations

Cream Cardstock with Gold Glitter Embossing. Gold Envelope

Cream Cardstock with Gold Glitter Embossing. Gold Envelope

This past fall, after some experimenting with embossing, I added some “will you be in my bridal party?” cards. They were an unexpected success… selling my first 100 in just 6 weeks. Rather quickly, custom requests starting coming in… with wording revisions like “will you be in my house party” or totally new card requests like “to my _____ on my wedding day”… with those new cards, and along with new color options (apparently navy is a hot commodity, next to gold!) there was quite an assortment to choose from!

Below are a few favorites of mine, but you can see the ever growing collection of greeting cards here.

Cream Cardstock with Gold Glitter Embossing

Cream Cardstock with Gold Glitter Embossing

Kraft Brown with Gold Glitter

Kraft Brown with Gold Glitter

Cream Cardstock with Gold Glitter Embossing. Gold Addressed Envelopes

Cream Cardstock with Gold Glitter Embossing. Gold Addressed Envelopes

White, Silver or Gold Embossing Options

White, Silver or Gold Embossing Options on Black Cardstock

Bridesmaid Bridal Party Invitations by Your New Friend Sam - Cream Cardstock with Gold Glitter Embossing Personalized Bridesmaid Love Bride

Personalized with a signature from the bride-to-be.

Happy Two Years to My Little Shop, Your New Friend Sam

your new friend sam 2years anniversary

Wow, just wow. Each and every day, I still can’t believe what’s blossomed over these last two years.

Starting out, I didn’t think I’d have time to ship product, so I only listed printable, downloadable invitations. Then, while helping my best friend with her wedding, I added some various new items—like an address stamp that I hand lettered. From there my shop exploded from just printables to a rubber stamp and lettering shop. Nothing that I even started with. I can go weeks without even selling a printable invite, but daily, I’m selling things I’ve handlettered. Where? What? How?

your new friend sam shipping orders

Starting out, I didn’t even know I could letter. That I could write in a way that people would want to buy it. Buy it for their weddings, for their businesses, for tattoos on their arms! It’s such a a simple concept and it blows my mind daily. And I thank God for giving me that skill. Yes, I’ve studied and practiced like crazy, but truly, if I can call this a gift, it all came from God. There is no other way to explain it. And that’s the only way I can even try to fathom how I got to where I am now.

A year ago from this moment, I never ever ever everrrrrrr would have anticipated what was about to happen in that second year.

  • I never would have guessed that the first month of the [second] year of my shop, I would get 50 orders—10 more than the whole first year combined!— let alone that the last month of the year (January) I would have nearly 300!
  • I never would have guessed that when I created my “made with love” stamp with my friend Trisha in mind, it would launch a whole series of “love” stamps or the style of the writing would draw so many inquires to have logos and other related items done in a similar way.

your new friend sam love rubber stamps 8021

  • I never would have guessed that when I saw what the minimum amount of sales was to file taxes for Etsy was that I would meet and far exceed that amount. I specifically remember laughing and scoffing at that, thinking there was no way that would even be feasible.
  • I never would have thought that something I hand lettered would become a tattoo! A permanent art piece on someone’s body!
  • I never would have thought that when my friend (Trisha, again!) asked me to design her sister-in-law’s shower invites, it would inspire and launch a whole line of glitter embossed greeting card cards… almost 500 bridal party cards sold since mid-October to today!

your new friend sam glitter embossed bridesmaid invitations8038

  • I never would have guessed that my shop would be featured on the David Tutera blog (twice!) or even international blog sites like Fanny Staaf’s (twice!).
  • I never ever would have thought I’d reach 500 sales within the year, but that marker was passed in the summer and by November, I hit 1,000 sales! The Christmas rush came and went and things have only gained speed. With having my 1,700th sale last night, 2,000 sales is just around the corner in a matter of a few short months or even weeks! I seriously can not even believe it. No really, I can’t believe it.

lacey ostoj hum right along your new friend sam shop rubber stamp

If so much could happen in just the second year, while making hundreds of contacts and relationships with clients all over the world… I can only imagine what is to come this third year. This has been the most overwhelmingly insane year of my life—work-wise—but the most wondrous, amazing, and rewarding year as well. It was a year of taking chances, seeing what worked and what didn’t work and finding help and support from my friends and family in such sweet and endearing ways. It was learning to refine the craft of hand lettering with each order and discovering new writing styles. With each step of faith, God has just confirmed over and over again that what is happening is all from Him because there is no way I could have had any success at this apart from Him. I am ever so thankful…

Happy birthday my sweet little shop, how you’ve opened my eyes to dreams I never knew I had. To a future, I never knew could exist. To endurance that I never knew I had.


View more blog posts on my shop here.

Or just go straight to my Etsy shop, Your New Friend Sam, here.

One Little Word

water color hand lettering one little word shine 03

I’m late to the game but I wanted to participate in the One Little Word yearly challenge where you pick your word to live by for the year.

After spending time thinking on it, my thoughts ranging from “faith” to “endure” to “_______”, I finally settled on a word…

Shine.

What does this word mean to me?

Well first off, in everything I do, I try to put 100% of myself into it. Of course, this is just a good work ethic to have but it came from growing up watching my mom juggle 1,000 things and never missing a beat, to working at Bath and Body Works and learning how to put the customer first, and now being the sole person behind my shop, Your New Friend Sam.

All that to say, why and how do I continue to give everything I have toward anything I do?

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

water color hand lettering one little word shine 06

No matter what I find myself doing this year. Whether I am working on a project for a client or whether I am posting to Instagram a photo of my lazy Sunday afternoon, I want that inner light to shine forth in my attitude and in the quality of my work.

This past year has been such a work-centered year that I kept feeling burnt out over and over. I want to be able to rise above that struggle and just be content because after all, having work, even too little or too much, is a wonderful thing. I want to feel God’s light shining on me and knowing His hand is in all things. I want to take that light and shine it forward.

water color hand lettering one little word shine 94

A little behind the scenes shot, a still wet painting of the word shine on a cloudy January day.

The Shine watercolor lettering was created by me using the Pentel Aquash and gold watercolor paint.

Love watercolor lettering? See my listing for watercolor logos here.

Your New Friend Sam, Etsy Shop: Wedding Vows Typography Art Printables and Prints

Your New Friend Sam Etsy Whimsical Handwritten Wedding Vows Kraft paper 767

Earlier this year, just over 6 months ago actually, I posted about a new product I had added to my shop.

You see, I thought I invented these things… making art with your wedding vows. In my head, the biggest challenge of getting this product sold would be just to raise awareness and make it “a thing.” But you see, thanks to Etsy, wedding vow art is very much a thing and  passing that hurdle was a breeze.

Now, after over 60 designs and sales, I thought it was time to share some of the photos of some of my favorite pieces.

These are probably my favorite products in my shop, what an honor it is to be given the task to create art with words that are held so near and dear to a couple’s heart. And whether it’s with song lyrics, or wedding vows, the words are always so beautiful… and even sometimes funny. It’s a treasure to be able to have such an intimate glimpse into these almost stranger’s lives.

And just recently, after developing a few clear lettering styles, I broke the listing down into 3, and then 4 lettering styles…

Smiling is My Favorite

A fun and bubbly script…

Your New Friend Sam Etsy Smiling Bubbly Handwritten Wedding Vows 444 Your New Friend Sam Etsy Smiling Bubbly Handwritten Wedding Vows B&E 231 Your New Friend Sam Etsy Smiling Bubbly Handwritten Wedding Vows Daniel Katie 437

Why, yes, this next one is in German!! So fun!

Your New Friend Sam Etsy Smiling Bubbly Handwritten Wedding Vows Jennifer Nikolaj German 550 Your New Friend Sam Etsy Smiling Bubbly Handwritten Wedding Vows Peter Angela 449

Footloose and Fancy Free

A classic script…

Your New Friend Sam Etsy Footloose Handwritten Wedding Vows 116 Your New Friend Sam Etsy Footloose Handwritten Wedding Vows 124 Your New Friend Sam Etsy Footloose Handwritten Wedding Vows 126 Your New Friend Sam Etsy Footloose Handwritten Wedding Vows 833

And even though most want the classic black text on a white background, sometimes we get creative… one idea is white text on black chalkboard.

Your New Friend Sam Etsy Footloose Handwritten Wedding Vows 843

A Little Bit of Whimsy

With an uneven baseline, these handcrafted words are whimsical and feminine.

Your New Friend Sam Etsy Whimsical Handwritten Wedding Vows Alyce Scott 439  Your New Friend Sam Etsy Whimsical Handwritten Wedding Vows Andy Cara 455

With Thanksgiving

Another style with an uneven baseline, but a little bit less whimsy. This one is new to the shop, and its definitely my new favorite. The style first came to be after writing a ton of “thanks” gift tags, I liked this new style so much, so I just had to try it out on a few vow prints with some willing customers!

Your New Friend Sam Etsy Whimsical Handwritten Wedding Vows Nate and Kate 106

Your New Friend Sam Etsy Whimsical Handwritten Wedding Vows Chris Chirsty 121

Hand Lettered Originals

By request, I’ve added original prints as well, without the crutch of editing the final design digitally, these are always a challenge to get right and perfect but I always love them… the look and fill of the imperfections of pen to paper.

your new friend sam handwritten vows DSC_6054 your new friend sam vows print 052

And this is totally brand new, just a couple weeks old, and by my own request to fill a frame in my house, white ink on gritty Kraft wrapping paper! And then right after that, created a black inked print on Kraft cardstock for a friend.

Your New Friend Sam Etsy Whimsical Handwritten Wedding Vows Kraft paper 776

Your New Friend Sam Handwritten Vows Kraft Print 972 Your New Friend Sam Handwritten Vows Kraft Print 977

But of course, I still create the original, all digital typography prints too!

Your New Friend Sam Etsy Typography Wedding Vows 81 Your New Friend Sam Etsy Typography Wedding Vows 426your new friend sam wedding vows printable dr pruz DSC_0599

Client Photos

I really do have the best clients, especially when they send me photos of their prints hung up or on display in their homes!! What an honor!!

With all that to say, these sure do make great gifts. Most of the above are created by the bride for themselves as a momento from the wedding… but quite a few are purchased as anniversary presents to the spouse, or even as a day of the wedding gift! And one was created the week after the wedding, as a wedding present based on the best man’s speech! I thought that was pretty brilliant and may be stealing that idea some day soon.

I’m hoping to one day make more book quotes or bible verse prints… and even prints for baby nurseries! I think that would all be so fun!

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this extra peek behind the scenes at some of my favorite pieces, after all, Etsy only allows for 5 photos! What else am I supposed to do with the rest!

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?!

save the date kraft stamp_0369

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!

rehearsal-invite-collage

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 UPrinting.com). 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

pankratz-wedding-invitation-sam-allen-creates-DSC_0994

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

Slideshow

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.

My Etsy Shop: Your New Friend Sam | Marks One Year of Business

your new friend sam-blog

A month ago, my little shop officially had its one year birthday! And while I was in the midst of pressing deadlines, I barely was able to acknowledge this little monument.

So here I am, a whole month late, saying Happy Birthday, my little shop.

While I may not have got out the cake and candles, my shop seemed to put on its big girl pants and really grow in February. On January 30th, I texted my mama that I had made my 100th sale. On March 1, I made my 150th. So even though I wasn’t celebrating its birthday, my shop sure was celebrating—and keeping me mighty busy at that!

I still can’t believe how this year has gone. I still can’t believe this road we are on now. What started as a shop for my random shower invitations has now morphed into a custom rubber stamp shop that also specializes in custom lettering for brides and businesses.

Whether this comes and goes as a temporary season, or this could turn into something full time in a few years—I’m excitedly standing by, and holding on for dear life!

And to close, here’s just a few photos of some of the latest designs, since the last update, from my little shop.

DSC_0886 etsy scott3erinyour new friend sam once upon a time invitation etsy set 2

your new friend sam 0937 e+m etsy your new friend sam address stamps etsyyour new friend sam printables faq how to DSC_0853

your new friend sam godparents printable DSC_0867-etsy 2 your new friend sam thank you tags