Sunshine and Lemonade, Birthday Party Invitation and Party Photos

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sunshine and lemonade birthday party invitation processIf I haven’t said it a thousand times already, Jess and I make a great team! So when she came to me with the idea of a vintage summer birthday party for her son’s second birthday, back in probably November haha, I had many months to get excited to get started on the project. This time, she left it fully in my hands on what to do. She just gave me a photo of a lemonade stand that she wanted to make and then said go. I thought about it for a month or two—seriously, she always gives me plenty of time—and came up with using watercolor as a way of coloring in the invitation. And since her colors started as being yellow, gray and white, I thought a simple line art illustration would work perfectly.

sunshine and lemonade birthday party watercolor invitation processJust to show Jess the layout I wanted to go with, I sketched out a rough idea. Once she saw it, she suggested adding the pendant banners. Love! And then we also decided to add the blue and green to add some more color and make it more kid like. It was for a 2 year old’s birthday party after all.

I then traced the photo she had given me of the lemonade stand, added a kid’s big wheel bike and voila! The invite was almost done.

Then came the fun part… I first tested water coloring straight on the invitation. We ended up not going that route for two reasons: 1. who has time to paint each invitation? and 2. the paper just got too warped from the water.

So instead, I painted on a blank page with the general idea of what I needed. I then scanned that in and added it the drawing. I really am happy with doing that, it allowed us to have the lemonade stand wood in solid white rather than having the green grass show through.

your new friend sam water color invitation process

But to still give it that tactile feel, we printed all the invites on watercolor paper from our home printer.

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sunshine and lemonade your new friend sam birthday invitation


Then my part was pretty much done. Except for a few more graphics for the party, the rest was up to Jess’ magical party planning hands (see her Pinterest board here).

It’s always fun to hear about all the planning that goes into such an event and then get to just show up and see it all brought to life!

I took a few hundred photos of the party… the day couldn’t have been more perfect for a sunshine filled party celebrating little Grayson! Hope you enjoy…

And thanks Jess for sharing some of your photos with me too… hers are marked below. Read her post on the party here, and then invitation here.

Since this was a lemonade party, the focal point of the decorations was this amazing lemonade stand that Jess and her hubby Scott made!


Then Jess took a few old bicycle tires, found at a garage sale, spray painted them white and adding dozens of photos of G through the years. Such a cute idea!

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Then she had the treat table…


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Along with the “guest book,” a sun I designed based off the invitation that was filled with fingerprints of all the guests (like last year’s caterpillar!).

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And then of course, a party couldn’t be complete with cake!

Grayson seriously makes the sweetest faces! Here’s just a few as he was so adorably admiring his cake…

graysons 2nd birthday cake

And any good 2 year old’s party includes lots of kiddos running around… so let’s end this post on the cutest of notes!

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You remember baby Parker?

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Grayson had the sweetest reactions to his presents… especially his new Toy Story pajamas.

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Little Grayson,

Hope you know how much you are loved… how much you have been prayed for. I love your sweet demeanor, those sparkly eyes, and your flirty show-off side… may you never lose that sparkle and precious little smile that shows us all that dear heart of yours.

Love, Auntie Sam

Friday Footnotes


Guys, I used to religiously post these Friday posts… but you see, this blog is supposed to be fun! And I don’t want it to add stress to an already stressful workload. So I neglected my Footnotes posts these last couple weeks. I bet you didn’t even notice! Anyway, I’m still trying to catch up so instead of posting some inspired design pieces from around the web, I’m posting a little sneak peek into my life lately—pretty much all Etsy related. I always love making these posts, hope you like reading them!

1. New Handwritten Vows PRINTS!

As a special request, I mailed out the original copy of a hand written vows print that I created… and just for the heck of it, I kept the listing up in my shop… and it’s been bought twice more since then! What??! I guess I’m selling prints now too! Time to get me some more shipping supplies as these are a way different animal than my itsy bitsy rubber stamps! I’m truly honored that anyone deems my handwriting worthy enough to hang in their house, truly humbled by this whole experience and thankful to God for each and every sale. Okay best move on before I cry some more.

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2. Personalized Made with Love Stamp

From a friend’s pin on Pinterest (thanks Trisha!), I was inspired to make this stamp for my shop. I seriously love and it may be my favorite stamp yet!

Made with Love Rubber Stamp, With or WIthout Personalized Name

3. Sunshine and Lemonade Birthday Invite for Grayson

I’ve said this a thousand times over, I love working with my friend Jess on invitations. She usually just gives me a spark of an idea and then gives me total freedom to make whatever I want. And is totally encouraging along the way. This time, she showed me a picture of a lemonade stand that he husband will be making for the party… and that she wanted on the invitation. All I could picture in my head were gray outlined illustrations, but that seemed kinda boring for a 2nd birthday party and then I was sparked with an idea to use watercolor paint. Something I hadn’t done since I was a kid! Definitely a classier kids invite, so I know it won’t be for everybody! I’m going to post more about it all later, but I sure love how it came out! 

sunshine and lemonade your new friend sam birthday invitation

4. Custom Maps

Almost a month ago I listed custom maps in my Etsy shop, without having any idea on if those would sell at all but since I’ve made them for a few wedding invitations for friends, I thought it may be a need in the Etsy world too. I’ve already sold 3 of them! But boy do I need to up the prices, because they took a lot longer than I remember to make! They are definitely fun to make and a challenge to get them to match their already created wedding invitations. Take a look at some other maps here.

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5. Geraldine’s College Graduation Photos

And then finally this past weekend, I got together with my good friend Geraldine to take her college graduation photos! Isn’t she gorgeous?! I can’t wait to show you more, I can’t even say I have a favorite. I love them all!

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

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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!

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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.

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January 12

Celebrating our annual trip for Rachel’s birthday.

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January 17

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

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hudson january 2014 fliks flyers

February 9

One last trip before the husband’s pass expired.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

Friday Footnotes


1. Jeff Roger’s McDonalds Ad

I love putting a face to a design that I’ve known and loved. I had seen this McDonald’s ad awhile ago, loved the painted textures and typography but never knew who created it. THen I ran acorss Jeff Roger’s portfolio. And his behind the scenes process images! And then I loved this ad even more. It’s just gorgeous work! See more of this campaign and more of Jeff’s work here.

2. Seasons Cover by Eiko Ojala

I’m obsessed with the intricacies of paper cutting… largely because I have no patience for it so I am in awe of what people can create with it when they take the time and have that inherent passion for creating art from scraps of paper. All that to say, I thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the teeny tiny details of this magazine cover for Seasons, from Eiko Ojala‘s portfolio on Behance. It is so intricate and chock full of details. See more here. Found via Mr. Cup.

3. It’s a Small World Book, Illustrated by Joey Chou

Not long ago, I posted about this new Disney show inspired by the It’s A Small World Disneyland attraction . I really loved the look of the show since it was heavily inspired by Mary Blair’s work. So when I saw this book at the Wonderground Downtown Disney gallery, I just had to have it! Illustrated by Joey Chou, the layouts are just gorgeous and so full of life! See more images of the book on Joey’s blog, purchase on Amazon here.

4. Classic Disney Animation Recreations

Speaking of Disney art, you may have seen this image floating around the web this last week or two…. artist Tyson Murphy took a screencapture from 101 Dalmations and then painting over it to practice and explore the lighting of the scene. Really beautiful work. Love the little bits of debris and other items caught in the light. Also see one from Sword in the Stone.

5. Aged Wood DIY

I love Jess’ Whip It Up Wednesday posts… where she posts a quick little craft project. They’re usually pretty easy and something that can be “whipped up” within an hour or so. But I was super excited to see this DIY!

A few months ago, her hubby Scott made me the most amazing shelves that used this painting technique. And I seriously love them—for so many reasons—but the paint job is my favorite!

Follow this link to see the rest of her post. I’ve already painted a frame following her tutorial, it was seriously so easy!

Evernotes Every Friday

Again, I must thank Jessica from J. Rose Photography for filling in for me today. After last weekend’s bridal shower and this week spending time with my best friends doing wedding stuff and catching up… I just wasn’t able to scour the interwebs for a post. I sure do love Jess’ guest posts though, you can read more of her own blog here.

Hi there, it’s Jess! Yes I am back with another guest post for you. Yay!

Today I have something exciting to share with you,
but first let’s talk about what we are all guilty of doing..
taking pictures and just having them sit on a computer space..
and sit, and sit forever.
Oh of course they’re on Facebook, but as a photographer you need to listen to me
when I tell you that you have to do something else with them!

I think I might be able to help..

I’ve come up with five different things that you can do with your photos.

1. Memory Game by Pinhole Press

I of course discovered this amazing little site via Pinterest. I saw this memory game and fell in love, unfortunately Grayson is still too young to be memorizing objects. Buuut our dear buddy Elijah who was turning five is the perfect age. I hopped on his momma’s Instagram feed and took screenshots of all of the photos that I wanted to use. Then cropped them to size in Photoshop, (you of course don’t have to do it this way but I just wanted pictures that Eli was familiar with, but not having to bother Jamie for them) Seriously you guys, Pinhole Press has some pretty amazing things! Especially in the kids products, I want to order a bunch of things for G!



2. Canvas portraits

This is all the new rage in the photography industry. I feel like I am seeing these everywhere now, and I love it! Sometimes you don’t need a fancy frame and mat, all you need is a beautiful image printed on a nice sturdy canvas. You can get these canvases in different sizes so that you can hang any type of arrangement on the wall you choose. I am now offering these on my product menu after each session.



3. Books and Albums.

Another one of my favorite products are Layflat books. These books are a perfect way to display your photos for years. They come in a variety of sizes and different cover types and colors, and I love that your photographs are flush mounted inside the book. They come in sizes like 5×7 or square sizes (my favorite) anywhere from 5×5 up to 12×12.


4. Printstgram.

I don’t know if you take as many iPhone photos as I do but it my favorite way to capture our every day memories. I pretty much love anything they make but their mini square prints are my favorite! You can get 48 mini square prints or 24 regular for $12. It takes a lit bit of work but I’ve put all of the ones I’ve printed so far in an album. A calendar might be next, everyone knows I sure take enough pictures to have one for every day of the year! (Are you on Instagram? HERE I am!)



5. Photo transfer project.

Are you ready for a DIY?! A couple of years ago I looked all over for a photo transfer project, I even tried a few that just did not work out. Then low-and-behold, I found one at A Beautiful Mess.. Of course I did, those girls think of everything! I love how they turn out, not absolutely perfected, but totally perfect for me. Here is a link to the DIY in case you are interested.

Evernotes Every Friday

My thanks go out to Jessica from J. Rose Photography for writing this post for me as I travel back from New York City today!

Hi there! My name is Jess and I am a lifestyle photographer/blog writer/full time mommy to a beautiful son named Grayson. I am sure if you’ve followed Sam for any amount of time you’ve seen my kid here a few times (to say the least) While Sam and her family are vacationing and having a wonderful time on their trip to Maine she asked me to share a little with you. I love Jesus and He is the center of my everything, and while here on this earth He has given me the most precious gift there is; a baby. Who happens to be my heart in little human form. So what better to share about than five things that I would not, could not live without after having Grayson.

1. Diaper bag

I have posted about What’s in my bag? and briefly mentioned my diaper bag. I love my diaper bag. Since that post I have actually had to get a new one (Always order Nordstrom people, they are the BEST at returns and exchanges! Totally worth the extra money) which I love even more. Now for some of you this bag might look huge, it is. But I’m one of those girls who even before I had a baby carried luggage for a purse. What can I say, I like to be prepared! So I looked and looked, and finally decided to go with a Petunia Pickle Bottom bag, the Weekender. It really is perfect for me, when he was a newborn I had the necessary binky’s, blankets, bottles and burp cloths (all b’s.. so weird) anyway a ton of “stuff”. Now that he’s older I don’t have all of that but we have all the snacks and toys. Plus during the summer it’s the perfect beach bag! Definitely would not want to live without this.


2. Diaper clutch

Along with having a large diaper bag I wanted to have something to be able to run into the grocery store or church with and not lug the big bag. A diaper clutch is the perfect choice. So perfect in fact that recently I’ve added this to part of my business. These clutches perfectly fit a disposable changing pad cover, two to three diapers, a few wipes and a scented plastic bag to dispose of your diaper. When I carry mine I also slipped my phone and debit card in there on many occasions to run into the store. This really is the ideal thing to have when your baby is young, you can even just keep it stocked and in your car if you don’t carry a huge bag like mine that it fits into. OR this makes the perfect baby shower gift. I’ve given it a few times now and about a month after I hear how much it has come in handy in their daily routines. If you’re interested in getting one for yourself or a friend, you can hop over to my Etsy shop Sew in Love. Whether you have this one or another, a little diaper clutch is a would not want to live without item.



3. Baby monitor

I call it the OCD-mom baby monitor. It’s made by Angelcare and it is a video monitor plus it has a sensor pad that detects the baby’s breathing. So if they stop breathing this loud alarm goes off. I definitely recommend this if you plan to have your baby in their crib. Or if you’re just a paranoid mom like I am. I ended up getting mine on Amazon on cyber Monday for almost a hundred dollars cheaper! It was still a little pricey and my husband thought I was crazy when I got it but he even admitted that he was really glad I got it. It just gave us a piece of mind. Oh until it kinda stopped working when G was around 4 weeks old, but I called Angelcare and while on the phone with them I tested it. It still wasn’t working properly so they sent me out a new sensor pad and camera right away no charge. So all around, I definitely recommend this monitor. Totally could not live without this!

4. Selsun Blue and Bag Balm.

I know these are two totally separate products but I’ve lumped them together because they can both be used to help in similar situations. Grayson had cradle cap when he was teeny tiny and my pediatrician recommended Selsun and once I used it, the cradle cap went completely away. He also has excema and our pedi told me to put that on there, totally helped! The bag balm I’ve used for diaper rash. Balmex and Desitin just never worked for him, but bag balm did. I’ve also used that for his excema and it seems to help with that too. Would not want live without those two.

5. The ERGObaby carrier.

My friend Elisabeth let me borrow hers! Which is awesome because they are a bit pricey, although I’ll say after using it, totally worth the money. To even register for the another harness carrier, pointless. I haven’t used this a ton yet, just a few times but those times were a little heavenly. The padding on your shoulders is so comfortable, I kept thinking it would start hurting like the Baby Bjorn did but nope. Besides the amazingly padded shoulders, it basically puts the weight on your hips. Which works for this mama because mine are child bearing that’s for sure.. What mommy doesn’t? Recently we’ve been using it for Disneyland and love it! Would not want to be without that for sure.


Having a baby is such a FUN adventure! I find more joy now in just the day-to-day life stuff.. If you’re getting ready to have a little one of your own, you are in for the ride of your life! I hope reading about what has helped me.. will help you! xoxo j.

Flourish, Calvary Chapel Canyon Hills Womens’ Luncheon


handwritten-sketch-Flourish_1471Another project completed with Jess, from J. Rose Photography, for our church… but this time for the annual Womens’ Luncheon.

Their theme verse for the event was from Psalms:

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree.

We created a flyer for our church bulletin that used a pink and mint green color scheme, incorporating hand drawn type and succulents. Definitely loved how this came to be!

Here are some close ups of the flyer along with some photos from the event from Jess!




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Grayson’s First Bug Birthday Invitations


grayson-bug-birthday-sketchI can not believe this little boy is now one year… or almost 13 months at this point. Counting in months seems to calm his mama’s heart a bit. 🙂

Jess posted all about Grayson’s party a few weeks ago, which made me *almost* forget to post about it as well!

I just wanted to show you the adorable little invite we created for the party as well as a few other photos I took throughout Bug’s bash. Are you ready for the cuteness?




Jess had the same woman from our church create this cake as you may have seen from Josiah’s party. Seriously, I am amazed at her talents!


We also made a little guest book poster for everyone to “sign.”


And now a few photos of the birthday boy himself, looking so handsome with his new haircut! I felt like papparazzi following him around getting as many photos as I could of him and all his friends.

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And of course, this post wouldn’t be complete with G and his cake! I love his little grin here!


Here are a few more bonus photos for you!

The adorable Mr. Eli who is turning 5 this month!! Eeek! This may be one of my favorite photos of him yet, taken just seconds after he found out there was a jolly jump!


And then the mommy of the birthday boy and his aunties!

Jess, you really threw one amazing first birthday party!!


To see more of Jessica’s party planning extraordinaire… inspiration board, invitation, and even more photos from the party!

Rachel’s 32 Week Maternity Princess Portraits at Disneyland


When Rachel found out she was having a baby girl, we went right to work planning a dream of a princess fairytale baby shower. But first, Rachel having a baby just meant a few more photo shoots to plan as well. Our goal was to shoot around the castle to go with the fairytale baby shower that was coming up so that we could frame and display these photos as part of the decorations.

You already got a glimpse of the mama to be in her 26th week, but here she is at week 32, with her beau Kyle in tow.

And as an added bonus to the day, Jessica from J. Rose Photography tagged along with us. She took this first set of photos below… I loved seeing the other perspective from a different point of view. See more of Jessica’s photos from the day here.


We kept to the castle walls for most the shoot… and of course the weather warned of 70% chance of heavy rain, but I tell you, it couldn’t have been a more beautiful day!





Right before I took the above photo, Jess took this one below. Rachel has so many beautiful sides to share with the camera. 🙂


Once we were done with our fairytale photos, we branched out a bit and took advantage of the other greats parts of Disneyland.


And of course, we ended our night at sunset in California Adventure.



Stay tuned, tomorrow we will be showing the invitation and stationery of the shower and Thursday the photos from actual shower in all its princess glory.

Lynzie and Daniel Barish Wedding, Heritage Lake, Menifee; with J. Rose Photography


A HUGE great BIG thanks must first go out to Jessica at J. Rose Photography for inviting me to tag along with her as she photographed our friend Lynzie’s wedding.

Having videographed quite a few weddings (also as an assistant), I have seen my share of the behind the scenes, but as the videographers follow the photographer, the head photographer really has the greatest responsibility on his or her shoulders.

Jessica knew that I had always wanted to assist her at a wedding and as she rarely shoots them, I finally just got my chance.

Mostly I only photographed the formals but my favorites are of just Lynzie and her now husband Daniel.


I just love how adoringly Daniel is looking at his new wife.



I must say my favorite part of being a second shooter is getting the chance to shoot the artsier shot… but I do love Jessica’s view of these same poses.



Another great factor in my tagging along was to get some behind the scenes shots of Jess working with her clients. I have always thought of Jess’ humor as super hilarious but watching her try to get this group to pose with excited arms up was just making me crack up.


And of course, my favorite was watching Jess’ son Grayson cheer her on in the background. Now if his face doesn’t say “proud of my mommy” I don’t know what does!


Thanks again Jess for letting me join you and sharing in your gift of photography!

To see Jessica’s post of Lynzie and Daniel’s wedding, click here.