Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas

{This card is now available at Vivian Elle's Etsy Shop. Click here to visit!}'s not Christmas anymore. But, I am still hearing a Christmas song or two on the radio and it's currently snowing pretty hard outside, so I think I'm safe to post this Merry Christmas blog, a day late. 

I truly hope your Christmas was a merry one with your family and friends. My husband and I spent Christmas Eve with his family and Christmas day with mine. However, we actually didn't get to see my brother and his wife yesterday, so we're about to leave to go see my family again and do one last little celebration together.

But first, I just wanted to show the Christmas cards that I designed for me and my husband this year. 

You know those cards that are all over Pinterest? The Year in Review cards? As you can see, that's where the general idea came from.

This year has been big for us, so I thought that another year in review card would work well, just like last year's card.

The beginning of 2012 had us wondering where we'd be living at the end of 2012. We knew we had to be out of our condo by April, but we had no clue what would come after that.

Well, on June 1, we moved into our new house. A house that I seriously still get a little giddy about each time I pull into our driveway.

And then in October, my husband got a full time teaching job, after we had just spent the summer discussing how we were completely content with him growing his guitar business (he had about 30 students and was doing really well with it) and substitute teaching on the side.

And then in November, I got a call from my regional rep from The Knot, who told me that my business - yes, this here little business - had been selected as one of The Best of The Knot for 2013. I have honestly never worked harder on anything in my life, so to say that I was excited about this honor is a complete understatement.

So it's safe to say that our year held a few surprises for us. And I just wanted to document that, so that one day when we're 80 and look back, we can remember that this was an exciting chapter in our lives.

Here's hoping that your year held a few surprises for you, too. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Laura and Aaron's Christmas Cards

{All of these cards are now available at Vivian Elle's Etsy Shop. Click here to visit!}

I have to show off this Christmas card.

It's totally one of my pre-made designs (you can get it right here from my Etsy shop) and I previously stated that I would only show custom Christmas designs on the blog.  But this card is a little extra special to me, because of who I made it for.

Meet Laura, and her little girl, Liya.

Laura and I became friends in college. We suited together our senior year, and along with our friends Ruth, Amanda, and Lisanne, we kind of became a little group. After college, we decided that we needed to make sure we kept in touch, so we planned on taking a trip once a year to visit each other.

So in 2005, we all met up in Seattle, where Amanda and her husband, Jason, lived.

In 2006, we met up in D.C., where Ruth was living, and took a quick trip to Annapolis, Maryland, to visit Lisanne's home, too.

In 2007, we met in Charleston, SC, where Laura and her husband, Aaron (a pilot in the air force), were stationed.
In 2008, we came back to D.C. to celebrate Ruth's marriage to her Australian army man, Andrew. I would put a picture here if I had a picture of us from that wedding (sad, I know). Instead, here is a random photo of us that I like.

Our friend Ruth is eating an apple in this photo. For some reason, that gets me every time.
Unfortunately, after Ruth's wedding, we lost her to Andrew (stupid marriage!) and they moved to Australia, where they're still living today.

So in 2009, when we got together in Michigan for my very own wedding, Ruth wasn't with us, but we still managed to have a little fun with help from some more college friends.

And the last time I saw these girls was in 2010, when we got together in Dallas, and took a few days to go up to Altus, Oklahoma, where Laura and Aaron were stationed at the time.

The trouble with asking some random person outside of a saloon to snap a picture of you.
Because of all of our trips together (and emails and phone calls), we knew when Aaron and Laura started trying to have kids. We also knew when they were having trouble trying to have kids. Then we knew when they started undergoing tests to see why they weren't having kids.

And it was really hard to see that happen to our friend. It was hard to know that she was struggling. It was hard to know that some of her other friends were having kids and she wasn't able to be as happy for them as she'd have liked. It was just hard to know that there was something that so many people had no problem doing that she was having such a tough time with.

But then something great happened. Laura and Aaron attended a conference where they found out more about adoption. After years of struggling, they felt like it was time to move forward. It was time to step out of their comfort zone. It was time to start filling out paperwork and getting references and waiting and hoping for a referral to come their way.

I'll never forget when Laura called and said that they had decided adopt. There was a peace and joy in her voice that I hadn't heard before. There was a sense that this was what all of those hardships had led them to.

And I'll definitely never forget the call when Laura told me that they'd received a referral from Ethiopia (after they had waited so long and been so patient). She told me about the little girl, about what she looked like, about her travel plans (Aaron deployed around the same time they had to fly to Ethiopia so Laura ended up bringing her sister-in-law along).

So, after nine and a half years of marriage, a trip to Africa, and a two month stay with a family in Ethiopia, Laura brought her little girl back to the U.S. where Aaron was waiting at home for them. There was something special about knowing that Laura had met her daughter for the first time, but there was really something special about knowing that Aaron, Laura, and Liya were home together, just like they should be.

So here are Laura and Aaron's Christmas cards. She picked the 'Year in Review' design, which I think was perfect, since so many people were invested in her year and I know they would want to read a little recap of it.

I so want to let these cards speak for themselves, but I do just want to say (for you font lovers out there) that the fonts are Cafe Rojo and Antipasto.

I couldn't believe how stunning this picture was when Laura sent it to me. But as beautiful as the photographer's work is (Mallory Krieger, by the way), the most beautiful thing about the picture is the huge grin on that baby girl's face. And let me tell you, she should be grinning, because she hit the jackpot with parents like Laura and Aaron.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Kauri's Christmas Cards

We're moving right along this week with the Christmastime shenanigans. Today I have a custom design that I did for one of my best friends, whom you have previously heard about a time or two on this blog. 

Meet Kauri.

To be specific, Kauri of "Rachael, Heidi, and Kauri." The girls who are my BFFs. The girls who know what seems like every part of me and love me anyway. The girls who I keep in touch with weekly, even though we are miles apart. The girls who have been nothing but supportive of this business since day one. And most importantly, the girls who I get to see in just over two and a half months when we all come together in Boston for a much anticipated reunion. #cannotwait

These are the girls who I can't imagine navigating life without, and as much as I wish that we lived much much closer to each other, I think the distance makes us really appreciate what we have.

But this post is about Kauri in particular. 

I thought it might be fun to ask Rachael and Heidi to sum up Kauri in one sentence, just to see what they say. Here are their answers.

[Kauri is the] perfecter of the side heel-jump, like the coolest snuggie evah, the belly laugh that you don't want to end, like that drink of cold water after a long work-out and of course the friend that everyone wishes they had and you're so grateful that you do. - Heidi

Kauri is a food connoisseur, a loyal friend, an expert event planner, an insightful listener, a perpetual student and teacher and a truth seeker. - Rachael

The thing is that we are all just very aware of what a great friend Kauri is. She's hilarious (she was often asked to make announcements in our college's chapel because they were ten times funnier when she made them), she's practical (I've called her before and was like, "Kauri, wouldn't it be great if I flew down to see you girls next weekend!" and she'd respond, "I'd love to see you, but think about this..."), she's empathetic (she's a counselor, for crying out loud), and you just know that she values your friendship just as much as you value hers. 

Kauri is a great friend and I'm lucky to have her. When she told me that she wanted to use me for Christmas cards this year (I didn't even have to force her to!), her support meant the world to me. 

So I set off designing something for Kauri, knowing that her only wish was to incorporate Isaiah 9:6 into the design. 

A side note about designing something for a friend:

The advantage to custom designing something for someone you're close to is that you already know their style and can use that to design a card that you know is "them."

However, the disadvantage is that if you are off and design something that's not so much "them," it could be potentially awkward. So when I emailed Kauri the draft of her card, I said a prayer that she wouldn't respond with the following:

Hi Jenny - 

Our friendship is over.

Take care,

Luckily, I heard back from Kauri right away and she loved it (phew...crisis averted). 

Here's Kauri's Christmas card.

I knew when Kauri gave me the verse that I wanted to make the names of God a lot larger than anything else (she also may have requested this...I can't remember). I also knew that I would like to use a picture of the world on the card, to represent the gift that was given to all mankind that first Christmas, with no exceptions.

While I like things as bright as can be, Kauri's color choices tend to be a little more muted, which is why I chose the brown and light blue, and added just a little bit of color for the names.

As far as fonts, I'm on a Clarendon Bold Condensed kick lately, so that's the font I used for the verse. I also used some of my favorites for the names. Wonderful Counselor is Context Reprise. Mighty God is BD Hanover. Everlasting Father is Samantha Pro, and Prince of Peace is Antipasto.

This card reminds me of all the friends who have been so supportive of this business from the beginning. Whether they've bought from me or not, they've encouraged me and loved me through each step and I am so grateful.

More Christmas cards to be shown next week!

{Click here to visit Vivian Elle's Etsy Shop!}

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sarah's Custom Christmas Cards

Alright, y'all. It's time for some Christmas cheer up on this blog.

I have to be honest. So far, my Christmas cheer has been a little up and down. There have been some great Christmas-y moments, like going ice skating at Campus Martius in Downtown Detroit with my family.

Me, my husband, my brothers and their foxy ladies.

My sisters. We cracked each other up this night. It helped that our cocktails at the restaurant beforehand were a little strong.
(I would have included a picture with my mom and dad, but my mom kept her coat's hood on in the picture and she thinks she looks like a Conehead. We don't speak of this anymore.)

And going back downtown a week later for 'Noel Night' got me all in the Christmas spirit again. Our night ended with singing Christmas Carols outside of the Detroit Institute of Art, which was beautifully decorated for Christmas.

(I straight up stole this photo right off a Facebook friend's wall. Without asking. No shame.)

But as far as Christmas spirit on the home front, this is what's going on.

(Cue the collective WOMP WOMP.)

I could write a whole post on how the above picture makes me feel, but that would suck the life right out of this blog. Instead I'll say that I'm glad that Christmas is more than just the state of your Christmas tree, and I'm glad that tree stands are returnable. 

Moving on. 

As you all know by now, Vivian Elle opened an Etsy shop, right in time for the Holidays. I don't plan on sharing any of my pre-made designs that were purchased, since you can see those by visiting my shop, but I did want to share some of the custom designs that I did this year. 

Like this one for Sarah from L.A. 

Sarah emailed me all of the cute things she bought to set the stage for her perfect Christmas card. First up were these adorable aprons. cute are those?

She also bought that amazing Holiday Blue Velvet Cake, which apparently was on one of Oprah's Favorite Things Lists.

Font?'s my new fav, Samantha Upright Script. It is the best.

She wanted the colors to match the colors of the apron and the cake, so I went to work to make sure they did. I love using different Christmas colors (Except for at my mom's house. Her house MUST be the traditional red and green, always.).

The back. Love it.

More Christmas cards to come in the next few weeks!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

One Six Photo

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Last year at this time, I had collected responses from my closest friends and family to do a Week of Thankfulness on this blog. This year, it didn't even come close to happening. In fact, about three days ago, I realized that the week before Thanksgiving was here and I had made zero effort to get a Week of Thankfulness together.

But then I realized that what I'm truly thankful for this year is that I didn't even have time until three days ago to even think about a Week of Thankfulness. Because that means that this little business has done pretty well and is still going strong here in November.

I could go on for way too long here, but I just have to take the time to say that I'm so insanely thankful for each bride that chose to use me for their custom wedding invitations this year. I truly feel like I get to develop a relationship with each of you (and sometimes your moms, too) and am constantly amazed at what a unique, thoughtful, graceful group of women you are. You are what keeps this business going and I couldn't be more grateful.

I'm also so thankful for each person that came to me for baby shower invites, wedding shower invites, birthday party invites, bachelorette party invites, halloween party invites, wall prints, thank you cards, and now thanks to my Etsy shop, Christmas cards. I LOVE these side projects and have so much fun creating them with your help.

I can't even begin to fully express what this business means to me without getting so ridiculously gushy, but I will say that making the decision over two years ago to step way the heck out of my comfort zone and do something so completely unfamiliar was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I hope that everyone, at some point in their life, feels the same sense of accomplishment and complete and total joy in the work they do as I have this year.

But on to the reason for this blog post...

One of the most fulfilling parts of this business has been meeting other vendors who share the same passion for their work that you do for yours.  Kelli from One Six Photo is one such vendor. :)

I was introduced to Kelli a few months ago when she contacted me about making a logo for her photography business. My husband has known her since they were four and he referred her to me (this should come as a surprise to no one at this point) because he knew that she wanted help designing a logo.

I feel like there are people that you meet in life that just radiate positivity and warmth and are the kind of people that you know would be such an encouraging addition to your life. Kelli is exactly that kind of person and I knew it after spending about two minutes with her. Since she already knew Luke, and therefore (hopefully) knew we weren't super creepy, I had her over to our house to discuss her logo. When she left, I looked at Luke and was like, "um...that girl is awesome."

So we began working together to design a logo for her photography business. At the beginning, Kelly told me she wanted her logo to be "country bumpkin with a slight modern, clean twist." As we started working on it, the logo evolved into what we eventually came up with.

I knew I could just show you the logo as I made it, but I really wanted to show it off with Kelli's beautiful photography. I asked her to send me a sampling of her work so you can all ohhhh and ahhhh over it like I do when I see it come up on my News Feed.

Kelli lives right here in the metro Detroit area and pretty much does everything but weddings (she's just not interested in that right now...leave her alone, people!).

She does engagement sessions...

Maternity shoots...

Baby shoots...

Family shoots...

And friend shoots...

(This photo is so special. I feel like I want to say a thousand words about it, but I'll just let it speak for itself. Such a beautiful moment.)

To be honest, I was completely terrified when Kelli first came to me about a logo...I hadn't done one before and wasn't sure if I'd be able to fully capture what she wanted. But as we worked together and redesigned and redesigned some more, we came up with something that she seemed totally happy with, and so I was totally happy with it, too.

So if you're in the metro-Detroit area and looking for a reasonably priced photographer to capture the everyday moments in your life, "like" One Six Photo on Facebook and message Kelli. I promise you will enjoy every bit of time spent with her.

Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Vivian Elle's Birthday Invites

Let's just get right to it. 

I love my niece and nephews so much I could literally just eat them up. 

I mean, I fear I am the crazy aunt that comes through the door and kisses them to death. The one they will like until they are about 12, when I suddenly become super uncool to them and they dread when I come over. 

The last time I was with my niece and nephews, I literally scooped my four year old nephew (who is super tall for his age) up into my arms just so I could hug ALL OF HIM. I couldn't get enough. I think I heard him say "put me down." I can't remember. I was too busy kissing him. 

I've heard people say that when it's your own siblings' kids (my niece and nephews are from my husband's sister), it's even better. In that case, I fear for the lives of my brothers' unborn children. 

All this to say that when my sister-in-law asked me to do my sweet little niece's invitations for her third birthday party, naturally I was more than happy to help. 

The party was a purple party (Viv's favorite color). Ginny (the sis-in-law) wanted pictures of Viv at every age leading up to three years old. Here's what we came up with. 

Viv is the sweetest little thing.

I do have to confess that I did something I've never done before. These invitations were printed at Kinko's on regular old card stock that they have available there (gasp!). We were working with a shorter time frame, so I couldn't order from Envelopments like I normally would. I also grabbed envelopes at Hobby Lobby and printed the 3 on them for Viv's 3rd Birthday. Confession over.

I know I'm her aunt, but I would think it would be fun for anyone to get this invite and see how little Viv has grown throughout the years. It was such a fun idea on Ginny's part.

So we celebrated Vivian a few weeks ago and all wore purple and showered her with gifts. She is so precious and gets more and more fun as the years go on.

OK, so you might not remember, but last week I said that this week I would be showing a logo that I did. Well, I promise I'll do that next week now, since it clearly didn't happen this week. :)

Happy Weekend!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Kara's Baby Shower Invites

I feel like I'm having major writer's block this week. I'm looking at the pictures that I've already uploaded for this post and several thoughts are coming to mind, but I have no good starting point for this blog. So here are the things that I am thinking, but am not sure how to organize into any kind of logical order. 

1. I really enjoy designing baby shower invitations. 
2. I'm extremely thankful to my mother-in-law, who has me to do shower invitations for her friend's children. 
3. I am over-the-moon in love with the color scheme we settled on for this invitation. 
4. I hope that when I'm pregnant, I look half as good as this mom-to-be, who appears not to be pregnant if you see her from behind (I already know I won't be as fortunate - I'm short and when I gain weight, it goes to my face first...this leaves me displeased with the thought of pregnancy and half thinking that maybe I should just adopt). 

Now that I have those thoughts out of the way, let's move on to the goods (AKA - the invitations). 

Kara is the daughter of one of my mother-in-law's good friends. She also happens to have grown up with my husband, and we've been fortunate to spend some time with Kara and her husband, Chris, over the past few years. Her mom decided to throw her a baby shower after Kara and Chris found out they were having a girl and my mother-in-law, Cathy, took care of the invitations (in other words, took that job over so she could have me do them :)).  

Kara and Chris had a gender reveal party a few months ago now. A friend of theirs wrapped up a little girl onesie that they opened to see if they were having a boy or a girl. Kara and Chris's friend, Christy, of Christy Lee Designs snapped this photo of them when they had just found out they were having a little girl. 

In addition to pink, Kara really wanted to incorporate Tiffany Blue into the invitation (you know, the color that Tiffany's uses for their little boxes). I love the pink and the blue together so so much.

We finished everything off by having guests' names printed in fun little squiggly frames on the envelopes.

I had the pleasure of going to this shower and can honestly say that the invitation perfectly indicated what was to come at the shower. It was a beautiful pink and (Tiffany's) blue shower with all of the details perfectly in place. The favors were even in little Tiffany's boxes - they were these chocolates that looked like pearls. SO beautiful. And yummy.

OK, so next week I'm going to be posting a blog on something I've never done before - a logo. Eeek!

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rew's 80s Halloween Evitation

(You know I love saying evitation.)

The Halloween fun continues on Vivian Elle's blog this week, and this time I have a super low maintenance evite to a totally rad 80s Halloween party.  And I'm excited.  Hurrah!

Heidi is pretty much one of the stars of this blog. So much so that I don't even have the energy to tag every post she's shown up in. She's asked me to help her with several projects now and came to me a month or so ago to see if I could help her get ready for her 80s Halloween Party that she was throwing this year.

You see, in case you don't remember, Heidi likes to throw parties, and she is good at it. She doesn't just throw a party; she adds all of these little details that make a party great. Like, one of the best you've ever been to. You can see her adventures in partying on her blog, Parties for Pennies.

So when Heidi came to me to help her with her very first evite, we just had to get a design down and we were all set.

Here's what we came up with:

It was super fun finding a bunch of 80s fonts to use. We used Ash, Age, Nova Solid, Novecento Wide, and My Girl is Retro (my personal new favorite).

I LOVE that Heidi wanted to use the phrase "no duh." How great is that phrase? Should I try to bring it back? No? OK...

And last, but not least, I love love love the bright colors she used. That's what I love most about the 80s being back in style. The brights. Give me bright colors or give me death. (extreme)

So that's it for the Halloween fun on the blog. Next week we'll start up with regular old invitations again. Until then, I just want to wish everyone a Happy (and safe!) Halloween!

Ohhh, one last thing...have you checked out Vivian Elle's Etsy shop yet? If not, check it out!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Melissa's Halloween Party Invites

I have a confession and I would like to declare it right here, right now on this blog:

I've never really liked Halloween. 

(You're judging me, aren't you?)

I know this admission will make me wildly unpopular with every other person on the planet. I know this because I've realized over the past few years that every other person on the planet LOVES Halloween. 

I mean, it was always fun as a kid (mom - all of those years of putting me in costumes and parading me around the neighborhood were not in vain!), and I love me a good piece of chocolate, so that was always a treat, but when it comes right down to it, Halloween is just not my jam. 

Maybe it's because I don't have kids yet, so I don't get to dress them up as a little pea pod or  a pumpkin or a turnip (does anyone do a turnip?). Or maybe it's because if we actually do go to a party, I'm too cheap to buy a cool Halloween costume so I end up just throwing together something five minutes before and it's just not as cool as everyone else's costumes. 

Whatever the reason is, it is just not my favorite holiday. I have to accept this and move on with my life. 

However, do not let this cranky old non-Halloween loving lady fool you. I will work on a Halloween party invitation any and every day. So when Melissa (from here, here, and here) came to me to see if I could make a Halloween invitation for a party she was throwing for her two little boys, I was on it.

Melissa emailed me, saying that she found these invitations on Etsy, but didn't like that they were printed on photo paper. She asked if I could do something similar, and I was more than happy to help. 

I liked the green/gray color pallette more than the standard orange, and I thought these ombré-like chevron stripes were perfect for the backdrop.

I did my best to freehand our little spider there. I think he's gangly and cute. :) 

We used plain white envelopes. Guest's addresses fit nicely in between the two chevron stripes that we included on them. 

Melissa is such a sweet mom to these two boys and I know that she will throw them a killer Halloween party.

Next week, I'll show a fun 80s Halloween party email invitation that I did for one of my BFFs. The Halloween fun continues and I promise I'm excited about it. :)

But reeeaaalllly quickly before I go, if you haven't seen Vivian Elle's Etsy shop yet, hop on over there, would you?  Click here to view our new shop and check out the Grand Opening special - if you purchase your Holiday Photo Cards before November 1, you'll get 25 free cards (you're overly excited, aren't you?).

Also, Vivian Elle's Etsy Shop now has baby announcements! Did you just have a new little bundle of joy? Show your beautiful baby off with one of our photo cards. Here are some of the new designs.