My DIY Wedding Invitations

Posted by . September 23rd, 2011 at 8:24 pm. Leave a comment.

I’ll admit, I’m pretty proud of my wedding invitations. It took a lot of work and collaboration, but it was well worth it. My colors are black, white and gray, and I wanted a modern look. Matt’s cousin is a graphic designer, and she was kind enough to design our logo (the compass), and the first two pages of the invite. Both Matt and I make maps for a living, so we wanted to include that somehow. Here are a few of the inspiration photos I used to explain to my cousin in law what I was looking for:

Inspiration for cover

Inspiration for second page

In addition to the map element, I have been obsessing over typography and these centerpieces, so I wanted the invite to be bold and “poster” like. My cousin hit the nail on the head with the invite. So without further ado………drum roll please….. here’s what I’ve been slaving over for SEVERAL weeks:


return address


Kindly Deliver To:, aren’t the current love stamps so cute?!






our logo as a “tag”, chain closure


second page, actual “invite” portion, names hidden to protect the innocent ;)


“love is real, real is love” – John Lennon, and my real name!


third page, thanks to Steph Anne. Map courtesy of the man.


RSVP card, again thanks to Steph Anne.


one of my favorite parts- all the little text around the “yes” and “no” are funny quotes. For yes, there is “We’re so mappin’ excited!”, “cool beans” and some in spanish, “Muy bien!” and “Fantastico!”. For the no side, “que lastima!” “aww bummer!” and “darn it!”

And last but not least, the reason why the man is not currently talking to me. I hinted earlier that I kind of stuck something in without him knowing. Well, he found out today. Sent them out yesterday, and someone commented on it to him today, and he kind of lost it. He was very unhappy that I added this behind his back. I hope everyone thinks it was worth it!


my baby, Rocki

Yup, that’s my dog on the envelope liner! This picture was taken in our engagement session, and I just love it. I printed it on vellum, made a stencil from a sacrificial envelope that I took a part, and cut out each one. Then, I used double sided tape on the flap and across the opening to secure it. To me, it makes the invitations. It makes it personal to us; no one has a dog as amazing as mine! ;) Plus, she will be at the wedding, and instead of favors, we will be making a donation to the humane society and putting a little picture of Rocki explaining this on each place setting.

The man thinks that it has nothing to do with anything, makes the invite look cheesy. Well, too late! So far I have only heard good things. So, hopefully it will be worth my time in the dog house, pun intended!

Here are some of the details of where I got everything and how I did it:

  • The envelopes came from here, and are a steel gray metallic.  The large ones are size A9, color “wealth”.  This site was really the only place I could find attractive large envelopes that had this kind of flap.  The RSVP envelopes are also wealth, size 4 bar.  The big envelope size was perfect because it exactly fit a 8.5×11.5 piece of cardstock cut in half. I paid about $70 for both the RSVP and invite envelope. They came in packs of 50, so I have some extras.
  • I purchased the paper at Kelly Paper, a local paper supply company.  It’s hard to tell in the photos, but the invite paper is a metallic gray/silvery color.  The compass tag and RSVP are in a similar metallic, but white.  I only needed about 30 pages of the white, and paid 25 cents for each sheet.  I highly recommend finding an outlet like this when purchasing paper- you really need to be able to feel it’s weight and see it’s color in person.  For a ream of this paper, I paid $33, which had 250 sheets.  I only used 1.5 pages per invite, and only had 80 invites.  So I have half of it left and will be using it for programs most likely.
  • I found the metal rings at JoAnn’s in the jewelry making aisle.  I bought a bag of black and a bag of the gray color, and each was about $3 and had 150 pieces each, plenty for what I needed.  I simply (but time consumingly) clamped three together, leaving the two end rings open, and then strung on the compass and the invite.  I then clamped shut the two open rings.  I feel this gave it an industrial look, which is perfect for my venue.
  • To create the “tags”, I first had an amazing cousin in law to make the logo. ;)  Then I printed each one to be 1.5 inches, and bought this circle cutter. I got mine at Joann’s on sale for about $8, found in the scrapbooking section.  I also purchased this whole punch that is a little smaller than a normal office one to punch the wholes in the invite and the tag.
  • The vellum came from OfficeMax, $10 for 50 sheets.
  • I was extremely lucky to be able to print everything at work.  Since it was black and white, the printing wouldn’t have been too horrible, but this really was a huge saver.
  • To print the envelopes, I created a Publisher document to create the angle.  It was a PAIN IN THE ASS to type in each address, but I only had 80 so it wasn’t horrible.  Printing envelopes is never fun.
  • I got the address font online for free.  It is called The Dreamer and I really love it.  Unfortunately it doesn’t include numbers, so I used Blackladder for the numbers.  I don’t think you can tell really.
  • The postage was killer-  because of the metal links, it didn’t lay flat, so it required extra postage.  Each required 84 cents of postage, but the 84 cent stamps were fugly, so I did two 44 cent stamps instead.  Plus, the stamp on the RSVP envelope, so all together, each invite cost me $1.32.

And I think that’s finally it!  For materials, I think each invite cost me about $1.75.  Obviously I will be able to use the tools again for other stuff, and half of that ream of paper for the programs too.  Plus postage, I am around $3 an invite.  Since I only had 80, I think I did pretty good.  I compared invites online, and this was pretty much the bare minimum for most full suite designs, and obviously none would have been as personal as this.  And now that that’s done, on to EVERYTHING ELSE!!!!

P.S. Thanks again to my girl Steph Anne for all your help with this; not only your amazingly fast photoshop capabilities, but also for constantly letting me bounce my ideas off of you and making them into reality! We became cube mates at exactly the right time! Everyone needs to check out her design site too- her blog designs are pretty rad.  She also sells pre-made blog themes on her etsy shop.


DIY Chevron Art

Posted by . August 15th, 2011 at 8:28 pm. Leave a comment.

I’ve been lovin’ me some Chevron lately- only drawback is that like every geometric pattern, it ain’t easy to recreate.  So, I finally bit the bullet and spent some time painting a chevron pattern this weekend.  I’ll try to explain to you how I did it that made it a little less painful.

I originally fell in love with this on Pinterest a while ago, but laughed at the price.  I wanted to do something similar, but anyone who knows me knows I can’t keep things that plain.  So I thought a great Chevron stripe would make the perfect backdrop.  Here’s a brief how to:

  • I began with an old canvas that I have probably painted 6 times.  It is 36″ by 36″ I believe.  I began by giving it  a light sanding as previously I had painted an abstract version of my dog on it, and there were many raised areas from excess paint.  Obviously, if you are starting with a blank canvas, you can skip this step, although I recommend using an old canvas if you have it because it ended up giving my piece of art a little more character.
  • Next, I primed my canvas with spray paint.  I first sprayed it with a gray primer, and then with a white spray paint.  Anyone who has tried to spray paint any kind of fabric before knows it isn’t easy to get even because of how it is absorbed, so I just aimed to get somewhat of a base coat.  The spray paint gave the canvas a somewhat rough texture which I like to help “age” the piece.
  • I painted the canvas with a thin coat of white acrylic paint to even out the spray paint. Tada! Blank slate.  Again, if you are starting with a fresh canvas, you can skip all of this, but it did give the canvas great texture.  You could always compensate at the end with sandpaper though.

  • Then I began to tape. And tape and tape and tape.  Actually, it wasn’t that bad.  Using 2″ blue painter’s tape (Home Depot), I started the Chevron pattern with a piece of paper folded into a triangle.  I lined it up with the bottom of the canvas and repeated across the bottom.  This is where you could make a smaller or larger triangle to make your pattern bigger or smaller.  I settled on an 8 1/2″ square piece of paper folded into a triangle. This gave me the first row of the pattern
  • From there, I cheated to repeat the pattern.  I had a peace of “spacer” tape that I simply laid next to the existing row, and then placed the next row.  Since the blue painter’s tape wasn’t that tacky on my rough surface, I just peeled it off each time, and placed it at the next angle to space.  This made it a quick process to repeat the pattern instead of measuring it all out, which I am too lazy for and couldn’t figure out the math anyway!

  • The next annoying step in the Chevron pattern is getting the edge and point clean where the two lines intersect.  For this too I found an easy work around.  By using a straight razor blade, I simply lined up the blade with the line of the tape, and tore of the edge of the other piece of tape.  Voila! Perfect corner.  (I forgot to take pictures of this at first, so I faked it once it was painted.  To use both hands I had to prop up my phone and take these pictures with my tongue, so sorry they aren’t that great!)

  • Once the entire canvas is taped off, the fun part-paint!  I used a big cheap paint brush from Home Depot, and kind of stipled or “pounced” the paint on.

  • I didn’t want the edges to be super sharp or the gray to be really thick, I wanted a weathered kind of look.  Again, this worked really well with the spray painted texture, because it was hard to get into the texture with the paint anyway.  It’s hard to see in the photos, but here’s an idea:

  • Then I got impatient and had to look :).  Since I was using such a small amount of paint, it took seconds to dry.

  • Finally, the letters on top.  I debated on painting them white or gray, and went with gray because I wanted them to blend in more.  Like the canvas, I pounced on the paint to give it that un-perfect weathered look.  This was the easy part- I used some good ole Lennon lyrics, “Love is real, real is love.”  And after playing with how the letters would fit, I decided to go with just “real is love.”  You could do initials like the Pinterest example, numbers, quotes, etc.  To attach them, I originally was going to use the glue gun, but it was at my mom’s, and with me always changing my mind, I was afraid that would forever ruin my canvas, so I went with double sided foam adhesive squares I bought in the office supply aisle at Target.  They did the trick just fine (no letters are on my floor yet), and I think I could scrape them off if I ever want to use the canvas again.

 I’m super happy with how it turned out, and am thinking I might include it as a display at my wedding.  My colors are gray, black and white, and the Lennon quote is on my invitations.  Either way, I love it in my bedroom- it’s kind of shabby chic meets modern.  Total cost: about $20.  The biggest cost was the letters (on sale at JoAnn’s for $1.50 each), and the painter’s tape.  Other than that, I had the paint, brush and canvas in my stash of crap.  Hope you enjoy and make it your own!


Sock Bun Obsession

Posted by . July 29th, 2011 at 6:32 am. Leave a comment.

So thanks to my girl Steph Anne @LuxeChandelier, I have been cruisin’ the blog world and stumbled across this great bun tutorial on  The Other Emily.  Using a rolled up sock, she makes a nice thick bun out of somewhat short hair.  I was instantly in love, because I had previously tried the “ballerina bun” found on (I’m also obsessed with Lauren Conrad, which my fiance endlessly makes fun of me for), but wasn’t happy with how my big head looked with a little ball of hair on top.  I have extremely thick, somewhat long hair (a little pass my collar bones), but the ballerina bun did not give me the correct proportion- I looked like an actually little girl ballerina, not the glamazon that Lauren Conrad looks like with it, and mainly due to not having SUPER long hair.  So…. in comes the sock.  The sock gives the illusion of the extra 10 inches of hair I don’t have.

The Other Emily version looked like such a great idea, but when I attempted it on my hair, it was a little sloppy because my hair is significantly longer than hers.  There was a lot of wrapping, and I have layers so pieces were sticking out like crazy.  So, I began to search for other voluminous bun tutorials, and came across this chick.  Genius I say:

The Sock Bun Secret

I love this one because it requires zero bobby pins.  It takes a couple times to get it down right, but then it takes a whole 15 seconds and looks really chic, and like you have a crap load of hair. The even bigger bonus is that when you take it down, it gives your hair great body and curls the ends nicely.  The youtube girl above also has a video on curling your hair with the sock bun, but unless your hair is super long like hers, it doesn’t exactly “curl”, just gives me a nice soft wave.This look is PERFECT for work- quick and easy and “done”.  But it is also nice on the weekends when it is hotter than hell (here in AZ, and well, everywhere right now), and you are going for a marathon of non hair washing days like I so often do.  I usually pull out a couple pieces when I am just wearing it with shorts and a tee to make it less “ballerina”.  Or, you can go full sexy
secretary like I have done below, for work.

Since perfecting the super easy twisting/sucking in the hair method, I did go back to Emily’s version for a bigger, messier bun.  I need about 6 bobby pins with my thick hair, but it definitely looks more natural than the youtube chick version- my mom asked if my hair was fake when I did it that way. :)

Next up- I saw a side ponytail/bun version I might have to try…..afraid of looking like Princess Leah though…