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You Know You’re a Bride When….

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I thought I would share a bit of humor with you today!  Planning a wedding can definitely be stressful (for all my fellow Type A personalities…..you know what I am talking about).  But, when you take a moment to step back and think about how wedding planning has changed your life (at least for the moment), you may just have to giggle right out loud.

You know you’re a bride when………

….You’ve got alphabetized and color coded wedding files.

….You check your email for the caterer’s response to your latest question before you’ve had your morning cereal.

….Your phone is filled to capacity with pictures of wedding inspiration snapshots.

….You’ve developed an entirely new vocabulary (you know what the colors oasis, lapis, canary, capri, and peridot look like).

….You make flash cards to help you memorize your vows.

….You do not leave your house without fabric swatches.

Happy planning in 2011 and beyond!

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Eleven Goals for 2011

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I will admit it.  In the past, most of my new year’s resolutions fall off the radar well before Valentine’s Day.  However, I do find that even if I didn’t follow the precise goal exactly as laid it out, I will have adopted some form of the theory.  Therefore, this year, I am giving myself broader goals and some that do not necessarily involve new daily rituals.  Some will be Invites by Jen (business) related, some will be personal goals, and I am sharing them all with you!

I have also discovered that having someone else hold me accountable gives me that extra push to proceed.  That is where you come in!  Help me stay on track this year — whether it be a simple comment on my blog or a quick email asking how things are progressing, do anything to help keep me honest.

Therefore, without further ado, here are my Eleven Goals for 2011:

1.  Blog more consistently

I do not have a certain number of post per day that I will be trying to reach.  But as my previous post details, I would like to have 100 new posts on my blog by December 31st, 2011.  That averages out to about two posts per week…..but, I am not necessarily going to post two times and two times only for the week.  If I can get ahead, why not?  If I need to catch up, well then I better hunker down and get to it!

2.  Publish and/or sell one of my own graphics

For the most part, I utilize the services of an independent graphic designer to give me the base for the graphics on my invitations and stationery (I then tweak and customize them myself from there).  However, occasionally, I will need a graphic I cannot find anywhere else and I end up designing and creating it myself.  One of my long-term business goals include expansion into the graphic design arena (specifically for weddings), so this would be the first step!

3.  Finish my website

Recently I embarked on the mission of updating my website.  I knew it was going to be a long, slow process, but didn’t realize how quickly my time would be gobbled up with other matters.  Therefore, I just need to do it — just finish the website!

4.  “Travel” 150 miles on the elliptical

I would like to be able to set a goal for myself to exercise three times per week for at least 30 minutes.  However, I know if I hold myself to this hard and fast rule, I will never make it the entire year.  So, if one week I am super busy and I end up cramming in a really long workout on one day, I am going to call that a win.  Plus, it is more fun to track a goal such as this!

5.  Finish the studio

We are 90% of the way there!  The staircase and some of the trim needs to be finished, but the majority of “finishing” the studio is getting the rest of my goodies moved up, organized, and put away.

6.  Reseach and determine which DSLR camera I would like to purchase

Photos are one of the main ingredients to a successful online business.  A better quality camera + a little experience = amazing photos for samples and proofs.

7.  Launch a DIY Invitation Kit line

I have been thinking about this one for a while.  It is just another one of those things that I just need to go ahead and do (rather than only dream about it).

8.  Find or develop a program to recycle and reuse leftover materials

It should be no surprise to hear that when I make an invitation, I end up with little paper scraps (and I am not talking just a few pieces, but literally thousands of little pieces that fill up many totes within one wedding season).  I have already taken a few steps to help reduce and compensate for the leftovers during production. 

….I have spent quite a bit of time ensuring that I am maximizing the usable space on a piece of cardstock (based on the order and placement of different cuts along with adjusting printing methods)

….I currently donate to the Arbor Day Foundation — with every invitation order, a tree is planted in the couple’s honor

….I recycle and reuse all of my printer’s ink cartridges (less plastic waste)

So although I am doing my best to replenish the Earth with the resources I currently use, I feel there has got to be more that I can do!  I am not sure what that is yet (I am open to suggestions), but it has got to be one of my goals for the year.

9.  Add an eco-friendly product line

This goal directly relates to #8.  Not only have I found very good sources with 100% recycled cardstock available, I have also been looking into making my own recycled paper.  Natural, sustainable, environmentally friendly products are always favored in my household (it is something very important to my family), so I am moving full-steam-ahead in being able to offer products that fall into this category.

10.  Add 12 new designs for the year

As with any industry, it is important for me to stay on top of wedding trends and offer producst that brides and grooms want for their wedding.  Therefore, I would like to showcase 12 new designs throughout the year (yes, this does average out to 1 new design per month, but if I can develop and introduce all 12 in January I am going to do it…….P.S. I will not be able to introduce all 12 in January so definitely stay tuned).

11.  Offer fun DIY wedding tutorials

Every now and then I will come across something so unique and fun for a wedding and will automatically think, “How easy would that be to make myself?”  The tutorials I have planned will most likely not be invitation related, but there are so many other fun and crafty things that can help personalize your wedding, that I want to be able to help in that area.  I love all different types of crafts (besides designing stationery, I sew, crochet, knit, and scrapbook), so a break in routine every once in a while will be such a treat!

After taking some time to think about my goals and then actually sitting down to write them out, I am very excited for the new year!  I hope I have peaked your interest and you look forward to hearing about the progress of my Eleven Goals in 2011.

Jessica + Christopher

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 This past year I had the pleasure of working with Jessica and Chris on their wedding.  The couple’s wedding color scheme included a beautiful red hue that we carried throughout their stationery.  All the way from save the dates to escort cards, we worked together to create a cohesive style for their big day.

Photo Courtesy of Connor Studios
 
Here is what the couple had to say about their experience :
“Jen provided save the dates, invitations, table numbers, place cards, programs, and rehearsal dinner invitations for our wedding. We got rave reviews from everyone, including the wedding coordinator at our venue! Everything she did was amazing, and very high quality! I can’t thank her enough”
 

It all started out with customized Save the Dates in my Jennifer design

Next came the coordinating, customized invitations — Jessica and Chris chose a Dark Red, Black, and White color combination for their wedding stationery

The couple also enlisted my help in creating custom rehearsal dinner invitations.  They wanted something with the same feel as the invitations, but completely different at the same time.  Since the wedding was in October, we went with a fall theme…..a pecan, burnt orange, and red palette was featured in this design.  I created this set 100% for Jessica and Chris — it was one-of-a-kind, just for the couple!

I customized the envelopes to match the rehearsal dinner invitation!

 Photo Courtesy of Connor Studios

I created multi-page programs for the couple in the same color palette and with the same coordinating damask print as their invitations.  The inside listed the wedding party and ceremony details.  The back page featured a special message from Chris and Jessica to all of their guests, including those with them in spirit on that day

Photo Courtesy of Connor Studios

Coordinating escort cards greeting the guests at the reception venue

Photo Courtesy of Connor Studios

Table numbers were created to help the guests find their seats!

I just want to thank Jessica and Chris for being such wonderful clients.  Also, a special thank you to Michael Connor of Connor Studios for providing me with beautiful pictures from the wedding day for this blog feature!



Handmade Holidays on Artfire

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As most of you know, I do love a good shopping trip around Etsy.  However, I recently discovered a new handmade website that, I feel, is going to give Etsy quite a run for its money!

That website is Artfire.com.  Does Invites by Jen support Artfire?  Yes I do!  Here is my new studio.

When I signed up for Artfire, holiday listings and gift guides were just starting to appear.  That got me to thinking about the handmade holiday my household will be supporting this year.  I realized I now had another great resource!

What am I doing this year to support a handmade holiday?  Well, besides making my own Christmas cards, all of our gift giving will be either supporting a local business or a handmade business (a local handmade business would be best). 

I have already started my shopping for the season (sorry, I will have to wait until AFTER the holidays to share my fav gifts….I would hate to spoil the surprise for anyone).  But last night I got to thinking — I cannot simply spoil the handmade beauty of each gift by wrapping it in commercially printed wrapping paper!

So, Artfire to the rescue!  Here are a few gift wrapping ideas anyone can incorporate into their gift giving — all handmade, all from Artfire artists!

Handmade Luxury Christmas Gift Boxes by craftypagan

Holiday Paper Gift Tags by BijouxPaperie

Handmade Kraft Gift Tags by craftypagan

Tea Stained Linens - 10 Large Pillow Boxes with Tags by poshgirlboutique

Holiday Gift Bag by thatDESIGNshop

Christmas Reusable Gift Bags Set by nikkidesigns

Origami Wedding Decor Ideas

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I am always fascinated by the talent of origami artists.  Recently, I have noticed a lot of this type of art decorating wedding ceremonies and receptions.  If you are interested in adding this type of decor to your event, Etsy is a great venue!  Not only are the items eco-friendly (hello recycling), but they can be customized to fit your needs and are 100% unique!

One of my favorite types of origami (for wedding purposes) is the kusudama balls.  Here are a few items for decor ideas using this origami technique:

This pair of brooches would be the perfect boutonniere.  These flowers will still look great all the way through the dance!  MollyGraydon $15.00

This table decor would not only be a conversation starter amongst your guests, but adds a pretty and unique touch to the evening (I love the crystals…they would sparkle in the candlelight)  MyLittlePinkAngel $35.00

And why not add the matching favor boxes from the same designer?  MyLittlePinkAngel $3.99

Hair clips for you or your bridesmaids.  Pontellier $15.00

Use these 12 flowers as a table decoration or DIY and make them into your bouquet!  MyPaperGardenShop $30.00

Use these mini Kusudama balls to hang as pew or chair decorations!  Julzbooks $20.00

WhetherPaperworks makes beautiful, customized bouquets and pomander balls.  WhetherPaperworks $290.00

Here is her pomander ball (have the flower girl carry this or hang it over a bar, cake table, or doorway for a cute focal decoration point).  WhetherPaperworks $150.00

New Year’s Resolution

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I know, it is only October 30th, but I have decided upon my New Year’s Resolution for 2011 already.  As a matter of fact, I am going to get started now (why wait for January 1st)?

My resolution is to blog Invites by Jen more often.  My goal is to have 100 brand new posts on my blog by December 31st, 2011 (that means approximately two posts per week).  Note that I have 36 posts on my blog (including this one), so I need 136 total by the end of 2011!

Recently I had started blogging about some cooking and eating research I was doing (only because it interested me).  Also recently, I was elected to the Board of Directors for our local area community garden.  Along with this I became the committee chair for the “Communications” group (I am going to be in charge of the garden’s blog too).

So, I had to sit down and think about all this blogging…..I have decided that first and foremost I have to keep my brides updated on wedding trends (not only in stationery) along with presenting new designs that I am offering.  Countless times I have said to myself “that would make a great blog post” or “I should upload this to my blog”.  Simply, I need to take more action and just write!  Working towards a definitive goal will help me with this.

Then, as much as possible, I will be keeping my city and local area updated on what is happening in the area community garden (my goal for that blog is 50 posts by the end of the year).  So, don’t be surprised if I share a little garden blog love with you as well.

I have a lot of blogging ahead of me, so watch out for much more to come!

Featured on the front page of Etsy!

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I received notification that one of Invites by Jen’s products was featured on the front page of Etsy this past Saturday.

My light pink, pecan, and white confetti graced the front page of Etsy (at the top even)!  Products that Etsy features rotate about every hour on the front page.  During my  hour on the front page, this product was viewed 495 times and was “hearted” over 14 times!

The power of Etsy!

View the famous confetti in my Etsy shop!