This past weekend was a big one. There was a sprained ankle (Mine! Zumba! Gah!), first steps for Briar (I’M SO PROUD I COULD EXPLODE), and lots of fun working on my almost-one year old’s birthday party invitations! It’s hard to believe that in just a few short weeks, Briar will have made a full trip around the sun. I could swear we just brought her home from the hospital?
But instead of wallowing in the fact that my baby is getting older, I am focusing on all the fun things ahead. Namely, birthday crafting! For the invitations, I’m jumping on the hand-lettering bandwagon and pairing my handwriting with a little watercoloring. (There will also be a photo involved, if only I could just get her to stay in one place for five seconds…)
I’m pretty sure I could write out her name all day, everyday. I used to FILL notebooks with lettering just because I loved playing with my handwriting and trying out different words in different ways (anyone else?). The thing about hand-lettering is that I need a marker with a wide tip to achieve my best look, so I busted out my forgotten Copic markers and went to town. Those markers are expensive but they really do work like a dream.
I also had a great time creating full page watercolor washes to use as a background texture. I am by no means an expert painter, but I do find it to be incredibly relaxing, especially with a fun podcast on in the background.
I’ve already scanned in all of my favorite samples of the lettering and watercoloring (using this method!) and I am so excited to pair them together to create a finished product. Stay tuned for more party updates coming soon!
If Briar could talk, here’s what she would ask for for Christmas:
01. Plan Toys Happy Puppy // Until we get Briar a real pet, this puppy will hopefully be a good substitute.
02. Munchkin Fun Ice Ring Teether // Since everything goes in Briar’s mouth these days, she might as well get a little teething relief.
03. Minnetonka Fringe Bootie // Sure, Briar can’t walk yet, but in a few months, we’ll need cute shoes for her little feet! Plus, these match the mama-sized pair that I have on my own holiday wish list ;)
04. Infantino Carrier Cover // As Briar’s gotten bigger, I’ve been favoring the Ergo more than the wrap, so this carrier cover would be perfect for keeping my little babe nice + toasty during these frigid (ha!) California months.
05. Graco Bumper Jumper // It’s hard to believe Briar is already able to (mostly) control her movements…I mean, wasn’t she just a spastic newborn yesterday? I’m hoping she will gets lots and lots of joy (and good exercise!) out of this doorway jumper.
06. Pink Piano // Am I asking for incessant loud noise with this piano? Quite possibly! But have you ever seen anything cuter?! Briar so needs this.
07. California Baby Lotion // I’ve been a California Baby fan since the day Briar took her first bath, so as the air gets colder and drier, I’ll be turning to this lotion more and more!
08. Boon Dive Bath Tub Appliques // Briar loves her baths almost as much as she loves her bath toys. These will be so fun when she moves to the big tub.
09. Crewcuts Long-Sleeved Skirted Onesie // Briar has the sleeveless version of this super chic striped onesie, but as babies do, she’s already outgrowing it. This long sleeved option in a size she can fit into months from now would be perfect!
Given the fact that I just had Briar’s birth announcements made a few weeks ago (did you know I had a baby?), the idea of designing, printing, addressing, and shipping Christmas cards felt like an insurmountable task. But! As I was experimenting with gift tag ideas using my new digital brushes, I realized that it would be SO SIMPLE for me to bust out a quick holiday card design. Beyond simple, actually.
I started by dragging one of my favorite Instagram photos into Photoshop. Since it was already cropped nicely into a square, I left it as is.
Then I chose the “happy holidays” brush and stamped it on the center of the photo. Next, I added a text layer with the words “Love, The Espinozas” to finish it off. Three steps and I was done.
I decided that I would make just enough copies for our immediate families (knowing that they would appreciate a Briar pic more than anyone else), so I grabbed some photo paper and printed them out at home. So easy. So fast.
(If you have any questions about how to use my digital brushes, let me know!)
Despite the inevitable madness that ensues each November / December, I love the holiday season.
I love the decorating. I love the baking. I love the music + movies. But what I really love is dreaming of the perfect gifts to give to all my loved ones. The girls on my list are always a breeze to shop for. The guys, on the other hand? IMPOSSIBLE. I don’t know what it is, but I find myself struggling to come up with ideas for them, year after year! So when Kohl’s approached me about putting together a holiday gift guide for guys, I knew just the person to recruit for help: my husband! (After all, that’s what husbands are for, right?) Thankfully, John was more than up to the task.
Here are twelve of his top picks for guys:
01. Boat Shoes | 02. Classic Fit Sports Coat | 03. Stainless Steel Chronograph Watch | 04. Solid Twill Cardigan | 05. Mini Jambox Speaker | 06. Tapered Leg Jeans | 07. Hybrid Chino Pants | 08. Aqua Dress Shirt | 09. Plaid Casual Button-Down Shirt | 10. Keurig Coffee Brewer | 11. Nike Toki Low Sneakers | 12. Sherpa Hoodie
Thanks to this list, I won’t be racking my brain at the last minute for the perfect gift for all the wonderful men in my life. (Thanks babe!)
To help you get a jump on your holiday shopping, I designed a free printable for you to take with you (whether it’s to the mall or your computer!) so you can stay organized in style. Click HERE to download!
This post was sponsored by Kohl’s, but the ideas + opinions are all my (and John’s!) own. For more ideas on what to buy this season, check out Kohl’s holiday gift guide here!
I’ve always known that my wedding would be comprised of handmade details. It’s who I am, it’s what I do. That being said, I had no idea just how much work those handmade details would take. Hours, days, weeks, months of work. But was it worth it? 100 PERCENT YES.
Katie Pritchard Photography
John and I decided to tackle as many projects ourselves as possible, for both creative + financial reasons. Many things were never even a question of asking for others’ help, including our paper goods (save the dates, invitations, menus, place cards, etc). In the end, there were many projects I didn’t get around to (wine labels, programs, paper flowers, the list goes on…), but really, no one but me knew the difference. I had been told this by various people throughout the whole planning process, but of course, I didn’t listen. Some things you just have to learn for yourself!
I will admit that seeing our hard work pay off in the forms of a wedding blog feature and a magazine spread were pretty awesome, but seriously. As cliche as it sounds, the best part of all was that I walked away with a husband at the end of the day. He’s the best and I couldn’t be happier that he stuck by my side despite all my crazy wedding ideas and late night crafting and art directing. We managed to pull off the wedding of our dreams, which was topped only by the honeymoon of our dreams.
Katie Pritchard Photography
And now…we’re having a baby and the DIY madness has been reincarnated in a brand new, equally as passionate form. Once a DIY’er, always a DIY’er!
My idea of the perfect party involves breakfast food, a laidback atmosphere, a fun outfit, and great company. Thanks to my good friend Val and my amazing mom, my second baby shower fit all those criteria and then some. Aside from the awesome theme (desert bunny for the win!), I think that my most favorite part of all was that Val made this event a mother / daughter celebration. Even though my friends and I still see each other fairly often, seldom do we get to spend time together with our precious moms in tow. It was such a great way to bring everyone into the mix and celebrate the next generation of moms + daughters!
Gorgeous tablescapes and a chance for me to put my wedding glassware to use again!
A black and white striped skirted onesie?! You’re too good to me, Janelle.
I was also the lucky recipient of so many incredible handmade gifts that my daughter and I will treasure for years.
Bunny garland, hand-dyed cheesecloth, and painted desert plants! DIY elements never go unnoticed by me.
Trying to stay cool in the shade. (Again, whose idea was it to have a summer baby? ;))
My wonderful mom, my amazing Espinoza family, and my gigantic 35 week bump. I never realized just how pregnant I look until I went through all my baby shower photos over the past two weekends…WHOA THERE.
I was so caught up in the moment that I failed to take all of the photos that I wanted to get, but this is one I will always cherish. I’ve grown up with a tight group of nine girls and learned so much about the mother / daughter relationship as a result. I can say that all ten moms (including my own!) are the epitome of unconditional love and selflessness. If I can be HALF as good at motherhood as they are, my daughter will be one lucky gal.
Invitation designed by JayAdores
Despite the fact that my heartburn has reached a whole new level of crazy and my feet + ankles (okay, kankles) have grown about four sizes overnight, I feel completely overwhelmed with love and gratitude for all of my closest friends and family members. This past weekend marked my second baby shower and much like the last, it’s hard for me to articulate just how special it is to be surrounded by loved ones who already have such a vested interest in Baby Espinoza without ever having met her…! I received some incredible gifts, but truly (and as cliche as it sounds), the best gift of all was the presence of so many of my favorite people packed into my parents’ backyard on a warm Sunday afternoon. Having a baby really is the best. Heartburn, fat feet, and all.
P.S. More photos to come!
How gorgeous is the Espinoza gene pool?? Holy moly, I chose well! ;)
Bridal showers are fantastic. They are the perfect excuse to wear a tight white dress, indulge in cocktails with your best friends, and squeal over latte bowls, lingerie, and linens that help to get married life off on the right foot.
But then there are baby showers.
I never realized just how truly special these kinds of get-togethers are until I had my first one this past Saturday. Since my sister-in-law and I are both expecting girls this year, our amazing family threw us a beautiful backyard double shower to celebrate the forthcoming members to the Espinoza clan. I love that baby showers are not just about the moms-to-be, but more importantly, they’re about the new lives that will be here before we know it.
As John and I unpacked our car full of baby gifts last night, we couldn’t help but revel in just how lucky our daughter is to have such an incredible group of people who already love her so much. I often look back on our engagement and our wedding and think about how I thought things couldn’t possibly get anymore fulfilling than they were in that moment. Ha! I was so naive. I am here to report that having a baby takes the concept of fulfillment to a whole new level.
So what if my body’s nowhere near as fit as it once was or I can’t enjoy a glass (or three) of wine just yet? Everyday of pregnancy is a welcome reminder that there are much more important things in life to celebrate :)
I’m going to be honest.
Most of the big handmade projects created for our wedding were done with less than a month to go before the big day. BECAUSE I AM INSANE. But somehow, some way, by the sheer grace of the crafting gods, they turned out far better than I could have ever expected! Perhaps the project that packed the biggest punch at our reception was the “Everybody Dance Now” banner draped over the dance floor. I had known all along that I wanted something hanging overhead, but it wasn’t until the very last minute that I decided to get cheeky and go with the most appropriate party phrase of all time.
Like I’ve mentioned before, I relied on my Cameo die cutting machine heavily to pull so many of my crafty ideas together. With a stack of white cardstock, a long strand of baker’s twine, scotch tape, and my Cameo, the banner came together in less than hour. Super simple. The hardest part was finding a way to prevent the letters from twisting and tangling before they had a chance to be hung, but somehow we made it work.
The translation from day to night was wonderfully seamless. The white letters looked electric when they were lit up by the market lights! Definitely one of the happiest surprises of the evening.
And judging by all the action on the dance floor, I’d say our guests got the memo ;)
Photos by Katie Pritchard Photography.
P.S. You can see more of my wedding-related posts here!
One of the first projects I dreamt up after getting engaged was the die-cut place cards that I made using my trusty Cameo. I knew they would be time consuming and slightly (majorly) tedious, but they were so Ann-Marie, I had no choice but to follow through.
Using a single blade and two different cutting mats, I die cut each and every guest’s first name on aqua cardstock over a period of a few days. It seemed like an intimidating project at first, but once I got on a roll, it was just a matter of letting the Cameo do it’s thing in the background while I simultaneously worked on other tasks. Before I knew it, over 120 names had been cut and were ready to rock.
On the day of the wedding, I was able to sneak into the backyard (where the reception was going to be held) and take a peek at all the tablescapes before our guests had a chance to see them. I was blown away by how all of my DIY efforts – place cards, table numbers, menus, thrifted glassware – were paying off right before my eyes. There’s so much time and energy and stress that goes into handmade weddings, I was never fully confident that it would be worth it. I had recurring nightmares that all of the projects I spent months slaving over would make absolutely no sense to the overall vibe of the event and as a result, my reputation as a professional crafter / designer would be forever tarnished and I would have to find a new career…! (I may or may not have lost my mind at this point.)
But in that moment, as I stood in my wedding dress with my hand clutched over my heart, I took in the view of the backyard-turned-rustic fiesta reception of my dreams and it all made perfect sense.
P.S. Bottom three photos by Katie Pritchard Photography