Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Blue and White Baptism with Mission Style

When it comes to events, Baptisms are not something I get to do very often, so when my friend Allana wanted some help with her son's big day, I jumped at the chance! 

Allana is a very creative and talented person, and she created her son's birth announcement and baptism invitation by hand. She is a fantastic watercolorist, and she designed a beautiful graphic of purple-blue watercolor and white interlocking squares for Clarke.

Her work is absolutely gorgeous. 

When Allana and I discussed the event, we decided that it would be neat to have some more paper goods as well as some favors for the event. Allana generously shared her images for my use, and I created favors, food tags, and signage for the event.

Because it was a baptism, we decided that a candle would be a very appropriate favor.  I found some white votive candles and placed them in simple mason jars. A tag commemorating the event was then attached to the jar with a white ribbon.

The day was glorious and held in Allana and Matt's backyard in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco. Guests enjoyed delicious food made by the new parents themselves. Corn and bean salad, sourdough bread, pulled pork made on Matt's Big Green Egg, and locally made tamales from a few blocks away. For dessert, assorted cookies accompanied a traditional Tres Leches cake also made right in their neighborhood. 

 Congratulations, Clarke!

Monday, April 16, 2012

5 Ways to "Green" Your Welcome Gift

photo: LivingEthos

Having been born in the 1970's and growing up in the 1980's, I often feel that I have witnessed, in my life, two different worlds. One was a world unaware or uninformed about the fragility of our environment and the other is hypersensitive to it and in a mode of action and passion to preserve our world. 

Perhaps it is because I now have a child and I wonder what the world will be like when she's my age, but I often think about the world in which I grew up. The world before "environmentalism" was a household word. When we put the garbage out on the sidewalk, it was only one can (unless you had a lot of trash!), and it was any old can at that! I remember going to McDonald's and receiving my hamburger in a styrofoam clamshell. I left the water on while I brushed my teeth, and, let the shower run until it got hot enough to warm not only me, but the floor of the tub before jumping in! Lightbulbs were all incandescent. At the gas station, you had to tell the clerk if you wanted "regular" or "unleaded". Yes, there was LEADED gasoline for purchase!

These days, we are assigned cans for our trash, recycling, and composting, and sorting has become second nature, even if we still get confused sometimes. Styrofoam clamshells are long gone, and leaving the water running is a SIN. And, when you are running out to the store to buy your COMPACT FLORESCENT lightbulbs, you stop at the gas station to purchase unleaded gas only, or maybe you don't even need gas because you just unplugged your car from its electrical outlet in the garage!

The point of all this is habits. We used to do things a certain way, and now, to save the environment, we need to do things differently. All aspects of life are affected, including weddings. Where we once would use lavish amounts of disposable resources, we are now re-thinking throwing a large event with a little more consideration for the environment. 

Wedding welcome gifts are no exception. Instead of being wasteful and giving your guests paper bags, plastic water bottles, and disposable tissues, here are five ideas to be more conservative:


photo: LivingEthos

There are so many beautiful ways to present a thank you to your guests without worrying about it winding up in a landfill. Break away from the paper bags and boxes that will just get tossed away.

We LOVE these fabric giftwrapping bags from www.livingethos.com. Living Ethos has a wide variety of fabric patterns and bag sizes to fit your welcome gift's needs! How adorable would it be to choose a fabric to match your wedding theme, toss some goodies inside, attach a note and leave for your guests to find upon their arrival? The best part? They are fabric and can easily be folded up in a suitcase to take home and reuse! Prices start at $28.00 for a set of 4 bags in various sizes, but contact them to discuss your needs!

You can even do your guest favors in their mini bags!

photo: LivingEthos


photo: Love Bottle

Water bottles have long been a staple of the Welcome Gift. And why shouldn't they? Traveling can have a dehydrating effect, and dancing 'till dawn with the bride and groom can leave you THIRSTY! However, plastic water bottles are as wasteful as they are convenient. Which is to say, they are VERY wasteful. So, let's start to think of better ways to wet your guest's whistles. 

These days there are many refillable bottles out there, but we came across these bottles from LOVE BOTTLE and we were smitten. Love Bottles are "reusable glass water bottles made partially from recycled glass. They have a ceramic swing top that creates a water-tight seal"

Love Bottles come in two sizes, 500mL and 1000mL, and you can choose between standard designs or custom designs. Quantity discounts are available, so create a unique design for your event and give as favors too!

For more information, check out their website! www.lovebottle.net 


photo: FabricCreationsFran

Weddings can make even the most manly of manly men shed a few tears! So, tissues have become a very convenient addition to welcome gifts. However, when you think about it, disposable tissues aren't the most eco-friendly way to keep your guest's eyes dry. Consider instead including a fabric handkerchief in your welcome gifts. Choose a color or pattern that fits the theme of your event. You can either have them made, like these pictured (click here to see these hankies from the Etsy shop FabricCreationsFran) or, if you are crafty, buy some cotton fabric you love, cut into 12"x12" squares, and use a simple stitch to hem the edges. Easy peasy! Your guests now have a pretty hanky to dab their eyes!


photo: Paper Source

Like everything in our "paperless world" Welcome Gifts often include at least a little bit of paper in the form of a note or tags on the goodies, or labels, etc. This is another area where you can "green" your gifts. Many paper manufacturers now offer papers with some degree of recycled content. Check out your local vendors or even get creative and reuse items you already have! 

One vendor I use frequently is Paper Source, who offers certain papers with recycled content and is moving forward with a campaign to provide the consumer with more and more eco-friendly offerings. See their Eco-Story here.  


photo: http://hotelguyexperience.blogspot.com/

Why not welcome your guests in another way? Take the money you WOULD have spent on making the Welcome Gifts, and use it another way. Talk to your hotel about providing some light refreshment in each guest room upon arrival. Perhaps you can arrange to have the hotel provide a bottle of sparkling water, some glasses and a sweet treat, presented with a note from you (on eco-friendly paper, of course!) in their room. Or, leave a note in each guest's room inviting them to the bar for a complementary glass of wine once they have settled in. There are many ways to get creative and warmly welcome your guests!

While sometimes I long for the simpler, less "connected" times of my youth, I am certainly glad to live in a world now that is fighting to keep our environment clean. These are just a few of the ideas that I have come up with to help keep wedding Welcome Gifts environmentally friendly. I hope you employ some of these ideas and please, feel free share your own tips with me!



Monday, April 9, 2012

Sweet Blue and Green Giraffe and Monkey Baby Shower Invitations

As you may have seen, Woods&Company has a brand new website, thanks to the talented Rebecca Unter! In exchange for her great work, I agreed to create some invitations for a baby shower that she is co-hosting at the end of the month.

The mother to be shared that they would be decorating the nursery in a jungle theme, and thought it would be nice to have the invitations follow suit. We decided on a giraffe graphic as the main graphic and a monkey graphic as an embellishment.

Since the mom-to-be is having a boy, I decided to got with a green and blue scheme, but with bits of yellow to round out the jungle theme. The main invitation features a blue and green border with text in the same colors, and the giraffe is yellow with blue and green spots. The giraffe graphic appears on the address label as well, and his monkey friend was added to a separate card explaining to the guests that it was a pot-luck shower. We sealed the envelopes with a monkey sticker and sent them off!

I was really excited about how these turned out. I love the simple, yet pleasing graphics, and I love the idea of a pot luck shower! Everyone brings a little something! Less stress and headache for the hosts!

I can't wait to see how the rest of the shower turns out.

Welcome Baby Tarbox!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Blue and Orange Under The Sea First Birthday

As spring has arrived, I can't help looking forward to summer and all things "fun in the sun". I was so excited to get a head start when my dear friend Blake asked me to design invitations for her son Kieran's first birthday party. She thought an ocean theme would be a cute idea and I agreed! I began with the invitations and also helped her out with some embellishments for the party.

And how fitting this theme was for a party held at the South Beach Harbor Pier in San Francisco. With a view of the San Francisco Bay, the Bay Bridge and sailboats, the fish and waves in this design felt right at home. 

Woods&Company created a personalized banner using contrasting blues and oranges and featuring hand cut fish  to separate the words. Strung on an orange ribbon, the blue "dots" spelling out "Happy 1st Birthday, Kieran" really stand out. We also created menus to tell party guests what delicious drinks were available. These mimicked the design of the invitations and stood at the bar.

Finally, what great party would be complete without great desserts?? After I designed the invitations, mutual friend Tammie Parnell, owner of Sinful Bliss Cupcakes in Pleasant Hill, CA, designed cupcakes specifically for this event. She played off of the invitations and created fondant cupcake toppers of an underwater scene. Delicious!

I loved working on this project, it was such a fun theme! Kieran's party was so much fun and he's growing into such a little man!