Thursday, August 26, 2010

DIGITAL VS CUSTOM

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 10 years then you know digital cards have a HUGE presence when it comes to invitations, thank you notes, and of course holiday cards. I'll admit there are a lot of great websites out there offering some beautiful designs and options. Hands down digital is obviously a less expensive option leaving a lot of potential clients going that route instead of custom. I was trying to think of a way to offer a more budget friendly approach to custom invitations and holiday cards. What I realized was "why does it have to be one or the other, why can't it be both?" Last year was the first year I invested in a digital photo printer and haven't looked back since.

If you know me then you know I HATE clutter and don't save anything but I do SAVE holiday cards. I LOVE the day after Thanksgiving, because I spend the next 4 weeks waiting for the mail to see everyone's cards, hanging each of them up on our slider. I think the most important thing about a holiday card is the "thought." Whether you send a photo card, regular card, fancy or simple someone thought enough of you and your family to send you a holiday wish. When I have Christmas dinner the first thing everyone does is look at the slider to see how everyone's kids have grown or who's families have expanded and I do the same when visiting others. If you drive by my house on December 26th you will see our tree in the driveway, if you came in the front door you would think Christmas never happened but if you go a few more feet to my slider you would see all the holiday cards still up......I keep them up until New Years Day when I carefully pack up all the current memories and look forward to next years.


Four years ago Annette was the first person I ever designed a custom holiday card for aside from myself, she believed in my talent long before I ever could. Not only has she been one of my biggest supporters but she has also been my very best friend since grade school. I remember clearly the first card I designed for Annette, I told her to send me a few of her favorite photos she would like to use....she sent me 15....and every year that number increases! She had taken photo's of Olivia in a tutu sitting on the brass ducks in Boston. Back then I was only offering red folded cards with black ink. She had extra tulle from her tutu so I used it as a wrap under the photo. The interior card had a printed message with two glittered stars....this card holds a lot of memories and it's nice to see how far my design abilities have come.


Annette's Christmas card from last year is the perfect way for me to show everyone how you can have your custom holiday card and still pay the mortgage. If you're someone that sends out a lot of holiday cards 50+ then doing 100% custom and getting everything on your wish list might be a challenge. What I did for Annette as well as many of my clients last year was we came up with a custom holiday card design using cardstocks, glitter ect.. but then I took that design and converted into a digital design. This approach is also nice because it allows you to use more photos.


Annette's custom holiday card was a 7x5 folded card in aquamarine that has a slight shimmer, the band was dahlia which perfectly matched the coral in both the kids outfits. For the interior of the card her message was printed on white linen, we added a sand dollar printed in coral then finished it with clear glitter. By using a folded card she was able to add another photo on the inside flap, for the envelope she went with the aquamarine.


When going the custom route for invitations or holiday cards if you are layering card stocks assembly will be necessary. I offer the option for DIY assembly or I can do your assembly. I tell everyone the same thing, assembly is NOT HARD its just time consuming.
 
Next up was the digital design, this was perfect for Annette because she had a lot of great photos of her kids and was now able to use a few more of her favorites. I kept the color scheme the same and added some snowflakes to the background. By doing part custom part digital Annette was able to stay on budget and still have a custom holiday card which made her happy as well as her husband Paul happy:)

 Digital has come in very handy with regards to holiday cards but it has also been a nice option to compliment party invitations. I have found that someone who has just ordered custom party invitations will also need thank you notes too. Offering custom digital thank you notes has become very popular. Clients often have fabulous photos from the party and it's nice to share some of those memories with those who attended.


For the Gorman Carnival I designed their digital thank you note using all the same colors and fonts from their original party invitation. Krista had sent me a few different photos but in the end the family photo looked the best, we finished it up with a custom message from the family to all of their guests.


In my previous blog you read all about Francesca's First Birthday, you can even see the sample of her digital thank you note. What I did not know at the time was that Nadia had hired professional photographer Rachel Kate. Once I saw the photos there were so many incredible shots I decided to make some design changes to her original digital thank you note. Hands down Francesca holding the balloons is just too cute but equally as cute were those bloomer pants that said her name. Nadia's photographer Rachel had suggest that we put it on the back as a button, which got me thinking, because her name was written on the bum why not use it on the front instead of her name.......LOVE IT! There were so many incredible photos I highly suggest that you check out more of Rachel's work at www.rachelkatephotography.com you will not be disappointed.


Whether you're interested in Digital, Custom or both please feel free email me with any questions you may have about the process or pricing......and NO, September is not to early to start planning your holiday card!!!!!!! beecustom@verizon.net.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Art of Writing a Letter....

When is the last time you sat down and wrote someone a letter? If you are like me then the answer to that question is, not lately. I have cute note pads that I write a short note to one of my kids teachers or sometimes I will use a folded note if I need to send a special "thank you" but that's about it. Like most people today if I need to reach someone I text, email, facebook and now even twitter them but just because all this technology exist doesn't mean you have to use it or that everyone in world is. Last night I sat down to watch TV and was excited to see Pride and Prejudice was showing AGAIN! I probably have watched this movie 50 times and LOVE IT but at the same time are frustrated by how long everything takes. For example writing a letter, in that era letter writing is what email is today. Throughout the entire movie almost every scene has a letter being received, written or read. I firmly believe if I needed to exist in that era I would not have made it for two very good reasons. First, I am extremely impatient there is no way I could wait a week to know if someone could come for lunch. Second, I am positive spell check did not exist and thanks to wikipedia I know the dictionary was not yet finished.

I recently received a request for personal stationery, I automatically designed the sample on a folded note card but soon learned what she wanted was stationery paper for writing letters. This was the first time I had designed personal stationery paper for someone.


Her request was simple white linen paper, white linen envelope with a black linen envelope liner. She wanted her name in a script font, a flower above it and her address at the bottom. What I love about this design is the flower actually has just a bit of glitter on it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

FRANCESCA'S CUPCAKE PALOOZA!!!

I was so excited when Nadia approached me about designing party invitations for her daughter's up coming first birthday. She had already bought this adorable cupcake outfit which was the start of the theme. There are so many types of designers out there doing incredible work therefore, when I stumble upon something fabulous I like to share it. The inspiration for this invitation FIRST started with an adorable little girl named FRANCESCA and she really is as cute as a cupcake! Then came this unbelievable outfit, each of the three pieces were from two different designers that display on ETSY. The bloomer pants were designed by BilianaBabyBoutique.etsy.com and the tutu and onesie were designed by ilovefancyshmancy.etsy.com there are just no words for how FABULOUS this little girl looked coming into her party!



Before Nadia and I met to begin designing the invitation she had sent me a picture of the outfit, the minute I saw it I knew my pink and green cupcake with the cherry on top would be perfect. I have tons of different styles of cupcakes but this one is my favorite because it was the first cupcake I ever created. As we sat to discuss the design of the invite the only request Nadia had was that the cupcake be BIG and GLITTERY.

In order to accommodate that I decided it would be best to have a long invite putting the artwork at the bottom so that it would have balance. The main backing card was a beautiful shimmery green called Envy, for the main invite I used a shimmery white card stock called first snow. The envelope was the perfect light pink called Tourmaline which also had a shimmer to it. I wanted the cupcake to be a little surprise so I used a band of parchment vellum to wrap around the bottom of the invite then punched a small half circle so that only the cherry sat exposed. I love the idea of using parchment paper because it goes hand in hand with baking. There were two colors of glitter used on the cupcake first, was Christmas red for the cheery and second, was crystal clear which allowed the pink to shimmer through perfectly.

 
Nadia wanted to do cookies as the favors, lucky for all of us I had just recently met a talented cookie designer, Janeen Donati who owns Paige-Reese Designer Bake Shop. It's obvious from the photos what a great job Janeen did recreating my cupcake, she even did cupcake chocolate pops which were equally stunning. To make the favors more personalized I created a round glittered sticker that had a personalized message to put on the back of all the cookies.





With most clients that I design for they usually purchase matching thank you notes but I knew this was a big family party where lots of memories would be created. I suggested to Nadia that we do a digital thank you note that matched the design of the party invite but would include special photos from the event. By doing it this way family and friends receive a nice keepsake of such a memorable day... after all you only turn ONE once!


Next up is the cake and of course cupcakes, Nadia used Cakes for Occasions out of Danvers this will be the third time they have designed a cake to match one of my invitations and I must say they do not disappoint. The cupcake toppers were designed by getthepartystarted.etsy.com and of course this little birthday girl should have her own plate so Nadia had me create a personalized custom plate for Francesca to have her cake on from the photos you can see just how flawlessly everything came together.






I love what I do but what makes it better are the people I meet along the way.....so to Nadia, Frank and Francesca thank you for allowing me to be a part such a memorable occasion!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Another FABULOUS Request!!

In my previous blog I said "if there is something you want ASK, if I can create it I will." I received an email late Tuesday night from my friend and really good customer Krista with a special request. She had been reading my recent blog and saw the picture of the "Mommy Juice" wine tag which gave her an idea. On Saturday she is going to a Bridal Shower and bought the couple their wine glasses and was going to put a few bottles of wine with it in a basket. Krista asked if I had ever heard of "Wine Poems-the 6 Firsts" which I had not so I clicked on the link which took me to this fabulous blog called The Perfect Bridesmaid. She wanted to know if I could put the poems on individual wine tags that she could put with the bottles of wine......OMG what a brilliant idea. This is why I LOVE being custom, it is nice to know that when a client has a vision that I can help make it a reality for them.....even with only 3 days notice!


So off I went to create the wine tags, I started with the timeless color scheme of light blue and chocolate brown and paired it with one of my favorite fonts MonteCarlo. The poems looked nice on the tags but I felt it needed something more personal....so I designed the couple their own monogram added a bit of glitter to it and positioned it below the poem.......PERFECT!


I would like to give a big thank you to Krista for sending me all the photos and for inspiring yet another great design. She has been on a roll lately because last week she needed a plate with a train on it. The funny thing is I didn't have one but thanks to her request I now have a super cute train and a little guy named Jack will soon be the first one to have this plate.


NOTE: for direct link to Wine Poems-the 6 Firsts
click the link below.

theperfectbridesmaid.blogspot.com/2010/03/wine-poem-6-firsts.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ThePerfectBridesmaid+%28The+Perfect+Bridesmaid%29.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

BeeCustom Designs First Home Party!!!!

When promoting custom invitations most often a potential client is not looking to order that day, it's usually six months down the road or even next year. I needed something beyond a business card that they could buy on the spot hoping it would leave a lasting impression so when they did have an event they would remember me. I have tons of original artwork so I started by making up glittered note card sets with catchy phrases like "Mommy Juice," "Just a note," and "Cosmopolitan Girl" these are just a few of many. All note sets come with five folded note cards printed on luxe white card stock and matching envelopes for 10 dollars. As time went on I added wine tags, bookmarks, paperweights, melamine plates and bowls. Below are a few pictures of some of the designs offered in my cash and carry line but if you would like to see my line in person I do have a full display at Mason & Madison Gifts with Style in Middleton or simply just email me at beecustom@verizon.net.






About two months ago I received an email from Janeen, she had purchased some note cards at Mason & Madison and was interested in ordering some more personalized stationery. I operate on a very custom basis therefore, if you don't see what you need just ask, if I can create it I will. Janeen had two requests, first was she wanted a flat card with an envelope that had one of my cupcakes on it and for it to read Happy Birthday Love, Madison and Emerson that way every time she was heading to a party she already had a card to put with the gift....LOVE THIS! The second request was, would I do a home party? I was so excited because this would be my first one. I always wanted to do home shows but never pushed it because not everyone is a stationery person and I would never want someone to feel like they had to buy something just because they were invited. I created cute glittered invitations for Janeen to mail out to all her friends which got a great response. This being my first show I didn't know what to expect.......a lot of people purchased items from the cash and carry line and some ordered stationery to be personalized while others wanted Janeen's inspired birthday cards for their kids but by far the biggest seller of the night were the plates and bowls. These are a great gifts to give, because you can pick your artwork, color scheme and then have it personalized below are some of my favorites!







To Janeen, her family and friends, thank you so much for coming out and making my first home show a truly memorable one. I had such a good time and hope that all of you were please with what you ordered. So now you know BeeCustom Designs does home shows by request, if are interested in having one please feel free to shoot me an email beecustom@verizon.net.