Something Old, Something Challenge Voting on Minted

Voting started just now for the newest wedding invitation challenge on Minted which was looking for cultural influences. If you have a few minutes and want to vote for my designs, visit my page and have a look around. Or you can click on each of the pics below which will take you straight to that design. I've tried out a couple of different cultural designs after doing a little research—I hope I got it all right! And, if you see incorrect Hebrew, please let me know *blushes with embarrassment*. If the designs are picked to be sold on the site, the Hebrew will be corrected then. You may notice that two of the designs are repeated from the last challenge (although I'm probably too optimistic to think anyone really reads this stuff I share). I updated those two just a bit and resubmitted them which was allowed in the rules. This has been fun to work on, to see what others are doing, try something different, and mess around. The next challenge is an art print challenge—creating wall art print that will be available in various sizes and, in some cases, personalized with photos and text by the consumer. Now that will be something REALLY different to work on!

Also, if you have comments to share I'd love to hear them!

Here are the current designs for voting:

Pastel Chuppah
Pastel Chuppah
Under the Mistletoe Wedding Invitation
Under the Mistletoe Wedding Invitation
Luckenbooth Tartan Wedding Invitation
Luckenbooth Tartan Wedding Invitation
Spanish Tiles Cross Wedding Invitation
Spanish Tiles Cross Wedding Invitation
Entwined Rings Hebrew Invitation
Entwined Rings Hebrew Invitation
Entwined Trees
Entwined Trees
Modern Star of David
Modern Star of David
Triangle Hamsa Wedding Invitation
Triangle Hamsa Wedding Invitation
Meet Us Under the Chuppah Wedding Invitation
Meet Us Under the Chuppah Wedding Invitation
Bashert Wedding Invitation
Bashert Wedding Invitation

Cast Your Votes!

If you feel so inclined, take a few minutes and cast your vote for my designs on Minted. It's a wonderful stationery site where designers submit designs to be voted on in various challenges. The quality of design is incredible! I've entered a few for the current challenge, Head Over Heels, a wedding invitation challenge. Click on the images and cast your vote on each page—5 is the highest and 1 is the lowest vote. You'll have to set up an account first, but it should just take a minute, and then you'll get to cast a vote for someone who doesn't do negative campaigning or make promises they never intend to keep. Then, if you enjoy doing that, check back here next week, when I'll be posting some more designs for voting in the Something Old, Something New challenge. It's another wedding invitation contest, but this one encourages the use of cultural heritage text, images and concepts. You'll be certain to see a few Jewish designs from me. If you want to get a preview of those you can find them on my profile page.

Let the voting begin! And, thanks for your support!

Hot Lilies
Hot Lilies
Mistletoe Wedding
Mistletoe Wedding
Modern Jewish Star
Modern Jewish Star
Triangle Heart
Triangle Heart
Grey Stripe
Grey Stripe

Tree Slice Art

We used tree slices for some of the decor at the wedding reception, and I had one piece of wood that wasn't used. So I decided to "play" for a couple of hours the other day. Ironically, I did this mostly while talking on the phone and catching up with Hannah.

I painted a Tree of Life illustration using gouache and a Micron pen. I'll put a couple of screw eyes on the back and length of wire, and it'll make a unique little wall hanging.

I'm thinking about making more. It was fun!

Wedding Invitations

I meant to get the photos of the wedding invitations up in a post a short while ago, but as always, I forgot to  follow through on that. Too much "real" work. So, I snapped a few photos tonight before the sun got too low. And, without further ado, here they are...

The envelope
Peeking out of the envelope
Front cover

All of the inserts
The illustrations were painted in watercolor and watercolor pencil, then enhanced in Photoshop. They are printed on a cream, textured, matte paper with my Canon Pixma Pro 9500 Mark II then trimmed and mounted on kiwi card stock and bronze Stardream pocket folders. The reply cards are postcards and each are printed with the recipients name on the reply side and their address on the reverse for mailing. The cream envelopes are lined with kiwi liners.
I hope you enjoy!

Finished Ketubah

When Hannah and Dann first started planning their wedding, they told me that I didn't have to do the ketubah for them because it would take so much time, but of all of the things I could do for the wedding this was the one thing I wanted to do most because it meant so much and it would be a gift that they'd have forever. It was also the project I was least sure I was able to complete.

We started by researching texts in English and Hebrew, and Hannah already had suggested entwined trees for the imagery. Once they decided on a text to use, we verified the translation, filled in the "blanks" in both versions, and then I had a good friend type up the Hebrew for me in a Hebrew word processor. I wanted to have the editable text so that I could fit it in the layout and move it around as necessary. I sketched out the designs and enlarged it to size—a whopping 22" x 30"—and fit both the English and Hebrew texts inside the layout.

I haven't had a lot of experience painting with watercolor and doing this kind of calligraphy, so I allowed ample time for redos if necessary. Once I started painting it went fairly quickly and I was very pleased with the progress. That is, until I almost got to the end. I left the quote at the top for last and unfortunately, really hadn't thought it through. The lettering didn't match the rest of the art and the color was much too heavy. I had no other choice but to start over. But, I wasn't concerned. I was prepared for the possibility and started right to work. This time the painting went even faster—I'd learned a lot from the first time through and found smarter ways of doing it.

After the watercolor was finished, I added white line work accents in an acrylic ink with a crow quill pen. Then I set out to do the calligraphy. I was determined not to wreck it and have to start over again! I wanted to work over the layout I'd created with the text, so I got creative with what I had. The coffee table in my living room is glass, so I put my photo lamps under it shining up to create a huge light box. Then I taped down the text and the 300 lb. hot press watercolor paper over it. It wasn't very easy to see through the weight of the paper, but it worked.

With a brown gouache I mixed up, and a left-handed calligraphy nib, I set out to do the Hebrew calligraphy first. No one was allowed to talk while I was working on it! It went surprisingly quickly and after that I started the English, which was surprisingly more difficult. The text fit more snugly in the layout and was harder to do. I think all of those vowels that weren't in the Hebrew made the text more dense! Using an oblique pen holder and a pointed nib loaded with the brown gouache, I made it through the English with just one mistake that I was able to retouch. Mission accomplished.

I am so happy to have been able to create this piece of art that Hannah and Dann will have forever.

Backtracking... to a perfect day.

It makes a lot of sense to blog as you go along. Looking back and trying to catch up afterward is no easy thing, but making time during the chaos isn't easy either, at least for me anyway. So now that the wedding weekend has come and gone I'm looking back with amazement at how fast it all went considering the amount of time put into making sure all of the details were perfect.

The wedding was beautiful, but being a part of it, right in the heart of it, I felt as though I couldn't really get a full sense of how it all went, what the atmosphere was like, how everyone felt. Walking my beautiful daughter down the aisle with my amazing husband meant I couldn't see all the others who walked before us. If only I could've split myself in two—sitting in the front row watching Rachel and all the others, including the cutest ring bearer and flower girl, walk down the aisle with all eyes on them, and walked with Hannah and Boyd with all eyes on us. But of course life doesn't work that way and so we'll have to wait for the video and hope it captures the essence of the moment.

The sanctuary at Beth Torah provided a beautiful venue for Hannah and Dann's wedding—it's elegant simplicity required no further decoration. It was the place Hannah grew up as a Jew and is her spiritual home. She has always been surrounded by people there who care for her and her wedding day was no different. And then there is the wall of windows looking out to the glorious wall of trees beyond. The theme of the wedding was trees—Torah and camp—trees are a symbol that remind us of both. We couldn't have created a more perfect backdrop than the one God planted outside the sanctuary.

Hannah and Dann wrote their own vows that they read as part of the very traditional Jewish ceremony—the perfect blend of old and new. And, what they read was so touching and funny and heartfelt. Dann, the ultimate geek, gave us a peak into his inner self, and showed a little of the eloquence inside the man who usually writes "code" and how much he loves Hannah. And, Hannah, to whom this kind of writing always seems to come easy, came through in typical fashion with her great conversational style and even some humor. They both put a smile on my face and brought tears to my eyes.

And then there was Boyd. Such a talented man, who sings like an angel and with such feeling. As he sang Y'varechecha along with Tim during the ceremony with all our friends and family there, I was so proud to know that he is MINE. What a wonderful gift he gave to Hannah and Dann by blessing them literally with beautiful song. But he didn't stop there. At the reception he delivered such a poignant, meaningful toast that blew everyone away, and then followed that with a song he sang at our wedding almost 28 years ago. There was probably not a dry eye in the room. If I spent hours upon hours working to make the day perfect before the wedding, Boyd's contribution to the day was the cherry on top of the cake.

But there were so many other people that made the events so much fun. It was the enthusiasm of the wedding party—the sisters and brother of the bride and groom, the cousins and the friends who brought so much energy, fun and sincerity to the events of the weekend. They partied hard and cared so much about Hannah and Dann. They spent the wedding day practicing the dance steps to "Thriller"—a group of people who hadn't all known each other before but came together to celebrate the marriage of two people they loved, and then awed everyone at the reception. So many thanks go to them for the atmosphere they helped to create.

The musicians who played during the ceremony also have to be thanked for their contribution to the day. It was Rachel's friends and teacher from orchestra, people she's known and performed with for 7 years, who provided the musical backdrop for the moving ceremony. Having a connection to those people personally, people Boyd and I have worked to support through the orchestra parent group, created an even deeper layer of meaning to the music. It broadened the sense of community we felt.

There were many friends and family who came from great distances to share in our celebration and it was so wonderful to have them here and we appreciate the time and money it took to make that happen. But, there were so many people who couldn't be with us and they were missed terribly. The only thing that could've made the day more perfect was to have had their presence here with us, though we know they were here in spirit.

And so the weekend and all of the festivities are over—the rehearsal dinner at the Chinese restaurant, the bachelor and bachelorette parties, the KC barbeque dinner the night before the wedding, the ceremony and the reception. The decorations are all packed up, the flowers are wilted and gone or pressed between the pages of books, the gifts are unwrapped and waiting to be delivered to Indy in stacks on my dining room table, the leftover food sits waiting in the freezer, and the family and other guests have gone home to cities around the country.  The feelings will stay forever.

As time permits around all the work to do that was put off while the wedding priorities came first, I will post some pictures of the details that helped to make the day special for Hannah and Dann. Mazel tov to the newlyweds—I love you both so much!

So busy I've forgotten about the blog

I've been so wrapped up in getting out invitations and now working on the ketubah that I've forgotten about keeping up on blog posts. Plus there was the trip to Indiana University for the future SIL's graduation and then moving Rachel home from KU and working in some "real" work along the way. Here's a quick pic I snapped after just getting started. I don't know yet if this will be "the one." There are so many things that can go wrong along the way, the watercolor painting, white ink linework, Hebrew calligraphy, and English calligraphy. So, I've allowed plenty of time for do-overs.

I'll try to get the invitation pictures up here tomorrow. Maybe some graduation pictures, too.

For now, though, I think it's off to watch the recording of Parenthood, eat a little cup of ice cream, and then find my nice soft pillow to rest my head for the night. Sweet dreams? Not likely with the wedding less than two months away.

Weekend with Hannah and Dann

Hannah and Dann came to town last week with plans to make wedding decisions now that the wedding is less than a year away. They had appointments back to back with DJs, florists, photographers, etc. and did get some vendors booked. The girls and I also did some bridesmaid dress shopping. Rachel found a couple of dresses she really liked! Yay! But I don't want to post any pictures without checking with Hannah first. She tried on her dress for the first time and it fits perfect! I took a couple of detail photos, and almost posted them, but thought better of it. Don't want to give anything away. Suffice it to say, it looks beautiful on her and she will be a stunning bride. While shopping I tried on a dress. I hadn't expected to look at something for me yet, but when I saw it, I couldn't resist. It was very tempting, but I'm not sure if it's a bit too fancy for the kind of event we're planning. This photo I decided I could share.

Rachel was the perfect maid of honor, helping big sis shop for dresses and during the fitting...