Charleston rehearsal dinner invitation with custom watercolor map with venue paintings of Lowndes Grove Plantation, William Aiken House and downtown Charleston. Spring wedding in Charleston, South Carolina. Dessert themed wedding with navy and sand/taupe color scheme. Modern brush lettering over navy with a map on the back including watercolor venue paintings.
Cheryl and Thomas had a winter ski lodge wedding in Breckenridge, Colorado. Snowy mountains were the inspiration for this design paired with kraft paper envelopes and white brush calligraphy. Other day-of wedding items include a window seating chart, wooden welcome sign, personalized menus, a hand painted signature drinks sign, an itinerary and alternative table numbers.
Kelsey and Tyler went for navy blue and maroon as the color palette for their wedding day at the Historic Pritzlaff in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Tyler is a geologist, so they chose to incorporate agate and other rocks into the decor. The watercolor elements in the invitation suite were designed to mimic the color variations of the agate stone. The suite is pulled together with navy envelopes sporting gold calligraphy and a maroon return address envelope.
Long story alert! I’ll try to be brief, but here’s what happened over the last 4 years...
In 2014, I was just finishing college. Zak came to me with an idea he had about a big purchase. You may have read some of my previous posts about his laser-focus and borderline obsession when it comes to new projects - well this was one of them. He had the idea that we should get a CNC machine and start selling wood signs for weddings and home decor and it would be AWESOME! Okay, yea, I thought so too. So he bought it...and spent about a week in the garage building and wiring this machine that arrived in hundreds of tiny bags.
Even after it was built, it took hours and hours of tinkering to get the alignment just right, figuring out the software, and testing different materials. We were so excited when we finally got it running.
Around this time, Zak also proposed and we feverishly began plans for our wedding. Of course, our plans involved lots of signs made by the CNC machine. Some happened, and others didn’t. We did manage to cut out these awesome L - O - V - E letters, which were so perfect.
We bought our first house in March of 2016, and the machine sat in the basement. It got buried during the move and it was going to take some work to get it running again. We were also 100% focused on fixing up our house for the next year.
In July of 2016, I decided to start a business. I started off with stationery and calligraphy, and branded my business with the hopes that someday it would involve Zak and our CNC machine. Finally, a year later, June of 2017 we bought an upgrade for the machine and it was running like a dream. Our opportunity had finally arrived and we were ready to sell our signs just like we had dreamed about almost 4 years ago. Once again, Zak’s crazy idea turned out to be a great idea after all.
Here it is - the unveiling of our brand-new line of wood signage products! :)
Wreath Welcome Sign
Family Established Sign
Baby Nursery Sign
Available in a variety of colors. Sizes range from 8" - 26". Click here to shop!
Dave Matthews Lyrics Art
This sign is unique because we're only offering a limited quantity of 5 signs to be produced! Click here to shop while they last!
Thanks for stopping to take a peek at what we're up to!
One year ago, I was at a turning point. I had worked at Front Room Photography for four years and I had outgrown my position. I needed to move on, but where? I knew the corporate world was not for me, I wanted to start a business - but doing what? I didn’t feel good enough at anything.
I had a small Etsy shop where I sold a few invitations, but I wasn’t proud of it. I liked doing calligraphy but couldn't call myself a calligrapher.
Regardless of my doubts, I saw an opportunity, and I dove in. I left my job at Front Room, and started a stationery business. I knew I wouldn’t make money right away so I had lots of back-up income. Nannying for multiple families, driving Lyft, and working wedding photo booths for Sound by Design on the weekends. I went searching for knowledge. I signed up for online courses, I connected with other entrepreneurs, I was always looking for opportunities to learn new things and practice my craft. I did get some clients, and any money I made, I re-invested in my business. Money was slim - very slim - but I kept pushing. I told myself, to just keep saying yes, and that’s what I did for the next year. I said yes to styled shoots, bridal shows, collaborating with other artists, risky projects I’ve never tried before, teaching and speaking opportunities, and I learned from all of it.
Things began to pick up, and I would think to myself, "Huh...I'm really doing this!" It's such an amazing feeling.
I'm so grateful for the people who gave me the advice they wish they had been given, referred me time and time again, or even just gave a little shout out on social media. It truly means so much to have a supportive community of entrepreneurs who've got my back.
It is awesome (and terrifying) to be completely, in control of my own career and income. Now I won’t say I’m anywhere near where I’d like to be, but I’m a hell of a lot closer than I was a year ago, and so proud of how far I’ve come.
This July, to celebrate my one year business anniversary, I'm giving a gift to all my loyal followers!
(Just like in grade school, when it was your birthday, you were expected to bring cupcakes for everyone...bogus - right?!) ;)
Very soon, I'll be sharing some awesome new products and collaborations. When these products launch, only Shelby’s special people (the ones who receive my email newsletter) will have access to a discount coupon that never expires! Enter your email below to sign up!
Photos by Front Room Photography
Time is of the essence once a wedding date has been picked. Knowing when to send save the dates and invitations can be baffling. This blog post explains exactly when these pieces should be sent and why.
when to mail save the dates
Knowing when to send save the dates is typically the more confusing question. The answer depends somewhat on who you are expecting to attend your wedding. If you’ll be having out of town or international guests and/or having a destination wedding, save the dates can be sent out up to a year in advance. This ensures everyone has time to budget for and book travel, and not plan another trip during the day of your wedding.
On average, save the dates should be sent between 6-8 months before the wedding.
Save the dates are fun because they don’t have to be so formal, you’re just giving your guests a heads up to mark their calendars for your special day. You can show a bit of your personality by including a picture from an engagement session, or maybe a Information that’s good to include is your names (of course), the wedding date (if it’s not on a Saturday, it may be a good idea to indicate that), and the wedding location city and state. This is also a great time and place to share your wedding website, so be sure to have it up and running. Lastly, the bottom of the save the date should say “formal invitation to follow” so your guests know what to expect and that they will be receiving more details about the event.
when to mail wedding invitations
Wedding invitations are a little different than a birthday party invitation. These should be sent about 8-6 weeks (1.5-2 months) before the wedding. Destination weddings may need to send invites up to 10 weeks prior in order for guests to book accommodations and flights.
The invitation is typically accompanied with an RSVP card and envelope already return-addressed back to the sender. The RSVP is important so you know number of guests attending and their names. The RSVP is also used to select meal options, or indicate dietary restrictions.
If you are struggling with a polite way to tell your guests kids are not invited, here’s a tip. In the bottom left or right corner, having “adults only” on the RSVP is a subtle way of getting the information across. They’ll definitely be looking closely at this card since your guests will need to fill in their names in the blank.
If you’re having blocks of rooms reserved for out-of-town guests, the details card is the best place to share that information. Also, if your reception is in a different location than the ceremony, the reception location and start time should be present here. It’s a good idea to reiterate the wedding website here, as well. You’ll likely have more information to share with your guests now that the wedding date is closer.
The goal is to have the invitation, reply card and details card be as clear and concise as possible so your guests are confident they know where they’re supposed to be and when. Following these tried-and-true methods will ensure your guests have all the information they need in plenty of time to plan their arrangements to celebrate with you.
I'm not quite sure exactly when my love affair began with letters, but it was definitely before I called it "calligraphy". In grade school I remember learning cursive and becoming OBSESSED. I would write words in cursive and practice my signature for hours. In middle school, I began to notice my classmates' differences in their handwriting and began trying to write my notes in their handwriting style. Pretty typical middle school, just trying to fit in. I eventually found a handwriting style that worked for me, and stuck with it.
Fast forward about 10 years, and I'm a recent art school graduate that happens to be obsessed with Pinterest. Calligraphy and hand lettering are on-trend and I want in. I found a site called Skillshare, which is an awesome place where you can learn from artist professionals around the globe on topics like design, photography, crafts, and lettering. I joined Mary Kate McDevitt's Skillshare class called Hand Lettering Essentials for Beginners. One exercise she suggested, which I really liked, was tracing printed alphabets. This gave me a better understanding of each letter of the alphabet and how exactly it's shaped. I was so impressed by her work and tried it out myself. Here is the first piece I ever did...*GULP*...
We all start somewhere! Strangely enough, two days after I created "The World is Beautiful", my boyfriend proposed!!
Now that I was an ENGAGED, Pinterest obsessed woman, I really wanted to get good at lettering! I continued taking classes on Skillshare including Introduction to Modern Calligraphy from Molly Jacques (which by the way doesn't even exist anymore!), and Lettering for Designers by Jessica Hische.
Throughout the planning of my wedding, I continued practicing lettering and took my lettering supplies with me everywhere. I tried out lots of different tools including brush pens, pointed pens, chalkboard writing, and watercolor brushes. When you're first starting out I think it's really important to try everything and see what you're really drawn to. In this stage, I realized I wasn't feeling very connected to hand lettering, which is the art of drawing and sketching letterforms. I was more intrigued by calligraphy, which is the art of writing beautifully.
I took a few more Skillshare classes, this time focusing on calligraphy. Waterbrush Lettering Essentials by Teela Cunningham and Pen and Ink Calligraphy: The Art of the Envelope by Bryn Chernoff. I also took an in-person calligraphy class, Flourish: A Modern Calligraphy Workshop, taught by Angela from Saffron Avenue.
By this time, I was completely hooked. Over the next year or so, I continued practicing - trying new tools, materials, and styles of writing. I began following other calligraphers and letterers, and getting inspired by their work and picking up tips and tricks along the way.
It wasn't until two years after writing that first quote that I actually felt like I had a unique style and could sell my calligraphy services. I remember hearing this same thing from Molly Jacques that it took her about two years before she felt "good enough" and I thought that was a crazy-long time. But, it really is a time-intensive craft. Repetition is key and it's the only way to get better. It doesn't matter how many online classes you watch, you won't get better unless you're doing it.
Even now, I have so much more to learn! I am constantly challenging myself and finding new tools or techniques to try. Most recently, my husband gifted me an iPad Pro and it is the coolest thing since sliced bread (he's so awesome). It is completely unlimited possibilities at my fingertips. Getting inspired by new tools and materials is what gets me re-invigorated the same way I was when I first started on this lettering journey over three years ago.
Are you interested in learning calligraphy?
I'll be teaching a brush lettering workshop at Camp Bar in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin on Wednesday, October 17th!
Brides and grooms, I know your confused and overwhelmed about your wedding invitations. (Who mails things, anyways!?) Your invitation acts as a first impression for your guests, and gives them an idea of what to expect at the wedding, and the way it is worded can make a huge impact in that impression. In this post, I will explain what details and information needs to be included on the invitation, and several options of how it can be worded.
Thanks so much for taking the time to complete this survey!
It's a quick one, I promise!
This year has been busy and a bit nuts! In January we were still getting over our post-wedding "hangover" from October and trying to get back to a normal routine. What a better way than a trip to Los Angeles to visit family! Every February we take a trip to visit Zak's cousins Stephen and Max in Santa Monica. This year we saw the La Brea Tar Pits (which I would highly recommend), took a stroll down Rodeo Drive, and of course did some celebrity stalking! Zak was even able to do some drum sampling with his cousin Stephen at 506 Music Studio which ended up being used in Anna Renee's new song and music video, Addicted to Heartbreak shortly after! My husband is practically famous...
Literally three days after we got back from LA, we moved into our new house in Wauwatosa! See what I mean!? We are nuts! Our bed frame didn't fit up the stairway, so my handy husband quick bought some wood and built a two piece frame. We also immediately started demolition in the living room, tearing down the drop-tile ceiling and the cracking lathe and plaster. Ugh. In the months to come many expensive and time consuming discoveries and decisions were made. We decided to remove half a wall between the kitchen and the living room, we raised up and re-supported the second floor foundation with new joists, removed a closet addition to open up our stairway, and upgraded all of our knob-and-tube wiring to new wires and a brand new electrical panel. It sounds easy in writing, but Zak spent way too many weekends up in our tiny attic digging through insulation, and in the basement pulling wires. These are the realities of DIY renovations; 10 months later we are still without a living room. It's almost over, though! All the new electrical is complete and we just picked up our drywall! 2017 is looking great already. :)
In June, I said goodbye to an amazing company, Front Room Photography. I have no idea how they let me work there for four years, but I'm so grateful for the experiences I had and the friends I made! Here's one of my last projects I did before I left. This window painting turned out pretty great!
In July, my business was officially born! Of course I have had an Etsy shop since 2014, but this year I put on my big girl pants and opened a business account and branded my business. I dove in head first and never looked back. Things have changed and evolved since then, for the better, and they will continue to. I am constantly trying, failing, learning, and succeeding. Since July, I have made new friendships with many with other creative business ladies. I started working for Mint and Lovely Studios, planning and participating in my first styled shoot (more about that later), I attended my first Rising Tide Society meeting, became a member at Bay View Printing Company and made my most revenue ever this year! I am so excited to see what this next year has in store for me and my crazy dreams!
By August, Zak and I were both feeling a bit burnt out and sad that Summer was almost over. So, we decided to take a spontaneous road trip to Denver to visit our cousins Kate & Huston and their new baby Janine! We snuggled the baby, we hiked up some cliffs, spent too much at IKEA, and checked out some fossils at Dinosaur Ridge.
In September, I started watching Serena, my good friend Tina's little girl! She's the cutest little thing and it has been so much fun spending time with her and watching her grow up. She's my little gal pal!
October was our one year anniversary already! Holy Crap! We took another road trip, this time to Buffalo, New York. We rode the Maid of the Mist, ate the best buffalo wings I've ever had at Anchor Bar, toured Canada, and once again spent too much at IKEA. HA!
After our trip, I was lucky enough to help Mint and Lovely coordinate and style the Gracefully Wed Workshop! This photography workshop was held at the Villa Terrace Decorative Art Museum in Milwaukee and was hosted by Elizabeth Nord Photography and Shaunae Teske Photography. I created some new work for this styled shoot that pushed my creativity and taught me so much. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity not only for the images of my work, but also for the phenomenal experiences I had and the wonderful people I met!
Images by Shaunae Teske Photography
Because of my learning experiences from Gracefully Wed, I had the confidence to come up with my own calligraphy invitation suites! I also had my first experience with gold foil printing, and I am so in love. Next year, I will be tackling letterpress at Bay View Printing Company! AH!
This December, I received the news I have been accepted to be a vendor at the WedMKE bridal show in March! I'm so excited to get Shelby Made It into the Milwaukee wedding scene. Lots of work to do! Keep an eye out for more details on the bridal show!
Cheers to you and wishing you health and happiness in the New Year!
It's that time of year again! In the old days, receiving a Christmas card was like a Facebook update. You actually got to see pictures of your family and friends, and their kids that you hadn't seen in months. So weird to think about now, right? Nowadays, we probably see way too much of people's personal lives online. So why send a Christmas card? No one ever sends mail anymore! It is so fun to see a hidden gem just for me amongst a sea of bills and advertisements. Here are some beautiful, hand lettered designs for your Christmas card this year!
A custom calligraphy return address stamp makes sending Christmas cards SO much easier!
Looking for a custom design? Make an inquiry or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get started on your order!