Don’t get your knickers in a swirl.

Choosing Colors

Let me take a few minutes to show you how switching up the colors can change the overall feel of a design.  I’m going to use some previous client work which dates back to B.B. days (Before Babies), using the Swirls design.   This design has been a client favorite and hey, it’s the one I designed for my own wedding about three million years ago which started this lovely unhealthy work-life balance thing I like to call Self Employment.  I joke!  I joke!  Sort of.

You already know this, but colors evoke a certain mood or feeling whether we are aware of it or not.  Some colors pop, some soothe, some are seasonal, some have underlying connotations (red and green together, for instance).  This should all be in the back of your head when choosing a palette for your event… But ultimately, you will find you are drawn to certain colors because of how they make you feel.  If it doesn’t feel right, then don’t do it, no matter what your mother or soon to be mother-in-law pushes for.  That my two cents, anyway.

Where to start?

Well, what colors do you hate?  Ok, so you can rule those out.  What’s left?  Out of those, what looks good together?  Are you thinking of a monochromatic scheme, where it’s various shades of one color?  Or are you thinking of two different complementary colors?  If you really aren’t sure, do some surfing online on art.com and see what catches your eye.  Even taking a look at your wardrobe is a good place to start – you will notice that there are certain colors that you always wear, and certain colors you avoid like the plague.

Once you have an idea of the palette you’d like to work with, you can swing by www.chantalclaire.com and try picturing the designs we have there in your chosen colors.  We will recolor any of our designs to match any color scheme at no extra charge, because we are totally awesome like that and don’t think you should have to pay extra for that sort of thing.  And hey – we may even have example of previous client work in your chosen color scheme to show you, so it never hurts to get in touch.

Here are some examples of the Swirls design in various colors.  Click on each one for a clearer image.

 

As you can see, the design is the same yet each invitation evokes a different feeling because of the colors and fonts used.  Hopefully these examples will give you an idea if you’re at a loss for color palettes, and will show you a few possibilities with the Swirls design.

RSVP Nightmare

I found this online and it was just way too funny not to share.  I think just about every bride has at least one rsvp nightmare story.

rsvp
Don’t make Liam Neeson mad.

I hope yours isn’t too bad, and is one that you can laugh about in the very near future.  I’m sorry to say, it doesn’t get much better when it comes to waiting for replies to kids’ birthday invites.  May the odds be ever in your favor.

I know a guy who’s tough but sweet

I want candy…

I have a feeling a lot of my clientele is too young to know the song referenced in the title.  Now I have a case of the sads.  GAWD I’M SO OLD.

Now that that’s out of the way…  What’s your favorite candy?  I’m Canadian, and miss good Canadian stuff like Allen’s toffee and Smarties now that I live in the States.  And no, not Smarties like the round pastel stuff you get at Halloween.  Canadians know those are called Rockets.

smarties rockets candy
Smarties and Rockets are the same thing…?

Now THESE are Smarties, and yes, they are the best.  And no, they are not M&Ms.

smarties candy
Canadian smarties… nom nom nom

Guess what I found?

I just discovered someone on instagram who might be really helpful for all you brides or others planning events.  Or for people like me who just really, really love candy.  Check them out:

candy pros logo
CandyPros.com Logo

What is helpful about this site is that you can easily shop by color, event or candy type, so you don’t need to spend ages clicking around hoping to come across something that might work for your candy buffet (or late night binge sessions – not that, I mean…  binge? on candy? wha? people do that???  I definitely don’t.  What a weird thing to think about.)

If you’re jonesing for a sweet fix or need to get your guests properly sugared, check these guys out.  They seem pretty rad.  If you use them or have purchased from them in the past, give me a holla so I can update this post with feedback for others.

If you do end up buying something for your event from Candy Pros, the favor boxes on our website are a great way to box them up and hand them out to your guests.  Just sayin’.

Ah crap… I had told myself that today would be day one of my healthy eating program.  Now all I want to do is see what kind of leftover Valentine’s candy I can scrounge from the kiddleton’s school loot bags.  Just say no, Chantal…

Painting is for the dogs

I can blame a lot on the fumes

Did I mention I love painting?  Because I do.  A lot.  It’s totally not a problem that my phone cover is covered in india ink and acrylics and the arm of our (very worn out) leather sofa has flicks of paint all over it.  That pretty much every piece of clothing I own has paint on it somewhere – even the new pants that I haven’t even worn yet.  Totes not a problem.  It just means I’m an authentically creative person.

Let me be clear before I go any further… when I’m working on invitations, the paints are away and everything is clean.  I make sure that nothing touches those precious babies.  I literally have rubber gloves that I wear when I’m working with light colored cardstock so I don’t get finger smudges on it, I’m that anal about it.  So no worries there.

 

Now that that disclaimer is out of the way…

Back to paint.

I really like painting people, and especially kids.  A few years ago I was hired for a while to paint kids as Christmas presents and Father’s Day gifts.  I was still getting used to and perfecting my style, so to me at least when I look at my past work I can see a real evolution in my abilities.  But I live in Austin, so what I was mostly hired to paint was dogs.  Dogs are HUGE here.  And I love painting them, but man they take forever because they require SO much detail.

 

puppy painting
Sweetest puppy ever.
cami dog painting
This poor doggie passed away. This was painted while she was sick, as a memorial because the family knew she was on her way to the rainbow bridge. RIP Penny.

dog painting dog painting dog painting

These three paintings were huge!  They were a collection I did for a client who wanted something for a huge wall in the new home she was moving into.  I can’t quite remember how big they were, but they were ginormous.

If you aren’t a fan of dogs, or paintings, that’s totally cool.  If nothing else, you can take a look at these and be inspired by the color schemes.  Shades of brown and blue are huge hit, and are always a classy choice in both paintings and invitations.  If you’re stuck on your color scheme, looking at art, and pop art in particular, is a great way to start narrowing down your choices.  See what you’re drawn to, and what you absolutely despise.  Do you keep gravitating towards the same rich tones of caramel and chocolate brown and russet red?  Or do you pull aside energetic pops of yellow and fuschia?  Do you like calming nature tones like spring greens and tulip pinks?  You will know it when you see it, the important thing if you’re struggling is to just look around.

Sometimes the best thing is to look at anything BUT wedding stuff to see what you really like.  (Wedding people are always trying to sell you something, then upsell, then upsell some more, and it can get overwhelming.  I know, I work in the industry, lol!)  And really, who needs that kind of stress?

"Modern wedding favor box - buy preassembled or save money and assemble yourself"

Don’t box me in!

In the beginning…

I launched my invitation business right after my wedding in 2006.  A few years later, we started a family.  I went on hiatus to focus on the offspring, because boy oh boy are babies ever a (cute) time suck!  Now that the littles aren’t quite so little anymore (the Divine Miss A is in third grade and the Kamikaze Kid started kindergarten), I’ve been itching to get back to my other great love, my little business.

New stuff

One product I am very excited about and having been thinking about since the kidlets were tiny is favor boxes.  I’ve been playing with different templates over the years, and after some trial and error this is the one that has passed all my tests.  I can’t wait to see it in action in client wedding photos!

Like all the Chantal Claire products, the favor boxes can be recolored to match your color palette, and can include your fonts and wording at no additional charge.  The boxes are around 2″x3″ when assembled.

Favor box for fall leaves wedding collection Favor box for allover floral wedding collection Favor box for swirls wedding collection Favor box for cherry blossom wedding collection

Yup, I’m awesome, lol!

This is a bit unheard of, but despite being a vendor in the wedding industry I’m actually not a total douche.  I’m all about keeping costs down for brides when possible.  I remember all too well what it was like to see the budget slip away, and I had a small wedding!  With that in mind, I like to provide options for my clients while still providing the best quality product I can.  If you are crafty, you can purchase these favor boxes unassembled.  This will save on shipping and labor costs.  They arrive flat; you will cut them and assemble them yourself.  They will come scored and easy to fold, like this:

 

 

Favor box for flourish wedding collection unassembled
Flourish favor box, unassembled.

If you think glue is just for sniffing (just say no!) you should probably have me assemble them for you.  This is the better option if you don’t have time yourself.  The price will be higher to account for the labor and the extra shipping charges.

I hope you will consider these for your event!  If you do, please send me some pictures of them in action!

 

 

Side by Side – The Signature Pocket

Playing with the Signature Pocket

Signature pocket invitation for circular wedding collection

The cool thing about the Signature pocket invitation is that you have the space on each side to jazz it up and really make it your own.  You can do this by personalizing the side panels with photos or unique quotes or phrases.

Signature pocket invitation for modern wedding collection

In the past, our clients have used the side panels to showcase photos of their resorts as a way of convincing guests to come to their destination wedding on the beach, and I have to take a moment here to say that I got a little jealous that I wasn’t invited because DANG those places looked awesome.  One client was getting married in Italy and included photos of a Tuscan winery near her wedding venue on the left side panel and her ceremony location on the right.

We have also had guests include adorable pictures of themselves on the panels, which is a great way to create one of a kind invitations using our designs.  We of course do this for you at no charge, along with changing the colors and fonts of our designs.

Steal these phrases:

But what if you’re not into pictures, but still love the Signature pocket invitation?  Quotes or phrases are most commonly used on the side panels.  Some clients have used lines from their favorite songs, and we have even included something from a Dr. Seuss book for one of our quirkier couples!  The side panels make our invitations really versatile.

Can’t think of anything awesome to write?  Look here for some inspiration:

Hearts will be practical only when they are made unbreakable. – Wizard of Oz

Our love will move us forward.

Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting.  So… get on your way!  – Dr. Seuss

Forever begins today.

When your heart speaks, listen.

If I know what love is, it is because of you.

The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or even touched.  They must be felt with the heart.

And the two… shall become one.

Now, always and forever.

Two lives, two hearts, joined by love.

His love is the sunshine that keeps me warm.

To me, she’s the rainbow after the storm.

Signature pocket invitation for swirls wedding collection

Life by number

I like to think of myself as a creative person.  But sometimes I just want to zone out and not think.  That’s why I love paint by numbers.  Not the cheesy ones of woodland creatures or huge boats sailing on a rough sea – no.  I ain’t no blind grandma.  I like the ones that are a little bit different and don’t look like a typical number project.

When I first moved to Texas I wanted a painting to go over our mantel.  I browsed online and saw a painting I loved, but it cost around $400.  I couldn’t justify that price when I could paint something myself, so I didn’t buy it.  But when I saw that same painting as a number kit for much, much less, I had to scoop that sucker up.

paint by number

We moved to a new house last year and I gained a bathroom.  I wanted to spruce up the beige walls in the upstairs bathroom, but was feeling burnt out with the end of school and packing and everything a move entails and was creatively pretty tapped out.  So I went back to amazon and found a funky paint by number kit.

fish paint by number

If you’re not artistic but don’t have a huge budget to blow on a fantastic piece of art, go online and check out some paint by number kits.  You’ll have to wade through some typical blah-diddy-blah-blah old school designs, but you if you stick with it you can find some unique pieces out there for under $50.  All you need is patience to find it, then patience to paint it!

 

Anniversary Party

Last month we threw a pretty epic anniversary/birthday party.  Hubber and I are both turning the big 4-0 this year, and it’s our ten year wedding anniversary.  My parents and friends flew in from Canada and my cousins came over from Holland.  We held it at our house and it was pretty awesome.

The party had a pink floral theme with gold accents.  Here are some pictures of the details.

I hand painted the signage and menus, and made the plastic wine glasses pretty with little paper roses.  Due to the rental company sending the wrong sized tables I had to come up with some last minute centerpieces the night before but you would never know come dinnertime what a ball of stress that was.  A big thank you to the unexpected weather patterns for messing up another large scale event for me  – the first being my wedding.

DSC_3993

It’s important to note that Hubber hates Michael Buble.  Naturally, this means I need to Buble shiz up as often as possible, so I had asked our guests to give him a Buble related gift at the party.  We got some pretty epic stuff including a “signed” picture and some really high quality whiskey with a somewhat explicit photo of Michael on a custom label.

I made him a picture in photoshop, because two Bubles are better than one.

Behind the scenes, everything went wrong for this party.  It’s a month after the fact and I’m still not over how much of a disaster stuff was right up until guests started arriving.  It was all things that were out of my hands like weather not cooperating, vendors supplying the wrong tables and chairs with curse words scrawled on the back, things like that.  But in the end it all came together and people have told me they had a great time.  It looked beautiful.  So all in all, it was a success!  Just a much more stressful success than I have ever experienced in all my years of party planning.  I guess I got off easy with my wedding since things went pretty smoothly, so I was due.

The main lesson here is, of course, that things will never go as smoothly as you expect and you’ve just gotta roll with the punches.  The guests only knew that things looked great, the food was excellent and they were having a great time.  They didn’t know about the gonzo nutball lead-up I had experienced in the days before.  Try to keep that in mind during your wedding, mitzvah, quincineara, or whatever event it is you are planning.  THINGS WILL GO WRONG.  LIFE WILL GO ON.  Someday, you will laugh about it all.  I’m not quite at the laughing part yet, but that might be because I’ve sobered up from the party.  Somebody pour me another drink…

Just call me Andy (Warhol)

I love painting.

But I ignored that for a while so I could be a “responsible” adult and make “responsible” choices.  For example:

I have a college education, times two.  Yup, I went twice.  And I don’t use any of that education in my job.  Yay me, for an awesome use of money!  Yay me, for making responsible choices!

Before my kids were born I designed wedding invitations, and now I’m back at it.  But last year I got sidetracked… I started painting portraits and pets and it took off.  I never considered commissioning my work before, but as I have discovered things tend to work out better for me when I just go with the flow and don’t plan too much.  This has definitely been the case for my painting(s).

This is where I show off

This is one of the first paintings I did, and it’s hanging in my husband’s office.

Stan and Chantal stripes painting

I work from photos.  Here is the original.

Stan and Chantal original photo

Aren’t we cute?  First I sketch the photo in pencil, then I choose my color scheme.  I try to stick to two or three colors as that gives the best pop art feel.  Too many colors and it gets a bit too busy.  This painting gave me some trouble… I tried it in blue first, and I just wasn’t feeling it.

Stan and Chantal stripes painting WIP

Yuck.  One of the reasons I love paint as a medium is because if something sucks, you can just paint over it and nobody will know.  Except I just told you.  DOH!  And here’s the finished product:

Stan and Chantal stripes painting

I’m off my rocker.

I have a bizarre love for rocking chairs.  If I see one at Goodwill, I have to buy it.  Like, I have to buy it.  I think it all started with this little project.

one

It’s a plain mini chair, nothing too special except it’s size – it’s perfect for a toddler.  I decided to zing this little pumpkin up for the Divine Miss A.

What a little beauty.  We have had this ballerina chair for about six years now, and at the time of this writing I think Divine Miss A has sat in it twice.  Time and money well spent!  Her stuffies sure like to hang out on it though.

This kid better be a girl…

Those who know me know that despite my best efforts, nothing I do turns out quite like everybody else’s.  This used to drive me crazy, I used to think there must be something wrong with me.  But with age comes wisdom or at least the ability to no longer care so much about the opinions of others, so I decided to embrace that which makes me different and just go with it.  I have been so much happier since making this decision!

When I was pregnant with my first about 8000 years ago, we decided to make our daughter’s nursery really special.  No pale pastels or pictures of teddy bears here!  We went with an energetic pink on three walls and a bold deep shade on the accent wall.

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This was the jumping off point, and we really enjoyed playing around with design ideas in photoshop, as I’m sure most nerdy-types do.  Once we nailed down the design, we bought some sticky vinyl and away we went.  This is how it turned out.

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This is the completed accent wall, otherwise known as “the project to make a hormonal pregnant lady even crazier”.  My poor husband.

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Room details. Hubber took those photos himself, of flowers in nearby front yards.  And thus endeth our first forray into decorating for baby.  I think we did pretty well!  Although as luck would have it, my daughter much prefers the color blue.  Typical.