It’s her party and we’ll DIY invitations if we want to. You would DIY them too
if it happened to you if you were us. After all, our wedding invites were homemade…
… so how could we phone it in for our daughter’s first birthday party? Even though much-more-talented-invitation-designers like Mrs. Limestone generously offered to lend a hand (so nice), we stubbornly set out to attempt to create our second party invitation ever on our own (well, with the help of a cute baby and a computer). I guess we just have a thing for doing it ourselves (ya think?).
So we started out with a very familiar set-up to our weekly Clara photos like these (see how we make them here)…
… which look a little something like this when they’re not all small and tiled like the ones above:
Except this time we just placed Clara in her usual white onesie on basic white fabric (a plain white bed sheet that we already had on hand):
Since Clara’s weekly photos have become somewhat of a theme for her first year of life, we decided to borrow the idea to introduce her big one year old b-day bash in the form of an invitation (her whole party will have a colorful fabric and number theme inspired by her weekly photos, so the invite really sets the tone). The main difference from other weekly pics was that this particular photo required more Photoshop work than most, because we basically created the “fabric” from scratch (since you’re not likely to find fabric with specific party details on it at your local craft store).
I’ll spare you the Photoshop play-by-play (in short: we added type, reduced the opacity so it looked more like it was printed on the fabric, rasterized it so we could erase whatever was “under” Clara, and added some asterisks for “pattern”). Here’s the final result (minus a few private details that have been blurred):
We originally intended it to be all text – just the party details by themselves as the “pattern” behind her. But it felt a bit empty, so we added the colored asterisks.
PS: How awesome is it that her actual birthday falls on a Saturday? Well planned, universe.
As for printing the invite (since you can’t put a stamp on a JPG), it actually took a bit of hunting. We didn’t want to print them at home (or a place like CVS) on photo paper because we wanted a more matte stationery effect (like a real invite as opposed to a picture dropped in the mail). And although we did print our wedding invites at home on cardstock, we worried that printing a more image heavy design like this at home might yield subpar results since they wouldn’t look as crisp and bright as a professional job. So we looked into an online service that could print them for us cheaply but better than we could at home (you’d be surprised how many of those go-to sites for invites and holiday cards don’t give you the option to print something entirely of your own design). Fortunately we stumbled upon Winkflash.
We opted for the 4.25 x 6″ postcard option (in the middle of the bottom row in the screenshot above) because we thought a postcard invite would be a fun twist, plus it would give us the chance to write a personalized message on the back of each one in scribbly kid handwriting “from Clara.” We figured that wasn’t asking for a hand cramp since we’re only sending out about a dozen invites (it’s virtually a family-only party of about 20 people total). But we ordered an even 20 invites just so we’d have some extras for posterity (and the baby book, the hallway frame wall, etc).
The best part was that by googling around for an online coupon code, we scored 60% off (!!) of our order. So the grand total with shipping came down from over 20 dollars to $10.11, which factors out to around 50 cents per invite. Not bad (and possibly cheaper than ink and paper for home printed cards would have been). As for the coupon code, we ordered them a couple of weeks ago, so we can’t guarantee that the “cards60” code is still working, but it did the trick for us.
But that savings must’ve impaired our judgment (call it “discount goggles” if you will) because we realized after receiving our order that postcards don’t always survive a trip through the mail in great shape (no offense, USPS) – especially when they’re white. And since we thought the grandparents might want to hang on to Clara’s invite without any dark smudges or folds, a jacked-up postcard just wouldn’t do.
No biggie though, we just hunted down some envelopes that would shield our postcards on their harrowing journey to nearby VA and even to NY and beyond. It was a bit tough due to the weird postcard size, but eventually we did find a set at Target that would work (for just $4). The funny thing is that the envelopes came packaged with some pre-designed party invites. The invite theme? Tools. How funny is that? Maybe we should’ve just used those in the first place. Except that we’re too DIY obsessed to use DIY themed (but not actually DIYed) invites. Go figure.
Even though our postcard was more like a traditional flat invite now, Clara (aka Sherry’s shaky left hand) still wrote some personalized messages on the back.
The invites went out a little over a week ago and have already been received by all – and they seem to be a hit. Woot. We’re psyched that we did it all for a grand total of under $20 (which includes postage, envelopes, and custom printed postcards) – which would have been what we paid for the printed postcards alone had we not found that lucky 60% off coupon code online before ordering. Thanks google.
This is what I did for our wedding invites too (http://www.queenofdiy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/personalized-wedding-invites-12.jpg). They came out pretty well I think. But we used http://www.vistaprint.com …they always have major coupon codes going on so it ends up being super cheap and looking really good. :)
Megan @ reFind says
My little niece was born the same day as Clara- and the same way – with an emergency c-section. I love watching Clara and her milestones. I will be partying that same day to celebrate my niece :)
Can’t wait to see the cake pictures!
What a cute invite! Hard to go wrong with that adorable birthday girl as the star.
I have been making all of our bday invites and Christmas cards since we had our first – 7 years ago in a couple of weeks! It is always fun and different from what you can find out there in the retail market…always more personal, too. I use FullColor.com for flat card printing. They do a decent job, aren’t expensive and will print front and back (your designs) for the same price as just the front. Love that!
That fabric is TO DIE FOR. Wow! You have just inspired many a project for me. TOO COOL!! I see pillows in my future! Thanks!
Heyyyy! So what’ll be the status of Clara’s weekly photos post-week 52? Will the project continue?
We think we’ll continue to do photos until she’s two, but we’ll just do them monthly from 1 year on.
And then you’ll have to start all over with the second one! LOL
We’ve got plans to wait at least two years between pregnanices (for medical reasons) so they should end up being around 3 years apart if all goes well. That gives us some nice breathing room and some time to just enjoy the heck outta Clara. Haha. But yes, I’m sure it’ll feel like no time before we’re planning a weekly photo project for the next kiddo!
Breie Baldwin says
Do you ever give fab freebies for Spoonflower?
We’d love to convince them to team up with us for a Fab Freebie!
Those are incredibly cute! I’m with you in the DIY invitations area. We just finished up the ones for our wedding a while back and a well known wedding blog may be turning them into a Freebies Download (so people don’t have to mess with a vector editor).
These are them! We kind of have a mason jar theme, but so does my life – especially around every August come harvest time!
I read over at BabyCenter that you are planning on using the fabric as the backdrop for photos. Have you thought about printing the photos into photo booth strips to continue with the tradition. You can accomplish that effect with the photo booth program on the macbook or photoshop. I did this for my son’s party with the first square containing a thank you message. They were a hit with the guests!
Yes! We definitely hope to bring in some photobooth aspects to the pictures afterwards if we can!
Jen @ The Decor Scene says
I absolutely LOVE the invites and the fabric. I can’t wait to see pictures from her party. Very very cute and very very personal. Love it!!! If Clara is anything like the two of you when she grows up, she is going to love how you will personalize all her stuff through the years. Great stuff for her to pass down to her family. ;)
All around cute! Clara’s going to have such a great party and will love looking back on the pictures. Hands down, the best is your Clara fabric. So unique and professional looking!
The invite looks great and I love the 47 week picture! I was a little behind, so I just checked out the last few weeks of Clara’s regular photo shoot.
I’m always impressed by ALL your projects, but that custom fabric design! OH EM GEE! That had me wow’ed enough to comment – you are so amazingly talented :-D
Hope Clara’s party is a huge ball of fun!!
Amanda Wells says
Love the invite!!
Alicia Seebach says
We’re celebrating our daughters 2nd birthday on May 14th! (She was born on Mothers day 2 years ago, May 10th!)
Hope your party plans come together and I’ll be sure to steal some party planning ideas on the way hah!
Wom-mom Ethne says
I always say homemade is better than storebought – at least for things like this. The Clara picture theme was too good not to use for the invite. Thanks for letting us know about winkflash too. Have you done any research on having pictures printed on canvas – online deals, etc.? Do tell. ~Ethne
Sites like canvasrocks.com (and maybe even kodakgallery.com) can print photos on canvas although we’re not sure about deals. We just google around for coupon codes and compare prices. Anyone else have a suggestion?
Megan @ reFind says
Canvaspeople currently have a free 8×10. I think all you have to do is pay for shipping.
I haven’t used them before now, but they always seem to have deals.
Just out of curiosity, are you planning on using the fabric that you shot her other weekly photos on for anything?
Yup, I’d like to DIY a birthday flag banner and a big quilt among a few other things. Should be interesting since I can’t sew for my life.
How cool is that? Our kids are less than 2 weeks apart in age and we were married on the same day! Gorgeous invitations.
Woah- no way!
love love LOVE Spoonflower and I love your personalized fabric too! So awesome.
Which is your favourite weekly photo of Clara?
That’s such a hard one! I love the first week because she’s just so small. And the halloween one with the tutu is another favorite I think. I also like the first one she was sitting up for, just because it was so funny to see her from that angle after lots of laying down.
I love that week 13 one above…OF COURSE on “unlucky” week 13 we get to see Clara’s “evil twin” twirling the end of her mustache while hatching some dastardly plan. LOL
Hahahahaa, we never thought about that mustache twirl being associated with her evil twin on the 13th. Too funny!
Love it! Spoonflower is located right down the road from me and I love looking at all of the fun prints people have designed on their site! I need to take a road trip down there and see if they will let me take a peek at things and post about it!
I know we aren’t all invited to this big party….but we all sort of feel like we are a part of it in some way. We have all watched the little one grow right before our eyes and hard to believe she is 1 all ready. So while we may not be present for the actual “shindig”….we will all be there in “spirit” smiling down on all of you as you celebrate her special day.
We know this party will be “over the top” and can’t wait for pictures and blog posts when it is over.
Have a blast planning it, hosting it….and just being the Mom & Dad of Clara. Take time to “Breathe” and reflect on the past year…..and all the future has in store for all of you. It is a milestone, an AHA moment, a wonderful day to celebrate Clara’s birthday!! We wish you a wonderful day with family and friends.
Just remember, you have blog post friends who are “rooting” for you also.
the custom fabric is Awesometown, USA.
Haha, comment of the day goes to Kelley. Just because I need to start using “Awesometown, USA” immediately.
The fabric would make a great back of a quilt. You could use the year of yardage fabric for the front. A cute, simple, quilt as you go stripe style would be a great and then you could keep the fabric in order. Maybe even applique the number of each week on the stripes. :)
That could be the cutest birthday invite I’ve ever seen!
OMG. you guys are so great. I actually thought there for a min that there were 52 onesies in her closet that you had silkscreened!! (but knowing that you are nothing if not inventive, I knew there had to be a twist!!) I love reading your blog, and catching up on all the great stuff you’ve done in the new house in such a short time. :-)
I loooove your site, and I especially LOVE the clara project. Something I’ve been wondering about- what do you do with the fabric from each week? I ask because I’m a quilter, and that’s where my mind goes directly. Have you ever given thought in making those pieces of fabric into a quilt for her?
Yup, that’s the plan! I’d love to make a quilt and a flag banner for her b-day with them all. Still have to learn how to use my new sewing machine though…
If it’s not too nosy, did you find a sewing class or a sewing tutor to help you out?
Yes I found a few options for classes and a bunch of online tutorials, so I guess I’m well on my way as soon as I find time to actually devote to them!
What a great idea. Makes me sad I did not do something like this for my three girls. Oh well, I have other great pics of them!
Ahhh! So many cute ideas I don’t know which one to talk about first.
The invites for Clara’s big day turned out wonderfully. Props to you guys for your great Photoshop skills. I got Photoshop for Christmas and it is *still* sitting in its case because I am too intimidated to open it! Do you have any tips on websites/book/etc. that help you learn the program? Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Or, you guys can Skype with me and do some private lessons in your free time. No?
I am headed over to babycenter (although the only baby I have is a giant dog) to check out that Clara fabric. It looks fabulous!
Haha, at the Skype lessons. We’d be the most distracted teachers ever with the baby and the dog and the blog. Haha. John and I both learned in high school & college (we took a few classes) so maybe see if local colleges offer classes or grab a Photoshop tutorial book from the library or Barnes & Noble? Good luck!
Question: you mentioned that you are sending some of these invitations to NY- is this just to family who are planning to be down anyhow or what? Not to be nosy- it’s just that lately I’ve been getting invitations to things like first birthday parties and baby showers that are out-of-state. I feel like these things used to be low-key, strictly local events that just keep getting bigger. Are people who invite out-of-staters to these things actually expecting the recipients to fly down for a baby shower or first birthday? I feel a little silly RSVP’ing “Um, sorry, would love to go but I live 14 hours away, which you clearly know, since you know my address and all” Or are they just wanting to share the news and the cute invite? Am I supposed to be sending a gift, as if it was a wedding I couldn’t attend? So many questions! Sorry! I’m just wondering about the appropriate response to this.
Haha, good question! My mom lives in NY and she’s Clara’s biggest fan (in an obsessed with her and might steal her from me way) so we just sent one to her (as a formality because she’s definitely coming) and also sent one to Clara’s friend in NY (the message on the back of that one was “I know it’s too far to come, but I wanted you to see my cute invite! – Clara.” But I think it’s pretty universal if you’re from out of state and not a very very close blood relative it’s nothing that major if you can’t make it. We always say “no pressure!!!” to everyone. Even local friends who can’t make it.
I love that you incorporated the weekly photos into the party theme – can’t wait to hear more about it! I don’t think I’ve ever commented before, because I figure you get enough comments – but I’m sure that you still appreciate each one :)
I LOVED planning my daughter’s first birthday party – it was so much fun! We did weekly photos all year too, and displayed them at the party – you can check it out if you’re interested:
What a cute party! I love all the weekly photos strung up on the wall. And I’m jealous your girl has so much hair! Haha.
Oh – and! I love winkflash – we’ve ordered many canvas prints of my photos from them, usually at 60% off – great quality and such a good deal!!
Jamie Rae says
LOVE the fabric! I have to make a mental note of that for the future.
Oh my … y’all are reading my mail! Well, my business related mail. I’ve been SEARCHING for a company to use for my digital designs, but couldn’t find anyone with reasonable prices. EUREKA! Thank you, once again, Youngsters, for giving me another great source!! :0)
Oh – and I LOVE the invites! So YOU.
Hilary @ My So-Called Home says
Clara’s 13 week photo is by far my favorite, her imaginary mustache twirling is so stinkin cute! And I really loved the chevron-esque quilt pattern you Pinned. Hope you can wrangle that sewing machine into submission sooner than later.
[email protected] says
The fabric is sooooo great!! Can’t wait to see the full post!
Gorgeous! I love them. I have been wondering what you create and I think they are fantastic! I can’t wait to see pictures from the party.
so so so adorable! happy early birthday clara! :)
I really like the font that you used for Clara’s birthday invitation. Would you be able to share which one you used? I love this idea! Clara is going to just love this when she gets older – she’s really lucky that she has you two to document all of this for her.
That’s “Otari” (which is the same one we use to write “weeks” on her onesie in the weekly pics). Hope it helps!
Ashley @ DesignBuildLove.co says
how cute!!! I LOVE the invites. They turned out great! Happy birthday to the beautiful little girl! (And I love the Clara fabric!)
Your invites turned out so cute! I’d be so excited to get an invite like that in the mail.
Love the invitations. You are both very creative!!!!
Adorable invitation! If you guys ever want to go the local route for your printing, I highly recommend Uptown Color (804-353-2679 or uptowncolor.com). I’m a graphic designer, and whenever I DIY invitations for myself or friends, I get them printed there. I usually deal with Ray, but everyone there is super nice. They do great quality work for low prices, and they’re fast! One time I sent them a file at 8 a.m., and my invitations were ready at lunchtime. So if you don’t have time to wait for shipping, they’re a good local resource. If you ever use them and end up getting Ray, tell him Mollee said hi!
We LOVE Uptown Color! They actually used to be the only local print shop that we used for all of the art that we used to sell in our YHL shop back in the day. Best guys ever (especially Ray and Brian Walker).
Everything is so adorable!!! The fabric is amazing, you guys are so creative! Love it!
Sam F says
Love, love, love the personalized fabric!
Sam F says
and the invites!
Clara is SO stinkin’ adorable! I just love her Flickr page- just when I think she can’t get any cuter, she does! You are such an adorable family. I love the postcard invitation and the personalized fabric- great ideas! Can’t wait to here more about how the party comes along! Hope you enjoy every second!
Winkflash has wonderful deals – they have daily deals going on almost all the time for their Facebook fans. Their photo books are wonderful – we used one for our guest book at our wedding and gave each parent and grandparent a wedding picture book for Christmas because we caught one of their 60% off sales.
Love the blog and the design ideas – we just hung new curtains in our living room and went the high and wide route :) Makes our town home seem so much bigger!
I love the series of Clara photos! How long are you going to keep it up for?
We’re planning to keep up the weekly ones until she turns one (just four more left) and then keep doing them on a monthly basis between year one and two.
you guys are ridiculously awesome.
i want to be you! my husband laughs at me b/c of how much i admire your creativity!!!!
i have a 5 1/2 month old baby girl, and i’ve been taking the weekly pictures on fabrics and i love doing it! i absolutely love your first birthday invite! too stinkin cute!!! and the personalized fabric.
oh. my. god!!!!
i just wish i was better with photoshop!!!
I’m giddy with excitement! DIY fabric?! The possibilities are endless! Thanks for the great idea. Clara has grown so much. I don’t know if it’s just me but on the videos you’ve posted of her, it sound like she’s repeating sounds and even words pretty clearly. She’ll be talking before you know it. I have three children, two boys and one girl. Girl spoke very early, boys took a while longer. She’s precious. :o)
Yes! She’s talking now! We hear “uh oh” a lot, and “doggie” and of course “mama” and “dada.” She also tries to say “Burger” (sounds like buhguh) and “hi” too! Most fun ever.
When you’re done keeping your little one talking to yourself (I’d want to keep it all to myself :P), you should definitely post a video of her talking to Flickr! I’d imagine her voice is just oh-so-cute.
We’d love to get it on video! She never does it when the camera is up! It’s like she knows. Little stinker.
I love the invites! What a wonderful idea you guys! I think I might steal your weekly fabric idea for the day I have my own little ones!