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Posts from the ‘Design’ Category

Wedding Invitations

So Brian and I were on a mission to get our invitations out before August. We have been behind on a bunch of things and I was starting to panic when it hit me that the wedding is only two months away. Gah! But now that we got the invitations out the door I certainly feel a lot better. It took us about a week to finalize the graphics and I had initially wanted these to be letterpressed, but since we dragged our feet for way too long there just wasn’t enough time. So we proceeded to do all the printing and cutting ourselves. At the end of it all I am glad we did it this way. There was a greater sense of accomplishment, the teamwork was flawless (no meltdowns or murder plots whatsoever), and we get to high five each other for a job well done. High five, sweetie. Although let’s not procrastinate this much anymore in the future.

This invitation suite looks nothing like our save-the-dates, but that’s because 5 months ago we didn’t have an idea of what our wedding would look like. For the graphics I wanted to incorporate elements that we’ll potentially have at the wedding: bare bulb lights, dahlias, an airstream trailer (our caterer will be arriving in one), and geometric patterns. I am pretty happy with how it turned out. Below are some behind-the-scenes-type photos that I wanted to share. Pardon the bad lighting on most of these. Cheers!













Getting Back Into the (Wedding Planning) Groove!

Wow, you know you’ve been gone a long time when you log in to your account to find out that the WordPress dashboard looks completely different! It has been really busy the past couple of months (reasons reasons) and I have miserably fallen out of my blogging groove, even the wedding planning has come to a halt. But the cold hard truth is that September is just around the corner, which means Brian and I need to seriously get our act together. So earlier this week we started working on some concepts, even managed to drag ourselves to the paper store (where we spent almost 2 hours) to look at paper stock for the invitations. One of the challenges of having a designer for a fiance is that decisions take longer to make, because he too needs to weigh in on every little detail. The good part is that there are twice as many ideas bouncing around the table, and even better is the part where we finally agree on something, check it off the list, and move on to the next item and proceed to beat it to death! But I digress.

The other day I put together a mood board that kind of represents what we both want for our wedding. Our venue is located in a historic 1927 building with very cool industrial details — concrete floors, old brick walls, timber and steel. We decided to incorporate some industrial elements to the decor, and some vintage pieces and flowers to balance them out and give it some softness. In addition, we wanted to incorporate some geometric forms that speak to our love of modern design.

(photos of venue by abbey hepner )

mood board 4

Since we’re having a casual cocktail style reception, we plan to have bistro tables and tallboys, and some couch seating in lieu of banquet tables. There will be 25% less seating to encourage guests to walk around and mingle. And of course there will be ample space for dancing.

C:UsersBrian DobryDocuments1 NoelleweddingFINALMelrose M

We plugged a few things in CAD to help us better visualize the layout and check that everything fits in the space. We will be projecting a photo slide show on the brick wall, and I am planning on having Brian build us a honeycomb backdrop for the ceremony area (after the wedding, we get to use them as shelves at home!)


Can’t wait for all this to come together!
Inspiration for the ceremony backdrop here!

Save-the-Date Pulpboard Coasters

Hi everyone! So we finally got our coasters last week and we couldn’t be more pleased with how they turned out. If you’re having a casual wedding like us, coaster save-the-dates might fit the bill for you. They are fun and functional, and very fitting for a cocktail party reception. Letterpress printing adds another level of interest to it, transforming your message into a tactile piece of art.

I just finished sending these out to my portion of the guest list yesterday and I’m excited for everyone to receive it. Two things that Brian* and I agreed to incorporate in the design for the coasters: our pets, and typewriter-style fonts (he was very adamant about the latter). After we came to a consensus on the final design, I think the rest of the pieces came together pretty easily.

The coaster was designed in Illustrator. If you’re doing the same make sure to convert all the text into outlines (this is a neat trick that I had learned) prior to sending off the file to the letterpress folks. This alleviates font hassles, in case they don’t have the specific ones that you’re using.

Letterpress is fairly inexpensive contrary to popular belief. The trick is to limit your color palette. The more colors you incorporate in your design, the more expensive it gets. A color is counted every time a separate printing printing plate is needed, so if you’re a budget-conscious bride it’s best to keep things simple.

Our funny little postage stamp was Brian’s brilliant idea. It still cracks me up every now and then. Below are some photos of the final product (with some personal info deleted/blurred). I also included some info on where we had them made at the end of this post. I hope you’ll be inspired to make one for your own shindig. Cheers!

Original design: First Bar (all rights reserved!)
Letterpress printing: Laughing Owl Press
A2 kraft envelopes (100% recycled): Laughing Owl Press
Rubber stamp return address:
Awesome typewriter-style fonts that we used: Roger White Typewriter (the date on the coaster), and Typewriter Condensed (the address portion of the rubber stamp)
Colors used: Peach (Pantone DS 70-3U), and Brown (C55 M60 Y65 K40)


*I think this is the first time I’ve used Brian’s real name in this blog. Eh. I figured it’s about time you all get to know him!

Letterpress Coasters

Breezy and I were bouncing around ideas for save-the-dates that would be fitting for a cocktail party reception. At the end of the day we came to a consensus that letterpress coasters would be the way to go.

Although a century-old form of printing, letterpress has exploded over the last several years and I’m seeing it everywhere from invitations to business cards to restaurant menus and of course, coasters. In this digital world where everything is reduced to pixels, I think people have started to get a newfound (or rekindled) appreciation for things made by hand. And to me there’s something refreshing about getting back to basics. I have embraced the digital world no doubt (Hello, Adobe what would I do without you) but at the same time I don’t think I can ever let go of the trusty old sketchbook.

I finished the design for our save-the-dates this past weekend, and Joe over at the Laughing Owl Press is on board and currently working on it. These guys have an impressive body of work as evidenced on their website, they use equipment that date as far back as 1908 (what?), and they are super easy to work with. Sent them my file and that was it. Now I sit back and wait. I’m very excited to see how they turn out.

I’ll be posting our design at a later date, I can’t show you just yet or it won’t be a surprise, so in the meantime here are some gorgeous designs from various creative minds out there. Porn I say! Letterpress porn.










Easy DIY Baby Shower Gifts

I attended a former co-worker’s baby shower last weekend. As always I try to give people something handmade because I feel it’s more special that way. Granted, hectic schedules don’t always allow it. I mean let’s be real, by the time I get home from work and walk the dog and make dinner, all I want to do is relax on the couch. And the weekends are somehow always filled with chores. Gah! It never ends! So, pfff! Who has the time to MAKE gifts?! Well you know, these two things here are super easy to make, that’s why I wanted to share them with you. Crocheted hats for babies are really only a couple of square inches in area, and even if you’re a beginner, you can most definitely make one in half a day. Top it off with a puffy pompom and you’ve got an adorable little snow hat. The pattern for the hat below is by Kristi Simpson and you can get it for 3.99 on Etsy.

Another easy project for a baby shower gift is a receiving blanket. Every mother-to-be needs one. Or five. Make a blanket that’s big enough so baby doesn’t outgrow it too soon. I made the one below at about 45″ square. Purchase about 1 1/2 yards of plain flannel fabric (you can always save the extra for another project in the future), and about 1/2″ yard of printed lightweight cotton fabric as an accent. Cut your main fabric and hem the edges, then cut about a 4″ to 6″ wide strip of your accent cloth, fold the edges and sew it on one side of the blanket using a zigzag stitch.

Sew 4 Home has an easy step-by-step on how to sew a mitered hem. Check it out!

And there you have it! You can’t go wrong with either of these gifts. And both of these you can do in less than a day. Happy gift-making!

Design Candy: Blue Poppy Seed

So just as a forewarning to you all, I may be posting a lot of wedding related stuff in the months leading up to the big day. I hope you all don’t mind. I promise to keep it interesting and design-focused so that anyone out there can perhaps use the ideas that I post for their own wedding. This month on our self-imposed timeline, we are supposed to send out save-the-date cards to guests, and I have been looking at a LOT of pretty paper lately. And speaking of pretty paper, Jen over at Blue Poppy Seed makes the cutest invitation printables. You can check out more of her designs on Etsy. Aren’t these adorable?

Illuminating Blogger Awards

Holy smokes has it already been a month since my last post?! My apologies dear readers, but while I realize that I have been spread too thin, I know that most of it is self-inflicted. The biggest item on my plate right now is our wedding that we planned for late September this year. Even though we’re keeping it small, it’s still a lot of work! We now have all the major vendors booked and on board, which means we can now focus on the fun stuff: invitations and décor. But I am sad I haven’t found the time to revisit any of my textiles. I have dreamt up new designs in my head that I’m itching to put on paper. If I can only figure out how to better manage my time, maybe I can work on all my projects simultaneously. And of course blogging is the last thing that I want to take for granted, because interestingly enough, it’s what keeps me on track.

So! Back to business. Last month I was given the opportunity to pass on the Illuminating Blogger Award to 5 other bloggers. But before I do so I am required to share a random fact about myself:

I… carry a steel tape measure everywhere I go. Yup! A little three-footer that’s attached to my key chain. You’re probably thinking “what a nerd!”, but let me tell you it’s one of the most useful items in my bag. And seriously what are you going to do if you come across a nice piece of free furniture while walking your dog and aren’t sure if it will fit in your house… Ok this happens rarely but it’s just an example.

So, now that you’ve learned a little tidbit about me, time to pass the torch to the following blogs:

Jeanne McGee – super cool wood-stamped textile designs

Draw and Shoot – beautiful, almost surreal photographs inspired by nature, architecture and design

Kirsty Loves Cardboard – impressive cardboard sculptures by a Melbourne-based artist and architect

Illustrated Bites – a blog that marries food and illustration

Hamster and the Bee – cute handmade soft toys

light bulb concept

If you accept and I hope you all do, please share something about yourself, then pass it on to 5 of your favorite blogs.

Have a great evening everyone!

Fat Quarters and an Award

So I would like to start off this blog post by giving a shout out to Veronica over at Agujas, for bestowing the Illuminating Blogger Award to First Bar. Thanks for the love Veronica! And in return I get to pass this on to 5 other bloggers too, which I will be announcing in a separate post. What a great community of people I have found here in the blogging world. You all are amazing.

On another note, my fabric proofs have arrived! I actually ordered these last month but haven’t had the chance to take photos of them. I am very excited with these and pleased at how they turned out. There are a few things I’d like to tweak before I make them available for purchase over at Spoonflower. In the meantime, here is a sneak preview (pardon the bad lighting). Oh and happy Fat Tuesday everyone!

Clockwise from the right:

Chinese Pistache in teal
Koi Fish
Japanese Maple
Chinese Pistache – grey
Ginkgo Biloba

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