Thursday, February 04, 2010

a homemade birthday invitation

Last weekend I set aside some time to make up an invitation for my daughter Adelaide's upcoming third birthday party. Addie has been chattering on and on and on about her birthday for months now, but one of her ramblings that touched my heart is her desire to invite the birds outside our window to her party. With this she inspired me to make up a little bird birthday invitation and party.

With this inspiration, I drew up a quickly scribbled concept drawing. This little sketch was very rough, but I has happy with the shape of the birds which came from such a quick and loose drawing. I have learned from my partner Charles (who is a professional Concept Artist) that often, the most powerful images come from the quickest sketches. The more a drawing is replicated and pushed, it can become less free and compelling. So, I kept the rough little sketch tucked safely away until I had time to make something more of it.

When it was time, I scanned in my quick little drawing, and traced over it with the pen tool in Adobe Illustrator. This became my template with which to make up some little birds. I printed out a few of my bird line drawings. I printed a few of these little bird drawings out, and used them to cut out collage pieces for my birds. Using all sorts of scraps - fabric, paper, linen-backed wallpaper - I cut the shapes out using my template. I lightly glued all my little cut pieces to a piece of white paper, and when I was happy with the composition I scanned them into Adobe Photoshop, where I touched up any small details and sized the image.

Once my image was ready, I saved my photoshop file into a .tif and placed it in Illustrator. I do this because I despise working with typography in Photoshop - I find Illustrator is much better for this kind of work. In Illustrator I then made and added the 1, 2, 3 numbers and the copy, going back to slightly tweak the background image in Photoshop a couple of times until it worked out best for the space. The typefaces I used are Mrs. Eaves and Engravers.

Then, using my old (Canon Pixma iP4200) desktop printer, printed them out onto this wonderful heavy, linen-canvas paper which I had picked up on sale. Once printed, I trimmed them down using a sharp new xacto blade and metal ruler on a cutting mat, and rounded the corners using my corner rounder.

One thing that I have always been meaning to do for years is to make a thank you card at the same time as making other cards. It is so easy to just put them off (and never, ashamedly, get around to doing) but I am really happy that this time I just pushed myself to get some thank-you's done at the same time. It feels great to already have them, all ready to go!

When I showed Adelaide the finished cards, she kept hugging and kissing them! She loves these little cards so much, that she has been sleeping with them, too!

I really enjoy making things for my daughter - putting a little bit of myself and my love and time my time into handmade things for her. Such as yearly birthday party invitations - partly because I know that I will have them to save for her forever. She really doesn't need any other presents - this is my gift to her.

58 comments:

jennifer said...

these invitations are positively divine. thank you for sharing them. someday your little girl will be all grown-up...and she'll be astonished by the things love motivated you to do for her!

dust in the wind said...

My little girl is also turning 3 this month. It's a wonderful age! Enjoy her :) And, I have to say, your invitation is amazing. I just love it.

dustin
www.onlydustinthewind.blogspot.com

vanessa said...

These turned out beautifully and I enjoyed hearing every step in your creative process! I always wonder how designers create images--now I have a better picture of it all.

My daughter recently turned three--I hope her party is a wonderful time for all of you. I'm sure she will always remember it and treasure the memories.

Nicole said...

Your invitations are beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing how you designed them. I really love the birds!

DOEHLER DAYS said...

These are very cute. I am obsessed with designing invitations and use every excuse to do so. Thanks for sharing. Thought I would share too, here is my daughters second birthday invite.

http://baileydoehler.blogspot.com/2009/08/emmas-2nd-birthday-invite.html

N. said...

These are beautiful! Something for Adelaide to cherish forever.

Jill said...

Beautiful. I am amazed and in love with those cards! You are an amazing mother.

cupcake studio said...

What a wonderful gift for your little one! Awesome design!

em said...

Your birthday invitations are my absolute favorite! I really want to use her first birthday one as a model for my invites to my daughter's first birthday. Love your work. :)

Ransacked Goods said...

These are darling. I'd buy them in a heartbeat for my daughter's upcoming 3rd too!

Susan said...

These are absolutely lovely. Thank you for describing your process. It encourages me to try a design of my own! It would be cute to make your daughter a shirt with the bird pattern printed on it.

Melissa Y. Allam said...

That is just beautiful that you did that for your daughter and that also that she says she wants to invite the birds in. Your card is adorable.

Jo said...

Those cards are beautiful! Such a clever design idea, and thanks for explaining the process.

Rebecca said...

These are the sweetest invitations ever. Thanks for taking us through step by step. So sweet that she's loves them so much :)

Gül said...

oh Sharilyn, yet another tearful (in the most nicest sense) reading for me.

How I love your love & care for each other as well as for the World around you and how you both are able to bring it into creativity as lovely as it is.

Petit Filoux said...

That is so cute!

Catherine Hansen Peart said...

Oh, those birds are so delightful. I love this invitation and thank you note set so much. Fabulous!

Laura said...

I love those cards! Especially the thankyou cards and how the birds are saying "thankyou".

Leanda said...

Love this and love how you explain how you work between the two programmes. I hate working with type in Photoshop too... always flicking between the two. And happy birthday to little Adelaide!

Megan said...

Awesome! I've been waiting for you to post what you were going to do for her third birthday invites. :) I know her birthday is coming up, so I've been checking back with excitement to see. I LOVE them!!! And I like how the cards relate from year to year with the pattern theme. I'm planning my daughter's first birthday and am just overwhelmed with invitation ideas and am now frozen because of it. This reminds me that simplicity is most beautiful and impactful!

SweetBeaker said...

simply lovely! you have such great ideas Sharilyn! i get so excited when i see a post from you in my reader!

Stephanie said...

I saw the article about your family in BHG, and I am super impressed with your designs! Thanks for the card idea. I like combining handmade with the computer.

lauren said...

beautiful invites, sharilyn [as always!]!!
my, weren't you just sharing her 2nd birthday invites?! time is flying by!!
enjoy the big day! :)
*

Bruna said...

These invitations are so nice! I can imagine Adelaide kissing and hugging them :)
I've been following your blog for months, it's everything lovely!

Navy Bean said...

These are absolutely gorgeous!! Thank you so much for sharing your step by step process. I'm always fascinated by other designer's creative processes.

wkropka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wkropka said...

i like the simplicity of your card. very inspiring...
your daughter is 3... time run so fast.
greetings :)

turtle and dragon said...

Oh how wonderful! The time and love you put into your creations, especially those for your daughter is so beautiful and inspiring. I hope Adelaide's third birthday is a day full of love and laughter. ~Melanie

Mandy said...

Those are just wonderful! and great post about process... happy weekend!

clara said...

These are amazing. And it is also great that you share the process with your readers, so that we can know how to do this if we want to! As soon as I get a printer/scanner (since I'm away from home) I'm definitely doing more of these. Thank you!

shrielenee said...

I'm always so inspired by your posts and your life. The step-by-step is great as well... it's awesome to learn how people make the things they do! Cheers.

dorisdays said...

I love what you've done. I too make my daughter's birthday invitations (for the last 3 years).

I really love the stock that you used. I'm wondering what kind of printer you use as mine doesn't allow a lot of different stock other than standard printer paper.

stephanie said...

You are such a good mama. I love this. And I love how happy Adelaide was with the finished product. Enjoy the weekend!

jodi said...

these are so wonderful!!

linda said...

Your little invitations are so beautiful and sweet (just like Adelaide). I've been reading your blog for a while now (without leaving comments, sorry!) I too have a daughter who will be three soon (plus a lovely five year old boy), and I work from home as a freelance artist, so I can relate to a lot of your posts. The sweet little things you do for your daughter are so inspiring, thank you for sharing them.

Jill said...

HaPpY BiRthDay AdElaiDe!

The cards are lovely. Thanks so much for sharing your design process, I really appreciate it.
Jill

Moose said...

Those are fantastic. My human mom also works the same way in Photoshop/Illustrator...
Tail Wags to Adelaide on being 3...I am 4.
Woof,
~Moose

f said...

oh gosh, these are amazing.

here's one idea i heard from another mother, that i think you might enjoy. whenever she sends out invitations or holiday cards, she makes one extra, and addresses and posts it to her daughter! then she saves the unopened but postmarked envelope and will give them to her daughter when she's older. i thought that was such a cute idea.
thanks for sharing your invites!

HHenderson said...

So delightful! Question from a Photoshop newbie - why do you prefer to use fabric then scan rather than work with digital patterns. Do you find it has a different effect?

Kristine said...

They are so beautiful. Can you sell them? I'd buy those in a second.

cindy said...

the invitation is so charming and would make a wonderful print. i love the birds. thank you for sharing your how tos and your sweet love for addie with us. it's as though she has many 'online aunts' watching her grow up. enjoy the party!

AnnaVallance said...

This reminds me so much of when my girls were little and planning parties for them.
That is such a beautiful design.

mon ami said...

these cards are so sweet! And, thank you for sharing your process with us.

I noticed you are having the party at Collage Collage! I'm sure it will be great, it is such a special place.

have fun
xo

littlepuffyclouds said...

those are so sweet!! Thanks for explaining the whole process! ...just read the Better Homes article. i was staring at the pictures of your bright and happy home for a while thinking to myself...How can i make my house like this!!?? The organizing will begin today! : ) I am happy to now be following your blog too. It's not only desihgn inspiration, but parenting inspiration too! thank you for sharing! ~Amy in Austin, TX

andrea said...

Happy Birthday Adelaide, what lovely invites your mom has made for you! I would sleep with them too! Sharilyn, I remember you mentioned you were trying to avoid gluten, and i just came across a line of gluten free kids body care products, I thought you might like to know about them, if you don't already! Jason Kids Only. Take care, enjoy your party Adelaide!
http://glutenfree-vancouver.blogspot.com/2010/02/gluten-free-kids-body-care.html

Holly said...

so, so lovely--and clearly, Adelaide approves with all her sweet little heart.

Inha said...

LOVE these! well actually, I am in awe of all your work. thanks so much for sharing your work and your life :)

Ann-Mi said...

This is beautiful. The canvas paper adds a great element of texture to an otherwise simple design.
Sometimes I wonder if having a child would make me more or less creative. I admire you for dedicating such beautiful work to her.

jengee said...

these are beautiful! and i love the idea about making thank you cards at the same time!

Barb Fisher said...

These are simply divine. You are so incredibly talented! Well done, it's no wonder Addie is so in love with them.

SaRaH said...

great job!
and happy birthday for the joung one.

Jena said...

These are too cute! I love them - thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing both the creative and technical process by which this delightful cards were made. It has opened doors for me.

For paper cutting, inluding heavier card stock, I use a rotary cutter, sliding ruler & my cutting mat, the same equipment used for cutting fabrics. They work fantastically and are much less tedious than the exacto method, for me anyway. Bette

Rachel said...

These are beautiful!
I enjoyed reading your step by step process. Sometimes when i create something i feel trapped in this creative box, and then i read and see blogs like yours and the box is opened.

v. said...

This invitation cards are absolutely beautiful !
What a great work you did (and a grat idea you had) !!!

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homemade invitations said...

I too love your creativity and design for this invitation! It takes a lot of time to design and make invitations! I do it all the time too, which is exhausting but thrilling!
-Lindsay

Kristin Mortensen said...

Thank you for sharing your art! I absolutely love your adorable ideas. This card is PERFECT for what I need. My kids are birders and all 3 of their birthdays are within a month of each other so we hold one party. I was able to make a similar one to this. I put their ages in the appropriate bird. Since I don't have a scanner to make the cards as you did, I just used illustrator. I will admit though, yours is much better, but mine will do. ;)