Under The Sea Baby Shower 11*12*2011

I created this “Under the Sea” baby shower theme for a very special momma – my cousin Natalie!  She wanted a big affair – 70 people, including kids and men – so it had to be anything but ordinary!

Wishing Tree

This shower was originally scheduled – and styled – for outdoors in a pretty, terraced backyard.  But a week before the shower was to take place, we found out that our Southern California sun wasn’t going to behave.  Instead of having a beautiful relaxing sun-soaked November day, we’d have soaking of a different sort.  Rain.  Buckets of rain.

I can’t lie – it was a bit of a shocker, since no one counted on rain during what was supposed to be a very dry November in San Diego.  What was worse was that the home where we’d planned to hold the shower couldn’t accommodate 70 people indoors.  So, thanks to a very generous coworker, we moved on to Plan B: the gourmet kitchen and bar areas of a private clubhouse (the rest of which was already rented out that day for a bridal shower!).

Luckily it was an absolutely gorgeous venue, and luckily even the rain didn’t keep away the throngs of guests.  We showered this Mama in style!

We created some really fun touches, from GORGEOUS sea urchin vases custom made by the insanely creative Desiree of Penny Blooms to cascading bubble chandeliers made from clear glass ornaments provided by the mom-to-be to a wishing tree made from driftwood.

Sea urchin vases by Penny Blooms!

Sea Urchin vases custom made by Penny Blooms

Bubble Chandelier

Driftwood Wishing Tree

Driftwood Wishing Tree

Driftwood Wishing Tree

Natalie and Tony decided that they didn’t want to know the gender of their unborn baby, so we threw a completely gender-neutral party (complete with coloring pages asking if the kids in attendance thought the baby was a Stella – girl – or Brayden – boy, and a single game asking adults in attendance to fill in their guesses for birth stats and gender).  I have to admit, it was kind of tough staying firmly in the “cute and gender neutral” category, but it was helpful that Natalie chose such an adorable “Under the Sea” theme, inspired by a set of scrapbooking stickers she found when she found out she was first pregnant!

I created a set of printed pieces including an invitation featuring original artwork (inspired by the stickers) an original poem by Practically Perfect Poetry, Prose, and Proofreading – I just love how much personality there was in that sweet little turtle!

Invitation featuring original artwork by Events by Elisa and and original poetry by Practically Perfect Poetry, Prose, and Proofreading

Food tags by Events by Elisa

Sweet Table Tags by Events by Elisa

Custom Thank You cards by Events by Elisa

Then of course there was my personal favorite feature of the party – a huge ocean-themed sweets buffet featuring a gorgeous “wave” backdrop of fabric that my amazing assistant found at Joann’s Fabric, hand-assembled clamshell cookies (made by me!), a sculpted sandcastle cake by Hey There, Cupcake!, and the most adorable sea creature cake pops by Calculated Whisk!  The “sand” was actually brown sugar, and the rocks and shells were candy – and every kid there (and some of the adults) loved that they could eat every bit they wanted!  Plus brown sugar was inexpensive, non-toxic, and looked and smelled amazing!

Sweet Table by Events by Elisa, featuring Hey There, Cupcake and Calculated Whisk

Clamshell cookies, assembled by Events by Elisa

Sweet Table by Events by Elisa, with brown sugar "sand"

Gummy fish and Godiva Gems on the Under the Sea Sweets Table created by Events by Elisa

Turtle cake pops by Calculated Whisk!

Gorgeous sand castle cake by Hey There, Cupcake!

A sand castle made of cake, by Hey There, Cupcake!

I can’t help but throw in one extra shot of those cookies…  I just love them so much!

One more shot of

And of course I’m happy to report that Natalie gave birth to Baby Boy Brayden last month and he’s beautiful!

Natalie’s Under the Sea Baby Shower 11*12*2011 Party Details:

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Bridal Kool Aid Cocktail Hour Now Available on iTunes!

I have to say, although I was expecting it, it’s awfully thrilling to see my work on a site as prominent as iTunes!

Bridal Kool-Aid Cocktail Hour Logo on iTunes!Listen here, and see the original post here!

Logo Design: The Bridal Kool-Aid Cocktail Hour

A few weeks ago, I blogged briefly about being a featured vendor on Rogue Bride.  I was fortunate to be able to meet up with Lauren in person for happy hour not too long afterward, and I learned all about her new podcast with Christie from Hindsight Bride, “The Bridal Kool-Aid Cocktail Hour.”  It’s all about making good choices for yourself in your wedding planning process (rather than following the crowd, spending unnecessarily, and “drinking the kool-aid”).

Now, I love beautiful over-the-top amazing and/or frilly weddings as much as the next girl, but as I have said over and over, there is no one way to plan a wedding, and there is no reason you can’t plan a beautiful wedding without spending a ton of money.  It’s all about being realistic – and creative – with your budget.  Which is why I enjoyed the perspective so much at the Cocktail Hour – it’s all about making smart choices, with a good helping of snark.  Seriously these two ladies crack me up.

Lauren and Christie asked me if I’d be up for creating a logo for the podcast, and of course I said yes!

They gave me a font they loved, a color, some ideas, and said “go for it!”  I started off with the idea of doing a traditional “graphic” logo in Illustrator and even made a couple of attempts at a cocktail glass.  But I have to tell you that it was boring, boring, boring.  This show is anything but boring!  The most important part of graphic design, in my opinion, is editing, during both design conception and execution.  In other words, I knew I had to edit my original approach to the project.  That’s when I realized that what this project needed was a photograph.  A really interesting photograph.

I’m not a photographer, so the task was daunting.  I actually started off with a bunch of photos of the full cocktail glass with the engagement ring (not mine!) floating inside, but I wasn’t in love with the way they looked.  More boring.  More idea editing.

I spilled a little bit (actively, taking photos of the spillage).  I just started playing around with the spill and realized that I really liked the look, and that the spilled drink went well with the irreverence of the whole show.  So I styled and shot and restyled and reshot and finally came up with this:

Original Photo

I loved the imagery of the spilled cocktail with the engagement ring!  All it needed was some processing (aka: more editing, this time of the photo itself), and about 2 hours over Skype laughing until my stomach hurt (and nerding out over the English language) with Christie and Lauren.

The resulting logo is subtle and edgy, interesting and fun.  We all love it.  It’s easily one of my favorite design pieces ever, and I’m so proud of it!

The Bridal Kool Aid Cocktail Hour

The second podcast (“Forget the Cake, Let Them Drink Booze”) went live this morning, and it’s SO good!  If you are planning your wedding, or have ever planned a wedding, or like weddings…  Or just like snark…  It’s totally worth checking out on iTunes or by clicking on the logo below!!!  (iTunes is being stupid right now, so I’ll update the link as soon as it’s started behaving again!)


Bridal Koolaid Cocktail Hour, DIY Cake
Word of warning: The language does get a bit salty in places (since I tend toward wholesomeness online, I want to make sure I make that disclaimer!).

Baby Shower Printed Materials

My friend Christina is having a baby!  We got married around the same time, and met while planning our own weddings.  Our group of friends has a tradition of throwing group baby showers where we do a sort of group hosting, each contributing something to the day.  I was so honored to be able to provide printed materials (and florals – but those were really thanks to Trader Joe’s and my milk glass collection!), including a custom Mardi Gras-themed invitation (to go with Baby Girl’s purple and gold room!).

First of all, though, my friend Jennie’s awesome custom bunting (with some of my flowers…  oh, do I love my milk glass!):

Baby Bunting by Jennie

I don’t know if she’s ready to start taking orders yet but I swear she should make and sell her handmade goodies – that girl is so talented! 🙂

I’m super-proud of the invitation, featuring original artwork by yours truly and an original poem by Practically Perfect Poetry, Prose, and Proofreading.  Seriously, all, my friends are the bomb.  Cassiopeia IS taking orders, and I swear I don’t know how she does it.  She whipped up this perfect Mardi Gras poem in less than a day! 🙂

Baby Shower Invitation

Baby Shower Invitation

Last but not least, my friend Helena picked these cake pop favors up from CakeyPops, and I made the sweet little tags to go with!

Baby Shower Favor Tags

Congratulations Christina!  I can’t wait to meet Baby Girl!  Thanks for letting me be a part of your shower day! ❤

E+D Wedding Invitation

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I promised you that I’d be showing you E+D’s wedding invitation in a future post.  I’ll admit that it took me longer than I’d expected, and I wish that I could show you more of it.  I hate blurring things out because you lose some of the effect.  But I understand the lovely E’s request for privacy!

Before I get to the pretty photos, I want to share the love that she sent me about my last post:

OMG, Elisa!  What a super, super sweet feature!  Such kind, generous, happy, warm thoughts and words — thank you so much!!!  And, thank you so much for getting us and what we were going for — and for helping making it happen!  And, you made it look easy and no stress, how do you do that?  I miss collaborating, talking and thinking with you!  You were always so receptive and supportive of all the crazy ideas from the start, being excited with me about the million cute and creative ideas out there, and talking me through just about all of them.  At the end, the day was so much more than I could ask for — all I could be was happy and overwhelmed.  :o)

E + D, every time I see the photos from your wedding I end up with a big dopey smile on my face.  You guys rock!

And now on to the pretty things!

E wanted a very handmade look to her wedding invitations, so she asked her friend R to make a papercut background for us to use!

R worked magic with her scissors and her scanner, and sent me this.  Seriously, isn’t it gorgeous?

E+DInviteDraft

She even cut out E+D’s names and “hung” them from the banner between the two trees, but obviously that’s been blurred.

The only thing was – construction paper is a different size and shape than invitations.   So I worked with E for about 8 hours, playing with drafts and sending ideas back and forth from San Diego to Los Angeles (thank goodness for the internet!).  It was a marathon session, since E+D weren’t sure until a few days before whether they were actually going to send out paper invitations, and wanted to get them sent out a month in advance of the big day.  But I’m really really proud of what we came up with.

E+D Wedding Invitation

I know it might not mean a lot to anyone who’s not a computer design nerd.  But the original invitation background was made from construction paper.  Working with it digitally involved painstakingly cutting out pieces of the original invitation and blending colors (since construction paper has natural variations).  And since we changed the aspect ratio (landscape to portrait) entirely, I found I needed to create some pieces of the picture that weren’t there, including lower tree trunks, grass, and flowers.  I conjured up tiny shadows to mimic a scanned construction paper page.  In addition (and I know it’s hard to see in the photo), I worked with E to find a font that looked like it, too, was cut from paper.  I also created a reply card and a map to match, taking little elements of the invitation and recoloring and editing them in the style of the original.  This was a true labor of love, but when it was done it was truly beautiful.

But the gorgeousness didn’t stop there.  You’ve already seen the front cover of E+D’s program, but in case you need a reminder, here’s the photo taken by Heidi Ryder:

E+D Wedding Program

This photo isn’t nearly as gorgeous (since I took it), but here’s the cute bird detail we added to the back of the kraft paper program (we wanted it to look like they were stamped, the look we went for on the front too):

E+D Program Back

And inside was a beautiful “medallion” that R designed.  This art was used on the COOLHAUS wrappers too!  Photo by Heidi Ryder (yes, sorry, I blurred out names too).

E+D Program Inside

And R came through during the reception too, creating the gorgeous custom guestbook to match (photo by Heidi Ryder):

Beautiful Handmade Guestbook

Of course I had to get in on the act, adding birds to my chalk welcome sign (photo by Heidi Ryder):

Welcome Chalkboard

E had tons and tons of ideas.  And I love how we were able to in tie many of them – even ones that didn’t seem to go together – using a single motif!  The handmade birds really made the details of this gorgeous wedding!

Custom Animal Cake Toppers Available in my Etsy Shop!

I’m super excited to announce the arrival of a Cake Topper section in my Etsy shop today!  Currently I have only one listing – the “Custom Cake Topper.”  Eventually I’ll get to the point where I have some “standard” pieces as well, but for the moment I’m simply looking forward to working on some custom cake toppers for clients!

I currently have a photo up that was taken at my friend Neva’s wedding last weekend (more photos of the fete are on my Facebook page, and even more will be posted here on the blog over the next few weeks!).  I created these elephants as gifts to Neva and her new husband Rob and, while they weren’t perfect (hey, they were my very first attempt and a last-second addition that was wedged between projects she needed me to complete; also they only took me a total of about 6 hours…  part of the reason I’ve indicated a 6-8 week turnaround window for these custom projects is to give me plenty of time to sculpt and set aside before tweaking and baking), they were the hit of the party.

These custom cake toppers are made almost entirely of polymer clay but may include wood supports and may include pieces that are glued on.  I am totally excited to work on my first orders!  If you’re interested in custom cake toppers please send me an e-mail or an Etsy convo!

iROCK Logo Design

About a month ago, one of my friends sent an e-mail out to our group: “I need a logo TODAY – can anyone help?”  She’s a teacher and their school was doing STAR testing.  They wanted to play off of the Apple “i” products (“iPod, iPad, iMac, etc.) and incorporate a bulls-eye target to encourage the students to reach their target score.  The logo had to be easily printable on a one-color tee shirt and translatable to posters.  And done that afternoon.

As Barney Stinson says on How I Met Your Mother, “Challenge accepted!”

I worked for a few hours to put together a basic design and sent it off to her, and it was just what they needed.  Uncomplicated, using all the pieces they needed, and easily translatable between media.

They used it for the whole testing campaign, which is now over.  I think it makes a pretty cute shirt, as far as school shirts go!

iROCK tee-shirt, Logo Design by Events by Elisa

iROCK tee-shirt, Logo Design by Events by Elisa

And here’s the poster:

iROCK poster, Logo Design by Events by Elisa

iROCK poster, Logo Design by Events by Elisa

Custom Wedding “Cirque” Poster

I wish I could have done two things at once this past weekend – I would have coordinated this wedding in addition to being the Matron (eep) of Honor!  At any rate, I was able to help out with a lot of the crafts (and have a renewed love for paper mache!) and design the basic printed materials.  Unfortunately as I had other duties, I didn’t have a chance to photograph the bar menu and info tags, or the hand-made domes the bride so painstakingly painted.  But a friend of the bride sent me these two excellent photos (better than anything I took!) of the Welcome and Photo Zone posters I made as a special gift for the bride.  They measured 20×30″ and were mounted on foam core and brought a lot of fun to the party!

The design is all original – from the scroll to the tent, all made with a few (okay, a lot) clicks of my mouse.  I love the look, too – a sort of vintage circus poster in the Cirque du Soleil colors (the bride’s cocktail hour had a Cirque theme)!

Welcome to Cirque du Cabaza - Events by Elisa

Welcome to Cirque du Cabaza - Events by Elisa

Cirque du Cabaza Photo Zone Instructions - Events by Elisa

Cirque du Cabaza Photo Zone Instructions - Events by Elisa

Pretty Book-Themed Baby Shower Invitation!

I have been waiting to share this one with you for a while!  I absolutely adore this custom-created Baby Shower invitation, featuring completely original artwork based on the characters of A. A. Milne (illustrated by E.H. Shepard) and Beatrix Potter!  The characters from both authors are sitting down to a beautiful picnic and tea!  I absolutely loved this beautiful invitation – and creating it was a great reminder that the creative process is all about collaboration.  I’d come up with something completely different and had a sort of vague idea of an alternate invitation.  When the party’s host saw my alternate invitation draft, she told me to run with it – and offered some crucial ideas about how to make it better (namely, add more characters!).  The result is one of my favorite projects EVER!

Baby Shower Invitation Featuring Custom Artwork - Events by Elisa

Baby Shower Invitation Featuring Custom Artwork - Events by Elisa

Check in tomorrow to see photos from the shower itself, or visit my Facebook page!

Pretty Peacock Bridal Shower!

You may remember this post, where I shared the original artwork that went into my friend’s bridal shower invitation.

Well, the bridal shower was last weekend, and it turned out beautifully, and I wanted to share some photographs with you!

A very blue sweet table!

A very blue sweet table! - Events by Elisa

Love is Sweet! tags, Events by Elisa

Love is Sweet! tags, Events by Elisa

A peacock wishing tree with custom tags - Events by Elisa

A peacock wishing tree with custom tags - Events by Elisa

Peacock Wishing Tree with tags - Events by Elisa

Peacock Wishing Tree with tags - Events by Elisa

All of the jars, the wishing tree, the crystals, and the large peacock are all available for rent through Events by Elisa, too!