Monday, November 12, 2012

Free Printable Secret Santa gift tags

I've been a Secret Santa a time or two. I love the tradition, but I also know how costly and elaborate it can all get.

Here's a little Christmas gift from May I Propose a Postcard? to make the Secret Santa season a little easier: free printable Secret Santa tags! Even better: The tags feature Santa himself in disguise with a trench and fedora to hide his identity.

Simply DOWNLOAD THE PDF, cut out the tags, write out your secret Santa clues and attach to your Secret Santa gift.

I also carry a Secret Santa postcard in my Etsy shop, if you're a long distance Secret Santa!
Mix and Match with my other holiday designs to create the perfect holiday postcard sampler pack.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

New Postcard Designs

Click on images for larger view.

Here are the latest postcard designs from May I Propose a Postcard? I haven't listed them yet, but when I do I'll add a link. Any suggestions for a new postcard?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bowled over

This is why I love my customers:

An Etsy shopper convos me, mentioning she likes my Alien party set.

There's just one thing....Can the aliens be bowling? You see, her son is having a cosmic bowling party and she can find bowling invites and alien invites, but not bowling aliens invites.

Can I just say how much I love this customer? Genius!

So I mocked up the following cosmic bowling invites for her. I haven't yet listed them, but when I do I'll add a link.

For those who'd like a simpler invitation, I also created this alternative cosmic bowling party set:

I also mocked up this t-shirt design for a tie-died t-shirt.

I seriously love what I do!

Custom Pinterest Party Invite Tutorial

I wrote about my teenage daughter's Pinterest Party yesterday and listed my top 10 tips for a successful Pinterest party. One of my best tips was to use evite or a facebook event page so your guests can comment on what craft and food they're bringing. To help out would-be Pinterest partiers, I'm offering a tutorial (along with a freebie design for the taking, below) on how to take a generic Evite template and make it into a custom Pinterest Party invite.

My teenage daughter does everything on facebook--so using the above jpeg as the main image of a facebook event page is perfect for her age group. But as a mom, I'm more likely to send out an e-mail or evite for my casual event.

Here's how to use the image with evite:

I took this already pretty dang cute photo e-vite template:

 Added this custom coordinating Pinterest Party jpeg I whipped up:

And put it all together for a custom Pinterest Party evite.

While I do love a good paper invitation (um... I AM in the paper business afterall!), for some events an evite will suffice, and may even be a better solution. I do have a printed version of this invitation design that coordinates with this evite in my shop, but I have to say, I think the evite--for a Pinterest Party--is handier than a printed invitation alone, as people can comment on what craft they are doing and which goodies they are bringing on the evite RSVP page.

Have I mentioned how much I love Pinterest? It kinda changed my life. I wrote my very first blog post about it, actually!

Feel free to save this custom jpeg and use it with the coordinating evite template for your own Pinterest Party! 
P.S. You can also use this jpeg as the anchor image on a facebook 'event' page for your Pinterest party,  if facebook is your thing. You can also insert it into an e-mail with party details if that's easiest for you

Can't wait for the next Pinterest party! Have you been to one yet?

Top 10 Pinterest Party Tips

My teenage daughter had a Pinterest Party this summer. As is becoming increasingly common when it comes to her social calendar, I was totally jealous! She had all her Pin-happy friends pick a craft and bring a goody from a recipe found on Pinterest and they got pinspired. My contribution was opening my rather jam-packed craft closet and being on hand to step in should any pintrosities arise.

Here are my TOP TEN TIPS for a successful Pinterest party:

TIP # 1
Have a small craft for those who don't bring one. This was a genius idea from my daughter. A few of the girls weren't too into Pinterest (can you imagine?!) or were too busy to pull together the materials, but once they got there were totally into it. My daughter provided all the materials to make cute hairbows--a perfect craft for teenage girls.  Problem solved.

TIP # 2
Put a time limit on the party, but realize the party will run long. I love these girls, but they were at my house from 1-7 pm. Too long. Much too long. We should have set the party from 1-5 pm, and expected it would run until 6. That would have been perfect. You can also suggest in the invite that guests consider the party length when choosing their craft.

TIP # 3
One that note, gently suggest your guests arrive on time. It was the girls who arrived late who stayed late.

TIP # 4
The host should have an ample craft closet, with lots of tools, so everyone doesn't have to bring every last  little item. Provide a list of what will be on hand in the invite. 

TIP # 5
That said, hide your precious crafting items. I hid parts of  the bead and ribbon collections I've curated over the years, but scissors, glue, glue dots, glue guns, paper cutters, paper punches, an x-acto knife, sharpies,  felt, scrap material, yarn, sewing essentials, colorful papers, fabric paint and a slew of other items were theirs for the taking. I wouldn't go out and buy anything, however. It's impossible to know what will be needed.

TIP # 6
Separate the food space from the crafting space!! Lava cake and tulle don't mix!

TIP # 7
The host should plan a salty/savory snack to balance out all the sweet stuff! Maybe it was because they're teenagers, but the sweet dishes waaay outnumbered the savory ones. 

TIP # 8
Keep the party numbers small and make sure each girl has plenty of working space. Let your home size dictate the number of invitees. My dining room isn't yet decorated--just a big table and piano, and not much else, so it was the perfect place to set up. That, with the kitchen table, was enough space for the 10 girls who came to my daughter's party.

TIP # 9
This worked for us, but it might not be right for you, but you may want to plan a craft store run about 30 minutes into the party for the items people will inevitably forget. We sent someone out on an emergency crafting run, and it was a lifesaver for some of the girls.

TIP # 10
Use an evite or facebook event page to invite your guests. Ask that they list the craft and food they are bringing in the comment section. We had waaay too many sweet items. This definitely could have been foreseen with an evite or facebook event page. Plus, the girls could have teamed up and shared crafting supplies. And, hey--what better way to get inspired and pumped up for the event than hearing everyone's plans? Take a look at my Pinterest Party custom Evite--it's free!--for a way to make your evite really special.

BONUS TIP: An idea: My daughter is 17, but I think this would be the perfect mother-daughter party for the 11-12 year-old set. I would love an excuse to get all crafty with my daughter and teach her what I know. Plus the additional crafting knowledge in the room would be invaluable.

Ready to start planning your Pinterest party? Me too! So much fun!

Anyone else out there had a Pinterest Party? I'd love to hear about your experiences!

Friday, September 28, 2012


Working on some new illustrations just for fun today. Designing with my Etsy shop in mind (work) is what I do just about everyday, but sometimes you just have to play, you know?

I've been wanting to make some dinosaur images for awhile. Cute boy stuff can be few and far between sometimes! You may have read that I design with a loved one in mind. These are for my little dinosaur, James. (My six month old.) Here's what I came up with.

A sweet little dinosaur:

And a rough and tough dinosaur:

James can definitely be both, but he's mostly a sweet dinosaur these days. But I know by looking at my nephews that rough and tough will eventually win out. I guess that's ok, sniff!, as long as he never completely loses the sweet little dinosaur inside him.

Which do you like best? Better yet, now that they're here, what should I use them for?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Awards Season, free printable Halloween Costume Award

It's awards season here at May I Propose a Postcard? No. Not Emmys or Oscars, Halloween costume award season, of course!

I got such a nice response to the free Halloween Owl 'You've been booed' printables and favor tags, that I whipped up this handy Best Costume Award free printable as a thank you for all the nice-ness. I love nice! DOWNLOAD THE PDF

But wait! Here's the best part: The pdf is CUSTOMIZABLE!!!!! You choose the categories and type them into the editable pdf.!! So you can be a creative as you want to be (always my favorite!) Plus, you can make sure everyone gets an award.

So go ahead, print out some 'most original costume,' 'scariest costume,' and 'best homemade costume' awards. And while you're at it, print out a 'best use of facial hair' award, a 'that's just not right' award, and a 'twinsies! (2 people, same costume)' award. Get funky.

And if you really like these printables, take a look at the matching invitation printable over at my shop.

Here's a tip: the free favor tags in the free Halloween Owl 'You've been booed' printables match this award design and invitation design perfectly. Can someone say cupcake toppers? (or even thank you stickers?) Here's another tip: The backer file for the award--when printed on regular copy paper instead of cardstock-- makes a great wrapping paper for a small prize! (Here's a copy of it where my logo isn't so danged big.)

So, how are you going to customize this editable best costume award pdf? What's the best/funniest/craziest/most original category you can think of?

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Boo whoo? Don't cry! It's just free Halloween Owl printables!

When I moved to suburbia, it was a matter of weeks before I was first introduced to the concept of boo-ing. If I wasn't ok with moving OTP (outside the perimeter--or in Atlanta speak, the boonies), mysterious free candy showing up on my doorstep really, really helped. Really.

Since I am very pro free candy, I thought my first free printable should celebrate the awesomeness of the BOO-ing tradition. This free printable pdf has a boo sign, poem and instructions, and as an added bonus, punchable favor tags. Enjoy! DOWNLOAD PDF

P.S. If you love these little owls, check out the owl personalized stationery at my etsy shop, both  note cards and birthday cards / gift tags.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Quilt Trip

I've recently listed personalized stationery with this nifty pattern. I've been seeing it all over for about 3 years now and it definitely has the classic but modern feel I try to imbue into all my stationery.

You may have seen it, too, but what you might not know is that it--like almost all my pattern inspiration--has a long, rich history in art. In particular, this pattern has been used in quilts for... well, ever. In quilting, it's called the interlocking wedding ring pattern, or double wedding ring pattern, and has traditionally been used for, you guessed it: a wedding gift!

Am I the only one who loves the nifty origins of these traditional patterns? I can't be!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so

Lately, I've been obsessing over vintage Japanese paper patterns like the one at left. Gorgeous, no? Deceptively simple seeming, it's actually quite complex and not merely a repeated pattern. As I've studied it, I realized each sunburst is unique, even each 'grain' is distinct! Gah!

(I think my recent obsession with Japanese patterns come from playing with a bunch of Washi tape my daughter ordered. It seems like the latest and greatest (and it IS great) but Washi is simply the Japanese word for the traditional papers made from the long inner fibers of three plants, 'wa' meaning Japanese and 'shi' meaning paper. Washi tape is based on those traditional patterns.If you want to learn more about Washi, check out this amazing Japanese Paper Shop that carries the most gorgeous selection of Washi papers.)

If I were making personalized stationery for myself, I think I'd base it on this pattern. I have started creating a pattern inspired by it, but it's taking for-ev-er! The detail! The perfection! So, I'll never be a Washi paper designer. Oh well. There is still hope I might one day be a ninja. One day....

Below are a few of my favorite vintage Washi patterns. The three below happen to come from old kimono patterns from the mid 20th century. The first two are most definitely my style. The last I have my eye on for the inspiration for some personalized stationery I've been meaning to make for my 95 year-old Mom-Mom, but that's a story for another post.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's Great to be a Florida Gator

My favorite way to design personalized stationery, is to be designing for a specific person. That's why I love custom orders so much!

But my favorite, favorite way to design is for someone I love. These note cards were originall y designed for my brand new, sweet as a button niece Parker. Her parents (my sister and her husband) are huge Gator fans, so I couldn't think of anything more perfect than this baby gator stationery. This is also one of my first 100% original illustrations--since I'm still somewhat new at vector art (the high quality image files I use in my designs), I often take pieces of other vectors I've purchased and modify them to my needs.

Almost everyone who has purchased this listing is also a Gator fan,which is pretty darned cool. As we say in my house, It's GREAT to be a Florida Gator!

My Etsy Shop

Here is my shop via Etsy Mini. May I Propose you click a link?

Rugs, not drugs

Here you will find the rug that started it all. It's the Casablanca Dhurrie Rug in Indigo from Z Gallerie. I love this rug. Well, not as a rug, per se, but as a pattern? Yes, please.

So I set out to recreate this pattern. It eventually turned into the Trellis Pattern stationery that, to this day, is one of my favorite stationery sets in my shop. Unlike my more recent designs, it's remarkably similar to the inspiration source.I guess you have to start somewhere!


I guess it all started with Pinterest!

Like... well, just about everyone... I'm addicted to Pinterest. And the whole pinning experience had a funny effect on me. As I marinated in chicken mushroom soup crockpot recipes and got all tied up in DIY bow-making tutorials, I became entranced by the beauty of the whole site. It really is a gorgeous site. And it inspired me to start creating. Again.

I've always been a crafty girl, but my real passion is for graphic design. I was a high school publications teacher for a decade and a huge part of that was teaching graphic design. Let's just say, I knew my way around Adobe Creative Suite and a printing press. But this was the first time I started creating--just pure "what do I want to make today?" joy--with no end result in mind. And what I ended up with was patterns. Of all shapes, colors and inspirations. And just like when I first started studying typography (and if you've ever truly studied fonts--type, classification, stroke widths, x-height, ascenders, descenders, I could go on--you'll know exactly what I'm talking about) it was like I was seeing things for the first time.

Pattern was everywhere. How had I never noticed, truly noticed, it before? Sure, I'd picked out a dress in Banana Republic because I liked the pattern or noticed the lining of a particular purse was a neat fabric, but this awareness was sharp, explicit and all-encompassing. Let's just say walking through Target was an all-out assault on the eyes.

I had to do something with all that gorgeous pattern! It wasn't a beeline, but somehow my trajectory took me to stationery. And I haven't looked back.

Falling in love with pattern has been an intense, heady, steep descent. I hope it's not just a crush.

Follow me on Pinterest!