Saturday, 20 December 2014

Whimsical Wedding Cake

I've recently stumbled upon this fun wedding cake, apparently baked by a bridesmaid, Lisa, as a wedding gift for the bride and groom, Lynne and Kyle, who share a passion for scuba diving. I love the idea of a cake that tells guests a little something about the bride and groom!
Photographer: Michelle van Heerden
Wedding cake found here.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Precious Moment

When I saw this photo something was stirred deep inside me, especially because I have an old doggy too. My dog's name is Jolie. She is the little heartbeat at my feet, no matter where in the house I am. Although Jolie is not of the same species as the dog in the photo, the grey little head and old-doggy shape are all too familiar to me. It's such a beautiful moment that was captured on camera by the photographer, Judith Belle. I simply had to share!

I've discovered Judith's web-site quite recently, and immediately fell in love with her photography. The site is definitely worth a visit!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

A Trip to Sweden

Swiss Landscape
As a child I fell in love with Astrid Lindgren's books about  Pippi Longstocking. I could spend hours reading about Pippi's adventures and her superhuman strength. Recently I fell in love with Pippi's creator's country of birth, when we went on holiday in Sweden.

Rather than attempting to capture my impressions of Sweden in one or two paragraphs, I thought I'll make a list of some (not all) of my favourite things about this beautiful country:

1. You don't have to go very far to spend time with Mother Nature. The Swedish constituion guarantees right of public access for everyone (Allemansratten). The Swedes understand that these rights bring responsibility and consider themselves stewards of nature. Less than 3 % of the land in Sweden is developed or built up and 69 % consists of forests.

2. Sweden is sparsely populated. This makes it extremely easy to just "get away from it all" if you need some peace and quiet.

3. Sweden is full of sleepy little towns where people still have time to talk to each other and make eye contact, in stead of texting or talking on their smartphones. Although an overwhelming majority of Swedes are connected to the Internet, they seem to appreciate more than just the latest technology.

4. Lights or lamps in windows are a common part of Swedish interior decorating. I am not sure where this tradition comes from, but I know that the lamps in the windows of most houses look pretty, warm and inviting, especially at night.

5. Antique shops and second-hand stores can be found in unexpected places. Just look out for a sign that says "antik" or "loppis". Some shops are better than others, but you will definitely find some lovely treasures from the past if you take the time to visit a few of these shops.

6. Although the Swedes work hard, they value a coffee break or "fika". The fika is part of Swedish culture and everyone takes the time to stop whatever they are doing in order to share coffee and pastries with friends, colleagues or family - a little pause to appreciate what really matters.

7. Swedish people take recycling very seriously. It took us some time to figure out what goes in which bin, but I love the fact that so much effort is made to recycle. 

8. The laid-back lifestyle in rural areas. In general people seem to live a peaceful life. Despite a respect for time and punctuality, most Swedish drivers will wait patiently for old ladies who would like to cross the street or foreigners who are driving slower than the maximum speed limit.

9. Everything is clean and neat. I don't know how they do it, but even public toilets in rural areas and at rest stops on the highway were clean!

10. You're likely to hit an archipelago if you drive long enough, no matter what direction you choose in Sweden. The natural beauty of these areas will take your breath away.

11. Swedish interior design is typically light and uncluttered. I love the abundant use of white and natural hues, and the way that inspiration is drawn from nature.

12. In a country covered by forests, wood is more readily available than any other building material and most Swedish houses are therefore built from wood. I love the look of the traditional red Swedish houses with their white frames!

13. Ruins. There is something magical about walking among the ruins of what was built by those who walked the earth before us.

14. The wildlife. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing animals in the wild. We've spotted moose, deer, foxes, and bunnies without ever entering a zoo!

Alvastra Monastery Ruins

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Pantone Colours for Fall 2014

Although I love the colours of the leaves and trees during autumn, the colours don't really suit my skin tone. I was therefore so glad to see some blues and purples in the colour palette for the season! 

I love the Royal Blue, Mauve and Sangria too much to choose a favourite! Which colour do you like the most?

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Order of Names: Bride vs. Groom

This is one of those silly but practical posts that I do from time to time - perhaps not the most interesting, but I would like to request that you read it if you plan to order wedding stationery or wedding accessories printed with the names of the bride and groom.

The order of the names of the bride and groom is something that seems to be a bit of an issue with some couples. I've had a few instances where a bride would place an order with the groom's name first in the text, only to change her mind after the proof has been approved - either because she only found out about the tradition/etiquette after placing her order, or because her fiance did not like to have his name last! Thus far the brides were lucky enough to get hold of me before I've started production of their orders, but not everyone may be that lucky, so I thought I'll do a post on the topic to help you make an informed decision.

So whose name should come first?

The bride's. If you would like to honour tradition the bride's name should come first before the wedding. After the wedding the groom's name usually comes first. The order of the names of the bride and groom has nothing to do with money or the party/parties hosting the event. (The latter only comes into play when you need to decide about the wording for the invitation, and which parents to mention where - but this is a discussion for another day.)

Most wedding planners and stationery designers will probably advise you to put the bride's name first, but many couples choose to play by their own rules, rather than to follow convention, tradition or etiquette. Society is getting used to the idea of more freedom and originality when it comes to weddings and because of this most of your guests will probably not consider it to be a huge breach of etiquette if you decide to change the order of your names. Some guests may notice and you should be aware that you may be exposing yourselves to criticism, but personally I don't think that it is something that you should worry about too much, unless you are so stressed about the wedding that you won't be able to deal with the criticism. (Sticking to the traditional bride's name first will then be the safer option.)

I've looked at a few forums on the Internet and some of the reasons why couples decide not to follow convention are the following:

  • The bride feels selfish by putting her name first on everything.
  • The groom insists on having his name first and the bride agrees in order to avoid conflict.
  • Self-expression: the couple prefers to make their own rules in stead of following those dictated by society (or their mothers)!
  • For aesthetic purposes - the invitation design may look more aesthetically pleasing with the groom's name first.
  • It falls better on the ear.
Many couples put the bride's name first, but not for traditional reasons. They may even be unaware of the tradition and still do it! I've read a comment by one bride who said that she felt it was her right to have her name first because she was taking care of the wedding invitations and did most of the work for the wedding! Another said she did it based on "ladies first", and another said she did it, because her mother said she had to!

What about same-sex couples?

There isn't really a rule when it comes to same-sex couples. Many stationery designers suggest that you sort the names in alphabetical order.

And what if the order of the names remains a bone of contention between you and your beloved?

I don't think the order of names is worth arguing about, so if you don't want to follow convention and cannot decide whose name to put first here are some ideas:
  • Flip a coin
  • Sort names in alphabetical order
  • Play rock-paper-scissors (-lizard-Spock if you're fans of Star Trek or The Big Bang Theory)
  • Compromise by putting one name first in the invitation and the other name first somewhere else (for example on the wedding cake)
This may be an opportunity to practice your conflict resolution skills and decide as partners, rather than opponents! 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Ring Bearer

I've stumbled upon this cute little ring bearer on the site of Jack and Jane Photography:


I've never had a bunny myself, but I do know that they are very popular pets here in the Netherlands. Is it possible to train a bunny to bring the ring to the bride and groom? Do pet bunnies come when called? I don't know from first hand experience. Perhaps you bunny owners can tell me?

Friday, 5 September 2014

In the Pink: Etsy Treasury

Origami artist Vicki Bolen from Little Bird de Papel was so kind to include my laser-cut paper birdcage in her lovely treasury. Vicki is suggesting that we stay "in the pink" while we're hovering between summer and fall (autumn). I think this is excellent advice: pink has always been one of my favorite colours and I can always use an excuse to wear it!

You'll find the treasury here.
I always admire origami artists, as I tend to fold (pardon the pun) before I can fold the paper in the right way. (I tend to get a little overwhelmed by all those diagrams of mountain and valley folds!) Vicki has her own web-site, as well as an Etsy shop where she sells her paper art! You will find all kinds of treasures from handmade boxes to origami paper cranes suitable to display outside! Definitely worth a visit!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Sleeves vs. Envelopes

Luxury Handmade Paper Sleeves by Almost Amsterdam
Luxury Handmade Envelopes with Modern Pointed Flap by Almost Amsterdam

When I am approached by people who have questions about my custom envelopes and paper sleeves/pouches/pockets (blog post found here) I am often not sure whether someone is in need of a paper sleeve/pouch/pocket or a proper envelope. Very often the cause for the confusion is a limited knowledge of English or differences in meaning of the words in different locations/countries, as enquiries come from all over the world after all! But I have given this some thought and came to the conclusion that the traditional distinction between an envelope and a sleeve was lost because of technology: vinyl records were replaced by tapes and later CD's and handwritten or printed letters by e-mail.

I will be the first to admit that language is (and should be) a living entity, so I am perfectly OK with the fact that we refer to those little white paper thingies that we use to protect cd's as "CD sleeves", while they are, technically speaking, envelopes and not sleeves (if they have a flap). Traditionally phonographs and vinyl records were stored in a "sleeve" - a square paper container with one side open, so one could easily remove a record from its protective cover and return it again after use.

When we started to listen to our music on CD's we probably just carried on to use the word "sleeve" from our vinyl record days to refer to the protective cover, without even giving a second thought to the fact that it should probably be called a "CD envelope" if it has a flap! Although I realise that this is something that just "happened", it is, however, complicating things for me and clients who are interested in a custom-made sleeve or envelope.

I thought I'll un-complicate things by writing this little post and for practical purposes I would like to request anyone who is interested in a custom sleeve or envelope to please stick to the original distinction between the two items as explained in this post. This will help me to answer your questions and work out prices without delay:

  • are open on one side. 
  • can be used for inserts that are either taller or wider than the sleeve (depending on whether the opening of the sleeve is at the top or on the side).
  • are often purely decorative.
  • can be handy to keep the different cards and/or envelopes of an invitation suite together.
  • can add that extra special touch to your invitations.
  • cannot be mailed without being placed in an envelope, as the contents will fall out in the mail.

  • come in square or rectangular shape, traditionally with four flaps that fold to the middle.
  • have a closure (traditionally the top or side flap that often comes with gum or adhesive) so it can be sealed.
  • serve as protection for letters, cards, etc.
  • are more suitable for items of a discrete or private nature.
  • are suitable to be mailed, although rules with regard to format and size will usually apply.



If you are interested in custom envelopes or sleeves, please send me the following information:
  • Quantity required
  • Paper preference
  • Dimensions required (width and height)
  • Throat at top or on the side?
  • Information on the style required (For envelopes describe the flaps and for sleeves the throat/opening) 
  • It may be useful to send me a picture as well. An image off the internet or an actual envelope in your possession may be useful. Or simply make a rough sketch on a piece of paper and send me a photo of the sketch, even if the sketch is messy!)

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Favour Tags

I've recently made these little tags with a sweet rhyme at the request of a bride-to-be. The tags will be used on wedding favours. I love how they've turned out:

After discussing the bride's needs with her I came up with a few font combinations to choose from. I was glad when this turned out to be the chosen combination:

Monday, 1 September 2014

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Envelopes in Custom Sizes

Every now and again I receive a request for envelopes in a custom size. There are various reasons why brides (or other diy-ers) may need custom-sized envelopes. Very often a person would leave the envelope-buying for last, assuming that it is the "easy part" of invitation making, only to discover that none of the standard-sized envelopes carried by stationery shops are the appropriate size for the invitations! In other cases a designer or bride may decide to make an odd-sized invitation and matching envelope a special feature of an invitation design. Sometimes an envelope in a custom size can simply be a practical packaging solution for anything from wedding favours to confetti and cutlery.

If you are in need of envelopes in a custom size do not despair. I can help. I now offer envelopes in custom sizes as a standard service, so please feel free to contact me for a quotation! Minimum quantity: 25 of the same.

How are these envelopes made?

Step 1
Based on the client's brief I will design a template for the envelope on my computer.

Step 2
Once the design is perfect I will use the template to cut the envelopes one at a time.

Step 3
Every envelope shape is then scored by hand.

Step 4
Adhesive is applied and the paper shape is then folded into an envelope with the help of a bone folder.

Step 5
If required finishing touches are added (e.g  closures and string, adhesive on the flap, etc)

Making envelopes by hand is extremely time-consuming. Due to the time and effort that go into handmade envelopes it is of the utmost importance to order your envelopes as early as you possibly can. I work on a first-come-first-served basis and I do not accept more orders than I can handle. 

Envelope Sizes:

From very small (about 40 mm minimum width) to any size that can be cut from a single A3 sheet of paper.


The cost of envelopes depend on quantity, the intricacy of the design, the cost of the paper and other materials, and the size of the sheet of paper required to make a single envelope. I do my best to keep costs as low as possible, but it will be unfair to compare the cost of handmade envelopes to that of the average standard-size, mass produced envelopes available from stationery suppliers. Please also keep in mind that a small envelope may have the same amount of work involved as a similar one in a bigger size, and may therefore take just as much time to make. I will be able to work out pricing for you once I know the details.

I use heavier paper than the paper used for the standard, mass-produced, machine-made envelopes available on the market.  This ensures crisp folds and a quality, high-end product worthy of weddings and special celebrations. 

Monday, 25 August 2014

Friday, 22 August 2014

Fun Wedding Cake

It was love at first sight, when I stumbled upon this wedding cake. Unfortunately I don't know who created the cake, but the photographs were taken by talented South African photographer, Moira West:

Found here.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014


A while ago I've collaborated with the lovely Sultana and made these custom paper sleeves for her. I've made the sleeves as well as some engraved wooden airplanes, while Sultana took care of the actual invitation insert herself. This is something I often do. I call it "semi-diy" - a process which allows the bride and groom (or someone crafty who is willing to help out) to do some of the work for the invitations themselves, while the work which requires specialist equipment is done by the designer who owns it.

In this case the client requested paper sleeves with a map of a specific area. I was able to buy a digital file via the Internet to use for the initial layout of the sleeve. The map design was digitally printed on paper and then die-cut and assembled by me at home. I've also engraved some of my wooden airplane charms with the names of the bride and groom, before the parcel was sent to Sultana to do the inserts and assembly.

The semi-diy option is great if you're on a tight budget and have the necessary skills and patience to do the computer layout, printing, cutting and assembly yourself. I would, however, like to advise that you should never underestimate the work involved in making invitations. I know of brides who started out with making their own invitations to save money and ended up so unhappy with the results that they threw everything away and ordered invitations from a professional designer! (And of course the implication is that they've paid more than what they would have if they went to a professional straight away!)

Monday, 18 August 2014

Dogs at Weddings

Two weeks ago I've shared an image of a doggy who preferred to sit on the bride's dress, rather than the carpet. Later I've also stumbled upon these images of a doggy who also thought mommy's dress is more comfortable than the floor. Don't you just love these images by the talented Simone Franzel?

You can see more images of this beautiful wedding over here.

I am SO in love with that doggy face!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Fontly Friday

I probably spend an unhealthy amount of time looking at pretty fonts on the Internet. At the moment I am quite obsessed with hand-lettering, so when this pretty new font with it's dancing baseline came onto the market I just could not resist the temptation: I had to add it to my collection! And once the font was installed I could not wait to give it a little test drive ...

The font is now part of the font options that I offer. If you would like me to do an invitation or stationery design for you with this truly handwritten look and feel, please contact me via my contact form to discuss your ideas. Once we've discussed your needs via e-mail I will be happy to do a quotation for you. I can have your cards printed, or supply you with a digital file if you would like to do your own printing.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Thursday, 7 August 2014

No laughing matter!

I still have to decide what I find most appealing: this beautiful purple ombre cake or the name that baker and sugar artist Rachel gave to her company: The Fondant Flinger! Wish I could fling fondant and make it look like this! Although the company's name made me laugh, talent like this is no laughing matter!

Found the image here. You can see some close-up images of the cake over here.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Seating Plan

I love this idea by Oh Happy Day. The candles will create loads of atmosphere at an evening garden wedding or any soft-lit venue after dark. Imagine each guest carrying a candle while looking for their table or seat - so romantic! In my opinion this project, or something similar, could be a lovely alternative for brides who are looking for an alternative to the traditional seating plan!

Source: Oh Happy Day

Unfortunately not all of us are so lucky to have a dollar store nearby and of course the idea of calligraphy on glass may also be a little daunting - especially if you don't have a very steady hand (like me)! I also know of venues where candles are not allowed because of the fire hazard or because the owners are concerned about wax dripping on the floors or furniture.

But that doesn't mean you will have to do give up on the idea altogether, as I have a few suggestions for you!

  • If you can't find these prayer candles in a shop, buy votive candles in stead and simply change the direction of the calligraphy, so a guest name and table number will fit.
  • You can also go green. (I always try to recycle wherever I can!) Ask family and friends to help you collect glass jars before the wedding. Simply soak off the labels and place a tealight or small pillar candle inside, if you find the idea of melting wax and adding your own candle wicks too intimidating.
  • If your venue doesn't allow candles, or if you are concerned about safety issues, use LED lights in stead of wax candles. This option may be more expensive, but the candles can double as wedding favours for your guests to take home.
  • If you find the idea of calligraphy on glass a little daunting print guest names and table numbers on transparent sticker sheets, cut out with a hobby knife and adhere to jars. There are loads of pretty hand-drawn fonts out there!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Dogs at Weddings

Right now I am sitting on the couch with my laptop on my lap and Jolie, my miniature pincher,  lying next to me with her head on my knee. Lying on the floor isn't something that Jolie likes to do. She prefers my lap, but if not available she will settle for the couch or bed - as long as I am on it too! When I'm working and don't have time to be doggy furniture I have to make sure that Jolie's basket is close enough for her to lie in and watch me at the same time. The floor simply isn't good enough - not even when covered by a carpet or soft rug. When I stumbled upon this photo I couldn't help but think that this is the kind of spot that Jolie would choose too!

Photo found here.

Thursday, 31 July 2014


I just love the chalkboard trend, so I just had to share this fun chalkboard cake by the Artisan Cake Company.

Found it here.

Found it here.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Wedding Invitation: Alicia and Nik

A while ago I've met Deborah and Steven from Canada in Etsy cyberspace when they've placed an order for some of my handmade airplane embellishments. The little airplanes were to be used as a finishing touch on wedding invitations to a destination wedding in Cuba. (Nik, Deborah and Steven's son, will be getting married to future daughter-in-law Alicia.)

I was really thrilled when Deborah and Steven shared some pictures of how the airplanes were used on Alicia and Nik's wedding invitations. They were also kind enough to give me permission to share a picture of the invitation here on my blog and now, with the RSVP's already coming in, I can do so without spoiling the surprise for the guests.

According to Deborah the response to the invitation was really great and family and friends from all over the world will be attending the wedding in Cuba. I just love the design of the wedding invitation and the combination of the kraft paper with the more colorful airmail border. I also love how the Cuban monogram sets the invitation apart from other travel-themed invitations. It really makes the invitation unique and gives it a lovely personal touch!

Seeing my little airplanes in action on such a lovely invitation is really special to me. It always makes my heart skip a beat when someone chooses something that I've designed and made to become part of an important celebration in their lives!

Thank you to Deborah, Steven, Nik and Alicia for supporting my little venture and for sharing with us. I hope you will have loads of fun while preparing for the wedding. My wish for you is a beautiful wedding day full of dreams coming true, love and happiness. May your wedding day be the perfect beginning to an amazing happily-ever-after, Alica and Nik!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Things on Sticks

I've recently made these little aeroplanes on sticks for a bride. They are a fun way of introducing a travel or aviation theme to the floral arrangements at a wedding or other special celebration. If engraved with a table number or name, they could also be a fun way of helping your guests find their tables. The size of the aeroplanes and the size and type of stick may also be adapted to serve as place cards, cake toppers, cupcake toppers, swizzle sticks, and so forth. Of course you don't have to stick to aeroplanes and a travel or aviation theme. Other shapes to match your specific theme can also be done. Please don't hesitate to contact me to discuss your needs.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Invitation Decorations: Wooden Feathers

I am so excited about the new wooden feathers in my Etsy shop. These little invitation decorations, or feather charms, are laser-cut from FSC approved plywood and will add a unique and fun element to the most humble of invitations! I love the idea of tying some twine around an invitation suite and finishing it all off with one of these feathers to keep everything tidy, but of course the feathers will work equally well on wedding or party favours! One can also use them in scrapbooking and jewellery making!

The feathers will work well with themes such as the outdoors, nature, woodland, forest, tribal, birds, etc.

You will find more details here and here!