Dec 31, 2015

January Desktop Calendar (2016)

2016... what a strange feeling!  This lap (2015) of the race is about up, but it feels like the gun just went off.  This past year was full of the usual ups and downs.  While I don't generally think of January as my "new year" (being both a teacher and wife to a teacher/master's student means that August/September is my new year), this season calls for some time of reflection.  So as I share my new designs for desktop calendars—one to fit your glam side (above), and another to match your quiet musings (below)—I will share some of our families highs and lows for the year :)
TOP 5 OF 2015
  • (Mar) Instead of closing my etsy shop down completely, I decided to renovate the space and "Blushed" was born! I could not be more thrilled with this decision and have fallen in love over and over again with my little business.
  • (July-Nov) Our team camp with the cross country team was so much fun!  It really kicked off a strong season for us and I had more fun this year than I have in a long time.
  • (Oct) The Hubbard took a day off of work during our busiest time of the year to take me out to the cider mill for the day.  We had been stretched really thin, and it means the world to me that our marriage is important enough to him to make time for.
  • My sister in law is preggo with our little niece! I can't wait to be an aunt in May!
  • (Dec) The discovery of "Psych", the tv series.  More love than Sherlock? Maybe. Hubbard and I quote the show nonstop.
  • Our house hunt seems to never want to end.  But 3rd year's the charm, right?  We're actually sitting on an offer right now, so we'll see what the seller says... 2016 could have a really quick answer to that prayer!
  • (Nov) Todd's Grandma was in the ICU for about a week and gave us a real scare, thankfully she made it through and was with us for Christmas
  • I've had some health issues and cannot seem to find a balance, hopefully 2016 will have the answers!
  • Life is hard.  I have connected with so many friends and family members who are hurting a little more this year.  It has been both a blessing, and a hardship.  My heart has hurt more this year but I have felt God's comfort, and the encouragement of community
  • (Dec) We were sick over Christmas! What a bummer, but we spent a lot of time just being quiet and resting after a full year.
This year has been so full of life.  The good, the bad, the sticky ;)  I am anxious to see what 2016 has in store for us—what dreams are born, what goals are fulfilled, and what God teaches us through it all.

Dec 4, 2015

The one that I like...

Love this custom that I recently illustrated for friend and wedding planner, Ashley of Oh My Occasions.  I mean, really, how romantic is this shot from their engagement session?  The whole collection was beautiful, but I couldn't resist this sweet moment.  The text comes from the song that was playing when they first met—isn't that darling?

Interested in purchasing a custom portrait (link here)? There's still time to get one before Christmas!

Nov 30, 2015

December Desktop Calendar (2015)

I can't believe that 2015 is almost over.

But until the new year, let us celebrate the continued holiday season with a festive desktop background!  I have two designs waiting to dance into your inbox tomorrow morning (December 1st, 6:00am EST), all you need to do is make sure that you are subscribed to my newsletter, and the rest will take care of itself!

Nov 23, 2015

Illustrated Christmas Gift Tags

It's hard to believe that it's that time again!  Holiday season is in full force, and it's time to get ready for Christmas!  I have begun to muse over how I will coordinate my gift wrapping this year, and these new gift tags have already made a big impact on the color schemes that are dancing around in my head (soon to be joined by sugar plums, no doubt).
What do you think? Red ribbon, or gold?

Available in the shop for instant download, ready for print and instant use!

Nov 19, 2015

A New Jersey Bride

Another lovely custom.  Emilly and I connected over Instagram and it was fun to get to know her and then be able to illustrate this piece for them.  Their wedding was full of fun details!

Interested in a lovely piece for your own home?  Details here

Nov 17, 2015

Christmas Gift Ideas & Giveaway

I'm already ready for the holidays!  We've had Christmas music playing off and on, we went to our school's Christmas play "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" this weekend (now I can't stop singing "Where are you Christmaaaaaaas?"), and I'm dreaming of Christmas gift ideas!

It helps that I get to play a fun role in creating unique gifts for others.  My custom illustrations are available all year round, but have a special demand during this time of year.  Want a one of a kind, completely unique gift that brings highlights love and family?  Look no further than these custom portraits or calligraphy heart prints.

Stuck on a budget?  Well you're in luck!
I don't do a lot of giveaways, but there is one going on at The Lauren Elizabeth right now for a free custom illustration or two calligraphy heart prints!  Be sure to head on over to her blog to enter—giveaway will be open until the end of the week.

Oct 31, 2015

November Desktop Calendar 2015

November is the month that I always seem to forget about.  As a teacher and wife of a teacher, September and October is "go time"!  Our wheels are spinning and our bodies never seem to stop.  Then, it suddenly starts to get cold and Christmas music is playing everywhere, and I'm working on gifts and cookies.  It's all I can do to just keep my nose to the ground and keep working until Christmas break!

Making the wallpaper was difficult this month.  I don't like to have Holiday themes on my desktops very often, and a giant turkey was just out of the question for me! haha!  But I wanted it to still be warm, comforting and... well... pretty!  Even though the fall feeling is basically over for us in November, it's still nice to have a hint of it on the desktop while we sip some warm cider and cozy up in our sweaters.

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I hope you enjoy it and have a wonderful November!

Featured on the Chic-Type blog

Oct 26, 2015

Sweet Sixteen x2

These two beauties are celebrating their 16th birthday this month!  Cousins and best friends for life, they are only a day apart in age.  Mom/Aunt worked with me to create a fun gift for each of them: a custom portrait!

I'm just swooning over the polka dot tights and double t-strap heals!  These two are not only joined at the hip, but a stylish pair to boot.  Such a fun project, I couldn't resist sharing it with you all!

Oct 17, 2015

Calligraphy Bridesmaid Card

When the Hubbard and I were first engaged, I knew pretty quickly who I wanted to stand by my side on the big day.  My sister and maid of honor was asked via phone as soon as we were engaged! I wasted no time in telling her and the news and sharing that exciting season. 
For my other bridesmaids, I sent out a card that I made to each one via snail-mail over the break. My college roommates did not expect the "proposals" because I had mentioned to them previously that I wanted to have my future sister-in-laws with me and that I prefer smaller wedding parties.  It was fun to answer the phone when they finally received their cards and to hear the excitement in their voices.

If I were to do the whole thing over again, I would probably send my bridesmaids these cards (my sister would still get the phone call.  Some things can't wait!) with a personal note inside.  The heart shape makes this otherwise typical question a work of art.

These cute little cards are available for printable download in the shop.  No need to wait for delivery, simple select, checkout and print!

Oct 14, 2015

UPDATE: Romantic Peony Wedding Suite

Every once in a while, I look over my stationery designs and give them an update.  Not only to keep up on trends and design movements, but also because I can't help myself!

I love the Soft Bloom so much (peonies and watercolors? Yes please), but I love it even more now! The addition of the semi-transparent boxes differentiate the RSVP and accommodation card from the invitation in a beautiful way.  And the silhouette program? Yes.

To see more photos of the updates (and beautifully coordinating envelope liners), checkout the listing itself here.

Oct 10, 2015

Illustrated Christmas Cards, 2015

I know, I know: It's too early for Christmas!
"It's not even Halloween!"

Yes! And I love and enjoy fall and everything that comes with it—the changing colors, the apple cider, the sweaters, the booties, cross country season and school sports—but it's never too early to have a plan, right?
With all of the plans that I have had over the past few years, would you like to guess how many Christmas cards I have sent out since we've been married and I officially started my freelance business?


I've made them for other people, but never have time to finish one for our little duo to send and share—so this year I am getting a head start, and I suggest that you do the same!  That way, we might actually make it this year ;)

If nothing else, now might be a good time to schedule that family photo that you've been planning for YOUR Christmas cards... or for me to illustrate!  Head on over to visit this listing if you are interested in hearing more about getting your own custom illustrated Christmas cards.

Sep 30, 2015

October Desktop Calendar (2015)

Adios September, helloooo October!

While I am always a little reluctant to welcome the fall (summer = love), I am in full swing now.  Bring on the pumpkins, apple cider, beautiful changing leaves and the scarves (light scarves... let's not go crazy now), I'm ready!

September seemed to be an especially long month, so I am ready to say "good bye" until next year and dance around like the leaves in this desktop calendar.  If YOU would like to receive this beauty in your inbox for f-r-e-e, simply sign up for my newsletter.

It's really that easy.
Newsletter = free stuff.

And free? That's my favorite price.

Sep 21, 2015

Fashionable Maiden

This week the blog is going to be a little portrait heavy as I have quite a few to share with you.

I partnered with a beautiful bride-to-be to surprise her maids and "brides-man" with a special gift when she asked them to stand by her on the big day!  I think that is such a fun way to "propose" to your bridal party.

She took care to pick outfits for herself and her maids to fit their personality.  It was so fun to illustrate a variety of styles and I am thrilled with how each one turned out.  I love this illustration (above) with the maid of honor.  The quilted silver high-low dress matches her fashion forward style and the bold belt on the bride coordinates beautifully.

Sometimes I wish the clothes that I draw would jump into my closet... no such luck.

How did/will you "propose" to your girls?

Sep 17, 2015

"French Garden" Floral Wedding Stationery

I made this invitation/stationery design a couple of months ago for a dear friend of mine and while I have offered it in my shop over the summer, I have largely kept it quiet until after her wedding.
And because I couldn't resist a fall version of the design (love.that.color.scheme), I decided that it was time to finally share the whole (original) suite with you here:

She wanted a soft, romantic stationery suite that emphasized her wedding colors: shades of purple and gray.  I love that I was able to play with so many different hues, and as a friend from my days studying art at "the Arborshire", I knew that this was a challenge would be an honor to live up to!

The bride's venue is also a rustic natural environment, and I wanted to "bouquet" to be very loose and natural.  Like something you would find in the Secret Garden: beauty growing on it's own.

I love how the silhouette program turned out... the watercolor edge is really shown off in the simple layout.

If you're looking for this listing, look no further thaaaan... right here!

Otherwise, I would love to hear your favorite wedding trends and things you are loving now.  Are you in on the succulent trend? How about the woodland wedding trends?

Sep 14, 2015

Autumn Wedding Colors (2015)

I've started craving apples and cider this week, so it's clear that fall is just around the corner!  I'm not a pumpkin spice kinda girl, but cider is starting to call my name (or is it the donuts that accompany...?) and fall color schemes are finding their way into my train of thought.

I am resisting the urge for a little longer (it's usually sour early in the season) by playing with some fall color play on my classic wedding stationery designs:: (see more here and here)

This one makes me swoon.
Not only does it bring in our Pantone Color of the year (Marsala) but the golden yellow is juuuuust right!  And it is so different from the original color scheme that it give me new life and motivation!

If this makes your little bride-to-be heart sing, contact me about turning this dream into a reality, or visit this lovely listing for a little more information...

I already have a request for a marsala and mint combo... any other requests?? My color-consumed brain is here to please ;)

Sep 11, 2015

To Have, To Hold, To Serve

So much about life and marriage is about service.
Self sacrifice and loving even when it's hard.

Our students take a family and relationships class at the school and they always interview married couples at different stages in life.  We were interviewed again today, and this time we found ourselves stressing the need for selflessness and loving service.  Not because we have been extra greedy or selfish, but I think it was because we have been pulled in so many different directions lately.  When you are running around like crazy people, that the best way to show love to each other is to help and sacrifice for one another.  Life doesn't always allow us to be romantic, but when the Hubbard helps with the dishes or I sit and label uniforms, we are showing love to each other.  A love that lasts and will continue to bless.

Our marriage is a choice.
Love is a choice.
And we have chosen "yes" to sacrificing for each other.

But more importantly, for our family, we strive to serve the Lord in all that we say and do.  It's not a very popular position, and it's not always easy.  Sometimes I would rather be selfish and do things my way, but that is not what The Hubbard and I have committed to do with our lives.

I made this calligraphy print for our little home (Joshua 24:15) as a continual reminder of this promise that we have made, but I am considering offering it as an instant download in my shop... what do you think? Do I need to add a "wall art" section to the shop? I think this print (or something like it) would make a great wedding/shower art, or gift to a newly married couple!

Are there any other prints/verses that you would like to see in the shop? Let me know in the comments!

Sep 8, 2015

Fall Wedding Colors... Romantic

As I mentioned in a post last week, fall is happily dancing it's way into our lives and I even find myself in a light sweater as I type this.  But in true Michigan form, I hear that this weather will soon dance right back out and return in the form of 90* days once again next week.
Yes to the please.

I love me some hot weather, and while I love fall too, I am content to drink in plenty of warmth before I break out the boots and scarfs (winter = long.  No rush people)

Cider is calling my name.
And with cider comes beautiful fall color schemes, so I am happy to oblige my fancy and create a few more inspirational images to give you a better idea of how your favorite wedding stationery suite can be adjusted to make all of your fall bridal dreams come true!

To see the original design for this invitation suite, follow this linky, or you can also dream of this color scheme over a romantic navy background by following this link.

What other color schemes do I need to play around with?  Are you hungry for a jade and peach combo?  How about a marsala version?

Let me know, down below!

Sep 2, 2015

Wedding Etiquette: Directions & Accommodations

In a world of Google, GPS and Travelocity, it's hard to justify including additional wedding stationery for directions and accommodations.  But similarly to many other wedding traditions that are only adjusted as time goes on, these additional items can be extremely helpful to you and your guests.


Not everyone will need a direction card, but it is courteous to include it for those who are unfamiliar with the location of the wedding/reception.  Despite the fact that almost everyone has access to a smart phone or direction-retrieving device, these items are not perfect and a map between hotel and ceremony or ceremony and reception is extremely helpful for out of town guests.

We have all been there: driving to a friends house and suddenly you are asked to go straight through a dead end street... or "your destination is on the right" (in the middle of corn field??)... or construction is in the way and your GPS insists on taking the road that is now a giant hole...

Obviously, if your ceremony and reception are in the same location, or your accommodation arrangements are within sight of (or in the same building as) the ceremony/reception, you can likely skip a direction card altogether.  Otherwise, I recommend having directions and/or a map for out of town guests.


Accommodation cards, like direction cards, are extremely helpful for out of town guests, but are not necessary for everyone.

Many hotels will reserve a number of rooms for you (occasionally at a lower cost) until a certain date.  Be sure to ask for such services before sending information to your guests and give them the deadline.  The last thing you want to run into a week before your wedding is your best friend from college not being able to find reservations!

Along with the hotel name and address, be sure to include:
  • Hotel phone number
  • Hotel website
  • Registration deadline
  • Discount or coverage information (should you choose to cover a portion or all of the cost of accommodations for your guests)


Ashlee & Calvin's Wedding
July 7, 2016

Desert View ($175/night)
180 Main Street Freeport, ME
(321) 789-1012
Oaisis Inn ($257/night)
213 Main Street Gilbert, AZ
(321) 789-1011

Please reserve your rooms by June 1st
Mention our names to get the group discount price.


We have chosen our favorite local inn for your stay and
they are offering special rates for our special day.
Please reserve by June 1st and reference the Whittaker/Gray wedding.

The Dearborn Inn
7755 Oakwood
Gilbert, Arizona 85233
(321) 789-1011
RATES: $179 per night

I hope you found this information helpful and have a better idea as to whether or not you even need to include these papers in your stationery kit.  If you have any other questions or comments on anything that I may have missed, be sure to leave it in the comments below!

Aug 31, 2015

September Desktop Calendar (2015)

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The "New Year" month of our family (Teachers'R'Us).  Our new school year is already in full swing and I almost feel like we are half way through September instead of embracing the final hours of August (something tells me, this is gonna be a looooong month!)

But August went out with a bang!  One of my dearest friends got married this past Saturday, and we lived it up with a full weekend of decorating and preparing, celebrating and catching up with friends and family.  The wedding was held at the camp where I first met the Bride when we were in high school (and my own dear Hubbard!).  Seeing all of these places and people who we worked with and love so much filled my heart to the brim!

With warm fuzzies still dancing inside of me, I am closing this past month and preparing welcome in a fresh month.  September is sure to be full of hard work, laughter, love from friends and family, new adventures and comforting routines.

What are you looking forward to this month?

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((Straight to your inbox on September 1st!))

Aug 26, 2015

Yesterday You Said Tomorrow

So just DO IT!
Make your dreams come true!

If you have no idea what I am referencing, be sure to watch this little video of Shia LaBeouf playing "motivational speaker".
About a month ago, my husband and I took our Cross Country Team on a week long camp out to kick off the season.  We had a great time, but it was difficult.
Cross Country—running in general—is difficult!
But as a team, we put in the miles, ran the hills, completed the ab workouts and finished the week stronger.  We believe in the power of encouragement and team building, and this movie (introduced by a few of the students) became a theme for us.  When someone was down, or struggling to make it up the hill, we would shout "Make Your Dreams Come True!" or "Just Do It!" and make Shia's weird hand gestures.  It was a great way for us to encourage each other while recalling a funny memory to lighten the mood!

It called to mind this riddle:
What is always coming, but is never here?

It's easy to go back to sleep; to stay on the couch; to be comfortable.  But to get up and do the hard thing (running, going to work, reading your Bible, showing someone love, eating healthy, etc.) will pay off in the end.  And gets easier as you form healthy habits.  And it has gotten easier.  My quiet time each morning grows more precious to me as I dedicate it to the Lord and reap the benefits.  My business is more enjoyable when I dedicate the time and energy that I need to go make it successful.  My marriage is stronger and more joyful when I take time to help my husband.  My students are happier when I remember to love them instead of focusing on their performance or behavior.

What are you putting off until Tomorrow?
Start today.  Let's do this together.

Aug 24, 2015

A Maternity Illustration: Baby Ray

I haven't featured a "blogstalking" post in a while, so I guess this was due ;)

I was enamored when I saw this photo of Nancy & Will Ray from their Maternity Shoot and was thrilled when I finally had a chance to illustrate it (not a commissioned piece!  I'm just a humble blog stalker who loved it enough to finish the sketch).  Captured by the talented Callie Davis, the entire shoot is lovely, but this was by far my favorite!  I just love the sweet pose, the color scheme, the love and the underlying excitement.

I know that I don't usually illustrate maternity portraits, but I love them and do offer them in my little shop if you are interested ;) Explore details here!

Aug 22, 2015


I've really had a fun week or so on Pinterest.  I want to build a collection of inspiration boards that I can run to in order to find a collection of inspiration that fits the specific style / season that I am looking for.
Some of my favorites from this past week have included:

I just love this cake design!  So simple and elegant, and the flower on the top finishes this piece off beautifully!

Cute and classy bridal shower decor!  I have seen these monogram cups floating around all over the place lately and I might have to pick up a "L-O-V-E" set for any future showers :)

As autumn approaches, I am getting more and more excited about beautiful fall wedding inspiration!  This bouquet is the perfect mix of late summer / early fall!

I think that this is an adorable note for any time of year and plan to send a similar little card to my "Hubbard"

This overflowing bouquet is just too chic to believe!  And I actually love the black vase (I'm typically an (almost) all-white-all-the-time kinda of girl) and the way the bright flowers pop against it!

What have you been loving on Pinterest? Be sure to leave your link below and let me know what I've been missing out on! I'm always on the hunt for another "pin" ;)

Keep up with my latest finds on Pinterest

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