Personal & Handmade Holiday Gifts

It seems every holiday season, for as long as I can remember, I have had a mile long to-do list of DIY Christmas gifts. When I discovered Etsy, it was if a whole new world of inspiration and even more perfectly designed crafts was opened to me (you mean I can buy this in exchange for my feeble Pinterest fail?).

Flash forward a few years, and the combination of a few evenings of craftiness with friends, perusing Etsy shops and local favorite Atlanta boutiques makes Christmas shopping seems a lot less daunting – even with ten days to go.

Here are a few of the gifts on my list for events past and present, including a few that made appearances in our wedding.

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/1/Linen Laid & Felt Journal. Shop owner Katie is a friend from college, now living in Nashville. We were thrilled to have one of her books in our wedding this November. /2/ 2015 Calendar from The Postman’s Knock. Since beginning calligraphy myself about a year ago, Lindsey has been one of my favorite to follow on Instagram. /3/ Gold Bar Necklace from Edor. I’ve ordered from this shop twice now for friends, I just love the small bar with a monogram or name as a personal gift you can wear every day. /4/ Not quite a gift (maybe for yourself), but I can’t get enough of these tulle skirts from Kellie Falconer. Paired with a sweater, they make a great Christmas party or NYE look. Despite protests from my now husband, I rocked an ivory skirt for our rehearsal dinner.

I’ll follow up with where I land on the actual crafts, but for now, these seem like great places to start.

PS looking for last minutes gift ideas in Atlanta and don’t have time for shipping? Here are a few of my go-to local Atlanta shops.

/1/ Krog Street Market /2/ Sugarboo & Co /3/ Kudzu Antiques

If you’re a small business owner, check out Kabbage’s Holiday Planning page, full of tips for the season. Kabbage is an online provider of small business loans and serves as a resource for entrepreneurs to thrive in their local communities. While the contents of this post are in no way intentionally connected to Kabbage, their model is one I very much respect. 

The best wedding registry yet

After a quick trip to Lenox today to pick up some reception decor and try our hand at narrowing down mom’s MOB dress options, I have big news that it seems the world needs to hear.

Anthropolgie now offers wedding registries.

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After years of threatening to move into the store, this feels like a fair enough compromise.

P is thrilled, as am I. Perhaps our home will be filled with girly cookbooks and delicate plates after all.

Has anyone else had success with smaller store registries? Worth mixing it up with the big boxes or a skip? I’d love opinions.

Digitizing & designing: a wedding invitation suite with calligraphy

After months of dabbling, sketching, and designing, our wedding invites are finally printed, stuffed and on their way. With the help of Bold American in the wedding decor department, our wedding DIY projects have been quite minimal, which for this self-proclaimed DIY addict was a bit of a surprise. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been without any DIY-ness. I decided pretty early on that I wanted to take on our invitation suite myself. This escalated into a multi-month love/hate relationship with hundreds of envelopes, ink and hours in Adobe Creative Suite. Last week it all paid off, when these beauties arrived from Wedding Paper Divas. invite suite dennihy I’m still gushing over here as to how they turned out. For the script, I knew I wanted to use my own calligraphy, as I had already invested in classes, practice and all of those envelopes. So how hard could digitizing handwriting be? Well, it turns out very. Basically, it goes from scanning at a very high resolution, cleaning everything up in Photoshop and finally vertorizing the image in Illustrator. I found a few great tutorials online, including this one, but it turned out Molly Thorpe’s Skillshare class was my saving grace. I already have her book, and swear by it for letter variations, so it didn’t come as a surprise that the class did not disappoint. Here’s a handy dandy gif to show the difference in each step. calligraphy gif It took some getting used to, but I found the more time spent in Photoshop, the less I spent in Illustrator. To get the thicker downstrokes I was looking for, I found it required a very flexible nib and then a setting in Illustrator that would allow me to use the live paint bucket tool. For the actual design, I knew I wanted to compliment the navy envelopes I had ordered from Paper and More months earlier (to give myself time to actually hand address 250 envelopes for the first time), and I was thrilled when I came across this Photoshop brush set from Creature Comforts that was exactly what I envisioned to pull in our gold, navy and fall theme. From there, everything came together pretty quickly and while I already adored Wedding Paper Divas from our Save the Dates, I was excited to learn they have an upload your own design service in addition to their beautiful designs.

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Whew, mark this one in the done category. A very big, flourished and inked check mark. Two months to go!

Disclaimer: a big thank you goes out to the team at Wedding Paper Divas for providing me with the printed invitation suite free of charge. However, all opinions, excitement and love is 100% authentic and my own.