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The sweetest thing…

It’s easy to lose sight of the incredible significance of a wedding day when you’re a wedding vendor and are mostly concerned about materials being ordered, printers to function properly and shipping to go smoothly.  But every once-in-a-while, I get a sweet note from a bride that brings it all back into perspective for me.  Like this one from Chloe Montgomery Mancktelow , a customer who got married back in September of this year:

Hi Anna,
I’m not sure if you remember me – I’m Chloe Montgomery (now Chloe Mancktelow!) and I married my now husband on 23rd September of this year and you made our wedding invitations.
I just wanted to slip you a quick note to say thank you so very much, as they were absolutely perfect and we are STILL getting comments about how beautiful they were!
 
I also wanted to send you the attached photo for you.Thank you thank you thank you again!Jason and Chloe Mancktelow

 
 

Congratulations Chloe & Jason!

 
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New projects, slow months and 10% off..WHAT?!

Hey y’all.  It’s that time again…ya know…to update my blog…that I haven’t updated since March.  Whatevz.  It’s also time again to wear sweaters, scarves and cutesy fall clothes!  YAY YAY!  I’m loving that – what about you?

So maybe I stink at keeping this thing up to date, but I DON’T stink at managing to get amazing customers with fun, creative projects that they actually pay me to do!   Insane.  Anyway, here are a few things I’ve done fairly recently:

Calligraphy by Blair Osler

Baby announcements for Jude Huggins – too precious!

New-ish invitation design in the works (one of many)

Signage for friends’ (Brittany Turner & Lamont Pearson) wedding in New Orleans this summer

initial trial for a “Nashcago” wedding invitation for some friends | a little bit modern, a little bit fun.

initial trial for a “Nashcago” wedding invitation for some friends | a little bit modern, a little bit fun.

California ❤ Alabama wedding programs

What do ya think?  I plan to get some of this stuff up in my shop ASAP in preparation for upcoming weddings.

And on that note – I NEED YOUR HELP!   Spread the word, tell your momma, your sister, your dad, your dog, your cousins….I’m offering 10% off EVERYTHING from now until the end of the year if you use the coupon code VOUCHER2BEARS when you checkout on Etsy (offer not valid on wedding invitations orders, though it can be applied to programs, place cards and other wedding paper goodies).  Also, if you’re not following me on Twitter, Facebook, or Etsy, do so…like…soon.  I’ll be doing a LOT of work in the shop the next few weeks preparing for the holidays so be sure to get in the loop on what’s happenin’.

{Letting go}

I know…I’m updating the blog. ::shocker::

With the recent move (back to Nashville!!!!), things have been SO crazy-busy (I know, I know….I say that every time), but for realz.  The move was actually pretty smooth and I’ve managed to get set up here fairly quickly – fairly being the operative word there.  On top of the move, I received, thankfully, a huge influx of orders from brides who, I imagine, got their rings over the holidays.  All of them wanting to be the ever-desirable June bride, I’ve been swamped with orders due in these early Spring months.

Many things have happened over these last few months, since my blog has been put on the back-burner.  The most exciting of which is this recent move to Nashville.  My husband and I are renting a 2 bedroom duplex near the lake which means I have my VERY OWN SPACE for the studio!  In our previous place, Stephen and I were sharing the second bedroom in our apartment as a joint office space.  But dang, that was not ideal.  As much as I love my husband, I couldn’t stand much more time being squished up in the same place, my work overflowing into every other room in the house.  SO, now I’m in an upstairs bedroom with beautiful windows letting in tons of sunshine, a seating area for personal consultations and lots of room to spread out and get ‘er done!  Below are a few pics of the studio set up (and a few extras in there for ya).

Another SUPER exciting bit of news is that my work was featured on Style Me Pretty last week!!!!!!  Now, I’ve actually been on there before, but I didn’t get a link in the acknowledgements at the bottom.  But this time, dangit, I was all over it and now, when you google “anna michelle cards” a link to the very feature I speak of appears!!!!  How awesome is that?!  I’m honored and so grateful to Shannon Cusick, the bride who submitted her wedding photos to the site and provided a link reference to my biz.  Below is a screenshot (also a link) to the page for your sweet, sweet viewing pleasure:

And speaking of being busy, yesterday was a breakthrough sort of day for me personally.  With a large load of orders needing to get out by this weekend, I knew I needed some help.  The other day, I tweeted about seriously needing to get some help around the studio – just an extra set of hands to help cut materials and prep things for the week’s work.  Well, I very quickly got two Facebook responses from two old college friends of mine who were looking for a little extra cash and were still in the Nashville area!  One of them, Julianne, said she was super flexible and would be willing to be “on call” to help out whenever. So, she came over yesterday and cut HEAPS of paper for me and let me tell ya, I’ve never felt more freed up in my work!  I was able to address emails that needed responses, work on proofs for folks, and just generally get things DONE!  It was wonderful!  I even had time yesterday to go get my TN license!

Anyway, I’m so, so grateful for the help and I learned that it’s ok if I don’t do everything ’cause let’s face it – I can’t. sheesh.

Here, there, and everywhere

I’ve been getting several requests for wedding invitations lately….nothing new there…except that the requests are coming from countries all over the globe!  Spain, Australia, Canada (printed in English & French), UK & Ireland….and the newest (and first) – NORWAY!  This girl is awesome.  Her name is Ingrid and she contacted me wanting some invitations, asking if I could do them in a different language.  “Totes.”  She was down to the wire in regard to her timeframe of sending them out but she didn’t need many and her order is very simple – just the invitations…..no envelopes, no labels, no lace + twine bands, no nothing except the invitations.  

One thing I’ve really loved about getting to do invitations for couples all over the world is that I gain access to traditions that I otherwise wouldn’t have known.  For example, it seems to be the customary trend among European brides to include their guests’ names directly on the invitations….totally new to me.  Also, in Norway, they include a sweet salutation including the phrase “Warm Welcome” – it essentially forms a letter that is signed by the bride & groom.  Here’s a shot of theirs from when I was working on it yesterday.

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It’s turning out beautifully and it’s been a true pleasure to work with her.  She had the option of taking the easy road and just getting something quickly (and much cheaper, I’m sure) in Norway, without paying rush fees and express shipping fees – but she chose to do that because she wanted me to make her invites…and I couldn’t be more honored.

Here are a few other foreign language invites I’ve done…

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I mean for real….what an honor.

 

In other news….{anna.michelle Cards} is soon to be a Nashville-based business!!!!  On Feb. 18th, we’re outta here…headed north to Nashville and setting up shop in a sweet townhouse/duplex right by the river and only 10 minutes from downtown.  It’s basically the perfect spot.

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We are over-the-moon excited and can’t wait to settle in!

It’s 2012, Y’all

I absolutely cannot believe how quickly the past 6 months have gone by.  After the wedding, time just seemed to speed up and suddenly we’re celebrating Christmas and New Years for the first time as a married couple…insanity, I tell ya.  Insanity.

But 2012 is already bringing us WONDERFUL things….continued business fun, new ideas and collaborations, more creative projects, an upcoming move back to Nashville (our heart), and the introduction of Stephen’s audio book version of Meantime…It’s already turning out to be a great year and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for us!

Christmas was a pretty interesting this year (yes…I know I’m a little delayed in posting this), but nonetheless it was spent with family which is most important.  There was a lot of traveling involved and a lot of unexpected surprises.  Stephen’s family always celebrates Christmas with his dad’s side of the family, who live in Northern Florida.  My family, for the last 2 years, has gone to visit my sister, who now lives and works in Orlando AND my parents just moved to Georgia….so…we were a bit spread out.  It started with a trip to Disney to visit Rebecca (my sister) which was a drama-filled fun-fest.  Here are a few pics from that trip:

Comin' for ya Everest!

Rebecca and Dad

RHINO!

I was fascinated by this....

Trying to laugh away fear at the Tower of Terror

Going Doooown?

Bahahaha

The Dancing Lights...this was amazing...

Hey there, China.

I could've stayed here for hours

Me and Dad in our Future World. duh.

Epcot in the Eve

Real-life Ginger Bread House....it.smelled.magical.

Grand Finale

Disney was great and it was wonderful to see my sister and get to spend so much time with her.  She’s the bestest.  And she got me a SWEEEEET shark-fin ring to further facilitate my shark obsession (yes….that’s real)

After Disney, my parents dropped me off at G-Ma’s House (Stephen’s grandmother in Florida) where I spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

G-Ma Betty Hanging out on the Front Porch Swing

Stephen: giving a few football lessons

After a large, filling dinner 🙂

G-Ma’s was all fun and games until we got a call Christmas Eve night letting us know that Stephen’s uncle Scott had passed away.  Scott had terminal cancer for a while, but kept hanging on, kept fighting until he simply couldn’t do it anymore.  He held on for the family and, on Christmas Even 2011, it was time for him to go.  This  obviously put a bit of a damper on the Christmas Spirit running around, but ultimately, I knew he was done suffering and as far as I was concerned, that was a Christmas Miracle.

We decided to leave the next day to head to my parents’ house in Georgia to be sure and get our time in with them before we would need to be back in Alabama for the funeral.  Before we got news of Uncle Scott, I had received a text message from my mom saying that, when they returned home from Disney, the bottom floor of their NEWLY RENOVATED HOUSE had a solid 2 inches of water…sad day for the ‘rents.  A couple of days later, my aunt, uncle and 3 cousins were scheduled to roll into town and spend a few days at their house! (Along with me and Stephen and a surprise visit from another relative and her husband and daughter).  Talk about pressure, man.  My parents finally got most of the water out, though the walls and floors did a nice job of soaking most of it up.  We ended up doing some makeshift sleeping arrangements with the matresses, with folks sleeping in every room in which there was enough space to put a bed!  Living room, sun room, office…it was wild.  BUT, it was a nice cozy time with family and we had a BLAST!  We went bowling, made s’mores at the firepit in the backyard, watched movies, opened presents…MAN – it was a great time.

After a couple of days in the Georgia woods, we came back to Alabama to celebrate the life of Scott Davis, Sr. with family and friends.

Then, of course, it was back to work for me.  I had a TON of orders just waiting to be printed/edited, etc and, I gotta say, it felt great to be back!

Save-the-Date Postcards for sweet, sweet Sara

The beginnings of an order....

The finale of that same order...all packed up and ready to go...

Taking a breather with a cup o' Joe in my sweet-A honeycomb mug

Oh…and you know the collaborations I mentioned earlier?  Well, one of those is a beautiful collection of watercolor graphics from my sweet friend Elizabeth Hamm.  You can check out her other stuff here: http://elizabethamm.blogspot.com/

OH yeah….and HAPPY NEW YEAR

{Chreesmas}

It’s almost Christmas. How did that even happen? How is it that October seemed to last a WEEK and November even less?

This does mean one fantastic thing: vacation, man….vacation.

I am so excited to get on the road Saturday to see my family for the holidays. First stop: Pleasant Grove, Alabama; Second Stop: Cumming, Georgia; Third Stop: Orlando, Florida; Fourth Stop: Graceville, Florida; Fifth Stop: (back to) Cumming, Georgia…..then back home to get busy on some wedding invitation orders! It’s going to be 10 days of insane traveling and gift-giving and I.cannot.wait.

OH YEAH!

But in the meantime, I’m busy trying to finish up a few weddings that I would LOVE to have in the mail before I head out! I can’t believe it, but I’m pretty much on track – having just about finished one, starting on the second one today and the last, which is much smaller, will be started probably Thursday afternoon and then I make a monster-of-a-trip to the post office on Friday to unload 🙂 Both I AND Rhonda (my printer) are going to be so grateful for Christmas vacay when it’s all said and done.

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Yesterday, I received an email from Elizabeth Glessner (a South Carolina/Nashville-based photographer I’ve worked with in the past for photo shoot weddings) with pics from the latest photo shoot I did with her. The theme was “all white” – everything was crystalized, sparkly and bright, wintry white. It was lovely. I made invites and menus for the shoot. Here are a few of my favorite photos:

Photography – Glessner Photography, Sabrina Davenport – Model, CHIC Nashville Weddings and Events, {anna.michelle Cards}, Olia Zavozina Bridal and Menswear Boutique, Lillie Belle’s of Franklin, Mallory Eggleston – Hair/Makeup Artist, Grand Central Party Rental, Sweetface Cakes, and Covered with Icing.

I thought the photos turned out great and I was so excited to see these invites and menus! When Elizabeth asked me about doing this shoot, she said “We’re going with VERY minimal….focusing on texture, pale colors, etc.” I printed them on a heavily-textured white cardstock with pale gray text. It was as icy as I could get without making everything totally illegible. But I think they turned out great and I’m so honored to have been part of another great Glessner shoot!

Welp, I’m off to work (a.k.a. the next room over). Happy Wednesday everybody!

-anna.

{Amendment…}

So I totally forgot to say which wrapping option WON…haha!  The winner is…..

Here’s the result:

Not the greatest quality of photo, but you get the idea.  I had a LOT of fun doing these (of course).  But my ultimate fear is that my friends and relatives will be so AMAZED with my wrapping that they won’t want to open the gifts….haha! (they will…I KNOW it)

 

ALSO – I forgot to post the new product photos for the Christmas cards for sale on Etsy.  I’m taking the listings down after this week (that’s the plan anyway), so I wanted to make a last-ditch effort to sell the card sets I had made for the craft shows (which didn’t end up being entirely successful in the way of sales).  Here ya go:

{How Many Posts Can I Start With…}

…man, it’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog.

Apparently – a lot.

The truth of the matter is, things have been crazy around here with both work AND school.*  The semester is ending which means papers, tests, classes, etc.  and on top of that, I’ve been getting quite a few Christmas card orders on top of the giant pile of advent activity card orders that I’ve finally gotten through as well as wedding after wedding after wedding being added to the roster.  (Which is SO great).  I love being able to be a small part of such HUGE milestones in lives around the world.  But all of those projects equal a very busy “me” who is looking at being out of the studio for 10 days very soon and…well…there’s a LOT to do between now and then.

One thing I HAVE managed to get done is purchasing Christmas presents for everyone on my list (YES!).  Getting the gifts was the easy part…deciding how to wrap them was a whole other ballgame.  I had been “pinning” some ideas on Pinterest for gift wrap and I knew I had a tough choice ahead of me (ok, so that’s an over-dramatization….but packaging is one of my favorite parts of my job and I get to show EVERYONE with Christmas wrapping!).  A few of my choices were:

 

1.  Robbie & Erin   |  2.  Pinmarket   |  3. Lolalina   |   4. Adelle   |   5.  Poppytalk   |   6. Oh, Hello Friend   |   7. Martha Stewart

If you haven’t ever visited Oh, Hello Friend – you MUST.  The girl who writes the blog/owns the business is one of the sweetest souls and her blog entries are always so inspiring and lovely.

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On a business note: All Christmas Cards will be taken down from the shop next Wednesday in preparation for my Christmas vacation!!!! (WAHOO).  I’ll be out of the studio from December 17th – December 27th so any orders placed after the 16th will not go out until after Christmas.  So get your cards before they (and I) are gone 🙂

Also, be sure to subscribe to the blog to get email updates of new posts, follow me on Twitter, like me Facebook (and in real life) and always check the shop for new fun designs!

 

Happy Wednesday.

Anna.

 

{Black Friday}

Well, it’s almost Thanksgiving which, to much of the world, means that Christmas music is already playing (and being listened to….guilty) and Black Friday is nearing.

I love Black Friday.  I get a real kick out of getting up INSANELY early and seeing all the other crazy people who did the same and mostly just people watching.  It’s amazing to me that SO many people are willing to get up SO early and stand in line and after line and fight through TONS of traffic….to shop.  I know the deals are ridiculously incredible, but dang….

I figured I’d participate this year – both as a shopper AND a merchant 🙂  So I present to you, BLACK FRIDAY SAVINGS!

This Friday, November 25th, take 20% off all sets of cards and 10% off journals in the Etsy shop!  And as if THAT weren’t enough – get a free set of hand-stamped gift tags with your purchase of $20 or more.

Now, if you’ve ever been a customer of mine, you should be getting a newsletter about it shortly.  That’s something I’ve been thinking bout trying to do on the reg. – a newsletter.  Who would be up for that?  Maybe it’s overkill?  Maybe I’ll just use it to announce deals and significant happenings?  I dunno – cast your vote!

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

Anna

{Musings on a Saturday Morning}

Warning:  the content of this post is going to be completely random.  Buckle up.

Musing #1: FIRE!

Last night, Stephen and I made our first fire in our fireplace AND I lit my super awesome vintage oil lamp for the first time.  A night of firsts – no doubt.  We played Scrabble by firelight (and no, I didn’t win, ok….I don’t want to talk about it…hehe).  It was so much fun, but we did not forget about “safety-first.”  As I had never filled up/assembled/lit an oil lamp before, we took precautions and had a pot of water ready in the sink just in case.  We kept it there all night….and nothing caught on fire…it’s still there this morning.  ‘Cause we’re awesome.

Musing #2: Rebates work.

I pretty much live at Staples.  I mean, ok, that’s a bit of an overstatement – but seriously, I’m there…A LOT.  It’s just so convenient – there is a Staples literally within 1 minute of our apartment (and a Target & World Market, too….we won’t even GO there).  I buy a lot of toner for Rhonda (my printer – see previous post)  Anyway, they’ve recently been doing this deal where, if you purchase ink or toner in multiples or basically buy a ton of it at the same time, you get a rebate offer for a $40 Staples Visa giftcard!!!!!!!  Now, I’m not one to really take advantage of rebates…too much effort.  But I figured: since I’m pretty much ALWAYS buying stuff from Staples, I might as well go for it.  And BAM – rebate rewarded.  Getting that gift card in the mail was such a cool feeling (Dorky – I know.)  And dangit, I used that sucker!  And I have another one on the way.  Go me.  Go Staples.  Go Rhonda.

Musing #3: Insanity.

A week ago today, I was (unbeknownst to me) featured in an Etsy mailing that went out to THOUSANDS of Etsy customers.  It was a normal Saturday during which I had planned to do a little bit of work, but also wanted to rest and take my weekend.  All was going according to plan when…suddenly….a puppy appeared at my door.

not really.

Around 11am, my inbox started FILLING UP with messages about these little advent cards:

Typically, there is a lot of response when you FIRST list something – it gets a top spot in searches and is listed as something recently created.  But that wasn’t the case with these and I couldn’t understand what on earth was going on – I had listed these the day before and NOTHING.  Now suddenly, they’re just so awesome?!  How does that happen?  Apparently – getting featured without consent in an Etsy mailing is how it happens.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining about the influx.  It was awesome…I couldn’t stop laughing as I was writing receipts – seeing customers in countries I’d NEVER shipped to before (::cough, cough:: Milano, Italy ::cough::).  But I had no idea how this was happening.  I filled up an entire receipt book in a matter of hours and was beginning to feel like I was way in over my head.  I didn’t have NEAR enough supplies to fill all of those orders on hand, so immediately started calling around to…you guessed it…Staples in the area to be sure I could get these cards I use for the advent set.  I ended up having to drive all over just to collect enough and I STILL had to order more online.  I also realized I didn’t have enough of the little muslin bags that the cards are supposed to be in.  Not a big deal, you say….au contraire…packaging is everything and I hadz to have those bags (see how I used a “z” – that’s how you know I’m not foolin’ around…z).  Anyway, the bags are on their way, I have plenty of sets already printed and ALMOST ready to ship and I’m STILL getting emails about those durn things.  But time is running short – I only have a few more days until it will be too late to ship them.  So the insanity is nearly over. Whew.

Musing #4: You need Christmas cards, right?

I have a TON of Christmas card sets ready to ship.  Get em, y’all.

Musing #5: Married to a writer.

Being married to Stephen is quite the adventure.  As a writer, he is always coming up with these metaphors – I don’t know how he does it on the fly like that…but most of the time, they’re perfectly accurate metaphors.

Oh, and he wrote a book.  Have a heart.  It’s $3.  Come on.

http://www.stephenpaulregister.com

Go to “Books” and click the “Buy Now” button (or you can purchase it on Smashwords.com – the link is there as well).  When you’ve finished payment, you’ll get an email receipt – on the receipt will be a download code.  Return to the website and go to “After-Purchase Download Center” and enter the code for the PDF version of the book.  Other eReader formats are available directly from Smashwords if you’d rather have another format.

Just do it.

Musing #5: Haircutz. (another Z…..)

I’ve been thinking about going to get my haircut…again…it’s just gettin’ busy.  Let’s face it.  I made an appointment for next Wednesday, not entirely sure what I was going to get.  I started looking around on trusty Pinterest for ideas.  Here are my faves:

Source: google.com via Anna on Pinterest

Source: yfrog.com via Anna on Pinterest

 

Which do you think?!  I like the chin-length and the idea of longer layers that I can still curl.

 

Musing #6: The end.

Happy Saturday.