Thursday, May 20, 2010

The 2010 Graduation Scene: Custom Graduation Announcements are IN!

commencement  n. 1. a beginning; a start. 2. a ceremony at which academic degrees or diplomas are  conferred.

It is hard to imagine to those of us that thought the year would never actually get here, but the graduates of 2010 are heading out of school and into the "real world." I graduated from college way back in 1987- and things have certainly changed in the last two decades. Graduation will always, however, be a time to honor the tenacity and perseverance of years of study, growth and the challenges that await each student as they prepare for the next step in their lives. And it is now officially the CLASS OF 2010's chance to shine!

The history of the graduation ceremony is a tradition that is considered a rite of passage. The ceremony marks a transition from one stage in a student's life to another. Arnold van Gennep coined the phrase "Rite of passage" in 1909 and he believed the rite of passage included the following three steps:1.Separation from Society, 2.Inculcation-transformation; 3.Return to Society in the new status.

All graduation passage rituals fulfill certain universal functions : (1) Dramatize facing new responsibilities, opportunities and dangers, (2) Readjust the participant (and all in their social circle) to these changes, (3) They establish solidarity and sacredness of common values or rituals.  Each culture either creates it's own rite of passage ceremony, or acquires one being handed-down (tradition) or both; and, will form a new ritual based on the current moment. The graduation ceremony dates back to the 12th century. Some feel it began with scholastic monks with their ceremonies in robes and has evolved to fit the society in which it is celebrated ever since

Enter 2010: Gone are the days of Victorian etiquette and social constraints when it comes to sharing the good news of your graduation with family and friends. In place of the formal, boring black or blue envelopes of the past, today's graduation announcements can be an expression of who you are, what you've accomplished, and where you're headed. Personalized messages, formats, and colors can be used to create something uniquely yours as you tell friends, family, and neighbors that your day of accomplishment and celebration is at hand.

Graduation notices are no longer limited to high school and college graduates either. With today's modern technology, you can create correspondence that announces graduation from any number of schools, institutions, or other personal accomplishments. Kindergarten, beauty school, job training, passing the bar exam, or finally getting that long sought after motorcycle license all qualify as good news that those who care about you will want to hear about.

Unique designs abound this year with lots of opportunities to add great snapshots of your graduate- templates abound throughout the web.  The style you select will add a personal touch you can't get from mass produced cards. Choose from different shapes, colors, photo layouts, and personalized messages to create something no one else has ever seen before. You select the colors, the font, the message, and style. You can express your team spirit with school colors, focus on who the graduate is today, or feature a photograph that will have recipients laughing out loud. From movie themes to floral branches and leaves- from cap throwing grads to grads holding puppies- the graduate in 2010 has so many options.

(You can click on each card for details)

Click here to see more graduation cards!


And when you're planning to send out the final announcement, albeit for the big graduation party or thank you notes after the fact, don't  forget the extra touches that will make this event one of a kind. Consider adding customized graduation postage to the invitation- perhaps a photo of your graduate, a class of 2010 diploma with the college or high school embossed across the front of the stamp? And graduation stickers will complete the suite and make that first impression for the crowd.  Add a touch of flash with a gold seal to your envelope, or seal your envelopes with something directly related to your accomplishment: a custom law degree insignia for the law school grad, a writing pad sticker for the new teacher, or a calculator sticker for the new CPA. You can be as creative as you like when building your personalized announcements and invitations, along with the suite of extras too.

Click here to see more business cards!

Creating your very own photo graduation ensemble provides you with an opportunity to express yourself to family and friends as you share your good news. Graduations are life markers. They are events that tell others that you have set a goal, worked hard, and succeeded. Everyone you know will want to hear the good news, and there's no better way to announce your accomplishment than with photo graduation announcements created exclusively by you!
Sandy Buckley is a graphic designer and photographer living in Washington State since 2005. She maintains several storefronts at Zazzle which feature custom designs for all occasions, as well as a website*/*/

Monday, May 17, 2010

Planning your Fall Wedding in 2010


WEDDING COLOR NEWS :  Aqua, Turquoise, Navy, Hot Pink, Yellow, Purple, Light Blue, Magenta, Pink, Mauve, Coral, Gray, Silver, and Cobalt Blue are HOT colors in 2010

When you're planning a fall wedding it is easy to become enmeshed in the colors of the season- rust, yellows, golds and reds. Color palettes of brick and terra cotta are bountiful in the autumn season and many brides will use leaves and harvest as inspiration for decor. But you don't have to be a stickler when it comes to planning that fall wedding- the possibilities are endless for the moderns and discerning bride.

According to THE KNOT, the color forecast this upcoming fall season is endless. Leaf hues and earth tones are not necessarily the only choices- considering alternatives such as plum and chic gold can certainly compliment the season too. Brown is still going to be hot- and will pair well with blacks, creams and reds. I'm seeing lots of pastels being used when brides are purchasing invitations for fall weddings- especially aquamarine and turquoise. Purples seem to be getting hot this year too- lots of great eggplant colors being combines with creams and yellows will be setting the stage for a unique ceremony in the pre-winter months.

I am not a wedding planner nor am I a bride-to-be. But, as a custom wedding invitation designer, I do have the distinct opportunity to not only interact with brides but to also see the choices being made throughout the seasons. This year, it seems that the Knot is absolutely correct (no surprises there!)- in that brides are now electing to make choices based on their own preferences and are embracing aspects of their individualistic personalities despite the season!  I have been receiving many requests to incorporate navy, pomegranate and hot pinks (not all together, mind you) into the color schemes too- whether the bride has elected to go with a more formal damask or a playful floral decor- accents seem to be the word of the day. More and more I see brides electing to use their favorite colors despite the season.  So I figured I'd share some of the custom designs created for the fall brides this year...hope the suggestions assist you in planning your day! And as always, please do not hesitate to contact me at if you would like a personalized paper product designed for your event!


THE FLOWERSHOP : Great florals for your wedding day- lots of contemporary designs focused on beautiful florals for all seasons

THE PAPERMILL :  Beautiful and unique wedding and event invitations (such as bridal showers, graduations and baby showers) focused on the modern approach to the initial invitation. Modern chic and trendy!

DAMASK DIVA  :  As the name implies, this storefront contains all of my damask inspired designs- from hot pink to navy blue and everything in between. 

Some of the hottest designs so far this year for fall weddings in my stores:

Click here to see more invitations!

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Damask Pattern: Why It Will Never Go Out of Style

Damask (dam·ask ): n  a firm lustrous fabric (as of linen, cotton, silk, or rayon) made with flat patterns in a satin weave on a plain-woven ground on jacquard looms.
Damask is a patterned textile, deriving its name from the fine patterned fabrics produced in Damascus (Syria) in the European Middle Ages. True damask was originally wholly of silk, but gradually the name came to be applied to a certain type of patterned fabric regardless of fibre.
Today you can purchase just about anything in a damask pattern- from pillows to sofas, linens to wallpapers, invitations to napkins. Damask is not only whimsical and elegantly appointed but the perfect accent for so many occasions.
Today's weddings are not the exception. Absolutely nothing sets off a chic color scheme like an elegant dose of damask pattern adorning your invitations, custom postage stamps, table settings, and gift boxes. Your event will literally pop off the page with the timeless floral pattern of toiles and damasks. Even The Knot has an entire section dedicated to Damask Wedding Ideas!  Today's brides and designers that seek elegance and luxury, have continued to agree with history by keeping up the Damask themed wedding as one of the hottest trends this year. Whether you offer guests at your bridal shower something chic such as Damask Boxes lined with luxurious silk and a pretty little gift or you give your reception tables a pop of style with damask candle favors - Damask will assure guests will leave the event with radiant memories.
So let's start with the invitations. There is something about damask that exudes a tasteful elegance and a nostalgia for vintage and things of past.  At the same time it is also very modern, making this the perfect choice for wedding invitations. In 2010 we are seeing the mismatched bridesmaids dresses, strapless wedding dresses and low cost alternative wedding favors. What better than to tie the entire affair together than the vintage and classic damask patterned invitation?
As a little note about me, I have been affiliated with ZAZZLE since early 2006. Hoping to be able to some day "break away" from the drudgery of my "real job" I began posting photography from the San Juan Islands, where I had just recently moved. Soon thereafter I found myself fascinated by the concept of design, purchased Adobe Photoshop, read tons of tutorials, bought a MAC and opened up my next three storefronts on Zazzle, all of which were dedicated to designing graphics for brides to be and party planners. In 2009, the "break away" occurred when my employer outsourced my position of 7 years and I found myself solely dependent on design work and photography. Today I am proud to say that Zazzle has provided the inroads to a new career and I am pleased to say that I am one of the seven top designers on board with their team of millions around the world. Our designs paired with the quality products Zazzle offers has allowed me to realize that dream of "getting away from the corporate world." Today I enjoy the opportunity to work with brides to be, moms planning customized Bat Mitzvahs and people planning events all over the world. Can you say "I love my job?"

The Damask Diva Shoppe was my fourth venture at Zazzle. The entire suite of designs and custom services are focused on one pattern: DAMASK.  Custom invitations for weddings, bridal showers and birthday parties, coupled with coordinating US POSTAGE STAMPS, save the date magnets and envelope seals really makes this storefront an easily accessible shop that allows the busy party planner to make purchases at a single sitting. Each invitation you'll see here comes with the entire suite of coordinating wedding papers- invites, reply cards, etc. Some of the MOST POPULAR DESIGNS include the following and you can click on the photos for details and close ups!


Click here to see more damask wedding invites!

Next post will focus on damask bridal showers and baby showers! Stay tuned and contact me at for any custom invitation requests! Happy Parties!