Category Archives: calligraphy

Photog Session

Yesterday after I finished some work I asked my very cool guy to take some pictures of my envelopes.


I told him, “Have fun with it, Babe.” And I think they turned out great! He used my new chandelier (minus the crystals and candles) that I just painted to go above my bathroom tub. Do you see my gnome hanging in the greengage plum tree? I love my gnomes. (No, I’m not some odd gnome collector! I just have two. One for the back and one for the front yard.)


I love the texture on the paper that calligraphy sometimes gives. No matter if I use sumi ink or a gouache mix, they both leave a nice feel on all sorts of different kinds of paper once dry, of course.


I often see color combonations like this, purple, yellow, orange with some pink too. The colors look really great for wedding flowers.


Talk about air mail! This was a really cool shot taken in my backyard.


Here is that same envelope close up. Work done with pointed pen again in a red gouache on a white envelope. I’m not sure if this letterhand has a given name. It sort of reminds me of uncials with the roundness of the letters.


For now I’ll try and think of a fun name for it.


This is a nice photo in the greengage tree. But the next one, the next one I really love!


I love it not just because I love these colors of the envelope and ink together, but I love it because that’s my rhubarb! You should see it!! It’s going crazy this year!!! Maybe this weekend I’ll make something for us with the rhubarb. Mmmmm….

So if you need or would like someone to address envelopes for you for an important event, whether it be a wedding, new baby, a birthday party, moving announcements, holiday cards, just let me know. On top of designing invitations and announcements I offer that too. Soon you’ll see my Etsy shop open just for that.

Have a nice weekend everyone!



Filed under calligraphy, envelopes, gardening, weddings

Envelopes of Blue & Green

I’m working on an envelope project and had to find the right shade of kelly green for the ink. I mixed some gouaches together, added distilled water and then added some gum arabic. I think it turned out really nice on the light blue paper. Actually, it’s the shade bluebell from Paper Source.


Above is the scanned image. It really looks nothing like the true colors! I think I need some serious color correction. So while I wait on my photographer for proper photographs, here are what the colors really look like.


Total difference! Right?! Then again, who knows what it looks like on your monitor because colors can vary from one monitor to the next. I really think I should invest in a color corrector thingymabob. Does anyone use one? Do you recommend any?

Anyway, this style of letterhand is still copperplate, but a more relaxed or less formal version. I’m not sure what to call it. “Relaxed Copperplate” sounds a bit dull. What do you think? Do you have any suggestions? Just send me a comment if you do.

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Filed under calligraphy, envelopes

I’m Going Home

Here is just a very small part of a project I’m working on. I’m hoping this week it will be complete, done, over, out the door, finale and never to be concerned with again. I'mGoingHomeResizedThe final project will likely not appear here, but we’ll see how it goes. It’s really a favor to someone and the rest of the project just isn’t my forte, but this part was fun to do.

Pointed Gothic is the letterhand. I used my Brause 3mm nib. Ever since LOJ, I’ve been using a Brause nib instead of a Speedball when it comes to edged pen work and so far I like it.

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Filed under calligraphy, family

Envelope of Color

I’m very behind on my monthly envelopes. I just finished another last week.


I really debated even sharing this one. Frankly, after blurring and deleting certain identifying details there’s not much of it to appreciate. Nonetheless, here it is anyway.

I found this Ronde letterhand in my files and I think it’s Parisian. If someone out there knows for sure, please feel free to let me know.

I’m thinking umberella’s for the next one because rain sure sounds good right now. The Seattle area has been pretty hot. Yesterday it go up to 93 degrees in my area. Ugh!

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Filed under calligraphy, envelopes

A ‘Yes’ Person Makin’ Books

Are you a ‘Yes’ person?¬† I can be at times, which is why you didn’t see me much last week. This past Friday I took a short, but very much, little break in my day and read this. For me, the money doesn’t even matter when it comes to saying yes to things. I may need it or I may not, but I still end up saying ‘yes’ most of the time to something that I just don’t have the time for. I believe it’s mostly because I don’t want to disappoint someone when I say ‘no’.

302494977_c4a98ccd55{image from here}

When it all collides I end up dropping anything I have planned for myself and/or my personal life. All for what?! I end up worrying more than concentrating and more than enjoying the opportunity to create something new. I get a bit stressed and find myself skipping meals. And it’s not uncommon being alerted to the fact that even though I’m no longer a teenager does not mean I won’t get zits from certain stresses!

So it’s time for a little change, a sit down for some goal setting and to assure myself that saying no, especially to pro-bono service, is okay. How about you? What do you do when you find yourself saying ‘yes’ to too many things, whether service or work related? Do you have any tips or suggestions that have been helpful?


The past year or two I’ve studied more and more about book binding. Above is a photograph of part of my Mother’s Day gift I made for my mother. I love the pattern on this paper. I’m seeing patterns like this everywhere! I’m seriously considering designing a new invitation with a similar pattern. I believe it was first seen as an exterior design pattern on cathedrals, churches and abbeys. If I recall correctly from my architectural design class at university, it’s called quatrefoil. Even though I didn’t study graphic design at BYU, at least I can say I’m using something artistic I was taught there in my current job.

My favorite way of book binding so far has got to be coptic binding, which is the style of this book. I always thought it was a Japanese technique, but when I took the class I was surprised to learn¬† it was actually developed by the Egyptians. Amazing that a technique used as early as the 2nd century is still being used today! Talk about an undying art! I’m so happy to have learned this technique and hope to learn more.


At the end of each extended calligraphy class I’ve taken the students would have a project they worked on for the class term and we would all put a book together with shrunk down images of our art. But my interest into book arts didn’t hit me until I took my first book binding course at my local Paper Source. After one class I was hooked. I can’t recall the instructors name for the life of me, but I’ve taken additional classes from her and I love her teaching style. Her style is to work with you, not just tell you what to do step by step. She actually makes a book along with you and waits until you’re ready to continue. Seems pretty basic, but you’d be surprised how rare it is that some instructors follow this way of teaching.


Here is a picture of the inside front cover of the book. The calligraphy on the right was written with my folded pen nib. I think the calligraphy sucks. I’m hoping in the future I’ll see progress from the sorry site of this.98004003Later this month I’m taking a Basic Bookbinding course. I’m sure that will be fun, just like all the others I’ve taken from Paper Source. I’ll be sure to update you on the results.

Later this week I’ll be away on a very important trip. To all those at the National Stationery Show right now, I’m so envious, but very excited to hear and see all how it went. They say the first couple days are the busiest.

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Filed under book binding/book arts, calligraphy, invitations

Letters Of Joy (Part IV)

Books, cards and even more books. Michael Jacobs not only knows how to make ’em, he makes them into pieces of art. They’re almost like puzzles or origami.

My third and final class at LOJ was titled ‘Triangle Book’ taught by the extremely talented artist, Michael Jacobs.

MichaelJacobsTriangleBooks72{image from here}

This is how the conference brochure described the class:

“You’ll be asking “How many ways can it open?” when you make this unusual book project. Triangle book is versatile, sculptural, and fun to operate, with a huge variety of ways to insert pages. View lots of samples for inspiration.”

I had been looking forward to this class all day. I’ve taken a few different book binding classes and absolutely love learning the art. I’ve found that many calligraphy artists also dip into book arts and even letterpress printing and vice versa.

ruler{image from here}

Once Michael began to talk about making the book, the class became fast paced. He’s very particular about measurement and spent a lot of time in the beginning talking about that and other tips. I haven’t tried this yet, but as an experiment take two different 12″ rulers. They can be from the same company or different. Lay one out on the table with inches going 0″ to 12″, left to right. Now take another ruler, going from 12″ to 0″ left to right and line the two rulers side by side with the o” from one ruler lined up with the 12″ mark of the other. Notice how different they are. Apparently most rulers can be all over the place. Again, I haven’t tried this, but it sounds interesting. Michael mentions his favorite ruler, pictured above, here. Despite it costing around $20, for him it was well worth it. I, myself, am not this particular, but it’s interesting, nonetheless.

papergrain{image from here}

There were various other things discussed in length before we got to the book. Some important, like the grain of paper (even though we were making a triangle book, so didn’t make much difference) and you can read some more tips he shared with us on his web site here. It’s all interesting and he’s got a load of information to share.

The class was intended to be able to make two different triangle books, maybe three. Once we got to making the book on our own, it felt like a race to try and get as much done before 5 o’clock came. A few people zipped right through it, but the majority of us were at a more normal pace. I was able to make one book and had almost all the pieces cut out for the second, more complex book and had to finish that at home. I’m not sure, but I don’t think anyone made three.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of taking pictures of his samples. I even had my camera with me! Duh!!! I don’t think I put the second more complex triangle book together correctly. I mean, it works and it opens and all that, but visually, in my mind, I pictured it a different way and I don’t care for how this one opens. This is why there aren’t many photos in this post. Sadly, there were no printed instructions for his more lengthy and complex triangle books either.

However, I’m not finished trying. I have an idea in my mind for an invitation, in fact. Whether it be for a birthday, wedding, shower, announcement, anniversary, or just a fun random party, I think this could be an unforgettable invitation to an unforgettable event. Once I have it all worked out I’ll have the photographer take pictures and share it with you here.

One teaching style unique to Jacob’s, and I really liked this, is how he refers to his students. Most of the time you hear teachers refer to their students by name or calling the class to attention with ‘Class, pay close attention to…’ or ‘Everyone come up to the front and…’. Michael refers to all his students by calling them artists. ‘Artists, pay close attention to…’ or ‘Artists, come up to the front and…’. It got me thinking about that very word, artist. When does it feel right to title yourself as an artist? Is everyone an artist? Do you have to have a degree of some sorts? Do you have to be a selling artist to feel entitled to the title? Should you have studied ‘x’ amount of hours? Should you have active membership in some sort of association? I’ve thought about this before regarding the title ‘calligrapher’, but the same applies here. What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your comments.

Michael Jacob’s has many, many other artistic talents and if you would like to see more of Jacob’s work check out his web site and gallery.


Jacob’s also has a couple books published.


They’re both available for purchase here or here.

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Filed under baby announcement, book binding/book arts, calligraphy, invitations, weddings

Letters Of Joy (Part III)

My second class was a bit different from any others I’ve taken. Enliven Your Italic taught by Gina Jonas. Although very different from what I thought it would be, it still was enlightening.

Before we even started with our pens Gina talked much of the importance of meditation, focusing on your breath and stretching a little. For just a second I felt like I had been teleported to an ashram back in Bali.

There is the need for practice before you just dive right in. Just like a dancer, an athlete, a musician, practice is needed before the actual performance. The same is necessary for calligraphers too. I knew warm up was important, but this class really, super emphasized it and at a certain point within the warm up things sort of clicked. I definitely need to spend more time warming up.

page34-35-med1{image found here}

Find the rhythm, sense the touch or feel the flow of the push & pull in relation to your thumb & forefinger. Move your hand and arm in a circular motion, then up & down and side to side feeling the weight of your arm. Then do the same putting pen to paper.

page52-531{image found here}

Once we got to putting pen to paper, I saw where the breathing exercise came into play. At times, while writing copperplate with pointed pen, I’ve noticed myself breathing in on the light upstrokes and breathing out on the heavier down strokes. The same thing applied to the italic letterhand.

One good point that stuck out in my mind was her comment that calligraphy is different, it’s an art of movement, so it should be different from just handwriting. The way your wrist hits the page, the pace at which you write, even the angle you write at.

easel!{image found and for sale here}

Which leads me to another point, using a drawing board with a padded surface. Gina rests the bottom of the board on her lap and rests the top against the table (I hope that makes sense). I’ve never tried this before until this class. Gina used a large piece of foam core board. She may have used a couple pieces because her board looked so thick. Over the top she attached some suede fabric. I’ve often used foam core board too, but never thought of laying fabric over the top too.

The class was far too brief. It should be at least a full day course…maybe even two. Once we got to writing the only letter we got to was the letter ‘l’! Yep, far too brief. I wish we had had more time. Even Gina wished we had had more time, but I still learned a lot from her in such a short time.

reservoirpositions{image from here}

One last comment about the class. On the supply list was a Brause 3mm nib. I’ve used Speedball & Mitchell, but never a Brause for edged pen work. I liked it a lot! There was a lot of give and flexibility in the nib, but not too much. I think I’ll keep using that nib for a while to see if it grows on me.

findingtheflow{image from her web site}

Gina has written a couple books. This book above goes very well in conjunction with the course. Gina’s books are available here, here, or here.

doughnut-med{image found here}

Check out Gina’s web site here and be sure to check out her beautiful ketubah’s, especially if you’re planning a wedding. They’re gorgeous!

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Filed under calligraphy, weddings