Category Archives: weddings

Save The Date

This is the best ‘Save The Date’ I have ever seen! Far exceeds anything made on paper. I love it!

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FYI – I will be taking the month of February off from blogging. I hope to be back to a more consistent blogging pace in March.


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Filed under invitations, weddings


I’ve been away for a while. I know. I have loads to share with you and day by day I will get to it. So let’s get started.

FlickingerSpec0001{image via IAMPETH}

In September I was lucky and fortunate enough to attend a weekend Spencerian workshop hosted by Write On Calligrapher’s, of which I am a member. The teacher for this workshop was none other than the Spencerian God, Michael Sull. Jealous?! I thought so! That is, if you know much about calligraphy.

sull_certificate{picture from here}

Allow me to give a little background. Sull, a Master Penman, is very well-known in the calligraphy world. He is a master of the Spencerian letterhand in addition to flourishing of all sorts of things including birds, cherubs, feathers, quills, horses and various other animals and objects. He is a master at many, many, many things and has a wealth of knowledge to share.


{picture from here}

Isn’t he the cutest? Off the subject for a second, I just love bow ties! Sull is recognized by his circular glasses and bow ties. They’re so perfect! Back when I was in high school and when I went to university guys wore bow ties a lot more than they do today. We need a bow tie come back, don’t you think? Every now and again I see a groom in a seer sucker suit, bow tie and saddle shoes and I’m always taken by how handsome he looks.

Anyhoo, back on topic. I was at first a bit star struck being taught by Sull. In comparison, it’s almost like having to cook a meal and entertain for Julia Child, Jamie Oliver, Eric Ripert or Jacques Pepin. Just having him look over my shoulder to see how my practice was progressing made me…oy vey!…a little nervous, to say the least! But he is so willing to teach, open to your questions and really wants to share and pass on what he knows. That’s exactly what put me at ease.

Sull, a former President of The International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting, aka IAMPETH, is a marvelous teacher. Even for just a two day workshop, I learned so much! We were even able to get to a little bit of flourishing. We learned a little about birds and feathers and even just his brief instruction and direction helped me tons! I’ve never thought I had the skill to pull that sort of thing off, but something clicked in this workshop with me.

555_2054_large{image from John Neal Books}

I would never have thought to try a nib most commonly used by Japanese cartoonists, but the Nikko G really does give a superb thin hairline. Along with Old World Iron Gall Ink or McAffrey’s Penman’s Ink, you’re sure to receive great results with practice.

146_75_large{image from John Neal Books}

If you’re looking for a good book on Spencerian instruction, I highly recommend all of Sull’s books & DVD’s, but one Sull himself highly recommends is Spencerian Script & Ornamental Penmanship Volume II. And if you’re even a little interested in Spencerian script and you have the chance to take a class from Michael Sull, jump at it! You will not be disappointed.


A nice gift from Sull was that he took the time to write each of our names and add some flourishing to it upon some dark gray paper in white ink. If I recall correctly, he used Dr. Martin’s Bleed Proof White Ink.


How awesome is that?! And all done freehand! He just thinks about what would go well with the name and it all looks so great!


Here’s a picture of the majority of them. And another cool angle below. I totally want to frame mine!


Since the class I’ve been thinking about trying to draw an owl. It’s a different kind of bird, but one thing’s the same, its head can literally be in any position in comparison to its body. What I mean is, birds can turn their head practically all the way around, right? Well, so can owls. Once you get the head down, the body should just flow in whatever direction you want, just like the usual ornate birds you see. Yes, I definitely would like to try this with an owl. Have you seen this done before? If so, please do share! I’d love to see one! Feel free to leave a comment or drop me an e-mail.

Also, if you are interested in improving the state of penmanship and the way it’s taught today, Sull will soon have a book out for just that purpose. It’s already being used among home school programs. (It should probably be given to medical doctors too. Honestly, they have the worst handwriting!) With the use of computers and technology today, students just don’t get the same amount of practice as we did growing up. Seriously, I’ve seen some bad handwriting from some and wondered if a 1st grader wrote it!! It makes me want more and better for my nieces & nephews and future children. So keep your eye on Sull at John Neal Books. I’m sure it will be available soon.

spencer_new_standard_image0{image from IAMPETH}

Getting back to Spencerian, lower case letters is by far the most important. Everything has a sense of curve. Michael Sull says, “Every curve is part of an imaginary oval”. “Envision the oval.” “Strive to be aware of the oval.” As with any letterhand, practice is key. Spencerian is unique in its flow and arm movement, but with time it will come, so it’s said. Don’t worry about having it all come quickly, arm and shoulder movement, shading and spacing. “Just relax and have a cookie”, as he says.

Oh! I hope to soon offer this letterhand for envelope work along with custom invitation work. Contact me if you’re interested. And if you’re looking for Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year card addressing, time is ticking away!

Jacques Pépin


Filed under calligraphy, envelopes, weddings

Urban Uprising Findings

I know, I know, I’ve been away for a while. But I’m back now, at least until tomorrow. I’m jetting off tomorrow to Lopez Island, one of the beautiful San Juan Islands here in the Pacific Northwest, for a few days. If you’re coming this way for the Vancouver B.C. 2010 Olympics, this would be a lovely, relaxing, nice and quiet spot to wrap up the trip. Shortly after that I’ll have some company in town for a few weeks, so I may be in and out, but I’ll try my best to keep up with blogging. Hopefully I’ll actually have time to work and share some of that with you too.

Today I’d like to go way back. Back to the beginning of the month on the weekend of the Urban Craft Uprising. Can I just say, why have I not been to this before?! It was amazing! I took my camera, but I think I was in such a state that I forgot to take any photos! Ugh! But I’ll share with you some of the amazing booths there.


I was first drawn to Mugwump. Suzanne Keolker is the amazingly talented designer from Portland and she is so clever and creative.


I can’t share the item I purchased, because it’s a gift for someone who reads this blog. But I will say that what I bought I received so many compliments on! First it was, “I love your ___, where did you get it?”


Almost as soon as I could point them into the direction of the Mugwump booth they were making a B line in that direction.SublimeStitchingHow-ToNext up, Sublime Stitching. Their trademark really says it all, “This ain’t your gramma’s embroidery!” You may have heard or read about them before because in addition to their totally awesome and updated embroidery patterns, they also have a book.


I purchased a pattern as a gift for someone, but I couldn’t resist buying this one here for myself.  I think I’m going to buy some of those flour sack dish towels and embroider them. I’m sure I’ll find other items to embroider too. Here are some good suggestions to embroider on.






If you’re planning a wedding, how about embroidering one of the above patterns on a tote bag for your out-of-town guests?


There were a couple letterpress artists there. I met Carol Clifford of Orange House Press and we talked letterpress and calligraphy for a while. She reminded me that the Letterpress Wayzgoose & Steamroller Smackdown is coming up on Saturday, August 29th from 1:00pm to 6:00pm. I think I may take my out-of-town guests to it. Maybe you should go too! It’s free.


Another gift I bought for someone was from a Seattle artist, Uzura. All the products are made from hemp and organic cotton and screen printed with nature inspired designs.pupcakemix_giant

Do you have a best friend with four legs? Yes, I do mean a dog. I had to stop at local baker, Petit Four Legs because my crazy Kosmo had an upcoming birthday (He’s 7-years-old now!!!) and they make doggie cupcake mixes, or rather pupcake mixes! Ba-dump-bump!! They also make petit fours, hence the name. As dogs can’t have chocolate, this is no doubt the next best thing. Made by a professional pastry chef with some of the profits donated to Homeward Pet, a local no-kill shelter for animals, you can feel happy to purchase their treats for any occassion.



There were a butt load of jewelry artists, there always are at these types of things. But my favorite one by far was Dotted Line Jewels. I must say, Annie Huntley makes the most gorgeous pieces with the most beautiful gems and she is so kind and so friendly too. Yes, I couldn’t resist buying one more thing for myself, a pair of earrings.

I really could go on and on, but I’ll just briefly suggest you check out Rachel Austin Paintings & other lovelies from Portland, OR for some very original artwork that I fell in love with. For a good laugh look up the local artwork from Ugly Baby shower art. We all could use a good chuckle to begin our day, unless you shower at night, but a good laugh before we go to bed is always nice too.

Everyone have a great week. It’s off to Lopez for me!

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Filed under book binding/book arts, Fun Stuff, letterpress, weddings

Urban Craft Uprising

If you know me, you know that I love independent artists. There’s a huge movement happening around the globe to support small businesses, especially those selling handmade goods.


I wish I lived closer to Brooklyn so I could always attend this event. This weekend is The Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco and if I could go anywhere this weekend it would be there.

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I want to go to there (Liz Lemon quote)! However, Seattle has been on this handmade movement for a while now.


Ladies & Gentlemen? I give you the Urban Craft Uprising. The UCU began in 2004 and used to be a winter holiday craft show supporting independent artists, but this year, for the first time, they’ve started a summer event, which will be on August 1st & 2nd. It’s the largest Indie Craft Show in the Pacific Northwest and we need it, because San Francisco is still too far to go for something like this.

Here’s a look at some of the awesome vendors that will be there.


I can’t wait to see the work of A Farmers Daughter up close. She’s got some beautiful pieces that brides would just swoon over.


Just have a look at this bird cage half veil. It’s very reasonably priced. It’s one of those things that make me wish I were a bride every day of the year.


She does boutonnieres too, so definitely worth a look and don’t forget to bring your guy too. There’s plenty for your man to see.


Does your man cycle? Do you? Take a look at Vital Industries. How could you not like this hand screenprint t-shirt? I think my friend K would dig it.


Isn’t this a great hat from Flipside Hats? It looks so Italian to me. What a great alternative to the weekend baseball cap for your guy. Very stylish! And it’s reversible! Awesome (said in a high pitched Will Ferrell voice)!

There’s even soft toys for your kids, nieces or nephews.


How could you resist these adorable mini marshmallows from Scrumptious Delights?!


Or what about this little guy from local Seattle artist Softlife? They’ve got some fun looking creatures.

t_robot_cAnd dude! Do you think I could convince local Seattle artist, LuCoo, to make an adult size t-shirt like this? Kids have the cutest clothes!

Artists coming all the way from NYC to local artists from Seattle, Redmond, Bellingham, Vancouver, CA., etc. and many other artists in between. From jewelry, paintings, clothing for children, men, women…even clothing for the real shape of a woman, hand-spun & hand-dyed yarns, 100% natural skin care products, glass, pottery, soft toys for kids, soap, handmade books…


This necklace from here.

il_fullxfull.66249631This gorgeous pillow from here.

Everything handmade and when I say Indie Crafts, you’ve got to know that it’s going to be unique and one of a kind. There’s gonna be a lot to see and I know it’s going to be loads of fun. You know where I’ll be on August 1st & 2nd and I can hardly wait! Trust me, you do NOT want to miss this.

So mark your calendars. August 1st & 2nd at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. Oh! And check out the UCU blog here.

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Filed under book binding/book arts, Fun Stuff, interior design, news, Uncategorized, watercolor art/paintings, weddings

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

Important Trip

Sorry I was silent for a while. I was out of town on a very important trip for these crazy kids…


This is my mom & dad. Aren’t they cute? This was their wedding day. Mom’s dress was a very, very, very pale green, appropriate as she was becoming a Greener. The dress was also cocktail length. How hip were Mom & Dad?! Three popular things right now, colored wedding dresses, cocktail length wedding dresses and grooms in suits instead of tuxedos. They’re such a handsome couple. Even grandma was hip! Check out that graphic print on the wallpaper in her home!

I just got back home last night so I hope to be back in regular flow Monday. See you then! Everyone have a great weekend! I’ll be makin’ another book, among other things.

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Filed under family, weddings

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