Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

For all who celebrate ... wishing you a safe, healthy, joyous Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Angel

Finishing all my last minute Christmas errands. Finally mailed my Christmas cards. I'll post them later - don't want to ruin it. But here's one I just got back from Sunrise. They ended up not using all the verse in calligraphy (I did 2 versions). But I really like this one.

Merry, merry!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas presents - personalized bottles

I hope I won't be giving this away for any of our gift recipients but I wanted to post about the idea I came up with for teacher's presents.

We have many, many teachers to give to because each of the kids has 3 teachers and then specials teachers. It's hard to find something nice, affordable, and universal!

But there is one thing we love and that is maple syrup. And only real, pure maple syrup which is expensive and not a luxury many people purchase for themselves. So I thought it would be nice to give bottled maple syrup. Then I thought, hey, wouldn't it be nice if I could somehow personalize the bottle. So then I looked into glass etching.

As it turns out, I can etch the bottles with my calligraphy! There is a small machine which makes the stencils here: Glass Etching Kits. Has anyone tried this? All of you calligraphers out there - this could be a great money-maker!

So I was able to purchase the bottles via Specialty Bottles. I'm so excited! Then we purchase our favorite maple syrup, etch, bottle, and voila - gift!

I am posting the camera ready of the etching below. I drew the snowflake and did the lettering (except the font). I will be sure to post pictures of the finished gift.

I'm really excited about this! I think I may have found our "annual gift." When all said and done, if all goes as planned, it will be a nice, yet affordable, personal gift. I hope! :-)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday Season is upon us!

I honestly think time has sped up. I am still floundering back in September somewhere. Even the days feel short now and the months whiz by. I am so happy I didn't procrastinate this year and our tree and decorations went up on the day after Thanksgiving. That is a record for us! Each year for the past 8 years or so we've been piece-mealing it together so that we finally have all decorations and such complete about the day before Christmas. So this year, I made a huge effort to make sure we got it done. Even my shopping is done! Not wrapped yet but done!

I play Christmas carols every minute of every day until Christmas because it still feels like Christmas in July for me here in Florida.

I am starting to work on the teachers' gifts (we have 9 teachers because the kids go to a charter school and work in groups with several different teachers each). It's hard to find something nice to make or buy for teachers. But I'm working on something! Last year I did personalized stationery for each one - calligraphed and gocco printed. So this year I'll have to come up with something different. Maybe a Zenspirations monogram?

I just completed my 2nd American Greetings design yesterday. Ugh! It was like pulling teeth. It was a combination of monoline and slight thick and thins. Since I am not polished at brush lettering, I tried it with several different tools. But patience and perseverence paid off as I finally was able to do something which they liked. I used a straight fountain pen. It was frustrating at times but I loved the process and I am learning sooo much with every design.

I suppose it looks kind of stark without the design but thought I'd post anyway just to help your curiousity. :-)

Thanks for visiting!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gobble, gobble! Not the best calligraphy I've ever done but you get the idea!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hurry - there's still time! L Letterpress machine give away

OK - I just found out there is a new home Letterpress machine! It just came out. I am so excited! I found it on this great blog:

There is still time to get in on the give-away. The deadline is 11:59p tonight!

I *love* letterpress. Many of the invitations I designed in early 2000's were letterpressed by an amazing artist in Scarborough, Maine. Letterpress just gives an amazing textural quality to your project. I had my business cards and brochures letterpressed. I could just sit and feel them for hours!

I've always wanted to do my own greeting cards with letterpress but could never afford it. Now maybe I can! They hope to come up with a custom process soon!

So cool!

Life is getting in the way!

So life is getting ridiculously bogged down and I haven't been able to do any art related fun things lately! But I have managed to squeeze in a little Zenspiration stuff at night after the kiddos are in bed. I'm still in the rough learning stage but I thought I would share the fun.

I still can't figure out why you can't click on my new images to see the larger one. You used to be able to do that in my earlier posts. So I must have somehow changed my settings. Sorry about that. I'll try to figure it out. :-)

In the meantime, here are some roughs.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Zenspirations by Joanne Fink

WOW! I had the *best* time yesterday at the workshop put on by Joanne Fink. It was like decorated versals merge with zentangles and more! Joanne's workshop was called Zenspirations and was it ever!

Joanne is a terrific instructor. She was very organized, had wonderful handouts, and first quality supplies. What I really liked was that she shared so generously with her handouts so that once the workshop was done, you really have a good reference packet to use on your own. The workshop was extremely well layed out - meaning each step was useful and fun and did not waste any time. We got right to creating and I felt I had learned a great deal when the workshop was over and every minute was very well used.

The great thing about Joanne's Zenspirations is it really takes the idea of zentangles one step further. There are so many ways you can apply what Joanne taught. I was always intrigued with zentangles but hadn't made the leap yet because I didn't know what use it would have to me other than a fun time-eater and Lord knows I don't need anymore of those! :-) If you ever have the opportunity to take this workshop with Joanne - DO IT!

We started by learning some basic zentangle like patterns. Then we learned how to apply these to a series of curved lines. Here's my first go:
We then learned how to apply them to versal like capitals. The fun part is the letters are a series of sketched lines so if you make a mistake, you can correct it with another line. It takes away a lot of the pressure of trying to get perfect letter forms. To me, that is the zen part. You can create without worry! Here's a "K" which was one of my first letters.
Finally, we learned how to do something playful and apply it to illustrations and add color, etc. This was with a Sakura gel pen.

Can't wait to play more!

Until next time...


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Zentangle Conference - yahooo!

I'm going to the Zentangle Monograms conference taught by Joanne Fink in Orlando! I am so excited. It's been so long since I've been to a calligraphy workshop - years even!

I have never done zentangle although I've heard about it. So I watched some videos on line and read some stuff on it and gave it a try last night with a ball point pen and regular copy paper. I think I'm really going to enjoy it!
It is complete coincidence that when I turned my paper, this looked like a woman's profile! I'll share what I do in the workshop when I get back.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Water Bottle Carriers

I gave these as gifts to the teachers last year. I loved how they came out. You can get the pattern for free here at Pink Chalk Studio. I think the teachers liked them. I also made them for Mother's day. I added the little beading accent. I wish I could have found bottles to match all the colors but no such luck. Do you know how hard it is to find decent water bottles that don't cost a fortune?! UGH! Anyway, I made myself one, too! :-)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Candy Corn Witch

For those of you hoping to only see lettering here, I have to apologize. I was trying to decide if I should separate out my personal projects from my lettering and I finally decided I would keep it altogether. Sorry! You'll just have to weed through the stuff that doesn't interest you! :-)

So this past week my daughter and her best friend decided they wanted to be candy corn witches for their halloween party. This was fine except all the local stores had sold out of the costume and the adult version was wayyyy too risque for my taste and for my 12 year old!

I agreed to make both of their costumes. What was I thinking? Oh, probably the same thing I think any time I am met with a challenge - I can totally do this! It would have been fine except the girls found out they would need me to make the costumes on Friday morning and we were hosting 15 people for dinner for my mom's birthday on Friday night!

So I ran like a crazy person all day getting stuff done and went to JoAnn's and bought all the fabric after I sat down and sketched out the idea. This was not easy as I could not find a pattern to modify so I had to wing it all on my own! Yikes!

We had a wonderful dinner party and said goodbye to all of our guests around 10ish. I sat down to the sewing machine and had a 15 hour costume sewing marathon. That's right - I pulled an all-nighter. I can't remember when it was exactly but at some point I think around 2, I realized if I went to bed, I would never finish in time for the Halloween party the next day.

So I sewed and cut and measured - wait reverse that. I'm still a little sleep deprived! But ... drum roll ... I did it! The girls were thrilled. They loved their costumes and I was happy to do it. I crashed at 3:30 in the afternoon and didn't wake up until 6 o'clock Sunday morning! Phew! What a weekend! But it's done...

Here is the sketch I did as well as the finished costumes... Hope there are other moms out there as crazy as I am that can appreciate it!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Final fishies

I thought I would post a picture of the final fish project. These are hung in the window of our kitchen. The gloss made a big difference. The fun thing is they gently sway and rotate so they look really dynamic in an otherwise dull space. The cats are going nuts! :-)
Happy Thursday!

My first American Greetings job

I just completed my first gig for American Greetings. I am thrilled to be doing freelance for one of the top greeting card companies in the world! It was a great learning experience and just this one job has improved my "contemporary" lettering already.

It's slightly embarrassing to admit my first attempts were less than stellar. But the senior lettering designer was so patient and extremely helpful. His direction was excellent and I was able to accomplish what he was looking for. PHEW!

This is straight lettering - no illustration or card design - so it is done in black and white. Hard to imagine these two lines took me well over a 40 hour work week, 6 nibs, a full jar of McCaffery's, and two reams of paper! But the practice will certainly help in getting my style up to speed.

So here it is ... look for it in a major retailer near you next Father's Day!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Second Beading Attempt - Dragonfly Ornaments

I saw this great ornament on this site: Dragonfly Ornament.

Dragonfly Ornament.Looking for terrific Art and Craft Ideas? To make these lovely dragonfly ornaments, see the tutorial and photos on the How To Arts and website.

I wanted to make an ornament to donate to our Art Center to sell at their craft fair.

Wow - this was hard! I couldn't get the wire to stay smooth. And it was very time consuming. But I had fun. I chose to do silver instead of gold. The directions were great. I would not have been able to make it without all the photos.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Silk Ribbon & Bead Book Marks

I made these for Christmas gifts last year. I think they were well received. Each of my children have 3 teachers so I tried to come up with something I could give to each that was still nice and slightly different.

The hand dyed silk ribbon comes from Jamn Glass. They are beautiful in real life. She handstitches the edges! Wow!

The idea came from a Bead magazine which escapes me right now but I'll dig it up.

This was my first attempt at beading. I don't enjoy it that much (it's time consuming and so much harder than it looks). So I tip my hat off to all you wonderful beaders out there! :-)


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Last one for today...

I'm working on my first card for American Greetings. Can you tell I am procrastinating? It's is a great learning experience and it's really helping me get my lettering up to snuff. By that I mean - more contemporary.

Anyway, I have lettered "Happy" about 300 times in the past 24 hours so I'm taking a "happy" break. :-)

Here is another gift I crocheted this year. These were for my neices. One day I was over babysitting and I was knitting a hat for someone. They asked if I could knit them a ballerina and a dolly in a blue dress. Hmmm... I'm on it! So this got me interested in amigurumi. For those of you that don't crochet, I think that is the japanese art of crocheting or knitting stuffed animals or toys or something. It is addictive! And fun. My problem is I like to finish things at one sitting so that means I stayed up wayyyy too late making each of these! But the girls loved them and that was totally worth it. They even sleep with them. :-)

Once, again I went to etsy for the pattern. This one is from AJollyShop. I modified the pattern a little to make the ballerina tutu.

More stuff I did this year ... more baby bibs, booties, and hats

As I said, I did go a little crazy with the baby stuff. Here are some more things I did...

These bibs are great. I so wish I had thought to do something like this when my kids wore bibs. This pattern is also from Precious Patterns on Etsy.

I also made these little damask booties (another Precious Patterns):

I crocheted these baby booties. The pattern is from FrougesArt.

I'll post more later... it was a busy year! :-)

Stuff I did this year... Handsewn Baby Bibs

So I can't believe it's the middle of October already! But when I look back on the year, I've done quite a bit of stuff! Not a whole lot of lettering because I took a small hiatus. But I had time to do some projects I enjoy doing. I thought I'd post some for fun, although not related to lettering...

My cousin had her first baby this year. I was thrilled to start making stuff for a baby again. I went a little crazy but had so much fun doing it.

These are reversible bibs. I loved these in that they weren't "baby-ish" but more fun patterns but still in bright colors. I bought the pattern on Etsy from Precious Patterns. She has great patterns.

Free Paperclay Fish Template

Couldn't figure out how to make just a link so I'm uploading this as a photo...hope it works. Have fun and let me know if you make one!

A little crafting... Paperclay Fish

I've been trying to come up with ideas that all three kids and I can do together. The older two had a great time at art camp this summer with our local Art Center. So Friday night I stayed up late making these little fish and turtle ornaments out of paperclay. I drew a template and then used an exacto knife to cut them out. Once cut out, I used a wet paintbrush and my finger to smooth the edges and shape them the way I wanted. I put each one on a balled up piece of recycled paper (the sheets I used to practice my calligraphy) to dry.

I used beads for the eyes in most and left a few in case the kids wanted to paint the eyes instead. I poked a hole in each one so we can hang them but you could also glue a magnet to the back instead.

In the morning, the kids and I painted them. What fun! Everyone could participate and was very happy with what they made. Here's what we came up with... the one on top is Erilyn's, then Kaiden's, then Delainey's, then mine. The kids did a great job. We have two windows in our kitchen eat-in area so I am going to hang these along the window at varying heights.

I've included the free template if anyone wants to give it a try. I will warn you though, it takes a lot of patience and time to shape the ornaments and smooth the edges. But I found it very relaxing and satisfying. :-) If you give it a try, hope you have fun!


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Where oh where have I gone?

Wow! It's been a *long* time since I have been on here. Let's just say life with 3 kids has been extremely busy. Studying homeopathic medicine, designing greeting cards, and taking care of three kids has just about put me over the top. However, my littlest one has finally started preschool which means, YES - mommy has 3 hours free EVERY weekday! I don't know what to do with myself. But first I am getting my lettering skills back up to snuff.

I started this week with my first freelance gig for American Greetings. Yippee! I'm very flattered to even be considered for American Greetings so I'll be very, very happy if I get some good gigs. The first one is a Father's Day card and I really like the design. I get to do straight lettering without having to worry about designing the whole card which makes it much less time consuming and a little less stressful. Not as much pay, but hey, it all adds up.

So I also haven't had time these past couple years to keep my hand in what has been happening in the lettering world. Wow again! A lot! There are blogs aplenty and many, many more websites than when I started in 2001.

I was very inspired yesterday reading Jane Farr's beautiful blog! And so I am going to try to blog more which anything would be more since I haven't blogged in literally years!

So here's my first ... I designed this today. I was trying to come up with a "Florida-ish" Christmas design for our local art center which is hosting a contest for their holiday card pack. I could not come up with anything until I saw this beautiful orchid in a sea shell at our local farmer's market this morning! It was calling my name. So I bought it even though I know I won't be able to keep it alive. And the rest just came right out. I'm real happy with it even I don't make it into the card packet. Here it is...hope you enjoy seeing it.