A Few Of My Favorite Calligraphy Things

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We have had our fair share of travels these days. Between partying in Vegas with Calligraphy friends, Disneyland with the kids and a Phoenix Calligraphy workshop I’m happy to be home. And I’m tired. One of the many reasons why I haven’t updated this blog in some time.

I hate the silence! Let’s fix that. :)

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A couple things I’ve come to obsess with over the last couple of months:

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In the above image I used Jacquard’s Lumiere Halo blue gold for the “Local Calligraphy Workshop” lettering. It’s one ink and the golds and blue swirl around to create this fun dance with color.

In the envelope below, I did an ombré with dioxazine purple and turquoise blue gouache. It’s more obvious in person, but the gradation is fun. And I also used the lettermate for writing guides on that envelope.

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You can subtly see the clear glitter gelly roll pen on the above card. It gives things the subtle hint of shimmer. I like to do swirls, but I don’t worry if they’re perfectly balanced or executed, because you really can’t see them that close when you’re looking at it in person.

In the ‘thank you’ I’m using that jacquard lumiere ink. It’s got to be diluted with water a fair amount. Mix regularly and apply with a brush, but it’s great.

I’m also using little bits of glitter glue for little dots of sparkle. I have one in every color except orange. That needs to change soon. I need ALL the colors!

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Here I’m using Jacquard’s Pearlex super bronze powder. It’s hard to convey through a picture alone how bright the metallic is. It’s mirror-like in some lights! I love it! Mix with gum arabic and water to make a useable ink.

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I’m using the Lettermate directly on the envelope to write the above envelopes. The top one I letter without ascenders or descenders then I take off the template and pen them in afterward.

With the Scratch envelope I wrote Franky Scratch by hand, let it dry then used the Lettermate for the address below. I added an excessive amount of flourishes between each line when I finished.

What are your favorite calligraphy things right now?

If you have no idea what I’m talking about and would like to get into calligraphy, take my class! I teach year-round at istilllovecalligraphy.com. Purchase the class and starter kit right here.

This post contains affiliate links for products I own and love. Using these links help support my craft habits. Thank you!
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    1. Jody says:

      Thanks for the link to the Lettermate! I’ve ordered mine. Calligraphy and lettering is a hobby that is not so relaxing with my inability to write in a straight line!

    Sewing Style: Sequins and Leather

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    This top took me FOREVER to construct. I’ve known I’ve wanted to do this sweater since last winter and I discovered the glories of quilted knits. As the sweetest surprise, Lauren Dahl gifted me a couple yards of this gloriousness from Mood. Yes. You better believe I was beyond giddy to cut into it.

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    And cut into it I did. But it took me a month to remember to buy sequins and beads whenever I was at the store.

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    And then another 2 months to sew the darn things on. Chris was a trooper through this project. I had a pile of various sized sequins glittering the floor in our living/dining room for about 6 weeks. I’d sew one or two on before having to get to an email, calm a fussy child or police the troublemaking that Penelope and her neighborhood buddies like to initiate.

    I kept telling myself it would be worth it.

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    The sequins I started with were huge. I didn’t like how big they were. So I graduated them to the smaller size toward the bottom of the shirt. I like the subtle depth it adds to the top.

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    I cut out my regular size Lane Raglan only to realize I should have gone up a size if I wanted more of a sweater look. As a stroke of genius, I added a ribbed racing stripe down the sides of the arm and bodice to remedy my mistake.

    A happy mistake, if you ask me.

    Another happy mistake was with the shoulders/elbows. I had initially cut out leather shoulder pieces, but I forgot to sew them in place when I was constructing the top. Instead of unpicking 5 large serged seams, I opted for leather elbow patches instead. I used Megan Nielsen’s elbow patch download instead of drafting my own. That lovely woman is a life-saver.

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    After I completed the sequins and lined the front panel (to keep the sequins from falling apart), the sweater came together rather quickly.

    After I triumphantly completed the sweater, I wore it to my grandparents’ house for a dinner we had planned. That night June came down with rotavirus and vomited all over the sequins. Poor girl.

    I was confronted with the issue: how do I wash this thing now? It’s got hand-sewn sequins and leather patches. It’s truly a dry clean only top. I don’t like making tops that aren’t easily laundered. I don’t want to be hesitant to get messy. I’m in a very messy phase of life with 3 littles under the age of 7. They’re darling, but disgusting.

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    As much as I love this top, I don’t want them to feel like mommy can’t play with them because she’s wearing her ‘nice clothes’. But I still want to have a couple of nice things. I’m torn.

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    Speaking of nice things, these pants are my favorite post-partum find. The midrise waist with stretchy denim is fabulous. I’ve lost some of the pregnancy weight so they’re getting looser on me, but they’ve never felt uncomfortable. And I got them about 10 pounds ago. Lulu*s for the win.

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    Aaaaand. . . I finally found my leather jacket. I started a pin board of leather jackets to get my mind in the space of what I was looking for. When I was in Vegas hanging with my calligrapals, we went on the hunt and successfully found the jacket. And when I say the jacket, I mean the only jacket I’ll ever buy for the rest of my life. It was worth all those pennies, though. It fits like it was tailored just for me.

    Outfit details:

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    1. Alana says:

      so…how did you finally clean the top?! Absolutely love the jacket. Definitely worth it :)

    2. Nancy says:

      So fabulous! If you didn’t have the leather elbow patches, I should think that washing in the machine on “gentle” inside-out would be fine.

    3. Adrianna says:

      It looks fabulous, thanks so much for sharing Melissa! I’m so glad the racing stripe down the side happened – it adds SO much to the top! And congrats on that jacket! I remember when I found “the one”. It’s the only thing I’ve grabbed and taken straight to the register without checking the price :) And also the only leather jacket I’ll ever buy again. So fun when it works out!

    4. Wow! This top looks like so much work but it looks amazing! Great job!

      Jennifer Ashley
      http://www.prettylittledetails.ca

    5. Lauren says:

      You AND this top look amazing! So glad you found good use for the fabric. :)

    6. Nanvy says:

      This looks so so cool. I really like the sequin bead detail. It is an amazing bit of work!

    7. Alix says:

      Oh this turned out amazing!!! Bravo mel!

    Local Calligraphy Workshops Coming Soon!

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    Hey y’all! I’ve been partying it up in the sort-of sunny Las Vegas this weekend with fellow calligraphers. It’s been a blast learning new techniques on gilding, style and color.

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    I’ll be teaching this week in Salt Lake City with the lovely Valarie Williams. We’ll be doing a double-header calligraphy workshop! We’ll include pointed-pen basics and how to make your work pop with color-blending and flourishing. Dinner and materials are included.

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    Join us for a fun night out, downtown Salt Lake City and learn how to write calligraphy! Click here for info and sign up.

    The following Saturday (March 14th) I will be teaching a calligraphy workshop from my in-law’s home near 40th and Shea in Phoenix. In the 3 hour calligraphy workshop, we’ll learn pointed-pen basics and how to make your own style. Lunch included.

    Click here for info and sign up. 

    Bummed I’m not in your area? My online class is always ongoing! If you’d like a live workshop in your area, feel free to fill out this form.

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    1. […] Amazing color-blended calligraphy (and upcoming classes for those of you in the SLC area!) […]

    2. […] glories of ombré lettering (this is just a tiny part of a “big project” I can’t tell you about just […]

    Sewing Style: Hawaiian Print Scout Tee Dress

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    Last night I had a neighborhood meet-up of the artists in the area. I love our neighborhood. There are a surprising amount of creatives and artists. Many of them are young kids. It’s a thrill to see their creativity ignite as they learn new things.

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    This is my neighbor Sam. She’s got the raddest style. She’s had such an independent style since I started working with the youth when she was 14. A month or so ago, she approached me to see if I could help her sew a variation of this dress she spied on Urban Outfitters.

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    The inspiration dress was made out of a knit. She had in mind using this cotton woven she picked up from Hawaii recently. The print is amazing. Ultimately she wanted a bold version with sleeves and the tunic-style slits.

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    We had just about a yard of fabric to work with, so getting the prints to match up was nothing short of magical. They don’t match up exactly, but there’s great horizontal continuity with the seam matching.

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    I loved doing the color blocked sleeves. It was a happy accident, really. She had mentioned she wanted a longer sleeve, but I forgot when we were cutting out the sleeve. OOPS! After realizing this, we brain stormed a little and decided to color block instead of cut out new sleeves. I love happy accidents like those.

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    I love how this turned out. The best part was that she really owned the project. I helped her pick out the pattern (Scout tee), size the pattern, make slight adjustments, but then it was all her. I made her do all the sewing, and she rocked it! I did the neckline for her, since that’s a little difficult dealing with biased tape, but other than that, she did it all.

    I’m so proud.

     

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    1. Penny Doty says:

      Please tell her she did a beautiful job on her dress, and let her know not to stop there, please tell her to keep sewing, and thank you for taking time with the young and letting them spread there wings. Beautiful job for both of you.

    2. Katie says:

      Very creative and cool. I love the sleeves and split hem!

    3. JEn says:

      So so cool!! Also love the colorblocked sleeve, mistakes can work out so well sometimes!

    4. Jen says:

      How cute! I was wondering about a past post. I was trying to download the Easter print from last year and it keeps bringing up an error. Is that no longer available?

    Foodie: Salted Caramel Snickerdoodles

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    Before I go into specifics, I just have to say, I hate the color of my walls. They’ve been slowly driving me more and more bonkers the longer I’ve lived here. In photographs the walls take on this awful magenta tan. #firstworldproblems amiright?

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    Last Saturday (our weekly cheat day) I was in the mood for some good junk food, but we hadn’t bought anything the night before. So I went to the pantry and decided to make something. We were limited as we didn’t have chocolate chips, but that didn’t stop me!

    After recently acquiring a cream whipper, we’ve amassed some awesome Torani flavorings so I thought I would experiment with my favorite of the bunch: Salted Caramel.

    After sifting through my mom’s cookbook, I found a snickerdoodle recipe and a lightbulb went on. We just bought Swedish pearl sugar for our liege waffles, why not roll the cookies in that?

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    At first glance, the white granules look like oversized salt, the kind that you coat your pretzels in. But it’s the exact opposite. When biting into one of these cookies you get a blend of opposites, the crunchy exterior and a soft, pillowy interior and a splash of sweet with a hint of savory.

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    I cooked up a dozen cookies Saturday night, thinking that would be enough for our little binge treat, but they disappeared so fast! I had to make up a second batch this morning because Chris ate all the cookies and Penelope didn’t get a chance to eat any. Poor girl, missing out on the deliciousness.

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    Salted Caramel Snickerdoodles

    from MelissaEsplin.com | makes 18-24 cookies
    • 1 cup butter, room temperature
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/3 cup Torani Salted Caramel
    • 2 eggs
    • 3 cups flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon soda
    • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar

    Whip butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and Torani syrup. Sift together dry ingredients and add to the butter mixture slowly. Chill dough for 10-20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Roll out 18 1/4 cup balls. Roll each ball in pearlized sugar or raw Turbinado sugar and cinnamon. Bake on a lined cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes.

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    1. Megan says:

      I feel the same way about my wall color, but I’m renting so it isn’t really worth changing.

      These look awesome and I totally need to get some pearl sugar to attempt liege waffles, since our local waffle shop closed. Thanks for the extra incentive!

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