Calligraphy – and more reasons to send snail mail

As you all know, I’m a huge fan of all things crafty…and I’m always looking for an excuse to learn a new crafty skill!

My friend Shanika of Life is Pichey recently launched Gather and Craft as a way to encourage crafting in Columbia. She has been coordinating with local artists to offer “how to” classes. {Secret: I’m planning to do a jewelry-makin’ workshop with Shanika soon!}

I love the idea of using your creativity to inspire others and I’m super happy my friend Shanika is leading this crafty initiative in Columbia!

creativity quote

When I saw that Paulene of Leen Machine Calligraphy would be teaching a “Modern Calligraphy” class, I desperately searched for every excuse I could think of to sign up.

My friend MaryAnn of Life is a Maker Faire said she had been thinking about signing up – thus, I had my excuse: the only thing better than learning a new craft is learning with a friend.

I’m a huge fan of snail mail and believe there’s always a reason to send a hand written note or card to someone you love. Always.

I’ve tried [unsuccessfully] to make my envelopes and packages fancy like this:

Aren't these envelopes just precious? {Click the image to be taken to the source}

Aren’t these beautiful?! {Click the image to be taken to the source}

Yes, receiving something other than bills in your mailbox is fabulous enough, but pulling an envelope out that just screams: “this was MADE just for you!” (rather than “this was automatically generated through a mass printer that doesn’t know you from a hole in the wall just to remind you to send us all your money”) is even better!

So, I was ready to learn calligraphy so I could make my snail mail fancy!

Oh.my.gosh am I glad I took this class!! Paulene is a fabulous instructor (not to mention extremely talented!).

Our seats were sweetly decorated with all the supplies we’d need for the class.

caligraphy set up

As you can see, I’m really great at tracing. I’m going to leave out proof of my free-hand attempts 😉

The best part: we left the class with all of the supplies so we could keep on “calligraphing” on our own. How thoughtful!

Since we all had the same sheets, we were encouraged to put our initials on them so we would know which were ours when they were dried. I quickly learned that lower case was far easier for me so that’s what I stuck with.

Finally got the hang of writing my 3 letters!

Finally got the hang of writing my 3 letters!

I thought about the class all week and couldn’t wait to have more time to practice again on my own. I picked up my “pen” this weekend and jazzed up some snail mail to my sister.

katie

I love sending my sister snail mail. {As you’ve probably already caught on: I’m smitten with my sister.} As a former Teacher and current Reading Coach, my sisters days are filled with the kind of stress I’ll probably never understand. Sending her a little bit of happiness is SO worth the few minutes of my time and a 50 cent stamp.

In the days of typing-on-a-computer-all-day, we should definitely spend a little more time writing by hand. And what better way to spend your handwriting time than by filling a card with sweet notes to a friend?!

Go forth and send some happy mail, friends!

Go forth and send some happy mail, friends!

Whether or not you have calligraphy skills, I still recommend sending more snail mail! But if you’re local to Columbia (or within driving distance!), I recommend checking out the next Modern Calligraphy class [keep up with Gather & Craft and Leen Machine Calligraphy on Facebook to see when the next will be offered]! It’s always great to learn a new craft, gather with friends / make new crafty friends and support local artists willing to share their passion with you.

I love that the Gather and Craft classes are small – you get loads of personalized one-on-one attention from the instructor to leave feeling empowered with your new skill. I also enjoyed being able to get to know my classmates – It’s always nice to make new crafty friends to keep you inspired!

The calligraphy all stars from the Sept. 22 class!

The calligraphy all stars from the Sept. 22 class!

If you’re looking for calligraphy inspiration (or just a lovely feed for inspiration of all kinds), you should follow Paulene of Leen Machine Calligraphy on Instagram – her posts are thoughtful and encouraging. She’s the kind of virtual friend who is a breath of fresh air.

Read more about the classes on Shanika’s recap of the first class on her blog and be sure to follow Gather and Craft on Facebook so you’ll be one of the first to hear about what’s coming up next!

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What I’m Lovin’ in July

Guess what happened again?!

Yep, I’m late on July’s What I’m Lovin’ post, but I figured it’d be a good way to kick off August 😉

resliced by Jordan

Here’s my list of what I was lovin’ in July (and maybe still lovin’ in August! 😉 )

1. Inspiration from the ReFashionista! Did you see that awesome post from BuzzFeed about her?!

I had already heard about the ReFashionista from my dear friend Shanika and have been hoping to run into her around town (she’s from Columbia too!). We haven’t met in person yet, but I’m following her blog like we’re besties.

Promptly after reading the BuzzFeed post, I skipped on over to Facebook and signed up to receive notifications from the ReFashionista’s page.

Best. Decision. Ever.

Now every time she posts, I see the link and become immediately infatuated with the magic she performs on sad, deserted thrift wear. The other day she posted about a seersucker house dress refashion which has since sent me into a tizzy looking for an abandoned house dress.

refashionista

Mind blown. She’s a genius.

And this one! It’s a no sew refashion that involves her tying the sleeves around her waist — I mean, who thinks of this brilliance?! Oh yeah, the ReFashionista.

I think my favorite part about the ReFashionista’s blog is that she includes step-by-step instructions (usually with pictures) of how she performed the refashion. A girl who shares her tricks – now that’s what I love! 🙂

2. Supporting my local thrift store! This is a double whammy.

First, I love a good purge (remember that time I told you about my mission to live small?). I’ve been on a kick this summer of simplifying which apparently means reorganizing my fabric collection a billion times and going through my closet filling donation bags…over and over.

Second, I love dropping donations off at Revente’s Second Chances because the staff is always friendly and they always have the best stock! (AND their sales benefit the local Women’s Shelter! Win. Win. Win.)

Example: I have been riding around with 3 bags in my car that I’d been meaning to donate (aren’t we all guilty of this?!). On my lunch break this week I decided to swing by while I was out and alleviate my back seat. Well – some purple polka dots caught my eye and next thing I know I had found this Boden dress in perfect condition for only $15!

boden

Seriously. How precious is the collar?!

Keep an eye on my Instagram because you know I’ll post a picture when I wear it! 😉

{Confession: I didn’t even try it on because…$15 for a Boden, y’all! I figured I could pull some of my ReFashionista inspiration on it if I have to!}

3. The fact that running for even 5 minutes a day can reduce your risk of heart attack. 

You’re doubting me aren’t you? Check out the very-dreamy Brian William’s clip from NBC Nightly News.

As a Public Health grad, I know that any physical exercise is healthy. BUT our standard was always 30 minutes, 5 days per week. Alas – we can all feel fine with the sub-half-hour gym visit after a long day at work (or is that just me?).

Looking for a quick run? Try this one from my friend Alex at Work Hard Eat Harder:

run

[Click the photo for more details on Work Hard Eat Harder]

 4. Matching handmade bags!

Keep an eye out for a post about my version of Melly Sews’ Favorite Purse (which may also be my favorite purse now!) that I sewed up just in time for Baltimore (also – more to come on that trip!). The cherry on top of this bag: it matches my Noodle Head Super Tote!

favpurse

Doesn’t every gal need a full set of matching bags? Up next: a wallet! 🙂

5. Rediscovering how much I love to read!

The Hubs started a new job a few weeks ago and has to be to work at 6:00am. In addition, I’m working our “summer schedule” at the school district meaning: a 10 hour days that start at 7:00 with Fridays off. I don’t have quite enough time to get by the gym before work like usual so that’s been rescheduled to after work (which makes for a very long day, but I’m not complaining because I rest up on Fridays and sew!). All that said, I’ve been trading morning news for some quiet reading time which has been so delightful.

Even the time the cat came and sat directly on top of the dog's head peace remained.

Even the time the cat came and sat directly on top of the dog’s head peace remained.

I’ve got a few summer books to recommend so keep an eye out for those posts soon!

6. Supporting my favorite non-profit with photos!

My very favorite local non-profit who tirelessly fights for women’s reproductive rights in South Carolina (oh heyyy TellThem!) invited me to participate in their photo-a-day challenge for August via Twitter. I’m always looking for an excuse to post more photos (I’m obsessed with Instagram) so obviously I’m in!

tellthem

I’d love it if you participated with me! You can read more about the challenge on TellThem’s blog, but here are the basics: post a photo that relates to the corresponding day’s theme (ie: August 1st we’ll all post something related to “celebration”), include the hashtag #SCrahrah and tag @TellThemSC in your post (find TellThem on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest).

*AND*

for the grand finale..

7. It’s my sister’s birthday month!!

kt

Words can’t describe my infatuation with my sister. She is EVERYTHING to me and I love love love her so much!

She’s not one for big birthday celebrations, but I’ve got some great crafting planned to make up for the fact that I was out of town for her birthday…again. Keep an eye out for that too – you bet I’ll share some pictures with you!

{Catch up on all What I’m Lovin’ monthly posts here}