Category Archives: Getting Creative

Learning Copperplate Calligraphy

6th August 2014

My most anticipated wedding DIY is finally starting to come to life and I couldn’t not be more excited.

I’ve always had a passion for print and design and after about a year of trying to replicate what I thought was copperplate style of calligraphy and spending countless hours searching for online classes, I finally bit the bullet and enrolled in a five week crash course program with Sam Flax here in Atlanta.

calligraphy addresses

While I still have a long way to go, taking on calligraphy has certainly been a test of patience and practice.

calligraphy practice

Nibs: I’ve learned quickly which nibs I love and when to use each. A Nikko G is still my front runner but a more flexible nib works wonders for thick downstrokes and thin upstrokes, which translates nicely for digitizing.

Grip: It is clear to see how my style of holding the pen has changed. I’ve realized that great lettering is a result of shapes and pressure – not your handwriting style.

Paper: Quality paper is worth the investment. A calligrapher who can write on kraft paper without snagging is my hero.

calligraphy envelopes

Finally, after nearly 100 practice sheets, five months of testing and goodness knows how many hours, I am bringing my own wedding envelopes to life and can proudly say they are now more than 75% finished.

I cannot wait to have the babies  in the mail in little less than a month. For those of you receiving one of these in the mail, do me a favor and linger a little longer before you rip it open.  I do hope they are as loved by our guests, as I’ve loved working on them over the past few months.

I’m excited to continue to hone my skills to start adapting to larger print pieces, send pretty snail mail and maybe even help out with someone else’s big day in the future.

Next on the horizon is digitizing my writing to use on our actual invitation. As a little secret, the draft is done and I’m finally pretty pleased with a process, stay tuned for details that adventure very soon.

Sewing a baby blanket 101

20th October 2013

When I found out a good friend of mine from work was expecting her first little one, I’m fairly certain one of the first conversations centered around planning her in-office surprise baby shower. It’s become quite the tradition at Engauge with three little ones in the last year and Lindsay and I were more than happy to get to planning again.

For little Logan I knew I wanted to do something special. I’ve always tried to bring a little something homemade, whether that be the decorations or nursery wall art, but when I stumbled upon a photo of a quilt on Pinterest, a lightbulb went off.

So here’s the deal: I’m no seamstress. I’ve had a sewing machine since age ten or so (back during my “I’m going to be a fashion designer” phase), but it wasn’t until earlier this year that I even figured out how to set it up – and then, that was to sew two little pillows and back in the closet it went.

So baby blanket. Whole new ballgame. I was inspired to take the same look of a banner (a favorite DIY party decoration) and turn that into a quilt. Easy right? Can’t be harder than pillows. The good news is, minus a few hiccups, it really wasn’t.fabric squares

I asked everyone from the office to share a 6″x6″ square of fabric, that way the blanket could be a gift from each of us. Once I had all of my various fabric pieces, I cut a piece of cardboard to make a stencil and ironed each square into a triangle flag shape. To make sure each one held its shape, I sewed each together using a zig-zag stitch (I’m sure there is a more technical term for this, but who knows, it was cute).penant

Following a similar pattern as sewing a pillow, I sewed two solid fabrics together, leaving the fourth edge open to insert the batting. I decided on a honeycomb patterned white fabric for the front and light blue for the backing, that way it wouldn’t feel too overly girly. I’d love for Kelly to have something she can use if another little guy comes along some day.

Once I had that step complete, I looked like a total idiot as a had my whole head on the inside of a blanket trying to place batting evenly. I’m certain there’s an easier way to do this. I didn’t discover it.penant2

Next was measuring and pinning all of the flags in place. I used a measuring tape and straight pins to mark off a line where each flag would fall, keeping everything at alternating angles. To make sure it was even, I measured the distance from top to bottom of the first and last flags and repeated the process on the other three lines until everything was spaced pennant flag blanket

Sewing each of the flags was a painstaking process – essentially following the lines I made earlier when I sewed each of the flags individually and shifting a massive blanket back and forth across the machine. At least there were plenty of breaks for wine and Hocus Pocus (watched that one multiple times) along the way.

From there, it was just cleaning up edges, corners and bits of thread, and voila! A blanket! A real life, baby sized blanket.pennant flag blanket

Creativity lessons from my Dad

13th June 2013

With Father’s Day around the corner, I can’t help think about the guy I get to call Dad and some of the wonderful things he’s sent my way. I honestly think I could write an entire book (maybe I’ll tackle that some day) about the unconditional love, lessons and purpose my parents have both given to me in my last 24 years.

But for today, I want to brag on him and his incredible talents for a few minutes. Some people get their inspiration from Pinterest, others consult a magazine, some hire a professional. I’m lucky enough to have lived with all three, in one man, for the last 24 years. Since I can remember, my Dad has been what you would call a maker, a modern-day DIYer if you will.

Let’s just take a look a few of his best creations that now find their homes in my apartment.

Drift Wood Coat RackThis guy, now serving as a coat rack (but really for aprons), was the result of a recent hike P and I took along the Chattahoochee. I’m always on the lookout for a great plank of wood for projects. Barns, beaches, paths, I keep my eyes open at all times. I came across a piece of driftwood washed ashore from a recent storm which was a little less than five feet in length. P very clearly let me know this was only coming home with us if I carried it the entire hike back. So I did. I brought it home to my parent’s house and a little less than two weeks later, I came home to this. My Dad negotiated with a client who is an Antique’s dealer to give him four door knobs…for free.

Total cost: Free.


My headboard was another co-DIY project and might be my favorite of all time. After seeing several West Elm and Pottery Barn inspired furniture pieces that were clearly out of my price range, I sketched out a design and shared the idea with Dad. We opted for 2’4″‘s for the structure, which resulted in a lot of cutting lengthwise and widthwise, notching to ensure every “square” would have enough support, sanding too smooth it all down and a few coats of stain. You can read more on the entire process here. We are both probably more proud of this one than anything else we have ever made together (though those pillows that are a result of my recent conquering of the sewing machine are a close second ;)).

Total cost: Around $40 for wood, stain and nails

While everyone may think their parents are the greatest, and I may be a little biased, I’m pretty sure I lucked out with the two I have. I’m so grateful to have been blessed with a set of two amazing people who have taught me about love, life and who also continue to share a little creative, do-it-yourself spirit in everything we do together.