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National Letter Writing Month 2017 – Week 1

I’m just getting started on my letters for National Card & Letter Writing Month. As in past years, I’m sending out at least one letter (in a decorated envelope) for the entire month of April. This year, with all the traveling I’ve been doing, I’m way behind in my correspondence, so I’m going to try and get caught up this month. Wish me luck!

My first two letters and envelopes for this year’s National Card & Letter Writing Month.

My first letter went to Susan, a dear friend who could use a little pick-me-up. I decided to send her a flower envelopes I though it was cheery and she could enjoy it without having to water or care for it.

More envelopes sent out this week for National Card & Letter Writing Month.

As the month progresses, I’m hoping to get some inspiration for decorating envelopes from my “new” stash of old stamps that I acquired last fall from a stamp collector. I got to go through a bunch of his stamps and pick out ones that I liked. They’re so cool, I’m going to have trouble parting with them.

These are just a few of the stamps I purchased last fall from a stamp collector. Aren’t they wonderful?

Happy Mail Art, Candy

Rumi Quote

Now that Christmas is past, I can share these two calligraphy pieces I was commissioned to do. They were given as Christmas gifts.

Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. – Rumi

 

Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. – Rumi

I like how they came out.

Enjoy, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Lettering Envelopes For My Holiday Cards

With my Christmas Santa cards done (see DIY Torn Paper Santa Holiday Cards), I’ve switched my focus to lettering the envelopes in which to send them.

I decided on shades of red for the calligraphy on the envelopes for my Santa cards.

I decided on shades of red for the calligraphy on the envelopes for my Santa cards.

Looking at my Santa cards, I decided I needed to letter my envelopes in reds. I started with a light red and went back in with a darker red. Then I outlined the letters and embellished them a bit. And I added hearts, just because I thought they added just the right amount of additional red that was needed.

Envelopes for my Holiday Cards.

Envelopes for my Holiday Cards.

I think they look great. Now to finish addressing them and get them in the mail. A number of them are going overseas, so I hope they arrive in time.

Enjoy, Candy

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving is a day of gratitude and sharing for me. Today I count my blessings, of which there are many. Although this past year has been extremely stressful, I have had a great many wonderful experiences and fantastic support from family and friends.

This is a collaboration I did with my mother. She did the Chinese brush painting and I did the calligraphy.

This is a collaboration I did with my mother. She did the Chinese brush painting and I did the calligraphy.

I am so grateful to all of you who read my blog and those who share your comments with me. I feel so blessed to be able to share my paper art with so many people, many of whom I will never meet. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I am grateful for my loving family and friends, near and far, old and new. Thank you ALL for being so supportive of me and of each other. I am truly blessed to have you as part of my life.

Love and blessings to all, Candy

PaperLove E-course – Week 1

This past week I’ve been taking an E-course called PaperLove. It’s a 5 week course taught by Rachel Hazell of Edinburgh, Scotland. All the participants are in a Facebook group where we can share our creations, ask questions, and inspire each other.

My notebook with scraps of chiyogami papers. I'm writing where I bought the paper and additional information about each paper.

My notebook with scraps of chiyogami papers. I’m writing where I bought the paper and additional information about each paper.

The participants are from all over the world. There are 54 of us in the Facebook group, so there’s lots of interaction. We started by introducing ourselves and sharing photos of our studios.

This was a texture project using squares of copy paper.

This was a texture project using squares of copy paper.

Rachel shared lots of information about the history of paper and introduced other paper artists. We had exercises 6 days of the week. This course has me exploring things I never would have contemplated before. And it also requires me to leave my perfectionism behind (really hard).

Pamphlet stitch book from assorted papers found around the house. I included some practice paper and a waxed paper bag in my pages.

Pamphlet stitch book from assorted papers found around the house. I included some practice paper and a waxed paper bag in my pages.

The hardest thing about my pamphlet stitch book was to do it without measuring, just eyeballing it. That’s not how I usually work, but I must admit, the book came out fine.

Acrostic using stamps and hand lettering. The words are printed on the right (in case you can't read my writing on the photo).

Acrostic using stamps and hand lettering. 

There’s a lot more to the class than I’m showing here. And I’m still working on my “book within you”. I’ll share it with you when it’s further along.

For my acrostic poem, I used watercolor paper, alphabet stamps, a fine black pen and some old ink pads.

For my acrostic poem, I used watercolor paper, alphabet stamps, a fine black pen and some old ink pads.

If you are interested in Rachel’s work, check out her website: Rachel Hazell.

Enjoy, Candy

Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen

I have been looking for a flexible fountain pen for a long, long time. I have tried many fountain pens, and purchased a number of them. I used them, but kept looking for one that fit me. I’m not sure if it has anything to do with being a leftie, but the perfect fountain pen seemed elusive, until now.

I love my new Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen.

I love my new Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen.

Whenever I see someone selling fountain pens, I always ask if they have a flexible fountain pen with a pointed nib, not a broad nib. Greg Minuskin of Nib Retipping was the first vendor who said, “yes, try this.” No fountain pen I have tried has ever come close to this much flexibility. I fell in love with the pen as soon as I tried it out.

My Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen.

My Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen.

I bought the pen 23 days ago and have used it every day since. It’s been the perfect tool to practice my pointed pen calligraphy. With the fountain pen, I can sit anywhere and not have to worry about spilling ink. When I use a dip pen, I always sit at my drafting table in my studio. It’s easy for me to spill ink, so I am careful not to have open bottles of ink anywhere but in my studio. I learned this from experience and a few unintended spills.

My favorite way to practice with my new fountain pen is to sit in my chair in the living room with my Rhodia dot pad and just write whatever comes into my mind. It’s so relaxing, it doesn’t even feel like I’m practicing.

I love the Rhodia dot grid pad for practicing with my new Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen.

I love the Rhodia dot grid pad for practicing with my new Pilot Flex Extra Fine Fountain Pen.

A plug here for the Rhodia pads. They are my favorite practice pads. I use the dot pads most often and sometimes the unlined pads. Rhodia pads also come in lined and grid patterns, but my favorite is the dot pad. The dots help me keep my writing in a straight line, but they don’t feel like they’re confining my writing. I like my calligraphy to have a little spring, more like a dance than being confined between lines.

I was told that with my Pilot Flex fountain pen, I can only use fountain pen ink. I was told not to even use Higgens Eternal or Noodlers inks in my pen. So, that is one limitation you need to be aware of. I am currently using Pelikan 4001 fountain pen ink. My local art store only had it in blue. I’ll be purchasing some Pelikan Fount India ink from John Neal Bookseller with my next order.

Happy writing, Candy

More Photos – Calligraphy & Art Retreat 2016

After posting Monday’s blog post with lots of photos of what went on the annual Calligraphy & Art Retreat I attend every year, I realized there was a lot more I wanted to share. So much happened within those 7 days, it’s hard to remember it all.

My first attempt at pastel dusting.

My first attempt at pastel dusting.

After I got home I realized that I took many photos of what others did, but only one photo of what I did during the week. The above photo shows my first attempt at pastel dusting. Sally demonstrated both the pastel dusting and making the squares into a mobile.

The other side of my pastel dusting mobile.

The other side of my pastel dusting mobile.

My head is still swimming with ideas. And my dreams for the past few nights have been incredible, all about ideas for new art projects.

Wonderful little gifts I received from my artist friends.

Wonderful little gifts I received from my artist friends.

There was a wonderful camaraderie and sharing of ideas, techniques, tools and more.

I took some of my stash of tea bag wrappers and demonstrated tea bag folding.

I took some of my stash of tea bag wrappers and demonstrated tea bag folding.

My tea bag folding demonstration was a hit. I took a bunch of my tea bag wrappers and shared them with everyone.

I think I got Sally hooked on tea bag folding.

I think I got Sally hooked on tea bag folding.

The above photo shows some of the rosettes that Sally made. I find it amazing how such a simple folding of tea bag wrappers can be so meditative and relaxing.

File folder dipped in walnut ink shown with walnut ink crystals.

File folder dipped in walnut ink shown with walnut ink crystals.

The above photo is of the file folder I dipped into walnut ink, then dried on scrunched up plastic. The plastic bag in the photo is 8 ounces of walnut ink crystals. I will be using these to make my own walnut ink later this winter when I have some free time to experiment with this technique for an extended period of time.

This is one of Michelle's walnut ink file folders. She started with a red file folder.

This is one of Michelle’s walnut ink file folders. She started with a red file folder.

The above photo is something Michelle has been working on. It started out as a red file folder that was dipped into walnut ink. The white areas are where she dabbed on bleach. She then added stitches and some ink drawing. I think this would be perfect as a cover for a little journal.

One of the projects I worked on during the week.

One of the projects I worked on during the week.

I got to work on a number of different projects during the week. The above photo shows some of the card books I started making.

We sent two mobiles to two of our past Womenuchans who were unable to attend this year. Here are the squares that were eventually made into mobiles.

We sent two mobiles to two of our past Womenuchans who were unable to attend this year. Here are the squares that were eventually made into mobiles.

Tea bag folding, pastel dusting and mobile making were three constants throughout the week. The above photo shows the squares that we each decorated for Sam and Judy. They became mobiles that were then sent to them. Hopefully both will be able to make it next year.

This is what Adelaide made to carry her colored pencils.

This is what Adelaide made to carry her colored pencils.

There was a lot of sharing during the week. Adelaide showed us how she made a colored pencil carrier from a piece of felt. The creativity of everyone who attended our retreat is amazing.

Information as well as lots of mobiles were posted on this door in our joint studio.

Information as well as lots of mobiles were posted on this door in our joint studio.

It was one amazing week. I am so looking forward to next year.

Happy creating, Candy

Studio Snapshot – Calligraphy & Art Retreat 2016

I am just back from my annual Calligraphy & Art Retreat. My studio for the week was a six foot table in a converted greenhouse. I got to do nothing but make art for an entire week. No cooking or cleaning, just a week of art and inspiration. I shared space with 11 talented and wonderful women artists. Nirvana!

My first attempt at paper cutting.

My first attempt at paper cutting. I drew my flower on the back of the paper, then cut from the back. I laid the cut outs over metallic papers.

I packed lots of art supples and minimal clothes. Gotta keep priorities straight when going on an art retreat.

Michelle demonstrated dipping file folders into walnut ink.

Michelle demonstrated dipping file folders into walnut ink.

Many of us give informal demonstrations to anyone who was interested. Michelle showed us how she dips file folders into walnut ink, then places them on crumpled plastic to get a texture on the file folders. The above photo shows her laying a file folder on plastic from dry cleaner bags.

Dried file folers that were dipped in walnut ink.

Dried file folers that were dipped in walnut ink.

Once dry the file folders can be further decorated with paints, drawing, bleach or whatever media you like.

Walnut ink file folders that have been decorated.

Walnut ink file folders that have been decorated.

Once decorated, the file folders can be used in any number of art projects. Book covers come to mind immediately for me. I think this will be one of my winter projects.

Sally showed us how to make delightful mobiles.

Sally showed us how to make delightful mobiles.

Sally showed us how she makes mobiles. She made numerous mobiles this past year. One is shows above. She also made a number of mobiles celebrating The Beatles and all their songs.

Rhonda made this mobile using walnut ink file folders.

Rhonda made this mobile using walnut ink file folders.

Our annual retreat takes place at the Menucha Retreat and Conference Center in Corbett, Oregon. Rhonda made a mobile which used cut outs from her walnut ink file folder to spell Menucha (photo above).

The reverse of Rhonda's mobile.

The reverse of Rhonda’s mobile.

It’s hard to photograph mobiles. The above photos show the two sides of Rhonda’s mobile. It looks great when hung, but the photos I took of it hung don’t do it justice, so I photographed each side on white paper.

We don't always work on finished projects. Sometimes we try out new materials.

We don’t always work on finished projects. Sometimes we try out new materials.

Sometimes it’s important to try out and keep track of how different inks, paints, pens and other materials look like. The above photo shows one of Sally’s testing sheets. She made lots of tests. It’s helpful to keep track of what different materials will do, especially when combined.

Weathergrams that will be hung on a tree near the labyrinth.

Weathergrams that will be hung on a tree near the labyrinth.

If you’ve not heard of weathergrams, check out How To Make A Weathergram.

Renae made this wonderful dog portrait.

Renae made this wonderful dog portrait.

Renae makes the most wonderful animal drawings and paintings. You can see more of her art on her Facebook page: Birdland Art.

Goose painted by Kay.

Goose painted by Kay.

A page in Kay's journal documenting her recent trip to Ireland and Scotland.

A page in Kay’s journal documenting her recent trip to Ireland and Scotland.

Kay makes the most amazing journals. Above is a 2 page spread of her latest journal. It’s all about her trip to Ireland and Scotland.

Credit cards painted and ready to be made into a book.

Credit cards painted and ready to be made into a book.

Lily is an amazing bookbinder. The above photo shows what she has done with credit cards. They have been textured and painted. They will be turned into a book.

Lily's finished book with covers that were originally credit cards.

Lily’s finished book with covers that were originally credit cards.

The photo above shows a book Lily made using credit cards as covers. I guess I need to be collecting old credit cards now in addition to tea bag wrappers.

Nancy made this delightful watercolor painting for the front of a card.

Nancy made this delightful watercolor painting for the front of a card.

Nancy makes the most delicate watercolors. Every year I am impressed by what she produces. I snapped this photo while she was still working on her painting. I imagine there may be calligraphy added to the card.

Michelle tried working with walnut ink on fabric. This is just the beginning. I can hardly wait to see what she makes with these.

Michelle tried working with walnut ink on fabric. This is just the beginning. I can hardly wait to see what she makes with these.

Michelle played with both walnut ink and fabric this year. The above photo shows the beginning of her experimentation.

Painting fabric and lettering with puffy paint.

Painting fabric and lettering with puffy paint.

Michelle colored fabric and then wrote on it with puffy paint. She gave each of us at the retreat a “Womenuchans” fabric hanging. What a treat!

Experimentation by Adelaide.

Experimentation by Adelaide.

As I mentioned earlier, not everything we do at Menucha is a finished product. There’s lots of experimentation that goes on here. Adelaide did a lot of experimenting. I really like the effects she got by putting different metallic paints into wet walnut ink. Yes, there was a lot of experimenting with walnut ink this past week.

Adelaide made tea bag wrappers made into rosettes after my short demonstration.

Adelaide made tea bag wrappers made into rosettes after my short demonstration.

Early in the week I demonstrated how to make rosettes from tea bag wrappers. Adelaide went a bit further and used coffee creamer wrappers and candy wrappers as well as tea bag wrappers to make her rosettes. A number of my fellow artists joined in this activity. Links to instructions are on my blog post: DIY – Tea Bag Folding & Paper Origami Rosettes.

Edna made this wonderful birds nest using colored pencils.

Edna made this wonderful birds nest using colored pencils.

It’s hard to remember all the details of what everyone did. I believe Edna used watercolor colored pencils to make this birds nest.

Edna breaking in her new journal.

Edna breaking in her new journal.

I can’t remember the word Edna used, but the idea is to make marks on your journal pages to make it easier to write in. With something already on a page, it’s less intimidating  to write on the page. I do have a number of wonderful journals that I haven’t used yet. This sounds like a great idea.

One of Sally's works in progress.

One of Sally’s works in progress.

Sally is an amazing calligrapher. The above photo is one of a number of ones she was working on when I stopped by to photograph what she was doing.

Another of Sally's works in progress.

Another of Sally’s works in progress.

More of Sally's work.

More of Sally’s work.

I love Sally’s calligraphy and paintings. I have one of her works in my hall, just above a large vase of sunflowers. The sumi painting, calligraphy and flowers compliment each other. You can see more of Sally’s work on her website: Sally’s Website.

Rhonda did some playing with white and color on black paper.

Rhonda did some playing with white and color on black paper.

Black paper is fun to work on. The above photo shows some of the playing Rhonda did with color and white pens on black paper. So much potential!

Renae made this stand up tiger for Kay for her upcoming birthday. Note the birthday hat.

Renae made this stand up tiger for Kay for her upcoming birthday. Note the birthday hat.

Renae made the above tiger card for Kay for her birthday. If you look closely, you can see “Kay” written above the tiger’s eyes.

Playing with pastel dusting.

Playing with pastel dusting.

Sally also demonstrated pastel dusting. There were so many wonderful things happening through out the week, it is impossible to document it all. It’s something you need to experience in person.

View from Menucha Retreat and Conference Center overlooking the Columbia River. What an inspiring place to come to each year to make art!

View from Menucha Retreat and Conference Center overlooking the Columbia River. What an inspiring place to come to each year to make art!

I love my fellow artists and look forward to transporting my studio, once again next year, to Menucha.

Happy creating, Candy

Wonderful Envelopes Sent To John Neal Bookseller

This week I’m attending my annual summer Calligraphy and Art Retreat near Portland, Oregon. This week is also the annual convention for IAMPETH (short for The International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting), which is in Portland. So, a few of us went to visit for a few hours.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

John Neal Bookseller was there to sell supplies to all the attendees and others, like us, who visited. John Neal Bookseller had on display a large quantity of envelopes they have received over the years. My photos aren’t the greatest, but I thought they might provide inspiration. They sure have inspired me.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

Envelopes sent to John Neal Bookseller.

One of my favorite envelopes on display.

One of my favorite envelopes on display.

Another close up of one of my favorite envelopes.

Another close up of one of my favorite envelopes.

Another close up of one of my favorite envelopes.

Another close up of one of my favorite envelopes.

Enjoy, Candy

Tips & Tools – Organizing Tombow Brush Pens

I use Tombow brush pens a lot for quick, colorful pointed brush calligraphy. There are a number of different brush pens on the market, but where I live, Tombow has the largest variety of colors.

My spreadsheet helps me organize my Tombow Brush Pens.

My spreadsheet helps me organize my Tombow Brush Pens.

I was constantly buying colors of pens I already had until I came up with a way to organize my brush pens. Each color has a three digit number. I entered the numbers on a spreadsheet and told the spreadsheet to organize the numbers in ascending order. Voila! I have a list of colors in numerical order that I keep in my purse.

I not only keep track of my Tombow Brush Pens on my spreadsheet, I also write the color combinations I use on sample sheets.

I not only keep track of my Tombow Brush Pens on my spreadsheet, I also write the color combinations I use on sample sheets.

When I go to the craft store I can add another color or two that I don’t have. I just look at the number on the pen and can see immediately if I already have that color. That’s exactly what I did yesterday when I purchased some more brush pens. To help me even further, I have brushed the color next to each of the numbers on my spreadsheet. This helps me see which colors I may be wanting to add. I’m thinking blues for my next shopping trip.

It's now easier for me to repeat colors that I like together. My sample sheets are a big time saver.

It’s now easier for me to repeat colors that I like together. My sample sheets are a big time saver.

I also have started writing sample color combinations. Next to the calligraphy sample, I write the number of the pens I have used. Now I don’t have to wonder which colors I used to get the effect I want. It has saved me a lot of time.

Organizing my Tombow Brush Pens has saved me a lot of time.

Organizing my Tombow Brush Pens has saved me a lot of time.

Organizing doesn’t come naturally to me, but I sure appreciate the results. I find I work better in an organized environment, so I struggle to find ways to organize my environment and my art supplies. I so appreciate being able to have a quick look to decide which colors to use for a project.

I love having a quick reference guide to my colors.

I love having a quick reference guide to my colors.

I will be writing names for a fund raiser later this year. I will be using my sample color sheets for people to pick their colors. It will allow me to spend more time writing and less time trying to figure out color combinations.

Organizing doesn't come easy for me, but I do like the results.

Organizing doesn’t come easy for me, but I do like the results.

Happy Organizing, Candy