5 Reasons You Should Write Letters

I will never forget sitting in my middle school English classroom the day we were told we would be getting pen pals from Germany. I couldn’t contain my excitement! I (me!) could send things to a complete stranger half way around the world. Later in my junior high career I would become equally excited about an assignment where we got write our favorite companies and brands with a review of their product. Thanks, Wet N’ Wild, for all the glitter eyeliner coupons you sent me in return. If it had a stamp on it, it was something for me to get excited about. And you should too. 

1. Because your mother should have taught you to write thank you notes.

Thank you notes are so, so, so important. If you write one letter or note a year, let it be a thank you note. In today’s technology heavy world, receiving a thank you note is the most personal means of expressing your gratitude to someone. Thank you notes can make your career. Boom.

5 reasons you should write more letters.

2. Because you will make someone’s day.

We all need a little more happiness in our lives, and opening your mailbox to see more than your health insurance bill is a fantastic way to do that. 

3. Because you need another creative outlet. 

Writing letters has become one of my favorite ways to express myself! It’s easy, it’s fluid, there is no right or wrong, and it is completely unintimidating. You choose your paper, your pen, the format in which you want to write – even make your own envelope. The possibilities are endless, and the best part is you can’t screw it up!

5 reasons you should write more letters.

4. Because some schools have stopped teaching cursive. 

I find this astonishing. Soon, people won’t know how to read our constitution. (I know it’s available online; don’t be a jerk.) In 2013 many schools across the United States elected to take cursive out of the curriculum, with the argument that once student’s learned cursive, they would literally never need to use it again. Writing in cursive develops hand-eye coordination skills and fine motor skills. Let’s not let it die. 

5. Because you might get a letter back. 

Last but not least, if you write a letter, you are likely to receive a letter back! Receiving something so personal, that someone took the time to write, and the thoughtfulness to put together is one of the best feelings in the world. 

5 reasons you should write more letters.

If you are interested in writing more letters, but don’t know where to start, there is a huge community out there of people who are looking to connect in the same way you are. On Instagram, check out the tags #snailmailrevolution and #penpalswanted for some amazing resources. I also recommend becoming a member of The Postal Society. They have a large forum where you can meet people to exchange letters with, and fun projects to participate in. If all of this sounds too committal – check out Post Crossing. For every postcard you send out, you receive another one from a random person around the globe – no long term relationship necessary. 

Happy writing!

Custom Envelope Addressing

I am so excited to announce that I have added custom envelope addressing to the Etsy shop

modern calligraphy custom envelope addressing

I would love to do more personal work like this! Hand written calligraphy is a great way to personalize and add a little extra touch to invitations for weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, parties, and other events. 

modern calligraphy custom envelope addressing

I have been working on some bridesmaid cards for a friend, and it would seem I have weddings on the brain. I can never resist a beautifully themed party! If you are interested in a custom project, never hesitate to ask! 

This Week in Photos

Haven’t missed a day of my 365 yet! I know, I know, it’s only been a week. Whatever, celebrate the small things. 

Last weekend, I took a #redneckroadtrip with the family to Cabela’s in Dundee. When I was little, my Dad used to take us on day trips all the time. They are literally some of my favorite memories. So it was kind of fun to pile in the car with the boy and the parents for a little daytrippin’. My Dad likes to bring up the first time we went to Cabela’s when I was very little, and seeing all the animals made me cry. He reassured me then, that most of these animals had been roadkill, or died from natural causes. My young naive self felt a little bit better about it until we came up to a gigantic, beautiful taxidermy elephant. Then I started weeping uncontrollably.
I immensely enjoy nature’s beauty and have a bit of an animal skull collection myself. I appreciate the art of taxidermy. I have no problem with hunting when the hunter is utilizing all parts of an animal after it’s death. However, walking around in this store, knowing that most of these animals didn’t have that fate, and were likely hunted just for the experience under some twisted idea of “sportsmenship”, always makes me feel sick to my stomach. At least we stopped at Trader Joe’s on the way home. 

As per my last post, you know I spent some of last week working on custom orders. Including one I can’t share yet…but am super excited for when I can! I also had the chance to catch up on some of my letters. You can look forward to a few snail mail posts coming up as well. 

This week was freezing! We had temperatures dropping below -5°F, with winds pushing 50 miles per hour. My 4 block walk from my parking space to work felt like it was 5 miles long. Luckily, you can take a scenic route through a few buildings so that you can thaw out occasionally on the way. While walking, I noticed quite a few views I hadn’t before.

Ships Out to Sea

I’ve been getting a few more custom orders as of late, and I’m just having a blast creating things with specific people in mind! It’s so flattering to know that someone enjoys what you do enough to request something that is special to them. 

Earlier this week, I had a request for a card to contain the lyrics “Out where the waves make a grave of the sea, the lovers struggled in the middle of the tempest” as an anniversary gift. Immediately I put on Play Crack the Sky by Brand New, turned that shit up, and started sketching. Inspired by my amazing letter opener that sits in my brush cup, I wanted to do something a little piratey.

Custom nautical calligraphy and illustration

Generally, when I work, I either get out my trusted mixed media book, or a flat sheet of watercolor paper and do a light sketch for placement. Once I have some pencil down, I start painting with watercolor. With watercolor it’s important to start with your lightest value, and then work your way darker. 

                                                            Dayum, that's a messy desk.

                                                            Dayum, that’s a messy desk.

Once I have a good base going, then I ink in the details. I always try to do my calligraphy and lettering last, as the ink takes longest to dry, and I usually end up smearing it somehow. I’m real smooth like that. 

                                                                       Random paint splotch.

                                                                       Random paint splotch.

Custom nautical calligraphy and illustration

Once I’m fairly pleased with the result, I will make a high quality scan of the image. I scan everything at least 600dpi. Notice I said “fairly pleased”. Once I scan the image, I am able to open it in Photoshop and clean up a lot of mess, i.e. if I have spilled/smudged something. Photoshop is also fantastic to change the position of my lettering. 

I can’t wait to scan this one in and start playing! Hopefully Jessica will enjoy it…and not think it’s too piratey. Unless that’s a good thing. 

365 Week #1

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, a 365 project is any project where you complete one thing a day, for a whole year (or 365 days). I have tried to start a photography 365 numerous times and have never made it all the way through! However, I am determined to finish this year! To assist with my motivation, at the end of each week I’ll be sharing my 365 photos. 

When possible I plan on using my Canon DSLR camera, but as most of my everyday moments are captured with my trust Samsung Galaxy phone, don’t expect superior quality every day. I by no means claim to be a photographer, so my guess most of these will just be quick snapshots. Still, it’s an exercise I am hoping will broaden my horizons as far as composition, lighting, and other basic design principles. 

January 1 – 3 (short week!)

For more info, and find inspiration from others 365 projects, check out 365project.org.

New Year, New Blog.

Yes, it’s true. I am among the hoards of people who begin to blog in the New Year, not to make it past the first month. Get ready for this ride. Hopefully it won’t be as short of one as I think. 

In November 2012, I started a little blog, which still hangs out here. I was super proud that I stuck with it for as long as I did. (A measly 8 months.) However, I grew tired of it, and eventually it drifted away from me. I also have tumblr, which will remain where I anonymously fangirl over all the ridiculous obsessions I have. Trust me, you don’t want that link. 

This past year I have started several new endeavors, the biggest one, and one I’m most proud of, being that I opened my first etsy shop. I’ve been having a huge blast, and I can’t wait to continue creating in 2015!

And because I am nothing if I don’t spread myself too thin, I’m also attempting a 365 project. Which I’ve started at least 2 times, and never finished. It’s happening, folks! It has to happen. 

New year, new blog, new goals. Let’s do this!