One of my clients asked me to do some more work for her daughters bat mitzvah this past weekend. She had seen a photo of drawn-on picnic benches for on Instagram, and decided she wanted to somehow incorporate this idea to the tables at the reception. We scratched our heads a little bit, trying to decide how we could make this work, considering her tables would be round tops, and I don't live anywhere near the venue. In addition to that, some of the tables would seat 7, some 8, some 9, and some 10. So it was going to be tricky for me to measure out the settings so that they all fit and work with the guests seats at the table.
I'm not a math whiz. And I am even less of a geometry whiz. And this project was going to need some angle math. So with my dad's help over the holiday, we made some makeshift tools that would help me realize the angles that each setting needed to sit between, specific to the number of people at the table.
The tables were about 60" in diameter, so we had to first find a roll of paper that would completely cover the top of the table. Amazon delivers on this! Heavy as hell, but exactly the diameter needed to cover the table.
Next hurdle was to make a compass that would draw even and accurately measured circles on the paper. This was made with two pencils and come very taut string. Dad and I crouched and waddled on the floor each taking one end of the pencil, and followed it around in a circle, creating about 17 circles (13 were needed).
Once we got these all cut out (also a tough job) I rolled them up in to the car and drove them back to my apartment after the holiday.
After Susan planned out all of her table assignments, and exactly how many tables of each number she was going to have, I could finally start to draw on the place settings. A placemat, fork, knife, and spoon made for the setting, and obviously varied in size based on how wide an angle I had to make the settings. Of course the tables with 7 had the most breathing room, and had the biggest setting.
I love having an Etsy shop because it brings people from all over to my inbox, and I get to send them special pieces that will be in their lives for years to come. Other than mirror signage, pages of content this size is very challenging to do, because if you mess up, there is no way out. I actually had to do this project 3 times through, because in the last sentence a glob of ink fell on to the page and that was that. It is incredibly tedious work, and very hard to do in a rushed scenario, but a beautiful pay off and I love the sweet words I get to write!
I love doing seating charts for weddings and parties. I will admit, they are probably the most challenging project I offer, but it is well worth it in the end! Jenna and Lance asked me to do their wedding reception seating list for their December wedding at The Vine, after I had done their invitation envelopes. She got this awesome (and affordable!) mirror at IKEA, and painted what was a black frame, white. We knew it was going to be a challenge fitting all of the names on a mirror this size, but she was super open to creative ways to list the guests names, and suggested we list couples together and only use the first initial to their first name. This allowed for a header, 2 even-sized columns, for everyone to be listed even if they shared a last name, and most importantly, for it to still be legible. I had such a great time contributing to Jenna and Lance's big day.
Jacquie came to me pretty hard on her luck with calligraphers. She had a calligrapher working on her envelopes and about 50 from the finish line, had an emergency which made it impossible to finish the job. I felt terrible, knowing that it must have been a bad situation for the calligrapher to not be able to finish, and a bad experience to have a deadline for your invitations, and have it not be met but something out of your control.
We had a few challenges of our own when I began with the remainder of her envelopes. Her deadline was 2 days away, and we needed a style and material that would work together well and would work on her beautiful handmade paper envelopes (gorgeous quality, but rough and tough on a calligraphers pen or nib.) She also had run out of extra envelopes from her last calligrapher, so I had no margin for error, and when working quickly to a deadline, being able to work fast is important. Working fast is impossible when you know if you make one tiny mistake, it's curtains. So we quickly found some envelopes at a nearby store that I could use for errors.
We decided on a style that was affordable for her, still kept with the theme of her invitation suite, and a rose gold pen which would achieve the color she wanted, on a much smaller budget. Only problem was, all of the art stores were sold out in that color paint pen! I had one at home in my supply, which we just hoped would last the whole 50 envelopes. Somehow it did last, I will forever enshrine it in bronze on my mantle.
Unforeseen hiccups happen all of the time in the wedding world. But when everyone works together, and is equally driven to solve the problem, it works out.
Doctors Kay and Dave game to me through Etsy, asking for some final touches to their big day. I was asked to do a seating mirror and a few small signs and mirrors for the event. We had pearly paper for the signs which she framed, and a few small IKEA mirrors for the welcome table. I think my favorite part was the painted purple pumpkins with silver "Dr." on them, plus a little "&" on a mini pumpkin in between.
I was asked to do these beautiful place cards for a couple's wedding and they wanted to create a look that had the appearance of writing on pieces of wood. (We had originally ordered wood to write on, but last minute the supplier added a delay cutting it too close to the wedding day.) Wood is a beautiful writing surface, and I sand it down and use a wood finish so that the ink rests atop the surface and doesn't bleed into the wood and get lost. Making wooden signage is little more time consuming when you're working with a deadline, but the payoff can be gorgeous. These brown board place cards get the job done and I'm able to fly through them with no additional prep! I can't wait to see the photographs of these pretty cards at the table.
It's always a real pleasure to create more formal envelopes for weddings. Jenna came to me with stunning Crane & Co. wedding invitations, printed in classic Specerian script. We discussed the best font for her outer envelopes, ideally picking a look that would work with her invitations and create a visually complete invitation suite. One of my more formal fonts, Brace, was the perfect option. I wrote these addresses in Brace with slightly more flourish to add a little more elegance. Black ink on these creamy envelopes finishes this timeless look, and will represent the tone of Jenna and Lance's gorgeous wedding. And if anyone starts feeling under the weather at this wedding, take it from me you'll be in good hands. There are, like, 40 doctors attending this wedding. She and her fiance sealed them with emerald green sealing wax!
One of my closest family friends Peter has created West Farm Woodworks. He is an incredibly gifted craftsman and builder (with a great sense of humor to boot). I reached out to him to make me a drying rack for all those wet envelopes I make every day, and boy did he deliver. He made me two racks, one for littles and one for bigs, and a few for thicker canvas or wood signs. I am so excited to use these! Thank you, Peter!
It's November. We've got time. But pretty soon it will be time to write those cards filled with holiday cheer to your friends and family near and far. I am custom making holiday cards all year round, but to be honest, I have the most sparkle in the winter season. :)
It was kismet! I was selling some jewelry on a popular website, and got a message of interest from a woman who decided to buy it from me. In her message she happened to mention her daughter, Christiana, was getting married and things were a bit chaotic, but she wanted to make sure I got all the information I needed to send her the bracelet. I said I totally understood, I am a calligrapher and I completely get the chaos that surrounds this event. One thing led to another, emails were exchanged, and I was officially the calligrapher for Christiana's wedding invitation envelopes. Christiana is getting married on New Year's Eve, and her invitations are GORGEOUS. Gold and shimmer, foil and sparkle, and lovely scalloped edges to the back of her envelopes. It was such a pleasure to work with her to achieve an affordable, but still glamorous style for the front of her envelopes. Christiana is so adorable. I'm going to miss working with her once her big day arrives.
There is nothing quite like a wedding at the Plaza Hotel, and this wedding was no exception. I was hired to do the mirrors and table numbers for Ashley and Ernesto's over the top fairytale wedding. The pictures speak for themselves, and I was very happy to contribute on this very special day for this very special couple.
One of the things I love about this job is the people I get to meet. Susan reached out to me through my Etsy shop inquiring about doing the envelopes for her 13 year old daughter Gretchen's Bat Mitzvah. I leapt on this idea because I always think it's so interesting to have kids of that age weigh in and collaborate on projects like these. Gretchen is the only girl in a family of boys, the last to come of age, and packs a super punch in her style. And even better-she didn't want me to do my usual script handwriting! She wanted print letters to go with her invitation. It was a first! And I loved making these. I think I'll be the most sad to see this project come to an end, mainly because I'm going to miss texting Susan and hearing about life with 4 teenagers. Hopefully we can touch base again in 18 years and talk wedding invitations?;)
For a more informal garden party, a client asked that I make elegant but slightly informal place cards. We decided simple tags on the napkins would go with the gold flatware perfectly. Sometime the location of the cards makes all the difference! The gold on black adds a little elegance and some pop to these simple table napkins and twine.
A company called Coliro makes some of the best metallic watercolors I've ever used. But they are watercolors, not ink for dipping pens! So to use it, you drop a few droplets of water on to the palate and mix with a paintbrush. Then you put some of the wet watercolor on to the tip of your nib and write (a letter or so) and do it all over again. It's gorgeous pay off, but incredible time consuming. So I decided to try and make a real ink that was similar in colors, but easier to use. I wanted to make a pink color but still have some golden hues, so I found PearlEx powder, some gum arabic and distilled water, and viola! It's not the same color as the gorgeous blush pink Coliro makes, but it's a new color altogether to add to my arsenal. Next time I'll try to make an actual replica of some of the Finetec Coliro gold and silve and blue colors, since I finally figured out the magical ratios!
I picked up these adorable little mason jars at Target in the $3 bins (!) just as I was leaving the store (annnnd we're going back in line) and I am obsessed. They have chalkboard lids so I can label them whatever I decide to call my new inks, and they can be cleaned so easily if I ever change the inks. They are a little larger than my ideal ink dipping jars, which are tiny jam jars in most cases, but I love the label option! Some of the photos below are of the blush Coliro watercolor, and some are taken from the angle where my "seashell" golden pink color actually appears pink. Face front, they look gold!
I made these adorable place cards for a Halloween party in a backyard barn. I used gold sparkle for the shine and good ol' Crayola markers for the names. When the night is over, they will be made in to a banner for Thanksgiving!
I was asked to provide the handwritten invitations and envelopes for a private dinner following a very exciting collaborative art installation in downtown Manhattan. This particular event was coming together very quickly so I had to work extremely fast and efficiently. I definitely tested my limits on how fast I am capable of creating a product I am both asked to create, and am proud of. After I created a mock up on black paper with white pen, the collector decided that was exactly the look he wanted and ended up being the final look created. I am very proud of my hand for busting these out in an extremely short amount of time.
Creating these specially made little pieces of art that are envelopes, place cards, invitiations, etc do take time and a lot of work. It is highly recommended to give your calligraphers at least 1 weeks notice before you would like the work to begin! This allows contracts to be signed, a detailed conversation between us and you to discuss what you would like to have done, and plenty of sample making time for you to approve the design and get the perfect product you dream of!
I loved getting another chance to use one of my favorite gold inks to create this simple yet elegant place setting for a wedding taking place in Switzerland! There were branches on the table scape, so we decided to continue the "floral" motif with this small olive branch on the bottom of each card. Absolutely love gold against a true navy blue card.
Two of my good friends, Pete and Sally, are having a baby boy! Due on Halloween this fall. I'm SO excited, and made this for the baby, to be hung on the walls of his room until he's old enough to know it by heart.:) I have a special place in my heart for the countless books that were read to me as a child, and that I eventually learned to read myself. I know Goodnight Moon will be read aloud countless times in a very soft rocker in their little nursery, and I hope this personal handmade touch can add to all the happy mornings and sleepy nights sure to be spent in this little family's home.
I was so torn on what to give a newly married couple whose wedding was rapidly approaching. I waited until after their wedding, in the hopes something in their vows would speak to me. It did! I'm so glad I waited so that I could feel like I was making something meaningful for them and remember the day. Lauren and Kieran recently moved their entire lives to California because of new job opportunities, and both being east coasters since childhood, I knew I wanted to make them something to have that would make them feel more at home in their new setting.
framed and ready to hang!