Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Hot Flourish

This week I have been having a go at some calligraphic flourishes with my dip pen. Specifically mandalas, or circular flourishes. Not only are they pretty fun to do, but they allow you to repeat the same strokes over and over so they're great for practicing basic shapes!

These are my attempts;

I prefer the top one, whereas hubby lies the bottom one. Isn't it always that way?

Want to see what real ones look like? Check out these beauties by wonderful calligrapher Jane Farr.

I have also ordered some different colored inks to have a go with, so watch this space!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Present with a Past

Every now and then, you receive a 'life gift'. You know; something that you might be given for a birthday, or Christmas, that you know will be treasured until the end of your days. I was fortunate enough to be given such a gift for my birthday a couple of weeks ago.

A few things of note about this gift:
  • It came into existence in 1939
  • It was made in Scotland
  • It has traveled over 5000 miles to its current home
  • It is the second oldest thing I own
  • It weighs the same as an average 2 1/2 year old boy

 Thanks Mom & Dad xxx

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Poor Impulse Control

OK, so I gave in and bought a calligraphy pen. Or two. And a dip pen. And some ink. And maybe some nice paper. Whatever.

It makes me sad to think about beautiful writing becoming a lost art. Although there seems to be a recent increase in demand for hand lettered wedding stationery, so maybe it's not on the out just yet.

I confess that I am a bit of a doodler, and you may have figured out by now I'm also a bit impulsive when it comes to trying new stuff. The pens I bought are Pilot Parallel pens, a relatively new style of pen utilizing two parallel plates of metal that allow the ink to pass between them rather than the traditional split down the middle of the nib. This is supposed to deliver the ink more consistently, which cant be a bad thing when you're learning.

So I bought two of these pens because the other really cool thing about them is that you can blend the ink, making beautiful gradients as you write. You do this by touching the nibs of the two pens, which allows the ink to pass from one to the other. I filled my pens with ink the same color as their respective lids to avoid confusion, and gave it a go...

The blue pen that I used for the lettering has a 6mm wide nib, whilst the green one is 3.8mm. The decorative lines at the bottom are done with the larger blue pen using the color changing trick. Pretty cool eh? And to top it off, if you hold either of the pens on their side, you can write with a basic 0.5mm line. Now tell me that these pens are not the most versatile ever!? And the ink for them comes in some great colors! (see bottom-left below)

My other pen (can I call it that?), is the complete opposite; traditional, fussy, messy, temperamental and scratchy. But still just lovely in its own way. It makes me feel like I should be writing on treasure maps "There be dragons ahead..."

It is a Brause EF66 nib and is a little smaller than what I was expecting. But bear in mind that I have never bought a pen nib before, so that doesn't mean much. Yes, its very different to write with than the Pilot pens (or just about anything else I've ever written with), but it's so worth it, as nothing else comes close to achieving such beautiful line thickness variation...

Now I just need to do laundry find a use for all this fancy lettering!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Fountain of Ink

At high school whilst on a school trip to France, I bought two beautiful fountain pens from a French stationery store. They were beautiful pens that I dutifully used for several years and I am sorry to say that I don't know what happened to them. I hadn't written with a fountain pen for years, when thoughts of them popped into my head quite suddenly a few weeks ago.

A quick internet search found JetPens, a lovely online pen store based in California that specialize in Japanese pens, which are apparently some of the best in the world due to the intricacies required in writing the Japanese language.

I ordered a couple of fountain pens, a nice brush pen and some pencils and an eraser for good measure. You gotta take advantage of FREE shipping on orders over $25, right? The pens are just lovely. I dont know how I went for so long without a fountain pen! They really are an absolute dream to write with- not at all like the scratchy, ink splattering pens of yester-year.

Kinda makes me want to learn calligraphy..... Although after watching this video, I'm thinking I probably dont have the patience for it!

I guess I'll just stick to faux-lligraphy. That's a word, right?

 Thanks JetPens!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Smashing Good Find

Every since I was a little girl, I have been obsessed with stationery. Pens and paper of all kinds just make me happy. The only way this fascination has changed over the years is that now I'm an adult I can call it a 'hobby' or a 'collection'...

In keeping with my love of all things 'stationery', I like the concept of scrap booking. In fact, when I first had my camera, I optimistically bought an album kit to 'beautifully chronicle my life in photographs'. But you know what? The pressure to make it all look absolutely perfect meant I didn't actually do anything. Instead, I would occasionally look through the beautiful papers I had bought, sad that they were destined to live in the cupboard until I finally decided to give them away.

So when we were in Walmart the other day and I came across the SMASH books and associated lovelies, my spidey senses got all tingly. The first thing I saw was some black and white polka dot washi tape....... I was SOLD!

The whole idea of the Smash book is that it's the scrap-booking equivalent of the junk drawer. You just smush it all in there, with cute tape and notes made with your list pads, all glued down with your special glue-stick pen!

The book I bought is the "ECO Style" one, and is full of nature related prints and pictures.

I look forward to filling it with messy-beautiful stuff!