You guys, I haven’t been this excited about something for a long time.  I’m starting calligraphy lessons from Melissa Esplin at I Still Love Calligraphy.  Ever since I watched my best friend’s mom hand-letter a poster in high school, I had this secret longing to learn calligraphy.  Last week as I was browsing my Pinterest, I was falling more and more in love with all the pretty letters with their delicately, thin upstrokes and bold, black downward strokes.

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This past year I have been exploring more talents and interests and have spent a lot of time working on developing a more defined personal identity.  Over the years I’ve certainly done a lot of things that have shaped my identity like doing humanitarian work and all the design and crafts I’ve made.  But then my people pleasing desires and other insecurities came shining through in the form of usually just doing whatever my friends or boyfriend was doing.  After Jeff and I were married, I was surprised how much of my identity had been dictated by what others in my life wanted to do, simply because I cared more about my relationships and wanting to be loved.  It’s still the most important thing to me, but I’ve learned to find some balance with it – I do things just for me now and my emotions are far less reliant on others.

After longingly coveting the hand-lettered envelopes and art pieces, the idea sparked into my head about an online calligraphy class I’d seen.  I was reluctant at first to sign up because I was worried I wouldn’t be very good and the class was about $100.  But I realized that sometimes I’m just afraid of doing things for myself then those other things masquerading as my real fears.  When I signed up, I was so excited that I couldn’t stop thinking about calligraphy and looking at pictures online and finally went to bed about 4 am.

I ordered my supplies and they came in the most handsome packaging.  Oh, the kraft tissue paper, twine, and that amazing tag!  I already know that when my hand gets tired and I’m not progressing like I would want, I’ll just look at that tag and it’ll be all the inspiration I need to keep going.  The best part is that it’s only about $30 to get your basic supplies to get started, but because Jeff is awesome, he encouraged me to get lots more.

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After those supplies arrived, I organized my desk to start my lessons.  I have 9 different nibs, 1 straight and 1 oblique holders, 5 bottles of ink, and a few notebooks of blank, graph, and tracing paper.

I definitely foresee getting more ink – some gold especially, and handsome papers to send letters.  Perhaps even some brushes to do watercolor calligraphy.

DSC_0097The different nibs create such different effects.  Some are stiff and as a result create thinner down strokes.  Some are bold and thick and require a steadier hand because of the much heavier flow of ink.  My favorite is called the Zebra G.  It’s flexible and does really thin upstrokes, but because it’s flexible, I can control how bold the down stroke is.

When I was first practicing, I had printed out some guides and worksheets onto just regular printer paper.  It looked so wobbly and my nibs would constantly catch on the paper.  I was getting a little discouraged because I was practicing a few hours a day and I wasn’t making much progress.  A few days later I switched to my fancy, expensive notebooks and I couldn’t believe what a difference that made.  I was actually really impressed how good I was.

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I’m so excited to have something that’s just mine and that this new hobby is small enough to carry with us on a motorcycle as we travel across the Mediterranean.  It will help me keep in touch with my loved ones when we’re so far away.  And since I’ll have so much free time to practice for the next few years, Jeff and I are already talking about adding a store to the website to sell some of my handmade and digital designs.