BEGIN.

It's time to begin. 

One of my biggest fears in learning hand lettering and calligraphy was, "What if I stink? What if NO ONE LIKES ME? What is no one wants to be my friend at the end of this??" 

But one day - I woke up and just began working. It was messy (really...I tried to POUR ink into my automatic pen. Jesus take the wheel), but so rewarding. 

If you're into messy, handwritten desktop backgrounds. Here's one I made for myself. 

TODAY is a great time to begin. 

begin.jpg

Calligraphy Tools I'm Loving Right Now

TOOL #1: 

I recently discovered the wonders of a carrot holder. It sounds similar to what your mind might imagine when I say, "Carrot pen."  I thought I'd take the plunge and get a custom one from AshBush Lettering & Design.  Hindsight: I wish I did something funky and not so safe in my color design, but the relief it has brought to my double jointed fingers is immeasurable. 

 Photo via  AshBush Instagram

TOOL #2: THIS NIB. 

You can purchase it here. I love the very thick and very thin lines it creates. It is also very flexible - so a wonderful change from my Nikko G and Zebra nib. 

 Via Paper & Ink Arts

Via Paper & Ink Arts

TOOL #3: 

This baby dappen dish. I never knew how much I needed it until I had it. GET ONE. It holds the perfect ink amount without wasting half of your ink (like me for way too long...) The other plus is that it is glass and thus, really easy to clean. 

 Via Paper & InkArts

Via Paper & InkArts

 

 

Guest Blogger || Zoe Loeser || Goal Setting

Today I'm SO excited to kick off 2016 with one of my favorite bloggers (who happens to be one of dearest friends. Winning!) I asked Zoe Loeser to guest blog today on a topic I've personally wanted to work through this year as one of my goals: Overcoming Artist Paralysis. Enjoy. 

I come from a family of artists.

My father’s a storyteller. We walked through Spain together on the Camino de Santiago, and during our 25-day trip, Dad constructed a multi-plotline adventure in another dimension off the top of his head.

My mother replicates beauty. She chases sunrises and notices flowers. She draws and paints. She created stained glass for several years. To her, beauty gives to us so we can give it in return.

When I was in junior high, she rented a tent at a fair to sell her stained glass pieces. She worked for months to make enough beveled crosses, nightlight covers, and large pieces depicting lilies and angels.

She came home crying on the first night – she’d given it away. When people recognized beauty in her work, she’d give it to them. She’d hope to be paid for the hard work she’d done, but her instinct to show and share beauty won over. It made her heart sick.

A hope deferred makes the heart sick.

I avoided hoping. I had middle-class goals: graduate high school, graduate college, get married. But the self-bettering goals set a bar for disappointment, and I knew what disappointment could do to someone.  

My heart got sick anyway. I couldn’t get to class on time, I didn’t follow through with group assignments, and I didn’t remember to buy toilet paper before I’d run out. I couldn’t muster the energy to pick my clothes up off the floor when I changed into sweats. These things (among many others) seemed second nature to everyone else, and I couldn’t get it done. My self-talk created it’s own set of goals structured by culture and my perception of everyone else’s life. When I didn’t measure up, I heard: You’re lazy. You never follow through. How can someone trust you if you never get things done?

I was so tired of feeling like I wasn't enough.

I went to counseling, visited with friends, and eventually started a goal setting path. I learned how to fall, how to get up, and how to keep going. I learned about grace.

At the end of my first goal-setting year, I’d written a book of poetry, co-chaired the children’s area at a local arts festival, and written birthday cards to my favorite people throughout the year. I was exhausted but so satisfied.

Now what I offer is my goal setting and follow through process. It’s for people who have a hard time getting up in the morning, who are overcome by shame, and who can’t seem to do the things they have in their hearts to do. It’s also for people who generally like self-evaluations and to-do lists.

I’m hosting a free goal-setting workshop at District House coffee shop in Oklahoma City on January 23rd from 9:30-4:30. The event will be broadcast live at zoeloeser.com for those who’d like to come but can make the distance. If you want email reminders and things, you can register here.

My parents taught me that experiencing beauty is about sharing it. Let’s experience together the beauty of a life well lived.

Zoe is the founder of Envision, a goal setting workshop to help people cultivate rich lives. She lives in an Oklahoma City tree house with her man and two dogs. You can be encouraged by her everyday at zoeloeser.com/blog.



Cotton Belt Press - Feature

Did I just do an audible, "EEEP!"? Yes...I think I did.... 

A few weeks ago a mutual friend connected me with Katie Fleming at Cotton Belt Press. She reached out and asked if I'd like to be a part of her "Featured Artists" page. Well...yes, please! 

Check it out here: Cottonbeltpress.com/blog 

A HUGE thanks to Katie and CBP Team. It was such an encouragement getting to know you and can't wait for that coffee date! 

Poems.

My dear friend graduated from seminary on Saturday. I'm so proud of her. Courtney is one of those friends who epitomizes resiliency. She requested that I create a gift for her seminary mentor. Court wanted to use a poem she wrote during an exercise with her mentor and the only stylistic request she made was that it look "hippie." Not sure if that was achieved. I felt it was ok to be a little more "loose" with structure...hippie's do that...right? 

Thankful for Court and her heart to give. Excited for her as she "moves into something new."