Friday, January 22, 2016

The Art of Calligraphy


One goal I've set for myself this year is to learn calligraphy. 

I'm always drawn to beautiful packaging, and the addition of modern calligraphy makes it even more alluring.


The first example of modern calligraphy I came across was in a quaint little floral shop, Coriander Girl in downtown Toronto, quite a few years ago now.

Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls, a calligrapher and artist from California, had designed everything from her business cards, to her store window lettering, to her website graphics.

For years I've wanted to master this art, and while I've attempted it with generic calligraphy sets, I haven't been able to.

That is, hopefully, until now.

While browsing through Anthropologie, looking for some unique Christmas gifts this year, I came across a calligraphy set and immediately recognized the script.

Maybelle has created a kit for learning modern calligraphy.

I ordered one for my sister, and one for myself.

All of the basics are included -

a pen and nib
bottle of black ink
instructional booklet
A-Z exemplar
decorative labels
vellum tracing sheets
lined guide sheet

Today I finally opened it and started acquainting myself with the basics.

I know it will take a great deal of time and practise, but I think it's a beautiful art. I was inspired after reading Pride and Prejudice, again, and being reminded of the beauty of properly penned letter.

Another goal? The first photo is from an event Maybelle did, teaching calligraphy. Doesn't it look like a wonderful way to spend an evening? You can view the evening here.

And for a peek into Alison Westlake of Coriander Girl's charming converted church, which is also lovely, you can view an article from Chatelaine Magazine here.

And now to practise, practise, practise.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Family Room Entrance

January always brings with it the desire to freshen up our home.

I'm fairly certain I'm not the only one who suffers a sort of fluff-your-nest syndrome when the house suddenly feels a tad empty with Christmas stored away once more.

Rooms take on the feeling of a blank canvas, and I feel inspired to begin some of those projects that have sat on my mental to-do list for far too long.

January also brings with it snow.

And snow brings a plethora of boots and other winter things that can leave an entrance feeling overcrowded and chaotic - especially with little ones.

This is our side entrance. It's in the family room, and it's the entrance used most often as it's connected to the driveway.

Previously, I used this space for two sitting chairs, however, when I rearranged the family room to allow space for the Christmas tree, the chairs got placed elsewhere in the room. The rearrangement actually feels much more natural for this space, and with the tree now gone, I've been left with a space I need to fill.

My first thought was to move my desk in front of the window, but when I measured it out, I felt it would be too cramped.

So, I sat for a while and thought.

What did I actually use this space for?
- coming in the door, taking off shoes, a handy basket of slippers, dressing to leave the house

What isn't here that would make doing these things easier and more efficient?
- hooks for backpacks and bags, trays to keep my floors clean, a place to sit when getting ready, storage the boys can reach for things like hats and mittens.

I have roughly five feet of depth to work with.

And I have a large window and radiator in desperate need of some paint to work around.

Here are some inspirations for what I'm drawn to for this space,


Simple shaker style peg hooks.


The possibility of a built-in under the window, which would double as a seat and hidden storage. This isn't likely though due to the cost of building it, and it being situated in front of a radiator.

[via Country Style Magazine]

Simple shelf with hooks.


An antique bench that would run the length of the space.

Before I begin though, I need to look through the rather large collection of things in storage downstairs and see what I have that I could use first.

With the holidays behind us, and a relaxing week away, I'm feeling refreshed and ready to work.

How gorgeous is this? This was my view for the past week... I rather miss spending the day in the sun with my book. Though I missed my boys tremendously.

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Year, Fresh Start

There's something so wonderful about the dawning of a new year.

It's as similar as an inviting bed with freshly laundered sheets, or a crisp white shirt not yet worn, or a new planner, awaiting important reminders to be pencilled in. 

It's fresh and full of possibility.

As much as I love readying the house for the Christmas season, there's still something so refreshing about boxing it all up and starting over.

With all of our celebrations now past, this morning felt like the perfect time to start getting the house back in order.

All of the greens came down, dishes removed, shelves vacuumed and then wiped down.

I packaged up some bits of Christmas decor that I will just reuse next year.

Then I rearranged the shelves and packed away most of the brown transferware.

For Christmas, my mom gave me this beautiful marble pastry board. As this is where I also keep my mixer, I just decided to set everything out and have this as my baking counter.

I love having everything - mixing bowls, measuring cups, baking tools - all in one place.

Very mise en place

It feels so fresh.

And of course, as this is right beside my laundry area, it also becomes a folding station of sorts.

You do what you have to do.

My organizing of the house actually started a few days ago. I just tried focusing on a cupboard or two each day, so the kitchen nearly finished. 

I'm in no rush, but it's nice to have things back in routine.

Happy New Year!