Thursday, May 30, 2013

Adventures in Calligraphy

I purchased an oblique pen holder and some nibs (from John Neal Books) appropriate for Copperplate and Spencerian calligraphy, the two most popular hands for wedding purposes.  This is definitely new territory for me.

Thicks and thins are produced by pressure of pen to paper, somewhat akin to the volume of a note on a piano.  The middle of the nib spreads a bit as you add pressure, thereby providing a thicker line.  In medieval calligraphy, pushing so hard the nib spreads is a big no-no - you'll only serve to damage your paper/parchment and the nibs, and make ink spit all over your work.  These nibs, however, are very flexible and don't have ink reservoirs that helps prevent spitting but leads to constant dipping.

The oblique holder is supposed to help you obtain the angled lettering.  This is something I need serious practice with, as all my calligraphy experience has trained my hand to do everything on a vertical line.  I'll have to pick up some angled practice paper to help out, as my consistency is crap.  My flourishes are also very infantile, but I'm more concerned with mastering the basics before going there.

So in short, I have a lot of work ahead of me, but it's awesome and exciting!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Kirk - Final Entry

I finished the hem and Sven wore his "Kirk" tunic to its first event this weekend.  He seemed pleased with it.

In truth, he said it was very comfortable and served him well.  That's the lovely Tanzeda in the background.  Isn't that shade of blue gorgeous?

Final sewing notes:

  • Made of 100% linen. (IL019 Autumn Gold from, and some black linen from the same site.
  • Metallic gold braid on the sleeves was from Jo-Anne's if I recall correctly. Trim hand-stitched on.
  • I used a huge variety of sewing techniques on this thing.  I hand sewed part, hand flat-felled, machine sewed, machine flat-felled, and even serged part of it.  This is what happens when a project goes through phases of completion over the course of a year and you gain new tools and plans on how to deal with things.  Hems sleeves, and facings were all hand-sewn.
  • Basically, it took way too long due to life situations (flood, flood, buying house, packing, moving, unpacking, etc).
  • I really enjoyed making an historical garment that was inspired by something so unexpected.  I'm sure there will be more to come on that front.  Sven is already talking about a Spock Tunic...

This picture has nothing to do with the Kirk, but Their Excellencies Vilhelm and Bethany are family to me, and this picture turned out too gorgeous not to share.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Misc. Weekend

This weekend was full of a lot of crazy randomness, with house guests and the Utah Renfest, to boot.

While the husband was entertaining guests, I snuck away and made him some more bookmarks.  This set came out much better, as I pressed the trim both before cutting and sealing the edges, and after.  I also used some Mary Ellen Best Press to set them (Caribbean Beach and Lavender Field are my faves!).

We went to the Utah Renaissance Festival and Fantasy Faire on Sunday.  I'm sad to say it was not impressive.  Alas, a huge rainstorm on Saturday left the grounds a messy mudpit, and it was the last day of the faire, so merchants were low on awesome.  It even seemed like the entertainment was weak.

I was, however, able to pick up my headband from Sable Greyhound, and while the picture doesn't even come close to showing how amazing and sparkly it is, I'll post it anyway.  I think these don't like having their pictures taken because the crystals are so reflective.  Holly, if you're reading this, I think a little video might benefit you! I got compliments all day from strangers.

And while trying to capture the headband, I discovered that my aging face is kind of oddly foreign to me.  Has this happened to any of you?  It's not like I don't see myself in the mirror every day, but it's different in a photo.  Like... I really had no idea I had that much of a dimple.  Where did that come from?

Veil + wind + humidity = crazy fuzzy hairs

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

25th Street, Ogden

Sunday I arrived early for a showing of From Up on Poppy Hill at the Arthouse Cinema 502. It was a glorious spring day, so I wandered up and down 25th Street (Two-Bit Street for the historically inclined) to kill a little time.  I've been reading a book about Two-Bit Street, a fascinating history of a seedy part of town, birthed by junction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Local lore has it that gangster Al Capone declared the place too wild for his tastes.[1]

The place is much different today - a street of eclectic shops museums, restaurants, and more.  I was struck by how pretty it is. I don't miss living in Ogden, but I must admit it's a pretty cool city.

1. USA Today

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sonnet 116

A friend of mine became extremely ill in January, requiring extensive hospitalization.  A group of us participated in an online auction of sorts, donating goods and services to raise funds to help his situation.  I donated a custom piece of calligraphy, suitable for framing.

It has taken an inexcusably long time to finish this, for which I have much to apologize for.  But Phae was the lucky winner.  She asked me to do Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare.  Excellent choice.

This is 8x10 with a wide blank border on the left for additional decorations to be added.  I had extreme spacing issues and had to start this over four times before I got it down.  It was longer than I anticipated so had I continued on, I would have run out of paper.  Woe betide the scribe who fails to measure.

I used a slightly modified Gothic Textura Quadrata  with decorative cadels on the top line.  Higgins Eternal ink on Bristol smooth finish paper.

A a bit of a segue related to someone paying for calligraphy, I've been interested in starting a side business, doing calligraphy.  Does any one out there have advise or input on this?  Recommendations?  Suggestions?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I'm super excited.  Holly over at Sable Greyhound Gifts made me a customized headband.  Ok, let's be honest.  I threw some money at her and told her what color I wanted.

You can get one too.  (I know, I've given her lots of crass commercial announcements, but LOOK!  Shiney!) She's on Facebook, but these are also over on her Etsy page.  Mine is indicolite.  I'm sorely tempted to get another in a more neutral color.  Another style even... but alas it must wait until more money is to be had.