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CALLIGRAPHY STARTER KIT FROM UNCOMMON GOODS

Modern calligraphy is such a common thing in Blogland. Everywhere you look, everywhere you go… there’s calligraphy. I’ve gone into shops looking for calligraphy kits before, but most of them taught the old school western style. Over the weekend, however, I had the chance to try out an amazing Calligraphy Starter Kit by Diva Pyari from Uncommon Goods.

calligraphy-kit_01

Uncommon Goods is a privately owned company based in Brooklyn, New York that specializes in providing creative and handcrafted gifts for all types of people. What I love most about them is that they are very socially and environmentally aware. Most products are made in the United States and about half are made by hand. Uncommon Goods partners with four non-profits and even reaches out to the community, hosting product design and art challenges. And I could go on… I’m loving everything I’ve learned about them so far! Finding out about retailers that care for the earth and humanity gives me so much hope.

Calligraphy Starter Kit

So, about this Calligraphy Starter Kit. I was really nervous that I would try it out and fail and not be able to blog about it. But it wasn’t so bad! I mean, it was really bad at first but I slowly started to get the hang of it. It turned out to be really addicting! I am already planning to go out and buy some different supplies (colorful ink perhaps!).

In the spirit of keeping it real, here is my first attempt at writing some letters. Yikes.

Calligraphy Starter Kit

I experimented with different ways of holding the pen before I was comfortable with it. The instructions advised to hold the nib over a flame for a few seconds and that made a huge difference in the inkflow. This next picture is still a little rough but better right? Pretty sure modern calligraphy is allowed to be messy. 🙂

calligraphy-kit_05

Calligraphy Starter Kit

If you’re looking for gifts for friends, family, or yourself (treat yo’self!), Uncommon Goods has a plethora of unique choices. Here is the calligraphy kit if you’re interested. You can also check out the gifts for women here and gifts for men here. Oh and there are tons of cute gifts for little ones here! I’m a true fan. I’ll be back next week with another review of their products because I couldn’t stop with just one.

Have you done any calligraphy? Any suggestions on fancy ink or nib brands?

RESOURCES FOR BLOGGERS

Hey there! Here are some blog resources from some of my favorite bloggers. Hopefully these helpful articles can inspire us to get creative and make the most of the week.

Resources for Bloggers | Earl Grey Blog

1. Melyssa from The Nectar Collective recently wrote about how to grow your blog or business using Twitter. I used to use Twitter solely for funny lame jokes, but now I use it for Earl Grey purposes too (here’s my account btw if you want to be friends!). However, Twitter is not my specialty. I always forget I even have it. This article was helpful in reminding me that there are simple ways to be active as a blogger on Twitter. Woohoo! Thanks Melyssa!

2. Oh, Writer’s Block. Always getting me down. I absolutely love this post on beating writer’s block by Jess of Stamp in my Passport. She shares three helpful and genuine ways to reconnect with yourself and get over that dang lack of inspiration.

3. Last month on Ember & March, Amber shared about the difference between growing your blog and gaining a following. She notes that both are a little necessary and touches on the importance of authenticity. I couldn’t agree with her more.

4. Jess at June Letters wrote a beautiful post about allowing yourself to be a beginner. What a good reminder. It is so important to remember that everything takes practice and that we shouldn’t set so many unrealistic expectations on ourselves.

Have you been focusing on or learning anything in particular lately?

 

Rhubarb, Grapefruit, & Thyme Cocktail

PLAYING FAVORITES

I love the big wave of change that seems to come with a new season. Sometimes change occurs on its own and sometimes we just get restless and make it happen. This past week, I decided to cut off all my hair (Not really, it’s still long. Just feels so short to me!) and I got a new job! What the! I am so excited and still kind of in shock over how quickly it all happened. I will tell you all about it eventually, but for now I just want to share my appreciation for all things fall! Apparently, a roundup of a trillion pumpkin spice recipes wasn’t enough for me.

First up: peach pie and a peach spritzer! Oh my. This looks so delicious. The coffee shop I’m sitting at is right across the street from a pie place and boy am I tempted to go over there this very second.

Peach Pie & Peach Spritzer

This oversized pink shawl coat from Anthropologie is too perfect. I love everything about it, except for that it is $600. Nope. Moving on…

Oversized Pink Shawl Coat

I usually shy away from anything with too many fruit flavors, but this rhubarb, grapefruit, and thyme cocktail looks too delicious to pass up!

Rhubarb, Grapefruit, & Thyme Cocktail

Hot chocolate and tiny macarons? Together? This photo makes me want to curl up under a pile of blankets for about a week.

Hot Chocolate and Macarons

Have a beautiful fall weekend and I’ll see you Monday with a DIY!

DIY MINIMAL BRASS JEWELRY HANGER

My favorite DIY projects are those that are functional, and I most definitely needed something to hang up my necklaces. As a self-proclaimed non-accessorizer, I don’t think about wearing jewelry often. This handy brass jewelry hanger will hopefully remind me of the necklaces I do have.

DIY MINIMAL BRASS JEWELRY HANGER

This is really the simplest project if you start with the right supplies. I ended up doing quite a bit of experimenting.

Supplies needed: a brass tube, rope, s-hooks (I recommend buying more than 5 to balance things out), scissors

May be needed: Pliers, wrench, crochet thread

I found most of my supplies at Ace Hardware.

First things first – open up those s-hooks! To make things easier, you might want to choose open s-hooks to begin with. I was really set on this brass color (rather than steel), so I used pliers and a wrench to turns these 8′s into S’s.

The next step is to feed the rope through the brass tube. Unless you have really tiny rope, it might be hard to feed it all the way through. I decided to pull crochet thread through the tube first, tightly tying my thread to the end of the rope.

Cut and tie your rope together at whichever length you’d like. Loop your s-hooks onto the pole and hang up your beautiful jewelry for the whole wide world (or just you) to see!

Hope you enjoyed this project! Do you have any fancy ways of displaying your jewelry?

PS – don’t pass up the chance to win some cozy fall accessories! Enter my “Happy Fall” giveaway here.

HANDWOVEN WALL HANGINGS

My grandma weaves breathtaking wall hangings (and blankets and sweaters) on a giant loom that just looks so crazy and complicated to me. It’s a beast. I always used to say, “someday I’ll learn to weave…” in a wistful way like it would take me years and years. It wasn’t until I started seeing small-scale weaving tutorials (see list at the bottom) that I realized I could actually do this at any time, with a random old cardboard box. I am much less intimidated by weaving now, but even more in awe of it.

Handwoven Wall Hangings | Earl Grey Blog

 

1. Wild Columbine Textile
2. Ran Ran Design
3. Oh Albatross
4. Hiedra
5. Toni Penrose for Moorea Seal
6. Straw & Gold
7. Liz Toohey-Wiese
8. Combed Thunder
9. Heddle & Needle

Here is one of my very favorite weavings made by my grandma. For a long time she lived in Gualala, a tiny town along the Northern California coast. Gualala is all redwood trees, oceans, and artists. It’s my favorite place in the entire world and my heart aches a little every time I visit because it is so full of wonderful memories. Anyway, this weaving is inspired by Gualala. Amazing, huh? I’ll share more of her work in the future.

Handwoven Wall Hangings | Earl Grey Blog

Handwoven Wall Hangings | Earl Grey Blog

Is weaving something you have tried or would like to get into? Also, does anybody else have a favorite place like Gualala, that is filled to the brim with sweet childhood memories?

ps. Here are a few weaving tutorials that I think are quite excellent:

Weaving 101 | Playful Learning
DIY Woven Wall Hanging | Honestly WTF
Weaving Class: The Basics | A Beautiful Mess
Learn to Weave | Clare McGibbon on The Etsy Blog

MY PERSONAL RULES FOR BLOGGING

In the blogging world, many pieces of advice are relative. What works for one person may not work for another. There are several factors to take into consideration including focus, goals, audience, etc. But I truly believe that no matter what kind of blog you have, there are few personal changes that can make anybody a happier blogger. Today, I want to share three “rules” I have been trying to live by.

Personal Rules for Blogging |Earl Grey Blog

1. Talk about your blog in real life.

This has been on my mind constantly for the entire summer. I used to tell people about my blog as a very last resort. I would dance around the subject and mumble things about crafts when I should have just said, “I’m working on my blog.” Depending on what kind of area you live in, half the people you talk to to might be completely perplexed. They might even bring up “web logging”. 😉 But the more you tell people about your blog, the more you’ll hear people say, “I have a blog too!” And suddenly, you will have a real life blog friend. Piece of cake.

Recently, I have been challenging myself to talk about my blog in Portland. Already, I have made a few friends at work who are also bloggers! It’s crazy and wonderful how one mention of blogging can spark a conversation and connect me to someone who may also be keeping their blog on the DL. When you talk about your blog enough, I promise that blogger coffee dates will be abounding. 🙂

2. Do not try to be passionate about something you’re not passionate about.

Think about something that is really cool right now. Pineapples? Everyone is so into pineapples. I personally only like pineapples on my pizza. But I keep looking at this pineapple patterned cardigan at Target and feeling like maybe I should have it. I genuinely think it’s adorable but I also know that I’ve been strongly influenced by the interwebs. Are pineapples going to be super awesome in November? Probably not! Trends come and go every season and I fall under their spell every time. Say no to pineapples if deep down you want to say no to them.

Here is a more personal example: In high school and college, I was always the crafty girl. That was my thing. But as I said the other day in this post, I’m not too inspired in the crafty arena these days. It’s a bummer because I know people like DIY projects. But by slightly changing the direction of my blog toward what I’m more passionate about, I’ve experienced growth in the blog world, in my life, and in my heart.

3. Try not to minimize your statements or discredit yourself.

Through my psychology classes, I learned a lot about minimizing statements and I realized that I did this (and still do this) a lot! There is a big difference between being humble and being self-deprecating. I believe you can be humble and be happy for yourself at the same time. If you tear yourself down even just a little, you’re tearing at your hopes and dreams. Here are some examples of minimizing statements (and alternatives) as they relate to blogging:

“I know I’m no expert at all, but today I want to talk about staying motivated as a blogger.”
(Today I want to talk about motivation. These are a few significant things I have learned through my experience as a blogger.)

“It’s super cliche and unoriginal, but I feel most inspired when I’m at a coffee shop writing in a fresh new notebook.”
(There’s nothing like a fresh new notebook and a coffee shop to make me feel inspired.)

“I just love web design. I don’t know, I’m so nerdy!!”
(I love web design!)

I literally said that last quote word for word the other night and my coworkers replied, “No you’re not, that’s so badass!” So…do your thing. Love what you want to love. Do what inspires you. Most importantly, stop putting yourself down. 🙂

Have any of these issues been relevant in your blogging experience? I’d also love to know how you go about bringing up your blog in the real world.

Thanks for letting me share!

Gold Leaf Hand Lettering with Photoshop

CREATE GOLD LEAF HAND LETTERING IN PHOTOSHOP

Have you ever wanted to know how bloggers and designers write in what looks like pure gold ink? Me too. I’m one paycheck away from enrolling in an online calligraphy class just so that I can learn to write using pretty gold ink. Until then, I’m going to find ways to fake it. Here is how I added a gold leaf texture to my handwriting in Photoshop using my Wacom Bamboo Tablet. If you don’t have a tablet, you can still add gold text to an image or background using any font you’d like.

Gold Leaf Hand Lettering with Photoshop

1. First, open two documents in Photoshop. You’ll need a background image and a gold leaf texture. I used a solid mint colored background, and I found the gold leaf texture here. Next, select and copy the background image and paste it onto the gold leaf texture.

Gold Leaf Hand Lettering with Photoshop

Select the Pen Tool from your toolbar and change the mode to “Clear”. Make sure the top layer (not the gold texture) is selected in your Layers Panel. Then use your tablet to write something fun! If your handwriting looks shaky, try zooming in a bunch (300-400%) and then writing. It’s also fun to experiment with different brush sizes and styles.

Gold Leaf Hand Lettering with Photoshop

If you don’t have a tablet, you can just use plain text! For this, you will want to set up your layers the same exact way we did above. Then select the Horizontal Type Mask Tool. This will automatically turn your text into a selection.

Gold Leaf Hand Lettering with Photoshop

After you’ve got your type mask (seen below), select the Magic Eraser Tool and uncheck “Contiguous”. Then click the Magic Eraser over the selection, and the text should disappear. If you’re using an image as your background, you may need to erase the selection using the normal Eraser Tool or the Pen Tool (under “clear” mode).

Gold Leaf Hand Lettering with Photoshop

Gold Leaf Hand Lettering with Photoshop

To add gold leaf text in the form of a font, you can also follow this tutorial I wrote on combining photos and text.

Here’s an example of how fun it is to add gold handwriting and doodles to a photograph. You can use the method I first described, just make sure the layers are all stacked correctly.

Gold Leaf Hand Lettering with Photoshop

Let me know if you end up trying this! 🙂

MAKING PRODUCT COLLAGES FOR YOUR BLOG

Hi there! I’ve created a screencast tutorial to share how I make product collages for my blog posts using Photoshop. I wanted to keep it short and sweet, so it is pretty simple. Enjoy!

collage-draft

 

 

Photos Used:
1. Bella Sunglasses – Ruche
2. Just my Cup of Tea Cup – House of Rym
3. Open Heart Ring – Moorea Seal
4. Pineapple Ice Trays – Anthropologie
5. Curve 45oz Teapot – Red Sail
6. Golden Ratios Boxed Candle – LEIF
7. Little Guy Earrings – Kate Spade Saturday
8. Mountain Tote Bag – Nell & Mary
9. Senegalese Knitting Basket – Territory

Sheesh, videos are awkward! But sometimes you’ve gotta have them. Pardon my squeaky voice and the fuzzy quality. Have a fantastic, summery weekend. 🙂

TINY FLOWERS CROCHET PATTERN

This is the first of what I hope will be many shared crochet patterns. Whether you are a beginner or an expert in the crochet language, this tiny flower pattern should be pretty simple. If you’re not into the fiber arts, I’ll be back tomorrow with something totally unrelated to old lady crafts. 😉

I love using this pattern because it only requires one round. You can either begin with a magic circle or chain 4 and slip stitch to the first chain, to create a regular circle. I prefer using a magic circle because it gives you more control over how big or small you’d like the beginning circle to be. It will allow you to close the circle and get rid of the remaining hole in the center of the flower. A great tutorial can be found here.

tiny-flower-crochet-pattern

Tiny Flowers Crochet Pattern

Skill Level: Easy
Materials: Yarn, Hook (any size), and Yarn Needle
Special Stitch: dc2tog – (yarn over, insert hook into designated space and pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through two loops) x 2, yarn over, pull through last three loops.

1. Begin with a magic circle (alternatively, chain 4 and slipstitch to the first chain, forming a loop).
2. *ch 2, dc2tog, ch 2, slip stitch into center of circle; repeat from * 5 times to create five petals.
3. Slip stitch to the first chain you made in Step 2. Fasten off, pull beginning tail of the magic circle to tighten the center and weave in the edges.

Go on and make a garden. Tiny flowers on everything!

tiny-flowers-crochet-pattern

ps. While I will be sharing many free patterns here on the blog, I’m also dipping my feet in the world of selling patterns. Before I list any patterns to sell, I would love to have each one tested by one or two crocheters. You would receive the pattern for free, crochet the item, and give me your honest feedback about the pattern structure. Email me if you’re interested! 🙂