Posts Tagged ‘lettering’

Freebie: Valentine’s Day Treats 2016


We had a grand time this year prepping for Valentine’s. I nearly forgot to share what we did. I found a gigantic bag of (my favorite) Hi-Chews at the grocery store a month ago, so I knew immediately I wanted to do something punny with those. So here we are.


The kids love these things (I had to buy a second back of Hi-Chews just to finish all the valentine’s because a bunch may or may not have been eaten many weeks before the fact.

I found little 3″x3″ zip closure baggies at my local Pak ‘N Wrap. You can find these just as easy at I just didn’t want to wait for shipping. I wrote out the little phrase, printed and cut these little fold-over cards and stapled them together. Mega easy.



Penelope designed and I made a stamp so she could own her valentine’s day treats. Felix even helped putting them together! I love when I can include both of them on the fun! I know it’s too late for 2016 Valentine’s, but I figure I’d share this printable for anyone looking to use this idea in the future. See the link below to download the printable.


*By downloading the above material, you agree to terms of use: This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

Sign Painting Inspired Photo Backdrop


Sometimes I enthusiastically say, “Yes!” to a project before understanding the scale. It’s a problem I get myself into constantly. As much as these decisions cost me in time, I benefit in learning new things: new methods, techniques and at the very least when I should say, “no.”


AlixMegan and I were asked to head up a photo booth for Alt Summit this year. After mulling through several ideas, our theme was b&w pre-internet, we settled on some typographic backdrop for the photo booth for Alt Summit (summer 2015). It took until the 11th hour to think of what words to use.

I’m no copy editor. Coming up with copy is difficult for me. I can make it beautiful, but figuring out what to write can be like pulling teeth for me. It took several conversations as a team and an hour long phone call with my mom. I figured it would make the most sense to do onomatopoeias. Since it’s B&W pre-internet (which I thought was kind of vague) I started with the sounds you would hear from pre-internet technology like the “click and clack” from a typewriter. Then it grew from there to include any onomatopoeia that I could think of. I didn’t want to repeat the words too many times.


Initially I had thought about inspirational words or phrases, but we didn’t want readability to be an issue. The short words turned out to be great.


This sign ended up being roughly 9′ wide and 4′ tall. Doing something this large isn’t typical of my day-to-day work. Also, sign painting and lettering isn’t something that I do often. I was more than a bit out of my comfort zone here. Between that and the fact that the only space I could complete the sign was the kitchen area, stress levels were at an all-time high. My stress always sky-rockets around Alt Summit. So Chris knew he needed to steer clear. The kids quickly learned that lesson after an embarrassing amount of yelling, “GET OUT!! I can’t have you touching the paper!!”

I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking they live in a mausoleum, but I also can’t have their sticky otter pop hands anywhere close to the paper. My paranoia mounted the further along I got. Stakes were escalating, I couldn’t start over!


In my efforts to keep Pen and Felix out of trouble and my precious paper out of harm’s way, I barricaded the kitchen off with various chairs and a car seat. Chris got a kick out of it. That buffer saved my bacon a couple of times by keeping Felix from barreling through the room on his way outside.

At one point Alix came over to help fill in words with her two littles in tow. 5 kids under the age of 7 made for some interesting work time. Her kids were so good at staying clear of the paper and paint. Mine, not so much.




The event went well, but as we were setting up for the backdrop I noticed that we had an awkward blank space on the top left corner of the backdrop. I made it a point to have my art supplies with me so that I could letter names for people (that was so fun!). So it was no big deal to whip out the white paint and brush and get to work on a couple extra pieces to fill out the negative space.


If you look carefully, you’ll see that the “alt.” logo, arrow and “BAM” are a slightly different white. I had a different white, a teeny brush and I had to do it while the backdrop was hanging so I didn’t have a hard surface to work on. It certainly wasn’t my best work, but I was able to fill in the blank and make it look like it was supposed to be there.

I may be biased, but we rocked the photobooth. I’m glad I said yes to this project and got out of my comfort zone.

Project materials:

Tutorial: Lettering with Watercolors



Learn calligraphy online at You’ll learn the basics of pointed pen, flourishing, addressing envelopes and developing your own style. The course comes complete with a beginner kit of supplies and personal coaching from calligraphy experts Melissa Esplin and Erika Paulsen. Click here to find out more.

Not quite ready to dip your toes into the deep ocean of pointed pen calligraphy? Try your hand at some brush lettering!

It’s been a LOOONG time since I’ve shared a tutorial here! Life is just passing me by at the moment, but settling down on the horizon. I’m very much looking forward to getting back into the blogging swing of things.

I was on KSL’s Studio 5 sharing a segment on how to letter with watercolor. Using a brush and watercolor is very forgiving as it caters towards a looser style. Lettering in your own handwriting, uneven kerning, inconsistent line weights are all a-okay here.


The possibilities with watercolor are so endless. Artwork, greeting cards, business cards, gift tags. The list goes on! Check out my pinterest board for more DIY ideas using watercolor. Let’s talk about how to letter our own simple greeting cards!



You can certainly use crayola watercolors, but an intermediate or student set will make the colors more vibrant and you’ll have more control over the pigments.

You’ll want a round brush or a liner brush. Both would be great. The maroon brush in the image above is a size 8 round Kolinsky sable. It’s SUUPER awesome. However, I found a little set of 4 synthetic brushes (blue striped ones above) at Michael’s that includes size 10 and 12 rounds and size 6 and 8 liners (here’s another set). Liner brushes are long and skinny, round brushes are round with a sharp point at the end. Both provide great drama (the liner a little more), but make for a completely different touch.

We’re making greeting cards so the paper is really up to you. You can cut down watercolor paper to greeting card size, or you can use a nice cardstock. Both will work great because we’re not using a lot of water. Watercolor paper will give the work more texture and cardstock will give a smoother finish. For this tutorial I’m using watercolor paper.

Click “read more” for the rest of the tutorial!


Designed: I Make Beautiful Things


My friend Annie told me that Michael’s is the place to go for hot pink tees, so I bought one as soon as I could. I thing it’s men’s sizing, but since it’s made out of a thinner, drapier knit, the oversized fit looks good.


I wore it a few times plain before I set it aside in my studio for a little overhaul. As I was prepping for Alt Summit, the idea of this shirt came to mind, and it just seemed to fit perfectly. I had originally painted the saying: “I’m gonna make beautiful things” but I wanted to be a little more tongue-in-cheek rather than aspirational, so I vectorized it and took out “‘m gonna”. I certainly didn’t want to come across as conceited when wearing this tee, and I really hope I didn’t.


I just wanted to show potential partners and sponsors that I have a sense of humor and that I really do try to make pretty things.

I vectorized this quote and cut it out using my Silhouette and some iron-on heat transfer.


I wear this top all the time. Like every day, if it’s not dirty. I also made the leggings out of some thrifted knit I scored for $3. Now I have two pairs of floral pants! My dreams have come true!

Outfit details:

Zero Budget Project: Family Art


I’ve hung up two pieces in our house this week. That’s pretty sad considering I have about 50 or more pieces all ready to hang. All of our artwork is just hanging out in a pile in a nook in my bedroom. It takes up quite a bit of space so there’s not much room on my side of the bed. It’s amazing how hanging art will make a house look lived in.

We have a very blank wall above the stairway. It’s one of the first things you see when you walk into our home. It needed art on it badly. I had this vision in my head to do some lettering with all the nicknames we call each other and just fill the entire paper with those nicknames (kinda like Penelope’s old room sign -scroll to bottom). I’m still not sold on that idea, so I just did: Chris, Melissa, Penelope and Felix forever.

I went through about 7 sheets trying to get it all perfect and this is the best that I came up with. I’m still not thrilled about it. But no matter. I’ve got loads of this paper, I’ll just practice some more. It’s not very hard to replace the art, either.

I like the idea of something about our little family and our names and having those words fill the page entirely, bleeding off the page behind the frame. What do you think? What should it say?

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