Tuesday, December 16

Paper Wreath



Another amazing etsy find! I fell in love with this holiday paper wreath the second I saw it. The thing I love best second to letters is paper.... (well- without it, where would letters be? Perhaps still scrawled on the walls of a stone cave...)

Haru’s designs are a celebration of beautiful paper and forgotten books. She likes books that were loved by the previous owner, books that have been in someone’s library for many years, books with personalized bookplates and/or handwritten name and dates. Nature, friendship, memories and positive intentions inspire her designs.

This wreath was created by carefully applying paper from:
gift-wrap
scrapbook paper
vintage sheet music
pages from Wilmot and Batjer's 1950 edition of Food For The Family: third edition
a 1963 McGraw-Hill's Gregg Dictation textbook.

Visit her Etsy shop here.

Wednesday, December 10

Weddings, calligraphy, paper and lots of lines, oh my!

I've been offering these "Signing Pages" in my etsy shop for a few months now, and they are a really big hit! I think it's such a unique way to brush off the tired guest-book tradition, and try something different ;) I'm not knocking guest "books". I had one! And it's a dear treasure. But I haven't seen it in over 5 years and it was dusty then too. I love the fact that you can display this as framed art in your home, and enjoy the autographs of the guests who honored you with their presence at your wedding.

Here are two recent Wedding Guest Signing Pages I completed.

This was done double layered with a dark sky-blue and soft white layer. The Hydrangeas were done using watercolor. The lettering was gouache. The 16x20 size easily fit 125 lines.

The bride I designed these signing pages for described her vision of an antiqued look with very soft colors, and light shades of pinks and blues in the roses and hydrangeas. She preferred the double layered pages for an 11x14 size rather than the larger 16x20. This size is great if you don't have the wall space to frame such a large piece.

I hope you all are having a great holiday season!!! I am busy, busy, but I will come update again soon! xo, Danae

Friday, November 21

Amazing Grace {round two}


I made this for my dear mommy after she loved the first one I made. She said, "Make it EXACTLY like the last one." (I think she had an uneasy feeling that I would try to make it "better" and not succeed.)


Not completely exact, but at least it's the same text and same paper... and I think the colors in the filigree are nicer in my latest. I couldn't resist trying some new-to-me lettering I found in the Ames Compendium of Practical and Ornamental Penmanship book for the title. (whew.... breathe.) You can find it at John Neal Books .... I won't give you the exact link because you really must browse around.... there's too much good stuff to miss!!




Tuesday, November 4

Calligraphy and letterpress


There is just something about those two - the precise, deep impression of the printing press paired with fresh ink from a steel tipped nib. A marriage of perfect harmony. Each of these invitations were hand written. There were only about 20 of them, so if you are considering a small get-together and have the option in your budget to have this done, it makes for an ever- so unique presentation. My customer, Jessica, specifically requested for the lettering to appear slightly irregular - the bold, not bold, large, small and huge swirly capitals are not accidental :) ... Not something my "precise-minded hand" was used to, but I'm very pleased with the end result.

Tuesday, October 14

Guest Seating Chart


I just finished this seating chart for an upcoming wedding.... I loved Jill's ideas on design and had a lot of fun with the precious cherubs and colorful roses.

Seating charts serve the same purpose as escort cards do in a wedding reception. It seems to me that some brides just don't know this option is out there - so if you like this idea, spread the word! It's such an excellent way to tie in your monogram, wedding colors and illustrations. If you are having hand-calligraphy used on other items such as envelope or place card addressing, it looks lovely for the colors and lettering styles to all coordinate together.

Most of these seating charts are quite large and should be framed, matted, then set on an easle at the entrance. After the wedding, they can be used as decorative display in your home!





Isn't this frame just gorgeous??? This is the one Jill chose to frame it in... I can't wait to get pictures!

Tuesday, October 7

The Ritzy Bee blog...

I'm excited to have been featured on the phenomenal wedding blog, "Ritzy Bee" this week, where you find "Little details that make events, wedding, and life so charming and fun." If you haven't already come across this blog, and you are planning a wedding, definitely stop by for creative inspiration. I just love weddings and wedding-related decor and paper goods so I stop by all the time although my own wedding has long come and gone :) I think some of the best design these days goes into wedding stationery, don't you? ALSO, on Friday of last week, Miss B's lovely card making skills were offered as a free download, and also feature calligraphy by yours truly. Here's a little peek, but make sure you go to Ritzy Bee's posting of the free download to get your hi-res pdf.

Tuesday, September 30

Wedding Guest Sign-in Scroll


Sign-in Scrolls are a great alternative to the traditional wedding guest book which will be stored away after the wedding, never to be seen again. You have the option to frame and display in your home, as well as completely customizing with your color scheme, illustration preferences, lettering styles, size and paper type. (Not to make the choices too overwhelming, I'm always happy to take artistic freedom where I'm able to!)


This particular sign in sheet is double layered - A deep chocolate paper as the base - a thick cardstock feel to it. The ivory sheet is illustrated with watercolored cymbidium orchids in pale greens, and lettered in flourished Copperplate. This size, 16x20 easily fits up to 125 lines.

(Click the "Write Me" button in the upper left to receive a quote on a customized Sign-in Scroll.)

Wednesday, September 24

The Stolen Child - William Butler Yeats

WHERE dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scare could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than he can understand.


Written in hand lettered Copperplate calligraphy using "McCaffery's penman's ink" in black. The edges were hand stained with dark green chalk, the paper is Strathmore.

Thursday, September 11

My little bit of Flair

Did anyone notice my lovely little "Write Me" button? Of course you did. It's too cute! Miss B of the fabulous Blah, Blah, Blahg posted a few beautiful buttons for lucky readers to download and share.

Go here for the download.

Add this blog to your daily reads - there is always something useful or hilarious from Miss B to make your day brighter.

Monday, September 8

Portrait Art by Jerome

Today I'm featuring the work of my favorite portrait artist, Jerome Parker. His talent is truly nothing short of amazing and within just the past few years, has captured the attention of many art galleries, taken first at a number of showings and has been chosen as one of 15 finalist for Artists magazines annual juried contest, being featured in their December issue.

For many years, he put his talent with the brush and oil on the back burner while focusing on raising a family and his "day" job. I am so glad he is painting now! Not leisurely either... he turns out dozens per year with a skill and accuracy in portraiture that is breathtaking. See for yourself... the below pictures are a work in progress.



I love the expression on her face... it's as if she is waiting for you to speak to her, yet she knows what you will say when you do. The gentle breeze brushing her hair, the calm surreal feeling of her environment. Beautiful.

The following are several of my favorites from his recent work.


"La Canción " is 30x40" oil on canvas.

Third Place "Oils" LVAA Spring Arts Show, April 2008

Patriot 18x24" Oil on MDF panel (wood) June 2008. Self Portrait.

Be sure to check out his site for yourself, there are dozens of beautiful painting to go ga-ga over. (I believe he takes commissions occasionally as well!)


"Elena" 11x14" Charcoal on Strathmore

P.S. Ok, I almost wasn't going to say this because you might say I'm biased.. but....he is my UNCLE!! I'm too proud of the fact to hold it in - and if you look at his paintings, it doesn't take a genius to see that I just have a good eye for talent ;)

Tuesday, September 2

Calligraphy Signs




These fun little signs were made for the lovely letterpress studio, Lark Press. The lettering was written with these perfect-for-signs brush tipped markers:


(No close-up of the "sepia" color to be found anywhere on the net- I searched, uh, endlessly...)

The orange "swirly's", (a calligraphic term you may or may not be familiar with) were drawn with the prismacolor markers:

I love these markers. 2 colors were used for the signs. They blend beautifully!

"Create four line widths from one double-ended marker.
One end has an extra broad nib that lays down color fast with paintbrush-like strokes,
and the other end has a fine nib for sketching, detail work, or cleanup."

Monday, September 1

Delicate hand-stamped pottery


I came across another wonderful etsy site today and had to share. Caroline Vasquez, the creator of "Palomas Nest" says about her work:

"Each piece is designed and hand-crafted in my home studio in Austin, Texas, by me, with care, pride, and passion. I use only all natural materials including fine clays, wood, paper, and cloth.

My inspiration lies in the purity of the materials that I use, and the idea that something so simple can be so bold.
By adding text, I give written ideas, feelings, and daydreams a place to rest.

All of my ceramic items are crafted from either white earthenware clay or porcelain clay. Custom orders are always welcome. I hope you enjoy my designs as much as I enjoy creating them."



I love the way she incorporates text into the pottery! Truly unique and beautiful. Pictured here are some of my favorites of her creations, but you can check out her etsy shop for yourself here.

Sunday, August 24

Escort Cards and Seating Chart

I received pictures of an escort card order I completely recently for an etsy customer. (I feel the need to point out that I worked with an actual GROOM this time - which I think is great!) I've only worked with a handful of grooms, EVER.


The lettering style was "Penman" a loopy Copperplate with deeply shaded capitals and almost monoline minuscules. I custom mixed a dark plum color to coordinate with the wedding colors, and added a simple gold flower swirl to add depth.

These escort cards had the table no. written inside of the fold, but it is also standard to write the table number below each name. As an alternative to indicate seating arrangements, you can use a seating chart like this one I created for a "Autumn themed" wedding.


Close up of upper right corner:

Wednesday, August 20

Digital Fun



I used to like this picture just the way it was. Sure, I already had way too much lipstick on, and it's a little painful to see myself making it even darker, but hey, I was nervous, and dark liner was in style in '99.

But to the point.... I love enhancing and modifying photos with my digital software. I thought it would be fun to show a couple of different ways to edit this photo for some effects.

Much more interesting this way, I think. First, everything was converted to b/w. I masked out my reflection, then blurred the rest of the picture. Final touches were to take the paint brush tool and loosely outline the photo for a dreamy, old-photo effect.


This was similar to the prior photo in that my reflection was masked out, but instead of turning the entire photo b/w, I only converted the inverse selection. Obviously. I also did the blur effect on the background... in general, a great way to get rid of undesirable background images, or to at least discourage the eye from looking at them... in this case the yucky wallpaper! I then added a soft black border. Kinda gives it an old film look... yes?


And lastly, my favorite! I brightened the picture, turned to sepia, opacity changed to about 50%. I then added a rectangle under the photo with a "grid" pattern and turned that yellow for the ivory color to come through. The flowers were pen/ink sketches which were scanned in and imported.

This is just for fun, now back to work....

Friday, August 15

Wedding Place Cards


I recently addressed place cards for this elegant New York wedding. The lovely bride, Michelle, was not only a pleasure to work with, but has, in my opinion, impeccable taste. The warm yet subdued color schemes, exquisite china, and romantic setting were perfect.
She chose my "Flourished Copperplate" lettering style for the envelope addressing, escort & place card addressing, and table cards.

Photos courtesy of Philipe Cheng Photography.

Monday, July 21

Why make a Wedding Map?



.... Oh, because they are just the coolest ever. If I had thought of this eight years ago when I got married -- I would have made myself one. But alas, I did not - so I'm here pitching the idea to you. Not only are these fun and exciting to design, but they are fun to GIVE, and fun to GET. It's a win-win for everyone!

Here's how it works:

1. Get Engaged (or plan a gala)
2. Pick your destination
3. Call or email me
4. I'll get the details and whip out one of these babies.

And in case you are having trouble envisioning what the actual purpose or use would be, here are a few ways to put them to use:

a. Simply print to your invitation size and add into your invitation envelopes.
b. Print early and send as a double sided "Save the Date".
c. Hand out at the reception as a "favor" or memento of the happy occasion.

On a side note, these keepsake maps are not intended to be used for turn-by -turn directions, but for a guide to vicinity of the wedding {or other event} and general directions for area attractions. Click here for pricing.

Gorgeous Envelopes!

Summer is upon us and not only have I managed to enjoy an extended vacation with family, I've probably convinced what readers I had that I would never return! So sorry to be gone so long.

I've really enjoyed working with a new acquaintance recently, Margot M. from design company, Atelier Isabey. I can rave about their luxurious invitations, or you can check out the site yourself - simply stunning work. This is a photo of an invitation/envelope she designed and I was happy to address such gorgeous envelopes. If you have ever seen a lovelier envelope, you can call me on it, but this is the winner for now!


Saturday, May 10

Emily Post Wedding Invitation Idea

Take a close look.... there is something very unique about this wedding invitation! The bride who asked me to address her invitation envelopes also asked to have each of her guests names written on the actual invitation itself. This idea was borrowed from a vintage Emily Post book.

As a successful writer and a woman of social position in her time, Emily Post's most notable publication was published in 1922, Etiquette - The Blue Book of Social Usage. Her "Blue Book," which was the American standard of etiquette for decades, was reported to be second only to the Bible as the book most often not returned or stolen from libraries! Emily Post believed that the key to good manners was to always keep in mind the feelings of others and act accordingly with good form of speech, proper social behavior and "charm of manner".

Quotes by Emily Post:

"Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use."

"Ideal conversation must be an exchange of thought, and not, as many of those who worry most about their shortcomings believe, an eloquent exhibition of wit or oratory."

"To the old saying that man built the house but woman made of it a home might be added the modern supplement that woman accepted cooking as a chore but man has made of it a recreation."

Friday, April 25

Too ~ Pretty Heart Garlands


Loving this Etsy find!! These little paper garlands are just my cup of tea. Really inexpensive too! They are just what that bare wall needs. I'm also entertaining the thought of making my own..... (pink girly ones for princess Letty) although I have to say, there is something irreplaceable satisfying about buying someone else's creative endeavors.


Seller Cori Kindred says: "Made with lovely found and vintage papers, ten small paper heart flags make up this adorable garland. Perfect for Valentine's day or any day you need to feel some love..." Visit her little etsy shop here and nab yourself one of these goodies. One more reason I support her??? She's from my hometown, Portland OR :)

Thursday, April 24

Beautiful Ambigrams by Tiffany Harvey


An ambigram, also sometimes known as an inversion, is a graphical figure that spells out a word not only in its form as presented, but also in another direction or orientation. The text can also consist of a few words, and the the text spelled out in the other direction or orientation is often the same, but can also be a different text. Douglas R. Hofstadter describes an ambigram as a "calligraphic design that manages to squeeze two different readings into the selfsame set of curves."

I think this is a lovely idea that is not seen often in wedding stationery. Picture this on thank you cards, or on a program cover - how unique!



I had the pleasure of cyber-meeting Miss Tiffany Harvey recently, who created these lovely graphics you see. As a talented designer who creates custom Ambigrams, I was excited to introduce her to you! She creates intriguing and beautiful imagery, and is very knowledgeable and articulate on the craft she practices.



What is an ambigram?
I like to explain ambigrams as the merging of calligraphy and optical illusions. There are actually many types of ambigrams, they are basically any way you can draw a word that can be read from more than one perspective, and both Wikipedia and JohnLangdon.net have great examples of the various kinds. However, the most well known ambigrams are rotational designs: a word (or phrase) that reads the same upside down, or rotates to become a whole new word. These are the designs that I focus on.


When and how did ambigrams come to exist?
People have been creating ambigrams longer than they realize (some words, like "mom" create natural ambigrams), but in the '70's both John Langdon and Scott Kim started working independantly to discover just how many ways you can warp a word. Scott Kim published a book in 1981 called "Inversions", which is another common name for the designs. Ambigrams became more well-known recently when John Langdon created a series of designs for Dan Brown's book "Angels & Demons" (which also gained popularity with the release of the "The Da Vinci Code").


What inspired you to begin creating ambigrams?
An online friend of mine was asked to be in a book about words used as tattoos. When she posted a picture of her featured tattoo, John Langdon's mirrored design of "Balance", I had my frist glimpse of ambigrams. I rushed over to Langdon's site and was fascinated by the rotationals designs. I've always been interested in calligraphy, optical illusions, any kind of puzzle or secret code, so I had to give it a try myself. I first attempted my last name, "Harvey", which luckily was an almost natural ambigram on it's own (quickly drawn with a mouse here ). Then I tried pairing "Justin" and "Tiffany", my husband's and my name, which is suprisingly still one of my most popular ambigrams (it can be found on the front page of my site). After that I doodled any name or word I could think of, and after a few months of successful sketches, I started creating custom designs.


How do you create an ambigram?
First I write out the letters of the first name I want to use. Try to think of as many variations of the letter as you can, including lowercase letters, uppercase, cursive and variations in calligraphy. Then turn the page over and write the letters of the name again (or the second name you want to use). Start at one end and look for any similarities you can find between the two sets of letters. The more you create ambigrams, the more you will discover new ways to pair the letters, and you will build up a large index of possible letter combinations. It is also important to take a good look at different fonts and types of calligraphy. Try drawing the letters and notice where the lines curve, become thick or thin, what part are the same troughout the font. Having a good knowledge of fonts will help your ambigrams to become more readable and refined. Once you are finished, ask a friend to read the name(s), and get some honest feedback about what could be improved. You know what the design is supposed to say, and recognize the letters easily, but it may be hard to tell how readable the design actually is.


Can you create an Ambigram with any name under the sun?
One-word designs, which read the same upside down, can usually be created from any word or name. The best part about these is that you only have to create the first half of the design, flip that over to create the second half, and you are done! However, you certainly come across names that are not possible. Sometimes designs have tricky letter combinations that can be done in one font, but not another.


We love the way you can create one image using both a couples names. Is this something any couple can choose to do, or do their names have to have the same number of letters?
For two names to pair, they do not necessarily have to be the same number of letters, but they do need to be similar in length (normally no more than two letters different). Sometimes it is actually easier to create an ambigram from two names of different lengths than two with the same number of letters, it all depends on how the letters combine with one another. (Often one letter will turn into two or three letters when upside down, just rotate an "m" and see how easily you can create the word "ill".) But there are ways to get even the trickiest names to pair. Don't forget about formal versions of names, or nicknames. "Sammy" might be too short, but what about "Samantha"? I have often created an extra letter with a rotated "&" sign, or even the word "and" when there is a larger letter difference. You can put both of the names on the same line ("Justin and Tiffany", which would read the same upside down), or rotate them independantly ("Justin" and "Tiffany" becomes "Tiffany and "Justin"). And if all else fails, maybe it would be better to just use your last name?


Are there specific type faces you use, or can a customer request the look of a certain type of lettering?
I love working with a variety of fonts! While every design may not be possible with any font, most are pretty flexible. In general, Old English is usually the 'default' style for ambigram artists, because a lot of things can be hidden in those angles, but I really try to work with a wide range of font styles. Of course, the customer is the one who ultimately picks the font, and they usually choose their font from one of my previous designs, so I have done many designs in the same few fonts. (You can see all of my ambigrams, categorized by font styles, here )


Thank you Tiffany! You have really opened up the world of Ambigrams for me! The price is amazingly reasonable, and I can't wait to order mine and hubby's names, "Danny and Danae" which she assures me will be a breeze.


Visit her site at WordIllusion.com

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