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

Tuesday, April 22

Letterpress Invitation Suite in Hand Calligraphy



I recently worked with talented event coordinator, Talia from Sixpence Events in creating this invitation suite for her client. The client chose my Helinda Rook lettering style, and the package included the lettering for the invitation, RSVP card/envleope, and return addressing lettering. The digital file of my lettering was sent to a printer and was letterpress printed on soft white paper in navy ink. Simple and exquisite.



Helinda Rook detail:

Monday, April 21

LOGO Design: Aroma Du Jour


I am lucky enough to have the best mother in law ever. As a savvy business woman, she has owned several successful businesses and is now expanding her interests into candle making. I was delighted to be given the opportunity to create the branding for 'Aroma Du Jour', as logo design is one of those things I could literally stay up all night doing.

Once Chantelle picked the French name, 'Aroma Du Jour' translated as "Scent of the Day', the fleur-de-lis seemed a natural fit, being a beautiful symbol associated with the French. On a more spiritual note, the fleur-de-lis has represented the Holy Trinity, and though it doesn't have a whole lot to do with candles, she liked the idea of representing her own beliefs through the logo.

Once the basic idea of what I was creating began to formulate, not just any old Fleur-de-lis image was going to do! We wanted feminine, delicate lines, clean yet imaginative. The lettering I used was a slanted copperplate, almost spencerian in appearance. The sweeping curves of the capital letters are again incorporated in the outlines to tie the two together. Purposefully eliminating unnecessary use of color and dimension, the image is still able to capture an airy garden feel.

I can't end this post without a little bit of a sales pitch. I, being a mooch *cough* I mean, relative, got first dibs on these delicious 100% soy candles. The presentation is lovely in the clear, footed glass jars and each scent is more scrumptious than the next. If you would like to get in on the action, you can contact Chantelle through her blog for now, but the website will be coming soon.

Saturday, April 19

Ceramic Calligraphy


I found this lovely website on my surfing one day and just had to share. Miss Stephanie DeAromond is super-talented and creates stunning ceramic letters as art sculptures.


"I am attracted to ornamental type, and I like it most when the type becomes so abstracted and hidden that it almost disappears in the decoration. That has been a big source for me, from illustrated manuscripts that were hand-painted to graffiti references." ~ Stephanie



How great of an idea to contact her for a custom made monogram to display in your home. I want one!!!

To read an interview with Stephanie visit here.

Friday, April 18

Calligraphic Love Plates

Love Plates

How simply and utterly gorgeous are these???? I LOVE LOVE LOVE and will be adding to my cabinet very soon. These are the kind of plates you can pull out at a special little gathering for your girlfriends and have them ooh-ing and ahh-ing away. (via revolutionarygirl)

Thursday, April 17

Dinner Menu's

If you are planning a dinner menu, you should enlisted the help of a creative family member and caterer with your selections and wording. The wording for your dinner menu is very important, because it not only announces what you will be serving for the evening, but it creates the anticipation and expectancy of what is to come. Kind of like.... window shopping. Who doesn't love window shopping almost as much as the real thing, right? And just as a beautifully and properly addressed wedding envelope sets the standard for what is to come, a dinner menus layout and verbage should be thought over carefully and created to balance well with all other other elements at the table.


This simple yet lovely menu was designed by me, and letterpress printed by jazyrain on Crane's Rounded and Hand-Beveled Gold Edge Pearl White Menu Cards. This is an absolute stunning choice of paper to use for menu cards and even have coordinating place cards. As an alternative to writing out the entire menu in script, the hand calligraphy was paired with a bold typeface.

If you are unsure of what you would like your menu to look at, contact me and I will make the design process easy for you. I listen to your ideas, look at the stationary you have used and take into consideration the theme and colors of your wedding. Sample sketches are always proofed before finalizing, and only the best papers and printers are recommended.

Monday, April 14

Pretty Place Cards

What I love about wedding place cards is that they don't have to conform to any one style, color scheme, shape, etc. You can pretty much do what you want as long as the name is legible and it doesn't take up too much space. It is usually a nice idea to match the lettering style to that on the invitation envelopes, but not an absolute necessity if you are going for a different feel on your reception.


The place cards pictures here are in a lovely shade of "Tiffany Blue" (my new favorite color this spring!) and are done in "Luna De Miel", a lettering style I created. I love this lettering style because although it has the delicate thick-to-thin lines that mimic the gorgeous Copperplate scripts, it flows with long curly stems that feel playfully romantic.



If that isn't playful enough, the "Mambo" lettering style I created certainly is! Pictured here in red, with a swirly black accent behind to add that delicate touch. See a review of this lettering style here.

Sunday, April 6

Graceful Envelope Contest

I have sadly neglected my blog these last few weeks! At least you know I have been a good girl and been making a lot of pretty letters. In between this spring rush of wedding orders, I am soon going to take the time, (for the first time) to enter the "Graceful Envelope Contest". I have been reminding myself to enter year after year, and finally, in my 27th year of life, I have decided to take the plunge. I wanted to blog about it now, so that those of you who *gasp* may have not heard of it, and have some artsy tendencies, can get your envelope mailed in time! The theme this year is "C's the day!" That means: ANYTHING that begins with the letter "C". (....Coffee Cake and Creamy Cappuccino??)

Click here for the complete details. Good Luck!!!

~Pictured below are my two favorite winning entires from 2007, where "A Mailable Feast" was the category~

2007 Winners Category: Monica Lima Mirones


2007 Honorable Mentions Category: Cindy Cooper


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