Sunday, February 19, 2012

on calligraphy and keeping in touch

I have always loved practicing my handwriting and will doodle on any available surface (I love those paper tablecloths they give you at restaurants like Macaroni Grill).  The weird thing is, I write my name over and over . . . and over and over and over.  So in the end, it looks like I am completely obsessed with myself.  A friend in high school, upon seeing my Spanish notes covered in Amber Michele Sawatzky Amber Michele Sawatzky Amber Michele Sawatzky Amber Michele Amber Michele Sawatzky. . . once said, "Wow, you really like your name, don't you?"   I looked down at my notes kind of sheepishly and realized it is a little shocking to see someone's name written over and over like that.  I know it's not that unusual to practice your signature, so maybe it's just the amount of times I copy it down in one small space that catches people's notice.  I do it mindlessly (not narcissistically, promise.)  It's kind of therapeutic--it's all about the way it feels to write specific letters together.  For years, I tried to find the perfect way to write Sawatzky.  (It is one of the best words to write in cursive--you should try it.)  And even now that I am married with a different last name, Sawatzky is probably the word I doodle more than any other.  

All of this to say--I was pumped to take a calligraphy class this weekend and spend hours just practicing writing letters and words.  The class was offered at a paper goods and letterpress shop in Alexandria, Virginia, called Fifteen/Eleven.  The shop is owned by Suann Song of SIMPLESONG Design (she writes a popular blog called SIMPLESONG as well).  I found her shop through reading her blog and realized that--now that we are living in the D. C. area for a year--she and her shop are within driving distance!   Just visiting the shop is a treat in itself and spending hours there taking a class was so inspiring (also on my wishlist:  the second calligraphy class and a letterpress class!).

late-night calligraphy practice . . . I have yet to attempt "Sawatzky"

The class I attended was taught by Michele Hatty Fritz of Meant to Be Calligraphy and was really enjoyable (Michele is super down-to-earth and helpful).  Have you ever watched a calligrapher write?  Watching Michele was mesmerizing.  She wrote out an alphabet and each of our names to demonstrate the different letter strokes and how to connect them in words, and I thought to myself, "I would pay to watch this."  And then I realized, "Oh yeah, I did!"  Ha!  You know something is pretty good when all you can think about is the opportunity you are getting and not the cost associated with it.

I spent a good long while Saturday night after the kids were in bed practicing calligraphy.  One of my new year's resolutions for 2012 was that I would purposely limit my crafting and creative projects this year to things that directly apply to keeping in touch with people or preserving memories (so basically writing letters/making cards/organizing and sharing pictures and writing this blog).  I thrive on inspiration and want to try every new technique or idea that I see on a blog or Pinterest or in a Martha Stewart publication.  But often that means that I put way too much time into a craft project and not enough time into relationships.

So this year I am trying to put the emphasis on relationships and, where crafting is concerned, simple things that build those relationships.  So far, I have not sent nearly as many letters or cards as I would have hoped . . . BUT it's only February--and I am working on my calligraphy skills, so . . . maybe you will get an awesomely addressed letter from me soon?  :)

Actually, I just had a great idea.  Leave me a comment, and I will send you some mail!  If I already have your address (friends who send me Christmas cards and family), you are set.  If I don't have your address, email it to me at thoughtfulblog@gmail.com, and then you will be set too.

How fun is that!  I love sending mail, and I want to keep in touch.  Those of you who know me well may have some doubts as to whether or not leaving a comment will actually get you something in your mailbox, but just try me (are you reading this, Mama?).

Yay!  Here's to keeping in touch!  And to lots of handwriting practice . . .

18 comments:

  1. Oh, I just Loooove paper and writing, too! How cool that you have this opportunity! I used to love to write my name, too, and backwards, and with my "wrong" hand, etc.--also not narcissistically. :) You don't have to send me anything, but I wanted to suggest this because I have a friend who does it, too. She writes verses in calligraphy or other fun lettering on card stock with a pen drawing (or could use flourishes or photos or whatever if you don't draw) and frames them as gifts. They are *awesome.* Just thought I'd throw that out there--it goes along with keeping in touch and saves money on presents!

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    1. Reminds me of the summer I decided I would learn to write with my toes....wish I were kidding. I did the alphabet over and over, though, not my name. So, this toe-writing really, I think, proves I am the most mentally/emotionally stable of all of you name writers....

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    2. Mieke! Hi! Ha--I love that you can totally understand. :) Thanks for the comment and the suggestions! I love the idea about gift giving. I love having words up around the house--I was thinking of attempting to write out some of my favorites and frame them (after practicing some more, of course). Great idea to give some away too! I am so glad you stopped by here--keep in touch!

      And--I would be perfectly happy to send you a note, especially since you seem to be a kindred spirit. :)

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  2. How can I turn down such an offer!

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    1. Yaaaaay, Aunt Karen! I am glad you accepted. :) xoxo

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  3. Did you take the photo? It's lovely. Your whole blog is lovely! I really do miss you. Wouldn't it be a dream to take a class together! Daydreaming about it right now...
    Jeff can have a play date with all five kids. Or Noah. Or Jeff and Noah. Anyway, the men don't matter right now. What does matter is that I am getting an Amber note!!!!!!!!!!!!

    P.S. It absolutely must be hand-delivered.

    P.S.S. Or, I can arrange to pick it up in person. I love you! Squeeeze!

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    1. Peaches! What, do you think you are a monkey or something? Why toe writing? :) You would . . .

      Yes, I did take the photo--in bad light, unfortunately, but that's the only kind you get late at night! Thanks so much--I am glad you think it is lovely. Please visit often and chime in.

      Yes! A class together would be so dreamy . . . any chance it could happen before June? Is there anything in your area? Or maybe we could do the letterpress one in Alexandria. I definitely need to see you soon. Miss you LOTS.

      P. S. I will send you snail mail and then hand deliver something at a later date.
      P. P. S. You are welcome to pick it up in person!! I love you more. Harder squeeze.

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  4. Amber I have always looked up to you and your craftiness!! :-) I am so glad you took that class and most of all your new years resolution. I would be so excited to get some mail from you!

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    1. Aw, Kara, you are so sweet! You will definitely get some mail. I love being crafty but you know how over the top I can be. I had to draw a line this year to keep my priorities in order! I miss you, cuz! Let's be pen pals. :)

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  5. Beautiful post! I look forward to getting some mail! ;)

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    1. Thanks, Coco! Be checking your/our mailbox . . . :)

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  6. I have always been envious of your writing! Remember when you wrote all of the inspirational quotes and poems for that giant cork board in my room? I found the, wrote them in my 2nd grade boy penmanship, and you transposed them into beautiful cursive writing?! It is a real talent, I hope you are passing it to your kids:)

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    1. I remember you saying something one time when I was doodling my name--you said something like, "I think only people with good handwriting like to do that," or something along those lines. Maybe you said Lindsay liked to do that too? :)

      I so remember doing that and I loved your cork board! So funny--I just came across some of the floral calendar pages the other day from the calendar I had been tearing apart (I think I gave you some of the pages too for your board). Aw, good memories.

      "2nd grade boy penmanship"--you are too funny. I like your handwriting, silly! I am going to scan some more old notes and post them on Facebook, haha.

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  7. i'll be emailing you. just commenting in order to comment... =}

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    1. Woohooooo! Awesome.

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    2. Cause I love hearing from you! And I am guessing you are a pretty good correspondent. :)

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  8. Beautiful post! I look forward to getting some mail! ;)

    Keeping In Touch

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  9. Loved to read this, very exciting. Thank you for the visit today!

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blog comments are thoughtful . . . :)

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