This makes a great gift!

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I thought I would break out of my routine (Ha!) and actually write a blog post. All my resolutions to do better here have not been successful, but today’s a new beginning, right? I thought I’d share a piece I recently did for a bride in England. She and her husband danced to this song at their wedding, and she wanted the lyrics inscribed on a mat. She inserted the photo and framed it. She was really happy with it and sent me the pic after it was framed. I thought I’d share. I love to do things like this to help young couples remember their beautiful wedding day! If you want something similar, just contact me and I’ll be thrilled to work with you!
(AND this same idea could be used for ANY occasion…words to a poem or lullaby, school fight song, hymn, whatever you can think of!)

Have a gorgeous blessed day!

Song Lyrics on Mat

A new year and a new resolve!

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As anyone reading my blog can see, I completely failed as a blogger in 2016. I started out with several good posts, and then I fell flat. Life got the best of me! I simply did not have the motivation to make the time necessary to post even once a week! How do you blogging, homeschooling, creative, d-i-y, houseful of children, grow everything organically mamas DO IT? Really!? Please tell me!!! I would appreciate it SO MUCH! I am a mama too. But all mine are grown and only one is still living at home. (He has a good job and does all his own laundry.) My husband is retired and he is a big help to me whenever I need it….I stay very busy with my calligraphy, yes indeedy, I do! I also sew, but I don’t ever get around to that until I’m in a real pinch to get a doll outfit made for a granddaughter! Where does my time go? I’m sure I don’t know, but I’m hoping this year to tighten up my self-discipline and get more done!

I also need to take better care of myself. I started making time to walk each day. Then I got sick, so right now I can’t, but just as soon as I’m well, I’ll be walking again. Briskly! And I am planning to join a gym so I can exercise even when the Texas temp is a broiling 109.

So if you, bless your heart, made it through all the above, you are a real trooper and I thank you for caring. Please feel free to commiserate in the comment section below. ūüôā

And here are pics of a few of my favorite commissions from the past few months. I’ve successfully done a few pieces with gilding,too. I’ll try to post additional pics in the next few days. Please visit often!

Viking Poem custom calligraphy and art Philippians4:8-9 calligraphy and artAirman's Creed Calligraphy printWinston Churchill quotelove quotes calligraphy

Designing “T” and gilding a border

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letter T drawing for illumination and gilding blog-journalToday thus far I’ve designed our family name initial T

for my first real gilding project.  I am about to lay it

on my light table and trace it lightly onto my

140# Arches hot press watercolor paper.

The overall size of the paper will be 8 X 10 in

order to leave generous margins around the design.

I’m also going to experiment with colors to see

exactly where I want the gilding.

Here’s the design! What do you think?

gilded border blog-journal

Here’s the finished edge, gilded. ¬†It’s not as smooth as it should be. ¬†Something they say about practice…what was that? ¬†ūüôā

I’m going to need quite a bit more practice, I know. ¬†But for my first real effort, I’m not disappointed. ¬†It’s so SHINY!

Gilding with Instacoll, Day 2

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I haven’t gotten much done today with the gilding. ¬†This morning I helped my sweet husband move his repurposed stuff he builds into his new booth at our local Artisan’s Attic on Bonham Street, one block off the square downtown. ¬†It is terribly windy today and I was oh so glad to get back home to my cozy studio. I did another square of Instacoll and let it set for 55 minutes. ¬†It was dry but plenty tacky for the gold to adhere. ¬†But when I burnished it, I noticed that the q-tip actually scratched it…and looking at the ones I did yesterday, I realize that they were dull in the center….evidently scratched by the silly q-tip. ¬†Maybe they aren’t Q-tip brand…I threw the box away long ago. ¬†My son was off work today and he wanted to try gilding. ¬†He burnished his with a soft paintbrush and it was perfect. ¬†His first try, perfect. ¬†I will just keep trying!

I’m also working on a layout for a Naturopathic Doctor’s Oath. ¬†It’s giving me some challenge. ¬†I’ve ¬† designed the Naturopathic¬†caduceus with Echinacea and Angelica, two medicinal plants that are beautifully decorative too! ¬†Here’s a drawing of¬†the caduceus…it may yet undergo some cosmetic¬†(not naturopathic) surgery, but it’s what I’ve come¬†up with thus far! ¬†naturopatic caduceus


I hope you’re having a creative day! ¬†Remember: ¬†“The Lord is good to those¬†whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him!” ¬†Lamentations 3:25

Learning to Gild with Instacoll—Day 1!

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I’m always slow getting started when I want to learn a new skill. I have to get my head ready…my studio has to be (relatively!) clean and neat. Check! I have to have the laundry relatively caught up (working on that!) I have to have a cuppa coffee within easy reach. ¬†Check! I have to be alone. Check! So here I am, ready enough! Today’s the day! I’ve watched Harvest Crittendon’s instructional video ( twice. I’ve had my materials for some time now for my upcoming project: ¬†the Lord’s Prayer in Latin on genuine parchment, which is animal skin. ¬†I have a beautiful piece of sheepskin, and I will use iron gall ink with gouache (opaque watercolor) and 23 K patent gold gilding to¬†design a piece¬†harkening back to medieval times….that’s my goal!

I’ve chosen to use Instacoll instead of gesso as the base for the gold to adhere to. I’ll let you know how it comes along.

Here are the materials I’ll be using: ¬†K√∂lner Instacoll System Base, distilled water, Old World Ink (iron gall ink), 23 K patent gold from Wehrung & Billmeier Co., an old crystal inkwell that I’m using for a dappen dish, and a book called The Bible of Illuminated Letters by Margaret Morgan. I am going to do my first gilding on Arches 140# hot press watercolor paper…pics of two 4 X 6 inch pieces are shown in the foreground. ¬†Not starting first on sheepskin, that’s for sure! ¬†Practice on THAT comes later!


I’m following Harvest Crittendon’s instructions, so you can watch the video at the link posted above. ¬†First, I’ve drawn several 1/2″ squares on the watercolor paper. I dispensed 50 drops of Instacoll into my dappen dish and then diluted that with 7 drops of distilled water. ¬†I stirred it gently with the sharp end of a palette knife. ¬†NEVER shake the Instacoll….it will introduce bubbles and you don’t want bubbles.

You don’t want to brush on the Instacoll…It will be a rough and uneven base for your gold if you do.¬† You want to float the¬†Instacoll on…put a drop inside the square and move it around with the brush. ¬†Play with the drop…move it into the corner, and when your brush is dry, get another drop of Instacoll and continue dropping liquid into liquid and moving it around until the square is filled. Let it dry for 30-45 minutes. ¬†I’m going to eat lunch!

Okay…back from lunch….I tentatively lifted the¬†patent gold sheet on its tissue paper square, turned it over onto the tacky Instacolled square, and rubbed the tissue paper side¬†smoothly on with a cotton ball. ¬†Then I lifted off the tissue paper, and the gold of course stuck to the Instacoll! ¬†¬†Here’s the result–¬†finished, burnished gold square in the middle, another Instacoll square drying on the right:

After this, I did two more squares to test drying time. ¬†I let one dry 30 minutes, and the next I let dry 15 minutes. ¬†I thought it was dry, but it wasn’t, and it totally messed up…the gold did not adhere in the middle. ¬†So I will go with the longer drying time. ¬†I followed Harvest Crittendon’s advice and burnished it with the side of a Q-tip. ¬†It worked very well! ¬†Nice and shiny. ¬†On to another piece I need to start today. ¬†I¬†plan to¬†work more on gilding tomorrow!

Come on in!

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Christ-closeup-swWelcome to my studio and my very first blog entry! I hope that this little blog will be a glimpse into my life as a calligrapher. First off, I’m so excited about my new website. My last one was about 15 years old and WAY outdated! This has been a long time coming!

I plan to show here my favorite tools and materials as well as bring you along step-by-step with me as I create projects. I hope you’ll join me…it’s a fun journey! I think you’ll be encouraged if you’re desiring to be a calligrapher, or if you already are one, or if you just want to peek in and see the process.


The pics I‚Äôve posted today are of¬†a piece that I‚Äôve just finished‚ĶColossians 3:17. It‚Äôs a big piece‚Äďafter the matting is added, it‚Äôs 16‚Ä≥ X 24.5‚Ä≥. It‚Äôs done on Arches 140# hot press watercolor paper. That is my favorite paper to work on, and I find the best prices at I watercolored the background, let it set a few minutes, and then rubbed it with a damp paper towel to get the lovely subtle mottled look. I used Walnut ink for the main text, and the word ‚ÄúChrist‚ÄĚ is painted with watercolor and accented with Spectralite gold. I just started using the Spectralite, and I really like it; for years I‚Äôve used Dr. Ph. Martin‚Äôs Iridescent Gold ink and I love that too. The shadowing that makes the illuminated lettering really pop is done with my beloved Prismacolor pencils. I want the word “Christ” to bring glory to Him!

Every piece I finish is my ‚Äúbaby‚ÄĚ and I‚Äôm always a little sad to see my babies go, but this one will go out into the wide world tomorrow to its new owners.¬† And I‚Äôm happy I could do this¬†wonderful scripture for them!