Learning Modern Calligraphy the Easy Way

By now you’ll know I’ve been taking an online calligraphy course for Modern Calligraphy, since the start of the year. I still have a module of this left, but I wanted to talk about it again now, since the new semester is now open for registration. If you have always wanted to learn modern calligraphy but haven’t known how the best way to do it is, where to go or what to do, I’m here to tell you THIS is the best way.

I’ve been learning through from a course run by Becca aka The Happy Ever Crafter. She runs the course online, in which the first module (learning your calligraphy drills) is totally free. This means you can get to grips with the basics before committing to anything. It gives you the chance to see whether you have the patience, skill and most of all the TIME to learn over the year, without parting with any cash.

And then even when you do have to pay for the subsequent modules, they’re not very expensive at all. This year she even allowed people to buy the whole course in one bulk payment if they wanted to, or just pick and choose and buy them individually as we got to them. They were also available at 50% off for a short period as we got to each module.

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As it’s an online course, you need to print off your own workbooks. So from an expense perspective you’ll need to be able to do this. Or if you’re learning on iPad (which is also an option) your expense is purely the workbook itself. You then need to pick up paper, pens and tracing paper if you choose to use it. At the start of the course Becca tells you about different equipment you might want to use, what she uses, and where to buy the stuff. She also provides videos on each workbook to help you understand how best to use them.

Apart from the workbooks being amazing and easy to work through, she also offers communication through emails, and encourages you to take part in the community via a closed Facebook group and also setting up your own dedicated instagram account where you can interact with others taking the course via hashtags. (Mine is at https://www.instagram.com/lettersbygroggits/ I have to say, I was astounded at the level of community created via this course. You get so much encouragement and inspiration, not to mention confidence, by sharing your work and seeing the work of others.

By the end of the Drill section I was all in. My confidence had grown in leaps from week to week and I was ready to start writing letters. We were encouraged to write out what we thought the alphabet would look like, and then shown how to use the shapes we’d learned and practiced in the drills, to create the letters.

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This is my before and after sheet, showing the difference between where I started and where I ended with the lower case letters. Quite the difference!

From here we learned upper case, numbers and symbols, joining the letters to make words, bounce styling and we’re currently learning how to flourish the words.

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By setting periodic challenges we could put the letters together and see how far we’d come.

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Using set words, and being encouraged to write them in ways we wouldn’t have thought of before.

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Not only has this taught me that I CAN learn a new skill, I DO have the patience to slow down and concentrate on getting it right, and I have even a little amount of creativity in me, it’s also opened me up to a world of other creatives online and on instagram. The world of creative lettering.

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I’ve started to move onto iPad lettering too, but this might take a little practice. But I’m apparently okay at little drawings too, so I’m enjoying practicing and sharing those.

If you feel like this is something you’d like to see if you’re good at, I’d encourage you to head over to The Happy Ever Crafter’s sign-up page and give her Show Me Your Drills module a try. It’s free, so you can’t lose out, and I guarantee you’ll fall in love! The module starts on October 1st, so you’ll have until then to sign up.

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Checking in With my New Year’s Resolutions!

If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know I set myself the New Year’s Resolution this year of learning new skills.

I set two very specific new skills, a food challenge where I was make 52 new recipes over the course of the year, and to learn modern calligraphy. And I’m very pleased to say I’m now half way through the year and I’m STILL DOING THEM!

I’m really very pleased with myself!

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The food challenge has been great. It’s hard sometimes to find a recipe or fit it into the week, but that’s the part that makes it a challenge, right?

I’ve already gone out of my comfort zone with methods, pushed myself to use ingredients I wouldn’t usually use, and try different combinations.

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It’s also allowed me to find meals and treats I know I’ll be making again! I’m away later on in the year, so instead of doing one recipe a week, when I can I’m trying to fit in a couple so that when it’s impossible for me to be in the kitchen, I know I’m not lagging behind.

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Not all of the recipes have been as successful as I’d hoped, but that’s all part of the process! I’m loving completing it, and next year I’ll have a whole handful of recipes I will have found and hopefully will feature in our staple list of loved meals.

Follow this link if you want to see all the recipes I’ve made so far!

The second challenge I set myself was to learn modern calligraphy. It’s something I’d wanted to learn for years, and then when I saw a friend learn last year via The Happy Ever Crafter, I knew I wanted to go for it, for real.

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The first month was practicing the shapes and strokes that would eventually make up individual letters (known as Drills), the second month was learning the lower case letters, third was upper case, and now we’ve just finished learning how to correctly connect them together to form words.

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It’s amazing how quickly you learn and gain confidence, but a lot of practice is needed to actually get good at it. The online community surrounding the course is incredible and we’re encouraged by each other, mentors and Becca who runs it, via instagram and a FB group.

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I was also given, as a very early birthday present, an iPad and Apple Pencil to use with the Procreate app, so I can learn iPad lettering too. Again it’s tricky and I’m going to be spending a lot more time practicing and watching tutorials on what you can do with the apps, but it’s been so much fun so far!

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I can see my progress improve week to week. It’s amazing looking back at what I wrote even only a month ago, in comparison to now. The improvement is steady and vast. I can only get better!

If you’d like to take a look at my progress, and track future improvement, you can follow me on my dedicated calligraphy instagram account.

I’m really pleased I’m sticking these resolutions out, and I’m enjoying them so much!

Are you still working on your New Year’s Resolution? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear what it is, and how you’re getting on?!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

Another catch-up post? I know – this is a good thing. It means things have slowed down to the point, where I have some time to reflect on what I’ve been up to, rather than just go with it!

I have been LOVING this warmer weather. I really do feel like we’ve gone straight from Winter to Summer, leaving Spring behind. I also love thunder storms, and we’ve had a few corkers! I’m enjoying seeing all the plants coming up in my garden – so many different colours and shapes popping up out of nowhere – I have no idea what any of it is!

I’ve been busy planning things for my upcoming holiday to Florida, in September. We’ve booked in some really fun things, lots of places to eat, and my shopping list is well under way. We’re there for two weeks this year, and I’m pretty sure we’ve already filled each day!

I’ve also got my Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party costume sorted, for this year. Even though this isn’t a Disney World holiday (same as last year) we’re still going into the Magic Kingdom park for one evening, for the Halloween party.

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Can you guess who I’m going as? Hmm….

Aside from this, I’m still really enjoying my calligraphy course, and have started doing a few mini projects. I’m not pressurising myself to get them done in a certain time frame or in a certain way. I’m letting them happen organically, which works well for me.

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They mainly happen to be Disney themed, but that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone really….

I’ve also been adding art to my office walls. Again, I want this to happen organically, and we visited Homesense recently, and their selection of framed art was really great. We ended up getting three pictures for my office, and two for around the house. I happen to have chosen all illustrated pieces for my office, and these two look great on my wall.

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Lastly, I’ll just mention that the jewellery making masterclass I attended with the MK Bloggers group earlier in the year, was featured in the events supplement of Blogosphere Magazine this quarter. It was fun to see my face in print!

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So that’s it for now. I have a week off coming up, and some fun things planned for that, and stay tuned for more recipes too. Are you enjoying seeing my 2018 food challenge recipes each week? Let me know what your favourite recipes have been so far – I’d love to know!

Until next time….

Calligraphy Update: Module 1 Complete!

I’ve done it! I’ve completed workbook 1 of my learning calligraphy course and I’m loving it.

I feel like I have come on leaps and bounds since beginning this journey. If you haven’t read my last post all about learning calligraphy drills then head over.

So this module was learning minuscule letters (did you know minuscule letters began being called Lower Case letters, because that’s where Printers used to keep them… in the lower section of an actual case full of individual letters?) .

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Each week we would learn how to form the letters using the standard drill shapes we’d previously learned, and seeing how they would fit together to create actual letters.

And then we would practice practice practice. Every week I would go back and write the whole alphabet ‘so far’.

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I would do this from memory as much as I could, and then try to write words that only included the letters I’d learned so far! I haven’t learned how to link the letters properly yet, but I improvised where I needed to!

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Not only was I learning brush pen lettering, but I was able to use the skills I’d learned to write simple lettering too.

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Trying to fit it all on one page began to get harder, so I squidged it all in!

At the start of the process we were asked to write the whole alphabet out, ahead of learning how to form the letters properly, and not refer to any learning materials we already had. Then at the end write out what we knew the alphabet should look like, so we could compare.

Here’s mine!

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I’m very pleased with how I’ve improved, and obviously I’ll continue to practice! I am being inspired to create some exciting stuff, so I can only get better!

I’m really enjoying learning this new skill. The next module is majuscule letters (or Upper Case – these were kept in the upper part of the case by Printers….) so soon I’ll be able to write names properly (lol!)

Onwards and upwards!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

The last few weeks have been quiet but busy all at once. I’ve been keeping myself busy with bits and bobs.

The country celebrated both Pancake Day and Valentine’s Day. I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, as a rule, but we definitely celebrate Pancake Day. Sugar and lemon is my topping of choice – call me a traditionalist.

I’ve also been keeping up with my calligraphy hobby – I apparently have a pen purchasing issue. As of today I don’t need any more pens, however I’m pretty sure I’ve said that before about lipsticks and mascaras, and here we are….

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To start off our weekend we headed to KFC for our Friday night junk food fix, only to be met with ‘closed’ signs at every shop we went to. As you’ll probably know now, KFC had a distribution issue and as a result were unable to serve both chicken or chips. As such we ended up in Five Guys, and you know what? I think the Five Guys magic has worn out on us – I really wanted chicken I guess.

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This weekend we saw both I, Tonya and The Florida Project. I really enjoyed them both. Having been to Florida a couple of times and visited and been into some of the buildings they shoot in during the movie, I was really interested to see what the film was all about. I wasn’t disappointed, and though the film was just going through the motions of the everyday life of people during Summer break, it was a really interesting and amazingly acted movie (especially due to the age of the main actors). I, Tonya was brilliant too, with fantastic acting from Allison Janney (I love her!). The movie was funnier than I expected too!

It was President’s Day weekend this weekend in America, which reminded me it has been 15 years since I visited with Gary. Our first holiday together, and my first time on a plane, first time in America and first time being snowed in another country. We had an extra day in the snowy city (New York snow I the most beautiful in the world) which gave us plenty of time to play in the freezing temperatures.

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But still, 15 years ago. That’s a whole lifetime ago. So much has changed since then – and all for the better!

So, this week I have some time off work, which means blog planning, cleaning, seeing family and friends, and hopefully lots of rest. I’ll also be catching up on tv.

In fact whilst I type this I’m watching episode 3 of the new season of The X-Files. If we forget the first episode, I’m enjoying the season so far. I have no memory of how the last season of, what I would call, the proper series ended (you know, before the reboots) but I’m loving the sparkage between Mulder and Scully.

Anyhow, enough of that. It’s time to get busy doing all the relaxing! See ya real soon!

Learning Modern Calligraphy – One Month In!

For those who read Musings regularly, you might remember me mentioning I was going to start a modern calligraphy course, as part of my Learn New Skills 2018 challenge? You’ll have no doubt seen my food challenge posts dotted throughout the past month, however I haven’t really mentioned my calligraphy progress.

We’ll, here goes! I’ve been taking The Happy Ever Crafter’s basics course over the 4 weeks of January, and I’ve really really enjoyed it.

Her new semester of modules actually starts in March, so I’ll be starting along with everyone else when that begins, but I really wanted to give myself a head start, so I’ve completed the first module (which is free) already, and I’ll then have a couple of months to practice and work on the areas I’m still struggling with.

The basics course gets you working on the strokes that make up all major parts of forming letters, and allows you to work on holding the pen, getting the correct pressure to form the strokes and what kind of brush nib you prefer.

Each day you work on a different type of stroke, and over the weeks you move from tracing every stroke, to totally freehand by the end.

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I set up a dedicated instagram account, so I could follow my progress and the progress of others during the modules, and I’ve really enjoyed connecting with people who have been doing the same! You can follow me on instagram at @letterbygroggits if you’d like to see my progress along the way.

So, now the 4 weeks is done, let’s see how I did!

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Monday was upstrokes and downstrokes. Simple lines, downstrokes with heavy pressure, and then a combination of the two. I struggled with the downstrokes for the whole 4 weeks, but think I started to get the hang of it by the end. They were looking less like S by the end too!

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Overturn strokes on Tuesday, and these started off too pointy at the top, but by the end of the month I’d managed to maintain the correct pressure and size and found these fairly easy to create.

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Similarly, Wednesday’s underturn curve became easier as the weeks went on, and I was able to create uniform shapes. But it took some practice!

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Compound curves on a Thursday became my favourite day. These are such fun to draw – not easy but I became more confident as the weeks went on, and really enjoy working on them!

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On the flip side of that, Friday was my least favourite day. Ovals I just cannot do yet and I’ll be continuing to practice these for a while I feel. I just can’t seem to get the pressure correct no matter how I hold my pen. These are going to be integral to lots of letter shapes, so I know I need to get them down!

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Saturday brought ascending loops, and again these are tricky little blighters. I’ll need to practice these too, but I think when I concentrate and take it really slow I can almost draw these!

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And then Sunday was descending loops, which were just as hard, if not harder. Again, it’s hard to work out the pressure when starting from the top and get my wrist in the correct place!

I’ve got a few months to practice these before the next module starts, so I need to make sure I do actually practice so I get a head start on the next work book.

I’ve really enjoyed working through this work book. I found my confidence increased week by week, which is something I really love about learning brand-new skills. I didn’t expect it to be so therapeutic, and I’ve actually learned to slow down and concentrate on forming each and every shape carefully – not something I’m used to. But completing this module has actually taught me something about myself – I need to stop rushing. Things will end up better if I actually take the time over them and slow down. I think this course is going to be good for me!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

It’s been a while since we had a little catch up, hasn’t it?

So in the past few weeks we’ve had Christmas and New Year! I hope your’s was good.

Mine was low-key and I didn’t do a huge amount, but it was just what I wanted.

I’m lucky enough to get the time between Christmas and New Year off from work, so if Gary’s off work we’ll take little day trips and such. But this year, he was very busy with work, so nothing was really planned.

Christmas Day was lovely and I got to see both sides of the family. From that point on my mind went into a little relapse and I didn’t want to do anything but curl into a ball and not see anyone. So that’s pretty much what I did. I honestly couldn’t tell you what I got up to because it’s all of a blur. That was until my bff (sister from another mister) got me over to see her lovely newly renovated house, and with her and another of my best friends we had a lovely normal morning chatting. It was lovely to get out of the house and be in a safe space with people I trust and can talk about these things with. And they don’t make a big deal over how I’m feeling – they just let me feel that way, make sure I’m okay and if I want to talk about it I can. And they know me well enough to be able to suss out whether I want to talk or not.

On New Year’s Eve Eve I attended a singing workshop with my Mum, where we learned two songs as a choir and then in the evening had a party and Bandaoke. My Mum and I had both signed up to sing with the band (scary) so we were both fairly nervous, but when each of our turns came up we were fine. I sang Young Hearts Run Free and people said I did well after I came off stage, which was a relief!

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New Year’s Eve was a quiet one spent at home with Gary. I normally spend my New Year this way, and it’s the way I prefer it! I can be in bed by half past midnight!

On New Year’s Day I began working on the first of my 2018 challenges – learning calligraphy. After seeing a friend taking part in this course throughout 2017, and seeing the progress she’s made, I decided I would give it a try myself. I’m already finding I’m learning things about myself as a person as well as my penmanship during this challenge – who knew?!

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Then it was back to work, and by the time we returned to the office I was very much looking forward to it and wanted to get back into a routine!

I didn’t find it hard to get back into the swing of things, and it was nice to see my colleagues again  – it’s great when you enjoy being around the people you work with!

During the first week of January I also had to kick off my second 2018 challenge – a new recipe every week for the entire year! I’ve already posted about my first recipe here, so take a look. I’m enjoying looking at recipes in a new way, this year. I’ll happily trawl through tons of books and Pinterest recipes, marking the ones I like the look of to make one day, but this time around I need something I’m ACTUALLY going to make! So I’m thinking more practically about them!

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I’ve also been reading a lot of blogs related to New Year and resolutions (well, more those that gear towards self-improvement, since that’s what I relate too) and I’ve been very inspired by the positivity and how practical people are being. There’s less fad and more mind involved in what people are aiming for this year. It’s fantastic.

I’ve made a pledge to myself to be more active on social media – and by that I don’t mean posting more (although I feel like I will be posting more blogs this year just by default!) – I mean commenting on other people’s posts, sharing their stuff etc. Not just scrolling through instagram and double tapping then moving on – I’d like to comment on all of the photos that have meant something to me. Because it’s what we’d want for our own feeds, right?

I’m enjoying feeling the fresh positivity that’s come along with this year. In a time of uncertainty and bafflement, coming from a couple of years that were very trying for many people, we appear to be collectively coming together and finding our feet again. The ground seems a little more solid, and I’m personally enjoying how it feels.