Beginner Calligraphy Workshop

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to host a calligraphy workshop. When I was first learning calligraphy the workshops I attended were game changers for me and my business. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the personal instruction I received. Which is why I feel like now is the right time to offer my own workshop!

I remember the expectations I had going into an in-person workshop, what I wanted to learn, what helped me internalize the techniques, and what I wished I had been taught. Because I participated in so many workshops myself as I was learning, I understand what beginners are looking for which is how I came up with the content for this workshop.

So, what’s included?

  • 2.5 hours of hands-on instruction
  • A starter kit of all my favorite point pen and supplies (nibs, ink, paper, all the stuff I can’t live without!)
  • 1 instruction book on the basic of calligraphy tools and how to use them, drills and practice strokes, and a full alphabet
  • A special gift from yours truly to keep you inspired
  • A Q&A session so you can ask all the questions you’ve been saving up
  • Light refreshments

The cost is $150.00 per person and class size is limited to ensure personal instruction with all attendees. Email me at karahillcalligraphy@gmail.com to register!

Workshop will be held in Hershey, PA.

 

Featured | Glamour & Grace

Elopements – some people might not understand ’em. But let’s get real, elopements can be an amazingly less expensive and equally more intimate way of celebrating your marriage to the person you love. I mean, my father was practically begging me to elope. “Use the money for an amazing honeymoon, a down payment on a house, anything” He all but broke my ribs hinting at his desire for grandchildren. But in the end…I wanted the big wedding.

While elopements aren’t for everyone, they can be a totally beautiful way to celebrate your marriage to your best friend. I love how the photographers of Anna + Mateo Photography have captured that feeling with this romantic DC elopement shoot.

And just because you ran away to get married doesn’t mean you don’t want to share your great news with everyone. That is where I come in! Custom elopement postcards can be an easy way to spread the word and give everyone a glimpse of your special day.

These postcards are made out of heavy, luxurious paper and each was individually hand marbled for a unique effect. The simple elegance of the marbling and flourished calligraphy reflect the peaceful, loving day this couple experienced.

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I was so grateful to be included in such a beautiful shoot. You can view the full feature here on Glamour and Grace.

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Featured | Ruffled Blog

“Come Fly With Me”

These invitations and ceremony details were created for a styled shoot for the oh-so-talented Lizzie Moore  of Elizabeth Moore Photography. She envisioned a vintage chic elopement ceremony with a BIG send off – the bride and groom making their grand exit in a hot air balloon!

The invitations gave the guests a big hint at the send-off by including custom watercolor hot air balloons and a “Surprise!” banner at the top. The names were calligraphed in bright red ink to the give the invitations a pop and create a bold, playful feel.

The envelopes were also lined with watercolor hot air balloons in a similar pattern. Because this was an intimate elopement ceremony, only those closest to the bride and groom were invited. We kept the envelopes informal by addressing the guests by their first and last names (no Mr. & Mrs.) or simply “Grandma Miller.”

The ceremony had so many fun calligraphed details to give the day that vintage flair. Although it was an elopement, we still wanted to keep the ceremony and following dinner classy and beautiful with all the details it deserved.

 

The dinner menus were kept simple in black and white and then tied with a pale blush silk ribbon. We included place cards, table numbers, and a custom sign with a watercolor hot air ballon and the theme of their elopement, “Come Fly With Me.” Small signs directed the guests to other sweet treats to enjoy.

A large, hand painted wooden sign was used to greet the guests and get them ready to “fly away” with the bride and groom on this special day. It was used in many different ways throughout the day and added a fun, unique element to the shoot.

I loved everything about this shoot and am so grateful to have worked with such an awesome team of vendors! You can view the full feature here on Ruffled!

Why Creative Entrepreneurs Need a Community

 

Starting a creative business endeavor is hard work. A lot of times, entrepreneurship can feel like an individual journey, as you struggle to understand your market and grow your business as best you can. However, in order to really succeed in your business, I gotta tell you, you need people! You need people who are like you, who get you, and who can help you. Let me tell you a few reasons why…

  1. You need people to ENCOURAGE you. Starting your own creative business is hard! You need people who see the good in your work and will be enthusiastic about it. You need people who can help you take an idea and work it into something actionable. A community can do that for you.
  2. You need people who will PUSH you. Praise is always nice. But you also need people who are able to constructively tell you where you need to grow. You need people who can take you out of your comfort zone and help you see your potential. A community can do that for you.
  3. You need people who have ANSWERS. One of the beauties of a community is that inevitably there will be people who are farther along in their businesses than you are – and that’s a great thing! That means that they have been there and they understand what you’re going through now. They can answer questions you have about almost anything. And that will invariably foster faster growth of your business. A community can do that for you.
  4. You need people so that you can GIVE BACK. See all those things that people are doing for you? Now you can do that for others! You can take your success and share your knowledge with others. You can encourage and lift others. Giving is just as important as receiving. And that’s something you can do for your community.

When I first started learning calligraphy a year ago I was lucky enough to have been introduced early on to a few people and communities who have helped me learn so much. They give me so much encouragement and support that I know I couldn’t do it without them.

So don’t be shy – go find your people! Find those people who will help you feel like a million bucks and give you the support you need to accomplish your goals!

If you need a little direction, a few of my favorite communities are The Rising Tide Society, The Modern Calligraphy Summit, and the Sean Wes Community.

 

 

 

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A few people from my new local calligraphy community. Love them already! Photo by Design House of Moira

 

 

 

Dear Wedding Invitation, Why Do You Have So Many Envelopes??

 

Last month I was talking to a bride who had ordered her wedding invitations and was a little confused about why there were options for one, two, or even three envelopes! While I knew the general reasons for all the envelope options, I set out to find out more about it! Turns out, there are a few historical reasons as well as some modern day uses for multiple envelopes!

In the 1800’s inner envelopes were often used for invitations to very special occasions because mail often got dirty and scuffed en route to its destination. Once the mail reached its destination the outer envelope could be discarded and the recipients would see only the fresh, clean envelope containing the lovely invitation.

Happily, that is not much of a problem anymore. Our mail tends to make it to its destination fairly quickly and neatly…usually. However, inner envelopes still serve an important function for the modern wedding. It’s most significant function is to specify exactly who is invited to the wedding (and who is not). For example, the outer envelope may be addressed to only the parents in a household while the inner envelope would include the names of the children who are invited. If the children are not invited to the event their names would be omitted on the inner envelope.

Outer Envelope

Mr. & Mrs. David and Julianne Cole

1234 Cocoa Avenue

Hershey, Pennsylvania 17036

Inner Envelope

Mr. & Mrs. Cole

Richard and Sarah

or

Mr. & Mrs. Cole

Richard Cole

Sarah Cole

 

Inner envelopes are also a courteous way to invite a plus-one.

Outer Envelope

Ms. Olivia Brown

1234 Cocoa Avenue

Hershey, Pennsylvania 17036

Inner Envelope

Ms. Olivia Brown & Guest

 

And if two envelopes weren’t enough, many wedding invitations come with an RSVP card and a return envelope. This is a courtesy to your guests, but there are ways to get around that envelope as well. Consider making your RSVP cards work as post cards with no need of an envelope at all!

As with any wedding tradition, wedding envelopes can be adapted to your style and budget. If you are planning a very formal wedding that requires a specific RSVP list, inner envelopes may appeal to you. If you don’t want to hassle with multiple envelopes and would rather save money (and a tree) you may choose to forgo everything but the outer envelope. Remember that this is your big day and you need to decide which traditions are important to you!

Nod to Cinderella

Have you seen Disney’s newest version of the live-action Cinderella? If you are like me, you were entranced by the vibrant colors, gorgeous details, and of course the kindness and elegance of Cinderella herself. I am not ashamed to say that it was one of my favorite movies of 2015!

What bride doesn’t wish for a little bit of that elegance and magic on her wedding day? Thanks to the amazing talents of Hillary Muelleck Photography and Kortney Cooper Dowell we were able to create a little bit of that magic in this vintage-modern stylized shoot.

We are so excited and honored to have this shoot featured on Wedding Chicks! You can check out their site for more details on  how our vision came together!

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Tips for Working at Home with Kids, Part II – The Kids are Awake!

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Last week I gave a few suggestions for how I utilize naps and bedtimes to get my most important work done. But we all know that naptime is not enough time to run a creative business. While we love the flexibility working from home can bring, we can’t accomplish everything while the kiddos are asleep.

So here are a few ways I have tried to synchronize my kids’ needs with my work demands.

The most important thing for me is to  stick to a schedule! I have always been a type A personality. I love making lists, itineraries, and schedules. But for some reason, that all kind of went out of the window when I had kids. Children have a way of turning all schedules on their heads, so I sort of gave up on schedules for awhile there. However, I have found that a well-thought out schedule can be sooo helpful for both the children and the parents in a work at home situation. Here are a few scheduling tips that have worked for me:

  1. During breakfast, while the kids are safely occupied chowing down their oatmeal, I will quickly post a previously prepped and planned update to social media. I find I get better responses on social media if I post in the morning, so this is the perfect time. Because I have already taken the photos and done the legwork during nap time, this will only take a few minutes (unless I get caught in the rabbit hole that is Instagram!).
  2. I set aside thirty minutes each morning for “craft time”. I set my kids up with an array of coloring books, crayons, watercolors, and stickers. I let them go to town making anything they want, and I will be creating right along with them. Because this is a short period of time, I use it to practice flourishing or mix sample watercolors for a project I’m working on. Nothing too big, but something that needs to get done. It’s a great way to spend time with my kids and encourage creativity, while still getting something done. 😉
  3. Return emails during lunch! Again, my kids are generally ravenous wolves at mealtimes so I have a good chunk of time to use the computer without fear of some little hand accidentally erasing my entire document (not that that’s happened before…).

These things probably seem small, but it is amazing what a somewhat consistent schedule can do for me, my kids, and my work.

Now, if I could only hire a maid for everything else that needs to get done… 😉

I would love to know how you manage everything that needs to get done while working from home! Leave a comment below and let’s help each other!

 

4 Tips for Working at Home with Kids – How to Maximize Nap Time!

 

If you’re a mom and a creative, you understand that mixing work and family can be a delicate balance. It’s hard to feel like you are getting anything done or doing a good job in either aspect! Flexibility and self-forgiveness are key.

While I by no means have everything figured out, I am always interested in seeing how other people do it. So in the spirit of community, here is a “typical day in the life of me.”

My day is basically divided into two categories: 1) the kids are asleep, 2) the kids are awake.  Those two factors drive my schedule.

The hours when the kids are sleeping are precious! This is where the real productivity happens so I know I need to work smart! Here are a few ways I try to maximize this time:

  1. Style and photograph product for use in social media. While styling social media photos I have stuff all over the place! So there definitely can’t be little hands stealing my ribbon or crawling into the picture. I find it’s best to style and take as many photos as possible during nap time while the light is good. That way I can do a little editing and posting while the kids are awake but playing by themselves.
  2. Make high priority phone calls. More casual calls can be made while the kids are playing, but for those really important calls, I find it best to have no distractions.
  3. Write! Writing doesn’t come naturally to me so takes a lot of concentration. If I try to write while the kids are awake I get so lost in my thoughts that I don’t notice them emptying my entire box of Kleenex or getting their head stuck in the chair. I like to write early in the morning before the kids wake up or during nap time. This hour or so gives me enough time to get all the thoughts swirling in my head down on the page.
  4. Work! That seems a little obvious, right? I will be the first to admit that when my kids are awake, not much work is getting done. If I try to work on something that takes longer than 10 minutes, there is a 97% chance that my productivity will be thwarted by their suddenly urgent need of fruit snacks. So I use the evenings after the kids go to bed, when I have the longest chunk of time, to work in the more permanent mediums (ink, paint, watercolor, etc).

While my days are far from the world’s ideals, for me, they are perfection. I love being able to be an active part of my children’s lives while still pursuing the things I’m passionate about.

I would love to hear what you do to stay organized and productive while working from home! Leave your thoughts below!

Welcome!

Welcome to my blog!

First let me tell you, I am a beginner. I just want to get that out there in the open! I am a beginner at a lot of things. I am a beginner at blogging, at calligraphy, at motherhood (and adulthood really). Beginnings can be scary. Beginnings often mean things that are unknown, unfamiliar and even uncomfortable. But beginnings can also be exciting! It can mean a clean slate, a fresh perspective, and a new adventure!

So I would like to invite you to join me on this new adventure of beginnings. This blog will specifically follow my journey in calligraphy, but I’m sure some of my other beginnings will find their way in as well. This will be a positive place where I can share insights, tips and inspiration. I hope you follow along! Celebrate with my triumphs and laugh with me at my mistakes! And please share your journey with me! Comment below and we’ll make it through these crazy beginnings together!

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4 Steps to Overcome Fear and Just Get Started!

Last Christmas I got my husband the best present ever! (If I can toot my own horn for a sec.) Which little to my knowledge was really the best Christmas present to me! A beginners calligraphy set. I was amazed at how fun it was to practice the many different strokes and eventually string a number of them together to create a piece of work, art really.

Between a few months of practicing and an awesome workshop it didn’t take long until I was neck deep in gouache, nibs, and paper. Excited about this new talent of mine I eagerly started filling requests from friends and family for prints, envelopes, invitations, menus, and more. This is when I realized I am a lion!

A fierce, powerful…cowardly lion!

I suddenly felt very exposed. I was still learning and felt very inadequate. All of what I considered my imperfect art was now on display for the world to see! I became very self conscious and it was difficult for me to move forward. All of sudden it took me an eternity to finish a project. I didn’t want to do it because I was afraid of my inadequacies; would I have enough time to produce products, would anything even sell, would anyone like my art? These questions almost paralyzed me and I have heard many beginners confess similar things.

One of my favorite quotes on fear comes from Elise and Scott Grice at @heysweatpea

“I want you to know fear isn’t the problem. In fact, it’s the answer. It’s your northern star, pointing you towards what matters to you most.

Pushing through fear requires stepping into the unknown. The unknown means change.  We won’t know what or how we need to change until we push into the fear. Until we take that step, see how far our boundaries are pushed, and then adjust to make room for the new opportunities that are now open to us.

So how did I overcome fear and actually get started?? Well, I’m still working on it, but here are a few things I’ve learned so far.

  1. Create opportunities for yourself! Offer your services to the type of people you would like to work with. If you don’t want to work on a real-life project, make one up for yourself. Create a problem you can solve or a demand you can fill.
  2. Give yourself a deadline. This one is sooo important! I know how easy it is to keep putting something off because you don’t feel ready or it isn’t the right time, or (insert your favorite rationalization here). I am not saying to produce willy nilly or put out subpar work. You definitely need to think about timing, your resources, and your audience’s reaction. But give yourself time to sit down and plan out your strategy. Then set a date! Set small goals and deadlines that will keep you on track. Deadlines are so important in not letting the cowardly lion take over and hide your work forever!
  3. Say yes to opportunities that are presented to you, even if especially if they scare you. I just had my own experience with this and will be sharing it soon (my first stylized shoot!!). Take that step to explore where your boundaries are and where they can be stretched.
  4. Don’t wait until things are perfect! If you wait until things are perfect you will probably never start! You’ll never get anything out there because there are always things to improve on! I have had a really hard time with this step. Case in point – this blog! I would love to have a beautiful, interactive website  with perfect branding and thousands of followers. But those things take time and resources to build. But like I said, if you don’t start with something, you won’t have anything to build upon.

And so consider this my first brick. I am right there with you, just getting started in this big world of fine writing and curvy fonts known as calligraphy. But I am so excited to be here as a fellow traveler, a former cowardly lion turned travel companion extraordinaire, to talk with, ask questions to, and consult with on the yellow brick road to our Sumi Ink covered Emerald City!