My calligraphy wishlist

This year, I have been having the best time with my calligraphy works even though I don’t have much spare time. I absolutely enjoyed practicing hours and hours, albeit doing same strokes over and over again. My death grip is no longer deadly as I’ve loosened up quite a bit. Hence, the beautiful upstrokes (IMHO) that I managed to produce, hehehe.

Since picking up on my calligraphy adventure some 3-4 years ago, I’ve already grown my supplies and would like to invest in some stuff that I can use as I go further with my journey. Just like a good friend of mine who started playing guitar using a secondhand one she bought at a yard sale, she now has in her possession the prized Godin Guitars. See what I mean? It is only inevitable for an aspiring calligrapher to level up and invest in good quality tools to further grow.

Photo from Google images.
Photo from Google images.

So, in case you haven’t noticed it yet, Christmas season is upon us again. I don’t normally do this but I find myself drawing out a wishlist for myself. Mostly calligraphy related. I have a sketchy list on my hand now but I’m going to have to go through it again before posting the list here. Stay tuned for the update in a little while.

What is the best comeback blog post?

I don’t know but I’m starting mine with this –

To be honest, I often have long breaks so this is not the first time I’ve returned to blogging. It’s figuring out what to write for my comeback post that has always been difficult. I have no excuse to offer. It’s just my ‘blogging rhythm’ is different from the others and that I can not maintain that regular rhythm.

So what did I do during this period? There have been a lot of events and milestones that are blog-worthy but didn’t share them because I wanted to keep them private. However, I can share to you that I have devoted my time offline to practicing calligraphy and making artsy-fartsy stuff on the side during this period of absence. Happy to say that my hard work paid off and I have finally developed my own style! I was asked to do a small project addressing envelopes and I had a blast doing them with my new calligraphy style. I even did the project pro bono just because I enjoyed the whole process πŸ™‚

Right now, I’m brushing up on brush calligraphy and, still, I find it very challenging. But I’m not giving up this time. My brush pens just arrived — brought to Cambodia by my sister last week – and I’ve been using them non-stop. The pens are heaven-sent. The pens are from an online art shop in the Philippines. I saw the shop’s ad from a musicians friend catalog and the rest, they say, is history.

Looking at my practice sheets, gee, I have a death grip! I think I need to work on having a lighter touch for my upstrokes. As you can see in the photo, those lines aren’t much different compared to my downstrokes! I want them to be much, much thinner. I definitely still feel like I’m trying to get more control of pen and hand movements, but hopefully these will improve soon.

Shopping for art’s sake

Hah, it’s been awhile again. I wasn’t up to writing (again) because Rafa (Nadal) lost in the QFs of this year’s Roland Garros tournament. Β I was beside myself (slight lang, hihihi). Thankfully, my husband knew exactly what to do to get me out of this funk — he took me shopping. Β And when I say shopping, I meant shopping for calligraphy supplies πŸ™‚ Β So I want to share some of my spoils.

But before I went on a splurge, my husband and I went to Home Top first. For quite some time now we have been meaning to get new frying pans but we couldn’t find ones that we’re looking for. While checking out the frying pans, I overheard an elderly expat couple at the aisle opposite us discussing to Buy spandex table cover. Didn’t mean to be eavesdropping, but, really? A spandex table cover? It’s the first time I heard that, pardon my ignorance. Anyways, we found what we’re looking for — a decent non-stick frying pan.

His and hers frying pan, lol.
His and hers frying pan, lol.
Sponges! There can never be enough of them.
Sponges! There can never be enough of them.

We bought two, of course. We also got dish-washing sponges.
We then drove to Aeon Mall for my calligraphy supply – check out the stuff I picked up. My last splurge was in early January this year when I ordered various nibs, pen holders and ink from an online shop in Manila through my sister, DonyaBooding. Aren’t sisters the best? πŸ™‚ This time though, it was my husband who offered after seeing that a) I needed cheering up after Rafa’s loss, and b) I have the knack for hand-lettering and calligraphy. I kid, I kid!

Pencils, erasers and Sakura Gelly Roll pens!
Pencils, erasers and Sakura Gelly Roll pens!

I was surprised to find Sakura Gelly Roll pens at PBC. They’re only $0.85 each.

Dotted notebook, calligraphy ink, white art paper and a wooden block.
Dotted notebook, calligraphy ink, white art paper and a wooden block.
A plastic nib case to house my nibs. The nibs were purchased in Manila.
A plastic nib case to house my nibs. The nibs were purchased in Manila.

And because I’m exploring other tools, I got these brush pens. So now I’m both into dip-pen and brush calligraphy. Bah, yabang!

Pentel colour brush pen in blue and 2 refill cartridges and a Faber-Castell artist pen in orange.
Pentel colour brush pen in blue and 2 refill cartridges and a Faber-Castell artist pen in orange.

Some of you might scratch your heads and wonder … since when have I been artsy-fartsy? It’s kinda, sorta, hidden, just like my talents are, lol. Seriously though, learning calligraphy is #40 Β in my bucket list. And this year is the year that I get to pursue this creative hobby. So watch out for more artsy-fartsy goodness in the future posts.

FYI, I D-I-Y

Hey there, I’m blogging again! YAY!
I thought I wouldn’t let the holidays go by without posting something. So here it is.

We’re having a really nice, cool temperature in Phnom Penh these past few weeks. A fine weather, really, and our teapot is working round the clock. At the rate we are going, we’re going to exhaust the contents of the gas tank before the month (or shall I say, year?) ends.

Hey, remember a classmate who belong to the other group of kids who waited till it’s the last possible moment before it’s too late to begin a course work or a project? Well, I was one of them. Years have passed and nothing’s exactly changed (I can hear my mum talking here, lol). I still live up to the eleventh-hour and it’s one thing that I hate/love about myself, tee-hee-hee. So, at the last minute, I decided to send handmade Christmas cards to family and a few friends across the seas. My husband just shook his head knowing the fate of mails during the holiday season but it’s something I really wanted to do.

Inspired by a friend, I decided to create greeting cards with my own hand. I’ve seen how elegant my friend’s handwriting was – oh, the playful swirls and flourishes that just scream beautiful calligraphy. The lettering geek in me got envious and prompted me to teach myself how to write like that.

I bought a cheap fountain pen, a bottle of ink and a sketch pad at a Chinese store in Tuol Kork and started writing. To my utter horror, I feared someone would throw rocks at me for having an ugly handwriting! I think the use of computer has changed my handwriting into its current deteriorated state so how can I do calligraphy now? The answer, my friends, is practice. I practiced more and more, albeit delaying further the making of the cards. Imagine my delight when I discovered a lot of tutorials and practice sheets over the Internet! I practiced even more, writing an hour in the morning and another in the afternoon, and one more hour before I go to bed, for a couple of weeks. If that’s not commitment, I don’t know what that is.

After so many wasted paper and spilled ink, I think my hard work is paying off – I am seeing improvements! With this, I found my confidence and, with only a few days before D-day, I started making the cards. I just hope and pray they arrive in their respective destinations…

Two pencils taped together and a felt-tipped marker are great to practice the uncials with.
Practing my As and Bs in copperplate.
Some more scribbles. You can do this over and over and over again.
The Internet is a treasure trove of calligraphy tools and resources. The practice sheet is from The Postman's Knock. Click the photo to go to the site.
Quotes to ponder.
Writing again and again.
The final output.
My early attempt at writing on envelope.
card and lined envelope
My handmade card and DIY lined envelope.

I am still learning though and I find it very therapeutic. I’m going to hone further my handwriting, rather my calligraphy skills, this time with the proper calligraphy tools. You know, nibs, holders, ink, the works! While I do not expect to have any wedding commissions to deal with or make pocket money out of this, I think calligraphy is a lovely, personal touch to handmade cards for any occasion. And boy, oh boy, it feels really good when you create something by hand. What was the last thing you made by hand?

Oh, and before I go… here’s wishing everybody the happiest holidays! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We don’t really have any specials plans for Christmas day but we’ll see which way the wind blows.

Wordless Wednesday: It all began with a ride

Meet Bianca... Bianca Jaguar!
Meet Bianca… Bianca the Jaguar!

Someday, when the time is right, I will tell you a story like no other.
A story that is true, as true as the sun rising in the east. A story that began with a ride…

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Crafting with Sreisaat has a new home!

Yes indeed!
After a deliberation I decided to consolidate my blogs into one. Being a serial blogger, I am finding my main blog is taking much of my time and because of this my other blogs, including Crafting with Sreisaat, were relegated to the backseat. I think consolidating will make blogging easier for me and for you, my friends, to just visit one blog.

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Follow Me Here!

I am quite happy that WordPress.com and .org offers a hassle-free export-import tools that I was able to migrate the contents in just a few minutes. AUTOMATICALLY. And that includes ALL my posts, pages, comments, photos and other uploaded media. Too bad I could not take with me those who are following Crafting with Sreisaat. Sorry friends, but please follow me again, this time in this new domain name, and I’ll follow back. *Update: I found out later today that some pictures in my posts were missing, especially those which are in gallery format using sliders. I wonder where the pictures have gone?

Please check out my newly-transferred posts under the Crafting with Sreisaat category. You might find something you like there — mostly crochet items and a few sewing and paper craft stuff here and there. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or any other inquiry regarding my crafts. Oh, and don’t forget to follow my blog with Bloglovin!

Stash-Buster Challenge 2013, Project #4: Tablet/e-reader sleeve

Hi. How are you all?

The 7in tablet fits in snugly.
The 7in tablet fits in snugly.

Things are hectic at home at the moment. Nothing major, just spring cleaning of sorts. It’s the height of summer in the kingdom and it could get really, really dusty. Add to that, my two dogs are shedding at the same time so just imagine the amount of fluff, in addition to the dust, that accumulates inside the house πŸ™

Okay, enough of the excuses. I finished one project yesterday. Actually this wasn’t part of my list but – because this month is my birth month – I received an early birthday present from my thoughtful in-laws all the way from merry England. I was so delighted when I opened the parcel. Mum and Dad, you are the best!

So I had to make this right away. For “protection”, you know. Tee-hee-hee.

I used a pattern I found in this blog, Handmade by Haniyya. But unlike her design, I opted for more colours in one project. I’m in love with stripes of various colours, thus the choice. I attached the bottom ends by using single crochet stitches. I think that looks better than sewing the ends of the sleeves. But that’s just me. To each her own πŸ™‚ In addition, I also added a lemon yellow crochet flower and olive-green button that not only as serve embellishments but also to catch the latch to fasten the top ends.

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Stash-buster Challenge, Project #3: Colourful granny squares

Hi there.

I’ve been meaning to post the finished baby beanie that is my second project for the Stash-buster challenge. So here it is:

finished baby beanie

The pattern indicates that the finished beanie should measure 6.5inches. As you can see, mine is just 6inches. I don’t know if it’s going to be problem later on, but, aren’t newborns tiny, right? This should fit.

For my third project, I haven’t really thought much about it. I was still recovering from our weekend kite-flying activity outside of Phnom Penh. We flew kites for three hours under the baking sun! And not just ordinary kites – they were handmade by my husband and fitted with a camera to take pictures while up in the air. It was worth it, sunburns, dusty feet, sweaty clothes and all!

Anyways, back to the project. For my baby project, I wanted to make a pair or two baby booties but could not find patterns that I like. I think I need to search more so I just tossed this idea aside and looked for something else to do so I can share it here. And guess what I’ve finally decided to make… granny squares. A lot of them, actually.

stash-buster-challenge-granny-squaresstash-buster-challenge-stacks-of-granny-squares

I love mixing and matching the different yarn colours. They look really great, aren’t they?
I was also crocheting from memory. The pattern was taught to me by my mum and the very first one that I “mastered” when I was beginning to crochet πŸ™‚ I think it’s a pretty simple pattern and very easy to follow. I’ve made a lot of these way back so I know the pattern by heart. Funny thought that while crocheting the squares, I was feeling a bit nostalgic. Thoughts about the many summers spent with my mum and sisters, sat together and learning how to crochet, flashed in my head. Please excuse the sappiness, it must be the hormones, hahaha.

Now, what to make of these again?
I think the squares will make a nice cover – of what, you ask, of just about anything. Hahaha. It can be a table runner, sofa cover, or even a laptop sleeve or something. But I just don’t know how to attach the squares altogether πŸ™

Any suggestions? Please do. I would love to hear from you. Meanwhile, I’m going to visit other Stash-buster challenge participants’ sites and hopefully I can find inspiration from their works.

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Stash-Buster Challenge 2013, Project #2: Baby beanie

I’ve been quiet these past few days but my silence doesn’t mean that I’m in the throes of idleness. It’s actually the opposite of that as I was busy revamping my other blog. It has a mini shop of postcards and I wanted to do a total makeover. Since I am no-web designer, it didn’t happen but. at the very least, I managed to organise the categories and tags.

Anyhoo, today was a good day. I’ve accomplished a lot of tasks and it was only tonight that I was able to sit down and touch my crochet paraphernalia. Since the news of a new family member’s arrival, my goal is to finish one project for the baby once a week. Sounds a lofty goal but we’ll see…

This week, I’m meaning to do a baby beanie. We do not know of the gender yet so I’m going to use gender-friendly colours until I am told so πŸ˜€ I already started on this very easy pattern for a baby beanie. All double-crochet stitches (US) and if I can finish one a little later tonight I’ll post the picture.

Meanwhile, here’s a sneak peak of my beanie. I love the colours. I think most of you will be reminded of autumn πŸ˜€ (which we don’t have here but I have the good fortune to witness when I went to Japan some years ago)

I’m using a 5mm hook and medium acrylic yarn. After three rounds, I measured to see if it is the right size. Smaller by half an inch πŸ™

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Jar of hearts and other heart stuff

So this is an update of yesterday’s post.

Yesterday, I ended my post with a picture of crochet mini hearts and left a question about how am I going or what am I going to make of them.

I draw my inspiration from Pinterest and a host of other fantastic craft blogs out there. But the thing about these sites is that there are too many beautiful stuff and I end up ooh-ing and ahh-ing at other people’s boards for hours and hours… which doesn’t really help me at all because the more time I spent pinning what interests me on my boards, the more I can’t follow or do what I’ve pinned because I’m buried deep in the images! Lol.

Anyways, going back to what I made out of the mini-hearts… I managed to rein myself and actually finished some things to show you, guys. I kinda like the slide-show feature here at WP, so enjoy the slideshow πŸ˜›

Crochet mini-heart buntings
The crochet heart buntings. It was difficult to photograph them. Please excuse the messy background, this is like our workshop where all the crafting and DIY actions happen. And that's my dog there, if you can spot her πŸ˜‰
Crochet mini hearts bookmarks
Mini-bookmarks, hand-drawn, with baker's twines and washi tapes. Can also be used as gift tags.
Love is all we need Valentine's card, 2013
Jar of hearts. The mason jar is hand-drawn using a metallic pen and a coloured pen, and I glued the hearts onto the card.
You Have My Heart, Valentine's card, 2013
And this one's for my husband. Hand-stamped V-day card with crochet heart applique.

The buntings actually look nice but I have to find a better spot for it. I think the hearts are too small so I’m going to make another batch of bigger hearts to add to that.

Well, I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day. My husband and I are not really big on V-day but we appreciate the holiday. Loving gestures, in my opinion, should be every single day. And I believe you don’t save them up for just one day.

See you all again next… post. Lol.

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