Hocus pocus no more

Hello, there.

You might probably have noticed that I’ve been silent for quite some time (if you haven’t… whew… really? hahaha).

Sometimes all sorts of things get into my head and I get very overwhelmed that I need time to re-focus. So, last year, I deliberately took time off, for no reason except that I just want to be off the radar and find my balance.

It was a time well-spent, to be honest. I went to Ho Chi Minh city with a dear friend (although what happened there is a different story). During the past months, I’ve finally come to terms with some of my personal issues and internal conflicts. I’ve learned to embraced the challenges of being a stay-at-home-wife and a fur-mum. I’ve worked hard to achieve improvements on the calligraphy and lettering front. My husband and I hosted visiting family members (my in-laws) and part of that was going away on a trip together and re-connect.

So what is it I’m trying to say?

Always. No more hocus pocus. Love yourself first and everything else follows.
Always. No more hocus pocus. Love yourself first and everything else follows.

Not much, really, except that when you feel like you are losing yourself, you are not alone. That you can turn things around, if you want to. Take time off, like what I did. Travel. Go out and go shopping with a friend (how could I say no to a friend who was excited to shop for an evh at guitarcenter.com?), tee-hee. Pick up a new interest or hobby. You can’t be your 100% self when you yourself are lost and need some space to breathe. Take time to take care of yourself because if you don’t, who will?

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.