Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls Calligraphy Kit Giveaway [CLOSED]

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My friends, I have an especially lovely giveaway for anyone who’s ever ogled at the hand lettering trend that’s been taking the world by the storm.

The fabulous duo of Besotted Co. introduced me to Maybelle’s work a couple of years ago, and it was of course love at first sight. Her instagram feed alone is spectacular.

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So when I saw her calligraphy kit at Kinokuniya a while ago, I snapped it up. Given my various obligations right now, however, the idea of starting a calligraphy habit is a pipe dream of the highest order. I’ve had to relegate it to my ever-growing “one day” list and in the interim, to reduce my guilt and to prevent the beautiful kit from collecting dust, I want to gift it to someone who would get more use out of it. I think this would be great for kids too, because if K’s writing is anything to go by, there’s not a lot of emphasis on handwriting in school these days (not that I’m being critical — I think K’s handwriting has tons of personality, it’s just not entirely legible).

The kit comes with everything you need to launch into the joys of lettering: wooden pen + steel pointed nib, a bottle of black ink, an utterly charming instructional booklet, decorative labels, vellum sheets and a lined guide sheet.

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To enter the giveaway, please leave any comment as per usual but it would be fun to know which word you’d want to hand letter — it’s sort of in line with the word of the year question I’ve posed before. The idea being that you would have to practice the word over and over and over so it would have to be something that you wouldn’t get too sick of. My word would be “mettle”. I’m currently dealing with a family situation that is taking up vast amounts of my energies, and I am in desperate need of industrial strength mettle. I think everything is okay, just…adjusting to a new normal.

I will leave the giveaway open until this Friday, July 8th (how is it July already?? update: I extended the giveaway for another week since I’ll be out of town and won’t choose the winner until next week). You know the drill by now, yes?

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I’ve finished three out of the five projects due and then we’re out of town for a week starting July 3rd, so I’m going to take it easy on the blog front again and will take a couple of weeks off. I realize that’s an annoying thing to repeatedly read, but you know my hyper neurotic need to keep you in the loop. I hope to be back refreshed and better equipped to focus when I return from Michigan!

P.S. The winner of the journal kit giveaway is Stacey, congrats!

Happy Friday + Randomness

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Happy Friday! Still plugging away at my various projects…I did, however, take a little jaunt into downtown to Drygoods Design on Wednesday to pick up a beauty of a book. The Merchant and Mills Workbook makes my neutral-loving heart sing. I want to make everything. Everything!

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The instructions seem to be pretty sparse, which is okay with me since I don’t seem to follow instructions all that closely anyway.

Oh, the photography and styling of this book are so, so good. On a side note, I traded a watercolor from the Artwalk show I did at Drygoods for this lovely collection of patterns. One of the surprising benefits of the illustrations I’ve been doing is how handy they come in for bartering.

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Must make this Saltmarsh skirt stat.

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And this Bantam tank would be perfect to take with me to Michigan in a little over a week. Could I somehow locate a couple of hours to whip one up before July 3rd? Mayhaps…Rachel of House of Pinheiro did a fantastic review of the book here, and I love her version of the Bantam.

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I’m heading back into the dungeon for more painting and crafting, but I leave you with a poem from K. Today is the last day of fourth grade! How did my baby become this poetry-spouting, guitar-playing, tween-y young lady?

splash in the water
play in the sun
bumble bees buzzing
    summer is fun!

ice cream and lemonade
no homework at all
no school to go to
   until the fall

Happy weekend!

Stay Curious

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A little behind the scenes of one of the projects I worked on over the weekend. A dear friend of mine commissioned me for an illustration to give to her colleague, and I loved trying out different lettering styles. The colleague’s catchphrase is “stay curious,” which is a brilliant one.

I have two more illustrations, another quick translation assignment (this time I’m learning all about the art of sushi plating and presentation — so, so cool), and a craft tutorial all due pronto so I am trying my best to stay focused.

It’s funny how the moment I had a stretch of free time, a slew of requests came in. They all sounded so up my alley and so enjoyable that I had to say yes.

I may or may not be back this week. Focus. That’s my catchphrase for the interim. Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Happy Friday + Randomness

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Happy Friday! With thoughts of the upcoming Father’s Day lingering in my brain, I dug up a watercolor painting I did of a seahorse a while back (daddy seahorses give birth to baby seahorses — hundreds of them at a time!).

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I also remembered that male penguins keep unhatched eggs nice and toasty while the mama penguins forage for food. I love that, though I can’t help but think the female penguins are getting the short end of the deal here given the harsh climate they have to navigate.

Keepin’ it short this lovely Friday and just wanted to wish you a merry weekend! Hope you celebrate the Dads in your life with panache.

I’ve got new projects
Let’s see if I can do this
Out of my zone, yo*

*I’ve unexpectedly found myself with a number of super fun assignments that are due next week (and they are a little out of my comfort zone), so there’s a chance I won’t be posting as much. You know me, though…habits, habits, habits. Which reminds me, I LOVE reading about all the various good habits from the giveaway post!

Giveaway: A Journaling Kit [CLOSED]

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Thank you for all the birthday wishes! I had a most relaxing time, completely ignoring my to-do list and doing everything that makes me feel good and whole: walking, spending time with my favorite people, writing and doodling in one of my regular coffee shop haunts, getting lost in a bookstore and choosing just the right birthday books for me (turns out I’m in the mood for sewing books and acquired this one and this one and this one). I’ve checked out that Twinkle Sews book so many times from the library that I figured I might as well own it and not sew from it instead of what I was doing: repeatedly accruing library late fees and not sewing from it.

I’ve gotten nothing “productive” done. And I don’t feel guilty at all — this is progress for a former workaholic.

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Yesterday, I came across this post by Sew Liberated and I was nodding my head so vigorously as I read, I felt dizzy towards the end. Meg writes about the stuff I think about all the time: what’s important, how to approach the creative process, what to do if the activities we love turn into obligatory, stress-mongering jobs. She’s a whole lot wiser and more grounded and definitely way more eloquent than I am and it was a treat to stumble upon her blog. These types of musings filled with thoughtful and sometimes heart-aching yet ultimately affirming words and images were what had attracted me to the medium of blogging in the first place. It felt like reading someone’s journal, albeit more polished and less weird than my own scrawls.

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I’m easing back into so-called work mode, but I’m trying to be conscious of finding enjoyment in what I do. At the Kinokuniya event last weekend (so fun! the kimono-wearing pair that participated in the Sashiko coaster demo/workshop bowled me over with delight), a lovely attendee asked me if I ever felt pressured to create things for the sake of keeping up with the blog. The short answer would be yes. Yes, I’ve sewn or painted or photographed things just so I can stick to my schedule. I don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong with that, especially since I need deadlines to get my mojo in gear. I view myself as being both the producer/art director and peon grunt worker for this blog. I give myself assignments and execute to the best of my abilities.

The problem, I believe, starts to rear its unwelcome head when the enjoyment and authenticity parts start to slip away (I hesitated to resort to the word “authenticity” because it’s starting to feel threadbare and overused). At some point, I found that I wasn’t actually finding any pleasure in sewing weekly outfits for K once my skills started to improve — outfits that she steadfastly refused to wear as our tastes diverged. Then I noticed that I was racking my brains for fresh content and feeling burnt out just so I could post every week day, which is when I went down to three times a week. Perhaps I’ll post even less frequently in the future, it’s hard to tell.

It’s a tricky balance. I’m a big believer in consistent habits and persistence and longevity, but I also know that rigidity can stifle the best, most creatively flourishing parts of us.

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Maybe that’s why I love writing in my journal so much, which strikes the balance for me. It’s such a long-standing habit of mine, it never feels laborious (and the writing portion of the blog and to a certain extent the Furoku content I create feel like extensions of my journal). I’m not militant about how much or how little I should write per day, and I have no rules about topics. All that matters to me is that I write every day until I feel satisfied or until my window of available time has closed. Most of all, it’s meant just for me and it keeps me honest. Even though I try not to be affected by it, with blogs and books and other external-facing projects that I work on, I’m aware that other people are reading it. That adds a layer of complexity. Sometimes that layer is helpful, other times, not so much. I’ve published a lot of posts on this blog over the past four years and one of the things I struggle with is the sensation of repetitiveness. I loved this little mini episode that Gretchen Rubin did about Picasso — I often feel like I’m painting my own fakes too. As I browsed through my archives the other day, the one that is most truly representative of me is probably this one.

Anyway. With journaling in mind, a journaling kit giveaway seemed appropriate. This is a beautifully bound notebook with pink (!) grid paper. It’s the one featured in the book for the book cover project and I’m throwing in the cover as part of the giveaway too. It’s made out of this nubby, high quality grey linen and lined with a Japanese cotton. I’m also including the most amazing Palomino Blackwing pencil (it’s a limited edition style) with its distinctive eraser shape and a stripey pencil from the Anna Bond Rifle collection. Doesn’t this make a cute set?

Full disclosure: I did write in the journal as part of the photoshoot, but I’ve removed those pages so this is essentially a brand-new notebook.

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Anyone game? I’ll take any comment, but I’d also love to hear about a good habit that you have. Do you exercise or do yoga regularly? Are you a water-drinking fiend? Do you have a penchant for sending thank you cards right away (not me!). I’ll leave the giveaway open until next Friday, June 24th, and will announce the winner the following Monday. International entries=no problemo!