Freebie: Printable Holiday Confetti Gift Tags

Confetti Gift Tags via Happy Hands Project

The holidays are coming! I’m very excited for this year’s Christmas because my family’s coming and right now I’m busy putting together our Christmas menu. I have 3 types of dessert on my list now, nothing else.

I know we’re all busy with Christmas shopping, but we should not neglect the art of gift wrapping! I’ve put together some gift tags for you to download and print on card stock. I’ll be using these myself and will be pairing the with some kraft paper-covered gifts. I felt like sprinkling confetti all around me because of the excitement, so here are some confetti-inspired tags to complete your presents. These will look great on gold wrapping paper, too, if you’re into some glam!

You can get your free printable gift tags here. Share the love!

Giveaway and Launch: 2015 Calligraphy Calendar

Calligraphy Calendar via Happy Hands Project

After weeks of painting, writing, designing and test-printing, I’m happy to let you all know that the Happy Hands Project’s (first ever) calendar is now available for pre-order!

I wanted to come up with a design that I would display on my desk myself. I came up with these hand-painted, hand-lettered calendars with minimalism in mind – and what’s the best way to achieve that? By going black and white, of course!

Calligraphy Calendar via Happy Hands Project

All sheets will be loose and printed on premium white card stock. You will receive 13 cards altogether – that’s 12 monthly calendar sheets plus one calligraphy print to top it off. You can mount it on a small easel like what I’ve done, or hang it with bulldog clips. You can tape it on the wall with wash tape. I’ve given this calendar much thought and love, I hope you like it, too!

Pre-order the 2015 Calendar here.

Calligraphy Calendar via Happy Hands Project

Calligraphy Calendar by Happy Hands Project

AND NOW… THE 2015 CALENDAR GIVEAWAY!

Because I’m super excited to get this calendar project going, I’m giving away 2 sets of this calendar to 2 of my lovely readers. I will ship this out wherever you’re located so come and join in. Just leave your deets below – there are many ways to win – and ask your friends to join in, too! The giveaway ends at 11:59pm on 17 November 2014 (Singapore local time).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Font Fancy: Vermandois + Free Desktop Wallpaper

The moment I saw this handwritten font from Magpie Paper Works, it was love at first sight. Vermandois is a lovely work of art that makes me want to wish I write the same way. The jagged strokes and varying spacing just adds to its organic charm – and you know me, I’m a sucker for anything handmade. To put this beauty to good use, I created this desktop wallpaper which I hope you’ll love! Even when we’re just sitting in front of our computers and doing what should be done, it’s nice to be reminded to go on an adventure once in a while.

Let's Be Adventurers Desktop Wallpaper via Happy Hands Project

Download your free desktop wallpaper here. Want more freebies using Magpie Paper Works fonts? Here’s a botanical wall art using Saissant I made a few months back. Spread the love!

Beginners’ Calligraphy Workshop {October Edition}

Modern Calligraphy Workshops via Happy Hands Project

I’m still on a high from last Saturday’s Happy Hour Workshop! I think this is the first time that we had 3 Michelles in the group! Who would think modern calligraphy drills would actually be fun? I was teaching myself years ago and drills were a chore (albeit necessary). I’m still quite amazed at how patient these ladies were, even when there were quite a few scratchy sounds, ink blobs and spills.

Modern Calligraphy Workshops via Happy Hands Project

 

They were all so into writing, it was difficult for me to coax them out of their seats to have lunch! Finally, the smell of Quiche Lorraine and pastries lured them downstairs and we all enjoyed a hearty meal (thanks to Carpenter & Cook, as always!).

I should’ve known that this group is really into learning modern calligraphy. When I opened the registration for this class, all seats were snatched in minutes. I was in awe!

Modern Calligraphy Workshops via Happy Hands Project

I’ve been receiving a lot of emails regarding the upcoming workshops – looks like everyone wants to get into the craft before the year ends! Great news – I’ll be having one session specially for those wait listed from this October session. Another will be for subscribers of the Workshop Newsletter, so leave your email address on the right sidebar to get the first dibs. I cannot wait to meet all of you, and I promise to have more classes in 2015.

I’m sending another shout out to Heaven In A Wildflower for having us at her lovely, lovely, lovely home studio.

Season’s Greetings Clear Stamps from Mama Elephant

I learned from the ladies of Mama Elephant that it’s never too early for Christmas. Just recently, they posted the ‘First Looks’ of the soon-to-be-released Christmas stamps with my brush lettering. How exciting! It’s still hard for me to believe that my hand-lettering has been transformed into these clear stamps. I think it’s really awesome.

I may not have a knack for designing greeting cards using Mama Elephant stamps yet, but I need to take the plunge soon. One of the things I’m going to work on before the year ends! Here are a couple of ‘First Looks’ from their blog, and you can read the full post over here.

Mama Elephant Christmas Stamps via Happy Hands Project

They ship these goodies internationally, too!

The Happy Hour Workshop: August Session

Last August’s Beginners’ Modern Calligraphy Workshop was super fun! What I love about these classes is meeting different individuals from different fields, all eager to learn a new craft. Some are even eager to take an advanced class (which I’m preparing for, by the way – thanks for the feedback!). Here are the photos from The Happy Hour!

Venue: Studio @ Heaven In A Wildflower  |  Catering: Carpenter & Cook

Calligraphy Workshop Aug2014 via Happy Hands Project

Calligraphy Workshop Aug2014 via Happy Hands Project

Snail Mail Writing – Bringing Back the Old Days

When I was in elementary school, 4th grade perhaps, I had a pen pal from the U.K. Her name was Tara, though unfortunately I don’t remember much about her! All I know is I probably got her pen pal ad from a kiddie magazine from school and decided to be ‘pen friends’ with her. Who would’ve thought I’ll be back to writing snail mail after a very loooong time?

I just got some snail mail from my friend Paola from Spain, and I have to say that every envelope she sends is full of goodies inside. I always light up when I see something from her in our mailbox! I remember my husband saying, ‘I don’t like you. Why do you always get fancy mail?’

Snail Mail Writing via Happy Hands Project

I wasn’t looking for a pen pal last year, actually. I wanted to join a Christmas crafty mail exchange from a blog in the U.S., but unfortunately all of them wanted to exchange mail locally. There were just a handful of us from other countries and I was paired with Paola. Then the exchange didn’t happen, because of high shipping rates outside of the EU (and shipping to Singapore would be exorbitant). Well, don’t worry, I didn’t take it too hard. I looked for another mail swap and exchanged my calligraphy with a wax canvas apron by Anhaica Bag Works, but that’s another story.

Snail Mail Writing via Happy Hands Project

To my surprise, I still got mail from Paola (full of goodies, albeit lightweight) and we started exchanging mail since then! A few days ago I got a polaroid post card from Madrid and a paper garland, and before that I got some stickers and tea. I’m contemplating what to give to her this time, and I’m excited to put together something nice! I have a few other pen pals right now and I’ve just sent out a few handmade calligraphy greeting cards to them. It’s also a great way to put my calligraphy and lettering skills to good use. It’s great practice, too! How about you, would you consider sending some snail mail love?

Eleanor Winters Copperplate Workshop in Singapore

This is the absolute, honest truth. Attending an intense, 2-day copperplate workshop with Eleanor Winters has got to be the highlight of my calligraphy journey for 2014. I’ve had her book, Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy, for a couple of years now but there was a lack of motivation in me to start learning Copperplate on my own.

Eleanor Winters Singapore via Happy Hands Project

 

As a self-taught calligrapher, I’ve spent 2 years to find my own style. I’ve always practiced and have been happy to finally find a style that I could call my own. I tried to study Copperplate from Eleanor’s book, but I had no idea if what I was doing was right, or even acceptable.

Call it fate, or just pure luck, but I was very fortunate to be get a seat on Eleanor Winters’ series of calligraphy workshops here in Singapore. I was so excited that Wednesday morning in August, oblivious to the heat and crowd. Clutching my bread and coffee, I eagerly made my way to The Letter J Supply studio. And for the next 2 days, I was a bright-eyed student, ready to learn all that I can.

 

Eleanor Winters Singapore via Happy Hands Project

Eleanor Winters Singapore via Happy Hands Project

 

We were a small group of 8, each one of them an interesting character. During the class we were all mostly quiet, either writing or listening. Eleanor was an awesome teacher. She was very detailed in teaching the letter forms and the variations that we can do with it, while adhering to the rules of Copperplate. The concept may be strict, but the results are definitely beautiful. Having Eleanor beside me was very beneficial because I found out instantly if what I was doing was right. I became comfortable with an oblique pen, and even the tools that weren’t working for me then just started working great! So I guess Eleanor brought with her some magic calligraphy dust and sprinkled it on all of us when we weren’t looking.

Eleanor Winters Singapore via Happy Hands Project

 

I feel that I’ve grown quite a lot as a calligrapher after taking the class with Eleanor. What I love about her is that she’s all business when it comes to teaching, but was always ready to give constructive criticism. She was always willing to answer any questions we may have. So was the 2-day copperplate workshop tiring and intense? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes. Would I do it again? Definitely!

Eleanor Winters Singapore via Happy Hands Project

 

Eleanor Winters will be back in Singapore (gasp!) in January 2015, and will be teaching different calligraphy classes at the Letter J Supply studio. A super huge thank you to fellow calligrapher Joanne for hosting the workshop series!

Review: Walnut Ink Crystals

Walnut Ink Calligraphy via Happy Hands Project

I’ve purchased my walnut ink crystals months ago when I went on an online shopping binge for calligraphy supplies. I finally had the time last weekend to open my jar and do a little test. I was surprised to see that the ‘crystals’ were not the coarse crystals I thought it would be. Confession: I imagined them to be big and coarse crystals, similar to bath salts. In reality, it’s coarse, dark, and in powder form – which actually makes sense as it has to be mixed with water to be able to use it as ink.

So what exactly are walnut ink crystals? It’s dry powder made from English peat moss (not walnuts!) that is mixed with water to use for calligraphy, painting and staining. Writing with it creates varied tones, from deep browns to light sepia.

Walnut Ink Calligraphy via Happy Hands Project

Making the ink itself is easy as pie for there is no perfect formula. I used about a teaspoon of the powder to half a cup of lukewarm water, which resulted in a deep brown tint. Mix more water to the mixture and you get a lighter colour. You may use tap water as well, but lukewarm water dissolves the crystals faster. Just have a small jar ready and put in your preferred amount of crystals, fill the jar with water, and mix till there are no solid crystals left. Use as you would use regular ink for calligraphy. A little goes a long way!

I was a bit wary about how thin the mixture turned out to be. In my experience, thin, watery inks are synonymous to feathering. But I proved myself wrong. Oh, how I loved writing with it! It was super smooth, and I adore how the hues vary the more I write. I had no problems with the ink flow at all. I swear I couldn’t stop writing with it! I used it on my Daler Rowney layout pad and have yet to try it on different types of paper, but so far, so good! You have to try it for yourself.

Walnut Ink Calligraphy via Happy Hands Project

The walnut ink crystals were purchased from Paper & Ink Arts, written on a Daler Rowney layout pad with a Nikko G nib.