Class Recap: Modern Calligraphy with Paulene Cruse of Leen MachineCalligraphy

No matter the words, they always look better in beautiful handwriting, right? At least they do with calligraphy. 

Last night Paulene of Leen Machine Calligraphy  taught a Modern Calligraphy Class.   

Each student was provided with the tools needed to get started on their new skill (pen, nibs, ink, wipes, and guidelines). 

First, they practiced making basic strokes which was followed by them tracing the lower and uppercase letters of the alphabet. 

Once they were comfortable, they started to freehand and create their own personal style. 

Playing around with white ink.

Throughout the class Paulene instructed the students on how to properly hold the pen, ink flow, and provided them with sources on where to buy ink and nibs. 

Happy Students!

Be sure to check out the other class being offered here


Thrifted Sisters and I Made a New Top!

This past weekend I went with Jordan to Thrifted Sisters Pop Up Sale. I wasn't too familiar with them but a quick search through their Instagram feed showed they were definitely my style. 

The lovely ladies behind Thrifted Sisters. 
Shannon-left, Jeanette-right

Animal Planters

This scarf caught my eye. 

I fell in love with this coat. 

I even had Jordan try it on. 

I left with this black dress(which I later discovered was handmade!):

And this stretch knit fabric:

Which was transformed into a top the following day:

Natural Dyeing: Purple Cabbage Outcome

It has been a while since I have experimented with natural dyeing. I had a head of purple cabbage in the freezer, just waiting to be used. I finally took it out, let it defrost in an old container, added a little water, and let it be for about a day.

Before this, I prepped unbleached natural cotton fabric in an alum bath and let it dry completely. Then I wrapped it up, not really caring what pattern it would form, dunked it in cabbage and let it stay in the fridge for a day or two. 

Next, I thoroughly hand washed the fabric until the water turned clear(ish)

I decided to make a basic top with it and I am very happy with the results.

The back:


I Built a TV Stand!

It looks more like a table but the main purpose for it is to be a TV Stand. I did not have any directions. I just made it up as I went, working with the material I had. I must say I am very happy with the way it turned out.

         Before sanding and painting.

Ta da!

DIY Casualty 

I added more paneling to the front and I feel it gave it more of a "finished" look. 

I have to figure out what to do with the wire situation.  I did get some great suggestions: add fabric, add another piece of wood, install a wire basket, a hole at the top and run the wire through it. I think I'm going to try to run all the wires through some tubing (probably PVC piping, painted) and use wire ties. I don't want to drill any holes or add another piece of wood because the stand is at a great height to be used as a work table one day (especially for cutting fabric).


Kusudama Origami Flowers

Yep, another craft picked up. But in my defense, this craft uses items I already have: paper, a boning tool, and my hands.

Kusudama Origami is the folding of paper to create flowers which are used to form a ball or bouquet.  

 I took this class along with Rachel (who runs our local Yelp who is just as crafts-obsessed as I am. She and I met when I took the bookbinding class and we just clicked. We also discovered we both get competitive when it comes to crafts. We both want ours to be the best (Mine was better. Duh). 

First there was the practice round:

Lots of folding 

To create one petal. 

Glued together to make a flower. 

The flower I created.

An arrangement the teacher made for a wedding. 

Various types of paper can be used: book pages, music sheets, wrapping paper, scrapbook paper. 

This video shows you how to create the petals to make a flower:

I have a story that is too great (to me) to not tell. While in the class, I'm not really sure what was happening, I hear Rachel sing "Rip iiiiittt!" You know, the same way they sing "Whip iiiiiiitt!!!" in Pitch Perfect. My head popped up so quickly as I let out a loud gasp. Another bonding moment between us. I LOVE that movie. Not a Pitch Perfect fan?


Book Reviews

My reading has slowed down a bit in the last few months but I'm back on it. For now. 

The Fault in Our Stars (book and movie review)

I constantly saw this book popping up in all my social media feeds so naturally I had to check it out for myself. I laughed, I cried, laughed some more, then I REALLY cried. 

It was a quick read and easy to get into. When a book is based around someone dying you tend to know how the story may end but the author does a great job of keeping the reader engaged. 

I really enjoyed the movie. All the same emotions came back. Actually, I had emotions just seeing the previews for the movie. I ugly cried in the theatre and my sister laughed at me. Since she was sitting on my left I wiped the tears from my left side and let them flow from my right. Can I add she cried when we saw the Hunger Games and I didn't laugh at her. Mainly because I was too busy crying myself. 

Deep Thoughts From a Hollywood Blonde by Jennie Garth

Hmmm. Ya know...Kelly was never my fave on 90210 so it's no surprise I did not care too much for her book. Some of her timelines and descriptions on what happened during the show were a bit off. Granted, in the book she mentions she has the worst memory but OBVIOUSLY she had some help writing this book. Where is the fact checker?  Everything was kind of grazed over: her time on 90210, her marriage and divorce, post-90210 and her life now. I learned absolutely nothing new from this book. I would pass on this one. 

The One and Only by Emily Giffin

Within the first chapter I knew how this was going to go. Yet, I still read through the 400-plus pages. There was a lot of football talk in this book as it is centered around fictional Walker University, their coach (Coach Carr) and Shea Rigsby, who works for Walker in the Athletic Department and is best friends with Lucy, Coach Carr's daughter. Towards the end I skimmed a few pages because I do not care to read a play by play of a football game. But, I get it. Giffin is a southern girl, she has a huge fan base in the south, and football is huge (HUGE) down here. I just wanted to get to the end to see if my predictions were right. This book along with Love the One You're With are in my bottom two of all her books. I have said this before and I will continue to say this: what I love about Emily Giffin is how great she can tell a story and they are very real, never outlandish. I will be reading her next one. 

Jason Priestly: A Memoir by Jason Priestly

Yup, another book by an actor from 90210. Look, I am ride or die for that show and I will read any memoir/tell-all book any actor from that show wants to write. 

I had a love/hate relationship with Brandon but I am here to tell you I have nothing but love for Jason  Priestly. I liked the layout of the book; not always in chronological order but more like short stories. Each chapter was only around six pages long but they were great and straight to the point. He also did not waste anytime talking about a boring childhood no one cares about. I hate when they do that. Unless you are Tori Spelling. That girl's whole life is cray.     

Forget six degrees of Kevin Bacon. Jason Priestly knows everyone, EVERY. ONE. Including my love, Brad Pitt, who used to sleep in Jason's bed in LA when Jason would travel back to Canada for work. I did not realize how much behind-the-scenes directing he did on 90210 as well as other shows and movies so it was fun to read about that and learn how REALLY talented and passionate he is about his craft. And throughout the whole book (and his life) he stays very humble. Never braggy or over dramatic. Another fun part of reading these memoirs are the photos included. THANK YOU, Jason for including the BEST behind-the-scenes photo I have ever seen from any show. 

Speaking of behind-the-scenes, have you heard Lifetime is filming an unauthorized Saved By the Bell Movie?! 

Here for it!  I never read Dustin Diamond's book (because he turned out to be a skeeze, ugh) but I have read articles which picked out the best parts. If they are basing this movie off of that book then it's going to be a good one. 


Handmade in SC: Sally and Ashlee of SOwens Designs

       (Image via SOwens Facebook)

I met Ashlee while waiting in line for food at the Sustainable Midlands Market. I commented on the bow tie she was wearing and asked to take a picture of it. 

Real story, I first took a photo only of the bow tie and she called me out and asked why I didn't take a picture of her whole face. I instantly liked her.  

She invited me over to her booth and once I made it over I started snapping away! I loved their jewelry. Especially the wooden pieces! 

Getting started, experimenting, and expanding. 
Sally started out by making earrings with bottle caps and while doing a show she met Ashlee who suggested she make them into studs. At first, Sally used buttons (and still does) to help create a surface to mount the bottle caps but realizing most of the buttons used were vintage and had a story to tell (on their own) a new product was created. 

         (Image via SOwens Facebook)

         (Image via SOwens Facebook)

Ashlee was going away to Thailand and knowing she was really into wooden jewelry, Sally gave her a pair of puzzle pieces telling her the two of them (Ashlee and Sally) "fit together."


Sally started to collaborate with a company to help create custom wooden earrings (her first pair she designed were diamonds).  Working with wood expanded their customer base as wood is versatile, traditional, and classy. 

          (Image via SOwens Facebook)

          (Image SOwens Facebook)

Inspiration for the wooden designs come from customers (one requested cameras) or their own personal adventures. They now work with a wood burner to make the pieces more custom. 

          (Image via SOwens Facebook)

While their main business is made up of earrings, they also experiment with other items. Ashlee had found a vintage clip-on bow tie at Soda City and came up with the idea to start making them.   They started to bounce ideas of of each other and created slimmer bow ties which are geared towards women. As well as bow ties they also create aprons and cup sleeves. Sally was taught by her grandmother to sew by hand. As an homage to her grandmother, Sally will continue to stitch items by hand only. 

            (Image SOwens Facebook)

Branding and Marketing


What I love about this company is their passion for HANDmade. Including their branding.
The photo above inspired the image used on the back of their business card. Each business card is hand stamped. The HANDmade/DIY aspect of their business is very important them. 

Right now their focus is to start selling at local boutiques locally and other cities (Can now be found at Salty's and Bohemian!), farmers markets, and other craft shows. 

sidenote: Sally and Ashley are the biggest marketing tool SOwens Designs has. I have yet to see a photo of them (or in person) NOT wearing one of their pieces. 

Their main suggestion was to take all the money you make (from your business) and reinvest it back into the business. Keep the money separate. Whether it's PAYPAL or a cigar box, build your funds. 

SOwens Designs


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