‘Tis the season to be thankful

Khang and I went on a long-planned camping trip with friends towards the end of September. It was wonderful to say the least. I mention it because at that time in Virginia hints of fall were beginning to peek through.

Then in early October we snuck away for our Fourth Annual Fall Hike for Christmas card photos. Here are ones from previous years!

But honestly, our main goal was to experience the full effects of fall in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. And gosh, it did not disappoint. I’m sharing photos of that trip here.

Rewind to now and fall is in full swing in Charlotte! So it’s almost been 2 months of a glorious fall for us!

It feels like the loooooongest fall season of my life!

And it hit me…why don’t we do this every single year?? Because y’all, fall is and has always been my favorite season.

Growing up in MS only allowed maybe a full week  or two of fallish weather (or what I thought was a fall). Hah!

Excuse me while I secretly plot the same for next year (and every year thereafter).

I doubt Khang will even complain and dub it a genius idea.

I enjoy change and the change of a season is one of my favorite things about Mother Earth.

But with fall, it’s not only the change of the weather, air or trees that I love so much.

It’s the distinct reminder for all the good that has already taken place before the year comes to a close.

Unfortunately there was and continues to be a lot of bad in 2020.

And it throws me into a deeper appreciation for life and the people I love in it.

Tis’ the season to be thankful indeed.

So I thought it would be fun to include more photos than I’d usually share from this year’s annual fall hike.

As always, Khang’s patience with me while experimenting with Hans was much appreciated. I’m excited to send out our Christmas card this year. It turned out better than expected because we felt like idiots running back and forth. Well mostly just me.

I liked this spot so much that we came back  for a second round of photos after hiking Crabtree Falls.

Beautiful cascading waterfall! And a very enjoyable and slippery (from recent rainstorm) hike.


I almost broke my rule and thought about using two photos for our card with this one too but ultimately decided against it.

These were taken on our sunset hike to Hawksbill Outlook. GORGEOUS VIEWS!! I almost picked the last one for our card too.

Mainly landscape portraits of Grandfather Mountain. Like WOW! His majesty reminded me of The Grand Canyon. Like poetry.

Last photo taken with Hans and it’s of Khang overlooking the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Perhaps my favorite part of our entire trip that’s not pictured was driving with the sunroof open and taking in all the strikingly beautiful fall foliage with Khang next to me.

Le sigh. Until we meet again.

Thanks for reading and following along

with me,

Jules.

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Christmas Card + Calligraphy Inspiration

Our very first official Christmas card! Yay!!

Last year, we didn’t bother.

And I almost didn’t this year, but we got a cute shot during our Asheville camping trip earlier this fall that worked out perfectly!

I think it represents us well. Hah!

I hand addressed all the envelopes and, of course, I was reminded of how much I love love calligraphy.

 

Disclaimer: Not our real address.

It’s especially fun because I get to customize everything like the colors and greetings! After much debate (with myself), I decided on “Blessings from” and “Kindly Deliver to” with a tilt.

There’s something about someone’s personal handwriting on paper that makes a letter or card so much more special.

This is probably why I’ve kept every single card and poem Khang has ever written me!

Makes me sad that some schools don’t even teach writing or cursive anymore.

I vow to teach my children this lost art. 

So this is my attempt to try to inspire as many people out there to try calligraphy!

If you’re skeptical or doubting yourself–DON’T!

Here are two practice sheets from my very first attempt back in ’14.

It was rough, y’all. I waited two weeks until I tried again because I was so discouraged!

I did a comparison from that first time to present day. Look at the difference! I remember hating the letter “B”, now I love it! 

Feeeeling the possibilities?! Well here are the basics to get started:

  1. This book (I started with this one and its great for other handlettering techniques like chalk or paint) or this book (great for just calligraphy and provides different options for each letter).
  2. Modern Calligraphy set at Micheal’s- Recently saw this set and it has my Top Three Favorite nibs! And it comes with a little ink too.
  3.  Calligraphy paper– Can be bought at Hobby Lobby too! You cannot use normal notebook paper because the ink will bleed.

That’s it! I am very practical especially when it comes to my wallet or starting a new hobby. As you get more comfortable and confident then you can explore different pen handles, nibs, and even colors!

Over the past two years, I’ve learned a few things that have helped me. Of course, I’m no professional and everyone is different. Do what works for you, always!

Few tips & tricks of mine:

  1. If your nib is brand spanking new, then it’ll have the factory-applied lacquer (prevents rust) coating on it. It’ll need to be removed before usage. Use warm water, soap detergent, and an old soft toothbrush. It will help with better ink flow.
  2. I like to run my nibs through a flame for 1-2 seconds just to make sure that waxy coating in gone but you don’t need to do that if you already wash and rinse the nib as stated above.
  3.  Always always dry your nib after cleaning–it will rust!
  4. Do not death-grip your handle. It takes very little pressure for the ink to flow and it’ll help with smoother transitions with all the curves and loops.
  5. Don’t get too caught up on making your calligraphy look like someone else’s. Everyone’s hand-writing is different so your calligraphy will be different too, which is a beautiful and unique thing!
  6.  Don’t forget to take breaks or your fingers will cramp up and you’ll just get frustrated and waste your precious (& expensive) ink and paper.
  7.  Once you use up all the space on one side of your calligraphy paper, wait for it to dry, and use the other side too for practice.
  8. Practice, practice, practice! It will not look pretty or the way you want it to at first but it will get better. I’m still learning after 2 years!

Just remember: Anytime you are making a “downward stroke” then the line will be thicker because you will be applying more pressure, which causes the “split” on the nib (tip of pen) to widen.

See below for examples.

Notice the space on the nib. See how it’s wider? This will create thicker lines.

And then “put it together”.

Just giving you a small idea of what you expect. The book(s) will be very helpful. If you like videos, then there are video tutorials too on Youtube!

I’m more of a reader.

Please feel free to ask me any questions! Or if you need clarification. I will try my best to answer questions or help in anyway so that your “Calligraphy Dreams” come true!

I promise it’ll be worth it in the end. I almost didn’t want to mail out our Christmas cards because they were so beautiful!

As always, thanks for reading and following along

with me,

Jules.

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