Workspace

Workspace Wednesday: getting started with dip pens

As you may know, I started using a dip pen for calligraphy a while ago. I collected a lot of informations, being a newbie myself, and I thought I'd compile a little introduction guide, if anyone else is interested in giving this a go. So here goes!

Basic beginner kit: 

  • a pen holder  
  • at least one nib
  • a bottle of ink 
  • paper 
  • a cup of water

What to choose?

Ink: according to the majority, the best ink to use is India Ink. It is the thickest and darkest ink you can find, so it has great yield on paper. On the other hand, it can be quite expensive, so for a beginner, any ink will do - as I can assure you, you're going to waste quite a bit practicing.

Paper: a good one to practice with, is smooth bristol paper, to avoid pen catching that may occur using other types of textured paper. Any sketchbook paper will also work, but if they're too lightweight, the ink might be absorbed too quickly and bleed through. 

Let's get started!

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Once you've gathered all the materials, you're ready to go. 

The first thing to get hold of, is how to dip your pen; dip it just enough so that the ink comes up to the breathing hole on the nib. As you remove it the from the ink bottle, slide the tip on the edge of it to get rid of the excess ink.

Then just write like you would with a normal pen. That's pretty obvious, but the convex side of the nib must always face up. When the ink runs out, dip the pen again as you did before, and continue writing - after some practice you'll be able to anticipate when the pen needs to be re-dipped. 
There's no universal rule on how to hold the pen, it depends on what kind of lettering you want to create. However, you can try applying the pen to the paper with different pressures to experiment with the line weight. 

EXTRA TIPS:

  • When you are done writing, always remember to dip the nib into your cup of water and wipe it off with a piece of cloth to dry them completely (nibs are made of steel and they may get rusty if you leave them wet).
  • Some nibs are given a waxy coating to protect them from rust. However, before you use them, you need to remove this coating so that the ink will stick to the nib when you dip it. If that's the case of your nibs, you can remove it by holding the nib over the flame of a lighter for a couple seconds.

I hope this will be helpful, or that will make at least some of you interested in giving dip pens a go β˜Ί & please do let me know if you have any tips of your own!

Ζ’. β™₯

SmashBook Memories

A few years ago, a lovely tumblr friend surprised me with a K&Company SmashBook, a scrapbook impossible to find in Italy, or even just in Europe without incurring into crazy shipping charges.
Needless to say, I was super pumped about it, as I never scrapped before and was really eager to try, even more because the SmashBook has patterned pages, which really help me with my "fear of the blank". 

My approach to it was to dedicate each two pages spread to a special occasion - such as a trip -, or to a penpal and the things they sent me.
I was able to keep up with it quite constantly for a while, until there weren't any pages left they I liked (which isn't a smart or rightful decision to make, but it's that easy for me to get uninspired, sob).

Since one of my goals for 2015 is to keep a scrapbook again, I thought it would be a nice idea to share this old one with you, also hoping that it will inspire me to get into my new one. 
Here's some of my favorite details from it:

Do you have a scrapbook? If so, what do you use it for?
Now more than ever I need inspiration, so if you wrote about your scrapbook or have any scrapper blogger to suggest, please do link it in a comment!

Ζ’. xx

Workspace Wednesday: my dip pen

As you may know, hand lettering is my current love. So far I haven't explored many stiles yet, but thanks to a gift I received this past Christmas (shoutout to my boyfriend for indulging on my stationery needs β™₯), I can now delve into the world of dipping pen calligraphy!

I've only had this pen for roughly 3 weeks, but I fell in love with it so much that I already ordered a bunch of colored inks, and a few new nibs to experiment with different styles. Sure is, it can be a little frustrating at the beginning to get the hang of it. I have no problems with fountain pens, but having to dose the ink manually here, has been quite challenging.

Being new to this, I've also been reading a lot about how to use it, and I'm thinking of posting some tips and tricks here as I go, so that if any of you is interested in picking up this hobby we can learn together if you'd like! ☺

Have you ever tried using a dip pen?

Ζ’. xx

Freebie Friday: 2015 Ombre Calendar

Last year I made it a new year's resolution to get more organized, because although I hate admitting that my mother's right, I am quite messy and forgetful.

The first step I took in that direction was to buy a filofax, and my organization skills have greatly improved since. Another thing I realized really helped, was to have a small wall calendar right on my bedroom door, so that if I needed to remember something (an appointment, a special date etc) I had it right in front of me before going out, even if I was on a rush.

That being said, I decided to make my own calendar this year and thought I'd share it with you as well!

You can do like me and print it to use it as a wall calendar, or print it smaller to fit your organizer; either way, I hope it will come in handy to some of you β˜Ί

β†’ Click here to download it β†

Enjoy! Ζ’. xx β™₯

BOOK REVIEW: BOOK FOR PAPER LOVERS vol 2

Flow Magazine’s β€œBook for Paper Lovers” vol 2

If you don't already know, Flow Magazine is a Dutch magazine (but with English editions as well) that is all about paper, creative inspiration, stationery and all that good stuff. Last year they released a book titled Book For Paper Lovers, and the second edition came out on November 18th, and of course I had to put my hands on it. I reviewed the first one here, and today I thought I'd give you a quick rundown of what's inside this one in case you may want to pick this up for Christmas.

If the first book left a lot of us speechless for the huge quantity of paper goodies included, this one will double, if not triple up that number, since the graphics included are even prettier than the preceding edition.

Something that makes this book amazing as it is, is the chance of flipping through the pages and discover and admire one by one all the cutesy stickers, the letter paper, the fun craft projects.. so I won't be including lots of pictures in this post, you're gonna have to know just enough about it, and you're gonna have to get it to uncover this magic paper world!

Some of the things you're gonna find inside include: mini postcards, buntings, tags, letter paper, envelopes… address labels, beautiful quotes, wrapping paper, quirky and interesting crafts projects, such as an adorable raccoon paper doll.. and much more!

Bottom Line

Price: ~$19 USD
My vote: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

If you're a paper junkie and need a versatile paper source in your life, get this book, seriously, what are you waiting for?! It also makes a wonderful gift for the paper lover in your life β™₯

If you have this book, please let me know how you're planning on using it, and which paper goods are your favorite!

Ζ’. xx

Workspace Wednesday: desk highlights

I'm one of those people who's constantly swamped in chaos, and since it's pretty rare that my workspace is all tidy and organized, I decided to take a few pictures and show you my favourite bits.

I love:

  • My visual board - which includes a mixture of my own art and lots of inspiring bits sent to me by my penpals;
  • My little IKEA wooden cabinet - where I keep my small canvases, paper scraps, and watercolor supplies;
  • The palmistry hand from UO I gave myself for my birthday last year.
  • My huge wooden F that hangs above my computer.
  • All my jars and mugs - I don't know, I just have a thing for containers I guess Β―\_(ツ)_/Β― 

What do you love most about your space? β˜Ί

Ζ’. xx

Workspace Wednesday: future space ninja

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Where do you get inspiration from?

I'm someone who's constantly in search of creative and captivating individuals (online & offline) to surround myself with. They're my primary source of inspiration, whether they inspire me ideas, or actual art, as in this case.

One of my biggest guilty pleasures is YouTube; I really enjoy watching a few beauty and fashion vloggers although I rarely show this interest online.

Anyway, last month, one of my fave girls on the platform, SoothingSista, posted a video about Halloween costumes ideas and one of them really intrigued me and I decided to make my rendition of it. 

What do you think?

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Who or what inspires your art? I'd love to know!

Thanks for reading,

Ζ’. xx