Category Archives: Getting Creative

Personal & Handmade Holiday Gifts

14th December 2014

It seems every holiday season, for as long as I can remember, I have had a mile long to-do list of DIY Christmas gifts. When I discovered Etsy, it was if a whole new world of inspiration and even more perfectly designed crafts was opened to me (you mean I can buy this in exchange for my feeble Pinterest fail?).

Flash forward a few years, and the combination of a few evenings of craftiness with friends, perusing Etsy shops and local favorite Atlanta boutiques makes Christmas shopping seems a lot less daunting – even with ten days to go.

Here are a few of the gifts on my list for events past and present, including a few that made appearances in our wedding.

handmade holiday

/1/Linen Laid & Felt Journal. Shop owner Katie is a friend from college, now living in Nashville. We were thrilled to have one of her books in our wedding this November. /2/ 2015 Calendar from The Postman’s Knock. Since beginning calligraphy myself about a year ago, Lindsey has been one of my favorite to follow on Instagram. /3/ Gold Bar Necklace from Edor. I’ve ordered from this shop twice now for friends, I just love the small bar with a monogram or name as a personal gift you can wear every day. /4/ Not quite a gift (maybe for yourself), but I can’t get enough of these tulle skirts from Kellie Falconer. Paired with a sweater, they make a great Christmas party or NYE look. Despite protests from my now husband, I rocked an ivory skirt for our rehearsal dinner.

I’ll follow up with where I land on the actual crafts, but for now, these seem like great places to start.

PS looking for last minutes gift ideas in Atlanta and don’t have time for shipping? Here are a few of my go-to local Atlanta shops.

/1/ Krog Street Market /2/ Sugarboo & Co /3/ Kudzu Antiques

If you’re a small business owner, check out Kabbage’s Holiday Planning page, full of tips for the season. Kabbage is an online provider of small business loans and serves as a resource for entrepreneurs to thrive in their local communities. While the contents of this post are in no way intentionally connected to Kabbage, their model is one I very much respect. 


Digitizing & designing: a wedding invitation suite with calligraphy

13th September 2014

After months of dabbling, sketching, and designing, our wedding invites are finally printed, stuffed and on their way. With the help of Bold American in the wedding decor department, our wedding DIY projects have been quite minimal, which for this self-proclaimed DIY addict was a bit of a surprise. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been without any DIY-ness. I decided pretty early on that I wanted to take on our invitation suite myself. This escalated into a multi-month love/hate relationship with hundreds of envelopes, ink and hours in Adobe Creative Suite. Last week it all paid off, when these beauties arrived from Wedding Paper Divas. invite suite dennihy I’m still gushing over here as to how they turned out. For the script, I knew I wanted to use my own calligraphy, as I had already invested in classes, practice and all of those envelopes. So how hard could digitizing handwriting be? Well, it turns out very. Basically, it goes from scanning at a very high resolution, cleaning everything up in Photoshop and finally vertorizing the image in Illustrator. I found a few great tutorials online, including this one, but it turned out Molly Thorpe’s Skillshare class was my saving grace. I already have her book, and swear by it for letter variations, so it didn’t come as a surprise that the class did not disappoint. Here’s a handy dandy gif to show the difference in each step. calligraphy gif It took some getting used to, but I found the more time spent in Photoshop, the less I spent in Illustrator. To get the thicker downstrokes I was looking for, I found it required a very flexible nib and then a setting in Illustrator that would allow me to use the live paint bucket tool. For the actual design, I knew I wanted to compliment the navy envelopes I had ordered from Paper and More months earlier (to give myself time to actually hand address 250 envelopes for the first time), and I was thrilled when I came across this Photoshop brush set from Creature Comforts that was exactly what I envisioned to pull in our gold, navy and fall theme. From there, everything came together pretty quickly and while I already adored Wedding Paper Divas from our Save the Dates, I was excited to learn they have an upload your own design service in addition to their beautiful designs.


Whew, mark this one in the done category. A very big, flourished and inked check mark. Two months to go!

Disclaimer: a big thank you goes out to the team at Wedding Paper Divas for providing me with the printed invitation suite free of charge. However, all opinions, excitement and love is 100% authentic and my own.

calligraphy set up

Learning Copperplate Calligraphy

6th August 2014

My most anticipated wedding DIY is finally starting to come to life and I couldn’t not be more excited.

I’ve always had a passion for print and design and after about a year of trying to replicate what I thought was copperplate style of calligraphy and spending countless hours searching for online classes, I finally bit the bullet and enrolled in a five week crash course program with Sam Flax here in Atlanta.

calligraphy addresses

While I still have a long way to go, taking on calligraphy has certainly been a test of patience and practice.

calligraphy practice

Nibs: I’ve learned quickly which nibs I love and when to use each. A Nikko G is still my front runner but a more flexible nib works wonders for thick downstrokes and thin upstrokes, which translates nicely for digitizing.

Grip: It is clear to see how my style of holding the pen has changed. I’ve realized that great lettering is a result of shapes and pressure – not your handwriting style.

Paper: Quality paper is worth the investment. A calligrapher who can write on kraft paper without snagging is my hero.

calligraphy envelopes

Finally, after nearly 100 practice sheets, five months of testing and goodness knows how many hours, I am bringing my own wedding envelopes to life and can proudly say they are now more than 75% finished.

I cannot wait to have the babies  in the mail in little less than a month. For those of you receiving one of these in the mail, do me a favor and linger a little longer before you rip it open.  I do hope they are as loved by our guests, as I’ve loved working on them over the past few months.

I’m excited to continue to hone my skills to start adapting to larger print pieces, send pretty snail mail and maybe even help out with someone else’s big day in the future.

Next on the horizon is digitizing my writing to use on our actual invitation. As a little secret, the draft is done and I’m finally pretty pleased with a process, stay tuned for details that adventure very soon.