On calligraphy and keeping in touch

From a thoughtful blog

"I have always loved practicing my handwriting and will doodle on any available surface (I love those paper tablecloths they give you at restaurants like Macaroni Grill).  The weird thing is, I write my name over and over . . . and over and over and over.  So in the end, it looks like I am completely obsessed with myself.  A friend in high school, upon seeing my Spanish notes covered in Amber Michele Sawatzky Amber Michele Sawatzky Amber Michele Sawatzky Amber Michele Amber Michele Sawatzky. . . once said, "Wow, you really like your name, don't you?"   I looked down at my notes kind of sheepishly and realized it is a little shocking to see someone's name written over and over like that.  I know it's not that unusual to practice your signature, so maybe it's just the amount of times I copy it down in one small space that catches people's notice.  I do it mindlessly (not narcissistically, promise.)  It's kind of therapeutic--it's all about the way it feels to write specific letters together.  For years, I tried to find the perfect way to write Sawatzky.  (It is one of the best words to write in cursive--you should try it.)  And even now that I am married with a different last name, Sawatzky is probably the word I doodle more than any other.  

All of this to say--I was pumped to take a calligraphy class this weekend and spend hours just practicing writing letters and words.  The class was offered at a paper goods and letterpress shop in Alexandria, Virginia, called Fifteen/Eleven.  The shop is owned by Suann Song of SIMPLESONG Design (she writes a popular blog called SIMPLESONG as well).  I found her shop through reading her blog and realized that--now that we are living in the D. C. area for a year--she and her shop are within driving distance!   Just visiting the shop is a treat in itself and spending hours there taking a class was so inspiring (also on my wishlist:  the second calligraphy class and a letterpress class!).

The class I attended was taught by Michele Hatty Fritz of Meant to Be Calligraphy and was really enjoyable (Michele is super down-to-earth and helpful).  Have you ever watched a calligrapher write?  Watching Michele was mesmerizing.  She wrote out an alphabet and each of our names to demonstrate the different letter strokes and how to connect them in words, and I thought to myself, "I would pay to watch this."  And then I realized, "Oh yeah, I did!"  Ha!  You know something is pretty good when all you can think about is the opportunity you are getting and not the cost associated with it.

I spent a good long while Saturday night after the kids were in bed practicing calligraphy.  One of my new year's resolutions for 2012 was that I would purposely limit my crafting and creative projects this year to things that directly apply to keeping in touch with people or preserving memories (so basically writing letters/making cards/organizing and sharing pictures and writing this blog).  I thrive on inspiration and want to try every new technique or idea that I see on a blog or Pinterest or in a Martha Stewart publication.  But often that means that I put way too much time into a craft project and not enough time into relationships.

So this year I am trying to put the emphasis on relationships and, where crafting is concerned, simple things that build those relationships.  So far, I have not sent nearly as many letters or cards as I would have hoped . . . BUT it's only February--and I am working on my calligraphy skills, so . . . maybe you will get an awesomely addressed letter from me soon?  :)

Actually, I just had a great idea.  Leave me a comment, and I will send you some mail!  If I already have your address (friends who send me Christmas cards and family), you are set.  If I don't have your address, email it to me at thoughtfulblog@gmail.com, and then you will be set too.

How fun is that!  I love sending mail, and I want to keep in touch.  Those of you who know me well may have some doubts as to whether or not leaving a comment will actually get you something in your mailbox, but just try me (are you reading this, Mama?).

Yay!  Here's to keeping in touch!  And to lots of handwriting practice . . ."

Abigail McConnell