Calligraphy- a nearly lost art

I’m not sure about anyone else in my immediate generation, but I haven’t really written cursive since Mrs. Petrich’s 4th grade class. It’s slightly depressing to see my attempts at formal cursive- nothing seems to properly connect, and as for scale? Totally non-existent.

Enter Calligraphy, and a lovely local artist, trying her best to rekindle this dear pastime. Caitlin Dundon of One Heart Studio in Ballard, Washington is meticulously mastering her craft and willing to share with any wanting to learn.  I signed up for her Into to Calligraphy course with my favorite photog-friend, Mary of Mary Jo Photography.

After venturing around Fremont and Ballard to partake in deliciousness at The Other Coast Cafe, we wandered around Venue-the location of the class. It is an incredible local store with really great locally crafted goods. It took a lot of willpower to not buy every.single.thing. in that store. I did not leave empty handed- but could have enjoyed everything there.

The class had 8 openings, 7 of which were filled. Two long tables are set up with all necessary supplies in the middle of Venue. Paper, ink, and your own take-home Calligraphy pen are included. Caitlin is attentive to learning needs, and demonstrates her craft with ease. She gives a little bit of background for each type taught.  Students are encouraged to learn the basics and add their own flair. Needless to say, I struggled immensely with my “formal” calligraphy style, but the whimsy of my innate penmanship certainly took over with plenty of support of all around.

I have all intentions of signing up for Calligraphy II: Fun and Fancy Lettering offered.  Classes start at $40. Which is  a stellar deal for the art of a diminishing craft.

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DIY- Industrial Iron Pipe Shelves

In between the day job and the portrait photography, I LOVE to create. Luckily, so does the Handsome.  Part of why we work so hard is to really enjoy our home and life together.  I found myself with some free time in the last days of my vacation recently, and could not sit idle.  We’ve been improving our home for the last 5 years, from bathroom/kitchen remodels, to a pergola, and a new 2nd story deck.  We tend to reuse materials often- we’re green like that.  The Handsome has been hoarding the old lumber for more than 3 years now, and was consolidating recently- we just couldn’t part with that old decking.

There has always been an unused portion of our tall living room wall that has never looked quite right.  It was time to fix it. Enter iron pipe and the salvaged lumber.A trip to the hardware store to get the following after doing a little math for how big we wanted this masterpiece to be:

2 – 6″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes

2  – 8″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes

12 – 10″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes

4 – 12″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes

6- 1/2″ Threaded T’s

4 – 1/2″ Threaded 90’s

2 – 1/2: Threaded Couplings

10 – 1/2″ Flanges

1 box of 1 5/8″ Counter Sunk Screws

1 can of Rust-o-leum Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray paint

1 can of Rust-o-leum Indoor Clear Polyurethane (optional)

You will need lumber if you don’t have the salvaged wood option

Directions and cost breakdown are listed below.

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1st, thing is 1st: your flanges will probably be silver. I was informed that they don’t make un-galvanized flanges because they are usually used outside and need to be rust-proof.  The can of spray paint will more than cover the flanges, so do this first to let them dry.

Gather your pipes and complete a configuration that will work with your space. I chose to have a mix of smaller and larger shelve spaces to break up the wall a bit. Your hands will be filthy- the pipes are not clean FYI.

My pattern went for each “leg” went from top to bottom: 90, 10″, coupling, 6″, T, 12″, T, 8″, T, 12″, 90.

I then attached 10″ pipe to each 90 and to each T.  These will be the pipes that hold your shelves. Depending on your wood width, you could use a different length.

To each 10″ pipe, I attached a flange.  This will serve as your connection to the wall.

With the Handsome’s help, we attached each “leg” to the wall. We used a level and a tape measure to ensure the distance was correct and that the shelves would stay level.  We pre-drilled a few of the flanges before attaching to the wall to make sure we had some solid footings in the wall. This is a fairly heavy frame, so a stud should be used to secure the shelf “legs” to the wall.

We went through some of the old decking that we had salvaged that had some dry wear on it.  Some cracks and dings didn’t scare us.  We measured a portion of the wall and made cuts accordingly.  54 inches in length for four boards. Our lumber was mismatched a bit, so we had to make a cut to make the depth match the iron pipe. Using Polyurethane, I added several coats to make a slick surface on the worn wood to make future cleaning much easier.  This is definitely not necessary, but for someone who loves to make cleaning easier, this is a lifesaver.

Once the boards were dry, we placed them on the shelving frame.  After a few days, I took out one of the middle planks to make the space a little more dynamic.  I am still working on adding our favorite collections to the shelves, but it has changed the entire feel of the room for a pretty small price all things considered.

Here is the cost breakdown:

2 – 6″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes $2.05 x 2= $4.10

2  – 8″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes $2.89 x 2= $5.78

12 – 10″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes $3.40 x 12= $40.80

4 – 12″ Black Threaded 1/2” Pipes $3.84 x 4= $15.36

6- 1/2″ Threaded T’s $1.95 x 6=$11.70

4 – 1/2″ Threaded 90’s $1.53 x 4= $6.12

2 – 1/2: Threaded Couplings $1.53 x 2= $3.06

10 – 1/2″ Flanges $6.24 x 10= $62.40

1 box of 1 5/8″ Counter Sunk Screws=$6.47

1 can of Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray paint =$6.42

Lumber = Salvaged ($0)

Polyurethane= Optional ($7.99)

Grand Total: $162.21

Suburban Homesteading

Although I’ve grown fond of my current home, I don’t quite belong in the suburban area of Olympia. I am naturally drawn to the extremes of a big city or small town.  Lately, it’s definitely been on the smaller side of things. This is best demonstrated when I use my spare time to do a little homesteading. This can be anywhere from using local flora for decor, or making preserves from local bounties.

After a trip to my Gram’s orchard, I found myself with two large crates of our family pears amongst apples and Italian prunes.  In hopes of avoiding waste (and fruit flies), I took to the kitchen with mason jars and some patience. Pears were 1st.

The method is so simple:

Wash & Rinse

Cut pears in half

Remove the core

Peel and chunk

Add a squeeze of local honey and lemon juice in the bottom of each jar

Add the pears with some hot water

And finish in a water bath to seal

No unnatural additives, just pure, sweet home pears.

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Up-Cycled Centerpiece

We’ve completed a lot of projects around our house over the years, and it always seems to be that we have an abundance of useful supplies.  We’ve been consolidating wood supplies from an old deck that we rebuilt and have been enjoying for a couple years. So much used/worn lumber stacked in the shed.  The Handsome is always building something new and exciting, but was at a loss as to what to do with some short 4×4 boards that were previously stained.

After a quick trip to the hardware store and an unanticipated popcorn purchase from those ridiculously cute Boys Scouts that stake out in front of the store and see me coming from a mile away, I was ready to dive right in to my quick little project.

What to do with such a short board? Make a multi use centerpiece!

I made two sets- one with more stain showing and a clear coat added, the other I sanded almost all the stain off- the untreated set is my new favorite addition to our table.

If you’re interested in making your own you’ll need:

Chop saw

Drill with a 1 1/2 paddle bit

Sander

4×4 post (at least 18 inches long)

About an hour

Instructions:

1. Without cutting your fingers off, make a cuts for the three columns: I chose 8 inches, 6 inches, 4 inches

2. Find center of each column, drill continuously to desired depth (I chose a shallow depth to match a tea light candle)

3. Sand it and make smooth- the softer the corners, the better in my opinion.

4. Stain or use clear coating to protect from dust

5. Insert candles, plants, or whatever your little heart desires.

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