Tag Archives: contempo writing style

Snazzy Holiday Envelopes? Check these out!

Snazzy Holiday Envelopes? Check these out!

What says “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” more than my new “Holiday” writing style?  I love this, and I hope you do too.

My new “Holiday” Writing Style – Calligraphy by Carrie

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My flourishy “Calligraphy” style in traditional black India ink is very elegant.  Perfect for a formal greeting or swanky holiday soiree.

My traditional “Calligraphy” Writing Style – Calligraphy by Carrie

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I love mixing the rustic charm of Kraft paper envelopes with elegant gold & silver inks.  This is my “Shoreline” writing style.

My “Shoreline” Writing Style in silver & gold – Calligraphy by Carrie

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Here’s my “Contempo” style in purple ink.  Purple is the color of Advent and perfect for holiday greetings!

My “Contempo” Writing Style – Calligraphy by Carrie

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Fun, fun, fun!  “Curly Contempo” in white ink on a deep navy envelope.

My “Curly Contempo” Writing Style – Calligraphy by Carrie

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Why not shake things up a bit with my sweet “Petite Contempo” in tangerine ink?

My “Petite Contempo” Writing Style – Calligraphy by Carrie

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Here’s my “Shoreline” style in complementary wintery inks – blue & turquoise.

My “Shoreline” Writing Style – Calligraphy by Carrie

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Silver & gold inks make a stunning impression on a bright red holiday envelope.

My modified “Shoreline” Writing Style – Calligraphy by Carrie

Happy holidays from Calligraphy by Carrie!  (And my apprentice – Hitch.)

The calligrapher’s apprentice – Hitch, the cat!

…and a shout-out to my sweet daughter Hannah for taking these photos.

NC State Fair-Themed Wedding? Love Affair!

NC State Fair-Themed Wedding? Love Affair!

Photographs of colorful & vibrant carnival-themed weddings are popping up all over Pinterest.  I’m in love with this idea and decided to create unique reception items for a North Carolina State Fair-themed wedding.

I’ve been attending our fair state’s fair (in my hometown of Raleigh) nearly every year since I was a toddler.  The smells, tastes, sights and sounds are rich & abundant:  Roasted corn-on-the-cob, cotton candy, boiled peanuts, barbecue with vinegar-based sauce (is there any other kind?), funnel cakes, and deep-fried ____ (just fill in the blank with anything from Oreos to bubblegum, from Reece’s cups to Coca-Cola).  Wee baby ducks & chicks.  Fat mama pigs resting in the hay, surrounded by a dozen squealing piglets.  Miniature donkeys (a personal favorite).  Humongous Angus cows and draft horses.  Whirring rides that make me dizzy just looking up at them.  A gazillion displays of ribbon-winning baked goods, canned goods and every type of homespun creation.  Displays of artwork from hundreds of kids from dozens of schools across the state.  The loud & raucous Midway with seasoned barkers (I think I’ve been finagled out of eleventy billion dollars over the years).  Let’s not forget the historic Spanish Mission Revival style architecture of the 1928 exhibition halls (remarkably still in use today).  And, of course, our iconic Dorton Arena.

I hope you enjoy looking at the invitation envelopes and wedding reception place cards, escort cards, favor tags, garlands & table signage that I created, all inspired by the one-of-a-kind North Carolina State Fair!

NC State Fair Bridal Couple

Once again, my daughter Hannah drew a picture for my blog post.  The drawing above is her rendition of a NC State Fair bridal couple, with a nod to Grant Wood’s “American Gothic.”  I shall call this “Rural Hipsters.”  I adore these people.  I totally want to hang out with them.  Don’t you?  (And that’s the Dorton Arena in the background.)

NC State Fair Table Name Sign

NC State Fair Table Sign - Detail

I love it when brides use table names instead of table numbers.  I think NC State Fair landmarks would make great table names:  Village of Yesteryear, The Grandstand, Dorton Arena, Kerr Scott Building, Jim Graham Building, Holshouser Building, The Midway – and many more.  For the “Dorton Arena” sign shown above, I used 12×12 scrapbook paper printed with a hay design.  I folded the paper in half to make a tented sign.  I layered country (gingham-y) papers for the matting (affixed with double-sided tape).  The table name was written in my “Curly Contempo” writing style in thick red ink on lovely linen paper (I tore the edges by hand – see detail photo).  Just for fun, I added a cow to the lower right corner (a scrapbook sticker).  Super easy.  I can imagine a whimsical assortment of landmark table names, using a mix of different papers & ink colors.  These signs are the perfect accompaniment to the escort card tags & gingham place cards below.

NC State Fair Escort Card Tag

Escort Tags - Front & Back Views

I found these large Kraft tags in the clearance bin at a fabric & craft store and thought they would make great escort cards.  The completed cards could be pinned to a rustic display board (covered in burlap perhaps?) or even clipped to a clothesline or wooden fence.  Perfect for an outdoor, fair-inspired reception.  I also found the wonderful stamp depicting a glass bottle & single flower at the same craft & fabric store.  I stamped the image on the front of the tags using black ink – and then colored just the blooms with watercolor markers.  Using a green watercolor marker, I wrote a guest’s name on the front of each tag and his or her table assignment on the back.  I looped green raffia through the hole in the tag and added a small twine bow to the front.

NC State Fair Place Card!

Place Cards

To make these adorable square tented place cards, I cut ivory linen paper 3” x 6” and folded in half.  I layered gingham printed scrapbook papers, cut to size, and affixed them with double-sided tape.  (Gingham always reminds me of the fair!) At first I laid out the papers so they fit exactly in the square, then I turned them diagonally, and I loved how they looked.  I cut rectangles out of Kraft paper for the names (written in slick black gel ink in my “Petite Contempo” writing style) and affixed them in the center.  Finally, I added the farm-themed scrapbook embellishments.  You’ll see lots of pigs, chickens, tractors & wheat stalks at the fair!

Table Number Sign - NC State Fair Theme

Table Number Flag - Detail

To make this table number sign, I cut colorful striped scrapbook paper into a flag shape (essentially a triangle, when folded in half). I folded the flag over a bamboo skewer & affixed with double-sided tape (so there’s a front & a back).  I hand-cut the number (in this example – “6”) out of linen paper and glued it to the front of the flag.  The number was a little plain, so I added “stitching” with a thin orange marker.  I added a green raffia bow to the top.  I stuck the flag skewer into a decorative glass bottle that I bought at the local craft store for $1.49 – along with some colorful gerbera daisies and other non-highbrow blooms.  I added a green raffia bow to the glass jar as well.

I totally didn’t know this, but raffia is da bomb!  I’d never worked with raffia before.  You can take a piece of raffia and pull it apart into smaller & smaller strips until you have little wispy raffia streamers.  It’s addictive, I tell ya.

NC State Fair Escort Cards

Tiny Escort Card Envelopes with Liners!

These adorable tiny white envelopes (shown above)  hold 2¼” x 3¼” flat cards.  I also found these in the clearance bin at the local fabric & craft store (a pack of 8 sets for $1.00—I kid you not).  I thought they would make adorable escort cards.  I lined the tiny envelopes in gingham and striped papers – cut to size, and affixed with just a dab of glue stick.  I truly adore the look of a lined envelope.  I hand-cut the table assignment numbers out of the same decorative papers (to match the envelope liners) and wrote “table” with a watercolor marker in a complementary color.  Lastly, the guests’ names were written on the front of the wee envelopes.  The beauty of this type of escort card (small envelopes with separate table assignment cards tucked inside) is the table assignment cards can be switched around as often as necessary before your event.

"Mr. & Mrs." Chair Garland

To make the “Mr. & Mrs.” chair garland above, I cut Kraft paper into triangular flags, and decorative papers into slightly smaller flags, which I affixed with double-sided tape.  I punched super tiny holes (with a specialty hole puncher) in the upper corners and used colorful brads to connect the flags.  I found die-cut circles & hearts at the craft store (super cheap).  I wrote “Mr. & Mrs.” using a thick black sharpie.  I punched more of the tiny holes in the top of the flags, to affix the circles & hearts.  I looped twine in the holes on the ends.  This garland looks like something I would definitely see at the state fair, but instead of “Mr. & Mrs.”, the flags might say “Corndogs & Candy Apples.”

Candy Wedding Favor Tag

I found this lidded jar (shown above) at the craft store and thought it would make a great wedding favor.  I filled the jar with candy (in this case, Good & Plenty – the oldest branded candy in the United States, which you will find good and plenty of at the NC State Fair).  I tied the green raffia (which I carefully pulled apart into thin strips – which is obviously my new favorite thing to do) around the jar.  I affixed a white cardstock tag decorated with gingham paper & linen paper.  I wrote the bridal couple’s initials, their wedding date, and “Thank You!” in slick black gel ink.  I can imagine an old wooden picnic table with gingham cloth and a colorful assortment of jarred candy favors displayed on top.

Candy Jar Decorations with raffia (!) bows

I decided to try my hand at using a hand-dipped calligraphy pen.  (Most of my writing styles are done with monoline pens & artist markers.)  For the sample envelope below, I wrote the lines free-hand, without a guide – for a looser, less formal look.  I found images of both vintage & modern stamps on the internet for this fair-themed postage stamp montage.  I sized the stamps, printed & cut them out, and affixed with a glue stick.

NC State Fair-Themed Envelope

The Dorton Arena was the inspiration for this envelope below.  Super fun to do.  I printed out a copy of a vintage NC stamp with our state bird, the cardinal.

Dorton Arena-Inspired Envelope

As you can see, I love our state fair.  October can’t get here soon enough.

Thanks as always to my daughter Hannah for taking the pictures.  She is an illustrator, not a photographer – so I really appreciate her willingness to help out her mama!  Hannah & I really wanted to shoot the photos at the fairgrounds, but it was 108 degrees outside.  We opted for burlap taped to the living room wall and a bale of hay (hey, what can I say?).  Hitch was also quite helpful, as evidenced in the photo below.

Photographer's Assistant - Hitch, the cat

“Ex Libris” Wedding? A Sure Classic!

“Ex Libris” Wedding? A Sure Classic!

(Ex Libris means “from the books” in Latin.  The phrase is also used to indicate ownership of a book, as in “from the library of…”)

Who doesn’t love a really good book? And who doesn’t love a really good wedding?  I say merge the two for a fabulous & unforgettable union!

I asked my daughter Hannah to create an original drawing depicting a wedding couple in a library setting. She surprised me with this (wow!):

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Ex Libris Wedding Couple

When I think of libraries, I think old-school.  Vintage books and vast wooden tables.  Tall wooden shelves and even taller windows. The soft light of a brass library lamp illuminating the pages of a classic novel.  Can you smell the scent of old paper and furniture polish?  Can you hear the “click click” of the librarian’s due-date stamp?  I sure can.  These are the very images that inspired me to create these “Ex Libris” wedding reception place cards, escort cards, favors, garlands, signage and envelopes.

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Escort Cards - Library-Themed Wedding

I made the tented escort cards shown above using the pages of an old book I purchased for $1 at a used book store. I wanted to find a very small tome, and I did!  These pages are only 3¾” x 5¾.”  I removed the pages, leaving the paper edges rough.  The gold-hued background paper is thick & textured (from the scrapbook store).  The names and table numbers are written on lovely tan linen paper, each cut to size.  I used a burnt umber watercolor marker to write the names in my “contempo” writing style.  I affixed everything using a regular glue stick.  I do believe Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy will enjoy locating their escort cards and sitting at Table 3 together.  (If used for an actual wedding, the cards for each guest would be displayed alphabetically on a tabletop or pin board at the venue entrance.)

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Table Number Signs - Library-Themed Wedding

For the table number signs above, I cut out table numbers free-handed out of heavy textured scrapbook paper.  I stacked up books, and then affixed the top of the numbers with double-sided tape, so that the numbers hang loosely down the stack of books, creating shadows.  A simple, yet unique, way to display numbers on a reception table.  I really like the way the numbers look hanging in front of the fore-edge of the book, but I also made a sign with the numbers hanging over the book spines.

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Table Name Sign - Library-Themed Wedding

I made the table name sign shown above (“Great Expectations”) using 12×12 scrapbook paper printed with a book motif.  I folded the paper in half, to make a tented sign.  I layered vintage-looking papers for the border.  I wrote the name in burnt umber ink. Incredibly simple!  I can imagine a beautiful assortment of book-title table names for a library-themed wedding, using a mix-match of different papers & ink colors.  These signs are the perfect accompaniment to the library book pocket escort cards, presented below.

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Library Book Pocket Escort Card

Detail - Library Book Pocket Escort Card

I love these adorable library book pocket escort cards!  The guests’ names are written on the outside of the pocket.  Their table assignment is written on the authentic library card tucked inside the pocket.  In these examples, the tables aren’t issued numbers, but instead have names of famous books, modern & classic (the author’s name is written out as well!).  I used a real date stamper from a local school supply store to stamp the wedding date on the card under “due date.”  I wrote the guests’ names on the removable cards as well as on the outer pocket.  The pockets looked a little plain after I’d written the names on them (in the burnt umber watercolor marker).  So I stamped them with whimsical hearts (chocolate brown ink first, then copper ink on top of that, for a little depth).

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Bookplate Place Card Favor - Library-Themed Wedding

For the place card favor above, I wrote the guest’s name on five (5) authentic “Ex Libris” bookplates, bundled them with twine, and attached a hand-written “thank you” tag, stamped with a heart.  These bookplate bundles can be used as place cards (as shown in the above photo) or lined up alphabetically on a table top as a favor display.  A lovely and useful favor for the wedding guests!

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Bookplate Favors / Place Cards - Library-Themed Wedding

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Bookplate Favor - Library-Themed Wedding

I made the bookmark place card favor (photo below) out of various vintage-looking scrapbook papers.  I cut them 8”x2”, and rounded the edges (not perfectly, by design).  I smudged some brown & copper inks on them to grunge them up & make them look old.  I punched a hole at the top of each bookmark and looped gold-colored cloth ribbon through the holes.  I found the ribbon at the local craft store (I love it!).  I wrote the names in broad-nib calligraphy in traditional black ink.  I *really* wanted to write the names directly on the bookmarks, but the writing did not show up very well, even on the paper with the most subtle designs.  So I put the names on tan linen paper, cut to size, then rounded the edges & smudged them up.  I mounted the names with double-sided tape.  Pretty!

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Bookmark Place Card - Library-Themed Wedding

I love the aura of intimacy invoked by a table set with first-name-only place cards (as opposed to place cards which include titles & last names as well).

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Bookmark Place Card Favors - Library-Themed Wedding

I addressed this envelope (photo below) to mimic a typical book typeface.  Clean lines & no flourishes…but it has pizzazz!  I created the postage “stamps” from Googled images, which I re-sized, cut out, and affixed with a glue-stick.

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Invitation Envelope - Library-Themed Wedding

And look at that gorgeous envelope liner!  I think the extra cost of envelope liners is definitely money well spent.  Liners add such personality to an invitation.  Bold stripes, trendy chevrons, shabby-chic floral prints…the sky’s the limit.  One of the coolest invitations I’ve ever addressed had envelopes lined with actual newspaper ads from the 1960s (purchased on Etsy by the bride).

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Libary-Themed Wedding - invitation envelope

For the chair decoration below,  I cut out various sizes of hearts from the pages of old books and also from Kraft paper.  I found some very old books with lovely black & white illustrations for $2 & $3 each at a used book store.  I cut out the hearts free-hand, without a template, so they wouldn’t look cookie-cutter uniform.  I cut some of the smallest hearts out of wide, bronze-colored silk ribbon.  I used double-sided tape to affix the hearts, and I rolled the edges for a 3-D effect.  I used a hot glue gun to affix the button in the center.  I used tiny bronze brads to connect the hearts.  I punched a small hole at each end of the garland and looped twine.  In addition to hanging on the backs of chairs, these garlands would be pretty hanging just about anywhere!
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Garland - Library-Themed Wedding

Vintage Book Garland - Library-Themed Wedding

I’m sure someone is thinking, “Why didn’t you use ONLY love-story book titles for this blog post?  You know, Pride & Prejudice….Wuthering Heights?  This is for a wedding!”  In addition to classic love-story literary works, some of the books I chose to use in this blog entry are about redemption (The Kite Runner, The Book Thief, Great Expectations,  The Art of Racing in the Rain, Let the Great World Spin); they’re about someone changing, evolving, becoming a better person.  I think true love is like that!  When someone is with their true love, they want to be the best person they can be.  When two people want to be the best for each other, their love can change the world.  True story.  That said – please be aware all you brides-to-be, you will wake up some mornings, glance over at your loving partner and think,  “WHO THE HECK IS THIS PERSON?!  WHAT HAVE I DONE?!”  But those days will be few & far between, so don’t freak.  (I got married 26 years ago, so I know what I’m talking about.  Marriage is incredibly hard work, but I can think of nothing else in the world more worthy of the effort.)

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This was such a fun blog post to create.  I hope you enjoyed it!  Whew, I’m gonna go read a book now.

( A shout-out to Hannah for the photos!)