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Topics - Starlee

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Coffee & Nib-bles / Can you help me?
« on: May 04, 2019, 06:19:07 PM »

I have a bit of an odd request. In addition to a love of letters, I am a scientist and a hobby naturalist. Something else I love to do is take pictures of sand at a microscope level. I would love to do this using samples from all over the world.

This is where you can help me dear FF friends. As the weather warms and we gravitate to the waterways, will you please think of me and send me some sand? I don't need much...a couple of teaspoons worth will do! I promise to give you credit and will send a letter in return.

Please message me and I will send me address if you have some sand to send my way.

Before tonight, I had not heard of the Voynich mansucript, a novel carbon-dated to the 1400's with intriguing letterforms I haven't seen before and the strangest botanical drawings. It's kind of fascinating. has the pdf online here:

The book has attracted the attention of decoders of all levels. Not even Enigma's famous decoders could crack it. And as of today, apparently its code has been cracked...for the 9th time...but this time it sounds like the Canadian ( ;D) computer scientist might have actually got it right. Time will tell. I have no doubt other scholars will voice their criticisms if they haven't already. But such is the nature of science.

Here is a link to Huffington Post's article:

Coffee & Nib-bles / Happy New Year!!!
« on: January 01, 2018, 06:35:15 AM »
Wishing everyone a new year filled with smiles and creative inspirations. Happy penning!

Coffee & Nib-bles / To anyone who uses the internet...
« on: June 18, 2017, 08:09:08 AM »
We've known for a while that search engines monitor our searches. This smacked me over the head when proteinase inhibitor advertisements started to pop up in the adds of my calligraphy searches. Talk about mixing fields! Or the time I was at a department store  and nearly bought a bowl with my dishes (just after the wedding), but had second thoughts, only to return home and find that same Department store's bowl in the advertisements on webpages later that evening. :S

So when my husband (a tech/internet saavy guy) brought this article to my attention, I knew to give it serious thought. And with reason. This concept about Social Cooling is chilling. If you care about personal security, please read.

Wasn't there a movie about this? :S

Eastern Calligraphy / A blow to the Eastern calliworld
« on: May 19, 2017, 06:41:47 PM »
Like handwriting no longer being taught in Western schools, it would seem the East is afflicted with similar problems. The other wake up call is that it seems to be spreading other crafts...which is sad to hear. But such is how times change I suppose...

Flourishing / Wild flourishes
« on: May 14, 2017, 08:45:51 AM »
I am addicted to flourishing...:S

Show & Tell / Happy Mother's Day!
« on: May 14, 2017, 08:42:14 AM »
I haven't shared any work in a while, but I was really pleased with my Mother's Day card this year. While more handlettering, calligraphy rules still influenced the work. True to form, I went overboard with the flourishing nearing illegibility, but tried to offset some of that with use of colour. Next time, I would tone the flourishes down just a bit. Always so hard on ourselves we are! :S

I hope all the Flourish moms have a wonderful day...everyone else too of course, but extra love to the moms today. And to all those for whom today is bittersweet, extra big hugs to you...

Show & Tell / Happy 2017!
« on: January 06, 2017, 05:47:16 PM »
It has been a while since I've posted a picture on here. I thought I would start the year off right by following @prasad's awesome spiral and wish everyone a happy new year! I can't wait to see how far we'll go :)

One of my favourite threads is 'Then and Now'

It is so nice to see everyone's progression. I thought it would be fun to start an "Exchange" version. If you have pics or kept one as a keepsake, it would be great to see your first and last exchange. And for those of you just starting, it would be awesome to see your firsts :)

My first exchange was the Blue exchange August 2014. I was so nervous! I penciled out this design, calli'd it, and imposed it in PhotoShop (a lesson in itself at the time) over a picture I took from a plane. The whole process took hours, and I made only one and had it printed because that was all I had time to do: one as best as I could. Now I have to admit that some of that drive came from my motivation to use this opportunity to learn in preparation for my upcoming wedding invitations...the whole reason I started practicing calligraphy in the first place. After that, my other exchanges have all been individual....except, funnily enough, my last exchange ('North, South, East, West'). I really pushed myself more than normal; to the point of doing one really detailed (and poorly watercoloured version; a painter I am not!) map of Canada. I had to make copies...again. lol But, that's the way it goes sometimes. I am equally pleased with both because they represent my best versions of what I could do at that time given my circumstances (life gets busy!) So for all of you 'newbies' who might be nervous, just do what you can, but don't be afraid to play! Strive for progress, not perfection ;) I hope you have a blast with these exchanges!

Everyday Handwriting | Penmanship / Sociology of Handwriting
« on: December 15, 2015, 07:40:07 PM »
This older (2011) blog post on how our attitude towards handwriting has changed through the decades was a great read. I found it quite stimulating and thought-provoking. I agreed with a lot (but not everything) and learnt a lot too. Hope you enjoy as much I did.

Open Flourish | General Discussion / A twist in the Magna Carta
« on: September 02, 2015, 02:55:03 PM »
This article will hopefully be enjoyed by all, but I think the history buffs in particular, will delight. The Magna Carta is, in a way, the great grandfather of the US Constitution. In a nutshell, a researcher at Stanford analyzed the handwriting of one of the four remaining original versions of the 1215 manuscript and found it to be written not by the king of England's scribes, as originally thought, but by an unknown scribe at the Salisbury cathedral. This affects history in that it shows that the church and monarchy worked together more closely than originally thought.

From a calligraphy perspective, I really enjoyed the article because the scholar who figured this out did so because she recognized the hand of the scribe in another writ and made the connection (oh how I wish my job were to stare at letters all day!). The article talks about how scribes had individual little quirks in their hand that enabled their identification by looking at what they wrote. I really like this because one of the things I have always struggled with with this craft is the stress we put on achieving perfect letters. When I first started calligraphy, I thought each style had to be replicated exactly. This article reminds me that calligraphy styles really were the 'handwriting' of a particular time period, and that no matter how formal, it was still a form of handwriting, so of course there will be individualistic marks depending on the scribe. I find this article reassuring. In a theoretical experiment where we write the same sentence in the same style (say Copperplate), there will likely be as many different looking versions as there were people participating, and that's ok!

Flourishing / Inspired by masters of old
« on: July 27, 2015, 08:52:47 AM »
There have been so many wonderful penmen over the years, but there are a few in particular that really stand out. Madarasz was insanely good, but he sometimes gets more of the limelight that I think should be shared with other equally talented penmen. One of these in particular makes my jaw drop every time I look at his work: William E. Dennis. This weekend, it was after admiring one of his pieces that inspired this offhand piece. Those who follow me on Instagram know I tend to go overboard (way too often) with my flourishes...this is no exception...but just the same, I was pleased with the results. Still a long way to go though! But it's through crazy attempts like this how we learn and grow. Thought I would share with the Forum too :)

I had to share this awesome article in the New Yorker about calligraphy and Instagram.

The best part? It features our dear friends Linda (Linda Y/@lindayoshida) and Gail (@the_md_writes) I am not surprised. You guys are just awesome...awesome calligraphy and beautiful people. Congratulations!!!

Coffee & Nib-bles / I'm married!!!
« on: May 29, 2015, 07:14:58 PM »
Hello!! Well, I did it! :) I am happily married and back from a quick getaway. I thought I would share pics our photographer has posted as a sneak peak . She is a family friend of our and did amazing work.

Here are some pics of the calligraphy I had done for this thing! It was soooooooooooo much work, but that times infinity worth of fun, friendship and laughter that transpired in the process. The whole reason I learnt calligraphy was for my wedding, but now that's been and gone? My love of calli hasn't. I can't wait to play without wedding chains! One last one, before that though: the thank you card. :)

Show & Tell / Wedding invitations
« on: March 02, 2015, 10:43:53 AM »
As some of you know already, I started my calligraphy journey just over a year ago in preparation for my upcoming wedding. My goal was to address the envelopes as my normal hand writing is severely illegible (nicest looking illegible I've been repeatedly told) and a calligrapher was outside of our budget. Well, the moment finally arrived. I mailed the invites out on Friday. Thought I would share the final product.

Rino didn't want me calligraphing the entire suite. He didn't think I would be good enough to make it look professional in the time frame I I settled with learning about typography and design, which was a great learning experience in its own right. I did sneak in some calligraphy by making the map and a monogram for the envelope seal. The feathers came from the generosity of an artist who gave me permission to use her work for my invites only as they are copyrighted to Paper Source or something (I've seen her work on blank journals in their store). I found her work online, emailed her asking if I could use her image, and she sent me the high res file! I was floored by her kindness. They have become the focal point for the feel of the wedding. I already knew I wanted a teal and silver colour scheme, no flowers, and a feather bouquet (I am eschewing flowers because of their cost) I was really tickled when I found it...such a serendipitous find!

So anyway,  this was quite the project. I have a new found respect for all of you who make a living off of this!

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