invest in yourself, not in things

Blogged while watching The Walking Dead, while very very exhausted.  Give me a break.

One of the first things Angela Scheffer of Saffron Avenue (based in Madison) said once we sat down at Flourish: A Modern Calligraphy Workshop was how happy she was that this many people had decided to invest in themselves and not in things.  That's actually the reason I decided to pay a pretty penny to take this class.  Also the reason I've started to travel as often as I can afford to.  Obviously saving money for tomorrow is important, but how are we supposed to know if there's a tomorrow?!  Might as well live it up, right?  As far as taking a calligraphy class, I've always wanted to learn the proper techniques.  I know that in the long run I know I'm most happy when doing something creative, so I should probably try to learn from the best.  That's where Flourish comes in!

I have been keeping an eye on the workshops/events that the event design studio Mint and Lovely hold from time to time.  I missed the first few, but luckily signed up for their Lovely Insider mailing list early enough to be able to purchase pre-sale tickets for Flourish!  It was just perfect timing because I've been looking for a workshop like that in Milwaukee for SO long.  This one took place at Mobile Design Box, a pop-up gallery on N. Water Street.

So basically, Angela is a self-taught calligrapher who now creates brands for elite companies (like Chris Bosh) using her custom hand lettering and graphic design skillz.  She's teaching this workshop to show others how to learn calligraphy the right way, without making the same mistakes she did when she first started.

It was amazing.  I walked in to find THIS:

The most adorable table setting I've ever seen in person.

And personalized coffee sleeves!  gasp

Not really sure if boxed water really is better, but I've never actually seen it in person before, so this was a first!

Once we had grabbed our croissants from Colectivo and shopped a little bit at Lizzibeth's pop-up shop, we got down to business.  Angela explained the two nibs that we had and how to use them.  They had given us a notepad and a little guidebook of drills to practice and the alphabet.  She taught us the basics of calligraphy, what to do, what not to do.  As we practiced, she walked around the room and corrected our technique (did you know you're supposed to use your whole arm to do calligraphy and not just your wrist? it's not easy) and gave us tips on ways to angle the paper so the calligraphy fonts come out right.  For someone who once trained herself to write her cursive straight up and down because she didn't like how it looked slanted (me), this really was quite the task.  And it's proven to be very difficult for me to correct.  But knowing me, I'll probably make up my own non-slanted font...  I also generally press really hard when I write, and that's a big no-no in calligraphy.  Whoops.

Next, she had us practice with white ink so we could do a little project!  

So I wrote some random stuff and my friend's name so I could send it to her.  And I like writing other people's names more than I like writing my own.  This gave me the brilliant idea to send out Christmas cards this year and do calligraphy on the envelopes!

And last but not least...swag bag!!!

Everything was local, which was awesome since I'm always looking for small businesses to check out.  Tea from Urbal Tea, a soy candle from Sugar and Magnolia, a copper bracelet from Cival Collective, macarons from Cake & Cookie, and spray and body scrub from Loft Studio Design.  And the "totes fabulous" bag!  I also got a gold foil 8x10 print from Saffron Avenue for being a Lovely Insider (hair flip!)

I bought the Celebritee from Lizzibeth's pop-up shop that was designed by the ladies of Mint and Lovely!  And a Wisconsin necklace with a little home charm.

So TOTALLY worth it.  I hope to do another one of their workshops someday!
I'm so happy I got to learn such a useful skill from a pro and met a room full of people who also wanted to broaden their horizons.  Everyone had their own reasons for coming, but I feel like a lot of us were very similar in a lot of ways!  It was the highlight of my week.

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