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Floral Chocolate Bar Wrapper: Free Download!

Hello, Blog Land!

It's been a while, eh? Well, to make up for being gone for oh-so-long, how's about a free download? Okay, comin' atcha!

Valentine's Day is approaching (as we all know), so here is a sweet, thoughtful take on a traditional "chocolate" gift: handmade floral chocolate bars!

You heard me: eating flowers in chocolate. It's a real thing, & you can eat them. & Most taste good (some, honestly, do NOT).

Here's the scoop:

you need: wax paper, baking sheet, edible flowers, toothpick, milk chocolate morsels, bowl, spatula, & a refridgerator!

-once your edible flowers have arrived, you may begin!

-place wax paper onto a baking sheet.

-melt milk chocolate in bowl, & place in microwave until, well, it's melted.

-pour that yummy chocolate onto a baking pan/wax paper, & smooth out. As you're pouring this, realize this is how "thick" the chocolate bar will be, so if you want thin chocolate bars, don't pour as much into the pan on this first batch. If you want thick chocolate bars, pour more as needed.

-smooth out with a spoon or spatula (unless you have a fancier, smoother-outer tool that I don't have) until it's all evenly spread.

-take some of your desired edible flowers, & strategically place them throughout your entire baking sheet of chocolate. You can be as perfectionistic as you want, but I find the less I think about it, the more charming these turn out to be.

-place in refridgerator for a few hours/over night (cover with wax paper in case anything drips on top of the chocolate while you're away).

-take out of fridge & set out for an hour or so, so that it's easier to cut apart.

-take a knife & carefully cut out your desired size of chocolate bars.

-print the wrapper downloadable (I used this paper, but any nice cardstock will do), & cut & fold to size (what I do is print, then lightly fold around the chocolate bar before I cut & fold around it). 

-wrap it around the candy bars, &...

-viola! you've got yourself a sweet little Gal/Val/Malentine's gift!

hope you enjoy, & message me with any questions!

(warning: don't eat the beautiful & sweet looking micro white mums...they're the cutest things you'll ever see, but they do not taste like it)

The flowers I purchased that's shown in all photos are:

micro white mums, flower pansy, & flower micro premium flowers blend. the shipping is a bit high since these are edible & need to be refridgerated. just a heads up! 


I've Got a Studio Space, Baby...

Here is a peek into my little studio space (my sister would be proud of my T-Swift reference)! A lot of folks ask, "so, where is "The Hive Studio?" Well, it is located in my 2 bedroom apartment, where the larger of the two rooms is my studio space. When I first moved in over a year ago, each day I would step foot in it, I would close my door & imagine it to be in a studio space in a darling Boston brownstone, or adorable storefront in historic Philadelphia, or even on the quaint streets of my country hometown. Seemed impressive to have those things, as though I would have "made it." I'd even listen to my favorite songs that brought me to those specific places to help add to the "vibe." Yea, pathetic. But, now, I am grateful God has brought me to this "studio" room...He knew exactly where I needed to be & why, & sometimes My ambitious dreams can cloud my futuristic views all too often, instead of a grateful view of His right now. Sound familiar? We all do that, sometimes. I spent too much time dreaming, & not as much time praying about my business; asking for guidance on where it should go, & being content with the here & now, instead of the "why not now, God?" It's amazing what a "little" praying can do; it's a powerful way to get your mind right. God knew what He wanted me to handle (it's tricky, because in a way, we humans can handle anything...the catch? It ain't always beautiful in the end. That's where my faith gets me back on track), & how much food to put on my plate. Now that I think of it, when you go to an amazing buffet, don't you feel tempted to fill your plate with anything & everything that looks delicious, only to realize moments later you can't eat it all? yea, it's something like that. Now, I couldn't be more at peace with where things are. It's strange. I've learned a little more of what it means to step back, slow down, & let things happen organically, just a bit. Of course, you have to work hard, still, but don't push for things that aren't naturally "you." It may take a few stubborn "but I want it NOW" detours to figure that out (or at least figuring out that a road is just too much for your plate right now, & perhaps drive down it at a later time when it feels truly know, when you have a pick-up instead of that little, dinky Honda), but to figure out that balance of letting things flow + mixed with your hard work is important. Add a lot of prayer to that, & you're on a better track to figuring out where your life should be in this moment. Yea.

So, right now, in this darling space, I create new art pieces for my shop & customers, redecorate this space a hundred times, strive to keep plants alive, plan & assemble for calligraphy workshops, print, design, store my products, think up new products, update all of that website jazz, blog a few times a year (oops), draw, keep inventory, & strive to remember to pray over it all. 

cheers to being content with where you are & what you have. thanks for reading this long post, it may be the last long post of the year.



Calligraphy Workshop Recap: Fern Studio + Gold Ink

Last December, I had the joy of teaching calligraphy at Fern's slice of heaven of a shop here in Cincinnati, in preparation for the holidays/Christmas ahead. Know what that means, don't you? We used gold ink. The gold ink fit perfectly with the season ahead, preparing everyone to create dazzling cards with ink-dancing-with-glee. Literally. The gold ink dances on the paper as it dries, it's quite phenomenal. Everyone loved the (somewhat complicated) gold ink so much, we are planning to use it again in the intermediate workshop coming up July 30th at her shop. There are still a few spots left, so hop on over before they sell out!


Calligraphy Workshop Recap: Igloo Letterpress

Last November, I had the joy of teaching calligraphy in the brand-spanking new space of Igloo Letterpress. They had a Kickstarter Campaign to help raise funds to "move their igloo" in hopes to bring back to their community through an adorable shop, events, & classes open to the public. A perfectly, creative way to add more of a sweet spin to the charming town of Worthington. If you have a chance to swing by Worthington, make a little stop into their adorable & artsy storefront. Also, if you live in the Columbus area, they have a large class list available on their website (with a few more Calligraphy 101 workshops available for this year!), so be sure to check them out if they're up your alley!



Becker Gallery Art Show: Process

I have wanted to document the details & work that went into creating all of the pieces in my art gallery show. In a few words: it was a big ol' mess.

Each piece was created using a variety of items from nature. For all pieces using a charcoal effect, I mixed a stick of charcoal dust by shaving it into a cup, soot (essentially, the same thing), & water. The reason I added a bag of soot to the mix was to help give my charcoal + water mix more substance, since I was using this mix as my "ink" to scribe with my calligraphy pen. Without the soot added, the "ink" was too watery & thin to work well flowing out of the calligraphy nib. It also helped to add a subtle "dirty" effect to the finished piece, which I kind of liked. All pieces with white writing was used using a white charcoal stick. 

With some of these pieces, I also wanted to steer away from my need for perfection in my work, & literally let my writing tool & concept of nature guide me, not my controlling hand to create a perfect letter. It was difficult for me to let go of the goal to create nice-looking letterforms, but I kind of enjoyed the end product of some of the pieces looking more nostalgic in this way; almost like that of an old-fashioned, handwritten letter. No erasing allowed, no going back over to make it look just just...was.

Some pieces were created from a strong sense of procrastination. This "L" masterpiece didn't quite make the cut...

...speaking of other pieces that actually didn't make the cut was the one above. It's ironic, because it was this piece that inspired the idea behind "Nature's Way with Words" as my theme. It seemed too literal of a piece (almost like, "duh, turning twigs into writing utensils, captain obvious."), so I went toward the direction of more subtle uses of nature to focus on the "natural" artwork itself, not the literal translation of nature-to-writing-using-nature. Make sense? It does if you don't think about it.

Other pieces were created using raw pigments. It's a dangerous job, really (for those of you who don't know, generally speaking, raw pigments are fine dust particles that can be mixed with adhesives, such as water, oils, etc., to create paints. It's the natural way to make your own paints). The fine dust particles, if breathed in, are very toxic, so I had to makeshift my mask, since I didn't have any on hand. Scarf + Mom's dental gloves for the win.

I wish this photo would show just how vibrant this green was. Using raw pigments to make my own paint was more addicting that I anticipated. It's amazing how much more vibrant the paint colors are when using raw pigments instead of already-mixed paint in a tube. I might have just been converted.

Speaking of being converted, I am Not converted to dealing with moss ever again. I had big ambitions for this piece--I wanted to carve into the moss a message using a calligraphic/lettering style, & it turned out to be a big ol' mess & very time consuming. But, I didn't give up. I had collected some moss around the area, & from an art store, & learned that mixing egg yolks & water to the moss helps it become manageable. Thank you, Lord. However, it was still difficult. I used half a can of spray adhesive (whoops, not a natural element, I know!) to adhere the moss to the surface, & take away teeny portions of it where I wanted the lettering to show through in the negative space. Hours upon hours, & a sore back later, here is a close up of the final product:

Truth be told: it wasn't 100% what I had envisioned; however, I let my original vision go & welcomed the idea that 1. I am only human, & 2. the fact that I did the best I could only shows my humanity; & therefore, it fell into the theme of "nature" that much more: Nature runs her course, & some things are what they are accordingly (this is what I kept telling myself & how I talked myself out of eliminating it & the hours I spent on it out of the gallery show line-up).

So, there you have it, a little peek-inside the studio as I gathered some of the pieces to fit within a theme. It was challenging, but it also served as inspiration & a spark for me to create more original artwork. Some of the "favorite" pieces will be translated into ready-made prints into my shop & available for purchase, as well, so I will keep you posted on when they'll be available!


Becker Gallery Art Show at Otterbein University: January 8-March 31

Last Winter, I was asked to showcase some of my calligraphy work at my Alma Mater, Otterbein College (now Otterbein University). My first reaction? Oh my goodness, yes! My second reaction? What did I just get myself into? I create a lot of artwork; but it's mostly for others. I don't keep most of it, as it's all on a custom-made basis. But, it's always been a dream of mine to have some of my artwork in a gallery... I just never thought it would actually happen. So, this was an opportunity to not only try my hand at some different methods of creating art; but also, make each piece work cohesively together & flow, as a gallery show should.

What a challenge. How do I create a bunch of calligraphy pieces without making it all look the same? Calligraphy is a beautiful artform, don't get me wrong, but to display 10-15 pieces on a wall of the same artistic medium was something I didn't want to come across as monotonous. So, I challenged myself to use something other than calligraphy ink to bring it all together: things of nature. 

Each piece I created came only from nature: I wanted to connect the flow of a calligraphic stroke & letterform with the everflowing nature of...well...nature. From there, the concept snow balled from one connecting concept to the other: 1. calligraphy is a slow-paced artform. You can't rush through it for it to be done successfully. As is nature, she knows no hurry, & everything is done in her time. Thus, the theme, "Nature's Way with Words" was born.

This theme also caused me to stop & realize how fast-paced our world has become. I wanted to push myself to create artwork as one would have many many years ago, & it turned out to be a humbling, & challenging process. So many times I told myself, "just use regular calligraphy ink so you won't have to mix your own from "items" from nature, no one will know!" No. I wanted it to be a genuine, slow-paced process, as nature would expect of me. 

To mix my inks, I used soot, shaved charcoal (essentially the same thing, but to help with the thickness so it wouldn't run out of my calligraphy nib, I had to add more substance), & water. I also used soot + charcoal for any pieces with a darker background. 

I also used raw, green pigments for the green pieces. I mixed the raw, vibrant pigment dust with water to create the paint-like mixture. When doing this, you NEED to wear a mask & gloves, because it's a very toxic mixture, so these pieces felt somewhat like a science experiement (you'll see the first piece on the far left, & the second "green" piece under the stair on the far right of the collection).

The moss piece was created & formed mixing moss, egg yolk, & water. Moss is a very frustrating thing to piece together, so making it somewhat sticky helped the lettering I wanted to achieve come together (also, spray adhesive may or may not have saved the day on this one).

It was so special to be able to "talk art" with my art professors from college & teachers from elementary school, too. So grateful they stopped by, & will be some moments I will never forget!

I am blessed with a pretty awesome support group: my family. Thank you for sticking around & helping me through this wonderful adventure. 

If you're in the Columbus area, the Otterbein University Courtright Memorial Library hours are here, & the Gallery Show is downstairs underneath the "Edward Munch" style staircase (that's what I have always called them). The show will be up until March 31st! 



Calligraphy Workshop Recap: Fern

Last August, I had the pleasure of teaching calligraphy in Fern's gorgeous & bright space. Every time I step foot in Megan's shop, I leave inspired (& praying for the small collection of succulents I end up carting home for their survival). Her eye for making a space look & feel open & well designed is unmatched, & makes for learning calligraphy in such a space extra special.

photo credit, Megan from Fern

photo credit, Megan from Fern

Since it was a sunny, August day, we felt it would be a fun touch to make their name "tags" on some river rocks I found near a riverside in my hometown. It definitely added a nice summer-y feel to the day, & served as perfect paper weights when dealing with that flowing summer breeze.

Thanks, Megan, what a beautiful day it was!



Calligraphy Workshop Recap: Heart & Dash + Powel House

One of the most elegant calligraphy workshops I've been a part of to date was at the gorgeous & historical Powel House in my old home of Philadelphia last July. I teamed up with the fun & sweet Sarah's of Heart & Dash (they're truly awesome), & I am still dreaming of that day (even though it was an unbearable 95 degrees). To be in such an ornate, bright, & white + yellow room was simply a dream!

This room was particularly interesting, because it's where George Washington would dance, & many "Pride & Prejudice" style parties & dances were held here. Naturally, we played fancy music during the workshop. 

The Sarah's put together wonderful sips & treats (especially that Summer Sangria).

Thank you, folks from the Powel House, & to the best 2 Sarah's I know! What a fun day this was, can't wait to get back & visit again.



Calligraphy Workshop Recap: Studio of Christine Wisnieski

Last May, I had the pleasure of sneaking up to Cleveland to spend the weekend teaching calligraphy in the lovely Christine Wisnieski's bright & spacious studio. We spent Friday evening teaching beginner calligraphy, & Saturday morning doing the same, sipping on coffee & delicious food all weekend long. 

Parse & Parcel graciously lended us beautiful envelopes & papers packets for our students to practice on. Everybody was over the moon & made for scribing so much more fun & elegant. Thank you Christine, & Parse & Parcel for such a fun calligraphy-bright-sun-light-filled weekend!



Madewell Gift Wrap Event & Pop-Up Shop Recap

Over the Christmas holiday, I was kindly asked by the ladies at Madewell to host a gift wrap + pop-up shop event to help celebrate the cheery season in their store. I was so grateful & excited! 

Any customer that purchased a certain amount from the store had their gifts wrapped in my calligraphy gift wrap. It was such a fun way to meet & greet everybody, & I hope their gifts served them well. 

Did I mention there were macaroons, as well? Yes. Yes, there were. Thanks, ladies from Madewell--it was such a treat to do this event!