Brush Script: My Attempt

If you came to brush up on the latest there is to know about the art of creating a brush script, you're probably in the wrong spot. Scratch that—you are in the wrong spot. But if you came to see a novice test her hand at this art of creating a script font using liquid color, I'm happy to welcome you aboard!

Over on the Scrapbook & Cards Today blog, I share a great deal about the up-and-coming trend of brush script. I invite you to take a look for more about products available, trend experts and artists, and even classes being offered on creating this cool look.

Painting at Grandma's house. Circa... 1988 (ish).

Here, I'm simply going to explore a few self-taught approaches to creating my script using a paintbrush and two different forms of ink: spray and dye. I've always LOVED playing with paint and paper, so this was a fun world to explore.

Spray Ink Painting
Let's start with spray. These are the tools I used:

Mister Huey's spray ink by Studio Calico; shipping tag from Office Depot; paper towel c/o Mr. Brawny; Tulip paintbrush by iLovetoCreate

First things first—the ink. I simply unscrewed a bottle of my Mister Huey's spray ink and dipped my brush right in. No muss. No fuss.

I practiced on basic shipping tags, though any paper surface should do. Ideally, I imagine watercolor paper would be the way to go, but I'm not certain about this. And I didn't have any on hand, so the shipping tags would have to do.

As you can see, it takes some practice to get the hang it. Good thing I have a massive box of shipping tags, eh?

I thought it would be fun to turn the tags into thank-you tags to go with the handmade goods I occasionally sell, so I set to writing many "thanks!"

To create the splatter effect, I simply held the nozzle of my Mr. Huey's bottle above the tag and tapped on in . I did this after I wrote "thanks."

I liked practicing the same word over and over for a few reasons:

1. I could compare and contrast outcomes as I painted at different angles/different amounts of pressure/different quantities of ink/etc.

2. I could see how the effect would change with different ink colors.

3. Like snowflakes, no two pieces of brush script art are going to be identical. It's fun to see how they each get their own splash of personality.

This hobby is so fun, I even managed to convince Cory to try it with me. He's a good sport!

I love how everybody's handwriting is going to make their brush script unique!

Yes, it was a regular family affair.

Eventually, I spread my wings and tried other surfaces, such as little gift bags.

Now, all I needed was a little clothespin (Crate Paper) to make a Valentine's Day package for Miss Maggie D.

From bags, I decided to get real carried away and go multi-color with my strokes. Whaaaaat?!? Yes, it's true!

To do this, I would suggest starting with the lightest shade and progressing to the darkest to avoid ink cross contamination.

A few things I picked up along the way:

1. Drag the brush at the beginning and end of words to enhance the look (like the U on my bag above). It looks more hand-painted this way or something (vs. making a clean cut at a word's end).

2. If you're using a flat brush, as I was (probably not the ideal choice), hold it on its side for a finer font.

3. Be careful where you start and stop. The start/stop marks will show. I did my best to complete an entire word before lifting my brush, and then I'd simply go back over areas as needed. NOTE: Don't over go-over. You can quickly add too much color by going back over. I messed up many a tag this way.

Know Before You Go
As I've said, I'm far from a trained expert on the matter. If you're seeking more formal training (and who could blame you?), I suggest you check out Studio Calico's new Life Scripted online class, happening now. It looks like lots of fun, and students have had great things to say about it.

Image credit: Studio Calico
Ink Pad Painting
Back in the day, I worked for Stampin' Up!, where I learned this cool tidbit—If you squeeze your stamp pad when it's closed, a pool of ink will form in the lid.

Okay, maybe "puddle" is the more accurate word, but it's enough ink that you can dip your paint brush and use it to try a round of scripted painting.

So I dipped a toe... errr, brush, and tested the dye-ink waters.

How does this compare to spray ink? Let's pro and con!

Pro: It's easier to control because your brush is dryer.
Con: It has a less artistic look to it (in my opinion).
Pro: It's more even coverage (if that's the look you seek).
Con: It's harder to see.

Hmmm... I suppose there's a time and a place for both approaches.

I then decided to add little hearts to my envelope. Here's how this is done. First, hold your brush at an angle, slanting it on the diagonal, and rub it back in forth on the paper.

Repeat. This time, going at the opposite diagonal, to complete the heart.

You don't have to reapply ink to the brush between each heart. If you don't, some will have less saturation and others more, giving the project more depth.

Will, that's all she wrote. While this is far from the Brush Script-ures, I hope my trial and error process has offered you some insight as you approach your own projects. And I'd love to know which approach— spray ink or ink pad — you like better.

Thanks for stopping by!


Plus Size Model (and her cute hubby)

A few weeks ago, the talented Elisha Snow posted on Facebook about a beautiful, blossom-filled cherry orchard by her house, saying she would do photo shoots there if anyone was interested. I had been thinking a bit about a maternity shoot and I love Elisha's work, so I jumped at the chance. I'm happy to say that my sweet husband played along without the slightest grumble. How'd I ever get so lucky?

Here are just a few of the lovely shots Elisha took, both in her studio and out with the blooming cherry trees. For more on her work, be sure to check out her website.

Thanks so much, Elisha! You do beautiful work and these are photos we'll treasure forever! 


Wait. Before you take down those lights and drink that last glass of eggnog, let’s talk Christmas for just a few more minutes. I know it’s mid January, but I have a couple of Christmas cuties to share with you from my holiday. Do you mind prolonging the holiday magic for a few minutes more? 
A Themed Stocking
Has Jolly Old Saint Nick ever left you a themed Christmas stocking before? This year was a first for me, and I loved it. What a clever idea! My sweet Santa knows I have quite the sweet tooth and love pink, so he left me all (almost) pink treats in my sock. 

Speaking of themed stockings, my mom sent her sister a stocking stuffed with gift cards to all of the stores she likes the most. 
I love the idea of a themed stocking and definitely see myself doing one in the future. What theme ideas do you have?
A Charming Gift
This charm bracelet is one of my favorite gifts this year. Each of the little charms on it are from Fossil, and they’ve paid attention to every detail. 

Check out this sweet camera charm.

Marketing Magic
I don’t know if it’s because of my PR background or what, but I have a high appreciation for unique packaging. Fossil sent all of my charms in these little felt bags. 

And my watch came in this cute tin.

But it’s the extra surprise they threw in that really made my marketer’s heart sing. It’s a wood ornament wrapped in baker’s twine, with a note to see their special holiday blog for project ideas using the deer. Wow! You bet I checked out their ideas, and I adore the deer. What a creative idea! 

My Favorite Photo
Thanks to this beauty from Cor (the Canon 24-70mm/2.8 lens), I took many lovely photos this holiday...

...but the one below, which was taken before I opened my lens, happens to be my favorite. The boys are watching for a flying sleigh full of toys. Or maybe they’re checking out Frosty. Whatever it is they’re spying, I adore the look of the three of them gathered by the window. This picture will definitely find its way into my scrapbook soon.

Okay, that will be it for the Christmas least until next fall when we get to start the fun all over again. In the meantime, may many blessings be yours this year!

2010 in iPhone Photos

It's no secret that I like to snap pictures with my camera phone. In fact, this year alone I did a couple of Studio 5 segments on this topic and wrote about using camera phones in Creating Keepsakes magazine.

What's the deal with this obsession? Well, a phone is one thing we almost always have on us. If you're lucky enough to have a camera built into yours, and so many do anymore, this means you always have a camera at the ready. Perfect for those everyday shots!

Inspired by an idea Margie Romney-Aslett posted on Facebook, I decided to post a few of my 2010 phone-photo highlights. I have close to 1,000 images on my phone at the moment, so I really had to narrow. Here are a few. I love the glimpse it gives into my year. You bet I'll be keeping that camera busy in 2011.

Note: I'm breaking all the blog/online rules with this lengthy post. Please accept my apologies for all of the scrolling. If you want to opt out now, I'll completely understand. 


Jan. 1: Cory and I try our hand at homemade marshmallows. Aren't they cute? They were tasty, too!

Jan. 7: Jewels and I catch a flick. I can't remember what we saw, but I know we enjoyed pausing to play with the jumbo chipmunks.

Jan. 12: I do my first of many Studio 5 segments for 2010. I was really stressed about what to wear, so I posted this pic for my personal team of fashion consultants. In other words, I posted it to Facebook. ;)

Jan 23: My cute coworker, Kim, and I join friends for a fun-filled day at Disneyland before the CHA craze begins. I can't go to D-land without stopping for some Dole Whip. It's delicious!

Jan 27: CHA (the Craft & Hobby Association trade show) is in full swing. Love the opportunity it provides me to see amazing new crafting products and beautiful friends. Speaking of friends, I adore these two gals, Jill (Jillibean Soup) and Stephanie (Bella Blvd.). We go way back to the new exhibitor days when they were patient enough to put up with my amateur film making skills. You can watch the outcome of those visits here and here.

Another sweet CHA friend. I don't think they get more passionate than Maggie. Check out her Cuttlebug Challenge blog for bunches of projects to make with your die-cuts.

Jan. 30: On my way home from Cali, I stop to enjoy a little Viva Las Vegas with these pretty people (my DH and parents). Here, we're waiting in line to go up in the Eiffel Tower at the Paris (where we stayed), something I had never done before. Very cool, BTW!

Part of my Vegas experience includes my first frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. Super num!


Feb. 4: The stunning Lori and I fly to Portland, OR to teach at the first CKC event of 2010.

Of course, a trip to Portland meant a stop at the legendary Voodoo Donuts. Oh. My. Gosh. SO good! It was in a semi-ghetto part of town, but the risk to our lives was totally worth it. ;) 


March 14: I spot the March issue of Creating Keepsakes on newsstands. I happened to make the layout on the cover of this issue, which makes this moment even more exciting than it usually is for me. Naturally, I move it and its sister pub, Card Creations by Paper Crafts, to the front of the display.

March 15: I make one of my first posie bracelets, snap a picture, and send it to my friend for feedback.

March 17: Edward and I show up for work in our glorious green.

March 23: A HUGE day. Mom has her last cancer treatment. Our family goes out to dinner to celebrate.


April 1: I show up for work extra early to pull a series of office pranks, including kidnapping this doll and holding it for ransom. This is the picture I sent to the doll's owner when asking for my payment.

April 8: I fly first class for the first (and probably only) time. Look at all of that legroom. My legs actually fit without squishing up against the seat in front of me. I was so thrilled by this that I grabbed my camera and obtained some photographic evidence.

April 10: Kelly and I take a break from teaching at CKC St. Louis to visit "the arches." Some 20 pictures later, we finally got a shot with both of us and the arch. (BTW, "the arches" is what cute Kelly called them. I still LOL every time I think of that. I later told the CKC St. Louis crowd to ask Kelly about "the arches" whenever they saw her. Yeah, she was thrilled. Hahahahahahaha! Good times!

April 25: Cory wins big on a penny slot in Wendover, NV. Way to go, baby. Dinner's on you!

April 30: At last, after nearly two years of growing, my hair is cut for Locks of Love.


May 8: Schmom, Pop, Cory, and I participate in the Race for the Cure. Mom's lookin' extra good in her pink survivor's shirt!

May 15: Cory and I take Cory's parents to see one of our favorite comedians, Brian Regan. If you haven't heard of him, I highly recommend you check him out here. He's heeeeelarious!

May 17: I make my way to NYC for the Nat'l Stationery Show. I couldn't go that far without making a trip to Tinsel Trading. It was just as incredible as Martha promised me it would be. ;)

May 23: I take a break from teaching at CKC Buffalo to visit Niagara Falls.


June 14: My cousins visit from Denver. We go to a family-favorite destination--Lagoon. I rode these same boats when I was their ages.

June 27: Jewels and I visit the Utah Arts Festival, where we purchase darling handmade purses.


July 24: Cory and I take in a ballgame as part of our family's July 24 celebration (UT holiday).

July 29: Time for CHA Summer in Chicago, which means meeting up with more delightful friends, including these two sassy ladies, Kerri and Liz. Love these girls! Ummmm...yeah...Liz is standing on a stool in this shot. She's actually quite bitty, but she wanted to appear taller than me and the step stool did the trick. LOL


Aug. 21: After teaching at CKC Charlotte, Cory joins me for a little summer vacation, which included a stop in Denver, CO, where I bought this M-A-zing card catalog.

Aug. 27: I take a Creative Escape in Phoenix, AZ, where I get to play with paper and see a bunch of sweet friends, including Miss Maggie, who was teaching at the event.


Sept. 5: Cor and I join Curt and Gina for some of the best pizza in Utah. If you're going to have The Pie pizza, Curt (my brother) insists you go to this location at the University of Utah. It's worth the drive.

Sept. 11: I visit the flag fields in Sandy, UT to remember those lost on Sept. 11. The many flags on display, each representing somebody lost, were both beautiful and sobering.

Sept. 25: I take many of my phone photos at the mall. This is one example. I was totally inspired by this Fossil display at Dillards. Wanting to remember the colors, the font, the patterns...basically everything about it, I took a pic.


Oct. 8: The Creating Keepsakes team takes Joannie (associate editor) to Texas Roadhouse for her 40th birthday celebration. Yippee ki yi yay!

Oct. 25: Mom and I head to Denver, where I film a few scrapbooking/paper crafting videos for work. After a long day of filming, Mom and I crawl into bed with Aunt Ruby to watch the nightly news. Yeah, we're a wild bunch like that. Look out, D Town!

Oct. 29: The Creating Keepsakes editorial and events teams get together for a frightfully fun Halloween celebration. Our magazine team came as Cackling Keepsakes, a coven of crazy witches.


Nov. 5: Time for the holiday craft fairs to commence. I was selling my posie bracelets at my friend Holly's boutique. Here they are, all set up and ready to go home with happy shoppers.

Nov. 22: I puppysit for PK. This pic was to let mama know that Lex Pup was doing just fine. Well, she was a little chilly, but we got along okay.

Nov. 28: Bobby comes home from Iraq. We (he, Jewels and I) spent the day crafting and went to a movie that night. After the cinema, we went for this, the best yogurt in town. I'm sure I'll never hear the end of the fact that I thought it would be regular yogurt and not frozen. This also happened to be the day of a major snow storm here in UT. Why on earth would I knowingly go for FROZEN yogurt when it was a blizzard outside? Oh well. My puffy coat kept me warm and this tasty treat was totally worth the chill.


Dec. 4: Another favorite phone use: creating a shopping list. If I see something I want, I snap a photo and send it to Cory. It's a good way for both of us to remember wishes.

Dec. 14: The Creating Keepsakes team takes a break from writing and editing to enjoy a holiday breakfast and Secret Santa gift exchange. Isn't my present pretty? I couldn't resist the photo op.

Whew! What a year it's been. Thanks for taking a look back with me. I hope this inspires (and didn't bore or frighten) you to take more everyday photos with your camera phone.


This little Chuck Brown tree is a big blessing!

I hate to admit this, but I started this season not wanting to celebrate Christmas. My heart just wasn’t in it. You see, we were supposed to have a Christmas baby this year, and since that didn’t happen it kind of left a sad spot over the entire holiday for me. I’m relieved to say that I eventually shook some of these sad feelings, thanks to the help of my loving family and friends. But, because of my delay in getting into the Christmas spirit, we were without our decorations. Our solution: a bitty tree. 

We call this cutie our Chuck Brown tree, because it reminds us of Charlie Brown’s little tree. 

It’s so small, in fact, that we put it on our coffee table and it still doesn’t reach our ceiling. 

But it’s perfect. And it’s real. I haven’t had a real tree since I moved out of my parents’ home. I love the smell of a fresh tree. Our fake tree just doesn’t compare. 

So, we put our little tree up, got out a handful of ornaments and couple of strands of lights, and we set to decorating (with the help of the pups, of course). 

The result: the perfect little Christmas symbol. Our decor didn’t extend much beyond our little tree this year, but it was enough. It brought some much needed Christmas spirit into our home when it was needed the most. O tannenbaum, o tannenbaum, you fill my heart with music! 

Halloween Costume Party 2010

Yesterday, Cor and I had the pleasure of showing off our plumber’s cracks at a hauntingly good Halloween brunch. (Thanks, Brady and Andrew!)

We were asked to bring a little treat, so I went with Mario mystery boxes (AKA Ghirardelli chocolates covered with cardstock question marks.) I simply copied the question box from this website, pasted it several times in a Word file, and printed it on cardstock. I then cut it out and adhered it to the chocolate for a surprise sweet!

BTW, our costumes were inspired by this awesome 80s cartoon (and the game, of course). Do you remember this gem? "Come on, it's time to go. Do the Mario!"

Over at Cackling Keepsakes magazine, we didn’t dress up this year. Instead it was business as usual for our team. I kid. I kid. We came to work as a pretty coven of creepies.

For this celebration, I filled these small candle holders from IKEA with candy.

From cute candle holder to bubbling cauldron in minutes.

Naturally, I have a couple of puppy pics to share as well. Little Jack was my witchy-poo pup this year, complete with a candy corn bandana.

Kiss, feeling too old for the costume craze, opted for a Halloween t-shirt, which reads “No tricks, just treats!” As you can see by the shirts snug fit, he gets more than his fair share of treats.

I hope you (and your pets) had a happy Halloween!


Another Awesome October Occasion

October is a big month in the Hoeppner-Suggs household. As you know from my recent post, Cory and I were married in Oct. (Thanks for all of the lovely comments on that post. They put great big grins on our faces!)

We also adopted our sweet Jack from a shelter in October of 2007. He’s been a wonderful, bright, bouncy addition to our home and our family.

As you may remember from this post, my sweet Cory took his life back in Oct. 2008 when he checked himself into rehab after being on prescription pain meds (used as prescribed) for several years. This was a HUGE time in our lives. A turning point that we’ll never forget.

But these happy things aren’t why I’m writing today. I’m writing because today marks the 11-year anniversary of the day Cory and I met. We were just youngins when we met at Crapplebee’s on this night, 11 years ago, but it was easy to see that we were MFEO. (That’s a Sleepless in Seattle reference. Do you know what it means?)

11 years later, and I still get lost in these pretty eyes!

Anyway, I’m thrilled to celebrate this special occasion over a delicious oriental chicken salad at Crapplebee’s tonight. Yum! And, if you’re interested, you’re invited to read our silly love story here. With details including an abusive manager, a filthy bumblebee uniform, a bird-flippin’ teen sent from Heaven, and an adorable stranger in a sports car, how can you resist? ;)

This is a pic taken in those early years. It's pretty easy to see why I was smitten. What a cutie!

Also, on a completely unrelated note, I’ll be on Studio 5 again today. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll check it out this morning at 11:00. Here’s a peek at one of the projects I’ll be sharing. More on that in a future post.


Five things about marriage on our 5-year anniversary!

Five years ago today, I married the most beautiful man in the world. In honor of this life-changing event, I’d like to share five things I’ve learned about marriage since saying “I do.” (And I’ll sprinkle in a few wedding day photos for good measure.)

Warning: This may get a bit sappy. I just can’t help myself. ;)

This sign in the hall of the Bellagio announced our wedding as one of their events that day. Fun!

1. Few things are better than falling asleep and waking up next to the one you love. Everything from the way Cor’s handsome face looks as he sleeps to the sweet smell of his pillow, make this one of my favorite things about sharing my life with him.

This is the look that was on cute Cory's face when I started walking down the aisle.

2. A happy home is a full home. We live in a modest-sized house that’s rarely clean and often smells like doggie (ick), but when Cory and I are both here with our two pups, it’s the best place in the world.

Here I am moments before the big event. The necklace I'm wearing was a wedding gift from Cor. Pretty!

3. I hit the husband lottery. Did you know Cory makes me dinner every night? (He's downstairs making breakfast right now.) I can’t cook and he likes to (plus, he’s great at it), so it works for us. He also buys our groceries 9 times out of 10, helps me clean the house (when we get to it), takes amazing care of our dogs (they love him so), and supports my crafting hobby 100% even though it’s pretty much taking over our home. I'd say I'm a lucky girl.

Cor and I opted to include a unity candle in our ceremony. We each took a lit candle and used them to light a bigger and better candle.

4. Marriage is definitely about strength in numbers. The past couple of years forced Cory and me to grow up rather quickly. With things like disease and illness, death, rehab, and miscarriage, we’ve been through a lot, and it seemed to come in a short period of time. This may have been enough to break me, but it didn’t, and I know that’s because I have the strength of two people. Cory is a rock of support, stability, and love, and I couldn’t have done it without him.

With this ring, I thee wed.

5. Marriage may not always be easy, but it sure is fun. Last night after dinner, Cor pulled out our surprise dessert, a package of Halloween Peeps. He knows I love ‘em, so he decided to buy us a bag full to enjoy. Yay! We give each other little surprises like this all the time. We play games (Yahtzee is a favorite), walk the dogs, watch movies (we’re currently into The X Files series--so cool!), joke and laugh, travel, and basically just enjoy our time together. It’s like one big sleepover with your very best friend! Does it get better than that?

You may kiss the super happy bride!

I knew the events that took place five years ago would change my life, but I didn’t realize how much. I thank God for blessing me with such a brilliant, caring, strong, sensitive, funny, and down right hot partner. ;) Here's to five more amazing years!

Happy anniversary, Cory. I love!