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6 01, 2016

{The Good Beginning} New Online Registry from Beth Helmstetter Events

By |January 6th, 2016|advice, event planning|0 Comments

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After a somewhat crazy start to the New Year, it’s nice to share something new that is purely GOOD. If you haven’t seen it yet, please take a look at our friend Beth’s newest venture The Good Beginning & be sure to share it with your friends, bridesmaids and other all around do-gooders out there!

From Beth Helmstetter Events
The Good Beginning is a a new online registry where couples who either have everything they could ever want or simply want to start their wedding off by giving back, can register for donations to their favorite charities in lieu of or in addition to the typical salad bowl or toaster. The registry allows couples to either choose from a list of featured organizations or upload their own personal favorites and then create a personal portal that they can embed into your wedding website or share directly with guests. Alternatively guests can also go to the site and search for each couple by name. In addition to the registry feature, The Good Beginning will feature fashion, design and wedding planning tips on how to easily plan a socially conscious wedding including ideas like this post on Ethiopian bridesmaids gifts where one bride gave each bridesmaid a pendant that pays 6 months worth of salary for a teacher in Ethiopia.

We love this concept as there is no time like the beginning of a marriage to start the ritual of giving back and doing good in the world.

Register or learn more at www.thegoodbeginning.com.

xo
Alyssa + Laura

3 01, 2016

Calligraphy Videos & The Bizarre World of Social Media Stealing

By |January 3rd, 2016|Calligraphy, calligraphy workshops, learn calligraphy|0 Comments

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We had an interesting start to 2016 when on New Year’s Eve we watched as a video that we filmed ourselves, of our own work, went viral without credit to Laura Hooper Calligraphy and in some cases with credit to others that had no part in creating the art or the video. We have been sharing our videos on Instagram, and occasionally on Facebook or Twitter, and we were clearly very naïve to assume that no one has been stealing these and sharing them without credit or, even worse, with credit to themselves. When we share our videos, they are never for profit, and if we write a lyric or quote, we credit the original source {such as John Legend for the song lyric above}. We are very conscious on our own account to credit sources of images we share on our social media ~ photographers, designers, florists, etc. If we don’t know the photographer of a photo, we do not share it. We take the time to research sources that we don’t know. We credit people in the initial caption of a post so that it doesn’t get buried beneath the comments {we see a lot of accounts that credit in the first comment, but as soon as others start commenting, it covers the credits} and doesn’t get lost in the tags, which we know most people don’t look at when they are scrolling through their feed.

So while it’s incredibly disappointing when something like this happens, what’s done is done, and we won’t let it prevent us from sharing the art. We’ve spent the last few days asking accounts to credit @lhcalligraphy {some do, some don’t} and filing copyright infringement reports, which we assume nothing will come of, but we still want to do our due diligence, and going forward we will of course only share our videos with our watermark {as pictured above}.

Now on to this strange social media world of stealing/sharing! As an artist who makes a living off their art form, it is always sad to see your work shared without credit, but it is especially disturbing to see countless accounts that not only have stolen our work, but are putting their own watermark on the video. This has been especially confusing to us. Even if you don’t know who created a piece of art, video, etc, you do know that someone created it, and that that someone is not you ~ so what makes anyone think it is okay to put their own watermark on a work that they did not create? Even more bizarre is that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Instagram accounts that do this ~ the entire account is created to share videos that other people have made, without credit to anyone but themselves. Apparently we’ve been living in the dark ages of an intimate, positive, collaborative wedding/stationery world of Instagram/Facebook/Twitter ~ and the glimpse we got to this other social media world was not fun! We even had people harassing us on our own account in response to us trying to get these accounts to credit us for our video.

Now for the bright side! Full disclosure: we were able to get credit on a few accounts, and this has resulted in tens of thousands of new followers to our own Instagram account. Tens of thousands of people that love the art of calligraphy, pretty writing, creativity & possibly small businesses too, who are choosing to follow along in our journey through social media. It truly warms our hearts that people have been tagging us on the videos they see that have been stolen ~ thank you for trying to help make it right! We’ve also seen many people comment on our videos, tagging their friends, saying things along the lines of “here I found her instagram”. It is such a good feeling to learn that people love our work enough to actually take the time to seek out the original artist of the video.

Unfortunately there is nothing we can do about the viral videos making the rounds without credit to us. We have no way to know how many times it has been shared or re-tweeted or re-grammed. But we welcome our new supporters & are looking forward to sharing the art of calligraphy with you!

As mentioned above, going forward we will only share our videos with our watermark and only on Instagram to somewhat limit the outlets that the videos are found & potentially stolen from.

Thank you & Happy New Year!
Alyssa + Laura

p.s. If you are looking to learn the art, we offer a video tutorial + starter kit as well as in-person workshops around the U.S. & in Toronto.

18 12, 2015

{Giveaway} I Keep Dancing

By |December 18th, 2015|about laura|0 Comments

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Our group of friends experienced a tragic loss just over 5 months ago when our friend/sister/daughter was taken suddenly & unexpectedly at the age of 29. At the time, I had the honor to letter the words “i keep dancing” for a tattoo that over 20 people have had inked in her memory as a reminder to keep dancing through our own struggles.

This past week her family launched a website created in her honor dedicated to inspiring hope & joy in the midst of adversity – to provide resources, support and opportunities for those who continue to dance in the face of grief & hardship. In addition to building a community of support for those suffering grief, they have also created a scholarship fund to provide financial assistance for those over the age of 25 seeking higher education opportunities. The entire family has celebrated & honored Julia’s life so beautifully over the past 5 months & we will all continue to keep her spirit alive as we dance through life! We invite you to visit ikeepdancing.com to learn more, get involved or simply read about the beautiful life of Julia Gardner.

To help spread the #ikeepdancing movement we are giving away THREE $100 gift cards* to our Laura Hooper Calligraphy shop to three different winners. You can visit us on Instagram @lhcalligraphy today to enter to win.

Sincerely,
Laura & Alyssa

 

*Gift cards will be in the form of a coupon code valid on any non-custom products from lhcalligraphy.com. Not valid towards hand calligraphy, custom stationery or other custom work.

17 12, 2015

{Calligraphy Starter Kit} Not All Kits are Created Equally

By |December 17th, 2015|advice, art, Calligraphy, learn calligraphy, Workshops|0 Comments

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We are so excited about all the calligraphy starter kits that have shipped out for the holidays this year, and we know many recipients will be quite excited come Christmas morning! After a very busy two weeks of continuous packing & shipping, we have caught up on the kit shipments, and we will continue to ship through this Saturday, December 19, for Christmas delivery.* You can purchase our starter kit & other calligraphy supplies now by clicking here!

On a different but related note, we thought it would be helpful to address the value of investing in a calligraphy starter kit from a seasoned professional with experience teaching others the art of calligraphy. We have received a surprising number of emails similar to the one described below over the past couple months, so we thought we should go ahead and address it!

Just this week we received an email from a beginner who is eager to learn the art of calligraphy. Like many others, she didn’t know where to start in terms of purchasing supplies and learning the skill. She loves Laura’s work, avidly follows us on Instagram, but found that there were “cheaper” options for a “starter kit”. After purchasing multiple other “cheaper” options, she discovered that they only included the basic tools {pen, nib, ink} + an alphabet. No instructions regarding what the tools are or how to use them. No guidance on the steps for getting started, including how to set up for learning, let alone how to actually form the letters of the alphabet.

There is value in having all the tools necessary to get started recommended by someone else, of course, but the true value of our calligraphy starter kit is the 10 page instructional book written by Laura herself based on over 20 years of experience in practicing the art of calligraphy and nearly two years of teaching the art to thousands of students {our 100th workshop will be early next year!}. Our instructional booklet covers what the tools are, how to prep them for use, how to set yourself up to start practicing, how to use the gridlines, how to use the tools to achieve the thin/thick lines that are characteristic of pointed pen calligraphy, etc. Our instructional book then continues with tips and common errors to avoid that we frequently see in our workshops. We also offer a video tutorial of Laura writing every letter for those that want to see her actual movements on every letter, upper & lower case. Most recently, we have gone one step further now offering our Alphabet Tracing Pad that actually includes each letter on the gridline paper for tracing. As you can see, our starter kit & its accompanying pieces go well beyond the basic pen, ink, nib + alphabet model of selling kits!

We are by no means implying that ours is the only kit worth purchasing, but we definitely encourage you to consider a few things when shopping for a calligraphy starter kit or in-person workshops as well:
1. Does the kit include actual instructions to get started or are you just receiving a pen holder, nib{s}, ink and an alphabet?
2. Is the alphabet you receive created in pointed-pen calligraphy? There are many cute lettering styles that are not necessarily pointed-pen calligraphy. Learning the fundamentals of the Copperplate alphabet & pointed-pen calligraphy can be a beneficial starting point to later branch out into developing your own calligraphy/lettering styles.
3. How long has the person been practicing the art of calligraphy? What qualifies him/her to be recommending items & teaching the art?
4. What other tools &/or resources does this person offer to continue my learning if desired?

While everyone has different goals & budgets in regards to taking up the art of calligraphy, we just want to be sure you are fully informed about the product you are purchasing!

xo
Alyssa

*kit orders are shipped via USPS Priority Mail & do include tracking. This is for 2-3 days USPS mailing, so while we will ship them from our end in time to arrive by 12/24, we can not guarantee against unforeseen delays caused by USPS. Please keep in mind that we have the same exact tracking as what is provided to you at the time of shipment and can not provide information beyond what is shown in the tracking. Thank you for your understanding.

7 12, 2015

{Tip} 2015 Holiday Mailing Dates

By |December 7th, 2015|Holiday, postage, tips|Comments Off on {Tip} 2015 Holiday Mailing Dates

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The holidays can be such a fun & exciting time, but they can also be pretty chaotic in terms of mailing letters as well as packages. Our cutoff for holiday orders {i.e. orders that will arrive by November 24} is December 15, so if you are hoping to gift a calligraphy starter kit, please get your orders in ASAP! While we normally get orders out the same or next day, we are currently operating on a 3-5 day processing period due to the high volume of orders, so orders would need to be placed about 5 days prior to the shipping dates below.

Here are a few dates to take note of from USPS to ensure* delivery by December 24:
Within the US
Letters & Cards – December 19 {first class mail}, December 21 {priority mail}, December 23 {priority mail express}

International Mail
Priority Mail Int’l
Canada, Europe, Middle East – December 11
Mexico, Asia, Australia, New Zealand – December 8

Priority Mail EXPRESS Int’l
Canada – December 17
Mexico, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Australia, New Zealand – December 15

You can find additional information via the USPS website.

Happy Holidays!
Laura + Alyssa

*please know that there can always be delays for unknown reasons and there are no guarantees with third party mail carriers!!

25 11, 2015

{Calligraphy Workshop} Workshop Chicago ~ November 2015

By |November 25th, 2015|Calligraphy, calligraphy workshops, learn calligraphy, resources|0 Comments

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We simply LOVE the workshop space at Workshop Chicago and were fortunate to teach 2 more beginner calligraphy sessions there a couple weeks ago! Joy of Joy Lyn Photography stopped by to snap a few pics of the wonderful space for us. We again worked with Fleur Inc & Elysia Root Cakes for flowers & treats ~ it’s really great as we get to know fellow creatives in more & more cities as well travel.

A lot of people wonderful if Laura & I go sightseeing in the cities that we visit and the truth is that we really don’t! We travel so often for our classes {you can see the 2016 schedule so far here}, that at this point we pretty much just get in, get prepped, teach the classes, then head back to our respective homes {DC area for Laura, LA for me, Alyssa}.

Our trips usually start with a long day of travel for at least one of us & when we get to our city we head straight to the hotel or venue to collect the class supplies that we’ve shipped in advance. We then spend a few hours sorting through everything and getting a prepared as possible for easy set-up the morning of the class. In NYC we are lucky that we can usually set up the night before and we also layout the supplies for the other three classes we might be having that weekend.

After set-up we will enjoy a nice dinner…and definitely some wine as we toast another weekend of workshops! The next day we will have two back to back classes, then depending on the city/schedule, we will head either straight to the airport for our flights home, or we will venture out for another yummy din & then hit the hay nice and early {think 10pm}. Then next day is basically the same with another rounds of classes and then we head home…usually getting home around 11pm or midnight on Sunday night. As you might imagine, we are both pretty exhausted {with tired feet, especially!} with all that activity, so we don’t usually add sightseeing or nights out at the bars into the mix!!

We truly do feel fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to so many wonderful cities and help keep the art of pointed-pen calligraphy thriving, and we also feel happy to crawl into bed after the long weekend away from home!  We hope to see you in 2016 when we visit San Francisco, DC, Toronto, NYC, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston Chicago & possibly a few more still in the works! Check out the full schedule here, and if you can’t make it to class, we invite you to check out our video tutorial + starter kit found here.

A few more pics from Joy…

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xo,
Laura + Alyssa

23 11, 2015

{2015 Holiday Sale} 30% Off ALL Products in the Shop

By |November 23rd, 2015|decor, gifts, Holiday, news|0 Comments

LHC-Facebook-Covers

If you follow me on Instagram you know I adore the fall & holiday season in general. There’s something so magical about the cooler weather, extra time with family, the decorations, food & drink fests…I just love it! So to really kick off our holiday season, we are offering 30% off ALL non-custom products in our shop using coupon code HOLIDAY at checkout {see restrictions below}.

This means holiday décor, gift wrap & tagscalligraphy supplies, wedding goods ~ everything that is not handwritten or custom in the shop. So if you’ve been eyeing a starter kit or other supplies, now is the time to buy since is the the only time of year we have offered these items on sale {only valid on starter kit purchased with the video tutorial; not valid on rose gold ink}. While you are shopping for Christmas goodies, don’t forget to stock up for New Year’s Eve as well while everything’s on sale!

We know many of you, ourselves included, will be spending Thursday & Friday with family, so to beat the shopping rush we are offering this sale from November 23-30. We hope you will take advantage now & save the weekend for relaxing with loved ones…and perhaps decorating your home like we will be!

{please note: if you are buying for Thanksgiving, you must purchase overnight shipping here if you would like to receive your items in time for this year’s Thanksgiving. If you do not purchase overnight shipping, the items will not arrive in time. We cannot be held responsible for delays by USPS or UPS.}

**coupon is valid on starter kits ONLY when purchased with the video tutorial; coupon is not valid on rose gold ink, wedding calligraphy, invitations, compasses or other custom, handwritten items**

10 11, 2015

{Modern Calligraphy Summit} Registration Opening Again Soon!

By |November 10th, 2015|Calligraphy|0 Comments

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Want to learn the art of calligraphy from 9 industry pros? Next spring I will be part of a team of 9 talented calligraphy professionals who have teamed up to bring you the ultimate calligraphy learning experience.

It’s an online conference, so anyone, anywhere in the world can participate in learning this beautiful art form. If you haven’t yet signed up to be notified once registration re-opens, you can do so by clicking here. You will have immediate access a free cheat sheet ~ Top Tools for Calligraphers! Later this month you will receive some more bonus material & then be notified when the enrollment is open.

The conference is not just for beginners and will cover a full spectrum of this wonderful art including developing your own style, envelope layouts, flourishing, watercolor, floral embellishments & more!

Enrollment will only be open for a limited time later this month, so be sure to sign up with your email address now. Pricing increases each enrollment period, so you don’t want to miss out this round!

6 11, 2015

{Social Media Tip} Using Phone Filters to Edit Photos for Instagram

By |November 6th, 2015|Calligraphy, tips|0 Comments

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We are often asked who takes our photos for our Instagram feed and the answer is that we do unless otherwise credited with a photographer! While we would love to be able to share professional photos each and every time {because let’s face it ~ they are just BETTER!!}, so many things cross Laura’s desk every day that we want to be able to share, even without professional pics.

Here are some basic tips {from our experience only ~ there are many other apps and tools to use, but these are just the ones we prefer}:

  1. We always edit our photos completely outside of Instagram and do not use any filters offered directly in the Instagram App.
  2. Try to take your photos in natural lighting. This means without the lights on or direct sunlight hitting your area. This can be outside {we get good pics in the backyard covered patio} or inside{ in front of large open windows}. Try a few different areas to see what works best for you.
  3. You don’t have to have a professional grade camera. We use an iPhone for all of our own photos & videos, too. Having a newer version of the iPhone really helps {need to upgrade? Business expense! This is not legal tax advice, but definitely something to consider…}
  4. Once we have our original photo, we edit it directly in the photo edit on the iPhone ~ no special apps yet. Go to the lighting setting then adjust for brightness & contrast separately. See our original photo below.
  5. Our next step takes place in the Aviary app ~ this is a photo editing app available on your phone. Here we adjust for lighting & sharpness {this is especially helpful when you are showing calligraphy with fine hairlines}.
  6. Lastly we use Afterlight if we still want to get a little more brightness for the photo.

Here is the original photo for the one shown at the top of the post. As you can see, these simple steps made for a brighter, sharper photo in under 5 minutes!

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As we mentioned above, there are many, many other photo editing apps you can use {or even better you can edit in Photoshop if you’ve got the time/skills!}, but hopefully these tidbits on what we like will help you on your way to a better, brighter Instagram feed.

Let us know your preferred photo editing apps below in the comments!

xo,
Laura + Alyssa

19 10, 2015

{Floral Workshop} A Morning with Sweet Root Village

By |October 19th, 2015|about laura, flowers, Workshops|0 Comments

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A couple weeks ago I decided to take a weekday morning off for a one-on-one floral workshop with the lovely gals at Sweet Root Village, Lauren & Rachel. The wedding season can be a very busy time, and as a small business owner I am usually in the mindset that I have to be doing something for my business…at all times. This year I’ve been focusing on intentionally scheduling time off for myself whether it be on my own, with my husband, with my family, etc.

As I’ve mentioned many times on Instagram, I love flowers! I planted about a thousand plants at my house this past season and can not wait for the bounty that {hopefully!} awaits me next spring, so in the meantime, I thought it would be fun to see if Lauren & Rachel would teach me some tricks for sprucing up my arrangements.

It was such a wonderful morning spent with fellow creatives & I’m so glad I took the time out of my week to do something for me. Not only did we create a beautiful arrangement, but we also chatted about small business ownership, working in the wedding industry and more. It’s always such a treat to spend time with industry colleagues who understand “the business” ~ as my sister & I like to call it!

Anyway, Lauren & Rachel are so talented, that not only do they create gorgeous floral arrangements, but they also snap great pics! Here are a few from my time with them…

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I had so much fun that I already scheduled a holiday session in December when my mom comes to visit! Thanks again Lauren & Rachel for having me!

xo,
Laura