Ahh calligraphy. Such a beautiful art. I don’t know about you, but anytime I scour Pinterest or Etsy for gallery wall inspiration or thank you notes I am flooded with gorgeous pieces that have some form of hand lettering.

See what I mean...gorgeous hand lettering
See what I mean…gorgeous hand lettering. Photo Credit: A screenshot of my Etsy shopping 🙂

Well, I’m a moderately creative person. I have authored a few DIYs here on Austin Moms Blog (See: Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Miracle Carpet and Mattress Stain Cleaner DIYs) so I figured…”What the hell! I’m going to give hand lettering the ol’ college try.”

I vaguely remembered that about a year and a half ago, my main squeeze got me a subscription to WhimsyBox (a monthly subscription for the DIYer that comes with the ingredients you need to make the month’s DIY. FYI: It appears that WhismyBox is not accepting new subscribers at this time.) and that I  think there was a calligraphy DIY. Off to the top of my closet I went and sure enough I found the tools I needed to be my own artist (pronounced are-teest).

Voila! There she was  (albeit a little dusty) after 12 months in the closet.
Voila! There she was (albeit a little dusty) after 12 months in the closet.

It was promising. The box came with everything I need to be a Calligrapher Extraordinaire. Enclosed in the box was a too cute for words instruction booklet (the thing with the arrows that I just knew I’d be able to make by the time I was done with the  whole lesson thing), the ink, the “pen”, a “You did it!” pin, and bookoos of paper.

Silly face-making cutie was not included.
Silly face-making cutie was not included.

I read the instructions like any good Type-A rule follower would and thought to myself, “I got this!” I will EARN that pin.

My optimism quickly dwindled after I opened the ink and got that $hit stuff everywhere.

Did Thomas Jefferson have this problem?
Did Thomas Jefferson have this problem?

It was downhill from there. Calligraphy is hard. This little point is pretty powerful. I kept thinking,

“How hard can this be?”

“Why aren’t you good at this?”

Why is this little point ruining my afternoon?”

At one “point”, my daughter who is four and apparently knows everything walked over to me and said, “Uhh mama…I think you’re doing it wrong.”

She was right. I did do it wrong. How you overcome the thick too-much-ink to the thin transition is beyond me.

#calligrapfailure. I’m pretty sure Allison will NOT be asking me anytime soon to create hand-lettered anything for her.

Thankfully I work my butt off so I have some extra spending money every month and I can continue decorating my walls and my life with true artistry by people like Cate Button Makes.

Maybe I’ll give it another try. I’ll make a deal with myself; if I can get the ink out from underneath my recently manicured nails in less than a week, I’ll try again.

Until then, back to Etsy I go.


Vanessa Barry
Vanessa is the co-founder of Austin Moms Blog. She is also the Director of Communications for IDEA Public Schools, a nationally recognized network of K-12 public charter schools serving more than 15,000 students. She has a blast learning, loving and laughing with her four-year-old little lady, Caroline Grace.


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