The highs and the lows

Custom Calligraphy Order- Dec 2015 It's been a busybusy week... I'm at the level of happy exhaustion that can only come from crazy deadlines and physical labour! I had a surprising flow of custom orders at my Etsy shop most of which were to be mailed out in time for Christmas--- so of course the first and last thing I've done is panic! I have such a fear of packages getting lost in the mail or being delivered too late, so I've been very nervous when I had so many orders to be sent out of the country. Fingers and toes crossed - Canada Post please come through!!

There's a wonderful high with the strict deadline of orders which has caused me to work pretty continuously over the past few days. I haven't had time to second guess myself, and the result has been great, I'm actually feeling happier with the work I'm producing (maybe because it's not preempted with worry and anxiety). Hooray for that level of freedom!

Custom Quote Order- Dec 2015

I've also sent out a slew of greeting cards, a lot of them within various card exchanges I've participated in. It's been handy to have my screenprinted cards to send out so that I can spend more time decorating envelopes! I've worked with nibs and brush pens, a slew of different inks, and tried out different calligraphy styles. That was fun, and a great practice! I got pretty creative!

The one thing that's been plaguing me since last week is that my printmaking has once again fallen behind. It seems to be always coasting in the shadows, waiting for my schedule to free up so that I can spend time creating, carving, printing. But that never seems to happen! I did say to myself that I would, no matter what, spend an hour or two every day just creating, no matter what obligations I've got going on.....well that's proved easier said than done. I'm working through it, and hope by this week's end I have a good rhythm of balancing the immediate demands with the longer term goals and plans. High hopes? Possibly. :)

Hope you are all having a lovely week!

xo

Pri

How do you talk about yourself?

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I've been settling into a bit of a different routine these past few weeks. My christmas cards are printed and selling on my Etsy shop (thanks to all those who made some purchases!), and as I mentioned in my previous blog post, I've starting thinking about and preparing (read: worryingworryingworrying) for the Spring One of a Kind Show in March 2016. Most of my days have been spent planning, researching and giving myself lots of time to create and experiment.

Christmas season feels to be in full swing, and  it's the time for lots of catch up lunches, coffees and dinners. And while it's actually been a bit of a challenge to manage my social calendar (yes, insert eye roll here), it's been really nice to get some balance to my otherwise holed up creative lifestyle.

Whenever I'm in this 'creating' stage, I often feel stumped in conversations about 'how things are going' or 'what I'm working on'. It's so hard to put into words... especially when this time for me is sodamnstressful. I could say  "I'm utterly lost", "I've accomplished so much!", "I've accomplished nothing!"- they would all somehow apply!

I've addressed a similar difficulty in a previous post about getting out of my head and connecting with others. I've come to realize that my bigger struggle seems to be HOW I talk about my work. C has previously called me out on it; I have this tendency to primarily discuss all of the issues I'm facing with my new business, how much I'm working, how stressed out I am. Some of it comes from an earnest desire for advice from others, but most of the time, I think it's a weird sort of compensation..but for what?

The more I thought about it, the more I realised I've always done this, and it seems that so many others around me do it too! I can recall many conversations that hover around 'Work is so stressful, I'm working ALL the time,' and it made me think- Is everyone actually that unhappy? Or perhaps this is instead a form of social bonding, like saying "We're all in this together"? Seems like an awfully sad way to connect, and ofcourse not necessarily honest.

I read this interesting article about how modesty was embedded into this writer's life - and the way she portrayed herself was a direct result of this pressure/thinking. I wonder if something similar is embedded in my brain. Do I tend towards negativity for fear of appearing overly confident or pleased with my work? It's probably so heightened now that I'm putting my creative self out there!

How lame, to be such a rain on my own parade. If I noticed it in someone else, I know my response would be immediate, indignant and adamant. "Why are you putting yourself down?!"/  "Be proud of everything you're doing!"/ "You know, the results don't matter as much as the process"

But hey, awareness and acknowledgement is the first step to changing anything right? It's hard to talk positively about something that at times fills my mind with a plague of worry and doubt, but I'm making a honest effort to atleast be aware of it (and hopefully nip that negativity in the bud).

This week is all about getting some Christmas cards mailed out, play with my new printer (yay!), and draw, paint and carve the rest of the time :)

Happy Tuesday all!

xo

Pri

Making Christmas Cards

Hi pals, This update is going to take you behind the scenes at Paper Trails Design Co! There's so much that goes into making each card, and I hope you find it as interesting as I do!

Step One: Design

I start off by coming up with manymany (mostly terrible) ideas and designs that I sketch out in my notebook, or go through random sketches I've done in the past to see if there's anything good there. Once I have a solid base, I go through it all and narrow down the ones I have a 'good feeling' about. Not a lot of science here!

A lot of the cards I've created have been design patterns in a shape. I create a template of the shape, and this is when my good friend tracing paper comes out! I use tracing paper on top of the templates so I can freely create different designs without having to redraw the initial shape.

Now comes the tricky part! When screenprinting cards, only one colour can be printed at a time. So I have to plan out the designs for each colour ahead of time, and I use tracing paper to separate the design into two (or more) colours.

Once the design seems to be ready to go, I usually scan my traced designs into photoshop to clean it up and ensure there aren't any holes in my colouring! Also, I should mention that the design needs to be black in this stage- the colour comes later, with the paint!

Step 2: Prep the Screen

The next step is one I complete at Open Studio. I transfer the designs onto my screen using emulsion, a dark room, and a huge UV light machine. Once that's done, I take my screens back home and set it up to print!

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Step 3: Print!

Mixing inks can be sofun and sofrustrating at the same time. But once I've got a colour ready,I'm good to go! I use newsprint for rough drafts, to test ink, etc. Once I figure out where my card needs to be positioned, I hold it's place with tape so that each card can go in the same spot.

The cards dry pretty quickly, so the process doesn't take too long if I have to apply a layer or two of different colours.

Step 4: Package and Send!

I really look forward to the packaging part of the process! Those who know me can attest to my pretty strong love for wrapping gifts. And that's how I think of every sale- I try to make every order a pretty little package that folks will be delighted to receive in the mail.

Thanks for reading about my process! If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below, I would be happy to answer them! I did run through step 2 pretty fast (prepping my screen), but I felt it was too much info! I think I'll leave it for another blog post on a rainy day. :)

If you haven't checked out my Etsy shop yet, please do! My cards will be on sale up until the week before Christmas, but I recommend ordering by the first week of December to receive them on time!

xo and have a great rest of the week!

Pri

 

Living out a hobby

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  I'm finally back to the blog, and so much to share! I've just added this year's screenprinted christmas cards to my Etsy shop, and there will be  a post on my process of creating these cards soon!

Letterpress letters

I've been feeling fortunate lately. Every action I'm taking with my business seems to involve a huge creative and technical learning curve so that even a year into the business, everything is still feeling so new and unchartered!

There's been a LOT of learning in the past two months- I've taken a letterpress workshop at Open Studio, which was a fantastic introduction to using the Vandercook press. I recently also took 'gilding' and 'zentangles' workshops  through the Calligraphic Arts Guild of Toronto, both of which were so inspiring and fun, I'm itching to add these learnings to everything I'm working on! It's kind of wonderful that the things that inspire and excite me are also very helpful in growing my business and my level of skill.

So now that my cards are printed, I'm settling back into creative and marketing mode. There's so much that happened this summer that I have to update my portfolio...which is all good news. And speaking of good news!... I'm superexcited to announce that I'll be joining the Etsy team at the Spring 2016 One of a Kind Show in Toronto! Eeek! It's a BIGDEAL for my little business (which means for me!), and I have SO MUCH creating to do for it! I can't wait!

In the meantime, lots of things to cross off that to do list...and so it continues. With the intermittent bursts of creative energy, and thrill of being my own boss. Yay!

xo

Pri

Rearranging everything

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Sometimes this blog reminds me of a blaring alarm clock. I always seem to begin by thinking back to the last time I blogged, and...what? it's been two weeks already? Howzthat?

It's been an abnormally stressful month. The heavyweight Christmas season is fast approaching, and with it comes many late nights, much anxiety, and looonggg lists of to-dos. That coupled with the fact that my business is almost a year old (!!!) and there is so much I wish I had figured out and done before now.

I think the stress reached a peak about a week ago, when I felt paralysed with fear, worry and no clue where to start, that I ended up watching a full season of Friends on Netflix in the middle of the day- taking refuge in numbing my mind for hours on end. Guys, that's when you know something's up! It seems so much easier to work when I have deadlines set (like orders to be fulfilled)- there's a clear goal, and clear timing. And someone already paid for it and wants my work! Creating without any clue about how people will receive my work is more stressful than I EVER imagined!!!

I kind of love making big changes (this life, case in point), so after my i-feel-sorry-for-myself-so-I'll-binge-watch-netflix episode I decided on creating a fresh outlook and environment for myself. Instead of putting on the pressure to work endless hours with noendinsight, I decided to intersperse my time between work, taking meaningful breaks (I'm finally reading again!), and allowing myself breathing room. It's just as important to take care of yourself and your environment as it is to put in many work hours. And you know what? During this time (non-work hours) I think I've stumbled upon another card series! So there you go- it works!

This environment changing mood I'm in is leaking to other areas of my life- I've been planning to reorganize my studio, and the apartment is slowly getting a deep clean! ah, it's rejuvenating!

By the way, I'm offering custom greeting cards now on my Etsy shop. I will have more postings soon, but if you're interested in gifting a one of a kind card (for a special birthday or anniversary, new baby, wedding, new home...so many reasons), please get in touch!

Hope you are having a great week. It's rainy here, perfect for working under warm lights, tea breaks, yoga, or you know, watching netflix.

xx

Pri

Slow down September

Have you experienced the surreal feeling when time goes by so fast that you're aware of moving moment to moment, but allofasudden it's the middle of the month? That's what the past two weeks have felt like to me! I've been to the east coast of Canada, attended two weddings, started practicing Italian script (the writing, not the language ha!), and worked in between it all while battling a cold. And time has flowwnn. Now that I've taken some time to stop and reflect on the past two weeks, there's so much to share! I was so excited to contribute some calligraphy and design to both weddings, and so happy to see the work live and in person! I posted some pictures to my facebook page, if you want to take a look.

As a practice, I'm trying to take note of inspiring sights around me and document it when I can. Although I feel I only scratched the surface of possibilities, I ended up taking a bunch of pictures of the breathtaking scenery in and around St. John's. We had gone on a hike and I couldn't get over the picturesque views (and the wild blueberries everywhere!) I had to zero in on the leaves - so many varieties and so beautiful!

I mentioned earlier in my post that I've challenged myself to studying the art of the Italian hand. I took a class earlier this year at the IAMPETH convention with Heather Held, and was immediately fascinated by this playful and beautiful script. So I'm going to work on this script every day for the next 6 weeks - it will be fun to document and see my progress!

Here's a video I did of myself writing out my company name in the Italian hand (a faster version can be found at my instagram account) This video is done three times the original speed, but is still about a minute long :)

[video width="640" height="640" mp4="http://www.papertrailsdesign.com/wp-content/uploads/Sequence-01.mp4"][/video]

 

I wrote this out with a Gillott 404 nib and Walnut ink on Rhodia blank paper. The Italian hand feels a lot like drawing, because the 'blobs' are sometimes added at the end, kind of like adding some shading or touching up a sketch. :) Ah, I'm loving writing in this style!

I'm looking forward to more indoor time and continue to create my cards and art prints. I hope the rest of this month goes by a LITTLE slower. :)

Have a happy Monday and great week ahead!

xo

Pri

 

Having a room of my own

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I've recently started entering my receipts from this year's expenses into excel- it's a long, boring process, but the procrastinator/organizer side of me kind of loves it. It made me think about how I seem to be pretty lax with my business spending budget. I think I've been in 'setup' mode for a long while, and am getting to the point where I'm finding it difficult to distinguish between my needs and wants- for example: "Oh, I found this ink everyone's talking about on instagram, I should get it (because you never know when a client might ask for a cardinal red ink)".

"And here are those nibs I've never tried- what if they make my calligraphy amazing. I should try them out. But since I have to ship from the US, I should order a dozen, just in case"

"The brush pens I was experimenting with weren't the ones on the recommended list for the class I'm taking, so I obviously have to buy the supply list! Oooh but look, they come in 12 different colours!"

One day I will learn-- I hope! I guess this company is like my baby, and I want to give it all the tools and opportunities possible for it to succeed. So money's no object, right?! Sigh. I started reigning in some of the purchasing, atleast until my excel sheets tell me I'm in the green (oh man, when will that be!?!)

I just finished up A Room of One's Own recently. I've been wanting to read this iconic essay for a long time, and it was so great. Besides all the fantastic insights on the patriarchal world we lived (and live) in, it also made me appreciate and realise how much I have, and that many other (more) creative people haven't had (or will not have) access to. I have a room of my own, a space to be creative. I have the emotional and financial support to pursue this dream I've had for a long time, which previously lurked in the far corners of my mind. Who knows what this will turn into, but I have the ability to see it through, which is so....unreal.

I forgot to post a picture last week of my re-printed business cards! I bought some lovely Stonehenge paper from Aboveground Art Supplies, and it feels just amazing!20150828_082909

This week was busy enough- got some invitations designs done, and lots of signs and other wedding stuff for my friends' wedding in just over a week! Can't wait to share pictures of it soon! I'm also buried in the process of creating new cards- for everyday use and christmas! And here's another Flourish Forum exchange I'm just mailing out today- on deadline date - eek!

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Happy Friday and Happy Weekend!

xo

Pri

 

 

Organizing, Listing, Planning

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August has been a busybusy month! Between wedding invitations, envelope addressing, custom Etsy orders, and getting out in the hot sun, there aren't enough hours in the day. I'm also working on getting more product created, calligraphed, printed before the end of the month. phew! I've never needed to plan and organize my days as much as these past few months. There's just so many things to keep on top of- the jumble of work orders, appointments, tasks. Since I have spent a good amount of time thinking about and working through this, I thought I would share the ways I (try to) stay organized.

My moleskine planner is my WORLD. Many who know me can attest to my inability to retain stuff (anything) if I haven't written it down. Which is why I need a good old fashioned planner. I'm usually making my weekly plans on a Sunday or early Monday morning, and then check out my planner everyday to see what I want to tackle that day. I also add more notes and appointments in the daily section.

It's not just a planner to me; it's where I keep track of books I want to read, birthdays, and awesome quotes I've come across. It's my treasure chest!

My only complaint about this planner is that it can't handle any ink much thicker than a ball point pen. Major bummer for a calligrapher! But I found these amazing pens in Japan that have been making me so happy everytime I use them. They are Pilot Frixion pens, and they are ERASABLE with the little plastic ball on the end. It's the coolest thing ever, and of course, I bought it in every colour.

I manually 'sync' (ha-ha) my planner with my google calendar. I use this online calendar for when I'm out and about and need to keep track of something, add a meeting or appointment, or add a note. It works pretty great, and bonus! I can add cute emoticons to events and meetings.

I've tried using some online applications previously but haven't been successful at updating it (how many organization methods can one use??). Trello is a really great online tool which I've tried to use in the past; I might give this one another try because I love the idea of having all the updates from one project in one place (rather than rummaging through a file or emails, which is my current, super inefficient, method).

This week I am re-printing my business cards on some nice stock I found at Aboveground, and printing some linocuts that have been sitting around for ages. Excited to get that done and up on my Etsy shop soon! Also got a lot of custom invitation stuff going on, I'm looking forward to sharing some of that work soon! I've started keeping a little journal by my bed- with the crazy busy days, it's hard for me to shut off my brain immediately at the end of the day (it's been a shocker to my typical asleepin30seconds self!). The stuff's pretty illegible because of my half closed eyes operating in bad lighting, but it's so great to get it out of my head! And who knows, maybe there's something there!

 

I'd love to hear about other organization methods- please feel free to drop in a comment below on your favourite way to make sense of crazy busy days!

Have a lovely, productive week!

xo

Pri

 

 

Taking Breaks and Procrastinating

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Canoeing the beautiful Barron River I was 'off the grid' this past weekend on a canoe trip. The trip was awesome, challenging, relaxing, and so so beautiful. The days leading up to the trip was kind of terrifying. Going off the grid?! But what if someone orders something, or I get an email from a current client that needs to be addressed asap?? I might lose business, or affect my response times! Of course, none of that happened- I had emails and orders waiting for me patiently when I got back, and I didn't piss anyone off by not responding this weekend.

Having my own business feels like I have to be around twentyfourseven, and for the most part, I am. There's just so much backofhouse stuff to figure out, so many emails and notes to be on top of, there really aren't enough hours in a day! I really need to realise that I can take a weekend off without my new world coming crashing down around me!

This week I'm moving between taking actual breaks and procrastination, as I try to pace through the heavy workload I have set up for myself. I have SO much to catch up on. I still don't have business cards forgoodnesssake!!

Inks and Washi tape all organized with my purchase from aberfoyle antique market

But why have I been procrastinating so much on this and so many other projects? Some other calligraphers and artists seem to work so much faster than me, but I seem to get overwhelmed so easily. Maybe I'm just wasting time doing non-productive things. Like the continuous drive to organize my studio (majorly successful procrastination technique). I've been indirectly putting off producing art and creating more cards - it's become such a daunting task (what if it's ugly, what if it takes too much time, what if I run out of ideas?), and time has only made it worse! I was thinking about it lots this week, and am telling myself to just take it one step at a time. Just pick up a pencil/paintbrush and have some fun. It's on the docket for today!

Handmade envelopes from patterned scrapbook paper sealed with a pretty wax sticker from fox and quills

The thing with procrastination is you don't know where the time goes- allofasudden it's the end of the day/week. And then you meet friends for lunch or dinner and don't know what to say about the progress of your business! I laughed when I read this article about how to get out of your head and interact with the outside world. A really good read for those who work from home, have been working a lot, or for anyone who feels unsocial at times (everyone). I was amused to find that I practice half of these 'techniques', as I often am in a situation where I'm interacting with people that have VERY different days than me. I think I've gotten better at talking about my world, but I'm still not totally comfortable with it.

By the way, I've updated my portfolio to reflect some of the things I've been working on these past few months- check it out!

Anyway, I'm going to get to it now! (After a quick run..... )

xo

Pri

Invitations

All invitations are personally hand designed and digitally printed. Please contact me for a quote on a custom project!

5 calligraphy classes, 4 long days, 3 pen holders, 2 dozen nibs...and a flourished bird on a quill

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Hi all! Two weeks ago I was in Tennessee, attending IAMPETH's calligraphy convention. I think it's Two of my new beautiful penholderstaken me about a week to recover! I had such a good time, met a ton of very talented, friendly calligraphers, and learned a LOT! Oh, and bought MANY supplies back home with me!

I learned Spencerian and Italian scripts, the basics of flourishing (which I SO needed), arm movement writing (take some of that pressure off my wrist!!), and brush lettering (portable calligraphy! what!). I bought three pen holders and lots of nibs and inks- which I have been so excited to use the moment I got back home!

In my flourishing basics class, we drew this flourished bird on a quill (hence the title of this post!):

Flourished Bird

I also promised that I would share my pangram that we exchanged at the convention- so hereit is. Note that this was before my flourishing class!! For those who don't know, a pangram is a sentence that uses up all the letters of the alphabet ("the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" is the most common one).

Pangram

Honestly, I'm so grateful that I gathered the courage to put myself out there and go to this convention. I thought I would feel left out, or too amateur- but the incredible hospitality of this organization and the attendees made me feel welcome and involved right away.

Christmas 2014So now that I'm back and somewhat settled in, I've been working on a couple of invitation designs. Also, I've got Christmas on the brain (title says it all, doesn't it?)- I have to get started on new batches of cards- all occassion ones and Christmas. I can't believe how fast the summer is flying by...not enough hours in the day!

 

For the rest of the week, I've got some calligraphy projects to work on, cards to start sketching out, business card designs to finalize (omg, still!!), and a print day for my linocut, which has been sitting around for months! phewww Oh, and we're off camping on the weekend- 2 day portage trip! Eek!

Have a happy week,

xo

Pri

ps. Can't remember if I've posted this previously, but here's the link to the IAMPETH website, which has amazing free tutorials, notes, and tips for a beginner in calligraphy! It's one of the ways I got started- give it a try!

Finding and breaking routine

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Hope you are all having a good week! Live your Dreams- Cabin decor

I spent the early part of this week in Deep River, ON, a wonderfully idyllic town where the air is fresh and the mosquitos are plenty. It Shakespeare Quotewas the first time that I tried to work 'remotely' (when I wasn't able to close my studio door and block out the outside world for hours at a time).  It was semi-successful, but as much as I hate to admit it, a part of me longed for the daily routine I have at home, especially when I have a lot of work to get done.

I have a love-hate relationship with 'Routine'. The word itself sounds so boring, like you're going through the mundane motions of the day without thought or appreciation of life. But I have also realized the importance of establishing a routine for a small creative business, and how it can free your mind to think about less mundane things. It's funny though, how exhilarating and tempting it is to just break from routine, to go to the beach instead of sit in front of the computer, or for lunch instead of sorting your workspace. Getting into a routine seems like it would lead to substantial fulfillment in the long run, while running away from it fulfills in a shorter, more intense way (and maybe not as lasting?)

My routine typically changes everyday, and I think I may need to find a better one in the coming months, when I plan to create create create! I have a lot of plans right now, and have to see them to fruition. The task will be trying to not let the beach trips, vacations and catch-up lunches get in the way!!

I found this awesome article with routines of famous writers, and think this is so inspiring! I wonder how successful they were at sticking to it...

Do you have a routine? What's it like and do you feel that it liberates you or ties you down?

I'll be finishing up some work on my website this week, and preparing for my upcoming trip to the IAMPETH convention in Tennessee (which I'm SOEXCITED and SONERVOUS about!). We were given the chance to participate in an envelope exchange with other members (and bring to the conference, I guess as a sort of icebreaker). Here are some pictures from that exchange.

Watercolour painting and calligraphy on Mixed Media paperAddressed envelopes for IAMPETH exchange

I also received some BEAUTIFUL envelopes in the mail from this exchange- it's such a treat to get a hand written envelope and note among all those flyers and bills!

Envelopes from IAMPETH envelope exchange 2015

Have a happy Friday and wonderful summer weekend!

xo

Priyanka

It's about time

I was just talking to a friend about how it's been SO LONG since my last blog post and I was feeling intimidated to start again (not to mention what I could possibly write about!) We discussed a couple of topics, and it made me realize that I just needed to start writing. So although this might not be the perfect blog post, or have amazing insights, here is what I've been up to these past few months! C and I recently came home from a wonderful trip to Thailand. We saw many beautiful temples and beaches and ate too many dishes to name (or pick one favourite!) It was really lovely- the people, the fruit, the hothot weather. I miss it, and find myself especially longing for the heat again, in this rainy, coldish summer we are having in Toronto.

Bangkok Temple

 

The designs and colours were amazing

Street Foooddd!!

Ko Tao

I love writing on beach sand!

 

So now, I'm back, and immediately hit the ground running with 90+ invites that needed to be completed for my sweet friends' wedding in September. I'm loving their colour combo!

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In two weeks I will be attending the IAMPETH convention for the first time! I have mentioned this association before, and I'm pretty stoked to be a member- it makes me feel little more of a legitimate calligrapher. :) I'm so excited to attend the convention in Tennessee this year. The week long program is filled with intense hours of classes, learning new skills and tips to improve my calligraphy, and of course, meeting other calligraphers! Attendees are creating trading cards to exchange at the event by writing out a pangram...and being the word-jumble-obsessed person I am, I've decided to create my own pangram! I think I'm almost there- can't wait to reveal the finished product!

I wanted to mention two little shout outs:

The first to a lovely couple that got married this weekend. I created their invites and calligraphed their envelopes for them, and they were a pleasure to work with from start to finish. I'm so so happy for them, and the celebration of their love looked beautiful- congrats Jen and Paul!Wedding Invite

Also, I'm so excited that one of my close friends just had a baby! I made this invite for her baby shower, it was so fun to do! Congratulations Natasha!! xoxo

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I am working on updating my website and etsy shop in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for exciting additions to the Paper Trails Design Co. etsy shop and new product pictures!

Until next time ....

xx

Priyanka

 

There's no such thing as work/life balance

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Wow, It's been over a month since my last blog post! I've been guilting myself about not posting often enough on the blog, but then I  started to think about why I've been so inconsistent with it, and why it sometimes feels like a chore. I have a bunch of drafts started but can't seem to get past that stage! It's been difficult for me to constantly be 'online'. I've read so many I've been trying to spent time everyday doing thisarticles that talk about the importance of staying 'top of mind' with your followers by posting pictures, blogging, and talking about projects I'm working on. I find that I can't be consistent with it. Some days I want to just be alone in my studio, quietly working. It's a double edged sword- it can be a safe, comfortable environment where there is no judgement or expectations, but it can be also very isolating. I find I work well under pressure, so having external deadlines can be super motivating, but the pressure and stress is nothing like I've experienced before- it's so personal and deep.

It's all such a roller coaster! Even with my productivity levels. Some days, I'm ticking off SO many to do's on my list, and at other times I find I can only do one thing a day and feel creatively stuck or inadequate. And when this happens, I'm so far from thinking about posting a picture on instagram about fun things I'm working on! It's interesting how the social media persona we sometimes portray for 'business' purposes conflict with our 'real' selves. In my current life where my professional and personal worlds are constantly colliding, it makes it hard to separate the two.

This book review I read on one of my favourite sites, Brain Pickings, made me think that maybe it's not about separating our 'business' and 'personal' lives. We tend to think in terms of the all too familiar 'work/life' balance measuring scale. But what if we didn't measure these different aspects of our lives, and instead made an attempt to be happy and at ease everyday, no matter what we are doing? What a crazy idea! :)

I love this card I made for my friend A

Alice in Wonderland Custom Quote & Watercolour illustration

Anyway, here's what I've been working on this past month: I completed invitations and envelope calligraphy for a wedding and a baby shower, completed some custom calligraphy projects, and applied for a craft show (eek!!) I'm also completing a special project for a wedding coming up at the end of the month, which I will tell you about soon! I've also received details to my first calligraphy exchange! It's organized by Flourish Forum, and this exchange is to send a favourite quote to seven other people! I'm super excited about it and will be posting pictures of my work in the coming weeks.

Until then, it's more wedding invitation work (wedding season is definitely here!!), calligraphy quotes...and maybe I'll finally get around to finishing my darn business cards! And an update to my website- soon! yay!

Oh, if you're looking for cards that can be used for any occassion- new home, birthdays, anniversaries, I have a cute set of cards up on my Etsy shop. :)

xx

Priyanka

 

Accepting change and making decisions

It's hard to believe that February has come, and almost gone. I don't know if it's a good thing (that I've been so immersed in work that I haven't been aware of time) or a bad thing (that I've been so immersed in work that I haven't been aware of ANYTHING ELSE). One thing's for sure, it's been sort of crazy! The juggling between custom orders, creating prints and greeting cards has been tough! It's been hard not to jump to a new thing every fifteen minutes but stay focused on the task at hand.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about how I can manage this new pace of life without going crazy. Organization, of course, is key, and my moleskin planner never leaves my side. No, I will not give up handwriting all my appointments and to do lists!! I've found that the other incredibly important element to sanity for me is a regular routine of yoga and running. Running is great when I'm super stressed and need to physically tire myself out to calm my mind, and yoga really helps with mindfulness and focus. Since I've been working from home and turning into a hermit, I've found a love for doing yoga in my own home space. Something about using my home as a place that I can wind down as well as work feels balanced and encouraging. I use this amazing website for my classes.

Having your own business can be so liberating and constraining at the same time. You can decide on ANY direction for your business, but all decisions feel like they hold so much weight that it's stupefying! I finally did make a decision recently, and that is to offer up my calligraphy and design services for wedding invitations and events. Yay for making the decision! I hand design the invitations and create a digital copy that folks can print themselves, or send to a printer! I'm working on getting some examples on my Etsy shop soon....

Speaking of Etsy, if you haven't already seen, I've added some new screenprinted cards that can be used for many different occasions- the cards are blank and speak the universal language of love. :) Here's my screenprinting process and setup in my home studio:

 

On a personal note, it's been a bit of a challenge understanding where my 'new life' fits in with the world and people around me. There have been stressful, sometimes sad, sometimes guilty, sometimes happy days related to this. I stumbled on this article recently. It was a good reminder that when I feel like I'm 'wasting time' (mostly in relation to my old life), I am probably wrong, and even if I'm not, it's something I shouldn't stress about because it's still leading me down some pretty amazing paths. I am still accomplishing something even if I am not going into an office everyday.  I need a daily reminder of this- we probably all do. :)

xx

Priyanka

The image at the beginning of this post is a little quote I wrote out for my lovely friend's beautiful new baby. Check out my Etsy shop for more pics and purchase options :)

 

 

 

 

reflecting on printmaking

Edvard Munch's The Scream, 1895 (Lithograph) Since I started on my printmaking journey almost two years ago, I've been constantly learning and appreciating the art, artists and medium.I remember being surprised to learn how prevalent it has been over hundreds of years (Picasso! Andy Warhol! Edvard Munch!).

Over this course of time, I have also been asked many, many questions about this new trail I've started on- How did I get into this/Why printmaking/What's printmaking? :) I will be talking about my printmaking journey on this blog, but if you're itching to know more about this super cool art form, you can check out Open Studio's website (I've talked more about them below).

There are a few reasons that printmaking is personally rewarding and fun.....

1. It's a source of constant inspiration and learning. I have only just scratched the surface (pun intended) with linocuts, woodcuts and screenprints- there is so much more to learn, and so many awesome ways to create an image- it's going to keep my entertained for years :) Not to mention the variety of gorgeous handmade paper I get to experiment with! A linocut/woodcut/screenprint adds a new element to the process of drawing and painting, and has it's own effect to the image (the way you carve, the amount of paint you push through the screen...etc)- it's so exciting to see!!

2. As a small business owner, it provided me a way of reproducing my work but also staying true to selling genuine handmade products. This was a big struggle of mine, when I knew I wanted to make greeting cards or art that I could sell. The idea of scanning and digitally printing the work just didn't seem to fit. I love that I can be a part of the process from beginning to end.

3. It's a wonderful community. I've been primarily involved with the awesome community at Open Studio. This amazing not for profit studio was where I first took my introductory classes in printmaking, and now I'm hooked! I use the studio occassionally, and volunteer on their board as treasurer. If you're ever in Toronto (at Richmond St. and Spadina Ave, to be exact), I highly recommend a visit to this beautiful place- they have galleries that showcase exhibitions from print artists, and a huge studio space in the 401 Richmond building. You can also peruse their print sales gallery, which has some amazing (and affordable!) artworks.

Printmaking and calligraphy is a funny art combo, but I love switching gears between carving tools and nibs. :) I'm working on getting my first linocut print up in my shop, as well as a bunch of screenprinted cards-- stay tuned!

Here's a peek into my process of creating a linocut print at home.....

 

Have a wonderful rest of the week!

xx

Priyanka

 

 

 

 

 

Practicing Calligraphy

I've spent the past week trying to buckle down and just create. It started with the best intentions and lots of determination. But then I realized that I should probably first organize my studio and supplies better, and I bought a bookshelf and tidied all of Sunday. And then, I thought that C & I should build a fort in our living room (oh, yes, this happened, and it was glorious). And THEN, I thought I should get in touch with everyone I know for a catch up. Phew. It's been a busy week. practice sheets

Hard to believe, but I actually also ended up doing a lot of carving for a linocut I'm working on, some custom orders for calligraphy, and a lot of calligraphy practising and learning. I've been hooked on Eleanor Winters' 'Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy' ever since I got it for Christmas. Every time I pick up the book, I'm itching to get my nibs and inks out to try all her amazing suggestions! She makes it all look so darn easy!

If you're thinking of starting up a new hobby (once you've got the basics covered, calligraphy can be incredibly meditative and relaxing! really!), this book is a great starter with lots of helpful tips.

I had previously mostly relied on free online tutorials on the IAMPETH website (explained more below), which are also amazing! There's tons of great stuff - practice sheets, lesson plans, tips. I also stumbled upon Skillshare, which was a godsend! It's an membership site with online classes that you can take at your own pace. The site covers so many different topics (design, photography, calligraphy, entrepreneaurship....)- I learned all my basic knowledge of photoshop, illustrator, and lightroom from here. I also took some calligraphy classes on there, which was great! I need to treat myself to a class on there soon.....

As with every hobby/new obsession, I wondered how many other calligraphers were out there and if there was some sort of 'group' I could join (this might have been another attempt at procrastination...yes, likely). There aren't a lot of resources in Toronto. So I had to dig a little deeper- and found a lot of international organizations based out of the US. IAMPETH ("The international association of master penmen, engrossers, and teachers of handwriting"...that's a mouthful!) feels to me like the harvard of calligraphy associations, but hey, there's no prereq to join! They have an annual convention with calligraphy classes and talks (which feels like summer camp to me!!)- I hope I make it this year! I also started following a bunch of calligraphers on instagram, which then led me to a forum for calligraphers. It's called 'Flourish Forum', and it's seriously amazing, filled with really really talented folks who share ideas, tips and encouragement.

I wasn't sure where my creative journey over the past two years would lead me, but I'm pretty happy that it includes a lot of calligraphy. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that it worked out this way since I've been dabbling at it and lettering (like an amateur, now I know) for years. Still, it's a nice feeling to be able to finally produce work that I've only previously dreamed about. :)

Peek at two custom works I did this month:

Happy Thursday!

-Priyanka

I bought new drinking glasses today

Hello again!

Blog post #2! hurrah! (I really didn't think I'd make it past post #1)

I couldn't decide on a title for this blog post, because I have so many topics to share (not really)....so I thought I would let you in on today's exciting purchase of new drinking glasses from Zara home! I don't know why I've never ventured in their stores before. Here's a picture of my purchase (I'm also not sure why they were so ridiculously cheap.... maybe they're disposable and I haven't found out yet).

On to the real reason for my post today- I've updated my Etsy shop! Hurrah again! I've added three new listings for custom calligraphy quotes. If you're wondering what that is, here are some picture examples:

So if you have a favourite quote or song lyrics (or anything really), I could write it out in the size and font of your choosing, and can even add some pretty awesome watercolour detail, if you wish. :) They make fantastic (and affordable!) gifts!

Agenda for the rest of the week (Yes I know it's Thursday, but technically I don't have weekends ;)): I'm going to section off a couple of hours to work on my first linocut print in a long time. Can't wait! Also, people seemed pretty excited about the patterns on my christmas cards- I'm toying with the idea of doing more 'pattern-y' cards, for everyday use. What do you think? I'm also going to be putting up an Etsy listing for envelope calligraphy soon- I just have to get more product pictures done- who knew they take so long to do!

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or new project ideas! As always, I would welcome any feedback on my website, etsy shop, etc etc- it's really helpful to know what people are interested in (like I'm sure you were in my glass purchase).

Have a good weekend friends!

xo

 

 

 

It's really cold in Toronto

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Hello There! Thanks for visiting my new site!!

On here you'll find my portfolio and ways to contact me. I will also be documenting my journey in calligraphy and printmaking on this blog. (We'll see how often this happens... !!!)

 

Since it's absolutely frigid out (it feels like -21degrees people!!!), I'm tempted to try and set a record for the number of days I can hibernate at home. So I created a long list of to-dos that can be done safely (and warmly) within the confines of my home studio. On the top of the list is updating my Etsy shop with the new products (service?) I will be offering- custom calligraphy! Hope to have the items and product pictures up within the next week.

I've created a bunch of works for friends and family over the past couple of months, and am so pleased that they were a hit! Everyone loved having a meaningful poem/quote/baby's name written out just for them. It's a great custom gift for any occasion, or no occasion at all! If you have a project in mind, even if you don't see it on my portfolio, don't hesitate to contact me. I would be happy to discuss new ideas!

Other highlights on the agenda for the week: some custom quote projects, a couple of cards that need to be completed and sent out this week, enter the labyrinth that is the Canada Post website and figure out 2015 shipping prices (ew), and prelim designs for wedding invites (eek, yes! custom wedding invites! Not something I'm offering out to the general public YET...but maybe soon!)

Now that I've successfully procrastinated for a couple of hours this morning... I'll start tackling the list. Hope you all have a Happy Monday!

xo Priyanka

ps. If you want to know more about my business, I've rambled on about myself here.