Monday, November 2, 2015

Introduction to Watercolours: Gift Cards + Tags

Join me Sunday, November 29th from 10am–1pm for this Introduction to Watercolours Workshop: Gift Cards + Tags. No watercolour experience necessary! Visit my website for information and to register! Hope to see you there.

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Video: Hand Lettered Wedding Signage

I have been asked to post quick video tutorials for some of the hand lettering and art I have been doing, so here is the first in what is sure to be an abundant collection of lessons and inspirations. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Day One.

I returned to the gym today for the first time in… well, let’s say two years.

I cried when I arrived.

Not sure why. Perhaps emotional because, even though it has seen many changes since I left in 2012, it was the place I helped build in 2010. Perhaps because I know what I had accomplished in the past and I am afraid of failing. Perhaps because I am, deep down, super proud of myself for making this commitment. For whatever reason, the tears flowed—and I allowed them.

I picked myself up, received my circuit details, and went at it. Not hard, but enough.

Leg press, alternating dumbbell presses, standing rows, and a hanging obliques exercise called “Ski Jumps”, named way back in 2009 just for me :)

The weights weren’t high, or even particularly difficult, but I felt every rep. When the self-doubt creeped in, I closed my eyes, and just felt my body moving. I love that feeling. Push… pull… contract… expand… BREATHE.

Three rounds was a wonderful start. I’ll be back Thursday for Day Two.

Yes, I will be tight tomorrow—a feeling I have always loved, and often craved.


With gratitude,

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Returning to Health…

In 2009, I worked my way through a magnificent Body-Mind-Spirit transformation. I started the year at over 35% body fat and 163lbs, wearing a size L/12/14. Only changing what I ate, I managed to reach 138lbs by late May when I started training with the amazing Marshall Page​. At that point, I was still 32% body fat, and wearing a size M/8/10.

Strength training twice a week, and eating clean 80% of the time, in only a month I was down to a size 6. By October I was 127lbs and 22% body fat, wearing a size XS/S/2/4. I hadn’t been that size/shape since high school. I felt strong, healthy, vibrant + alive!

Late 2009, I certified as a personal trainer and founded JoeGirl Fitness. I worked with female clients in their homes, their workplace gyms, outdoors in playgrounds and in commercial fitness centres. In August 2010, Marshall and I opened Marshall’s, where I continued to train and work with clients every day.

Mid-2012, I left the gym to return full-time to my design business. I stopped moving. I became less careful with what I ate, I fell in love with my favourite bartender, Jamie​ (that’s a good thing!), and focussed more + more on my business and being creative through design + art—lots of sitting on my ever-widening arse.

My changing body has been on my mind since 2012. I know I have been distancing myself from a healthy state every week—my body aches, I’m wearing a size L/12 again, my joints hurt, everything involving effort is difficult (Carrying groceries… Hello!???)—and I’ve been beating myself up about it.

While in Florida, Grace and I were shopping for her Grade 8 graduation dress, and I caught my reflection in a 3-way mirror. Ouch. While I know being healthy + fit is about so much more than how we look, the me in the mirror told a story I needed to hear—loudly. I have gained weight. I have become sedentary. I have become lazy. I have not been taking care of myself. The scale back home—something I try to avoid—confirmed I have crept back up to 165lbs. Wow.

The good news? My reflection, highest weight ever without being pregnant, constant discomfort, and the smack-in-the-face has incentivized + motivated me in a big way to make a change—to commit to ME again.

I made an appointment with Marshall to resume training 2x a week. I’m going to try out this new thing called “Yoga” with Jamie’s Mum, and ideally go once a week. I have just returned from Farm Boy with a stack of clean foods that I LOVE, and am about to spend some time writing a set of powerful, heart-centred affirmations to keep my mindset strong + focussed when those moments of weakness sneak in. Oh, and I bought a FitBit ChargeHR to monitor my activity levels, heart rate, calories in/out, sleep quality and be a constant reminder to take care of ME.

As in 2009, this commitment isn’t about acquiring a bodybuilder physique. It’s about returning to health, strength, confidence + wellness. While I would love to see my 2009 body again, I am deliberately choosing to start fresh without comparing my pending results to those I experienced five years ago. What I accomplished then was nothing less than remarkable. I inspired many others to make positive changes in their lives, and I felt like I could do anything.

This time, I am aiming for strength, health, vitality + overall wellness. Whatever happens to the shape of my body will be a happy side-effect.

Here I go… I am so ready.

With gratitude,

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Modern Calligraphy

I have been doing more and more custom illustration and hand lettering work {and play} recently. It is “work” I enjoy immensely, as it absorbs every ounce of stress and returns to me immeasurable joy.

To put pen to paper and move my hand and fingers to create shapes and forms that convey messages and conjure emotions is a powerful skill—one that I am finally accepting is a natural talent of mine. One that, thankfully, I have continued to practice, hone and polish my entire life.

I have been playing with pens, “faking” calligraphic strokes by outlining the heavy ones and filling them in with ink. Recently I acquired a digital tablet and stylus, allowing me to draw directly to the computer and manipulate the result in Adobe Illustrator. Both techniques deliver amazing lettering, and I am proud to say my work is always original, though something was missing from these techniques. Something just wasn’t authentic enough for me about it all. I didn’t want to fudge it anymore.

Calligraphy. Those awkward nib pens with the ink cartridges? I tried them years ago. Several family members gifted me several kits. I poured over those characters, practiced, practiced and practiced some more. Roman numerals, gothic alphabets, uppercase, lowercase… I liked the look of it, though didn’t love it. Of course, that was well over twenty years ago.

Calligraphy has changed.

Enter, Modern Calligraphy. And, welcome!

This is a style that Martha Stewart popularized in the 90s. Her Living and Weddings magazines were sprinkled with subtitles and captions using sweet, script handwritten-esque typefaces. Like this:

Being a publication designer, I appreciate the elegance and legibility of the script, and have been envious of those calligraphers who could create custom invitations, place cards, menus and table cards using pen and ink. Gorgeous.

For some reason, I never thought I could do it. So I never tried. 

Until yesterday.

I was itching to hit up our local art supply store to pick up some calligraphy pens and ink. I mentioned my craving to Jamie, who—because he was sent to me by heaven—disappeared and, within moments, returned with a box of his treasures, including… ta da!… fine point calligraphy tips, handles and bottles of ink. I love him.

So, after decades since last attempting calligraphy, this was the first line of script I laid to paper.

Not. Too. Shabby.

Then I was hooked. The challenge of mastering the requirement to lift and press the nib with just the right pressure—at just the right time—to ensure even and deliberate thicks and thins. Giving myself the freedom and forgiveness to try flourishes, and then try more. The instant gratification encouraged me to keep going. So I did.

I wrote, and wrote, and wrote. All. Day. 

Seriously. Ask Jamie. I attempted to put the pen away several times thoughout the day. I cleaned the nib. Disposed of my blotting tissue. Closed my sketch book. Initiated some less-joyful tasks, like housework. Nope. I couldn’t stop thinking about that pen and the magic I could perform with it! It was like a frikkin’ wand!

I went on to do these… and fill no fewer than eight other pages with random sentences, words, names and musings.

Pretty, aren’t they?

Say hello to Modern Calligraphy. I am a calligrapher. Finally!

{ Psst… I love to receive feedback on my posts. Please leave your comments whenever you feel inspired to do so! }