New Hobby | Calligraphy

photo 1 In the many elementary schools I attended, handwriting received a grade. My handwriting grades were pretty good in primary school, and I was always happy to receive a ‘E’ for excellent in handwriting.  I come from an immigrant family, so my parents were oftentimes uncomfortable with writing in English. Even though I knew they could totally do it, I was happy to write out envelopes and “thank you” cards as they dictated. More than over a decade now, I have been typing everything and not writing anything. Sure, I have to write down notes and make lists, but who hand writes anything anymore? Everything is done in email or clicking on small icons on phones. My hand written words have suffered, and now look more like a doctor’s prescription note. (So glad those prescriptions are now typed.) I decided that I wanted to take up calligraphy as a hobby. I went to my local craft store and bought some materials. It was a bust. The ink didn’t flow correctly, the nib was all wrong, and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. What did I do? I took a calligraphy class last year with the amazing and beautiful Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls at the Makeshift Society in San Francisco. She provided everything that we needed to start. The right type of paper, ink, pen, and nib for all us enthusiastic beginners. I realized that it was imperative to use the correct supplies and to practice, practice, practice. photo 2 I took a quick snapshot of her desk set up admiring all her work and simple examples that she demonstrated. And then it was our turn to try it out. At first, I was so happy to find that my pen was working! Sadly, my handwriting wasn’t doing me any favors. As I wrote and rewrote again and again, I realized what typing for so many years had done to my writing. It sucked. photo 3 For a while after my son went to bed, I would bring out my calligraphy supplies and practice. If it was a particularly bad day, practicing calligraphy became cathartic. I was hooked and even had my first wedding invitation assignment. I mixed black and white ink to make a beautiful gray pigment that went perfectly with the blue envelopes. invitations By no means will I ever go into calligraphy as a professional, but it has become a great hobby. Since I can’t really practice piano after my son goes to bed, this is something I can do in the evening hours. Unfortunately, I do suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, so I need to take many long breaks away from this activity. But always refreshed and happy to go back to it when I’ve recovered. Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

IMG_6087For black ink, I mostly use Kuretake Sumi Ink. It is very rich and dark, and flows beautifully. Higgins Eternal black ink is also a very good one to use. For white ink, I have used both of Dr. Martin’s Bleed Proof White and Pen White. I’ve also used both for mixing with black to make gray, and it worked out great. The only thing about white ink, is that you should add distilled water to your desired thickness. For nibs, I suggest reading this awesome post on Besotted. I use the Zebra G and the Blue Pumpkin nibs, and love them. For small and super fine line projects, I have loved using the Hunt 102. Also note, that not all paper is the same! The smoother the better. Nibs will oftentimes catch on the fibers in paper, so find real practice pads to start.

{All images by Nancy Cho for Uncle Owly.}



The 5th Birthday Party


I think that I’m getting birthday party burn out. Strike that… I KNOW that I’m getting birthday party burnout. Already you say? Yeah, I hear you, this mama better shape up because there are many more to come. I am late sending out the invites, I was almost late in reserving a bouncy house, and now I’m racking my brain for all the other little details. It’s been procrastination city in my head. But maybe we won’t fret over the details this time. Maybe we will just fret over the food – cause we love food in this house, and making sure the kids have fun. We decided to have it at home this year so that we could remind ourselves to have it somewhere else next year.



On the upside, our little man decided to have a Fantastic Mr. Fox themed birthday party. This did lift up my spirits as we are big fans of Roald Dahl, and big fans of Wes Anderson. I decided to go rustic with this one and paint the heading. It’s much more difficult than writing with, let’s say, a pen or a calligraphy pen. Also, painting words with watercolor made me lose my ability to spell.


I did however, manage to paint the fox and be fairly happy with the result. I’ve never used watercolors before, so I had to quickly Google, “How to watercolor.” I wasn’t even going to go there with the hands fearing that it would frighten children and look mutant-like, so I cropped the very bottom of the fox in the invitation. I’m also not that good at drawing, so I ain’t gonna lie – I traced just the outline of the head from some other fox image I found online.  But I did have to free-hand the rest and paint it in. You should’ve seen my other fox… it looked like a dog.

Now I guess I’ll put stamps on them and mail them out today. Or tomorrow. ;)

{All images by Uncle Owly – Nancy Cho}

Ink + Wit

Sometimes, I wish I was fast and witty. I often find myself saying, “I should have said this!” an hour after a conversation. This stamp set from Ink + Wit is one I wish I had found for the first birthday party. Oh well. But, I looked around and found these adorable tea towels. Super cute, well, almost too cute for tea towels. I think I’d rather hang these up on my walls!

Munaluna :: last of Renegade… i think…

I am a nerd. I was in band and jazz band when I was in elementary, middle, and high school. When I saw Munaluna’s booth, I thought, “Those are cute tea towels.” The paper is cute too… HALT. WHAT? Plushy robots?! I don’t care what you say, but robots are awesome. And now that Meredith Cheng has made them plushy, they can be cuddly, huggable robots. Hewoooo wobot fwend!

Sycamore Street Press

I saw Sycamore Street Press at the Renegade Craft Fair, but their booth was too crowded to take any photos. I’m not surprised that it was so jammed in there either! This family letterpress business creates the most charming designs. A good friend of ours gave our little guy the Numbers poster for his birthday. I totally cracked up when I saw the “Crying is for Babies” poster below. I love what it says in the parenthesis.

Dabbling with Invitations

I started dabbling around here and there with designing invitations for Korean first birthdays. Since there was such a lack of stuff out there, I decided to take a swing at it. I like incorporating the traditional and the modern together so that things don’t look too, dare I say, fobby. My only problem is, is that I love using Photoshop and I don’t know Illustrator. After talking to my graphic designer friends, seems to be that one must put things in Illustrator to get things printed. I just use my handy-dandy inkjet printer at home. But let me tell ya, this bad-boy printer is great! I’ve been disappointed by getting things printed before and I often times just use my inkjet now. And check out the wood card! I can print that from my printer at home, so I’m excited to try out tons of ideas.

The two flowers that I found a lot in Korean culture was the chrysanthemum and the peony. I am working on a Pogaji one, but that one has me a little stumped. Anyway, let me know which ones you like! Hopefully I’ll be able to get them up on the “Eggy” store soon. Sigh… I should start packing to move my house though…


So the other day, my husband walks in with this package and out comes this book. Ladies and gentlemen, this ain’t no ordinary board book. It is a birth announcement from none other, Lisa from Good On Paper. Apparently, because she put in so much work into it, (and didn’t realize that she wouldn’t have that much time after the baby was born…. go figure ;) ), only a few were sent out. I’m amazed that even one was sent out. (Shoot, people were lucky they even got an announcement from us! AND it was late!) So browse through the pictures and “ooooh” and “ahhh” like I did for hours.

Hello Lucky

I’m such a huge fan of stationery. I’m on the computer so much emailing all the time, that it’s nice to receive handwritten letters and cards via snail mail. I’m also a big fan of Hello Lucky. I was hooked when I bought their holiday wrapping paper years ago, and am always excited to see their new stuff. You must check out their birthday cards too!