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When I first found out that the little human growing in my belly was a girl, I had a lot of thoughts. Would she have red hair? What would she want to be when she grows up? Would she give her mama as much hell as I did? But the first thing that popped into my head was a quote by Georgia mama Jessica Krammes Kirkland: "As for my girls, I'll raise them to think they breathe fire."

That's what I want for Wren. I want her to know that she is powerful, no matter what society at large may tell her. She was born into a world where women are paid less than men for the same job... and have been for decades. A world where we are wildly underrepresented in leadership positions. A world where we are forced to consider whether or not to come forward about harassment or assault - not because we haven't been wronged, but because we know we won't be believed. A world where we elected a man as president even after we heard him bragging about groping women without their consent (this is not a political position - it's a straight-up fact). In short, she was born into a world that does not value women.

How do you raise a dragon? There are lots of different ways, of course, but one thing I think is important is teaching her about women who have succeeded even in the face of adversity. Women from all walks of live. Women who were once little girls with a dream. To that end, her bookcase is stuffed to the brim with books about powerful women. She may only be 5 months old, but she has already heard stories of women from all cultures and backgrounds who have made history by breathing their own fire.

To celebrate International Women's Day, all day long on Instagram, I will be sharing stories and quotes from some of the women in her books. You can read more about the books featured and where to get them below. And as a special bonus, I'm offering the print pictured as a free download. Just sign up for our mailing list below and you'll receive an 8.5 x 11 inch PDF for you to print at home. I hope it reminds you and the girls in your life that no matter what society may say, we are valuable. We are powerful. And we can breathe fire.

Follow along on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mnykcalligraphy/

Books featured:

Subscribe & Get your free #WomensDay print

Sign-up for our mailing list, and you'll receive your FREE Women's Day print PLUS a coupon code for 10% off your next Etsy order! 

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We respect your privacy. You won't receive spam - pinky promise!

Thank you for signing up for our newsletter! You can download your free Women's Day print here.

Print is copyright Manayunk Calligraphy 2018. For personal use only.

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Every year on Galentine's, I host a brunch for some of my lady friends, and we exchange gifts, eat the bougiest little desserts and drink mimosas on top of mimosas. No boys allowed. 

But you don't need to have a brunch to celebrate the best day of the year... or to drink lots of mimosas. A great way to let your ladies know you love and appreciate them (and have a few drinks in the process) is to gift them a bottle of their favorite libation. To add a special Galentine's flair to your booze, I have created some bottle tags you can download, print, cut and fold on the white line. They have three gold standard Galentine's phrases: Ovaries Before Brovaries, LYLAS and You're the Thelma To My Louise. Classic, right?

These freebies can be printed on standard 8.5 x 11 inch paper. I'd recommend picking up some cardstock at your local craft shop - this will give the tags a bit more weight so they'll hold up better. 

To get your free download, just sign up for our mailing list below! And bonus: all new subscribers to the list will receive a coupon code for 10% off your next order in our Etsy shop. That's what I call a win-win. If you download these tags for your Galentine's celebration, I'd LOVE to see them! Snap a pic and be sure to tag @MNYKcalligraphy on Instagram.

One of my favorite days of the year is almost here: Galentine's Day! If you aren't familiar with the concept, it's pretty much just what it sounds like: instead of celebrating romantic love, we celebrate the love between girlfriends and it is the best thing ever. 

“What is Galentine’s Day? Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.”
— Leslie Knope, Parks & Rec Download Your Free Galentine's Printable

Sign-up for our mailing list, and you'll receive your FREE Galentine's printable PLUS a coupon code for 10% off your next Etsy order! 

Email Address Sign Up

We respect your privacy. Manayunk Calligraphy will not give your information to anyone. If you are already on our mailing list, you will still need to enter your email address to receive the printable.

Thank you! You can download your free Galentine's Day printable here.

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YOU GUYS. I have some kick-ass news. I am SUPER excited to share this newly released Modern Calligraphy kit I created with Faber-Castell!

If you have ever taken any of my classes, you know that Faber-Castell Pitt Artist brush markers are my absolute FAVORITE. They come to a super fine point, have just the right  amount of flex and come in a ton of colors. So when they approached me and asked if I was interested in helping them create a new kit, I had three words for them: um, hell yes.

Okay, so I was a little more professional than that - but point is, I was pumped. We worked on this kit for months to get it just right, and I am incredibly proud of what we came up with. The kit includes an instruction manual with oodles of projects, three different Pitt Artist pens (pictured left), watercolors, a water brush, and so much more! It even comes with access to online videos with tutorials by moi. Pretty cool, right? And fun fact - I was VERY pregnant while we filmed these videos, so my belly may make an appearance or two.

You can pick up one of these kits online here. To celebrate, we're giving away one of these kits to one lucky follower on Instagram! You can enter to win through midnight EST on Wednesday, January 24, 2018. Click here to enter.

Thanks to everyone for all of your support. Seriously. This is amazing, and I cannot WAIT to see what kind of magic you all create with the kit!

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Real talk: I love celebrating the New Year. Not just the party on NYE (but I DO love that - never met a champagne cocktail I didn't like), but all the possibility that awaits in the New Year. Even though nothing really changes from 12/31 to 1/1, it feels like it does.

Every year, I make resolutions. They don't always stick. But usually the ones that don't stick are ones that are outside the lines of things REALLY important to me. One of my infamous ones was to stop eating sugar. And I did, for about 6 weeks. Honestly, I felt great. But the lure of sweets and cocktails was too much, and I went down in a flaming spiral. And you know why? Sure, it was hard, but I can do hard things. It was because when you got down to it, it wasn't really all that important to me. Yeah, I wanted to lose weight and be healthier. But a smaller number on the tag of my jeans didn't really add anything to my life. Not like the joy I have when baking something sweet or laughing with girlfriends over a brightly colored drink. 

So I changed the way I think about resolutions. Instead of picking random things, I start with a central theme. Just one word. Or two. And then I build from there. The result? Results. Things I tend to stick with. Why? Because they all go back to that theme, that one thing I have decided is most important for the new year.

I'm a big believer in writing goals and plans in actual ink on actual paper (shocking, I know!), so I've created a pretty little page for me to make my plans to hang up in my studio as a daily reminder. And you can have one, too! Just click the link below to get your free resolution planner printable, and make this year you stick with your resolutions... beyond March. 

What is your word of the year? Share in the comments below or share your filled out planner on Instagram and tag @MNYKcalligraphy. I'll be sharing mine on New Year's Day - truth is, I'm still working on it!

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It's the most wonderful time of the year... HALLOWEEN! If you've followed Manayunk Calligraphy for a while, you already know this is my favorite holiday. I mean, come on. Costumes, candy, spooky things, PUMPKIN BEER - what's not to love?! 





My husband loves the holiday, too, and one of our favorite parts is the night of Trick or Treat. We live in a neighborhood in Indianapolis called Irvington, and it is Halloween central. No, seriously - it's home to one of the longest-running Halloween festivals in the country! There are costume and home decorating contests, a masquerade ball, ghost tours, a major street festival, and the local witch coven (yes, we have one of those!) hosts tons of events for families. If I'm being honest, the neighborhood's affinity for Halloween was one of the major reasons we moved here. Yes... we love the holiday THAT much!

As you can imagine, our neighborhood takes Trick or Treat REAL serious. Last year, we had to run to get more candy... TWICE. Since it's always been just the two of us, we stay home to hand out the candy (and watch a marathon of Simpsons Tree House of Horrors episodes). But if you can't be home and want to keep your house from getting tricked, you better leave candy out for the little ghouls and goblins! You can upgrade your display - and ensure the first batch of kids don't clean out your candy cache - with these free downloadable signs! Just download, print on a regular printer, pop in a frame or tack to your door with some patterned Washi tape.

Hope you enjoy these freebies. And we want to see how you style your display! Be sure to snap a pic, share on Instagram and tag @MNYKcalligraphy. Have a happy Halloween - may your day be filled with WAY more treats than tricks! 

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Hey hey everyone! We've taken a little bit of a break here at The Inky blog, but now we're BACK and ready to share calligraphy goodness with you all. We've got oodles of fun things planned, so be sure to follow along.

First up, let's talk Instagram. You're on it, right? RIGHT?! Okay, if you aren't, go do that right now. I'll wait. (Makes sandwich. Drinks coffee. Binge watches Crazy Ex-Girlfriend season 1.) Done? Great! Now make sure you're following @MNYKcalligraphy. Again, I'll wait. (Eats sandwich. More coffee. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend season 2.)

Okay, so Instagram is great for calligraphy-lovers for lots of reasons - one of which being monthly lettering challenges. Here's how they work. At the beginning of the month, calligraphy folks will share a list of phrases - one for each day of the month. Every day, you are invited to script up this phrase and share with the hashtag they provide. It's SUPER fun, and even if you don't want to do your own scripting, I recommend following the hashtags to see what other letterers are up to. 

Here are a few of my favorites for October 2017.

#letteritoctober

Hosted by Jenny Highsmith, @jennyhighsmith

#HPlettering

Hosted by @amandakammarada and @calligraphynerd

#letteritbetterhalloween

Hosted by @megannicolelettering, @letteritbetter, @gogetter_letter and @mattiedesigns

Be sure to follow along and let us know if you have any other lettering challenges we should look out for!

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Like a lot of folks, I have been struggling to wrap my mind around what is currently happening here in the US. While there are lots of moving parts and issues to address, what disturbs me the most is the idea that many people are being made to feel as if they do not belong here. As if they are not welcome. Let me make this clear: You do belong. You are welcome. No matter where you are from or what you believe.

With the help of friends who are native/fluent speakers of Spanish and Arabic, I created this illustration to let my neighbors know they will always be welcome in our community - regardless of what the country's leader may have led them to believe. Our neighborhood doesn't have a wall or a ban - and we'll do all we can to make sure our nation doesn't as well. 

Feel free to download this illustration and print directly from your computer or at your local print shop. Let your neighbors know you feel the same. Post on your door, on the bulletin board at your local community center, windows of a coffee shop, on the walls at the bus station, wherever you think the message needs to be seen. 

Don't lose hope, everyone. We're all in this together. 

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My favorite thing about Christmas (other than the made for TV holiday movies, of course) is all the making! Baking cookies, wrapping presents, building gingerbread houses and, of course, DIY gifts and decor.

I recently got a Cricut and now I don't know how I lived without it. It's the MOST FUN gadget. So much fun, that I made a bunch of designs that can be used with the Cricut or any other SVG cut machine. I partnered up with the oh-so-fabulous Stacey Gross from sWg Events in Philly who is a cut machine PRO to help me turn these designs into fun DIY holiday gifts and decor. 

Official Cookie Tester Mug

SVG Cut Kit: Christmas Cookie Exchange
Material: Vinyl
Mug: IKEA 365+ White Mug - $2.99 OR Dollar Store - $1

Let's Be Merry Mug

SVG Cut Kit: Christmas Calligraphy Phrase
Material: Vinyl
Mug: IKEA 365+ Glass Mug - $3.99

Feliz Navidad Mug

SVG Cut Kit: Christmas Calligraphy Phrase
Material: Vinyl
Mug: IKEA 365+ White Mug - $2.99 OR Dollar Store - $1

HollBaby It's Cold Outside Chalkboard

SVG Cut Kit: Christmas Calligraphy Phrase
Material: Vinyl
Chalkboard: You can get these from Michael's or any other craft store!

Apply white vinyl and add some chalk to give it an authentic look!

Cookies for Santa Plate & Share the Love Giving Plate

SVG Cut Kit: Christmas Cookie Exchange
Material: Vinyl
Mug: Dollar Store - $1!

Holly & Jolly Mirrored tray

SVG Cut Kit: Christmas Calligraphy Phrase
Material: Vinyl
Mug: Target Dollar Spot - $5

 

These are just a few of the ways you can use these cut files. For more ideas, check out Cricut's Pinterest page! We used vinyl for these projects, but you can also use adhesive and iron-on foil, felt, cardstock, sticker paper and soooo much more.  Be sure to share your projects on Instagram and tag @MNYKcalligraphy and use the hashtag #sayitwithcricut!

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Looking for a non-cheesy way to wicked up your Halloween? I've got just the ticket! 

This hand-scripted "wicked" design is available for FREE download as an SVG file that can be used on your Cricut, Silhouette or other cutting machine. There are tons of different ways to use this design, but my FAVORITE was featured this morning on LIVE with Kelly. The incomparable Monica Mangin from East Coast Creative has been sharing super fun Halloween hacks all week long, and today she showed Kelly how to make your front door super spooky for trick-or-treaters. Using the download, print in window cling or vinyl and give your door a creepy, crawly upgrade.

Download your FREE SVG cut file here. Please note - this is for personal use only. Please do not distribute.

Enjoy! And be sure to share your creations on Instagram and tag @MNYKcalligraphy - can't WAIT to see what you do!

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If you know me, you know Halloween is my FAVORITE holiday. Costumes, candy, pumpkin errything, spooky stories and movies - what's not to love?

My favorite way to decorate for this holiday is pumpkins for two main reasons. One, they are so versatile and add seasonality to your porch without being tacky (read: inflatable graveyards). And two, THEY FEED ME. Roasted pumpkin seeds, anyone?

I generally paint my pumpkins, but this year, I decided to try my hand at carving. You know those pumpkin carving pros that can make beautiful sculptures out of gourds? Yeeeeah, that's not me. Truth be told, I'm not crazy about knives - that's why I generally opt to paint them. But with these templates, it's so easy even I can turn these orange veggies into eye candy.

Here's what you need:
  • A pumpkin. Obviously.
  • Template. I have two free templates for download at the end of the blog post. For these, the white areas inside the circle are the areas to be cut out. You'll see what I mean! For my pumpkin, I chose the Trick or Treat design.
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Graphite pencil
  • Knife
  • Carving tools (optional)

First things first - cut off the top of your pumpkin and scoop out those guts. DEFINITELY save the seeds. Once you have the template printed out, it's time to transfer it to the pumpkin. There's lots of ways to do this, but the simplest way is my favorite. Cover the back of the template in graphite. For this, a dull pencil works best - much easier to cover a wide space! Make sure that there is graphite behind all elements of the design you want to trace. Then cut out the design and tape onto your pumpkin.

After it's all taped down, it's time to trace! Using a sharp pencil or a ballpoint pen, trace along the black lines using a LOT of pressure. The pressure will push the graphite on the back of the template onto the pumpkin. That gives you the perfect line to cut.

Now it's time to cut! Okay, so you have a couple options here. The first is a traditional carving. For this, you will leave the words untouched and carve out around them. You don't need anything special to do this - just the little carvers that come in the kits! Because there are lots of small spaces, you want your knife to be little and flexible.

The other option is to carve away the skin of the pumpkin instead of cutting the entire way through. These look really lovely in the day time AND at night - a little tealight inside will make the areas of thin skin glow. This is what I did. There are lots of ways to do this. I started out with a Dremel that's made just for pumpkin carving (remember how I said I love Halloween but don't love knives? Thus, the crazy pumpkin carving tool). I really can't recommend this enough. It's GREAT for really fine detail, and it's on Amazon for less than $20. 

If the pumpkin is only going to be visible during the day, you don't need to worry about how deep you carve out the areas around the letters - the difference in color and texture will pretty clear. But if you want to put a candle in that bad boy at night, you need to really thin out those areas so the light can shine through. I use little carving tools (but a linoleum cutter will work just as well) to cut the areas deeper.

And that's it! Here's the final product.

Not bad, right? You can download this template and another below. Be sure to post your final product on Instagram and tag @MNYKcalligraphy so I can see your beautiful work!

Trick or Treat Template

Boo Template

And this isn't the only sweet pumpkin action we'll have on the blog this week! Up next: making a pumpkin keg. HELL YES. A big shout out and hugs to my Wedding Consultant Amber who came by to supervise my carving and take pics. She is a DIY queen and specializes in working with couples who want handmade elements for their big days.  Check her out!

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