Saturday, 11 June 2016

A Beginners Guide to Modern Calligraphy: The Basics

There is no denying that calligraphy is making a comeback. I'm seeing more and more people try it out and I think its great! I think calligraphy became a bit of a lost art for a while but it's certainly having its moment right now. All you have to do is browse through #calligraphy on instagram and you will see thousands of amazing images and videos of people practicing hand lettering. 

I wanted to pull together a little post to help those of you who want to give this a go yourself. I'm going to share all of my favourite resources with you to get you going. First thing's first there are a couple of different styles of calligraphy and these produce very different effects. We're going to start with modern calligraphy but I am also going to share a post all about brush lettering, and finally iPad lettering. Modern Calligraphy is done with a nib and ink, brush lettering is done with a brush pen or a paint brush. Both methods have some similarities but produce different results. If you have tried calligraphy before and struggled it may be worth trying brush lettering and vice versa.


First thing's first when you are just starting out please don't feel the need to spend lots of money of expensive kit. All you need is a nib, a penholder, some ink and some paper. You don't need to buy any books or paper as thanks to the wonderful thing that is the internet there's tons of resources available online. 

Different things work for different people so you will have to go through a process of trial and error until you find the right nib/ink/paper combo that works for you. I am still going through this process myself but I would recommend trying the following starter pack:

Graph paper is your new best friend if you can't find the Rhodia dot pad. This kind of paper helps you with the height and spacing of your letters - something that is really tricky to master at first.

My favourite shops to order my supplies from are Amazon and Scribblers. 


Look I'm going to be honest with you - at first your lettering is probably going to look a little naff. Calligraphy does take practice and this is something you must accept. I had grand ideas that I could just pick up a nib and ink and be off but it doesn't work like that. Learning how to form the letters and join them takes time but one thing I will say is that you will be amazed at how quickly you make progress even with just a little bit of practice. Keep it fun and don't stress about it - a little goes a long way! 

Thankfully there are tons of free resources available online to help you. I would highly recommend the free worksheets that you can print and download from The Postman's Knock. You can print these off and practice tracing over the letters. This is the best way to practice in my opinion as it teaches you how to form the letters. 

Lindsey also has a fantastic in depth post about how to hold you pen, load the nib into the penholder, clean your nibs etc etc. The links to all of the free worksheet downloads are in the same blogpost so I would really encourage you to check it out. Lindsey has covered all of the bases in in her post so rather than me repeating them all here please go and read her post here.

The key to calligraphy is to apply pressure on the downward strokes and remove this pressure on the upward strokes. This gives you the effect of thicker down strokes and thinner up strokes. Play around with different styles of lettering and eventually you will find your own style and it will become natural.

One of the best words you can practice when first starting out is minimum. Theres lots of up and down stokes in quick succession which will really help you when first starting out. Watch this video below and you will see what I mean


Every day I screenshot quotes, prints, and lettering styles I love. Its really quite addictive. The main thing I do though is watch calligraphy videos on instagram - if you really want to learn this is hands down the best tip I can give you and it is undoubtedly the thing that has helped me improve the most. Watching the way people write calligraphy shows you how they form the words, join the letters and understand the spacing of the letters. I spent weeks and weeks copying these videos until I could do the same. I would replay them over and over and over again until it finally clicked and now I'm one of those people uploading these videos to instagram. Browse these hashtags on instagram and prepare to get lost on there for hours #brushlettering #calligraphy

Some of my favourite lettering accounts on instagram are


Finally if you really want to buy some books on this Nib & Ink is a beautiful book as is, Creative Lettering and Beyond and also Modern Calligraphy. I would highly recommend though that you browse Pinterest first as there are TONS of free resources and printables available online (like these  these and these) that you can use. I taught myself and didn't buy any books, I used Youtube videos, free online resources I found on The Postman's Knock, and I watched a lot of instagram videos. 

I am hoping to make some worksheets for you to download too and to use in my calligraphy workshops so watch this space!

EDIT: I just noticed I spelt calligraphy wrong in my photo - typical. I'd be lying if I said it didn't happen all the time! :) 

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Saturday, 21 May 2016

Kelanjo Designs Etsy Shop

"From tiny acorns mighty oaks do grow"

My etsy shop is now up and running (link here). I have worked so hard on this and I'm so unbelievably proud of myself for doing this. What started 18 months ago as me dusting off my calligraphy pen and brushing up on my lettering skills has developed into something rather wonderful resulting in me starting a little side line and opening an etsy shop. 

If you follow me on snapchat (username kellycpeel) you will have seen me pondering doing this for months, talking about my hopes and dreams but feeling too scared to do anything about it. I had so much self doubt whether I was good enough to do this but after a lot of hard work and dedication here we are. 

There was so much more involved than I anticipated, researching printers, different types of papers, designing my logo, learning photoshop, figuring out how to sell on etsy. I work full time in a demanding office job and I've been working on my shop on my lunch break, after work and weekends. But the hard work is now done and I'm really happy to be sharing this new adventure with you all. 

There are 5 prints in the shop at the moment with an option for a custom print. Now that the shop is all sorted I will have lots more time to get back to doing the part I love the most and that is creating the prints. When I am doing my calligraphy and hand lettering time stands still. One Saturday I had breakfast then sat working on hand lettered prints all day without eating, drinking anything until 7pm. I didn't even realise the time until I noticed it was getting dark. 

I would absolutely love it if you could head over to my little shop and have a look around and give me any feedback or idea's for prints that you would like to see. If you could also share my tweets I would be eternally grateful. 

Who knows where this will lead - I'm already so proud of myself for what I've achieved so far and I have such big dreams. Over the coming months I will be adding hand lettered wedding envelopes to the shop as well as designing hand lettered blog logos and whatever I earn from selling my prints will be reinvested so I can start holding modern calligraphy workshops.

If you believe it you can achieve it and I hope you all have the courage to follow your dreams.

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Sunday, 1 May 2016

Five Things

1. I just can't get enough of fresh flowers at the moment. White tulips and pretty pink hyacinths are really doing it for me. They completely transform a room and make for a mean instagram post too. I buy mine at Aldi and they last really well and are very affordable. 
2. If you follow me on Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat you will know that I am going to be launching an etsy shop selling my hand lettered prints. I am so excited about this and I will let you know as soon as it's up and running. I will also be doing custom orders as well as wedding envelopes and much more but I will be starting small and adding more items as I go along. I started this journey almost 18 months ago practicing my faux calligraphy, then learning brush lettering and finally learning how to do my quotes digitally on my iPad Pro. You can look back to my post a the beginning of last year here and look at what my lettering was like when I first started. It just shows what a little perseverance and practice can do if you really want to do something. I'm still working out the logistics of running my etsy shop but I'm hoping to have it open ASAP so watch this space.
3. I'm trying to get a bit healthier as we move into May. After our gym flooded in the Boxing Day Floods I haven't had access to a gym and regular exercise has well and truly gone out of the window. I also haven't been making the best food choices and I've been snacking on all the wrong things. I've been lacking in energy, having headaches and just feeling in a bit of a slump so I've joined a huge health centre just along the road from where we live and I'm booked in for a "Health MOT" this evening. Pray for me. 

4. I am well and truly on board with Netflix these days. If you havent already watched Reign YOU NEED TO. Its like French Court meets Gossip Girl and I've been obsessed for months. I recently started watching another series called Once Upon a Time which is all about Fairytale characters in the real world - I've only watched a couple of episodes and it seems ok so far but nothing amazing. Also for any Game of Thrones fans who are up to date and saw the first episode on Monday night - I'm just going to leave this link here *insert side eye emoji* 

5. Last but not least I am completely in love with the new parrot range at Paperchase. Think big palm leaves, bright colours and lots of birds. Its so gorgeous and I want it all. I had a £5 voucher on my "Treat Me" card (Paperchase's loyalty card which is totally free and you get lots of discounts and vouchers on your birthday) so I used it to get this dreamy pencil case. Its so fun I just love it! They also have a leather palm print pencil case that would also double up as a cute little make up bag too - roll on payday. 
I hope you have a great bank holiday weekend whatever you get up to :) 

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Monday, 11 April 2016

Amsterdam Photo Diary 2016

Long time no blog! What a month it has been. I have so much to share with you kicking off with our trip to Amsterdam at the beginning of March. We got an amazing deal on P&O Ferries for 2 for 1 from Hull to Rotterdam for £79! We decided to book an overnight stay separately so we had more time in Amsterdam and opted for the CitizenM Amsterdam Hotel.  You board the ship at Hull in the evening and then wake up the next morning in Rotterdam. After a short coach ride you arrive in the wonderful Amsterdam.

I've wanted to visit for years and when we got the opportunity to do it for such a good price we jumped at the chance. Our hotel was just outside of the centre (about a 5 minute Metro journey) and it was really easy to navigate the metro system.

We arrived to an absolutely freezing cold Amsterdam. It was snowing, raining, blowing a gale and was just generally really rubbish weather. We headed straight for a little cafe to get a cuppa to warm us up. Gloves, hats and scarves at the ready we set off exploring.

There is so much to see and do, everywhere is picture perfect. The buildings are gorgeous, the shops are amazing and then there's the food!

One of the main things we wanted to do was visit the Anne Frank Museum. We tried getting tickets when we booked our trip (a month in advance) and the tickets were completely sold out. If you don't manage to pre-buy tickets you are looking at queuing for around 4 hours. I have a little insider tip for you though. One of my friends told me they release extra tickets the day before so we went online the day before we wanted to go and voila we managed to get some tickets! It was a really thought provoking and harrowing experience. I personally wouldn't say its worth queueing 4 hours for but if you can get tickets definitely add it to your list.

There was also a few shops I really wanted to check out including Anna & Nina, Sissy Boy and H&M home. The shops in Amsterdam are seriously incredible. Everything is so well curated and beautiful.

After wandering around and stopping by all of the shops we wanted to check out we went back to our hotel and got changed and ready for the evening. We found an awesome little bar that served food so stayed there for a while before heading out and seeing Amsterdam by night. The glow from the buildings was magical and we could have strolled for hours. We went down to the red light district (when in Rome Amsterdam and all that) and it was certainly an eye opening experience!

On our second day we headed back out and it was a much brighter day. It was still really cold but at least we weren't being hit with the hail, sleet and snow!

We had some amazing dutch pancakes for breakfast and then went on a canal boat tour. There are tons of these around the city so we hopped aboard and set off exploring Amsterdam's canals. I'd love to say this was a good experience but I actually found it really dull. I personally enjoyed exploring the city on foot much more.

After even more walking around it was time to head home. We made a quick pit stop for some cheesy chips at Manneken Pis (seriously you have to try these) and made our way back to Rotterdam to sail home. I would 100% recommend a visit to Amsterdam - we really want to go back for a few days in Summer and explore even more of this amazing city.

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Sunday, 7 February 2016

Money Manifestation

So I'm going to start right from the off by saying this post will definitely not be for everyone - but I want to share it nonetheless. Over the last 6 months or so I have really gotten into personal finance and in my New Years Day post I touched on the fact that for 2016 I have some personal financial goals that I want to achieve this year. 
The first one of these goals is that I want to clear my credit card debt by my birthday (6th March) and then completely close down my credit card account. I have had this credit card since I was 18 years old. I will be 28 in March which will mean I've had the credit card for almost 10 years and for almost 10 years it's never been at a zero balance. I do not want to do the math on this but I know the amount I will have paid out in interest over the years isn't pretty. 
I started watching Ted Talks about personal finance, as well as loads of different Youtube videos, listening to podcasts about passive income and reading articles sharing the best strategies for getting out of debt. I started feeling really motivated and decided that 2016 would be the year I become debt free and took control of my financial future. 
So putting into practice everything I had learnt I chose the smallest debt first, set a specific date I wanted to clear it by and then got to work. 
I have watched every single video on Sugar Mama TV's channel and I know I've mentioned it before but if you want seriously good advice from a Financial Advisor you need to check out her channel. One of her longer video's is all about money manifestation and the more spiritual side to attracting more wealth into your life. This really resonated with me but only recently did I put it into practice. 
A few nights ago I saw a separate video about placing "abundance hearts" into your wallet and manifesting £1000 into your life over the next 30 days. I don't know what it was but something in me right there decided I was going to apply the law of attraction and try and manifest £1000 to pay off my credit card in the next 30 days. 
The basic principle is to cut out 3 heart shapes from card or paper and draw a pound sign on it. Clear out your purse and remove anything that you don't need in there (I have already done this as part of my minimalism challenge) Place the 3 hearts into your purse and here's the thing - you have to really believe that the energy you are sending out is going to welcome financial abundance into your life. Visualize that your money is going to multiply and you may be surprised at what happens. I guess you could use anything as a totem, it could be anything from a note to a heart - whatever you want - it just needs to serve as a reminder that you are welcoming more financial wealth into your life. The most important thing here isn't the totem in your wallet - its the positive energy and belief in your mindset that you are going to attract money into your life.
Now granted to some this may just sound like a load of mumbo jumbo - as I said at the start of this post I know this really isn't for everyone but I did this just 2 nights ago and since then I have amassed £533.50. Thats right £533.50.
I still can't quite believe it myself to be honest. How have I done this? Well first of all I absolutely believe 100% that I am going to manifest £1000 in the next 30 days. Several items that I have been trying to sell for months and months as if by magic have all sold. I am genuinely in shock and disbelief about the whole thing. Now some would say it is a coincidence but you know what? I genuinely don't buy that. Items that I have had listed online for literally months and re-listed countless times have all sold within hours of me doing this exercise. With one of the items the listing had already ended and was no longer available online and then someone out of the blue contacted me separately asking if it was still for sale. I have also found money in my pocket and received a refund for an item that was outside of the refund period. I'm over half way to my target within 2 days. 
I suppose the reason that I'm sharing this post is because I just want to put it out there that if you really believe in something you can literally achieve anything you want. It doesn't have to be financial freedom it can be anything. I know it sounds super corny and cliche but it's true. I genuinely believe that the universe works in mysterious ways and I feel so empowered right now to keep pushing towards my personal goals and becoming financially free.

***Update: I achieved my £1000 goal in less than a week and walked straight into the bank and closed my credit card down. It was one of the best feelings I've ever had***

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Monday, 1 February 2016

Five Things

1. Let's just start by saying I have a serious case of wanderlust right now. You can find me most nights browsing Sky Scanner looking for cheap flights and creating a destination wish list as long as my arm. We have booked to go to Amsterdam for my Birthday in March and I absolutely can not wait! We're going over on the overnight ferry (P&O have a 2 for 1 offer on until the end of March and it's only £79 in total!!) We decided to stay over in Amsterdam for an extra night and booked in to the CitizenM Amsterdam which looks fab. I'm now planning a trip to Portugal in June - Lisbon we are coming for you! 

2. The last couple of weeks have involved lots of good food! This 4 ingredient flapjack is so quick, easy and satisfying and the chances are you already have the ingredients in your cupboard (I left out the ginger and chocolate by the way). I found this Shakshuka recipe on the NY Times website and let me tell you it makes for a seriously tasty brunch. The pasta bake is one I just made up as I went along and has chicken, chorizo, peas and feta cheese. Ultimate comfort food right there. I really need to up my exercise game to balance all of this gorgeous food out though. I'm finding it really hard since our gym flooded in the Boxing Day floods. I've been using the 7 minute workout app and I'm debating starting running again even though I know it will only last a few weeks before my knee injury flares up again.  I need to get out and do something though that's for sure. 

3. Whilst I was pottering around the house earlier my Apple music threw out a really nice song by Andreya Triana (link here). At first I thought it was Rebecca Ferguson, she has that same bluesy undertone to her voice that I just can't get enough of. I've also been listening to an album called Classical Chillout just before bed and it's unbelievably relaxing and really helps me wind down. 

4. Sadly the strap broke on my beloved Radley backpack and they can't repair/replace it which I am absolutely guttered about. Luckily though I came up trumps and found this gorgeous grey backpack in Zara. It looks really similar to the Radley one, albeit a little bit bigger and it is an absolute steal at £19.99. They also do it black but they didn't have that in store for me to look at. Craig also surprised me with this rather lovely gold Macbook case. I would absolutely LOVE a gold Macbook (I'm working on it) but until then this really affordable case looks the part and also protects my actual laptop (link here).

5. To finish off this rather rambly post I thought I'd share a few snippets from around the internet that I've been loving this week. Kate's New York vlog only added further fuel to the fire that is my travel bug. I've also been enjoying Jenny Mustard's videos for something a little different. Jenny has a really unique beautiful look and her videos reflect her style to a T. She shares minimalism videos and lots of vegan recipe's too. I just find her video's really fresh and a nice change to the norm on Youtube. She is really softly spoken and has really soothing music in her videos. I may have binge watched all of her video's in one sitting. Finally I'm still really enjoying The Blissful Mind website and finding a lot of inspiration over there on simplifying your life and focusing on what's important. 

That's it for this week - see you in my next post :) 

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Sunday, 24 January 2016

DIY Marble Table Makeover

As promised I just wanted to share with you some before, during and after shots of our dining table make over. I've wanted the West Elm Marble table for ages but I just can't afford it anytime soon so we decided to have a go at doing up our old table. The first time was a spectacular fail as we tried to cut one piece out to lay over the top and then put a piece around the rim. In the end we just cut out a piece larger than the table and laid it over the top. We then went around the under edge with a scalpel. Its by no means perfect but it works for us. It looks really expensive and it is so effective. The marble contact paper was £5 from Wilko's and the chairs we're around £23 each from ebay (seller here). I was really impressed with the chairs in particular which I ordered on a Sunday evening and they arrived on Tuesday. They are replica Eames chairs which are really popular at the moment. There are tons of tutorials floating around on the internet showing you how to use contact paper if you fancy having a go - I also did a post last year on how to use contact paper on a smaller scale here. I'm waiting for spring when I can spray paint the legs on the table to finish it off. I'm still debating between doing them black or maybe even gold or copper - what do you think? 

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