new coasts

compassion

 

there’s this thing that happens when you move 2/3 of the way across the country. or, technically, all the way across the country – albeit with a 3 1/2 year ‘layover’ in chicago. there’s almost an undoing of yourself, of everything you’ve known, grown accustom to, comfortable with. you’re forced to shed layers of learning that no longer make sense, memories that have become unclear, hazy, that seem to belong to someone else – as if you’d read about them in a book instead of experienced them first hand. you look out the window at mountains in the distance and they feel so far away, until suddenly you realize you’re driving through them. the white caps spilling snow down the front of your rental suv, the back weighed down with your belongings.

moving first to chicago was an undertaking of ownership, of exploration and adventure. i moved there for graduate school in creative writing, and ended up earning an education in who i am, what makes me happy, who i want to surround myself with. i accomplished some devastating setbacks, and survived. i tossed through sleepless nights, and woke to new suns. i rode my bike through rain and sleet and snow and ice, through sun and humidity and perfect fall days. i fell in love with new family, and made the most magical of friendships. i fell and rose up in a love that i can only describe through the endless embraces we’ve shared through moments of trial and utter happiness. i started writing letters for a living, and it’s never felt like work. moving to chicago was the best possible thing i could have done almost four years ago.  leaving chicago was the best possible thing i could have done last week.

 

moving here, to oakland, the bay area, san francisco, california, the west coast – this is, very recognizably, an act of utter and total craziness. this is true ownership. independence. freedom. this is an embrace of everything i’ve built to this point. an unraveling of the things that didn’t work, an unfolding presentation of the things that will take root here.

 

i’m excited to share with you this new adventure, and invite you all to share with me your journeys and success and challenges. thanks so much for reading; west coast, hello!!

the coolest baby shower ever

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my wonderful friend, molly, is about to welcome a new little boy into the world any day now. a few weeks ago, her talented coworker tiffany munster, of soiree weddings and events, threw her the most well-styled, deliciously catered, fun and hipster-inspired baby shower at the beautiful headquarters of stem line creative. in attendance were some of the coolest people in the chicago wedding industry – including naomi from tipsy cake, who brought over a blue velvet sugar-dinosaur topped cake for the mum-to-be.

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i wish i had some photos from the actual night; here are the menu signs and place cards i put together for the shower. i can’t wait to meet molly’s little boy, and if he’s anything like his mum, he’ll have excellent taste – in friends and design.

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morning calligraphy: rumi style

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valentines day is around the corner, and to lead up, i’m doing a series of love poetry calligraphy. starting with rumi’s ‘i swear’.

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I swear, since seeing Your face,

the whole world is fraud and fantasy

The garden is bewildered as to what is leaf

or blossom. The distracted birds

can’t distinguish the birdseed from the snare.

A house of love with no limits,

a presence more beautiful than venus or the moon,

a beauty whose image fills the mirror of the heart.

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A little beauty for your January morning. I hope you enjoy!

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antlers antlers wedding inspiration shoot

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over the holidays i had the great fortune to work with some amazing new clients, chicago-based wedding and event planners, and some very creative individuals. one of my favorite (favorite!) shoots took place at the historic keith house in chicago’s prairie district. it’s located in a pocket of chicago that’s home to some old mansions, a quaint little park, one of my best friends, and a path that takes you straight to the lakefront.

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splendid occasion shoot

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tiffany siladke (a splendid occasion), a talented chicago-based wedding planner and event stylist, had such a gorgeous vision for this inspiration shoot. she wanted to air on the darker side of things – it being winter and all – and decided to incorporate some animal-inspired elements. complete with antlers, cages, fur, darker, lush florals from natural beauties florals, antique pieces from rent vintage chicago and aged vintage rentals, amazing pies from bang bang pie shop, the whole shoot had an amazing woodland wonderland/big bad wolf feel to it. not to mention the models were stunning, with hair and makeup from nika vaughan.

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i was asked to create some hand-lettered menus for the table design, a sign for the place card table, and individual place cards that fit into gold-painted animal figurines. tiffany hand-charred the edges of the paper, which gave everything even more of a forest-feel.

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in truth, i loved putting together the paper elements for this shoot. and i love the photos even more. i can’t quite share the professional (and might i say breathtaking) photos that karissa kreager took, but here are a few self-shots of the menus and place cards for you. i promise to share the full photo set once it’s been published!

 

 

other vendors that worked on the shoot:

treat bags- fox and hound paperie, http://www.etsy.com/shop/FoxandHoundPaperie?ref=search_shop_redirect

invitation- tweedle press, www.tweedlepress.com

dress – nearly newlywed, www.nearlynewlywed.com

hairpiece –  danani handmade adornments, www.dananionline.com

men’s attire – bonobos, www.bonobos.com

video – amelia st. studios, www.ameliastreetstudios.com

models – nick zmuda & bri kreager

a new year for systems, not resolutions

well, hello there! happy 2014! i hope all of your holidays were filled with joy and abundance and love and laughter and good wine and plenty of pie. and now that all that’s over with, and our attention inevitably draws towards cleansing.. well, everything – our health, our careers, our relationships, our closets – i thought i’d share what my new year focus is for 2014.

 

instead of resolutions, instead of goals, instead of deadlines (though not the ones set by my clients – of course, i’ll still adhere to those).. i’m setting systems. consistency is the name of the game for this year; developing clearly outlined, manageable, workable systems for my career and my health that i can plug into and remain committed to, no matter the outcome. i read this great article over the holidays that put a lot into perspective for me – goals have a way of making you feel like a failure if you don’t succeed. systems have a way of perpetuating success, validating positivity, and ultimately sustaining motivation. even after you achieve a particular goal, it can become very easy to fall off the building you worked so hard to create.. or to stand atop it and not know what to do next. with creating a system, if your consistent action is to build a little bit every day, eventually you’ll have created an entire city of structures.

 

so – for jilly ink, creating a system for reaching new clients, developing new relationships, venturing out into new industries, honing new and old skills, and making work – regardless of pay – every day is my focus. i can only believe that investing time in my business is the best thing i can do.

 

what are your focuses for the new year?

photo journalism subject

photojournalism2a few weeks ago, a lovely young woman named megan approached me about being the subject of her photojournalism class final project at northwestern university. she was to follow and document someone with a ‘visually interesting’ career, and after having worked as an intern at illumine magazine this past summer (remember this back cover and sanskrit work I contributed?), she thought my work warranted such documentation.

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it was quite an adventure, especially over the last few weeks, which were filled with incredible inspiration shoots, custom calligraphy prints, and artwork for two different venues. she spent some time photographing my workspace, how i go about my day, and the other gigs i have going on – teaching yoga and consulting for arbonne. she’s lovely, she’s got her own website, writes for her own blog, and is the editor of the northwestern publication, spoon.

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stay tuned for more recent work to come! and and! i’m currently taking new wedding clients for 2014, so if you, or someone you know is getting married in the next year, loves beautiful hand-lettered type, and working with someone who loves love, send on over a message.

 

(photo credits: megan suckut, 2013)

a thankful holiday season

 

 
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tis the season for wonder and splendor and beautiful tables and warm meals and blues and greens and reds and silver and gold all around. here’s wishing you and yours a beautiful start to a love-filled holiday season. cheers!

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holiday! holiday! gifts! gifts!

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i’m thinking about holiday season much differently this year. yes, for the past few seasons, i’ve tried hard as i could to buy local, handmade, artist-created wares, goods, artwork. i’ve even tried making things for loved ones. this year, i’m going to focus on simple. very simple. well-chosen words, photographs, pictures, drawings, paper. ordinary things made more beautiful by a new, vibrant approach. maybe an intriguing postcard acutely placed in a gorgeous frame. or a set of vintage silverware with the handles dipped in paint.

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along these same lines, in the etsy shop, i’m currently offering simple, hand-lettered quotes on 8×10 paper. whatever quote, saying, words you can think of will be transposed in my calligraphy and sent to you, ready to be gifted, (or framed, and then gifted. or wrapped around something else, and then gifted. or kept for yourself). i figured this was a lovely, cost-effective way to gift my love of lettering to holiday celebrants everywhere.

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it’s early, yes, but think how much more you’ll be able to enjoy your egg nog and ugly sweater parties knowing your holiday shopping is all done (and looking pretty beautiful, if i say so)? cheers!

 

– find the listing for custom hand lettered quotes here!