— whollyKao

About a month ago, my grandma turned 90, and we threw her a big birthday party. All of the family flew in to Boston to celebrate the event, which was held at a Chinese banquet hall. For the event, my grandma donned a sparkly dress and a stylish fur stole. And she was beaming the whole night!

There were speeches, cake, and a slideshow with pictures we had all put together of memories of grandma. It was really cool to see her, (as well as my mom, aunt and uncles) in their younger days, laughing together.

My cousin Justin took a lot of pictures that night, and I wanted to share a few.
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Cheers, Grandma! I’m glad we got to celebrate your birthday with you!

estieMade_packaging A couple weeks ago, I took a calligraphy class. It was taught by Lauren, the talented owner of Blue Eye Brown Eye. Seven of us gathered for a night of fun with wine, snacks, and an oblique pen in Lauren’s studio in Dallas.

Let me say that, as a DIY enthusiast, I take a lot of pride in learning how to do things on my own, and I rarely take classes, if I can help it. And prior to this calligraphy class, I thought I had the hang of free-flowing calligraphy. Boy, was I wrong. During the class, Lauren would walk around and write a couple letters on the top of our pages for us to practice. Seeing it done and doing it were two very different stories. At first, I struggled with forming the letters that were so easy for her to write. Towards the end of the night, I felt like I was getting the hang of it. And when I got home, I sat at the kitchen table and practiced. And let me tell you – practicing has made such a difference.

So far, I’ve used my new skills for my etsy shop packaging (pictured above). I’ve also used what I learned on wedding invitations for my friends Ben and Emily. Prior to taking the class, I had hand written a couple words on their invitations. Here’s what the text looked like before and after taking the class:
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I’m so glad I got the chance to take this class. It has definitely changed the way I write and the way I view calligraphy. I’d definitely recommend the class to anyone who’s curious – it’s well worth it. Check out Lauren’s class schedule if you’re local to Dallas! (She also travels to other cities to teach!)

I’ve noticed that there is a new generation of craftspeople on the rise, and they’re kinda badass. Two words describe this genre: hipster artist. They like craft coffee and brews. They appreciate a good haircut. Skinny jeans are definitely involved, and oftentimes, so are tattoos, body piercings, and thick retro glasses.

When it comes to tools and gear, these hipster craftspeople don’t mess around. They want both to be beautiful, simple, but totally functional. And they are willing to pay the price.

It’s kind of cool how workwear and tools have been kicked up a notch. Makes for a fun night of websurfing, looking for the perfect pair of protective glasses or apron. Since I’ve just set up my workbench at home, I’ve been eyeing a lot of these items too.

Here are my current fave picks for the hipster jeweler.

1. Jewler’s saw frame
2. Core Apron
3. Mini screwdriver
4. red toolchest
5. Protective glasses

Did I mention these make great gifts for your favorite craftsperson?