CTMH Penmanship with Melissa Esplin + Stamped Birthday Cards

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 CTMH Penmanship with Melissa Esplin + Stamped Birthday Cards

Close to my Heart (CTMH) is a paper crafting company that sells rubber stamps, papers, creative suites and a whole line of embellishments and more. They sell high quality stamps that leave a clean impression and last forever! I've been using CTMH stamps for years and I love them. Close to my Heart partnered with Melissa Esplin to bring an entire penmanship/handlettering line of stamps, brush markers and full penmanship workbook.
I received a wonderful package from Close To My Heart featuring Melissa Esplin's new line of stamps, markers and penmanship book. CTMH sells this kit as the Melissa Esplin Penmanship Bundle.
I love Melissa's calligraphy. I met Melissa about 4 years ago at Pinner's conference in SLC. She reminded me about the local Calligraphy guild, which my mom was a member of when I was a tween. I decided to follow in my mother's footsteps and join the guild and take some classes. I have taken a couple classes taught by Melissa at conferences and took her online Calligraphy class as well. My first class with her, she wrote out my name...and she wrote it better than I had my entire life of writing it. I love it! I'm happy to report that I am much better at calligraphy now and write everyday!
The great thing about this penmanship book, is it is a study in handwriting. Improve printing, simple cursive, lowercase, uppercase and then add style and flair. This course would make a great gift for someone that wants to improve their writing, learn hand-lettering, or create beautiful cards and works of art.
The pages of the book are sturdy and thick--such good quality! Get lots of tracing paper too, then you don't have to actually write in the workbook, just trace the letters, phrases and shapes and then try your hand at regular paper. This book will get lots of uses...and as a homeschool mother of 3, it's a great way to help kids improve their handwriting and learn cursive! Yes, it is so important for kids to learn cursive...even if it's just so they can read the birthday cards sent by grandma!
The table of contents lays out everything that is covered in the penmanship course. The lessons flow, beginning at the basics with vocabulary and how to hold a pen. Right, holding a pen makes the most difference from the beginning. There's 10 tips for building and embracing your penmanship. Then it dives into capital letters in print. Each of the alphabet letters are taught in groupings based on shape...like the OQCGDPRBUS, all have similar shapes...and they build off each other. The format is very natural.
Once you hit the style section of the book, there are traceable sentiments, that are perfect for adding to your own handmade cards! Tracing is so important in art, seriously, get tracing paper and trace all the things to build muscle memory.
I also received the intense black ink and a couple of acrylic blocks for stamping. These are not included in the Penmanship bundle, but are super important for the stamps.
The brush markers are wonderful and fun to write with. They have a flexible brush tip that works great with hand lettering. Press down harder to create thick lines on a downstroke, and apply light pressure when creating an upstroke as a thin line. Simply practicing this thick lines down and thin lines up technique will make your normal handwriting look like hand lettering!
There's a whole line of sentiment stamps of Melissa Esplin's, which are perfect for cards, scrapbooks, planners and more! I absolutely love them all, but especially the sentiments, they will get used all the time!
Birthday cards are the best! I love celebrating my birthday and celebrate all month long, it's in January. I love making cards too. Before I started this craft blog, I had a card-making blog. It's still around somewhere, but not updated. My love for card making has remained. These cards are easy to make--and quick! Whip out a bunch of birthday cards to have on hand for all those birthday greetings.

Supplies Needed for Birthday Cards:

60-80 lb. Cardstock in Colors and White
Paper Cutter
Washi Tape
Flower Cut Outs or Stickers
Foam Mounting Tape
Intense Black Ink
Sentiments Stamps by Melissa Esplin
Small Scissors
I pulled out cardstock, washi tape, some foam mounting tape, and some other embellishments. Close to my Heart sells everything you could need for card-making, but luckily, I already have cupboards full.
Step One:
Cut a 8.5x11 piece of cardstock in half to 5.5x8.5, then fold it in half.
Step Two:
Stick a variety of washi tape in lines across the top of the folded card.
Step Three:
Use small scissors to trim off the excess washi tape.
Step Four:
Stamp a sentiment on paper, trim to size and mount on the card with foam tape.
Step Five:
Then add flowers, other stamped images, stickers, or other embellishments.
 A stack of cards is a great gift too! Every year for Christmas I give my mother-in-law a stack, box or pile of handmade cards. She is so thoughtful and is always sending cards to family and friends, so it's a great gift with a personal touch.
Dress up the cards for any recipient based on the color of paper and the colors of washi tape! Create an elegant look with some glitter and black&white tape...or add patterns, colors and shapes for a more youthful look. Similarly cards can be made to look more masculine as well. They are so simple to make but look like much more thought went into their creation.

That's it!

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Pick up the Close to my Heart Penmanship Book and Bundle by Melissa Esplin today!

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