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A Lettering Post for You

I have been promising you a post on lettering, but I will be honest with you.   This has been a difficult post to write… from several viewpoints. First, I don’t do lettering for a profession, so I feel quite inadequate even giving advice on it.   Secondly it is difficult just from the content.  I can’t seem to narrow down lettering to one thing.  If this was being written for you twenty-some-odd years ago when I was teaching calligraphy to children, it would be easy.

I would tell you to get felt tipped calligraphy pens (perhaps like these…),

Elegant Writer Calligraphy Set- – 639521

some practice paper,

Inovart Calligraphy Paper And Lettering Guides

a copy of an Italic style alphabet,

and then, holding your pen at a 45 degree angle, practice writing your letters over and over and over. (And if you are left handed you will need to be careful to not let your hand smear the letters as you write.) You can put the letters together to make words and sentences from that.  Just remember, you have to lift your pen after each letter which is quite different from cursive where you mostly flow from one letter to the next.

If that style of calligraphy is what you are wanting, then I will still tell you to do all that.  With enough practice you will get comfortable with taking this basic style and adding your own flourishes to it to make it your own personal style of calligraphy.  Doodle with it!  But that is not the only style of lettering out there, and it is rare if I use it these days.  So that complicates my narrowing down the topic of lettering for this post.

If what you mean by “lettering” is what I do for wedding invitations and other big projects then I would tell you something a little different.  I don’t use the felt tipped pens for those projects.

I like cartridge pens for those. They do a much better job to me than the felt tipped ones. The ones I use are made by Sheaffer, and I prefer them because I am able to get a very fine line with them.  (And I have tested quite a few.)

Sheaffer Calligraphy Maxi Kit (SH/73404)

If I were a professional, I know I would practice with and use dip pens.  The range of ink colors is limited by the cartridges you can find for the pens I use, but the range for the dip pens is pretty much unlimited. Maybe after I retire from my current job I will learn to use the dip pens.:)

Speedball Calligraphy No-1/2 Artists Project Set

Anyway, for these kinds of lettering projects, I look online for fonts I like, print them out, and practice on lined paper copying the letters until I feel I have mastered their style.  You can, of course, print out the entire invitation or project using your selected fonts,and then just handletter it from looking at your printout. Nothing compares to the look of handlettering to me.  (But then I am a little biased.)  Here is one of my favorites from, (but there is a fee for its download.)

And here are a few free fonts that I like from

In the case of my niece’s invitation, she brought me a wedding invitation she had received that she loved. We both looked online to find a font similar to it, but we could not find an exact match for it.  So I used the letters in the invitation to develop my own alphabet from it.  (Not all our needed letters were on the invitation she had, so I had to improvise to match the style.)

After practicing the designed alphabet (or any font style), I write out a mock up of the invitation on lined paper in pencil to begin with. I did this 12 times for my niece’s (no joke) until I get it like I want…the centering I like, the spacing, the flourishes that seem right for it.  This is where I know you want a tutorial, but so much of this depends on personal preference.  I will tell you that one crazy thing I do is write out each line (say 11 lines), then cut them into 11 strips, line them up underneath each other to get the centering and spacing correct,(shifting it until it looks right) tape that down, and then use that as a guide to help me with the finished ink version.  The final version is shown to the bride for approval, and then it is taken to be printed (or letterpressed).  Once the envelopes are in hand, the addressing process begins.

A shortcut for me in doing envelopes is to make a line guide.  That is the messy notebook paper you see up there.  I heavily traced over the lines so that when inserted in the envelope, I could see the lines visible through it (with my super x-ray vision :)) to help me write straight across. The heavy vertical line is the center line.  I glue the notebook paper to cardstock so that it is sturdier.   (You need it sturdy when you are doing hundreds of envelopes.)  It is cut to fit inside the envelope.When inserted inside the envelope, I can tell where the middle of it is.  I can then count the letters in the line I am writing, divide by 2, and can “eyeball it” to know about where to start my writing.  For example, let’s say I was writing this:

There are 24 letters and spaces.  I add in an extra letter space for the capitals in this case because they are so large.  That makes 28 spaces needed for the line.  Divide that in half, that’s 14.  Count over 14, and you land on the period after Mrs.  That means I have to start to the left of my center line so that there is just enough space to write Mr. and Mrs.  With enough practice you can visualize how much space each letter will take.

I say all this to again say, get pens, get paper, get a font you love, and practice.

But…if you mean all the labels and tags that I do when you ask for lettering, that is different, too. (Do you see why I have had such a hard time with this post?)  Again I would tell you to look for fonts that you like.  But for little one or two word things (like labels, tags, etc), you can think of it kind of like drawing – but with words.  My favorite pen for doing that is this one:

Zig Memory System Calligraphy Dual Tip Marker, Carded, Pure Black

For those things, I use the narrow tip of this pen and write the word in cursive trying to make each letter jump either up or down on an imaginary base line.  And I also try to not be consistent in whether each letter stands straight up, leans left, or leans right.  This is just me playing with my regular cursive writing.

Then I come back and write another line to the side of every single down stroke in the word.  (A down stroke is where you are pulling down with your pen in writing your letter.)  This gives the lines of each letter more contrast in width.

If your cursive is not to your liking, then there are some fonts to look at that can help you.  I especially love Jacques & Gilles available for purchase at

and Unnamed Melody at is a nice and free font.

Has this helped you any at all?  I’m really not sure.  We have discussed basic calligraphy, big projects with formal lettering, and casual small lettering.   And I am still having a problem with this post.  I have a feeling that when you are asking for a lettering tutorial many of you are talking about chalkboard lettering. Right??  Okay… this post is more than long enough, so there will have to be a part 2 strictly on chalkboard lettering with tips and tricks for you…But I cannot get to it until next week because of all that goes on as we start the school year here.  So please come back then for that, and come back on Friday for a little something fun here.  I think you will like it.:)

Until next time…

Kathy - July 25, 2013 - 1:57 am

Kelly, I can’t tell you how excited I got when I saw the title of this post! Your lettering is so pretty! I can tell you worked so hard on the post. Thank you! Thank you! I feel like if most of your fans/followers are like me, they are interested in the lettering you do on tags, place cards, and chalkboards. And, I think we are interested in YOUR style….SO, I got this idea…… What if you wrote out your style of each letter (sort of like the calligraphy example)and you wrote the letter as you would write it if that letter were the first letter of a word, and then again if that letter were in the middle of a word. For example, you start with “a” and write your style of capital A, your style of lower case “a” and write a word like apple that begins with a, and then a word with an a…. but not as the first letter and you do that for each letter? You see, I have been waiting for this so long that I have thought about how I want to learn it. I think it is your style of little curly Qs that I am so interested in learning. (I have done calligraphy and even addressed many wedding invitations so I think I am ready to learn your style.) I will be buying the zig calligraphy pen asap so I can start practicing the down strokes and making them wider. I can’t wait for Part 2. Thank you for sharing your talents with us!
Great suggestion Kathy! The letters do vary some depending on where they fall in the word so yes, a couple of variations will be needed, but I will definitely give this a shot for the beginning of part 2 before I jump into the chalkboard things (or make it part of it.) Thanks for the smart suggestion!

Arlene@Nanaland - July 25, 2013 - 8:05 am

Thanks for sharing Kelly….I love lettering and I usually use the calligraphy pens at Hobby Lobby but I may just try my hand with the real thing. What I would like to know is how you get the lettering on your chalk boards so perfect. My chalk board results have been less than pleasing. Maybe you could do a separate post on writing with chalk. I loved your tip of making the letters go up and down!! That will help me a lot as I letter!!

Scribbler - July 25, 2013 - 8:07 am

Thank you so much for this interesting and informative post. I am definitely bookmarking it. I probably won’t take up calligraphy because I don’t have the patience, although I have long admired those who can do it. I am getting ready to make some labels for about a gazillion storage baskets, and some of your tips are very helpful indeed.

Our Learning - July 25, 2013 - 8:45 am

Thank you for all of the great information! I especially appreciate knowing what calligraphy tools you use. I know it took a lot of work to explain your processes. Thank you for sharing! I look forward to your post about your chalkboard lettering.

Barbara Hinske - July 25, 2013 - 9:30 am

Perfect — thank you SO much! I can tell that you spent hours on this very helpful post. I’m going out this weekend to buy pens!!

Paula B. - July 25, 2013 - 10:22 am

So many thoughts on this. I love your lettering and can certainly take some tips from here for my own use, although when things get technical, my brain gets foggy. Other thoughts: this takes me back to my Palmer Method learning days with the Sisters of Mercy, our writing samples were mailed to New York monthly, as part of a contest. Winning was such a big deal, and we had to use pen and ink! Next thought, handwriting in general is becoming a lost art and that discourages me for many reasons. Lastly, I have such a great admiration for honing this skill and continuing to pass it on. Not only can brides partake of lovely invitations, look how much folks here want to brighten their everyday lives with beautiful calligraphy!
Paula, I know exactly what you mean about handwriting being a lost art. Not only is there less and less interest in it in general from students with the rise in electronic media, but with the curriculum in school so crammed to “teach deeply” with everything, there is no time left for a subject that is not tested…and we all know testing is the tail that wags the dog in education (that and money…and the two are tied together.) I would really like to see handwriting moved to the art department. It would make the most sense to me there…the supplies, the practice, and I truly do think of it as an art.

Dawn - July 25, 2013 - 10:37 am


Thank you so much for sharing this lettering tutorial with us! I love your cursive lettering best. It makes the tags, household labels and gifts you put them on extra special.

Susan - July 25, 2013 - 11:53 am

You did a wonderful job with this post. I especially want to thank you for including the links for the supplies. This is a great help!

Ann - July 25, 2013 - 1:01 pm

Thanks so much for sharing this with us! Your tutorial was wonderful, but I think there’s one element you left out…talent!!! Your work is just beautiful!
Aw Ann…thank you for your sweet words!

Louvina - July 25, 2013 - 1:21 pm

Excellent tutorial! Great job in explaining–loved it! Off to get the tools! I too have done calligraphy and have taught children in an informal class just for fun at summer school many years ago. Now to learn to do it with chalk and liquid chalk — there are many surfaces with chalk paint on them. I just got coasters and small metal place cards to use, plus a large one to use in the kitchen. Thanks so much, Kelly. I know this was not easy to do and time consuming.
All your busy crafting just amazes me, Louvina! Yes, this was not an easy post to write. Chalkboard one coming soon.

Andrea - July 25, 2013 - 1:34 pm

I have admired your beautiful handwriting …….fun to know how you do it. Now….to have the patience to try!


Kitty - July 25, 2013 - 4:14 pm

Oh my goodness Kelly, you are SO talented! I would love to be able to do that fancy lettering. Unfortunately patience is NOT one of my better virtues :p Thank you for sharing this wonderful tutorial.

Marianne in Mo. - July 25, 2013 - 6:34 pm

What a great post! I am a lefty, and back in school, I vaguely remember learning the very basics, (possibly art class?) The 45 degree angle, and we used the old pens that had to be dipped almost every stroke. It was disaster for me, being a lefty, but I still loved it, and from time to time I doodle lettering with a sharpie paintmarker. Not at all the same, but still a fun fun way to pass time! I look forward to the next lesson, but in the interim, have fun a bit before school starts again!

Martha - July 26, 2013 - 1:25 pm

This post is so great…I waited to read it so that I would have time to digest all the info. I remember using the dip pens and wonderful black India ink. I loved the way the ink was so opaque and the control I had with the dip pens….this was a loooong time ago. I tried doing it several years ago and the ink wasn’t as thick as I remembered and I was just awful at the lettering. I even went back to old (really old) portfolios of mine that contained some of my work just to see if I really could do it at one time. You have inspired to try again….. I think I will try the Sheaffer pen kit.

Garden, Home and Party - July 26, 2013 - 1:55 pm

I’ve wanted you to teach us some tips on this topic for some time. I have taken calligraphy classes but the newer fonts are the ones I’m most interested in learning. Your tips on where to find fonts online are helpful and I love the tags and labels you create for your smaller house projects.

Your niece is very lucky to have you…hiring a calligrapher for wedding invitations can be quite expensive.
Karen, I love the more modern fonts too! The tags are fun to do in them since they are such “small” projects…it’s more like doodling. :)

emily - January 2, 2014 - 11:29 pm

What a delightful post to stumble upon! I love writing and hand lettering. I use the same pens you suggested here and agree that they are the best. Beautiful penmanship is indeed a lost art and I am always happy to know there are people like you keeping it alive! Just this evening when I was putting up my new calendar (a real dandy from Paper Source, by the way!) I noticed there is a National Handwriting Day on January 23! Hooray for handwriting! :)
I so agree with you Emily. Definitely hooray for handwriting! Our school has cursive in the third grade curriculum, but the curriculum is soooo packed with everything else that it is difficult to give it the proper amount of time that it deserves. I have spoken with a number of people about moving it to the art department’s curriculum because I think it would fit better there. It truly is an art, and it would get more time devoted to it there. I think I need to lobby the state department for this though, because the local board can’t really do anything about a state standard. Handwriting is definitely becoming a lost art. I will remember to celebrate it later this month. :)
Thank you for reading and commenting!

A Tomato….Wedding?


Yes, tomatoes are still on my mind, but this is a little different.   I haven’t done a wedding post in quite a while, but I just have to share this one with you.  The concept of a wedding ceremony and reception has changed sooooo much since we had ours 28 years ago.  I did dream of a creative wedding (in our family’s pecan orchard or using trees with their roots balled in burlap down the aisle of the church), but it was unheard of back then.  So our ceremony was a traditional Southern Baptist church wedding with a big Princess Diana dress.  It was held at an nontraditional time – 10:00 in the morning (and on my birthday), and we served a brunch for the reception.  This worked wonderfully for the heat of an August day.

But……..if I could do it all over again, the wedding in today’s post just might be my dream wedding.

If you are not aware of them, Southern Weddings has a fantastic website and magazine.  Both are full of gorgeous weddings – real and imaginary.  The one I want you to see is a photo shoot they dreamed up last year purely for inspiration, but it is certainly one that is do-able, especially at this time of year in the South. It was done near Chapel Hill, North Carolina –  one of my favorite places.  The pretend bride was a former Miss Georgia.:) The inspiration behind the inspiration was all the beautiful range of colors in heirloom tomatoes.  In fact they called it their “Tomato Shoot.”

Just look at these…

Now look at how they interpreted all that beautiful color into the bridesmaids’ dresses…

and in their

These boys from Bloomsbury provided music for the photo shoot.  Their music would be such fun for a wedding reception.  You can see a video of them performing in Raleigh here.  They do a wide range of music styles and play a variety of instruments.

I love wedding sites and magazines not just for weddings, but also for all the inspirational details you can use with any kind of entertaining.  Isn’t this buffet table wonderful?  (Now we are getting to the details of weddings that I really love…the food stuff!)

There was even a tomato tasting station.  yum

And of course, Lindsay from  Lindsay Letter’s talent  made it even more beautiful.

I am going to have to try to make some sweet tea popsicles.  These sound great.

The wedding cake was frosted simply but surrounded by cherries.  Very cute for this reception!  And notice that there is a yellow gingham ribbon around the base.  See how perfect this wedding would  have been for us.:)

More tomatoes mixed with flowers for table decorations… (This could be done for any meal – not just a wedding reception.)

Now here is my very favorite detail of the whole thing…the box lunches with Lindsay’s unbelievable lettering for the menu on top.

and a cute message inside the lid!  I love how the meal is packed in a gingham napkin liner – red gingham at that.

Gorgeous table…

and I have to show you the beautiful bride in the herb garden there at Fearrington

This photo shoot was overflowing with inspirational details. So if I could do our August wedding over, I would use many many of the details from this event..from the tomato tasting station to the box lunches to the colors to the hand lettered papers. (But I would keep the same guy. :))

I will leave you with a question to talk about today…

What would your dream wedding be like?

Can’t wait to hear from you!

p.s. Totally unrelated to weddings, but Stephen Saint Onge has a giveaway contest going on that you don’t want to miss.  He’ll design your room.  Ikea will provide all the goodies, and ZipVan will provide a vehicle to take it all home in.  Read more about it here!

p.p.s. If you would like to see more of the wedding in today’s post, Southern Weddings has a behind-the-scenes post on this photo shoot here .

Patty - July 23, 2013 - 1:23 pm

These photographs are beautiful and it makes me think about, “what inspires me?” Thanks for this lovely post.
Thanks, Patty
I am glad you liked the “tomato wedding” Patty. There were many good ideas for inspiration in their photo shoot. I definitely want to try to make the sweet tea popsicles.

Talia - July 23, 2013 - 2:27 pm

Oh, my! What lovely photos! I really don’t know what kind of wedding I’d have. There are so many amazing ideas that I simply can’t choose. Good thing I don’t have too being as I am a married lady! :)

What a fun photo shoot. Every single thing is simply perfect!
Talia, you are right. There are millions of wonderful ideas floating around the internet now. It would be hard to narrow it down, and Pinterest boards are totally overwhelming with all their ideas too. They are doing a casting call right now for people in Atlanta to do another photo shoot. I would think that would be a lot of fun!

Garden, Home and Party - July 23, 2013 - 2:31 pm


What a wonderful theme for a Southern wedding…kind of like a wedding with vineyards of grapes in the surrounding area. I will have to give some thought to my ideal wedding were it held today. We’ve been married 40 years and we had a simple, small wedding at my parent’s home. Only 50 guests but like you, the man weathered the time, even if the “wedding” could use some style-tweaking were it held today. :D
The comparison to the vineyard wedding in your area is a great analogy, Karen. Wow to 40 years! I would have liked a small wedding back when we married (or even an elopement!), but because we were both from the same town, there was no way it could be anything but a big church wedding. My sister got married in a small wedding at our previous home. It was a pretty ceremony.

Martha - July 23, 2013 - 3:11 pm

Oh I love this tomato theme wedding…love the different shades and styles of the bridesmaid’s dresses. The box lunches are so fun and so well done.
I kind of got to do my wedding over when my daughter got married almost 10 years ago. We had the reception at my best friend’s home. A beautiful pre-war house(Civil that is) that had always been in her husband’s family. They had spent years and lots of money lovingly restoring it. It was a magnificent backdrop to our fall themed October wedding. Lots of pumpkins and fall flowers and very casual atmosphere. My daughter didn’t wear a veil and even though her dress was long and a bit formal she wore flipflops…..She was determined to have fun and be comfortable.

My daughter and I just visited the Ikea at Potomac Mills, VA two weeks ago on a trip to see my brother who lives in McLean,VA. It had been years since I had been to the store and I forgot how amazing it is…..I think you could find anything you wanted for your home there, including the kitchen sink! I haven’t visited the site yet for the contest, but will after I post this.
Now that sounds like a beautiful wedding! The home sounds like the perfect venue. I don’t think I will be able to “do my wedding over” with my daughter. She wants a Disney wedding, and that is not at all my style. :) Perhaps she will change her mind as she gets older (or maybe the groom in the future will persuade her otherwise.)
You are right about Ikea having everything you could possibly use in a home. I hope you hopped over to Stephen’s site and entered for the drawing. Good luck!

Lori - July 23, 2013 - 4:12 pm

I love how creative weddings have become these days. Very DIY – which is great! Some details of my dream wedding would include neutral linens, quilts, brown craft paper, blue Ball jars, Queen Anne’s lace and touches of reclaimed wood. It’s fun to dream isn’t it?! :)
It is AMAZING how creative weddings have become! I love what you have described as elements of your dream wedding. Queen Anne’s lace is such a pretty flower. I would want some of them in bouquets, too. It is so much fun to dream!

Arlene@Nanaland - July 23, 2013 - 4:12 pm

I enjoy looking at the wedding magazines just for ideas for tablescapes and party ideas. They are so creative! While I am not good at coming up with original ideas, I can reproduce them pretty well.!!
You look at the wedding magazines for the same reasons I do, Arlene! That is a great talent to be able to look at something and reproduce it for yourself. Plus, they say, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery,” so you are complimenting a lot of people. :)

Gina - July 23, 2013 - 4:15 pm

I see Eric Kelley took some of these. He was my daughter’s wedding photographer!! :) I love Southern Weddings website! I visited it all the time when we were planning her wedding just a couple of years ago. :)
Oh my goodness! How wonderful that he was the photographer for your daughter!! It is such a small world. :) He took all the photos for the shoot and is certainly talented. I know you must have some great photos of the day!

Sandy - July 23, 2013 - 4:22 pm

I love this! Especially the box lunches!! The whole photo shoot just made me smile!!!! Thanks for sharing, Kelly!
Thank you for your enthusiasm, Sandy! I loved those box lunches too…everything from the kraft paper, to the lettering, to the FOOD in them. :)

Nana Diana - July 23, 2013 - 4:45 pm

That is amazing photography and what a gorgeous wedding/bride. Beautiful pictures!!!!! xo Diana
I thought the whole thing was gorgeous too. So glad you liked it! Eric Kelley’s photography is just superb, plus all the styling and creativity that went into it really made it a beautiful thing.

Dawn - July 23, 2013 - 6:24 pm


I love all of the inspirational photos. The lunch boxes are my favorite. If I could do our wedding all over again, I would keep my fella but go simpler with decorations and such. Thanks for sharing the interesting photos and thoughts.
Dawn, it is a good thing that we are all saying we would keep our guys! Those boxes were precious, weren’t they? Thanks for reading and leaving your sweet comments.

Paula B. - July 23, 2013 - 9:11 pm

What a beautiful and creative wedding. The colors are so yummy. Just the other day I was over on Martha Stewart’s site, perusing all the weddings, it’s just so much fun! I, too, had a morning (my preference) wedding in August followed by a luncheon buffet. Mind you, this was on Cape Cod, less than a week after Hurricane Bob sailed through in ’91, ah the memories….!
Oh a dreamy Cape Cod wedding…how wonderful!! Hurricane or not, I bet it was beautiful. I hope it did not interfere much with your plans. I will have to hop over to Martha’s site to check out her weddings again. I haven’t looked at it in a while. So thank you for the reminder. :)

Amy O'Quinn - July 24, 2013 - 10:11 am

I cannot think of a more appropriate theme for a Southern wedding! And I absolutely love those hand-lettered box lunches….plus, pimiento cheese–yum! When my cousin married a girl whose Dad had a very large pine straw business (not too far from you), they incorporated pine straw into the wedding decor and flower arrangements. It sounds odd, but everything looked beautiful and classy! I always enjoy the posts at the Southern Weddings site. Great inspiration for when we finally get some sons-and-daughters-in-love around here! :)
Now I have heard of a lot of Southern things, but I don’t ever remember hearing of pinestraw in a wedding. That’s a first! I do think it would add a textural element to floral arrangements. Isn’t the SW site great?! It will be a long time before I actually need anything for a wedding from there, though.

Jill - July 24, 2013 - 12:06 pm

Well, gosh, who’d have ever thought…a tomato-themed wedding! So creative and the color pallette is just so eye-catching and beautiful. I love all the themed weddings these days. I would’ve loved that. When I got married almost twenty years ago, we were still just doing whatever everyone else did. We had a beautiful wedding and reception, but I wish I would’ve stepped outside the box a little and done something more fun and personal.
Jill, I think that is exactly what I regret most about ours..not stepping outside that box and doing things a little differently. A tomato theme is definitely outside the box, and it was beautifully executed. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Marianne in Mo. - July 24, 2013 - 3:45 pm

We had a simple wedding back in 1975, paid for by ourselves with my mother in law making the food. Wedding (@ 10am) and reception followed with a brunch, was held at a Historic Mansion where my mother in law was a tour guide. ( all free! ) That evening, we had a simple party with “our” crowd in the barn of the mansion. A stereo was our music, and friends took turns changing the records. Assorted snacks and drinks were brought by the friends in attendance, and we just hung out, talking and dancing, and didn’t have all the fuss of a formal affair. Did I mention that a guitarist played for the ceremony, a student studying photography in college took pictures, and my sister’s mother in law even took off her half slip to loan me at the last second before I was to walk out to be married? She noticed that my dress dress skirt was see-through, and wouldn’t let me go like that! The dress was a $50 prom dress, cotton, with leg o mutton sleeves. In all the pics, if you look close, you can see that slip stopping at my knees. I think it all cost less than $500.Wouldn’t Change a thing, because I have a unique story I think!
You certainly don’t need to change a thing! I believe that is the best wedding story I have heard! It sounds like it was fun, unique, and one that everyone enjoyed (and probably remembered.) Thank you so much for sharing this Marianne.:)

Suzy - July 24, 2013 - 4:20 pm

I found these images on Pinterest a while back and pinned them immediately. I LOVE this wedding – the definition of southern summer fresh! Now I’m trying to convince my 13 year old daughter that THIS is the wedding she wants when that day comes. I don’t think she’s buying it though. #tryingtolivevicariously
Since my daughter doesn’t even LIKE tomatoes, I know this is one that won’t be done by her. But I totally get your trying to convince your daughter that she would love it. Great plan! (and I hope it works…this is a beautiful wedding.)

Mary from Virginia - July 24, 2013 - 6:37 pm

My sister’s two girls are marrying within two months of each other. I am Mistress of Ceremonies AND florist for both events. It has been super exciting and FUN to assist my two precious nieces in their wedding ceremony choices. The younger of the two will marry in October. We have her wedding idea board on Pinterest titled “Burlap, Ball Jars and Bling” The older niece will marry in December. We didn’t title her board, it is just Jordan and Rob, but if it were titled it would be Pink and Pinecones. She will marry in Savannah, GA in a small ceremony. So I am reliving my wedding fantasy through them! I would TOTALLY do everything different if I were marrying now. It would be a smaller wedding, outside in the mountains of Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley were my mother is from.
Mary, I am slowly making my way to replying to comments. How wonderful that you get to relive your wedding fantasies through these 2 weddings! I bet they will be beautiful. Savannah is such a beautiful city. I know you are enjoying all the planning! And your idea of a wedding outside in the mountains of Virginia sounds gorgeous (and romantic!)
Have a great weekend!

Melanie - July 24, 2013 - 6:52 pm

This was such a fun post to read. My nephew is getting married in ten days and these are the exact colors they are using!!! I don’t think they had tomatoes in mind, but who knows! I will definitely have to show his fiancée your post.

I noticed that you mentioned a big Princess Diana dress in regard to your own wedding. I LOVED Princess Diana, and I even named my son “Spencer” after her maiden name. :-) Her wedding was truly my idea of the ultimate fairy tale wedding. I just wish it had had a happier ending.
Melanie, since I am 10 days behind on replying to comments, I am guessing the wedding must be today – my birthday and our wedding anniversary! How fun! I hope all goes perfectly for this day for them. The colors will be beautiful.
I too loved Princess Diana. I think our entire college dorm watched that fairy tale wedding together! How could I NOT have a dress similar that after seeing the gorgeous wedding. And yes, she deserved a happily ever after and certainly did not get one. So tragic.

Pinky - July 26, 2013 - 11:37 am

WHOA!!!!!!!! Wait a sec……..YOU have been married 42 years????????????? I didn’t think you were even 42 years old!! This wedding and all the ideas are wonderful. One of the best days of my life was the wedding day of our daughter, almost 3 years ago. It was just perfect, we were so blessed that everything turned out beautifully, just the way she dreamed it. XO, Pinky
Glory..did I put 42 on there? Hmmm…must check on that. No way on 42. We have been married 28 years today (but dated for almost 10 years before that is getting pretty close to 42.) :) Pinky thank you for coming over from Marty’s site. I am so glad you like the house and blog! Please visit again.
Have a great weekend!

Delores@vignettedesign - July 26, 2013 - 5:04 pm

What a gorgeous wedding, gorgeous bride and beautiful farm to table decor!

Weekend Wandering in Tomatoes

Yes, the weekend is about over, but I wanted to get this weekend wandering post out for you.  Do you have a large crop of tomatoes ready to be picked right now? My father-in-law’s garden has an abundance.  Lucky for us (and many other people) he generously shares his produce with everyone. You know, it is bad being deathly allergic to shellfish, but I think it would be even worse to be allergic to tomatoes!  So many wonderful dishes are made with them.

Southern Living has a webpage full of assorted recipes using them here, including this yummy looking tomato tart.

Williams Sonoma has a tomato basil tart recipe at their site, here.

And they, too, offer a number of tomato recipes from which to choose here.

Don’t all of those look delicious?!

And here is one more tart…a tomato-ricotta tart at a Hungarian blog.  There is a translator for you there.

One of my friends made some mouthwatering Caprese skewers with tomatoes for a Christmas party here last year.  Here is a recipe for them you might want to try.  My friend also used a balsamic vinegar on the tomatoes and basil for an added punch of flavor as they do in this recipe.

Or maybe you are more in the mood for a salad.  How about this cucumber and heirloom tomato one from Foster’s Market?  If you have a big crop of cucumbers ready now, this would be perfect.  Besides the delicious taste, it is a gorgeous dish, too.

If you have a large crop of ripe tomatoes ready now, you are probably not wanting to pick any green ones from the vines, but fried green tomatoes are so good.  Paula Deen has a video showing how to make them here.  I really like that she uses flour in this particular recipe rather than the traditional (and heavier) cornmeal.

She also uses them in this recipe on….hamburgers!

How about an entire tomato menu at a tomato tasting party?  That sounds like one party I would love!

These little tomato pies are cute and look like they would taste fantastic.

Those little pies were served at a meal with this GORGEOUS centerpiece.  Maybe you can use many of your tomatoes to recreate something like this? (meal and all. :))

The smell of all those tomatoes would be divine!  We were in a Williams Sonoma shop this weekend, and they had a tomato candle on sale.  It really did smell like tomatoes!

A few years ago they carried a hand soap and lotion that smelled like them, too.  I thought it was a little strange to want to smell like tomatoes.  (Apparently others thought the same thing because they no longer carry them.)  But deep in the cold of February, the smell of summer tomatoes might be a good thing.:)

Besides smelling and tasting good, I think tomatoes are visually appealing. (Of course, I would.  They’re red!)  Take a look at this serving dish:

Can’t you see it being perfect for serving an Italian pasta dish?  Or how about these?  I don’t think I would really want the entire set, but a few of the pieces would also be good for a meal where a tomato dish is served.  (Unfortunately, Kohl’s has discontinued carrying the pattern.)

Now take a look at this tomato tea towel.  Isn’t that a thing of beauty?!

Even this simple art canvas would look great in a kitchen or dining area.

And speaking of art, when I saw this seed kit from Williams Sonoma, I thought the packets themselves would look wonderful matted and framed.  (I know you are supposed to buy them to plant, but the artwork was too beautiful to overlook!)

And finally, here is a recipe I make when we have used tomatoes in more than enough salads and sandwiches .  Even my children who don’t normally like tomatoes like this simple dish.

It is really an easy dish…cut the tomatoes.  Top with butter, sprinkle salt and paper on them, add a few pieces of basil.

Bake them for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top when you take them out of the oven, and add a few more pieces of fresh basil.  Serve warm.

It is a delicious and easy dish.  You can’t get much better than that.  I hope your weekend was a good one, and I hope you can find something here to use all your wonderful summer tomatoes in.  Happy cooking (and eating!)

until next time…

Patty Baker - July 22, 2013 - 7:41 am

Hi Kelly, love this post all about the tomatoe. From eating it to decorating….love it! Not sure about the candle, but I love the little towels. Happy summer!
I thought that towel was pretty enough to frame or use for making a throw pillow. Not only were the illustrations gorgeous, but I loved the lettering there, too. I think that tomato candle might work for a scent in the kitchen or out on the porch, but I would not put it anywhere else. I bought a grapefruit scented one the other day, and the entire house smells so fresh when I burn it. Happy summer to you too!

Arlene@Nanaland - July 22, 2013 - 7:58 am

Kelly I had a delish tomato pie at one of our local restaurants over the weekend. They marinate their tomatoes in balsamic vinegar before putting them in the pie and it was so yummy. Nothing like a good ripe fresh tomato!!
That does sound VERY delicious, Arlene! The balsamic vinegar would really change up the flavor. I love it on the bruschetta at Mellow Mushroom. You are so right about there being nothing like a good ripe fresh tomato…especially in the summer.

Rhonda - July 22, 2013 - 8:32 am

Beautiful tomato post and very timely as I have an abundance of tomatoes on hand at the moment. Tomato tart with fresh basil sounds great for dinner, tonight! Thanks for the inspiration!!
This is definitely our time of year for tomatoes. I am so glad you could get some inspiration from today’s post Rhonda! Make an extra tart for me and send it over. This tomato lover would be more than happy to help you eat it!:)

Talia - July 22, 2013 - 8:50 am

I love tomatoes and am blessed with a husband who likes to grow them. We can’t get enough. I can eat them like an apple. :)

We eat an abundance of bruscetta and I’ve a recipe for tomato pie that makes an amazing dinner.

Great post – as always! (and the tomato themed kitchen items are just darling!)
I believe you are a TRUE tomato lover, Talia if you can eat one like an apple. :) A tomato pie is something I am going try this week. So happy you liked the post. I liked all the kitchen things, too. They would be perfect at this time of year!

Louvina - July 22, 2013 - 9:08 am

Love those tomatoes! So beautiful— there is just something “homey” about them! My favorite way is to go into the garden, pick a small ripe one, wipe it off and sprinkle it with a little salt! I’ve actually seen my dad carrying his salt shaker and going to the garden and do this my whole childhood! My grandmother used to fix stewed tomatoes with saltine crackers broken into them with a little bacon grease and sweetened to taste! Can you believe I had never had Tomato Caprese until last year!? Had never heard or seen it before– coming from one who reads recipe books as a hobby! Enjoyed your post so much. Craving that smell right now!:) thanks for the memory!
Aren’t they beautiful, Louvina?! What a super fresh way to enjoy a tomato..right in the garden. I would need to add pepper to it also to get the best flavor. :) I have had that tomato stew with the crackers that you are speaking of. Very delicious! And no, I cannot believe a cookbook reader like yourself had not had Caprese until last year. Where in the world have you been to miss such a simple treat?! If you are craving that smell, you need to go right now and get some fresh tomatoes or get the candle from Williams Sonoma.

Garden, Home and Party - July 22, 2013 - 9:37 am

I love tomatoes and home grown tomatoes are the best! I miss having a regular source. I don’t have any friends or family growing tomatoes this year. Some of these recipes looks great. I may have to make a tomato tart this summer.
Thank you.
Gosh I wish I could get some of these to you, Karen. (But California is a looooooong way from Georgia.) I hope you get to try a tart with some fresh ones. The one with the basil sounded delicious to me. You just can’t beat that combination of tomatoes and fresh basil.

Sandy - July 22, 2013 - 11:47 am

What a great post! Such lovely photos of all things tomato! The recipe at the end looks so simple but delicious. My favorite tomato recipe is Barefoot Contessa’s Roasted Tomato Caprese. Thanks for sharing!!!
Thank you, Sandy! Anything from the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks is yummy, so I know that recipe would have to be a good one. I am going to go look for it now. Thanks for the recommendation!

Dawn - July 22, 2013 - 12:22 pm


I too love tomatoes! We just picked our first two romas from the garden last night! I love to make a dip (from Pinterest)with romas, evoo, feta cheese, greek seasoning and green onions. I serve it with thinly sliced french baguette. Thanks for sharing all of the recipes and inspirational tomato dishes, towels, prints and seed packets. What fun stuff!
Dawn, your recipe sounds great! Anything with cheese, tomato, and bread would have to be good. Glad you liked all the tomato things!

Jayne - July 22, 2013 - 2:07 pm

I’m weird, I know, but I never have really liked tomatoes. I do love all the different ways you used them. Opens up some possibilities for other fruits and veges to be used around the house. Thanks for the inspiration.
Aw Jane, that doesn’t make you weird. Two of our three children don’t like tomatoes! (I don’t know how they could possibly be our kids though, since both my husband and I could eat tomatoes for every meal.) You can just stick to the tea towel or candle in your appreciation of them, then. (Now if we were talking about carrots…I would be in the same boat as you with not liking a food. No carrots here!)

Megan - July 22, 2013 - 3:52 pm

My tomatoes are just starting to ripen a bit. I have cherry tomatoes that have given me a taste of heaven (just yesterday, in fact). My beefsteaks have a ways to go though. I am the only one in my family who really loves them though! I can’t wait to have them at every meal!!!!!!

On another note –I love the tomatoes in the centerpiece – and I have now found a use for those purple-y green “things” that are in there with the tomatoes. They grow all over the place here (I have done serious battle with them in my garden). Having a use for them will be kind of nice!
Wow, the only one in your family? You can REALLY hog them all to yourself, can’t you Megan?! That centerpiece is gorgeous. I hope you can create something like it with your purple green things! :)

Marianne in Mo. - July 22, 2013 - 6:22 pm

Love this post, my mouth is watering! Many (15 ? ) years ago, when I worked at a nursery, we got seed packets that the company brought out from their archives. They were soo graphic and artistic, I bought some and Mod Podged them to small plaques to hang in my kitchen. They sit in a drawer now, I can’t part with them.
So I am not the only one to go all artsy with the seed packets! Yay! What a smart idea to make plaques out of them. You would probably like the seed packets at Blackberry Farm. Although not as colorful, they certainly have an old vintage look. You can check them out here:

Terri Pierce - July 23, 2013 - 7:41 am

Thanks for the wide view of tomatoes and how the use them! I tried Martha Stewart’s recipe for oven dried tomatoes a couple of years ago. They were fabulous. A bit time consuming, but definitely a tasty way to preserve an over abundant crop!
I have never done oven drying of tomatoes, Terri. So I will have to check out Martha’s recipe. Sounds like a smart way to deal with so many of them. Plus we love the flavor of sun-dried tomatoes when used with goat cheese on practically anything. I would think the oven dried ones would be similar. Thanks for the idea!

Nana Diana - July 23, 2013 - 11:05 am

Kelly- What a great post. I used to LOVE a tomato tart but haven’t had one in years. My mother used to make something called scalded tomatoes that had a cream base and it was so very good. Loved this post- xo Diana
Diana, I don’t believe I have ever heard of scalded tomatoes. That’s a new one for me! I will have to look in some old cookbooks I have to see if there might be a recipe for them. Thank you for introducing me to something new for my beloved tomatoes!
I am glad you enjoyed the post.

cindy hattersley - July 23, 2013 - 11:36 am

Yum! I love tomatoes in season! My plants aren’t exactly floriferous this year however!
Floriferous? That will have to be my new word of the day, Cindy. :) I have never heard that term before, but I can tell what it means. I hope your tomato crop improves this summer. Good luck with it!

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