All posts by Sassy

How to Write With a Fountain Pen

Fountain pens are well-known and liked for the elegant penmanship that they offer. However, like all good things, it takes some skill and practice to achieve those beautiful legible strokes of handwriting.

The good news is, learning how to write with a fountain pen is not complex, and neither does it require you to reinvent your writing style. You only need to grasp a few basics to help you get the kind of quality penmanship you have been yearning for. 

So, in this guide, we explore some key tips on how to ace writing with a fountain pen. 

Choose the Right Pen

Fountain pens are not made equal. They are available in different thicknesses, pen casings, and even filling methods. This is great because, amidst the variety of options, you could easily find a fountain pen that suits your writing preferences. 

As you choose your fountain pen, aim for a design that you can handle with ease. Get a feel of the weight of the pen and how it fits between your fingers. If it feels comfortable, then you are more likely to write better and enjoy using it. If not, try a different design. 

Additionally, endeavor to choose the right type of fountain pen for your needs. For example, if you are looking to write some calligraphy, then a calligraphy fountain pen would be best. On the other hand, if you are new to the whole fountain pen experience, consider a beginner fountain pen. You could always advance to something more sophisticated later on. 

These details may seem trivial at first impression but once you get to writing, you will realize that they play a major role in how well you write. 

Choose the Right Fountain Pen Accessories

One of the great attributes of a fountain pen is that it offers considerable flexibility. You can, for instance, choose a type of ink or nib that you feel would improve your writing experience. If you are wondering how to choose the right accessories, here are some insights to guide you. 

Ink

You are likely well aware that you can have your choice of ink color. What you may not know is that there are different types of fountain pen ink and they can significantly elevate your writing experience.

Quick-dry ink, for example, would be a good choice if you are worried about smudging while scented and shimmering inks would be ideal for special pieces of writing like invitation cards. Other options to consider include lubricated inks, waterproof inks, and specialty inks, among others.

Look out for quality brands of ink too because the quality of the ink you pick affects both your writing and the longevity of your fountain pen. 

Nibs

Nibs vary based on the material they are made of, their flexibility or rigidity, and their thickness.

Flex nibs are recommended if you enjoy smooth gliding strokes while more rigid nibs are ideal for more controlled strokes of writing. You can learn more about this on our Flex nibs writing guide. 

In terms of thickness, a stub nib will yield thicker lines of writing whereas an italic nib is a great companion if you would prefer thin lines.

Paper

Fountain pens dispense fresh ink as you write. Although the ink is dispensed in a steady and measured stream, it can begin to blot if your writing surface is made of poor-quality paper. 

Consequently, it is advisable that you choose absorbent types of paper. Look out for leading paper brands like Faber-Castell, Rhodia, or Scheaffer, among others. 

Training

Once you have the right fountain pen and the right accessories, you can officially get down to the business of writing. That said, instead of jumping off the deep end, you could start with some practice sessions.

At this point, you are probably thinking; ‘Why would I need training?’. 

Plenty of reasons. For starters, practice sessions give you a chance to get more accustomed to your fountain pen if you are a beginner. On the other hand, if you have used fountain pens before, practice reawakens your muscle memory and helps you get back in your writing groove. 

Additionally, learning from pros on Youtube and platforms like Instagram could introduce you to a broader variety of fountain pen writing techniques. 

This would also be a great way to find out if you have picked the right fountain pen and accessories. All you need is your ink-filled fountain pen, a writing surface, and some spare time.

Above all, fountain pen writing practice does not have to turn into a boring and rigid class. Keep it light and fun. Think of it like a doodle challenge where you keep building your skillset and unlocking more advanced techniques as you go along.

Technique

Technique refers to more than just putting pen to paper. It encompasses details such as how you hold your fountain pen, the style of penmanship that you choose, and your posture too.

Here are some pointers to help you nail your technique.

Posture

An upright posture goes a long way in ensuring that you can position your fountain pen comfortably and write with ease. As a result, your writing is likely to be more legible and effortless. 

To achieve this, try and invest in a chair with good back support and a quality writing desk for fountain pens. These provisions are especially important if you will be writing regularly or for prolonged durations.

Pen Holding

As with most pens, it is perfectly okay to hold your fountain pen between your thumb and index finger. Some people even opt to use the middle finger for extra support.

However, if you would like to glide your fountain pen away to quality penmanship, make an effort to keep your arm loose. This ensures that you do not exert any undue force as you write with your fountain pen or tire out your hand. Steady and loose works just fine.

Writing

There is no standard measure or acceptable style of legibility. The only goal is to ensure that your writing is consistent, appealing, and easy to read. 

Make an effort to differentiate ascending and descending letters. For clarity, avoid chaining or looping them together so much that they are difficult to tell apart. Spacing between words and letters is equally important as it makes your writing neat and easy for the eye to perceive. 

It is important to mention that if your typical handwriting is illegible, using a fountain pen is unlikely to transform it. It would be best to take up handwriting practice using templates and then advance to fountain pen practice sessions as discussed above. 

Correcting Errors

If you happen to make errors as you write, it may be easier to strike through the error and move on to write what you intended. Trying to write over an error using a fountain pen often results in unsightly blotting or an ineligible muddle of letters.

Final Thoughts

Writing with a fountain pen often looks like a sophisticated art but with the right tools and some practice, it is quite simple and pleasant. Now that you know where to begin, write away!

Home Security Systems 101

Home security systems are a great investment for any homeowner. They provide peace of mind by ensuring safety in the home. With features like door sensors, smoke alarms, keyless entry systems, and more, you can enjoy the peace of mind knowing that your home is well protected.

If you’re looking to protect your home along with the people and belongings inside of it, here’s what you need to know. 

Numerous Options Available

The first important thing to know about home security is that there are multiple types of systems available. One size doesn’t fit all in this scenario. You may be looking for a simple approach to home security such as a doorbell with a sensor that detects motion and emits an alarm, or a more advanced system that consists of cameras, floodlights, and even panic buttons.

Whatever level of protection you’re looking for, you can rest assured that it’s available.

Start with the Basics

When considering home security, it’s important that you start with the basics. Instead of jumping right to the top of the line system, make sure that your primary needs are being met with your door and window locks. 

If you want to take it a step further, you can also add additional deadbolts which is a highly recommended feature on all exterior doors.

Add Additional Security

After your basic needs have been met, it’s time to add some more security features such as motion lights, burglar alarms, and camera systems. Most of these can be installed on your own, but don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional home security alarm company to do it for you.

Use a System that Incorporates Technology

Have you ever been away from your home for a few days and wondered if everything is okay at your home? With a system that utilizes smartphone apps, you can easily check in on your home at any time and place. 

Not to mention, a majority of these systems can also be controlled by this same app. Meaning if you want a certain light on at nighttime or would like to catch a glimpse of any activity at your front door, all you have to do is open the app.

Have a List of Contacts

Having a security system in place is one of the smartest things a homeowner can do to keep their home and family safe. But it’s also important to keep a list of emergency contacts with their numbers handy just in case any activity is noticed or help is needed. Obviously, the police department will be dispatched in the need of an emergency. 

But in case you are unable to be reached, it’s helpful for the police to have another point of contact and it can also be helpful to you in the scenario that you just need someone to keep an eye on your home while away.

Do these exercises to lose weight without ‘magical’ supplements

Losing weight is on almost everyone’s wish list. Whether it’s 50 pounds or 5, most of us would be glad to shed them off. However, these days, the process of maintaining one’s health has become highly commercialised. The internet is filled with “experts” who promise the best solution to your weight loss problems. Usually, these so-called experts are just people looking to make some money off a product of theirs. These look like herbal teas or diet plans with zero carbs and zero fats. Sometimes, these websites will go the extra mile and try to sell you supplements that are no less than magic. 

What can magic supplements offer?

Most websites will argue you need to take these supplements to make the most of a weight loss regimen. But, many of these supplements have turned out to be just placebos. They haven’t provided people with significant benefits, and the side effects they’re exhibiting aren’t positive either. Sometimes, they’re concentrated doses of hormones like testosterone, etc., and they end up causing more trouble to the body’s regulatory mechanisms than providing aid. Thus, trusting these “magical” supplements is the last thing you want to do. 

How should you lose weight instead?

Just because these faux supplements are out of the equation doesn’t mean your weight loss plans are too. These are 101 ways to healthily get rid of extra weight without adding pills to your diet. The easiest method, of course, is exercise. But everyone has a unique body type, and before you charge into a workout routine, you need to understand what will work best for your body. If the workout is stringent enough, you won’t need additional aid in losing weight. So, here’s a list of exercises you can do without any “magical” supplements. 

Running:

You probably didn’t see this one coming because it’s so common. There’s a reason running and walking are so actively advised by nutrition experts. You can begin with walking a week thrice for ten-twenty minutes and then increase the time and frequency of your walking after a month or two. Then, when you feel like you’ve built the stamina, start running. 

These are exercises that work for every body type because they’re doing essential tasks. They’re keeping your muscles active and giving them an avenue to burn excess fat. Walking and running also keep health conditions in check. For example, if you’re consuming foods loaded with fats and oils, walking and running will help lower your cholesterol levels. 

Jump ropes:

With this exercise, you’ll have a blast from the past and an opportunity to get fit. Jumping the rope kills a large number of calories. You can get your jump rope and go at it for 20 minutes daily. You’ll be engaging important muscles and get your heart racing. Your body might hate you a bit, but it’ll love the results. 

High-intensity interval training:

HIIT workouts are often seen as the devil, and that’s because they are. You don’t have to follow massive diet programs or cut down on many foods with these workouts. Instead, it’s best if you eat according to what suits your body when doing high-intensity interval training. 

These are workouts that include periods of intensive exercise with rest in between. For example, you can start with a basic HIIT workout, as short as 5 minutes, and then extend to a longer duration. 

Final word:

With these exercises, you won’t just have the promise of weight loss; you’ll also have the results. They don’t require a lot of dedication to following diet plans or making extreme changes to your routine. These are exercises you can incorporate into your life quickly, and you’ll be all the more thankful that you did. 

Improve the Value of Your Home with These DIY Projects

Although homeownership is expensive, there’s one saving grace: DIY fixes.  Increasing your home’s value is usually viewed as a costly endeavor to aim for, but you don’t have to worry about spending too much money if you complete the fixes yourself.

Each of these is a project you can do with minimal training, and each will increase your home’s worth.

Remove Wallpaper and Paint 

Wallpaper goes in and out of style: but the patterns make it clear when it’s been in a home for twenty years or more.  To get rid of wallpaper in your home, you can buy a steamer for thirty dollars or work to steam using a hot water kettle and some towels.  Steam off the wallpaper, sand down any extra glue or unevenness and paint the walls a crisp new color.  This can make a space look more contemporary, which will increase its value.

Strip and Repaint or Stain Cabinets

One of the quickest things to change in home decor is what types of cabinets are in style.  Although it would be nice to afford to replace your cabinets and have someone else do it: it’s not feasible for most homeowners trying to sell.  Instead, put in the time and effort to sand down the cabinetry in your kitchen and paint or stain it into a color that will make it look more modern and attractive.

Put Some Work Into Curb Appeal

Your curb appeal directly impacts the perceived value of your home.  To boost it further, mow and trim your lawn, ensure the edges are cut back, trim any bushes or shrubbery, and put in local flowers or plant life that will show off the look of your home.  This can give your home a new face without making you spend more than twenty dollars on seeds or small starting plants.

Put In New Doors

If you’re wondering ‘What is my home worth?’ you may be looking at the big picture. But it’s important to consider the details.  Replacing your doors, from your front door to the interior doors, can easily give your home a new look and guide people through it.  It won’t take longer than an afternoon to replace all of these doors, and you’ll come away with a home that feels far more unified and beautiful to walk through.  You can also pick out unique doorknobs to take your home’s personality a little further.

Clean Your Gutters And Roof

Gutters that are full of leaves, and a roof that’s also covered in debris, will ruin the value of your home.  People look at these, and they assume your home isn’t well maintained and that there’s a lot of problems inside that they’ll have to find themselves.  To avoid this, maintain your roof by cleaning your gutters and your roof often.  If you have trouble keeping up with your gutters, consider putting in gutter guards that will stop leaves and gunk from allowing them to drain.  Although this is completely free to do, it can increase your home’s value exponentially.

How to Up Your Candle Game with Candle Décor

Candles are a home décor item that is a consistent sellout. There’s a reason many wholesale home décor stores carry them. A dynamic form of décor, there are dozens of unique ways to use candles in every room of your home. All you need to start is a classic white candle.

Where you take your candle game from there can rely on several things. You should consider the candle’s location, the décor surrounding it, how many candles you want, and what configuration to put them in. These elements will impact the way you light a room. It will change the atmosphere created from an inexpensive candle décor arrangement.

Make your home look warm, romantic, and alive. Here is how to up your candle game with premium candle décor ideas.

1. Candles for Sitting Areas

Like our ancestors from centuries ago, human beings are naturally attracted to fire. Large parties with multiple sitting areas use candles to light pathways or position on tables where you intend people to sit. They are used frequently for evening parties, weddings, graduations, and milestone celebrations.

2. Colored Candles 

If the room feels a little empty, take it upon yourself to blend in an arrangement of differently colored candles. You want your candles to exhibit the same design style. For example, the candles can be single-color, layered colors, monochromatic, or three-color. If you choose to use various colored candles, ensure they look unified when placed side by side together.

3. Candles at Varying Heights

You may choose to create a home décor arrangement with candles with varying heights. Setup can be done by simply altering the surface on which a candle is presented. Be sure to orchestrate them in a gradual short-to-tall motion. You do not want to scramble candles at different heights and make them look random. 

4. Mirrored Candle Trays

Mirrors and candles are a chic combo. Most people search for mirrors to hang or mount. Take yours and lay it flat. You can do this with any reflective surface. A candle placed here increases the light output and adds some visual intrigue that can admittedly be a little spooky. Ideally, you also want to avoid color clashes by matching the vibe of the candle to the mirror’s borders.

5. Candles in a V Form

An over-turned open-form ‘V’ is the perfect eye-catching presentation for a candle. Some decorators will DIY their backdrop with gemstones or use two mirrors meeting at a point with a candle arrangement in front. Tinted mirrors or tinted glass are also options. There are lots of opportunities to come up with a one-of-a-kind glittery décor arrangement here that twinkles.

6. Candles in a Birdcage

A birdcage has lots of air flowing through it. So long as the material isn’t coated with something flammable, putting one or more candles in a birdcage is an elegant and subtle way to feature them in your home décor. For this, you may want to save this presentation for only the most luxurious of occasions.

7. Small Fireplaces for Candles

A fireplace is just a box turned on one of its sides. Use this as a basis for creating little fireplaces in your space. Alternatively, if you have a fireplace already built into your home, use that! Place classic white pillar candles inside, ensuring the flame isn’t burning the top, and enjoy. If you’re nervous about the flame burning your fireplace box, remove the lid or consider a birdcage-Esque open design.

8. Mounted Candle Holder Pairs

Mounted candles are one of the most popular candle décor choices in modern minimalist homes. There are so many styles to use with how you mount. You can do this through mini-shelving, freestanding furniture, hooks, or other means. If you mount your candles, ensure you hang in pairs. A candle mounted on its looks lonely and unnatural in most examples.

9. Candles in Glass Bowls

Take a large glass punching bowl and fill it in with rocks to add interest to the piece. Then, position candles on top and ensure they are held firmly in place by the stones surrounding them. Alternatively, if you have a large glass bowl already filled with objects, you can repurpose it and up your candle game.

10. Candles in Mason Jars

If you do not want to crowd a set of candles together in a large glass bowl, split them up in a collection of mason jars instead. Arts and crafts doers love this because they can create minimalist-inspired terrarium arrangements. You can also decorate the outside with wrapped twine, wrapped ribbon, or other materials. The more mason jars, the better as well.

11. Single Candle for Mindfulness

Light your candle. Practice mindfulness. Blow out your candle. Make this a basic routine you use to lock into mindfulness quicker. Many people use a single candle for prayer as well. If you maintain a practice where a candle could benefit, add one to yours. Often, it is as simple as a large white candle on a plate.

12. Create a Dining Table Centerpiece

A dining table centerpiece is never going to be strictly candles. You may want to incorporate artificial plants, glass, metal, stone, or non-flammable abstract pieces. Go wild. Find a personality for your dining room, starting with a properly fitted centerpiece complete with a candle arrangement for light. 

13. Make a Statement with a Lantern

Candles look their most magical when placed in a lantern. They’re also a very safe way to enjoy a lit candle, perfect for anyone apprehensive about an open flame indoors. Also, lanterns do not all look the same. If the typical rectangular, industrial-looking lantern isn’t appealing, try for something a little more abstract.