“Handwriting is an Imprint of the Self on the Page” -by Dr. Rosemary Sassoon.
Does scrapbooking get any more personal than when we add our own handwriting to the page? How is it then that my fourteen year old daughter recently mentioned that she only knew my handwriting from my grocery lists? Seriously? How could this be?
I’ve been scrapbooking since I was in grade school and we are talking over forty years ago on the conservative side! I have four children, for goodness sake, and I have made scrapbooks for all of them, yet I find myself with our last child at home who wouldn’t be able to pick my handwriting out without guessing. How could this have happened?
Well… for starters we now have Instagram and Snapchat where photos are shared and comments between each other flow. It’s not that we don’t talk or send lots of notes between us, it is more about the format that we use. Boy, has this hit me like a huge boulder.
If you were to ask me to identify my own mother’s handwriting, I would have absolutely no problem. I see her letters or just a simple signature and I instinctively know when it came from my mother. I treasure the letters she wrote to me over the years. I love the recipe cards that have her handwritten ingredients and instructions. I love her family tree notes that she left for us to find. I love her handwriting in the photo albums that she so lovingly took time to put together.
So, where might you find my handwriting? Well… I guess it is for sure on my grocery lists each week. There are tons of hand written notes scattered all over my desk and they are all over my scrapbooks that I have made for my three older children. The problem with my newer layouts(which include my youngest daughter) is that I have started to use some of the beautiful fonts that are everywhere. I admit it… I got caught up in the font mania that is so enticing and now find myself with a dilemma. How do I get busy and make sure to leave my handwriting stamp upon my youngest daughter’s heart so that she will forever have that little bit of me with her?
I could say that I will back away from my digital ways, but let’s be truthful, that isn’t going to happen any time soon. I need to make a plan to incorporate my handwriting into my layouts and I think that I have hit upon something so monumental, that I just couldn’t resist sharing it with you! I have taken my handwriting and made it into my own custom font. Yes, I did it! I am sharing this layout with you and it highlights my very own personal font which is mine exclusively.
I’ve been wanting to do this forever and when I saw the Becky Higgins had run a sale on her website for a custom handwriting font, I knew that it was calling my name. This was my chance and this little article on fonts was that gentle push that I needed to take it from “the Cart” to “the Purchase.” Alas, I might have just missed the sale but I had made the commitment in my mind and there was no turning back.
What I didn’t realize was how much it really meant to me. Until you start typing and see your own handwriting come up on the screen, you can’t realize how much power it packs. While this font isn’t available to be used on the Project Life app yet, you can certainly use it in your desktop software, like Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements – basically any software that accesses your fonts.
So, there we are! We now have access to our own fonts where we can take our best handwriting and bring that personal touch to our scrapbook pages. Think your handwriting is not worthy to be made into a font? Think again. Our family knows our handwriting and they don’t care how perfect it is or how imperfect it is. My own father had such bad handwriting that is was hard to read at times but read it I did! And actually, it was probably my love for my Dad’s poor handwriting that made me so good at deciphering old, handwriting, which has come in handy in my profession of genealogy!
When you purchase a Custom Handwriting Font on Becky Higgins website, you receive an email shortly with a form to enter each alphabet letter — both in uppercase and lowercase. Here’s a quick tip so that you get the absolutely best result the first time: make sure to write out several paragraphs in your handwriting. They suggest that it not all be in cursive, so if you are like me, I use a mix of printing and handwriting anyway. I almost never do strictly all printing so it was a relief to know that I could use a bit of both. You can use this little exercise as a way to visually check the way you really write so that your individual letters will actually resemble your day-to-day handwriting.
You can learn from my mistakes, believe me. I didn’t do this little exercise of writing out a paragraph ahead of time and realized when I received the font that my “n” that I had used was more for the beginning of a new word than the way I write an “n” in the middle of a word. That left it looking a bit off but Kristen, the “font whisperer” for Becky Higgins, ever so graciously after consulting with me, made just a few adjustments that brought it all to life.
Here’s another tip: Print out several copies of the form so that you can start over if you are really unsure that you like what you have done. The hardest part of all of it is writing the first letter. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried, I just could not get all the way through my form without a mistake, so I decided to stop beating myself up and just crossed the mistakes out! As long as one of the sheets had the good letter, it was all good — trust me. The person behind the scenes, Kristen, is extremely good at working with our handwriting samples and she has had a lot of practice!
Kristen has been working with fonts for quite a few years and boy does she have some lovely stories. When I told her about my own love for handwriting, she shared some stories that had tears welling up in my own eyes and it reinforced my own reasons for taking this step.
While we might not all have those heart-string-pulling-reasons to turn our own handwriting into a custom font, there is that strong reason to share a bit of ourselves with those we love. I, for one, have a huge grin across my face as I start my own journey to make sure that my daughter and the rest of my kids never forget that most personal part of my story — my handwriting.
“In all the ways we express ourselves nonverbally, none is quite so personal as our handwriting.” – Betty Edwards
As a side note, the layout I shared earlier in this article, is one that not only shows my handwriting, but also highlights a letter that I found almost fifty years after my grandfather passed away. I only knew him while he was in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s and could no longer stay at home with my grandmother to care for him. The only facility that cared for dementia patients at that time was clear across the state from where we lived but we made the trek over there to visit with him routinely.
My only memories of him were walking around the grounds of the hospital, so to find a letter that he had written to a niece while he was clearly in good health, really has been a treasure. And to see it written in his own hand is a clear reminder that I need to make sure that I have my own stories written down – with some of them in my own handwriting!
–I would like to add that the digital paper and wood finishes for my woodblock lettering on my layout are from the November Premier Digital Scrapper download. It seemed like a fitting choice to add to my layout as a tribute to my grandfather’s love of carpentry.