the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Far better than quarterly taxes, I can assure you

A few weeks ago my second Quarterly package shipped, a box full of delightful materials collected around the theme of handwriting. What has been so fun about these collections is seeking out a topic that enables me to work with artists I admire and including their work in what is sent out to subscribers. In the first package I sent out, one focused on my home state of Utah, I got to work with Jeni Shirley of Stitched Cards. For every single shipment she hand-stitched cards with an image of Delicate Arch and the outline of downtown Salt Lake City:


This kind of collaboration is what makes these packages so special: a storyteller like me working with a maker as talented as she is to produce something entirely unique. It’s work that I have thoroughly enjoyed.

In the second package I got to join forces with an artist I have admired for years, a local Utahn named Melissa Esplin whose hand-lettering is so elegant and graceful. I love having her photos pop up in my Instagram feed because her artistry in clothing, crafting and calligraphy is so inspiring. She is the multi-talented Mormon my family probably wishes I could be, so I hope this association alleviates their concern for my eternal salvation just the tiniest bit.

In the letter I wrote accompanying this package I noted:

I’ve included an exclusive hand lettered print that we worked on together: her talented hand giving life to a phrase that once served as a tagline on my website. I love the juxtaposition of scripted letters that are so often associated with inspirational and romantic notions being used to render my facetious twist on a popular phrase.

I’m so happy she was willing to go out on a limb with me. The end product is everything and more than I had hoped it would be:


I also got to go out and look for a few other products to include in this collection: a calligraphy kit, a sophisticated writing tablet with accompanying envelopes and a few fancy pencils to keep around for handwritten notes:

(Photo by Will Deleon)

This theme was inspired by the fact that my handwriting has been destroyed by the repetitive muscle movements required by modern technology: texting, mouse-clicking in photoshop, typing on a keyboard. My wrists and thumbs are a mangled mess. I wanted to practice this art form myself. So I did some googling on various calligraphy alphabets and sat down with my supplies. Here is what my first attempt looked like. Keep in mind that I have not touched a calligraphy pen since middle school. That was 25 years ago.



Yeah, I’ve got a long way to go. Also, my handwriting tends to creep up to the right of the page. Like I’m sitting on a boat that is a little too heavy on one side. Ugh. That is so annoying. In fact, it’s bothering me so much that my instinct is to rotate the image and fix it in Photoshop WHICH DEFIES THE WHOLE PURPOSE HEATHER. Sit on your hands and enjoy the gifts of imperfection.



My next Quarterly package ships in about two months (you can subscribe here) and this time I decided on a theme that allows me to work with a close friend who has created such an innovative product that I cannot wait to share it. I am sending up my gratitude here that I have the opportunity to work with artists in this manner, that I can bring attention to their work while simultaneously making strangers smile when they open their mailboxes. I guess this is kind of the same thing as wanting to be a magical fairy when I grow up?

Sign up if you’re curious!

  • KathyB

    2014/03/13 at 3:26 pm

    Somebody once told me that the handwriting climbing up at the end is a sign of optimism 🙂

  • Suebob

    2014/03/13 at 3:28 pm

    Mythical hobbit, not magical fairy.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2014/03/13 at 3:47 pm

    Game, set and match, my friend.

  • Chris

    2014/03/13 at 6:18 pm

    I don’t know what hole I’ve been living in but it’s deep and dark–this Quarterly thing is very cool. Also while I’m here…more often than not I find when I make a mistake, miss something, drop something I will think in my head “Command Z”. If only it was that easy.

  • Teal

    2014/03/13 at 8:56 pm

    I’ve never seen “My butt” written in calligraphy before. Now I kind of want it embroidered on a pillow. Can you do that in your next package? 🙂

  • Katerina@LexandLiv

    2014/03/13 at 9:11 pm

    This is hilarious. “My butt” gets my top vote. Reminds me of the cross-stitched rap lyrics!

  • Stephanie

    2014/03/14 at 8:39 am

    Please tell me that the print is a reference to the movie Double Take. That would be so cool.

  • Carla

    2014/03/14 at 10:30 am

    Um, I’m glad you don’t write your blog posts in calligraphy.

  • Carla

    2014/03/14 at 10:31 am

    I’m so glad those pee heads fired you back in 2002. You deserved it, you big poop, and I’ve been having fun reading your posts ever since.

  • Carla

    2014/03/14 at 10:33 am

    And speaking of butt, my husband’s new doctor is Dr. Dong and our new plumber is Mr. McNutt.

  • kara_v

    2014/03/14 at 11:20 am

    Kind of off topic but along the lines of technology making us do/think crazy things. Have you ever tried to open your front door to your house with your car key clicker? Because that happens to me regularly.

  • Carla

    2014/03/14 at 12:03 pm

    Yes! I tried opening the door to the wood shed with our car key thing. Thank goodness only the squirrels and deer took notice.

  • KristenfromMA

    2014/03/14 at 2:02 pm

    Wabi sabi, Heather. Embrace it.

  • Georgia Siltman

    2014/03/14 at 2:47 pm

    Try putting the piece of paper you are writing on at an angle to correct the slant. I wish I could do this trick with the whiteboards at school. I have the exact same problem and my students tease me constantly 🙂 Also I love love love that you are cooking. It’s such a primal pleasure to create a healthy delicious meal from scratch. Rock on new Heather. You inspire us every day xx

  • Kate H

    2014/03/14 at 3:04 pm

    I love this! My handwriting has sadly deteriorated also. so one of my goals this year is to take some time to practice it more, especially with lovely pens.

  • Momma Sadler

    2014/03/14 at 4:44 pm

    Please, please, please offer a download of that print. That needs to be framed and hung on my wall ASAP!

  • NotImpressed

    2014/03/14 at 6:00 pm

    I looked at the Quarterly items that were sent out and it had me curious on what others sent. There is nothing that I saw by ANYONE that is worth $50 AT ALL. What a gimmick.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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