If you haven’t read my last blog or seen my recent social media post, my husband and I moved to Cambodia mid-February. There were some complications with our travels and it ended up taking us extra time and a trip to Singapore to get the visas we needed to stay here long-term.

Now that we’re settled in Phnom Penh, I’m jumping full force back into Letter + Adore.

For my first 3 years in business, I focused my time and energy on custom client work. I thoroughly enjoyed working with all my clients; however, I just won’t be able to keep it up as we get ready to expand our family.

With big life changes also come big business changes. Instead of custom calligraphy projects, you’ll see more product lines and fun collections coming to Letter + Adore in 2018. Here’s a quick rundown…

1) Release a rubber stamp line.

I am currently working on the Snail Mail Collection of the stamp line. On April 11, 10 new return address stamp designs will be hitting the shop, along with a few non-custom designs to add a fun touch to your envelopes! *Hint* The first 50 orders will include a bonus gift.

calligraphy return address stamp

2) Open up a digital shop by the end of summer.

This is something I’ve been mulling over for years and 2018 is finally the year to do it. I am slowly building a library of digital files to share with you before the end of summer. In the Letter + Adore digital shop, you’ll be able to purchase hand lettered svg files, printables, and calligraphy worksheets.

3) Create an Enneagram collection.

Ever since a friend from our life group shared about the Enneagram last fall, I have been hooked. If you’re a personality assessment junkie like me, go take this free Enneagram assessment now and let me know your type in the comment below. I have learned so much about my strengths and weaknesses, my tendencies in interacting with others, especially with my husband, and the areas that need growth. By the way, I am a 4, the Individualist.

Learning about the Enneagram has inspired me so much I decided to create a collection around it, including at least one product for each type.

4) Create a semi-custom invitation suite line.

As much as I love working with each individual couple to create the perfect invitation suites unique to them, the back and forth process just won’t fit in my current stage of life. I also understand that many couples are looking for elegant designs but don’t necessarily have the budget for full custom suites. With all that in mind, I’ll be working on a semi-custom paper goods line this fall with a projected launch date in January of 2019.

So there you have it…the 4 main projects I have slated for 2018. In addition to those, I also have a few smaller projects; like adding a wedding collection and business collection to the stamp line, designing more greeting cards, creating a Christmas collection with brand new products, etc.

Now I would love to hear what you have planned for 2018. Share with me in the comments and let’s achieve those big goals together this year!

Posted on March 19, 2018

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for months, but I wanted to wait until everything is settled before I give you an update.

My husband, Jake, and I spent a lot of time in 2017 talking about work-life balance, starting a family, and finding purpose in our daily work. These conversations eventually led to possibly moving to Cambodia, where I lived between the ages of 10 and 18 and where my parents still live.

Up until September, it was just an option. You see, it’s a little more complicated for a green card holder to move outside the US than just buying a plane ticket and packing up her life.

In October, we sent in my US Citizenship application.

In November, we started going through every corner of our apartment, donating things, selling things, and packing things up.

In December, we received an appointment notice for an interview on January 4th. We got excited that things are falling into places so we purchased our one-way tickets.

The week before Christmas, we moved into my in-laws’ house to transition.

On January 3rd, I got a phone call from the USCIS office saying they will be closed on the 4th due to a snow storm but I had the option to come down on the 3rd for my interview and oath.

I passed my interview and test but we encountered some technical difficulties and I had to come back on a different day for the oath of allegiance.

On January 8th, I took the oath and became an American citizen.

But I didn’t get to change my name from Hailun Xia to Helen Xia McVety as requested because a judge wasn’t present at the rescheduled appointment.

Here’s the problem, the name I used to purchase my ticket was Helen Xia McVety.

We didn’t want to risk not getting my name changed and getting a new passport in time for our February 11 flight, so we spent the last 2 weeks working with Expedia to get my name on the plane tickets changed to my current legal name.

It’s been a stressful month and it’s been a month since I last posted on social media. I feel so bad that I’ve just disappeared online but this social media hiatus has been so good for my soul. I simply haven’t had the mental capacity to create new content…

So why am I writing this post now? Well, as of this Monday, everything is squared away for our big move in February!!

How is Letter & Adore changing in 2018 with our move?

1) What Letter & Adore will be offering from 2018 forward

Since I will be spending the majority of each year in Cambodia, shipping hand painted signs from the other side of the world won’t really work. However, I have found ways to offer my custom hand lettered designs as printed signs, acrylic signs, wood signs, and fabric signs. The options are still endless!

I have recruited an amazing friend here in South Portland, Maine, to handle shipping. You can be rest assured that everything will still be made in the USA to ensure quality and reasonable turnaround time.

A full list of services and pricing coming soon!

2) I am taking on a limited number of weddings this year.

Although my main focus for 2018 is to spend more quiet time with God, explore Southeast Asia with Jake, and getting my body ready to carry a baby, I still want to serve my brides and serve them well. Thus, I will be taking on a limited number of weddings this year. If you’re interested in custom invitations, signage suites, day-of paper woods, be sure to fill out this inquiry form to secure your spot as early as possible.

Image by Silverbell Photography

3) Letter + Adore is going digital!

I’ve been mulling over this idea for years now and this international move is pushing me over the edge to finally open a digital shop. Of course, this is a huge undertaking and probably won’t be ready to launch until the end of 2018, but I want to give you a rough idea of what will be offered. In the Letter + Adore digital shop, you’ll be able to purchase original calligraphy cut files, printables, and calligraphy workbooks. More info to come on this!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. It’s my heart’s desire that by making these changes, it will allow me to serve you in a more focused and creative manner.

I’m so excited about all the changes coming to Letter & Adore as well as my personal life in 2018! I’ll be spending the next month working on updating the website to reflect all the changes. In the mean time, you can follow along our journey on Instagram and/or Facebook.

Enough about me, tell me something exciting happening in your life in 2018! I’d love to hear and share your excitement 😃

Posted on January 23, 2018

It’s Letter & Adore’s 3rd anniversary and I’m so excited to celebrate this milestone with you!! Did you know that I opened my online shop exactly 17 days after Jake and I got married? A lot of have changed during the past 3 years: my lettering style, the products I offer, the branding, but most importantly, how I serve you.

Three years ago, I simply wanted a creative outlet. I made beautiful things to fulfill my creative needs. But now…

Now, I create for YOU. Documenting your most treasured memories is at the heart of Letter & Adore. That is why I want to give away something extra special this year – the “Remember When” Keepsake. This was my 3rd anniversary gift to my husband and one that we will cherish for a lifetime. It’s a collection of your favorite shared memories over the year(s) in watercolor and calligraphy. If you’re a sentimental gift giver like me, you’ll surely enjoy this giveaway!


Here are just a few ideas of how this can make a great gift:

  • Wedding day gift for your bride or groom – your favorite memories leading up to your wedding day
  • Anniversary gift for your spouse – your favorite memories in a year of marriage
  • Anniversary gift for your parents – their favorite memories in a year of marriage
  • Mother’s day gift – your favorite memories with mom
  • Father’s day gift – your favorite memories with dad
  • Gift for your child – your favorite memories and/or milestones in a year of your child’s life

Join the Celebration!

Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for your support and encouragement along my creative entrepreneurial journey! Now head on over to Facebook or Instagram and find this post to enter the giveaway.

Posted on July 22, 2017

I can’t believe we are halfway through 2017. Where did the time go? I started off real strong this month with wedding show prep and some fun projects. But for the first time in my life, I’m suffering from seasonal allergies. I either wake up with a puffy face or feel tired all day from low-quality sleep so it’s been hard trying to get things done the past few weeks. Below is a recap of my June highlights.


2017 Wedding Showcase at the Barn at Silver Oaks

I attended the 2nd annual wedding showcase at the Barn at Silver Oaks in Winthrop, Maine. The venue owners, Gene & Veronica, recruited an awesome team of talented wedding professionals. It was my first time lettering live at an event and I offered the first 25 couples a hand lettered marble tile place card. I was SO nervous I could feel my hand shake while painting, but the reaction from each couple when they picked up their marble tiles made it all worthwhile!

* I have another wedding show coming up in August at Hardy Farm in Fryeburg, Maine. If you’re within driving distance, definitely come say hi!

Photo by Ashley Dorso of Silverbell Photography

My very first mirror seating chart…and it’s a giant one!

Creating a mirror seating chart has been on my wedding calligraphy bucket list for a while. You can bet I was over the moon when I got the request from Danielle of Daniella for a wedding at the Westin Portland Harborview. When I took the job, I thought I’d be lettering on a standing mirror about 2 feet by 6 feet. Nope! This mirror measures 6’4″ x 7′ 2″ and is mounted on the wall, on top of a credenza.


Styled Shoot at the Barn at the Kennebunks

There’s a new wedding venue in Southern Maine, The Barn at the Kennebunks! Isn’t it beautiful? I loved watching Sarah and Terri of Lulu & Co Event Design style each section for the shoot, while Brittany of 207 Weddings captured every little detail.

Once the shoot is published, I’ll share more photos and the complete vendor list with you!

wedding welcome sign at the Barn at the Kennebunks


July is a big month for me. Jake and I will be celebrating our 3rd anniversary on the 5th. I’m turning 26 (although I still feel 19 most days) on the 11th. And the 22nd marks the 3rd anniversary of Letter & Adore. Stay tuned because I’m going to plan something to celebrate this milestone with you!

What have you been up to this month? I want to hear all about it!

Posted on June 28, 2017
Calligraphy has made a huge comeback in recent years. We see it used in weddings in many different ways. No surprise there. Modern calligraphy is not only elegant and gorgeous, but also adds a personal touch to your wedding stationery. While a full custom calligraphy invitation suite can be outside your price range, there is a budget-friendly way to include hand calligraphy in your wedding stationery. Let me tell you a little more about spot calligraphy.


Many calligraphers (me included) offer spot calligraphy services where elements like your names, venue, date and words like RSVP, Save the Date, etc. are hand calligraphed to be paired with a computer generated font to create the final design.


  1. What style calligraphy do you offer?
  2. Can you work directly with my stationer/graphic designer?
  3. Can you design my invitation suite using spot calligraphy?
  4. How many rounds of revision does the price include?
  5. How will you deliver my final files? In what format?
  6. Do you have a contract?

I hope by asking these questions you’ll find the right calligrapher for you! Just make sure she 1) offers a style that matches the overall aesthetic of your wedding stationery and 2) addresses questions 2-5 in a contract.

Interested in learning more about my spot calligraphy services? Read on!


modern calligraphy spot calligraphy fancy flourish spot calligraphyBrush lettering spot calligraphy


  1. Get in touch with me!
    Fill out this inquiry form to tell me more about your wedding and vision for your stationery.
  2. Contract + 50% retainer
  3. Initial design concepts
    You will receive 2 initial design concepts with different lettering style to choose from. 
  4. Final payment
  5. One round of revision
    This step can be optional if you’re in love with the initial design. 
  6. Final artwork
    Your final artwork will be delivered to you or your graphic designer in a high resolution, black & white PDF file.


Invitation Elements: $200
Up to 5 elements (i.e.. names, date, venue, “RSVP”, etc.)
Names Only: $100
Monogram Design: $75

Are you interested in having me hand calligraph some elements for your invitation suite? I would be so honored! Fill out this questionnaire to get started.

Posted on May 10, 2017

So you’ve decided to address your own wedding envelopes. You may be excited or you may be dreading it. It’s definitely a daunting task, but not an impossible one.

From addressing my own envelopes long before I became a calligrapher to now addressing clients’ envelopes as a professional, I’ve learned quite a bit. Here are my 5 tips to prepare you for DIY envelope addressing.

1) Give yourself enough time

Envelope addressing will take longer than you think, especially if you aren’t familiar with the style of writing you plan on using. Since invitations are typically mailed out 6-8 weeks before the wedding, I would recommend starting your envelopes 8-10 weeks out. A great way to stay on track is to set a goal of # of envelopes you want to complete each day.

2) Organize your guest list

Having an organized final guest list is the key to simplifying the addressing process.

>> Not sure how to go about this? Grab my free wedding guest list template here! <<

wedding guest list template download


3) Order extra envelopes

Even pro calligraphers require an extra 20-25% envelopes to account for ink splatters, smudges, and mistakes. Order enough envelopes from the start because you never know if they will be out of stock when you need more.

4) Choose ONE style and stick to it

If you go on Pinterest and search “envelope addressing”, you’ll find a million different styles. Pick one and stick to it! The more familiar you get with one style, the better and faster you can get through that stack of envelopes.

5 Tips for DIY Envelope Addressing styled

5) Figure out spacing

One of the mistakes I made addressing my own envelopes (long before I became a calligrapher) was not considering how much room to leave for stamps. I’m sure the post office wasn’t too happy to find a few stamps in the bottom left corner instead of the top right. If you’ll be using a collage of vintage stamps, you may want to block off the entire top 1-2″ or a large area in the top right corner. As a general rule of thumb, keep the top 1.5″ address-free. You can also download the free PDF template (as shown in the below photo) I have created for you. In it, you’ll find 2 templates, one center aligned and one left justified, that will fit perfectly over any A7 envelope.


5 Tips for DIY Envelope Addressing template

Happy envelope addressing!

Posted on April 12, 2017
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