Prune Restaurant – Website!

July 6th, 2014 — 8:59pm


Today, I am overjoyed to make a long awaited announcement…..
PRUNE Restaurant’s new website is LIVE!!

Sometime ago I was contacted by Tyla Fowler, assistant to Gabrielle Hamilton, and asked whether I’d be interested in redesigning Prune’s website. Of course, my response was “Absolutely!”. I remember when I first heard Gabrielle Hamilton on the radio, speaking about her book Blood, Bones & Butter, I was immediately so taken by her…. and after reading her book, even more enamored. So, now, here I am being contacted to design her restaurant’s new website?!  I wondered if maybe my connections to the restaurant world (Chez Panisse, Camino, Pizzaiolo, etc.) had somehow lead her to me, but it turns out, Tyla came across my work in an interview I did with Design Sponge! Thank you Design Sponge!

I knew that this was a substantial project, one that I didn’t want to take on alone, so I asked my dear friend and talented colleague, Tracy Lenihan, to work with me. Tracy and I had worked together before, but nothing of this scale. It was wonderful to tackle such an exciting and challenging project with a trusted collaborator. I’d also like to give great thanks to Andrew Venell for all of his amazing hard work programming the site.


I was fortunate enough to dine at PRUNE twice during this project. It was wonderful to meet Gabrielle face-to-face, experience the delicious food, the generous hospitality, and really get a sense of the place – first hand.  The restaurant is charmingly small, I truly felt as if I was in Europe. I love how the French doors open onto the street (as shown in the above photograph, courtesy of Eric Wolfinger, thank you Eric!). The tables are nestled so close to one another that it feels more like a dinner party at a friend’s house. It has a lovely intimate feel, the quintessential neighborhood restaurant. It was this warm, welcoming, and inviting experience that we wanted to capture in the design of the website.


When Gabrielle told me that, for a long time, she used to write each daily menu by hand, I knew she was my hero! A true fellow Luddite! (the above menu is an old sample in Gabrielle’s distinctive hand). This year is PRUNE’s 15th anniversary and it was only a few years ago that they stopped using handwritten tickets. We wanted to retain this lo-fi and handcrafted feel throughout the new site.


Working closely with Gabrielle has been an incredible experience. She is an amazing person; wicked smart, insanely hardworking, dedicated, full of grace and great humor.
I am thrilled to see this project come to fruition, and to use a phrase from Gabrielle,
I am “struttingly proud” of the results!

Comment » | Identity & Packaging, Process, website Design

Art Opening Invitation For Ana Labastida

June 1st, 2014 — 3:03pm

On this beautiful June day I felt inspired to blog about an invitation that I created for an art opening held at Lola Home Store, unfortunately LOLA Home closed it’s doors in 2011…. oh, how I miss that store! However, my memories of all the special events held there, the artists I discovered, and the design projects I got be to be a part of, still live on. The above invitation was for LOLA‘s very first art show. The featured artist was Ana Labastida, a highly creative and talented woman.

Here is a photograph of Ana in her Emeryville Studio with her incredible works of art (photograph via sfgate). I got to meet the lovely Ana when she was installing her show at LOLA. She cleverly devised an invisible installation technique using small powerful magnets. I loved how her moths looked like they had landed, naturally, all over the shop… it completely transformed the space!

Creating the invitation was so fun. We chose two photographs of Ana’s favorite moths for the front of the card (their wings are made of glass with images collaged onto them, producing the most beautiful shadows).


I hand-lettered the wording in a delicate script and had the wings die-cut so that the invitation became 3-dimensional. The moths truly looked as though they had landed on the card, such a playful introduction to Ana’s work!


Here is a photograph of my favorite piece (photograph courtesy of Ana’s website). You can check out her entire Moth Series along with her wide range of other amazing works.

Comment » | Uncategorized, Weddings & Events

Bon Anniversaire Chez Panisse Café!

March 31st, 2014 — 8:04pm

The upstairs Café at Chez Panisse Restaurant is turning 34 tomorrow. Bon Anniversaire! The occasion will be celebrated with a delicious prix fixe menu. This year, I was lucky enough to be asked to design and print the special menus.
With such a wonderful French menu, I decided to draw inspiration from the sketches and illustrated notebooks of Georges Braque. Georges had the most charming handwriting and I tried my best to emulate his style while handwriting the menu, I’m very pleased with the results.
Today, as the rain poured down, I hand-painted each menu with blue and red… a perfect rainy day project. I love how the small touch of color brings the whole design to life, while also creating a French blue-white-red palette. It is so enjoyable to work on such a playful and celebratory project. I hope everyone has an exquisite evening!

Comment » | Hand-lettering & Typography, Uncategorized, Weddings & Events

St. Valentine’s Day at Chez Panisse

February 15th, 2014 — 7:08pm


Please forgive my delayed Valentine’s Day wishes, this year I was busily working on the menu designs for Chez Panisse Restaurant! Such a dream project! I created the above menus for the Downstairs Restaurant and the menu header, below, for the Café. My designs are inspired by gorgeous old title pages, in particular, design elements from Paris – circa the late 1700′s. I hand-drew all the lettering in a mixture of styles from the same era.


Every Valentine’s Day a small bouquet of violets is traditionally given to each couple who dines in the Downstairs Restaurant at Chez Panisse, a lovely romantic offering. In keeping, I printed my artwork in a deep violet colored ink and applied a soft watercolor wash to add extra depth and warmth.
Whether you had an elaborate evening out or a cozy evening at home, I hope everyone was able to pause for a moment and appreciate the people they love. Vive Amour!

Comment » | Hand-lettering & Typography, Uncategorized, Weddings & Events

Happy New Year!

January 8th, 2014 — 8:39pm

Wow. I can’t believe the holidays are already over and it’s back to work in 2014! Life just seems to get faster and busier as each year passes, and with that said, my new year’s resolution.. or hope… or mission is to make time to do creative projects purely for myself, for the simple joy of it, to inspire myself, and sometimes to collaborate and connect with the people I love.


When Marc, my boyfriend, asked me what I wanted for Christmas I replied “Time working together in my studio on a fun creative project!”. And that’s exactly what we did to welcome in the New Year. I have been collecting security envelopes (from random mail and bills) for about 3 years now and I’ve been dying to do a project with them. I’ve always wanted to tile/shingle a wall with pieces of paper and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.


When I brought out all the envelopes I had collected we were amazed by the wide variety of patterns and colors… more than 75 different patterns! Marc, who is very mechanically minded, helped me map out the overall layout and calculate the size that our oval needed to be… thank goodness for handy boyfriends! I had a custom cutting die made for the oval (for those of you who are unfamiliar, a cutting die is like an extra sharp cookie cutter). While Marc fished through the piles of envelopes and found the interesting ones I cut away on my tabletop die-cutter.


We started our first row with halves and set up our grid so that the ovals were laid out like wood shingles. We attached them to the wall with a neutral pH white crafting glue. They looked like little Easter eggs sitting on top of the wainscot.


Fast forward many hours, and episodes of This American Life podcasts, and we had a complete shingled wall! So beautiful and inspiring!


Here’s to moments of joy, a renewal of hope, the love and support of family and friends… and to spending time being playful and creative in 2014!

1 comment » | Process, Uncategorized

Northern California Fall Wedding

November 30th, 2013 — 8:26pm


I just got home from a beautiful hike with a friend in Redwood Regional Park. I always love Thanksgiving weekend as it seems to be one of the rare times that life truly slows down. Being out in the woods on this crisp sunny day inspired me to share this autumnal wedding in Hopland, California. This is the same wedding that I spoke of in last month’s post – Fall Wedding Feast.
This project drew inspiration from Northern California’s natural landscape, John Muir’s botanical collection, and early American folk art. Lady’s slipper orchids were especially significant to the bride and groom, and therefore, became a main feature on their invitation (above & below).


I letterpress printed my hand-lettering and the line work of the Lady’s slipper botanical illustration. I then hand-painted each invitation with watercolor and gouache, a lot of work but it really made the imagery come to life.


Here is the invitation for the rehearsal/welcome dinner held the night before the wedding. For this invitation I looked to early American folk art, especially Pennsylvania Dutch and the paper-cut crafts of the time. The event was held in the hop barn, at Campovida, and so I thought it would be fun to have the invitation wording displayed within the silhouette shape of the barn. My hand-lettering is inspired by old Shaker alphabets and painted signs.

I silkscreen printed my illustrations in bright ‘barn red’ and letterpress printed the wording. Campovida is a working family run farm so it seemed fitting to include the farm animals in my design. I love the mixture of traditional folk art symbols, the rooster weather vane, and the firework-like stars in the sky.

The invitations were packaged in these beautiful envelopes. I printed a pressed plant image of a violet, with heart shaped leaves that draped over the front. The bride and groom found the perfect vintage postage stamps which added such autumnal color and personality to the presentation. The stunning calligraphy of the addresses was done by Adrienne Keats.
I hope everyone is enjoying their Thanksgiving holiday, staying warm and cozy, and finding time for a little walk in the woods.

4 comments » | Hand-lettering & Typography, Process, Uncategorized, Weddings & Events

Fall Wedding Feast

October 31st, 2013 — 8:32pm


My mother just dropped off a bounty of delicious figs from her tree and it made me think of this menu that I created last year.
Renee and Chris were a lovely couple getting married at Campovida, a magical family run organic farm and vineyard in Hopland, California. The Italian inspired wedding feast was served outdoors under the stars. As the menu featured fish grilled in fig leaves, and the tables had bowls of figs for guests to enjoy, we decided it would lovely to use an old botanical illustration of figs… it also added such beautiful fall colors to the tables. I hand-lettered the menu in a style inspired by early Italian typefaces. I silkscreen printed the colors of the botanical illustration and then letterpress printed the line work and wording. Simple, yet warm and elegant, they looked fantastic all lined up at each place setting down long family style tables. Molto Bello!

1 comment » | Hand-lettering & Typography, Uncategorized, Weddings & Events

Sweetest Birth Announcement

September 28th, 2013 — 7:52pm

I’ve been wanting to share this sweet birth announcement for quite some time. I’ve known Kathryn, the client and expecting mother, for several years and was so honored when she contacted me regarding this very special project. Kathryn is the creator of Snippet & Ink, one of my most favorite wedding blogs. She has excellent taste, a great design eye, and a true appreciation of fine paper, letterpress printing, and vintage style design… I knew instantly that our collaboration would be a dream.

With her baby girl arriving in late Spring, early Summer, Kathryn wanted strawberries to be part of the design. She also wanted my hand-lettering style to be reminiscent of vintage children’s books. With such a sweet color palette we thought it would be great to tie the announcements, along with a photograph, into little bundles with red and white twine.

And what lovely bundles they were! Kathryn put the gorgeous little photos of Caroline in protective glassine envelopes.

I letterpress printed the return address, along with a sweet butterfly on the front of the envelopes. The envelopes were addressed in the perfect grass green ink by the fabulous calligrapher and artist, Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls. Maybelle’s charming style added such elegance and whimsy.

I found these beautiful seed packet stamps for the mailing, they couldn’t have been more perfect to complete the package.

I can’t believe that little Caroline is already 4 months old, where does the time go?
Thank you Kathryn for this wonderful project! Congratulations and much love.

2 comments » | Birth Announcements, Hand-lettering & Typography, Uncategorized, Weddings & Events

42 Years of Chez Panisse

August 29th, 2013 — 12:04pm


Yesterday Chez Panisse celebrated it’s 42nd birthday. I have always felt a sense of kinship with the restaurant, as I too was born in 1971. I was so pleased when I was contacted to design and print the menus for this celebratory occasion. I kept my design simple and elegant using a decorative border from the late 1700′s which I silkscreen printed in a soft moss green. I hand-calligraphed the menu wording in a graceful and delicate style and letterpress printed onto a plush fawn colored paper. When I delivered the menus in the afternoon I got to walk through the downstairs kitchen full of all the delicious sights and aromas of the feast to come. Happy birthday Chez Panisse, I look forward to growing old together.

Comment » | Hand-lettering & Typography, Uncategorized, Weddings & Events

Vive Bastille Day! Vive Chez Panisse!

July 24th, 2013 — 7:02pm

It seems impossible that we are already deep into July, where does the time go?
Although I’m a little late, I thought I’d post another one of my Bastille Day menus designed for Chez Panisse Restaurant. I’ve created many special menus for Chez Panisse over the years and they continue to be some of my favorite projects of my career. Alice (the owner and guiding light of the restaurant) found this festive image in an old book of hers, it felt perfect for a delicious celebration of Bastille Day. My hand-lettering of the menu was inspired by beautiful old typefaces from the 1500-1700s and I found a gorgeous ream of vintage paper to print onto (the warm patina on the edges of the paper is so appealing to me!). I put on some playful French music by the Baguette Quartette and proceeded to hand-paint each French flag. Vive la France! Vive Chez Panisse!

Comment » | Hand-lettering & Typography, Process, Uncategorized, Weddings & Events

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