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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Wedding In Rio De Janeiro

June 30th, 2013 — 7:26pm


With the glorious weather in the Bay Area right now, and the dwindling days of June, I thought it perfect timing to share this unbelievable June wedding in Brazil! This project is, by far, one of my favorite projects of all time.
Mariana and Saul were an absolute dream to work with. Mariana, originally from Rio de Janeiro (where the wedding was to take place), had so much inspiration for me to draw from; photographs and wonderful stories. The process of working so closely with her was very special, I almost feel as if I’ve been to Rio!

photograph by Daniel Rocha

The inspiration for the invitations was based on Parque Lage as this was where the wedding would take place! This magnificent mansion, built in 1849, was originally the home of Henrique Lage and his wife, Gabriela Bezanzoni (an Italian opera singer). This open interior courtyard, shown above, has two facing balconies that had been specifically designed for Gabriella’s performances. Nowadays, it is the home of the Visual Arts School and it’s surrounding gardens and subtropical forest lands are open to the public.
I think it is the most powerful and magical wedding venue I have ever seen!
The illustration I created for the invitation was inspired by the architecture of this mansion along with decorative bookplates/title-pages from the 1500-1700s.


I designed the response card with the same look and feel but my illustrations focused instead on the surrounding romantic gardens and fountains at Parque Lage. I love how the spray of water from the fountain becomes the line to fill in your name.

photograph by Pablo Bianchi

Another wonderful view of Parque Lage.


I printed my design for the return address in both olive green and espresso brown to complement the suite.


Mariana and Saul threw a Sunset Samba Party to welcome their guests to Rio. The party took place on the rooftop of a beautiful hotel overlooking the city. They served Brazilian barbeque and Caipirinha cocktails and had professional dancers both performing and teaching the basic Samba steps. Mariana wanted this invitation to be playful and fun with her personal favorite Caipirinha recipe on the back… for this reason I thought it would be great to print the invitation on a drink coaster! I also found an old dance book from the 60s that had ‘his’ and ‘her’ instructional Samba steps, perfect.


Here is the back side with Mariana’s recipe, the addition of passion fruit is her signature touch… delicious.


The next evening, they threw a rehearsal dinner at a famous club, Rio Scenarium, in the old city. Again, Mariana wanted this invitation to be fun and personal. We decided to make the invitation a handwritten-looking postcard. I found a few vintage Brazilian postcards and Mariana was especially drawn to this image (above) of Pedra da Gavea as it held great significance to her family.


I made the back side look like a hand-written note sent from Mariana and Saul. I added fun touches like the Scenarium logo, a gorgeous Brazilian postage stamp, and a hand-drawn postmark with the date of the event. Mariana also had some wonderful sayings that she asked me to integrate into the designs; the one above “reculer pour mieux sauter” is a French saying roughly translating to “take a step back before you make the big leap”… perfect sentiment for a “flashback dinner” on the eve of your wedding day.


In the end, there were approximately 600 guests who attended this magnificent event! Really quite unbelievable. There were no printed menus or seating cards but I was able to create a lovely wedding program. Again, I looked to the architecture of Parque Lage and vintage title pages as inspiration for the illustrations. I added personal touches like their initials, a “huppa” in the archway (Saul is Jewish and they were to be married under a traditional huppa), and another of Mariana’s sayings “Qui regna amore!” = Love reigns here!


Here is the inside spread of the wedding program. I created the graphic pattern in the corners to echo the actual pattern of the handmade lace for their huppa. I loved writing in both English and Portuguese.


Saul had the creative idea of adding a riddle to the back page of the program, a little something to amuse the guests while they waited for the bride to walk down the aisle. Both Saul and Mariana were pursuing their PhD’s at Columbia University so it seemed quite fitting for Saul to request adding a little mind game ;) ….. I still don’t know the correct answer!

After completing such a special project, Mariana and Saul generously invited me to attend their wedding! Unfortunately I was unable able to go due to previous work commitments, so sad. However, on the night of their wedding my boyfriend and I made Mariana’s Caipirinhas, played Brazilian music, and made a toast to Mari and Saul. It wasn’t Rio but it was delicious.

2 comments » | Process, Uncategorized, Weddings & Events

Outdoor Wedding In Mendocino

May 3rd, 2013 — 4:51pm


With May Day just a few days ago, I feel like I’ve been hearing mention of maypoles everywhere. Fittingly, it has inspired me to create this post about a very special outdoor wedding in Mendocino, California.
Andie, the bride, was such a delight to work with. She had wonderful ideas, lots of inspiration, and a fun and playful spirit.
I was so inspired by her thoughtful descriptions of what she envisioned for her wedding day…  a whimsical garden wedding with vintage (circa 1915) English country fair decor, the venue – a quaint inn overlooking the ocean, a tent decorated with tissue pom-poms and bunting, garlands and flags, yellow and white old fashioned flowers (cottage roses, daffodils, peonies) displayed in old tarnished mismatched silver teapots, the entire wedding party dressed in period-appropriate vintage-inspired attire with Andie wearing a mantilla style antique lace veil, a family style feast in the pasture for the reception, ducks and chickens roaming the lawns, …. and a maypole! (Or as Andie put it “er… Junepole, I guess, technically speaking”…as their wedding day was the 4th of June).


The moment I heard it, I knew I wanted to incorporate the image of a maypole into the invitation design. I love how the two strands of silk ribbon join the bride and groom (in 1915 appropriate dress!) and create a canopy over the invitation wording. The colors that Andie chose for her wedding really added to the whole look as well: buttercup yellow and white florals, pale robin’s egg blue and an accent of black and white stripes (like grosgrain striped ribbon). She wanted the invitation to be “old fashioned, elegant & stately but not overly perfect… with an element of whimsey”, a description of a dream project for me! I silkscreen printed the yellow cottage roses and robin’s egg blue and letterpress printed in black. I then wove the silk ribbon onto the invitations, doing some in pale yellow, the other half in pale blue.


And here is the sweet hand-drawn map I created. Most of the guests were staying in the town of Mendocino and being escorted by shuttle to the wedding venue, Glendeven Inn. The property of Glendeven is surrounded by beautiful pastures, holds a llama farm, has chickens, guinea fowl, ducks (and sometimes wild turkeys!) roaming the land, and an organic vegetable garden…. just perfect for a country fair themed wedding, don’t you agree?


With Andie’s lovely sense of humor, we just had to put a llama on the rsvp card. The return address design for the envelopes was kept simple and elegant with swallows and garlands of roses.


And here is an example of what the envelopes looked like. Andie selected the most beautiful vintage stamps, such perfect colors. The gorgeous calligraphy of the addresses was done by Adrienne Keats. Andie had wanted a particular style captured, “elegant but with some element of whimsey and eccentricity”…. Adrienne’s execution was perfect.

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