Category: Uncategorized


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

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.

Comment » | Process, Uncategorized, Weddings & Events

Joy, It’s A Boy!

April 17th, 2013 — 5:35pm


My family all got together recently to celebrate my nephew, Kai’s, first birthday.
I can’t believe a whole year has already gone by… it’s about time I posted about his birth announcement, sheesh!
My sister wanted to create something with a cooking theme, both she and her husband are wonderful cooks. Preparing and sharing food is, for sure, one of our family’s favorite pastimes so the theme seemed quite fitting… and inspiring. My sister did most of the writing and had fun adding a few plays on words and typical recipe instructions… “a pinch of time“…. yes, they were together for eighteen years before having a baby!


Instead of printing traditional baby announcement cards I wanted to create something fun and different, I love the idea of a keepsake that is also useful. And with a “Joy of Cooking” theme, what is more perfect than a flour-sack dishtowel to brighten up your kitchen? I silkscreen printed the announcements in red and warm black onto traditional unbleached flour sack towels. My wonderful boyfriend rigged up a custom, multi-tiered, clothesline in our back yard for them all to dry… what would I do without him?!


Here is our delightful little boy and his Ma-Ma, Jenny. Kai has brought so much happiness into our lives, he truly is a bundle of pure Joy!

4 comments » | Birth Announcements, Uncategorized

Birthday Party At The SF Jazz Center

March 31st, 2013 — 7:45pm


Recently I had the delightful opportunity to design an invitation, and day-of paper, for a very special birthday party held at the SF Jazz Center. Stanlee Gatti, event planner extraordinaire, designed the event. I was so thrilled when he contacted me regarding this project!
The theme was ‘Paris in the late sixties – early seventies’, a time and place that was very memorable for the guest of honor. I so enjoyed researching the fashion, art, color palettes, and overall style of this period.


The front of the invitation was inspired by fashion illustration and posters of the time. I created the illustration of ‘Madame Miner’ working from a gorgeous old photograph.
I found a wonderful floral textile design from the 60′s and used it to inspire my illustrations and designs…. the pattern made playful envelope liners as well!

The back of the invitation.


I continued the floral motif on the envelopes, having them playfully cascade from the back to the front of the envelope.


I used these lovely seals, in the perfect tangerine color, to complete the package.


The envelopes were addressed, in matching orange ink, by the fabulous Wendy Cook
(of Bell’occhio). Her fine elegant hand made them very special indeed.


I used these stamps for mailing the invitations, they couldn’t have been more perfect for a French style party at the SF Jazz Center!


The Day-Of paper items were inspired by the patterns of these textiles being used for the upholstery and table linens (unfortunately, the colors are a little inaccurate in this scan).


Here is the menu, I love the clean modern look of it. I die-cut a window for each guest’s name to appear and found the perfect pop yellow paper for the backing.




And here are the seating items: escort cards, escort envelopes, and table numbers. Such a wonderful project, C’était merveilleux!

2 comments » | Illustration, Uncategorized, Weddings & Events

Belated Valentine

February 28th, 2013 — 6:08pm

This year, for the first time ever, I did not celebrate Valentine’s Day…. so sad!
Marc and I had caught the most horrible flu, it truly knocked us down for over a week. Neither of us had ever been so sick. Needless to say, Valentine’s Day came and went. Now that we’ve recovered I wanted to do a little something fun to mark the holiday…
always a good excuse!
Yesterday we went to Ethnic Arts to pick out our annual “Valentine” milagro, we’ve been collecting them for years and have fun displaying them on the walls of our kitchen nook (a.k.a. The Frida Room).

Here is The Frida Room, our ever-evolving shrine room to Frida Kahlo.
And here is a closeup of a wonderful saying that I hand-painted on the wall, the rough translation is “Be Fearless, Choose Love!”.
And here is today’s project, created in the Valentine spirit!
Marc and I went to Oaxaca, Mexico for Day of the Dead in 2011. While we were there we fulfilled a longtime wish of mine; to dress up, have our faces painted, and get a professional photograph taken to look like an old portrait! Our photo session was hilarious, the photographer was so fun to work with. Above is my favorite photograph that I have painted over with encaustic medium (beeswax and resin), the encaustic gives it such a perfect ghostly look.
Today, I finally hung the photograph and hand-painted our names, place and year on the wall.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day, full of love, appreciation, and playfulness.

1 comment » | Hand-lettering & Typography, Process, Uncategorized

Brooke & Stephen – Santa Fe Wedding

January 4th, 2013 — 12:43pm

I wanted to start the new year with a post about one of my favorite wedding projects of all time; Brooke & Stephen’s wedding in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Brooke and Stephen are some of my best clients ever, working with them was an absolute dream. When I asked them how they found out about me they said they saw my work on Snippet & Ink (one of my favorite wedding blogs!). Recently, this project came full circle in the most exciting way when Kathryn, the creator of Snippet & Ink, said she would be interested in featuring this wedding on her blog!
Please check out Kathryn’s full, 2-part, feature here. Be sure to see Rick Scibelli’s phenomenal documentary-style photography. Please, also, take the time to watch the most romantic film “trailer” created by Thread and Film, they are so talented, I never knew wedding cinematography could be so good! Thank you Kathryn for this wonderful feature, I am honored to have played a small part in this very special story…..
and now, on to the invitations!

Here is the main invitation. Brooke and Stephen wanted something elegant but also earthy and rustic, like the Santa Fe landscape itself. I hand-lettered the wording in a mixture of old world typefaces and created a flowering succulent illustration in an old botanical style. I letterpress printed the invitation in espresso brown ink and hand-painted each illustration with watercolors and gouche.
Brooke and Stephen wanted their rehearsal/welcome dinner invitation to be inspired by a Mexican Fiesta menu that I had previously designed. The dinner was to take place at wonderful Spanish restaurant, in their outdoor garden courtyard. The imagery for this invitation was festive with a New Mexican flare.
The simple and charming RSVP card for both events.
I silkscreen printed a tissue overlay with their names and date of their wedding and bundled each invitation suite with twine.
I planned to surprise Brooke and Stephen by tying a little sacred heart milagro to each invitation. Luckily, before I committed to this idea, I decided to do a test run through the mail… unfortunately, the milagro damaged the invitation while going through the post office sorting machine. I gave the milagros to Brooke and Stephen anyway and they ended up using them to tie, as charms, to the fans for all the guests at the ceremony…. brilliant idea!
I lined the outer envelopes with an array of soft desert-toned papers from my vintage collection.
Photographs by Rick Scibelli
And last but not least, custom papel picados that I had created for the rehearsal/welcome dinner! I love these stringed banners, such a simple way to transform a space… they are great keepsakes for your guests too!

3 comments » | Uncategorized, Weddings & Events

Holiday Wishes

December 29th, 2012 — 11:28am

Please forgive my belated holiday wishes! This month has been SO busy! I hope everyone had a great holiday with family and friends, many delicious meals and moments by the fire. Above is a closeup photograph of my vintage tinsel tree which has brought Marc and I so much pleasure this season. Marc rigged up a multicolored LED light, this year, to shine on our tree. It has been so lovely to end our days, sitting together, and enjoying the show.
Sending my warmest wishes for a Happy New Year!
I look forward to sharing more projects and inspiration in 2013!

Comment » | Uncategorized

Interview on design sponge!

November 30th, 2012 — 10:38am

I am absolutely over the moon to announce my featured interview on Design Sponge!!! Ginny Branch Stelling, the creator and writer of What’s In Your Toolbox? (a column I have always loved) contacted ME to be interviewed! I couldn’t have been more excited to participate!
Ginny gave me the kindest, most encouraging introduction ever. Thank you Ginny for your support and for this incredible opportunity! I also want to mention my dear friend, and fellow designer, Tracy Lenihan. Tracy is an amazingly talented designer and photographer and I cannot thank her enough for taking all the fantastic photographs!
Please check out the article!

Comment » | Uncategorized

Two Hands Paperie

November 11th, 2012 — 8:47pm

As a perfect follow up to my previous post on Day of the Dead, I thought I’d share a fun project that I did as a surprise for Two Hands Paperie. This gorgeous store is in historic downtown Boulder, Colorado and it is owned by one of my dearest friends, Mia Semingson, and her husband Gerald Trainor.
Two Hands Paperie is such a magical place, full to the brim with decorative papers, journals, fine pens, cards, stationary, art supplies, books…. the list goes on and on!

photos by Fran Meneley
Mia is an incredible artist as well and her talents and enthusiasm are evident in every room, corner, and display area. I especially love how she decorates and celebrates
Day of the Dead in the store.
Here is a wonderful decorative sign on the front door made out of contact paper!
So clever!                              (photo by Fran Meneley)
Every year Mia builds a beautiful altar in the store and encourages anyone and everyone to contribute to it. You can see another fantastic design, cut out of contact paper, on the window behind the shrine.

And here are the beautiful women of Two Hands Paperie in true celebratory spirit!
Mia, on the far left, has started a wonderful tradition of having everyone’s faces painted for the occasion. The very talented Jessica Quintanilla does the amazing face painting.
I so wish I lived closer so I could join in the fun!
I’ve always wanted to go and visit Mia for Day of the Dead, this year I was determined to at least be there in spirit. I created this papel picado design as a festive surprise for the store. I had fun incorporating her logo (the two hands). I silkscreen printed banners to decorate the store and merchandise bags to give out to customers.

The bags were too large and flimsy to fit in my drying racks so I had to spread them out on every inch of my studio floor to dry, they looked so beautiful!
Here’s a lovely promotional piece that Mia put together for the store.
So, if you find yourself near Boulder, Two Hands Paperie is really worth a visit….
for Day of the Dead or anytime of year.

Comment » | Process, Uncategorized

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