17 December 2010

swedish notes

This impeccable set of vintage notecards landed merrily in my mailbox recently–a surprise gift from a faraway friend! I cannot get enough of the design motifs of old-world Sweden; the sweetness and sentimentality remind me so much of the place I call home.

I'll be holiday homeward bound one week from now–at least for a short while. Bring on the gravlax, and mom's Swedish meatballs with jam!

And, thank you Tamara.

13 December 2010


Found these forgotten friends at the bottom of the bin during a recent visit to the glorious Alameda Antiques Faire, scattered pieces from a child's crafting game. I love the garish absurdity of the techni-color palate; candid and cute, if not a bit grotesque...

They would fit in quite well on the Island of Misfit Toys, don't you think?

28 November 2010


We drove through winding wooded roads, past white waves and grassland elks, until we reached our final height; a lighthouse, perched at the end, and the beginning, of the world.

And, upon returning, we left our breaths by the sea, with strength gained in the necessary discomfort and discovery of the unknown.

24 November 2010

colors & numbers

I'm pleased to present a sneak peek of this precious little pair of board books–one of my first printed pieces for Chronicle Books! Previously published in France as "Coleurs" and "Chiffres," these books were re-formatted in English and re-designed by me, with illustrations by Monsieur Thierry Laval. Look for them on your local bookstore shelves this spring.

Can you count to 10? Grover and John John can!

21 November 2010

the life of mr. mustache

Received the loveliest piece of post in my mailbox this past week, all the way from across the sea! Introducing The Life of Mr. Mustache, a charming little book by Studio Violet, plus a surprise notecard set from the ever-admirable Fine Little Day! Much Thanks, Elisabeth! This has made my week.

"He thought to himself, why am I sad? I have a good life, it's not all that bad. I should be smiling and not feeling blue. But worry worry worry is all I seem to do..."
The Life of Mr. Mustache

13 November 2010

make your mark!

I had the super cool awesome rad! privilege today of spending the afternoon with a fantastic group of fellow Chronicle Books designers, and a lively group of tweens. The day was filled with sunshine, crafting, popcorn, and prizes, and the event was a smashing success! We learned a lot from these silly 8-12 year olds, all while promoting a love of reading and creativity at this critical "in-between" age.

(I also happened to have the even bigger privilege of designing all promotional materials for the event. Please take a look at some of the applications, above!)

31 October 2010

The houses in my neighborhood have been haunting for weeks, in preparation for tonight's tricks or treats...and in his annual Halloween greeting, my grandpa reminds me that all fear should be fleeting. Happy Halloween, everyone!

27 October 2010

bits of bubbly

Happened upon an envelope of vintage beverage labels during a recent afternoon of bookstore browsing here. Such lovely bits of bubbly, and the perfect anecdote for a rainy afternoon. Now I want to start a collection...

Omnivore Books was cozy and well-stocked, but still, nothing rivals the great Bonnie Slotnick.

16 October 2010

to market

Yesterday I awoke before the sun and boarded a bus towards the San Francisco Bay, to explore the city's infamous bay-front Ferry Building and Saturday morning Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market. After an impeccable coffee, cupcake, and macaroon breakfast from Miette, I headed outside in the crisp sunshine and began my journey through tangled rows of local artisans selling their edible wares. I cannot describe what a joy it was to be immersed in a community of growers, bakers, and makers eager to offer samples with a smile, and discuss their love of food culture in a city famous for its roots in the Slow Food movement. I left with a regained sense of comfort and invigoration, along with a full stomach and a bag brimming with delicious eats. This sometimes solitary and still-new city suddenly felt a little bit more like home.

"In even simpler terms, community is built upon conversations. People like to eat, and they like to talk about it. Ask a stranger anywhere in the world what or where he likes to eat, and chances are he’ll open up..."

Want to continue the conversation? Check out Civil Eats, The Vegetable Express, and my new favorite cooking blog.

04 October 2010

alice détective

Last weekend, while at a nearby yard sale, I happened upon a box full of French children's literature. Upon sorting through the titles I soon discovered to my surprise (quelle surprise!) my much beloved Nancy Drew (aka Alice Détective) amongst the well-worn spines. Turns out the entire Nancy Drew series, by the mysterious Carolyn Keene (Caroline Quine, en France) was published in French in the mid-1900s, shortly after the 1st editions of the series were published in the U.S. Given my love of this female super sleuth, I was positively tickled! Comment magnifique!

I also picked up several other French children's titles, part of collections published by Hachette Books beginning in the early 1900s–Bibliotheque Rose and Bibliotheque Verte. These collections, or systems of classification, were designed to promote reading in children and adolescents throughout France, with Bibliotheque Rose meant for school-age children, and Bibliotheque Verte for pre-teens. I am quite enamored by the simple graphics of this system–check out those beautiful rose-colored spines! Très beau!

P.S. Listen here for more about the beloved books of our youth, and the mysteries of childhood...

27 September 2010


I've been simply smitten with this recent edition to my book collection: Seasons, by the magical French illustrator Blexbolex, published in English by Enchanted Lion Books. I'd love to get my hands on more of his illustration work, especially this, and this!

"Blexbolex got lost for awhile in the pages of his books. He needs two summers, an autumn, a winter, a spring, several storms and a lot of sunshine to rediscover the seasons for himself."
-Seasons, Blexbolex

20 September 2010

the objects

Selected objects from my desks at work & home, collected glass bottles at the OMCA, the beauty of brunch, and Alex Maldonado's Cathedral Crown.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with Mark Dion & Lawrence Weschler at the awe-inspiring Oakland Museum, as a part of Mr. Dion's new exhibition The Marvelous Museum*. The two dove deep into discussion on the role of the museum in today's digitally-driven society, and the (mis)conception of a museum as a very static, passive entity, stemming partially from an audience's inability to truly connect and be active with the objects in the collection. I was particularly struck by Mr Dion's explanation of his "artist as curator" role within the exhibition; his desire to get people to re-connect with the soulfulness of these objects, to rediscover the joy of drawing their own conclusions based on a newfound sense of discovery. Afterwards, I walked through the bustling galleries, and was absolutely captivated. This was a community that still marveled at the museum...

Yesterday I paused underneath a giant knobby tree, forgetting for a moment my errand as the end result. I reached out my hands, and allowed myself to be completely entranced by the object before me. I couldn't remember the last time I had actually experienced a tree. With today's proliferation of digital imagery and information, I sometimes struggle with the ability to truly engage in the present & concrete. We live in a world of constant movement, and distraction. Are we losing the ability to experience actuality, to appreciate the simplicity of the sensory? I find hope in the beauty of the bits that surround me, loyal characters in my own curated life.

"The objects are characters that live with us in time and place and scale."
-Mark Dion

*read more about The Marvelous Museum, (and the accompanying Chronicle Book!) here.