santa ynez valley

here are a couple of my favorite inspiring snapshots from our recent trip to santa ynez. my husband and i were married there over six years ago, and every time we go to visit, the colors of the valley blow me away. the lavender is flourishing, and the muted tones of sun bleached barns with shades of gray gravel, and silvery olive foliage take me right back to our wedding day. i wish i could relive it all over again. 


third birthday luau invitation

with inspiration taken from vintage luau posters and hawaiian tiki themed ephemera, i created this collage invitation. i used a pair of fonts with a hawaiian feeling for the text. and for the background, i used a combination of vintage and new papers to make palm trees and linen to make the sand. here is the original in the final layout, on its way to the printer.
 to finish, a hand painted black bamboo border will be printed on each invitation around the edge to bring in the black type.
 detail of textures...
 each invitation will be backed with woven grass cloth. this gives it a yummy weight while bringing in a hawaiian feel.
 a stack of the finished invitations, with black bamboo edging, and grass cloth backing.


hawaiian luau inspiration

i am in the process of designing an invitation for a third birthday luau, and am gathering inspiration. have a look at these  hand done pieces of splendid hawaiian ephemera that i found here.
i adore the striped yellow sail
i love the pattern of the ocean in this print
the bright pop of orange sun is fantastic
this darling seahorse was a recurring theme in multiples, and smaller versions within the pages of the menu . what a great color combination.
 find many many more images here.


aqueous adoration

inspired by these enchanting underwater photos by barbara cole. so fluid, they look like paintings to me. what an original subject and medium, really brings a new light to photography as art. 


wax chandeliers

how amazing are these wax chandeliers by artist sarah van gameren. made by a machine installation called the big dipper, each chandelier is unique. just gorgeous. i would never...in a million years... actually burn one
you can find more of her work here and here.


summery blockprint inspiration

i love these illustrations by chris silas neal for npr's summer reading list. simple and colorful... not to mention, i am in love with red and aqua lately.


cape cod inspiration

nothing says summer to me quite like cape cod. the tiny waves and pretty blowing grasses. the perfectly weathered architecture, and vintage looking graphics... and the lobster rolls. here are a few summery snapshots from our visit last month.
 lovely shadows...
ice cream has become a new obsession for e. she asks for it a 9 in the morning.
 perfect skies...
tiny sparkling waves...
 and wild berries.


pinhole art DIY on design*sponge

have a look at my first diy wednesday for design*sponge! i will be doing monthly projects highlighting paper for the design*sponge diy column. this month i did a pinhole art how to project. click on to design*sponge to have a look at the post!. 


inspiration and party prep

i am in the process of designing, and preparing the decor for a third birthday party. the party is at the end of july, on the beach. i have been hard at work gathering inspiration and materials. here are some ideas so far.
since the party is on the beach, i thought it would be fun to stray to the nautical side. the colors will be crisp whites and tones of green and blue, with pops of bright yellow. my pennant flag invitations are the perfect start.
what better way to match the invitation than to decorate with festive pennant flags in tones of green and blue. for the flags, i am sticking with a mix of traditional fabrics like ticking, unbleached muslin, chambray and gingham, while mixing in some fun modern prints.
inspired by this vintage regatta photo, the activity of the party will be to build a toy boat. i will prepare simple pine sailboat hulls for the kids to assemble with a mast, and their choice of sail. the children will then get to float their boats in big tubs filled with ocean water. the boats serve double duty by going home with the kids as a party favor.

based on a cake i made last year, i am going to make a sandcastle cake for the little birthday boy's celebration! 

photos of the fĂȘte to come early august! 


my little day

i just love this french website devoted to all things festive for childrens parties.
what i adore most is the photos of the children at their parties... great style.
 darling party favors...
 great party decor...
what else can i say... what a perfectly simple presentation of simply perfect decor.


rosemary shortbread tarts with strawberries and goat cheese cream

nothing says summertime to me like a fresh ripe strawberry. the good ones, sold at roadside stands and farmers markets are deep red all the way through the berry and are quite fragile. they must be savored at the peak of the season, because we all know the season does not last long enough. i made these little tarts to help celebrate the long weekend.

rosemary shortbread tarts with goat cheese cream, and fresh strawberries.

rosemary shortbread
1 cup butter softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 t. salt 
1 t. vanilla
1 T fresh rosemary, chopped very fine 
2 cups flour
1/4 cup cornstarch 

beat butter, sugar, salt, rosemary and vanilla. blend in flour and cornstarch. press into tiny tart molds and weigh down with beans or pie weights. bake for 12 minutes. let cool completely.

goat cheese cream
6 oz goat cheese
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
1/3 - 1/2 cup heavy cream
beat all ingredients until light and airy. transfer to a pastry bag or ziptop bag. refrigerate until ready to assemble.

pull the shortbread out of the tart mold. fill with the goat cheese cream using the pastry bag or ziptop bag with the corner snipped off. sprinkle the cream with chopped toasted pistachios. top with a fresh strawberry. 


wedding invitation suite

i have shown you peeks of this invitation suite in the works, so here it is... the finished product. this invitation was entirely custom, from the yellow and metallic charcoal color palette, fabric layers and the addition of hand painted "billy balls" that will match the wedding flowers.
the invitation is composed of a double layer of pewter card stock for a nice weight and rigidity. the yellow pattern on the front of the invitation is fabric, adhered to the card stock. the invitation information is printed in metallic pewter ink on white card stock. this card is then fixed to the yellow print fabric for a layered final invitation.
 detail of fabric...

 the three piece suite...
the ceremony card is also printed on a double layer card stock, this time, white on the front and pewter on the back. the three "billy ball" flowers are hand painted individually on each invitation.
the rsvp card is a double layer card as well, pewter on the back, white in front. the flowers are each hand painted and then the whole response card is to be inserted into a pewter envelope lined with white woven paper.
the invitations are bundled together with lovely woven edge grosgrain ribbon and finished with a seal printed with the couples monogram and date.
 detail of textures... fabric, ribbon, liner
the invitation bundle is then inserted into an inner envelope lined with the same white woven paper as the response envelope.  then, all are put into a final hand calligraphed outer envelope addressed to the guest.
i lined white boxes with white waxed tissue and sealed them up for delivery with some pewter grosgrain ribbon, a monogram seal and a sprig of bright yellow kangaroo paw...
...and slipped the brides invitation under the ribbon. off they go!