Behind the Scenes: Flow Magazine's House-Plant Guide

Several months ago, the wonderful dreamers at Flow Magazine asked me if I'd be interested in illustrating plants for a special house plant guide they were putting together. Clearly, being the pretty plant-loving woman that I am, I accepted with glee. My editor, Alice, sent me a list of 15 plants in their latin names, and I promptly started gathering inspiration imagery. 

Here are some of my initial sketches of the plants, objects and latin nomenclature. These helped me get a sense of where I was headed down the road with the full color illustrations. See below for how they came together in the end. And in the meantime, stay tuned for images of the final house plant guide, coming soon. 

Happy sunny springtime, Friends!

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2016 Christmas Ornament Roundup

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Welcome to 2017 (a little belated) ! I thought I'd kick off the year on the blog by thinking back about the end of 2016. My year's end was full of activity; between holiday prep, many cookie baking sessions with my four year old, and holiday meal planning, I made a bunch of ornaments for lovely people all over the country.

Custom and personal projects like these are so satisfying to make. Making these reminded me of how much small, thoughtful gestures mean when it comes to gift-giving. At a time of year that can get filled with busy plans, parties, errands and tasks, it is really nice to be able to take a moment, hang a special ornament on the tree, sit back and reflect on the year. Especially now that I have kids of my own, trimming the tree has become one of my favorite parts of the holidays. Unwrapping each ornament from the dusty box is like scrolling back through years of memories. It is a time-consuming holiday tradition in the very best way. I hope these ornaments become treasured heirlooms for everyone who got one. 

I hand made each ornament with a good old fashioned rolling pin, cookie cutters and white Sculpey clay, baked in the oven. I drew directly on the surface with oil-based paint pens. Here are a few details of  two custom house ornaments and a stack of pretty packages all ready to go under the tree.

I'll be back next month with a behind the scenes look at one of my big projects from 2016. Happy Friday, friends! 

 

Behind the Scenes: Custom Work for Danielle & Brad's Tuscan Wedding

Last week I shared a glimpse of Danielle & Brad's gorgeous wedding with you, when it was featured on Vogue.com. In 2014, they got in touch with me to ask about working on wedding invitations for their summer 2015 wedding in Italy, and we ended up working on the details together for six months. I am so glad to have had the chance to work with this friendly, warm, thoughtful couple! Today, I'll take you on a behind-the-scenes tour of the process.

Above: the wedding invitation complete with custom monogrammed wax seal, next to the ceremony program. Image by photographer Lelia Scarfiotti.

Above: the wedding invitation complete with custom monogrammed wax seal, next to the ceremony program. Image by photographer Lelia Scarfiotti.

Danielle and Brad's wedding was in Arezzo, Italy, a small city in Tuscany. From the start, we knew that creating a color palette to reflect the Tuscan countryside would be of utmost importance and would guide much of the rest of the process. I  made half a dozen color palette variations for them choose from.

Here is the final palette we went with, which is reminiscent of bright Tuscan summers, with a slightly 1960's twist.

The couple also had in mind a custom-crest for the front of their wedding invitation, as well as a monogram incorporating the first letters of each of their last names. Researching the history of heraldry was super interesting, and I loved looking at images of florals native to Tuscany for inspiration. Below are some of my preliminary crest, monogram and floral sketches. 

Above: various crest sketches 

Above: various crest sketches 

Above: sketches of monogram variations

Above: sketches of monogram variations

Above: floral sketches  

Above: floral sketches  

Danielle and Brad also knew they wanted all of the writing to be hand-lettered throughout their wedding invitation suite. I sketched several styles of lettering, and they chose a not-so-formal cursive style that fit the rustic-but-elegant, relaxed mood they envisioned. Here are the final components of the wedding invitation suite: the two-sided wedding invitation, reply card, and information card. The pieces were put together in a vellum enclosure, sealed with wax and pressed with a custom MW monogram stamp before being sent to guests in a craft paper envelope. 

Above: The final wedding invitation suite.

Above: The final wedding invitation suite.

Danielle and Brad also asked me if I would help them with various pieces for the wedding weekend- a ceremony program, place cards and escort cards, and lettering that could be used throughout other pieces they would use to welcome their guests. They thoughtfully chose every detail that was part of the celebration, including this beautiful poem by Hafiz, and a letter to their wedding guests, which I hand-lettered to adorn the cover and back of their ceremony program. 

Above: the ceremony program front cover

Above: the ceremony program front cover

Above: the back of the ceremony program.

Above: the back of the ceremony program.

Every detail of the wedding weekend was beautifully coordinated. Danielle & Brad incorporated my hand-lettering in a weekend itinerary they designed for their guests. The gorgeous floral arrangements throughout the reception tied into our original color palette. 

Above left: various hand-lettered components incorporated with Danielle & Brad's wedding weekend itinerary. Above right: Image by Lelia Scarfiotti.

Above left: various hand-lettered components incorporated with Danielle & Brad's wedding weekend itinerary. Above right: Image by Lelia Scarfiotti.

Above Left: my hand-lettered escort cards soaking up some bubbly. Above right: the tables incorporating the escort cards, place cards and menus along side gorgeous floral arrangements. Images by Lelia Scarfiotti.

Above Left: my hand-lettered escort cards soaking up some bubbly. Above right: the tables incorporating the escort cards, place cards and menus along side gorgeous floral arrangements. Images by Lelia Scarfiotti.

The wedding meal was obviously a huge aspect of this Tuscan celebration. I illustrated and hand-lettered the menu, which was placed atop gold chargers with a sprig of olive branch at each guest's seat.

Above: the final dinner menu I created for Danielle & Brad.

Above: the final dinner menu I created for Danielle & Brad.

Above: menus and place cards amid stunning table arrangements at the wedding reception. Images by Lelia Scarfiotti.

Above: menus and place cards amid stunning table arrangements at the wedding reception. Images by Lelia Scarfiotti.

Above: a close up of the dinner menu framed by shiny gold chargers at each guest's seat. Image by Lelia Scarfiotti.

Above: a close up of the dinner menu framed by shiny gold chargers at each guest's seat. Image by Lelia Scarfiotti.

Above: more wedding details incorporating my illustrations- on the left, matchbooks printed with the hand-lettered wedding date, and on the right a beautiful guest book hand-embroidered with the crest I illustrated for Danielle and Brad. Image by Lelia Scarfiotti.

Above: more wedding details incorporating my illustrations- on the left, matchbooks printed with the hand-lettered wedding date, and on the right a beautiful guest book hand-embroidered with the crest I illustrated for Danielle and Brad. Image by Lelia Scarfiotti.

I feel truly lucky to have met Danielle and Brad, and honored that they trusted me to help them create pieces for such a huge moment in their lives.

Complimenti, Danielle e Brad!!! 

The happy couple in their first married moments! Image by Lelia Scarfiotti. 

The happy couple in their first married moments! Image by Lelia Scarfiotti. 

Original Work + New Holiday Prints Now Available

I have added new work to my shop! You'll find14 original paintings as well as a small selection of wintery prints for the holiday season. Head on over to my shop and check them out! If you have questions about any of the originals or you'd like to place an order for a custom sized print, email me.

Original paintings shown above: 1. "The Lake," 2014, watercolor and pen collage on paper. 2. "Here and There," 2014, watercolor, pen and graphite on board. 3. "Merge," 2014, watercolor and pen collage on board.

Prints shown above: 1. "Black Knit Hat Set," archival print. 2. "Blue Knit Hat Set," archival print. 3. "Red Knit Hat Set," archival print. All prints available in multiple sizes. 

Music + Memories, Prelude and Installment No. 1

In the not-too-distant-future, I see myself wistfully telling our daughter, Lucy, about the good old days when I’d flip through my huge, overstuffed Caselogic CD case to choose an album to listen to. To her, the technology that fueled the musical backdrop of my teenage years will seem as ancient as a phonograph did to me when I was young. I remember saving my babysitting money until I had enough to go to the music store, then holing up in my bedroom, greedily tearing open those pesky cellophane wrappers and methodically paging through the album art, pledging to learn all of the lyrics while listening to every song on repeat. 

When we moved to Oakland earlier this year, I found four of huge Caselogic books packed away in storage. Flipping through their heavy pages, filled with thick album covers and shiny discs, I found myself lost in thought about times in my life that haven’t floated through my brain in years. Not just specific memories, but also the feelings of moments in time. Moments when it truly seemed that the music I had chosen was the actual soundtrack playing in my life, just like in a movie.

I have hauled my collection of CD’s around with me for years, not having a use for them, but not willing to part with them. This time, though, when I flipped through them, I saw everything they contained in a new way. Maybe it is because this year has brought profound changes in my life and the life of my family. Maybe it’s because I feel like I have been fast-forwarded into grown up mode: wife; mother of one, with another on the way; new homeowner. These primary aspects of my life are everything to me- they come with immense joy and emotion, immense love and gratitude, and immense responsibility. It seems like eons ago when what mattered most was carefully choosing a CD to listen to while driving the ten minutes to my high school. That album would predict my day, that song was meant for me, those words somehow reading my mind.

Maybe, it’s that I am three weeks away from welcoming another precious little soul into our family and I am feeling nostalgic. But, maybe not. My memory is jogged by this music in the best possible way- I remember those days and all they carried with them in detail, especially the way time moved more slowly then. And I am pretty glad I’ve held onto these weighty tokens of the past for all the years. 

So, today, I’m introducing the first installment of my new series: Music + Memories. Each month, I’ll choose an album cover to illustrate, and post it here with some brief ramblings about what that album recalls for me. I’m looking forward to unearthing some real treasures. I'd love to hear about your musical memories too, so feel free to comment below as you follow along.

Without further ado, the first album: The Allman Brothers' Band: A Decade of Hits

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More than any other album in my collection, I think this one got the most wear and tear, through the biggest expanse of years of my life. The 16 tracks on this album played through teenage heartthrobs, giddy laughter with friends, and the first time I drove my beloved first (used) car. It was a Saab. 1989 turbo, manual. I spent countless summer hours in that car, sunroof down, listening to Allman Brothers croon away, with their slide guitars. This album spurred my desperate, 14-year old desire to learn the to play the guitar myself. I remember dragging my mom along with me to a seedy guitar shop a few minutes from our house, to inquire about lessons. The denim-clad man behind the counter, who eerily resembled Gregg Allman, looked at me skeptically and promptly asked me what kind of music I wanted to learn. When I answered innocently, “Uhmmmm...The Allman Brothers,” he nearly laughed me out of the joint. I ended up taking a few lessons- but didn’t stick with it. This album, however, has stuck with me, for a long, long time.

Happy Thursday, Friends!