I realized this morning that my blog has lacked color lately.  I am all for neutrals and a hushed palette, but even I appreciate a pop of color sometimes.  Thankfully, inspiration hit via an email from Paul & Joe, a French design house that has both beautiful clothes and an equally beautiful beauty line.  It’s their 10th anniversary and they are celebrating it with the launch of a new collection called ‘A Love Story’.  If you have a soft spot for vintage in your heart, then their packaging will delight you to no end.  The round blush packaging wrapped with the storks/pelicans, uhm birds motif? So darling! They pay attention to every detail, from debossing their mark into the the cosmetics themselves (hello, script ‘PJ’ in the lipstick), to replicating authentic beauty packaging of yore with their molded nail polish wand and hourglass bottles.  You know I lean to the clean, but I can really appreciate the work that went into taking this line to market to create all these custom components. The word on the street is that this isn’t just a pretty face either, their products rate rave reviews. I see it as a very ‘gifty’ line, maybe not something you would buy for yourself but maybe your bridal party would love a kitten lipstick?  Just a lovely line, indeed.  Happy Friday everyone!


I found a couple of great tutorials for you this week from James Ketsdever on how to clean up your lettering in Photoshop and how to create a faux chalkboard lettering effect as well. If you have been on my Hand Lettering Love board on Pinterest you may have seen these already, but it’s always nice to have a place where you can easily access this info, right?  I am not having any luck getting concrete information for you on what nibs calligraphers/letterers are using to create non-script lettering (I will keep poking around).  I have tried a few different nibs without much success, who knew it would be harder to print with a nib than create a script?  Not I.  For the image above I tried a nib called a Brause Steno, it is referred to as the ‘Blue Pumpkin’ (cute right?). I also tried a new black sumi ink that glides really nicely on the page (I am using mini Rhodia notepads for practice).  If you are new to this craft and doing lettering practice like myself, do yourself a huge favor in the beginning and get yourself a nice smooth paper stock that will gladly accept your ink.  I’ve tried cheaper sketch pads which just allow the ink to bloom and get yucky fibers stuck in the nib tip.  Better to try to give yourself an advantage with a smooth surface, learning a new skill is tough enough as it is without adding shoddy supplies to the mix!

P.S. When my husband tells me he loves me, every once in a while I will ask ‘how much?’, without hesitation (and in his very serious + deadpan intonation) he tells me the same thing his mom told him when he was a little boy–‘To the moon and back, round and round infinity times.’ I think it’s super sweet and I love to imagine my husband as a little boy asking his mom how much she loves him.

P.P.S. The lovely Torie (a fellow lettering enthusiast) emailed me that Kelsey C. wrote a wonderful little calligraphy article on Note to Self, a must read for all us newbies!


I promise to pop in later today and give you a nice juicy lettering love post, but I felt yesterdays prickly pear experience trumped anything that I could have written this morning.  Let me start out by saying I am brave in many, many facets of my life but not when it comes to food.  I eat what I know and I don’t stray from this formula.  I don’t eat anything smarter than a dog, in case you were wondering, bacon has not touched these lips for about 30+ years.  There are many things I won’t eat, so yesterday when I was presented with a beautiful ruby red drink made with something called a ‘prickly pear’, simple syrup, a twist of lemon and fresh seltzer I was a bit apprehensive before I would partake.  I had to ask how many ounces the glass was and to what ratio the simple syrup was, (hey I am sensitive to sugar) and then I tentatively asked about the fruit/vegetable that was in it. It could have been a beet as it was deep, dark and jewel toned–I don’t like beets.  I was assured it was not a beet, but a Mexican fruit and I was shown the evidence of whence it came from.  Did I mention I am not brave when it comes to new foods?  I was with my husband and his friend had laboriously muddled the Mexican Fruit (prickly pear) to create this custom non-cocktail for moi. I knew that refusing the drink would not be an option, so I closed my eyes and took a sip.  It was so good!  I was soon taking another gulp, the fruit had an almost light watermelon like flavor that meshed so well with the citrus, it was a holiday in a glass, I was transported to sandy beaches with aqua waters.  My taste buds did a double take and tried hard to recollect what this might be comparable to, but came up empty.  It was like a juicy flavor bomb had exploded in my mouth. Have any of you tried this before?  For those that haven’t, let me forewarn you that it’s not a pear, nor is it particularly prickly.  It grows on a cactus and as you can see from photographer/editor Todd Coleman’s beautiful image above, they come in multiple varieties.  This little innocuous fruit made me want to  hop on a plane to Mexico to partake in its glorious variations and all the culinary combinations possible.  I doubt I will become more gastroly adventurous in the future, I am a bit set in my ways, but for today I am happy that I was backed into a culinary corner and tried something new.  You?  Have you tried any new foods lately?  Are you a food coward like me or will you be willing to try anything? Inquiring minds (mine) would like to know…


It’s amazing that someone like myself that doesn’t have a ‘real’ job and that lives in the middle of nowhere is so gosh darn busy! I am getting really excited about the start of our Food + Foto class and will be going into town today to the Durham Farmer’s Market for some last minute provisions to work on some shots. I don’t know about all you other photo enthusiasts out there but I LOVE having a photo assignment; it helps me focus and I end up getting a more creative shot, in fact most of my fave images are the ones I shot while in the Souvenir Foto School classes. It also helps that we always have a great community and there is some serious talent to inspire the most photo blocked amongst us. Even though I love photography, I admit that I find it hard to self-motivate myself to go out there and shoot for fun. I shoot almost every day for the shop but it’s not the same. Speaking of the shop, shooting food is a lot like shooting products, you can learn a ton of tips + tricks from studying what food photographers do, except at the end of a session in food photography you can scarf down your subject–nice. 
P.S. I made this with one of the Photoshop actions that comes with the class, it’s one of my ‘paint with light’ actions and allows me to come in and ‘paint’ my photo in areas that I’d like darker or lighter. It’s pretty awesome, ( if I should say so myself).


We have already established my addiction to Pinterest and like most junkies it’s no fun partaking in the high without a co-conspirator so I am going to try to get you hooked too (if you aren’t already).  I have grand plans of introducing you to some of my fave Pinterest curators and have already mentioned Michelle P.  I am currently having a moment with one Ginny Branch Stelling, I am trying hard not to re-pin her every pin as I am not sure if that is proper ‘netiquette’. Ginny has such great taste (and so varied) that I find myself sitting on my pinning fingers so I don’t come off as a Pin stalker. Ms. Branch Stelling is a bon vivant of sorts, from her business card it seems she does a bit of everything awesome, but she is most well known for her eye, just the one, I jest, she’s an event + editorial stylist and she is the person responsible for making the photographers job a breeze and is instrumental in creating the end image (that we’ll covet + pin!).  Back to Pinterest, Ginny’s boards are filled with eye candy, lot’s of details, textures, colors and themes. If you can’t find inspiration in them I don’t know where you can. I chose some of my favorite more ‘romantic’ images above, I think they do highlight her eye for texture which to me always adds interest to an image.  If you can’t get enough of Ginny’s Pinterest boards you can visit her at her blog, delightfully dubbed
P.S. It’s not too late to sign-up for the Food + Foto class, so we hope to see you there!

P.P.S. That ‘G’ is from my hand-lettering practice.  I think ‘G’s’ are currently my favorite letter to create.