I was working on a branding project and quipped to my friend that it was too bad that the Swiss cross was already in the world because it’s such a perfectly simple, clean yet quietly bold design, thus re-creating a Swiss cross wouldn’t work for the new branding we were working on.  Oh, well. Inspiration comes from the most unlikely places, this monogram is my ode to the Swiss cross.  This is a modern + industrial couples monogram for Denise D. and her hubby Bobby. It’s masculine enough when printed in a color like black, red, or gray to work for the hubs, but print this in pink, coral, yellow or aqua and you can easily make it more femme; It will look great in gold, silver or white too!  Endless palette possibilities! I have a classic monogram coming up tomorrow, but I am still choosing potential monogram candidates via this pin (just repin it and leave your initials in the comments) or signing up for the newsletter. You can choose either way to enter to win as I am choosing candidates from both sources. I also need to mention in case it’s not a ‘given’ that your stamp will come pre-loved as I need to use it for the photo shoot, but on the up side it will be cleaned + conditioned and your monogram will be displayed on the interwebs for many moons! Good luck!


I turned some of my calligraphy practice into Photoshop brushes so you could use in your blog graphics, scrapbooks or love letters, etc.  If you want to use these in Photoshop Elements they should work the same as the full version of PS.  Ez of Creature Comforts has a great + simple tutorial on how to load the Photoshop brushes and tips on how to use them. I hope you like them and I am hoping that I get better with more and more practice, I know I am such a newbie. I can only write a couple of words out with the letters, I find the part of calligraphy practice that is the most difficult is to be able to link the letters in a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing way. I have such an admiration and respect for those letterers that excel at it and that make it look so effortless. When I lived in the South of France (years and years ago before the internet was invented), I would marvel at everyone’s penmanship, no matter who wrote (from the butcher to the fashionista) it was elegant & beautiful. I often find myself not adding personal notes to my orders because I don’t like my letters. I print ‘ok’ it is neat, but there’s something that I can’t pinpoint that bothers me and makes me crumple my note and enclose a stamped ‘thank you’ instead.  Do any of you feel like that? Not write a note because you don’t think your handwriting is up to par? Or do you think I am completely silly?  I can assure you that I am not, I have seen a few sweet + thoughtful Instagrams of parcels I sent with notes and I cringe when I see my hand looking odd and horsey; I want to request a do-over–stat! And the worse part is I probably took a few minutes to write it as neat as possible and it still turned out looking wonky!  Enough of my writing neurosis, please download the Photoshop brushes here and feel free to use them in any of your personal projects. I would love to see what you do with them if you feel like sharing!


It was my naughty Frenchie’s 7th birthday this weekend. Last year for her birthday portrait I bought her half a dozen pink balloons to pose with, which both fascinated and terrified her. This year I let her wear her pretty little crown that the very sweet (and gifted) Meg Fish gave us.  It was a special day, she deserved it, but back to original reason for this post–Melissa Esplin’s Modern Calligraphy course. I finished a few weeks ago and have to say it was the best investment in my hand lettering escapades ever! I have taken a class at Paper Source, some private lessons (awhile back) and bought a few kits in my time, but nothing ‘clicked’ like it did with Melissa’s class. It wasn’t just me though that had personal calligraphy success you can view some beautiful work from her students here, here, here and here.  Full disclosure–I didn’t buy her recommended supplies (although I want to), I used what I had already bought prior just in case I wasn’t going to move forward with my practice. I want to let you know that the right supplies make a huge difference.  I used the ink and pen from my Emilie Friday kit and after I knocked the ink over (yes, it was everywhere) I used some ink I had from the art store which was very thin and hard to work with.  If I had used that prior I may have been discouraged and thought it was me being horrible, so if you are having trouble with your lettering practice look at your supplies before giving up! One thing you must take into account is that you can’t take the class and not put time aside to practice what you learned, you won’t magically develop skills after going through the course (which I was hoping would happen but alas didn’t).  It’s also better to find a block of time that you won’t be interrupted or you run the risk of nasty accidents like my knocking over the ink. The ink is not like any other substance you have ever tried to clean up either, it just seems to grow, spread and get messier with each swipe of the towel. Just trust me, carve out the time, don’t let anyone bother you and get to it.  If you have considered trying your hand at calligraphy, I think that this class is a winner, but don’t take my word for it, check out the links to student work above and see what talent came out of her class!
P.S. I made some calligraphy sentiment Photoshop brushes (like the ones on the photo of my baby girl) and will have those available to download in a little bit!
P.P.S. I wanted to add that Melissa besides being a good teacher is super pretty + stylish which makes it even more fun to watch!


My husband and I watch a lot of documentaries, I think it’s the equivalent of being hooked on reality TV but without the guilt associated with that endeavor. We don’t have cable now that we live in the country, it was one of the creature comforts we decided to do without; it’s really not as bad as you might think.  I have always been a big reader and when I met my husband I didn’t even watch TV so this compromise on his part to go with Netflix instant download only is a big deal (for him).  One of the things we lament is that we never know what to watch, it’s a roll of the dice. I thought I would put together a brief list of docs that we have watched and thoroughly enjoyed.  Not all of these may be the best quality, but all of them held our attention and made us glad we watched. I linked to the docs so you can read their descriptions, watch trailers and read more reviews (just click on the titles). This is by no means everything we have watched but some of our faves. Do you have any other recommendations we should be adding to the list? We are always looking for new instant download docs.  Have a happy weekend!

Man on Wire-This completely made my stomach feel like it was on a roller coaster. I was on edge and what Philippe Petit did is pretty outstanding (and something I would never do in a million years).
Bag it-You will completely understand why people are maniacal about this subject after viewing this.
Born Into Brothels-I loved this story, beautifully told.
Cocaine Cowboy-It’s a real Miami Vice-esque story. 
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill-So heartwarming! When we lived in L.A. there were tons of wild parrots in the palm trees. It was nice to get a little back story to a Northern Cal parrot colony.
The Human Family Tree-This National Geographic doc was delightfully surprising.
Justin Beiber:Never Say Never-A truly hard-working and talented kid, you will become a ‘Beleiber.’ 
Candyman:The David Klein Story-A sad story of fame + fortune.
Ghost Bird-I still can’t get over what we have done in the name of science + industry. The Harvard visits are my favorite.
If a Tree Falls-When extremes are uhm, extreme.
Fresh-This should have you packing to join me in the country.
Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians-I think the title describes the doc well.
The Elephant in the Living Room Repercussions of taking in wild animals.
Being Elmo-A feel good story of following your dream.
Modern Marvels:The Telephone-More of a short than a doc, but still interesting.
This American Life-This is no longer on streaming but the story about Chance is unbelievable.


 I thought it would be fun to show off the modern monogram in another color way in a very posh + modern orange. I used the ink pad to run it along the envelope edge to create the pretty border, you could do this on our cardstock as well since it’s so nice and thick. I was going to do a tutorial on how-to do it, but I need a manicure in a bad way, so the tute will have to wait.  I love how you can change the color and what you stamp on to create an entirely different look!