Monday, December 24, 2012


Although crafts have been lacking lately, baking has been in full swing.  I've done a little experimenting with food photography in the process.  Here are a few of the delicious sweets I'll be fattening up with this holiday season.

Spiced ginger cookies. Ornament not edible

Rumballs, looking suspended

Snowy tree macaroons

A few more varieties, boxed up for giving

Not really one for keeping cookbooks, all the recipes are online:
Lemon Whippers (seen on the right side of cookie box)
Macaroon trees Note: The recipe calls for 5 tsp of vanilla extract but I found the 3 was sufficient or they will be runny
Chocolate and butterscotch dipped shortbread. I followed the recipe for cookies and then dipped mine in melted butterscotch or chocolate.
Easy Oreo truffles I substituted mint Oreos and mint chocolate and they are always a hit!  But keep refrigerated until serving or they get melty and no one will eat them.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Making this year's holiday cards

Truth be told, I was pretty unmotivated to make Christmas cards this year, or even writing out store bought ones.  But after a lazy afternoon of watching Home Alone, inspiration struck.  I freehand carved this design into a speedball speedy-cut rubber block, and went for some glitz by using metallic inks.

Here they are drying on my clothing rack (a very good place to dry cards)

I even did a little experimenting with red paper and leftover white ink, which I'm totally diggin'.

The festivities start tomorrow night for my family, and the weather is predicting a possible white Christmas.  Well, 1-3 inches which will melt immediately but I'll take it!

Friday, December 21, 2012

DIY Christmas gifts for my bffs

This year, a few of my very good friends will be getting some very special Christmas presents: Ke$ha themed ornaments.  Be honest music elitists—Ke$ha sings a good party song. And although I don't really consider myself a party girl, my friends and I won't deny it's fun to dance around to her raunchy, catchy jams.  Now that I've defended myself I'll show you what I've created.

Hey girl, hey
These mini bottles purchased from Amazon were filled with glitter from in the party rockin' shades of watermelon and prisma silver (because I guess there are a lot of silvers). I created the labels in photoshop with lyrics from her infamous single Blow, "Go insane, go insane, throw some glitter, make it rain."

Words to live by

In case you haven't seen the video, it stars Dawson Leary so I highly recommend watching it.  Tie some hemp cord around the bottle neck and you've got a top Christmas present perfect for the friends you met in Catholic school.

The hollerdays are a special time of year
It's pink, so you know it's for girls

Party on, friends.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Recycled holiday gift tags

Sadly this December hasn't been my craftiest holiday season, and though I'm bursting with ideas, I just haven't had the time to do many of them.  Blame a heavy work load, an increased interest in baking, and finding out that I have to move at the end of the month.  The next week leading up to Christmas is going to be heavily creative to make up for it (I hope, I may have just put a lot of pressure on myself).

To kick things off, here are some gift tags made with recycled grocery bags, stamps, and baker's twine.  I found it best to double layer the bags and hold together with rubber cement to make them a little sturdier, then cut into shape and attach the string last.  Simple, quick, easy, and cheap!

Rubber stamps were Martha Stewart except for the star,
which I made out of some leftover linoleum

Joy: A nondenominational message we can all appreciate

Monday, November 26, 2012

An illustrated carousel

Here's an illustration that I recently did as a commission for Paper Rock Scissors. It is actually a very specific carousel which is on display at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia.  As such I felt it was necessary to include some of these unique elements, like the rabbit and goat in the second tier.  As you can see it is very detailed (maybe you noticed the dozens of lightbulbs), and was painted with india ink on watercolor paper.

Click to enlarge for a closer look.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Rustic Fall Invitations

A few months back, I did this watercolor email save the date for Joel and Jazmine, my most country friends.  This organic handmade style carried through to their invitations, but with colors shifting from spring to fall.  Their wedding came just on the cusp of superstorm Sandy, and was the last beautiful weekend in the area, with leaves bursting with every color.  Their invitation fit right in!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Art for Hurricane Relief

As many people know, the East Coast was hard hit by Hurricane Sandy two weeks ago.  Here in Jersey City, we lost power for days, some for weeks, and had severe flooding, down trees, live wires, and other scary things.  It was the worst storm the area has seen in centuries and has certainly made me more empathetic to disaster victims.  Personally, I didn't get it nearly as bad as some others, which I'm grateful for, but there are lots of people whose lost homes, cars, and even loved ones.  Houses floated away—that's insane!

To raise money for hurricane relief, I'm selling these prints out of my studio shop.

All proceeds will go to the Red Cross of Northern New Jersey.  The 8" x 10" piece was created from linoleum block and hand printed, so each is unique.  For only $20, it's a great way to show your support, make a donation, and get a little something to take away. 

You can order with PayPal using the email address  Or visit Studio Heart to Hand for one click ordering.  

Thanks for all your support as we continue to rebuild!!

Here's a few more pics of the details.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A little line art street art

It's been a while since I've posted about street art, so two super cool and super different pieces.

The first is the latest mural on the Houston/Bowery graffiti wall.  Very Asian influenced (the artist is Tokyo-born Lady Aiko), I love the girly but edgy color palette.

I'm also picking up little Lichtenstein


At the other end of the spectrum is this poster sized line drawing of some guys jammin'. It was spotted adhered to a wall in downtown Jersey City; artist of course, is unknown.

Love the fluid lines, oh and don't forget to vote

Funny how these pieces are so different in scale, subject, and line style, but both use lots of white space and defined black lines (though the first are actually made up of many small shapes). 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

DIY driftwood jewelry holder

Several months ago, I went trolling around the New Jersey side of the Hudson River bay on the hunt for driftwood.  Among the discarded styrofoam cups and syringes was a gem of a piece.  At about 2.5" x 1" and about 2 feet long, it had just the right amount of wear that I knew I'd one day find a purpose for it.  That day turned out to be last Saturday, when I finally used it to create this jewelry holder.

Making it was a piece of cake! Read on to learn how.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Things to love: hand-carved wooden stamps

I pulled these super cool wooden stamps out of the clearance bin at one of those Tibetan new age hippie shops on Bleeker Street.  They would be great as stamps or even displayed on a shelf.

Can't wait to use these!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Graphic Pattern for Autumn Save the Dates

When the bride told me that she wanted something bold and that she "hated flowers" it was certainly a breath of fresh air.  While there's nothing wrong with script font and a floral design, being able to do something different once in a while keeps designs from getting stale.  She knew what she liked: a pattern, Fall colors that don't scream "Fall", and the letter P as a monograph (both their last names being with it).  My job was make these things work together to create something cool.  The result uses mature Autumn colors to create something that's a little modern and a tiny bit rustic, with one big graphic statement.

I'm really into double sided printing right now.

A close up of the big P and banner.

Invitation suite is currently in progress!

Monday, August 27, 2012

A classic invitation set

This traditional and elegant wedding invitation suite was created for Lydia and Rodrigo, a sweet and social couple living in Washington DC. 

For who don't know, DC is prep-city, but a pretty awesome place to hang out nonetheless.  Lydia and Rodrigo both grew up in the area and with their wedding at a country club just outside the city, this style fit perfectly with the scene. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

As seen in real life: Graphic marriage certificate

At a recent wedding, the bride and groom had this beautifully illustrated marriage certificate at the end of the isle for all the guests to sign after the recessional. The vines and green shades were a perfect match for their casual, garden ceremony in downtown Philadelphia.  Of course I love the charming typography!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Paper in window displays

Paper, being cheap, disposable, and easy to ship, is a popular choice for store window display. I recently came across two beautiful, and very different examples, of cut paper working it behind the glass.

This was spotted outside Made with Love, the little cafe/bakery where I take my friends when trying to prove that I live in a nice neighborhood:

This was about 18" x 24" and looked hand cut

This second, dimensional piece (flowers I suppose) adorned the windows of one of my favorite stomping grounds, Paper Presentation. Sorry the photo is so close up, there was scaffolding I was trying to avoid.

Probably not hand cut
I'll be keeping my eye out for more pretty papers!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Save the date: Handmade meets email

When a close friend told me he'd proposed to his longtime girlfriend, my congratulations was immediately followed by an offer to do their custom invitations. This fun-loving, outdoorsy couple wanted something natural to fit their laid back country lifestyle, and a personalized watercolor illustration was the best way to go. And although their save the date was emailed, it was still able to have an organic, handmade feel.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

French tea bridal shower invites

These bridal shower invitations combine watercolor painting with digital printing to fit the girly, French-inspired theme.  No poodles, pink stripes, or baguettes here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Busy May

This month has been so much non-stop creative action that I haven't been able to post the hot little pieces I've been working on.  Here's a snapshot of what's been going on around the studio this past month.

From the top: A carousel sketch waiting to for ink to be applied,
a succulent I struggle to keep alive, Mother's Day card from
Hello! Lucky, a watercolor save the date illustration

Hopefully I'm able to put up the full posts later this week! 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Toile wedding invitations

Courtney is one of my best childhood friends and the most efficient wedding planner I've ever met. She had almost everything in order close to a year in advance, the benefit of being a teacher and having the summer off.  I'm lucky enough to not only be a member of the wedding party, but also to get to design the stationary for her and her fiance, Mark.

The inspiration for the set came from the toile china that the bride's mother had.  Her flowers will be hydrangeas, picked from her grandmother's garden.  With those two things in mind, the design came together easily in my mind, executing it was another story.  I attempted photographing, photoshopping, and drawing, but nothing seems to get that toile look.  There's lots of toile stuff out there, but finding hydrangeas proved very difficult. Luckily I stumbled upon my saving grace, Wikimedia Commons, which offers freely licensed and public domain images (that means use them without fear of being sued). Nice!  A little photoshopping and the rest came together for a classic and elegant look.

Printed on bright white felt stock.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tokens from San Francisco

I recently took a trip out to San Francisco to visit some friends and see why so many people are migrating to the Bay City. While I don't know if I could get used to the unchanging temperature and the rapidly changing weather, it is a pretty awesome place. And what trip would be complete without picking up some paper goods as momentos?  Sometimes letterpress is just too hard to resist.

This map-ish card is by Karen Jean Organics for Loose Petals

A bright skyline letterpress card from Hello! Lucky

"Growing Horns" print by Leah Duncan

Love the soft colors and organic detailing

Paper bird garland from Lamali. I still can't get over birds.

I also bought some of that blue paper that changes colors in the sun. It's been probably 20 years since I last played with this, so lets see if I can come up with anything more interesting than an arrangement of leaves found in my front yard.

Use this paper to trick children into doing chemistry.

Here are a few extra things worth including in this post. I was hoping to get more street art, but I stopped trying to take pictures while riding a bike after almost colliding with one of those Lance Armstrong types.  

In the Haight

This was just a picture I really liked that has not been photoshopped.  Taken in Alamo Square.

Those are my three friends, not aliens
Can't wait to go back!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cityscapes are just shapes

It's been a very busy month, and I've spent many evenings crouched over the tiny desk.  But the second shift has produced some great work, starting with 5 city skyline illustrations made for the Philadelphia based stationary and event planning company Paper Rock Scissors.

Even as I heard myself say, "I can have them done in a week," I was simultaneously thinking, "Am I really saying this?"  But it's amazing how much you can get done when you stop watching reruns of Law & Order: SVU and get down to business.  And after extensive researching, sketching, and mistake making, I ended up pretty happy with the results, as did the client!  It was a challenge to reduce everything to simple lines and shapes—I swear I'll never look at buildings the same again.  The raw illustrations are below, the technique is India ink on watercolor paper.

Manhattan from the East River

Manhattan from the Hudson River

Annapolis—my personal favorite
Washington, D.C.
Some close ups are available here.  Can't wait to see how they'll be used!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Watercolor bridal shower invitations

When given the task of sending out the bridal shower invitations for a good friend, I couldn't just go with store bought ones and miss an opportunity to showboat.  But not only that, it was a chance to design something without a client; I had free reign to do whatever I liked.  

Since I'm in the midst of several wedding related projects right now, I've been hitting the blogs hard, and came across this excellent tutorial from Oh So Beautiful Paper and put my own twist on it.  I loved the idea of doing something two sided.  It added so much style to what could have just been a simple card.  After painting the watercolor flowers (check the tutorial for how to), I grabbed a few of them from the back in Photoshop, and used them to adorn the front.  Using old typewriter font went along with the vintage feel of the whole thing, and the delicacy of the flowers was partnered with a simple script.  One learning was not to make the watercolor too light, or the scanner won't pick it up.  

They were printed out on Neenah 110lb Natural White Classic Crest paper, which is tough to cut by hand, fyi.  The envelopes are Laid Continental Blue, picked up from Paper Presentation.  Beautiful and classy, much like the bride before she is corrupted at the bachelorette party.  More pics below!