Images of my dream summer home

{eclectic living room via living etc.}

{old farmhouse table with paintbrushes via decorno}

{bunks via decorno that remind me of my friend's Dennisport home that always had enough room for everyone on a fun summer weekend}

{window seat by alvhem2 via decorno with comfy pillows and colorful stack of books inviting you to join them}

White walls are not really my thing day to day, but in the summer, they are fresh cool and a great backdrop for colorful paintings and furnishings just pop. I love the eclectic collections and styles displayed with art, fresh flowers, books, and worldly artifacts.


Pepsi Natural

This is a post inspired by a friend who does packaging for a beverage company. I stumbled on this Pepsi bottle via the dieline and found it an impressively risky attempt at a relaunch. I would like to see if it works, btw the readers at the dieline were not so impressed! Corn syrup was replaced with sugar and there are 3 ingredients listed on the front.

Although I have read there was a Pepsi release in Europe of the same product idea, Pepsi planned on marketing the product to the health conscious, obviously and relaunch brand enthusiasm. Putting them in premium natural food stores, only in major cities around the states, not including Boston. On the Pepsi website, with the Obama-esc logo, there is no such products even listed.
I wonder if anyone has seen it in stores?


Pushing the levels

I found the second image first via what possessed me and found the original source was flickr user thrillwnc, as I clicked through the long linkage. So I did some google-ing and found that this town is Manarola, Italy and really looks like the first image found on interior design and remodeling. With the help of Photoshop the stunning cliff town was turned into an outrageous crayola box.


Spring is Springing!

The crocus is one of the hardiest and earliest bloomers of the spring. Planted in bunches they display as a carpet of color. I did not realize that saffron comes from the stigma of the
Crocus sativus, which has red stigma. There are about 30 culitvated variations of the crocus, ranging from white to violet, yellow and all shades in between.

Although the warm sun has brought us the early girls, there were a few fall leftovers that were stunning...

{a dried Rose of Sharon pod}

{a dried bunch of bittersweet}

So slim and pretty

{bliss by cezar winery via lovely package}

These little pretties might be worth a try this summer... if they were available in the United States.
The packaging by Unibrand is really nice and so marketable, even if the sparkling wine is mediocre at best, it would persuade me to give it a shot.


Looking Good

{image via lovely package by H&M}

{image via lovely package and ffffound}
Designed by Wolff Olins, US. Take a peek at their site and see how aggressive their "The World Needs New" message is. Love it!

{image by the manual co. via ffffound}

{image by there via ffffound}

{image by bronx shoes via ffffound}

So I have been watching and more and more companies are getting into personalizing their packaging with hand lettering and wholesome thoughts. It is all going to get all rooty and I love it. The most creative designers will emerge. The ones whose ideas are always overlooked for the more mainstream and bo-ring. Love how there is risk being taken. Along with the wholesome top image of H&M shopping bags, I am also seeing alot of sleek packaging with very modern lines, which I also love. The shapes are sexy and so easy on the eye. I like that when I look at a shelf of product. My eye is drawn to the calm and simple packaging, even if the colors are subdued.

H&M is working the "you want to carry this bag around" and look like a stellar human. It works. Not only is the messaging powerful, the graphic design is outstanding. The design is by Silver of Sweden, who also has Nokia as a client, they call their design "value-generating". It is believable and fashion forward, aggressive and out there in front.


Carpe Diem

warm weather

{i can't wait...image via ffffound}

There is an island, Washburn's Island on Martha's Vineyard sound nestled in between a peninsula and Waquoit Bay. If you are a kayaker in NE you may know of the place. I have been going there in the summertime since I was about 13 years old, first with friends on their boats having fun. Days filled with water skiing, knee boarding, flirting and swimming. These days, I take my own children who play with the children of those friends of mine. It is pretty nice to see life come full circle and to sit back and watch your children enjoying the same magical place.

Today the beach is filled with boaters, unlike my days there. There are a few campsites and kayak trips can be booked through EMS or you can stop by Edward's Boat Yard on RT. 28 in Falmouth and rent your own adventure.

If you do end up on the island with friends, make sure you stay until everyone else leaves and enjoy the low sun. It is the best time to enjoy your family and take amazing photographs...just be careful of low tide!

I wonder how many times we will get to Falmouth this summer with crazy schedules? I wonder if we will go back to Brasov? I wonder how many days of sunshine and late summer evenings with friends there will be? I can't wait for the adventures, the smell of the ocean and the warm sun on my face.


Gardens, Green, and the Armsby Abbey

{our hibiscus and our hummingbird visitor}

Today, I am thinking of all things "garden". It has been years since my self proclaimed award winning garden (to rival that of my Dad's) has been planted. 100% because of the high water table where I live. You see the new development up the hill, the developers and the city did not take the little neighbors at the bottom of their hill into account, and now our Cinco de Mayo festivities are kept to the very edge of the muddy abyss. Celebrating spring is huge. It deserves it's own parade, national holiday and facebook group. March and April in New England are spent waiting for May. This also shortens our very short NE growing season all the more.

{kale in season now via farmfresh.org}

{more amazing images on this CSA flickr group}

Remember a few months ago, I posted on CSAs...Community Supported Agriculture? Well this is your reminder to keep the local farmers in mind this season. Here is your Local Food Guide to Worcester County Farms for you Worcester peeps. You drive by them everyday. Their produce tastes a lot better than the stuff you buy at the Big dude takes your moneY. Did you know that right in Shrewsbury at Green Hill Farm is a CSA offering summer to fall pickup? For you other US people, here is the Local Harvest CSA listing. My European/Asian friends, you are lucky enough to have farmers markets in most neighborhoods. I envy you and your street corners.

{image via armsby abbey}

So, coming back to my hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts, Armsby Abbey supports locally grown agriculture. My inspiration for the whole garden thing was definitely perked by an message I received from Armsby Abbey a few days back. They have their new websites up and they are looking good. Alec lists the origins of his ingredients. That smarty pants. {check out what I mean here.} Doesn't it just make you want to eat there? OK, they have the whole beer thing going on, but I will settle for one of those outstanding cocktails and a ray of sun. I love knowing where my stuff comes from. I love knowing that it was grown right near my house, by the sweet guy I have been buying my pumpkins from for 15 years. Ah hah, I also see outside seating. {Oh sunny day, please come our way...I may have to duke it out for a seat there.} For those of you that don't know, and I did not...The Dive Bar, also owned by Alec has a TON of outside seating, and some really great local music. Can't wait to check that patio out. So, Alec if you happen to read this, count me in on all your Worcester ideas and festivals. I will be glad to help out.

Here is a
short list of other restaurants west of here and another short list east of here that do as well. Mmm Panda East, haven't been there in a while. As you can see the cool people living out near Amherst and Northampton have it down! Living there for a few years made some of the earthy goodness rub off on me.

So, relish the smell of fresh veggies. Try to grow your own! Teach your kids to plant, compost and be proud to serve them up to friends. It's pretty amazing for the little ones. I can't wait to get started and head out to Farmer's Daughter to buy some seedlings.


{images via seesaw designs and ffffound}

Handlettering is expressive and meaningful. You know it was created by a human with care and creativity. The image of the invite on top is one of the best and original uses of handlettering I have seen. Letterpress uses dies that press the letters and color into the paper. Handlettering is more impressive than any typestyle out there. The personal touch it conveys cannot be matched. The invite is by Linda and Harrriett.

I am lucky to have been working with Maria Thomas for the last few years on collaborative projects. Seeing how impressive lettering is and using it on printed items is so gratifying to me as an artist. We just completed new wedding and bar/bat mitzvah albums that incorporate handlettering monograms and initials. I can't wait until their release at the National Stationery Show this May.



{images via sprout-flowers}

There is a funky flower shop in Worcester on the West Side. Walking in, you can feel that the vibe is larger than the little block on June Street, where they are located. My first time in Sprout, I knew there was an artistic and edgy element that I just loved. The flowers displayed in vases were unique, handpicked from the floral market in Boston. The choices were unusual and stunning. The shop is inviting and casual, like home. Each vase is noted with a price, so it's really easy to figure out what you can get for your price range, especially if you are stopping by to pick up loose flowers for home, for a hostess, or for a special occasion. Of course, when you order an arangement from Sprout, you will never be dissappointed.

My work as an invitation designer means venturing out into the world for the occasional flower. I always head directly to Sprout, knowing what I could find there. When friends at work asked me where to shop for flowers, I sent them to Sprout. At this point, I did not know Cathy and her assistant Francoise very well. My dear friend Gregorio would stop by their shop regularly to pick up fresh flowers for the table. Our photographer would stop by to get flowers for his shoots. Everyone always went back!

The time came when I needed advice and direction for an event I was hosting. Since I was calling it Cirque du Noir, I thought it would be wonderful to have macabre arrangements. I thought since my budget was zero, I could maybe ask some advice and clean out Cathy's "dead stuff". The day I walked in to her shop, she was so sweet and offered me up all her dead flowers. When the time got closer to the event, Cathy proposed something very different. She wanted to do a floral arrangement for the table and auction it off, with all the proceeds giong directly to our cause, the Worcester County Food bank. I could not believe her generosity.

The morning of the event, we met at Bocado and I could not believe my eyes! She made this unbelievable creation of cirque-a-licious proportions. It was enormous and vibrant and so stunning. It did not stop there, she worked up some magical props to coordinate and fully capture the mood of the event and enhance her spectacular flowers. I was truly blown away, the boxes kept coming from out of her car and into Bocado. It takes alot for me to feel this way, but this little lady sent me over the top!

Before this I didn't even know her. She did not know me... but she took initiative to support what I was trying to do and make it even grander! It was a pretty incredible feeling leaving the restaurant to go home and prepare for that night. She single handedly made me feel like the whole pipe dream I had for this fundraiser was REAL as we set up the flowers. Someone I did not even know was working her *$#%& off and spending all this time to help
me. Cirque du Noir and all it's contributors raised over $4000 dollars that night for the food bank. Not bad for 6 weeks of planning.

{image of decorative piece Sprout whipped up for Andreea Waters for Cirque du Noir}

Christmas time came and Cathy did it again. It was her dream to make sure every business in Worcester had a wreath on it's door that wanted one. All you had to do it call her! This was a woman after my own heart!

This woman and her endless creativity, her talent and her emense generosity, her presence as a Worcester business owner, all of this has really impacted me. I imagine people that meet her must feel the same way. Since then and onward, I have made a new friend, a valuable contact and a kick ass floral designer. I send all my friends, knowing Sprout will take care of them. In these economic times, businesses like her's have a huge advantage over others. She goes the extra mile, she sees the unseen and she creates magnificent beauty for her clients with a personality to boot. She makes a difference.

{***ah huh, If Holly Becker from decor8 is following Sprout, you know she's pretty cool!}

{all images in this post, borrowed from Sprout}

SPROUT is located at:
118 A June Street
Worcester MA 01602
t 508 757 5300 f 508 757 0891

Tuesday 10-5
Wednesday - Friday 10-6
Saturday 9-3
Closed Sundays & Mondays



The weekend is here...

Enjoy your weekend!

{image of sunsetting at Arches National Park by Matthew Higgins, age 12}


Featuring images of Italy & Croatia by Erin Wolczik

Images of Italy taken by Erin Wolczik of Westboro, Massachusetts. Erin, who grew up in Framingham is another amazing artist that I am priviledged to work with. Her design for Checkerboard has been recognized at the Louie Awards (the Academy Awards of the stationery world) in New York City. She has amazing design sensibility and serious typographical skills. By her photographs here, you can see that her talents don't stop at invitation design. Dancing in the light without words, the imagery conveys the magic of Venice to the viewer as if they were there. The last image of colorful dingies is in Croatia.

Erin was also a participating artist at Cirque du Noir in Worcester last October, featuring prints on wood of some these images. With a bit of pursuation, I hope she will come back this October and share a few more pieces with Worcester.

Sugar Magnolia, Blossoms Blooming

guess where?

guess when?

soon, very soon

{pics from Marathon Monday, hmm, Boston, circa 2006'ish}

tell me, tell me...
what do you think of the new feature below?
Leave me a comment and let me know!


Window boxes

{window boxes of Romania}

Balconies and potted flowers are so abundant in Europe, but not so much here. Every place the sun that can shine, suggests a warm home for flowers. I love seeing the raging colors and spirited windows everywhere. There is nothing like flowers grown at home or fresh vegetables picked at the moment of ripeness from a few steps away. Now is the time in New England to think about planting. Growing your own vegetables is healthier and so convenient. Not to mention a thrill for the children.

Around the house

i hope we have seen the last of it...

so my little doll can get outside to play...

a birthday bottle of rioja, so delicious...

experimenting with shadows

a luminare I love from Bhadon gift gallery