Happy Holidays!

I love making my own holiday cards, and for the first time this year, I letterpressed them! I've been taking classes at the San Francisco Center for the Book with my friend Sarah for a few years now, and it was really awesome to be able to put everything we learned about rollers, ink, type, furniture, quoins, and the right ratio of kiss to bite into practice.

While we were at it, we made some ornaments and gift tags.

Sarah deserves mucho of the credit for making some of the designs from awesome letterpress site Briar Press work for our ornaments.

Ornament action shots.

In years past, we've used the increasingly rare and temperamental Japanese table top printing device for the masses, Print Gocco, to print our holiday cards. The Save Gocco website claims that, "at one time, nearly 1/3 of all Japanese households owned a Gocco."

Unfortunately, Gocco supplies have become harder and harder to find, but Save Gocco has some good resources.

Next year I'm thinking about printing my own wrapping paper, but printing can be hard work, and I'm not sure I could bear to see it get ripped up. That's not really in the spirit of wrapping paper though, now is it?

California Editorial

I recently had the opportunity to help out as assistant stylist to Georgie Perrins of  Puppethorse for this shoot by very talented photographer Darcy Rogers. Georgie is fantastically stylish, really fun to work with, and probably the sweetest person you might ever meet. Darcy was also incredibly nice, and it was really interesting to see how she was able to direct everything so calmly to get these dreamy, light suffused shots.

Those 70s Sketches

All drawings by ebay member mhhr45
These vintage fashion sketches from 1973 look pretty now to me.

In the Pink

I love this room at Crosby Street Hotel, which I came across in this online version of an article in Hemispheres, the United Airlines in-flight magazine. While I'm a total sucker for in-flight magazines, I've never been in the habit of reading them online. I still tend to think of them more as corporate promotional material, a kind of afterthought meant to keep the book-forgetting masses placated after they've flipped through the entire SkyMall catalogue. But they can actually have some pretty standout content. And I'm super jealous of this article's author, who got to go gallavanting on a tour of New York's newest luxury hotels. So many free boutique toiletries.


This would be the awesomest household accessory, except I'm afraid I'd start filling it up and using it to carry everything I own around town.

From Proust to Elvis! Elvis! Elvis!

Well, what started as an innocent break from Proust has turned into quite the little trashy Elvis book collection.

Although I dutifully brought The Guermantes Way along on our road trip through the South, I couldn’t resist the temptation to pick up Priscilla’s memoir at Graceland. I do love to read a juicy biography on vacation (viz. The Diana Chronicles while in Vietnam and Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business in Cuba). It was too perfect.

Chinoiserie in the foyer inside.

Meditation Garden outside.

Aboard the Lisa Marie, one of Elvis' several private planes.

But then I happened upon the other two in a junk shop in Macon, GA, and couldn't resist. Proust never really made it out of the suitcase after that. After I finished Elvis and Me while on the road, I read Don’t Ask Forever on the flight back from Nashville. I give Joyce Bova and William Conrad Nowels one star for writing this, and myself one star for reading it.

I have yet to crack open Elvis up close , probably because it’s not a paperback and doesn’t have any shiny embossing on the cover.

Mood Madeleine

These days, I've been experiencing a resurgence of Francophilia. I've decided that Paris is the No. 1 city I'd like to revisit (Havana's No. 2), I feel guilty all over again about the fact that I've taken French I and II about three times only to lose steam at French III, and I'm rapidly approaching an entirely stripedy wardrobe. So when it was decided that this month's Ladies' Supper Club theme would be dishes and drinks based on our favorite movies, books or TV shows, Proust immediately sprang to my mind. And since it was the humble, yet utterly French, Madeleine that made so much spring to Proust's mind (and since I'm usually much better at baking or mixing drinks than making, y'know, actual food) I thought it was the perfect choice.

First, of course, you've got to get a Madeleine pan. I got this one, which I think is new old stock, on ebay. The little "Made in France" sticker didn't hurt.

Then, don your Frenchiest baking outfit.

Madeleines use some pretty basic ingredients.

The first recipe I tried produced some really good looking Madeleines, but there was something really off about their flavor and texture. I know it sounds oxymoronic, but I think the problem may have been too much butter. The second recipe I used was much simpler, and turned out some scrumptious little cookie-cakes which, accompanied in true Proustian style by tea, seemed to please the ladies of supper club.

Not really. This one was made in Oakland.

This month’s theme at Supper Club was also supposed to involve a performance component. For mine, I read the famous Madeleine passage from Swann's Way and printed up some Proust questionnaires on pretty stationery. We had a great time filling them out and trying to guess who supplied which answers. Highly recommended.

And to put my money where my Madeleines are, I’ve begun the third volume.