if only I were dutch

I moved to New York straight out of college and went to work for an amazing designer who slaved away at an ad agency during the day. He hired me to work from his house (a swanky corner apartment in London Terrace) and help him with fun side projects like books, fashion campaigns and photo shoots. I would leave my layouts for him on his desk, and he would make his comments and leave them for me in the morning. 


My first week of work he left a book for me, with a note "Welcome to NY".



It might be my very favorite book. Printed Matter showcases the work of dutch designer Karel Martens. He designed these phone cards for PTT Telecom, with the numbers zooming out as the value of the cards increases. Every time I looked at my ugly New York subway card, I thought.. "if only I were dutch!".




you've got mail

My friend Abby loves stamps, and she's kind enough to share.  A few of the notes that have brightened my mailbox over the years. 


this week's library book

I recently read Jill Lepore's article in the New Yorker about the creation of children's libraries. It was a novel idea to set aside a space just for children, and even allow children to check out books and take them home. "If you could sign your name, you could borrow a book." I wish I could see one of the original ledgers where children signed out their books.. they must be somewhere!

Even though my two kids are still too young to read on their own, we frequent the library. There is a new one closer to our home, but I prefer to drive to the old one, where I went as a girl with my mom. I check out books with my kids at the same desk.

I've been gone from California for about 15 years, five years away at college, then ten years living in New York City. When I signed up for my new library card, the clerk pulled up my file. I was still in the system.. and I even had a $12 fine. 

I'll be sharing some of our favorite books in future posts, but here's one we checked out this week: Lyle, Lyle Crocodile. The tale of a sweet crocodile living in Manhattan (a few blocks from my old apartment on East 89th street). I adore the quirky illustrations, and the kids wonder what Lyle will do next. (one in a long series by Bernard Waber)


found objects

I spent a lot of time walking around Brooklyn with my kids in the stroller, and there was always some lovely treasure sitting on the sidewalk waiting for me. Dry cleaning tickets, valet parking stubs, and a plethora of playing cards.




thomas turns four

I think children really appreciate a handmade card, especially one that involves a lot of candy. And some money.


color story #1

Even though I failed color theory in college, I love a good color story. During my days at Martha Stewart, I did these for every story I shot, no matter how small. They help reign in the stylist, inspire the crafter, and give the story some cohesion. Color stories aren't meant to be limiting, I love adding a surprise accent of a color you hadn't thought of before.. a colored rim of a plate here, a bright thin ribbon there. 

I thought I'd share some of my favorite color stories, some from projects in the past, others in the future. This one won't be in print for another year, so I'll have to keep what it's for hush hush.


inch by inch

When I was growing up we had a little growth chart, really just some marks on a wall in the hallway downstairs. About once a year my parents would measure my siblings and I, writing our names and the date next to each mark.

I remember trying to stand as tall and as straight as I possible could, praying I had grown at least an inch. My brothers would try to out do each other, wearing their sneakers or standing on their tippy toes, but dad always made sure heels were flat on the floor.

Six children grew up, inch by inch. Over time, the growth chart told the story of our family.

When I was sixteen, we moved to a different city. I was terribly sad to leave our home, but inconsolable when I realized the growth chart would be staying behind as well. 

Four years ago, my husband and I welcomed our first child, a son. When he was barely able to stand, we hung a piece of flat molding vertically on the wall and marked his height. I was determined to have a growth chart that could stay with us as we moved from house to house. New marks for our second child, a daughter, soon followed.

After ten years in New York City, we recently moved to California, back to the town I grew up in. The growth chart now hangs in our new home. The children love to be measured, they try to stand as tall as they can, arching their feet and tilting their heads to gain an extra inch. We make sure their heels are flat on the floor and carefully write their names and the date next to each mark.

This journal serves as a different type of growth chart. I'm not certain what it will become, but I'm happy to know it will always be here. 



peanuts and cracker jacks

It's nice to be able to get to know a museum, so that you miss certain corners of it when you are gone. One of my favorite surprises in the Met is around the corner from the Temple of Dendur. Jefferson Burdick donated his baseball card collection to the museum back in the '40s and '50s. Beautiful, aren't they?


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