Vintage abécédaire bookplates {free download}

Abécédaire is the French word for alphabet sampler (whether stitched, printed on posters, or bound as a book). I have been thinking about how to incorporate a French abécédaire into favors for Jax’s birthday party. The theme I’ve been aiming for roughly revolves around 1950s Paris, inspired by Albert Lamorisse’s 1956 classic, The Red Balloon. Using free clipart from Retrographix and free fonts from, I designed these children’s bookplates, reminiscent of what young Pascal may have seen in books or on the walls of his école maternelle.


They were really easy to design in Adobe Illustrator, my design software of choice habit. You can print these on plain paper and use a glue stick to affix them to books, or print them on adhesive paper to create ready-to-stick bookplates. They would be a nice little addition to a baby gift {especially when giving a book, of course}. If you’re interested in making these, I’m happy to share! Just click on one of the following to download:

letter-size Adobe .pdf file

letter-size Adobe .ai file

You can open either of these files in Adobe Illustrator in order to add your child’s name, change the colors or fonts, really anything you would like to do with this base design. The fonts I used were SchoolHouse Printed A (no longer on, but this one is very similar), Valérie, and Book Antiqua.

If I had more time, I’d take on the task of creating a whole poster. In reality, it was much easier to pick up a sheet of this inexpensive French alphabet wrapping paper made by Cavillini {and use my French language skills to write more of my dissertation instead!}

Seeing the Trees for the Forest

urbanforestcorbettcarri urbanforestkirschjesseCheck out these awesome downloadable posters from the Urban Forest Project. I didn’t even know about this exhibition, which took place in Times Square in August 2006, just as we were leaving New York for Paris. One hundred eighty-five artists and designers took the theme of the tree to raise awareness about the importance of forests. The giant banners were then recycled into bags designed by Jack Spade. Pretty cool.

Via an old post by Sweet Jessie.



Babysitters, friends, and Seth (sent to work for added surprise) got personalized valentines this week. This project only took me about 10 minutes: First I downloaded the super-cute class sweetheart valentines pdf that the talented BunnyCakes has available for free download on her site. Then I opened the pdf in Adobe Illustrator and added a scaled-down photo of the smiling babe and a couple of text boxes with custom colors and messages. Print, cut, and voilà! A quick way to remember to spread the love even during a hectic week of exams and essays.


*you can see who calls him “Jax” and who uses the traditional “Jacob.” Identity crisis?

Musical Memories

Two and a half years ago, my sisters and I put together a family songbook for our parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. This year, I printed a second edition with some added lullabies (and photos of the newest member of the family, of course). I also got my hands on the scanned images of some classic family music photos. I’m sharing them with you today:

Left to right: my dad, Uncle Bob, Aunt Marge Ann, and Aunt Barbie

Grandpa threatens to cut my dad’s hair.

Aunt Barbie playing piano.

Mom, Dad, and little old me!

My dad and my sister, Monica, in front of our apartment in L.A.

Holiday projects even the busiest can do

A massive Vancouver/Whistler post is in the works.  In the mean time, a moment for holiday crafts: I’ve now crossed the Cheeky Magpie blog twice, and so I finally subscribed and am glad I did! There are some awesome templates on the site, which are available to download for free.

We’ll spend Christmas in Florida with minimal decorations, so I’m thinking about recycling some pretty papers and making some of these for decorations:


A cute sleigh!

Can’t you just see the sleigh used as place cards for a holiday meal? A color printer, some digital photos, and some scissors are all you would need to make a fun place card for each of your family members.

Reuse, Recycle, Reconstruct: A Card

I participated in an international Secret Santa exchange this year. With the help of the Elfster website, each participant “drew” a name and we each sent an ornament representing our country to that person.

While I don’t want to give away which ornament I sent (the exchange isn’t over yet), I will share with you this card I made to accompany it:

Paris Christmas Card

I found the image on ?? of all places ?? the side of a box of Kleenex tissues. The scene is the Place des Vosges in the Marais. I just cut out the image, cut a piece of nice resumé-style paper to size, then taped it to the back (I had misplaced my glue stick, which would have been better than tape).

The little Eiffel Tower pendant is a key chain I picked up for 50 centimes from a tacky souvenir shop on the Ile de la Cité. I love it! I just poked two holes in the card (before attaching the paper backing), and looped some ribbon through.

I’m sure to be able to make many more, since the cold season has only just begun!