and enter the birthday boy

it just so happens that on this day in the years 1986 and 1988, my very best friend and my very best younger brother, respectively, were brought into this world.  last week, i couldn't wait to post images of lk's little birthday bundle, and now i've got just a few sneaks of the card/envelope i'm sending home to massachusetts.


alexander, happy happy twenty-third - now you're almost as old as me!  oh wait, i suppose that's how it is every year.

won't you be mine?

a very happy valentine's day to all the lovers out there - whether you're spending the day with friends, family or someone special, i hope you all take the opportunity to let the people you love know just how much they mean to you. this one is for my (doctor-in-training) valentine:

the text reads 'i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)' from the e.e. cummings poem... one of my favorites.  enjoy the day everyone - at the very least, treat yourself to a valentine's day decorated cupcake from magnolia bakery!

sunday ceremonies: family matters

this week's sunday ceremony is very near and dear to my heart.  last night my beautiful cousin michelle married her longtime boyfriend and soulmate in all things love, life and cooking (he's quite the mister julia child in the kitchen) at a little church outside of boston.  their reception was held at les zygomates, a cozy french restaurant tucked away in the back streets of the city behind south station.  we had the entire horseshoe-shaped place to ourselves, complete with two bars, three dining rooms, and a raised piano from which the bride's uncle tinkered out old-fashioned melodies all night.

it was gorgeous.  the whole night, from the endless passed hors d'oeuvres (mini crab cakes, lamb lollipops, roasted beets with goat cheese on crostini, firecracker shrimp, bacon-wrapped scallops) to the french food-themed buffet stations of chicken and lobster crepes, mixed green salad with gorgonzola and pear, and then perfectly seasoned and cooked steak-frites, was absolutely magical.  throw in some well-concocted cocktails, good conversation, friends and family and a few well-worded toasts, and i would say this is a night my (now married) cousin won't soon forget.  congratulations michelle and chris, and i cannot wait to see the far more professional photographs!

{all images by jillyink}

tea time

my apologies for the delay in posting - this past weekend absolutely flew by.  if only i had had the time to photograph the delicious (six!) pizzas my roommates and i made for a dinner party/get together we held friday night, i'm sure you would have agreed that the weekend started off on the right foot.  or the right tastebud, i suppose.  not to mention the perfect meyer lemon cheesecake that only took 3 hours and 5 blocks of cream cheese to make.  if any of you are wondering, i followed thekitchensink's recipe over here - it is absolutely fool-proof, and you won't be able to resist eating the leftovers for days afterwards.  now i just have to figure out what to do with all that lemon curd i have in my fridge.

what with the past few gloomy/rainy days we've been having in new york, i've been craving the afternoon tea time i used to share with my mum and younger sister when i was growing up.  whenever i go home (and there's not some sort of party - there always seems to be one), we still follow the same ritual: two red rose tea bags in my mum's blue tea pot with the red and white circles painted all around the outside.  three tall, slender mugs (much different from the coffee mugs, to be sure - tea must be drunk from a thin-rimmed vessel) filled to just below the top, lightened by a splash of milk and sweetened with a teaspoon of sugar.  of course, when my sister and i were younger, we'd sneak spoonful after spoonful into our cups while mum turned her back to put the milk back in the fridge.  and of course, mum knew exactly what we were doing the entire time.  perhaps she figured we'd grow out of it.  or perhaps she thought a little extra sweetness in life couldn't hurt us, not at tea time.  sometimes freshly baked cookies, sometimes packaged 'nice' cookies or chocolate covered les petits ecoliers were piled high on a dish between all of us, and as we sipped and nibbled and chatted and savored the syrupy sludge of sugar awaiting our tongues at the bottom of our cups, we would feel the day brighten just a notch.  being at work all day now, i unfortunately cannot recreate those moments, although i do have a little stash of red rose tea bags in case i need to catch just a slight whiff of that orangey aroma  of those afternoons.  and whenever i want the real thing, all i have to do is travel on home and put the kettle on.  and sometimes, every so often, i sneak in an extra sprinkling of sugar.

{photos: spherical sight, 100 layer cake}

on the road again

so after a wonderfully relaxing weekend at home in massachusetts, a weekend filled with a 5am wake up call in the form of thousands of white-dress-hungry future wives at the twice annual 'running of the brides' event in boston, steven tyler-obsessed cover bands at the green fest in boston's gov't center, a late night time traveler's rendition of a most beloved book, a thunderstorm-riddled pick up at the beach and subsequent changing of a redundant swim suit, and more ben & jerry's than i've eaten through the entire summer thus far, i am on my way back to an equally heated and humid city, new york.  it doesn't seem like the end will be near anytime soon, however, as from my seat onboard megabus the line of cars in front of us along route 95 stretches far beyond the horizon.  and so i'm attempting to watch brideshead revisited (although the internet keeps slowing, causing the movie to pause every minute and  half), and research places to go in san francisco this week when i fly out there.  anyone have any favorites? so while i try to keep occupied and not think of the hours ahead of me on this lurching vehicle, i'll leave you with another new illustration for the sketchbook project.  this is for my very good friend jessie's page - she's ever growing in talent, creativity, friendship, life, love and everything beautiful, just as i think of the roots and branches and flowers and leaves of an oak tree.  this will be filled in soon, but here is the initial skeleton:

copyright jillian schiavi 2009

cheers and happy sunday,


for the love of a ceiling fan

so remember the other day when i was blissfully reminded of the coming of autumn?  and then when i wished aloud that the weather would remain in its non-humid-slightly-cool-just-warm-enough state?  well it seems that i jinxed it.  for the past 4 or 5 days my roommates and i have been subjected to excruciatingly hot and humid nights, trying to lie as still as possible to catch whatever small breeze that happened to fly in through a window or down from our overeager (and underachieving) ceiling fans.  i suppose it's a bit too late to invest in an air conditioner - does anyone have any suggestions for cooling down a room in which it feels as though a bikram yoga class just took place?  i'll keep researching... and in the meantime savor the conditioned air of my office building as long as i can.  

on the sketchbook project front, i've got some progress to share!  here's the initial sketch for my brother alex's page:

copyright jillian schiavi 2009

he's an incredible track and field athlete (who just got an amazing scholarship for his senior year at temple!), and so i wanted to congratulate and commemorate all of the hard work he's put into running, jumping, throwing and hurdling.  love!


more to come soon - cheers!

bon appetit!

just a quick plea that everyone run right out tomorrow and go see 'julie and julia', the meryl streep/amy adams masterpiece that weaves the illustrious and expansive life of julia child with the somewhat sniveling and snarky, yet still redeemably adorable events of the year in which julie powell succeeded in cooking her way through mrs. child's legendary book, 'mastering the art of french cooking'.  i have always been in love with julia.  i can remember gathering around the television with my whole family on sunday mornings to watch her charming and quirky cooking show (followed, of course, by the frugal gourmet - another of my favorites!).  is it any wonder then that whenever i decided (or decide - i still do it to this day) to put on a 'live cooking demonstration' in our kitchen myself, i found myself not only attempting to mimic julia's extensive knowledge of culinary finesse, but also her incredibly recognizable falsetto?  i love the power she held on screen, even in her later years when she would simply stand by and watch other master chefs who'd been invited to cook with or for her.  her presence was undeniable.  she was unapologetic both in cooking and in life, and i can only hope to possess the amount of unfailing confidence and 'courage of conviction' that guided her through foreign lands and trying times.  

the movie was absolutely lovely.  both meryl streep and amy adams were perfect in their roles.  and the food.  oh the food.  thank goodness nora ephron hired herself a phenomenal food stylist, because i've been harboring a massive craving for anything with butter and cream and a side of light and crispy french bread.  dinner tonight is much anticipated. 


bon appetit!



here's a peak at one of the sketches i'm working on for the sketchbook project.  my theme is 'thinking of you', so i've decided to dedicate each page in the book to a different person or place that's means a lot to me, focusing on images and phrases that to me, are undeniably them.  not going into it too much, my mum's page will be filled with flowers, so to start:


these hands

i've always been (a bit abnormaly) obsessed with handwriting.  with my handwriting, to be more precise.  i'm possessive of it - slightly ridiculous i know, but if there's ever the opportunity to sign a card, address an envelope, write an inscription on a gift, even pencile out a grocery list for my mum to take shopping, i always insist on writing it.  my younger sister can attest that it must get annoying, my handwriting forever representative of our family's well-wishes, congratulations, weekly coffee and cheese intake.  but i also happen to know that she covets it almost as much as i do.  see, back in the fifth grade i had a problem with handwriting.  it was lovely, yes, but far far too small.  my language arts teacher even called my mum to see if she could hold any influence in making it more readable.  i was resistant, though.  i didn't, and i still don't, like big fonts.  i was never a very loopy-letterer (although 'loopy' in another sense might be somewhat applicable), always more precise with clean, slender, vertical lines, albeit at the time very small.  i loved my handwriting, but as fate would have it, i loved hillary sackett's more.  i loved how fluid it looked, how she juxtaposed the soft rounded bellies of her 'b's with the sharp edges of her 'v's and 'z's.  her writing was less slanted, more straight-forward, with hints of playfulness tucked into the tails of 'g', 'j' and 'y'.  i wanted it.  i needed it.  and so i studied it, every day as we sat through math, reading, social studies.  it helped that she was my best friend at the time (and indeed, she still is a very good friend, despite my thieving history), and it helped that i was focused.  soon i had almost perfectly copied her handwriting, with small alterations left over from my previously meticulous and tight method of lettering.  

of course, my handwriting has evolved since the fifth grade.  i've picked up new ways of forming my 'n's, 'm's and 'h's.  i've toiled over whether or not to add a curve to the end of my 't's, a line through my 'z's.  it may have started off as a carbon copy of hillary's gorgeous penmanship, but it's now completely recognizable as my own, a lettered display of my personality and aesthetic (and one which my own sister has since tried to copy herself).  it's taken me some time to realize this, though it should have been apparent since that pivotal moment when i finally perfected hillary's lowercase 'r's, but i would be overjoyed if my life and my work revolved around sharing my penmanship with the world.  i suppose this is why i'm embarking on this venture to provide handlettered invitations, signs, letters, logos, really anything that would benefit from all the love and pride i put into anything i write.  i think it's important to understand why people come to certain decisions.  this is one that's been there all along, patiently waiting for me to wake from a haze and literally look at what's been under my nose the whole time.


copyright jillian schiavi 2009