Saturday, June 30, 2012

Basket Case

Look what I found on my road trip last week.
The tag said "dog bed!"
But I think this shallow basket was used to gather flowers from the garden.
It certainly will also be useful when we harvest the grapes in September.

I also found these lined beverage containers, which I plan to use for an upcoming party in August.

They will add a rustic, wine country vibe to the bar.
One for beer and one for wine!

This tray that we found in Carmel a few months ago finally found a home.
It corrals a confit pot and a couple of rosemary topiaries, making an unexpected centerpiece.

I don't think a person can have too many baskets, don't you think?
There are just so many uses for them!
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Thursday, June 28, 2012

I Finally Got The Courage!

Our new green kitchen is still evolving.
I'm tweaking it here and there after living with the final reveal for a few months.
You know, things just come to you in the middle of the night!

For example:  The doors...

This cabinet has beautiful leaded glass doors!
I kept asking myself why would I take perfectly good doors, freshly painted and store them in the garage?

Because when the doors were re-installed, I "lost" the dish display I worked so hard on.

I found myself leaving the doors open all day, kind of experimenting with the look of open shelving and getting up the courage to take them off.

One day, I just did it.
Oh, and it felt good, too!
Yes, there will have to be a small repair where the hinges were, but I love seeing my dishes on display.
I kept the doors on the other glass cabinets across the room, but I'll admit that I gave it serious thought to remove them too!

BEFORE

AFTER

What do you think?

I'm still working on the window covering, and the corbels for the range hood.
I'll keep you posted....


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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Visit To Philo Apple Farm

One of the highlights of my five day road trip was a visit to Philo Apple Farm, located two hours north of San Francisco in the little village of Philo in Anderson Valley, California.

I joined the girlfriends for a cooking class led by the proprietor, Karen, whose parents once owned the famous French Laundry before selling it to Thomas Keller.

This is a true working farm, with apple orchards, chickens, goats and cows, to name a few.

We all met under the mulberry tree for refreshments to hear just what we would be cooking.
Basically, we were to cook our lunch!

The kitchen was my favorite part. 
 Complete with a glass front commercial refrigerator, gas stove, three islands... 

...and a pantry to die for!

Culinary collectibles, like copper pots and old crockery were everywhere.

I notice stuff like this, what can I say!

The menu:
Chicken curry with cucumber and yogurt.

Toasted pumpkin seeds, cubed avocado and currents on the side.
Plus, a sampling of chutneys from the farm.

An appetizer of sliced radish, straight from the garden, on a seeded slice of bread with fresh soft cow's cheese, freshly made.  Heavenly!

We made an apricot tart for dessert.

How is that for perfection!

And the final result! 
Our lunch, which we ate under the shade of the mulberry tree.

Afterwards, we explored the grounds.  I thought this seating area was adorable.
It was made out of apple crates!

Beyond, you can see a little cabin.
There are three available, each one with its own unique decor.

This one is called "The Red Door."

The "Room With A View" cottage.

 For more information about Philo Apple Farm, visit their website here.

It is definitely worth a visit!

Photos 1 and 2, Flickr
Photos 17, 18, 19 and 20, Philo Apple Farm
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Monday, June 25, 2012

The Language Of Flowers

 I've been unplugged for five days and it was wonderful!  No computer, no television and sketchy cell phone coverage.
The reason?  A five day road trip to various locations in Northern California, stopping first for a girlfriend retreat at a remote farm called "Hunker Down."

Our hostess had bouquets of flowers everywhere--all hand gathered from her property.
This arrangement on top of the pot belly stove greeted us when we entered the house.
It says "welcome!"

In fact, all her bouquets said something to her guests! 
Every flower had a meaning, and our hostess even wrote them on her little bouquets, also known as "tussie-mussies."

 Our hostess had just read "The Language of Flowers" by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, hence all the floral touches.
 I learned that flowers were a secret way of communicating in the Victorian Era.
Also called floriography, the Victorians used flowers to send coded messages, expressing feelings in ways they couldn't do with words.  

 Who knew that grapevine means abundance.  Makes sense to me!

So I was off-the-grid, and unplugged, but I learned a new way to communicate!
With flowers!

I also was reminded how much fun girlfriend time is!
"Friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold." 
~Oliver Wendell Holmes 

The Language of Flowers [Book]

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Solstice

The first day of summer is finally here and for some reason, I'm really excited about it!
To celebrate, I've gathered a few summer inspiration images, beginning with my favorite place to be any season:  Asti, where we enjoy...

Pool parties with friends and family...

Ukelele music in the air...

Hunting lizards and rabbits with the grandchildren...

Tending to the summer garden...


Growing fresh basil for homemade pesto...

And heirloom tomatoes for insalata caprese...


Surf and turf on the barbie...

 Al fresco wine and cheese...

Late night dinners by candlelight...


Campfires for S'mores...

And midnight swims...

Happy first day of summer!
It's going to be fabulous, don't you think?

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