Wednesday, June 29, 2011

castle in the air

Who was I to miss seeing Hearst Castle, the iconic west coast castle that sits high on a mountain top above the Pacific Ocean outside of San Simeon?
We braved the packed tour bus as it traveled up the long winding road, where I began to take in the details of how this landmark came into being, and most notably, how long it took to build.
 Reality is, the castle never was completed.
William Randolph Hearst, and his architect,
Julia Morgan worked on the entire estate for over 28 years.
What I enjoyed most about the two tours we took were the manicured grounds and the three houses that were built surrounding the castle.  Especially the second one he and his family lived in while the castle was being built, Casa del Mar.
 At double the size of the first house that was built (Casa del Monte), Casa del Mar was the second family residence. They moved in to Casa del Mar (House of the Sea) in 1924. It overlooked ocean views to the south that stretch one hundred miles on clear days. The most formal and most elaborately decorated of the cottages, Casa del Mar featured a different gold-leafed plaster ceiling in every room. Mr. Hearst moved to the the castle in 1928, but Casa del Mar still remained dear to him. At age eighty-two in the late 1940s, he returned there to live for his last two years on the hilltop--
before retiring to Beverly Hills, where he died in 1951.
 After taking in all of this beauty, we meandered back down the hill, leaving the "castle in the air" to return to Pismo Beach.  
That night we were invited back to Diana's for a 
potluck dinner!  My dh and I love potlucks!!
  How could she have planned a better send off than this?
We ate taco soup, homemade cornbread, scrumptious salads and sipped a little
fine wine.
Later we girls huddled in Diana's studio, which is beautiful by the way!
Susan, Stephani, =) and Diana
Thanks so much Diana for the treasure chest of goodies you sent home with me.
Sure do miss those girls!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

the central coast

(My California trip continues).
Next stop...the central coast.
But, first Pismo Beach.  
The temperature.... mid 60s every day we were there.  
Three glorious days.  This is when I began to wear long sleeves (LOL), 
and never once went back to short.  Oh, how I miss that.
It was 103 degrees in my Texas town today!
The first evening my friend Diana Frey, and her husband, 
took my dh & I to an Italian restaurant that could not have been more perfect.
 We had the best time. 
When we landed at my friend Riki's house earlier that day, 
lookie what was waiting there from my two amigas.....
A bottle of California wine.  Creamy almond croissants.  Trader Joe trek mix.  
A bowl of fresh, ripe fruit...apples, tangerines, bananas.
Goodies in the fridge to make omelets, including fresh blackberries.
And, this gorgeous cut glass pitcher full of fragrant white stock.  
Have you ever smelled stock?  
It has the most romantic, intoxicating smell...sweet & spicy all wrapped up into one.
It filled Riki's house.  
I will never forget that fragrance.  And honestly, I almost cried.
The next day Diana took us into her town, San Luis Obispo.
It is a bustling college town.  Full of shops, good food and life.  I had no idea.  
We went to a restaurant called Novo
which sits right above the creek that meanders through the middle of town.  
Next stop, 
It was originally built in the late 18th century, and is rich in history.
The grounds were full of bright colored (what I think was) foxglove.
 And, subtle colored succulents.
Ahhh....I love the central coast of California,
and my central coast friends.
Next....Heart Castle and a potluck dinner.
Can it get any better?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

a collaboration

I wasn't at home when I received my complimentary issue of 
I was happily touring around California, and the magazine was at home in my mailbox. 
I kept thinking about it, as I had become so anxious to see how an article 
I'd had a hand in putting together, 
along with a few close friends, had turned out.
 Cindy, Diana, Julie, Maire, Molly, Riki and I
would finally get to see an article we'd been working on since last October.  
I was thrilled to have these wonderful ladies & artists, 
come along with me on a fun little project I called
With One Finding.
I don't want to give away too much of the article, 
but here are the pieces my fellow artists designed for the challenge, 
all beginning with one specific finding.  
In this case, a vintage inspired piece of brass filigree called "marianne" from 
It is a great piece.
(Her piece was actually mislabeled in the magazine as being Riki's... 
so sorry for that MJ)
 (Her piece was actually mislabeled in the magazine as being Maire's... 
so sorry for that Riki)
"The Girls"
is mine.
You can also see each of these beautiful pieces on my flicker page here.
This was such a fun collaboration.  
Again, thank you ladies.
You were just the best to work with!!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

there's no place like home

I took this picture almost a week ago when my feet hit the driveway in front of our home.  
A couple days later, I started this post....
Even though I didn't wear ruby red slippers, I feel like I have been a time traveler for the past two weeks.  My dh and I traveled over 4,400 miles. 
From Texas...thru New Mexico, then Arizona, then on to California.
I taught two classes in Fullerton at the gorgeous home of Nancy Jamar,
who owns Gilding the Lily.
My first class, Etched and Layered, was on Saturday. 
 The weather was perfect.
We were able to etch outside and design inside~with the windows flung open wide!

I had my sweet friend Sandy in this class, 
who came to Texas (from California) during the antique festival this last Spring.

Look at some of the beautiful and unique cuffs made on that day!
I tried out my my new (rubber) apron and gloves while etching!
Good thing it was such wonderful cool weather,
as I would have burned up wearing these outside in TEXAS!
 Dede Warren is the class coordinator for Nancy's classes at Gilding the Lily.
She is the sweetest lady...just love her!
The very next day I taught 
Look at this group of beautiful ladies....
I only wish I would have taken a picture the day before.
Time just flies by so fast.  But, on Sunday I was able to snap a few pics before all the ladies got away....

In the very back of the class sat Andrea and Kim.  
These are their Heart Strings.
It was fun meeting Ms.Kim, and she brought the teacher a present!
How cool is that?
I could go on and on about how much fun I had sharing design secrets with these ladies.  
They were all so open, and soaked up every word I shared like sponges.
This short stint in Fullerton will have to be noted as two of my most satisfying classes to date... having come so far and to be treated so graciously by Nancy, Dede and all of the lovely ladies who came to class.  
Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
So on Monday, after this very full weekend, we started our trek up north...
to Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo.  The beautiful central coast of California.
That will have to be another post =)