Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm Back

I returned from St. Helena Monday night via San Francisco/Oakland. It was a short, yet wonderful vacation well deserved.
I stayed in a 100+ year old Victorian house on a small vineyard and it fascinated me how people lived back then. The architecture alone is close to my heart and I have always wanted to experience this type of living environment. These are photos of the large bedroom that I slept in while I dreamt of it being the bedroom I slept in at home. My entire apartment could easily fit into this one room. I imagined being a child growing up in this house with it's many nooks and hiding places and so many doors to run through and play catch me if you can.
The small town of St. Helena, with it's 4 blocks of Main Street, is so charming and filled with history. The shops are all up scale with a wonderful flare for fashion and art, the food extraordinary in every restaurant we eat and the architecture fine quality building. Some of the homes/estates just took my breathe away, many Victorian or Craftsman style.
Taking several road trips around the surrounding areas...Calistoga,
Napa, Sonoma, Rutherford, we passed miles and miles of vineyards that were a sight to behold. We didn't do much wine tasting as the heat was in the 90's and not conducive to drinking wine in the afternoon. The food in each restaurant we eat at was exquisite and memorable I could taste the variety of flavors as I'm writing.
Saturday was my favorite day as I got to take a steam, soak in a mud bath and a massage at the Mount View Hotel and Spa. It was the best of experiences.

Our last day, Monday, we left St. Helena early and drove to San Francisco to spend whatever time we had left in that glorious of cities. Again, the architecture just blew me away and the art in many of the neighborhood streets had fabulous shops and eateries.

So now I'm home doing what I always do. But I will bask in the remembrance of my short trip for many weeks to come.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Wine Country

I'm off to Napa Valley, actually St. Helena, with my friend Lisa for a long weekend that is long over due. I leave tomorrow morning and will return Monday night late. I have scheduled a spa day on Saturday and the rest of the week end is up for grabs.
See you next week.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Altered shoes

Last week I went to one of my favorite haunts...DSW...a discount shoe store with a ton of shoes to choose from and came home with a very simple pair of brown leather flats for less than 19.00 with my $10 off coupon. I just love it when that happens.
I have always been a shoe addict but I developed RA about 8 or 9 years ago and could no longer where any of the shoes (mostly heels) in my wardrobe. I gave away a ton of treasured shoes that I had for a long time and I can tell you it was very painful.
My addiction didn't go away...I still love to buy shoes just different kinds of shoes now. Mostly sandals, casual flats, soft leathers and very, very low heels for that once in six months that I put a dress on.
When I eyed this particular pair of shoes, made by Blowfish, I saw possibilities of doing something fun with them. They originally had a wide elastic band going across the arch which I immediately cut off when I got them home and proceeded to pull from my stash some fun things to make plain into jazzy and fun.
On Friday when I was celebrating my friend Lisa's birthday, we stopped at a fabulous antique button store. I purchased several pairs of fabulous buttons specifically intended for these shoes.
I settled on the big red shell buttons and added antique flowers, embellishments and fiber atop the buttons, poked 2 holes into the leather and sewed the button creation adorning my new brown flats.

Friday, August 15, 2008

This is a view of when I open my eyes in the morning. I think it's a wonderful scene to look at, but what makes is extremely special to me is the 2 floral paintings on the wall.
When I was young I remember my mother worked for an importer of art and frames called ArtLore in Manhattan. She was a bookkeeper for many years there.
My mother had a special flare about her especially her sense of color. I can remember her bright colored flower dresses, shoes and handbag to match. She always complained that her feet hurt but I think it was just an excuse to buy another pair of shoes. I know that one really well. It's probably where I got my shoe addiction.
Anyway, I can recall the walls of our apartment (we lived in the Bronx) were covered with these beautifully framed original oil paintings and these were my favorites.
My mother died going on 35 years now and these paintings are about the only physical things I have left from her. They're quite precious to me. I think maybe I'll get a small framed photo of my mother and hang it right along side of them...yes, I think I'll do that.
Love you, Mom....

My gift for Lisa

My special friend, Lisa is having a birthday on Monday. She is one of those popular gals who has lots of friends and is very social. I wanted to take her to a place that my friend Laurie introduced me to when she was visiting from Santa Fe. Wouldn't you know that it took an out of towner to enlighten me to a fabulous place in my home town...tells you a lot about me and my social life. Anyway, I knew Lisa would love it there...Joan's on Third...really fabulous food, (Joan is a caterer)the right atmosphere, European deli style, with the most awesome homemade desserts that melt in your mouth. Couldn't possibly have any calories whatsoever :)
Anyway, we had planned to go to the Pasadena Bead Show today so I suggested that we celebrate her Bday today then she wouldn't have to worry about fitting me in with her other friends wanting to celebrate her day....etc. It worked out perfectly.
We're both calligraphers and fortunately have a heavy work load...hard to make all day plans. We both had a light day so it worked out just right.
When birthdays and holidays arrive I try my best to make all my gifts. For one thing, I enjoy the process and it's a way for me to give a little bit of myself to the special people in my life. I really like birthdays because they are one at a time and I can put that extra bit of love into my creations.
I knew Lisa admired my mosaic collages and I knew for a long time that I would make one for her birthday. But...............................
My mosaic collages have a word theme and the series that I started was with words such as "Abundance", "Gratitude", "Harmony". "Romantic"...very generic. I usually choose words with 8 or 9 letters and it took me a long time to decide what the theme would be for my dearest friend. I chose simply "My Friend", personalizing the last square.
I was extremely please with the results, proud to give her my gift and felt in my heart she was just as pleased in the receiving.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Just finished an invitation layout for a client getting married in October. Very simple in a beautiful script. I also finished the addressing and they will go in the mail this week. My client, who I haven't actually met physically but know for many years through work, was pleased with the results. This has made my day.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Appreciating my humble abode

I live in an apartment in Mar Vista, a small community on the west side of Los Angeles about a mile and a half from the beach. To the west of me about 1/2 mile is Venice, just north Santa Monica and south Marina del Rey.
I moved to L.A. in 1976 and quickly moved to Santa Monica where my husband and I raised my 2 boys, several cats and our Golden Retriever, Buster. In 2008, thirty-two years later, after many life changes and several moves I am back here gratefully in the place where I truly started my adult journey.

However, because the westside is prime location, thousands of people are flocking here to reap the benefits of our glorious weather where tons and tons of condos, lofts, townhouses, and highrises are being constructed to entice these people to buy and live. What was once a quiet, neighborhood community now is almost a metropolis of well to do people who want to sanction a small piece of desired real estate. Needless to say, my quiet little neighborhood has turned into a bustling community of coffee shops, book stores, up scale clothing shops, restuarants, etc.

I am at a stage in my life where purpose and meaning is important. I want my personal choices to have clarity and substance where I can feel good about myself at the end of each day. This is how I know I've learned some important lessons, that I've grown and feel fulfilled as an adult.

At some point, I decided to consciously live in gratitude. Keeping my focus on the positive things rather than worry about things I had no control over in my life has made a huge difference in the quality of my every day existence. I choose to walk through life with my eyes open and as they say, smell the flowers I see along the path.
My art defines a great deal about me. I earn a living creating, and I spend a great deal of my time doing art in some form or another. For this, I am forever grateful. My environment consists of a colorful, 3 dimensional world that never fails to bring a smile to my face. I wake up every morning to see my 2 kitties curled up at the foot of my bed and an assortment of vinettes around my room of gifts I've gotten, dolls I've made, treasures from the past and present, and photos of family and friends.
I'm a creature who needs lots of color around me so the first thing I do is paint , wall paper, and/or decorate walls. It's my environment that I'm in most of the day, every day and I feel I need to have it keep my spirits alive. So, just like I approach my art, I do the same with the walls that surround me using paint, stencils, rubber stamps, paper, hanging things, writing things and making every corner be alive with an assortment of art from my favorite artists as well as my own creations.
I am so lucky to have so much in my life that I quietly try to give back whenever I can. Living in state of contentment is in itself rewarding spiritually. Staying focused on what I have instead of what I think I need allows simplicity to seem like abundance. My peace is being able to create my art, my world and be happy in it.