Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cow crazy

I don't know what's come over 
me! My mom & I went to visit my sister Linda and her husband Bob in Napa. There were vineyards  everywhere,  and wonderful restaurants full of organic and farm fresh everything. There are shops where you pour your own olive oil into bottles, and cork them. The labels are actually hand stamped. Everything looks old fashioned, but modern at the same time. Artisanal cheeses and chocolates, scrumptious coffee, fresh herbs in everything you eat. Petaluma has an antiques store on every corner, and St. Helena has the most gorgeous shops, with beautiful things that you just don't see anywhere else. Or do you? Everything there just looks so fresh and well designed. Letterpress cards, scarfs that look like little stitched quilts, handmade pottery....even the smallest cafes have a French kind of feel. Francis Ford Coppola's winery, Rubicon, is an elegant estate, with a beautiful view of the Napa Valley, and a wonderful collection of Hollywood memorabilia. The Hess Winery, way up in the hills, has a stunning collection of modern art. Not to mention the fact that everyone in Napa looks so attractive and a little artsy. It's Northern California. The minute you land in San Franciso and walk out into the terminal you feel the difference. Even the airport is sophisticated. There are murals everywhere, and a museum quality exhibit on the history of television! I guess the effect my visit to the epicenter of food and wine had on me was that now, all of a sudden, I really want to design a line of tableware....plates, napkins, tablecloths, the whole deal. So I think I'll start with  farm....can't you just see it, with a bottle of fresh white milk on the table? Maybe a platter of fried chicken, and a big serving bowl of mashed potatoes? A big supper to be eaten on the porch...and perhaps the stars and stripes will be hanging outside. It will be very vintage Americana, with a folk art kind of bent. Red, white and blue, or black?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Long Beach Island

I can't think of a more relaxing place than the beach. This summer our family spent a few days at Long Beach Island, right before Hurricane Irene. It was beautiful there....sunny and warm. Marie Line Noonan was there from France with her children, Edward, Tess, and Zelda; and all the cousins had a great time hanging out, lying on the sand, swimming, eating at the local places, and going to the amusement park at night. And they never stopped talking! My son Ray's friend, Patrick Chabot was there from Virginia, and he fit right into the Noonan mix. Of course, we all had to flee early because of the approaching storm, and no one had quite enough gas in their tanks....there was none left on the island, to add to the stress. Everyone made it home, and we continued the party at our house the night Irene was to hit. But for a few days it was sunny and relaxing, and luckily I had brought my watercolors with me. Barbara (top) and Marie Line (bottom) sat and read while I did some quickie little paintings of them, and we had a great time chatting. It was so windy that day that sand got in all the paints, and is stuck on the paintings. I feel so lucky to be in such a big family, and I always tell the boys how fortunate they are.