Friday, September 30, 2011

Beach House Photo Friday

Okay, I admit it.   I love venturing over to Pinterest for inspiration, I have collected so many different ideas that it's difficult to decide which one to share first!

Discovered this dream bedroom photo overlooking a broiling sea, in Carmel California.  If this was my bedroom, I would have a difficult time ever leaving.  Can you imagine it?  Nothing but wide open ocean and sky....




A lit cozy fire,  I would snuggle up in bed with a pile of soft luxury down pillows, my stacks of unread design books and a custom made vanilla latte from Tom.  Classic Sarah Vaughn or Billie Holiday on the stereo,  I could happily wile away an entire weekend just simply enjoying the ever changing Pacific Ocean views.

Love that this design only features natural elements and simple furnishings to enhance the true beauty outside.  No unnecessary distractions.....

I might add just these few coastal home decor ideas, keeping it simple and natural.






For the complete story visit the "Twisted Sifter" blog and see even more pictures of this gorgeous house http://twistedsifter.com/2010/01/oceanfront-view-property/

Have a great weekend!






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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Steamed Clam Decadence

Currently, I am on the hunt for the perfect piece of driftwood for a fall coastal centerpiece idea that I am putting together.  Coastal fall ideas are challenging, and I am trying to use an idea that I saw at a Coastal Living Idea House that we were part of  in 2006, in Pacific City, Oregon.  

Great excuse to go to the beach!  Yes, we did walk this entire stretch at Pescadero yesterday, to find that driftwood. 

Had a great time exploring tidepools full of starfish and sea anenomes and watching harbor seals sunning themselves on the rocks. Love these kinds of afternoons! 

After a few hours, when we got back into the car, with our coveted beach driftwood and sandy feet,  we realized that we were starving!   We both love steamed clams, and the more we thought about our most recent favorite bowl of steamed clams at the Moss Bay Distillery, the more I thought I might be able to recreate them.  
Here's what I came up with.  They were rich, decadent, and  incredibly gourmet.  Not to mention, super easy!

Caron's Steamed Clams + Sourdough Toasties
Serves 2

1 1/2 pounds of scrubbed manilla steamer clams
1 stick of butter - don't skimp!
1 yellow onion - chopped
1/3 cup shallots -chopped 
2-3 garlic gloves- chopped
1 + cup cherry tomatoes - sliced in half (I like the organic multi-colored ones)
Fresh chopped Italian Parsley
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1 1/4 cup Chardonnay
1 cup water
salt and pepper if desired

1. Slowly melt butter in deep saucepan
2. After butter is melted, add in onion, shallots, and garlic.  Saute until bubbling and everything is limp and almost translucent
3. Add in tomatoes, saute until for 5 minutes or so.
4. Add in Chardonnay
5. Add thyme and marjoram, and cook until wine is slightly reduced.  
6. Add in water and bring back to simmer.  When broth is once again simmering, add in clams.  Cover the pan with a lid and let steam, until they open.  Do NOT over steam or your clams will come out rubbery (yuck)

Sliced a sourdough loaf into thin slices, butter one side, and liberally sprinkle Parmesan or Asagio cheese
onto each slice and put into 425 degree oven. Roast until cheese is melted and bubbly.  You could also use the broiler, but I think roasting them makes for a little crunchier bread.

A nice Chardonnay to drink with your gourmet steamer clams is also highly recommended. Our choice last night was a clean, crisp 2009 Valley of the Moon Chardonnay from Sonoma.   

Heavenly....

Have a great Sunday!  




Monday, September 19, 2011

Pesadero Rocks

Ah... what a wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  Tom and I climbed up on one of the many rock outcroppings at Pescadero Beach,  and found a spot just large enough to sit and hold hands. Soaking  up the blue sky and coastal scenery, we simply breathed in salt air, salt spray and let the blue sky infuse us with a big dose of Vitamin D.



 It was perfect.

Happy Monday everyone - enjoy my "beach break" while you run off to tackle another great week!


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Coastal Wildflowers In the Dunes...

Yesterday we volunteered with Tom's company to do a little "weeding" in the dunes at Half Moon Bay.  Non-native plants vs. native plants, who knew there was a difference?

For almost 3 hours we pulled out mustard plants, purple radish, ouchy thistle plants and white hemlock plants (super poisonous).   They all have bright, pretty flowers, and look so innocent, but apparently they have taken over and are choking out all of the native California coastal plants.

Animals and birds that live on the coast get confused because they don't eat the non-native plants, so it's really important to restore the native vegetation. With many volunteers, and with  many  hours of hard work,  the park service has done a fabulous job!

Now that I know which ones are not the "good" plants, I am sure that I will be yanking them out of the ground on our beach walks. These Pink Naked Ladies are one of these that I will be pulling . Dang, I like those!  Maybe I will just bring them home and put them in a pot on my deck?

Yeah, I am now sure that I drive Tom crazy.  (he is such a good sport!)  Hmm.. thinking that gardening gloves might be one  more thing to throw in my beach bag?

The day was well worth it.  We all felt like we had accomplished something when we looked around at the piles of "misplaced" plants that we had managed to pull out of the dunes.

The day ended with my blonde hair full of sticky, (like tar-pitchy sticky) seeds and burrs.  Ah,  I was the picture of loveliness!

 But, I did manage to catch this tiny honey bee nestled among the bright yellow petals of this native evening primrose....




Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Island

This is kind of a funny story. I met Gerri Hyman, the artist behind "My Island",  on Twitter about a year ago, and was completely intrigued with her original designs, but wasn't sure exactly how we could incorporate her art into our product mix.  I actually kind of forgot about them,  unless I saw her occasionally pop up in my Twitter stream.

And then....we stumbled upon her fabulous designs at The World Market Show in Las Vegas.  Tom and I were strolling the aisles, actually getting a little discouraged about the selection of interesting coastal home  products.  At the end of one of the aisles, we could see COLOR.  

Lots of bright deep colors, mermaids, tropical images and whimsical sea creatures... wow!


Gerri was in her booth with her mom - their whole family had come to the Vegas show. Good excuse for a vacation, just too bad that they had numerous plane debacles and it was 104 degrees! 

 As soon as I started looking through all of her art, I recognized her colorful creations. And also immediately realized that Gerri was one of my Twitter connections.  How fun to actually meet a Twitter friend in person!!!  

She is such an incredible artist, with a real talent for capturing whimsical coastal ideas and turning them into something special for beach lovers.  Not to mention, she is an absolutely lovely person. 

I knew in an instant that her fun original art designs would work perfectly for our beach house customers.



I think you will absolutely fall in love with "My Island" and the bright, fun colors and whimsical designs all inspired by Gerri's summers spent on the North and South Carolina Coasts! 












In Gerri's words "My creations are not meant to be too realistic in color and shape; but are representative of the sea life, fowl and foliage on my imaginary island... better known as My Island"   




I think living on Gerri's Island would be the perfect place for me.  Well,  I might invite Tom along, after all he did carry all of the luggage ( including the 100 pounds of catalogs that we brought home!) on our trip to Vegas.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nautical Luxury from Kevin O'Brien Studio


Kevin O'Brien Studio is a textile design company based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  I discovered their original nautical linen pillows in one of the many trade magazines that we use religiously to find new product.  (it's not as easy as you think!) We fell in love!  First with the linen luxury, then the completely original hand-printed designs,   and then the story of their company....

Taking original artwork designed by their creative director (O'Brien), the studio artisans turn it into amazing, colorful products which are made by hand.

O'Brien began the company in a barn in 1990, painting artwork directly onto silk scarves.  Eventually he started hand painting yardage of silk velvet and sewing it into stunning throw pillows, the textile product collection that KOBS is most well-known for.
"The way I remember it there was this huge loft in the oldest part of Philadelphia.  It was filled with the most splendid shimmering fabrics hanging everywhere.. from the ceiling drying, against the walls being painted, even from the fire escape.  That was in 1997"  Studio Manager,  Angela Romano-Vosburgh
Can you imagine??  I would have been in heaven among all of that incredibly beautiful fabric!
When I am searching for coastal living  home decor products for our online store,  I believe it is important to find companies that have a vision for the future  - one that includes fair trade and sustainable practices.  Kevin O'Brien Studio is one of those companies that we believe in.   They are creating elegant linen coastal themed pillows from skilled artisans - providing jobs, education opportunities, and a chance for a real future.

One of their first venture overseas included a trip to Nepal, where they have established a partnership with 35 local artisans.  In Kevin's words - 


"This beautiful country has a lot more to offer than tall mountains. Squeezed between the world’s two most populous and productive countries (China and India), the skills of the Nepalese are often forgotten. Even more valuable is their patience, beautiful attitude towards life, and eagerness for opportunity. We have tried to provide that opportunity to a group of 35 people who work as a collective, doing hand-weaving and hand-embroidery. 


This is how our linen and merino wool products are made for our pillows and bedding. When the opportunity came to learn screen printing, it was the sari-clad women who jumped at the chance to learn something new. We have built a small screen printing shop at the compound, and it is now their responsibility to print all of the fabrics which are then embroidered by the men and women."

Just see what they've created!   A whole line of unique, nautical themed large luxury linen pillows.  Hand screen-printed designs on elegant linen pillows, all with zippers and soft feather-down filled.   Can't decide which ones I need.... want... crave....










(A selection of these pillows can be found online at Caron's Beach House)

P.S.  We do have a FREE shipping promotion going on right now too!   "MyIsland" is our secret code!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Sea Glass Winner!

Thank you to everyone that entered our "Sea Glass Hunter's Handbook" giveaway.  We had so many wonderful stories on the blog, and on our Facebook page - I wish that I could send everyone one of these fun little books!

Vicki is our Winner!  If you haven't had a chance to read her blog - make sure to stop by "2 Bags Full....",  Adventures  in travel, knitting, and blessings in every day life!  

I love sea glass- am totally obsessed with finding sea glass treasures. My favorite find- a secluded little beach in Bermuda- totally covered with sea glass! I'd love to win this book!"

I borrowed Vicki's photo (to the left)  from her blog post that she wrote about her travels to an incredible sea glass beach in Bermuda.  "Washed by the Sea"   Her story is a must read for sea glass hunters and fans!  You will be simply amazed at the sea glass covering the beach, and you might be more than a little envious.   I know that I am...

The "Sea Glass Hunter's Handbook" can be ordered for 20% off at Liberty Bay Books if you don't already have your copy. Ships within a few days right to your house.  

Thanks again!!! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September Farmer's Market - A Photo Montage


There's nothing quite like the glorious colors of nature's coastal farm bounty on a September Sunday. Walking through our local farmer's market,  in foggy San Francisco, my senses were simply overwhelmed this morning with the varying shades of reds, greens, purples, yellows, and oranges;  the feel of velvety purple figs, and giant yellow California peaches, the natural shine of gorgeous bell peppers and deep red tomatoes,  combined with the fresh clean aromas of luscious ripe fruit, of just picked cilantro and basil, and strawberries just crying out to be eaten.














We will be eating very well this week, and I am once again reminded at my good fortune to live in America on this tenth anniversary of 9/11.  Wishing you all a very good September Sunday with your friends and family.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Adventures in Ballard at the Walrus and the Carpenter


Suzanne had been waiting patiently for us to get to Seattle, so that she could take us on an adventure in Ballard at the Walrus and the Carpenter, an Oyster Bar.   Have you ever heard of this restaurant?  They've been written up in many publication including;  Bon Appetit, The New York Times and The Seattle Times. And now famously on my blog!

Such a fun place!  Allison (my 26 year old daughter) didn't think that we were "hip" enough to hang out in Ballard,  ha - we showed her.  Apparently The Walrus and the Carpenter is the "hot spot" for happy hour, so we had to wait 45 minutes to get our very own table.  It's tiny, loud and is filled with great music.


LOVE the chandelier!  I hope you can see it in these photos - it was huge, made of iron, a little rusty, and all shaped like white coral. Hung from their white washed beamed ceilings with a heavy duty white-rusty link chain.

Totally awesome!

Can you see the wire baskets all around the bar?  These are filled with different varieties of oysters from all around the Puget Sound area, with tiny chalk boards in each basket indicating their origin.

Sweetwaters, Sammish, Effingham, Barron Point, Eagle Rock....

The menu changes every day, but what you can count on is,  fresh Pacific Northwest oysters delivered every day.   Here's John and Suzanne toasting a wonderful sparkling pink champagne with their oysters.  I lost count of how many oysters Tom, John and Suzanne polished off!  

Everything on the menu that we tried was absolutely wonderfully delish!  Scallops wrapped in bacon, fried oysters with cilantro aioli, some kind of spicy pork meatball - my favorite was the red ripe tomatoes sprinked with vanilla sea salt and yummy olive oil.  My mouth is simply watering remembering those tomatoes... we've even tried to recreate them. Not too much success so far.   We will keep trying!





Oh mi, I almost forgot the desserts!  Fresh blackberry pana cotta and some indescribably yummy brule'd fresh peaches from a local Northwest farm. 

And yes, even though we are not super cool and hip, Allison decided to join us. Maybe it was the free food....

We highly recommend a visit to this tiny specialized oyster bar if you are anywhere near Seattle!   The Walrus and the Carpenter




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