Friday, September 28, 2012

Sunflowers and Blue Willow... A late summer Coastal Tablescape

We are so lucky to live in California where we have foggy mornings and sunlit days, and we can hang onto every little bit of summer before we really have a "fall" season.  I was inspired  by all of the gorgeous bunches of sunflowers that are so abundant at roadside stands, our coastside farmer's markets and in our local grocery stores.   Could not resist picking up a bright happy bunch at Trader Joe's!

Then I got to thinking about how pretty they would look with my grandmother's blue willow dishes.... Maybe a late summer tea party setting? 

Step One: Find all of the pieces of Blue Willow.  I packed it up when I moved to California a few years ago, now where did I put the boxes?

Step Two: Sort through my vast collection of sea glass and shells to come up with some pieces that would match my color scheme.  Truly - you would never believe how many pieces of cobalt blue and amber pieces of sea glass I found!

Step Three: Let imagination be my guide.

Blue and amber sea glass mixed with white shells in my sunflower vase.
Vase found at Ikea - set of 3 for less than $15.00

I mixed in some pretty yellow sunflower shaped glass salad plates that I snapped up at Homegoods. Tablecloth is my favorite - $1.49 at Goodwill in Seattle about 10 years ago!  Blue Willow and antique silverware are inherited.

Do you remember my cottage boat rental sign?  
Found at the Fremont Flea Market in Seattle earlier this summer!

This was fun.  I was so glad to see all of those vintage Blue Willow pieces unpacked, they were just hiding in my extra closet waiting for an opportunity to come out and play.  

Have a great weekend everyone!  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Good Morning from Poulsbo

Sometimes the best laid plans just don't work out, and sometimes kids (although he's not really a kid anymore, he's 24) get sick.  Thank goodness for good friends that are there to support you when emergencies happen and thank goodness for all of my (online and off-line) friends that sent prayers and love.

But especially thank goodness for jet travel, calm (wonderful) boyfriends and Virgin Airlines.  Alex called on his way to the ER; one hour later I had booked a flight from San Francisco.  Within 3 hours I was on a plane to Seattle.

Alex is fine, I am still a little shaky.

Cannot begin to tell you all how much it helped to sleep all night in a cozy bed and to wake up at Suzanne's to an absolutely stunning Pacific Northwest day in Poulsbo.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Exploring Angel Island

Some years ago, never mind how long precisely, having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the 
world.  -   Herman Melville

Taken last week from our day-trip to Angel Island, on the Perimeter trail/road looking back towards Tiburon. (added a little Instagram finish!)

I highly recommend this short ferry ride into the middle of San Francisco Bay to Angel Island. Fascinating history of California and so much natural beauty to soak in on a easy day-trip.   Ferries are available leaving the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero in the city, or you can drive into Marin and take the ferry from Tiburon. 

(taken from our picnic spot on Angel Island - Battery Ledyard)

Stunning views, and great places to hike and see the entire bay from a different perspective. If you are not into hiking (walking) you can bring your bike, rent bikes, take a Segway tour, or even take the Tram tour. We did bring our picnic basket, but there is a Cantina and a Cafe on the Island if you forget to pack your lunch!

For more info - check out the California State Parks site: Angel Island

 Have a great Saturday everyone!  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

En Plein Air Art At the Beach

Never mind that I don't know how to paint.  Can't even begin to imagine how to pick up a paint brush, this would still be a dream day of mine.  Beside the sea; breathing in the salt air, feeling the wind on my face, being soothed by the crash of the Pacific meeting the sand...  Might be just the perfect coastal outing for a late summer, early fall day.

Wanna come?  We could plan a picnic? Fill our basket with hot chocolate in the thermos, (I am not opposed to a bottle of red wine!) and some nice creamy brie cheese, and a fresh crunchy loaf of French bread. Maybe we could still find some late summer red-ripe juicy strawberries or delish peaches on our way to the coast?

That does it, I am now inspired! Learning how to oil paint is going on my bucket list.

A few footnotes:
2. A few links for you to learn a little more about En Plein Art! Wikipedia, Outdoor Painter Magazine
2. I found the image on Pinterest, but could not find the original source - sorry about that.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Paella - Peruvian Style!

I invited Tom on a Friday night date last night.  I even wore a dress for the occasion!  What do you think of the view from our ocean side table?  

Seriously, we have to pinch ourselves every time we realize how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place!   

We had dinner in Montara, a tiny coastal town north of Half Moon Bay, and south of San Francisco on Hwy 1.  

Cannot begin to rave enough about our newly discovered restaurant beside the sea - La Costera!  Truly, their dining room and lower deck bar,  are all about the view of the Pacific Ocean. Just driving by, you would have no idea of what is waiting inside. Wide open floor to ceiling windows to the sea, and tastefully decorated in a coastal-seaside style, La Costera proudly claims their specialty in freshly prepared contemporary Peruvian cuisine.  

Oh mi... we sampled three different tapas on their Happy Hour menu, and promptly gobbled up every single delish bite.  The presentation was gorgeous, and every thing was fresh and full of interesting flavor combinations.  Peruvian cuisine may be my new fave!

Moving on to our dinner choice, Tom and I followed our dining out "rule". We always try something that we can't (or won't) make at home.  Last night, we decided to be brave and try this Paella.  The only reason I am saying "brave" is because neither one of us had ever tried anything cooked with calamari (squid) ink. 

Pella Negra 
Saffron rice, Peruvian style seafood paella, with calamari, seasonal fish, shrimp, mussels & clams cooked in calamari ink & salsa blanca

Filled with tender prawns, steamer clams, fresh mussels, beautifully prepared monk fish and calamari.  I can assure you that we were not disappointed.  

We somehow managed to save room for chocolate lava cake for dessert! 

P.S.  Their wine list is Fantastic. Not only some affordable local (California) selections, but also some wonderful different choices from South America and Spain. 

Have a great Saturday everyone!

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Art of Glass Blowing in Half Moon Bay

Well, for me it turned out to be my very own Half Moon Bay pumpkin paperweight, but I digress....

From Ocean Home Magazine - August/September Issue
Last month when I got my advance copy of the latest Ocean Home Magazine, I opened it up to discover a wonderful article about travels and things to do in Half Moon Bay.  As you all know, I spend A LOT of time over there wandering the beaches, picking up sea glass and dining at some of my favorite beach haunts; Half Moon Bay Brewery, Moss Bay Distillery and The Ritz Carlton to name a few.

We were so excited to see Tom's friend Doug Brown, owner of Half Moon Bay Art Glass,  profiled in the article too!  Doug's specialty is his famous, hand blown colorful Half Moon Bay glass pumpkins.   Every single one of these incredibly beautiful pumpkins is uniquely different - cannot imagine how many of these amazing creations he's made.

We jumped in the new Mini Cooper (have I told you about our Mini yet??) to take a copy of the magazine over to Doug at his glass art studio.  He was so happy to get a copy that he invited me back to learn how to blow glass the following week.   Just gotta say; the man is brave and a courageous teacher! "Hot" doesn't even begin to describe molten glass in Doug's kilns - yikes.

Here's Doug hard at work!  I just tried to stay out of the way as he is amazing to watch. 

Finishing touches before being placed in the kiln to be fired overnight.

Whew!  Somehow I managed to spend an hour in Doug's studio without burning myself - 
and look how my "pumpkin" turned out!  I was a little afraid of the glass blowing part, and truly handling the glass is much harder than it looks, but I am pretty proud of my little pumpkin paperweight.

You too, can learn how to do create these. If you are planning a trip to our stretch of the California Coast, or if you are a Bay Area local,  Doug teaches regular classes in his Half Moon Bay Art Glass Studio, for all ages and all experience levels,.  Not just for pumpkins alone, but he's taught classes in creating glass hearts or sea creatures.  It is extremely affordable and fun at only $40.00, and about a half-hour's time.  Plus, you actually get to keep your very own creation!

Have a wonderful weekend! 

Half Moon Bay Art Glass Studio: 650-283-5626

Monday, September 10, 2012

Coastal Monday Office Days...

If only my office looked like this every Monday! 
Maybe one day?

I feel terrible about neglecting all of our blog readers.   Unfortunately, I have been stuck in my office for over a month now - and all my creative ideas are being used up on our new website.  It will be amazing once it is finally done, but at this point it looks like it may be another month or so before the fantabulous unveiling.

So, in the meantime, I am glued to my desk chair editing both sites.  Drinking buckets of coffee, and forgetting to eat... maybe sneaking a chocolate chip cookie or two....

Here are a few more of my dream office spaces!  Maybe after our new website is done? 

     Really not opposed to the mix of faux coral, zebra and wicker either... from House Beautiful

Clean white office with beachy aquas.  Pretty, but my office would be way messier than this!
(from DecorPad)

Coastal Cottage?  A little too cute, and not enough places to hide all of my pieces of paper, and catalogs, and notes.. and pens...

Beach brights from Martha Stewart - aqua is so soothing for us beachgirls...

Maybe something a little sparse?  Love the light and the blue coral in this office space!
 (I think from Coastal Living Magazine)

Ah.... now this would be the life - LOL!
Sent to me by my good friend Lynda! Check out her blog -

This is my office whenever I am home in the Puget Sound! 
Taken in July of this year on my mom's deck.

Happy Monday everyone - hopefully you are enjoying your day, and are not somewhere else besides being stuck in your office.

Relax and Live at the Beach Every Day of the Year!

Most Popular Beach Posts!