October 27, 2014

Williams Sonoma in Sonoma California

It's no secret among my family and friends that I LOVE Williams Sonoma. I'm a long time customer and I rarely stray to other kitchen stores. This weekend we took a drive over to Sonoma to visit the new/old store where it all began. Williams Sonoma recently purchased the property where Chuck Williams first opened the original Williams Sonoma, which now showcases items that Chuck originally stalked the first store with, along with current items. This location also conducts cooking classes, and showcases Williams Sonoma's other venture "Williams Sonoma Home." If I were to be locked in a store for the night, this one would be it. Complete with a bedroom, living room, and functioning kitchen, what more could you want? There were wonderful photos through out the store of Chuck, with celebrated chefs and other food icons, along with family photos. The calendar pictured shows the date he opened his first shop in San Francisco.  The bedroom pictured, was the actual room, long ago, that he slept in when he opened this location!
Chuck is a classy guy, and what a wonderful legacy he will leave behind. He just celebrated his 99th birthday this past October 2nd. A fellow libra, and only two days apart from my birthday. They opened this location on my birthday this year actually, and I had planned to go, but didn't want to fight crowds.
My husband worked for Williams Sonoma in their corporate office back in the late 80's, and at one of the Christmas parties, we got to meet Mr. Williams. He is a very soft spoken man and was really friendly to all the employees that evening. I have so many pieces from WS, that if I were to work there, I would probably not have to be trained in product information, hahah! I would actually love to work at ours, but there is a certain employee that works there that would not make it very fun, so until she departs, then sadly no. It's a long story, but the minute I hear her cackling voice I leave the store. Oh well, I guess I will continue to just be a customer, which is alright with me!  Hope you enjoy the mini tour of the Sonoma Williams Sonoma.

October 24, 2014

My Happy Place

I've been a sewing and baking fool these days, and I couldn't be happier. I had a lot of cape orders and some of them have been from desperate parents asking if I could get it there in time for Halloween. I fulfilled all the orders and I do believe they have all made it to their destinations. I received a really nice email from a customer, saying that she thought the cape was beyond perfect, and she wished that I seen the look on her daughter's face when they opened the package. Sometimes I wish I could see the recipients faces. It made me happy that the customer took the time and wrote me an email, instead of waiting to write a review. Sometimes I wonder if the person likes the item, when I don't hear from them, it makes me wonder. I think sometimes that people don't realize when you buy something from Etsy, there is a person at the other end, and not a manufacturing plant making the item that they purchased. If you buy something from Esty, I urge you to take the time to send the maker some feedback or compliment, it means the world to us.
Finally it has cooled down enough that I can turn the oven on in these past few days. I made the blueberry crumb cake again from "Smitten Kitchen," and yesterday I made granola cookies out of the September issue of Martha. The cookie recipe calls for coconut oil instead of butter, and is packed full of goodness. Not too sweet and I love all the add ins, like pepitas, coconut flakes, dried cranberries, ground flax,  rolled oats, and last but not least, bittersweet chocolate. Go check them out here.  A few weeks ago, my beloved Cuisinart food processor broke :( The motor actually still works, but the cover to the bowl broke in the most critical area. I sent away for the part, but because my machine is 14 years old, it did not fit, and now I can't use it :(   On the bright side, I'm going to replace it soon with a Magimix. It is the original food processor made in France. After dealing with the part situation with Cuisinart, I decided to go with this one, since the motor is guaranteed for 30 years and everyone seems to really rave about them. I've saved up most of my pennies, and I'm really close to getting it. I'll do a post on it when I get it :)
I walked out into the garden today and gathered some of the persimmons that are hanging off the tree like Christmas ornaments, and I'm trying to think what I can make with them. I might make some cookies. I want to freeze some so that I can make my mother-in-laws persimmon pudding for Christmas this year. Yesterday, there were two huge black ravens sitting on this tree cawing and I wasn't fast enough to snap a photo of them, darn it! They looked so beautiful against all the orange fruit.
Who's watching "American Horror Story?" Man that show is terrifying, yet you just can't look away. I go back and forth every Wednesday, weather I want to watch it at night by myself, or DVR it and watch it in broad daylight. It just doesn't have the same effect as it does at night though, so I continue to torture my self! Hahaha.
We are looking forward to Halloween this year, as it will be the first time in a long time that we will actually have trick or treaters! Last year we were in London for Halloween, and it is just not the same. They really don't celebrate it like we do here, and I really missed it while we were there.
Well, I'm off to finish cleaning up the rest of the house, to have a cozy weekend.   Have a great weekend everyone.

October 15, 2014

Catching Up

Phew! It's been a while, and all I have to say is that I've been working on special orders. September and October are busy for my little shop. I just finished the hat above for a special order, and I will be making more with this fabric, as it is ever so soft and perfect for a baby gift.  In between sewing away, I celebrated my birthday on the 4th, with a nice day with the family and my yearly birthday dinner at Chez Panisse. Lovely as ever, although I must say I was a bit disappointed that they forgot to give me a birthday candle and birthday wishes as they do every year. I think it is the first misstep from them that I have ever had. The rest of the dinner was wonderful though. Caitlin and Cyrous joined us as well. They were very good to me this year and gifted me the "Boos" Butcher block! I've been wanting this for a while :)  We spent the afternoon roaming around Berkeley and took in the sights and smells of fall. A very nice day.
I finally put out my Halloween goodies, so it feels extra cozy in the house now. Oh, and did I mention that it finally rained and there is now a shift in the weather?! So happy to see grey skies finally! It has been eternally summer here.
A couple of days ago I got a stomach virus, that I feel like I'm still recovering from. Yuck! I would rather have a cold than this! Seems like it came out of nowhere, and thank goodness no one else got it from me, knock on wood. Reminds me also that it is time for the flu shot and to gear up for that aspect of the season.
I had planned on writing more about recipes and food also, but combined with the weather being eternally hot and me getting sick, that has been put on hold a bit. I'll be back with that soon, but I need to recover from the unsettled tummy hahaha.
Right now I can't even believe that it is the 15th and my beloved month of October is half over! The reminder of it almost being over, are the November magazines making it through the mail slot already, with Thanksgiving covers, and going to Target today, you can see Christmas inching in on the side of the Halloween decorations. I just want it all to slow down!!!!
Well, I'm off to clean my tornado of a mess in my studio and start on some more capes!
I'll try and come back sooner than later.......

October 3, 2014

My Dad's Cool Old House

 Back yard
 Pops reading the paper :)
We cooked up a storm, so I could not get a magazine worthy photo of their new beautiful kitchen, but just look at that pretty marble counter top!

 All their appliances are Miele. The vent over the stove top, fans out when you need it. double ovens and a warming drawer. I also love the giant refrigerator.
 Love all the old stone work

 The door to the powder room is the original.
 My step-mom loves cookbooks as much as I do!

 The light from this window was so beautiful in the morning.
 Main living room

 The two photos above are of my dad's studio
 They collect beautiful rugs, and this is one of my favorites.
 Guest room

This is as close to New York as we got hahah.

I always like to snoop into other peoples homes. I like to look at real homes, not stylized ones that are way too clean or does not reflect the people who live there. I thought you would enjoy taking a peek inside my dad and step-mom's new/old home. It was built in the 1800's and it use to be exposed stone, much like the stone inside the house. Its a shame that they covered it up, but it still a lovely home. I love the creaking wood floors, that tell a story about all the lives that once graced the property, and bits of original crown moulding, old doors etc. Like I mentioned before, being from California, where the homes are not nearly as old as those on the east coast, is always such a treat for the eyes.
Their kitchen was totally re-done for them. As busy as my step-mom is with work, she loves to cook and this kitchen gets used! I always love when someone that enjoys food and cooking gets a new kitchen don't you? The old stone fireplace from one of the rooms, makes one of the kitchen walls, and that is my favorite part. The little cabinet in the stone wall is filled with spices, that smell heavenly when you open the doors. It use to have a bee hive oven to make bread from the fire place, which is shown after the double oven picture.
Their home reflects all their travels and their personalities, and it is always fun to visit and see all the treasures all over again. Can't wait to go back again soon!

On a whole other topic, what is up with the weather?! Yeah, I'm talking about the the weather like an old person hahah. Just when I was getting my fall cooking groove on, here comes a heat wave with upper nineties this weekend, and for who knows how long. Like California really needs more heat and no rain. I've been trying to get motivated with other things and pretend that it isn't hot, until I start working in my studio and start to sweat bricks!!! I have a couple hat orders and other pieces cut out and ready, but oh the motivation is so low when it gets too warm out. Whine, whine boo hoo hahaha.
Other than the annoying heat, life is good! Finally getting settled into the house, and finding my work groove. Balancing my studio time with my exercise schedule was a bit challenging at first, but I'm back into it and it feels great! I'm really getting excited about the holidays and for once in a long, long time, I think we will get trick or treaters this year. Every home I have lived in was not trick or treat friendly because of the homes being in rural parts of our town. I can't wait to see all the kids in their costumes. I better get my candy dish ready!
  Hope you enjoyed my dad's house tour. It's mainly for me and for family to see, that have not been able to visit yet, so I hope you don't find it too boring.