Things I’m Digging – Fall 2014 – Reading Edition

Things I’m Digging – Fall 2014 – Reading Edition

Hi lovelies. As I write this, it's raining buckets. I have the fireplace going and am wearing the requisite rainy day attire of fuzzy socks and a big sweater. Not only is it Halloween, AND the San Francisco Giants Parade, but it's also my birthday weekend. Rain was not supposed to happen. I actually don't have any big plans. Since the b-day party a couple of weeks ago, it's been a festival of coffees, lunches and dinners with girlfriends.  I prefer it that way – in ones and twos – and feel incredibly blessed to have the circle of amazing friends that I do. So, this leaves a big fat birthday weekend with lots of time to read! As such, I thought I'd share my latest crop of favorites in case you might be finding yourself doing the same.

xo

Serena

FictionA Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable

AParisApartment

I was sent a pre-release copy from the publisher and read it over the summer. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Very descriptive especially for those of us who love art, interiors and France.

Here's what Booklist says about A Paris Apartment:

Shuttered for 70 years, the ninth arrondissement apartment is a treasure trove for furniture appraiser April Vogt. Plus, an extended trip to Paris allows her to avoid her troubled marriage. As April uses the diaries of Marthe de Florian to establish provenance of the pieces, she becomes obsessed with Marthe’s Belle Epoque exploits, her rivalry with Jeanne Hugo (Victor’s granddaughter), and her path from Folies Bergère bartender to renowned (if forgotten) courtesan. All the while, April struggles to forgive her husband’s infidelity, a situation not helped by the presence of Luc Thebault, the estate’s solicitor, who seems determined to make sure April doesn’t work too hard. Gable’s debut is strongest when Paris is the focus, whether it’s suffering a rude waiter at a corner bistro in the present day or dripping in jewels and furs and being bored by Proust in a café at the turn of the century. Some of April’s actions late in the book will render her unforgivable to many readers, so if sick parents and infidelity are red flags, pass on this one. Otherwise, vive la Paris apartment! –Susan Maguire

 

 Self-Help  Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

DaringGreatly

Almost two years ago, when I was going through an extremely challenging time personally, I stumbled upon a TED talk given by Brene Brown about vulnerabilty (watch it below). At that time, there were 7+ million views. Now there are 17+ million. It was a life changing moment, because up until that point, I lumped vulnerabity under the heading of 'Weak Characteristics'. Wrong! Her work on this subject, which is detailed in her book Daring Greatly has words of wisdom for all of us, no matter what place in life we happen to be. It takes a tremendous amount of strength to be vulnerable, especially if you've been hurt. If you are feeling scared to go forward into the unknown – whether it's starting a new business or opening your heart to love again, and everything in between, read this book. You will feel better, I promise. 

  

DesignModern Country by Caroline Clifton-Mogg

I was incredibly honored to recieve a copy of this beautiful book from the Publisher. The images are absolutely GORGEOUS! As you might guess, this book conveys my favorite style – comfortable, cozy spaces that also have a modern twist. 

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Blogs/WebsitesThe Scout Guide

Fall arrangement - TSG

MInterirosAre you familiar with The Scout Guide? In case you aren't – they are beautifully curated city guides for most major US cities, each filled with the best of what's to offer locally in that city. I just discovered they also have a webiste and blog highlighting small businesses, local artists and hometown favorites in the various cities they represent! A visual treat and great resource when planning a trip.

Have a wonderful Monday!

 

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FarmHouseUrban Kitchen – Pumpkin Bread, a Cookbook and My New Favorite Food Blog

FarmHouseUrban Kitchen – Pumpkin Bread, a Cookbook and My New Favorite Food Blog

Hey Pumpkin, Happy Thanksgiving to you! In keeping with the holiday we most associate with feasting, I bring you a recipe, a cookbook and a cooking/food blog I think you will adore. 

But first… Thank you my dear readers for sticking around and being so lovely always. When I hear from you it makes my day and fuels me to keep going. I wish each and every one of you a day of comfort, peace and joy and hopefully a delicious meal shared with those you love.

I have told you about the Tartine Cookbook before and the story behind how this recipe came into my life (read it here), but I don't think I have shared the actual recipe with you. So here it is.

It is more of a cake than a bread- small, delicate crumb, sweet and lightly spiced. Perfect for breakfast, with tea, as a midnight snack or as I am going to do tomorrow – to be given as a hostess gift.

Tartine Bakery resides in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco. 

 

Tartine Pumpkin Tea Cake

1 2/3 cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp (7 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 ml) baking soda
1 tbsp + 2 tsps (25 ml) ground cinnamon
2 tsps (10 ml) nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground cloves
1 cup + 2 tbsps (255 g) pumpkin purée
1 cup (250 ml) vegetable oil (like safflower or sunflower)
1 1/3 cups (270 g) sugar
3/4 tsp (4 ml) salt
3 large eggs
2 tbsps sugar for topping
3 tbsps pepitas for topping

Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×5-inch loaf pan. (You can do this recipe with a stand mixer or by hand.) Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves into a mixing bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat the pumpkin purée, oil, sugar, and salt together until well blended. Beat the eggs in one at a time, making sure each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next one. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the flour and mix until just combined. You don’t want to overbeat the batter as it will result in a tougher crumb. Then beat for 5 to 10 seconds until smooth. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and tap the pan on the counter to help flatten the batter out. Sprinkle the sugar and pepitas on top and bake for about an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let sit for 20 minutes. Invert the pan onto a cooling rack and flip the cake out. Turn the cake back right-side up and let cool completely. Serve at room temperature. Lasts about 4 days (well-wrapped) on your counter or up to a week in the refrigerator. Serves 6-8.

*Note – I don't use the pepitas (pumpkin seeds). I only usually have Canola Oil and that works fine.

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To take a look at or purchase the Tartine Cookbook, click here.

My favorite new cookbook (both new to me and new on the shelves) is from the Seattle institution – Macrina Bakery. I cooked and baked my way through the pages of the first book and was just given the newest treasure trove of delectible recipes by my bff. 

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Seriously, has there ever been a more beautiful cookbook cover? Trust me, the rest is just as good.

To take a look at or purchase "More from Macrina" click here.

My newest favorite cooking blog is Alexandra's Kitchen. For awhile I was on a roll, making every recipe she posted – each one filled with fabulous photography and sprinkled with anecdotes of her own life and experiences. I need to play catch up…You will love it.

Alexandra's kitchen

To go to Alexandra's Kitchen blog, click here.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

 

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Behind the scenes at a photo shoot and a thank you!

Behind the scenes at a photo shoot and a thank you!

Hey sweet people. Hope you had a wonderful weekend and if you celebrate Easter, hope you had good weather for hiding eggs! After an incredibly restorative couple of days, I feel much, much better 🙂

One of the highlights of last week was a photo shoot of a kitchen and family room I recently completed. The magazine doesn't know which issue it will be featured in yet, so I can't show much from the shoot until after it hits the news stands. In the meantime, here are some behind the scenes photos I took.


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Stylist Sarah at work.

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And one that the amazing photographer Paul took.


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I want to thank my friend Cecily Brooks Mendell for including my shop in her round-up of favorite places in the Bay Area! She was recently interviewed by the UK blog Confessions of a Design Geek which you can check out here. Cecily writes a fantastic life + style blog called Cecyj, which you can go to by clicking here. If you're not already a fan, you soon will be!  I am so honored to be included in this prestigious list of places when there are so many other great ones in our area! Thank you Cecy!!!


Cecyj - confessions of a design geek
On house news – the painters will be done tomorrow! Paper and tarps will be gone and lots of installs are happening this week.  I can't wait to share it with you!

Happy Monday to you!

 

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Art breaks

Art breaks

It's been a crazy week with several projects in the hopper all requiring creative attention at the same time. I get overloaded when I have to switch gears too much in a short period of time. Getting lost in a mini art break really helps me reboot.

I recently discovered an incredible blog of American art. It is so well curated with paintings from present day to over a century old, you could spend hours falling into it.  Grab a cup of tea and take a look – americangallery.wordpress.com.

History Lesson - Bo BartlettBo Bartlett

Who-will-he-ask - Amos Sewell
 Amos Sewell

Small_Retread Fred's - Andrew Wyeth
Andrew Wyeth

Another favorite art escape is Etsy.  Most of you are probably familiar with this website that sells only handmade items individually listed by the artist, but if you've never visited, you're in for a real treat. My favorite way to explore Etsy is to keep the search as narrow as possible.  These came up when I searched for "original watercolors".

Watercolor - Juri Romanov

Juri Romanov 

Watercolor - Louise van Terheljden
Louise van Terheljden

Watercolor - dear pumpernickel
Dear Pumpernickel

 

Recently, I met with a new client and stopped in my tracks at a painting in his living room by one of my all time favorite artists – Tony Scherman.  The painting was a black still life that looked similar to this one.

Tony scherman

Sometimes great art (as in art you love) can be found in completely unexpected places. Today my son and his jazz trio had a 'gig'  at an art show/reception for the winners of a high school art competition.  

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Redwood High School jazz trio – my son Luke on bass guitar 🙂

The art on display was very impressive especially considering the artists are all in high school. 

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Art5Art4- marin art school winner
This one won best overall.  Digital illustration with ink. I encourage you to click on it to enlarge. I adore it, and fortunately it was for sale! 

I've been on the lookout for local artists for the store lately and have a few great ones targeted. If you know of one (or are one!) please contact me.

In the meantime, I have only one painting left in the store!  It happens to be my favorite – 'Silver Lining' by Seattle artist Bryan McGuffey.  It was slightly hidden in a corner, so I'm posting it for anyone who might be interested. Price is $2,800 and measures 36" x 36".  We ship anywhere.

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Happy start to a new week and hope it includes an art break or two!

 

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Simple Greens

Simple Greens

I just discovered the most beautiful fresh holiday wreaths I have ever seen and wanted to quickly share the source with you!

The wreaths are made by Wintersteen Farms – a family run business on a 36-acre Douglas and Noble tree farm in Oregon.  The wreaths are $34.95 and come with a 2' piece of cream satin ribbon for hanging.

Wreath-dreamywhitesblog

I just love the fullness and simple mix of greenery and pinecones. 

I found these wreaths on the blog Dreamy Whites.  Another wonderful new find!  By the looks of her blog, I think the above photo is from her home. Isn't it beautiful?

To place your order for Wintersteen Farms Wreaths click here.

Another wreath variety that I really like is dried.  I especially like that they're meant to be used year after year.  This year, I ordered these beautiful dried magnolia branch, pomegranate and twig wreaths for the store.  We have sold out of all but one!  

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Here's a photo I looked hi an lo for and couldn't find for my last post on holiday decorating.  I just love the simplicity.  What do you think?  

Simple tree in wrapped pot

In the store, we have the sweetest little living pine trees.  They make great teacher and hostess gifts. All packaged and festive in burlap and velvet ribbon – they're ready to go! 

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Still working on my list, how about you?


 

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vitamin i

vitamin i

For those of us whose job requires creativity as well as those who appreciate being surrounded by beauty, we all need regular doses of inspiration to keep the juices flowing.  A shot in the arm of something beautiful whether it be a swatch of fabric, a meaningful story, or a pretty photo just makes us feel better. 

I thought a good way to start off the week is to share what has given me inspiration in the last few days – my 'vitamin i' – so to speak! I hope they inspire you too…

Canopy bed

I've had this photo for a really long time and don't have any recollection of where it came from.  If you do, please do tell!  It's so fairytale-like isn't it? A reminder to look for opportunities to be whimsical in design and in life.

Hunter boots

I'm going to nyc in a week and just started to think about what to pack. Last January when I went, I did not pack my Wellies thinking they would be too un-chic for nyc and I so regretted it! It snowed and the puddles at the curbs were like a foot deep.  I found this photo after I got back and saved it to remind me of how cute (and yes, chic) they can be and how everyone wore them with thick leggings and parkas. I realize it won't be snowy by next week, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't giddy about the cold weather outfit options!  

Pear and almond choc cake-honeyandjam

This is – ok brace yourself – pear, almond and chocolate cake!  Sin on a plate I tell you. I discovered this recipe and this gorgeous blog Honey and Jam recently and am hooked on the recipes and the amazing photography.  My own food photos are usually pretty bad, hard as I try to improve, so my appreciation for good food photography is quite high. This blog doesn't disappoint and has great props too!!  Do me a favor and don't read her "About" page until after you've looked through her blog. You won't believe how old she is!

Flor

Does anyone else get the Flor catalog? I've been getting it for years, although I don't usually pay much attention to it until something on the cover recently caught my eye. When I opened it, I was quite literally "Flor-ed".  The styling is superb.  Made me actually want to buy those carpet squares for a second! To get inspired, click here to see their online catalog.

Have a wonderful Monday, and as I tell my kids every morning 'be your best self', and of course, don't forget to take your vitamins!


 

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