Monday, October 6, 2014

napa outing

Before the onslaught of the holiday season, my husband took me on a mini vacation to Napa.
The weather was incredible, 90 degrees, cool mornings and evenings.  Our first stop, Mustard Grill, to have our annual bloody mary with grilled shishito peppers and various other dishes.  Later, we stopped and had happy hour at the Hog
Island, where we dined on bubbly rose and kumamotos, hama hama and the local hog island oysters, so fresh.  I did hit most of my favorite stores; my favorite in St Helena is the Napa Valley Vintage store, unfortunately missed their annual tent sale which began friday and lasted through the weekend. Perused the shelves at Dean and Deluca for ideas for this year's Incredible Edibles class at PS stores in November.  Missed a few stores, but next time.  Finished out the day with bubbly at Domaine Chandon, the grounds are beautiful.  Returned to OxBow Market for drip coffee and C Casas huevos rancheros, outstanding

and off to San Francisco.

Our outing for this trip was lunch at the Slanted Door at the ferry terminal, and of off to SF course Craftsman and Wolves bakery and Dandelion Chocolates on Valencia Street.  Oh my god, the stellar bakery creations are artistically superb.

A treat for the eyes as well as the palate.  Could not decide, chose a boxful of treats and traveled next door to Dandelion, purchased chocolate bars, caramels, peanut tart and a huge s'more to brulee at home.

Nothing better than chocolate.

Unfortunately in traveling these days, we had to chug our sparkling rose at the car rental and leave some behind for the rental staff.  But to top it off, almost missed our flight, confronted by TSA staffer who attempted to enlighten me about the meaning of precheck, which further inflamed the situation, confiscated my Craftsman and Wolves olive oil passionfruit curd and the Coconut butter from Dean and Deluca.  I hope they enjoyed them, as we our names were called on the overhead, we raced to our flightdoor, just in the knick of time. The overwhelming demise of brick and mortar shops, rather than boosting sales in the local economy, I'll have to remember to order online, save myself the agony.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Off to Lopez for the weekend, among the many hikes, we ate, drank and painted. As we exited the ferry, our route took us directly to Sweetwater Shellfish farms, open 24/7 and always stocked with stellar, fresh and in season fruits of the sea. Our choice for today; Manila clams. Our next stop was to check out the always stellar seasonal produce available at Horsedrawn farms.  Our heavenly meal consisted of chorizo and clams, a side of baby swiss chard, which we braised with lots of garlic, evoo and chili flakes, shallots and paprika and crusty bread to soak up every last bit of that incredible clam nectar jus.  A stop at Vito's for his excellant wine selections and stellar recommendations.  The perfect pairing for a delicious meal. 

first application of color

I have had this project on the back burner for several years, hand painting Habutai silk ties for gifts, an opportunity to create something special.   Before leaving for Lopez, the girls were to select an image, photo or render a design for their tie. We transfered the design with carbon paper to our blank ties.
Next, we outlined over the carbon lines with the gutta liquid.  The continuous gutta lines, kept the colors separated, with no bleeding of dye color.  The ties were set aside to dry for approx 30 minutes, a good time to relax, converse, eat, and drink, agreed to reconvene the next morning after our beach walk.


We began painting our ties with a colorful selection of Jacquard silk dyes.  After a few more sessions of painting, our ties would then sit and dry for 24 hours or more. More, being the optimum decision, for maximum color penetration. 

Each tie was immersed in a bath of Jacquard dye-set, vigorously agitating for 5 minutes.  Surprisingly, the dye strength remained without bleeding. The ties were dunked in a rinse of hot, soapy bath with Synthrapol to wash out any remaining dye set solution.  Lastly, a final rinsing to remove any remaining soap and the ties were set aside to dry completely. 

The final process was to outline and touch up details with black textile pens.   

We agonized over the process, but our initial craft project resulted in four amazingly beautiful ties.