Sunday, June 29, 2008

Farmers Markets & Summer Baies (Berries)

French Framboise (Raspberries)

There is nothing like fresh produce from the farm, to the farmers market, to your kitchen. The French love their fresh produce and so do we in California.

Here are a few photographs for you to see what Farmers Markets look like in Paris, France and in Northern CA (where I live).

French produce stand, Rue Cler, Paris, France

This is what a food market looks like in Paris, France. On the pedestrian only Rue Clear street there are permanent food stands open every day of the week. The French are famous for planning their meals based on what is fresh at the market that day.

California Strawberries (Fraise)

California is also know for it's abundant produce and love for food. Back in the early 1970's, famed Chef, Alice Waters started the culinary trend "California Cuisine". She introduced the French tradition of using fresh-in season ingredients, locally grown, at Chez Panise her Bay Area restaurant. She is a big advocate for Farmers Markets.

California Berry Farmer

This is what a small Farmers Market looks like in California on a Sunday morning. The berry farmer's strawberries were gorgeous today since it is peak season. They are grown organic with no pesticides.

No matter where you live in the United States, there is a good chance that you, too, are enjoying California strawberries. California supplies our nation with 83% of its strawberries!

Farmers markets are nothing new. I come from a long family line of farmers. Back in the 1800's my ancestors in Pontefract, England would sell at the town's market square. My Dad grew up on a 100 acre farm in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. As a young boy he remembers his Dad loading up the truck and going in to town to sell fresh produce.

I am a city girl but there are times when I wish I had a little farm. I guess it is in my genes. For now, I shall be content with my little herb garden on my tiny suburban lot and shopping at my local Farmers Markets.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Anthropologie Grand Opening

Anthropologie Grand Opening!

It's hip! It's vintage! It's here!

I just returned home from the (invitation only) Grand Opening Party for Anthropologie at the new Fountains Shopping Center in Roseville.

I love Anthropolgie! They have been around since 1992. I have shopped their stores in Berkeley and San Francisco before most people had ever heard of them. If you love vintage inspired clothing, jewelry and home have to shop this store! You just might feel like you are shopping in a "hip" vintage Parisian boutique!

Anthropolgie inspires me. I love their store displays! Genuine antique props set the stage for their vintage inspired clothes and accessories. They have the most creative and talented visual team that I have ever seen. I love to peruse their stores just for inspiration. No photography was allowed in the store tonight (I was polite and asked) so I could not take any interior photos.

I did manage to get you a few sneak peaks from inside the dressing room though! Here's a look!

Ooh, la, la!
A 1950's inspired Eiffel Tower skirt perfect for your next trip to Paris!

The famous "Anthropolgie capelet".
(All of us knitters want to make this!)

Tonight I spotted some fashion trends. Here are just a few:

Bohemian style colorful print scarves from India (yes of course, I had to buy one!), knit caplets, lacy shrugs, cropped sweaters, 1930's inspired wide-floral "pajama style" pants, a Parisian influence with Navy cardigans & nautical stripes, 1950's full-style cotton print skirts, crochet handbags, go-green totes, sweater clips, plastic floral jewelry, flower accessories for your hair, and so much more.

Be one of the first to check them out. The official grand opening is this weekend!

1182 Roseville Parkway
Roseville, CA
(916) 789-9100
Or, better yet, shop in your jammies at Anthropologie.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Monet's Les Nympheas (Waterlilies)

Les Nympheas (Waterlilies) Matin Panel
Musee de l'Orangerie, Paris

Claude Monet (1840-1926) loved his les nympheas (the waterlilies).

It appears that a special art collector loves them,too! Monet's Le bassin aux nympheas (Water Lily Pond) sold today for over $80 million dollars at Christie's Impressionist & Modern Art Sale in London. It is the most expensive art sale in Europe for the auction house.

I have been fortunate to see Monet's waterlilies up close in Paris. I have admired his paintings at the Musse d'Orsay and at the Musee de l'Orangerie. Both experiences were incredible getting so close to the master's work.

Up close, his giant brush strokes appear quite primitive, almost childlike. Once you step back however, you are swept away by the tranquil beauty of water, lilies and reflection. He is undoubtedly, my favorite Impressionist artist.

I hope one day to visit his home and studio in Giverny (outside of Paris). At Giverny, he drew inspiration from his beloved waterlilies at his Japanese style lagoon. He was passionate about waterlilies the last 30 years of his life. His lagoon inspired some 250 oils alone.

L'ensemble de l'Orangerie

Claude Monet had been painting waterlilies on vast canvases since 1914 at his Giverny studio. He worked on them until his death at 86. One year later in 1927, the Orangerie (an 1852 former orange green house in the Tuileries Garden), was transformed into a museum to house Monet's giant waterlily panels.

Eight panels were installed in two specially-designed, oval-shaped rooms in the Orangerie. Each panel is over six feet tall. If lined up side by side, they would measure nearly 300 feet long. They are magnificent!

Musee de l'Orangerie
Jardin des Tuileries, Paris France

The Musee de l'Orangerie had been closed for six years during a renovation makeover. It's long awaited re-opening was May 2006. Luckily for my husband and me, we just happened to be in Paris in May 2006! We stood outside in line for about an hour to get in the museum for it's re-opening debut. Once inside, we were awed by the giant panels by Monet.

The Orangerie also houses works by Renoir, Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse and Soutine.

Next time you are in Paris, be sure to visit this incredible museum in the Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries garden)!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


1968 edition of Lisette, the French girls magazine.
Happy Summer!

Summer is here!

My summertime memories growing up in sunny California:

water skiing, Discovery Bay, iced tea, Santa Cruz Beach, the Boardwalk, sno-cones, suntanning, Days on the Green concerts, riding my ten-speed bike everywhere, cruising,with a car full of girls, in my 1976 Camero, swimming, 7-11 icees, roller skating, nectarines, apricots, watermelon, cherries, bbq's, having fun, wishing summer would never end...and of course, ice cream!

Wishing you a happy fun filled summer!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hawaii Passion Fruit Tea

Hawaii Tea Factory Passion Fruit Tea

I love tea! I always love trying new brands and new blends.

My neighbor Renee just returned from visiting her family in Hawaii. She knows how much I enjoy tea so she brought me back a box of Passion Fruit tea.

We are in the midst of a summer heat wave so I immediately put the kettle on and brewed some Passion Fruit iced tea. It is wonderful and so refreshing! I made it on the lighter side and added sugar for a tropical sweet taste. I am sure it is wonderful hot but I am now hooked on Hawaii Tea for my summer iced tea! Mahalo (thank you), Renee!

Hawaii Tea Factory is a locally owned business in Hawaii. Their Passion Fruit tea is a blend of pure ceylon black tea from Sri Lanka combined with natural passion fruit flavorings and licorice root.

For a taste of the tropics and mail order visit their website:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Scribble Lace Moss Scarf

Scribble Lace Moss Scarf

I have been wanting to try Scribble Lace knitting for quite awhile now. Debbie New, author of Unexpected Knitting is credited with it's unique design. It is a funky knit concept using a very thin yarn combined with a chunky yarn which creates a scribbly lace effect. There is a pattern for it in the Mason Dixon Knitting book and a free pattern called Loopy & Luscious by Natalie Wilson on

I had the perfect yarns in my yarn stash for this scarf project. Colinette Point 5 is a thick chunky pure wool yarn from Wales and Rowan's Kidsilk Haze is a super fine thin yarn from England. They are a perfect combination for scribble lace knitting.

Scribble Lace is a very easy basic knit/pearl pattern. I knew it would be a perfect travel project for our trip to Newport, Oregon. I selected the yarn colors to make my Mother a scarf. She loves mossy green.

Moss Rock at Newport Beach, Oregon

I named the scarf the Scribble Lace Moss Scarf because it looks so much like the mossy green rocks that I saw on the beach at Newport, OR. The finished scarf also resembles the fishing nets that I saw all over Newport's bayside buildings, too.

I modified two patterns to make my scarf from one skein of each yarn. I used #15 needles and did a 27 stitch cast on. My scarf turned out to be 8" by 60". I added 11" fringe in the Colinette Point 5 yarn. I am going to add some beads to the fringe to give it a "hippie" look!

My Mother loves it!

Newport, Oregon

Newport, Oregon

We just returned home from a week long vacation in Newport and Portland, Oregon. 

My husband is from the small mill town Toledo, which is 7 miles east from Newport and the Oregon coast.  Last month during the first California heat wave (100 degrees in May) , I told my husband "let's move to Oregon!" Well now that we have just returned from Oregon, I realize that I am definitely a California girl! I promise not to complain about the heat here ever again!

While I loved visiting Oregon, I just don't care for it's cool, damp, misty, rainy weather that occurs even in the summertime at the beach. My in laws told me that is why Oregon is so green and so beautiful. Yes, I agree, the Oregon coast is beautiful but I missed the sun!

The trip was for my husband to visit his family and celebrate his Dad's birthday. We also brought our 16 year old nephew Kevin with us. The guys enjoyed a lot of golf time. We did the typical touristy things. We visited the Newport Aquarium, beach combed at the beach, bought salt water taffy and ate lots and lots of seafood!

As for me, I guess it was a time for me to relax. The only problem is, I am not very good at relaxing. I would rather be shopping. Only problem was, there isn't much shopping in Newport, so I did a lot of knitting!

I did check out shopping in Ashland, OR on our drive up and down Highway 5. I loved its boutique lined Main Street and the fabulous yarn store, The Websters.  I want to go back and shop this town! I was told by a store clerk that a lot of people retire there from Marin County, CA. Perhaps that is why there was such a groovy vibe there?

We finished up our trip with a two day jaunt to Portland. My hubby loves books and wanted to take our nephew to Powell's Books. Powell's is the largest independent book store in America. While they shopped for books, I strolled the Pearl District checking out the yarn stores and upscale boutiques.
We had a great trip. When we pulled up to our nephew's home, I told him "it is nice to go on vacation but it is always so nice to come back home!"

And yes, we came back home to another heat wave!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Lavender Hand Creme by L'Occitane

Creme Mains
Lavender Hand Creme by L'Occitane en Provence

My favorite summer hand creme comes in a shiny silver tube and is from L'Occitane en Provence. It is simply the best! It is fragranced with aromatic A.O.C. lavender essential oil from Haute-Provence, which has purifying and relaxing properties. It feels so wonderful on your hands and the best part is, it doesn't leave a greasy film like other fancy French hand cremes do.

I first discovered L'Occitane years ago while shopping on the Champs Elysees in Paris. I have been hooked on their products ever since! I can now buy their products at my local mall but I still love shopping their boutiques in Paris the best! My favorite one is their tiny boutique on the Ile St-Louis in Paris.

L'Occitane always wraps your purchase like a cadeau (a present) in pretty orange tissue paper and ribbon. Oui, a French tradition! They even include complimentary samples for you to try their other products. Their staff is always friendly and offers first class customer service, too.

L'Occitane boutique at the Galleria Mall, Roseville, CA

The company's roots are in Provence. They use natural ingredients. They never test on animals. Read more about the company's story and it's philosophy on their web site. You can proably even locate a boutique in a mall near you.

And, if you can't get to a local or Paris can always shop online: