Category Archives: Collections and Obsessions

Jeremy Mayes

I buy and commission work by artists that I enjoy viewing. I look all around the world instead of focusing in on one area. I try to find the best artist for the job that I envision. Jeremy had some paintings I saw of motorbikes that I just loved. The paintings had a depth that I was seeking. Does the muffler pipe look too hot to touch? Does the paint look fresh on the bike? Is there a personality that can be understood between the art and spectator?

At the time, I was looking for an artist that would paint one of the Lambretta bikes we own. It is a special bike that was a racer, and a favorite of Roberto. I wanted the painting to really showcase the bike, no background, this was all about the bike. The angle shows the piping of the bike beautifully. The light bouncing off the gas tank, the light on the fender, the nubs on the tires, and all that chrome.

Jeremy even painted the Lambretta in watercolor. Watercolor is the unforgiving media. Yet, when a master works with watercolor it is so beautiful. Nothing is taken from the painting. It is crisp, it is fresh, and it speaks to the viewer.

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Jeremy has done several pieces of art for me, and he has a great eye. Take a look at his some of his other works here.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Nutella

Over Valentines Day weekend I was in charge of Red Velvet Cupcakes for the Pleasant Valley wine Trail, since we are a part of the trail. Everyone had something they made and then paired with a wine. We paired our cupcakes with our Late Harvest Zinfandel. I heard nothing but good things, so I was very happy that it was warmly received.

I made 100 cupcakes on Friday night, and then another 100 on Saturday night. I used the recipe that was passed down from my Great Aunt Nelle. She was a great cook, and it was said in the family that she asked about the recipe one time when she was visited the Waldorf Hotel. I later learned that many southern women told the story about asking for the recipe from the Waldorf. She was a traveler, and was a fantastic cool. I never questioned the story!

My Great Aunt used to make Red Velvet Cake for my dad every year on his birthday. It was his favorite cake. She also would make a mayonnaise cake that was so delicious. Although, I remember that she didn’t like to say the name around me, it made me sick to think of mayonnaise being used to bake a cake. When we would love something that she made, she would give an index card with the recipe to my mom. We would cherish those recipe cards. There was a special wooded box that we kept them.

Never the less, here is the recipe for the cake…

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ pounds canned beets, drained and pureed
  • 1 tablespoon red food color
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature (I make my own by adding vinegar, and waiting for 10 minutes, 
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce)
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Start preheating your oven to 375, drain and puree your beets. If you don’t have buttermilk in your fridge, I never do…Add one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to your cup of milk.

Meanwhile, add your dry ingredients together, add you eggs, beets, food coloring, vanilla, vinegar, olive oil and finally, the buttermilk. Mix until all the ingredients are wet.

Add the paper cupcake holders to the cupcake pans, fill up the cupcake papers about 1/2 full. This will make about 18 cupcakes. They will take about 25 minutes to bake.

While your cupcakes are baking, you can make the frosting…

8 ounces of cream cheese (softened)

1 Stick of butter (softened)

4 cups of powdered sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Blend your ingredients together to make the frosting. I used a pastry bag for the first time last week when I made these for Valentines day. I had to end up asking my husband to take the pastry bag away from me, since mine didn’t look good. His looked lovely!

Now, if you want to add the Nutella, it does taste delicious, but it is time consuming. We took a melon baller, and scooped out the center. After each one was done, we then added the frosting. Like I mentioned earlier, my frosting job was a little frightening, so I had my husband make them look pretty.

 

 

 

Goat Photo Bombs

With all this crazy, wonderful rain, we have to move the goats to the stalls. This is also the time of the year when most of the females are looking VERY pregnant. They love hearing me walk near the stalls in the morning, because that means one thing…FOOD!

Nothing ever goes to waste around here. After we have had the apples for a weekend, we take them back to the farm. The miniature donkeys and the goats enjoy the apple treat. I usually have to hold on to the apple to get them to get the apple started. After a few bites, they are good to go on those apples.

Anything that is not good to give to the goats, or miniature donkeys goes to the worm farm or the compost pile. We are trying to make our vineyard as sustainable as possible, as well as our farm.

Without further delay, here are photos of the crazy goats…

Paul Youngman

We have several pieces of art by Paul in our home. We have two bicycle paintings. I commissioned him to paint the bicycles for me several years ago. I just loved other paintings I saw of his with a transportation subject. I thought he would be there prefect candidate to commission for my bicycles.

I was really happy with the paintings too. The use of color, light, and shadow are perfect. The bicycle has hints that the rider of the bike is going to have a picnic. Bread, wine, and a table cloth are all ready. The faithful dog is ready to go along with the rider. The shadow of the dog is just beside him, and so is the bike.

The architecture of the building says to me that the rider may have chosen the bottle of wine from their own personal cellar. The rider may also be going to have said picnic on their own property.

The other bike Paul painted for me is red.IMG_1917

Diaries and Journals

I can’t even begin to tell you the thrill that I get when I find someone in our family that has a diary or a journal. I have read a few journals of family members, and honestly…once I start reading the journal, I can’t stop. Usually, before I have been handed a journal or diary there is a preface of “there are lots of misspelled words or something to that effect”. I am not reading about a slice of their life without knowing that this person that wrote these words was doing so with little light, some education, and who knows how tired they were. Let’s not kid ourselves reading and writing before 1930 was done at leisure time. Some people had very little, if any leisure time.

If they had a farm, they had to think about their crop. Their crop was their livelily hood, without it they could not sustain themselves. The work was grueling, they were up with the light, and sometimes worked until they had no light. Children had to be taken care of, and the water had to be brought in the house. Animals had to be taken care of, and sometimes there was a crop grown just for the animals.

It is remarkable to me when I stumble on to a person that has something that has been treasured from one generation to another, even with misspellings and bad grammar. In the end that doesn’t matter, its the time they took from their day to give us a glimpse of their life. People they mention, sometimes there are recipes. I have a blueberry lemon cake in one journal that is so wonderful. They took the time to measure all the ingredients for the recipe to hand over to a daughter in law. It was a favorite of her son.

There is one heart wrenching journal that tells of a mom that lost her son. He didn’t die, he went on to disguise himself as an Italian. He was mixed with Black, Native American, and White. He found a job with some Italians that excepted him as he was, but he was infatuated with a girl. He told her he was Italian, and he moved up north to work in construction. His mom got the letter that he would never come back to see her because he didn’t see himself as the mix he was, but as an Italian. He wanted her to know how much he loved her, but hoped that she would understand. Her journal told of her heartbreak, and how she felt betrayed by her son. She would also write how much she loved him, and how her retreat was going down to the river to cry for the son she lost.

Another relative wrote about her family building a town, and having a saw mill. They also had an inn, and one day they found a pregnant run away slave. It was just before the civil war, and they brought her into their home. She would have a little girl and her name was Hazel. Mary and Hazel lived in the house with the family, and my great aunt was named after Hazel. This same family had arguments at the table about how to help the slaves and not helping the slaves. One of the older sons wanted to buy slaves from the market, and then free them once they have worked off what he had paid for the slave. His thought was, if they purchased the slaves and educated them they could have a good life. The father did not agree with the son. He said if they purchased slaves they would be contributing to more slaves being sold. Mary would often tell the family of her days in bondage, and how she was treated before she ran away. If the family were caught harboring a slave, the family would have had to relinquish Mary, as well as pay a $500 fine. During the civil war Mary and Hazel were sent up north, so they would not have to endure the war.

When you are lucky enough to come upon a diary or journal, treasure it! It will transport you to a place that you’ve never dreamed.

Hye Seong Yoon

I believe I own 5 pieces from Hye. I am sure this is my favorite painting I own of San Francisco. The painting screams “San Francisco”. There really is no other place in the world that looks likes this.

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I love the colors she uses in the painting. The blending of the colors to create such a warm mood. This painting ought to be a post card for S.F. The painting lures you into the painting with such a strong pull. The street car is full, as they usually are every day. There are people full of desire to ride the attraction that only S. F. can fulfill.
The rails tell their own story too. They may look bright and shiny in the sunset, but the rails are old. The rails have been there for more than 100 years. Transportation that was created to carry people up the steep hills. The horses could not take the repetition of the hills. The hills are way to steep, and the mud…the horses would slide back down the hill, some horses were hurt, yet others were not so lucky. Many horses lost their lives before the cable cars. The cable is what pulls the cable car up the hill. Just don’t call it a trolly car, the trolly cars run on electricity.

It is beautiful painting, and has so much heart and soul. What do you think about it?

Rob Ijbema

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Instead of posters on the walls in the rooms of my children I allowed them to select art. One of the themes that my son loves is transportation. Green is his favorite color, and he loves races. The Bentley that he liked was an impressive choice. He really enjoyed the other paintings of Rob, so we purchased a few others.

The perceived motion of the car, the reflection of the windshield…it just looks powerful,  there better not be a human in the way of this car. With it’s broad stance, streamline look, it just sticks to the pavement as it travels across the finish line.

Would you like to see more of his work? Click here