Friday, October 29, 2010

Great Pumkpins!

Happy Halloween weekend, everyone. Any plans to trick or treat?

I love this time of year in our neighborhood. One of the preschools delivers art project pumpkins made by the kids for all the businesses to hang in their windows. They are so cute!

Don't they just make you smile?

I think the one at Pam Robinson's Red Ticking is my favorite--he's a little dazed and confused!

A bit addled at the Ticking!

I can't wait to watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! And to eat pumpkin soup--my friend Dana's is the best!

Have you picked out your costumes yet?

 I hope you all have a smashing Pumpkin Fest and a Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Inspired By...Gretchen Rubin

Hi friends, have you read this book?

 The book.

Gretchen Rubin spent a year exploring how to create more happiness in her life, and wrote a memoir about the experience. I read it recently, and really liked it. In fact, I didn't want to finish it because I liked spending a little time each day reading and thinking about the idea of finding ways to be happier. Gretchen's writing style is conversational--not preachy or self-serious or overbearing. Her book was honest and funny. Reading it was like talking to a girlfriend about what makes us happy.

The Author.
I liked her perspective that to change your life and be happier you don't necessarily need to do something drastic like leave your husband or move to a tropical island. Like Dorthy in the Wizard of OZ, she finds happiness in her own back yard. She also points out that happiness looks a little different for everyone and that happiness doesn't always make us feel happy. Anyway, great book -- and she has a great blog, too. And, I read recently that NBC is turning her memoir into a TV series staring Charlotte York--I mean Kristin Davis. Yay! Fingers crossed it will be good.

Charlotte always made me happy!

I agree with Gretchen that happiness is something you can cultivate in your life and I've always believed that a big part of being happy is appreciating the little things.  Like...

 A good glass of red and a great read. 

Lunch with the girls.  

Sunflowers from the Farmer's Market. 

(All artwork by me.)

The perfect shot of espresso.

One of Gretchen's "Four Splendid Truths" is that "You're not happy unless you think your happy." I think that when we lose site of the amazing and wonderful small details of our life, we forget how happy we are.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Obsessed With...Blue and White

"You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much blue and white." 

Two Chinese Export Ginger Jars I painted as an auction item for a Seattle Children's benefit in 2008

When I emailed the above quote from antiques dealer John Rosselli (interior designer Bunny William's husband) to my fellow blue and white enthusiasts Dana and Elizabeth, they loved it--and added Chanel and Veuve Clicquot Demi Sec to the list of things you can never have too much of. The three of us always seem to have little bits of blue and white following us home. Whether it's a funny little vintage French bowl from the Paris flea market, a set of unmatched Blue Willow Ware plates with no provenance, or an amazing Chinese Export vase, all are equally treasured. 

 Ryan Korban's plates (image from The Selby)

I love it for interiors--a little or a lot. I think my all time favorite blue and white rooms are in the lovely Aerin Lauder's East Hampton home.

Images from Elle Decor

Stunning. And of course, the Queen of Blue-and-Whitedom is Carolyne Roehm.

 Images from Carolyne Roehm's A Passion for Blue and White

Blue and white makes the perfect gift. This little sketch I made of the chair from the cover of A Passion for Blue and White was tucked into the pages of the book as a gift at our Book Club's Christmas present exchange. 

I love it on the table top.

Image from Veranda

 Dinner at ours.

It's always in fashion. 

Image from

Derek Lam sent blue and white down his spring 2011 runway. So did the charming Mulleavy sisters at Rodarte. 

Image from
Ming vases to wear. 

 Image from

Image from

Even on the feet! 

 Image from

But I think the most fashionable use of blue and white was in Roberto Cavalli's Fall 2005 show. 

 Note the red shoes--perfect (Image from

Image from

Just. Wow. Yes, there is always room for more blue and white. Right, Dana and Elizabeth?

 Another of my blue and white series for the Seattle Children's benefit.

What's on your list of things you can never have too much of?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tighten Up

For all my love of autumn leaves and fall flavors, there are a few things about the change in seasons that I dread. One of them is black tights. I'm a dress girl -- dresses are my go-to uniform for work. Maybe a skirt every once in awhile, but dresses are THE staple in my style file. It's one piece. Add an accessory and fab shoes and I'm out the door. Easy. But in Seattle, fall and winter are long, damp and cold. So sometime in October, to keep my legs warm, I'm forced to don the black tights.

Once I start wearing them, it's like my legs are dressed in mourning until spring. By the time March rolls around, my friend Lily and I say that we are ready to burn them all on a black-tight bonfire. Last week I broke down and broke out the black tights, which means that for me fall is officially here. And my legs are hibernating until spring.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Inspired By...Fall Flavors

Friends, what did you do this weekend? On Friday, a rowdy celebration of a dear friend's birthday went well into the night, so when a rainy Saturday evening rolled around, Will and I couldn't think of a better way to spend it than a stay-in date night.

When the leaves begin to turn, I start to crave fall flavors, and typically butternut squash is top of the list.

 I sketched this squash bounty at the Le Marché aux Fleurs during a fall trip to Paris in 1999.

I think my all-time favorite squash recipe has to be Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Back To Basics.

 Love how the orange color pops on my favorite blue and white vintage dishes.

I love the sweet-salt-savory flavor combination of the pancetta with the squash and maple syrup--although I often use prosciutto instead of pancetta. So I whipped up a batch of that (meat-free for my vegetarian husband, lots of prosciutto for carnivore me) and added a salad of arugula and roasted pear (another Back to Basics favorite). Squash and pears are so delicious right now and Ina's recipes so easy that I could hardly go wrong. Add a yummy bottle of red, a fire in the fireplace, some candlelight and port paired with Fran's Gray Salt Caramels for dessert and you get a perfect date-night-in dinner. How easy is that?

Speaking of which, how excited are we that the Barefoot has a new book out this week?

I can't wait to get my hands on it! I just love Ina -- her recipes are never any more complicated than they need to be and always result in something delicious. What's your favorite fall flavor?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Inspired By... Strength and Beauty

Ever since my first visit to the Louvre 15 years ago, I've been fascinated by the Winged Victory of Samothrace, or the "Nike" -- an original Greek statue probably destroyed by an earthquake, found in pieces in 1863 on the island of Samothrace, in the northeast Aegean.
 At the Louvre, Girls' Paris Trip November 2009 (photo by Heidi Diaz)

Every time I'm in Paris, I have to visit her.

Paris Honeymoon 2007

She's been appearing in my artwork for years, starting with a painting trip to Paris in 1999. We had special permission to sketch in the Louvre, so I spent the afternoon trying to capture her strength and beauty. 

I know that the Venus de Milo is supposed to represent the perfect, the classical, the eternal quest for beauty. But to me, there is something about Winged Victory that speaks more loudly and resonates with my idea of what makes someone truly beautiful. She's been a favorite image when I want to recognize the women in my life who I love, and reflect back the strength, grace and beauty I see in them.

Birthday Card for Christina 2010

Birthday Card for Liane 2006

Maybe its because of her role in the 1957 film Funny Face along side Audrey Hepburn, another one of my reference points for true beauty.

Or maybe its just that she's endured for centuries and is as stunning today as when she was created to thank the gods for a naval victory in 190 BC. Even though she has crumbled, and is only pieces of her original form, her beauty endures.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake....

I love this video of Paris Fashion Week highlights. It captures all that's fun about fashion and makes me dream about what I want to wear this spring. "Paris is like a frosted cake," Marc Jacobs says. I have to agree.

A Ladurée wedding cake (image laduré 

Pure fantasy at Chanel (image from

I think Chanel is my favorite--or maybe Lanvin. What do you want to wear this spring?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dreaming Of...London

My husband and I are planning a trip to London. It's been nearly 20 years--unless you count Heathrow, which I certainly don't.

We're staying here:

And eating here:

Tickets for this:

This is definitely on the list:

And lots of this:

Can't wait! The planning is almost as fun as actually going. My usual trick for finding a hotel is to check out Mr. & Mrs. Smith and then cross check against Chic Retreats, take a look at what Gwyneth has to say and then compare with Conde Nast--and then run it by my friend Kelly, a travel agent with fantastic taste. It always works--we tend to prefer small "unique boutique" to traditional "large luxe."  How do you usually find a hotel? Any London "must sees"? Would love to add your favorites to Gwyneth's!


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