Green Tomatoes

With the cusp of autumn near, and ever so slightly cooler temps, this past Sunday my family and I decided to go for a drive in the country.

We drove up to the town of Juliette about twenty five miles from our home. Gorgeous rolling hills, farm land, cool breezes, and wide open spaces greeted us along the way.

Now, I am sure that not many of you have even heard of the town of Juliette, Georgia have you? Neither had I until I moved here.

Juliette was the tiny town in which the actual filming of the 1991 Oscar Nominated and Golden Glove nominated film, “Fried Green Tomatoes” took place. The movie was based on the Pulitzer Prize nominated 1987 novel “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café” by author, Fannie Flagg. The actual Whistle Stop Café was located in Alabama, however.

The town ~ just a minute long ~ still looks as though it is a movie set. It does not look like much has changed since the era depicted in the story.

Rustic shacks of buildings, memorabilia from the movie being sold to tourists, The Whistle Stop Café serving up grits and fried green tomatoes, and other treasures ~ you feel as though you are transported back into time.

The cutest things I found were these hand painted folk art bird houses made from gourds. We passed these along the road into Juliette and I just had to stop and take a closer look.

Each is hand painted by this quirky country woman ~ and not one is the same ~ all so darling. Bless her heart, she should sell them on Etsy! And I should have purchased one to hang in my kitchen or our sun room. How cute would that be? They are too precious to be hung outside. Maybe I’ll go back.

It was a fun day and the next day was the first day of Kindergarten for our little guy.

Have a great week. Next Tuesday, September 1st I will let you all know who the lucky winner is for my give away.

Ciao amici,

Summer Peaches & Hand Painted Tulips

~ Happy Friday Friends ~

Thank you all for your wonderful comments on my booklets. I have made some more and will be listing them in my shops later on this month.

In the meantime I am putting all of your names into a bowl for the drawing on September 1st. Enjoy your weekend.

Ciao amici,


Pretty New Products & A Give Away

When I was in graduate school working on my Masters of Fine Arts degree at UGA, I had the opportunity to design my own course of study in interior design. My thesis was restaurant design and because of that so many courses within the art department were appropriate for me to include in my curriculum. Of course, I chose the best ones! I did fabric design, furniture design, colour theory, paper making and bookbinding. I cannot tell you which class was my favorite ~ I loved them all for very different reasons. They all brought out different aspects of my creativity and there were no limits to what I could do. After all, I was still in school not in the "real world."

I do not have the opportunity to now create hand made paper as I used to while in school, using my old cotton and silk clothing. 'Cooking it in large vats until it was pulp, shaping the mushy billowy pudding-like pulp on the paper forms, pressing and squeezing out all the water, layering each leaf with blotters, and anxiously awaiting for several days the final piece of paper ~ never really knowing how it would turn out. That was the beauty of it all.

Although I do not make paper now, I recently have been working on some new ways to make pretty hand made booklets using my fine art prints and designs with a variety of papers for my Etsy shop and my new Art Fire Gallery, which I have just opened this week.

If you're looking for the perfect place to record your adventures, sketch your ideas, preserve memories, or store your thoughts, look no further than these lovely handmade booklets.

These little books contain twenty four pages of 50 pound acid free sketch paper and ten sheets of transparent tracing paper. The book cover is a giclee print of one of my original gouache designs on 120 pound watercolour paper. The inside cover is printed with a coordinating design.

On the inside of the front cover I have placed a hand cut pocket made from 80 pound textured card stock adorned with vintage millinery, jewels, or other gems. Within the pocket there is a giclee print bookmark I made and tied with ribbons, twine, pearls, and other pretty scraps. The book is hand bound with grosgrain ribbon and tied with a floppy bow. Each is crafted with care and is a one of a kind booklet.

Right now I have just a few listed in my shops, but am working on more. I'd love to know what you all think of them.

Now...I would like to show you what I am giving away in celebration of my one year "Blogoversary."

One of these matted colour photographs ~ both have been favorites on Flickr and in many Etsy treasuries. Clean Laundry has been featured on the Front Page. Pick your favorite.

Precious Pink Cottage

Clean Laundry

A set of laminated magnets ~ Clean Palette and Messy Palette. Both of these photographs have also been in numerous Etsy treasuries. Messy Palette has been in Flickr Explore.


And a pair of note cards ~ these are two of my photographs that were recently featured in Somerset Life.

In order to qualify for the give away and have a chance to have your name chosen, please leave a comment. For those of you who have already left a comment on my "Blogoversary" day on August 11th, you are included too.

In your comment please let me know what you think of my new hand made booklets and which matted photograph you would like to receive ~ Precious Pink Cottage or Clean Laundry. You have until September 1st ~ and I will announce the winner a few days later.

Thank you all for reading what I write and coming back for more. It's been fun so far.

Ciao amici,


Blogoversary & Give Away!

Hello Friends,

It has been exactly one year since I opened my "studio" to you and began this blog. You may remember these little feet waiting at the front door...

...and I asked you to take a seat and enjoy the view while we were still under construction.

Well, it is that little person's birthday today too. Because of that, this post will be brief because I have to get ready for a birthday dinner celebration for our little big five year old.

I did not plan to start a blog on August 11th of last fact I did not plan to start a blog at all. However, I am so pleased that I did. It has been a joy getting to know some of you ~ from Italy to San Diego, from Sweden to Seattle, and all over. It surprises me every day when I look at the map of visitors to my site. I have had almost 14,000 visitors to date, and for me that is a LOT. I know some of you other talented ones out there get that in a month or so, but I am happy to be discovered.

This blog keeps me creative in so many ways. You all know what I mean about that ~ it makes us think about all we do during the day, what we see, what we read, how we express those discoveries here. I think that I will continue for at least another year...

But for now, I want to announce that I am going to be giving away some good stuff {'cannot tell you what yet} to thank you for your kind words over this past year, your acknowledgements on some of your blogs, all the Etsy Treasuries in which fellow Etsians have included my photography and paintings {some of which have even made the Front Page!}, and of course those of you who have purchased and published my work.

So, this is the deal ~ on Friday, August 14th I will post what I am giving away and let you know what the scoop is. In the meantime, there will be snippets and sneak peeks of the goods on my Flickr photostream. There are even a few clues here if you do some clicking.

See you then. Ciao amici,


Seaside ~ My Spot of Sand & Sea Air

Tupelo Pavilion, Seaside

The view does not get any better than this...

~ ~ ~

Shortly after I moved to Georgia, got married, and was pregnant out to here, my husband's family beach retreat on the Coast of Georgia was swiped out from under my swollen feet and sold. I cried for a week and I know it was not just hormones. Growing up on the coast of California, I now was land-locked in Georgia with not a drop of salt water or fresh sea air near by. I said that wanted an annulment ~ I thought the beach house was part of the deal ~ to love, honor, cherish and keep the house at Sea Island. Obviously, I did not get an annulment...instead I went on a mission and found a new shore that we could call our own.

Or does it?

This is the perfect way to begin our day.

But first a tall glass of cool organic lemonade from Raw & Juicy for me...

This Airstream cafe and bistro just moved in on the sidewalk along 30A with several other retro rest stops.

Of course, my husband grabbed a few of the $2 specials to put in the cooler for later on.

The Raw & Juicy bicycle...and I thought my bicycle was all fluffed up!

And the little one in the family had to have shaved ice to cool off, every day from Frost Bites. We tried a different rainbow of flavors each time. They were all so good and cold. I tell ya, that is the business to be in at the beach. They were selling shaved ice snow cones for $4 each. You should have seen the lines when they opened ~ a gold mine!

What is salted caramel anyway? Sounds interesting.

This Queen Bee Cupcake Airstream dessert stop tempted me all week long...I took the photographs with me instead of indulging. Even with all the bike riding, walking, and swimming I saved the calories for other good stuff...

Like these Russian style raw oysters with caviar.

~ ~ ~

There is something about Seaside that stirs me inside. In a way it reminds me of the small town in which I grew up in California, a seaside community on the coast south of San Francisco and north of Carmel. The design of the cottages and the vernacular architecture is so different, the climate is tropical, not cool and foggy in the summers, and the sugar white sand so sparkling clean with no seaweed or driftwood that your feet squeak when the sand flows between your toes. It is simply a feeling of tranquility it gives me.

The shopping is in an open air market place bazaar along side the beach,

where we can pick up a retro vintage tropical tote,

kiss a mermaid for good luck,

or collect some sea stars and shells that are not to be found on the shores below.

Enough of it is time to put on more suntan lotion and sunscreen and head back down to the water.

Odessa Pavilion awaits us,

and so do the gentle crashing waves.

We got busy right away working on sand castles and fortresses.

Until it was time to go back to our cottage.

This was not our shack...ours was called Duet, or as my son used to say a couple of years ago when we were here, "Do It!" But I thought this sign was cute ~ I am sure that someone is having fun here.

We cooled off and rinsed off the sand with the outdoor shower...

Then I went for a ride on my bike along the brick pathways, past colourful cottages, and...

parking my bike in front of my "Precious Pink Cottage" wondered why it was not occupied this week and why not.

~ ~ ~

Seaside is quaint with charming architecture, picket fences, gorgeous vistas of the emerald ocean and crystal clean beaches, meandering sandy footpaths, live oak canopies overhead ~ a classic all American beach town.

After a week of respite in Seaside it has taken me another week to get back into the groove of my routine at home ~ purchasing school supplies for the first time for my little guy (so much fun!), continuing projects that I put on hold, and getting these photographs edited so I may share them with you.

I feel like I should still be sitting on one of these porches with a frosty beverage in my hand, a good book in my lap, and the Gulf breeze cooling me off.

Even the pups have cute cottages in which to relax. I want this and we do not even have a dog yet!

~ ~ ~

Before I finish, you've got to hear this ~ the other day I was going through my drawer of pretty stationery, old letters, and favorite notecards looking for something I needed for some notes I was mailing. In my drawer I came across a faded card that I had at one time framed. (When I was in college I would purchase notecards and frame them for my apartment ~ this was a way that I could have art on my walls at a reasonable cost.) I have since removed this particular card from the frame and because I loved the image so much, kept the card. Not even remembering that I had kept it, I found it as I was searching through all this paper, stopped and realized that it looked so familiar. Turning over the card, I saw that the location of the photograph was Seaside, Florida. The copyright date was 1984!

Perhaps this spot of sand and sea air was a place where I had always wanted to be ~ even before I knew that it existed. At the time, this was just a beautiful image. Now it is the place where my family and I renew ourselves as often as we can.

I hope you enjoyed this retreat vicariously...I could have gone on and on as you probably know. I am refreshed.

Another favorite card of mine, by Italian artist Aldo Andreolo. I purchased his prints when I was in Italy one year.
~ ~ ~

Ciao amici. Enjoy the rest of your summer,