Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Few More Wineries

As promised, I will share with you our wine and food tourings from the Napa and Sonoma Valley today. Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful day and so we decided to head out to Sonoma. We walked around town and visited a couple of our favorite shops and had lunch at Murphy's Irish Pub. We ate lunch there last September when we were in town and it was really good so had to go back. As we ventured around the square we also found a shop that had all kinds of Fair Trade items so I purchased a few of their hand made wrapping paper from India. The kitchen shop is a lot of fun to walk through also.

For our wine venture we decided to hit up one of our favorites which is Imagery. They have a wonderful art gallery of original pieces that have been featured on their wine labels. All of the art pieces must have the Parthenon located somewhere on it. It is always fun to see if you can find the images in each piece of art. Here is DH in the Gallery, and yes that is a glass of wine he is holding.

Our surprising stop was on the way home but just a couple of miles from Imagery and that was the BR Cohn Winery. It was there, so I had to stop... didn't know anything about it. We were very surprised to find out that Bruce Cohn, the Manager of the Doobie Brothers Band is the owner. Who knew? There are so many famous people spread out all over the valley here that you just never know who you will run into. The wine was pretty good but the find of the day was their small olive oil and vinegar tasting room next door. They had the best 25 year old Balsamic vinegar... wow is all I can say.

Photo courtesy of

As you can tell some of the photos are not very good and I'm sure you guessed it that I am still using my phone camera. DH has the Nikon and hasn't downloaded all the photos yet for me to swipe a few and post out here.

The weather today was a bit iffy but we had a tasting and tour planned with Jarvis Winery. It was recommended to us as they have a nifty wine cave with mineral specimens. This tour is not for the budget conscious as it does cost a pretty penny. It is worth it but you know the saying, if you have to ask then you can't afford it.

Photo courtesy of

All their production of wine is done in the caves. The above photo is just a small portion of the cave and barrels they have stored there.

Here we are next to a natural spring that flows through the cave.

It was a wonderful tour and the wines were out of this world. So smooth and drinkable. If you ever have the chance to taste these wines, do so, it will be worth it.

After that lovely experience it was time for lunch. I had already decided that I wanted to go back into Yountville to pick up another bottle of port so we decided to have lunch at Bottega. Bottega is owned by the famous Food Network Chef Michael Chiarello. Yes, I am throwing names around now but I did actually get to see him. He was in the restaurant visiting with some of the diners in his cute little chef's apron.  I'm pretty sure he wasn't cooking but the food was pretty darn good. We split the Caramelized Brussels Sprout Salad and DH had the Halibut over risotto as his entree and I had the Butternut Squash pasta something. All I know is that it was very good. Here is a picture of it.

As you can see, I had already started eating when I decided to take this photo. Oh so yummy. We didn't have a reservation but since it was before noon we were able to get a table. I do recommend making a reservation if you plan to visit just to be on the safe side.

Next stop was to taste a little more wine at Hope and Grace winery. I just love their Chardonnay and can't help myself from buying a bottle whenever we are in town. Since we just happened to be near we stopped to get some dessert for tonight from Bouchon bakery. I'm still trying to hold myself back from digging into that Chocolate Eclair.

Well tomorrow is another day and one to look forward to. I'm not entirely sure what exciting things we will find but I'll be sure to let you know.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wine, Olives and Olive Oil

I don't know, can you guess where we are? Yep, Napa, CA. Here we headed South for some warmer weather and a bit of sunshine and what did we find but rain and overcast days. I do have to admit that the days are about 10 degrees warmer but still no sun. On the trip down we stopped in Corning at the Olive Pit to try some of their tasty olives. Lots of good choices there plus they have all kinds of other food items as well. I found a Fig Balsamic Vinegar that was to die for.... so yummy I just want to drink it straight out of the bottle.

The last time we came to Napa, I posted several reviews on the winery's we visited, my plan is to do the same thing just in case you are ever in the area. We visited Rutherford Ranch on Sunday and Jessup Cellars on Monday, both were extremely good this time as well as in previous visits. Today we tried an Olive Oil Tasting at Round Pond.

This was very different than what I expected. You get 4 little shot type glasses with about a tablespoon of olive oil in each one, then you are to pour one in your mouth, swish it around and then let it slide down your throat while you cough. Yes, cough. They did bring out fresh veggies to try along with the oils which was a good thing. They also let us try the vinegars and simple syrups. By far the vinegars were our favorite. They are considered a Boutique Olive Oil producer, so they make in small quantities right on the farm with their own mill. Interesting tour but once we had swigged oil, we really needed some wine, so off to Peju we went.

So this is the outside of the winery. They have wonderful grounds with lots of sculptures. I snapped a few photos with my cell phone while DH went around with the big camera.

We haven't quite decided what we are doing tomorrow but if it is interesting, I'll be sure to let you know.


Thursday, March 08, 2012

Flower Headpins

I saw a post a couple of weeks ago from another blogger, Joanne Tinley, who had made these fantastic poppy headpins. I really wanted to do something similar but not exactly and started playing today. If you want to see her wonderful headpins you can check out her Etsy shop called Daisychain Extra where she sells all kinds of handmade findings or she has a great blog you might want to read called Daisychain Jewellery.

So, here are my little headpins. These are quite a bit of work with all the soldering, cleaning, antiquing and then polishing but I think they will make some really cute earrings or maybe I'll put several of them together and make a fun ring. Who knows. What would you do with them?

Are we having fun yet?

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Playing with Wire, or is it Fire?

Do you ever just an idea but can't figure out how to make it into something? Well that was me yesterday. I went into my studio/craft room and decided to just play for a bit with no pressure to make anything. Low and behold, I was able to do a couple of new things with wire. This first is a spin-off from my Crystal Ladder Pendant and is a Lark's Head knot. To do it in leather, string or ribbon is one thing but to do it in wire.... oh my !!! Fingers hurt. I did come up with a trick... probably not new to those of you that love to work with wire, but you heat your wire with a torch until it turns red, quench it in water and start looping. If the wire gets too stiff again, just heat it again.

Once you are finished, if you don't like the antiqued look of the fire scale then you can put your piece in pickle and then polish for that bright shiny look again.

This piece was made using 14 gauge copper which makes it a heavier piece. I've decided I like the curled ends versus those that have the small balls. I even made a pair of earrings using 18 gauge wire. Lots of fun once you get the hang of it.

Now these are probably going to be my favorite earrings and and I'll just have to make me a pair in silver.

These head pins were made using 18 gauge wire and I love the effect of the simple knot on the end. I may have to wear these tonight.

I've also been working on some art charms for a swap. I previously showed you some of my wooden "Z"s that I was tangling on well these are mini bottle caps that I inserted a small piece of an original Zentangle. These were a lot of fun. I still have a couple more wooden pieces left to complete to finish out my set.

I hope everyone is having a great week. 


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