Saturday, June 27, 2009

Getting back in the swing of things

Oh I so enjoyed my week away in Napa Valley! I'll do my beady update first then do a run down of my trip at the end of the post for anyone who cares to read those details (I try to keep my blog 90% jewelry focused but occasionally have to divert to other topics!). The necklace pictured above is the beautiful work of Mary Jane, otherwise known as Marie Dodd- she was the helpful blog reader who suggested "Spruce" as the name for my new glaze. As a little thanks for her suggestion, I sent her a Spruce Abstract Butterfly pendant to play with. Don't you just love what she did with it? I think the browns and greens give it such a "from nature" feeling.Since I've been gone for a week (and am incapable of packing lightly with jewelry work) nothing new has created itself while I was away. However, inspiration galore in Napa so I'm excited to be home (well kind of) and will get back to working on new things this week.Ok, can't stand it any longer, let's talk about my vacation now!!! This amazing entry is at Castell0 di Amorosa. What a great place to wander through and around. They had sheep, chickens and a winery dog (didn't see him though) and welcomed our big galumphing Golden Retriever who was able to chill out beside us in the tasting room as we sampled wine. The details in the castle are really extraordinary. I'm a sucker for painted ceiling work like this!The highlight of our trip (for me) was visiting Round Pond and touring their olive mill. It was just wonderful sitting down and doing the olive oil tasting in such a quiet and beautiful setting. Who would have thought that I would end up sipping olive oil like wine?! Olive oil tasting is done just like wine tasting, you take a sip then suck a little air in through it as you swallow. I could go on with details forever but I'll wrap this part up by saying that homemade vanilla ice cream with RoundPond olive oil drizzled on top is one of the most decadent things you could imagine!

Here's my quick list of fabulous things/places we experienced:
Castello di Amorosa
Round Pond Olive Mill (and the winery is gorgous as well)
Dean and Deluca Caramel Balsamic Gelato (oh my goodness!)
Michael Chiarello's Panini Cafe at NapaStyle (toasted chicken panini and sweet corn and arugala salad- so good I went back the next day for the same thing!)
Mumm Winery (sparkling wines, an Ansel Adams display in the gallery and the most peaceful patio)
Peju Winery (just fantastic people, generous tastings, and they give 10% of sales on their wine "Pink" to Breast Cancer charity)
Meritage Resort (dog friendly hotel)
Ruff (dog daycare/hotel, Nana had a blast there while we went on our olive oil tour-she went with us everywhere else!)

There's more but I'll spare you all! I have pictures on Flickr of some of the highlights (again sparing you the photo of my panini and arugula salad- I was so enamored I had to take pictures of it!).
Back to jewelry with the next post I promise :)


  1. Sounds like it was a great trip - I think I have to go into the kitchen now. I have a hankering!!

  2. thanks mellisa for showing my work... and for sharing your trip! as very few people get to travel extensively, i love when places are shared with words and pictures - i get to live vicariously through you and expands my world a bit! cannot wait to see the flickr pics... so glad the trip introduced you to new things - like olive oil and vanilla ice cream!

  3. Beautiful necklace made by Maire Dodd, love the colors.
    I went to Napa Valley once, back in 1980...sheesh like over a quarter of a century ago!
    And olive oil, my absolute favorite thing; crusty warm bread and herb saturated olive oil.
    Now like Renate, I need to go to the kitchen or the!

  4. Anonymous11:13 AM

    I agree, I love when people share photos of their trips. I've been to Napa but it's been a awhile and I didn't see that beautiful castle.
    Oh and the necklace is lovely!

  5. Love those ceilings! I would never have thought to pair olive oil with vanilla ice cream but it does sound good!

    Thanks for entering the giveaway and for tweeting away!


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