Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Walk the Day Before Christmas

Card Holder

I made this cardholder last year out of frustration from all the cards scattered around the house. I found the pattern on the internet - I used an empty cardboard whiskey container, one of those cylindrical ones. The trick was to wrap the yarn tightly around. You can get a lot of cards onto this thing and the colors of the cards are quite pretty. Best of all, the cards stay tidy in one place.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Two Days to Christmas

Winter morning in San Francisco, red birds among the branches

Silver-tipped fir tree decked with ornaments

Copenhagen Bakery in Burlingame

The day started watery and pale with the sound of birds shifting in the bare branches. I finally photographed our Christmas tree, which has dried out quite a bit despite the watering. This year's tree is tall and spare, which allows the ornaments to stand out. It is my favorite kind of tree, although I love the smell of Douglas fir the best. Later in the morning I went to the Copenhagen bakery to get a Christmas eve dessert. They had many lovely desserts to choose from: yule logs, marzipan cakes, German chocolate, mocha cake....I ended up with 2 large snow ball cakes. I don't know what they taste like but they looked pretty. To this purchase, I added a loaf of wheat bread and small packets of pfeffernusse, ginger snaps and chocolate-covered ginger cookies. What a treat!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rock n Roll at Atchinson Village Community Hall

I went to a wild rock n roll party at the Atchinson Village Community Hall in Richmond last night. The room was filled with friends of Gretchen B, who was celebrating her 70th birthday. What a great celebration!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Feather Tree/Crab Dinner

It's Dungeness crab season and so we had guests over for dinner last night for crab cooked 3-ways. We started with an orange and crab salad, then crab cocktail and finally crabcakes. The crab dishes were accompanied by white wine and afterwards we enjoyed cookies and burnt caramel ice cream from Bi-rite. With the two feather trees decked with ornaments, it was quite a festive scene.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sonoma Wreath-Making Day

Holiday Scenes

The assorted nutcrackers are from Germany and China. The large mercury glass candleholder and silver candle is from this year's Target holiday collection.
I have a collection of nutcrackers, smokers and wooden figures that I bring out at this time of year. Last year I got a wooden Advent calendar from Target and earlier this year I filled the compartments with old ornaments and toys. I've enjoyed opening the doors each day and remembering where the little figurines came from. A few years ago my friend in Germany sent a ceramic gingerbread house which has a space in back for putting in a votive candle. Stained glass candle holders are my favorite and the one on the right is from a store in Noe Valley. I love this time of year when the darkness comes early and the candles burn longer.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Tree

We got our tree today at a nearby lot. The place was hopping with tree-seekers today. Lots of small trees were being sold although they had a lot of gigantic ones available. We got a 9 foot silver tip fir tree - fragrant and lots of spaces between branches to hang our many ornaments.

ActivSpace Holiday Sale

Went last night to the holiday art sale at the Coffee Bar, connected to 1890 Bryant. Several artists from ActivSpace were displaying their work and selling small items for the holidays. The place was pretty full and had a jazz band downstairs. Lots of artists are participating in holiday sales - hoping to make some money during this economic downturn. I went to the Celebration of Craftswomen at Ft Mason today to see their display today. I ended up getting a few nice things at very reasonable prices.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Nite Out

Beautiful window of a Hayes Valley candy shop

Shops on Hayes Street were open late tonite

Hunters Point Artists' Sale at the Hayes Valley Market

Mayor Newsom explaining his views to artist fans at the Hayes Valley Market

Full house at the Hayes Valley Market

Vibrant show and Holiday sale at Creativity Explored

Post-Postcard Show & Sale at the Lab
A busy night going to several art-related holiday sales. The Lab had their Post-Postcard show & sale - business was brisk with shoppers picking up inexpensive works of art from shoe-box sized bins. Creativity Explored up a few blocks was also filled to capacity with people interested in buying beautiful, inexpensive art. Hunters Point artist were also having their sale on Hayes Street. That neighborhood was really crowded because all the shops were open late tonight. We got there just before closing, at 9 but there were so many people doors were left open longer. Our handsome mayor popped into Hayes Market with his new wife, Jennifer Seibel to check out the art.

Covered Bridge

My sister wanted to see a covered bridge in New Hampshire. We found an old one near Center Sandwich that was built in the 1800's.

Walden Pond

Arrived here just before sunset. It was a chilly day but absolutely still. The solitude of the pond was exactly what I needed in an otherwise topsyturvy Thanksgiving visit.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saints & Zombies

Political avatars do battle in "Saints & Zombies." These creatures were created for the Lab's 12th annual Post-postcard show

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tommy Toy's Evening to Remember

The menu for the evening
Lobsters lined up ready to be served

Carving Peking Duck

A romantic ambiance
Peach mousse in strawberry coulis
I learned that it was the first time the Wine & Food Society had selected an Asian restaurant for one of their dinners. Tommy Toy's is actually a Chinese-French fusion restaurant but the food selections definitely leaned towards the Chinese last night. The Gewurztraminer was crispy sweet and went exceedingly well with the five spice prawns and steamed seafood dumpling appetizers. My favorite dish was the Peking duck, which followed. The slices were plump and crisp and full of duck flavor. I wish there was a little less of the plum sauce, which threatened to overpower the duck. The lobsters were impressive but I liked the plain, unsauced claws best. The quail were arranged in oddly provocative poses with legs splayed or lifted over their bodies. I was already getting pretty full by then. But that was followed by a delicious filet mignon, snap peas and fried rice. They need to destring the peas in the future, but the beef was delicious. I was surprised at how good the peach mousse was but was too full to eat more than a few bites.

I hadn't been to Tommy Toy's for many years. I remember all the dishes tasting sweet but this time, there was a good balance in flavors. Mr. Toy, who passed away in February, was an immigrant success story. He came here from Guangchou and worked his way up from a dishwasher to the owner of this opulent restaurant. His partner, Alon Yu, continues the tradition.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Sport of Shopping

I read that H&M was going to sell a small line of Comme des Garcons clothes designed by Rei Kawakubo. On Thursday at 9:25 am I lined up behind a long line of fashionistas, all excited, all with strategies on nabbing pieces by this famous designer. The store opened early, at 9:45 and there was a mad dash into the store. Inside was a whirlwind of arms grabbing merchandise off the racks. The only sounds I heard were that of hangers being pulled off metal racks. No voices, just sounds of polished metal on metal. I was tempted to photograph the scene but had to clear my head of such thoughts and reach for whatever was left. It was clearly bad strategy to go to the wall by the window with the rows of woven shirts because that area was blocked off by large display stands. As soon as I could extricate myself, I ran to a rack of knit tops that was quickly being emptied, hurriedly picked some shirts that were my size, ran to the men's section and grabbed the one sweater left. Too bad all the jackets & coats & the fabulous skirts were grabbed by those first in line, but I wouldn't have relished waiting in line for hours & hours. Surprisingly the dressing room wasn't full, just a short line of people waiting for discarded clothes. Luckily someone was getting rid of assymetrical shirts and I got one of those too. I tried on a pair of polka dotted pants, man's sweater, assymetrical shirt, knit shirt and 2 woven shirts. They all fit! I even had an extra knit shirt for a Christmas present! The store was completely sold out of Comme des by 10:00 am - the regular store opening hour. The empty racks were quickly replaced by H&M's regular lines. It was an awesome shopping day!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Final Pieces

Alien American
Asian American

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Hopalong & Second Chance Animal Rescue

Examining the Silent Auction Items
One of the fundraiser organizers

Last night was the 4th annual Furball fundraiser for the above animal rescue organization. Befitting an affair in Berkeley, people came as they were, the food was Asian ethnic and the silent auction items were a mix of animal products and jewelry. Miss Oakland attended as well and gamely posed for photographs with dog lovers.